Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes: January FO

I honestly wasn't sure if I would get this done. I've been MIA here for two weeks thanks to a nasty virus and the craziness at work. Creating anything has been a challenge but I do have some things to show for it.

John Deere Mini

Part of the reason why I took so long on this mini quilt is that I was going back and forth on how to make the top. I had planned on fussy cutting the motifs and piecing them with other fabrics. Then I realized that I really was making this to please Chad. He doesn't like any sort of modern piecing and I know he wouldn't have appreciated anything like that. So I decided to cut the fabric to size and quilt it with straight (ok, sort of straight) lines.

John Deere Mini

Well I don't know what he thinks of it yet and won't until I see him on Saturday. Opposite schedules and all.

On my initial link up post, someone asked me what sort of living room decor would go with John Deere. Well... it may be odd to some, but it does. Chad has a collection of farm equipment miniatures and the rest of the living room is Western decor. That's what happens when you have two country loving people. Chad grew up on a small cattle ranch in North Dakota as well (in fact, the chaps, spurs, and hat were his late father's). The +B that is burned into the wall is his family brand, still registered to Chad. We do also have a full size tractor in our garage even though we live in town. Despite living in a farm-centric area, that is not the norm.

Living Room
Living Room

Where was I? Oh yeah, linking up with Sew BitterSweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts. Please join in for February, if you aren't playing along. I have to decide what my next project will be and will share it over the weekend or early next week.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

WIP Update

This week is just flying by for me. Work is crazy; subzero weather tends to do that for the transportation industry so it is expected. I even forgot to snap a photo of my Woodland Sampler, though progress has been minimal due to work.

Cora WIP
Barnwood WIP

Other than that, I have been knitting on my sweater and cast on a new cowl. The sweater I was hoping would be finished by Saturday but it won't. I'm at the waist and have two long sleeves to knit as well. The new cowl is in a color that is out of my comfort zone but I was just drawn to it. I'm loving it and am even considering a sweater in the same colorway.

So this is short and sweet. I am itching to have a knit FO and need to get cracking. Please don't remind me that I would be closer to a finish if I would stop casting new projects on. It occured to me but just like any other project, they scream to be started.

See you soon!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Project Quilting Season 4, Challenge 1

I didn't think I would finish the challenge this week. With Chad being sick and camped out in our living room, I couldn't even get into my sewing room until Saturday. But I set a goal of completing each challenge so I spent all day sewing.

I did take advantage of the time prior to starting to think out an idea. The challenge for this week was to create something with the square in a square block. There are two styles and I wanted to play with both of them. I did have other ideas that didn't pan out. One was to play with numbers... squares and square roots. The other was to use square as a slang and do a portrait of a "square" and frame him in a square. That one still makes me giggle but would take longer than a week to do.

Project Quilting Season 4, Challenge 1

The fabrics used were all Kona cottons. I quilted it with denim and gray threads. I tried again to machine stitch the binding and finally have decided I don't like it. Time was a factor here but from now on, I will make the time to hand stitch it down. I also do not like the batting I used. It's some that I got on sale and will not buy again. Of course, I will use up what I have and know to have a lint roller on hand.

Project Quilting Season 4, Challenge 1 Detail

Just look at the crispness of piecing on this star! I overestimated the size of the corner triangles so I could trim down and I'm glad I did. The piecing on the buildings is intentionally a bit wonky.

Interested in taking on some challenges? Come over to Kim's blog at Persimon Dreams. The next challenge is posted January 20th!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

WIP Update

Whew. Between work, caring for a sick boyfriend, cleaning up after said boyfriend, and working near obsessively on my sweater, I haven't had time for anything else. Knitting time hasn't even been that much either because of it all. Such is life, right?

Cora WIP

All I have to share this week is my progress on my sweater and the little progress I have made on my Woodland Sampler. That is my project for the leftover time I have on my dinner break, so 20-30 minutes most work days. It's slow going but that's ok as it fills some dead time I may have otherwise.

