No it isn’t… but my brain keeps trying to tell me that. I have too many works in progress. Each time I try to count them I loose track, and if I attempt to put them all on the sewing table it gets buried and takes forever to unbury it. Here is one of many WIP. I’m trying to whittle them done and not start new projects (but I have two I’ve mentally started anyway).
This will be a pillow top that coordinates with a pillow that I finished two years ago and cut out three years ago. I had 7 extra blocks, so I made 9 more. I had to get a little creative with that red dot since I was running out of it. And then I went and decided that I couldn’t live with the blobby pinwheel in the center of the top so I had to rip three seams and reassemble it (lesson: layout before seaming blocks). I’m still not really happy with it, but am calling close-enough. Now to find my stash of crummy fabric to use on the back of my pillow-top quilt sandwich.
I have this horrible curse of knitting three heels every time I make a pair of socks. This go round I actually knit three whole socks to get a pair. But the good news is it only took me 6 months to knit a pair of socks instead of my usual 12 months.
Pattern: Go With the Flow Socks by Evelyn A. Clark from Favorite Socks
warning: despite being a republished pattern my copy still had errata (the number of stitches for the heel – which meant, yup I knit four heels)
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Solids in white – the final two socks weigh in at 62 grams total.
I started these socks this spring after my mom requested handknit socks she could wear with her sneakers. Of course I did a gauge swatch and determined I needed to find a pattern that used 60 stitches around instead of 64. I actually started knitting Hedera first, but for the second time it wasn’t working for me, then I settled on this pattern. It has a super simple repeat (4 rows and 6 stitches). The first sock knit up quickly and I actually thought these could become a mother’s day gift. Ha.
Can you see what went wrong? I hated knitting these socks with 4 dpns so after I finished the first sock I bought a new set of needles and cast on for the second sock. But it took forever for me to get ahold of another pair of 2.0 mm needles. I eventually settled on a set of KP Harmony dpns. Finally in July I kitchenered the second toe. I had been counting rows like crazy to make sure the socks would be the same size. One seemed a bit smaller, I counted again and my numbers matched so I figured it block out. I tried the socks on and then I knew there was no way these socks made a pair – one was significantly smaller than the other! It took me over two weeks to realize that the difference between Clover bamboo 2.0 mm dpns and KP Harmony 2.0 mm dpns were the culprit. And then I couldn’t find the Clover dpns, I had managed to loose them in my house, and none of the stores near me carried them. Eventually I found a pair across town. And eventually I knit the third sock. And it matched the first! (Also I learned if I’m monogamous with my knitting, and pick it up everyday I can knit a sock in less than a month.)
In May I was able to take a class from Carolyn Friedlander about [foundation] paper piecing at Modern Domestic. The pattern/project for class was Carolyn’s Aerial quilt pattern. As written it can be a table topper, a wall hanging, a throw or a full/queen bed quilt. I love when pattern writers take the time to give us multiple quilt sizes (and their yardage requirements). The class happened the day after I got back in town from a week+ trip. Before the trip I pulled some fabric possibilities, but I forgot to finalize my decision until I arrived home the night before class (I left myself no time to start second guess, or shop obsessively for the “perfect” pieces). With my sister’s help I settled on the blue & grey selection and I love every piece that I choose (most purchased just because). I even tossed in a couple “my precious” pieces.
I did a couple b&w shots to help me with value variation and started piecing. I think I finished two blocks during class.
The week after class I was super excited about the project and worked on a block a night for a few nights. Then I had 5 out of the 6 blocks needed and it languished. I finished that 6th block over the weekend. But I’m not sure it should be a wall hanging anymore.
Should it be a table runner for my new rectangular table?
A wall hanging? Or should I make 30 more blocks so it can be a throw? Do I attempt to bed-size it?
I never bought the border fabric, so while that is an undecided factor, it opens up possibilities instead of limiting them due to fabric quantity. I estimate that if I cut up the rest of the fabric (I cut one to two strips from each print initially) I need about one more yard to have enough for 30 more blocks. But I found that last block sort of tedious to make (there is one seam I find myself ripping and redoing 2-3 times per block). What if I hate making them after a few more blocks? Does it really work for my house? Do I just want to be done with the project? What sort of end project will I find most functional in my home?
