Friday, March 20, 2015

On the Needles Fri. Mar. 20, 2015 and a quilt challenge!

It's been a little while since I posted an "On the Needles" post - not because I don't have any knitting on the go (far from it!), but because some days, it feels like I don't have time to brush my teeth, leave alone blog about something that I have to take a picture of, and explain.  Don't go thinking that today isn't one of those days, because it sure was, but I have ulterior motives!
First though, is one of my "excuses" for failing to blog - we have a house guest!  Isn't she adorable? Try to ignore my hubby in the background...
This little girl was born a few days ago, and it was a pretty tough experience for her mom - a first-timer.  By the time Lambie was born, her mom basically decided that her part in this drama was over - which means that we are, for the time being, her foster parents.  Hubby brought her home from the farm, and we bottle feed her 4 times a day.  She's in a pen in our family room.  It sometimes freaks me out in the morning - I get up, usually not quite ready to be awake and up-an-at-'em, and I hear a plaintive little voice from downstairs, announcing that she's awake and wants us to do something for her - and really, could you resist that adorable little face?  I can't!
Anyway, I do have a knitting project to share - it's the Boreas Infinity Scarf, a free pattern on Ravelry.  I recently got this beautiful sock yarn online from KnitPicks, and decided to knit something other than socks with it.  I'm not a big fan of scarves - usually having something around my neck drives me crazy, but this scarf looks promising!  I try to work at least 2 rounds every day (that's 480 stitches!)

And finally, I came across a quilt challenge the other day - Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict is hosting the 5th annual "Hands2Help" charity quilt challenge, and this year, she has a Canadian site to donate our quilts to!  I also found a few new quilt ideas online, so I'm signing up so I'll have an excuse to make those quilts!  You'll have to check in regularly to see what I'm making.  Plus I still have my "ALYoF" project to finish by month's end - yikes!  I'd best get sewing!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

March's goal setting

It's the last day to link up my project for the "Lovely Year of Finishes" challenge.  I'm trying to NOT post in the last hour - I just checked, and there are 10 hours left, so I'm getting a little better...  I knew 2 or 3 days ago what my project was going to be - just didn't have time to blog about it.
So, without further ado, I give you: Disappearing 4-patch baby quilt!  I've had the blocks for this quilt cut for a few months - I left them beside my machine, and have been using them as leaders and enders.  When they were all done, I did the cutting (I only cut one set wrong!) and reassembling, and now have to make this quilt.  I'm hoping that it will at the very least look gender-neutral - I have baby girl quilts made up, but nothing for a baby boy, and I need one right away.  I don't care if it doesn't scream "baby boy", just as long as it doesn't say "little girl".  I used 2 "Wishes" charm packs, and cut Kona "Snow" yardage for the other blocks.  Here's a look at a few of the blocks:
A few of the blocks have an off-white background, but I used them if I thought that the print had enough colour to work.  I'm not sure if I'll actually need them, so I'll just hold onto them for now...
One other project that I've completed in the past week is a set of four quilts for our local NICU - they needed 24" quilts, with flannel on one side and fleece on the other side.  I had found some fun fabrics a few weeks ago, and I whipped these quilts up in a few hours.  They're just stitched all the way around the edges, then flipped inside-out, and top-stitched, so they're really easy to do.  I made 2 of each of the flannel prints, for a total of 4 quilts.  I may be able to make more another time, but just wanted to get these delivered at our guild meeting next week - and here's the pic of them: 
I also have my my completely finished Scrappy TAtW quilt - but I don't have a way to display it right now, so the pic will have to wait for another post.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

You're going to be surprised!

  It's that time of the month again - time to share the progress I've made on my "Lovely Year of Finishes" project.  You may remember that I decided to finish piecing the top of my Scrappy Trip Around The World - and I not only finished the top, I also managed to get all the quilting done! and the binding is ready to apply!     I had to decide though, whether to try to get the binding on, or to actually get the project photographed and blogged - and it's probably obvious which one won out!
  I'm quite pleased with how it turned out - and I think that I have enough fabric strips cut to make at least one more TATW - but that will have to be a project for another month...  I have something very different in mind for my March project - I'll have it posted in a day or two....
Anyway, I'll leave you with the pic of my February challenge quilt:

Friday, February 20, 2015

On my needles Feb. 20

...and here I am again, with another knitting post!  Last week, I was busy knitting a baby sweater for our neighbour's baby - and that's still a work in progress - except there hasn't been any progress this past week...  It's been a busy week, and it's been REALLY cold, and I've been having a hard time staying warm.  I was really excited to find a pattern for knitted socks using worsted weight yarn - they'd be quick to make, and warm!  I had just bought some great variegated WW yarn, so I cast the socks on late Wed., and have managed to squeeze in some knitting time the last 2 days.  I'm happy to say that I have the first one done, and the 2nd one about 3/4 done.  The heel is done differently than I'm used to - with short row wraps, but it wasn't too difficult to figure out.  I had to pull up a video on grafting the toes - I don't knit socks often enough to remember how to do it.  The one side doesn't look that great, but it will be inside my shoes or slippers, so no one will see it - and it won't affect the warmth, so I'm not going to worry about it.  Here's how they look:
And now I'm going to try to finish the 2nd one before I go to bed!

