Monday, February 28, 2011


So far this year a whole lot of fabric (and yarn, but I'll get to that) purchasing (see above stack of Greenfield Hill) has been going on, but not a whole lot of actual sewing. Not a lot for me, anyways. After my big post first trimester energy spurt, I developed a minor yet irritating pregnancy side effect that has forced me to spend as much time as possible off my feet. Not bed rest - just household duties, errands and chasing Lucy are taking up most of my allotted "standing" hours and not leaving too much to quilting. I'm sort of wiped out at the end of the day anyways, so sewing after bedtime has lost it's normal appeal lately.

I have managed to work a little bit on a flying geese baby quilt for a special little boy who will be here in April, but other than that, all my crafty time has been devoted to knitting.

My love of knitting has been slowly increasing over the last two years as I've been skill-building, and the last few months I've developed big-time knitting fever. I finished a cardigan the other day, so hopefully I'll be able to show it to you this week.

I've been adding to the yarn stash, first with a little Wollmeise I was turned onto by my friend Chris. I haven't found a project for these gorgeous skeins yet, but they are absolutely lovely with deep color saturation. If you haven't heard of Wollmeise before, they're extremely sought-after and can go for crazy prices. As far as I know, there is no retailer in the US.

But my big yarn indulgence right now is with the gorgeous bases and colors of madelinetosh. The owner of my LYS refers to my syndrome as 'madtosh' disease, and man, I have it bad. After knitting my last sweater with it, I just can't get enough. I even joined the Magnolia Society sweater club, which will ship me enough yarn over the next six months for three whole sweaters!

Right now I'm working on another cowl in tosh merino dk in the Black Velvet colorway. Yum! This pattern is called the Eternity Scarf.

I've also started another sweater, this time Sedum by Jane Richmond. I'm knitting this one up in squishy-soft Tosh Bulky, in the soft Thyme color way. It's seed stitch so it's a little time consuming, but I hope the effort will be rewarded.
 And don't worry, I've got lots of baby projects all ready to cast on too for our new little girl!

By the way, if you're on Ravelry, you can find me here.

Don't forget, all you Single Girls, today Nova will be leading us all through step three of the Single Girl Quilt-along. Nova makes sewing curves a breeze! I'm off now to do a little work on my own Single Girl quilt so I hope you all have a fantastic Monday!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Single Girl Quilt-along: Part Deux

Congratulations! You made it through the most trying part of making the Single Girl Quilt! If you missed this part or you're just a bit behind, you can find Katy's clear and concise directions for templates and cutting your fabrics here.

I lucked out and got the fun and easy part of this quilt to lead you through - piecing your rings. For this stage you're going to need:
  • All of your cut pieces, arranged in order and separated by each quarter, as follows - Quarter #1 - pieces A through H, Quarter #2 - pieces I through O, Quarter #3 - pieces P through W and Quarter #4 - pieces X through EE
  • a quarter inch piecing foot
  • a seam ripper
  • your pattern for reference

I've laid all my pieces out alphabetically on top of some plastic lids I use to store my fabrics in. This way I can move them around without disturbing the order. I've found the best way to do this for me was to lay my plastic templates on top of each piece so I don't accidentally sew some wrong edges or pieces together.

To start the first ring, you will place piece A right sides together with piece B. All pieces allow for a quarter inch seam. Sew the pieces together on the right edge, matching NOT the top and bottom edges, but where the pieces intersect at the seam allowance. This is the most tricky part of the piecing and you may have to use your seam ripper to get the first few right, but once you get the hang of it, it's cake. The more extreme the angle on the pieces, the less the edges will match. 

Here's what I mean:

See how that seam intersects on both edges right where the fabrics meet? That's what you want. Flip the piece over and you can see it on the other side too.

Super easy once you get the hang of it, right? Diagram 4 in your pattern can explain this also.

Continue sewing each piece to the next, A through H for your first arc. I checked each piece for accuracy and finger pressed the seams toward the newest piece each time. Grab a cup of tea or coffee and continue all your arcs in Ring Quarter #1. It goes together quick once you're in the groove! Keep going in this way for Quarters 2, 3 and 4. When your'e all done, you can press all your seams.

Then admire your beautifully pieced Ring Quarters!

Make sure you keep all your rings pieces in stacks, all of Quarter 1 together, all of Quarter 2 together and so forth. And that's all there is too it!

It's really exciting to see all these Single Girl Quilts being made all at once! Make sure you visit the Single Girl Support Group regularly to see what everyone else is up to, and if you find yourself with any questions, there's tons of help there too. Please also feel free to email me directly at 
meggied23 at hotmail dot com
with questions or if you find any goofahs in my tute here. Make sure you don't forget to post your own progress pics in the group pool. And please, if you have any further tips on this portion please add them into the discussion in the group too!