There is still time. Every year I take notes, but never feel like I get them done in time to publish this. Because when I started canning, recipes that list things like “12 cups of chopped tomato” aren’t very helpful while I’m at the market trying to buy the correct amount. Also, I tend to lose paper notes. But I hope someone finds this helpful.
Last week (8/25) I bought a 20 lb box of organic roma tomatoes. And throughout the week I worked on processing them with a friend of mine. They sat until Tuesday, at which point I took them out of the box and put them in a single layer* on three sheet pans (two half-sheets and one jelly-roll). On Wednesday I blanched and chopped 12 pounds in preparation for 2 batches of salsa (I divided these as I went). On Thursday I chopped everything else for those two batches, then cooked and processed one batch. On Friday I cooked and processed the second batch. And now its Sunday night and I started oven-dried tomatoes (4 1/8 lbs fit on my jelly roll pans that fit in my small oven). Sometimes starting a canning project can be daunting so I break it into chunks (a tip from Food in Jars blog). I had friends staying with me so we tried to fit canning amongst about-the-town and entertain-the-kiddos time. Another friend of mine powered through her box in one night.
The short notes
- 6 lbs tomatoes becomes 12 cups of tomatoes becomes 7 pints of Spicy Tomato Salsa from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I seeded 2 jalapenos, used 4 with seeds, I used 1/2 cup of the dried-chile water to puree. Initial taste tests suggest an extra spicy version this year.
- 5 lbs tomatoes becomes 10 cups of tomatoes becomes 5 pints of House Tomato Salsa from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I used 5 jalapenos with seeds instead of the green bell pepper and hot sauce. Initial taste tests suggest an extra spicy version this year.
- 4 lbs tomatoes on their way to oven-dried goodness. This gets stored in the freezer – I highly recommend having these to perk up fall, winter, spring and early summer meals.
- approximately 3 lbs haven’t met their fate yet.
- We probably ate a pound with meals.
* This box came home on the under ripe side. Last year a lost several tomatoes because they went bad in the box and contaminated other tomatoes (“one rotten apple spoils the bunch” has merit) so this year I spread everything out. Keeping them on sheet pans made it easy to move as we dealt with other cooking tasks (like blackberry jam and dinner).
And now this week I came home from the market with 10 lbs of tomatillos. Salsa verde is in my near future. And next week I plan to split a 20 lb box of romas with a friend.
Over the weekend I participated in the second annual Pacific Northwest Modern Quilt Guild Meetup. This year it was in Portland which meant I was familiar with all the places we went and just didn’t think to take photos. I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the weekend.
If you prefer, the TLDR version: Thursday=fun, Friday=fun, Saturday=fun, Sunday=fun and exhausted. Everyday=lots of chatting, sewing, shopping, eating, drinking and general merriment. Oh and a smidge of learning. A few photos and many many more words follow.
The second Saturday in July is the Sisters’ Quilt Show. I’ve been lucky enough to go for the past three years but this seems to be the first year I actually managed to upload the photos and write a bit about it. The weather was just about perfect, hot but not too hot (well just a bit if you were standing in the sun for too long). It seemed a little bit less crowded than years past, but maybe I’m just adjusting my expectations. I got to wander the show with a few friends, that was nice and we took breaks for lunch, fudge, and ice cream. Kettle corn was also purchased. A bit of fabric shopping (I stuck to the fat quarters so I wouldn’t have to stand in line twice – once for cutting and then for paying). This is a photo heavy post, so I’m going to make them smaller than usual, and if you click through to flickr you should find the accompanying photo with information about the quilt. There were many more quilts that I liked, but I tried to restrain myself with photos this year.
Pam Bush (L) & Kristin Shields (R) (a better shot of the swing attached to the quilt)
And my own PMQG had a special exhibit (I did not enter anything in this – I keep saying “next year”). But I was an idiot who, since I recognized most quilts completely forgot to take photos of the tags. I’m sorry fellow guild members –
if I managed to get all the info I’ll edit this so everyone gets credit for their quilt. Thanks to the PMQG post I was able to give attribution, and if you want to see larger photos of each quilt individually check out the PMQG post.
I see cute coaster projects on a regular basis, but I would always think, “that’s nice, but I don’t use coasters.” But recently I noticed the little wooden stool I use as a side table was looking sort of worn. Maybe I should make coasters… I took a pile a scraps and some small squares of quilt batting with me to SewDay.
