Saturday, August 10, 2013

On the needles: The impossible is possible

I'm going to try something new for the rest of Camp Loopy. It's this thing called "Positive Thinking," and I read about it on the Internet. I know it sounds crazy, but apparently you focus on good outcomes instead of expecting every possible disaster that could occur. So I won't dwell on the fact that I'm way behind all the other knitters working on the same sweater and I haven't even divided sleeves and I'm behind on my grams per day plan. Nope. Not thinking about that at all. In honor of this new outlook I've renamed my project "Impossible is possible."

To knit the impossible takes a lot of focus, dedication, and sacrifice. One must be willing to knit at every opportunity. In the waiting room at yet another doctor appointment. In the breakroom at work. And yes, in the taproom at White Rabbit Brewery while DH samples a flight (or two). Sacrifice.

Friday, August 2, 2013

On the needles: Camp Loopy 3

Well, I've made it this far. One month and one project to go. This month's challenge is a project using at least 800 yards, so I picked a sweater. Yes, a sweater. In one month. But I'll get to that in a minute. First I want to show off my finished Camp Loopy project 2.

The challenge for project 2 was a popular pattern (on Ravelry) using at least 500 yards. Since I was on a high from finishing my first pair of socks in June, I really wanted to make another pair of socks. I searched Ravelry patterns for socks using 500 yards, and I found one that listed 450-500 yard requirement. My plan was to knit extra repeats to be sure I met the challenge. Since this was the first time I've ever tried to modify any pattern in any way, I didn't consider the size of the cuff. I should have added stitches so the taller socks would fit over my calves. Oh well, live and learn. I still love my socks!

Now it's on to project 3 and a speed-knit sweater. The pattern I picked is Tea with Jam and Bread. In case you aren't on Ravelry, the pattern photo looks like this:

And these are the colors I'm using:

So my sweater will look something like this:

And I have a plan to finish it before 11:59pm on August 31 (possibly right at 11:59pm). I calculated how many grams I'll have to knit per day to stay on target. When I hit the target I will be able to say that I survived completed my first year at Camp Loopy!

In other Loopy-related news, Little Loopy has a chance to star in his very own commercial during the Super Bowl. Please click here and vote for Loopy. You can vote once every day. I really, really want to see Loopy's Super Bowl commercial.
Doesn't he deserve a Super Bowl commercial?

I need to thank my wonderful husband and all my knitting friends for the support and encouragement to finish project 2. They didn't let me give up, even when I was convinced that I wouldn't finish in time. Thank you!

I'm linking up with other knitters at Patchwork Times.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

On the needles: Camp Loopy 2 and a MKAL

I've finally committed to a pattern for Camp Loopy project 2. This month's challenge is to use at least 500 yards on a popular pattern from Ravelry (queued at least 1,000 times).

Lots of campers are making shawls or scarves. There are a few sweaters. I'm making another pair of socks, because I was so happy with my first pair. To make sure I use 500 yards and meet the challenge, I need to make some tall socks. The pattern I'm using calls for 450-500 yards, and I'm going to add repeats on the legs for yardage insurance. My yarn is the Mt. Kaytwopeatwo colorway from the first month of Camp Loopy. I bought two skeins so I won't run out. If I have enough left, I'll make a matching hat.

So far I've completed the cuff and two repeats of the leg. The repeat pattern is interesting and easy to memorize, but it doesn't show up very well in the picture. I like how the yarn is pooling so far.

I've finished clue 2 of the shawl MKAL. Clue 3 is already out, but I want to make a little more progress on Camp Loopy before I start it.

See what else is on the needles at Patchwork Times!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

FO alert!

I just realized that I never posted my finished socks. The Tour de Sock deadline flew by, but both socks were finished in time to meet the Camp Loopy deadline.

Camp Loopy project 2 is already on my needles along with a fun MKAL shawl from Wild Prairie Knits.
Clue 1 is finished, I'm working on clue 2, and clue 3 is released on Friday.

Friday, June 7, 2013

On the needles: Loopy socks

I'm working on socks for my first Camp Loopy project. The yarn is Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in Blue Spruce. The pattern is The Secret Fan, the stage one pattern for Tour de Sock. The cutoff for stage one is Monday morning. I'm not sure I'll make it, but I'm going to try. I have four (out of five) fan repeats finished on each sock and two full days left to knit.

