25 November 2012

Sign Me Up!

I’m having an inspiration problem.  In the last month I’ve taken classes in spindle spinning and hand appliqué. I’ve bought almost-embarrassing amounts of fabric and yarn. I’ve been hankering to make little embroidered things. Then there’s reading and cooking and other DIY stuff. There’s just too much I want to do and not enough time or energy!

(By the way, have you noticed the “30 Days of Pinsperation” at Pinterest? Every time I see it my mind reads it as Perspiration.)

I try to remind myself to be happy that there is just so much greatness to choose from, but truthfully I feel a wee bit stressed that I’ll never finish anything, so this weekend I decided to just do one small thing from start to finish. I ended up with these embroidered trees in 3” hoops. Cute, huh?!



19 November 2012

Metro Bag

I got this pattern forever ago from Grand Revival Design. It's the Metro Bag, and she's got a nifty thing going where you can get the pattern for free if you share her book on Facebook or Twitter. I made two (so far).

The first one (below) was my "test" version where I just wanted to see if I could follow a pattern. I used fabric from Cosmo Cricket's line Salt Air. My second one (above) was made with Jay McCarroll's Center City fabric. I added a snap and fun button to the bag (detailed photo at the end of the post), and it is just perfect! This is a great size bag and easy pattern to follow and quick to make.



29 October 2012

SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair)

Here are some of my favorite photos from my recent weekend getaway to SAFF just outside of Asheville, NC. Sorry if the photo-heavy post takes a moment to load. I promise the animal pictures at the end are worth it!

Beautiful sunrise to start the day!


Indeed, this is NOT the tractor show!


This is what the main arena of vendors looks like. There is a level above (where I am standing when I took the picture) of vendors. Pure heaven for anyone who likes yarn or fiber!


There is a second "outdoor" sales area too!


This is the official SAFF fleece sale. It's divided up by animal fleece, and each fleece has been judged and has notes on it about what is good/not so good about it. After I learn to spin better this will be my first stop!


I loved this fleece!


And I loved this apricot colored alpaca fleece. So soft!


These are the top fleeces!


There are also lots of animals at SAFF. 






This guy was in Time Out!!


Here was our first day's haul. I think I'll have to elaborate in another post!


02 September 2012

Blooming Air Plant!



A couple of weeks ago I happened across a nursery in Tamarac, FL called Tropic Plants. I LOVE this place! I bought this air plant (a type of bromeliad, but I'm not exactly sure what kind). It was so unusual (to me!) and it had the added bonus that I thought it would be hard for me to kill it. Fast forward to today and we've got a beautiful blooming air plant. I want to give one to all my friends!

01 September 2012

Modern Simple Christmas Quilt


I love my new Christmas quilt! It's bright and cheery and I'm pleased as punch to not only have it completed, but completed in time to enjoy it this holiday season!



I used a charm square pack from Kate Spain's Flurry line (bought in 2011) and added a couple of yards from the same line for the backing and binding. The finished size is 56 inches square.





19 August 2012

Bon Festival 2012

Oh boy, it's been too long since I posted! I don't have anything planned to update at the moment...but here are a few pictures of the floating lanterns from the Bon Festival at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens last night. What a beautiful tradition!





10 July 2012

Baa to Blanket, Part 3

Finished - a Hemlock Ring!


What a fantastic pattern! You can find it here. Once you get going, it doesn't require too much attention so it's a great project to bring to your knit group or work on while watching TV or listening to podcasts (or whatever else you can do while you knit!).

I did a total of 16 repeats of the feather and fan portion of the blanket. The pattern calls for 11 repeats for a standard size throw and 3 more repeats for a larger throw. I had lots of yarn to work with so I went an additional 2 repeats beyond the larger size of the pattern.


The knitted bind off has you turning the blanket back and forth every 4 stitches or so, which is fine except my blanket was really big at that point and I don't necessarily like working on those types of edgings! I was also ending up with a large hole in between each loop that I didn't like too much. So I searched on Ravelry for different bind offs that folks have used, and ended up knitting the bind off over 3 rows. (I have a link to the person's bind off I followed on my Ravelry project page but I didn't want to re-print it here in case it looked like I was stealing it or something!) It basically gives the same finished edge but is worked differently.


The Hemlock Ring is another fantastic example of the power of blocking! Below are some photos of it pre-blocked and during blocking. I blocked this rather aggressively (it is 68+" across in the photo) and then left it pinned for several days, and to be honest, after I unpinned it I was feeling like I blocked it too hard. I actually rolled it up in a ball and put it out of sight for a week or so while I debated re-blocking it, but when I picked it up again it had relaxed a bit and the blocking wasn't so severe...and I think it's perfect now! (It shrunk back to about 64 inches.)


You can check out the progress of my blanket here and here.

20 June 2012

Modern Quilt Guild-ing - June


I really loved this months block for our Queen Bee. We were asked to follow this tutorial, taken from Sew Mama Sew's October 2011 Modern Block of the Month. I think my block came out perfectly! Thanks to NakedK9's advice, I made my strips a teeny bit longer, and thankfully I did, because otherwise I don't think I would have gotten a 12.5" square in the end.


We also have a round robin quilt project going on in our group. It started with a paper pieced hedgehog, and then each meeting it gets passed on to someone else, who takes it home and adds to it. I got it and added the greens. I love this idea!


