Wednesday

[quilting] Country Quilt Progress

The 9-patch squares that I made with 5" charm squares were feeling a little boring to me. I wanted it a bit more "mixed-up". I found a variation in a disappearing 9-patch that I thought would work with my squares:

Nine-patch squares

Cut away strips from the outside:

Nine-patch squares - cut up

And switch them up randomly:

Nine-patch squares- mixed up.

One thing I had to do before cutting the original 9-patches up is trim away the excess thread from the first round of sewing:

A lot of wasted thread after trimming ends from the nine squares. Going to try using leaders and enders to sew scraps between regular sewing.

That's a lot of wasted thread! I joined the quilting group on Ravelry and someone mentioned leaders and enders. It was a revelation- sew scraps between the pieces you're working on and you inadvertently ending up making another quilt at the same time!

My sister was destashing some fabric and gave me a ton of pre-cut squares.

Misc squares to randomly pair off... all precut and given to me by my sister. Just had to press them a bit. ❤️💛💚💙💜 These will be my leaders/Enders while sewing. #quilting #charmquilt

I simply had to press them a bit and randomly match up pairs. I've been using these as leaders/enders while I resew the 9-patches. I've done SO many so far.

Anyway, after much cutting and sewing and pressing and trimming, all the new blocks are squared-up:

All my squares mixed up and squared up. Time to cut sashing and cornerstones. #quilting

I even cut the sashing and cornerstones:

These blue cornerstones are the last squares from the charm packs. Using it all up!

The top is getting closer and closer to being finished. Then I'll drop it off at Barnyard Quilting to be professionally finished.

I'm already planning the next quilt...

Tuesday

[misc] MF and Santana Tuesday

Murderface, asleep in the sun on the craft room couch (I love it when he keeps me company in the craft room):

Nice day for a nap in the sun. 💤

Santana, last night, eager for treats:

Santana 🍌

Thursday

[knitting] Totally Biased

I need something simple to work on when I can't invest 2 - 3 uninterrupted hours into a Fox Paws pattern repeat. I went back to an infinity scarf I've done several times in the past: Totally Biased:

Quick infinity scarf; mystery mohair knit on a bias with periodic garter ridges. Pattern is free on #ravelry and called #totallybiased.


This is with two balls of mystery mohair/acrylic from the stash. I love the neutral colors and it's nice and fluffy. This pattern works with any yarn weight- looks nice with handspun or sock yarn. Speaking of sock yarn...

Working on another Totally Biased cowl with striping sock yarn... for when I don’t have time to invest in a Fox Paws repeat. #knitting

I started another. I'm totally biased toward this pattern- it's an easy filler project. I just need to make sure I'm not grabbing this project to work on when I should be putting time into Fox Paws.

Wednesday

[knitting] Fox Paws

My airplane knitting for my Nevada trip was Fox Paws. I don't know what possessed me to purchase the pattern but I decided it was the right time for something very colorful and complicated. This is the swatch:

I’m going to give Fox Paws a try. 🐾 This is just the swatch to make sure I understand the stitches. #knitting #foxpaws

Misc colors using leftover bits of sock yarn. This literally took up all my flying time and it's just a swatch to understand the pattern and stitches and how things stack up. It's lovely- and I'm positive you could use any combination of colors and it will always look nice because of the stitches and the way the color order rotates.

Here's my for-reals project:

#foxpaws #knitting

Blues and browns. I have a sack of Knit Picks Palette in various colors and finally settled on blues and browns. I think I ordered these waaaaay back was Knit Picks was a new company and Palette was less than $2 per ball. Which brings the total cost of supplies for this project to around $10. This is going to be an amazing project for $10.

It is in my Top 5 most difficult projects ever. The increase rows can be a bear (one row in particular- if you've done this pattern, you know the one I'm talking about) and it's rather difficult to move stitches around. I have no problem when the knit-5-togethers roll around; it's actually a relief to do those decreases. It's increasing one stitch into eleven stitches that's a pain in the butt. And they group together (with one plain stitch in between) so you end up with 35 stitches out of a group of 5. That's bananas, yo.

Monday

[cooking] Challah

This month's King Arthur Flour bakealong recipe is challah. I've never made a braided bread before but it turned out great!

Challah

It does take a while- each rise was about 2 hours for me- bit it was worth it. 

