7.22.2018

Tour de Fleece

For the past 16 days, I have been spinning, plying, unspinning, respinning, washing, skeining, and reskeining yarn as part of the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry.  Here's some of the stuff I've done:


This is Frabjous Fibers, superwash merino in Persephone.  I divided it into three parts and will make a 3-ply.  Am spinning pretty thin, hoping to get about 400 yards of fingering weight.  No idea how that will work out, because I've never made a real 3-ply before.   



This is the Nest superwash merino, One of a Kind #9.  It's a 2-ply, and I spun less thin, then plied on the looser side.  Then I got all grumpy, because I wanted it plied tighter, and I had lots of philosophical discussions with myself about where the sweet spot is for something being plied the right amount vs. overplied, and then I just went for it and ran it through the wheel again, and after washing (the picture was taken before washing), it hangs straight and it's so beautiful and soft and I loooooove it.  This is the kind of yarn that will probably become a nightmare to behold once it's knit up, but I don't care, I love it. 

567 yds

This is BMFA shetland in River Rocked.  I plied the daylights out of it and then it was all twisty and... super twisty, so I ran it through the wheel again to take twist out, and I washed it and then reskeined it and I now love it and this is exactly the sort of yarn I've been coveting.  Yay! 

528 yds

Okay, this is BMFA Mango Tango in Polwarth, fiber I've had for many years.  I had a bobbin of singles left over, plus a little more fiber that I'd put aside because I just couldn't PINKORANGEPINK anymore.  So I picked it back up, finished up the singles, and then Navajo plied it.  And then I realized I'd been overplying everything (noticing the theme here? this is the wheeee part of the learning curve)  and I took a bunch of twist out (painstakingly testing every single section and wondering if maybe I'm just not cut out for spinning) and it came out well and I'm happy with it.  

 
This is the Mayhem shawl, created entirely by following the written-out directions.  I didn't have to understand any of it, I just did what it said, and lo, here it is.  You can probably see in the picture how wavy gravy the overspunness made the finished shawl.  Ugh.  But also, oh well, I'll wear it and it will be fine.  I used nearly every bit of the yarn and stopped a few rows short of what the pattern called for, but I think it looks okay.  The finished edge doesn't look significantly narrower than the top edge, unless you're looking very closely, and if you are, the biasing will distract you. 

The baby quilt in progress that I posted a bit ago now is a finished top with borders, just waiting to be basted.  Perhaps I will do that tonight, unless the spinning bug won't let go.  

Happy crafting!

5.26.2018

Mayhem

Really all I wanted was just a simple garter stitch-ish pattern for a shawl for making my super overspun green handspun wearable.  I downloaded Mayhem (rav link) and discovered a challenging, fun, think-y shawl for people who are up for that sort of thing right now, which I am not.  I am forging onward despite basically slow-motion swimming through a sea of red flags (fancy cast-on! mirrored charts! needing to know what needle size you're using! argh!) purely because making a new decision about what to knit is simply too much work, which is a lot like deciding not to cancel a wine of the month club because you can't afford a stamp for the envelope*.

The positive side effect for the monumental effort it took to find a needle sizer is that I found some fabric I'd been looking for and a pair of socks that is finished except for the toe grafts that I had 100% forgotten I'd knit.  (Those were under a pair of socks that is finished except for the toe grafts that I did remember.)  I vaguely remember joking many years ago about knitting a pair of socks in a fugue, because I was supposed to be knitting something else.  It's nice that my mental deterioration is finally catching up with my alibis.  One of the many delightful benefits of growing older.  

Woohoo!

Aaaanyway, what?  Oh, I finished a shawl:


This one was just my speed.  Stockinette, stockinette, stockinette, easy lace, deviate completely from the pattern and throw in a ruffle, and wham! shawl. 

Also happening:


Charm squares for another baby quilt, this one likely for the Etsy shop.  Let's just say that the color scheme is not my jam, although I do really like the purplish butterflies on pinkish background.  

What else, what else:


This is River Rocked on Shetland, I want to say?  Yeah?  That I tried really hard to not overspin in the singles but then plied to the fullest extent remotely reasonable.  We'll see how that turns out, still working on some singles.  

