So my internet was supposed to be installed in the new place this past Monday, but a Verizon + Ivete screwup meant it didn't happen, and now I have to wait until Tuesday next week for internet. It's driving me nutty! It's amazing how much stuff requires an internet connection nowadays.
The one thing that does NOT require internet is knitting and sewing, so I've been doing a lot of that in my at-home time the last week. I can't show you the knitting as it's for a magazine (I got a pattern accepted into a big magazine! Woohoo!!), but I can tell you it's colorwork and it's in Koigu. In other words: it's awesome! It'll be out this winter and you can be sure I'll tell you all about it when it comes out!
In sewing news, I've been busy busy busy! I'm working on curtains for my new room, and this is the first one, almost finished except for the lining (excuse the awful iPhone photos):
They definitely aren't perfect and some of them are even ugly (in my opinion), but I learned a lot! The best part was learning about a new gadget, the Angler 2, which totally blew my mind. I'll definitely be doing a tutorial on how to use it in the near future, it's just amazing!
One of the above blocks has already been turned into a crate mat for Arnold! If you're interested in keeping up with my sewing/quilting, I'm blogging about it over on the Rose Smoke site, as that's the brand I'll be using for my sewn stuff once I start publishing those patterns. Add it to your RSS reader for all my sewing deets!
And in other news, Dave sent me flowers at work for absolutely no reason at all:
They put a huge smile on my face! And made all my coworkers super jealous!
Hehhehe, maybe that was the reason huh?
PS -- I will definitely be doing the knitalong for the Loida shawl, but not until I'm caught up on some other things. Stay tuned here or sign up for my mailing list to be the first to know when it starts!
Time flies, as usual.
Before I forget, I did finish the crochet mini-pouch pattern and it's available as a free download to all my email subscribers. If you'd like to download it, go here and put your email in the form. You'll be emailed a confirmation email that you need to click on, then you'll be emailed the link to download the pattern.
In life news, I've got a new 3-day-a-week gig doing WordPress work and that's eating up tons of my time . . . as is commuting into the city from NJ 5 days a week. Why am I in NJ? Been staying with my parents for the last few weeks. Much-too-long-and-boring-story short, I'm moving back into the city on Friday this week, and I can't wait! This will be move #3 in just under 2 months and you know what? I'VE HAD IT with moving. I'm staying put in the new place for a least a year.
Speaking of the new place, it's pretty awesome. I'll be living with a roommate for the first time in literally years, so that'll be interesting and probably take a bit of getting used to, but the apartment itself is amazing: brand new everything (we're the first tenants to live there), in a great neighborhood right by the river, and there's an elevator! After spending the last year in a rundown 5th-floor walk-up studio, the new place sounds like a palace. I'm psyched!
And in sewing/quilting news, I've been sewing a bunch and even knitting a bit! I finished a bunch of stuff lately, including my first-ever garment, a Wiksten tank:
Also finished two quilts which are samples for my first-ever quilt pattern (you SO knew that was coming), which I'm naming Basketful. Here's a peek at the top of the throw-sized quilt:
I'm pretty damn proud of this thing, let me tell you!
Speaking of quilt patterns, I've set up a separate site to talk about quilting/sewing and to sell the quilting patterns. I'll be publishing those patterns under the name Rose Smoke and if you want to check out the (still mostly empty) new site, you can do so at rose-smoke.com
Phew! How was that for a catch-up update?
I'm hoping to get back on a maintainable schedule after this weekend. Fingers crossed!
I'm guessing many of you will be completely NOT surprised to hear that I've started experimenting with combining knitting and quilting. The seamed swatch above is my proof of concept that the idea is possible, and will work . . . oh the possibilities!
What I did was use fusible interfacing on a tightly-knit swatch of Madelinetosh Merino Light, and sewed it to a regular old scrap of plain quilting cotton, the same way I would piece two pieces of cotton together. And it worked perfectly! And doesn't look messy!
Want to see the wrong side? Of course you do. Here it is:
Pretty sweet huh?
I'm hanging this test up on the wall as motivation to get some other stuff finished and off my plate so that I can dive in and play with this new idea! Here's hoping I don't start 3 more projects until I finish some things . . .
You know me, I can never work on just one thing at a time . . . well for the last two weeks or so I've been hard at work coding up a brand new website from scratch and I'm super excited! The site is called Quiltfolio and it is a lot like Ravelry(tm), but for quilters.
As I have been learning more about quilting I've often wished there was a place like this for me to easily see what others have done with a pattern or technique, or to simply find other quilters . . . Flickr is helpful if you know of a group you can browse through, but that's about all I've found so far to fill this need. Since I didn't find such a place, I decided to make it myself!
