Saturday, December 3, 2011

Busy As A Bee

So the entire month of November seems to be a total blur to me. I cannot believe we are already in the third day of December. Goodness me. Before I know it, I will be on a plane heading down to Georgia for the holidays. So maybe before that happens, I can complete a few projects both in the knitting and sewing departments.

As many of you know, I enrolled myself into an official quilting class back in October. My last post showed some of the completed blocks that I had done. The class lasted for seven weeks and finished right before Thanksgiving. I spent many days and nights to complete the quilt top and backing in time for the end of the class. This is what it looked like hanging up on the wall in the classroom...

The finished quilt top is around 56" wide by 84" in length. My instructor told me she was so very proud of me. I am proud of myself too. I told my instructor the very first night of class what I wanted my project to be. She looked at me like I was being over ambitious but she encouraged me nonetheless. I think I truly surprised her and my classmates by walking through the door with my finished quilt top. During the final class, my classmates and I pin basted my quilt pieces together. The quilt now has around 300 pins in it and waiting for me to sit and quilt it all together. When things quiet down in the new year this will be one of the projects to complete.

I am now working on a second quilt, but this one isn't for myself. I was approached by a co-worker asking if she could pay me to make a quilt for her. I looked at her, smiled and said, "You know it won't be cheap. A quilt takes a lot of time and effort." She smiled back at me and said, "Oh honey, I know that." After hearing what she wanted and she hearing my price (which I thought would send her running) I am now working on a 40"x40" quilt for her. This is the fabric I chose...

My co-worker told me of the colors she liked (pink, red, turquoise, yellow) and that she wanted flowers. She gave me a couple of items that she wanted to incorporate into the quilt if I could. I am going to make them into appliques and add them to the black/gray squares. The green fabric will become sashing between the squares and as a border. The other three fabrics will make up the other squares. I currently have everything cut out and have started sewing the pieces together. I would like to try and have it complete before I go on vacation in three weeks but my co-worker told me not to stress myself out over it. So I'm not.

On the knitting front I am still plugging away on a few things. I focused myself today on cataloging my yarn stash to get myself ready for the 2012 Stash Down I am doing with Michelle starting in January. Our goal is to get our stash down a considerable amount by Rhinebeck in October. So I spent my afternoon putting everything into Excel for easy tracking. I was quite pleased to see that the total yardage amount wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It still fits inside of 2 plastic tubs, so it can't be that bad, right?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Quilting Class

I have been a sewer since I was thirteen years old. My mother taught me all those years ago and I can still remember the sky blue fabric that had colorful brush stroke splatters on it that we made into a one piece jumper. Even had a coordinating short sleeve pink top to wear underneath it. When I was seventeen my parents gave me my first sewing machine for Christmas and from then on I sewed up a storm.

For many years, making clothing was my main focus with the occasional home dec item sneaking into my projects. When my body decided to turn into a "real" woman size I gave up on the clothing because I honestly couldn't be bothered having to alter the patterns to fit my size. My focus then turned to items like pillows, placemats, Christmas trees skirts and even a wall hanging quilt that I gave to my sister many moons ago.

Everything I know for sewing has been self taught. Kind of like I have been with my knitting once I learned the basics. After my sister and I visit the local favorite quilt shop here in NYC last year, I knew I wanted to take their seven week Intro to Quilting class. While working nights, I could never manage to get into the Saturday class and the one during the week conflicted with my working hours. So when I received the schedule for the Fall classes I immediately signed up for the Thursday night class.

I must say that I absolutely love the instructor! She has such a passion for quilting and is so eager to share her knowledge with everyone. I've been asked if I felt like I was going to get my money's worth out of this class since I kind of already knew what was involved with quilting. My immediate response is, "Yes!". We have covered four of the seven weeks now and I have learned so much. My confidence has been boosted too.

The instructor has left it up to each student as to what they will produce in the class using the block patterns she has provided us. Her model project was a four block quilt, with sashing and borders, to be completed into a lap quilt. She said that she has had students that have made that project or even turned it into a table runner or maybe a larger quilt. I knew right then that I wanted to make a quilt big enough to snuggle under while watching tv or reading a good book.

Each week we come into the class and put our completed blocks up on the wall for everyone to see. I am definitely the over achiever in the class, as I am the only one that has eleven blocks finished. I still have four more to go to get to the fifteen block count that I want for my quilt. Last night we picked out our sashing and border fabrics. I am so excited to see this project through to completion.

