Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WIP Wednesday

 I haven't had much sewing time this week but today I started cutting out the prints for my 9 patch lattice baby quilt.  I really started this today so I would have something different to show today for WIP Wednesday!  I have a couple more prints to cut then I will start sewing them together.  The rest of my sewing time I did the quilting on my sewing machine cover that I have been working on.  It is kind of hard to see in the photo below but I did straight line quilting on a 1 inch interval in the green swirly area.  The thread I used was a tan aurifil thread. I also quilted along the seams for the center wonky portions, the thread I used was an off white from Connecting Threads.  Hopefully I can get this finished up tomorrow or Friday.
I do still have the Mod Sampler quilt in progress, I have put all the rows together with the sashing and then I read the directions.  Oops!  Apparently I was supposed to cut the sashing strips lengthwise in order to have 63" long strips, so I had to go find more Kona White before I could continue.  Now I have my strips cut but I haven't gotten any further.  Once I get the previous two projects done I will hopefully make more progress on this quilt. 

We went out of town last weekend on a road trip to Rochester Minnesota.  I actually visited a quilt shop and a knit shop but didn't purchase anything, I just couldn't find anything that really appealed to me.   I did make some decent knitting progress on my Lotus hat, I should have it finished in a day or so.  I also finally got past the yoke section on my Ravi cardigan but forgot to take a photo.  I need to knit a worsted weight sweater next, Sport weight sweaters take forever to knit!  I also have been working on the brandywine shawl, I have 8 repeats done of the main pattern and 6 or 7 left to go depending how many I decide to do. 

Today at the grocery store I came across Fulton's Harvest Pumpkin Pie Liqueur, so I picked up a bottle and this evening we had a Pumpkin Pie Martini.  I garnished these with pumpkin flavored marshmallows, and they were very tasty! 

Linking up to WIP wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Crafty Book Reviews

Today I am going to review 2 craft books that I have purchased and read recently.  The first is Knitwear Design Workshop.  I had been thinking over the summer about starting to design my own sweaters (and have a Pinterest board with inspiration) so I purchased this book with the hopes that it could help.  However, I really decided after slogging through it that anything by Elizabeth Zimmerman and Barbara Walker are really more my style.  There is some good info in this book but I found it to be very repetitive and some of it was really elementary.  For example there is actually a chart on converting fractions to decimals in case anyone doesn't know that 1/4 = .25 or 1/2 = .5!  Also, the author knits everything flat and then sews up.  Which is fine but I don't think is necessary in all cases.  There was some good information on different types of necklines and sleeve styles but it was a rather spendy book so I was hoping for something different.  It does have good reviews on Amazon so I am clearly in the minority.

The second book is Pretty in Patchwork Holidays by John Q. Adams from Fat Quarterly.   I love this book so much and have found many projects that I would love to make.  There are pillows, quilts, table runners, ornaments, aprons, gift bags and much more.  A lot of them are Christmas themed but there are quite a few fall themed projects and some that could be anytime of year based on fabric choice.  I would really like to make the Home Squash Home wall hanging but in reality probably wouldn't get it done for this season.  We shall see, I may be going fabric shopping this weekend so I might find what I need and start next week. 

Now I need to get started on a hat for my friend's Christmas present, in past years I have knit her a Hawkeye striped scarf and Hawkeye mittens.  This year she is getting a black hat to go along with those, I am using Madelinetosh Vintage in the colorway cloak.  I have not knit with this yarn before but I love Madelinetosh so I am looking forward to it.  I am planning on knitting a Lotus Hat with a few mods to make it slouchy.  So more on that next week! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cover Up WIP Wednesday

 This past week I have been working on a cover for my sewing machine, this is the Cover Up pattern by Empty Bobbin Sewing Studio.  This pattern tells you what measurements to take from your sewing machine to make a custom fit cover.  So far it has been very straightforward.  There are three options, one has a single piece for the middle portion, one has evenly cut strips of different fabrics and I opted for the version with wonky cut strips.  I used a 10" stacker of Good Life by Riley Blake fabrics.  The green swirly fabric is from the same line.  The white is Kona white.  The picture below shows the detail of some of the prints a little better. 

