Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Finished Quilt: Tiny Crosses

Hello Quilty Peeps!  It's about time I show a finished quilt on the blog!  This one was finished in September, but it took me a while to grow in love for this quilt.  Just keepin' it real.  Here is the story.

Flash backward to August when the kids went back to school.  I Instagrammed this pile of quilts:  four quilts that had been basted and ready to quilt, waiting patiently for me all summer.

Where to start with the quilting?  First in....first out?  Or last in....first out?  Biggest to smallest?  Worst to best?  Or how about the one that the teenager keeps bugging me about (only one fits that category, can you guess?)

I picked the one that fit into several of those categories--the tiny crosses of Liberty fabric--the one on the bottom.


It was quite big to quilt (81" x 92") and I quilt with a 20 year old Bernina 930, a workhorse but not fancy.  My shoulders were reminding me that I haven't quilted a big quilt in a while.  And while I was quilting it I was reminded of all the things that I could see "wrong" with it.  Such as:

1.  I used all the fabrics from one collection. It seems to be "the usual" thing to do these days--make a quilt entirely from one collection of fabrics.  What's up with that?  I have never done that.  I may buy some new fabrics but I always add from my stash.  In fact, most of my quilts are entirely from my stash.  I think there's a sparkle that you get when using a variety of fabrics that very rarely can come from one collection.  In this quilt, I believe that it does work, because this collection was huge, and well, Liberty.  Yeah.  No worries.  It works.

 2.  I made this quilt by freehand cutting and sewing the crosses.  The crosses are meant to be wonky.  But I think I cut them too evenly and not wonky enough.  They aren't perfect, but they aren't imperfect enough to look like it was done on purpose, so I think they just look wrong.  Maybe the fact of sheer size and amount of teeny squares makes up for it.

3.  It was started during a difficult time in my life, and it still carries all those memories with it.  That's a hard one.  As makers, we tend to roll up all those life events right into our work that happens at the same time.  The good and the bad.  Fortunately, those bad feelings have begun to fade, they're much softer.

Transition to the good news:

Somewhere during the binding stage, I started to fall in love with this quilt.  Really, how could you not LOVE this binding???

And then there's the photo shoot.  Maybe I should take every quilt to the park next door.  It is a beautiful spot and I'm fortunate to have it in my backyard.

When the sun is shining on this quilt all those blue and red Liberty florals just sing a happy song.  It is really so cheerful, just what I envisioned.  Summery, patriotic, kind of old-fashioned.

If you missed seeing it in progress, here are all the other times I blogged about it:  January 2013May 2013, September 2013December 2013.

And here it is in my favorite shot, by the pond.  A beautiful spot, a happy place to document this quilt. Thank you for reading and letting me share this with you!

In happy endings, I have shaken all bad feeling for this quilt and love it unconditionally.  It has taken up residence on our sunroom sofa and has become a favorite among the TV watchers.  I think it will see heavy duty this winter and nothing could make me happier!  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Keep Calm and Knit Socks

Hello Friends!  I am happy to report that I survived the April/May juggernaut of

---Children's End-of-School Activities---
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have guessed my secret.  You have seen me do it a lot recently.  Big reveal:

The Secret to Saving Sanity = Socks

Remember this equation!  You might need it someday!  They don't teach it in school!

S+S+S = S

(Secret Saving Sanity = Socks) (in case it wasn't clear)

It all started....way back in February.... in this bin:

Remember that?  That was my Bin of Unfinished Socks.  The sock graveyard.  The bin under the tv cabinet.  The Home for Unloved Socks.  The place where half-knitted socks go to die.

It was a very dark place.  A place not usually featured on blogs.  But after the Ravellenic Games ignited my finishing mojo, I decided to visit this place that I had feared for so long.

And what I found was a place that was full of potential.  FO potential.  Black Gold.  Texas Tea.
Then.  The stars aligned.  Sock knitting met up with track meets, orchestra concerts, and carpool waiting.  There was a very long bus ride with 6th graders.  Did I mention that they were singing girl scout camp songs in the seat directly behind me for 2 hours?  Sock knitting, sock knitting, sock knitting.  Basketball games, choir and band concerts, and did I mention the bus ride with 4th graders that lasted until 9:30 at night?  Sock knitting, sock knitting, sock knitting in the dark.
To summarize:  one heck of a lot of sock knitting.
And I would like to present you with the result:

Ta da!

