WIPWed #124: Actual Knitting Content

As I mentioned in my come-back post last week, I’ve finally managed to work on some knitting while juggling my 5-month-old. By the by, props to the people who teach themselves to knit while they’re pregnant or after the baby arrives, I don’t know where they get the energy for that. I’m a seasoned knitter and when I was pregnant, all I wanted to do was sleep. And now that the Hatchling is here… sleep is still a hot commodity. However, he’s starting to settle into a routine and I’ve finally weaned off pumping in the evenings which means I get occasional hands-free time to dally with yarn again. Yay!

Green Gathered

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Cephalopod Yarns Traveler, colorway Wolcott . Click for project page.

This photo is something of a lie as this hat is done and has been worn already, but I haven’t had a chance to take good finished photos yet so I’m still calling it a WIP. 🙂 The pattern is Gather by tincanknits and I loved it. The stitch pattern is easy-peasy but fun to work. I knit the toddler size for my kiddo because he has a big head and it fits perfectly with some stretch for future growth.

Wine Toast:

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Verdant Gryphon Zaftig, colorways Kiss of Cabernet and Russian Something-or-Other. Click for project page.

Speaking of easy-peasy, this project couldn’t be simpler. I’m knitting the Toast armwarmers by Leslie Friend, which are basically just plain stockinette tubes knit in the round. I often wear 3/4 length sleeve sweaters to work and my arms get cold, plus I’m always warmer with my wrists covered, so these will be a big luxurious (worsted weight Merino-cashmere-nylon yarn, yum!) treat for me. I’m making them a bit longer so they go all the way to my elbow, wider to accommodate my larger forearms, and adding a thumbhole (but no actual thumb) so they can also serve as fingerless mitts when needed.

Hatchling’s Sky Blanket:

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O-Wool O-Wash Fingering in various colors. Click for project page.

I’ve been making very slow progress on my Sky Blanket (<– scroll to the bottom of that post to read the history of this particular project). In summary, I’m knitting 360 square that represent the sky each day (minus 5)  in the first year of the Hatchling’s life. That strip represents the first couple of weeks in July. HAHAHAHA I’m soooooo behind. The worst part is, I stopped recording the weather during the first couple of weeks in November, at least before that point I’d had everything written down. So now I’m going to have to get creative with the almanac or something to figure out what to knit for the missing dates. I WILL COMPLETE THIS BLANKET.

Is there a particular project you’ve been dragging your feet about? Holiday knitting, perhaps? Speaking of, check out the Knitter’s Gift Guide on the KnittedBliss blog. It’s a great collection of gift ideas, including a little shout out to my Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe sheep-shaped soaps in the stocking stuffer section (sooooo many S’s in that sentence)!

 

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Out Like A Lion

I know that title is butchering the ‘In like a lion, out like a lamb’ phrase regarding March (which feels quite far away), but I think it’s fair to say that 2015 is going out like a lion. We’re having a whirlwind end of the year over here, featuring a rollercoaster of emotions and events.

The biggest news is that the Fiasco and I are expecting a little one at the end of June. We have named him/her the Hatchling. And while he/she is doing well, he/she has caused nothing but trouble for me thus far. It turns out, I don’t like pregnancy very much, and it doesn’t like me right back. I’ve just discovered that I am now in a high risk category due to a blood clot in my leg (a.k.a. deep vein thrombosis). I have to inject myself with blood thinners twice a day for the next six months, and likely after the birth as well. This, friends, is a very unpleasant side effect of pregnancy that I had no idea was a thing that could happen. Also, fatigue. I have thallasemia minor, which is a genetic trait that makes me bad at producing hemoglobin and thus permanently anemic (for which iron does nothing to help) so I’m extra super tired all the time because pregnancy ALSO makes you anemic and fatigued. And then there was the nausea for a while (thank goodness that’s mostly gone) and the general feeling like I don’t know what the hell is happening in my own body anymore.

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If you have to go to the ER, you might as well be wearing great socks.