This morning I got the inside portion cut out, basted and now it is ready for me to quilt it.  I will probably straight line quilt it, I don't have much experience with anything else yet.  I am thinking of doing stitch in the ditch for the center portion on each of the individual strips.  I don't have any green thread for the main portion so I am probably going to use a light tan aurifil thread since I want to have this done before the next time I have to go to town.  I will hopefully remember to do a test on a scrap before I start quilting this!  
I have also been working on 2 of my knitting projects, the Ravi Cardigan and the Brandywine shawl.  Neither looks much different than the last time I posted them. I have discovered that if I stay off the internet I actually have time to get all more work done and still have knitting and sewing time during the day!  What a revelation!

We didn't end up going on the river last weekend, I don't think either of us was really in the mood to go.  Instead we went to the Quad Cities and checked out Front Street Brewery in Davenport and Bent River Brewery in Moline.  We enjoyed both stops, we shared a sampler tray at both places.  At Front Street Brewery you get a sample of each of their 6 beers.  They were sold out of one of those so they gave us a mix of the stout and the cherry ale that was very tasty.  At Bent River we tried the Paddlewheel Ale, American Wheat, Oatmeal Stout and Strawberry Blond.  We also had dinner at Bent River, I had a chicken cranberry wrap with poppyseed dressing.  In between those 2 stops Pat talked me in to going to the John Deere Pavilion which he enjoyed.  I couldn't argue since he let me go to Jo-Ann's to use my coupons from the coupon commotion flyer!  I got Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen for 50% off.  I also found some green fabric  to make a new cover for my ironing board.  It sort of goes with my sewing machine cover.  I told Pat when I was finished there that I am not going back to Jo-Ann for at least a month so hopefully I can stick to that!  I am committed to recycling the flyers as soon as they come in the mail.  I need to get some things done around here and stop buying supplies for new projects!

I should be back in a day or so with a review of a couple craft books I have read lately, Pretty in Patchwork Holidays and Knitwear Design Workshop.  I am linking up this week to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Randomness on Friday

So, the beginning of September has been incredibly busy this year.  Hopefully, now things might  settle down a bit for awhile but who knows!  I have been trying to at least knit a little bit every day and started a new knitting project.  Why finish something old when there are so many new patterns and yarns to try!  The blob of knitting above will hopefully soon be a Brandywine Shawl.  The yarn I am using is Dream in Color Smooshy in the Rose Smash colorway.  I believe this colorway may have been the first of the Dream in Color Dream Club which was released in August of 2010.  I have knit with Dream in Color Smooshy before and it is always a lovely yarn and the dye job is super (not that you can tell from my crappy photo).  I have just finished with chart A.  I did have to work on this with the tv off, otherwise I kept losing track of my place.  Even then I missed a YO and had to rip back 2 rows. 

 Today a little bit of new fabric came in the mail, most of which I have immediate plans for (rather than just fabric collecting).  Above is a layer cake of Good Life from Riley Blake Designs.  I also got a green swirly fabric that coordinates.  This is destined to make a sewing machine cover so I can finally toss the plastic bag that came with my sewing machine many years ago.  I hope to start this over the weekend if not this afternoon!

This odd collection is destined for my first charity baby quilt.  I have read on many different quilting blogs about a quilt drive called 100 quilts for kids sponsored by Swim Bike Quilt.  So I dug out these fat quarters that I had purchased on a whim and decided they might go together to make a 9 patch lattice quilt.  The quilt drive is on through October 15 so hopefully I will have time to get it together and find a local place to donate it.  It will have a black background fabric and a green binding.  It could come out really crazy looking but I guess we will see! 

