Friday, October 30, 2015

The Whedonverse Swap: Slayer

Several months ago, I joined an Instagram swap hosted by the lovely Shauna.  It was a Joss Whedon themed swap.  My partner Lindsey is a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan so I went to work on putting together a fun mini quilt for her.
I wanted to try something very different so I grabbed my copy of Quilt Talk by Sam Hunter and got busy.
I pieced my letters and then had to decide how to place them on the mini.  This took more than a little math and playing around. I decided a minimalist approach would really be great for my way of doing things.  Here are the letters all pieced.  Making these paper pieced letters takes a bit of time but they are so worth it in the end.
This is a piece where the negative space was something to be filled up with quilting.

I agonized over the quilting on this for days before I finally got around to putting needle and thread to fabric.  My feathers are still somewhat primitive, but I like stitching them all the same.
I filled in the space between the feathers with simple lines to make the feathers pop.  Thread is Fantastico by Superior Threads, the color is called Lava Flow.
Filling in around the letters also helped to give them a little pop.

I used the same fabric for the binding.
I added some other fun things to the package.  This fun patch from Urban Threads was just one little extra.

This was a great swap and I'm so glad I joined in.  It challenged me to work on something that was a little outside my knowledge base (I did watch a season of Buffy while creating) and allowed me to stretch with my quilting.  Have you joined in any craft swaps that you want to share?  I'd love to hear about them.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Charity Quilting: Hunting Dogs

This quilt top was made by another member of Annapolis Quilts for kids.  I happily loaded it up for quilting.
Quilted with the humble meander it was done and ready to go back for binding.

Quilt Count:  40

Monday, October 26, 2015

In the Mail Monday: Knit Picks

I recently borrowed a couple yarn tools from a friend.  I liked the ease at which I could turn a hank of yarn into  wonderful ball of yarn so much I decided to finally buy my own tools.
My tools arrived from Knit Picks and I was so excited.
I bought the yarn swift and the ball winder.
I just so happened to have two balls of Freia's Fibers I picked up locally at Fibre Space that I wanted to rewind so the colors were reversed on the center-pull ball.  On the left is Dirty Hippy, the right is Metropolis.  Aren't the colors fun!
The Electric Boogaloo Cowl says to start with the two contrasting colors so I rewound these balls so the coordinating colors were on the outside.  I love this yarn.

My daily drive-time gives me more than a little bit of time to listen to some wonderful podcasts.  Recently, I listened to a wonderful story presented by Clarkes World“Today I Am Paul” written by Martin L. Shoemaker and read by Kate Baker. I really enjoyed it and wanted to share it with you. My iPod is full of things that I may never have time to listen to but this was so worth the listen.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Charity Quilting: Diana's Golden Needle

If you haven't heard about Diana's Golden Needle I recommend you go check out her Facebook page and learn about her wonderful project.  Her project started FEBRUARY 26, 2015.  Since then it has grown into a wonderful story of giving.  I'll share my small part of this grand project.
I offered to long arm quilt one of the quilts Diana is making for her project.  I emailed in late June and in October I received a top and backing to quilt.  (Before I go too far, I just want to apologize for the mostly blurry photos, the lighting in my sewing room is questionable as soon as the sun goes down.)
The pattern for this block, called Scrappy Trips, is available for free from Bonnie Hunter.  Check out the directions on Quiltville.
This was the first big quilt I loaded onto my recently extended frame.  Having all that room to work is great.
I decided to do the swirl flower as an all-over design.  This one is relatively quick to quilt and fills in space nicely.
An all-over design is good for busy quilts since you can't see the quilting very readily.
This was my favorite block in the quilt.

If you are interesting in helping Diana out with her project, I recommend you check out her Facebook Page to see how to get involved and to see all the wonderful quilts the quilting community has helped her make.

