Monday, February 29, 2016

Do Socks Grow on Trees?

My latest pair of socks was made for my friend, Karen, who lives in Michigan. They needed to be photographed with the lemon and lime trees as their backdrop; not only because the socks look good with the trees as the backdrop, but because our citrus trees are bursting with fruit right now, and that might make a mid-westerner a bit envious. This way I got to feature the fruit and the socks. These trees are some of the things I love most about our garden. I don't know when the last time was that I purchased a lemon or a lime. I have a continuous supply all year long.
Now back to the socks. I promised my friend a few months ago that I would make her a pair and finally got around to getting them shipped off. They've been done for a while.
The pattern is my usual simple sock pattern with a Fish Lips Kiss heel. I added the cuff details, using the same stitch pattern that I did with my Color Block Socks.
The color of these socks is really pretty but I still have a hard time when each sock looks like it was made from a different dye lot. I am assured by the dyer that these are natural occurrences in hand dyeing, but it still bugs me just a bit. The colors are really pretty the way they change from browns to gold, so I really can't complain too much.
These socks are knit toe up. My friend, Trina, told me that she uses a really short circular needle and knits her toe up socks in the round, after first starting them on double point needles or with the Magic Loop method. Then she uses a stitch marker to know when a new round starts. But I found the short, 12" circular a little bit fiddly for my arthritic hands and wrists. So I kept switching from DPN's to my 24" circular, until I finally decided to stick with the 24" circular. This pair of socks wins for most needle switching.

Sock Stats:
  • Pattern: My own Simple Toe Up Sock with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel
  • Added Cuff Detail: Jumping Jacks Socks Pattern
  • Yarn:Super Sweet Sock Yarn by Sweet Fiber.
  • Fiber Content: 80%Merino Superwash 20% Nylon 
  • Color: Monarch
  • Needles:Addi Turbo Sock Rocket US size 1 (2.5 mm) 12" and 24" circular 
  • Needles: Signature DPN US size 1 (2.5 mm)

Friday, February 26, 2016

February Bee Blocks, Wanta Fanta

This month's Stash Sewciety bee block is the Wanta Fanta block by my fellow LA Modern Quilt Guild member, Janice Ryan. Janice designed this block for The Bee Hive a while ago. It's a great bee block and one that works with a scrappy choice of fabrics. My bee mate, Jennifer, asked for low volume prints with no color, just black, grey or white prints and bright jewel tone colors.
I've also decided to make a pot holder to go to each of me bee mates in the month they are queen. This one is a fun and easy pot holder. Your hand slips into the pocket to aid in grabbing that hot pot. I used this tutorial that I found on Pinterest. This was my second time making it. It's super easy. I changed the measurements just a bit to accommodate using mini charm squares. I sent my Stitch Tease Bee mate her pot holder without taking a photo of it. Oops!

So that takes care of bee blocks for me for February. I like staying caught up. It helps me think I am organized. You only have to look at the rest of my life to know that I am not. 
I am going to try and get two quilts quilted and bound this weekend. Ha! Who am I kidding. Maybe one...wish me luck?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Meet the Flared and Flirty Tee

There was a time, years ago, when I made all my clothes. I would alter patterns, combine patterns and even make my own patterns. The days of making my own clothes stopped for many decades, but recently, I have taken a liking to it again. Gone are the days of making a pattern without any size adjustments. It's difficult to know what pattern will look good on my body these days. I have a style, it's quite casual, but every now and then I think I'd like to try something different. 
I saw a dress that Sally @thequirkypeach made on her Instagram account. I thought it might look cute in the Paperie knit (by Amy Sinibaldi) I had bought with a dress in mind. 

YUCK! Talk about a sewing failure. The dress was hideous both in fit and style and I was sick that I had ruined such beautiful fabric. I was determined to salvage enough of the fabric to make something I would be proud to wear. 
I did it. It's the Flared and Flirty Tee. It's my own design and one I hope to turn into a pattern.

It has a sweet and softly gathered neckline.

The hemline is rounded and dips in the front and back in a slight curve.