Sorry to rant a bit, but all of that has been occupying a lot of my attention lately and has greatly reduced my available time and energy for knitting, spinning, and Sweet Sheep-ing. I also think it’s important to provide some Real Talk about pregnancy. Sometimes, pregnant women are painted as these beautiful, fecund goddesses of patience and serenity, when really… it’s hard and can be dangerous. And I think that’s good to acknowledge. Also, as a PSA for deep vein thrombosis, if you feel a strange persistent pain in your calf or thigh that seems like the worst part of a charlie horse cramp but doesn’t go away or feel better when you stretch, get checked out. My first cramp lasted 5 days but my doctor just said to drink more water. Then two weeks later I had a similar pain in my thigh, as well as swelling around my knee, and TA DA! Blood clots can break into pieces that travel to your heart/lungs and become pulmonary embolisms, so it’s important to get treated ASAP.

All that said, we are very excited, and I’m looking forward to knitting some adorable baby things in the near future. Here’s proof of how cute our Hatchling will be someday:

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Proof of tiny human, waving hello.

That was taken a couple of weeks ago, so the little tyke has likely doubled in size by now. And proof that I haven’t totally forgotten how to knit:

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BMFA Tigger Targhee in Gnome for the Holidays.

These are the beginnings of Katniss socks using the brand new Tigger Targhee from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I like it a lot, and will write more about it soon.

Later on I’ll take a hard look about what I made in 2015, but right now, I’d like to look forward. I typically choose a couple of words to represent my goals and intentions for the new year and this year, I think my words will have to be PATIENCE and ACCEPTANCE. In the year that I become a parent, I think they will be really, really important. Being patient with myself, slowing down as needed, patiently awaiting the big events to come. Accepting my limitations, doing just what I can, accepting the challenges thrown in my path with some amount of grace, these are my hopes for 2016. How about you?

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From a recent hike that I took, with a freaking blood clot in my leg. Glad I’m not dead!

Happy new year, folks. See you on the other side.

Merry & Bright

I hope those of you who celebrate it have had a Merry Christmas and a happy Boxing Day! I am back from my holiday travels and am very happy to be home. My trip involved drinks and debauchery with some very lovely friends in Brooklyn, a visit to a yarn store (of course), copious amounts of cookie decorating with my nephews, and plenty of gift-giving and receiving. It always feels like it goes by in a blink and all you’re left with is an aftermath of boxes to unpack and things to put away, doesn’t it?

I received some lovely knitting and spinning books, skeins of yarn, and piles of fiber so I’m pretty sure my hobbies are all set for a while! I found the Peace Fleece yarn at a yarn store in Brooklyn, it’s a nice sheep-y yarn with gorgeous tweed flecks in the blue. The giant balls of undyed Romney (29 oz combined!) were a gift from the Fiasco’s uncle that he purchased at a local farm. I love that he goes there every year to buy me roving, although I need to find a way to let him know that 29 oz is quite a lot of wool to work through, before my fiber stash takes over! Then Santa brought me the remaining goodies: a braid of Falkland wool from Three Waters Farm, 3 skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Twisted which will be perfect for a sweater, and some very cool Opposites Attract sock yarn that was dyed to make two coordinating-but-not-matching socks.

Adding all of the above to my stash has reminded me how few of the skeins that I received last year have been knit up. (Hint: zero.) I’ve nearly finished spinning the braid of fiber I received, I’m working up the gradients into a shawl, and I’ve wound up the Yaksi… but yeah. I need to get moving. My goal for the weekend is to start some socks with my new sock yarn AND finally begin a shawl with my delightful Yaksi yarn (which they don’t even offer anymore in DK weight, only fingering).

Speaking of socks, check these beauties out:

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Gorgeous socks NOT knit by me!