Next week is the part everyone is dreading - sewing the background to the rings. But really, have no fear! Our in house curve-sewing genius Nova will be holding our hands all the way next Monday, February 28th, over on her blog.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's a GIRL!

We had our 20 week ultrasound yesterday and were thrilled to find out that we're expecting a little sister for Lucia! I really wanted another girl and I think Mark had resigned himself long ago to the fact that he would always be outnumbered. More importantly, she looks like a very healthy, strong girl. We even got to see amazing 4D images of her moving around like crazy. And she already has plenty of hair!  I'm a bit worried she's topping 15 ounces this early- we make big babies. But I guess I had better lay off the cupcakes a bit!
It was a pretty epic day. In addition to the good news, we finally bought a new car! The 1998 VW Beetle I've been driving for the last twelve years crapped out - again. Being pregnant toting around a toddler with a smelly, hairy dog riding shotgun has been less than fun. Believe me when I tell you how elated I am to not have to use a lint roller on my pants every time I get out of the car. 
We decided on a Ford Edge, which will be perfect for hauling babies with a space in the back all for Norman. 
So today I'm feeling happy and content and ready to do a little work on my Single Girl Quilt. If I'm not back beforehand, I'll see you all here next Monday for step two of the Single Girl Quilt-along!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Single Girl Kick Off!

The day is finally here! The Single Girl Quilt-along starts today, with the lovely Katy leading you through step one of cutting your templates and fabrics. She did a very thorough and clear tutorial on this part, but if you need any clarification or help, Katy, Nova and I are all happy to answer any questions and of course you can just pop in over at the Flickr group any time with over 200 willing Single Girls to lend you support!

The block above is the test block I made using some of my Liberty of London fabrics. I love how it turned out, but the bulk of that fabric already has a project, and for the quilt along, I've cut into my stack of precious Neptune fabrics. I think the scale of these prints is perfect for the pattern and will result in a soothing, harmonious quilt. It's destined to be a gift for a special family member. I know it will be hard to part with, but she'll adore it and I'll still be able to visit it regularly!

Here they were a few weeks ago all laid out awaiting the tedious cutting phase. I just popped on a few This American Life podcasts and it was done in a flash. And I promise, the rest is easier from here. I'll be leading you through step 2 - piecing the rings - next Monday the 21st, so get cutting!!!

Are you just thinking of joining in now? It's not too late - and Wondrous Wovens is having an opening day special on the Single Girl pattern today only. Use code singlegirl.

Well, I should be off working on this today but I'm a bit pre-occupied and anxious due to our 20 week ultrasound visit tomorrow, so I think it would be wise for me to stay away from any project requiring accuracy or brains. I think loads of chamomile tea and some knitting is more my speed today. 

Happy Valentine's Day Single Girls!

Friday, February 11, 2011

20 weeks and knitting along

So here I am at the twenty week halfway mark and all I really feel like doing right now is knitting. A run-on cold and a minor annoying pregnancy side effect has had me pretty much in bed with my feet up as much as I can. At least it has been a condition that is happily conducive to knitting! I'm very much missing my sewing machine, although I think the break has been good for me. I'll have to be back at it again soon enough to keep up with the Single Girl Quilt-along, which is kicking off with Katy on Monday. Then you'll find part two, piecing, right here on Monday the 21st!

I finished my Big Herringbone Cowl a few nights ago and I seriously don't want to take it off. It clearly doesn't belong with the stripey athletic tee I'm wearing here but that paired with some preggy yoga pants is my uniform these days so oh well.  The cowl pattern is a free tutorial from the lovely Purl Bee blog, and I knew the moment I saw it I had to knit one for myself. And it was a great excuse to use this gorgeous madeline tosh merino yarn I impulse bought from my LYS. The colorway is called Amber Trinket, and it is one of the prettiest yarns I've ever had the pleasure of knitting with. No photos could capture the true beautiful purples, oranges and maroons, but this is a fairly decent representation. This pattern gave me a bit of trouble in the beginning due to first a too tight, then a too loose cast on, and again later when I found out I had twisted my stitches when I joined in the round, but I persevered after ripping out four times and from then on it was easy peasy.

And here is another self-portrait-in-the-bathroom of my belly, twenty weeks along! I'll hopefully have some exciting news to share next week after our ultrasound. I've convinced myself it's a boy but Lucy loves to pull up my shirt and touch the belly saying "see-ster!" No joke. We'll soon find out, and either way, I hope you'll all be able to tolerate the large amount of baby-crafting that will inevitably crop up for the second half of this ride.

