Monday, January 30, 2012

Out of Touch

Wow. Two weeks without posting.
I think part of the problem is, if you let it go too long, then you don't know how to catch up, and then because you're afraid you won't catch up, you just don't write.
That's how it is for me, anyway.

So, what have I been doing?
Well, I have the quilt for my niece almost finished:
This picture was taken before the binding was sewn on. Right now, I'm trying to get myself motivated enough to finish hand-sewing the binding to the quilt back. (It is not my favorite thing to do.)

Then, there was the massive box of yarn that arrived from knitpicks:
Followed by the not-quite-as-massive shipment of fabric:
And I've got enough projects to last the winter. I hope.

Last week was my MRI, which was just as loud as I remembered them to be. The doctor analyzed the results and the good news is, I don't need surgery.

That's about all I have for today.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekend Wind-Up

Remember last Sunday, I showed you my City View quilt top & said I'd have it complete this weekend?
I succeeded.
I'm convinced there has to be an easier way to finish binding, though...every reference I've read, says to machine stitch the binding to the front of the quilt, then hand-stitch to the back. It works, but...I'm not a very patient person. It took about 6 hours to hand-sew. I need to do some experimenting on this.

I also finished a crochet beret:

I think, if I make this again, I'm going to add a couple rounds to make it wider.

So, two projects down...just another 6 to go. Of course, a few more projects will surely be added before the list gets down to 4 (especially since Mom is commissioning a hat, and I ordered the yarn for Tim's Babette afghan as soon as he approved the color scheme). I like to stay busy.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Too many projects?

I do have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. And then, being incredibly stubborn, I'll force myself to get it all down.
That might be what has happened here this weekend. Might. It depends on who you ask. If you ask Tim, he'll answer emphatically that I have too many projects at the moment.
But if you ask me, I've got just enough to keep me busy.

First, I am really making progress on my City View quilt:
It is fully quilted! I used 8 full bobbins while quilting this. Wow. No matter how many books, magazines or blogs you read, you really don't anticipate things until they happen. I should mention, this is a small throw-I used crib-sized batting (45"x60") and had about 3 inches extra on every side.
Not pictured: the binding that I made. It's currently pinned to the quilt edges, but since Star likes biting at pins I put it up immediately. I had to shoo her away more than a couple times while I was pinning. I also had to retrieve one of the pins that she pulled out with her teeth. She does this with any type of pin or needle she can find. (And yes, we initially discovered this "bad kitty" move the hard way.)

Second project: In keeping up with my goal of 6 afghans in 2012, I started the Painterly Stripe afghan. So far, I have 7 rectangles complete, out of a total 24:
I'm using Lion Brand Homespun in Painted Desert and Wild Fire. I have to say, I adore this colorway. I've been to Petrified Forest National Park, and seen the Painted Desert...and it really is as fantastically colorful as these pieces turned camera really doesn't do it justice:

Ok, third project: Another crochet beret. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo yet, but this one is a prototype to show Mom. She asked me to make her a beret-type hat, and I want to give her options.

And the fourth project: I'm attempting to knit.
Yes, you read that correctly. The crochet snob who insists that there is nothing you can't make just as well, and probably faster, with a crochet hook has taken up a pair of needles. Why? Because...well, I guess I didn't feel like I had enough going on.
Ok, honestly it's because there are far more knitting patterns for sweaters & socks than crochet ones, and knitting uses less yarn. That's really it.
I became a crochet snob in response to all the knitting snobs at my LYS in Ventura. Every time I went in there to buy yarn for a project, as soon as they learned I crocheted, without fail, there would be a long, audible sniff followed by a lecture about why I needed to knit, not crochet. (Considering I had to buy one or two more hanks of yarn for my crochet project, than if it was knitting, you'd think they'd like crocheters. Or that I crochet so quickly that I'm done with two or three projects before their one is complete...I buy more yarn!) Anyway, as a response to their incessant snobbishness, I became very biased against knitting.
Of course, I'd probably still be a crochet snob if I was back in Ventura. But I'm not, so I won't be bothered anymore.

