Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sophie's Toes "On the Road" Edition

So the quilting party got put on hold last week when I had to change hats, and get ready for a yarn show in Wisconsin. Janesville, Wisconsin, as in the Janesville Knitting Guild Knit-In. A Knit-In, as I was trying to explain to a muggle friend today, is when knitters gather at a specific place to knit all day without interruption, and there are yarn vendors, and knitting classes, and some food and coffee, and laughing, and lots and lots of knitting. Awesome super nerdy knitting fun!
It was particularly special because it marked the first appearance of our mascot, Sophie herself (and her toes, which have changed considerably from those chubby baby toes of 2005 but are still pretty darn cute, says her mom) at her first yarn show acting as Big Girl Helper.
This appearance would be accidental, owing to a scheduling malfunction between her parents, which necessitated her addition to the trip. However, I will report to being pleasantly surprised at how well it went. This girl has one excellent work ethic, and she earned her payment in m & ms.
She modeled samples, sorted yarn, tidied, modeled, bagged, stapled, modeled, and generally kept up morale. Did I mention the modeling?
What I would like to know is, what great-aunt somewhere in our lineage worked in Vaudeville? Because she didn't get that look from me!
How much product can I model in one shot?
Wait! You forgot to take a picture of me with the yarn!

In Knitting Knews: last week I cast on a new sample in a brand new color of Magic Ball called "Night Owl", which is mostly black and grey with some highlights of dark red, plum, and brown. I intended to get it finished in time for the Janesville show, but I forget that I don't get much knitting done the week before the show because I spend my evenings skeining and tagging yarn.
So my new goal is to get it done for the next show, the Madison Knit In, coming up in a few weeks. Here it is about halfway done. (Raise your hand if you are going to Madison!)
It's a very fun knit and seems perfect for a Magic Ball. The pattern is Wingspan and it's free on Ravelry.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You Are Special

Hello Friends! I just wanted to share the big excitement from our house this morning:
The girls are so different. One handmade her cards from construction paper and doilies. To the other, a box of Barbie cards with tattoos were her "dream come true".
They did join forces for a little while. I had signed us up for making lunches for Lazarus House, a local homeless shelter, and we all thought it would be cheery to include a valentine and candy in each lunchbag, since it was Valentine's day and all.
Molly was adamant that she hand-make all 40 valentines. I thought she was just going to cut out a heart and tape on a candy. I came out to find both girls intently working on them together, and Molly was writing a little personal message on each one.
You're talented
You are kind
You are loved by God
You make people smile
You're special
People care about you
I'll be thinking of you
You're amazing
And my personal favorite: You are beautiful (or handsome)

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Quilt Top of Love

Rumors are flying that there might be fighting over this quilt. My mother tried to surpress a chuckle when I mentioned there might need to be more (2 more, to be exact). Apparently, she had already seen the writing on the wall.
I'm thinking a white background with pink and red letters would be adorable. And maybe a blue/green/red version in solids, for the boy. (Inspired by the iconic Love Stamp, which is actually the first thing I thought of when I saw the quilt pattern.)
Yes. I'll get right on that.
Happy Weekend everyone!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Obsessed with Love

So, Saturday morning I was feeling very obsessed with doing this Love quilt. I asked the girls (so totally nonchalant-like and casual while secretly holding my breath) if they would like to join me and we could make it a sewing party.
They were excited! Woohoo!
Molly is Big Stuff because she has her own machine. I have shown her the basics of how to use it but mostly I just let her take off and do her own thing.
There's not much to "mess up" when you're doing wonky letters and paper piecing, but if she did mess up -- like not catching both layers of fabric in the seam--I took over and re-did it for her. I didn't want her to get frustrated. Ripping out is difficult in paper piecing because you need to use a very short stitch in order to make it easier to rip the paper out later.
She took over the "L"s and sewed many of them. That is, when she wasn't trying to take the machine apart to see how it worked.
Just keepin it real--there were some times of frustration--some storming off--some pouting--we will just gloss over all that because when she decided to come back "and just do her own thing" she created her own little "art quilt".
My sweet girl!
Sophie, who is always my Busy Little Helper, took on the job of finger pressing all the seams so I didn't have to take them back to the ironing station with every seam. She also played go-fer and delivered all the finished blocks from the sewing station to the pressing station, the trimming station, and the layout station.
We all spent lots of time oohing and ahhing and playing around with the layout of the letters.
Even Izzy did a good job as Layout Supervisor. Good Doggie!
By Saturday night we had 3 full LOVE blocks (out of 13 total) completely finished, and most of the rest of the letters. I saved the"E"s for last because they seemed the most daunting but they really weren't.
Sunday afternoon we got busy again and finished up all the LOVEs.
Here are all our finished blocks! They don't look great, above, against the green carpet so here they are below, as I was planning the layout:
I spent most of the superbowl sewing plain blue blocks between the LOVE blocks. Then added a blue border. In the last few minutes of the superbowl we had a finished quilt top!
Some notes:
As I mentioned last post, I used Kelly's free pattern here
I photocopied the letters at 75% and after piecing them trimmed them to 6" x 7.75"
Which made a complete LOVE block of 11.5 x 15
I changed the "E" from lower case to capital, just cause my daughters wanted me to

Today after school I'm going to show them how to "put that white stuff in between the quilt."

Distracted by Love

Checking in with a quilt update!
This quilt is done, on the bed, and just waiting for the stylist and photographer (me and me) (which means I need to make the bed and put laundry away), so that will happen........soon........... sometime......maybe this week.
This new quilt is coming along very nicely! I gave myself a week off from yarn dyeing last week and had a fun time quilting. Progress photos soon.
I got a little distracted on Friday morning when I saw this tutorial over on sewmamasew. I loved it so much and immediately pictured a whole quilt using LOVE blocks. By Friday night I was pulling from stash and on Saturday morning I was at Joann's, buying 6 yards of light blue background fabric. We had a glorious Saturday with no place to be (first completely lazy Saturday in months) and even the girls got in on the Love Party.
By Sunday night we had a quilt top! I'm going to get my photos organized and show you the whole thing tomorrow.
I hope you had a great weekend! Bye for now!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

It's a Start

Hi Friends!
Thank you for your sweet comments. I am so happy to be back.
I think I've touched on this over the past couple of years--I've really had an inner struggle going on about doing/not doing my artwork. It was such a relief to let some things go when the kids were really little-- first I stopped doing my yearly open studio. Then I gave up doing commissions. And gradually I stopped exhibiting my quilts regularly. It helped with the stress level so much. And I really needed that. But (here's the Big But) I stopped making art quilts. And I love making art quilts.
Then I started doing the yarn business. And it was such a fun thing and a nice way to make a little money, and I thought I'd only do it for a few years, but I built it up to the point where it became a Big Thing, which was, once again, difficult to give up.
And the past year or so, I've got the notion in my brain that I would do both, make art quilts and dye the yarn, (and be wife and mother, and volunteer, and cook more nutritious meals...yada yada) but that has been much easier said than done.
But ya gotta start somewhere. A pile of fabric is a good start. Then. Baby Steps. Cut a few pieces and put them up on the wall. Stand back and look. More pieces. More staring. Repeat. (a few hundred times, but we won't think about that yet).
But it's a start! A start is good! Here's wishing you many good things in the year to come! I'm feeling very optomistic about 2012.