In case you need nitty gritty details, I have been a good girl and Ravelled all of them!  Here you go (from left to right):

That's it for now!  Happy summer!  Keep on knitting! xo

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Greetings from Athlete's Village

Greeting from Athlete's Village!  Also known around here as "Mom's spot on the sofa".  (But Athlete's Village sounds so much more.....well, athletic.)  As previously reported, I'm participating in the "wipdancing" event on Ravelry, trying to finish as many wips as possible. 

So I thought I would send you a postcard from the Ravellenic Games going on here in MyLivingRoom, Illinois:

In the photo below, I have highlighted much of the important equipment that you need to reach your Olympic potential:

1.  Giant pile of green knitting
2.  Giant pile of blue knitting
3. Tote bag filled with extra, emergency knitting.
4.  Footstool--for foot support. 
5.  Extra pillows--for back support. (Doubles as arm support if kids or pets are trying to lean on you).
6.  Ott light--for eye support (but in reality mine is broken, where is that equiptment tech when I need him?!)
7.  Quilt, a.k.a. legwarmer.  Kind of like those big puffy pants that the skiers wear before their runs. But not really.
8.  Extra yarn, needles, accessories, because you can never be too prepared for knitting emergencies.
9.  Giant glass of water, because you can never be too hydrated while extreme knitting under extreme pressure during extreme conditions.
10.  Remotes--why we need 2 remotes for one tv, I will never know.  (Occasionally a third remote appears, that's when I have to call in the experts, a.k.a. the kids.)
11.  Cell phone--not for actual calls.  For e-mail, texting, tweeting, and/or instagramming, while simultaneously watching tv and knitting.  Because that's how all the cool kids do it.  And we might as well look as cool as possible while knitting. 

Now that I have given you all my best advice for knitting during extreme conditions, I'll report on the status of my wips:

Item #1  Blue Fairwind:
I am pretty excited to get this done and actually wear it this winter!  Blocking done, just needs  the rest of the buttons!  Will it be done before the closing ceremonies?  Judges nod!
Item #2:  Selbu Modern:

This was a joy to knit.  Unfortunately, during the knitting of this item, our athlete fell off the mountain.  I overcompensated for fair isle tight gauge, by going up a needle size and knitting loosely.  Sadly, this hat is enormous.  I washed and dried it in an attempt to felt it.  I blocked it over a 14" plate instead of the recommended 10" plate.  But it really needs to be stretched even further to be able to get the pattern to emerge.  And it makes me look like a French Chef in a Disney cartoon. 

Epic Fail!
Moving on, Item #3:  Calligraphy Cardigan

Despite the crappy cell phone photo, the judges give this high marks, for beautiful color, excellent fingering weight gauge, and pattern choice of high wearability!  This was the status as of last night but as we speak the knitter is finishing cuff on sleeve 2.  Buttons have been purchased and there is a high probability of finishing before closing ceremonies! 
Fellow Athletes, please report your progress.  And enjoy the closing ceremonies!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The "Spring Fever" Shawl Club

I would like to announce: the first Sophie’s Toes Sock Yarn club!

This club, the "Spring Fever" Shawl club,  is devoted to beautiful spring colors to help everyone banish those winter blues!  All three months of color selections will be pale to deep pastels in a sophisticated color palette. 

You can sign up for one month, two months, or three months.  Read on for details:
Month One, March:  “Winter Thaw”

Colors:  blues and purples, similar to the preview photo shared on the Ravelry group and Instagram (I'm emilyquilts on Instagram).
The yarn:  5 skeins of superwash merino, 175 yards each, each a different color, for a total of 875 yards.  All five skeins will include blues and purples and all will be variegated, no solids.  I envision making a large lace shawl, knitting with the first color, when that runs out, going to the next color, and so forth.  The colors will blend for a beautiful watercolor effect. 

Possible patterns you could use(medium to large shawls) :  Travelling Woman, The Elder Tree Shawl, Charlotte’sWeb, The Flower Basket Shawl, Holden, Citron, Faraway So Close.  These are just some of the choices to give you an idea.

Cost:  $70 includes US and Canadian shipping.  This selection will ship on March 17th.