Hmm...I forgot to list the two quilts that I'm making for my niece & nephew. They're kind of on hold right now, but as soon as the City View is complete I'll pull those out again.
So that makes...6 projects currently in progress. Nope, it's really 8...there's the afghan for my sister, and the mystery afghan that I'm working on. (It's not a mystery to me...but I'm keeping it a secret for now.) Is that too many? If so, I'd like to know why?

Tim asked me to finish at least one project this weekend. I'll make it two: City View & the beret.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

And it's on!

Last night, I decided to sit down and quilt the City View quilt I pieced over the weekend. I'd been trying to decide whether to just straight-line it with a walking foot, or if I was going to use free-motion quilting. I finally decided "No guts, no glory"...and went ahead with free-motion.
I'm using a bubble pattern:
I honestly don't know where I saw this first, if it was on Leah Day's blog or if it was in Elizabeth Hartman's book "The Practical Guide to  Patchwork". It's in both places.  At any rate, it really isn't difficult, the toughest time I'm having is getting everything to fit on the table, under the machine's arm, in my lap...

But despite wrestling with the fabric, this is really fun!
I remembered to take pictures frequently, too...I took a photograph every time I had to change the bobbin. There are a lot of pictures, but it's pretty cool seeing how this progresses...
First Bobbin
Second Bobbin

Third Bobbin
Yep, 6 bobbins already and I'm still not done...I estimate another 3 or 4 to go. And this is just throw-sized! Then there's still the binding...yeah that scares me a bit. But I'll get there.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

And it looks as though...

...I will finally finish a quilt! No, really. I don't mean just piecing the top. Or piecing the back. Or piecing the top & back and then setting them both aside to work on something else.
Alright, yes, this is really simple, quite small (crib size), and the pattern was free...but I might actually finish this week! I just can't decide if I'm going to just straight-line quilt it, or take a chance and free-motion quilt it. I've been practicing the latter on scraps. The new sewing machine is definitely inspiring.
Oh, did I not mention that? Around Christmas, I think Tim got a bit fed up with hearing me curse every ten minutes when sewing, and he said I should just buy a new one. I should mention that I'd been thinking about doing just that for a while, but I couldn't justify it quite yet. I guess I just needed someone else to tell me it was ok.
I bought another Brother, this time a CP-7500. So far, I like it a lot. It's a lot quieter than my old one (a LS-2125i that I bought at walmart for $70 four years ago), and it hasn't made me cuss at it yet. I still need to use it some more before I can give it an actual review.

Really, though, my big question to myself I want to try and free-motion quilt this? Part of me really, really wants to try. There's another part that demands perfection (or something close to it) and says "just use the walking foot. You want it to look good."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weekend Wind-up

Well, it's Sunday evening again, and once again I have quite a bit to show for the weekend.

First, there's the dots. Yes, dots. Bright ones, crocheted from wool.
No, I'm not making a stoplight. No, I won't tell you what I'm doing with them (yet).

Then, there's the "City View" quilt top:
and back:
I haven't gotten around to basting & quilting yet because, well, I just haven't gotten to it yet. But hopefully, this time next week, I will finally have a completed quilt!

Also completed: A scarf & beret for my sister, but they haven't been photographed yet. Hopefully she'll send me a pic when she gets them!

Friday, January 6, 2012

6 afghans in 2012

Yeah, that's right. I do indeed intend to complete 6 crocheted afghans in 2012.
Someone in one of my groups on Ravelry suggested it as a CAL, and I jumped right in. I can do it! It's really only one afghan every two months. That isn't impossible. Last year I managed five.
One of them has already been completed...the crochet clusters afghan I finished on the first day of the year. That's a pretty good start, I think.