I just picked up a half bushel of apples out at a local apple orchard so in between sewing and knitting over the weekend I will be doing some baking.  We also hope to go out in our boat on the Mississippi on Sunday so maybe I will remember to bring the camera. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New Craft Room

Yesterday I talked Pat into helping me move my craft room to one of our remodeled rooms.  It still needs some decorating help but this room is going to be so much better for sewing!  The room has much better lighting and several electrical outlets.  The old room was really dark and only had 2 outlets!  I took a few photos from different angles.  I will probably post some different ones once I get it decorated a little better.  But these will do for now.  The picture above is some bookshelves that I moved in from the hallway.  I found that set of 3 jars at Goodwill a few months back and now they hold my selvedges, my buttons and some misc sewing accessories.  The doll on the bottom shelf was made by a friend of the family for me when I was little. 

 The brown cabinet was left at our house by the previous owners and used to be a kitchen pantry.  We moved it upstairs when we remodeled the kitchen and now it holds all of my fabric. 

 These white cabinets were headed to the burn pile after a kitchen remodel that Pat did a year or 2 ago.  I cleaned them up and they work great for now.  The glass front cabinet holds my yarn storage - I should get a closer up photo of that!  All of my new yarn is held in here and I have one tub of leftover yarn but that is it on yarn stash!  I hope to use the empty wall on the right for a design wall eventually.
 This table was my Christmas present from Pat last year.  The cabinet on the left is another one from the kitchen remodel and Pat built a book case for the other side (which holds all my magazines and some patterns) and made a top.  My mom got me the cutting mat on the top.  This table will work so much better now that I can walk all the way around it. 
You can't really see my sewing machine here but this is my sewing table.  I am hoping to get a different table pretty soon but this works for now.  I am hoping to find a small comfy chair to put in here somewhere so I can hang out in here and knit and watch TV sometimes. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Catch Up!

Sorry for the unintended blog absence over the last week!  I left home last Saturday intending to buy a new laptop and took our old laptop along.  Long story short I left the old laptop to get "fixed" and brought home a new laptop that didn't actually work.  So for several days we had no computer access at all.  Since we got the old one back and a working new one a couple days ago I have been transferring files and trying to correct some issues that were caused by the "fixing".  Anyway, now we are back on track and I have a lovely new laptop that works great.  

I had quite a bit of free time when I had no internet access so I have been doing some baking and a lot of preserving.  The picture above are of the Ganachaud flute bread from the Local Breads book by Daniel Leader.  These turned out pretty well I think for the first attempt.  They have a bit of a different flavor because they have a small amount of corn flour in them.  

These are homemade oreos from a recipe that I printed off the internet a long time ago and I am not sure of the source.  They were quite tasty and pretty simple to make.  I will be making these again. 

I don't have any photos but I have added a lot of produce to the pantry over the last few weeks since I last reported my preserving progress.  My mother-in-law gave me a huge box of home grown grapes on Thursday so I made grape jelly and 11 quarts of grape juice over Thursday and Friday.  Below is my list for 2012.  I could use some more tomatoes, my tomatoes haven't been producing much and now I think they have the blight so I probably won't get much more. 
 (New items in italics)

13 - quarts of dill pickles
3 - 1/2 pints of blackberry syrup
3 - 1/2 pints of strawberry syrup
6 - pints of strawberry lemonade syrup
5 - 1/2 pints of lemony strawberry jam
2 - pints of lemony strawberry jam
1 - quart of blackberry brandy
1 - pint of blackberry brandy (I used one full bottle of Korbel brandy)
14 - pints salsa
7 - pints sweet pickles
5 - quarts tomato juice 
11 - quarts grape juice
3 1/2 - pints grape jelly

1 - gallon bag of strawberries
2 - gallon bags of blackberries + 1 gallon bag blackberries = 3 gallons total
10 - 10 oz bags of corn + 9 10oz bags = 19 10 oz bags total 
1 - gallon bag of greenbeans
1 - 30 oz container diced tomatoes
1 - 15 oz container diced tomatoes
40 cubes basil pesto
1 - pint blueberries
2 - 1 lb bags peaches 

2 dehydrators full - parsley
3 dehydrators full - basil
2 sheets cherry tomatoes

Now I have a photo for my mom, she always wants to see Oscar so here you go Mom!  I am not sure how he finds this pose comfortable but he was quite sound asleep!