Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Goals Recap

This is going to be a quick rundown of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year. I have had so many changes over the past year; going from a full time college student to unexpectedly having to work full time instead, working way too many hours a week, to finally finding a good balance.

The original post is here, if you are curious to read more detail.

1. Buy less fabric.

This was achieved mainly because I starting knitting more than sewing and bought yarn instead. Heh.

2. Experiment with dyeing and printing.

So-so. I wanted to get into this more over the summer but time got away from me. I did paint fabric and turn that into sewn items, however. I am counting this one as a half victory (for now).

Painting Final

3. Dive into art quilting.

Another one that I just dipped my toes into. I took advantage of my upper level art classes to try out some of these goals. This is my favorite mixed media piece (fabric and paper).

View Outside

4. Expand knitting techniques.

This was so vague that I'm surprised I managed it. Concrete goals from now on! As it is, I did accomplish this. I knit a toy, lace, basic colorwork, used a provisional cast on and kitchener stitch. I also learned short row shaping and completed a project with the yarn held double. I really have Camp Loopy to thank for the push because before the summer, I only knit casually. I wasn't pushing myself on my own and having a challenge really helped launch my learning and bring my knitting to another level.

Piper's Journey

5. Transfer photographs to fabric and combine it with sewing.

I did this a little bit in my advanced photography class. I want to revisit this again in the future.

Self Portrait

6. Make more clothing.

I sewed two tops this year. More than before, yes, but not what I was thinking. It's a start though.

Finished Top

7. Sketch daily.

FAIL. (And a little unrealistic with my schedule.)

8. Start selling pattern or things I have made.

Didn't happen and I am really ok with it. This would have added another level of craziness to my life. Maybe in the future.

9. Start weaving.

I've touched my basic loom only to move it around my creative space.

10. Learn leather tooling (nope!), spinning (nope!), paper cutting (one time), enameling (nope!), and felting (nope!).`


Tomorrow I will share my goals for 2013. Here's to a great new year for us all!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

100 Day Hustle Recap

With under 30 hours left of 2012 for me, it seems like a good enough time to recap how I did on this challenge. My list was very ambitious considering how much I was working when I wrote it up.


1. Sundry Shawl: this is nearly done and I'm hoping to count it as a finish tomorrow. I have about 100 yards left of my yarn and will knit until I have enough left to bind off. I don't have a current photo of this, so you just have to imagine a dark gray section after the slip stitch pattern.

Sundry WIP

2. Sharktooth: done!


3. Five by Five Cowl: done! I haven't written up a post on this one yet, but here is a photo of it on our deck.

Five by Five Cowl Finished!

4. 28's Big Sister 77: didn't even start this one.

5. Abalone: didn't start knitting it. The yarn is wound, however, so it will get done in 2013.

6. Driftwood: didn't touch this one. I had to snag the needles for another project as well, so I won't work on it until I either finish the other one or buy another circular in this size.

7. Secret present for a friend (Zombie Girl): done!

Zombie Girl

8. Pei Cowl: done!

Pei Cowl

9. Bella's Mittens: done! I haven't written this one up either as it's too cold to show off the length of these when wearing them.

Finished Bella's Mittens

10. Garter Stitch Scarf: done!

Garter Stitch Scarf

11. Age of Brass and Steam: didn't start.


1. Drunkard's Path quilt top: the blocks are done and I will sew them into rows tomorrow. Be looking for a finished top post early in January.

DP Blocks

2. Kaleidoscope quilt top: done! Quilting to come next year.

Kaleidoscope Top Finished!

3. Zig Zag quilt: didn't work on this one. It has a slot next year though.

4. Low Volume quilt: didn't start. The charms came later than planned but even if I had got them earlier, it wouldn't have been touched. I still need to buy the other fabrics that will go into this one as well.

5. Medallion quilt: didn't touch.

6. Garden tote: didn't work on this one.

7. Bird needlebook (The Nesting Place): didn't work on this one either.

8. Curved tree mini: didn't start.

9. Cloth from Embroider, Embelish, Create class: didn't touch.

10. Dessert of the Month cross stitch: didn't touch.

11. Reindeer banner: didn't touch either. With this being Christmas themed, I put it out of my thoughts. I think I have to commit to stitching this throughout 2013 so it will be ready for next Christmas.

Not too bad, but this list just shows how everything took a back seat to knitting. The projects that didn't get any love are at the top of my list to tackle in 2013. More on that in a couple days.