Quilt Count:  39

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wardrobe Wednesday: Electric Boogaloo Cowl

I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a pattern from Freia Fibers.  It looked fun, was simple and used ombre yarn.  I had some leftover Noro and some Lamb's Pride so I decided to try it out.  (This is why I usually end up with two or more of everything, because I try it out before I make the real thing.)
Years ago I bought several different balls of Kereyon by Noro.  I also had some Lamb's Pride.  I figured the contrast would be good enough to see the pattern develop in this pattern.
With so few working stitches, this is an easy project to carry along to stitch a couple rows in the car while going from place to place.

Check out the Electric Boogaloo Cowl on Ravelry, grab some ombre yarn and get stitching!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Charity Quilting: No Scrap Left Behind

I had a collection of 6" scrappy blocks and some trimmings from quilt backings that I handed over to Quilts for Kids a couple months ago because I knew I wouldn't have the time to make them into quilts.  These two quilts came from that stack of blocks.  Another member of the group pieced these tops together.
First was this lively quilt that I quilted with a simple meander.
Then I decided I wanted to make some of these fun flowers.
These are quick and easy to quilt and I think the resulting texture is great.
Here is the quilt with flowers.  I handed both of these over to another member of Annapolis Quilts for Kids for binding.  Quilt Count:  34 and 35
Because I need to play a little catch-up and I didn't take photos of all the quilts I've turned in, here is a stack of quilts that I sent off to Annapolis Quilts for Kids in early October.  Three of these were shared, and at least one wasn't in the bag when I took the photograph.

Quilt Count:  38

Friday, October 16, 2015

Charity Quilting: Scrappy Feathers

This fun quilt was put together by another member of Annapolis Quilts for Kids. Before I started my big move, I handed over a stack of scraps and some scrappy blocks I had made so they could be used while I was out of commission.  This is one of those quilts.
I love a scrappy quilt and this one is no exception.  Many of the alternate blocks were cut from leftover backing.  This is a great way to add some contrast.  Included in this quilt are 9-patch blocks, split 9-patch blocks, string blocks (built on paper foundations), and a couple friendship stars.  Directions for almost all of these can be found on Bonnie Hunter's site Quiltville.  She is the quilt-queen of scrappy.  Totally worth checking out.

This one was quilted with Magnifico from Superior Threads with some super-sized feathers.  I'm still working on them.  I don't know that they are quite ready for prime-time.

Quilt Count:  33

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wardrobe Wednesday: River Run Shawl Finish

Long ago in May I told you about my trip to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival and some fun yarn I picked up.
As makes go this one went much more quickly than I expected.  I love the waves of color.  I'm glad I decided to add the solids to the selection of yarns for this shawl.  So much going on here.
It turned out a little larger than I had expected.  Here it is before blocking (not that I'm sure blocking will do much for some of the synthetic yarns in the mix).
Free-form knitting is a liberating and terrifying in about equal measure.  I'm really glad I tried this pattern.
As the pattern recommended, I used Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off technique.  I recommend you watch a tutorial before trying this one.  It isn't difficult, I think you should practice before you start mucking about with live stitches.  I know I'm glad I watched it a couple times.

Pattern:  River Run Shawl (available on Ravelry)
Yarn:  Biggie from Dancing Leaf Farm and Wool of the Andes - Superwash from Knit Picks 

Monday, October 12, 2015

In the Mail Monday

This past week I received more than a couple packages.
This is what the USPS did to the quilt I received from Diana of Diana's Golden Needle.  I offered to long arm quilt one of her quilts to help her reach her Girl Scout project goal. Please go to her Facebook page and read her story and learn about her amazing quilt project.  The project has been blogged about on Quiltville by Bonnie Hunter and on During Quiet Time by Amy Friend as well as other blogs.
Spoonflower has a new offering: Sprout Patterns.  Pop over there and take a look.  I chose the Schoolhouse Tunic since I've been considering this pattern purchase for a long time.  I've washed my fabric so I just need to find the time to cut and sew.
I entered a giveaway from Swirly Girls Design and this is the great package that arrived.  Susan Emory also did a trunk show at the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild on Sunday so I got to see many of her quilts in person.  I wanted all the patterns, but I know that I would never make them all.  She also had a couple of her rulers and I couldn't resist picking up the Circle Savvy Ruler from Creative Grids.

