I’m super excited to have learned a new skill. One of my new year’s resolutions was to try something new creatively every month. My husband suggested learning to crochet hats. Well, I enjoy knitting a lot more than crochet so I decided to learn how to knit in the round.
As with most things, creating something new comes with lots of… I’ll call them learning opportunities. The hat I’m wearing is the successful end result of four scrapped projects. I chose to unravel them to keep the yarn since the things themselves were not save-worthy.
I got the hang of knitting a tube on circular needles. A small lumpy tube, lol!
Then I began what I thought was a hat pattern in the library book I’m learning from. Flip the page and it’s actually a bag. I have no need for a knitted bag.
Next I learned the importance of making sure the cast-on yarn isn’t twisted before joining it into a circle. Got a good 20 rows in before I realized the hat was going to flip around itself.
The hat’s diameter in this picture was too big. I got quite a ways in before realizing the size was off. So I figured I’d learn how to close up the top before unraveling this iteration.
#5: Ta-da! It’s a cute and functional simple hat. I can learn more complex patterns as I go along. This one’s for me. Hubby’s requested a green one so I’ll take him yarn shopping soon for the exact green that makes him happy. Me, I’m happy to have learned so much and not given up!
I’ve joined the “Drop and Give Me Twenty” challenge for February and pledge to quilt for at least 20 minutes every day this month.
I’ll be working mostly on the turtles quilt for camp. I’ve had this community project in my hands for quite some time now and it’s time to finish it up. Thanks to everyone who sent tree blocks I’m adding the final borders now. Soon it’ll be time to sandwich and quilt. Yay! I hope to get it completed this month.
I went to the park today to photograph some baby quilts. I talked about using appropriate props in this post and aimed to do that. Things don’t always work out the way you think they will. The playground was crowded and I wasn’t going to ask all the kids having fun to get out of my frame. So I took the quilts back home and looked around my yard for other options.
My fence is actually a pretty good backdrop. I pinned a string of fabric on the back of each quilt for hanging. The strings loop around two nails on top of the fence where we hung Christmas lights last year. I like the natural look of the wood and the contrast it adds.
Here’s the front side of the above quilt. How cool is it that this crumb-pieced baby quilt is double sided?! The front has crumb blocks pieced into black, white, and red fabrics. The back has crumb blocks appliqued onto a green, red, and white floral.
Here’s a Raggedy Ann and Overall Andy quilt. I paired this sweet fabric with a solid red to merge modern and traditional. The chevron zig-zag looks a bit like a crown too.
This one is a simple floral patchwork. I’m working on two more baby quilts. (And I have several more in mind that haven’t yet been started!) One is for this week’s Project Quilting challenge. It uses only 5″ charm squares of fabric. I’ll be cutting them up and piecing ’em back together. Here’s the first cut. I have one week to finish and enter it.
Quilts and more are for sale in my etsy shop! Here’s a sampling of other baby-sized ones that are ready today. Want something specific you don’t see here? I specialize in custom orders. Let’s talk.
When my sister and I were little we always had a jar of candy corn available in the living room to much on. I’m kind of over it now. Chocolate and fruity flavors are my candies of choice now. Still, I was inspired by this challenge to make something in a color I don’t use much: orange! I made this table-topper/wall-hanging/table-runner/large place-mat. Really, you can use it for whatever you want to! It’s machine sewn from tiny strips of orange batiks from Hoffman that my friend Sam generously put into a Megan Bag for me. I chose not to use any black in this piece, not even for the binding. That way it’s more versatile. I enjoy things that can be used for both Halloween and into later autumn events like Thanksgiving. Plus with these colors it could be used in the spring as well. Can’t you just imagine a lovely vase of sunflowers on this beauty?Here’s the back of it. It’s 16×24 inches long and will be for sale in my etsy shop momentarily. At $38 with $2 shipping it’s yours for only forty. What a deal!
P.S. My husband thought it’d be funny to get out the disapproving owl to scare me. Click if you dare.
I’ve been putting a lot of time and effort into improving my own head-space…. you know being very on-purpose about noticing my thoughts and behaviors. I want to become a better version of myself. Maybe even become more of myself than I’ve ever been. Clearly, this is a very personal journey…. though I’ve had lots of help along the way.
I had a bad day. I did. It didn’t undo all the progress I’ve made. I just had a bad day. By keeping things in perspective I’m able to continue moving forward. Thing is, this isn’t just for me. My mom once told me that with each generation we get better. I remember hoping that would be true but it doesn’t happen effortlessly. My reaching for higher health for myself may trickle down to future generations, especially if/when my husband and I decide to have children.
The Project Quilting Challenge for this week is up-cycling. Much of my art is very personal. You now know what I’ve been thinking about, so it’s probably no surprise that I knew the title of this piece before anything else. It’s called, “For The Children.” First, I tore photographs of children out of these Reader’s Digest Almanacs from the 70’s.
The tear-ings (not clippings) were raw-edge appliqued and bound with masking tape. In this case, raw-edge applique is code for sewn down. ‘Cause I used my sewing machine on paper. Yup.
