Wednesday, December 25, 2013

More Christmas Presents!

I made a few more handmade items for Christmas this year.  Nothing too crazy, though, and I actually forgot to take pictures of a few things, which really sucks!

Elizabeth and I swapped mini quilts and sewing machine covers for Christmas.  I've only made a couple mini quilts ever, and they've always been for me, but I love the idea of them because sometimes the thought of making a huge quilt is just exhausting.

I broke into my stash of Mendocino to make this Round n Round mini.  I've been hoarding this fabric for years and it's been passed back and forth between me and my mom.  Currently, it's in my possession, and my mom and I decided if I ever have a kid the baby room should be Mendocino-themed.  I love that idea, especially now that I have Heather Ross Prints and can order the Swimming Sisters print off of Spoonflower.

I quilted this mini with light blue Aurifil in perpendicular straight lines.  I was unsure about this at first but I really like the subtle movement and I love the little boxes it creates--some mermaids and fish are framed!

I backed the mini in Art Gallery Oval Elements and made little hangers so Elizabeth can put it on her wall!  I used a coordinate from Bonnie and Camille's Happy-Go-Lucky for the binding, which was perfect.

I had never made a sewing machine cover before, so this was a first and was a little scary.  I decided to go with the "quilt" version, which isn't as structured as other sewing machine covers.

I had an idea in my head about how I wanted to make this: I originally wanted to use the Thimble Blossoms Mini Spools pattern to make five spools across the front and a rainbow dresden on the back.  But I did the math wrong (unsurprisingly) and ended up with three spools on the front and two on the back.  Oh well.

I used some fun fabrics from my stash for the spools.  I thought I had gray faux-bois fabric in there somewhere, but I couldn't find it for the life of me!  So white faux-bois it was.

I quilted it with white Aurifil in straight lines, which is functional and doesn't take a lot away from it.  I didn't want it to be overwhelming--this is something that needs to fit into Elizabeth's sewing room fairly easily!  It's definitely not a statement piece.

Sigh--the backing.  I agonized over this for hours--what to use?!  I've had this Melody Miller Viewmasters print in my stash for well over a year, after spending too much on it on Etsy.  The colors went with the spools pretty well and the linen substrate will hold up pretty well, too.

I used the Motif Madness print from Rashida Coleman-Hale's Tsuru line as the binding, which I made extra wide just for fun, and I threw in some aqua and red from Oliver + S's City Weekend line for the ties.  That's it on my machine above.  Hmm, maybe it looks too good and I should've kept it...

I also made Kelby a Gather cowl (pattern by Tin Can Knits; Ravelry notes here), a mini iPad case and a box bag, but I completely spaced on taking pictures of those.  That's what happens when you procrastinate and rush through!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Winter's Lane Festive Quilt

I have a finished Christmas present to show you today!  I don't think my grandma reads this, but if she does, Grandma, just close the window!  Don't spoil the surprise!

Okay, I think she's gone now.

I made my grandma a Festive quilt for Christmas.  The pattern is by Aneela Hoey; the fabric is Winter's Lane by Kate and Birdie for Moda.

So...some background.  I started this quilt in August.  I had all intentions of finishing it and being ahead of schedule--pat yourself on the back, Emily!  Except, not so much.  Knitting and other projects came in and this sat on top of my bookshelf until last week, when I realized I needed to finish it ASAP.

The blocks are huge!  This quilt is about 64" x 64" and the blocks are only three across each row.  I enjoyed making them--as much as I love the look of fiddly little patchwork, sometimes you just want something big and easy.

Oh hey, guess what?  My lens had a smudge and I didn't realize it until now.  Whoops.
I quilted it in serpentine stitch with light blue Aurifil, which matched perfectly.  I originally wanted to have this long-armed but I ran out of time.  I like the serpentine stitch.  It makes it so crinkly!