So here's the list, in no particular order (because otherwise Tim would pester me about working on more than one at a time):
Babette - because Tim actually asked me to make that one. He saw it, loved it, asked for it. He's not done that before.
Moorish Mosaic - because it's beautiful and will make a good gift for someone.
Painterly Stripe - On Black Friday, there was this ridiculous sale on Lion Brand Homespun was going for less than $4/skein. So I ordered a bunch. That was Black Friday. It is Twelfth Night, and the yarn still isn't here. And customer service never actually answers my inquiries, just tells me that my order should arrive within 20-30 days. No, I'm not buying anything from them ever again. (Especially when WEBS and Knitpicks get orders to me in a week.) But I'm still going to make this afghan, if the yarn ever actually arrives.
New England Revs logo blanket - hmm. Yes, I have the yarn, I need to get to work on this one. It's pretty big, though, and kind of intimidates me.
Sister's Afghan - Remember my quest? ...yeah I should get back on that.
Crochet Clusters - Finished!
...oh wait that doesn't count? Ok, well how about the squares for the CAL? 24, 12" squares will make a decent sized afghan by December.

Yeah I think I can manage this. If it looks like I'm falling behind, Tim will start nagging me anyway.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fall Cables Lapghan

It feels like too long since I've achieved any notable progress in my crafting endeavors, so I decided this is a good opportunity to finally get a crochet pattern out there, even if it is the wrong season. I've been working on writing out this pattern for a while. It's the first pattern that I've actually written, and one of the first original designs I've done. As such, it may have mistakes. If you are using this pattern and discover an error, or get confused by something, please let me know and I can fix it.

This pattern is for my Fall Cable Lapghan:

This can be done in any colorway, and the instructions are written for the stitches only. On my afghan, I did 12 rows in each color, and the 3rd and 5th orange bands were 6 rows each with a stripe of brown in the middle.

Finished size: 49" x 40"

Yarn-I used Loops & Threads Impeccable in Pumpkin and Chocolate, but any worsted weight should do.
        WW Yarn: 21 oz/ 1800 yards
Hook-US H/8 (5 mm)

With A, ch 186.

Row 1: SC in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across. Turn. (185 sc)

Row 2: ch 3 (counts as first dc here & throughout), dc in next 4 st, *ch 1, skip next st, dc in next 3 st, ch 1, skip next st, dc in next 5 st; repeat from * across. Turn. (149 dc, 36 ch sp)

Row 3: ch 3, dc in next 4 st, [(ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 3 st, ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next st, fptc in next 3 st, dc in next st) twice, (ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 3 st, ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 5 st) twice] two times, ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 3 st, ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next st, fptc in next 3 st, dc in next st, [(ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 3 st, ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 5 st) twice, (ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 3 st, ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next st, fptc in next 3 st, dc in next st) twice] two times, ch 1, skip next st, dc in next 3 st, ch 1, skip next st, dc in next 5 st. Turn. (122 dc, 27 fptc, 36 ch sp)

Row 4: ch 3, dc in next 4 st, [(ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 3 st, ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next st, bptc in next 3 st, dc in next st) twice, (ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 3 st, ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 5 st) twice] two times, ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 3 st, ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next st, bptc in next 3 st, dc in next st, [(ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 3 st, ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 5 st) twice, (ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next 3 st, ch 1, skip next ch st, dc in next st, bptc in next 3 st, dc in next st) twice] two times, ch 1, skip next st, dc in next 3 st, ch 1, skip next st, dc in next 5 st. Turn. (122 dc, 27 bptc, 36 ch sp)

Repeat Rows 3 & 4 until afghan is approximately 40" long.

Final Row: sc in each st across. Fasten off.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

First Day of 2012!

Well, the new year is off to a pretty good start for me. I've decided that this year, I am going to crochet 6 afghans and sew 5 quilts. And it looks like I might easily achieve this, if today's results are anything to go by.

So far this year I've:

1) crocheted one of the January squares for my Block-A-Month CAL on Ravelry:
(This is Melinda Miller's Pretty Petals square. I used Mary Maxim Starlette yarn in Light Willow)

2) finished piecing my winter-y quilt top:

3) finished my second Crochet Clusters afghan:
For this afghan I used Lion Brand Hometown USA in Cambridge Tweed. It's very thick and very warm. I'm excited to finish the first afghan of the year!