Friday, 31 January 2014

From K - Skills Swap: Knit Socks for Adrianne (On the Windy Side)

Last week I shared the incredible handmade items that Adrianne from On the Windy Side sent me for our for our skills swap. This week I wanted to show you how it all began - with a pair of hand knit socks.

In August of last year Adrianne posted about wanting a pair of hand knit socks. Since I learned to knit just five months earlier (and socks were really my only accomplishments to date), I put up my hand right away to participate in a swap knowing socks were right up my alley.

I largely followed the Nutkin pattern on Ravelry but made quite a few alterations. One prominent change involved making a new cuff as the original cuff style didn't cling nicely to my leg when I tried it in. I had knit most of the first leg when I realized the cuff from the pattern was going to make for baggy socks, and really, who wants that?! I ripped it out and recast on using K2P1 for about 12 or so rows.

I also struggled a bit with the directions for the short row heel that the pattern includes so I simply turned to my dear friend YouTube to show me the way. I have never made a heel without a gusset and I have to say I actually kind of missed doing it. I do like the look of this heel though and I think that it does fit well with the overall sock design.

I knit these up using a gorgeous superwash Malabrigo sock yarn that I picked up from my LYS in the colour Dewberry. I didn't tell Adrianne what pattern I was knitting so there would be some surprise, but I did ask her for some colour examples. She largely sent photos of tone on tone skeins so I thought this purple would be perfect. The slight variegation in this yarn makes them look sparkly and I love the texture it adds.

I snapped these pictures quickly at work on my iPhone before I tossed these into a box filled with other sewing notion, fabric, washi tape, a Christmas ornament and a few Canadian treats. In my haste I didn't photograph the rest, but as the purpose of the swap started with a desire for knit socks, I'm hoping these photos suffice.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

From K - Oasis Orange Peels

Do you ever feel like you don't choose a project as much as it simply chooses you? It felt that way for me in December when two parcels landed at my door, one included an amazing mini quilt from Adrianne from on the Windy Side, and the other a generous giveaway from Amanda from A Crafty Fox and Westwood Acres.
Adrianne's mini was covered in orange peels and she used an appliqué method I had been itching to try - blanket stitch. In the giveaway parcel, Amanda sent nearly a dozen Jen Kingwell Designs patterns, one of which was the midnight at the Oasis Quilt, which prominently features orange peel blocks.
It didn't take long for the design to simmer in my head before I cut into my Tula Pink stash. So far my progress has been slower than I hoped but I'm really enjoying the relaxed process and couch time that hand appliqué allows for.
I intended to alter three of the borders in this pattern from the beginning but upon learning at my LQS that my orange peels are too large (I guess the new patterns have stickers covering the original peel template and replacing it with a smaller version) - I am now also stuck trying to think up a way to alter the centre block in order to still utilize my pretty blocks.
Even Joey is excited about these orange peel blocks... well the floss box at least. Cats are attracted to string, like moths to a flame.
Linking up to WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, 27 January 2014

From A - Finished Pair


I started these socks when Kelsey came to visit me in last February. She said that she wanted to learn to knit socks and I figured that the easiest way to show her was to cast on a  pair of my own.


These are simple socks, no pattern. Just knit until you want a heel, make one, knit until it covers your foot and make a toe. Repeat for sock number two.


I used some Sheepaints Sock'n Go in Morning Sky that I've had in the stash for longer than I care to admit. Suffice to say that it has been long enough that this yarn has been discontinued.

Warm, satisfying and a nice mix of colours. That will do just fine.


Friday, 24 January 2014

From A - Darling Quilt Done

One day In early November I was digging through my stash and found a PB & J jelly roll that had been given to me by one of the Mr.'s co-workers while trying to clear out some inventory. I took it knowing that it wasn't really my usual colour scheme but figured that I would find a use for it eventually. When I stumbled across it again in my stash, I knew that I had to turn it into a couch quilt for my Aunt.

Darling Quilt

After poking around the Internet looking for pattern ideas, I found the Summer in the Park tutorial by Missouri Quilt Co. It had been on my list for a while so I decided to give it a whirl.

In addition to being super fast to make, these blocks are fun! I really love the secondary diamond pattern that appears when you put the blocks together. That said, these blocks are also very versatile and could be used to make chevrons, large diamonds or lots of other shapes. I might even make another one of these at some point to try one of those out too.