The backing is Winter's Lane poinsettias, which I picked up at Quilted Thimble Cottage last weekend.  Thanks God they still had some prints in stock!  It was a double whammy of a good day--I got poinsettia backing and I got to talk to Caleb, Jenn's four-month-old baby.  He's a sweetie!

Of course Schnoz approves.

It should be in Ohio today, so let's hope the post office doesn't fail me.  Merry Christmas, Grandma!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Finished: Cherry Soda/Orange Soda Hat

I really love knitting hats.  They're fast and fun and small and I usually can't figure out how to effectively wear them but that doesn't stop me.

This is the Cherry Soda/Orange Soda pattern from Thea Coleman's With a Splash Of... series.  I love Thea's designs and this pattern was great to start with.  It wasn't difficult at all, even with the lace chart.  I think it helped that it's made from DK-weight yarn, so you aren't dealing with skinny strands of yarn and tiny little needles.

I used Madelinetosh DK in Forestry for this hat, which I bought at Eat Sleep Knit on Black Friday.

I love the movement of the colors in this yarn, and all tosh yarns.  It's never boring!

You can find my Ravelry notes here.  You'll notice I finished this almost two weeks ago.  I've just been a little behind lately.

I took this one before the others, without any makeup--yeesh.

I have two other projects in the works now, so I hope I can get those posted here soon!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas at Our House

Hello!  I'm so sorry about the long absence--with Thanksgiving being so late this year, it seems like the last three weeks have been a blur of preparation and work.  As of last night, though, I'm done with my full-time job until January 6th and all the presents are wrapped!  I have one more stocking stuffer to buy but that's it.  It's such a good feeling to know I can spend the next two weeks knitting and watching Christmas movies and lots of Netflix!

Because everything is officially done, I have lots of time to blog now!  I have about four posts coming at you in the next week.  Watch out, world!

First up, I wanted to talk about some Christmas decorations at my house.  Most of what we have (outside of ornaments) is handmade, either by me or my friend Elizabeth.  Elizabeth and I swapped Christmas pillows this year which really livened up my living room!

Aren't they adorable?  Elizabeth is an awesome quilter and her skills really came through with these pillows.  I wish I could capture her FMQ skills but you just have to see them in person!

Also, that's our new couch!  No more sad back cushion, which makes me ecstatic.

I sent Elizabeth two pillows as well!

This pillow was made with a mini charm pack of Aspen Frost by BasicGrey and some neutrals.  I used this tutorial from Moda Bake Shop and an Aspen Frost print for the back.

For the other pillow I used a tutorial from Sew Mama Sew and Winter's Lane, which is easily my most favorite winter/holiday fabric line ever.  I also used Quilter's Linen for the first time ever and I can't recommend it enough.  I love the look of linen but Essex can sometimes be a pain in the butt.

I also sent Elizabeth some homemade gifts!  Like this drawstring bag...

...which had a Honey Cowl inside!  I used Madelinetosh DK in Mica for her cowl.  I love the way it turned out!

So of course those two pillows aren't our only Christmas decorations.  We have our stockings from last year, too:

I don't remember talking about those Swoons before, but I painted them in August.  Right now they're resting our mantle because Nick won't hang them.  Oh well, two fewer holes to patch when we move!

The little birds on either side of the Swoons are from Target.  My brother and his fiancee bought the other two in the series without talking to us first--quite a coincidence!

Here's our tree, with the treeskirt I made last year:

We bought this tree at Home Depot this year and I love it so much.  I'll miss it when it's gone, actually.  It smells great, it's super healthy-looking, and it was $30.00.

I also made a little runner for my quilt cabinet, which had the pumpkin runner on it during the fall:

I used the Jingle block from Thimble Blossoms and a bunch of red and aqua scraps from my stash.  Red and aqua are the colors of the holidays now, it seems.  I used red gingham for the binding which is just about the best thing ever, I think.  The little owl jar is from Target this year, while the knitted tree is from Target last year.

How do you decorate your home for the holidays?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Finished: Oaklet Shawl

Yay, another knitting project!  I'll have some patchwork to show soon, and there's fabric in the washer to be turned into Archers, but until then, let me introduce you to Oaklet!