Megan (a.k.a. wahoo10 on Ravelry) knits so many socks that she just can’t make use of them all, so she sells some of them for a very reasonable price. Even though I have a million pairs of socks in progress, I’ve had a really hard time finishing any lately and all the ones I own have blown holes. So, even though it felt a little like cheating, I purchased the Waffle Creams knit with Eidos yarn (left) and the Marlene socks knit with Sundara sock yarn (right) and I do not regret it one little bit. The socks are gorgeous, fit well, and are made from patterns that I like the look of but would probably never finish knitting (so many twisted stitches!), so cheating be damned–I’m glad to have them!

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Alchemy socks for the Fiasco.

Lest my dear Fiasco think he’s forgotten, I also plan to put some serious work this weekend into the socks show above. They were intended to be a Christmas gift, I even started them way back in October, but, alas, is is difficult to find time for sneaky sock knitting in my busy schedule. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, I hope to finish these sooner than later. The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Heavyweight in Tea & Alchemy and the pattern is out of my head. I hope to write it up at some point, also sooner than later.

For those of you still merry-making, enjoy it! There is knitting and a movie with my name on it while the Fiasco geeks it up on a new computer game. #home

 

 

Better Late Than Never

While we’re cutting it a little close for Christmas, I did finally get the last of my holiday lotion bar scents up in the shop!

Ribbon Candy is a delightfully sweet, berry-kissed scent that is both festive and delicious. It is included in the Season’s Treats sample-sized gift set (along with Peppermint Cocoa and Gingersnap). I’ve also created a Winter Wonderland gift set that contains Fresh Snow, the now-well-known-Jingleberry, and Winter Gardenia. There’s still time to ship before the holidays if you place your order soon! (Last day to order is Dec. 19th.)

The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed that the Yarn Harlot suggested my bars as part of her most excellent Gifts for Knitters series! She in fact said that they “look fabulous”… which basically made my day/year/life. 😀 Woohoo for Sweet Sheep!

Packing a bulk order.

I spent much of the weekend busily re-stocking the shop and filling bulk orders. My house smelled… intense. Crisp Pear, Apple Butter, Sandalwood Vanilla, Cinnamon Chai, and Black Tea don’t mix quite as well as one would think, when they linger in the air. In fact, all the combined scents gave me a massive headache for most of Sunday, so I took it pretty easy after that. I could hardly even knit!

Coutness Ablaze BFL/silk/firestar in Petrol.

So I spun a bit here and there instead. I even made time on Saturday to head out to the Rhode Island Spinner’s Guild monthly meeting. I haven’t been to a meeting in so long, but every time I actually get myself over there I’m always so glad I went. I don’t think there’s a lovelier, friendlier group of spinners around. Everyone is so welcoming and willing to share their knowledge, their fiber tools, and their skills. It’s wonderful. I highly recommend joining a group if you haven’t yet. It’s well worth making time for, even in the middle of this busy season.

Are you part of a guild or knitting/spinning group? If not, what’s holding you back?

IS #83: Bulky Cowls

‘Tis the season… for bulky handknits! Not only are they on trend at the moment, but they’re also a knitter’s best friend when it’s 12 days ’til Christmas and gifts still need to be made. Not that I’m in that situation, because I said I wasn’t going to knit any gifts this year…

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Malabrigo Mecha, colorway Whales Road

Except for one (there’s always one). There’s a young lady on my gift list who wants accessories for Christmas and no store-bought, machine-made cowl is going to befoul her pretty little neck while she’s related to me. So a bulky cowl in the yarn pictured above, it will be. But which pattern?

Casu Cowl:

Photo copyright Galia Lael. Click for pattern page.

I’ve had my eye on this lace-and-texture cowl for quite some time. It’s a free pattern that is written for worsted weight yarn but is easy to scale up. Knitted end-to-end (like a scarf) and then grafted together, you can make it pretty much any size you need.

State Street Cowl:

Photo copyright Carrie Bostick Hoge. Click for pattern page.

I’m such a sucker for lace-writ-large, and this cowl does not disappoint. The stitch pattern looks a lot like the one used on the ever-popular Monkey Socks and the size and shape make it seem so cozy.

