Friday, April 29, 2016

Udaberri Mystery Knit Along

I caked up this handpainted Stroll from Knit Picks to start a new project.
Isn't it pretty in a pretty cake?
I've jumped onto the Udaberri MKAL hosted by Ardilanak on Ravelry.
I love learning new ways to shape knit fabric and this one promised to do that. And to teach me not to be afraid of lace. These lace panels are simple but that doesn't mean it has been smooth sailing. I must have unknit that second lace section twice before I got it right. Remember, the lifeline is your friend! (Learn how to use a lifeline with this video.)
I've been asked how I manage to get so much knitting done. It's easy. You knit at every opportunity. This is knitting at Sunday breakfast between the coffee and the meal. I also knit a couple rows on the ride to our breakfast spot and home. Don't lose those little moments. Remember, you can talk and knit. Unless you're turning the heel on a sock. Then you should focus on the knitting.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Knitting Update: Dotted Rays Finish

I finally ran out of the fun rainbow Tempting Ewe and shifted to the beautiful blue/purple Tempting Ewe on my latest Dotted Rays shawl.
The bind off is not a quick process but it is so satisfying to see it slipping off the needles and showing itself.
I love the blocking process. I can take the knit and shape it in interesting ways.
I know that garter stitching isn't for everyone but I do like the finished look of this shawl.
Look at the rainbow of colors in this fun yarn.
Unlike my last Dotted Rays shawl, this one is more human-sized than my last one. 93" from tip to tip.
I had better hurry up with my shawl phase, I'm running out of cool spring mornings to wear them. I'll be well prepared come fall!

Monday, April 25, 2016

In the Mail Monday: Sparkle Vinyl

A couple times I'd seen some sparkle vinyl used on bags made by makers on Instagram. I finally saw a supplier for sparkle vinyl and had to buy some. Punkbroidery has quick service and I was very pleased with the time from order to shipment and the great communications. I haven't shopped around for sparkle vinyl, but the prices are well within what I'm willing to pay for sparkles.
I ordered a scrap pack, glitter swatch samples and two rolls of vinyl, one glitter and one flat. I've got a couple ideas for how to use those. I'm really glad I decided to get the swatch samples. I can easily match up colors if I want to order again. Considering the awesome (that does not come through in these photos) I see myself ordering from Punkbroidery again.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Knitting Update: Frogging and Starting A New Project

Do you remember the Vertices Unite I started? Well... that didn't go so well. When I got to section three I just couldn't get back to work on it. The making and picking up of stitches just didn't appeal and I dreaded going back to it.
I ended up frogging the entire thing. This is something I rarely do. That's how much I was not digging this project.
I have put all the bits into my tote and put the whole thing in a time out. I don't know that I'll return to it. I will return to the yarn, but maybe for a different project.
I'm still making slow progress on Blunk the Hat by Strickmich. I like learning new ways to manipulate knit fabric.
I started yet another Dotted Rays Shawl. I'm using the fun yarn I picked up during the Yarn Party. The yarn is locally dyed by the lovely people at Cloverhill Yarn Shop. I love the deep colors of these yarns. I will likely be buying more Tempting Ewe colors to work with. It isn't easy to see here, but I'm using that wonderful rainbow yarn and a beautifully deep blue.

Right now I don't have a third knitting project going. I should find something new to make.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Commission Quilting

The majority of my quilting is done for charity or on my own quilts. I quilt for a couple friends but it doesn't happen often. Someday I will really quilt for others. With a business and everything. Until then, I continue to learn and improve my skills. 
The swirl flower with a really big center. Quick to quilt and I love the texture.
Batman isn't about organic quilting. Hard lines and sharp angles.
I love this quilting motif. It isn't a quick one to quilt but the results are amazing. It is very organic with great flow. The resulting texture is perfect. In this case it mimics the wood grain design of the background fabric.

The first one was quilted with Magnifico from Superior Threads.

The last two were quilted with So Fine #50 from Superior Threads. It is perfect for subdued quilting that lets you see the texture but not the thread.  

Monday, April 18, 2016

Tool Tip: Ruler Storage

I am a ruler addict. This means that I will buy specialty rulers just because it does something new. This doesn't mean that I don't already have a ruler that does the trick, just that it is another new ruler.
This means I have many rulers. I've been storing my rulers on the lower shelf of my cutting table. It wasn't elegant and it didn't make it easy to find the ruler I was looking for.
I thought a file folder holder might be the right way to go. I picked up this simple one at the local office supply store. I picked this one because I was sure it would fit on the shelf and the price-point was pretty low. I also picked the metal one instead of one of the plastic holders because it just seemed more suited to the task.
I tested it out and it seemed to fit the bill. I wonder how I ended up with two of those large Tucker Trimmers?
Then I put it on the shelf, only to learn that the large Tucker Trimmers didn't fit on the holder on the shelf. Not a big deal since all the others fit fine. I just fit them in between the holder and the shelf. This will make it so much easier to find the ruler I'm looking for.