Friday, February 13, 2015

On the Needles (and other stuff...)

I hope that you haven't fainted - this is my second post this month!  My life is starting to slow down, with the result that I'm actually able to work on some things that I want to do, rather than things that I have to do.  Well, I did do a few things that I sort of had to do, but they were fun things, so they don't count!
But first - my "On the Needles" report.  Our neighbours just had their first baby a week ago - a little boy - and I am frantically trying to finish a sweater that I had started before Christmas.  The yarn and pattern are kind of gender-neutral, so I didn't need to find out what the baby's sex was, but it helps to know if I'm knitting for a Billy or a Susie...
I found this free pattern on-line, and had 3 balls of the called-for yarn (now discontinued), which is just enough to make the largest size - 22" if I recall correctly.  I have the front almost ready to divide for the neck, and the back is almost finished too; here's the pic:
 I'll probably do the sleeves next, and leave the hood for last, just in case the yarn isn't going to make it all the way - I can always alter the pattern then.
I also have 2 finishes for you - these were gifts, and I was hoping that they'd be in the hands of the recipients before I posted them - first is Pears the Elephant: 

She was meant to be a Christmas gift, but the knitting ended up being a little more of a project than I was expecting, so she was finished up Tues. morning, just in time to go to her new home.  Next up is the baby sweater that my new grandson was supposed to wear home from the hospital.  It was supposed to have a little hat too, but there wasn't enough yarn to complete it, and the yarn is discontinued...  Then I realized that the pattern was for a 6-month old - MUCH too large for a newborn!  It will be ready for wearing either this spring or in the fall.

And finally, I had mentioned in my last post that I had sent some quilt blocks to my friend Cathy, for a swap that we're doing.  She let me know that the blocks arrived safely, so I may share them here now: 
We're doing a Disappearing 4-patch quilt with large-scale florals, 4 per month for each of us, probably for 10 months.  I didn't have a really big floral stash, but I've found some fun ones since we started, and now I've spent part of the afternoon cutting florals for the next 2 or 3 months - do you think I'm getting excited about this swap?  I sure am!!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

...and I'm back!

Not that I've really been gone - just have been so incredibly busy with too many non-sewing things for pretty much the whole month of January - and, to tell you the truth, February isn't starting off much better!  As a result, I got very little done on my Jan. ALYoF project...
So, guess what my Feb. goal is going to be? yes, you're right - I'm going to try (again) to get some scrappy trip around the world quilt tops done.  I have made some progress:
I have more blocks made, and I have also started sewing some strips together.  The sections shown here are 3 blocks wide - and they should be at least 5 blocks wide by 7 or 8 blocks long.
I'm also planning to take part in the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge over at Angela's Soscrappy site again this year - I managed to cut the blue scraps for January's blocks, but got no farther than that.  I'm hoping to do Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Sister's Choice blocks for my rainbow scrappy project blocks.
One final thing that I'll be doing on an on-going basis this year is a large-scale floral Disappearing 4-Patch swap with my friend Cathy.  I got my first set of 4 blocks made up and sent to her, but I don't think that she got it yet, so I can't share them here yet.  I got the blocks she made in yesterday's mail, and they look great!  It will be interesting to see if we ever use the same fabrics - we don't live that far apart, so it's possible!
Now I'm off to link up on Melissa's site.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Lovely Year of Finishes - 2015 version!

My life is incredibly busy right now - and it seems that every time I turn around, another task gets added to my already overflowing to-do list.  I don't know if this is a good time to commit to a January ALYoF project, because I have no idea if I'm even going to have time to pick up this project - but then again, maybe it's the inspiration that I need!
A year or two ago, I started cutting a 2 1/2" by the width of the fabric, strip of fabric from every quilt I started.  Most of the time, projects call for "yard-age", and of course, Canada is a "metric" country; so, if a project called for 2 yards of fabric, I'd buy (or pull out) 2 meters of fabric.  That way, I'd always have a little extra, just in case I bungled a cut, or whatever....  Most of the time, I'd end up with 1 or 2 extra 2 1/2" strips, and I'd set them aside.  Then, in September or October, I needed to work on something new, and I remembered my extra strips!  I cut them in half, making two 2 1/2" x 18" strips - and I sewed 7 of those strips together, making a rough-cut square.  I sewed the strips into tubes, and cut 2 1/2" sections, until I ran out of strips.  I unpicked the top seam of the first strip, the second seam of the 2nd strip, and so on; then I resewed the strips together, and ended up with "Scrappy Trip Around the World" blocks.
I've chosen to try to finish this quilt top for my January project.  I suspect that I have enough strip sets to make at least 2 tops, depending on how large I make them, but I'm going to commit to making only one top for now.
These are some of the strip sets, and the first blocks that I made:
There are a number of different ways of putting them together, so the layout should probably be my first decision!