Sunday, January 31, 2016

My First Knit Hat

Mr. Romance and I planned a road trip to Paso Robles. We chose a lovely B&B called Hotel Cheval. It was a gorgeous european style hotel which included all the amenities needed to spoil us. Sadly, our trip was cut short due to my mother’s advanced age and failing health.
We did have two pretty good days and we even managed to have a mini photo shoot so that I can share the hat I knit last month. This is my first knitting finish for 2016.
I’m not usually a person who wears hats but I am glad I brought this hat along because we had some windy and cold weather on the day we went to the beach at Cambria.
Paul did his best to encourage me to “work it” as I modeled the hat on my little pea head.
This hat was knit with a beautiful Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn. I really like all the texture it adds to this simple hat design. I was a little worried about running out of yarn before I could finish the hat, so it is slightly smaller and not as slouchy as the pattern suggests. Overall I am happy with the outcome and I think there might be another knit hat in my future.
Later in the week I will share some photos of our road trip. 

Hat Stats:
Pattern:Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure free on Ravelry
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn 40% wool, 25% Silk, 25% Polyamide, 10% Mohair 100 grams/300 meters
Needles: Addi Turbo 40 inch Circular needle US Size 3 (3.25 mm)

***At the time of publishing this post, my mom's health has improved and she is doing much better.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

National Pie Day

Yesterday I heard it was National Pie Day so I decided to make a Chocolate Cream Pie. 
I used a tried and true recipe. It's a recipe I have been making for decades. 
But sometimes something goes wrong and you just have to admit defeat.
The pie crust was perfect. Light, tender and flaky. It didn't get soggy at all.
The filling was thick and creamy when I put it into the crust.
Although I browned the meringue {a little too much}, the pie seemed perfect.
After letting it cool and then putting it in the fridge for several hours we were looking forward to a slice after dinner.
As soon as I made the first cut I knew it was runny.
Oh well...we had perfect Pie Crust a Chocolate Cream Soup!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Bag for Jenny

My daughter-in-law asked me to make her a cross-body bag. I decided to make her the Gatherer Bag by Anna of Noodle-head . It's a free pattern on the Robert Kaufman website. Anna's patterns are always so good and easy to follow. 
I had fun using an old leather jacket that I found in our closet. My son had bought it from a thrift store years ago, but was no longer wearing it, so I asked if I could cut it up. It was fun to re-use the leather for the accent pieces on this bag. I actually removed the pockets and re-used them, pleats and all, to make the front flap and the inside pocket.

I even made tassels and sewed them to the ends of the strap.

I used the leather for the fun little details of Anna's pattern, like the piping on the front pocket edge.Sometimes I impress myself...look at the perfect matching of the pattern on the fabric!

I added crosshatch quilting to the front pocket and the back of the bag.

The biggest change I made to the pattern was to make the strap from the upcycled leather. I used the technique I learned from Lindsey a few years ago when I made this bag. I cut two strips of leather 2"x30" and sewed them together to make one long strip of fabric. Then I folded the leather in half over a piece of clothesline weight rope and stitched two rows of stitching as close to the rope as I could get. Then I trimmed away the excess leather. FYI: When sewing with leather you must use a size 18 leather needle and upholstery thread when threading the top thread. In the bobbin you need to use polyester thread. Natural leather will disintegrate cotton thread.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Buzzing Through January

Let's try this again. I posted this blog earlier this week and realized I made a huge error on the blocks for Kari in the Stash Sewciety Bee. I remade the blocks and now I have the correct blocks made up in the correct colors, as requested by our queen. 