Thank you, Kelsey, for thinking this up and hosting!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

FO Mini Parade

I have a growing stack of finished objects to share. To consolidate them, I'm probably going to share them in groups, unless I have a lot to say about them.

The first one today is kind of a BIG DEAL. I started this quilt top in the summer of 2011, with the quilt-a-long that was going on at the time. I had some cutting and piecing issues that made my blocks not uniform, which caused problems putting the blocks into rows. One error stalled me in my tracks, when really all I had to do was take out the seam ripper and stitch it again. No biggie, right?

Kaleidoscope Top Finished!

Well, the way this was handled really speaks to my personality. You see, I like to finish what I start in one sitting. I've been that way ever since I can remember. Cleaning and organizing? I must finish it all. Homework, especially papers, no matter the length? All at once, from research to final copy. It can be a problem but at least I am starting to recognize it and try to change. Part of it is setting small stepping stones to get to the finished object. In this case, my goal was to finish the quilt top by the end of the year. The blocks were all done, so it really wasn't much to do.

I didn't mean to ramble here. I'm just so proud to have this done! And I love the way it pulled together so much that I can't wait to finish it in 2013. It will be hand quilted, which will take time. At least I already have the quilting threads. The only thing I'm not sure on is the binding. I don't remember what my plan on that was but I have ideas. Oh! The fabrics here are from Lizzy House's 1001 Peeps with some Kona solids mixed in.

Pei Cowl

I have two knit projects to share as well. The first is the Pei cowl. I knit it with 100% alpaca that is raised in Minnesota. I loved to feel how it turned from a rope-like strand into a very soft finished item. I do have to say I didn't pick the best pattern for this yarn and the yarn doesn't do the pattern justice. The bobbles are completely lost in the halo as is the lace design. I do like it though and will wear it. I also will knit this pattern again.

Pei Cowl

The day I was taking the photos for this and the next one, Angus kept following me around, lurking just behind me. It made me laugh and this one happened to be the best photo of me wearing this cowl.


The other piece I have to share is the Sharktooth shawl. I initially was going to knit the larger size but changed my mind after starting. I'm glad I did because I have found I love wearing knits like this. The two extra skeins I have already are tagged for a project, which I hope to get to early next year.

I think that's enough for today. More to come soon!

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Final Push to 2013

First of all, Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and it isn't too stressful for you.

This will probably be my final WIP post for the year. On Friday I sat down with my list of projects I have going and picked out some that I do want to finish for sure. As a sort of mini challenge, I set goals for each to have done by Christmas evening. We are only celebrating Monday night with Chad's family so the rest of the time is to ourselves.

I actually was going to post about this Friday but time got away from me. I have made good progress so far which makes me think I can get them done. Anything above and beyond the target is even better. Here are the projects getting my focus right now and where I want to be with them by Tuesday evening:
  • Kaleidoscope quilt (yes, from that QAL last summer... 2011...): get the rows pieced. I have the blocks all done and a couple rows done. I do have to take the seam ripper to one because it doesn't line up quite right, but that's no big deal. That is the real reason I put this aside.
  • Drunkard's Path quilt: block units are all pieced, now to get them sewn into blocks. I am about half way there.
  • Loverly shawl: get up to row 111 (of 144). This will be done as I am already to row 107. They do take time as I have over 200 stitches on the needles (and growing) but I have faith I can push through. See photo of it below.
  • Sundry shawl: I have 1 1/2 balls left and would like to get that half ball done. I may bring this with to Chad's sister's house to work on as it is a design I don't need the pattern in front of me to work on.
  • Five by Five cowl: finish. (And I did!) I do still have to wash it and take photos.
Loverly WIP

If I finish all of these projects before the end of the month, I am going to work on the other WIPs from my 100 Day Hustle list. Only the WIPs, though as I do have projects on the list that aren't started. Otherwise, I can work on winding the yarn I will need for my January projects. The only exception is the test knit I volunteered for. Not sure if I will be doing it yet or not, but it is a sweater that needs to be done late January.

In an effort to get even more organized I have started utilizing two things: a planner and a notebook to track the yarn in my stash. I haven't used a planner in any other context than school, so it's a slow start to see how it will work for me. Right now, it is allowing me to have a list of what I want to work on each month. Having it on the computer isn't enough as I don't always have it on. The notebook for my yarn stash is a simple in and out tracker. This will tie into one goal I have for 2013 (which is not stash reduction, by the way) and it may be eye opening to see how much yarn I bring in and that I use each month. Skeins are marked in on the day I receive them and out when a projects comes off the needles. Leftover bits, even half a ball, are counted as a whole number. I like both new things so far and hope I can keep up with them.


