Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Knitting Projects from the Past

Part of the reason for this blog is to document stuff I've made over the years, and my sister too.  (One of these days we'll get her stuff on here!)

I made this pig sweater a looooong time ago.  A friend in Boston, Sara, fell in love with it.  The only problem was that she had three boys.  Well, she and Joe ended up having a 4th baby, a girl.  I was so excited to give this to her - mostly because she finally got "her girl".

Here's a close-up of "this little piggy's" cute porky face.

This pattern came from MinnowKnits, Too.  I think I was making it for the baby girl who we thought we were going to adopt in Boston.  When that didn't work out, I think I gave it to the Makechnies (more Boston friends) who were expecting their 3rd or 4th girl.

This is one of my all-time favorite little girl sweaters designed by my favorite knitwear designer, Debbie Bliss.  I've made this sweater four or five times.  The pattern is found in her book titled Classic Knits for Kids.  This particular sweater went to Ann, the friend who also got custom-made bolero sweaters from me.  I think we've already established that she loves the color red.

Debbie Bliss also designs amazingly intricate toy patterns.  This is actually one of the simpler patterns found in Toy Knits.  Until today, I had totally forgotten that I wanted to use this for a custom Christmas card.  Maybe next year - only 362 more days 'til Christmas!

This was another option for the Christmas card.  Hubby and I had a bare bear photo shoot that day, whenever that day was long ago.

I can't even count how many times I've made this Christmas stocking pattern with different embellishments or color patterns.  This one was for our niece, Sophie, who lives in Switzerland.  Her sister Sarah has one that is similar.  Poor Alexandra, the youngest in the family, doesn't have one yet.  It's not likely that she'll get one anytime soon because of my hand issues - which I'll post about some other day.

This is the "boy" stocking design that went to Nick and Noah in Switzerland.  Somewhere I have pictures of their parents' stockings, that weren't so elaborate.  For all the other in-laws who never got stockings like these - I learned that it's best to NOT start a tradition like this!  It's too hard to keep it up.  Just ask poor Alexandra!

Hubby and I took a gazillion close-ups of the snowman on the stocking, thinking that it would also make a cool and unique Christmas card.  Don't be surprised if this comes in the mail next December.  Actually, you should be really surprised because I think the last time that I sent out Christmas cards was in the last millennium!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Leaves and a Star

I'm obsessed with the color green.  I want everything in my house to be green - the walls, the art, the furniture, the dishes, the linens, my clothes, etc.  My husband laughs at me because of my obsession with rusty metal, especially rusty GREEN metal.  Anyway, I got excited when Evelyn requested a quilt block with lots of green and leaves and stuff.  I've been wanting to try these paper-pieced leaves so it was the perfect excuse.

For December Pat requested some sort of yellow or gold star.  I used a pattern similar to this except the square in the middle is a nine patch.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Extreme Knitting

Hey knitters, you HAVE to watch these!  I want to know how they funded these extreme projects.

The giganto blanket

One thousand strands of yarn

Knitting with two backhoes

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Custom Clif Crate

Our dad likes to build stuff.  While I was in Houston, he was building a crate to send some stuff to my brother - stuff that he's had forever and has lugged across the country multiple times.  Our folks' move from Oregon to Ohio took four Penske truck trips that, of course, dad insisted on driving himself over a period of a few months.  But, I digress.  Anyway, here's how to build a custom crate.

Make sure you have your favorite tool nearby - a roofing square.

Start cutting 2x4s.  Remember to always measure twice and cut once.

Get some screws from...the Costco candy isle?  Dad had to sacrifice and eat a whole lot of candy to collect enough containers to hold his vast collection of fasteners.  I bet that random blue lid up there is going to drive him crazy.

Ignore your cardiologist's orders to "take it easy" before your upcoming heart surgery.

Finish the base of the crate.

Start loading the crate with really big heavy things - with the help of your tiny wife who's your same age.  Then make sure to anchor things down so they don't slide around during the trip.

Finish loading the two-sided crate, just as you visualized it before you ever began the project.  (This is why I'm good at Tetris.)

Dress up and play army man one last time before you send off your old army gear.

Call a strapping young guy with a forklift and a big truck to load and haul away the crate for you.  There you have it folks, nine easy steps to making a Custom Clif Crate.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The color pink gives me the shivers - like fingernails on a chalkboard.  I was never one of those little girls who wanted a pink room or pink sparkly dress-up shoes or pink princess outfits.  Pink and I just don't get along.  So, it was really a challenge for me to pick out pink fabric for some find-a-cure blocks, but they were for a good cause.  I made them while I was visiting the folks in Houston.

I made them all on this retro machine, a Singer 1411.  The only things I truly missed from my Pfaff were my "needle down" feature and my quarter-inch quilter's foot.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dad's Eccentricities

My step mom told me about it, but I didn't believe it until I saw it the next morning.  I really wasn't THAT surprised.  It seemed like something dad would do.  His many eccentricities just make me laugh.

He carefully places raspberries, open end up, on top of his cereal.

Then he pours honey into each raspberry.  At this point, we had a conversation that went something like this:

Me:   You sure have to have a lot of patience for that.
Dad:  Good things come to those who wait.
Me:   What happens if you miss?
Dad:  I don't miss.

Here they are, honey-filled raspberries.  I think dad should trademark this before Kellogg's catches wind of it.  He could call them Clifberries.