I couldn't be happier with the way I was able to turn a sewing failure into a sewing triumph. I think I'll make another Flared and Flirty Tee.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Five is Fabulous

We had such a great celebratory weekend. Our son, daughter-in-law and their 4 kids were in town for a few days.
There was a trip to Disneyland. It was one of my best times at Disney in a very long time. The weather was perfect and the crowds were manageable. We rode a lot of rides and even got home in time to make a simple dinner.

A few weeks ago my granddaughter told me that every five year old girl wants a purse. So I got busy making her a Gatherer's Cross Body Bag. I made a few changes to Noodlehead's pattern to make it work for a five year old.
  • Reduced the pattern by 20%
  • added a layer of fusible fleece to the back panel and the front pocket
  • quilted the back panel and front pocket with diagonal lines in a criss-cross pattern
  • replaced the leather closure with a magnetic snap on the flap.
Olivia loves the panda print and giggled at the backwards sitting panda. I bought the fabric {Animaland- Pandas- Westex- Lightweight Canvas- Black} from Circa 15 Fabrics. They are out of stock but say it is on order. I love the Robert Kaufman red dots as the lining and the Benartex Kanvas Houndstooth check for the flap and handle. If you have not made this pattern, try it. It makes a small bag and is perfect for a people who do not like big bags. I might try making another and increasing the size a bit.

We had a fun family dinner to celebrate the birthdays of both Olivia and our son, Michael, who is 39 today! THIRTY-NINE 39-39-39-....How did that happen?

My grown kids teased me because I called the birthday cake "EPIC", but it was pretty special. A layer of brownies on the bottom, vanilla ice cream in the middle and topped with a strawberry cake. The entire cake was then frosted with a strawberry cream cheese frosting. All homemade, except the ice cream. Now wouldn't you call that EPIC?

I asked Olivia if she would model for a photo shoot with her purse. I didn't have to ask twice. She was strutting and posing faster than I could snap the photos. I know there are a lot of photos, but I couldn't pick just a few. She certainly is not shy.

gatherer's cross body bag

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mid-Century Modern in Print

The theme for Stitch Tease Bee this month is Mid-Century Modern blocks. Dianne {@Quiltova on Instagram} asked for blocks with a mid century modern theme in colors ranging from orange, coral and pinks to mustard and gold, aquas, teals and lime green. She said if we used any light colors could they please be low volume prints. She also gave us free range on size and the amount of blocks we wanted to make. I went a little overboard because I was having fun with the challenge. The large block is 12"x24". The others are 4"x10" and 6" square. 
This is my second time working with a  mid-century modern theme challenge. Last year in the Bee-Sewcial group Debbie asked for mid century modern blocks in solid colors. You can see Debbie's finished quilt here.  Working in that bee gave me the confidence to design some blocks of my own, for Dianne, based on her Pinterest board
This was a really fun challenge for me and one I hope my Stitch Tease bee mates will embrace as well.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Road Trip to the Central Coast

I hope you will enjoy a few of our favorite photos from our short getaway last week. The drive going up to Paso Robles is always so pretty. Once you get out of the Los Angeles area you can feel the change in the landscape as well as your mood. There is a peaceful vibe to the central coast. Our first stop was to visit the butterflies at Monarch Butterfly Grove at Pismo Beach.

Those clumps of what look like brown leaves are actually thousands of Monarch butterflies. Here is a close up of the cluster of Monarchs.

We stayed at a beautiful B&B in Paso Robles. It has a real European vibe to it. Hotel Cheval has a beautiful courtyard with two fireplaces. S’mores are served every night by their own S’more chef.

On the second day we took a drive up Highway 1 to Monterey. The ocean was magnificent. We even got to see some redwood trees, although not one of the California giants, but still glorious. Can you tell I’m kind of goofy about nature?

We ate lunch overlooking the ocean in Monterey.

We walked on the boardwalk in Cambria and ate lunch by the ocean. It was a pre-storm kind of day and the mist was thick. 

Then on to visit the elephant seals, who mate and give birth further up the coast. I could spend hours watching these animals, dueling and nursing their young and listen to them howl and growl at each other. This alpha male was especially entertaining.

We never got to the wine tasting part of our trip but hope to return again soon.