So here are the blocks that I have done so far. I have uploaded them in the order I completed them. It's been fun going from the simple to the more complex blocks. I am hoping to get the remaining blocks done this weekend so I can move forward with the sashing.

Happy crafting everyone!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rhinebeck Roundup

Another Rhinebeck has come and gone. It goes by so quickly, especially when you are enjoying yourself with a great group of ladies. This year the most awesome Kim organized a rental house for myself and 11 other ladies (which I just have to say are all fabulous and I can't wait to see again) to stay at for the whole weekend. I must say that this was so much better than staying at the local Super8. The house was huge and I wanted to move in so badly. Unfortunately the only picture I took of the house didn't take and I didn't realize it until I got home on Sunday afternoon. We are all hoping that we can get the same house for next year.

The weather at the festival on Saturday was a bit windy and slightly rainy, but we didn't let that dampen our spirits. I didn't bring my real camera this year so I only took a few photos of the whole weekend. The majority of them being the sheepies on Sunday. So here's what I have to share:

Miss Shameka and I wondered around the festival together on Saturday and she so graciously stood in the Sanguine Gryphon pay line with me, which ended up being an hour and fifty minute wait. I had a picture of the the line that went out the barn door, up the hill and to the back parking lot fence, but my camera ate it. However, I do have a picture of Miss S modeling her fabulous Mod Podge sweater!

After we all exhausted ourselves at the festival, it was time to relax back at the house and recap our day with everyone else. Two of our ladies even got a personal spindle lesson from Ms. Through the Loops herself, Kirsten. I managed to capture three craptastic photos of Shameka getting her lesson.

Watching them made me wish I had remembered to pack my spindle. Oh well, next year.

On Sunday I hung out with Ms. Boring Knitter herself, Michelle. It was wonderful to finally be able to hang out instead of just having a few minutes conversation together as what has happened during the past years. I think we enabled each other just a bit in doing some final festival shopping. She even helped me purchase some BFL for my spindle. She and I ended our morning together hanging out with some sheepies.

Finally, I did come home with a little haul. I call it little because this is less than what I have bought in the past. I brought home enough yarn for two sweaters from Brooks Farm and Miss Babs. Three sock yarns hopped in my bag from Sanguine Gryphon. I also bought some really cool sock yarn called Night at the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth, however it's not one of their yarns. The color goes from pink all the way to a dark gray. The mock up was really cool so I decided it had to come home with me. There is enough yarn to make two matching socks. I bought a shawl book after talking with the designer and falling in love with the one she was wearing. Two skeins of Fiber Optic lace yarn were purchased to make said shawl. I bought another Sheep Incognito picture to be a mate to the one I already have at home. There is some fiber from Into the Whirl at the edge of the table and finally I bought a shawl pattern that I fell in love with at the Fiber Optic Booth.

While I didn't get to finish my Rhinebeck sweater or fingerless mitts in time for the weekend, I do think my knitting mojo has come back to me just a bit. I couldn't wait to "crack open" some of the Sanguine Gryphon yarn the other night. I had the perfect pattern in mind too. So as of today, I have a more than halfway finished sock number one.
The pattern is called Honey Badger by Irish Girlie Knits (Ravelry link). The yarn is Skinny Bugga called Red-White Leaf Beetle. And I must say that these two together are just fabulous! The pattern is easy and the yarn knits up so nicely. I may actually have a pair of finished socks by the end of next week. Who knows!

Thanks to all the fabulous ladies who made up the Rhinebeck Twelve this year! I loved being able to hang out with friends, old and new.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rhinebeck What?

Rhinebeck is just over two weeks away and my knitting for that weekend is not exactly where I thought it would be by now. Now that I am back working days I definitely feel much better and have recently been getting my knitting groove back. Now the question is can I finish in time? I know what many of you are thinking, but I still doubt myself a bit. This ol' gal is a bit rusty and am now fighting a bit of arthritis in my one finger joint I think. So here is where things are at the moment:

My Texturized Tweed Jacket has been on the needles since last October. I started it right after Rhinebeck last year and I sure am glad I did because at that time I knew it was going to be my sweater for this year. If I had waited to start, I think it never would have come to fruition.