Today I'm a bit crabby as my car broke down and our bathroom sink sprung a gigantic leak, and tonight we are having a big party at our winery to release our new Cabernet and Pinot Noir, so I will be forced to have to put on real clothes and leave my knitting behind. But I suppose I'll be back soon enough. I hope you all have a happy weekend filled with lots of sewing, knitting or your current vice of choice.

Monday, February 7, 2011

no diets here

Yep, I've been shopping. While the whole rest of the world seems to be on an extreme fabric diet, I have decided instead to do my part to keep the fabric industry afloat. And since I have nothing I've made to show you, I'll share some of my new yummies.

Above is a fun smattering of prints from my favorite online shop, Superbuzzy (I couldn't resist throwing a few boy prints in the cart - we find out what baby number two is next week!), and five colorways of Sweet Grid by Yuwa (from Charm Stitch).

The new baby on the way was a good excuse to finally pick up Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings. And after seeing this gorgeous quilt Anna herself made out of Innocent Crush, Pastry Line and the Square Dance panels, I just had to pick up some of the voiles to add to my IC collection.

The Drunk Love WIP made me order a few more coordinating prints to throw in - that quilt is getting huge and the more prints the merrier!

Then this fat quarter set of hard to find Henna Garden just happened to pop into my Etsy cart. Who could resist that?

And every single one of these prints was a definite necessity: flowers from Lecien Flower Sugar, mingle dots in Steel, the new quilting weight Heath check from Alexander Henry, some Robert Kaufman Metro, campers, elephants, a Megumi Sakakibara print and some new Kokka Snow White beauties.

The yarn stash has grown a little bit too. I've developed such a madeline tosh yarn fixation, it seems like every project I have planned is destined to be done in tosh. I think that beautiful grey colorway, Gossamer, is going to be cast on tomorrow for the Effortless Cardigan by Hannah Fettig.

Even my fabric imp, Mercury, has gotten a new outfit. This sweater set was hand knit by the talented megipupu, and it is absolutely lovely. You can occasionally find her Blythe knits on Etsy. Mercury is perched atop the Ruby Star Rising and Robert Kaufman Quilter's linen she made me order from Pink Chalk.

So yes, I have added a lot to my stash. Now I just need to find the time and energy to sew! The cold bug has finally landed on me and now it's back to bed. I hope you all are staying warm and healthy - and getting all your supplies together for the Single Girl Quilt-along! It's been so exciting seeing how many of you are joining in. Everything is kicking off on Valentine's Day so there's still time to quilt with us!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Rotating Bed Quilt Project

Believe it or not, in over two years and twenty quilts I have yet to make us a king sized quilt for our bed. Partly due to the obvious - making a king-sized quilt is a lot of work. Partly due to the fact that we're comforter-with-a-duvet-cover people and convincing Mark that a quilt will be cozy enough takes a lot of, well, convincing. And also partly due to the fact that I can't decide which of my beloved fabrics I'd like to see day in and day out on our bed. So since I couldn't decide on just one, I've decided to make THREE! The plan is keep our neutral colored bed linens, and interchange three different quilts with coordinating throw pillows as the mood strikes.

The above stack of beauties is my collection of double gauze cottons, both from the 2009 Chelsea line by Echino and various Nani Iro prints. I truly love, love, love all of these fabrics and have been longing to see them sewn up. I've waffled about going strictly Nani Iro or adding in the Echino, but when I lay them all out together they just seem to fit. This one will be large, simple patchwork with lots of emphasis on the creams and white prints (more are on order). I have plans to splurge on an all double gauze backing, too, so this will be one light and luxuriously delicious quilt. The final touch will be hand-quilting.

The second one is the grey/blue/gold/cream 'drunk love' quilt, and it's already coming right along. These are such fun and relaxing blocks to piece, and I've also been having a bit of fun amassing some more prints in this color scheme to add in. As if I needed an excuse to do more fabric shopping! Twenty-one blocks are finished so far, and for a king I have quite a few more to go, but it should go quick. This quilt will be the first one I'll send off to a long-armer. Honestly it makes me a little nervous, but not more than trying to machine quilt such a monstrous quilt myself.

And quilt number three is my long term,  paper piecing Liberty of London hexagon quilt. This one was started last spring and has reached a bit of a stalling point since all of my hand-stitching time has been devoted to knitting lately. I'm in no rush, though. I've bought, swapped and been gifted almost one hundred different Liberty prints for this and every time I do pull it out it's a joy to work on. I can't imagine how thrilling it will be to be able to put it on our bed. As girly as it is, even Mark appreciates the time, effort and beauty in this one.

So that's my goal for this year. Whether I'll be able to pull that off while having a newborn and a toddler remains to be seen. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that this new little one will appreciate the joys of sleep more than his or her big sister!