I really enjoy being a member of a quilting bee. It is not just the fun of sewing for others and creating something based on their ideas, but it is about the camaraderie, the friendships and the encouragement that swells within the bee. This is the fourth year for the Stitch Tease Bee and although members have come and gone there is a core group that has remained. Each new member has contributed so much to our group and I can honestly say I consider all these talented women dear friends. Susan is one of our original members and has become an especially good friend. 
This month Susan asked for quarter log cabin blocks, loosely based on my Not Squared quilt. Her requests included tone on tone prints in jewel tones, no white, with one log of navy blue. She asked that the blocks be 11.5"-13" square-ish, wonky was OK and she would be adding navy to the outside of each block to bring them up to her desired size.
Here are my contributions. They are each about 12" square.

The other bee that I am a member of is called Stash Sewciety. This bee also has some great people in it. Most I have met at sewing retreats, where we formed a friendship and wanted to continue to stay in touch and "sew together", even if it's only virtually. There are a few in this group that I have yet to meet, but hope to meet soon, when we  gather at a retreat center this April.
This month Kari has asked for Endless Summer blocks in a warm and cool palette. This is a pattern by V&Company and was designed for Vanessa's special line of fabrics. Kari wants to make a queen sized quilt, so she is going to need 100 of these 8.5" blocks. I made 6, even though she only asked for 4. They are easy to make but a bit fiddly. I used the 8 at a time method to make the Half-Square triangles and the No-Waste Method to make the flying geese. Some of my seams are most definitely "scant", but the blocks do measure at 8.5"!
These are the blocks that I originally made for Kari. Oops! I was supposed to make the blocks with the star in the warm colors and the one with the X in the cool colors.

Here are my remade blocks in the correct colors. It was an easy fix. Nothing that a good seam ripper couldn't fix.  
Two bees works really well for my creative process. Last year I was involved in three bees and it got to be too much for me. I don't like dropping out of commitments, but I waited until the year was complete and then asked to be replaced. I know that Bee Sewcial will be making great things this year. The first prompt for the new year has me thinking about lines. Check out the instagram hashtag #inspiredbybeesewcial.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016 Finish A-Long...the first quarter

I took a year off of the Finish A-long, because I got lazy and would forget to write blog posts in time to link up with the hosts. This year, I am going to try to plan a little more and make sure I am ready to go when the link becomes available.
This year the Finish A-long has 9 hosts from all around the blogging universe. 
These ladies will surely do a great job and also have their hands full because the Finish A-long has grown in the number of participants. I want to give a big shout out to all these volunteers and thank them for keeping this group running.

2016 FAL

So here is my list of things I would like to finish by April 1, 2016.

Moneta Dress
I have three yards of this cute knit fabric all pre-washed and ready to go to make a dress. It's by Amy Sinibaldi for her first line, Paperie for Art Gallery Fabrics I've gotten as far as to look at the pattern instructions.

Pickle Dish Variation Quilt
I started this quilt several months ago and then put it aside to make a few other projects. It is partially paper pieced and very scrappy. I hope I have the energy to finish it, because I think it will be a fun finish.

Ribbons for Central Park
This quilt was a spur of the moment decision. I'm not so sure it's going to work because it's really wonky. Since this photo was taken I have added linen strips to it, but I can't find the photo. I have a plan to finish it and I already know how I want to quilt it.

Bee-ing Sewcial Quilt
All I need to do to finish this project is to quilt it and bind it. My seriously talented Bee Sewcial bee friends made these blocks. I asked for curves and I received plenty of beautiful blocks. 

Curves not Curves
This quilt has been really fun to make. My Stash Sew-ciety bee group contributed 20 of the blocks and I have finally finished making the other 16. I hope to get this one finished real soon, because it's quickly becoming a favorite, not only of mine but of all my Instagram friends, too. 

Cable Cuff Socks
I almost forgot to add my latest knitting project. These socks are made with a beautiful yarn but I think they needed a little jazzing up from my normal plain socks, so I am going to attempt to adjust a mitten cable pattern to the leg of these socks. The pattern was a free pattern at Christmas but is now available on TinCan Knits Ravelry site.

picture from TinCan Knits Ravelry page

Six seems to be a manageable number, so I will stop here.