I will be back after the holiday with some FO photos, a look back at my goals for 2012 and my goals for next year. See you soon!

Friday, December 14, 2012

WIPs and Birthday Reflections

Today is my birthday. 31st, to be exact. It doesn't have the special feeling that turning 30 had but I'm ok with that. I've never been into huge parties or making big deals over birthdays. This is however, the time of year I reflect on my personal goals and set them for the coming year. I will be spending time solidifying those over the weekend (in between house chores and working on projects, that is.).

I'm going to take advantage of this planning session to get my goals in line for my creative growth as well. Those I will share at the end of the year as I go over how I did on my ambitions for this one.

As fas as WIPs go, it is all knitting still. I did transfer a couple embroidery patterns to stitch up but didn't take a photo of them.

My Five by Five cowl has grown a lot. It was my car knitting for my work trip to Minneapolis and also what I bring to work to knit on if I have time over my dinner break. I'm past the required 400 yard mark, which brings it to be able to looped around my neck 2 1/2 times. I'm going to go until I get to 3 and then finish it off. Should be within the next week.

Five by Five WIP

I also have been working on dishcloths. I don't use anything else at home and am in need of some more. The finished one I did during my trip and the other I have been working on casually. There will be more but I'm not sure if I will share them. They aren't really the most exciting knit out there.


I completed the bind off on the latest mystery knit I did. I blocked it since this photo was taken and will share the finished item soon. I have a growing stack of knits to photograph and no motivation to do it in the cold.

Mystery WIP

Hope everything is going well with you and yours. Be back soon!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Giveaway Day Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered. I'm sorry I couldn't reply to all of your comments due to being out of town for work, but I did enjoy reading your answers.

Without further ado, here are the winners.

First is for the Geared for Guys book. The winner is #4, Heather D of Crafting.... Congratulations, Heather!

Second is for the vintage pattern pack 1. The winner is #33, Christie of Joyfoolery. Congratulations, Christie!

Third is for the vintage pattern pack 2. The winner is #5, Pam of Threading My Way. Congratulations, Pam!

All winners have been contacted. If I don't get a response by Sunday evening, I will redraw. Thanks again to everyone who stopped by!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Giveaway #3: Vintage Pattern Pack 2

Hello! Welcome to my space. If you are new, feel free to check out my blog while you are here. I am an aspiring fiber artist who sews, knits, embroiders, and draws, among other things. Yay for Giveaway Day!

Today I have three different giveaways. The third is a pack of vintage patterns. There are eleven patterns here that come from my stash. All are in good condition though I did not check to verify all pieces are present.

One comment per person. Giveaway ends Friday when I get home from work (midnight-ish) and I will draw for a winner right away. If you are a no-reply commenter, I will pick someone else. You are eligble to win all of the giveaways I have today as I will not draw again if the same person comes up for more than one.

For fun, leave me a comment telling me which country you would like to visit the most. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Giveaway #2: Vintage Pattern Pack 1

Hello! Welcome to my space. If you are new, feel free to check out my blog while you are here. I am an aspiring fiber artist who sews, knits, embroiders, and draws, among other things. Yay for Giveaway Day!

Today I have three different giveaways. The second is a pack of vintage patterns. There are eleven patterns here that come from my stash. All are in good condition though I did not check to verify all pieces are present.

One comment per person. Giveaway ends Friday when I get home from work (midnight-ish) and I will draw for a winner right away. If you are a no-reply commenter, I will pick someone else. You are eligble to win all of the giveaways I have today as I will not draw again if the same person comes up for more than one.

For fun, leave me a comment telling me your favorite cookie. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Giveaway #1: Geared for Guys by Emily Herrick

Hello! Welcome to my space. If you are new, feel free to check out my blog while you are here. I am an aspiring fiber artist who sews, knits, embroiders, and draws, among other things. Yay for Giveaway Day!

Today I have three different giveaways. The first is for a signed copy of Emily Herrick's book, Geared for Guys. This book is full of patterns that appeal to the men in our lives (though unforunately, not my own). I want this book to be loved by someone and hope that is you.

One comment per person. Giveaway ends Friday when I get home from work (midnight-ish) and I will draw for a winner right away. If you are a no-reply commenter, I will pick someone else. You are eligble to win all of the giveaways I have today as I will not draw again if the same person comes up for more than one.