Darling Quilt

Perhaps my favourite thing about this quilt is that I was able to use every single leftover jelly roll strip for a scrappy low-volume binding, using prints that wouldn't have worked in the body of the quilt but make for a gorgeous binding.

Darling Quilt

I backed it in an old Basic Grey bunting fabric I had kicking around the stash that matched perfectly and made a red bordered label so that it wouldn't get lost in the print.

Darling Quilt

This is the second quilt I've sent to Lindsay to have quilted and I am once again, thrilled with the results. I like that the bubble pattern keeps things geometric and adds interest to the quilt without overwhelming the diamond shapes. 

Darling Quilt

Final Quilt Details:
  • Quilt Name: Darling
  • Finished Size: lap sized 54" x 70" (56" x 72" before washing)
  • Fabric: PB & J by Basic Grey jelly roll and Kona White jelly roll.
  • Pattern: Summer in the Park by Missouri Quilt Co.
  • Quilting: Bubbles pattern by Lindsay of Eileen Quilts

This quilt is so cozy. I'll admit that the hours I spent sewing down the binding were so enjoyable sitting under this quilt. A trip through the wash made it even softer. I can't wait to see what my aunt thinks.

Darling Quilt

Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

From K - Skills Swap from Adrianne (On the Windy Side)

Back in the fall Adrianne from On the Windy Side posted on her blog about wanting a pair of hand knit socks, and a skills swap partner who would be willing to trade for a pair. Being a newby knitter who practically exclusively knits socks, I threw up my hand right away for the opportunity for a fun swap from an über talented blogger that I love - and gosh was I ever floored with what she sent me!
I'm sure you can imagine how quickly my jaw hit the floor when this is what I opened in December!

This mini quilt is hands down the most beautiful quilt I've ever seen... and it's all mine! Adrianne used 100 different AMH prints from her stash to make this orange peel quilt and gosh am I ever grateful she shared her stash! I seriously wonder how she let this go!
Adrianne recently made a video tutorial that demonstrates how she hand appliquéd each orange peel using blanket stitch (check out her video here). Her stitches are insanely perfect, that girl has mad stitchin' skills!
I love Adrianne's fox themed projects and was thrilled to open not one but TWO items with foxes on them *insert happy dance here* The wide open pouch above has become my newest and most favourite knitting project bag. She pebble quilted the bottom and echo stitched around the fox. The details on this pouch are perfect.
This sewing machine cover is gorgeous and has been keeping my machine cozy during my weekdays in the office. I love seeing it on my sewing table every day.
Based in New Zealand - the land of many sheep and much wool - Adrianne was extremely generous and tossed in two skeins of sock wool and a shawl kit! The yarn is soft and squishy and seriously drool worthy. You'll notice one skein of that red is missing... because I couldn't help myself and cast on a pair of socks already.
She also sent some NZ chocolate treats, a gorgeous local tea towel, some fun FQs, and a set of Christmas stockings with our initials on them! The stockings are made from my favourite Christmas line (Cherry Christmas) and my husband and I used them on Christmas morning. Seriously perfect!
I took these photos outside while the light was fading and I though this twinkly lights shot might be a good way to end the post.
For more info on the beautiful items that Adrianne sent in our swap, read her post about them here. Now go stand in line with a thousand other sewists that are dying to be her swap partner some day (we all know there is a line up now for sure!). Next week I'll be back to share the socks that I made Adrianne for our swap.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

From A - Handmade Holiday

Sometime around December 5th, I became consumed with the idea that I would make handmade Christmas gifts for almost everyone I knew. I figured in the 20 days that were left before the big day, I could weave 7 scarves, tat half a dozen snowflakes, knit some hats, finish four quilts, make 3 baby gifts, and a tree skirt.

You can probably guess how that turned out.


The first scarf is still on the loom and only half finished. the other 6 still look like this.


After a false start, the first tatted snowflake doesn't look much like a snowflake.


That said, I did manage to finish the three hats and by finish I mean that they were still damp from blocking when I wrapped them up. A Jul hat for my sister-in-law (actually a much deeper shade of purple), a silk-lined New York Skyline hat for my brother-in-law (didn't get a finished shot of this one), and a Hurricane hat in Malabrigo for my mom.

