Thursday, January 29, 2015

a quilt for snuggles

Considering the fact that I only made half a dozen quilts last year, I am as surprised as anyone that I am here now to share my first quilt finish of the year before January is even over! I am pretty impressed myself and I am hoping it is the beginning of a good year of makes.

I have had this quilt on my list ever since it was published. I mean, I went over a year ago when it came out and bought the magazine just for this quilt, and it just sat at the bottom of the list. Then weeks ago, as I was sitting down freezing my butt off, I kept thinking how much I needed to make myself a quilt with a nice, warm, snuggly back. This quilt immediately popped into my head and I could not rest until I got to work.

It was back in December I made the first block, and had decided to go with a scrappy black background. I went out and got some more black and then holidays and travel happened so it sat. When I came back to it I realized that I definitely did not have enough black for all the blocks (even only doing 12 instead of all 20) and since I didn't feel like buying more, I did what I do best and made it work. Somehow I got it into my head to do sort of a gradient background of black, dark gray, light gray, and white. It was not an exact science and I am not entirely sure it worked right, but I love it anyway. I was happy to be able to use a fair number of scraps for this one, so that was good. These blocks are no joke though. So.many.pieces! I even went with the strip piecing instructions and it was still nuts! I was not sad to finish these blocks, that's for sure. The quilt ended up being roughly 57" x 75" I think although I forgot to measure after quilting/washing and I am certainly not climbing out from under it now to check :)

The back ended up being some perfect fleece that I have been saving for years. I think it was part of one of those tie blanket kits that I got super cheap intending to make something else with it, but there it was and oh so perfect! I had to do a strip of the coordinating teal along the bottom to make it long enough. I decided to go ahead and still put batting in, partly to make it warmer and partly so you couldn't see the black through the lighter fabrics. It is so thick and soft! I quilted it following the chains through the quilt and then went back and did another double set of lines halfway(ish) between those. I love it and it went surprisingly well. After I quilted, trimmed and rounded the corners (I don't know why I was so set on doing that but I am certain it was the right decision), I serged the entire edge to keep it nice and flat for binding and it helped so.much. I went with solid blue for the binding because for some reason that was stuck in my head. Since I am not totally crazy, I did decide to machine bind this time since, let's be real, I had no desire to hand sew through the fleece.

The point is, I love this quilt and it is already hanging out on my bed, keeping me warm while I snuggle and watch movies and read and knit. Good stuff. It really is quite a bit warmer with the fleece, and I am very very pleased. I am also pretty thrilled that I got it done so quickly; it just feels like a good start to the year. Of course, I am not entirely sure what I am going to tackle next.....clothes? another quilt? scrapbooks? any number of other things on the list? Oh the difficult decisions in life haha!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hello again!

Well, this has been one heck of a year already. Thankfully there is a lot of time for a comeback :)

I turned 30 this past weekend. It was strange to say goodbye to the decade that made me a college grad, a wife, a mother x2, and brought me to call 3 very different states home. I got to start building my own life with the one I love and knowing myself better. I am looking forward to a somewhat calmer decade ahead of me, although I am sure it will still be crazy. I find myself in a pretty good place though, one where I recognize the importance of focusing on myself and I think that will be reflected in my crafting. I am aiming to work more on things that just make me happy and that I will be proud of, and I am pretty excited about that.

Believe it or not, I have been working on a quilt for a while now, it has just turned out to be a much more ambitious undertaking than I realized. I am making progress though and I think I am past the worst of it! Hopefully it will turn out as nice as it is in my head, and most importantly, will be soft and warm and snuggly (I will be trying out a fleece backing on this one and I am hoping it is awesome). I am also trying to decide whether to suck it up and knit my other fingerless mitt, which I hate making but love the product, or ignore it and start a sweater. Oh the hard decisions in life!

And because posts are sad without pictures, and because I am obviously never going to give these sweet gifts their own post, here is a dark picture of the stuffed animals I made my girlies for the holidays, because that's what you end up with when you snap a picture real quick just to have it before it is wrapped :) I think I like making stuffed animals up until the point where I have to stuff and close them up and add details, so I guess I like making animal skins? weird. and creepy.  Both are purl bee patterns, the cat is a free one, the dog is not, both are adorable. I should really try to steal them away for a photo shoot, but I know myself and it is pretty unlikely I will actually get around to it.

Let's hope that I can get back in this space a bit more now!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Goodbye to the old year!

Happy New Year! Better late than never :) 2014 was....unexpectedly hard. I suppose any year where you spend 10 months not sleeping through the night (no matter how cute the cause is) is bound to be a tough one, and it was. I didn't make nearly as much as I might have wanted to, but I crossed a few big things off my list and got finished a bunch of things that has just been waiting around.

I only made a handful of quilts, but I did make a lot of clothes, both for me and the small ones, so I'm pretty proud of that. But really, I think the thing I am most impressed with is the amount of knitting I did and the fact that I finally tackled that first sweater! Also, in case you were wondering (which you obviously were) I have been wearing my shawls so much and I love them! I decided to just round up some of my very favorite makes of the year. Clearly this is not even all my favorites, but it is a good representation.

This year, my only true goal is to stop feeling like I am constantly drowning. We'll see if/how I can make that happen, but I am certainly going to try. To be honest, 2015 is looking to be another tough year, but I think we are moving in the right direction. We have to figure out in the next couple months whether we want to stay where we are or whether we will be moving before the little starts school in the fall, so that makes this year an awfully big question mark right from the beginning. I don't know if I will end up sewing a lot or knitting a lot or what, but one thing is certain: one way or another, things will get made :) I have a bunch of things to share and some other things I need to get back to working on so hopefully I will get back to it next week.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season!