And another thing:

Nest Superwash Merino

Frabjous Fibers Superwash Merino
I'm squirreling away bits of pretty fiber for the Tour de Fleece, which happens in July.  I may not a) be able to wait until July, or b) remember, once July rolls around, that I was supposed to be doing the Tour de Fleece.  The second one was a result of the logic of: can't behave well in the car, huh?  Well, we're passing WEBS, so let's see if you won't embarrass me in public!  Ha!  Because at least then I'll have some fiber!  

Come for the poorly-lit pictures of basic projects, stay for the professional-grade parenting tips, is what I say.  

Happy crafting, everyone.  


*Where in this analogy, money = mental energy.  Case in point, in that last sentence, I spelled the last four words wrong 2-5 times each before typing them correctly.  No 'e' in analogy!  Not anywhere!

3.30.2018

FO: Warm Baby

Aloo!  I got my quilting mojo jump-started with a crazy deadline for a pretty big quilt.  It had stalled when I was trying to make one for a little baby girl who was due in January, but the layout and colors just would not gel:

Bwuh?
It was really bad.  I was trying to go off of the white squares with the sketchy circles, but it just was not working. 
 
Guh?
It's a pretty fabric, I swear.  This one is probably scuttled for good.  

So eventually I finished a twin-size quilt in two weeks or something, then scrapped this whole thing and started over with something HAPPY, GOD DAMN IT: 


Much better!  Probably.  Whatever, I don't even know anymore.  The world was looking like this at the time:


Which is cool for a Dour-Peoples-on-the-third-moon-of-Jupiter vibe for a day or two, but we were on about month 4 of the whole thing and I needed some orange and pink.  

And then I needed to scrape together some spending money for the backing fabric, because while I had some pieces big enough (and, come to think of it, could have just pieced something that would have looked okay), the colors weren't right. 

Turns out the print on the backing is verrrry light.

I'm developing a huge stack of charm squares for making more of these simple little baby quilts, and along with this backing I bought several other longer bits that should make nice backings for other such quilts.  These quilts are just under a yard wide, so about a yard and a quarter is enough to back one with some fabric left over.  Leftovers are very important for several grandiose plans that are hatching. 

Bunneh!

I handed this one off to one of the happy parents well after the little one showed up, as unceremoniously as ever.  (I worked for many hours on this!  Then I put it in a paper bag!  Here!)  I'm not sure it's to the parents' taste, but it is a) not the color of mud, and b) at least more cohesive than that first attempt, so.  

Happy crafting!

3.07.2018

FO: Red Tumbler

Finished in time for the big birthday:


This quilt used the same layout as the orange one I made a couple of years ago for the older kid.  Each tumbler measures 6" at the longer base and is 6" tall.  I laid out all the squares on my design wall and across the couch a long time ago, then sewed the rows together and put it aside.  Wish I had noticed the long run of darker reds starting in the upper right corner.  There are a couple of things I'm not psyched about in terms of the layout of this one, but if I'd slowed down to contemplate all of that, it wouldn't have been done on time, so better done than perfect. 

The back has three rows of half-size tumblers inserted toward the top.  I like to make the back asymmetrical so that you can tell which end is the top of the quilt as you're putting it on the bed. 


Like the previous one, I quilted in the ditch over the whole quilt, then echoed each ditch line twice on either side. 
Closeup of quilting on back

For the batting I used Quilter's Dream Wool in a twin size, which had some terrible reviews on Fabric.com because of issues they seem to have had when some of their product didn't get some part of the finishing process.  I used that batting in the other tumbler quilt and have been really happy with it, so I decided to give it a chance and resigned myself to ripping the quilt apart and re-doing if necessary.  Luckily, it went through its first wash just fine, and I don't anticipate any problems with it.  It's a pretty high loft and is very warm, and the orange quilt has broken in very nicely.  

Tune in next time for a finished baby quilt.  Here's a little preview of what I'm working on now:

Happy crafting!