Woodland Sampler WIP

I do have an idea for my first Project Quilting project. With Chad being sick, it's been more challenging to sew. I am determined to get to it tomorrow night if he is feeling better, otherwise work on it feverishly Friday night and all day Saturday.

The last new thing this week here is a running tally of books I read/listen to. I used to eat up books, sometimes reading hundreds and hundreds a year. This was before I started sewing, knitting, and doing all the other things that take up my free time. Last year I read one or two books from cover to cover. So this year, I am setting a goal of reading six and listening to fifty. I plan to listen while I knit so the latter goal should be an easy one to meet.

Hope your week is treating you well!

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Year of Lovely Finishes: January

I think I'm the last one to discover this new linky party that is being hosted by Sew BitterSweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts. (And if I'm not, do check it out. Today is the last day to link up for January.) It's for sewing/quilting projects only, which should be a good kick in the butt for me to put the needles down every once in a while.

This month is all about the sweater I am test knitting. I made good progress on it over the weekend but still have a ways to go with it. I would really like to finish it next weekend so I can block it and let it dry for my company Christmas party the following Saturday. At any rate, I need to finish that by the 24th so I can give my notes to the designer.


Because of this, I am picking a smaller project to finish this month. I'm going to turn this stack of John Deere fabric and solids into a mini to replace one I'm using as a table topper. Chad has made comments about it being to girly (there is pink on it) so this one will be for him. Plus it will go better with the decor in our living room.

How about you? Are you joining in for this linky?

Finish-a-Long Quarter One

The Finish-a-Long returns for another year. This time, it's being hosted at she can quilt. And this time, I'm determined to finish my lists. Last year this turned into a list of projects I completely ignored.

I'm going to stick with five projects each quarter to link up. They will be a variety of things and really should be my oldest UFOs but may not always be the case. These are all photos from the last time I worked on them (with the exception of my DP quilt... I really need to find the time to photograph the top to share).

1. Drunkard's Path quilt - the top is finished, now to baste, quilt, and bind. If I do one step a month, this one will be finished in no time.

DP Blocks

2. Handstitched mini - one block is pieced and another is cut out, waiting to be sewn together. Ten more blocks after that, sashing, and then quilting.

Hand Pieced QAL

3. Driftwood - I'm about ten rows into this one. I think once I get started again it should fly off the needles.

Driftwood WIP

4. Sourwood Mountain - I have the cuff of one mitt done. I sort of pushed these aside once it got too cold to wear anything other than mittens or gloves. These will be perfect for spring though, so that is good motivation.

Sourwood Mountain WIP

5. Nesting Place needlebook - the class was over months ago but fortunately I still have access to the files. No reason why this was not finished as I am in love with the final product.

Nesting Place

This will be a good start. I eventually want to have only projects going that are a month or two old at the most. The only way to get there is to chip away at the lagging ones and slow down on starting new things. Easier said that done, right?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Knitting WIPs

I went a little cast on crazy on New Year's Day. It was in reaction to pushing so hard to finish some of my projects I think. I also prepped for a cross stitch but didn't start stitching yet. It's my project to work on during my dinner break at work, so the progress will be slow. I will share next week where I am on it.

May Day Shawl WIP
New Beginnings WIP
Itasca WIP
Cora WIP

Here I have the May Day Shawl, New Beginnings Shawl, Itasca, and Cora. There are a couple more I want to cast on but I will wait a few days, lol.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Goals for 2013 and Things to Come

I'm going to start off with the things to come here. I am getting into a rhythm with my new job now that I have been there a month. The crazy push to finish a few projects pushed some things aside that I can now focus on. One thing will be a makeover of my blog. My header is at least a year old and it's time for a change.

Another thing that I let slide was the series on photography I have planned. I post back in October about it and then nothing. This wasn't intentional at all (in fact, it's a pet peeve of mine when a blogger stops posting a series without explaining). I just need to find my brainstorming page and work on the posts.


I also have spent some time with my sketchbook, madly putting down ideas. It's been some time since that has happened so I'm embracing it. I'm hoping that some of the ideas leap off the page into reality. As they do, I will share more.

