Monday, November 28, 2016

October 2016 in Review


Lizzy House Glam Clam Quilt: My big finish for October was the Glam Clam quilt that I started in April. I really loved how it turned out. You can read more about it here. 

Jam-Packed Gift Bag: I needed a gift bag for my dad's birthday present, so I tried out the Jam-Packed bag from the book For Keeps: Meaningful Patchwork for Everyday Living by Amy Gibson. I add a couple inches to the length, and it was just the right size for the gift. The pattern was originally intended as a lunch bag, and so called for Insul-Brite. I used regular batting instead and quilted the outer fabric. It was fun to make, and I'd like to try enlarging it for Christmas gift bags. 

Christmas Gift Bag: It's never too early to start making gift bags for Christmas. I used 5" square scraps to whip up a quick drawstring bag. 


Building Blocks Shawl: Aside from my Glam Clam quilt, the project that absorbed most of my creative energy in October was this year's Westknits Mystery Knitalong, the Building Blocks Shawl. I decided to join last minute and was obsessed with it until the final clue was realized, and then lost some steam. 

Existing WIP

Rae Scarf: Even though my Building Blocks Shawl took most of my knitting attention, it was a bit awkward to tote around. I kept my Rae Scarf in my purse for on-the-go knitting and made good progress. I'm almost halfway done! 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Lizzy House Glam Clam Quilt

Earlier this year, I had the good fortune of taking a class from Latifah Saafir on her Glam Clam quilt. Yes, I already made a Glam Clam quilt for my daughter back in 2014, but I wanted to make one for myself. I also wanted to take a class from Latifah, as I had long been an admirer of her work. I backed her Kickstarter campaign, and was itching to try out my new Clammy ruler. The class did not disappoint. I learned how to use the new ruler, was introduced to using "registration points" instead of the tabs from the old templates, and got to hear a few stories behind the motifs in Latifah's new fabric line, Grafic. It was a really fun day.

For this quilt, I broke into my beloved Lizzy House stash, which I had been saving for a special quilt. There were several different designs covered in the class, but since I wanted to make the classic version again, I cut all my fabric beforehand. Cutting the clams with the ruler was so much easier than cutting them out by hand with the old templates. (On my first Glam Clam quilt, it felt like I spent more time cutting than sewing, and I had to take breaks because it made my hand hurt.) Since I arrived at class ready to go, I was able to sew a little more than half of my lap sized quilt during the class. I finished the piecing the next month at my mom's house during one of our sewing days.

It took me a few months to get up the courage to quilt this, as the last lap sized quilt I quilted wasn't very fun. Since I knew this would be a couch quilt, meant for cuddling, I keep the quilting light and simple: vertical lines two inches apart. I had fun with it and used a light blue thread. This quilt is currently being used and loved and is one of my favorites. 

The Glam Clam pattern is fast and fun, and I already want to make another. Latifah just updated the pattern in her shop, if you interested. (This post is not sponsored. I just love these quilts.) 

Monday, October 31, 2016

August and September 2016 in Review

This August, I finished two things: a simple drawstring bag and my first knitted shawl. I also started four new projects. Progress was slow due to vacations and summer activities. 

In September, I didn't finish or start a single thing. At work, September is insanely busy, as everyone hits the ground running after returning from their summer vacations in July and August. At home, we were busy with all the trappings of a new school year, as my daughter started Kindergarten. Now that we've settled into our new routines, I'm hoping to find more time to create. I did manage to make progress on a few key projects. 


Cotton + Steel Drawstring Bag: I anticipated lots of knitting time during my vacations in August, so I whipped up a simple drawstring bag for my newest knitting project. It was a really satisfying project, as I used up a stashed Cotton + Steel fat quarter and some scraps. The ties are made from wax cording that I had purchased for jewelry making. I think they make a nice change. This bag is the perfect size for toting around my Rae scarf. 

Baltic Boneyard Shawl: While on vacation this past April, I picked up a few skins of Madeline Tosh "Tosh DK" yarn in the Baltic colorway to make Stephen West's Boneyard Shawl. I found the "make 1 right" and "make 1 left" stitches challenging, but overall I loved knitting this shawl. It has its share of mistakes, but I don't think they are obvious unless you look closely. I've been impatiently waiting for fall to start so that I can wear it. 


Basic Black Penny Raglan tee: This summer I was really excited to make Grainline Studio's newest pattern, the Penny Raglan Tee. My first attempt got off to a rocky start, as my archaic printer didn't want to cooperate while printing the pattern. Based on pictures I had seen of other people's Penny Raglan tees, I went down a size. The loose fit was really appealing for summer, but I didn't want it to fall off my shoulders. After sewing the front, back and sleeves together, I eagerly tried it on. The arm holes were so huge, you could easily see inside the shirt when I raised my arms. I was deeply disappointed. I wanted an easy flowy shirt that I could throw on and look cool in during a heat wave, not something that I would have wear a tank top under to be decent. Disheartened, I managed to sew the neckband on, but have not finished the sleeves or hem yet. That would required using a double-pointed needle and re-threading my machine, and this shirt isn't good enough to warrant that effort by itself. I plan to finish it the next time I make something that requires a twin needle. Next summer, I may try redrafting the sleeves for more coverage, but for now I'm moving on to fall garment sewing. 

Christmas gift bag: After whipping up my new knitting bag, I decided to get a head start on Christmas gift bags, but quickly set the first bag aside in favor of my more interesting projects. I really need to find a new gift bag pattern that excites me, because Christmas will be here before we know it! 

Rae Scarf: Until this project, I've only knitted with DK, bulky or super bulky yarn. There are so many cool patterns out there that call for fingering weight yarn (like socks!), so I knew I needed to bite the bullet and learn to knit with it eventually. For an easy first fingering project, I chose the Rae Scarf by Jane Richmond. The yarn is House of a La Mode Bangin Cash Sock in Cabana Boy. It's really nice to work with and I love how it is knitting up. For this project, I also tried metal needles for the first time. I think I may be a metal needle convert! Knitting with metal feels significantly faster, even though knitting with fingering still feels slower than knit with larger yarn. I'm still plugging along, though. I'm enjoying the kfb stitches better than the "make 1" stitches of the Boneyard Shawl. 

Vintage Kitsch Boneyard Shawl: I loved knitting my Baltic Boneyard Shawl so much that when I finished it, I immediately started another one. The yarn is House of a La Mode Dreamy DK in the Vintage Kitsch colorway. Seeing how the speckles knit up is super fun and I'm taking this one slower, enjoying the process and trying to make fewer mistakes. 

Existing WIPs 

Lizzy House Glam Clam quilt: At the end of August, I basted my beloved Lizzy House Glam Clam quilt. It took a little over a month to quilt it, but now I am at the binding stage. I'm confident that I can finish it up in October, which is perfect timing. This quilt will get a lot of love and use, I'm sure. 

In time out 

Skye Cowl: This is my first knitting failure. The yarn is Motion in the Ocean bulky yarn by Spun Right Round and the pattern is the Skye Cowl. I loved working with it as it is super soft and the play of colors reminds me of a Monet painting. I attempted a swatch for the first time, but obviously didn't get it right. The cowl ended up a weird in between size, too short to be doubled and too long. I also dislike how much the edges roll up. (Yes, I know stockinette stitch does that, but I didn't expect it to roll quite so much.) The project is currently in time out. I suspect I will end up frogging it eventually. 

Now that the cooler weather has arrived, I expect to spend more time inside, and thus, more time creating. Stay tuned.