For fun, leave a comment telling me what you are planning on giving your significant other for the upcoming holiday. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Short Update

Whew, time flies by when you have to go to work every day. I sure got used to having all my time to myself, ha. I'm settling into a routine again but hopefully posting happens more often. This upcoming week I have to go to Minneapolis for some training. Not sure yet if I'm going to bring with my computer or leave it at home. On one hand, it would be great to have no distractions (read: my dogs) so I can catch up with things, but then if I bring it, I won't get as much done on the projects I bring. And don't get me started on which projects I'm planning on bringing... I have until Tuesday to decide.

The only project updates I have since last time are knits: another mystery (LOVE the colorway I'm using), more progress on my Sundry, and I've doubled the length of my Five by Five Cowl. The cowl is perfect to bring to work to knit on my dinner breaks.

Mystery WIP
Sundry WIP
Five by Five Cowl WIP

I will be back tomorrow for Giveaway Day. See you then!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Visit

Replica Church

Iron Cross
Iron Cross
The images here were taken on Thanksgiving on our visit to Chad's father's gravesite. This cemetary is located next to the farm he grew up on and is the resting place of many of his family and neighbors. I am sharing them for a couple reasons. One, I just love images of rural North Dakota. I live in the heavily populated area of the state and being out there is heaven to me. Second, I also am enamored with the history of this area. I won't go too deep into it other than to mention it's the epicenter of the German-Russian immigration into America. The iron crosses are an homage to their culture and are sprinkled over the surrounding counties. I also love the German on this one. Languages get me every time.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Art Quilting Practice

These pieces were made for my summer drawing class but I consider them practice for where I want to go with my art. My instructor and classmates loved them and I see the flaws.

All were based off of photographs from the Western Minnesota Steam Threasher's Reunion that Chad and I attend over Labor Day. I have included the source image here so you can compare.

First one is of some cut logs. I used this image for my Dead Simple Quilt as well. I am just in love with the colors and textures here. I tried to recreate it but don't think I hit it just right.

Inspiration for my Dead Simple Quilt

Second is a tractor wheel. I tried both applique and thread painting to bring out the details. I think it would have worked better this way if the yellow thread color was dead on to the fabric.

Inspiration at WMSTR
Tractor Wheel

And last is a view of the sky outside of a barn loft. This one is my favorite of the three. Cotton balls were made into clouds and the black areas are paper that were stitched down.

Inspiration at WMSTR

View Outside

Much like my first scarf and first quilt, I think these are important to track where I have been and where I am going. Do you evaluate your work in this manner? We all improve with time and practice and looking back can be fun and educational.


My vacation ends today and I start my new job tomorrow. I have loved being home and able to work on whatever I want but I'm starting to lose track of what day it is. I didn't get everything done on my list but the major things are finished. My creative space is completely reorganized, with everything in its place. That was the biggie and it feels so good to have it done.

One thing I had been meaning to do for months was cut up my old Kona color card. I had won the one in a giveaway and instead of tossing the old one, I thought I should cut it up as another way to make use of it. Now I can easily see if the solids themselves go well together, which was the biggest downside to having them in card form. Best of both worlds now!

Color Card

I also have put together a few prizes for Giveaway Day that starts next week on Sew Mama Sew. Be sure to check back for it then. This week I will be taking photographs and writing up the posts.

There are a couple things going on in blogland that I'm looking forward to in the new year. The first is the return of Project Quilting. I tried to play along last time Kim ran it and only managed to complete one week. This season I am shooting to finish each week. If you are looking to expand your creativity through quilting, I highly recommend participating. Today she posted an off season challenge to warm up for the start in January. The time frame to finish it is two weeks instead of the usual one. I have been brainstorming a bit today and will share my progress as it comes along.

The other thing is a quilt-a-long that is already in progress. It's the Bee In My Bonnet Row Along and you may have heard of it. I recently did and am putting off joining until January in order to finish up some other projects. This looks like the perfect project to jump into scrappy quilting. I have long admired scrap projects but haven't been able to push myself into letting go in order to create one of my own. I'm looking forward to it and am fighting the urge to pull fabrics for it.

Hope your weekend was well spent. See you again soon!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Zombie Girl

Finally I can reveal the surpise I was knitting for a friend. I actually gave this to her last weekend but didn't get around to posting about it until now.

First some background. My friend is really into Halloween, scary movies, zombies, etc. She coordinates our local Zombie Pub Crawl, was working on hosting a Zombie Prom, and works at a haunted house, in addition to holding another job and being a loving wife and great friend.

