Modern Crosses, Modern Workshop

Let’s not talk about how long it’s been, let’s instead talk about what’s new. I have done a whole lot of knitting in the past seven years, and I have at least one of everything. When I made Rock Island last spring, it turned out to be the shawl to end all shawls. I don’t think I’ve worn any of my other shawls for the past year. Faced with that reality, it was time for new territory.

Quilts. I have made a few. Sometime back in November I had decided to buckle down and start working on my mother’s Xmas quilt.

The whole quilt took about a month, and I spent roughly an hour a day working on it. The pattern is from Modern Log Cabin Quilting (a book that doesn’t feature any of those pesky symmetrical triangle quilts which I detest).

I tried wool batting for the first time with this quilt. It made the whole thing super fluffy, especially since I only quilted around the blocks.

It made the whole quilt look a lot like a store bought comforter. This is a shot of the back. The front, as you can see, is a lot more colorful.

The crosses are a different size than on the original quilt due to a miscalculation, but it didn’t really change much, especially if you have no idea what the original looks like.

I used a whole layer cake (42 10 x 10 squares) of Modern Workshop and had enough fabric for all the crosses and the binding, which was patchwork from the unused strips as you can see here.

The wool batting turns out to be super warm. I’ve slept with this quilt while visiting my mom and it was actually a bit too heavy a blanket for late March.

The wool batting seems to work fine for potholders though. Here’s a preview of my next quilt in the form of a test potholder.

Terra two (and one)

Last December, for reasons I won’t get into here, I was (for most of the holiday season) all alone with nothing but a Terra (which I never ended up blogging), tea and HBO On Demand to keep me busy.

This year, even though nearly everything was different (the whole family was together, there was much more coffee than tea, and I didn’t really have time to watch anything since I was making some very complicated dinners for Xmas Eve and Xmas Day) I found myself back in December, making a second Terra.

The first Terra, was made from two skeins of Noro Sock and some leftover Organic Wool.

All the yarn had been slated for other projects, but they somehow came together harmoniously to make an extremely cozy and thick shawl that is probably best suited as a lap blanket than anything else.

There was a very small amount of yarn left. Pretty awesome ending if you ask me.

But, that’s not actually the end, since this is only the first Terra. The second started back in… June 2011 when a very dear friend announced his engagement to a very lovely girl. I consulted with him about what to make her, and came up with the following suggestions

1. Nothing too fancy/lacy


Done and done. I found some Madeline Tosh Light Merino (my current obsession) in a pink/purple color called Flashdance and set to finding a pattern. My first choice was Gale, but it was scrapped after several dozen rows. I wasn’t really happy with the way the yarn and pattern were working out together.

Next up was the Shieffelin Point Shawl, also scrapped soon after it was started. I don’t really think that the fingering weight was suited to a DK weight pattern. I probably should have known better, but sometimes substitutions like that work out fine.

Take three was Herbivore. Once again, there was probably a pattern/yarn problem… I honestly don’t remember anymore. All I know is that for take 4 I decided to go with Terra again. It had the things I wanted (a textured but plain body and some not-too-fancy edge bits), plus I had made it before so I knew it would work out fine.

Deja vu all over again.

I finished this shawl less than 24 hours before heading to Boston for a visit. (It would have been less of a crunch if I hadn’t made an annoying mess during the bind off that made me put the shawl on hold for a few days while I calmed down.) I boarded a bus on a Saturday afternoon with a still slightly damp shawl and delivered it to a very happy soon to be married lady that same evening.

Once again I was left with a minimal amount of yarn (no photo of that).

Is this the last we’ll see of the Terras? Probably not. While I doubt I’d make another for myself, Terra is a great pattern and I may need to whip up a shawl for someone in the future. There may in fact be a Terra three before you know it.

Celtic Glow

I’ve been spinning.

In December I got a subscription to the Crown Mountain Farms fiber club. Unlike any other yarn or fiber club I’ve been a part of they send the international stuff out first, so I get my monthly installments on time. I have about nine months worth of fiber stored up now. I started spinning January’s installment at the beginning of the summer.

Honestly, this has been the only thing on my wheel all summer. Last summer there were a few spinning parties, but this summer things have changed and I’ve been spinning alone which kind of means not at all.

I finished the 4 ounces early last week. All that’s left now is the plying.

Dream On

Last September, someone convinced me to do the Fat Quarterly Quilt Along. I rushed through the quilt top, but then got stalled for a while. However, when it got to be time to put together those baby quilts I was reminded that I had a quilt of my own to finish and it gave me the necessary push to finish this one.

Minou and Mr. NotCharles helped with pinning the sandwich.