After the initial 6-strand braid (thank goodness they linked to a video of someone doing this, so I could follow along):

Challah

After the 2nd rise and brushed with egg wash:

Challah

Baked:

Challah - baked

Lovely and tasty. Definitely a weekend project, since it takes so long. I've heard good things about turning leftover slices into french toast. Next time- this disappeared before I had to start looking for ways to use it up.

Friday

[travel] Boulder City, Nevada

I was away last week for work- our annual meeting. I stayed at a very nice resort in Lake Las Vegas and my room had a great view:

Sunrise view from hotel balcony

There was a lot of commuting back and forth between Henderson and Boulder City. I did get to see Hoover Dam on the first day:

Back side of Hoover Dam.

And visited an amazing quilting store:

Visited an amazing quilting shop... ❤️💛💚💙💜

Unfortunately, I got very sick. Very, very, should-I-go-to-the-hospital?-sick. I don't know if it was the flu (I had body aches and chills/fever- I felt like I fell down a flight of stairs) or food poisoning, but I was not well for days. I drank water/Gatorade non-stop to hydrate but I didn't really feel better until the night before I returned home.  

I did go into Las Vegas to gamble on the last night with a friend from back home. I didn't do well but it was fun and I get to say I played poker at Caesar's Palace.

The last morning, I took a drive through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area during sunrise:

Sunrise along Lake Mead Parkway

Lake Mead.

I did bring home a few souvenirs. I stopped by an alpaca shop to see what they had... other than this army of alpacas...

Alpaca army...

There was some yarn here but it was overpriced and didn't feel great (totally felt acrylic- shame!). I did get an alpaca pillow cover for the cats to use as a mat at home:

Panda alpaca mat

It's SO cute and it's SO soft. I put it on one of the sofas and when the sun is shining on it, I'm seriously jealous of whatever cat is napping on it.

It was a good trip. Not great. I really had no remarkable meals while I was there (wasn't up for any booze or weird food). I'm glad I got to do some sight-seeing on the first day before I got sick. But I would definitely go back. 

Thursday

[quilting] Country 9 Patch Quilt

On to another quilt. I had some charm packs of 5-inch county(ish) floral squares. The last quilt top I made was a bunch of simple 4-squares. This time I'm doing 9 patch squares. I cut some plain white 5-inch squares from a bolt of muslin that I have for the center of all the squares. I laid out a design plan:

Going to try making a new quilt top with misc charm squares while on vacation this week. I placed all the squares and stopped fiddling with them so the hard part is over.

Then I picked everything up and stacked them in sewing order (Santana was running across the squares on floor and kicking them all out of place). First the dark blues:

Four 9-squares done. Sixteen more to go... #quilting


Then lighter blues:

Four more squares... #quilting


Then the reds:

Four more squares... onto the reds. #quilting


And pinks (you can't mess them up after they've been sewn together, Santana):

Pink squares done. Just have another four to do and then time to think about putting them all together with borders. #quilting


I still have the last row of light browns to sew. I will cut and add some simple white borders around everything- hopefully the quilt will end up large enough that I only need to get some backing and binding fabric. I might mix up the 9-squares for the final design- rather than doing bands of color. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday

[cooking] Pesto Star Bread

If given a choice, I will always choose savory over sweet. I did a cinnamon star bread as the King Arthur Flour bakealong recipe last November. The December challenge was the same recipe- but make a savory version. Yessss. 

Pesto Star Bread

It's pretty. It's tasty. It's pretty tasty. And quite easy. Make the dough, divide it up, roll it out and start layering. I smeared each layer of mine with a little pesto and mozzarella cheese.

Pesto Star Bread

Cut, twist, pinch into a star:

Pesto Star Bread

Let it rise again. It puffs up and the tips of my stars came apart but that's okay:

Pesto Star Bread

Bake it and try not to eat it all at once. It was great as is but I wish I had had a little cup of marinara to dip the pieces in to. Next time, next time.

Tuesday

[crochet] Finished unfinished doily

I started a new doily last summer but never got around to finishing it. I rain out of the main color that I was using and planned on switching to a different color- but didn't like how that looked, so I just stopped before a new motif started and blocked it. 

A little #crochet #doily for my mom.

Probably only 9 inches in diameter; not very large but big enough to look nice under a vase or something. Gifted to my mom for Christmas.

I've got to add some doilies to my to-do list for me. I have a book of 99 Small Doilies that I love to work in a heavier size 3 thread (rather than the thinner size 10).