2.18.2018

Nearly there

As luck would have it, I have enough navy bias binding from the last tumbler quilt to bind the whole Red Tumbler. 


Occasionally there is an upside to being a pack rat playing a long game.  

Luck would also have it that on the day of the deadline, I have three hours unscheduled this week due to alternating-week stuff getting messed up.  Worst case scenario, I spend those hours finishing up the hand sewing of the binding.  

As for tonight, I hope to finish the quilting - one more horizontal seam to do (5 rows of quilting) and then along all four edges, two lines each.  I may get it done before bed, I may not.  

Happy crafting!

2.11.2018

Better late than later

I finished a scarf!

Before blocking:


I was smart, over four years ago, to knit the second end first and then set it aside for grafting - no worrying about guessing how much yarn I'd need, and when I felt done I was actually close to being done. 

Blocking worked wonders and it's plenty long enough now.  
 

The pattern is Kernel, from Knitty.  


Yarn is Malabrigo sock in Solis, purchased way back in 2009.  I originally started it before my second child was born in 2014, hoping to get it done before she was born.  Then I didn't, and I'd pick it up here and there on long car rides, which had become much fewer and further between.  And then a few weeks ago, I decided to get it done and zoomed through the last couple of repeats. 

Quilting/art quilting mojo has pretty much returned - I started a thing:  


The working title is "hand-dyed with circles."  I may come up with something better.  


Right now I'm making a bunch of circles in various ways.  Thread, beads, applique.  The big circle, visible in the top picture, is from a quilting hoop.  I kind of like it, and may quilt along it, but it does change the whole look of things.  Generally I've been adding one thing per day - a set of stitches or beads - and I'll keep trying to do that until it feels done.  I'm also thinking about finishing techniques for the edges.  Will probably not do a traditional binding, but I'm not sure what I'll do instead.  

The big push right now, though, is to get this twin-sized quilt finished asap.  I set it aside with the top rows finished but not sewn to each other and the backing still in many pieces.  Now it's basted and there are some quilting lines finished.  This is the same pattern (plan, there's no real pattern) as the orange twin tumbler I made several years ago, which calls for five lines of quilting at each seam. 


Six down, a bazillion to go.  Urgh, I just did the math and I'm going to have to seriously up my average if I want the quilting done by the middle of next week.  And then there's the binding...  

Happy crafting!

1.21.2018

Oh hi

My rabid and dedicated fan base has pointed out to me that I haven't posted here in a good long time, so here I am!

I have made socks:

Stockinette!

Pair #100!
Child size!
Leftovers!

I have made yarn:


First Navajo-plied, about worsted weight


BFL/Shetland

Superwash merino/Nylon

I love my wheel precisely as much as I thought I would.  I love spinning and I love handspun.  Details for most of these are on Ravelry.  The last blue one will be a 2-ply, and I just finished this recently, so it will sit for a bit before I ply it. 


I made a quilt:

This was pure expedience - the entryway of my office building is dreary and drab, so this is just something to look at.  My quilting mojo is nowhere to be found, so I did an image search, came up with something that looked doable, and did it.  Whiz-bang. 

I tried out a new finish on the binding - it's a machine finish, with a fancy stitch.  I used white thread on the white parts of the blocks and a teal thread on the colorful parts, including to finish the binding. 


I'm also in the process of making a baby quilt, for a baby who was born, um, about two weeks ago.  After dragging my feet on the design for ages, I scrapped the whole plan and went with a simple warm/orangey palette plan and the top is done and I have batting that fits and the only possible backing is blue.  Which isn't ugly or horrifying, it just doesn't fit the whole feel of the quilt at all, and I'm trying to decide if I care.  As I wait to come to this decision, away I spin on the next thing.  

Happy crafting!

8.13.2017

FO: Adventure Baby quilt

Just by the deadline (hop on a plane tomorrow), we have a finished baby quilt:


Navy and neutrals was the requested palette, and the nursery will have an adventure theme.  The best adventure map fabric I could find was this one, which rather unfortunately is quilting-themed.  It's a quilt, so that's kind of okay, but it's a lot about making quilts (pins, thimbles, sewing machines, etc) but there are also boats and compasses and old-fashioned-y map stuff, so I went with it.  Kid won't be able to read it for a while.  