Drop Stitch Cowl:

Photo copyright Abi Gregorio. Click for pattern page.

I’ve seen this cowl turn up quite a bit on blogs and project pages. I’m pretty sure it couldn’t be simpler, and would look best in super bulky yarn (as shown) vs. my tiny-in-comparison regular bulky yarn. I would especially love this drop stitch pattern knit in colorful yarn.

Shawl Collared Cowl:

Photo copyright nevernotknitting. Click for pattern page.

This cowl is just hands-down, super classy. The thing I hate about some short cowls is that they’re never QUITE close enough to the neck! They tend to just hang there like pretty knitted jewelry, too short to wrap twice around for snugness but long enough that they let too much air in around the neck. The shawl collar here fixes that with double thick garter stitch coziness right where you need it! I probably won’t knit this for the pre-teen gift I’m planning right now but I’ve certainly talked myself into making one for me ASAP!

Voluminosa:

Photo copyright Katja Ottosson. Click for pattern page.

This cabled gorgeousness would be right up my stylish giftee’s alley. It’s lush and dramatic and a little bit sassy, plus it looks totally snuggle-able.

I’m not yet sure what I’ll end up knitting, I have been kicking a few ideas around for a design so I might end up going with one of those if I can get my swatches in order. Do you have a favorite quick gift pattern? Any great bulky cowls you’ve seen lately? Share with us in the comments below!

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WIPWed #76: Neutral

A terrible thing happens when your December is full of work/life deadlines: you kind of miss the whole thing. You get a little bit like “Huh? Christmas is coming? When is that happening again? Let me check my calender…” despite the many images of holiday cheer flooding all forms of media. You feel a bit like it’s not really happening. My favorite part of the holidays is the anticipation and the build-up beforehand, and because I basically plowed through November preparing for the GRE and am now barreling through December with grad school applications and work deadlines, I’m left blinking in confusion at how it could possibly be December 10th already.

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We did get the tree decorated, though, Limulus style.

I’ve been living so far in the future that I’m missing the present, and I’m trying to remedy that. I’m trying to remember that there’s always January for the resolutions and the plans and the goals, that December can be for going easy on things and taking care of deadlines one step at a time. I’m trying to remember that spending an evening shopping for gifts and baking treats is not a waste of time that I should be spending more productively. That relaxing, itself, can be a worthwhile use of time. (The Fiasco will likely laugh his ass off when he reads that line…)

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Falkland on my new Lendrum. Click for handspun page.

So I’ve been taking a few minutes a day to spin on my new wheel. Nothing ambitious, no grand plan, just working my way through the 17 oz of Falkland wool I got from Webs and loving the thin, even single I’m spinning with hardly any effort. That’s my second bobbin, I’ve spun up about 5 oz already. Sherrill from The 1764 Shepherdess (Baabonnybelle on Instagram) is proposing a #spin15in15 hashtag to spin for 15 minutes a day starting in January. I intend to use it.

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New design in the works. Click for project page.

Even my knitting has been uncharacteristically neutral. This cowl is a delightfully soothing knit in a squishy, fluffy farm yarn from Foxfire Fiber. It’s intended as a Christmas gift (I know, I couldn’t resist) and it’s also the first new design that I’ve worked on in a long time. It’s been nice to play with stitches again. (If you’re interested in testing this cowl, please email me at alicia at woolendiversions dot com. You’ll need less than 200 yards of a fluffy DK or worsted weight yarn. Something like Malabrigo worsted, Brooklyn Tweed Loft, or a woolen-spun handspun skein would work nicely.)

So here’s to slowing down, tackling the to-do list one thing at a time, and letting my dreams of exciting and colorful future projects and endeavors wait until January, because I’m determined to pay attention to December before it’s gone. What are you working on this week?

(P.S. There’s just one more day to vote for your favorite name for my new holiday lotion bar scent! Check it out here. It’s a close race between Home for the Holidays and Jingleberry!)

