Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I Love You but You Don't Know What You're Talking About

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It is with great excitement and much happiness that I present to you my new favorite quilt inspired by my favorite movie: Moonrise Kingdom.

It's based on a screenshot of a quilt from the movie, a quilt that is so uglybeautiful that I just could NOT stop thinking about it.

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Most of the fabrics are Denyse Schmidt prints paired with gingham and various other prints that reminded me of men's button-up shirts. The back is mostly the reprinted Katie Jump Rope ribbon floral with a strip of prints along one edge to get the backing up to size.

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Working on this quilt was so, so fun. The entire process, from choosing fabrics to making the blocks to the challenge of basting such a large quilt, all of it was just easy, natural. I found myself following my instincts rather than overthinking everything like I usually do. And the end result is, in my opinion, just right. Just the right size, just the right look, just the right feelings associated with the process and finished product. Complete satisfaction!

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I forget exactly how big this turned out, around 96" square. It was a last minute decision to make it big enough for our queen sized bed and it was totally the right decision. I LOVE it so much and plan to use it as our summer quilt for all eternity!

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Now that this is finished, I have other Moonrise Kingdom inspired projects to plan. That movie is just so inspiring and I want my whole life to be just like it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Crystal Hearts Ian

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As I was adding freshly washed tea towels to the pile the other day, I found this towel I stitched for Ian for his birthday last year. I realized that I never posted it on the blog so here you go, some spooky cross stitch on this grey May morning.

I purchased the Mysterious Halloween Town stitch pattern from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery and used some of the elements for the tea towel. I knew my favorite Addams family quote would be the perfect addition.

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Little Ian Frankenstein is wearing a red shirt with a black button-up and black/grey pants, a very true to life outfit! Crystal Frankenstein is wearing a teal dress and red shoes, something I would love to wear someday.

I used DMC water soluble cross stich canvas for the first time and it worked really well! I can't imagine doing cross stitch on regular fabric any other way.

In other cross stich news, I'm slowly working on Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street inspired by my upcoming trip to London. Instead of the red/yellow/blue of the pattern, I'm using colors inspired by my favorite Liberty of London print.

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I know I won't finish it before my trip but it's fun to work on it a little here and there. Especially since, for me, summer will always be about cross stich.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Tweed!

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Meet my newest obsession: tweed yarn! It's a little rustic, a little posh and it looks amazing in all the colors.

The pink skein was made for my friend Sara who is after the perfect pale blush pink yarn for a pair of socks. While I didn't hit it exactly, I think it's still a very pretty color. The yarn has it's own natural grey color that I'll need to remember to compensate for in the future.

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I made the blue-green skein for my sister in law who loves the sun and the ocean and is moving to a very un-sunny Holland next month. If I didn't think I could dye another near identical skein, I would probably not have been able to give it away. I LOVE this color so much!

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Tweed minis are my new favorite way to use up dye in the pot once a dyeing session is finished. I just pop one in at the end and let it soak up every last bit of dye rather than dumping it out. I love how the flecks in the yarn really spruce up an otherwise nice but plain color. I especially love that little mint-chocolate chip skein!

One unexpected consequence of dyeing yarn is that my studio is super messy! I have my quilting stuff out all the time and now the dyeing stuff is there too and the yarn and the fabric are all piled on top of each other and I can't find anything and I'm feeling a little flustered because of the mess.

AND! Ian just informed me that he would like to use the elliptical machine so now I have to find a new place for all my quilt tops and random cuts of fabrics. The nerve!

I'm going to spend some time tonight and tomorrow straightening up and organizing and getting rid of things and prioritizing some projects. There's a very special quilt I'd love to finish up this weekend so I can mail it out next week. Also, Ian and I are going to the Friends School plant sale one morning to buy our balcony plants. I'm mostly excited for the fresh kettle corn and that for the first time in years, we should actually have nice weather. I would also like to grill tofu and veggie skewers one night for dinner.

Ooo...I'm so excited for my three day weekend to start! I did mention there would be kettle corn, right?!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

3.25 Socks

So far, I've knit 3.25 socks in about a month. Not bad at all! I'm loving this one-at-a-time, non-matching sock thing! Of course, I'm getting very little else done but that's alright. If I'm going to start dyeing full skeins of sock yarn, I need to know how the yarn will look knit up.

