Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hello, sunshine!

Goodbye cold and  snowy, Michigan!

Helloooooo, warm and sunny Arizona!

Photo by Greg McCown
I'm off to spend the weekend with my cousin for some wedding planning and a mid-winter thaw.  It's nice having family in warmer climates.  :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Challenge

I decided to take on a new knitting challenge - a cardigan.  I have never had much luck with sewing clothing, so maybe knitting will work out for me.

This will be a Shalmon Cardigan from a free pattern on Ravelry.  A friend recommended it since it's an easy and quick knit.  It's made with bulky yarn and big needles.  I am trying hard to finish it so I can wear it before winter is over.  So far I am on row 35 of 115.  I think there is hope.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hexagons, hexagons, hexagons

It has been awhile since I had an update on my hexagon quilt.  After making a significant amount of progress in our travels to and from Hawaii, I lost a bit of steam on the project.  I tend to only work on my hexagons in the car, and since we haven't done a lot of traveling lately, my quilt has been a bit neglected.  There has been some progress to report though.

I have 154 sewn together.

I have 17 flowers sewn together waiting to be added to the others.

And 1072 total hexagons completed!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Whole Grains

Yesterday during lunch with one of my friends, she mentioned that she was attempting to transition to using all natural household and body cleaning products.  At one point she mentioned that it was her goal to have it mostly figured out by the end of 2011.  It was then that I had an ah-ha moment.

I have been wanting to switch to using mostly whole grain our diet for about a year now.  What typically happens is this:  I buy a bunch of whole grain products and try to use them all at once.  Inevitably, I end up confused, burned out, and back to where I started feeling a bit defeated.  When my friend mentioned that she wanted to meet her goal by the end of 2011, I realized that I don't have to switch to eating strictly whole grains all at once.  It could (and likely should) be a gradual process to learn what my husband and I like, what we don't like, and how to actually use them in our day to day diet.  I could have a goal to get there by the end of 2011.  What a relief!  On a similar note, I would also like to make peace with beans. I usually don't like beans of any kinds, but they're so good for you and I really would like to enjoy eating them.

In honor of my desire to transition to more whole grains and beans, I made myself a quinoa and chickpea concoction.

I think the spices needed a little adjusting, but all in all, I'd say it was a success!  Yay!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Hobby

While I was in college I learned how to know.  It took me (at least) a couple years to finish a two scarves and I decided to call it quits after that.  However, as I see more and more knit projects around, it makes me want to pick the hobby up again and again.  I have been holding off for awhile now since I really don't need another expensive hobby.  Finally, shortly before Christmas my grandma requested for me to make her some homemade dishcloths.  She actually asked for crocheted dishcloths, but I took it upon my self to make knit ones.  It's the same general idea, right?

So here we have it, my dishcloth experiment.

I started out by making her four.  I chose four different patterns that allowed me to experiment a little on a new stitch or pattern style.

My first one.  In the center, something got mixed up and the (hard
to see) diamond pattern become reversed.  Whoops!
The standard checkered pattern.  Easy peasy.
A "baby fern" pattern.  This one gave me a bit
of trouble.  But I conquered! 
And my favorite one.  This one turned out really well!
It has some texture that I think will work well on a dishcloth.
All in all, I think I'm hooked.  I really enjoy knitting!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Waves for Noah

In July one of my close friends had her first baby boy.  She requested a quilt and of course I obliged.  Her and her husband opted to not find out the sex before he was born.  Naturally, I was running behind in the quilt making department, so this turned out to be good for me because it bought me some extra time to make a gender specific quilt.

I finished up the top and the quilting in early fall, but it sat untouched with the girly quilt for over a month with the binding pinned on.  At the end of November I kicked my butt into gear and decided to finally finish the quilt.

I used the New Wave pattern from Oh, Fransson!  I made the lap size version for a couple reasons - I bought the fabric for it before the version for the baby quilt came out and it also makes it a more versatile size.  Room to grow into, right?  :)

The binding is a grey mini dots pattern by Michael Miller that matches the Kona coal almost perfectly.  I think the polka dot binding ties it together nicely.

All in all, I'd say it was a success.  I love this pattern.  I think I see another one in my future.  That is, after I finish up all of the other projects on my list!

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Projects

I love starting new projects.  I love looking at a stack of fresh fabrics.  I love sitting down and figuring out the pattern.  I love math required to figure out how everything is going to come together.  I love when I can begin cutting the pieces and laying them out together.  I really love quilting.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

To finish or not to finish

I have been contemplating whether or not to make more blocks for my spiderweb quilt.  In its current state, the quilt is 5 blocks by 6 blocks.  This makes it roughly 50" x 60".

Please excuse this horrible photo.  My condo has terrible natural lighting
and on top of that, it's dreary and snowing outside.  Sadness.
The plan is to make the quilt a lap quilt to give as a gift.  I typically like a generous lap size quilt, which this is.  However, it's really only a one person lap quilt.   If I add 2 more rows of blocks, it would make the quilt roughly 60"x70".  That would make it a better two person snuggle quilt.  It would also require me to make 12 more blocks.  Although I do enjoy making these blocks, I'm not sure I have 12 more in me.  That's a lot!