And then I started feeling sad that Minou and I wouldn’t get very much time to cuddle with the finished quilt, so we cuddled with the sandwich. Minou really loved the quilt. It sort of makes me wish I had started quilting years ago, since it was something we could have enjoyed together.

Once the quilting was done I swiped some extras from the baby quilts for the binding (it was the perfect choice). The backing was an old sheet, which fit in with the vintage sheets look of the Dream On fabric.

Then I washed the quilt and put it on the back of the couch, where Minou could nap on it if she wished. When I came back from vacation in late June and Minou had moved out, there was lots of her fur left on the quilt, which I could not bring myself to remove.

Now that the quilt is finished, I’ve found that it’s very good for napping with, kind of like I’m still napping with Minou.

Pussycat approved.

quilts, the real story

It’s been about a year since I started quilting, but I’ve barely blogged about any of it. This is because I was making three quilts at once and two of them were secret quilts for people who read my blog regularly.

Making three quilts as a initiation to quilting may sound crazy to some, but it sounds just right to me. While a lot of people are interested in making things perfect, I am more interested in making things and while they might not turn out picture perfect in the end, I end up learning more from any mistakes I make than I would learn from reading about the process in a book.

Here’s a timeline for the two baby quilts. If you’d like to see photos of the quilts, they can be found here, here and here. (It turns out that I barely took any photos of this huge project, despite the fact that it spent a year in my house.)

mid September – Three of my friends and I find out that two of our other friends are with child, and this lady convinces us to make two baby quilts despite the fact that none of us have ever quilted before in our lives.

late September – We all take a trip to the fabric store to choose fat quarters. We spend much more time there than we first planned, choosing, debating and rechoosing fabrics. In the end we end up with some that were thrown out in the first round, much to my amusement.

early November – We all get together for all-day square construction followed by pizza and beer. As soon as we decide how big the squares should be Sarah decides to make a square two inches larger than that. One of us gets frustrated with a rotary cutter. Another cuts her first batch of triangles the wrong size. I burn myself on an iron. We split up all the fabric and take it home. No squares have been finished.

December – We chat off and on about the quilt timeline. To date, I have completed the most squares. “I’m almost done.” I say. “You guys had better get to work on your squares.”
We decide to take advantage of free time over the holidays and set a deadline for ourselves: all squares will be finished by mid January.

mid January – I return from my vacation to find that everyone has finished their squares except for me. Oops.

early February – Mr. NotCharles has a birthday party. I abscond with the ladies to the crafting room to finish squares. We talk about piecing the quilt top soon, because the babies are nearly here. We reassure ourselves that the quilts don’t need to be ready before the babies are. I finally finish all my squares.

mid March – Mr. NotCharles goes away and Sarah and I spend an entire weekend at my place (with each of the other girls working one of the day shifts) finishing the squares by adding borders to ALL of them to match Sarah’s squares, which are all two inches larger. Saturday involves marshmallow peeps (not for me) and both Ghostbusters movies and Sunday involves a trip to Fabricville to buy binding, batting and backing. All of us have colds or something and we all feel different shades of terrible, but we must quilt on! I keep cutting the fabric wrong. We drink cider and eat tortilla chips and finally finish all the squares. Every conversation that begins with “I think I messed up…” ends with “…the babies won’t care.”

mid April – Sarah and I piece the quilt tops and pin the sandwiches together (with help).

Meanwhile, the babies are born, and sometime in early June we remember we were making quilts for them. We decide to get back on that, and I quilt both of them and hand them over to Sarah for the binding, which she hand sews over the course of a day or two. Now we have quilts.

But because we’re busy ladies, it took us until late August to get the quilts to the babies. The grand unveiling was this past Sunday though and it went well. The secret was out, everyone was surprised and our year’s worth of hard work was worth it.

another pair of socks

Oh hey, look at these socks. What can I say about them?

I bought the yarn back in March to possibly make some socks for my mom, but she had other yarn for me to work with.

I started them on a train somewhere in upstate NY and finished them in a hotel room in Toronto.

They were pretty much the only thing I knit on this summer. I’ve been doing other crafty stuff like quilting, embroidery and rearranging my studio space. It’s still in a state of chaos at the moment, but it’s coming together. I have all my fabric and yarn organized and I even have things set up enough to do some sewing (like those bicycle blocks I made the other day).


I have quite a few quilt projects in the works at the moment. I even spent most of the weekend cutting fabric for said projects. Here’s a glimpse of one that was keeping me up last night.

These fabrics are from a pack of coordinating half yards I bought at the end of June. It’s going to be a bike quilt! Very exciting.