Christmas Hats

To my great relief, the Posy quilt re-do is finally finished and has been gifted to its itty-bitty recipient. Sorry for the crappy photo but it is identical to the first version except that this one washed and crinkled like a champ using Warm and White batting instead of turning itself into a floor mat like the last one.

Camera Roll-1051

Sticking to my shop the stash mantra, I also pulled some fabric for another flannel voile baby blanket. I used a yard of Valorie Wells flannel in Marrakech and a yard of Amy Butler voile in Peacock Feathers. The blanket satin binding is from Fabricland. I can say that having a walking foot to attach the blanket satin made a big difference.

There are at least four more of these to come as I brace myself for the second round of friend babies scheduled to arrive later this year.

Baby Blanket

I also finished the top half a tree skirt using the Tinsel Treeskirt pattern from Issue 11 of Fat Quarterly using only stash at about 3:00 a.m. two days before Christmas. Shortly thereafter, I realized there was no way that I was going to enjoy Christmas and get this finished so it's heading into the long-term planning box for next year.

If you are going to attempt this one, be warned that the cutting instructions for the center panel are off by 1/2". I was too tired to notice until the pieces wouldn't fit together. Fortunately, my commitment to quilting perfection is pretty dull at 3:00 a.m. and I managed to fudge things enough to make it work.

Tree Skirt

Partial success and a head-start for next year. I'll take it!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

From A & K - A Year in Review

It's been a busy year for both of us. Kelsey got a fancy promotion a work (which came with a correspondingly insane work schedule). Amanda moved to California and went back to school.

It's also been a good year for both of us. Somehow amidst the chaos, we've also managed to see more of each other than ever before and even snuck in a few amazing trips together (NYC, SLC, Seattle)!

Kelsey got bit by the knitting bug and her needles have been turning out gorgeous project after gorgeous project ever since.
2013 Knits
1. Snowfling Mitts  2. Hedgerow Socks  3. Licorice Twist Cowl   4. Honey Cowl
5. Medallion Lace Socks 6. Hermione's Everyday Socks
We made clothes
2013 Garments
1. Sleeveless Tova  2. Panda PJs  3. Stampede Washi  4. Eucalypt Tank  5. Liberty Tie  6. Liberty Staple
7. Floral Washi  8.  Nani Iro Shearwater  9. Shearwater Kaftan 10. Seattle Staple  11. Sloppy Josephine
Bags and accessories

2013 Accessories
1. Bikini Pouch  2. Simple Satchel  3. Lap Duvet  4. Nani Iro Scarf  5. Travel Hoop Bag
6. Open Wide Pouch  7. Clutch  8. Duffle  9. Make-Up Brush Roll

and of course, quilts!!
2013 Quilts
1. Sew Positive Baby Quilt  2. Wonky Stars  3. Mermaid Quilt  4. Manly Plus Quilt  5. Salt Water Swoon
  6. Posy Quilt  7. Moving Walkways  8. Smitten  9. Kites Quilt
A pretty productive year overall. We have big plans for next year: lots of new quilts, clothes and Amanda is even planning to unearth some old WIPs, dust them off and wrap them up. Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

From K - Finished: African Wax Print Quilt

Nearly a year and a half in the making, this was undoubtedly the longest unfinished WiP in my pile. Knocking it off as my first finished project in 2014 may just be the perfect way to kick off the new year.

Kelsey's Magic Numbers African Wax Print Quilt
I pieced together this quilt using a bag full of wax print scraps brought back from a tailor in Ghana by a work colleague, as well as quite a few prints that I purchased myself when living there in 2008. Between my yardage and my colleague's scraps, and a few prints that I purchased from an etsy seller in the UK, I actually had enough fabric in the end to make two throw quilts (you can see the one I made for my colleague as a trade for hauling back the scraps here).

Kelsey's Magic Numbers African Wax Print Quilt
Since I had limited fabric at my disposal (mostly scraps), and planned to make not one but two quilts, I was very conscious of the need to use up all of my tiny pieces. Using the magic numbers method (described by Sew Katie Did in her tutorial here), I was able to maximize my fabric and still eek out a decent sized throw quilt.
You can read more about my process of making this quilt here and here.

