Friday, January 31, 2014

to keep her warm

{ta-da moment}


{handsewing the binding}

{taking it for a test run while I do some knitting. yep, the quilt works just fine.}

 {finished. hooray!}

Finally, I can show you what I was working on for my mom's birthday. A quilt! My sister and I made this together. It was fun to collaborate on it (and to have someone help with all that ironing and pinning!).

I was so excited to give this quilt to Mom. It may have been the most excited I've ever been to give a gift. She loved it! And I love knowing that she's keeping the winter cold at bay by snuggling under a handmade quilt.

Although the quilt is far from perfect, I have good memories of making it with my sister, and I learned so much about quilting from the process. Mom and I made a couple of baby quilts together before Jude was born, but she did the bulk of the finishing on those. This was the first quilt I took the lead on and actually felt like I kind of knew what to do. There was lots of Googling, of course!

Our brick quilt was inspired by Alicia's rectangle quilt. We cut our fabric into 6-inch by 3.5-inch rectangles and used 1/4-inch seams throughout. We backed it with vintage pink flannel and used an antique-rose-colored fabric for the binding. I've heard people say that handsewing the binding is their favorite part (perhaps there's something meditative about it?), but I didn't find that to be true for me. It took a lot of chocolate to get me through that sewing, and at the end I had to scrub chocolate out of the quilt (oops!). I forgot to measure the completed quilt, but it's lap-sized.

I'm already looking forward to the next quilt I make! You can find my sewing inspiration here.

* * *

Stay warm, friends!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

yarn along: sleeve and spinning

That's a sleeve you see there. And not just any sleeve: a second sleeve. That's right, I'm on track to finish my Larch cardigan within a year of starting it, which is pretty much my regular sweater-knitting speed. I am a slow knitter in general and an even slower sweater knitter. I can finally see this one coming together though, and I'm antsy to wear it this winter. With all the snow we've been having, a new red sweater would go a long way in warming me up.

I've been reading just a tad about spinning before bed recently. I can muster only a few pages before my eyes close and the book falls out of my hands. I bought a simple top-whorl drop spindle, and I picked up some fiber on my yarn adventure over the weekend (more on that later). All that remains is for me to get up the guts to actually try to spin. I keep making excuses (e.g., I'll just read another chapter and watch one more spinning video) because I know I'm going to make some fat, dense yarn to start out, and I hate being a beginner. Soon, though. I'm going to spin soon. I'm brave this year, you know.

* * *

I'm joining in with Ginny this week for the Yarn Along.

Friday, January 17, 2014

snoflinga + links

Hello. It's Friday morning, which always feels good. The weekend is within reach, right? The baby is asleep, and here I am at the computer. I keep glancing out the window next to me to watch the snow fall--just flurries, which I can barely make out against the pale gray sky. I have to look hard at the trunks of the tall oak trees down the street to see the tiny snowflakes. We've got a scant inch of snow on the ground, but even that little bit brightens the whole house. I'm drinking blueberry tea and breathing deeply. I've been slathering on coconut oil and a few drops of peppermint essential oil every morning to wake myself up. The scent invigorates me all day. It's been a week of good days.

I've got my crafty nose to the grindstone this week, working hard on a top-secret present for my mom's birthday next Tuesday. Ah, deadlines. I wouldn't have it any other way though. I work best under deadlines. The structure helps me prioritize and get things done. And so I can't really talk about what I've been making this week, but I can show you a finished object.

I've been wearing my Snoflinga hat every day since I made it. I love everything about it: the yarn (Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, so woolly, but soft after a good soak), the color (Camper, which may be my perfect shade of pink. It has great depth of color and is feminine without being too girly.), the bobbles, the slouchiness, and that little loop at the top, which I forgot to make and had to go back and add. I've never had a slouchy hat before and wore this hat around the house for two days before I had the nerve to wear it out in public. So silly!

The Snoflinga was a joy to knit. First off, I was glad that the yarn was rustic because softer yarns have a tendency to catch on my rough winter hands. Shelter felt good in my hands! And the pattern was easy to follow and kept my interest with those garter rows and bobbles. The beauty of the design is its simplicity and restraint. I loved knitting it so much that I want to cast on another one, even though I rarely knit the same pattern twice.

Well, I better get back to that grindstone. I'll leave you with some of my favorite things from the Internet this week.

* * *

I had a chocolate emergency yesterday. Luckily this brownie in a mug came to the rescue. (And thank goodness I have a weekend of birthday cake and Nord's doughnuts coming up.)

I wish this color-saturated quilt were on my bed right now.

At the risk of sounding like a fangirl, I'm pretty enchanted with Carrie's Dessau Cowl.

I loved reading Molly's take on feeding her kid.

Are you joining in Vibeke's color swap? I think it will be so much fun!

* * *

Have a good weekend, friends! I'm going on a yarn adventure, so I'm excited about mine!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

lately + links

fuzzy ears

winter sunshine (any sunshine at all)

this little library

our shadows

new yarn

Some recent link love:
  • Carrie Bostick Hoge nailed it with Uniform. I want to cast one on so soon!
  • Casey is making a mood blanket to document this year. It looks amazing already!
  • Did you know years used to have more days? This is a fascinating listen.

* * *

P.S. Check out Liesl's blog for a little interview with me as part of her 3 Questions series.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

brave new year

This is the slowest I've ever ambled into a new year. I've been shuffling around, filling my house with hacking coughs and crumpled tissues. I believe this is Day 11 of the stupid cold that won't go away. But I'm ready to shake it (hear that, stupid cold?) and embrace 2014 and all the possibilities the new year holds.

Last July I started a colorwork hat, but I quickly put it aside because the colorwork felt too taxing for me. I just couldn't get my hands and mind to work together (I think having a baby around may have contributed to this). But after my Christmas knitting was finished, I picked this hat back up again, and you know what? I could do it! It's not perfect by any means, but it's a start. It felt amazing to learn a new skill, and more importantly, to stop being intimidated. I'll admit that Kevin's "I'm not afraid anymore" monologue from Home Alone ran through my head. Learning to do stranded knitting is a small victory, but it opens up a whole world of patterns that were off limits to me before.

All of this is to say that I want stop being such a chicken in 2014. I'm never going to learn new skills unless I try, and trying means I'll probably be bad for a while. I am truly a terrible beginner. I want to know how to do things right away. All the fumbling will be worth it, though, to get that Kevin McCallister feeling again.

I usually choose a word for the year, and this year I'm choosing brave.

Crafting-wise, that means I want to continue experimenting with colorwork, learn to use a drop spindle, and finally figure out how to make a dang zip pouch.

* * *

Did you choose a word or resolution this year? 

Are you planning to learn any new skills? I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, January 6, 2014

new year's wishes

This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.

-Howard W. Hunter

A good friend sent my husband and me a Christmas card that included this quotation. We're not normally inspirational-quote people, but this one hit home for us. We've been trying for a long time, and even more so since the birth of our son, to mend a relationship in our family. We tried again this Christmas. 'Tis the season and all. But we failed spectacularly. So we ended last year on a sad note, though we hope that the new year will bring good things, or, at the very least, enough time and space to heal. 

I am wishing for more caring in the new year. I am wishing to move on from this a stronger person and a stronger family. I am wishing for peace and happiness for my family, for your family, and yes, even for the person who refuses to reconcile. 

May you have better luck than us in your relationships, and if there's one you've been hesitating to mend, can I just say that the new year is a great time for a fresh start? Forgive and forget and begin again.

Sending my love out to all of you,



Blog Widget by LinkWithin