Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bunny Slippers

Happy Thursday! I realized when I was looking back through my running list of things to post that I managed to leave my bunny slippers off the list! I made these in October! I had wanted to knit myself a pair of bunny slippers for a while, and the Eat Sleep Knit Yarnathon motivated me to try out felting last year. I used the Hopsalots Pattern by Tiny Owl Knits.

Of course I had to make black bunny slippers! I wanted them to be super soft, so I used Juniper Moon Farm Herriot, which is 100% baby alpaca. It took a bit to get it to felt, but the resulting slippers are SO soft!

These knit up lightning fast. It took me 5 days from start to finish, which includes sewing on the ears and doing the eyes and nose. I also made two tiny pom-poms for the tail! They were so much easier to make than I thought they would be.

This was such a satisfying project. It was fun trying out a new technique and making something completely different from my usual projects. I will say, the felting was messy! This yarn was sort of furry, so quite a bit came off when I was felting them. I felted these by hand with the help of some Soak.

More info on these slippers on my Ravelry page.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, February 1, 2016

January 2016 Report

The first month of the year went relatively smoothly for us. We got back into our regular routines pretty quickly after being home for the holidays. I think it helped that we came home a few days earlier. It was only a couple days, but it made a difference. I didn't waste nearly as much time getting back into the swing of things as I usually do. Part of that was out of necessity. I actually did quite a bit of sewing this month, but it's under wraps for the time being. Luckily I get to share soon!

I actually tackled my tax organization already! I am normally doing that in late March/early April, so I'm pretty proud of myself. I do very little along the way, so it's a pretty big undertaking when I finally do tackle it. This time around I set myself up with documents and a new organizer to help ensure that I do more to prepare throughout the year. Hopefully I'll keep up with it. I think that I will, it's a bummer to spend so much time at once thinking about and working on tax stuff.

I finished a few knitting projects this month, including a hat using only leftovers from other projects (this one). I'm getting ready to start two new knitting projects that I'm excited about. To keep myself accountable I'm tracking my yardage for both yarn and fabric, so here is how I did in January:

Used up: 12.5 yards
Brought in: 18.75 yards
Net: +6.25 yards

Used up: 942 yards
Brought in: 885 yards
Net: -87 yards

Not bad for the first month! It's amazing how fast some fat quarters and a bit of garment yardage adds up! I need to be more careful in February.

Looking at my other goals, I met my Double Wedding Ring monthly goal by making 16 wedges. I also finally stitched up the bodice muslin for the Emery dress and am hoping to sew up my first one this week! I have everything ready to starting knitting Fiddlehead Mittens (I can't stand waiting any longer!!). I also completed my first month of Project 365: a photo a day using my DSLR camera.

This coming month I'm primarily focused on getting ready for Quiltcon, specifically sewing up class samples. I'm also hoping to launch a fun project using the blocks from the 60 block chart in my book, Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle!

In other news, I was able to visit the newly opened Stitch Supply Co in Altoona, WI! Part of our summer cabin crew went up and attended an open sew retreat there. It was so much fun! The retreat space and shop are lovely, Ann and her husband thought of everything. I actually sewed (which is not my norm, I talk too much), and it was great to catch up with friends and do lots of laughing. I'm excited to be teaching from my book at a retreat there in October. I hope you'll join me! It will be a beautiful time of year to travel! All the information about that retreat can be found here.

(Bags: Jane Market Bag, Super Tote, Sew Portable Tote

George the bunny! I have a George video for you today! I bought him a Trixie Snack Board. It's a logic game made specifically for bunnies! This was his first time using it, and he aced it! I need to order him something more challenging.


Disclaimer: You may end up watching this video more than once. It's pretty crazy cute.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Knit Mittens

Happy Friday! Today I want to share two pairs of mittens that I knitted in the last few months. They've both been getting a lot of wear so far this winter!

Mittens are the real reason that I wanted to learn to knit. I remember seeing Adrian Bizilia's Fiddlehead Mittens on Flickr back in the day and it was love at first sight. Ever since then I've wanted to knit so that I could make my own. I've been knitting pretty consistently for the last two years, and I finally convinced myself I was ready to tackle mittens this past November. One weekend, I was looking for a project to work on, and I decided I'd just go for it! I knit a pair of quick mittens with super bulk yarn (see them here), and I finished them that weekend. They're a bit small, and a little wonky, but I made them!

I was so excited that mittens were no longer this far off thing to tackle. I immediately cast on another pair, this time out of worsted weight yarn. I used a skein of Sun Valley Fibers yarn that I picked up at the Sows Ear a while back. It's dyed here in Wisconsin, which is fun! Plus it matches my most used hat and cowl, bonus! They're super soft and warm!

I am not a huge fan of magic loop or DPNs, so I powered through on a pair of 9" circulars until I got used to them. Now they are so easy and comfortable to use, I'm thankful that I made the effort to stick with them. I don't think I'd knit mittens any other way now! I still had to do the thumbs and decrease with magic loop, but that's fine with me! For this pair, I used Tanis Lavallee's Grammy's Mitts pattern. See more on my Ravelry.

