Thursday, September 30, 2010

My husband is gonna hate this hat....

But ask me if I care. I don't. I'm so proud of myself! This is my first ever hat-for-me and my first cable pattern. Cables have scared me off for a really long time but these were beyond simple and this was actually a very relaxing knit. I totally recommend it for anyone who has wanted to try cables but didn't know where to begin. If you can knit in the round, you can do this.
And to show you the fit, here is me playing self portrait model again, this time in the bathroom. I had to take a lot of these to even get one OK shot - and without the toilet in the background. I almost left in my beloved Heather Ross VW vans bathrobe that hangs on the wall, but I decided it was so cute it would distract from the hat.
Yep, Mark has already called this a Rastafarian hat. I had to take back some new jeans I bought recently because he said they looked like "swabbies", and who wants jeans to look unflattering to their guy? But the hat is staying. And you know the best part? It's loose so I can wear it all over on cold days but still not have total hat head.
Oh yeah, the pattern is free on Ravelry - Star Crossed Slouchy Beret - and mine is knit with a scrummy squishy Mirasol Miski baby llama yarn.

More on this next post - a new baby quilt from Oliver & S's new City Weekend line. The binding is only half on and I really don't count a quilt as finished until it's all washed and crinkly, but the sun was shining today and I'd like to get all the outside pictures of quilts while I still can. We never trust the weatherman in Seattle when he says tomorrow will be sunny too!

And I found a new method for taping down backing! Wine labels work beautifully! I'm always running out of tape when I decide to baste, so I was happy to find this roll in the garage. Don't worry, this vintage has already been bottled so these are just some leftovers who needed a job.

I might not be back until Monday but check in then for another giveaway! There's a hint in this post as to what it will be - and it's a good one!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Wonky Yellow Brick Road Quilt (in pug)

The Wonky Brick Road quilt is all stippled, bound and freshly washed, ready to go to it's new home. I made this one for my dear friend Kari as a house warming gift - she just bought her first condominium and I wanted to show her how proud I am of her for such a great accomplishment. She's been hounding me for awhile to make her something handmade so I thought this would be the perfect occasion.
I'm loving how this one came out! The idea was born for this quilt when I found this adorable Spoonflower print on Etsy by Pugnotes. Kari loves her pug like he is her fur baby, so I knew this would be perfect for her. I wasn't sure how I would be able to showcase the print in a quilt until I remembered this one the talented Ashley came up with awhile back. I thought something similar would be a lovely way to use this print generously and still be able to incorporate lots of sherbet-y floral and geometric prints into the mix. Plus the cheerful wonkiness of the design reminds me of my friend, who always keeps me laughing.
I used lots of oranges, pinks, and golds with a splash of lavender in prints mostly from Erin McMorris, Heather Bailey and Amy Butler. I have a tendency to want to make a quilt all from one single designer's line, so it was fun to play with a mix of all these fabrics and see how harmoniously they play together. The method for piecing was simple and free-flowing, if not a bit tedious toward the end. But so worth it for the overall effect and how the "grout" makes all the prints pop.

For the binding I chose my favorite print from Erin McMorris's Weekends line and splurged on some deliciously cozy Little Folks flannel from Anna Maria Horner. This is the first quilt I've backed in flannel but definitely not the last! It's so cozy!

I had to get one more shot in since it was one of our last beautiful blue skies up here in Seattle for awhile....

Lucy does not want to give this one away. But it's much easier for me knowing it will be loved and I can visit it pretty much whenever I want to.

I hope you love your new quilt Kari! (and don't pretend you aren't reading this post - I guess the surprise is spoiled now!)

We also have a winner for the Innocent Crush fat quarters! I decided to go with instead of choosing my favorite pattern because there were so many good ones suggested. Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful input. The winner is #20, Faith! Faith is one talented woman and I read her blog regularly for inspiration, so you know she will do something awesome with these fabrics.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The spoils of the day (and a little giveaway!) GIVEAWAY ENDED! check back again for more fun:)

I'm crushing hard on Anna Maria Horner. Okay, it's no secret that I always have. I've made a quilt or two from each and every line she's produced (except Chocolate Lollipop) and I still hoard all her old collections. So of course I've been waiting with baited breath for  her new Innocent Crush line to come out, and pouting that we have to wait until November. So imagine my surprise when I was cruising Etsy the other night while Mark was out of town (you know what they say - when the cat is away the mouse will shop!) and Whipstitch Fabrics had the whole entire line in stock! I had to contact them to make sure they hadn't forgotten to write "pre order" on the listings! But sure enough, they had magically gotten them that day and besides their in store customers I was the first person to get my greedy hands on them!

