Friday, October 23, 2020

WIP: It's A Hoot! Quilt Top

This is easily the longest standing work in progress I have or have, particularly after finishing some of my other super old projects. I purchased everything for this quilt back in (I believe) 2012. I had just got back into sewing and saw these fantastic quilts other people were making and felt inspired. I just knew I was going to love quilt making! I fell in love with the backing fabric and bought all the other fabrics at the same time and planned for a disappearing 9 patch quilt top. I brought it all home, started cutting fabrics... and got bored. Some time later when I picked it up again, I started sewing some of the blocks together since cutting squares was so boring... and I got bored with that. This project sat in a bag for years at a time with no attention whatsoever, being moved from place to place, unloved. A few years ago I picked it up determined to finally finish this project, but I hated the order I had sewn the squares together since my favorite fabrics would be spliced beyond recognition. I had 17 blocks sewn that I had to unpick and rearrange - and I had sewn them with a 1mm seam allowance. The horror! It was a nightmare to unpick, seriously. Anyway, back in April while I was on lock down, I decided to finally just keep working on this even if it bored me. Knowing what I know about sewing now verses 8 years ago, this went much faster than it had before, and I sewed the blocks with a normal seam allowance :)
For a disappearing 9 patch, you cut your desired square size (mine was 5") and sew them together in blocks of 9. Then you cut the blocks down the center horizontally and vertically to make 4 smaller blocks from the 1 bigger block. Then you rotate those 4 pieces and put them together in different combinations and sew them back together. It's quite the process, and honestly sewing all those straight lines, then stopping to press so frequently, was super boring to me. I am definitely not a quilt piece-er. 

But once I got my blocks officially sewn together, I was extremely happy :)

I brought all my completed blocks to our open showroom floor at work while we were closed to lay it all out and decide what to do from there (my kids thought this was super fun, can you tell?). Originally I didn't plan on adding anything in between the blocks, but with all the crazy fabrics I chose I felt it needed something to break up the visual cacophony of the blocks so you could focus on the fabrics themselves. So once The Sewing Studio in Maitland was open again - I think in June? - my mom and I made a pilgrimage with my stack of blocks and my backing fabric. 
I tried all kinds of different fabrics between the blocks - several different colors, some with patterns, some plain - but in the end the best was Parisian Blue from Art Gallery Fabrics cotton solids. It's just a nice blue that is present in some of the block fabrics but not super prominent, and it was a blue that went well with my wall color of my bedroom. Sadly, The Sewing Studio only had 1.3 yards on hand, which was enough to connect 3 of the 5 rows I had to do. Because of all the covid closures, they didn't know when they would be able to get more of that fabric, so I searched online and was able to find it at a great price from Sew Much Online. They got my fabric to me about a week later and I was able to finish the whole top:
I'm super happy with how this turned out :) I think it looks cute on my bed - it's a great size and the fabrics just make me happy. It's a good thing I ordered extra of the Parisian Blue fabric too because I will use some to piece the backing.
This is the backing fabric - my original inspiration for this quilt. It's called It's a Hoot! (thus I have named my quilt project). This was on clearance when I bought it, so they only had about 3 yards. I need it to be wider and longer than the piece, so my plan is to cut the piece in quarters and piece together with my blue and remaining fabrics from the top. Sadly, I haven't worked on this since June just because I haven't been in the mood and I have to make a plan first. Oh well. I'm still very excited that I got the top finished and even just writing this post has made me feel more like finishing it up, so maybe I'll go on a sewing spurt soon and complete it. We shall see. 

Once I have the back pieced together, I plan on quilting this myself. I'm trying to decide between just diagonal lines or wavy lines, but it will be something simple since I've never done quilting on anything larger than an oven mitt before. Should be interesting, lol. But I like the idea of being able to say that I made my first quilt entirely by myself. So even though I don't think I will become "a quilter", I'm super proud of this project and I know I will really enjoy the finished project for years to come.

Next time I share this, I will have it done :)



Friday, October 16, 2020

Fall 2020 WIPs

I have a few finished objects to post about that are waiting for photos, but I realized today that it's been a very long time since I posted about any works in progress. So today I will fix that :) I've been slow and steady with things I make this year, but I always have something going that I can grab when I have some spare time here and there. It's been a pretty good strategy and kind of the only thing that has kept me able to still knit and whatnot with the crazy pace of life. Anyway, here are the things I've had going as well as a few new things I have planned for the coming months.

First up - my Christmas Sweater! Every year I see all the adorable novelty sweaters people knit for Christmas, but I never think about making one until it's too close to Christmas to actually get done given all the gifts I usually make each year. I bought this pattern last year hoping to finally make my own, but it got set aside with only a gauge swatch done. After finishing my latest shawl project, I decided the beginning of October is the perfect time to get something like this started. This is the Betty & Judy Lodge Sweater by Poison Grrls and I have loved it since it was released. It's such a cute shape that I can definitely see myself using as a base for other looks after this one. I'm using admittedly crappy yarns for this since I've been on a major stash busting kick the past few years and I have a ton of Vanna's Choice in scarlet and white that was given to me a few years ago. Since this is just a novelty sweater and not something I will wear regularly, I think it's fine to use this type of yarn. Use what you have! So far I've knitted the back yoke, front colorwork yoke, and joined the body. It's so adorable! I haven't knit intarsia in years so this was a nice way to dip my toes back in just a little. This is worsted weight yarn, so it's knitting up really quickly, so I know I will be able to finish it in time for December. My novelty sweater dreams will finally come true!
Next up is the Barnivore by Anna Hrachovec of Mochimochi Land. This was a new design this summer and I bought it immediately (I did that with her latest pattern too, but it's almost done and I'll be showing you soon in a new post). My twins are very into animals lately, particularly farm animals they recognize, so I knew they would love playing with this. I've knit all the barn pieces and blocked them, but I still have to sew it all together and then make the animals. I plan on making 2 of each so the girls can't fight over them - or just making 2 of only 2 animals. Either way I'd like to avoid the toddler arguments as much as possible without making an additional barn, lol. I'm also debating whether I put eyes on the barn or not. Still undecided there. I've decided to make this a Christmas gift, so I have a little time to decide.
This is actually my latest finished project that I still need to photograph :) Yes, another shawl. What is happening to me? It turned out really nice though so I'm excited to show it off soon.
Ah, my poor, languishing Endearment sweater, lol. I started this back in February and I've had several spurts of progress where this was my main focus throughout the year. I was doing really well until I got to incorporating the 3rd and final skein of yarn. I only have about 1/3 of the second skein left but I am working with a very finite amount of yarn and wanted to make sure I got the sleeve length I wanted before I make the body longer. So I stopped knitting the body and started the first sleeve with my final skein. I knitted several inches before I realized something was up with the color. The skein for the sleeve was much darker than the skein for the upper body, which is extremely aggravating because these skeins are all from the same dye lot :/ This all happened back in June and I just set this aside. I have picked up up several times, ripped out the old sleeve, tried alternating the 2nd skein and the 3rd skein, even tried reverse winding the 3rd skein in hopes it was just a darker section. No luck. At this point, there is not a thing I can do about the coloring since this is a discontinued yarn that I bought back in 2014, plus since these are the same dye lot I wouldn't even have much hope that another skein (if I could find one) would be any closer in color. I'm actually wondering if the colors are fading as they are exposed to light since the first skein I knit is by far the lightest - in which case it would all even out eventually. Anyway, I've kind of resigned myself to just knit it up with the disjointed color on the sleeves for the sake of getting it done at this point. I would really love to have this sweater to wear and I love the colors paired with the design. So I need to get crack-a-lackin' on this again.
I'm also starting my Christmas gift planning. Two of my sisters have pillows on the brain, so I will be sewing some throw pillows and pillow cases, but my sister Shannon has specifically requested this pillow done in crochet, lol. The example one is latch hooked, but I know I can easily replicate this in tapestry crochet. I'll have to map out my letters soon, but this should be an interesting challenge. I've also found a Snom Pokemon pattern to make for my nephew's birthday at the beginning of November. I also have a quilt to finish for myself, which probably won't be done his year, and I'd really like to make sweaters for my girls before it gets cold here (this is Florida, so I do still have time on that one). As always, way more plans than time. 

So that's what's on the agenda for you with fall makes? Any fun works in progress? I'd love to see!


Monday, September 28, 2020

FO: Koi Reyna Shawl

Don't we all just need a project o the needles? I find that with knitting being a big stress reliever for me, I am actually a little sad when I finish a project. I brought my Copycat Jaywalker Socks with me when I was playing D&D all day with the boyfriend and his peeps back in July, but knowing I would likely finish the socks that day I decided to pack an additional project to start in the event that I found myself with some unoccupied knitting time. D&D leaves a lot of time in between your turn when you play with a decent sized group of people, so I find I need to have knitting on hand :) Anyway, in packing for that trip I decided to pick a yarn from my stash I wanted to work with first and then find a project for it. I wanted the project to be simple knitting and to be something I could throw in my purse and bring with me without a lot of bulk. I'm still dealing with my current sweater project drama, so it needed to be something different. In the end, I picked up one of my favorite skeins of yarn - Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted in the Koi Pond colorway

I fell in love with this colorway back in 2016 or so when it was introduced, so when  succumbed to the big sale they had in February of 2017, I grabbed myself a skein. It sat in my stash for a while with the fate of becoming a pair of socks (I was having a big sock moment at the time), but I saw another knitter I follow made a pair of socks with the same yarn and colorway and I just didn't love them as much as I thought I would. This being a "hand painted" yarn instead of a "self striping" yarn, the colors are a bit more prone to pooling than I like, and when you look at the project on Ravelry made with this yarn, it's about a 50/50 chance that you will end up with lovely striping of the colors or big pools of colors. I just didn't want to risk the pools because that's something that really bugs me and I knew I wouldn't be happy with the result. SO instead of socks, I decided to make a shawl.

This is the Reyna Shawl by Noora Backlund, which is a free pattern on Ravelry. I believe I had seen this pattern over the years, but it wasn't until picking out this yarn and looking through finished projects made with it that I decided I wanted to make this up. It's a very simple triangle shawl that alternates between a 2 row mesh stitch pattern and garter stitch. Not only did the finished shawls in this yarn look great, but it was also simple enough of a stitch pattern that I could pick it up at any point and easily find where I was. It checked all my required boxes, so even though I always seem to swear off making shawls every time I finish one, I went for it this time. Spoiler alert! I did not hate making this shawl as much as I have hated making ones in the past, lol, so maybe I'm growing as a person.
Everything seriously went great in making this shawl. It was a fantastic purse project - easy to knit, no charts to follow, and small. I started this that night of playing D&D and worked on it little by little  for 2 months. The only "need to wrap my head around it" moment was when I finished the pattern but still had 1/3 of the skein. The whole reason I wanted to knit this was to use up this lovely yarn, not have a "too-tiny-for-other-projects" ball left over. So I decided to made the widest mesh section as written, then I did the same number of garter stitch rows as the previous section, then I did the mesh pattern until I only had enough left to bind off. I wound up using all of this skein except like 12 inches, which is awesome.
I really love how the color is distributed in the shawl. I was a little worried about some pooling in the first sections, but as the shawl grew it only had a few dark areas here and there that were pretty small - no big distracting blobs of bright or dark colors :)
As far as the shawl itself goes, I like the versatility in theory, but realistically I will never wear it in the traditional "shawl" position like this, lol. It's nice to have the option, I guess, but I will always wear them as scarved. That said, I do like the size that this one turned out. It would've been good as written, but I like that extra bit of length that the rest of the skein added. I love that it was so easy to use up the whole skein with this pattern, so if you, like me, hate leftovers that languish in your stash after a project, I highly recommend giving this pattern a try.
As far as the finished project, this yarn was just as lovely to work with as it turned out. This is just such a soft and deliciously squishy yarn. In fact I liked this so much that I've been eyeing a few of the newer colorways, lol, which kind of defeats the purpose of getting this out of my stash, but I still have a gift card to use so, lol. We will see.
So that's my newest shawl :) Interestingly (to me, at least) I enjoyed making this so much that I cast on another shawl immediately after finishing this one. I just love that they are small projects, portable, not a crazy time commitment, and will help keep my neck warm in a few months when I can actually wear them, lol. I never thought I'd say this, but Yay for shawl knitting!

Summary:

Yarn: 1 skein Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted in the Koi Pond colorway - $11.00

Pattern: Reyna by Noora Backlund - Free

Time: 2 months


*This post contains affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make any purchases at Knit Picks. That said, I purchased this yarn with my own money and my opinions are 100% my own. I just really love this yarn :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

FO: Sleep Shorts for Sewists

Wow, folks, it has been a minute. To be honest, I've had pictures of things ready to post for over a month but with all the new changes on Blogger, I couldn't ever figure out how to alter the html so I just gave up and didn't post :/ I've found it now, so we are back in business. Anyway, this post is actually about 3 items I made back in May. I know! Craziness. But here we go:
Back in May, I decided I needed some sleep shorts. With the boyfriend coming over on the weekends, I felt I needed some socially acceptable pajamas (socially acceptable meaning not a huge t-shirt with holes and stains all over it like I usually wear). I have a stupidly large stash of quilting cottons for someone who doesn't make quilts, and in my head I've always justified buying them for pajamas and bags. Now I've finally one of those things! Hooray!
It started with this pair. I used the Margot Pajama Pants pattern from the book Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the buttons. I love this book overall, but this pattern has proved extremely useful int he time I've owned it. I've used this pattern more than any other sewing pattern I believe, lol. Anyway, so I started with the Margot pattern, added pockets, changed it to an elastic waist, and shortened the hem to knee length, which I'll admit sounds like a lot of work but these were all super simple changes to make.
The big thing that put me off making these for so long - I had to trace a smaller size of the pattern. It's silly that I put it off because of this because A) I trace all my patterns and B) this is probably the easiest pattern ever to trace. It seriously has 2 pieces. But at the end of May, I buckled down out of necessity since it was getting warmer and I only had pj pants and knew I would sweat to death all summer. I was able to use the pocket I had made for my previous pairs of this pattern. For the length change, I just held up the pattern to my body and marked a bit below the knee. Easy.
Also, how cute is this fabric?! When I saw it in the sale one time at The Sewing Studio, I had to have it. Sadly they only had about 2 yards left, which wouldn't be enough for a dress (my other go-to use for cute quilting cottons). This is called Sewing Studio and it was designed by Cynthia Frenette for Robert Kaufman. I just love the pattern piece design. Very appropriate.
After making the first pair, I decided to go for it with a second on a different fabric with no set purpose that I've had for a while. This was another sale bin find and it was only about 2 yards. It's called Birch Farm Barn Owls by Joel Dewberry. I always love his fabrics but I can never figure out what to make with them, lol. For this pair I tried to line up the owl design across the front and I'm pretty happy with the results of that endeavor I have to say.
Pockets again. Gotta have pockets. Even though they really do increase the bulk in my widest area :/ But convenience wins out, especially for house wear, amiright?
It's so funny - these are both quilting cottons, both cut and sewn exactly the same one night to another, but this pair is just a smidge tighter around the hips and it makes the pockets bulge out more. Weird.
Interestingly enough, I had this thrifted t-shirt I grabbed a while back that happens to match these shorts fantastically! Now I have a pajama set, lol.
I did do one fancy thing with these - I always have a hard time telling the back from the front on this pattern, so I grabbed a roll of woven ribbon I had on hand and made little tags for the back waistband :) 
So yay for pjs! I've worn these all summer long and they are cute and comfy :) So while this isn't the most involved project, it has proven super useful so I'm really glad I sewed these up.

Summary:
Fabric: 2 yards Sewing Studio by Cynthia Frenette for Robert Kaufman fabrics quilting cotton - $6.75
               2 yards Birch Farm Barn Owls by Joel Dewberry quilting cotton - $6.75
Pattern: Margot PJ Pants from Love and First Stitch by Tilly Walnes
Notions: white thread - $0.50
Time: 3 hours and 2 hours
Total Cost: $14 for both