From the picture it looks like I have gotten a ton done. Of course I have but there is still lots more to do. At least that's what is in my mind. I have to finish the second sleeve, pickup for the front button bands and pickup and knit a hue-mung-a$$ collar. The collar I fear will take me the longest, but I am pushing forward.

My other Rhinebeck knit was the Vagabond Fingerless Mitt. This was my go to project a few weeks ago to get my knitting mojo back. It was simple enough for me to focus on during my lunch breaks. I started this what feels like months ago and recently finished one of the mitts. Well not totally finished as you can see in the second picture.

Yup, I still need to do the thumb and weave in ends for this one to be done. I also still need to knit the second one or else I might be walking around like Michael Jackson.

I still have 16 days, so a miracle can happen. We shall see.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

So Much To Catch Up On

I have been MIA from my poor old blog, but I have very good reasons! So much has been happening during the past month that I have barely had time to catch my breath. Where do I start? Well, this is what I have been up to:

End of July I was recommended for a different position within my firm and 3 days after my surprise interview I was offered the position! I have been back on days for over a month now and am so happy!!!! I have paid my dues of working nights and will never ever do it again. I am in love with my new position and am thrilled to have a normal life again.

I have only been home for 1 weekend in August. The rest of the time I have been traveling. I did turn 40 on the 17th and Manny and I went to San Francisco to celebrate. It was the best week ever. I am in LOVE with California. I have so many pictures to share but that will have to wait. The trip needs a post all to itself.

I spent last weekend down in Georgia visiting my parents. I had the trip planned for quite some time so it turned out to be a perfect weekend to be away since the Hurricane came through. I was worried to death about my apartment flooding ('cause it did for like the 4th time while I was in San Fran) and was relieved it was ok when I got home on Monday evening. If the storm had been what they were originally predicting I could have been totally flooded out of my home.

Now that September has arrived, I am turning my focus back to my running. I am trying to run my 2nd NYC marathon this November. I was on track, but since I have been so busy for August my training has taken a hit. I am not giving up though. We will see how things are at the end of the month if I still think it's realistic.

I am hoping to also get my attention back to my knitting. Rhinebeck will be here before I now it and at this moment I will be naked. Can't let that happen.

Until next time...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Love My Sister

I talk about my sister a ton here on my blog. I love that she and I are so close. We are actually twins born three years apart. While we do have our differences, we have way more in common. Our knitting is just an example of our commonality. We have, and will continue, to knit the same patterns. She just has to mention a pattern to me (and vice versa) and I will take one look and want to pick out the yarn to make it.

MB has been extremely busy with work, but knitting has been happening in her neck of the woods. She shared a couple pictures with me of stuff she's knitted. The patterns are very familiar here on my blog. For I have knit these items too. I am so proud of her that I wanted to share her work here with you.

First up is Selbu Modern. This hat was her first foray into Fair Isle knitting. I think it turned out spectacularly.

After her success with the hat, she began Vagabond Fingerless Mitts. Like me, she is making the mitts to match the hat. And yes, like me, she will be wearing both items at Rhinebeck this year. You won't be able to miss us this year.

I am not sure how much further she has gotten with the mitts, but she has told me she is really enjoying the pattern. Kudos Misa!

So as you can tell, I must love my sister for dedicating a post on my blog to her knitting! I just think her progress was too great not to share with our mutual friends.


Monday, May 23, 2011

FO Really?

It feels like it's been forever since I've had an FO and in reality it has been. I honestly can't remember when I finished a knit last off of the top of my head. So I am thrilled to finally have one to share. May I present Selbu Modern:

I actually finished this hat on May 9th. I didn't want to share it until I had given it a good washing and a blocking. Unfortunately, I have yet to get my hands on a Brainless Betty for the blocking so a craptastic modeled shot will have to do.

I can see the pattern a bit better now that it's finished and expanded on my noggin. The green still doesn't pop like I had originally hoped, but I am very happy with the finished product. It was fun and quick, even with holding only one yarn at a time.

