Monday, June 30, 2014

Camp Loopy : Project One

For June's Camp Loopy project I knit the Chocolat shawl. This is a gift. I finished it June 15th and am finally posting pictures. I had to change the borders as I ran out of blue yarn even though I used the recommended yarn and amount. I think I like my borders better. Here it is before blocking.

I did the pattern's eyelet border, but only once, in the contrast border. Then I added the garter stitch border. I only had a couple yards of the blue yarn left when I was done.

The Little Guy liked it.

Getting washed. The blue ran quite a bit.

I had more knits in need of blocking. I did the brown beaded cowl, then changed the water.

Blocked and the Little Guy still likes it. It was hard to keep it straight as he wouldn't stay off of it.

Using it as a yoga mat?

You can see that the lace section really opened up after blocking. I had to push the Little Guy away to keep his hands out of this picture.

My son took this picture inside as it was raining.

All folded up and ready to be gifted... in December.

Sun came out that evening so my daughter and I took some more pictures outside.

I like how big this ended up being.

It was a little hot outside to be modeling such a warm shawl.

Tomorrow is the beginning of Project Two. This year I decided that all Camp Loopy projects would be gifts. July's project will be a sweater for my daughter. I picked the pattern, Brick, and the yarn, but I had her pick the colour. She hasn't seen the pattern. 
The inspiration for the project was supposed to be a place we go to relax. A good day with my kids can be relaxing (you know, when everyone gets along and there's lots of laughter; those days are great) but when she picked the yarn and I saw that the colour was Iris it reminded me of my favourite painting, Van Gogh's Irises. I have had a poster of that painting up somewhere in our house since I was in University. It is currently beside my side of the bed. I have always loved looking at it and picturing myself lying in the irises - so I guess my project ended up being about a place I relax after all.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Reading and Writing Wednesday Post

If I only did writing posts on Wednesdays, I wouldn't have much to say. The kids are on their second week of summer vacation and we are still trying to find a routine. I haven't been doing much writing. I think about it a lot. However, I have been doing a lot of reading. I currently have over 50 items out from the library with 7 waiting for me to pick up and another 50 on my reserve list. Yeah, I love the library. So Wednesday will become a reading and writing update

I took this picture a couple weeks ago of the novels I had checked out then, including "The Book Thief" which my SIL lent me. I have read one of them and have added several more to the pile.

I read this graphic novel the other day. I really enjoyed it. It's a little weird. It was co-written by singer Amanda Palmer who I never heard off until a couple weeks ago. I of course checked the library for any cd's they might have and found this book as well. It's a nice quick read. My husband read it too and thought it was okay but didn't like it as much as I did. 

I finished reading this novel last week as it was due and I couldn't renew it. My mom read the end when she visited earlier this month and thought I would like it. I have to admit that I didn't like it and the fact that my mother knew how it ended was the only thing motivating me to continue reading sometimes. I'm not really sure what I don't like about it. It just wasn't believable I guess. When I finish a novel I want to continue thinking about the characters and what happens next for them. I just didn't buy it and was left questioning the author's intent. I don't know if I would recommend this book to anyone and I really need to talk to my mom as she thought I'd like it. Hmmm. 

I don't just read fiction. With two boys I thought it was time I read a little something about raising them. I have less than a hundred pages left and am learning quite a bit. There was an interesting chapter on testosterone and how boy brains are different. Who knew boys were this complex?

My mother gifted me this Jane Austen puzzle which I finally did on Sunday. 

I kept saying this quote in my head the whole time I was putting it together and after. I need to see "Pride and Prejudice" again. Soon.

And some of the writing books I have out from the library. The first one is about writing short fiction. It mainly deals with twitter and text messages but I am hoping it might give me some insight into something I just found out about. MicroFiction - stories that are 250 words or less. It seems like such an interesting idea. Who has time to write a whole novel? Not me. At least not right now. But a 250 word story? I think I can do that during nap time or almost anytime. I wrote my first story the other day and it came in around 260 words. I really like it and am looking forward to trying to write a few more. I'm not giving up novel writing but it's neat to focus ideas to the bare minimum and still have it feel complete.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Graph Paper QAL Update

Here's my progress report for the Graph Paper QAL hosted by Fabric Mutt.
I haven't made a lot of progress but I've done more with my scraps the past two weeks then I have in years so that's good. Above is the first of two overflowing bins of scraps I want to iron and cut into squares for some charity quilts. I took this picture at the end of last week and only have a small stack left to iron.

My growing pile of ironed scraps.

I did get some squares cut. On the left are 2 inch squares and on the right are 3 inch squares. My crazy brain is also thinking of cutting some 1.5 inch squares and 4 or 5 inch squares as well for future charity quilts. I'd hate to waste any fabric and I'm not cutting any bigger squares (such as leftover charm squares) down to size since I'd throw out what I trim off, which seems silly to me. 

Some 2 inch squares sewn together. Hope to get a lot more sewn together this week. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Finished Quilt!

