All I want to do is...

I have four challenging blocks in some stage of the sewing process, but I don't want to work on them today.


All I want to do is knit this:

start of a shawl


My hands are starting to cramp, my wrists are tired and my left pinky is starting to go numb.  I've started and ripped this shawl at least seven times in the last week.  You'd think that I could change gears when a project starts to cause me pain.  But no.  It is just too pretty....

I caught the bug.

I lost my knitting mojo for a couple of years.  The only reason I finished those legwarmers were because I was cleaning and came across my dusty knitting basket and figured I could finish the last 4 rows and a cast off.


back of mitten


But now I've been knitting every day for a week.  In fact, I've been itching to get the needles in my hands.  Strange, huh?  I ripped back this mitten because the decreases at the top were leaving holes that I didn't like.  Now I've started again in the same yarn with the Templeton Mittens pattern (ravelry link).  I'm knitting with sport yarn on size 0 needles.  That makes the mitten extra thick and narrow and squeezy.  I love how it is turning out.


palm of mitten


But, the real reason that I've caught the knitting bug again is this:


the prettiest yarn in the universe


Aren't those colors to die for?  I've just found Madelinetosh yarn and I may never buy another yarn again.  This Tosh Marino Light is absolutely amazing.  It will become a delicious stripey shawl.  Rest assured, I'll post photos when I have a good start on the shawl.

Happy winter crafting to you! 

All done!

Here is the last of the three giveaway pincushions promised.  This will head out to Sarah very soon.

"S" pincushion


Paper piecing an "S" may be the hardest block I've ever done.  
But, I learned a ton and am glad that I've done it.


"S" pincushion side view

The next time I have a giveaway, I promise a quicker turnaround on the prizes.  
Thank you for your patience, Sarah!

Two pincushions down, one to go.

Poor Vanesa has had to wait eons for her "V" pincushion from my giveaway.  "V" is an easy letter to paper piece so I spent way too long trying to figure out how to make it more complicated.

Seriously.

I have some issues....

giveaway pincushion


This is the second draft.  For the first draft I made the same block to start, then I machine stitched around it to accent, and then I thought I'd try a curved corners triangle shape.  Disaster!  When I stuffed it, there were puckers all over the place and it was too big and hideous.  That was the first paper piecing I've ever done that went straight into the trash.


giveaway pincushion


But this version I'm happy with.  I think the hand stitching around the letter suits it just fine.  Vanesa asked for blues, so I used a 30's repro print for the letter and a blue Hoopla dot for the back. 


V is for Vanesa

(Charise's "C" pincushion is here.)
Sarah, yours is next on the sewing table.
The two curves in opposite directions for an "S" may be my most difficult piecing design yet. I have absolutely no need to further complicate that one.

Teeny, tiny bits of knitting

I recently was fumbling with sock yarn and size 0 needles...all so Henry's kitties could be cozy.

My friend Britt came over last weekend and we designed the tiniest little sweater I've ever seen.  I typed up the pattern on the ravelry project page if you are curious.


kitty sweaters

These are the mommy and daddy kitties of Henry's kitty family.  


When Henry plays kitties,  they do a lot of "seeping,"

kitties "seeping"


going to "tubby" or going potty.  (Going potty involves the kitty standing and smashing into the toilet.  We still have some work to do on potty training the kitties with less violence.)

one kitty in tubby and one on the potty


When I play with the kitties with Henry, they like to hold hands or do a little dance. 
Maybe it is a happy sweater dance?

kitty sweaters

I think this pattern could work for any of the Calico Critters families.  They all seem to 
have the same body shape.  Getting the sweater over the head and ears and the arms in is a 
challenge.  I can't picture Henry removing these any time soon.  

I haven't tackled the sweater pattern for the little boy and girl of the kitty family yet.  
I think it can wait.  Henry is now more interested in shoving them through the windows 
and down the stairs of the house.  Fun, fun :)

Block in progress

I was a sewing madwoman last night.  I was tossing scraps around, ironing like a crazy person, and digging in my newly organized stash.  All for this block.

painting the roses red--not quite finished



This one is for the Pastiche Bee.  The theme for February is Alice in Wonderland so I chose painting the roses red.  The block still might need some top stitching, but it is exciting to get a bee block together again. 

I felt a little rusty before last night.  I haven't designed a block from scratch since early November.  But, you'll see a lot more designed blocks this year.  I'm in the Cocorico Bee, Pastiche Bee and I was invited to join the Ringo Pie Bee.  I'm super excited to be surrounded by so many talented sewists.  The inspiration in these bees is unparalleled.  So far I'm drawing blocks for a John Keats poem and a theme of Pippi Longstocking.  I can't wait to see what comes next!

First sewn item of the new year.

pocket clutch


I'm still on my Keyka Lou pattern kick.  This is her pocket clutch pattern.


The rest of my craft time is taken over with folding fabric, but I hope to get back to other sewing soon.

What project did you pick to start the new year?
pocket clutch

Folding like a fiend

I've gotten the itch to clean and organize this month.  Specifically, my sewing space.  I use shoe organizer cubbies to hold my fabric, and my stash has outgrown the two cubby units dedicated to it. (This is in addition to a bin of solids and a suitcase of multicolor fabric.)  So, I need a third unit.

My sewing studio is in the basement and it is too cold to spend hours folding and organizing fabric.  So, my husband graciously agreed to bring the cubbies upstairs.  I've been spending many late nights watching programs and folding fabric.

I love gazing at this:

after


But this is how I usually get by:

before

So...I know how I'll be spending the next few nights.

Here's hoping that your new year is off to an organized start.

2011 in Review

Finished Quilts
finished quilts of 2011


One look at my finished quilts mosaic and all I can see is right angles in almost every single project. My bee blocks and my quilt designs have gotten so creative over the past year with more angles and curves than I ever knew I could make. But I didn't finish any of those quilts.  I could write a resolution to stay away from square angles in 2012, but I like them too much.  I see some old projects that finally were pulled out of oblivion and finished.  Eight of the quilts above were gifts (two for Henry), four of them are I Spy quilts, the mini tree quilt was for a swap and six of them were sent to charity to warm up new babies.  Not one finished quilt for me, although I do nap with Henry's I Spy quilt on occasion.


Finished Small Projects
small finished projects of 2011


I did finish a number of small projects this year.  I designed the tea cozy, potholders, pouch, knitting needle holder and ornaments.  I also finally made another piece of clothing for Henry.  And I made my first pillow!  I hope to branch out and do more non-quilt sewing in 2012.


Favorite Bee Blocks
my favorite 16 of the 43 bee blocks i made in 2011


I made 43 bee blocks in 2011!  That seems like a crazy number. I started out the year in four bees and now I'm ending the year in four completely different bees. I may pull out of one because right now I'm signed up to make 60 bee blocks in 2012. Yikes!  The bee blocks have helped me grow and learn new skills and make new friends.  But it can get to be a bit much....

My biggest plans for 2012 are to continue to work on my block design skills and to make quilts out of all of the blocks I've received in various bees.  That should keep me busy!

I'm linking up to Lily's Quilts Fresh Sewing Day.  Come check it out!