Zombie Girl

When I saw this pattern, I knew I had to make one for her. The pattern is called Zombie the Podcaster and is free on Ravelry. I made my girl a little more elegant in that I embroidered lips and eyes on her face and left off the bloody scar. Other than that, I didn't make any modifications. I did think about adding hair but didn't like the result. I should have dropped down a needle size for the dress though, as the stuffing does peek through.

Zombie Girl

Hunting down a good yarn to use for the zombie flesh was interesting. My local yarn shop doesn't have too many crazy yarns but I did finally find a sick looking green. I went back and forth over dress colors as well before picking this one.

Zombie Girl

This knit up very quickly. I set it down for a few days, otherwise it would have been done in just two or three evenings. This was the first toy pattern I have knit up and the first time using Judy's Magic Cast On. That went pretty well considering I've heard others having difficulities getting it down. Working on something this small was fiddly at times but it won't deter me from knitting another toy in the future.

And as a bonus, the cast on is a common one used in socks. I have yet to knit a sock and have it on my list of things to try next year.

Yay for another tick off of my Hustle list!

Friday, November 23, 2012

What I Brought to Thanksgiving

This year I had to get a little creative in what I made to bring for our dinner. Because of our travel plans, I wasn't going to make anything too elaborate, and really, I didn't have to bring anything at all if I didn't want to.

However, I had made garlic mashed potatoes for Chad a few weeks ago. I've made them before for us (and the recipe is borrowed from my years working in the kitchen at Bennigan's) but he raved about them to his mom and asked me to make them for his family.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

My recipe is pretty simple. I dice both red and white potatoes, skins intact, and boil them until fork tender. Once they are drained and returned to the cooking pot, I add roasted garlic, melted butter, salt, and pepper. The amounts vary depending on how many potatoes I cook and the tastes of whomever I am feeding. I love garlic, to the point of eating the roasted mash straight up, but Chad doesn't like it too strong. For his benefit, I don't add as much as I would for myself.  A good ratio for me is 5 lbs white potatoes, 3 lbs red, 3 bulbs garlic, 2 sticks of butter, and then lots of fresh ground pepper and a little salt. I mash by hand, leaving it just a little chunky, but not too much. My least favorite kind of mashed potatoes are made with lots of milk and mixed with a hand mixer. I guess those really are creamed potatoes, but that's a whole different tangent.

My photograph of them isn't the best. But let's face it, mashed potatoes are not the most photographic food out there.

I also decided to make a pie. I have made all sorts of pies for family gatherings in the past but wanted something different. I decided on a peanut butter mousse with Oreo crust. The crust is simple as it is crushed Oreos and melted butter pressed into a pie pan. The peanut butter mousse I got from this recipe. In lieu of the fudge layer, I melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips with the remaining whipping cream and attempted to drizzle on top. It wasn't thin enough for that so I ended up with thicker stripes. Good thing pies are meant to be eaten.

Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

I'm linking up with Debbie's Tuesday at the Table and am going to do my best to brave the Black Friday crowds as I go out to do my weekly errands.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I'm halfway through my 10 day vacation and feel so relaxed. Now, don't think I haven't been working around the house. I have been tackling some deep cleaning each day so far and have also been reorganizing my creative spaces. I think my new set up will make it easier for me to work on projects once I start my new job. And it's good for me to get a start on the new year coming up.

Yes, I am already thinking about next year. I start doing that as my birthday approaches (it's in December) and use this time to come up with my personal goals. I will go into that more later as 2012 comes to an end but I will say now that I already have a basket full of knitting projects lined up for 2013.

Aside from cleaning and organizing, I have also been making progress on some projects so let's get on with that. I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced for her WIP Wednesday link up.

One of my goals this week is to finish my Drunkard's Path quilt top. I made progress on the blocks but still have a ways to go.

DP Block Progress

Three of my knit projects got some love. These are the Loverly Shawl, Sundry Shawl, and Five by Five Cowl. The cowl is coming with me tomorrow because it will make excellent traveling and conversation knitting.

Loverly Shawl WIP
Sundry Shawl WIP
Five by Five Cowl WIP

I also started a crochet project. This is the base for a basket. The colors are not what I would have paired if I bought these new but they work. I found these in my stash and instead of donating them, like some of the other acrylic yarn I have, I wanted to use them up. This will be a quick project and useful to boot.

Crochet Basket WIP

We are expecting a mix of snow and rain tomorrow, which will be interesting as we travel. Chad and I are leaving very early in the morning to drive to the farm he grew up on to visit his father's grave before heading back east to spend time with his family. To my fellow Americans, I hope your Thanksgiving is spent with those you love.