Friday, April 22, 2011

Slow and not so steady

It actually looks like a bit of spring here today! I apologize for the wrinkly, untrimmed photo of my new quilt top, but around here you have to run outside quickly at the first glimpse of sun if you want to get any outdoor photos. The rain is scheduled to come back in just a few hours.

I've been experiencing a bit of guilt over the lack of handmade items I have made for the new baby - it seems like Lucy had a million little things by this time in my pregnancy with her. But, in all fairness not only was there the absence of a toddler to chase around back then, but I also enjoyed a fairly easy pregnancy the first go 'round. Not so this time. I know I should just buck up and focus on the fact that I have a healthy little girl growing right along, which of course makes me overjoyed, but I am finding that  having to spend a lot more time off my feet and away from my sewing machine is extremely frustrating.

But enough complaining. I did manage to finish this quilt top for the new baby before I became plagued with another round of pregnancy symptoms that benched me again. It's based on The Sixth Times a Charm quilt from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings book. I'll give you my thoughts and ideas about the design as soon as I get it all quilted and ready to show you the whole thing.

I've still been knitting away like crazy - the Snowbird sweater I'm knitting for myself is taking awhile, but it's getting there. I also just cast on another Tea Leaves Cardigan, this time one for my mom for Mother's Day. She loves blue and looks great in it, so I had to pounce on this absolutely gorgeous madelinetosh merino/cashmere worsted yarn in the Laurent color way. It's sheer delicious pleasure to knit with. No stalling on this project, it must be done by May 8th!

I have to share this beautiful gift I received in the mail yesterday for our little lady on the way. It was knit by none other than the talented, generous, sweet Kaye Prince of Miss Print. Can you even believe it? Thank you, thank you again Kaye, I just can't wait to button her up in this wee little sweater!

I caught a look at my shadow this morning - wow, that bump is getting big! I'm thirty weeks today!

Before I go, I wanted to let you know there is still a fun giveaway coming - I'm working on a little project to share with it so it's been delayed due to my lack of machine time! Also, I wanted to thank you all for the interest in the Knitting Needle Clutch recipe/tutorial. That is coming too, hopefully sooner than later. 

I hope you all have a great Easter weekend - I'll be quietly turning the big 3-5 while dyeing Easter eggs and filling Lucy's Easter basket! The doc has me off candy and sweets for now (boo! hiss!) so please don't tell anyone when if you see me stuffing my face with Reese's Peanut butter eggs and cupcakes:)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Patchwork Needle Clutch

Hooray! I sewed something! It's small and may have taken me a lot longer than usual, but I feel quite accomplished to have finished a project on my machine, considering the circumstances. For the last two years, my poor knitting needles have been a jumbled mess residing in a plastic bag. I've had to hunt for the correct size and type of needles every time I start a new project. No more! Now I have this cute little clutch to stow them all away in neatly and even take on the go.

I used many of my favorite prints, including lots of scraps, along with my new favorite solid, Robert Kaufman Quilter's Linen in charcoal. Little half square triangles make up a zig-zag pattern for the outside of the case, folded in thirds, (I still need to add a button)

and the inside has twelve pockets made for holding all my circular and double pointed needles. I just love it! There are a few changes I would make to the design next time, making it just a bit taller and adding a top flap which would double as a zip pouch for holding other knitting supplies. I may consider writing up a little "recipe" if anyone is interested in making one for themselves.

Quite a few good things have come in the mail lately. I must admit I have long been suffering from solid fabric phobia.  It is a point that is severely lacking in my stash and also, I believe, in my finished quilt designs. I have attempted to cure this by joining the Pink Chalk Solid of the Month Club. My first shipment did not disappoint! The month of April theme is jewel tones, mostly in the form of Free Spirit solids. The color saturation and hand on these is wonderful, and I'm sure they will soon become my go-to solid choice. I also had to pick up a copy of Modern Log Cabin Quilting by Susan Beal. The beautiful quilt on the cover was enough to sell me, but the inside is chock-full of gorgeous, inspiring projects too.

And I'll leave you with a little Tuesday morning rainbow. Even if yarn isn't your thing, you have to admit these beauties from Wollmeise are quite the eye candy, don't you?

I'll be back soon, hopefully with an actual quilt to show you! I'm feeling a bit better the last week, limiting my sewing time to an hour and a half in the evenings, so progress is slow but steady. And also stick around for a very exciting giveaway coming for you!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sedum in Thyme (and 27 weeks and counting!)

Thank God for knitting! It is about the only thing keeping me sane right now. I won't get into all the gory deets, but let's just say this pregnancy is less than fun at the moment. I've been dying to get at my sewing machine and bring into reality all of the million quilt-y ideas swirling around in my head. And last week I even had a few rare bursts of inspired energy and indulged in a few marathon patchwork sessions. But as a result, I paid the price so back to my evenings in bed it is. Luckily I'm surrounded by some ridiculously luxurious yarns to keep my busy.

I finished my new sweater, Sedum by Jane Richmond, a few weeks ago, and I love it. There are a few things I'd do differently if I was to knit it again, but in general I'm quite happy with the results and hope to get a lot of wear out of it next fall (and hopefully be able to button it further down my middle at that point!) Right now it's making a great cozy jacket for those rare crisp dry days we have up here this time of year. And I love how long it is - it even covers my expanding backside! 

The yarn is none other than my very favorite, Madelinetosh, in the Bulky weight in the Thyme color way. It's a super soft merino wool and I hope to use it for another heavy cold weather sweater again soon. I didn't alternate skeins, and as a result there is a tiny bit of color pooling, which I know bothers some folks, but for me is just part of the beauty of hand-dyed yarns.

I'm also finishing up a sweet little cardi for Lucy, also using Madelinetosh yarn, this time in the 80/10/10 merino-cashmere-nylon base. This will be her Easter sweater. The pattern is the ever-popular Tiny Tea Leaves, and is a simple and satisfying knit. I can't wait to make a big one for me too!

All this lying about has gotten me lots of time to discover many new beautiful yarns (to-die-for Sanguine Gryphon Bugga pictured below). Who ever knew that yarn, like fabric, could be elusive, hard to find and hoard-worthy? I had heard of people who had yarn stashes the way I have a big fabric stash, but I never understood it. Since I learned to knit, I had always found a project I wanted to take on and then find a yarn to use. Now here I am, with more gorgeous yarns than my snail-paced hands could ever knit in a year. Dare I say yarn hoarding could be even more addicting than fabric hoarding? Yes, I am aware I have a problem, but I am waiting to address any character flaw issues until after this big old baby is born. For now, I think I have enough to work on:)