Name This Scent! Vote

Thanks to everyone who chimed in with name ideas for this lovely, sweet, spruce-y, holiday lotion bar scent:

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We had some really, really great ones! The random number generator chose comment number 2, so congrats nerdinthebrain! Once this fragrance has a name, I’ll stick a label on a bar and send it your way. Now, I narrowed down the names to TEN choices based on logistics (had to fit on the label!) and some subjective opinion. 🙂 Please vote for the one you like best, and tell your friends! Whomever supplied the winning name in the first place, will receive a lotion bar and lip balm of their choice. Voting will close this Thursday, and winner will be announced Friday.

Which name do you think best fits the holiday scent depicted in the photo above?

I’m excited to see which name wins, and thanks to everyone who made suggestions, it was tough to narrow it down!

In related news, I’ve added some of the new winter scents up on Sweet Sheep! Hover over the photos below to see their names.

New scents means some of last season’s are now on sale for 20% off. And while we’re at it, I should let you know that the last day to place ready-made orders before Christmas is Friday, Dec. 19th, I’ll be traveling on the 20th and will ship before I leave. The last day to order custom items (like our custom gift sets!) will be Friday, Dec. 12th. Shipping will be delayed starting Dec. 20th and will resume again on Dec. 29th.

Well, all of that pretty much took up my entire weekend. How was yours?

WIPWed #43: Still Working On Gifts

Not to be a whiner or anything, but the urge for selfish knitting is getting pretty strong and I’m still working on holiday-leftover-knits-for-other-people. I don’t handle project monogamy well but I’m trying my darnedest to finish things up ASAP because the recipients are wonderful and knitworthy… I just might get a little twitchy in the process.

Awareness:

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Malabrigo Twist, colorway Damask Rose. Also, meet Glenda, my new hat model! Click for project page.

First up is actually a FO, my mom’s second of three planned chemo caps. (You can find the first in this post.) This simple pattern of reverse stockinette ridges takes on a very feminine look when you wrap the yarn around a few times and gather the ridges up into a turban-esque shape. I think it would be flattering for many different faces. The pattern is the Purl Knit Turban by Sarah Dudek and it is super yummy knit in the Malabrigo Twist.

Novelty:

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Feza Yarns Alp Light. Click for project page.

This yarn is the weirdest stuff I’ve ever worked with. It’s composed of different novelty yarns cut up and knotted together so it forms thick blocks of different colors and textures as you knit. My mom absolutely fell in love with the store sample and this is for her but damn am I looking forward to the end of that freaky ball of yarn. (And not looking forward to trying to block the thing.)

Fiasco’s Mitts:

Feederbrook Farm Alpaca/Shetland. Click for project page.

Poor, poor Fiasco. He always gets knit-shafted. Here is part of his belated xmas present: a pair of mitts made with some delightfully sheep-y wool I picked up at Rhinebeck 2012. Luckily, these mitts knit up fairly quickly so once the Endless Brown Scarf is over he should have these mitts in hand (teehee) lickity-split.

Loop! Bumps 2-ply:

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Loop! bullseye bumps in Elf and Kermit Coordinate. Click for handspun project page.

Have you ever spun a Loop! bullseye bump? Spinners on Ravelry raved and raved about them and I just had to try them. They are composed of fiber that has been blended really well, layered in color progressions, and wound so the fiber comes out of the center of the bump in on long, continuous strand. Unlike regular drum-carded batts that are great for woolen spinning, bullseye bumps are made for worsted spinning because they are so smoothly prepared and the fibers are well-aligned. I purchased the Elf bump (on the left) myself, which has a wonderful long color progression from deep teal through olive greens and spring greens to a bright aqua that ends in grey. Then I received the Kermit Coordinate bump as a gift, which transitions through similar color families in much shorter repeats. It’ll be really cool to see what happens when I spin each bump separately and ply the two together. The effect should be something along the same lines as fractal spinning.