This is a top-down shawl by Megan Goodacre; the Oaklet shawl is free on Ravelry.  It's rated as easy (2/10 on the Ravelry scale) so I decided to give it a whirl.  Well.

The first 113 rows were fine.  They're stockinette stitch; I can do that with my eyes closed (practically).  After that, the lace begins.  And that's also where my problems began.

I kept ended up with an extra stitch outside of the repeats.  I dropped stitches; I added extras.  I was a mess, pretty much.  I took my shawl into Charlotte Yarn (my LYS) for help, after my mom declared herself unable to help.  Luckily, Stephanie was there and got me to a good place--we ripped out the lace I had started so I could get going again.  Stephanie is pretty much my new BFF.  She invited me to her knitting group at Whole Foods on Wednesday night, which was really fun!  That's besides the point, but it's good to remember the positive instead of the negative (messing up my shawl and ripping it out).

Anyway, so I went home, tried again, and still messed up.  My mom decided to take on the challenge at that point and got me back to the beginning of the lace, inserting a lifeline for future mistakes.  Thankfully, I didn't need it, because the third time was the charm!

I used size 6 circulars--Knitter's Pride Dreamz, which aren't as good as my Addis but are also half the price--and the yarn is SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock in Chai Spice, which I bought at Eat Sleep Knit.  I can't recommend this yarn enough!  So soft and superwash, and the colors are gorgeous.  

I bought a sweater from Loft to wear on Thanksgiving, and it coordinates well with this shawl--it doesn't match exactly (thank God) but the colors are in the same family.  We're having Thanksgiving at my parents' house in Rock Hill this year, which I'm so excited about.  The last two Thanksgivings we were alone in DC (last year we moved to Charlotte the day after) so I'm overdue for a family holiday.  My brother and Kali are driving up and Jake's friends are joining us as well.  It should be so much fun!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Enjoy the down time, or your time spent shopping, if you're into that craziness.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Finished: Hitchhiker Shawl

I'm not even going to tell you how long these pictures have been sitting on my camera.

Okay, I'll tell you: almost two weeks.  I took them on my lunch break one day and just never blogged them.  The camera has been sitting on my dining room table ever since I took them.  That's a little ridiculous, don't you think?  But work has been crazy, so by the time I get home and make dinner, I have very little mental energy for much else, especially blogging and editing pictures.

(Not that these pictures are any good.  I'm going for the Worst Blogger Ever award this year.)

This is the Hitchhiker shawl by Martina Behm, which you can find on Ravelry.  It was a really fun shawl until about the 37th tooth (of 42).  By that point, the rows were so long I just couldn't take it anymore.  

I used Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in Peacock, which I bought from Eat Sleep Knit.  I used 3 mm Addi Turbos to knit, which are currently being held together with washi tape.  After I finished this, Eleanor found them and chewed the cord in half.  They're expensive needles; I wasn't too thrilled upon seeing that.

This pattern was fun for the most part because there were milestones.  I could see how many teeth I had done, and each tooth was comprised of eight rows--it was easy to track my progress.  I also learned increases (kfb), which are so super easy!

The yarn is really a standout here: I love variegated anyway, but the colors just seem to shimmer, especially after blocking.  And it goes with everything!

I started on an Oaklet shawl about two weeks ago and have had problems with the lace since doing the first few rows Friday night.  My first two rows were fine, but my third was off; when I took it to the yarn store, Stephanie helped me but I must've dropped a stitch en route because my rows were off AGAIN last night.  I put in a lifeline and this morning I frogged it back to the last row before the lace.  It looks like I somehow wove the working yarn through a stitch (?) so I'll need some help fixing that.  Knitting is hard sometimes!  In the meantime, I have some small gifts I'd like to work on, so that will be my priority!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hemispheres Quilt Pattern Giveaway Winner!

Hey everyone!  I'm just stopping by to announce the winner of the Hemispheres Quilt!  Drumroll, please...

