29 January 2014

Faux Snow Day

Once upon a time, I worked.  During the hour-long commute by train to San Francisco to my job, I taught myself to knit and crochet.  And I knitted and crocheted (and occasionally read or slept) on the baby bullet between San Jose and San Francisco.

Then I had another child (my third), and my hubby and I decided that it would be in our family's best interests for me to stay home and man the homefront, as it were.  And I learned to quilt.  Which became my new obsession.

Fast forward to 3 years later, when knitting and crochet projects on instagram and flickr inspire me to pick up the needle and hooks once more.  Besides, the sewing machine needs a break.

This week I've seen snow day pictures and posts from family and friends in other parts of the country.  Oh how envious I've been.  All the fun things you want to do, compressed in a single day.  I thought I'd take a snow day this week, too.  Of sorts.  Because I couldn't really take a whole day to do only fun things, I stole pockets of time on Sunday and Monday. 

I started a new project on my faux snow day.  Since watching Nanny McPhee with the kiddies a few years ago, I vowed I would make that granny square blanket.  After watching Nanny McPhee again last week for the umpteenth time, I'm finally making good on my word.

It's looking overcast today... a good opportunity to steal another hour or so for my faux snow day. 

23 January 2014

A New Quilt Top and an Old Cardigan

My first project of the new year is well underway- in fact, it's already a quilt top.  In starting this quilt, I decided I wanted simple patchwork with a riot of color.  With this in mind, I pulled together a stack of favorites, old and new (no low-volume prints) and settled on the simple half square triangle.

There's a certain pleasure in the whole quilt-making process.  The tranquil task of sewing small pieces of fabric into blocks under the needle of a machine.  Pressing these blocks into smooth squares under a hot iron.  Watching your fabric selections and blocks manifest themselves into the vision that started the whole process. And finally, that moment after the entire top is pressed, when you hang it up or lay it on the floor, step back and just take in the whole thing. 

It's exactly what I envisioned and I'm very happy with it.

I've started the back, and I'm none too pleased with it.  I decided to use leftover hst's with some yardage of Paper Snowflake from Meadow Sweet.  Not content to just sew the hst's up into a couple of rows and frame them, I decided on a scattered effect.  This led to the (perceived) need for more hst's to be made.  Which then led to quilt maths to decide how to cut the low volume yardage for maximum efficiency given the "random" hst layout.  Which led to my pulling out this old project (from 2011!) to give my head a break. 

Here is the Maple Street Cardigan, fresh out of it's holding place in a bag of scraps (I did pick off the threads and fluff before photographing it):

Thank goodness I noted where I left left off when I put it down.  It's been over a year-and-a-half since I've worked on this so I'm a little concerned about gauge.  The thought of frogging and starting over, complete with gauge swatching, entered my mind for a teeny moment, but I quashed itIt'll block out, right?!

Now I've just got to remember where I put the rest of the yarn during the big move.

08 January 2014

Post-holiday post

Now that the hubbub of the holidays is behind and the older kids are back to school, Kieran and I are getting (somewhat) back to our old routine.  We've spent the mornings playing multiple rounds of the Match game, Sneaky Squirrel, and Wii, plus reviewing alphabet flash cards (gotta throw in a little learning somewhere).  He didn't take a single nap while the "big kids" were home for the holiday break, and it's been a little bit of a fight getting the little guy to go down for a nap the past couple of days.

I've gotten in a bit of sewing time, either while the little guy naps or plays on his Leapster.  In fact, I've worked my way through a stack of 168 half-square triangle blocks.

I happened to have some 6.5" squares leftover from my Crazy Penny quilt top, and I thought "Why not cut them into hst's?  I dove into the fabric stash to supplement, pulling recently acquired as well as long-hoarded prints.  They're going to be sewn into a simple HST quilt, inspired by this one at Cozy Things (minus the low-volume prints).

This quilt works well with one of my 2014 goals:  maximum stash usage, minimal stash enhancement.  It's going to be tough, but I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced