Monday, January 31, 2011

Void


As in, my weekend was void of all crafting.


No sewing, no quilting, no knitting, no baking.


I think I'm suffering from withdrawal.


I can however show you some pics I took last weekend of a baby quilt I recently finished. 


Look at this cute collection of fabrics:



They mostly belong to the Zoo Babies Collection by Windham, but the orange dot (my personal favourite, and not in the picture.... oops!) is from the All star collection by Riley Blake Designs, and the bright green is something random I found at Hawthorne Threads. 

The recipient of this quilt will be my very first (yet-to-be-born) nephew. I chose a simple disappearing 9 patch design for the top, mainly because I want to showcase the prints with the letters and the animals to their full potential. It still turned out that most of the elephants got chopped in half. Doh! 




I pieced the back, more out of necessity than choice, but I love how cute it came out. It just gives a nice bit of interest to an otherwise plain backing. And I stippled it again, I'm getting quite comfortable with free-motion stippling now. I still need to watch my speed around the curves a bit, and my stitches are never even, but I enjoy it and I love the antique heirloom crinkly goodness.

I also made a little teeny-tiny car seat/moses basket quilt just because.... 



Lions and elephant and giraffes, oh my!

 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spring Flower Cushion

So I know 2 posts in as many hours is a bit much, but I only just heard about the Blogger's Pillow Party, and what better reason to show off this amazeballs pillow I made. I actually finished it just before Christmas, it was a gift for my step mom, but I had a bit of a photo shoot this weekend and realised it had passed completely under my blogging radar. 


The flower pattern is quite simple, just 2 layers of petals around a central wheel, and then filled in round the edges to make it square. It was also quite fiddly at times, but such a lovely result.


The pattern doesn't give any seaming instructions, and I was kind of in a rush to finish, so I used Lucy's Join As You Go method for the first time. I cannot thank her enough for this. I love the way the little holes between the squares give it a lacey look, and you can see the calico cushion cover behind. Yep, just love it. I'm a total convert. 

Hooked up in some Rowan Handknit Cotton, in a fresh green palette to go with their new decor, I think its the perfect bright and breezy cushion to welcome in the spring time, so I'm calling it that. The Spring Flower Cushion.  


Soooo yeah, head on over to Stitched in Color to see all the other entries in the pillow party this month. Hop a few blogs, while away a few hours... What better way to spend the evening?


Blogger's Pillow Party



Snowball Quilt Ta-dah!

Boy do I love it. Its the most mega-monster quilt I ever did make, but it so warm and snuggly. When I finished putting the binding on at 10pm, I immediately dashed upstairs, laid it on the bed and hopped in, boots and all. It was a LOT of fun. 


 

Somethings to remember:


You cannot eyeball a straight line. Next time, when an almighty super-experienced quilter brushes a direction off with "oh, I just eyeballed it". Don't do the same thing. Through a mixture of sheer luck and cockyness it didn't turn out terribly, but next time, less of the wonky creative diamonds please?




288 3.5" squares take considerably more fabric than you expect. Buy more the first time around to avoid two trips to the shop in one day. Also, you should probably check just how much thread you are covered in before venturing out the house on a sew day. Just sayin', it wasn't pretty.




Don't bother with cheap polyester wadding. This Soft and Elegant batting may be slightly more expensive but it is so worth it.


You CAN quilt a queen size quilt on your little machine. You may loose your phone/snacks/a cat/your boyfriend under mountains of fabric at various points throughout the process, but its always a happy moment when you find them again. Mostly.




Basting a quilt on tiles with under-floor heating is an unrivaled experience that every quilter should try, but only once.


There's so many wonderful fabrics in this quilt, from so many different designers. But I think they all work so well together. Sometimes things don't co-ordinate exactly, but thats how I like it.





Yup, I'm totally in love with this one. 




Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hemlock: Progress

Well, its coming along quite nicely. My cable connectors arrived, so I'm now knitting on a 40" plus a 32", pretty big huh? I think it might outgrow these too...!

I also splashed out a little bit and bought myself a really snazzy set of snag-free stitch markers (try saying that after a glass of wine), which I am totally in love with.  Wanna join me in some stitch marker love? Go on, you know you want some...

   
Pretty huh? :-)

I've wound and started on the third ball of eco wool. Still loving it, although not so much when wearing black. It's worse than the cats for shedding. I'm also kind of getting a little bit bored with the pattern now... I mean it easy as pie, which is totally what I wanted at the time, and I suppose it has been the perfect project to accompany my new found love of Vampire Diaries (the whole of season 1 on Virgin On Demand... who knew it was so amazing!) 

But, nevertheless, I'm starting to look onwards to greener pastures of something more complex now, which generally means I'm bored. I hear the bind-off is somewhat of a revered myth among hemlock knitters, so perhaps it will perk up again toward the end. Seriously though, I am a bit worried about that. It's known for being a yarn-guzzler, and my hemlock is now almost twice the size of Jared's. Maybe I should stop...

Hemlock love anyone?




 The keener (is that a word?) eyed amongst you may notice a sneak-peak of snowballs under the hemlock. Yes, it is finished. You'll have to wait till the weekend for its grand reveal though (weekend = non-working daylight hours, yipeee!!!). 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's the difference...

Between snowmen and snow-women?



Snowballs!!

Yes, thats right, I'm sewing for me again. After the manic-panic to get my dream of a homemade christmas, and the 2 baby quilts I've made since then, I just want to sew something for me again. Is that too bad? (Its not like I don't have hemlock on the go for me, and as soon as thats done I want to start a cowl, again for me. ) Oh dear!

