Thursday

[knitting] Little blue pouch

I used some yarn leftovers to knit a little square bag- with the intention of adding a lining and zipper (since I know how to do that now). But of course the bag sat around for ages, ends not even sewn in. Finally I blocked it and got all the accouterments together:

Lining a knit pouch

Since I'm doing so much sewing, I cut some blue fabric and sewed a lining. I shortened a zipper. (I love my little pincusion biscornu- I should make more. They are so adorbs and useful.)

Pin in the lining (ehhhh, it's a little too big):

Lining pinned

Sew it in (ehhh, it's a little wonky because it was too big):

Lining sewn

Pin in the zipper (oh look, it covers the wonkiness of the lining):

Zipper pinned

Sew that in and voila, zippered and lined pouch:

Done

Knit pouch with zipper and lining

After I got all the stuff together, it only took about 30 minutes to do since the project was so small.

Wednesday

[crochet] Cacti

I've been making little cacti with leftover green yarns:

🌵🌵🌵🌵 #crochet #amigurumi

The pattern is called

Tuesday

[quilting] Sailboat

Accomplished so many fun and crafty things over the long weekend. Friday afternoon I spent on a quilt block:

⛵️🍺 #quilting #zerogravitybeer

Yeah, that's a beer in there, too. Because it was beer o'clock. 

The finished sailboat:

Sailboat quilt block. ⛵️ I cut up the entire piece if fabric to get the skeleton situated right. #worthit #quilting

I basically had to massacre the entire piece of skeleton fabric to get a square just right for the sail but it was worth it.

I've decided I'm just going to do whatever quilt blocks I find and like and I'll worry about how they all fit together later... 

I bought a bolt of inexpensive (coughcheapcough) 100% cotton grey fabric at Joann's. I plan to use a bit here and there as a solid color. As I was working on this block and pressing pieces (with steam- I know I'm not supposed to but I'm glad I did) the grey was shrinking like crazy. Alarmingly so. Enough to make me freak out. I frantically started Googling what to do- and the answer was so simple I don't know why I didn't think of it: prewash the fabric. Duuuuuuhhhhh. (slaps forehead). So I washed/dried some and I'll iron it to see if it still shrinks. 

Thursday

[cooking] Valentine's Day

Got all the cats to agree to Valentine's Day pictures.

Murderface:

Murderface


Santana:

Santana

Penny:

Penny

Dinner was pizza (with turkey pepperoni because we eat sooooo healthy):

❤️🍕❤️🍕❤️🍕❤️🍕❤️

And dessert- heart shaped brownie with whipped cream and red glitter:

Valentine Brownie

I had to stop by King Arthur Flour for a few things earlier in the week and couldn't resister the edible glitter. Now I need to glitter all the foods since I only used .0001 grams last night.


Wednesday

[cooking] Yukgaejang: Spicy Beef Soup

With the winter Olympics in South Korea this year, my Olympics-watching menu has been non-stop Korean food. It's easy when I can just stop by my mom's for kimchi (ugh, I just want to rub it all over my face), marinaded bulgogi meat and yukgaejang.

Food for the Olympics- my mom’s spicy beef #yukgaejang. May not be the prettiest but I’m okay with #uglydelicious. 🍲

Yukgaejang is a spicy beef soup and this one is loaded with vegetables: Tuscan kale, leeks, scallions, bean sprouts, dikon radish, mushrooms. I wasn't sure about posting the picture because it's not the prettiest... But after watching chef David Chang cover some of the food in Korea for NBC and checking out his Instagram, I learned that he has a new Netflix show coming later this month: Ugly Delicious. My go-to cooking/travel program is always Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain (mostly because he's an excellent writer/narrator) but I think Ugly Delicious might be just as good.

Happy Valentine's Day. Not sure what's on the menu for tonight but it's all probably going to be heart-shaped. 

Tuesday

[knitting] Nilas #2

I did a a bunch of aran caps for Dollar's band for Christmas. The recipient of the top right hat said her friend loves this hat and wanted one exactly the same. EXACTLY the same. So I made another:

Another Nilas hat. First #ravellenicgames2018 project. #hathalfpipe #teamcatitude2018 #knitting

While this one isn't exactly the same (I think this one has a shorter brim and is a half-pattern longer), it's close enough. I did it over a couple days and it is my first Ravellenic Games project for the Hat Halfpipe event. Go Team Catitude!

In the meantime, I'm still working on Fox Paws.

Monday

[misc] Santana Monday

Brought Santana to the vet on Saturday morning for her annual exam, shots, blood work.

Santana at the vet

She handles it pretty well. We're bringing Penny down this coming Saturday, which is definitely a two person job. Penny does not travel well.

Had quite a productive weekend. Brought my quilt stuff up to Fairlee to be finished. Cooked some good foods. Watched a lot of Olympics. Did house chores. Started a hat for the Ravellenic Games.

Friday

[misc] TGIF

Cat grass brings all the cats to the kitchen:

Cat grass brings everyone to the kitchen 🌱🌱🌱🐯🐱🌱🌱🌱

So happy it's Friday! (This week has been brutal.) Dropping my quilt off after work! Heading home to watch the Olympics! Going to cuddle with the cats and couch surf! 