The winner is number 13, Colleen!  Colleen said:

Well I'd like to learn to do great curved piecing you know the kind that looks like Megan's round and smooth. I haven't tried curved piecing but I think mine would look more poky outy ... if I win the pattern I'd sure try my best to sew it nice and smooth like Megan's. 

Colleen, please send me your email address--my address is in my About Me section at the top of the page--so I can send your name to Aria Lane and they can get you your pattern!  Make sure you send it soon, so you can get started in the QAL Monday!

Thanks for entering, everyone!  Have fun with your quilts!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hemispheres Pattern Release and Quilt-Along

Yesterday I said I had an exciting announcement to make!

My friend Megan (from City Stitches) has just released her first pattern, published at Aria Lane!

Megan is an awesome quilter and lives in Charleston, which makes me totally jealous.  If you aren't familiar with her work, be sure to read her blog before joining the sewalong.  She's incredibly talented!

Hemispheres is a crazy versatile pattern--you can work it with solids or patterns; you can change up the background colors; you could feature the slices between the spheres in a print!  There are so many ways you could switch up the design of this single pattern, just based on the fabric choices you make.

A lot of people will see the curves and be scared--don't be!  Curves are something that look scary, but once you have it down, you'll feel accomplished and wonder why you were ever scared in the first place!  But, to help you even more, Megan is hosting a quilt-along on her blog, starting October 21.  You have a week to gather your courage and finally face those curves!  It'll totally be worth it, I promise!

In order to participate in the QAL, you must supply your own pattern and fabrics.  The supply list can be found on the pattern back, on Aria Lane.  But, Aria Lane and Megan have given me a pattern to giveaway to one reader!  To win, comment below: what's the one crafting or sewing skill you'd like to tackle next?

The QAL will last until December 13, and there will be prizes along the way, including fabric from Marmalade Fabrics, who is also carrying Kona bundles to get you started on your Hemispheres quilt!  The grand prize winner will be decided in a link party where everyone will get to see each other's beautiful quilts--no more curve fear allowed!

You can check out more details about Hemispheres from these bloggers:

Oct 8: Alyssa
Oct 9: Lindsey
Oct 10: Christina
Oct 11: Jennifer
Oct 12: Sara
Oct 13: Emily
Oct 14: Angela
Oct 15: Rachael
Oct 16: Shannon
Oct 17: Kelly
Oct 18: Shannon
Oct 19Diane

The fun starts next Monday!  Don't forget to enter my giveaway to win your copy of Hemispheres: what's the one crafting or sewing skill you'd like to tackle next? I'll choose one comment on Friday, October 18, and you'll receive your pattern from Aria Lane!  Good luck!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Finished: Tin Can Knits Barley Hat

I knit a second project!  And if that isn't enough, I still like knitting!  YAY!

This is the Tin Can Knits Barley hat, made in the child size.  I don't have a child to give it to, but I bought this yarn because it was pretty, not because pastels look especially good on me (they don't).  I decided to make a child's hat, and with the leftover 100 yards or so, I'd make mittens to match.  And then I'd hang onto them, in case any especially-girly girls need a gift.

Garter section!  Oooooh.
I used Manos del Uruguay Maxima in Chrysanthemum (lot B), bought at Eat Sleep Knit.  It's a worsted weight, but I believe is single-ply.  I'm still learning these terms, so I may be wrong, but it didn't come apart when knitting like the Quince & Co. yarn did.

Stockinette section!  Ahhhhh.
I loved seeing how all the colors came together.  What color would come next?!  I don't think I'll ever use a solid yarn again.

It was an easy knit, but I did learn a few things: changing needles, using double-pointed needles (my mom can't even do that!) (but she can do a lot more than I can), and making decreases!  I highly recommend it.  Maybe make one that can fit you!  But only if you don't have a giant head and big hair like me.

I'll be back tomorrow with an exciting announcement from a blogger friend.  See you then!
Images by Freepik