Here's Little Loopy posing with one of my socks:

Monday, May 6, 2013

Design wall Monday: Playing catch up

As I mentioned on Friday, April was a terrible, unproductive month. So my design wall has my April blocks of the month while I try to catch up. Falling behind is stressful!

My April Craftsy block is finished. In fact, it was the only one finished before the end of April.
Fan Block
April's Clubhouse block is almost finished. I only have three seams left. Then I can start on May's kit.
Clubhouse quilt center
I've finished the May Craftsy blocks, because they were quick and easy.
Strippy Spools
Here are all my Craftsy blocks copied and pasted into the quilt layout. The blank spots are future month's blocks.
Craftsy BOM layout
I really, really, really need to catch up on the Back to Square One mystery quilt. I will be caught up by the end of May!

Click here to see what's on everyone else's design walls at Patchwork Times!

Friday, May 3, 2013

On the needles: New techniques

It has been too long since I last posted. April was a challenging month for reasons better left to another post. Or maybe not. Why relive it? So, what better way to start a new month than with a new post about new knitting techniques that I'm learning.

Here is my first attempt at lace.

It's the Bigger on the Inside shawl using Lorna's Laces Solemate Bigger on the Inside. I'm trying to finish in time for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary in November. I'm on the fifth repeat of the Time Vortex Lace Increases, and I have a long way to go. I think it looks pretty good so far.

The second technique that I'm trying to learn is the brioche stitch.

This is the first tie of The Brioche Hood Hat. It's part of a KAL on Ravelry, and the goal is to finish by the end of May. The yarn is Ella Rae Lace Merino Worsted. A solid yarn might show off the stitches better, but I really like these colors. I like the brioche stitch a lot. It's so smooshie.

I'm linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Medallion mystery progress, clue 3

Since January I've been working on Judy's Medallion Mystery, and in March I finished the third clue.

It's the center of our quilt, and I love it!

Clue four posted today at Patchwork Times, and I can't wait to see what we're doing next! Everyone is sharing their Medallion center blocks here.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stash report 2013.13

I used up some stash fabric this week on backing for my Crazy Daisies quilt. The quilting looks great! I'll post some pictures once I get the binding on. My net used for 2013 is still in the hole, partially because of the fabric I bought for the Road to Round Rock QAL. I've only finished step one so far, but I'm determined to get caught up. It's not really stash fabric unless the project becomes a UFO, right?
Used this week: 3.25 yards
Used YTD: 29.25 yards
Added this week: 0.00 yards
Added YTD: 40.75 yards
2013 net used: -11.50 yards
I'm linking my report with other quilters at Patchwork Times.

Friday, March 8, 2013

On the needles: Iknitarod mittens

My rookie run at the Iknitarod has been slow going. I'm following my usual race strategy, start slow and then taper, which is a strategy that has worked for me in other races. Weekends are my only time for concentrated knitting, and last weekend was full of activities that kept me from it. This weekend was over booked too, but I think I've cleared my schedule enough to make a run to the halfway point and try to catch up.

Lance Mackey and his team have already reached Iditarod, but I haven't even made it to the first checkpoint. I took the mandatory 24 hours really early, so that's out of the way. I'm not racing against the first place musher; I just need to finish before the red lantern goes out. As the saying goes: "DFL is better than DNF." My goal for this weekend is to finish one mitten and the first 24 rows of the second mitten. That should put me back on pace to finish the challenge.

I'm still worried that the yarn is too dark for the cables to show. I hope that won't be the case. The stitches show up okay in the picture, so that's a good sign. I won't know for sure until I start the cables.
mitten in progress

What do other knitters have On the Needles? Take a look at Patchwork Times!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stash report 2013.9

Nothing to see here. Move along. No fabric came in or went out this week. Next week will be different, because that's when I'll pick up my BOM kits for March. I'd better get stitching, so my net used won't look too bad next Sunday.
Used this week: 0.00 yards
Used YTD: 19.75 yards
Added this week: 0.00 yards
Added YTD: 19.75 yards
2013 net used: 0.00 yards
I'm linking my report with other quilters at Patchwork Times.

Friday, March 1, 2013

On the needles: The accidental box of fun & the Iknitarod!

I accidentally landed on The Loopy Ewe site the other day. I was at work, and I started typing a web address into IE. You know how it auto fills with addresses you've visited recently? Well, it auto filled with The Loopy Ewe; not what I was going for, but I wasn't paying attention and hit enter. When I realized I was looking at The Loopy Ewe, I figured I should at least check out what's new. It would be rude to just pop in and out, right?

