Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Woodsmoke

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At the Lake
October 17, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sweater Weather

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I was sick all weekend! I should have been working on lots of things, like my Halloween Sparkling Cider quilt or putting away all the laundry Ian washed this weekend. But I just couldn't. Instead, I sat on the couch for three days, knitted and watched The Walking Dead. So scary! I watched all of season 4 and I'm halfway through season 5. So far, season 5 is my favorite! It's not as scary, zombie-wise, and I really like how the episodes are structured.

But, what I really wanted to talk to you about today is what I was knitting. You guys: I'm knitting a sweater! I've been asking my friend Sara endless sweater questions in preparation for this and I decided to just finally start knitting. It's going to be big and messy and hopefully it'll fit alright. It'll mostly be for wearing at home in the winter so it doesn't actually have to look good. But I hope it does! I was SO inspired by Anna Maria Horner's big, bulky, stripey sweater. I'm holding three yarns at once and when one runs out, I just add in another. So far I'm sticking with blues and some green and grey. I might change my mind and add in something else but for now, I really like how these colors look together.

I accidentally knitted past where I needed to join together for the neck opening (read your pattern carefully!) so I had to rip out 13 rows, join, then re-knit those same 13 rows. Sigh...

But, it was a fun weekend and even though I felt bad, I still had a fun time knitting with the cats and zombies. I have a four day weekend coming up (and it's Halloween!) so I hope to get back to quilting soon. I'm really looking forward to having another finished couch quilt (as you can see, the cats and I have been getting lots of use out of my Golden Vanity quilt).

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Golden Vanity

Fly the Flag quilt

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At last! Ian and I finally had a few minutes to take pictures of my finished fest quilt.

I've decided to call it "Golden Vanity", named after a much beloved song from my days out at the festival. More than that, though, it brings to mind all the misty mornings and golden autumn afternoons. The vainglorious characters, the loves, the longings, and the losses, the laughter and tears. Those wonderful, awful, overwhelmingly lovely and heartbreakingly beautiful days.

This quilt is a cacophony of color and movement. Some loops are secretly hearts, each one a memory of a long, lost love. There is even one to represent the girl I used to be, the bright-eyed lass of my youth. They are all gone but will never be forgotten.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Slow Knitting

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Every year when the weather turns chilly, I think about knitting. I think about how many mittens, how many scarves were knit over the years by people who wanted to keep themselves and their loved ones warm. I think about how many warm sweaters were given, out of kindness but also necessity.

I've been contemplating this on my walks to work, mostly because it's cold in the mornings and my hands are FREEZING! Yes, I could wear the pair of mittens that Ian bought me a few years ago or I could buy another pair that fits better and isn't falling apart from wearing them so often. But I don't want to.

I want to make my own. I want to feel what it is to need something I don't have and to work hard to get it.

Years ago, I was always busy, days flew by, and I valued nothing more than convenience and instant gratification. But I'm not like that anymore.

Now I take my time, I think about what I really need to live, to be happy. I walk places and shop in the neighborhood and I make things to keep me warm.

All of this takes so much time. But it's time so well spent. Walking is a great way to get exercise, to relax and to breathe fresh air. Knitting allows me to create something that fits me well and will last for a long time. The quilts on our bed will be around longer than any of us, someday they'll keep other families warm and cozy.

And it is because of this that I've been willing to suffer chilled fingers on my walks the past few mornings. I want to do this. I want to be self-sufficient, to provide for myself. When I walk to work next week and my fingers are nice and toasty, protected from the cold, I will smile and know that I have myself to thank.

I can feel the momentum building already. I now have dreams of knitting all my own sweaters and outerwear forever and ever. I'll start with a simple sweater (scary!) and see how it goes. If nothing else, a girl can never have too many ugly, lopsided pajama sweaters!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Stars!

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My Halloween Sparkling Cider quilt top is finished! I really love how it turned out!

I also finished the backing which is an even greater accomplishment. One of the reasons I don't finish more quilts is because I don't make a backing right away. It's my least favorite part of quilting and if I put it off, it never gets done. I have SO many quilt tops waiting for backings!