Thursday

[quilting] Country Charm - with border

And just like that, a brown border is sewn on and it's ready to bring to the quilting shop (I might take a spin up there to drop it off tomorrow after work!):

Brown border. Ready to be quilted. #quilting

Going to start some basic blocks for the next quilt- half square triangles and flying geese. 

I've started queuing/printing my knitting and crochet project patterns for the Olympics. Trying to finished up the Totally Biased cowl that I've been knitting with sock yarn by tomorrow night (before the opening ceremonies). 

Is it Friday yet? 

Tuesday

[cooking] Oatmeal Cranberry Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Had a case of the Mondays yesterday and the only cure was cookies:

I’ve got a case of the Mondays and the only cure is cookies. Oatmeal cranberry coconut chocolate chip.

The recipe is the basic Oatmeal Raisin cookies from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion cookbook, I just didn't have raisins. I used some dried cranberries and the last of a bag of shaved coconut (unsweetened) and mini chocolate chips. It makes a lot of dough and I usually bake a dozen as soon as I make it- then I keep the rest in the freezer. Then I can just defrost as needed.

Monday

[quilting] Country Charm

The quilt top is done and I'm calling it "Country Charm":

Quilt top is done. Still need to get fabric for border, backing and binding. #quilting

Well, almost done. I'll be taking it down to Hen House Fabrics in White River Junction tomorrow to get some binding and backing fabric. And I think I need to get some border fabric. 

It's crazy to think that this is how I first laid out all the charm squares in late December:

Going to try making a new quilt top with misc charm squares while on vacation this week. I placed all the squares and stopped fiddling with them so the hard part is over.

Lots of sewing and cutting and resewing. And I only have two little blue cornerstones leftover from the 4 charm packs I used to make this quilt. I forgot to measure the top but it's probably twin-sized at the moment.

All those small 3.5 inch squares from my sister that I've been using as leaders/enders have been paired up and sewn:

Sewed all the random squares into pairs. Now to sew the pairs into tetrads. #quilting

I'll sew about 60% of these into 4-squares. Once those are done, I'll add another strip of two- making 6-squares. Then I'll cut and sew muslin rectangles along the long edge. Once all those squares are done, I can arrange them to look like this.

Thursday

[knitting] Fox Paws progress

Progress is slow on Fox Paws:

🐾 #knitting #foxpaws


It's a difficult knit but when it looks that nice, it keeps pulling you back. The colors remind me of Greece. ... Okay, I've never been to Greece. I should say that the colors remind me of pictures of Greece.

I am periodically sewing in ends- just so I don't have 5000 ends to sew when the project is finished. 

The Ravelympics... wait, Ravellenic games begin during the Olympics opening ceremony. I've got a little over a week to figure out what I'll be working on...


Wednesday

[quilting] Country Quilt Progress

The 9-patch squares that I made with 5" charm squares were feeling a little boring to me. I wanted it a bit more "mixed-up". I found a variation in a disappearing 9-patch that I thought would work with my squares:

Nine-patch squares

Cut away strips from the outside:

Nine-patch squares - cut up

And switch them up randomly:

Nine-patch squares- mixed up.

One thing I had to do before cutting the original 9-patches up is trim away the excess thread from the first round of sewing:

A lot of wasted thread after trimming ends from the nine squares. Going to try using leaders and enders to sew scraps between regular sewing.

That's a lot of wasted thread! I joined the quilting group on Ravelry and someone mentioned leaders and enders. It was a revelation- sew scraps between the pieces you're working on and you inadvertently ending up making another quilt at the same time!

My sister was destashing some fabric and gave me a ton of pre-cut squares.

Misc squares to randomly pair off... all precut and given to me by my sister. Just had to press them a bit. ❤️💛💚💙💜 These will be my leaders/Enders while sewing. #quilting #charmquilt

I simply had to press them a bit and randomly match up pairs. I've been using these as leaders/enders while I resew the 9-patches. I've done SO many so far.

Anyway, after much cutting and sewing and pressing and trimming, all the new blocks are squared-up:

All my squares mixed up and squared up. Time to cut sashing and cornerstones. #quilting

I even cut the sashing and cornerstones:

These blue cornerstones are the last squares from the charm packs. Using it all up!

The top is getting closer and closer to being finished. Then I'll drop it off at Barnyard Quilting to be professionally finished.

I'm already planning the next quilt...

Tuesday

[misc] MF and Santana Tuesday

Murderface, asleep in the sun on the craft room couch (I love it when he keeps me company in the craft room):

Nice day for a nap in the sun. 💤

Santana, last night, eager for treats:

Santana 🍌

Thursday

[knitting] Totally Biased

I need something simple to work on when I can't invest 2 - 3 uninterrupted hours into a Fox Paws pattern repeat. I went back to an infinity scarf I've done several times in the past: Totally Biased:

Quick infinity scarf; mystery mohair knit on a bias with periodic garter ridges. Pattern is free on #ravelry and called #totallybiased.


This is with two balls of mystery mohair/acrylic from the stash. I love the neutral colors and it's nice and fluffy. This pattern works with any yarn weight- looks nice with handspun or sock yarn. Speaking of sock yarn...