It didn't take long for me to find some pretty peppermint striped yarn that would be perfect for a cowl/scarf pattern that I have. I already have some yarn for the pattern, but this is a completely different color and won't look like the same pattern at all.
peppermint stripe cowl or scarf yarn

I was really close to free shipping, so I decided to get some of the Into the Whirled yarn that Judy enjoyed using for her socks. The color I bought is Trajectory. This will be a pair of socks, eventually.
Into the Whirled, Trajectory

I received my box of fun today, and I got a rewards bonus pack! Isn't the Loopy drawing cute? A box of fun indeed!
Cotton Club rewards

The Iknitarod starts tomorrow on Ravelry. The challenge is to pick a project and knit along with the Iditarod race with the goal to finish the project before the red lantern goes out (when the last musher crosses the finish line). I've decided to knit the Give a Hoot mittens. They will be my first mittens and just my second cable pattern, so that's the challenge for me. Will you be knitting along with the mushers?

Speaking of Ravelry, I finally got all my needles and hooks logged in my online inventory. Now to start on my yarn stash....

Find out what everyone has on the needles at Patchwork Times!

Medallion mystery progress, clue 2

The second clue for the Medallion Mystery at Patchwork Times was posted at the beginning of February.

Step one of clue two looks a lot like the blocks for the Bright Lights swap I did in February. These blocks are bigger and not quite as bright. I love my dogwoods in the center.
clue 2, step 1

I seem to have missed taking a photo of step two, so I'll add that after work tonight. eta: Here's the missing step 2 picture!
clue 2, step 2

We only made one of the step three blocks. Maybe this is the center of our medallion?
clue 2, step 3

Clue three posted today at Patchwork Times, and I can't wait to see what we're doing next! It's not too late to join in this year-long mystery. Do it! It's fun!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Getting it done! February results

To make sure we're getting stuff done in 2013, Judy at Patchwork Times has inspired us to post at least four quilty goals every month. Once our goals are posted, we can help each other stay on track. So, here are my results from February and my goals for March. I don't feel like I was quite as successful this month, but at least I can check a few things off my list.
  1. Medallion mystery, month two
    • Done! Pictures will be posted tomorrow.
  2. Michael Miller Clubhouse 2013, month two
    • Done!

  3. Bright Lights
    • Done! I finished 31 blocks for a swap with the awesome ladies at QATW. (There are a few extra for me.)

  4. Finish at least half of the blocks for Easy Street
    • I really wanted to keep this one out of the UFO pile, but that's where it is for now. I didn't do any work on it in February.
  5. Chickens binding
    • The binding is made and ready to attach. That's something, right?

and now...

Five quilty goals for March:

  1. Medallion mystery, month three
    • This will be on my list every month until the mystery is solved.
  2. Michael Miller Clubhouse 2013, month three
    • This will also be on my list every month for 2013.
  3. I Spy HSTs
    • Half square triangles for an I Spy swap with the awesome ladies at QATW.
  4. Get back on my trip down Easy Street
    • I want to rescue it from the UFO pile.
  5. Chickens binding
    • Leftover from February.

I knew that my quilting time would take a hit when the NHL lockout ended, but making a list of goals really helps focus the time I have. I'm determined to get more done in March.

You can see how everyone did on their February goals and find out what they have in store for March at Patchwork Times!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Design wall Monday: Not quite 100%

I haven't been feeling my best lately. I have this spine/nerve issue in my neck, and sometimes it gets inflamed and causes real problems. My hands get tingly or numb and that makes it really hard to do anything. Not to mention the pain in my neck (literally) and the headaches. Usually it'll go away after a few days of Aleve or Advil, but this time I had to go to the doctor for something stronger. Now I'm in physical therapy twice a week and finally starting to feel better.

All that is to say that I've haven't accomplished much in the last few weeks. I finally finished the top for the Stitchin with Justquiltin pattern, Starshine. I really like the way it turned out. I made it half size, but I want to make a full size one later. This picture is a little dark. The background is Kona Snow, so it's more white.

All of my pinwheel colors matched up. I'm pretty excited about that!
blue pinwheel

yellow pinwheel

green pinwheel

Now I have about 150 of these "bonus" triangles in all the different colors from the Starshine top. I think I want to use them on the backing, but I'm not sure how. If you have design ideas, I'd love to hear them.

I also finished the blocks for the Bright Lights swap at QATW. I can't wait to get the swapped blocks back. This is going to make a cute quilt.