So now onto my goals. One of the biggest things I learned about myself in 2012 is that I need specific goals that are able to be broken down into smaller chunks. With that spirit, I have put together this list.

1. Knit 100 skeins of yarn. That equates to about 2 a week which I think is doable. I have a tracking system in place that worked well for the test run in December.

2. Knit a sweater that fits and is flattering. I have one on the needles and have high hopes it will work.

3. Knit a pair of socks.

4. Knit a laceweight project.

5. Try fair isle and beading.

For all of my knitting technique goals, I have projects ready to go.

6. Dye fabrics and yarn. To come in either spring or summer. We don't have the space for me to do much of this indoors.

7. Continue working on art quilting pieces. Dispose of the fear I have over messing up on something and just dive in.

8. Sew an article of clothing I am really proud to wear.

9. Learn to weave on the loom I have and then graduate to a rigid heedle loom.

10. Spend 30 minutes three times a week on sketching or other non-fabric art.

I think that is good list for me this year. I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself and let things flow as time goes on. I will check in with this list periodically to update on my progress.

Do you have any goals for the new year?

To Do First: January

I took a break from this monthly to do list, which is the brain child of Charlotte from Lawson and Lottie. She was hosting a link up for it and I'm hoping that continues this year. My list is also in my planner and since I sort projects by type, I will do the same here.


Must do:

1. Cora test - a beautiful cabled sweater that I am test knitting for the designer. So far so good, but ask me as the deadline (January 24th) gets closer. I actually would love to have this finished before my office Christmas party mid-month so I can possibly wear it to the party.

2. Joji Mystery Shawl - I'm a little hooked on mystery knits. All we know so far is that there is fringe and stripes involved.

3. Sermon Mystery - yep, another one. The yarn is still on its way to me. The mystery doesn't start until the 7th.

4. Itasa Stole - I've had this yarn and pattern for almost two years. I was intimidated by the pattern at first and made excuses as to why I shouldn't start. No more.

5. New Beginnings Mystery - yet another one. This one includes beads.

Yarn for January
Might do:

1. Mystery Sock - I don't yet have the needles and haven't ever knit a sock. I'm not sure if I will dive in right away, but I do at least have the yarn picked out.

2. Driftwood - this is a lingering WIP from 2012 that I really want to finish up.

3. May Day Shawl - I love the pattern but the yarn is kind of a PITA as it is mohair, silk, and silver thread.


Must Do:

1. Proect Quilting - first challenge is this Sunday! I'm going to treat this like a homework assignment as it is my goal to finish them all this round.

2. Handstitched mini - the QAL is long over and I want to have mine as a finished object.

3. Kaleidoscope back - pieced using scraps from the front. Shouldn't be that much work I hope.

4. Baste Drunkard's Path - in an effort to take baby steps, this is my benchmark for this month.

5. Emerald challenge - much like the Tangerine Tango challenge last year, this one is based off of Pantone's color of the year. I didn't finish last year's (and still haven't... yet) but already have some ideas for this one.

Might Do:

1. Row QAL - this started last fall but I was planning all along to jump in late. This is will be solely made of scraps.

2. John Deere mini - Chad hates the mini that graces the side table in our living room because of the pink. I have enough fabric to make one that both of us will enjoy.


Must Do:

1. Nesting Place needlebook - I never meant to not finish this when the class was running so it tops the list for this month.

2. Edward Gorey Stitch-a-long - this runs until the end of March. My goal to is decide on the illustration to embroider and possibly pick up threads.

3. Woodland Sampler - the mysteries creep into this category too, he he. I have threads and linen for stitching.

Might Do:

1. Garden Tote - I have four motifs to embroider and then this will move into the sewing category.

2. Dessert of the Month - this is last year's mystery from The Frosted Pumpkin. I finally have all the supplies for it so I can dive in.

3. White on White - this is a motif I have been dreaming up. I have a wide assortment of white threads to build this up. More as I work on it.

How about you? Any project plans for the month?