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I'm learning a lot about dye placement through trial and error. I've learned that unless I want stripes, dye patches should be 3" or less. Also, the teeny tiny speckles I've been trying to make are lovely on yarn but pretty impossible to see when knitted up.

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I tried my hand at some self striping yarn. So far, not happy! The stripes are sometimes only one row tall. I have a third skein to try and I think I wound that one with my swift fully open so it should have larger repeats...but even so, I think I'll only have two rows of each color max.

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So far my favorite dyeing experiment is color change yarn. These 10g minis make a really pretty transition from light to dark. I'm also using larger minis to transition from one color to another.

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I love how they knit up! This is my favorite sock so far (it's hard to take pictures of socks on feet and I didn't feel like blocking them). I can see a lot more color change socks in my future! Next time, though, I'm going to make the heel a different color to keep the color change from breaking at the ankle.

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I have a lot of minis still to knit up so I'm going to have to take a break from dyeing for a bit. After I finish another sock or two, I might dye up a full skein. Exciting! I'm still deciding on the color scheme...there are so many I want to try!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Catching Up

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It's been an odd month. It snowed one week and there were flowers the next. I've been working on projects but not really finishing anything. I've been feeling alternately hopeful and dejected. Like how one day I was super excited to start an amazing yarn dyeing business and the next I was crying because I wasn't qualified to be a national park ranger and I'd never be able to fulfill my lifelong (reality: minute-long) dream of saving a baby falcon from the side of a cliff.

Oh dear, how life is filled with unexpected feelings! I'm beginning to question what I want this little life of mine to be, where I want to go, what I want to do. And it's stressful because I just don't know right now. And I don't know when I will know or what I have to do to figure it out. Do I even want to figure it out? I think I might rather make delicious pizzas with Ian and knit socks all day long. Can there even be something better than that?

Who can even know but at least I'm trying. I'll be back later this week with some project updates...that always makes me happy so it's a good place to start.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Frankensocks

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I did some more yarn dyeing this weekend. This time my goal was to not over-dye the yarn. I wanted mostly white with bits of color. It was really, really hard and I didn't do all that well. This burgundy/pink/green ended up being my favorite of the bunch.

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I'm using my minis to knit what my friend Sara calls: Frankensocks. I start with a grey toe, then knit with a color until I get bored or run out of yarn, knit 5 rows of grey and then pick another color. I really like how they're turning out.

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No two socks will match but by winter I hope to have a stack of socks that I can wear while walking to/from work. 2 miles in the snow makes for great wool sock-wearing conditions.

I still loving yarn dyeing! I just ordered some undyed tweed yarn that I've been obsessing over. It'll be my first time dyeing an entire skein. Scary but exciting!

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Little One

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I've been going through my stack of finished quilt tops and dividing them into two categories: quilts I for sure want to keep and quilts I could probably stand to give away. I know I can't keep ALL THE QUILTS.

Now I'm slowly, one at a time, asking friends and family if they would be interested in giving any of them a good home. Each quilt can take a few weekends to finish (and sometimes I don't feel like quilting and I set it aside for a while) so the process is slow but steady.

We had our good friends Ruth and Jason over the other day and they picked out their favorite quilt tops from the stack. And their (almost) 5 year old daughter picked out "the little one".


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I started this quilt way back in 2009 with a different block layout in mind. I don't remember when I finished this top or why I changed my mind but I love how it turned out. It is little, just 36"x36".

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It has some of my very favorite (and very first!) quilting fabrics. Remember Sandi Henderson's Ginger Blossom and Farmer's Market? She was my absolute favorite designer and I bought EVERY print I could find/afford. (Looks like she has a new fabric line coming out after all these years, omg!)

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I like to back smaller quilts in flannel with no batting. It makes them soft and warm and easier to wrap around little shoulders. I remember the night I got that pink Folksy Flannel in the mail. 2009 seems like a lifetime ago!

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I'm looking forward to finishing up a few more quilt tops over the next couple of months. Slowly, I will finish all the quilts!