Visit Patchwork Times! to see all the design wall Monday posts.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stash report 2013.8

I added some more fabric this week and wiped out my net used for the year. My problem is that I don't have a "real" stash. There are a few half-yard cuts, but mostly it's fat quarters and smaller pieces left from other projects. If I decide to start a pattern that isn't scrappy, I have to buy yardage. For the most part, all the fabric I've ever bought has been specifically for one project or another.* I've done very little actual stash building. (*Of course, some of that fabric is still in a bag or drawer along with the pattern it was intended for.)

So I knew I would need to buy fabric when I decided to quilt along with Judy on The Road to Round Rock. The quilt along starts on March 16, and I've only picked one fabric so far. Also this week, I used some of my stash to finish the blocks for the Bright Lights swap at QATW.
Used this week: 1.00 yards
Used YTD: 19.75 yards
Added this week: 3.25 yards
Added YTD: 19.75 yards
2013 net used: 0.00 yards
I'm linking my report with other quilters at Patchwork Times.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stash report 2013.7

The three-day weekend has my schedule all messed up, so I missed the Sunday Stash Report and Design Wall Monday. I had a pretty good week on my stash report. This gives me a little cushion instead of cutting it so close every week. Maybe I'll get a design wall post together for tomorrow.
Used this week: 3.50 yards
Used YTD: 18.75 yards
Added this week: 1.50 yards
Added YTD: 16.50 yards
2013 net used: 2.25 yards
I'm linking my report with other quilters at Patchwork Times.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Easy Granola Bars

This week's "What's Cooking?" challenge is sweetened condensed milk! This has been a really busy week with hockey games almost every night, so there wasn't a lot of time for cooking. This recipe is quick and easy, with the added bonus of being a good on-the-go snack.
Patchwork Times What's Cooking

Easy Granola Bars

Click the name for the original recipe. It's easy to customize the recipe to suit your tastes. We made some changes based on ingredients we already had. Here is our version:

  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried dates
  • 1/2 cup dried pomegranates

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sweetened condensed milk, butter, coconut, almonds, dates, and pomegranates with your hands until well blended. Press flat into the prepared pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want them. Lightly browned just around the edges will give you moist, chewy bars. Let cool for 5 minutes, cut into squares then let cool completely before serving.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Want to see "What's Cooking?" in other kitchens? Visit Patchwork Times!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Design wall Monday: Partial seam awareness month

I've never made any blocks using partial seams. In fact, I had never heard of partial seams. I had no idea they were even a thing. After all these years with no partial seams, this month I have two blocks with partial seams in two completely different projects. My Craftsy BOM for February uses partial seams, and my Clubhouse BOM for February uses partial seams. I'm not the only one who thinks that's a weird coincidence, right?

As it turns out, partial seams are a handy trick to know. It seemed confusing at first, but the Craftsy video was great. I probably wouldn't have figured it out from just the written instructions.
Craftsy blocks made with partial seams
Clubhouse block made with partial seams
So what are you doing to celebrate Partial Seam Awareness Month? I made my blocks, and now I'm linking up with other quilters at Patchwork Times!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stash report 2013.6

Today was a busy day with errands and such. The best part was an unexpected lunch with Mom and Dad. They only live two hours away, but it seems like I never get to see them. And Dad brought some homemade chicken noodle soup! That's dinner tonight. I did get a little time in my sewing room. Now I'm adding up my stash report while counting down the minutes to the season premiere of The Walking Dead.

This was BOM pickup week, so I got fabric for those on Thursday. It's hard to figure how much fabric is in the Clubhouse kit, because we get little bits of this and little bits of that. We had to cut a bunch of tiny little squares and rectangles. My other BOM was one yard of fabric, 0.25 of four different prints. I also had to buy some FQs to send to the winners of Super Bowl squares, since I wasn't one of them. So, 2.50 yards in for this week. I finished my BOMs and mailed the FQs. It's only 1.50 out, but I'm still ahead for the year.
Used this week: 1.50 yards
Used YTD: 15.25 yards
Added this week: 2.50 yards
Added YTD: 15.00 yards
2013 net used: 0.25 yards
I'm linking my report with other quilters at Patchwork Times.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Super Bowl party peanut butter style

This week's "What's Cooking?" challenge is peanut butter! This week is also the Super Bowl. What could be better than peanut butter themed Super Bowl snacks?
Patchwork Times What's Cooking

Chef DH and I made a trio of snacks for the big game. They were Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies, Peanut Butter Football Dip, and Peanut Butter Popcorn. (Click the name for a link to the recipe.)