We started a Pinterest Board for our group - the South Florida Modern Quilt Guild. Follow us! I've been posting some paper-piecing pins getting ready for next month's meeting, and our swap for next month is something made with a zipper, so there are some great inspiration links for that.

This month we swapped potholders...which I never got around to making. I bought Insul-Bright and made my own Pinterest inspiration board and everything. Maybe I'll have to make some for Christmas gifts!

18 June 2012

Baa to Blanket, Part 2

I give you progress photos!


I finally started knitting my Hemlock Ring Blanket at knit group last week when KBlicious was kind enough to do a belly button cast on for me. Since then it is just moving right along! This is a great pattern that really doesn't require too much concentration, and since it is knit with thick yarn, it grows quickly.

I know it's hard to tell how gorgeous it will be when it is finished and blocked, but isn't that the magic of blocking? I pinned out part of it above to give you an idea of what the final blanket should look like, but the cable on my needles isn't long enough to stretch it out any further (and I'm knitting on a 60" needle!).

I am really loving this project, especially on an emotional level because I know exactly where it came from. The yarn is super natural (supernatural, ha!) and filled with twigs and bits and bobs from the farm, and it is all adding to the charm of the blanket.


08 June 2012

K-Ro's DayGlos

I finished another pair of plain old socks. When I have a yarn like this striping one I always use a simple pattern - in this case, a K3 P1 ribbing. The colors are super bright and I love orange and pink together!


31 May 2012

Baa to Blanket, Part 1

It all started with my friend and a lamb named Poca Luna. Last year, Wendi decided to have Poca Luna's fleece spun into yarn, and guess who ended up with a whole bunch?!


Each of these cones has about 800 yards of three-ply wool. I decided that with this much wool it would be great to knit a big old Hemlock Ring blanket for Wendi. This was some time last year. Fast forward and now that it's about a hundred degrees and humid out I'm feeling the need to knit a blanket!


Do you see how the yarn laying on top of the cone is much fluffier? The yarn is wound super tightly on the cone, and so I knit a few swatches to see what happens to the yarn after it's washed, and it definitely plumps up! Partly because of this, and partly because it would be easier to work with for such a big project, I decided to soak the yarn before I used it.


I thought (for months!) about how to hank the yarn for soaking, and then just decided I needed to go for it. You can see my final strategy below. The paper towel holder in the kitchen didn't work, but the paper towel holder in the laundry room fit the cone perfectly. I set up my swift on top of the washing machine and figured out a great way to wind the yarn off the cone onto the swift! In the end it's much better with two people - one to pull the yarn off the cone and the other to spin the swift and make sure the yarn gets on the swift correctly.


Et voila! A HUGE hank of yarn! I put a few pieces of yarn every so often to keep it from tangling, and put it in a container in the tub to soak for a few hours.


I wrapped the yarn in a few towels to absorb as much extra water as possible, and now the hank is drying. Tomorrow or the next day I will re-wind the hank into what I'm guessing is going to be the biggest ball ever! and start knitting.

27 May 2012

Cuteness

This week these 14 bumbling ducklings have been exploring our backyard. Adorable!


26 May 2012

Carammmel!

While the marshmallows were cooling I saw Not So Humble Pie's recipe for Fleur de Sel Caramels and would you believe I had all the ingredients necessary to make them? I don't know why there was a 16 oz container of cream in the refrigerator, but whatever it was bought for will have to wait. There is never cream in the fridge, so I took it as a sign that I was meant to make caramel!



We didn't have any fleur de sel in the pantry, but on the way home from my knitting group today I stopped at the store and got some. Obviously if you want the caramels without the salt that is fine - whatever your preference is, they are DELICIOUS!

As a first-timer, I thought it was an easy recipe. I used a lot of pointers from the recipe comments, and it all went swimmingly. No molten sugar burns or anything! My only advice is to get everything soaking as quickly as possible for easy cleanup. The hardest part for me was cutting the pan of caramel into pieces.

Mmmmarshmallows!

Finally! I made marshmallows. It's been on my wish-to-do list now for years and in a burst of baking productivity I just did it. They are delicious, and I don't even like marshmallows very much on their own. I am dying for a campfire right now!


In case you're wondering, I followed Smitten Kitchen's Springy, Fluffy Marshmallow recipe. They were really quite easy and you can bet I'll be making this come wintertime to put in hot chocolate.

23 May 2012

Modern Quilt Guild-ing

This month at the South Florida Modern Quilt Guild we had a pincushion swap. I used this awesome tutorial to make some awesome cathedral window pincushions!


I have also been participating in my first quilting bee. Each month a "Queen Bee" gets to choose a theme or design, and we worker bees make her a block. At the end of the year we will have each had a turn at being Queen Bee and should have a dozen blocks or so to use for our own quilts.


I signed up knowing that I would be forced to try new things, and each month so far I have been able to try out a new quilt technique. These are some not-so-great photos of the blocks I have made.

I taught myself paper piecing today and just finished the block in the lower right hand corner  (although I want to add a little button caterpillar or butterfly). I love paper piecing! I used this great tutorial on how to make her "Spring Flowers," and now I am super excited to make some other designs, especially a hedgehog and gnome from Artisania. Actually, I want to make all of the patterns at Artisania!