Friday, January 30, 2009

Knitting...

...knitting, and a little more knitting. That's about all the crafty I can get when I have to lay in my back chair. And that is where I have been spending most of my time lately. There is also a lot of reading, reading, reading happening but that doesn't have many pictures to go with it. So this post will be about the knitting instead.


I have been working on a lot of washcloths. They are fun to knit and there is a variety of patterns. They are also instant knitting gratification as they are so fast to knit. Here are two of my favorite patterns...






I think they both look pretty cool. I have also really been wanting a pair of fingerless gloves and there are so many great patterns out there. But for my first pair I wanted something fast as well as cute. So I went with Toasty and here is how they turned out...



They are a very quick and easy knit. Great television watching knitting because you just knit round and round. I used Cascade 220. It's a worsted weight wool and should prove to be very warm. This is my first time using this yarn and i really liked it. There will definitely be more fingerless gloves in my future. I am thinking a red pair for sure!

I ordered a DVD from Amazon recently but it didn't cost enough to get free shipping. So of course I had to get something else to get the free shipping! It took me a while to find something but I finally decided on this book...


I know this is a little beyond my level since I am currently knitting my first sweater but I couldn't resist. I love cables and aran sweaters and I thought this would be a good book to have. I haven't read through the whole thing yet but I like what I have read so far.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK National Day of Service

I love the idea of a day of service on Martin Luther King Jr Day. I first read about it on Cheri's blog and liked her idea of working on a quilt for charity. I knew exactly which project I was going to work on. Last year I was at Joyful Quilters (my guild's charity quilting group) and I cut two kits for lap sized quilts. I brought them home to put them together and never got around to it. So I pulled them out today to work on them.

I only got to this quilt today and still need to add two more borders. I didn't get as much sewing time as I normally would when the kids are a school and hubby is at work. But I did get quite a lot done with the time that I had and I am happy I had the chance to participate with all the other bloggers out there making quilts for charity. Now to go spend some more time with my family!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Where have I been?


I have been here. Busy being a mom, wife, friend, sister, and lot of other things. I did manage to fit in some quilting and knitting this past week. I took out a longtime UFO (an Alex Anderson sampler) and finished the rest of the blocks. I just need to decide what I want to do for the border of this quilt. I want to find the perfect fabric that ties all the colors together, but that would mean shopping. I am not opposed to buying the border fabric. But using my stash to finish this quilt would be awesome. When I started this project I was able to pull all the fabrics from my stash. It would be nice to be able to have this be an all stash quilt. Stay tuned...


My sister-in-law loved the hot pads and washcloths I made her for Christmas. She asked if I would knit her some more washcloths. I was delighted that she asked. Washcloths are quick and fun and I can't seem to stop myself!


I really wanted to make mug cozies as teacher gifts for Christmas this year. The snow meant that school got out for Winter Break earlier than planned and we didn't have a chance to give our gifts. I set it on the back burner and forgot about it. I couldn't find a pattern for what I wanted it to look like. So I designed my own. I hope it works out like I want it to!


My sister and I were supposed to be working on our Dear Jane quilt today. I tried, I really did. But it ended up being a day full of interruptions and I didn't get much done. Oh well, there is always next week!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Better Late Than Never


So here is my first finished quilt of the year! I worked on hand stitching the binding this weekend and it went pretty quick since it was such a small project. I have a bunch of Hallmark Christmas movies recorded. I didn't get through all of them before Christmas, so I watched The Christmas Box while I worked on the binding.




Here is the quilt all finished. I hung it on the wall just to take a picture and then put it away for later this year. I will probably forget about it and when I decorate for Christmas in eleven months it will be like a surprise!




I decided to join Judy's stashbusting for 2009. It goes well with my goals for the year and it will help me be accountable. Plus, I love the idea of seeing how many yards of fabric I bust every week. So here are my numbers for this week...


Fabric Added this Week: 2.75 yards
Fabric Added Year to Date: 2.75 yards

Fabric Used this Week: 2 yards
Fabric Used Year to Date: 2 yards


I know, totally unimpressive. But I feel good because I finished my little Christmas quilt. I also started a leaders and enders project making nine patches. I was so proud of myself that I could say that I didn't buy any fabric but then my husband reminded me that I ordered some charm packs online for some quilts that I am going to make soon as Christmas presents for this year. I am pretty determined to start early making presents and avoid the stress that comes every year leading up to Christmas.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Knitting for 2009


I realized that I did a whole post on my goals for 2009 in regards to quilting but didn't mention a word about knitting. Shame on me! I do a pretty good job balancing the two but sometimes one has to take a backseat to the other.






For Christmas my sister gave me two beautiful sock yarns (cleverly packaged) all wound and ready for knitting. They are both Pagewood Farms, one of my favorite sock yarn makers. She must be psychic because one of the yarns she gave me is called Fabulous Fall and I have been visiting that colorway at my LYS for months now. But since I am on a sock yarn diet I have resisted. My discipline paid off! Now I have it in my hot little hands but can't cast on until all my sock orphans are done. That should be enough motivation, right?


My knitting goals for 2009 are pretty simple:


1. Finish my first sweater and hopefully want to wear it
2. If that goes well, start another one
3. Knit as many pairs of socks as possible (emphasis on the word 'pair')
4. Continue my sock yarn diet
5. Give away all the yarn I don't want anymore (I am not as crazy about acrylic and novelty yarns as I use to be)


I am really excited about my quilting and knitting goals for 2009. Should be a fun creative year!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Organizing for 2009

Happy New Year! I love the new year and the feeling of starting fresh with a clean slate and extra motivation. That feeling came to me the day after Christmas and I took advantage of it. I was feeling like I was drowning in fabric and UFOs and projects in the queue. So I asked my hubby for help. It was too overwhelming to tackle myself and I had the best resource right here in my house...Mr. Organization, Mr. Neat and Tidy, Mr Never Procrastinated A Day In His Life. So first we talked about what I want. 1. Tackle UFOs 2. Use stash, reduce stash, try not to add to stash


We started by identifying all my UFOs and projects in the queue and putting them in an Excel Spreadsheet. For each item I added details about what stage the project is in and prioritized it so I know which ones to start with. You should have seen our dining room. It was like a bomb went off and my projects were everywhere.
Warning: If you choose to ask your spouse to help you, be prepared to feel very vulnerable as he realized how much you actually have and don't be surprised when you see his eyes get bigger than you have ever seen them.


So after I identified how out of control things had gotten, we started to reorganize. I have a beautiful sewing center that my husband built for me, you can see it and read about it
here. I had all my quilting and knitting books in some of the cabinets. They were two layers deep and hard to get to. So we bought a inexpensive shelf to put up in our bedroom that holds all my quilting books, knitting books, binders full of quilting magazines, and some of my reading books.




Now my books are easy to access and that freed up a lot of my cabinet space. I have all those wonderful drawers in my sewing cabinet to keep my projects that I am currently working on and a few UFOs. Unfortunately they aren't enough. So I put my additional UFOs in pizza boxes and stacked them in the cabinet of my sewing center. When I want to work on a project I can just pull out the pizza box and my project is all contained in that one place. I also labeled them so they can be easily identified at a glance.



We went to Costco to get me these great clear storage containers. I filled them with fabric that goes with a project in my queue and is ready whenever I am.


Ok, here is the bulk of my stash...


This is the lower half of my eight year old son's closet. Please, feel sorry for him. I do! These big totes are filled (some I can't close properly) with fabric. They are pretty organized within. Each tote contains two colors of fabric and smaller bags containing strips in those colors. This is where I sound a little mental...ready? I don't love all the fabric in these bins but I can't bring myself to get rid of it. I feel like I need to use it, make it into something.


I just recently read an article written by Bonnie Hunter in the latest Quiltmaker magazine. She talks about making your stash into something useful by cutting it up into pieces that are used often in scrap quilts. She has free patterns that tell you what size pieces you will need and they are often just two sizes. Anyways, she has totally inspired me to make my stash and especially my scraps into a useful system. And I love the idea of a Leaders and Enders quilt that you make over time while working on other projects.


So, to wrap it up... (trying to sound positive) 2009 is the year of the finished UFOs and the stash busting like you have never seen!! Wish me luck!

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