The popcorn was definitely my favorite. It was quick and easy to make, and was a very satisfying snack. I don't usually like caramel corn, because it can be so hard. This was softer and chewier, and I didn't feel like I would break a tooth. There was just enough peanut butter flavor without it being overwhelming.
Peanut Butter Popcorn
The peanut butter dip was very good and easy to make, too. It had a little sweetness, a little saltiness, and a little crunch from the pretzels. I couldn't eat much of it, though. I guess I don't like peanut butter all that much.
Peanut Butter Football Dip
I didn't taste a lot of bacon in the cookies, just a slight hint. They were more like peanut butter cookies with extra crunchy bits. Chef DH made a couple of changes to this recipe, mostly for convenience. He used honey instead of molasses, because that's what we had in the house. Instead of creamy peanut butter and chopped peanuts, he used crunchy peanut butter (2-in-1). These cookies were also very good, and not at all dry or crumbly.
Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies
Want to know the sad thing? DH and I weren't actually having a Super Bowl party (we don't even like football), and now we've eaten all these snacks ourselves. Yum!

See what else is cooking at Patchwork Times!

Here are the links to the recipes again: Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies, Peanut Butter Football Dip, and Peanut Butter Popcorn.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Design wall Monday: More of the same

For reasons that are as yet unclear to me, I didn't make much progress on anything this week. Nothing at all. Quilting related or otherwise. So, it stands to reason that my design wall looks pretty much like it did last week. I have the last Starshine block almost put together, and I've started making the half-square triangles for the border. Those aren't trimmed yet, so they are too big in the photo. My graph paper diagram was a success, because my pinwheel colors are lining up. whew (Read more about that here.)

I joined a fun swap (aren't they all fun?) at Quilting Around the World, so I've made a few blocks for that. It's called Bright Lights. I have a lot of brights in my stash, and I think I can finish this swap without purchasing fabric. That will be a first for me. I will need to buy some yardage to finish the top once the swap is complete, but I'll worry about that later.

Show us your design wall and see what everyone else is working on at Patchwork Times!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Stash report - 2013.5

No purchases this week! I didn't use much, either. I made the binding for my chickens, and I finished one of my BOMs for February. I sent out some FQs for the Valentine's Day gift exchange, but I also got some FQs back; basically that was a wash. I joined a block swap that should make a dent in my stash later this month.
Used this week: 2.00 yards
Used YTD: 13.75 yards
Added this week: 1.00 yards
Added YTD: 12.50 yards
2013 net used: 1.25 yards
I'm linking my report with other quilters at Patchwork Times.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Off to a good start

The first clue for the Medallion Mystery at Patchwork Times was posted at the beginning of January, and I started working on it right away. It didn't take long to finish the four steps for clue one. The big pieces were a nice change after working on hundreds of small pieces for Easy Street. I was a little concerned that the instructions didn't include the sizes of the units we were making. I'm always measuring so my pieces don't finish too small, especially with those tricky triangles. Judy said the pieces are odd sizes and including the size would confuse us more. She assured us that everything would be fine if we cut carefully and watch our seam allowance. I trust her.

I love how my colors are working together so far. I wasn't sure how they would look, because this is the first "project" from my color theory class, Color Play for Quilters at I used the color wheel to pick a color plan based on one fabric that I really liked (far right in the photo below). We also learned about value (if a color is light or dark) and contrast. Value finders are used to remove the colors from a group of fabrics to show the contrast. Our instructor said to pay careful attention to value when using batiks, because they blend easily. Of course, that means that I chose batiks. I never make it easy for myself. These two pictures show the fabric I'm using. The photo on the right is sans color to show value.

In what can only be described as a stroke of genius, Judy made a swatch sheet for us. The sheet has the fabric number and a swatch of the fabric that she is using. It has space for us to attach a swatch of our fabric. This was very helpful when I was trying to figure out which fabric I was supposed to use for clue one, especially because Judy's fabrics two and three are my fabrics four and five. Talk about confusing!

So, without further ado, here's what I made for January's clue number one.
step 1, I'm happy with these colors

step 2

strawberry ice cream in a waffle cone

step 3

step 4

Clue two is posted today at Patchwork Times! It's not too late to join in this year-long mystery. Come on! It's going to be fun.