Once I finished my second pair, I was sort of itching to make a pair of mittens for Michael. He didn't really have any good mittens and I thought it would be fun to make a pair for him. Of course he wanted convertible mittens. I was a little nervous about knitting them, but they really weren't hard!

For his pair I used this delicious smoky gray Malabrigo Rios yarn. I wanted something that would be able to take a bit of a beating, but was still primarily wool for warmth. They're a perfect fit and he has been wearing them a lot!

The only part that I had a little trouble with was picking up the stitches on the back and starting the mitten top correctly. Just took a little fiddling to wrap my mind around it! Then it was smooth sailing. I used the Red is Best pattern by Jane Richmond. See more about these mittens on my Ravelry.

I'm so pleased with how the mittens I've tackled have turned out so far! I am SO close to trying my hand at the Fiddlehead mittens. I am currently working on another colorwork hat, then I think I'd like to knit one more pair of mittens. Then, the game is on!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Deer Sparkling Cider Quilt

Happy Tuesday! A day late, but I have another quilt finish to share! The quilt has been a long time coming, I bought all the fabric for it a few years ago and it has been waiting to become a quilt.

When I saw that they were reprinting Lush by Erin Michaels, I jumped up and down a little! My Dad loves the outdoors, and the deer prints in this collection are especially perfect for him. I snatched up a sizeable amount, including enough for a backing. I always knew I'd turn them into a quilt for him. Last year, I came upon this awesome shot cotton at a local shop that is a perfect match to the blues in the collection.

This is the third time I've used the Sparkling Cider Quilt Pattern by All Washed Up, and it's still a favorite. It comes together so easily and I love the finished product. You can see my first two quilts here and here. I knew it would be a good choice for this fabric, and I used the large stars to showcase the deer fabric.

It's always fun to step outside my neutral solid comfort zone, and I'm glad I did with this quilt. The background has a nice sheen to it in person and I think something neutral would have been too flat. For the binding, I decided to use up scraps from cutting the blocks. It was a good way to use some of those up.

For the quilting, I sent it to Melissa of Sew Shabby Quilting. She had the perfect pattern for it, a Maple Leaves pattern. I love how much it adds to the quilt!

I gave this quilt to my Dad for his Birthday, which is right before Christmas. He loved it, yay! I'm glad that I stashed away so much of it and was able to make a quilt that was perfectly tailored to him. Plus, it was a great excuse to make another Sparkling Cider! I'm sure it won't be the last one I make!

Pink Castle Fabrics currently has this pattern in stock, here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Baa-ble Hat and Downton Cowl

Happy Wednesday! I am back today sharing a few more finished knits. These were my last two finishes of 2015, both projects were finished either in the car or while staying with family!

First up is my Downton Cowl. For a while, I was really interested in knitting long cowls that I could wrap around my neck more than once. They just seemed like they'd be warmer! The trouble with that though, is they can be too warm when I want to wear something as more of an accessory, especially when it isn't that cold. Two years ago, Jacey made me a short cowl, and I have gotten tons of wear out it. It's easily one of my most worn knits! So, I decided to make one too, so that I have another color to wear!

I started this cowl in October 2014, and finally finished it in late December of this year. It wasn't a difficult project, but it kept getting set aside. Honestly, I think what kept me from working on it the most was the needles I was using. They had a really stiff cord that was driving me nuts. I took this project with me to work on in the car, and I finished it by the time we got back to Ohio!

I was really happy to get this project finished, and I know I'll wear it a lot. It's the perfect purple gray. The yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Composition Book Grey. The pattern is by Shannon Cook. For more info on my cowl, see my ravelry.

I was so excited to make this Baa-ble Hat! This was my "reward project" that I was allowed to start once we got on the road, and once I finished that cowl! It was a good motivator! This is my second stranded colorwork project (still need to get photos of the first, it's also a hat!). I was excited to try it, but was a little afraid of it, honestly. I knew if I made a mistake and didn't catch it, it would really show.

There were a few times that I had to rip back mistakes, but overall, knitting this hat went really smoothly. And I got the hang of holding both yarns at once continental. On my first project, I was only holding one yarn at a time, constantly dropping one and picking up another. It was definitely not ideal, so I'm glad I figured out how to do it right! I'm still getting used to tensioning the yarns, but I think my tension is better than my first project!

This hat went SO fast! Especially once I got to the colorwork. I've been wearing it a lot, it's so cozy and seriously cute. It did turn out a little big, but that's okay. I'm not 100% sold on the double brim either, but it won't stop me from wearing it. I kind of want to make another! I think next time I would knit a single layer brim and go down a needle size. The two main yarns in this hat are Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in Astrid Grey and Heuchera. The pattern is by Donna Smith. For more info on my hat, see my ravelry.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Knit Stuffed Animals

Happy Monday! Today I want to share some more gifts that I stitched up at the end of last year. One was a Christmas gift, and the other two were "congratulations!" gifts, but were given at Christmas.