The gals there were wonderful to deal with and got my fabric to me in just two days! It arrived this afternoon and I am blown away once again by the beauty Anna Maria continues to create.
These are gorgeous and the colors are perfect for fall. I really have too many other WIPs going on right now but I have no idea how in the world I'll be able to keep myself from cutting in to these!

As if that wasn't enough to get my heart racing, a special package of gorgeous Nani Iro arrived today also! Matatabi was having a moving sale and how could I resist? A little double gauze to add to my collection and some of the linen from her vintage collection (a new clutch maybe?)

The best thing to arrive on my doorstep today though, was my sweet husband. He came home this afternoon from a trade show in NYC and came armed with gifts as he always does. This time he had to make it good to keep me from being too jealous of his visit to Mario Batali's new spot Eataly. He did good! The gals at Purl Soho were so helpful in choosing these gorgeous Habu yarns for the Color Change scarf I've been dreaming of, and some new Liberty lovelies to add to my long-term hexie quilt project.

And this is what we'll be up to (or into, rather) tonight......Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. All I can say is YUM. After reading this Flickr thread the other night we recklessly ordered seven pints of this stuff against all dietary logic ( I mean, come on, I've been trying to lose 8 pounds since Lucy was born!) I'm blaming this all on you Chawne if I gain some more;) But really, this ice cream is crack and I'm sure it won't be the last box arriving on our doorstep. Mark wasn't in the door for 5 minutes before diving into the Black Coffee flavor and proclaiming it his favorite ice cream ever. (Insert sounds of our pant seams tearing).

And because I'm feeling like a big old spoiled brat, I want to spread the love around to you too! I picked up a couple of extra fat quarters of my favorite prints from the Innocent Crush line to give away to one of you. I have a million quilt pattern ideas rolling around in my head but not one of them is speaking to me with this line yet. Will you help me please? In order to enter for these little pretties, just leave a comment telling me what design or pattern you think would be lovely in Innocent Crush. I haven't decided yet if I'll draw this randomly or pick the idea I like the best so please give it a little thought! 

One comment per person please and I'll pick the winner Sunday at 5 PM Western time so I can pop these in the mail to the winner on Monday! Please make sure you leave me a way to contact you!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In the works

I'm finally in the homestretch of finishing the Wonky Yellow Brick Road (in pug) quilt for my bestie. I am so glad that I know how much she is going to appreciate this one because the piecing became a bit tedious toward the end and was quite an effort to find the motivation to finish,  but in the end I'm really happy with how it came out. But a deadline is always helpful and since this needs to be a house-warming gift this weekend, it will be all quilted tonight and bound tomorrow. I hope to show it to you soon before it goes to it's new home!

I've also been slicing into this luscious stack of Momo's new It's a Hoot for a secret project, so this is all I can show you for now! But let me just tell you, this may well be my favorite new line. I wasn't all that jazzed about it until I saw it in person and now I just want yards and yards of it! The tree branch and egg dot prints are fabulous and come in such yummy colors. Dare I say I love it even more than Wonderland?

On my design wall are all the blocks I've received so far from the Bee-autiful Bee. Aren't they gorgeous? August was my month and I sent out packages of the spectacular Lush and Uptown lines from Erin Michael, asking my bee-ers to just make an "improv" style block featuring a paint-by-number deer or bird.  These ladies came up with some stunning blocks! I'll be making a few myself to add to them before turning them into what will certainly be my new favorite quilt (but aren't they all?)

If these photos are looking a bit sterile to you, it's because they are. I love my new sewing room to pieces, but I put in some super high wattage overhead lightbulbs (which are supposed to simulate real day light!) and now I can see my work as I'm sewing but it is making for some dreadful studio shots. Oh someday I'll take a photography class and learn more about how some of you come up with your gorgeous shots!

I hope you're all having a relaxing Tuesday evening - Mark is in NYC for a trade show (you better believe I sent him with a little wish list to Purl Soho!) so I'm enjoying a little house chardonnay and finishing that quilting. Then back to knitting my Kererra and watching the premiere of Imperial Boardwalk.
Make sure you don't go anywhere because I have another super awesome giveaway in my next post!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quilting Break

Well, not really a break but I was in desperate need of some small projects to break up the quilt monotony. Don't you ever just need the satisfaction that comes with finishing a project quickly? I am really slow at the whole piecing process and I have a bunch of quilt tops underway I can't show just yet, and I was just starting to feel a bit buried under them all. It feels good to be in major finishing mode but sometimes a fun little break does just the trick to bring you back to the big projects with new momentum.

I was in need of a new, roomy knitting bag to tote around my Kererra sweater WIP, and after seeing all these cute Jane bags pop up I thought it would make a great project bag too, with it's big pockets to hold needles and markers, and yarn inside. I've had the pattern on my to-do list for awhile and had been itching to cut into these particular fabrics for a long time too. I finished it in a night!