If you'd like to be one of the first people to receive an invite when I'm ready for you, please head on over to the Quiltfolio site and sign up your email address for that mailing list. I'm aiming to launch by the end of May!
And if you'd like to keep up with what I'm doing over there, I've started a Quiltfolio blog to document the process of building the site as well as write about my quilts. I'll be covering the knitting here and the quilting there from now on! Oh and I also have a Quiltfolio Facebook page and Quiltfolio Twitter account if either of those is your preferred method of getting updates.
Oh and one more thing: if you're a Rails programmer or a web designer and you want to contribute to Quiltfolio, please email me! I could definitely use some help from other passionate quilters who're also computer nerds like me ;o)
I'd shown you a little sneak peek at the quilt that's currently on my design wall but didn't give you much information . . . well here's everything you ever wanted to know about this quilt, and more!
First off, the fabric: While the picture makes it look like the fabric is shot cotton (which seems to be all the rage today), the fabric is actually Moda's crossweaves, which we stock tons of colors of at the store (yes, I will now be saying "we" when referring to City Quilter, since as of Tuesday I work there part time now!). I think we have all of the colors but I'm not 100% sure. I fell in love with most of the color range a few weeks ago and brought home a quarter yard of each color to play around with, not knowing what I wanted to do with them.
I think this fabric would look beautiful in a simple strip quilt and that's what I was originally leaning towards, but I still had half square triangles on the brain so I ended up going for that instead. I cut all the colors up and stacked them to see what I had to work with, here they are on my ironing board:
In order to break them up by how "dark" they are, I took this picture and changed it to black and white:
Which clearly revealed that I had three "darknesses" to work with: light (see the two lights?), dark (and the two darks?) and medium (all the rest). I stacked them up in groups and started pairing squares, making sure to pick from two different piles each time. As I paired them up, I also pinned them together, ending up with a stack like this:
(aside: this picture is the best in terms of color/saturation)
The next step was to draw a line down the center diagonal of each pair, which I did with just a regular colored pencil:
And then sew two seams, each 1/4" in from the drawn line. After that, I cut on the line to split each pair into a single half square triangle:
And then pressed the seams to one side:
This is the part of quilting that I find to be the most different from knitting: the assembly-line bulk processes! In knitting, it's rare for you to line up a bunch of something and then work one process on all of those somethings, then work another process on all of them. If you were knitting three sweaters I suppose you could do all the fronts, then all the backs, then all the sleeves, then all the seaming, but I just don't think anyone would want to work that way! It would be so boring and would feel like you weren't getting anything accomplished.
When quilting on the other hand, the batch-processing steps definitely save you time, and while it can get a little boring to press 80 identical seams in a row, it's usually over so quick that you don't have time to get too bored. All the steps I described up there? Took me only one evening!
There's actually one more step that I actually haven't done yet, which is squaring up each square so that its corners are perfect again. I skipped that step temporarily in order to get the blocks up on the design wall, which is the fun part!
This is the design I originally started with, which is sort of what I had been imagining all along:
I actually really love the way this looks even now, and I think I'm going to end up making a quilt like this one day soon. I love the non-pattern-ness of the arrangement, which is made up of such regular squares . . . I don't know, it just speaks to me. It looks vaguely Amish so sort of traditional, but also very modern at the same time.
Even though I quite like the above, for this quilt I wanted to do something a bit more graphic and unusual, so I started playing with putting all the "dark" colors together in a line to draw something. After some designs I ended up going with a zig zag, which is probably my favorite design motif so should come as no surprise. I first took all the squares that had dark brown in them and put them up in an asymmetrical design, and then I added the dark green as an echo:
I like how this creates a totally different look that's more bold and graphic, while still feeling a bit retro at the same time. I knew I was onto something when I did this and took a step back to inspect it from afar! I am planning on changing the upper right-hand corner slightly, as I think the zig zag is a bit too "perfect" right now and I want it to be more dynamic/off-center, but it won't be changing too too much from this. After I had the basic design up, I started adding the other squares in:
For the "background" squares I positioned them so that the dark half is away from the zig zag, and the direction of the squares align with the zig zags.
What do you think? I think I love it!
This quilt hasn't progressed any since the photos above because it got sidelined by my dad's quilt. Here is that one, getting its binding sewn on:
As you can see I ended up going for simple straight quilting instead of the circles I was planning . . . but more on that later, I need to go finish hand-sewing the binding to the back of the quilt!