Since I was at a good stopping point last night, I worked on my Moonrise Kingdom blocks for a little while. Since I received all those beautiful plaids and ginghams last week, I've been thinking about making another row of blocks for the quilt so I can use some of them. That would push this quilt up to at least 84" square

A quilt has to be very special for me to want to go all the way to queen-sized. It's just such a pain to make something that large. Actually, I might not even have space to baste something that big! Maybe in the living room?

Anyway, this quilt just might be that special. Plus, Ian hates it so it would be fun to have it on the bed all the time.

Next weekend I'd like to baste my HSC quilt and the Skull Sampler quilt. I have no idea how I want to quilt either one but at least they'll be ready to go as soon as I decide.

We've had some nice weather lately but I think that's over. I've been enjoying the end of summer flowers mixed with early-falling leaves. It's a lovely time of year!

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Stashing/Sashing

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Every time I buy fabric I think it'll be the last time. I look at my stash and I have SO MUCH FABRIC! I'll never use it all. I'm always excited to use my stash and I often challenge myself to use only stash fabrics in a quilt.

And then I get started and realize that I'm missing some critical fabric so I go shopping and buy another huge batch.

Sigh...

So, my latest purchase happened after I started my Moonrise Kingdom quilt. I wanted a vintage-y sashing but didn't have anything in my stash that would work. So, I bought a million Denyse Schmidt prints (a lot on sale at Hawthorne Threads) in hopes that one would work.

And the ones I bought that I wasn't expecting to work? Well, that was pure stash building. I'm super into vintage type fabrics right now and don't actually have all that many. And the ones I have, well, to be honest, I'm getting a little bored using them in every vintage inspired quilt I make. Plus, I have no plaids or gingham which I feel is important in getting the right vintage look.

Oh man, am I excited to use these in my next vintage-y quilt. As for Moonrise Kingdom, I'm pretty sure I'm going to use the Sparse Floral DS print for the sashing. Not sure which colorway yet.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Spooky Scary!

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I spent a fair bit of time working on my Halloween Sparkling Cider quilt this weekend. I have all four of the large star blocks completed and two of the small star blocks. Just 14 blocks to go. All my fabric is cut and I've worked out fabric pairs for the small stars. I don't usually sew during the week but I think I can find enough time to make one small star block per night. That'll help lighten the load for the weekend when I hope to finish up the rest of the blocks. I might even be able to finish the top!

I also carved my first pumpkin of the year. My absolute favorite thing about pumpkin season is toasted pumpkin seeds. They are THE BEST!

Also, Ian and I took a break from our projects and saw The Martian. It was awesome and now I'm reading the book. So far a very fun and exciting October!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October's Goals

I'm so happy it's October! I'm planning to savor every apple cider filled minute! Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday and this month I'm going to watch "scary" movies and carve pumpkins and maybe even throw a Halloween party. I thought it would be fun to request that people dress up as their favorite poem but Ian hated that idea. I thought it would be pleasantly Victorian-esque. No one dressed up as a sexy ANYTHING back then.

Oh well, there's still time to decide. For now, I'm really excited to share October's goals!

First, I would like to start and finish a Halloween themed Sparkling Cider quilt. I've had my eye on this quilt pattern for a long time and it was a pretty easy choice for a Halloween quilt.

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I'd also like to weave a scarf for Ian that's similar to the one I made for my brother last year.

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I also have a few stretch goals for October. Unless I get distracted by something more fun, these are the projects I want to work on this month once my quilt and Ian's scarf are finished.

First, I'd like to finish my Tubularity scarf. It's been pretty chilly for my morning walks and soon I'm going to need something light to cover my face and neck.

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I'd also like to finish up my Moonrise Kingdom blocks (11 to go) and decide on a sashing.

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Lastly, I'd like to continue the Halloween theme and paint one of my monster models. I've never really talked about them here and I've also never even finished one but maybe I'll feel like working on one this month. Actually, this would be a fun thing to work on when Ian and I watch the Viking's game each weekend. Usually I fall asleep.

So, that's it. I'm excited to get to work! I just finished washing all my Halloween fabrics last night and pulled out all by black/almost black yarn in preparation for today. Welcome October! I'm happy you're here!!