Anyway yes, the snowballs are all pieced, and just waiting to be sewn into rows. I should point out that this quilt is the biggest I have ever ever done. Its a mega-monster quilt. Thats's just over half the blocks in the picture above, and I still had to rearrange my furniture to fit them all in. It's going to be an 8x9 layout, and the blocks are 9" sewn. I was thinking of sashing them, or maybe even adding a 5" border, but I don't think I will now after seeing it all laid out like that.

My step-mom hand chose all these beautiful fabrics for me for Christmas. There's a great collection of prints and plains, all in this semi-co-ordinating-but-still-with-enough-variation-to-be-interesting, colour palette. My favourite print is the Kokka Russian Dolls. Aren't they gorgeous?



Thats all of them above, all scrunched up so that you would be forgiven for thinking they were infact flying geese blocks. (And N's foot... he was deeply engrossed in some sort of video game so I thought it best not to move him!) Do you think I can get them all sewn together tonight? We shall see...!

Update on the Jellyfish: still waiting for cable connectors. I pushed on through another 2 or 3 repeats, but at 600 stitches on a 40" cable, its getting abit silly now. 

Oh, and check out my spiffy new signature. There's a great tutorial over at shabby blogs if you'd like to make one yourself. Isn't it cute! 

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Hemlock WIP

Or, as I have somewhat affectionately named it, The Jellyfish.


I'm 2 rows short of being "done", but am I stopping? No way Jose! I've only just broke into the second skein of Cascade Eco Wool (I mentioned it yesterday), and I still have yet another waiting to be wound. 

My stitches are getting super squished up, I've ordered some connectors for my new knitpro interchangeables and cannot wait till they arrive. Not sure this 40" cable can take much more! 

Had a bit of a woops today.... I spent a fairly long time charting out all the pattern repeats and whatnot, writing detailed instructions explaining said chart and posted it all on my Rav project page. Only then to find out that what I thought was a pretty good solution, and would be helpful to a lot of people, was in fact just me reinventing the wheel. Several other fellow hemlock knitters have already done this. That is what I call a knitting fail. 

I'm not too bummed out about it though, maybe it will be helpful... it certainly was for me. And I feel like I've learnt pretty much everything there is to know about feather and fan lace. Which is a win in my book :-) 



Basically I'm loving this knit. In fact, I'm gonna go do a bit more.... ♥ 

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Goodness Gracious

Great balls of fire yarn! 


One of my Christmas Pressies this year was 3 mahooooosive skeins of Cascade Eco Wool, in Vanilla. The above is the product of about an hours worth of hand winding this evening, 478 yards of hand winding to be precise (and thats the second one I've done). Its gorgeous. Its not very soft, maybe a little too scratchy for garments, but absolutely scrum-diddly-uptious for a lap blanket. Which, funnily enough, is exactly what I wanted it for.  I couldn't wait to cast on for my first Hemlock Ring, so I started it over the Christmas break. Its a super fast knit, the rows just go speeding on by... Its super easy as well. One row of lace to remember (although the pattern does change every time so watch out!), and then 4 rows of plain-sailing stockinette. Perfect for lazily whiling away afternoons, watching movies and chit-chatting with family. 

I'm almost at the point that Jared finished his at. Definitely going to go further with it if I can figure out the increasing pattern. Doesn't look too hard. 
 
Also this evening, I made a pie. I've never made a pie before, like ever. As is evident by my lack of pie dish. But a shallow, crispy, lasagna-dish shaped pie is better than no pie at all when one is hungry. Right? 

I'm pretty pleased with it, as was N, who finished off the whole thing! He says he's near on exploding now. The recipe, I completely made up, but basically entailed:

Make a white sauce (melted butter, flour and milk), add a small handful of cheddar cheese, a tsp of wholegrain mustard, and a good twist of black pepper. Stir until thick then set aside to cool.
Fry some chicken breast with tsp chopped garlic, a whole leek (coarsely chopped), and a cup of chicken stock for about 5-10 mins, or until chicken is almost fully cooked and liquid has reduced. Turn off the heat to the pan and wilt 2 large handfuls of spinach on top of the chicken mixture.

While the spinach is wilting, roll out some shortcrust pastry to a shape slightly larger then your lasagna pie dish. Place the chicken/leeks/spinach in the bottom, pour over the white sauce, press the pastry on top and brush with a little egg. Pop it in the oven for about 30 mins and you too could have something as yummy as this. 

Pics of the Hemlock ring to follow, it just looks a bit like a screwed up sheep at the moment...!  

 

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Reflection

Well, now that Christmas is officially over, and there is a lull in the festivities I will take this time for a quite moment of casual reflection on the past year. 2010 was a good year for me, I went on some fabulous holidays, graduated from University, turned 21 and took up quilting. I also started this blog, made an internet friend, joined a few swaps, and increased my yarn stash! I feel the year has been quite productive, culminating in an entirely handmade Christmas (well, all except for the coffee machine I bought for N, which by the way, is awesome!) 

In choosing my favorite pictures for the mosaic below I had so much fun looking back through family parties, events and occasions of the year. I think one of my goals for next year will be to take better photographs, and more of them. I only got my new camera in June this year, and there is certainly an increase in photos since then, but there is definitely room for improvement. I hope by this time next year I will have a plethora of pics to sieve through! (More on new years resolutions another time)

So without any further rambling, here are some of my very favorite photos taken throughout this year. 

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