Month Two, April:  “Moss and Petals” 

Colors:  Mossy greens, and pinks
The Yarn: one Magic Ball, which is 15 colors, approximately 10 grams (35 yards) each, tied together and wound into a cake.  525 yards total. As you know the Magic Ball is a Sophie’s Toes specialty!  This one is an exclusive new color of Magic Ball that will not be released to the public until Stitches Midwest, August 2014.
Possible patterns (small to medium shawls) :  Hitchhiker, Lintilla, Wingspan, Trillain, Moody Kerchief, Citron, Azzu's Shawl.  Any shawl that is basic (the color does all the work here, so you don’t need lace or a lot of stitch detail) and is adjustable, allowing you to use any and all of the yardage you have, will work great!
Cost $45 includes US and Canadian shipping.  This selection will be shipped on April 21th.

Month Three, May:  "Garden and Sky”

Colors:  aqua and teal with highlights of other pretty (deep) pastels.

Two coordinating skeins of 100% Merino, superwash sock yarn, one solid and one variegated, 350 yards each.

Potential patterns (medium to large shawls):  Ceniza Shawlette, Aestlight, Ruffle My Feathers, Flamboyan, Faberge, MaragonCameo, Holden, Halfmoon Shawl.  I am in love with the type of shawl that has a garter stitch triangle or crescent, with a big lace border or ruffle.  This would be great to use the variegated yarn for the garter and the solid for the border.
Cost $55 includes US and Canadian shipping.  This selection will be shipped May 26th.

Sign ups start Thursday, February 20th at 8am Central time and will close on Sunday February 23rd.(or will close sooner if all the slots are filled.)
To sign up, just send me an e-mail (Emily at emilyquilts dot com) OR a Ravelry message indicating:  your name, the email address that you use for paypal, and which months you are choosing.  I will send you a paypal invoice within 24 hours for the total.  I will use the shipping address in paypal unless you indicate that it should be a different address.

You are able to choose any amount of months that you would like.  There is a $5 discount on the total if you choose 2 months, and a $10 discount on the total if you choose 3 months.  (So for instance, if you pick March only, it is $70.  If you pick March and May, it is $70 +$55 - $5 discount = $120.  And if you pick all 3, it is $70 + $45 +$55 - $10 discount =$160.)
What’s included?  What you will get is the yarn as described for a shawl.  It will come beautifully packaged with a small something extra.  The pattern you decide to use is up to you, and is not included.  I will have listed on the Ravelry group many suggested possibilities.
Which brings me to….we will have a knitalong!  On the Ravelry group.  it will start as soon as the packages arrive.  There will be 3 separate KALs, and a prize for each one, to be chosen from completed projects.

Returns:  due to the exclusive put-ups and/or  colorways of these yarns and kits—I am sorry that I am unable to accept returns.  I have tried to give as much of a hint about the colors while still shrouding it in some mystery!  I understand that the nature of clubs is the fun element of surprise, but that also means that some participants could be disappointed.  Due to the no return policy, please make sure that you choose carefully!  I believe that if you like Sophie’s Toes yarn, and you like sophisticated pale and deep pastel spring colors, you will be happy!  I am very excited about this!  Please join me for some fun spring knitting! 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Love Quilt


Hello Friends!  Love is in the air, so I thought it would be a nice day to share my finished Love Quilt!  If you have been reading awhile, you might remember it from 2012.  There were a few posts during the making, but I never properly documented the finished quilt. 

I was inspired by the tutorial by on the Sew Mama Sew blog here.  I had a fun weekend of sewing with my girls and blogged about it here.

I finished quilting it a few weeks later and it has lived happily ever after at the end of our bed as the "extra"--called into service during extra cold nights.  It is so cheery and it makes me very happy. 
It is, however, nearly impossible to play the "What's Your Favorite Block?" game, because they all have so much personality and I love them each so much!


I hope you get some hugs, snuggles, some time to play, and some moments of beauty in your life this weekend! 

With Love,


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Ravellenic Games

Ravellenic Games 2014.  I hemmed and hawed about finding the perfect project for the games.  At the last minute, I decided to join the event "Wip Dancing".  For any non-knitters, a wip is a work-in-progress.  And knitters tend to have them.  Especially ADD knitters like myself  (oh look!  Shiny new yarn! Let's cast on!)

For the past few years, since I've been doing more vending, my knitting activity has been restricted to making show samples.  Here and there I have cast on a new sweater, but it inevitably gets set aside when I get the idea for a new sample that I'd like to make.