Now most grown up women may not be able to get away with carrying around a faux bois bag with fairy tale trim  but I couldn't really care less what those people think anyways and all the women at my LYS already think I'm a big weirdo. And I just love how it turned out.

My Kerrera sweater is coming along beautifully too. I'm really trying to practice project monogamy with this one so I can finish it soon. The rainy days and dropping temperatures are good incentive to get it done so I can cozy up in it! 

When I finish it I have plans to knit this and this and this and this! Lofty goals? Yeah.

I also brought out this stack of goodies to make some more fun kitchen potholders. After receiving my awesome ones from Jeni in the Urban Home Goods Swap, it made me realize I need to get rid of all my old hole-y, burnt ones. Lots of cooking and baking goes on around here starting this time of year so the more pretty things in my kitchen the better! I'm also planning on ordering some of these new dishtowels!

It's so fall-ish here today and I love it. I'm thinking of braising some short ribs for when Mark returns from the vineyards tomorrow and the first loaf of squash bread for the year. Is it feeling like fall where you are? Do you have any cozy rituals to bring in the season?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Urban Home Goods Swap Part Deux

I finished my swap pieces for my Urban Home Goods partner last night and they're going out now with the postman. I'll be sad to say good-bye to them, but I'm hoping they're just my partner's style and she'll love them too. I was very excited to get this particular person and I had a blast thinking these up and playing with all these pretty colors and fabrics. I have a hard time limiting myself to a color palette (have you noticed that all my quilts are sort of rainbow-y?) and I think the effect of sticking to just a few colors brings a whole new mood to a project.
For the sewing machine cover I had originally intended on making a "cozy" but panicked that it would be too small so in the end I had to re-work it into a quilty cover. To go along with it I added a little hexagon pouch and a diamond paper-pieced pincushion in matching fabrics. I hope you love them all partner!

Something I don't often mention here is the wino side of my life. My husband is a very talented wine maker for a living (I'm talking knock your socks off delicious wines!) and here is a picture he took of some ripening Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that will be coming to the winery and made into wine very soon. 

After six years together I have gotten used to the annual harvest time in which I basically don't have a husband for two months. Our grapes are grown across the mountains in eastern Washington and Mark spends months taking day and overnight trips there to test grapes and bring them home to the winery when they're ripe. Then comes the long early mornings to late nights crushing, pressing and seeing it through fermentation until barrel-down time. It was hard in the dating can't-stand-to-be-away-from-one-another-for-five-minutes phase of our relationship, and I certainly don't love single mommyhood, but the one up side to all of it now is the many evenings alone I'll have after Lucy goes to bed to get some real uninterrupted sewing time! You gotta always try to find the good in things, right?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I am spoiled rotten!

My package from my Urban Home Goods Swap arrived!!! And I seriously can't even begin to tell you how thrilled I am with what was inside!

My secret partner Jeni spoiled me rotten! She made me some adorable patchwork pot holders and a little tote made from vintage sheets. So freakin' cute! And she went way above and beyond by including a fat quarter bundle of vintage sheets and a vintage pyrex!

And if you've checked out the swap photostream you'll remember this apron everyone was drooling over. Well it's mine all mine! I've been parading around the house in it regularly. Thank you so much Jeni, everything is very loved and appreciated.

Getting all these delicious goodies has really motivated me to finish up my pieces for my partner, although in true Megan fashion they will not be ready to go in the post until the very last day.

Also arriving in the mail was a layer cake of my new favorite, It's a Hoot by Momo. Seriously, I think I love it even more than Wonderland. The colors are so fresh and vibrant and there are some very useful coordinates too. Now if only I had some time to cut it up!

We had a lovely end of summer weekend lazing around the house, and I sat in the yard to soak up some last rays and cast on my new project, the Kerrera sweater by Gundrun Johnston. If I can ever get past this blasted double garter stitch - I've ripped it out and restarted three times already - I'll hopefully have something to show you in the next year or two:)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just in time for fall

I've finally completed my Sunrise Circle jacket, and I couldn't be happier with the end result. Well I'm no model but here I am. I began knitting this back in April - 2009! It's my first 'big girl" sweater, and over one hundred dollars worth of yarn and a year and a half later you can only imagine how ecstatic I am that the whole thing not only seamed up correctly but actually fits! And I know I'll wear it all the time. It's so cozy! 

This was a real confidence builder for me as a knitter and I hope in the future to have a closet full of hand-knit sweaters.

I know most of you don't read this blog to find out any sort of knitting info, but the pattern is the Sunrise Circle Jacket by Kate Gilbert and can be downloaded on Ravelry. My version is knit using Jo Sharp's Cashmere Aran Tweed in Ivy and the yarn is a dream to work with. This pattern looks complicated but I only consider myself to be an advanced beginner, so if you want to try it out, go for it!

I'll be back soon with more quilty fabric love:)