Working on another Totally Biased cowl with striping sock yarn... for when I don’t have time to invest in a Fox Paws repeat. #knitting

I started another. I'm totally biased toward this pattern- it's an easy filler project. I just need to make sure I'm not grabbing this project to work on when I should be putting time into Fox Paws.

Wednesday

[knitting] Fox Paws

My airplane knitting for my Nevada trip was Fox Paws. I don't know what possessed me to purchase the pattern but I decided it was the right time for something very colorful and complicated. This is the swatch:

I’m going to give Fox Paws a try. 🐾 This is just the swatch to make sure I understand the stitches. #knitting #foxpaws

Misc colors using leftover bits of sock yarn. This literally took up all my flying time and it's just a swatch to understand the pattern and stitches and how things stack up. It's lovely- and I'm positive you could use any combination of colors and it will always look nice because of the stitches and the way the color order rotates.

Here's my for-reals project:

#foxpaws #knitting

Blues and browns. I have a sack of Knit Picks Palette in various colors and finally settled on blues and browns. I think I ordered these waaaaay back was Knit Picks was a new company and Palette was less than $2 per ball. Which brings the total cost of supplies for this project to around $10. This is going to be an amazing project for $10.

It is in my Top 5 most difficult projects ever. The increase rows can be a bear (one row in particular- if you've done this pattern, you know the one I'm talking about) and it's rather difficult to move stitches around. I have no problem when the knit-5-togethers roll around; it's actually a relief to do those decreases. It's increasing one stitch into eleven stitches that's a pain in the butt. And they group together (with one plain stitch in between) so you end up with 35 stitches out of a group of 5. That's bananas, yo.

Monday

[cooking] Challah

This month's King Arthur Flour bakealong recipe is challah. I've never made a braided bread before but it turned out great!

Challah

It does take a while- each rise was about 2 hours for me- bit it was worth it. 

After the initial 6-strand braid (thank goodness they linked to a video of someone doing this, so I could follow along):

Challah

After the 2nd rise and brushed with egg wash:

Challah

Baked:

Challah - baked

Lovely and tasty. Definitely a weekend project, since it takes so long. I've heard good things about turning leftover slices into french toast. Next time- this disappeared before I had to start looking for ways to use it up.

Friday

[travel] Boulder City, Nevada

I was away last week for work- our annual meeting. I stayed at a very nice resort in Lake Las Vegas and my room had a great view:

Sunrise view from hotel balcony

There was a lot of commuting back and forth between Henderson and Boulder City. I did get to see Hoover Dam on the first day:

Back side of Hoover Dam.

And visited an amazing quilting store:

Visited an amazing quilting shop... ❤️💛💚💙💜

Unfortunately, I got very sick. Very, very, should-I-go-to-the-hospital?-sick. I don't know if it was the flu (I had body aches and chills/fever- I felt like I fell down a flight of stairs) or food poisoning, but I was not well for days. I drank water/Gatorade non-stop to hydrate but I didn't really feel better until the night before I returned home.  

I did go into Las Vegas to gamble on the last night with a friend from back home. I didn't do well but it was fun and I get to say I played poker at Caesar's Palace.

The last morning, I took a drive through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area during sunrise:

Sunrise along Lake Mead Parkway

Lake Mead.

I did bring home a few souvenirs. I stopped by an alpaca shop to see what they had... other than this army of alpacas...

Alpaca army...

There was some yarn here but it was overpriced and didn't feel great (totally felt acrylic- shame!). I did get an alpaca pillow cover for the cats to use as a mat at home:

Panda alpaca mat

It's SO cute and it's SO soft. I put it on one of the sofas and when the sun is shining on it, I'm seriously jealous of whatever cat is napping on it.

It was a good trip. Not great. I really had no remarkable meals while I was there (wasn't up for any booze or weird food). I'm glad I got to do some sight-seeing on the first day before I got sick. But I would definitely go back. 

Thursday

[quilting] Country 9 Patch Quilt

On to another quilt. I had some charm packs of 5-inch county(ish) floral squares. The last quilt top I made was a bunch of simple 4-squares. This time I'm doing 9 patch squares. I cut some plain white 5-inch squares from a bolt of muslin that I have for the center of all the squares. I laid out a design plan:

Going to try making a new quilt top with misc charm squares while on vacation this week. I placed all the squares and stopped fiddling with them so the hard part is over.

Then I picked everything up and stacked them in sewing order (Santana was running across the squares on floor and kicking them all out of place). First the dark blues:

Four 9-squares done. Sixteen more to go... #quilting


Then lighter blues:

Four more squares... #quilting


Then the reds:

Four more squares... onto the reds. #quilting


And pinks (you can't mess them up after they've been sewn together, Santana):

Pink squares done. Just have another four to do and then time to think about putting them all together with borders. #quilting


I still have the last row of light browns to sew. I will cut and add some simple white borders around everything- hopefully the quilt will end up large enough that I only need to get some backing and binding fabric. I might mix up the 9-squares for the final design- rather than doing bands of color. We'll see how it goes.