A little bit louder, a little bit worse

Today I blocked the shawl I've been working on pretty monogamously since I finished the yarn (sagano shawl, rav link):

 Here's what it looked like before blocking, when I was wondering if I could actually make the top edge straight.  That teeny little ball near the center is what yarn I had left, but I foolishly wasn't worried about running out. 

 My 5-year-old remarked, "Mama, it looks like spiders."  Sigh.  Yes it does.  Where was the kid when I was picking out a pattern?  

An army of spiders

 I may not let the fact that it's made out of spiders and it's finally in the 70s stop me from wearing this at work this week. 

Here's where the project started:

I was not expecting stripes or gradient-ness - have a lot to learn about what to expect from fiber through the spinning process.  I've read lots of stuff that says that beginners might expect their first singles to be laceweight but are surprised at how much it plumps up, but my two-ply was definitely a laceweight, coming in at 650 yards over 4 oz.  I regularly hear about how small my handwriting is - maybe these facts are related.  For my next spinning project, I'm going to try to spin a thicker single so that I can make yarn for those worthy knitters in my life who aren't super into laceweight without having to spin 10 singles. 

I am finding myself tired, as I sometimes get, and a bit fallow, as my to-do list explodes.  Right before I started knitting the shawl that ate a month, I started an applique quilt knocked off from Crazy Mom Quilts:

Please ignore the purple/green blocks and orange circle, those are separate projects.

It went about like: I need a new quilt to make, something applique... yes, right there, that will do.  Monkey see, monkey applique.  This one will be for me, which is unfortunate because there is a long list of people I'd love to give a quilt to, and who deserve a quilt, and who I should be quilting for.  


Happy crafting!


FO: Plinko Patchwork and yarn

Usually when I apologize for low-light pictures, it's because I've finished something well after the sun has gone down.  This, however, is the rising sun.  Through trees, to be fair, but yeah.  March in the cold northeast. 

Plinko patchwork is finished!  It was planned to finish at 60"x72" - after a wash it will probably be a bit smaller.  

I was stumped for a long time about how to quilt it, and I put this quilt down when the spinning wheel quilt came together.  Putting quilts aside before they're done is rare for me, but I safety pin basted this one and then set it aside.  As I worked on other stuff, I kicked around lots of options, then sat down and decided out of nowhere to quilt Hostess cupcake loops over the seams.  Then, because it seemed like it needed a bit more and I couldn't remember which batting I'd used and therefore how much space I could leave between quilting lines, I did diagonals across the whole quilt. 

 My loops are, let's say, really really organic.  I hated them while I was quilting, but now that it's done, I really like the effect and will probably use this again. 

The very top of the back is more of the banner fabric, the middle is spooky trees, and the bottom is "Blast Off," a nice neutral geometic-y Connecting Threads clearance score.  The banners were a Hawthorne Threads clearance score.  Then my husband liked it so much that I scored more to make this quilt.  

And, with great fanfare and a very tired leg, I present my first handspun:

Six ounces of a black/white wool/alpaca 2-ply.  I can see how my spinning improved over the course of the two singles - there is a substantial amount of single left on the second bobbin I did, mostly because I didn't have huge slubs that could probably have produced a yard or two of single.  I'm going to figure out how long it needs to rest and then wash it.  Then I'm going to shellac it and put it on the wall.  Maybe.  

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday.  Happy crafting! 


FO: Twin Quilt 2

Twin Quilt 2 is done! 

It's the pattern that has become my standard for little babies, done in Connecting Threads charms and yardage with a couple other fabrics thrown in.  Charm squares in a 6x7 grid, white border, complementary fabric border.  I'm trying to adjust my buying to plan for this more in advance - the outside borders need a little more than a yard of fabric in order to not have to join (and match the pattern).  

Oh, look, a quick tutorial is happening.  

To match up these border fabrics, here's what I did:

First, I cut two portions of fabric that would together be long enough for the side border.  Then, I folded down a little more than 1/4" on the narrower fabric, and applied a little bit of glue along the folded down edge.  

Then I placed the fabric, folded side down, onto the fabric I was joining it to.  Then I pushed down on it reeeeaaaal hard.  

Then I carefully folded it up and pinned along the short edge.  I sewed right along the fold.  

Then I checked to make sure that the match was close enough that I didn't have to redo it, then trimmed the new seam down to about 1/4" and folded it open and pressed.  

It's not perfect, but it's hardly noticeable in the finished quilt, especially with all the horizontal quilting lines that cross the border.  

