Saturday, January 28, 2012

Swoon: Block 1

Swoon: Block 1, originally uploaded by samjoepics.

Class was so much fun last night! The teacher was fantastic and I learned a lot:

- How to make flying geese per the pattern, but also another way that uses uses a flying geese ruler template, and less fabric
- How to make half square triangles per the pattern, and an alternate way that uses 'Thangles'- That I need to take better care when ironing my blocks as I have been distorting them slightly (and that's contributing to why my points and lines dont match up perfectly)

I love learning new things!

In class I was able to make all the half square triangles and flying geese that are needed for the block. When I got home I was itching to do more... I spent the rest of the evening (and into the early hours) assembling them into this. And then doing a happy dance because I'm tickled with how it turned out! :o)))

My first 'real' quilt block!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fancy Tiger... aah I dream of owning a place like this!

This weekend I headed over to the new Fancy Tiger location with some friends. There are a group of us that are all about to make the swoon quilt and we decided it was a good reason to head over to the new Fancy Tiger location to check out the line of fabrics they have there.

Wow! I walked in and immediately thought that this was a place that I could happily spend my days. (I often find myself pondering how I could make a comfortable living out of crafting). The store is gorgeous, spacious and they have some of the most wonderful crafty goodies. I love that they stock a great range of fabulous Japanese fabrics, books, embroidery, yarn. The staff are helpful and there's now a parking lot that is next to the new location. All good stuff.

Fancy Tiger Inside

The night before, I'd pulled out my ever-growing fabric stash to see if I had anything in sufficient quality to make the swoon quilt. It turns out that I do have 15 fat quarters (of the 18 needed) of Ruby which is what the original swoon quilt is made from. I was hoping that I'd be able to get my hands on the final 3. I was also thinking that if they had the entire range of Echo that I'd be tempted to shift gear completely and make my quilt out of that. As it turned out, despite the amazing range they do stock, they did not have Ruby, and only had a few bolts from the Echo line. So I'll be sticking with Ruby and picking up a few extra fat quarters online.

Fine Yarns

Talking of sewing goodies, I received a wonderful gift from Mum this year - a Cath Kidston sewing box. I love, love, love this! As soon as I got back here I started stocking it with the sewing niknaks that I have. It's good to have these all in one place. And a bonus that this one place is super cute!

For the rest of the weekend it's been fairly mellow. I put together a couple of Valentines token gifts for family. Its a simple, but super cute, robot box (Target... love that store!) filled with Hershey's kisses.

And I did get a good start on this cross stitch that a good friend gifted me for Christmas. Just a teaser for now... expecting I'll have this done soon and can share in a future blog post.

Hope you had a great weekend too,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

EZ February Toddler Sweater

Here's another of my favourite patterns: the Elizabeth Zimmerman February baby sweater on 2 needles. This time upsized for my toddler :)

I took the exact same approach as the baby version that I make on sock yarn:
- Cast on 71 stitches and then follow pattern for yoke, adding a few extra rows of garter stitch
- Knit the rest per pattern instructions (except I only add a few buttonholes at the top)

By simply upsizing the yarn, and the needles, I was able to convert it from a baby sweater to a toddler sweater. Yarn is Debbie Bliss Cathay, and I used just over 3 balls. Needle size is US 7.

I do love this pattern as it is pretty, stretches a little with blocking, and is a different than anything you'd find in the mainstream stores, without being too different if you know what I mean :) I think she likes it too.

Stay warm,
Sam xxx

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Ruffles #5

I know I like this pattern, but I was actually surprised to tot up, and realise, that this is the 5th time I've knit it. Yes, it's a favourite gift knit.

I'm not paid enough for this modelling gig!

This version is Josie. Josie has been a good family friend for as long as I can remember. Her husband and my Dad were also very good friends from school age onwards. Josie is also a Sister at the hospice where Dad was lovingly cared for in his last few weeks. She was wonderful to our whole family, and made sure we had fond memories during what was otherwise an extremely difficult time. In fact the whole staff and volunteers at the hospice were some of the most uplifting, caring and amazing people I have ever met. A very worthwhile charity to support.

I digress...

The scarf is made with some yummy Sundara Fingering Silky Merino in the Robin's egg colorway. Josie loves scarves and this is her favourite colour. It took only half a skein, so now I need to ponder what to do with the rest of this delicious yarn.

Ruffles #5

As for the pattern, I did make some modifications to suit this different weight of yarn, although in truth I can't recall now how many stitches I cast on this time. I'm thinking it was 1.5 times the amount that the pattern calls for. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have cast on 2x the number of stitches the pattern called for as I certainly had enough yarn and the scarf would have benefited from some extra length. (My first sock yarn version was 2x the amount, and turned out really well... just a pain to get that many stitches on your needle :)

Wishing you a lovely Sunday.
It's a beautiful day here in Colorado - a smattering of snow on the ground and crisp, clear blue skies.

Sam xxx

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Back again

It's been a while. You see my thoughts and attention have been elsewhere:
My Dad was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer in early June. Sadly he passed away in late August. It's been a devastating blow to our family and I'm having a hard time coming to terms with it. I am thankful though that my managers supported me working remotely so that I could be there with Dad, and my family.

I can't tell you the amount of times I've tried to write this post. To explain what's been going on these last few months. I'd start by writing it all down. Then I delete it. Writing it down seems to help. But it has been an extremely upsetting and difficult few months. Truly you don't need to read about it in all its gory detail.

I've also been thinking about all the wonderful things I'd want you to know about my Dad. He was an amazing man. (Naturally, I'm biased :) Instead I'll be pouring all those details into the stories that I share with Naomi so that she learns about her Grandad.

What I will share is that both my Mum and Dad always encouraged us to do what made us happy. Dad was avid about his hobbies - he was an extremely talented musician who played in local bands and was a well-respected music teacher in his spare time. He also loved computers and was the one who got me started with this blog. I think he'd like that I was back blogging again about the things that I love! So, I'm back. And I'm looking forward to re-connecting with you and sharing the fun things that I'm working on.

Here's a pic of my Dad, Mum and I taken at my brother's wedding the previous year.

So, moving forward, I have lots to share. Including this short poem that Mum sent to me today. I'd like wish you the very best for 2012 and look forward to getting back in touch.

May your troubles be less,

Your blessings be more,

And nothing but happiness come through your door.

Sam xxx