The backing for this piece is a sheet of cling-on snowflakes found as Christmas decorations. They add meaning because I made and donated snowflakes when the Sandy Hook Elementary School reopened after the shooting. Plus we’re each a unique and beautiful snowflake but collectively (and individually) we can change for the better.
One more thing. I made the following quilt for a dear friend. It almost said, “You are loved.” This is much better. Now she can read it to herself as an affirmation… as a tool to help shift head-space from negative to positive. An opening up.
My sewing machine and iron are getting a mini-break so I can write this post. I’ve been sewing at all hours of the day… on all kinds of projects. I’m in one of those moods where I don’t want to work on one thing for very long. So I end up doing a little bit on a dozen different projects.
One of those projects last week was for an online quilting challenge. It’s called Project Quilting and here’s how it works. A challenge is posted and you have one week to make a finished quilt fitting the challenge. Here’s what I made for the string quilt challenge:
I’m not in love with it. It’s a completed project (yay) that was done in time to enter into this contest (yay) but it isn’t anything special. I played with pinked edges and batik scraps but kind of shrugged and wondered where to put this thing when I finished. I think it’ll be donated as a doll quilt.
There are lots of prizes with this contest. First, there’s a vote. Whichever project is the favorite wins first prize. After that, there are random drawings. Guess what?!?!?! I won one of those prizes! I’m that upside-down name under number 5. What did I win? Money towards long-arm quilting. Ho boy am I excited!
It’s lucky to win, but impossible to win if you don’t enter in the first place. Not everything you do has to be spectacular but it’s good practice to just keep making stuff. Make, make, make!
Does anybody else write notes to themselves? My sewing machine has making the ker-thunk noise that indicates the needle is bent or dull for (embarrassingly) a few days now. So after my sewing session last night, I wrote myself a nice little note. See, it’s hard to make myself get up and go find the container in the closet where I stashed the needles until I find a more permanent place for them after I’ve sat down to sew. So I just don’t, and deal with the ker-thunk. But this note reminded me before I was ready to begin, so check! Needle has been changed and the machine is purrring along nicely.
My friend Melissa has become local, since I moved to her area. Last night she invited me to check out her guild and generously even offered me a ride there and back. Yeah, she’s awesome like that.
So, new experiences are scary. I’m a member of what used-to-be my local guild still, and make the trek back there every few months to participate and catch up with my friends. So the guild thing wasn’t scary, but the room full of people that I don’t know and want to is. So I put on my big-girl panties and introduced myself around. After I was emotionally exhausted from putting myself out there (with mostly positive results) I saddled up next to Melissa at her table in the back and pulled out some handwork.
Then, the most amazing thing happened. People started coming up to me. They wanted to see what I was doing and it was a great conversation starter. Plus, this particular handwork project, my crazy hexagons, is uniquely mine. It showcases my skills and preferences, and is something I’m passionate about. It’s easier to talk about something I’m passionate about than attempt small-talk with strangers.
The results of the evening speak for themselves. I joined the guild. Also, I have multiple invitations from potential new-friends to sit with them next month. And I’ve been asked to bring some quilts for show-and-share… which I’m sure will just lead to more conversations and companionship. Love it.
Hello everybody. I’ve been offline for a few weeks as my hubby, cats, and I move into our new place. We’re now living in a house while we help clean it out, do general maintenance, and update it. (Including ripping out 70’s carpeting.) It’s been hard work, especially while still working full-time. Love those kiddos I nanny, and the new place is freeway close so I’m able to keep the job.
Anyway, thought I’d show you guys the photos and tell the story of my latest finish. I’ve been working hard on the house and hadn’t touched any of my quilting supplies for over a week when my husband suggested that I open up one box and play with the things inside. I was grumpy, tired, feeling isolated, and creatively drained. The boxes were packed months ago, before we moved to the motel. So I had no idea what specifically was inside of this one simply labeled, “Quilting.”
So here’s what I made from bits found in that box plus a few things from my purse. I wasn’t making anything in particular, just (as my husband suggested) playing around. It turned into this coolish mixed-media piece. The background is a scrap of my crumb-quilting fabrics. The centerpiece is a laminated meditation card I’ve been carrying around with me to help reduce anxiety. Other treasures include the pin I got for helping with my guild’s quilt show, a friend’s bookmark, antique buttons found in grandma’s dresser, and scissor charms from my last job. It was fun to experiment. I probably won’t be doing much mixed-media art going forward… it’s not my preferred style. But hey, trying new things worked. I was far less grumpy after the last trinket was stitched on.
Here’s my newest completed piece, “On A Good Day.” It measures 48×12 inches and was sewn entirely by hand. It’s pieced, appliqued, embroidered, couched and quilted. Texture, value and repetition were important to me when in the design stages.
This quilt began as a challenge in a quilting group. Each artist is making a piece of this size using the same red fabric. The quilts can then both be displayed as a group and stand individually. I think I’m the first one completely finished, but I’ll let you know if these ever go to a show or exhibit.
I leave you with a photo of my fuzzy helper, Milo. He likes to lay on my pillow and hug my arm while I’m doing handwork. Very cute.