So, instead of challenging myself to make a great new garment (start to finish during the Olympics) like I have done in the past, I decided to dig deep.  Deep into the closets that is.  To find as many unfinished projects as I could and dedicate these two weeks to finishing all the things.
Here is the tip of the iceberg, from the cabinet in my studio, I present three sweaters:

The light blue cardigan is Fairwind.  I see that I put it in Ravelry a year ago at which time I wrote:  "need to finish button band and block".  After which, I apparently stuffed it into a cabinet. 

The dark green sweater in the center is the Calligraphy Cardigan.  It stalled when I realized that I needed to rip back the body, carefully recalculate the hip shaping, and reknit. (Then add sleeves, buttonbands, etc).  After trying it on and carefully recalculating the 6 or so inches of fingering weight stockinette that I would need to rip out, I have decided to forge ahead as-is and lose weight accordingly.  Raise your hand if you've tried that method.  It always works out, right?

And the purple sweater is Que Sera.  I'm sure I started it in the spring of 2010 soon after the pattern was published in Knitty.  I have no idea why it got stalled.  I have the body finished up to the armholes and one sleeve.  I would love to wear this in the Spring!  One can never have too many purple sweaters, that's my motto.

Moving on... I moved the excavation into the closet where I found: two shawls.

Lordy, these were so old I had forgotten the names.  The knitted shawl on the left is Tuscany, and the crocheted shawl on the right is the All-Shawl.  I've always wanted a black shawl.  I've never completed a black shawl.

A bin under the cabinet revealed a hat:

This is Selbu Modern, a beautiful hat!  In my favorite color combination of bottle green and robin egg blue!  Every time I come across it in the cabinet I sigh.  I'd really love to finish this! 

And, when all the other things are finished, here's a whole bin dedicated to single socks and half-knit socks:

So, who is participating in the Ravellenic Games?  What are you working on?  Leave a link in the comments so I can go see it and wave my pom poms and cheer you on!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When the Tree Tips Over, Just Go Back to Quilting

Hello Friends!  What?  It's December already?  How did that happen?
I am just getting around to decorating.  I'm not one to have Christmas up for a whole month.  Especially since we have an important birthday on the 5th.  And I need a few days to recover from that.
Mr. Fourteen.  I love that kid.  (puppy cake tutorial here)
 So, we finally got our tree up and decorated on Sunday night.  On Monday, I was madly basting a quilt while watching the clock cause I had to pick up the kids from school in a few minutes, and I heard a swoosh and a crash in the next room.   
Fantastic!  (Mentally pencil in an extra hour or so of clean up on my to-do list.)  Try to pick up the tree and I can't.  So I take a picture and instagram it instead.  A friend asked me if the dog pulled it over.  I wish I could say yes.  Sadly, I'm sure it was just bad tree-stand management.  The funny thing is, it crashed into the room, the side where all the ornaments were (the kids do all the actual placing of the ornaments onto the tree--there were no ornaments on the window side).  So they think it happened because there were too many ornaments on that side.  I have reassured them that it is mom and dad's fault and they are not to blame.  We did have a few ornament casualties but luckily many of our ornaments are what we call "folk art" i.e. cardboard and pompoms or pipe-cleaners, so those survived just fine.
After I cleaned up the wreckage, I resigned from any more decorating stress and decided to just get back to quilting.
Segway into the quilting news:
Last week after the busy-ness of the yarn shop wound down (pun!) and after I decided that there would be very few hand made gifts this year (it's only the 17th--there's still plenty of time for last minute knitting craziness to ensue),  I had a couple of days to catch up on some quilt projects. 
I am still working on the same three quilts that I showed in this post.  And it is a sad realization that I only actually finished one quilt this year.   I am ready, in the waning hours of 2013, to put on those quilting turbo-jets and crank out some FOs.  Here is a status report:
Quilt #1--started in May, top done in September, basted in October, ready to quilt!
Quilt #2--started in January, top done ? (I forget), basted this week, ready to quilt!
Quilt #3--Star Wars Quilt--started in 2010, top finished this week, ready to baste!
And Quilt #4 (because I didn't have enough projects going) I decided that I really had to piece this Giant Star that I had been thinking about for months. 

Giant Star:  Started this week, top finished this week, basted this week, ready to quilt!
So 2013, I'm looking at you.  Not my favorite year ever, but I'm finishing you out with some good quilting mojo and looking forward to what 2014 will bring. 

Thanks for hanging out with me!  Love you guys!

p.s.  Follow me on instagram (emilyquilts) for real-time Christmas tree action.  And a lot of quilts.