Last week I finished the Central Park wallhanging. I started this in August 2012, around the time we got pregnant with the Little Guy. I finished piecing it just before our ultrasound that December and if he had been a girl it would have become his baby quilt. However, he was a boy and I made him an orange quilt instead. I still loved the fabrics and wanted to finish it so it became the wallhanging it was always meant to be.

It could use a good ironing but I wanted something new up on the walls. 

Hangs beside the couch in the living room. That very full shelf is our library books - mainly mine.

I was going to use purple for the all-over quilting to match the binding but when I discovered the multicoloured thread that my SIL gave me for Christmas I thought that was a better idea. I was a little rusty with the FMQ but got more comfortable as I went.

Finishing this will hopefully motivate me to finish up some more. It would be nice to clear up some space - and make room for more yarn.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Last Week's Update

I took pictures last Monday or Tuesday to post but never got around to it. I figure I'll post them now and take new pictures and post those ... tomorrow maybe? It will look like I did a lot today.

The front of a bag. Once completed this bag will be felted and smaller. It is a Christmas gift. If it works out. It will be my first time felting something on purpose.

Here is the back which will continue into being the flap. The flap has a design on it. I prefer doing colourwork in the round and have been having trouble with tension on the purl/ wrong side. I have already frogged the flap once and am hoping my second attempt will be better.

My Camp Loopy project for June. A shawl that will also be a gift. The requirements for July's project was posted last week and I ordered my yarn yesterday. I finished this shawl yesterday and had to change the borders as I ran out of the blue yarn. I like the changes I made. Still need to take pictures.

Close-up of the lace. This will look a lot better once it's blocked and stretched out.

We visited my SIL and her family last weekend. She's also a quilter and handed down to me this big chunk of fabric. I think there is roughly 5 yards and the Little Guy loves it. Trying to decide whether it will just be the quilt back for him or cut it up and use some for the front. He definitely gets excited whenever he sees it. 

He wanted to unfold the whole thing but I said no. Need to find a quilt pattern so I can start making him a quilt. At my current pace it will probably take me a couple years to complete.

I also started a second shawl for a gift but I'm not sure I like it. This is my second time doing this pattern and even though it calls for fingering weight yarn I think I would like it bigger in a different weight yarn. Might frog it and make a different shawl instead.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Graph Paper Quilt Along

I know I haven't done much quilting lately but when I stumbled upon this QAL I knew it was just what I needed. I have a lot of scraps and I have organized them several ways over the years - by colour, by size, just thrown in a bin. Over a year ago I decided what I want to do with most of them is  to cut the scraps into squares and randomly piece them and make quilts for charity. I am hoping for two twin size quilts. I think the QAL is a great way for me to finally start these quilts as I want them completed before we move next summer.

Here are my scraps organized by size going for 1.5 inch to 3 inch strips. 

Some squares. Most are 5 inch but there are smaller ones, too.

Big bunch of scraps that haven't been organized yet.

Here they are all together. I'd love to get the scraps down to a bin or two by this time next year. It would be great to complete one quilt top during the QAL. Two would be amazing. This is the last week of school for the kids so having 3 home all day everyday might affect things. I'm hoping the older kids will play with the baby during the day so I can work on it a bit.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Book, Some Quilting, a lot of Cake and a Finish

Last week was fairly productive.
Finished reading this book.  A great, sad novel. I can't remember the last time a novel made me cry, but this one did. At times it was so sad I didn't want to continue reading but by the end I wanted it to continue and find out what else happens to the characters. It's a hard read, emotionally. The main character starts knitting after the death of her 5 year old daughter. At her knitting circle she discovers how the other members turned to knitting after their own personal tragedies. Would definitely recommend.

I finished quilting the above wall hanging while watching the French Open. Need to trim it and add the binding.

Cake adventures. Besides making 2 different cakes for my daughter's birthday last week, I also wound lots of yarn cakes. You can see how messy some of these turned out due to my ball winder misbehaving. This is the blue for my Camp Loopy project, the chocolate shawl. Need to take a progress picture of it.

The border colour for the chocolate shawl.

Started 1 of 2 of these bags. One is a definite Christmas gift while the other is for me. I have 2 of every colour (I only took a picture of 1), except the brown so I might be able to make a third as a gift. 

Here they are stacked. The orange refused to be photographed as it's true colour.

Finished another pointy ball. Used worsted weight leftovers for this one and no cat toy inside. This is for my older son who is enjoying it.

Comparing the two. I'm not sick of the pattern yet. There are 2 babies arriving this winter who might need their own. They aren't even related to me (being born to siblings of friends) and I'll probably never meet them but I just want to make this again.

This week is not as productive. I've got some knitting done but my parents were here for a nice, quick visit at the beginning of the week and last weekend I came down with my first case of Mastitis. It came as a surprise with a 1 year old but I figured it out and was able to fix it myself without having to go on antibiotics so I'm happy about that. After my parents left on Wednesday, the baby and I had a 2 hour nap. Think we are starting to feel almost normal again.

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