I also didn't buy enough of the backing fabric I'd originally planned for, so I turned to the stash and used these cute little seahorses instead. 


Here are the two finished quilts together.  Sometimes I have trouble getting finished objects to their recipients (on my shelf you'll find a scarf for the best boss ever, finished 11 months ago, as well as a baby blanket finished for a co-worker, whose baby is undoubtedly walking and possibly potty training by now.  To be fair, I don't see either of them on a regular basis), but I'm hellbent on getting these babies these quilts. 

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday at crazymomquilts.  Happy crafting!

Oh, look, some spinning, too:



FO: Spinning Wheel Quilt

Last weekend I got the spinning wheel quilt back from the quilter.

At the fabric shop, I chose an orange that was right in the middle of the yellow-red range used in the quilt for the binding.  I did a 2" double fold binding and decided, due to a quick turnaround needed, to do my very first machine finish. It wasn't perfect, but it wasn't noticeably horrible, so hooray for a quick solution.  People say it's more durable than hand-sewn bindings, but I've never had a problem with my hand-sewn ones.  Maybe after a couple of decades it makes a difference. 

Most of the points at the edge of the quilt came out pretty well. 

Here's the back, with a white-on-cream swirly flower sort of print. 

A full shot:

Pictures over the edge of the deck yielded a casualty - a little tiny snag, which I appliqued a patch over.  Can you see it? 

And the only shot I took after its first wash, when it got super crinkly and snuggly. 

Even though the colors aren't really my deal, I was sad to see it go.  On the other hand, I was very, very happy to get this little guy:

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday at crazymomquilts.  Happy crafting!


FO: Twin Quilt 1

The fabric for Twin Quilt 2 arrived the day I put the final stitches in Twin Quilt 1.  The twins may be coming home from the hospital as soon as a week from now, so I'd best get my Twin Quilt 2 on. 

Man, I hadn't realized how little turnaround time I have.  As I was stitching the binding down, it struck me how long that takes.  It takes a long time.  And it's funny to see how stiff these quilts are when they're first done - our two are so broken in that it's hard to remember when they weren't completely floppy. 

I had a hard time making fabric decisions for this quilt - I still kind of feel like the colors are almost random and don't cohere well, but I guess they kind of do.  There's some overlap of all the colors in the multicolored blocks.  The binding is a Kona dark purple, which I thought I'd run out of, then I ordered a beet red from Connecting Threads hoping it would be about the same, then I found and used a bunch more of the Kona purple, and then the fabric came and it was way the wrong color.  Ta-da! 

This is the first quilt I've put a bunny label on.  My mom recently gave me leftover fabric from the gingham patchwork quilt that my aunt made for me before I was born, and the bunnies were the backing. I decided to use the bunnies to make labels for all the baby quilts I can - a little piece of my beloved quilt going to all the new little babies.  Have been wondering if I could find any more of it. 

This is Twin Quilt 2 in its first stages.  I'm using Luna Sol Connecting Threads charms for this one.  I made an attempt to use the Acorn Park line, but my hope is to have as wide a color range as the first quilt, as well as as many focus fabrics as the first, and that just wasn't happening with my stash and Acorn Park.  I'll lose the solids here and add lots of other focus fabrics to flesh this one out. The border will be the moon fabric at the bottom right. 

I'm a bit in love with the light blue bunnies on the dark background - might get some more of that.  

Will link up with Finish It Up Friday when it's time. 

Happy crafting! 


Progress toward the spinning wheel

Today I dropped off the barter quilt at the long-armer's.  I've never had a quilt quilted before and can't wait to see how it looks.  It will be a few weeks before it's ready.  

Here's the top, finished:

I went round and round about maybe taking the top two rows apart to get those yellows further from each other, but landed on leaving it and deciding that the top will actually be the bottom, which should make it much less noticeable.  On the whole ride there, I considered turning around and taking it home to fix, then taking it back next weekend, but once I looked at it in the store, it didn't bug me at all.  Which is good, because I don't want the longarm lady to think I'm crazy neurotic.  

Lesson: I need to be more careful with yellow.   

Here's the back of the quilt.  The shot cottons are very pretty, but they fall apart if you breathe within a 3-foot radius of them.  I tidied up the back a bit, but pulling all the threads would have taken hours and I know in my brain that it doesn't affect how the quilt looks when it's done, so I refrained.  I hope the recipients really, really love it, but I know that I worked really hard on it and am pretty happy with the technical bits (sharp points, perfect corners), so I feel like I've done my part. 