Friday

[knitting] Simple Garter Stitch Slippers

Over the holidays, after all my gift knitting/crocheting was done, I stash-busted some leftover sock yarns to make house slippers:

New simple garter stitch slippers 🔥 #simplegarterstitchslippers

Quick and easy. The pattern is free on Rav: Simple Garter Stitch Slippers

I even made another pair:

New pair of slippers- stash busting leftover sock yarn. Photobomb by Penny. #simplegarterstitchslippers #knitting #knitslippers

They're the same yarn/colors as my Kansas City Socks. I had two  leftover balls of the confetti brown. The slippers are knit with a double-strand of sock yarn so I knit both slippers at the same time, from both end of the balls. It wasn't so bad until I starting nearly the ends of the yarn and really had to count rows and go back and forth from one slipper to the other to use up every possible inch of yarn. Once the brown was gone, I just finished both toes and seamed in teal.

This second pair of slippers ended up a little small for me, so I might gift to my mom for her birthday.

Thursday

[crochet] Owl

Another Christmas gift for my niece:

Owl

Pattern: Owl Henriette (available on Rav, not free but well worth it- clear instructions, lots of variants shown)

Yarn: Leftover bits and bobs of this and that in the stash

I always say I'm going to make more amigurumi but when I look at all the pieces:

Will be an owl, soonish. Just have to block a few pieces. #crocheting #amigurumi

I think, "Yeaaahhh... I don't want to sew all that stuff together." But it really only takes an hour of dedicated whipstitching to pull it all together. And it's pretty forgiving; things can be a little crooked and it will look more cute and homemade.

The only other things I needed besides yarn for this project were white felt (for the eye background) and black safety eyes.

Owl

Owl

Owl

He (she?) can even stand up, which is nice:

Owl

Very cute and very soft (they grey yarn has a decent amount of angora in it). I have a little pile of Ewok pieces that need to come together... eventually.

Wednesday

[knitting] Bumblebee Dress

The little sister dress was so cute, I decided to make another- this time with DK-weight yarn.  I made the 12-month-old size and with the heavier yarn/bigger needles, it worked up rather quickly to a 2-year-old size.

Black and yellow bumblebee dress (with bumblebee buttons). #knitting #littlesisterdress

I saw some very cute versions of this Little Sister's dress on Ravelry- using two colors for the top bodice. I thought back and yellow bumblebee colors would be cute. I had to work the purl and knit bands in 4 rows each (rather than 3) to avoid blips of color appearing on the front from the purl stitches. That's okay- it just ended up making the top a bit larger.

I used stash yarn- the black I've had kicking around for ages (was going to make a double knit cap for Dollar) and the yellow was from a misc grab bag that a friend gave me. Both are machine washable. 

Again, fiddly but cute little buttons:

Bee Buttons

The black yarn kind of collects dust and fur like crazy. I had to take a lint roller to the dress before wrapping. I say my sister should just put it on my niece and let her roll/crawl all over the house- then your dusting is done.

I would happily make this pattern again, in a even smaller size with worsted yarn and larger needles- for an even faster project. 

Tuesday

[knitting] Little Sister Dress

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas and New Year's. I had many much-needed and much-appreciated days off. Super frigid temperatures kind of meant I was stuck indoors for most of it, but I had time to chill and do misc crafts.

Christmas morning looked like this:

Things were a little blizzard-y this morning... ❄️❄️❄️☃️❄️❄️

Straight-up blizzard. But the snow stopped before noon and we made a slow drive down to my mom's for lunch. I finally gave out all the secret stuff I've been working on and can post pictures now.

Here's the little dress I knit for my niece:

I can finally show off all the handknits I made for my niece. #littlesisterdress #knitting Hopefully this can transition from dress to shirt as she grows.

Pattern: Little Sister's Dress (free on Rav)

Yarn: Purple: Knit Picks Stroll Heather (1.2 balls), Confetti: Uhhh, I don't know. I wound it into a ball a while ago and didn't neatly tuck the label into the center of the ball like I normally do. It's a hand-dyed sock yarn that I picked up at some sheep and wool festival.

Needles: US 3

Size: 2 years

It's more of a tunic than a dress and as the niece grows, she can hopefully continue wearing it as a top. It's knit with sock yarn so it's machine wash/dry. I hit a little road-block with color pooling near the hem- I had to rip back the body a bit and continue on straight (no increases) to avoid colors stacking up. 

The buttons are a little fiddly because of their shape, but so worth it for how adorable they are:

Bun Bun Buttons

All in all, it was a good pattern- very easy, interesting construction. A bit tedious with fingering-weight yarn and US 3 needles. Would probably go much faster in DK weight yarn...