Here's the stats:

Pattern: Selbu Modern
Yarn: The Sanguine Gryphon Eidos in "Zeus" (Main Color); Sundara Sock Yarn in "Pine Over Gold" (Contrast Color)
Needles: Knit Picks Fixed Circs, Size 0 and 2
Started: April 25, 2011
Finished: May 9, 2011
Mods: None

I had quite a bit of leftover yarn from this project. So I have already started my next project with it. May I introduce to you Vagabond Fingerless Mitts:

I am very excited about these mitts! Not only were they designed by the superuber talented Misa, they also are knitting up quickly and beautifully! This design has truly let my color combination work well. With the color blocking of the pattern, the green pops very nicely, even when you aren't looking at them in an over exposed picture.

I have reached the point where I need to put the thumb stitches on waste yarn. I told Misa I wanted to have these done for Rhinbeck this year and I now have no doubt they will be done long before!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Shawl Time

When one is in a knitting slump why not go for lace knitting?!?!?! I casted on for the Chinook Shawl the night before I left for Myrtle Beach. I tried to work on it during the car ride down, but didn't get very far with it. The yarn was very slippery, and the car felt every bump, so I only completed a few rows here and there.

However, once I was back home all I wanted to do was knit on it. As you can see from the picture, things have progressed very nicely. I am actually about 75% done. You hold the lace yarn double so it feels like knitting with fingering yarn.

The Chinook Shawl was a Knit Picks Kit that my parents gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago. The kit came in a few color combination's and I love all the pink in mine. I think this will block out to a very nice size. It will be a perfect summer addition!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fair Isle What?

The last time I checked in with the ol' blog I was about to head down to Myrtle Beach to visit family. Manny and I took off around 6:15am on Friday morning and 12.5 hours later we had arrived at our destination.

Much was accomplished during the two days we were there. Unfortunately Manny had to work the whole entire weekend (he spent his days at the kitchen table tied to his computer and on conference calls). He did manage to go out to dinner with us both nights though.

Anyway, MB and I successfully cut out all the fabric for the future duvet cover I will be sewing. This fiasco, I mean adventure, will have to get a blog post all of its own. All I will say for right now is that we had to go to the store to buy additional fabric to make up for shortages (not my fault...I blame it on the writer of the pattern).

Day 2 of our visit, MB and I took a couple old top sheets that I had and converted them into a duvet cover for my existing queens size bed. MB was awesome in that she did all the cutting and sewing while I assisted with ironing, folding, measuring and learning. As of right now I just finished off the inside seams and placed it on my bed to be used starting tonight. If fit perfectly.

The day before I headed down to Myrtle Beach, I started a new knitting project. Believe it or not it was a lace shawl. A kit my parents had given to me for Christmas the year before last. In just less than a month I am halfway through it. I will talk more about it next time. Will even have a photo for you.

What I am going to share knitting wise right now is my latest project. I started Selbu Modern on April 25th. I attempted to knit this hat last year but frogged it because I felt Fair Isle challenged. I struggled with holding both yarns at the same time and hated the result I was getting. After my sister started hers not too long ago, and after seeing Misa's most awesome fingerless mitts pattern, I told myself it was high time I got over this fear of colorwork. I mean I had done a Fair Isle project before when I first started knitting. I had no idea what the heck I was doing at all, and it was a success. So what is my big freaking problem? Apparently as I get older I seem to fear more things. Colorwork was one of those things.

So here is my hat...

I am proud of myself for getting this far with it. I am actually on row 37 of the pattern. After multiple tries of holding one yarn in each hand, and then both yarns in one hand, I have failed at holding both yarns at the same time. I have to hold one at a time. I'm really not minding it and it is progressing pretty fast for me. My only two concerns are that you can't see the pattern (I feel I needed a brighter color to go against the black) and that maybe it won't lay flat when done because even though I am holding the yarns loosely between color changes there seems to be some puckering. I almost frogged this baby a few rows ago because I was feeling like it was going to be a *Fail*, but I have decided to keep going because it is what it is.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

When All Else Fails

My knitting has been off and on these days. I find myself knitting with gusto and can't stop at times and then not even wanting to pick up the needles for weeks on end at other times. There are a multitude of reasons for this but last weekend I decided I had to sit down with some sort of knitting to feel grounded. So in my mind when all else fails, you go with comfort knitting.

For me my comfort knitting has been my Sock Yarn Blankie. I love it because with every square you get to knit with a new yarn. I find the various colors can be really mood uplifting. The blankie has been exactly what I've been needing and this past week it has seen great progress.

It's been awhile since I've given an update on the ol' blog about it. I think the last time I posted about it I didn't even give real stats on it. I know I just posted this...