So, here is my question to you: what size do you make your lap quilts?  Would you call it quits now and finish it up?  Would you keep going?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Long Awaited Return

Welcome back, Rowenta Focus iron. Oh, how I have missed you (even if I would never purchase you again - ever). You are much nicer than the iron I used for those 3 months you were off getting repaired.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Surprise for me!

A friend left me a message last night informing me that my pinwheel quilt has featured at Whip Up.  So exciting!  Despite the fact that it appears that I have regular followers (thanks lovely readers! :) ), I pretty much operate this blog and my Flickr page as if no one actually pays attention.   This makes it even more surprising when my work pops up someplace else.  Thanks for letting me gush for a moment.  That is all.  :)

Operation Christmas Child 2010

I decided to make another quilt for Operation Christmas Child this year.  Well, I suppose it was last year now.

I made some scrappy wonky stars based on this tutorial.  The blocks are 6" finished and are slightly offset from each other with strips to make the quilt 15" wide x 18" long.  I quilted it with lines randomly located.

The back is this fun owl print I found at JoAnn's and the binding is a golden stripe print I found on sale at a local quilt shop.  I like sales.  :)

The plan was to make a doll quilt and include a baby doll in the box.  Unfortunately, I could not find a baby doll for less than $15 and having all kinds of "extras".  Maybe I am just out of touch with the going rate of dolls, but it just seemed a bit expensive.  Whatever happened to the simple baby doll?  So, the little girl I made this for receive a nice lovie sized quilt for herself, not a doll.  For next year's box I am going to have to start looking for dolls sooner and stock up for years to come.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pinwheels for Christmas

Ever since I gave my mom a quilt for her birthday last year, various members of my family have been requesting quilts.  This year for Christmas my grandma was the lucky lady.

I started working on the pinwheel sampler early last year.  After being sidelined for several months, I decided to finished it up for a Christmas gift.  I love the prints in this quilt and the classic pattern.

The original sampler quilt-a-long only called for 16 blocks, but I think a rectangular quilt is nicer than a square one, so I added 4 additional blocks.  I also decided to add those little pinwheels in the sashing.  I am so glad I did too.  I think they really add a little something special to the quilt.  There was a lot of talk of how much of a pain in the butt they are to make in the Flickr group, but I didn't find them painful at all.  I actually kind of enjoyed making them.  After making all of more intricate larger blocks, it was a bit refreshing to whip up a bunch of simple ones - even if they were only 3.5" square.

I don't prewash any of my fabric since I like the crinkly look.  This quilt washed up so lovely.  Look at all those crinkles!  Doesn't it make you want to just snuggle up in it?!

The backing and binding were prints of the same line that I found on clearance at the Fabric Shack for only $3.99 a yard!  It was such a great find!

 It's one of the more traditional quilts I have made, but I love it.  I am so happy with how it turned out.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas Traveling

After Christmas Shawn and I spent some time with his parents in Michigan's Upper Penninsula.  The UP is a beautiful place to visit.  While we were there we partook in some fun winter activities.

First, we went and saw some ice caves and (partially) frozen waterfalls.  They were impressive and beautiful!  Here are some photos for your enjoyment.

Eben Ice Caves
Inside the ice caves
Wagner Falls
Ice covered bushes along Lake Superior
My mother-in-law and I spent an afternoon sewing together.  As with most times I sew with friends, we didn't accomplish a whole lot.  The truth is that it doesn't really matter how much was accomplished.  I don't sew with people I like to be productive - I like to talk!

Shawn's brother and his family drove in from Wisconsin to join us for a day.  We spent some time hiking on the frozen river, building snowboys, and having a snowball fight.  And more photos for your enjoyment.

Drilling a hole through the ice
The frozen river

Frozen lake with glittery snow

Sunset over the river
More photos here if you are interested.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


When I first posted about this quilt, I affectionately dubbed it the "trial quilt" since it was, in fact, a trial run for the quilt I made for my adorable little niece.  It sat with about 12 inches of binding unstitched for over a month, but I finally finished it up on our trip to Ontario.

Since the backdrop looking over Lake Erie is so pretty, I figured I should take some photos there to show it off.  Unfortunately, the lighting was a bit off since I took them a bit too soon after sunrise.  It was freezing and Shawn and I were antsy to make our snowy drive home.

The pattern is my own - using 8 prints in various sizes of squares and rectangles.  While reorganizing my fabric I realized I have a large stack of pink prints and have never made a pink quilt!  I chose these prints to remedy that situation.  I still think I need to make about 10 more pink quilts to reflect the amount of pink in my stash!  The white sashing is this bamboo cotton blend I purchased inexpensively by the bolt a couple years ago.   I like it because the price is right, it's softer than Kona cotton, and threads don't show through like with muslin.

To go along with the pink theme, the back in a pale pink Kona solid.  I think it's pale flesh.  Since some of the pinks are pretty bold in the top, I wanted to be a little more subtle for the backing.  The binding is from Good Folks and I think it makes a great binding.

All in all, I'd say this trial quilt was a success.