Long time, no see

There’s not really much of a reason for not writing here for 6 months, except that it seems I’d rather read other people’s posts than create my own.  However, there has been no shortage of crafting going on! At the moment, I’m on a sock kick. Which basically means that I have begun collecting sock yarn…

I’ve only actually completed one pair, gifted to Grandma for her birthday-

Grandma's socks

with some lovely self-patterning yarn and very basic pattern.

I’m halfway through a pair for myself with fancy hand-dyed red Malabrigo.  They’re going to be knee socks and they’re taking forever, but one is complete and looks pretty fantastic.

Knee Sock

And look at that kitty!  She’s gotten so big, although she still seems small compared to most of the cats I’ve known. Her name is Leia, and she alternates between being adorably sweet and cuddly, and being a little terror.  Which is  as it should be.

The socks are Jane’s Hedgerow Socks, free pattern on Ravelry, and the stitch pattern is pretty easy to memorize and find your place in when you get distracted.  For making them knee sock length, I just kept knitting until they were the proper length.  I have skinny calves and the pattern is super stretchy, so it was not an issue.  Folks with leg muscles will want to consider calf-increases to get a proper fit.  I haven’t found sock making to be very complicated at all,  definitely easier than gloves so far.  The main issue for me has been the teeny-tiny yarn and needles, and the expense of the teeny tiny yarn.  And the fact that I love Smart Wool socks and they cost much less and will probably last much longer.

Sock In Progress

I doubt I’m going to be a super regular and disciplined poster, but I want to encourage myself to post even when I don’t have amazingly brilliant or well-planned things to say.  Maybe some photo posts, definitely planning to post some completed projects and awesome thrifted stuff from the past year.  And I just bought enough yarn for knitting my first sweater. Yikes! So hopefully this will encourage me to actually create a sweater this year, instead of simply collecting yarn.

Welcome!

Tuesday evening brought something new around the apartment…

Hello little one!

She’s a super tiny super cutie, just six weeks old.

I made her a cushion for a basket I had around from this fantastic Heather Ross fabric covered in puppies. I knew I got that for a reason!

We’re still working on names, although the boy wants to hold off until the vet confirms that she’s a she…

Food!

Last weekend was a food weekend, motivated by a couple factors.  I just finished “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”, by Barbara Kingsolver and family, and it was terrific.  I really think food is one of my favorite things in the world, and aside from all the inspiration to eat locally, it made me hungry!  This week has been tech for the show I’m working on, so I also had the burst of energy I get right before I’m about to have a super busy week.  So I did some fun cooking!

It helps that the Union Square Farmers’ market is one stop from the theater, so I stopped by the market last Friday and got some tasty veggies, resulting in this pizza:

Eggplant, grape tomatoes, and a big yellow heirloom tomato.  Yum! As I was on my way to work, I didn’t get any fancy cheese, so it’s just grocery store ricotta and mozzarella.

Saturday was scones, from this recipe, found through the All Buttoned Up blog.

I made then with an apple and a peach sliced up with cinnamon, and they were scrumptious.  I added a small amount of flour to my second set, and that did good things- the first 6 were a little doughey, and kneaded was not actually physically possible. (PS, I love my non-stick cooling racks… less falling through the cracks and much easier to clean).  These are definitely the sort of thing to eat quickly.  The moisture from the fruit made these quite damp the next day, and much less appealing.

Sunday was a big fancy cooking day… I made pasta!  I think there is probably a very small percentage of people in the US who have made their own fresh pasta, so I feel special.  It was not really hard, just somewhat time consuming without a machine, making several batches, letting it dry, cutting, etc… I used the recipe from the Joy of Cooking, my favorite cookbook ever.

I cut my strands a little wider than fettucine, and nice and long.  I ended up with more than enough for the three people dining that evening, and it was delicious!

I sauteed up some garlic (also from the market), onion, yellow squash (market), and grape tomatoes (market), and topped with a bit of mozzarella, and we had fresh corn from the market on the side.

The pasta was so tasty and slightly egg-y with a really rich flavor.  So good!  I’m really happy I took the time to make it, and I’d probably do it again when I have an afternoon.  You can also see my very favorite silverware from the thrift store- rebacraft bamboo silverware- in the edge of the image.  Someday I will have a complete set!

This week has been a lot of bagels, leftover stir-fry, and two restaurant dinners, so hopefully tomorrow (Monday being the day off in the theater world) I will do some tasty cooking to get me through the rest of the week.

Always pre-wash your reds!

I recently bought some red and white fabric to start a quilt project for my sister (perhaps this was foolish?) and I just want to say, folks, always pre-wash your reds!  I know some people prefer not to pre-wash quilting fabric so it gets vintagey puckers and such, but a red and white color scheme will end up pink and white…

Exhibit A:

Red Kona Cotton

Here is my yardage of red Kona Cotton soaking in my sink.  The water looks pale pink here, but let me tell you, it was kool-aid red.  And one of the small pieces of vintage fabric I’m adding in was even worse.  My two red and white prints seemed pretty good, but I was glad I pre-washed them anyway.