This reminded dad of something that happened many years ago.  He was taking baby gerkins out of the pickle hotel - I call it a pickle elevator.

As he took each one out, he would bite the end of it off and stand it on end next to the others already standing in formation on the counter like little green soldiers.  After he had a nice little troop of them, he would eat them.  My brother was watching him and said, "You'd drive a psychiatrist crazy."

This may seem unrelated to handicrafty sisters, but it's totally related.  It has to be...somehow.  What do you think?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

International Quilt Festival Houston

How convenient that my dad and step mom live in Houston.  I wanted to visit them and planned my visit while the International Quilt Festival was happening.  Here are some pictures of a few of the bazillion amazing quilts we saw that day.  We gawked and walked until we dropped!

Here's one of the first things we saw.  I think this would be a very fun ottoman.  The pen on the table gives some perspective on the size of this burger.  There was also a "tomato" but it's hidden in this view.

Here's a fun Texas-themed quilt.

This was an awesome fabric village.  This picture doesn't do it justice.

Here's a cool mosaic technique that was on the border of a quilt.  I've got to try this some day.

I've been following PaMdora for awhile and was so excited to turn the corner and run into Tango with a Technopus after seeing it online so many times.  Wild, right?  I love her bright colors and the way she outlines everything in black.  All her quilts are like big cartoons.

These artichokes blew me away!  This is fabric and thread people! Can you believe this!?  There might have been a bit of painting involved too.  I got excited when I saw that it was for sale.  However, I could buy a cheapo long arm sewing machine for the $9000 plus that it was selling for.  Sheesh!

I love the motion in the sky in this one.  I think this artist used the same technique as the mosaic above.

Here's a close up of the sky (wrong orientation - oops).  I'm guessing the quilter used double-sided fusible web to hold all of the little pieces in place.  Then it looks like she put tulle over the pieces before machine quilting them.  I'm guessing that helps to keep the corners and edges down.

Here's a 3D bird's-eye view of Central Park.  The buildings are a crack up.  I think they're fabric-covered foam pieces.  Too funny!

I took this picture for hubby.  It's a fractal quilt and he's obsessed with fractals.  He's a math geek, or should I say guru.

Here's another one that blew me away.  Again, this is fabric and thread people!  This is called Sakura Sakura by Hiroko Miyama.

This is the hand of A Very Stingy Tooth Fairy.  I loved all of the embellishments, but was kind of grossed out by the real molar in her hand.  Eeewww!  Of course, I still have a little box with my eight teeth that got pulled out all at once.  Double eewww!

This one is just fun.  It's called Journeys end in lovers meeting by Bodil Gardner.

Here's another fun one by Bodil called Organic is good for you!  There you have it - a glimpse of an amazing and inspiring event.  I think I'll have to visit my folks every November from now on ;o)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fruit Salad

Amy wanted a "fruit salad" block.  During the Long Distance Quilting Bee we're supposed to make just one block per theme/month, but I made three.  Here's the first one.  I loved the star and I loved the idea of the ants invading the fruit, but the combination of everything turned out a bit too busy.

 This block was toooo wild.

Here's the second one.  It didn't seem fun enough and I missed the oranges.

  This block was toooo boring.
Here's the third one, my personal favorite.  Which one do you like best?

 This block was juuuust right.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sporty Quilt Block

Here's the block that I just sent off to Lisa in the Long Distance Quilting Bee.  She and her husband enjoy watching sports together.

Do you see the two basketballs, the football and the soccer ball?  The basketballs were supposed to be across from each other, diagonally.  That's how I had laid them out before sewing and can't (for the life of me) figure out how they ended up on the same side.  I also can't figure out why I didn't notice it before now, because that's all I can see now!  If this block were still in my possession, I'd be ripping it out right now and fixing it.  It's tough being me.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ringed Star

Back in June I mentioned that I'm participating in a Long Distance Quilting Bee.  In August, Valerie (whom I've never met) requested a music-themed block and mentioned that she likes guitars and the color green.  This is what I came up with - a bit busy, but I like it.

I searched Marsha McCloskey's Block Party for inspiration.

On page 89 I found a pattern called Ringed Star, which sounded a lot like Ringo Starr.  Get it?  Ringo 'n' roll.  Anyway, I knew I had to use it, even if it did end up causing me grief.

It's not Marsha's fault that I had trouble.  Her directions and diagrams were really easy to follow.  Everything was progressing nicely until I got to the last seam - which was way off!  

It's really hard to make precise cuts when using templates.  And imprecise cuts lead to wonky blocks.  I have much more success making perfect blocks that are measured with a ruler and cut with a rotary cutter.

The other tricky bit about making this block was to get it the right size.  The diagram of Ringed Star in the book is 2.5" x 2.5" and the templates in the back of the book weren't quite the size that Valerie wanted.  I needed it to be 10" x 10" (including seam allowances), so I calculated for a 9.5" x 9.5" block.  I'm embarrassed to admit that my hubby (whose mantra is "math is power") had to help me with the math.  Here's my math problem for the day:

2.5 x n = 9.5
2.5       = 2.5

n = 3.8

I had to enlarge the small diagram by 380% to get the right size.

Hey, you can bring your math student (child) to this page the next time s/he whines and says, "Why do I have to take algebra!?  I'm never gonna use this stuff in real life!"