I owe a lot of babies quilts right now.  The preemie twins may make it home before their due date, so it's a good thing I have one quilt ready to cut and bind.  I have nothing to bind it with, but I'm sure the stash will provide. 

This quilt is done in what has become my standard baby quilt pattern - the middle is a 6x7 grid of 5" charms, then there is a narrow-ish white border with a wider-ish border of one of the fabrics in the quilt.  I bought a bunch of random charm packs and am throwing some stash in where needed.  Did not love using a fabric that reads pretty light as the border of this, but this fabric happened to have four colors used in the rest of the quilt (pink, blue, green, and gray) and was pretty much the only thing I had yardage of.  

I have another charm pack that I could use for the other twin quilt, but it doesn't coordinate at all with these colors.  Would that be weird?  I could probably use more Connecting Threads charms to come up with enough for another top, and I could duplicate one fabric with this quilt.  Lord knows there are other babies that I could use the other charm pack for.  

It's nice to have an open design wall for the moment.  On to the next baby quilt. 

Happy crafting! 


FO: Elephant Abstraction

It's done!!

I'm wicked excited about how this turned out.  I made two major modifications to the color scheme, namely using a lighter yellow for the background and substituting a plain white for the "cream" color used in the tusks.  I did use cream for the toenails as called for in the pattern.  

Here it is before a wash (and well after dark, on the floor):

As you can see, there's not a lot of contrast where the white bits in the ears meet the yellow; that would have looked better with the gold background.   

Here it is after a wash, nicely wrinkly:

For about every 3rd or so line of quilting, I switched directions and quilted back the other way, to prevent too much biasing.  You can tell there's some pulling if you look at the yellow sections, but I didn't think it looked too bad. 

Here's the very boring back:

I had enough of the gold to cover the whole back, so I took the easy option.  You can see in this picture how non-straight the quilting lines get about a third of the way from the bottom - it's not super-noticeable on the front.  

The pattern is here, and I got a quilt kit for it (that had the original fabric selections) from Hawthorne Threads - an awesome birthday present.  Overall, this was actually a pretty good project to learn paper piecing on, because it's all solids. 

My backing fabric for Plinko Patchwork has arrived, as has fabric for skirts for each of my little ones, as has a fq stack of shot cottons for a custom quilt that I'm going to trade for a handmade spinning wheel:

Though these aren't in the color range I usually favor, I can certainly see the appeal.  The yellows/oranges/reds form a really pretty gradient.  The people I making the quilt for liked my weathervane island quilt, so I'm going to design a bigger one for this project.  

And, because two projects I am champing at the bit to get started on aren't enough, there are now two little teeny tiny preemie babies in the NICU who I thought I had a lot more time to quilt for.  But, no, I didn't, so that's on the list as well. 

I cashed it in super early last night, and will probably do the same tonight, because I'm tired.  I have quilts to design, fabric to iron, backings to make, and several things to knit, but I'm tired.  Sometimes you just have to sleep instead of make stuff.  

Linking to Finish it Up Friday over at crazymomquilts.  

Happy crafting! 



Finally finished up the three pairs that had stalled inches from the finish line:

The hardest part was finding them.  These are pairs 95, 96, and 97, and pairs 98, 99, and 100 are on the needles. 

My secret quilt project was busted about immediately, but it was met with approval, so that's good.  Here's the original design:

And here's the finished top:

It's easy to write something like 72" on the paper, but that's actually a pretty big quilt.  I'm happy with the size, though - it will be big enough to be a "real" quilt rather than just a snuggle quilt.  

I've got backing (and a bunch of other stuff) on order, and I hope to get this one done pretty soon.  Also progressing nicely is the Elephant Abstraction quilt, which has binding attached and is about to get a hanging sleeve before the binding is sewn down.  Plugging along.  

Happy crafting!


Keep on Quilting

So, it turns out that it's hard to make a surprise quilt for someone you share a dining room with, when the dining room is also your quilting area.  Today, a very rare day off alone, is dedicated to secret quilting. 

I would be a little further along on this, but for the past few days all I've been able to do is knit little kid mittens and stare off into space.  I'm really trying to get the top done before people get home.  

I wanted to do something more interesting than plain patchwork, and am working with a slightly weird assortment of solids that I'd like to stick to. 

