29 January 2012

Felty love

Here is the finished project I started last week. You know, the ones that were supposed to be the Christmas presents but I forgot about them? Until January 21st??? These are little felted South African flags. I got this idea from an online shop in Cape Town. They had pictures of ones they were selling and I thought (as crafters do) "Hey, I can make that". So I bought the yarn that said it would be good for felting. And it went into the yarn closet. And I forgot all about it. . . Which is silly because these were as easy as I imagined that they would be. I knitted these off white rectangles that were approximately 4x6. I washed those little buggers in hot water with towels. I had to do it a few times to get them as felty as I wanted to them to be. They ended up coming out of the wash at about 3x5. I pinned them down to my blocking board to dry and then when they were all ready, I needle felted those stripes on. I have one more to needle felt for myself but I only have the patience for about one at a time. I'm probably doing something wrong because it takes me about 45 minutes each to do the needle felting. Not a project I'll want to do a lot but it was fun and I'm happy with the outcome.

And the reason I procrastinated so long on making these? It's because I still haven't exchanged Christmas presents with Margeaux and Suzan, the lovely ladies that will be getting these. We're finally getting together tonight to do it so I'm safe to post pictures of their presents. I made both of them iPad covers.  They both saw mine when we went to South Africa last year and asked for them. The pattern is from Amber from One Shabby Chick - link here. It's the same pattern I used to make mine with a few minor adjustments. I think velcro is the devil so I've made mine with stretchy hairbands through the flap every time and I like it better. I've made four of them now and it's a great pattern.

This one is for Suzan. She loves tulips. I bought the tulip fabric at Purl Soho last year. The plaid is from a local shop and it is a stretchy wool blend that feels really good. The wool felt on the back was a bundle I bought from my local quilt shop.

And this one is for Margeaux. She loves elephants. I had planned on putting one elephant on the front and the blocks on the back but this print from Valori Wells was so much bigger in scale than I imagined when I ordered it. It's still super cute though. Just took a little extra thinking and planning. Same felt as I used on the other case. And the checked flap is from Lotta Jansdotter.  Love that whole collection.

Off to hopefully finish a donation baby quilt today. More later.

22 January 2012

Easily distracted

On the weekends, my favorite way to start my day is on the couch with some knitting or hand sewing, trashy TV (not too trashy - like Ugly Betty or Gilmore Girls), a BIG cup of coffee or two and my best two short friends.  Today was the perfect day for all of that.  The puppies let me sleep until nine and when I got up it was grey & rainy out.  Perfect.

So the project perched in the bowl?  That's a hat I started yesterday.  I'll give you my feelings about that later but let me just say now that when the yarn arrived in my mailbox on Friday, I ditched the pair of socks and sweater that I should have been knitting and started winding the skeins into balls.  I worked on it for a few hours last night am probably about 1/3 through.  Then this morning, I woke up with this wild hair and a memory of a silly project I bought yarn for back at the end of the summer.  I got the yarn, tucked it away and pretty much forgot about it.  Until today.  It was supposed to be  a little silly part of a forgotten Christmas present but a dream I had last night reminded me.  So I pulled that white yarn out this morning and got to work.  I've made good progress and by the end of the evening, I'll be done with all but the finishing touches.  I'll post pictures when I'm all done.

Oh.  And that hat, it's not far behind.  Quick knit.  Love the pattern.  But not as much as I love my knitting buddies. . .

14 January 2012

I've missed you

Oh blog. I've been away for so long. It's not that I didn't think about you lots - because I did! - I just haven't made the time to sit down at my computer and say hi to you. That's not how friends treat each other and I'm sorry. I hope to make it up to you in this new year.

I've had many adventures since we spoke last. I went to New York and had lots of fun! Here's a picture of me at City Quilter -
See my cute bag? That's the Amy Butler Cosmo bag I made for the trip. I thought I'd want a really big bag so that I could shop, stow and keep on shopping. It has worked out well and I've had several offers to buy it. (Not a chance.) My only complaint is that even with such a big bag and so many pockets, I still can't ever find my keys or my phone. . .

My other big excitement on the trip was this -
I met Swatch from Mood Fabrics! I don't know how much you keep up with Project Runway, dear blog, but Swatch is the shop dog at Mood Fabrics where the contestants from Project Runway usually do their fabric shopping. He was shy at first but as soon as he realized that all I wanted was a picture with him - to document my celebrity sighting - he posed and then he gave me lots of smooches! You know how I love dogs - and probably Boston Terriers rank right after crazy Chihuahua/Terrier mixes and Dachshunds - and Swatch melted my heart. I wanted to put him in my big Cosmo bag and smuggle him south to the Lowcountry.

After that there was Thanksgiving and Christmas and the New Year and I've just been busy. I'm on a mission to clean out the clutter in my life and end 2012 with less stuff than I started with. Not fabric, dear blog. Or quilting books. Let's not get crazy. But just the stuff. You know the stuff you collect over the years that you're sure you can't live without? And then you forget that you ever bought it in the first place? That stuff. I've had two pretty productive weekends so far and am looking forward to closing out the storage space that I've had for years that I never, ever visit. That's going by the end of the month.

And speaking of that, no resolutions were made this year. I think I'm a pretty ok person and am happy with myself most mornings when I wake up. So instead, I'm making myself a to-do list for the year.
1. Clean out storage space.
2. Stop complaining about the gym and go more. (I know this one sounds more like a resolution. Don't correct me.)
3. Make Christmas stockings. Lots of Christmas stockings. Before December.
4. Make a skirt.
5. Make a top.
6. If I'm feeling really good about 4 & 5, make a dress.
7. Learn to knit socks.

Task 7 leads me back to the very first picture way up there at the top. Don't those little balls of yarn look happy? That is the start of task 7. And here's how they look 3 days later -
About 6 inches of my lower leg would be very warm right now. I'm knitting a very basic sock pattern with the help of my friend Sue. Better pictures and more details about yarn and such to follow. Maybe I'll finish this one by the end of the month.

And there is sewing, dear blog. I finally finished several Christmas presents this week. Sad, I know. And I still have one whomper present left to finish but I'm waiting for my little Bernina to be all tuned up next weekend. I don't want to start quilting before that is done. I have a feeling that this will be a crying project and I don't want to end up crying more than necessary. . .

I promise not to stay away so long next time. Until then, xoxoxoxo.