Have you found any good organizational tools for your sewing room?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Charity Quilting: Playing Catch-Up

I was out of the game while I was having issues with my long arm. I'm back in the game and playing catch up with some charity sewing.

 This cheery quilt will be perfect for a bed quilt.
Look at all those happy M&Ms! Quilt pieced by another member of Annapolis Quilts for Kids.
I'm so glad I'm back to quilting. I always enjoy the process (assuming the Empress isn't in a mood). Pieced by Kat.
You can't see the bright green thread but I assure you it is there. So Fine #50 is a subtle thread perfect for quilting for texture.
This fun green quilt was another great place for that bright green thread. Quilt pieced by Kat.
Each one was quilted using the simple meander. It may be a humble, all-over quilting motif but it works and makes for a wonderfully snuggly quilt.

2016 Charity Quilt Count: 12

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Craft is Art Coloring Contest

Urban Threads recently announced a coloring contest and offered up a free machine (and hand) embroidery design. I wanted to get started quickly, so I picked up this simple tote from a local chain craft store.
The first step was to rip open the side seams and press it flat. This is one of the only times you'll see my seam ripper. I'm not a fan of ripping anything. When I sew this back up it will be so much better than the quality of the stitching it was made with.
Next was to get my fabric stabilized and the embroidery design stitched. This was the first time I used the biggest embroidery hoop I have for my machine. I usually use the medium hoop (6" by 9" hoop). I stitched it out at the largest size, 6.85" by 9.02".
Stitched out and ready to color. Now I just have to find my fabric markers. Or the crayons. Got to be around here somewhere.
I found my big bag of Sharpies and got to work.
I threaded the serger and stitched it back into a tote. This turned out so awesome! I love this piece.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dotted Rays: The Big Finish!

I finally put the last few stitches into my Dotted Rays Shawl by Stephen West. I really like this shawl and the pattern is so easy to work.
I washed it with mild soap and cool water.
Then I blocked it. I really overdid this one. I didn't need to add in that extra hank of purple. I measured it along the straight edge and it measures over 100". (The blocking mats are really anti-fatigue mats from Lowes.)
That doesn't mean it isn't an awesome finish. Because it is pretty awesome.
This isn't a small shawl by any means. I will definitely be making this one again. Yarn is from Knit Picks and the Knitting Boutique.

Tune in next time when I show you my next Dotted Rays project.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Dragon's Roar!

Choly Knight creates some awesome stuffed designs. Every month is a new one. February was an awesome little dragon.
I finally got around to making it and I love it!
Look at those little wings!
I really like this one, so cute and cuddly.
April is a darling little Loch Ness Monster.

The site also offers great tutorials on using fleece and minky-like fabrics. There are often free patterns, too.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Sewing Machine Maintenance

Every year you should take your sewing machine in for service.
Why? Because even if you're great at keeping your machines clean and changing out the needle there are places you may not be able to get to. My local Sew & Vac offers a wonderful deal new sewing machines. They include 5 years of free maintenance. They also offer classes and help with your sewing projects. Everyone there is so nice and helpful.

I had them service three machines: Babylock Evolution (overlock), Pfaff Expression 2.0 (my everyday machine), and my Empress long arm quilter (Tin Lizzie). Only one of these was bought in their shop but they service all machines and that service is great. I was having terrible problems with the long arm quilter. I'm so glad I took it in. It needed a timing adjustment, which was the likely cause of all my troubles.

Happiness is a truck-load of serviced machines.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Shake Down

Due to our move last year we didn't get a chance to go camping. This year, we're going to try to put the Jay Flight to good use and go hang out in the woods. This past Friday we picked up the camper from storage and headed to a nearby KOA. You can't test everything unless you really test everything.
We took our furry kids with us. This is challenging all by itself. We have a fully fenced back yard, so we rarely put them on leashes. This makes for a level of excitement nearly unheard of when we do go places. They do love to go with us. So many new things to see and smell!
I took along my Vertices Unite project. I made it through section two and got a little bit of a start on section three.
When we made the bed, I was reminded how much I love this scrappy quilt. Darling Husband still thinks it is weird that the big star isn't in the middle of the quilt. Even when I tell him "it's modern!"

We only stayed one night as the weather predicted on Sunday included winds up to 40mph and we weren't really excited about towing in that kind of weather if we didn't have to.