I was looking for advice online on setting the colors, and it was actually a little unhelpful.  I’d been told before to rinse red clothing and such with vinegar to set them, but that didnt’t really seem to do anything.  Since I use shared machines, and I pay for each load, I didn’t want to try anything in the washing machine, so I basically just did a bajillion rinses in my sink, and in a big bowl for smaller pieces of fabric, the first rinse with woolite, and then a couple with vinegar, I also tried salt, and then just warm water.  Man, this fabric put out a lot of dye.  The water was still somewhat pink for the Kona, but not bad, so I popped the load in the machine with some dark towels and black shirts and things.  It seems to have gone pretty well, so I will just have to stitch it all up with the white, and then see how things go.  Or perhaps I will make up the first block and try washing that.  That seems a little ambitious for my still (actually, pre-washing all my fabric is pretty ambitious, but mostly done now).

The quilt that I’m thinking about goes something like this,

Quilt with embroidery

with log cabin-ey blocks alternated with bird-embroidered squares.  Although for sizing, I think it’s more like 4 across, 5 down.

Or it could be without the embroidery…

Quilt minus embroidery

We’ll see.  I’m going to start with the log cabin blocks, aiming for a semi-random, a la Denise Schmidt’s Drunk Love quilts. And go from there…

Although I’m trying to convince myself the do the binding for the zig-zag baby quilt in my first post.  October will be here before you know it…

Bending the rules, and some new fabric

Lookie what I got!

I’ve been wanting to get Bend the Rules Sewing (by Amy Carol of Angry Chicken) but didn’t want to spend the money. I love books, and craft books especially, but I buy them at thrift stores. Usually $8 is my max for purchasing a book. But at any rate, I’ve had my eye on it, and I’ve been reading her blog, and it’s all nice to support independent artists and crafters, and so on, but mostly I just stopped in to Purl Patchwork for some fabric, and had to purchase it. And I got these lovely fabrics!

The green and the grey I’m tempted to make into duplicates of the gingham top from the previous post, but I may be able to convince myself to be a little more adventurous. The white is for a possible quilt project. I want to embroider some white squares, and I figure if I only end up making a couple embroidered white squares, there will be plenty of uses and I won’t have wasted a lot of money on all the additional quilting accessories. We’ll see.

And I’m expecting my box o’ fabric today, so that should be exciting!

Slow going, speedy crafting

So, this blog thing hasn’t really caught on with me yet.  I seem to be much more interested in reading about other people’s exciting lives or going to Salvation Army than actually posting… Oh well, maybe my pace will pick up one of these days.

I had a particularly crafty week this week. I got my sewing machine my senior year of college as a birthday present from my mom, and I have to say, mostly it doesn’t see a lot of use.  But this week, woah! We were busy!

The baby mentioned previously has been determined to be a girl.  Hooray! So of course she needs a tiny dress!  (Made from the Itty Bitty Baby dress found here )

Love this fabric, but have no idea where it came from…

That was so quick and easy and adorable that I had to sew something else! Quickly! I’d been planning to make a friend a tote out of this thrifted linen shirt, and it looks lovely.  I think it actually looks a little better in person, although the embroidery is definitely on the subtle side.  She’s a yoga teacher, and I hope she’ll like it.

I also made my sister this tiny tote and coin purse. So cute! She uses a much smaller purse than I do (I lug my life in my purse, it’s huge!) so it’s a petite little thing.  I was tempted to keep the change purse for my self!

And then we move on to the really fancy stuff! Why should tiny, yet-to-be-born babies get to have all the fun? How hard can it be to make a shirt?  I had been planning to buy some patterns one of these days, but they seem so expensive, and I don’t really know where to find them around here, so I just winged it. And it turned out pretty great! (Ignore the messy living room, I was busy sewing.)

I lay some tissue paper over a top I liked to  get the general measurements across and length wise and just sort of made it up, with inspiration from the Itty Bitty Baby dress featured above.  This may be my most favorite shirt ever! And it’s the first clothing item I’ve ever made for myself . There was a dress I started in middle school, with fabric and a pattern, but I don’t think I got past cutting the pieces… And there were costumes I sewed for Drama Club productions in High School, but those weren’t actually for me, and they looked pretty awful. So I’m pretty proud of myself!

And then I got really ambitious.  That top was so easy, it would be a piece of cake to make a dress… So I did!

I used my same tissue paper pattern and lowered the neckline a little.  Most of my fabric is scraps and thrifted junk, but I actually ordered this fabric online a couple months ago with no real plan in mind.  Well, clearly it was just waiting for this moment!  I’m really thrilled with it, and I’m going to wear it to the opening night party for my show tonight.

It was so fun to come up with ideas and actually complete some projects!  Also really fun to tell my co-workers every evening about my project of the day.  And always really good to use up some of my big box of fabric.  So as a reward, I ordered nearly $50 worth of fabric online!  So exciting!  There you go, my super crafty week!

Project photos

When I found out that my friend was pregnant, I decided that I really wanted to make the Zig Zag Quilt from the Purl Bee website. This was my first quilting project, so there are some funky things, but overall, I think it’s going very well. I have my “quilt sandwich” all put together, but I still have to do the binding (I have until October, so it should be fine). I went with slightly lighter colors than are used on the Purl Bee, and I’m probably going to be binding it in a light blue instead of orange. I originally thought I would bind it in the backing material, Alexander Henry’s 2-D Zoo in Pool, which I ordered from Crafty Planet in Minneapolis. However, with the colors I used for my zig-zags, it just seemed like too much contrast, so I have a light blue that I’m planning to use. Here’s some images from my quilting fest:

Fabric Squares

Here are the cut squares of my blue and orange fabrics.

Fabric Triangles

And the fabric sewn together with the white fabric.

Quilt sandwich

The “quilt sandwich”

Quilt back

And the lovely Zoo fabric on the back.

Quilt Sandwich