Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedDuring my perusing of other blogs, I came across WIP (Work in Progress) Wednesday.  I currently have way too many WIPs to count, so I figured I'd join in a share them here and maybe that could serve as motivation to help me actually complete a few.

Since I'm linking back to a quilting/sewing blog, I figure I'll start with my current quilting project:

I made this quilt top using the extra fabric I had from {Sam's} Quilt and added some Kona Cotton in white.  I was originally making it as a gift, but after reading so much about the 100 Quilts for Kids project, I think I'm going to donate it and I'll make something different to gift.  I originally planned to back this in some super cute flannel, but instead I think I'm going to use leftover shades of blue I have from the napkins I made for my brother a few months ago and save the flannel for the quilt I will eventually makes as a gift instead of this one.

For only my second quilt top, I think I did a pretty good job.  My corners are a matched better than they were in my first quilt, but there's still plenty of room for improvement.  It's nice to see progress though!

I also have several quilts I'm getting ready to make.  The first is another to donate using this tutorial.  I bought some gray and purple fat quarters from JoAnn's the other day that I think will be perfect.  Obviously it won't be exactly like the tutorial because I'll have to piece the fat quarters together to make the large center square and the stripes, but I think it will still be nice.  I'm going to use some fabric from my stash (probably the same blues from the napkins - I have A LOT) to back it.

Next up, knitting WIPs:

Boyfriend Sweater
As you may remember, I started this sweater in January as part of a class I took.  Well, it's now six months later and I've ripped the entire thing out the arm holes because I wasn't happy with the product.  The sleeves were about 10 times too big for my arms, so I've now reduced the number of stitches I casted on when forming the arm holes and am working on forming the body (again).  I haven't been too motivated to work on this lately.  Maybe once the weather starts to get colder in the fall...

Crazy Eights Cowl
I began this cowl as part of a class, and it's actually been moving along smoothly.  Once you get the pattern down, it works up pretty quickly.  My hold up right now is that I ran out of yarn while I was working on it during vacation and just purchased a new skein.  The original yarn was Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton in Pickle.  For the second skein/second half of the cowl, I bought the same yarn in Honeydew, just to mix it up a bit.  I like the two tone look and I thought the paler green complemented the pickle well.

Baby Socks
I've never made socks before, but I've wanted to for awhile.  I tried to crochet some a few times before I learned how to knit, but I could never turn the heel.  Now, using Knit Socks! 17 Patterns for Cozy Feet by Betsy McCarthy, I'm almost done with my first ever sock!  I was supposed to be a baby sock, but I think I've managed to make it a little big...  I'm not 100% sure since I don't have regular contact with any babies or baby feet.  We'll see.  I guess bigger is better than smaller though, if I'm going to have sizing issues.

Shibui Sock in Storm
(leftover from the yarmulkes I made for my brother's wedding)
Making this sock (and soon it's pair) has been really fun and I'm super excited to make more socks. I already bought some more Shibui Sock in Spectrum and have looked up instructions for knitting socks two at a time on one needle, which a) helps make them more even and matched and b) eliminates "second sock syndrome," wherein the knitter is socked-out and doesn't ever complete (or resents completing) the second sock.  I just need to get one more skein of yarn and a longer needle and I'm good to go!

Hand Warmers
Lastly is a work that used to be in progress, but I've since ripped it all out and haven't yet restarted.  I was making hand warmers as part of the same class in which I started the crazy eights cowl above, but a) I was having difficult using so many double pointed needs and wanted to switch to one long circular and b) I'm hating this yarn.  I bought Classic Elites Chesapeake yarn in colors Meyer Yellow and Mandarin Orange and, while I love the colors, the yarn just twists and twists, making it very difficult to work with. Maybe after a few successful goes at socks I'll try to tackle this project again.  And hopefully I can use the two-at-a-time method, so I only have to go through it once!

That's all I have going on right now (though I guess it's a bit).  Though I do have plenty of projects lined up.  I still have to figure out what to do with the great hand spun yarn Mom got me awhile ago.  I had an idea for a bolero, but I wasn't very inspired by it and I don't think Mom was too excited either, so back to the drawing board.  I also have a bunch of yarn in my stash to make Mr. T a sweater, as well as some other stuff I still have to figure out what to do with.  Not to mention all the quilting projects I've lined up for myself.  And with the holidays only 6 months away, I need to get going on that stuff.  Maybe it will just be socks for everyone....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

100 Quilts for Kids

Swim, Bike, QuiltAs a new quilter, I've been doing a lot of blog reading lately, trying to figure out the best techniques for binding, how to get my corners to match up, and gathering ideas.  One inspiration I've come across several times now, especially when researching my local Modern Quilt Guild is the 100 Quilts for Kids project. Through this project, quilters and crafters are encouraged to make blankets of all sorts to donate to any organization of their choosing that then provide them to children and families in need.

This is definitely something I can get behind!  My stash has been growing exponentially even though I don't have projects lined up (I've become a bit of a fabric addict), so I'll definitely be making at least one quilt to donate.  I also have about 10 skeins of yarn that I bought ages ago to make my mom a sweater, but I think it would be better suited for an afghan (sorry Mom, I'll make you one eventually).

Be sure to check out  Swim, Bike, Quilt and the DC Modern Quilt Guild for more information, to stay updated, and for links to different bloggers who are participating, posting tutorials, and hosting giveaways!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sew,Mama,Sew! Fat Quarter Idol Beach Blanket Bingo

Since becoming a quilter (one month ago...), Sew, Mama, Sew! has become one of the great blogs/websites/online fabric stores I check almost daily.  They're currently running a contest where readers can create their own fat quarters via Pinterest and potential win that fat quarter and see it sold in the Sew, Mama, Sew! fabric store.  How cool is that!!?!?  Naturally, I spent a few hours today making countless combinations before settling on 12 fabrics that I felt matched both my aesthetic and the theme - Beach Blanket Bingo.  Go check it out on my Pinterest page and read more about the contest and Sew, Mama, Sew! by clicking here.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Molly's Tote

My good friend Molly is starting nursing school in the fall, so I thought I'd make her a bag to send her on her way.  I'd been eyeing this pattern on Purl Bee for a few months and decided it would be great for Molly for going back to school.

I immediately fell in love with this linen - the climbing floral pattern screamed Molly.  And the inside was a great blue with just hints of girliness in the polka dots and random flower bursts.

As expected, Molly was overjoyed to receive this gift.  She's the kindest, most generous, excitable (in a good way) person I've even known and I knew even if I gave her something that was awful and unusable she'd still be genuinely appreciative.

I have to admit, as excited as I was to make this bag, I actually hated the process and will most likely never do it again.  It could be my inexperience or accidentally purchasing the wrong interfacing (which I don't actually think I did, but who knows...) or both - but I struggled from the first moment with this bag.  It clogged my machine countless times and I thought had broken it.  The thickness of the interfacing made it very difficult to maneuver and fit in my machine, and I had difficulty with getting good, straight edges constructing it, resulting in whimply, poorly sewn corners.  Also, not a fan of hand sewing.  Though that might be a result of that fact that, by the time I got to the hand sewing part, I was beyond fed up with this project and just wanted it to be complete.

Despite all of that, I think it turned out pretty well.  Naturally, I made a mistake and attached the small pocket to the larger inner pocket rather than the side of the bag, but I think it will still work okay.  I've advised Molly to not carry anything too heavy in it or the corners might give, so hopefully that doesn't limit her too much.  According to her, she's been using it all the time and it's been great, and she's gotten loads of compliments!