Here's the shawl that I picked back up a few weeks ago and then spent hours messing up and frogging:

I'll spare you the details of all the frogging and mind-changing.  Long story short, I was delighted to find that the original dyer is close by and still stocking what looked like the same yarn, then disappointed to find that it's a lot darker than the original skein.  It's probably going to just mean that the edge ruffle is going to be a little darker than the rest of the shawl, which I'm prepared to call a design element so I can just be done.  

Happy Veterans' Day, to those of you in the US.  Lots to think about today. 


Some organic quilting lines are more organic than others

The quilting is done on Elephant Abstraction.  

This got put aside for Halloween costumes (cow ears are hard, yo), and today I became convinced that the thing I simply must do NOW is finish a shawl that I love but that I put down, oh, 4-5 years ago because the contrasting yarn I'd picked wasn't contrast-y enough and I didn't know which direction to go.  So I tore apart everything to find the shawl, decided on a plan, tore apart everything to find the contrasting yarn (where, oh where did my bare hare... go) but have failed, so I'm stealing an undyed yarn from another stalled project.  

And it's taken me years of knitting and then quilting and then back again, and house moves, and children-having, but I finally find myself relating to the Yarn Harlot, with the half-memories of special yarn squirreled away somewhere, stuff I don't remember the name of or where it came from, and stuff I could swear I ordered at the same time as this yarn right here, but where did I put it?  Where would I even have put it?  

Oh well, off to frog a section that I want in contrast color and finish up this shawl.  

Happy crafting!


Making Elephant Abstractions Quilt

Hello!  Things have been plugging along here at Chez Orooni.  I actually finished two pairs of socks:

Finished them all the way, no hanging out with toes ungrafted for years for these pairs. 

Both pairs are Felici and both were made exclusively during work meetings/trainings over the last few months.  The bright sock on the left is missing some pink in the cuff because I found myself finished with one sock and ready to start the next but didn't have the second ball, so I just used the end of the first ball.  Fascinating, I know. 

Yesterday we hit the Sheep & Wool Festival (which the two-year-old kept calling the Sheep and Vegetable).  It's one of my favorite things to do every year, though this year wasn't so exciting on the purchases front - I'm saving up my crafting budget for a wheel, and I also haven't used up anything I bought there last year yet.  Did knit part of a mitten, though.  

Life is in some ways an ongoing struggle between knitting and quilting.  As the weather gets colder, ideas for things I need to knit pop into my head continuously (little Citron shawls for each of the girls, my felted clogs have busted holes in the heels, Other would like a wool hat), but my quilting list gets longer, too (the Red Quilt for girl 2, an in-between size quilt for girl 1, a patchwork quilt with the banner fabric Other likes...).  

And in very, very exciting news, I've completed the 97th fragment of the Elephant Quilt and have started putting the pieces together.  Pictured below are the feet: 

Whenever anyone sees the Elephant Feet, they yell, "Elephant Feet!"  One of the bonuses of having your design wall in the kitchen/living room. 

I've looked around a bit on the web for people making this quilt, but have only found where the kits are being sold.  Am curious what others have done with the background.  I'm substituting a Connecting Threads solid (custard, I'm pretty sure) for the "gold" that the kit came with, and will use the gold for the back.  Will probably piece some of the leftover elephant colors into the back as well, because I can't really see using them for something else.  

If you're making this and run out of one of the colors, I'd be happy to send some along.  I was very careful to get the most mileage as possible out of the colors, and ended up with tons left over.  (Phew)

It's been hard to stay on track with the elephant - I'd love to churn out a quick little baby quilt or something.  But I want to get this done and dusted, because it's hard to pick up again if I wander off.  I also really, really can't wait to see what it looks like finished.  

I hope your fall is as crisp and energizing as fall can be.  Happy crafting! 


FO: Christmas Medallion

I finished this quilt a few months ago, and finally gave it to my mom last month.  It was a surprise (Merry Christmas!) and she reads the blog, so there was no posting about it. I wanted to do something as spectacular as I could manage, so I chose a medallion quilt with spiral quilting. 

And now, for lots of pictures:

So finished!

Just started!

The middle!  A ribbon star and pinwheels

Making trees!

More trees

I have a tutorial for the 6" finished evergreen block I made up.  Will post that soon. 

Preparing pieces for the economy block border

Peppermint idea shamelessly stolen from Good Golly Ginger

Top finished
Spiral quilting
Wobbly center
The back!  

My mom had recently left a box full of old fabric, a lot of which was Christmas-themed.  There was a lot of fabric, so there's a bit more left over, even after making another very simple little throw.  

So glad to finally post this.  Linking up with Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts. 

Happy crafting!