Kelsey's Magic Numbers African Wax Print Quilt
When I could manage it without loosing valuable fabric, I tried my best to fussy cut a few prints. The goat in the above photo reminds me so much of my time living and travelling in Africa. A few other fussy cuts included a 'Rollback Malaria' decal, a fish print, and some emblems for various organizations such as Ghana Health Services and an agricultural college in Tema.

Kelsey's Magic Numbers African Wax Print Quilt
Given that my wax print fabric stash was so limited, I caved and ordered my backing fabric from a distributor in the UK that specializes in authentic African fabrics. While the print is beautiful, in the below picture you can see that the style is slightly different. I only wish I could have afforded to fly back to Ghana myself to buy more at the local market. If only budgets were unlimited right?!

Kelsey's Magic Numbers African Wax Print Quilt
Final Quilt Details:
  • Quilt Name: Magic Numbers African Wax Print Quilt
  • Finished Size: lap sized (54" x 72")
  • Fabric: collection of wax print fabric scraps and yardage purchased on trips from Ghana, West Africa, plus a few FQs from an etsy seller in the UK (top); wax print yardage from an etsy seller in the UK (backing fabric); Fabricland Black Dots (binding).
  • Pattern: magic numbers tutorial by Sew Katie Did
  • Quilting: double line of curved diamonds quilted on my home machine (can be seen on the pink prints on the photo above)
Kelsey's Magic Numbers African Wax Print Quilt
Over the weekend I celebrated finishing off this old UFO by starting a brand new project. I mean what's one more WiP now that I that I knocked an old one off the list?
This is my fifth completed project for the Q4 2013 Finish A-Long - read more about my other goals here.

Monday, 6 January 2014

From A & K - Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

We are overwhelmed by the response to our Huge Holiday Giveaway. It warmed Kelsey's cold wintery heart (and Amanda's not so cold California heart) to read about all of the things that you are grateful for.

With the pupperson (aka Amanda's dog Bowser) playing the role of official scrutineer, Amanda went old school and put all of your names into a literal hat to pick the winner of the gorgeous Lizzy House FQ bundle.

giveaway winner
We are pleased as punch that Sarah S. is going to have some wonderful fabric to jump start a new year of quilting fun. Sarah please check your inbox to find our email so we know where to send your new bundle.

Thanks for playing and we're looking forward to another great year!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

From K - Finished Mermaid Triangle Quilt

In 2013 I learned two important things about my crafty nature. The first being that I never start a project without intending to learn at least one new skill set, trick of the trade, or perhaps more importantly, insight into myself. And the second, is that 'random' absolutely does not come easy to me.
Kelsey's Mermaid Triangle Quilt
This quilt reinforced this by providing me with tons of new opportunities to learn - piecing triangles, matching points while seaming, and well, the whole random issue. I call 'random' an issue not because it's a problem, but because while making this quilt I learned that I need to push myself to just let go more often... or at least sometimes... or even just once as a start.
Kelsey's Mermaid Triangle Quilt
I admit that while making this quilt I struggled a lot with just trying to be random. In the end I settled on two guidelines to help me maintain a wee bit of structure. First that I did not want to place the same print side-by-side (because let's face it, I think we'd all struggle with that), and second, after much deliberation I did consult my Ruby Beholder (because people, sometimes value overrules random placement).
Kelsey's Mermaid Triangle Quilt
I finished up this quilt in the wee hours of Christmas Eve morning. Just in time to photograph, wash, and wrap it so that it was ready for Christmas morning.
Kelsey's Mermaid Triangle Quilt
It's now at home with its new family. The super sweet and adorable recipient is my 3 month old niece. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she grows up to love mermaids because I am a wee bit obsessed with the Sarah Jane print I used for the backing from Out to Sea

Kelsey's Mermaid Triangle Quilt

Final Quilt Details:
  • Quilt Name: Mermaid Triangle Quilt
  • Finished Size: lap sized (67" x 76")
  • Fabric: total hodgepodge of semi-solid prints from my stash to match the feature print (AMH's Sundials in Amethyst); Sarah Jane's Mermaid Play in Breeze (backing fabric)
  • Pattern: Sewing Summit class taught by Jeni Baker from In Color Order
  • Quilting: FMQ swirls in the background and a FWQ feature flower in the purple hexagon
Kelsey's Mermaid Triangle Quilt 
To learn more about the making of this quilt, go here and here. This is my forth completed project for the Q4 2013 Finish A-Long - read more about my other goals here.