For this quilt, I went with a dark inner border and a lighter outer border.  Can't explain that design decision in words, it was just a feeling that I had. 


Connecting Threads had a neutral line that I bought a single charm pack of, and now I'm really wishing I'd gotten more.  There is more to see close-up.  I had to dig deep to get a range of fabrics, and bumped the maximum number of duplicate patches up to three, rather than the normal two.  A birthday gift certificate helped with the border fabrics and some of the patches. 



And, finally, the boyish-est bunny in the bunny stable (warren?)  


In other news, my birthday was incredibly fiber-packed, which is very exciting.  



Can't wait to get back to my wheel some.  There are two more baby blankets on the list, and I don't know yet if they will be for boys or girls.  I've got a stack of girl fabrics to work on, and one of the incoming babies has a sister who never got a quilt the first time around, so I'll probably work on that one next.  

Happy crafting!

7.16.2017

Baby Quilt Bonanza

Seems that a couple of the quilting blogs I follow regularly-ish have fallen off.  I suppose it would seem that mine has, too.  For right now, that's because quilting has fallen off.  Not by my choice, and once the new shape of everything is solidified, it will probably pick back up.  We are shifting big pieces of things around (jobs, school, schedules, everything) and right now the only thing I have energy for during quilting/spinning time has been listening to music and running up my losing streak record at Free Cell.  (Nineteen.  Nineteen.) 

BUT.  I've finished a skein of yarn and two baby quilts, and I managed to take pictures of them before they were given.  The next quilting deadline is in about a month, and I don't really have the fabric I need, and I really don't have the money to get the fabric (see above re: massive shifting), so fingers crossed that all will fall into place soon.  I've sewn bindings on planes, but never with kids along, so hope to avoid that.  

Baby Quilt #1 (actually #3):

Mostly Connecting Threads Squirrel Park charms, Squirrel Park border, Connecting Threads yardage for backing.  


The back, with its little vintage bunny:


I don't feel like fighting with Blogger about where my pictures go, so here is the finished yarn I was talking about:


Polwarth fiber, dyed in True Blood Red from BMFA from a while ago.  There are associated numbers (ounces, yards, whatnot) but if I try to find them right now I'm sure I'll wander off and not come back to the blog for a month.  I had been planning on posting this for sale on Etsy, but then Etsy demanded my bank account information, and I'm not sure that Etsy and I are far along enough in our relationship for that sort of sharing.  Anyway, this is laceweight, over 600 yards if I remember correctly.  I will probably take the plunge with Etsy at some point, and if you're dying to give me money in order to get this yarn, let me know and I'll scootch that item up my to-do list. 


Baby Quilt #2 (actually #2):


This quilt is for a little baby boy.  I've knit baby boy blankets before but have never made a baby boy quilt before.  Blankets strike me as so much easier than baby boy quilts.  So many more decisions have to be made for a quilt.  No, let me rephrase that: the same decision has to be made eleventy-seventy times, namely: is this boyish enough?  Is this boyish enough?  Is this boyish enough?  


If you do not think this is boyish enough, please do not tell me that.  This is a mix of fabrics, some grays from a FQ set from some designer or another, I think it was Moda (I know, I know, stop with so many helpful and specific details, orooni) that I used for the Block O-hio quilt, plus lots of Connecting Threads.  Plus random-birds.  Plus old Hawthorne Threads stuff.  Boyish stuff.  Yeah. 

The boy quilt, reclining casually

 And finally, vintage munching bunny:

Is that bunny boyish enough? 
I'm just going to keep going, because it seems dangerous to stop at this point.  

Oh shit, is this really ugly? 

This work in progress is way more impressive than the next baby quilt (another boy one, with 11 of 42 squares up on the wall) so far, so here are the 59 squares I have for the Must Applique Now Quilt.  How many do I need?  Dunno.  More.  Am repeating background fabrics, not focus fabrics, so far.  

Hlkjasfdklj.  I hope your summer has been more productive than mine.  

Happy crafting!