One of my goals for the year that I didn’t mention before is to spin a little bit every day. I really enjoyed spinning like crazy for Spinzilla and if I can squeeze in just a minute here or there, I know my handspun output will increase dramatically. Plus, it feels good to ‘zen’ out a little every day. I’m going to post photos of my spinning on my Instagram with the hashtag #dailyspin, if you’d like to join in or follow along.

What are you working on this week? Am I the only one still scrambling to finish up late gifts? Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis and some spinning show & tell at Crafts from the Cwtch.

Handmade Holidays

Oh boy, could I use a break from holiday goings-on. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with different people every day but right around now I usually want nothing more than just to settle back into routine, nest a little, have some alone time. I like to prepare for the new year with a clean house, an organized life, and a list of goals for the upcoming year and I just haven’t had a chance to do any of that yet! (I’m insanely jealous of those who have off from work for the whole holiday period, I am not one of the lucky ones.) I can’t complain, though, as I was thoroughly spoiled in many fiber-y ways this Christmas.

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Yes, that is a veritable boat-load of yarn.

These are nearly all of my stash enhancements (not pictured is 15 oz of Romney wool roving). Clockwise from top left: unknown wool from a farm in New Hampshire, Cephalopod Yarns Traveller in Kalamazoo and Peaks of Otter, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Joy to the World, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Yaksi (a new yarn!) in Shoqua, Loop! Bullseye Bump in Kermit Coordinate, Black Trillium Pebble Sock Gradient Kit in Pease, Freia Yarns Ombre Worsted in Blue Velvet, and Countess Ablaze BFL/silk fiber in Petrol. I also received the light box that they’re pictured in, so the lighting in my blog photos should be much improved now! Oh, and my dear Fiasco totally surprised me with stitch markers he made, as well.

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Aren’t they pretty? Totally spoiled.

In addition to receiving many fiber-y gifts, all of the handknit gifts I gave were a big success. I finished most gifts just in time for them to be received. My cousin’s socks were given with needles still in the toe (my uncle got a kick out of that) and two project plans were scrapped entirely and replaced with purchased gifts (rainbow handwarmers and a not-even-started hat). Would you believe that after all that rushing around to finish, I actually forgot to bring NOT ONE, but TWO of the gifts with me? I forgot the vest for little Logan and the hat for my future father-in-law. No worries, though, the vest was mailed off and the hat is now accompanied by a matching cowl (photos soon), so I think I made up for it. The only people who got a little shafted with unfinished handknits this Christmas were the Fiasco (of course) and my mom, who really didn’t get that shafted since the Fiasco made her a beautiful quilt.

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Some knits in action!

I love love love knitting for my little cousins because as soon as they open their gifts, they put them right on and wear them for the rest of the night. Pictured here are the stripey socks on Megan, a hat for Austin, and some cuffs on Olivia. The baby in the bottom right is Lyra, my friends’ little girl. Her gifts haven’t been on the blog yet, I made her a Little Flower Hat by Ewelina Murich and finagled some toddler-sized mittens to coordinate.

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Handmade solid lotion bars.

I also made some lotion bars to give out with gifts. These consist of equal parts beeswax, coconut oil, and cocoa butter with some fragrance oil added. Since I’ve made these bars, I’ve acquired deoderized cocoa butter, mango butter, sweet almond oil, additional fragrances, and lanolin. I see lots of lotion experimenting in my future and when I find a recipe I really, really love, I’m planning to sell them in an etsy shop. All told (counting the lotion bars as one), I finished 16 projects for holiday gifts this year. Not too shabby!

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The Fiasco and our nephew Logan, me with my wonderful mom, and me with my nephews Liam and Logan and my sister-in-law Alyse.

I hope all of your holidays went well and that you are making the most of the end of 2013. Did you give or receive any handmade or fiber-y gifts this year?