Since I had a few 2 1/2″ squares already cut I started by making four-patches. Then I put them on batting and did a bit of free form straight line spiral (echo?) quilting. And then sewed right sides together with a plain backing, trimmed any batting out of the seam allowance and flipped it out. Then I used the for the next month without slip stitching the opening shut.
But I did that the other night – yay finished object.
I was tempted to title this “Best $1 sewing tool” but that started an internal debate regarding best and an attempt to remember how much I’ve spent on various doodads (how much is my favorite ruler again?)…
I’m not talking about the iron, or the ironing board, I’m talking about buying a gallon of distilled water for your iron and keeping it stored as closely as possible. For a long time, a very long time I just used some of our filtered tap water, running downstairs the to the kitchen when I needed it, or pouring it out of my water spray bottle (which I think cost $1.60). Finally I bought a gallon and sometimes it is the little things – but it felt like a great improvement to my sewing space. My iron only holds about 4 oz of water (yup, I measured) and I’m a big fan of steam so it drastically cut down on water-gathering trips.
Additionally, I don’t think I ever wrote about my ironing station. In my last sewing space I didn’t have room for my ironing board to stay set up and not be in the way of something (the closet where my supplies were stored, the shelf the printer was and my futon were the usual things blocked). And I noticed that for quilting I wasn’t using most of the board anyway, so I re-purposed this cart (it fit in the space perfectly). I love that I can store things under the ironing space. When I need a larger surface I pull out my ironing board, when I need the narrow end I try using my sleeve roll first.
The ironing surface is an unfinished wooden shelf I picked up at Ikea (the size and price were right), but they don’t carry the exact piece anymore (part of a discontinued secondary storage line). Then I covered it with insul-brite, two layers of cotton batting and light-canvas cotton fabric – in that order, using a staple gun to tack everything down. The covered board is just over 12″ wide and about 30″ long. I meant to fully attach the board to the cart but never got around to it and I find it stays put decently. Of course I don’t have little ones, or cats to cause it to go tumbling to the floor.
For the last month or so I’ve had the strong urge to buy yarn. I think I just have project fatigue, two projects out of sockweight yarn at the same time might not be the best idea for me. After fighting it for weeks I almost gave in – I found a cute pattern on Ravelry that called for 3 skeins of a yarn I know I’ve seen locally, I was hoping that my usual LYS carried it – they didn’t. I almost bought something else that seemed appropriate but didn’t. I still have the 5 skeins from the last time I did that (and the yarn totally didn’t work for the pattern I picked). In fact I have yarn for at least 3 selfish projects just waiting (one from a failed and frogged project). So I started to focus my attention to new pattern possibilities.
pros: I’m trying to add more casual (non-t-shirt) tops to my wardrobe, its new and exciting, upon first glance it feels like a more straight forward pattern and project
cons: I thought this was a pro, but on second look my yarn doesn’t seem like a good substitution for the pattern specified yarn
pros: Cardigan, I love cardigans, 60 degree summer days need cardigans to bridge the gap between seasonal dressing and dressing for the weather. It has a wee bit of lace which I enjoy. I like the shape and slightly vintage feel.
cons: I have to modify the pattern for my gauge and size. Sometimes this is fun but sometimes this blows up in my face. (Gail has lots of posts on this, and it is her yellow version that makes me hopeful that I could get a cardigan out of my yardage). I worry I won’t have enough yarn. I worry that I can’t pull off a cropped cardigan anymore.
The yarn, GGH Linova (Rav link), I have 660 yards in my stash in a light purple. Originally I made it into Petrie but despite a huge gauge swatch (washed and blocked), and copious amounts of math to add waist shaping I somehow made a top that was far too big for me – plus I didn’t like the drape of the cowl neck with the turned hem edge treatment.
I guess the next obvious step is to just make a new gauge swatch since I probably shouldn’t trust my swatch from 2010 (if I even find my swatch notes).
A bit over a week ago I found this recipe for strawberry-rhubarb infused vodka and I knew I had to make it. I haven’t had luck with infusions in the past but I did like that this recipe made a small batch. Also rhubarb….I’m a sucker for rhubarb.
I meant to try the drink included with the infusion recipe, or the spiked lemonade. But this afternoon I realized I forgot to pick up the necessary ingredients. So a “simple” vodka & soda was made (really a better test anyway).
1 1/2 – 2 oz infused vodka
6 oz soda or seltzer water
mint garnish optional