Have you made an fun purchases recently?  I'd love to hear about them.

Friday, October 9, 2015

In The Bag: Drawstring Bags

Back in July I told you about my adventure with making a dice bag with a great pattern by Dragon Chow Dice Bags.  I decided it was time to make some modifications to the basic bag because I think it will make a great knitting project bag.
Step one was to make some notes and size up the bag.  I did some pretty simple math to make the bag at 150% and 200% of the original size.  You can find the original pattern here.
Here are my mock-ups of three different sizes.  The far right is the original size.
Then I modified the medium-sized bag to make it deeper.
Here is the medium and the deeper version in that fun glasses fabric.  You can see that either of these bags will easily hold two balls of sock yarn.  I do think the deeper bag would be a better project bag simply because there is more room for the drawstring closure.
I had to go find some drawstrings to go with my cord locks.  The drawstrings are 325 para-cord from the craft store.  The cord locks were a spectacular deal from  I recommend them if you're going to buy a bunch of these.  They do discounts for buying more of something and they will put together a bag filled with as many of each color as you want.  Twelve colors total.  I bought five of each so I would have a selection.

If there is interest, I may provide the measurements for the bigger bags.  The math isn't complicated, but it is nice if someone else does the testing for you.  The construction is almost identical to the original pattern.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Charity Quilting: Lucky Stars

After almost two months of no charity quilting I got going again late in September.

This fun Alternate Squares quilt was put together by another member of Annapolis Quilts for Kids.
This one was quilted with Magnifico from Superior Threads with the humble meander.  I needed a warm-up after so long without quilting so took it easy with the meander.

You can find this pattern and many more at Quilts for Kids.

Quilt Count:  32

Monday, October 5, 2015

Home Improvement and Mini Quilts

This week we tackled more small projects around the house along with continuing to unpack boxes.
We replaced a couple outlets.  This is an outlet/USB combination.  It fits into the outlet box replacing one of the outlets with two USB charging ports.  This is at my nightstand so I can have my lamp and charge two USB devices.  Pretty nifty.
The ceiling fan in Darling Husband's office stopped working about a week after we moved in.  Over the weekend we replaced it with this modern-looking fan.
Another great idea from IKEA is this drop table. We installed it in the laundry room so we would have a surface to sort and fold laundry.  We can move the basket out of the way and drop the table if we need more space in the laundry room and the table doesn't interfere with the baskets.
I also spent some time adding hanging sleeves to some of my mini quilts so I could hang them in my sewing studio.  I love being able to see all these minis in one place.  Two of these were received as part of swaps I participated in.  The others were made by me.

Do you have plans for around your house?  I would love to hear about your fun projects to make your space more comfortable or useful.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Knitting Along

I picked up some yarn at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in the spring.  I picked up two skeins of this lovely yarn from Avalon Spring Farms.  I love the blues and greens.  They remind me of the ocean.  The colors range from a shifting turquoise like in the Caribbean to the greens of New England waters, and the deep dark blue of the North Atlantic deeps.
I borrowed my friend's ball winder and swift for this.  Usually I don't mind hand-winding the ball, but I wanted to take this with me on business travel so I didn't have the time.  What am I knitting you ask?

I can't show you the details of what I have knit since this is a Mystery Knit Along.  The pattern is from Curious Handmade and written by Helen Stewart.  I saw a post on Instagram for the Summertide Shawl Mystery Knit Along and was intrigued.  So intrigued I shared it with my friend who joined.  I couldn't leave her without moral support, so I joined in, too.  

I'm still poking along on clue number two.  The KAL is only four clues so I might still catch up before the end of the KAL.  Have you found any fun knit along or sew along projects to jump into now that the kids are back at school?