...and today it looks like this...

You can tell between the two pics, even with them being from different angles, that a nice amount has been added. The first picture there are just over 11 rows completed and right now I have 15 rows done. I believe I've added just over two rows during the past week. The blanket measures to 21.5 inches and there are a total of 293 squares done.

I'm definitely going to be needing more sock yarn scraps soon. All my loot is now compressed into a one gallon Ziplock bag and the variety of color choices to spread out are dwindling. I have some sock yarn projects in mind. I'm currently halfway done with my Bacon Socks and am planning a colorwork hat soon.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sewing Adventures

Ever since I finished sewing the Christmas Tree Skirt in December, I've been wanting to spend more time working with my sewing machine. I had bought Amy Butler's "In Stitches" book a while back in hopes of one day making a few things out of it. A couple weeks ago I dusted the book off and began thinking about what my next project would be. My selection was the "Patchwork Duvet Cover". I went over to and spent a couple days piecing together my fabric choices.

All the fabrics are from Michael Miller and I just have to say I had a hard time narrowing down which ones I wanted to use. To me this collection is just divine. I first fell in love with the Tulip fabric and wanted to build everything else around it. I needed a total of five fabrics for the front. I think my choices compliment each other very well. For the back panel of the cover I chose the green flannel.

Manny and I are planning a visit down to Myrtle Beach in April to visit with family. I am planning on bringing the fabric with me so MB can help me cut all the pieces out. She has the proper setup that will make cutting them out much easier. The sewing will begin once I return.

I also have another project in mind. On my way into work one night I stopped by a magazine store and came across the Spring Issue of "Quilts and More." In it I found the perfect project for the fabric bundle I purchased at Purl Soho last October.

I thought this "Patchwork Pouch" was just adorable. I know the example is using all patterned fabric but I think that incorporating the solid fabric will be just fine. I'm excited to start this project just as soon as I get a working iron. My old one died over Christmas and it was to never steam again. I recently bought a new one, but now need to return it to the store because it is used. Uhhh ewww!! Anyway, I will exchange it this weekend and maybe by Monday or next weekend I can get this project in the works.

I am still knitting away. I have made great progress with the "Texturized Tweed Jacket". I will have an updated picture on my next post.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sugarloaf Heaven

Oh Sugarloaf Mountain. How I long to be back there with you. It's been three weeks since our snowboarding trip and I still find myself looking at Sugarloaf's daily photos and snow report on their website. It was so hard to leave such a beautiful mountain. Manny and I had a wonderful week together, even with my only being able to snowboard for 2.1 days (I still count the 1 run I did on the 3rd morning).

I wanted to share some of the photos from the trip (all of them are on my facebook page). So of course, this is a picture heavy post.

A small part of the Village with the slopes in the background. You can see the snowcaps at the top of the mountain. Manny went down them.

We arrived during the night so I didn't get to see the mountain until we opened the curtains of our room in the morning. I was mesmerized.

These are our happy faces before we head out to the slopes on Day 1.

I needed a rest from the walk up the bunny slope.

Lets make a snow angel while I'm there.

This is my "I survived day 1 dance!"

Bonding with my board on the morning of Day 2.

Watching Manny leave for the lift by our Inn on the afternoon of Day 3 because I couldn't snowboard anymore. At this time I had a severely bruised tailbone from 2 really hard falls and we didn't want to risk injuring it anymore.

I loved watching the Snowcats climb the mountain every night.

Our lift tickets gave us free access to the Outdoor center. On the afternoon of Day 4 we decided to try our hands at snowshoeing. We covered 4 miles in just under 3 hours. It was a beautiful day to be trekking through the woods.

"Can you hear me now?" It's amazing just how well Verizon service works. Nothing like being in the woods, looking at all the animal tracks and then hearing your cell phone ring and it being work.

Once we emerged from the woods at the end, we came across this awesome view of the slopes at Sugarloaf.

We also had access to ice skates at the Center. Manny hadn't been on skates since the 5th grade. I wanted to join him but again, we didn't want to take the chance of falling on my tailbone again. So I stayed on the sidelines and enjoyed watching my honey.

I am really looking forward to getting back on the board. Hopefully it will be this season. My tailbone is much better but still sore if I hit it just right. I want to be able to finish what I started on this trip. We shall see!