IS #53: The Fiasco Speaks

Hi, all!  This is the ever-mentioned-but-never-featured Fiasco blogging today.  I decided to hijack the Internet to talk about my own creative endeavors. You might remember a post from last January about a quilt I made for Alicia’s birthday.  This year, I made a quilt for my soon-to-be-mother-in-law.  While most guys tend to have a problem with their in-laws, I lucked out.  My mother-in-law is a super awesome lady!  I mean, I should have known since she is responsible for making Alicia.  But this lady has welcomed me as a family member since day one and I wanted to show her my appreciation, so I created a quilt of my own design for her this Christmas.

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Note the slightly weepy expression when she opened it!

For my quilts, I take my time and find inspiration in the world around me.  For Alicia’s quilt, that inspiration came from the trails that we like to hike on.  For her mother’s quilt, my inspiration came from a painting my father-in-law was working on.  He was painting a lighthouse.  It captured perfectly the water they love, the vastness and mystery of both the ocean and the sky, and the hope and promise of the light from the tower.  It was exactly what I wanted the quilt to be.  Once I had a design on graph paper I moved to fabric selections.

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Ta-da!

The Sky: I like the slightly shimmery effect that the starry print gives the quilt.  This one in particular was a lighter shade of blue and since I knew that I wanted to put a full moon in the background, that would mean a brighter sky.  I also didn’t want something that would make her bedroom look dark and dreary.  When I put the moon on I originally wanted to use something very similar to the light from the lighthouse but Alicia talked me into using a fabric I had selected to make clouds with.  She was of course right.  The grey and white pattern was perfect.  The swirly quilting patterns I used were inspired by the swirls in the fabric and they remind me of Da Vinci’s Starry Night.

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Hand-quilted swirls!

The Grass: When portraying vegetative terrain in a quilt I’m often conflicted by the use of prints.  I HATE using floral prints in my quilts.  Unfortunately, when I look for prints that could represent plant growth, all I see are floral patterns or paisleys.  I like this marbled green as it is not too leafy but still believable as grass.  The knots that I chose to quilt with left long tails scattered in indeterminate places, which helps that illusion.

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Grassy knots and watery waves.

The Water: Initially, I wanted to do much smaller waves.  I was hoping for 2” tall with a 2” space between each row of waves.  I’m relieved that I followed Alicia’s suggestion to go larger.  Doing 5” waves with a 4” space between them meant a lot less sewing and a bolder image, as well.  I had also selected a third fabric to use for one wave set but it added too much variety.  The light and dark fabrics were perfect for the effect I wanted.

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The tower.

The Tower: With the lighthouse tower being the focal point of the quilt, I wanted to pull out all the stops.  I used a thicker fabric with a slightly rougher texture to give the appearance of being stone.  I also stuffed the tower with a layer of all-natural cotton batting left over from Alicia’s quilt.  This gave it relief when I stitched the bricks into it.  The light coming from the top was just the frosting on the cake.  I wanted a fabric that stood out from the quilt in color, luster, and texture.  The silky, shiny, golden yellow fabric that I chose does that well.

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The backing and the quilting.

The Backing: The backing was a fortunate accident.  I was going to use a much duller, olive green flannel that I already had when I found out I was just a few inches short of what I needed.  On the same day, I went to Jo-Anns and found that they had all of their flannels half off.  This particular one matches the walls of my mother-in-law’s room almost perfectly and it’s softer and thicker than the one I already had. Before this quilt, I had never done any quilting by hand.  The closest I’ve come before was knotting a quilt and I don’t think that counts. (There is no greater shortcut in the world of quilting than tying knots.) I decided that I wanted to give hand-quilting a try and I’m glad I did.  I used a fingering weight yarn to do the stitching and it gave the whole quilt a very nice “handmade” look.  It copied all the features to the back, just like a machine-sewn quilt but without any pins or puckers.

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One final pic for good measure.

Thanks for letting me rant about my project.  This is longer than I expected but I don’t write blog posts very often.  I appreciate you hanging in with me and I’ll let you know the next time I get hit with inspiration. If you’ve been inspired by something this week, leave a comment and let us know!

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