When I was at Quilt Market in Houston this past Fall, I saw these softies sewn up in knit fabrics in the Cloud 9 Fabrics booth (see them here). They were so cute and soft, I could not get them out of my head. The patterns are all from Shiny Happy World, and I'll link them individually below. I think I bought the patterns in my hotel room after the show closed one of the nights. I thought it was such a fun way to use knit fabrics and I love stuffed animals, so it was the perfect match!

I also happen to have plenty of knit fabrics on hand! I have eight different knit prints with Art Gallery Fabrics, four from Geometric Bliss and four from Curiosities. I've been trying to focus on finding non-garment projects that use knits, in addition to slowly building a wardrobe of handmade shirts.

I made all three softies at the same time, assembly line style. I used my Janome Memory Craft 4800, which is my backup machine. It's easier for me to use when sewing with knits. I used a stretch needle to sew all of these, along with Aurifil 50wt cotton thread. I thought I might use my serger for parts, but didn't end up using it.

First up is Franklin the Fat Cat! As soon as I read the name of the pattern, I was in love. I love a good fat cat! This one was the easiest of the three patterns, and also the smallest. One of Michael's cousins had a baby in December, so of course I had to make one for the baby! I was giving them a baby quilt made with Curiosities, so I decided to make a softie to match.

I used the Sweet Nothings Fond Knit along with a little bit of the Amaranth Knit Solid for the ears. Since this was for a baby, I embroidered the face instead of using plastic eyes. I also reinforced the arms, legs, ears and tail. Instead of using plastic pellets, it's filled only with fiberfill.

Next up is Benson Bunny! This one might be my favorite, since it is a bunny! This one probably took the longest. It has soft and stable in the ears to give them shape. It also has a stuffed tail and felt nose, both of which are attached by hand at the end. This bunny went to live with baby's big sister! I figured it has to be hard sharing all the attention, so she needed a softie too.

I used the Radical Blooms Blush and Parallel Segments Quartz Knits from Geometric Bliss for this bunny. The head and ears are Peachy Custard Knit Solid. I was able to find the perfect matching mint felt from The Sewcial Lounge, score! I filled the arms and legs with plastic pellets and there is some in the body along with fiberfill. I also used safety eyes on the bunny. I am very thankful that I reinforced the limbs and ears on this one too, since upon opening he was already getting played with and tugged on!

Last up is Munch! He has a mouch that you can stick your hands (or his!) in, which is really fun. I thought the construction of this guy would be the hardest of the three because of the mouth, but it really wasn't. It came together easily in the end! I made Munch for my brother for Christmas!

For Munch I used the Spherical Buds Aqua Knit from Geometric Bliss. For his mouth and ears I used the Turquoise Knit Solid. As instructed, I used a mix of fiberfill and plastic pellets to fill Munch. I also used safety eyes for him. I had to be extra careful when cutting him out since I was using a directional print. Luckily I did it right!

I really enjoyed sewing these! It is always fun taking flat fabric and turning it into something three dimensional. It's so satisfying. I haven't sewn a lot of softies before, so this was a learning experience for sure. I have a few other patterns I'd like to try this year. I think the softies turned out so sweet, and they were well received. Now that I've made all three, I need to decide which to make for myself! :)

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Exploration Station Shawl

Happy Wednesday! I feel like I'm always saying this, but I have a decent backlog of projects to share here. I'm going to try over the coming weeks to share quilting/sewing projects on Mondays and knitting projects on Wednesdays to get caught up. Hopefully having a schedule will help me actually stick to that!

Today I want to share the shawl I finished just before the end of the year. I was excited to tackle the Exploration Station pattern by Stephen West this Fall. Last Spring a few of us decided to knit it together, and while I did pick out yarns right away, it took me a while to finally start mine. Yahaira and Jacey finished their shawls too, and they're both beautiful! It's cool how different the pattern looks in other colors!

I used three skeins of Madelinetosh Sock (Moonstone, Curiosity, and El Greco), plus a skein of Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label in Lilac. My selection is pretty subtle in terms of contrast, so I ended up with a softer design, which I really like. Plus I love purple, so this is basically my favorite thing I've ever knit.

This shawl was such a challenge, there were so many things I had never done before: Short rows, double yarn overs, brioche, and i-cord edging/bind-off. I think the biggest challenge for me was staying focused and committed to finishing it at the end. By the time I bound off, there were nearly 500 stitches, so each row seemed like it took FOREVER. The i-cord bind off took several hours, and definitely tested my patience.

I am so happy with how this shawl turned out, it was totally worth the effort. I soaked it (with Soak, of course!), and blocked it pretty aggressively. This is officially my first finished knit using fingering weight yarn! Yay! It is a huge shawl, which makes it super cozy and warm. Perfect for the winter weather we've been having!

For more info on my shawl, see my ravelry page.

Happy Knitting!