Quilting & Sewing

Follow Your Arrow & Cross Stitching

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Hi!

Happy Tuesday!

This weekend I finished my Follow Your Arrow Shawl.

And I have so many feelings!!! (I’m waving my hands around like a maniac- be thankful you can’t see that.)

Ok, first off. What an incredibly enjoyable knit. I literally didn’t want it to end. So, so, so much fun! I dragged this shawl with me everywhere. I’m currently wearing it as a lap blanket while I write this.

Second off. I can’t figure out how to wear it! Ha! Typically I wear triangular shawls with the point forward, like a kerchief. This is a different shape and when I wear it that way, it looks as if I’m wearing a bib. Not the best look.  I tried to wear it traditionally, with the narrow ends around my shoulders and I look as if I’m pretended to be a super hero. Oh dear! I also ADORED knitting with these colors but wearing them…oh boy. I don’t know if I can wear that much hot pink near my face without looking like a clown! ;)

It honestly doesn’t matter though because I adored knitting it. And it matches my compound bow. Once I figure out how to comfortably wear it, I’ll take more photos & do a big blog post with details.

I started working on cross stitching a new pattern that we are planning to release this spring and it’s cuuuuute! For some reason it reminds me of a cross between The Great Gatsby & Downton Abbey. I made a new little Hoop Travel Bag to carry it around in. Porkchop bought me a fat quarter bundle of Catnap for Christmas, I keep trying to sew stuff with it but it’s very rare for me to own an entire line of fabric at once so I sort of want to use it all in one quilt but finally I decided CAT BAG!!!!

Last week Ashleigh & I received the sweetest surprise from Rachelle of The Cottage Needle! She had Sugarloaf, The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery’s official mascot, turning into a knitting needle gauge and a thread minder! EEK!!! Adorable right?! I am so into cute notions and this is like a little dream come true! I asked her if she could order more and she can if you like him too!

On Friday Porkchop is taking me to Stitches West, I’m pretty excited, I’ve never been before. I’m hoping to find a skein or two of some yarn to turn into special socks. Is anyone else going?!

Forgive me but….

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It’s beginning to look a heck of a lot like Christmas around here.

I know, I know. I can hear you saying “But Amanda! Thanksgiving is TOMORROW! Don’t be one of “those” people”!

Well…I’ve been living & breathing Christmas cross stitch patterns since August and we KNOW August is too early to share things of red & green nature.

Christmas is very low on my favorite holidays list. Halloween would be first (does that surprise you?), Valentine’s Day second and Christmas falling around number 30. I don’t even know 30 holidays off the top of my head, but Christmas is that low on the list. Sooooo if I’m feeling festive, I have to jump into it ok?

Here are Christmas-y things that I’m excited about:

Gingerbread Lane! AHHH! Part two! Part TWO! Gingerbread men having snowball fights! The most tacky house on the block with a giant glowing Noel sign!

The 12 Days of Christmas launches this week. I stitched the sample and o m g is it CUTE! It’s very warm and traditional but with Ashleigh’s kawaii spin on it.

We will be having an after Thanksgiving sale! All weekend long! Make sure you “like” us on facebook so you can get the promo code.

I absolutely positively will not be mall shopping this weekend. I plan on stay very cozy at home & online shopping. My plans this weekend involve the Dr. Who special (don’t tell me anything!), knitting Christmas socks, reading and keeping an eye on the shop.

Christmas socks!

Ok so I have one done, I’m using Poste Stripe, Humbug AZ. After seeing The Knit Girllls mention Fish Lips Kiss Heel, I thought I’d try it.

And it is FUN! It’s $1 for the PDF which I have mixed feelings about. I truly believe that people should be paid for their work and this PDF is HUGE. Like, this should be $5-7. She made freaking video tutorials and tells you from start to finish how to make awesome fitting socks. And, when I had a question she emailed me back right away. If you want to try a new heel or knitting socks, this is definitely a good pattern. I had to watch the videos a few times, it’s not hard- I’m just kind of slow at learning new things. And it fits great! I just hate seeing people work hard and not get paid what they are worth!

AND THEN!

I found this girl’s ravelry page. Be prepared to drool over absolutely gorgeous sock photos. Seriously. How does she make yarn and socks glow? I’m not sure but I’m a huge fan. I took the plunge and bought my first skein of Socks That Rock Mediumweight in a color called “Holiday Inn”. I know Michele and Ashley have made cute stuff with it and I really like their projects and then seeing Gail’s photos just threw me over the edge. Seriously. I was so excited to see my skein looked EXACTLY how it did online, this rarely happens to me! It’s the most beautiful blues, into ice colors into rich reds. It’s intense. My plan is to make a pair of monkey socks because my pair is looking rough because I wear them ALL the time. More than I should admit to wearing per week probably. ;)

I’ve been on a bag sewing kick, I found this etsy shop, JAM PACKED full of kawaii Christmas fabric so I bought a few fat quarters. Can we talk about how much I love online shops that will cut fat quarters? I don’t need a ton of fabric and rarely can justify buy bigger cuts so fat quarters = best. I made myself a scrappy drawstring pouch, it has boxed corners on the bottom so it’ll stand up, with a traditional block called “Christmas Pine” (I found it in EQ7), it’s 7 inches finished and then I just used up some scraps to make it bigger.

That gingerbread fabric? Um yeah. I begged Ashleigh to design some gingerbread man fabric for me to match gingerbread lane. I’m so in love!!!! But she got a Christmas project bag too, so don’t think I force her to do my bidding always ;)! It’s hard to tell but I used Sulky Holoshimmer thread to top stitch both bags, they have glitter linen in them. My featherweight will sew with metallic thread like a champ! High 5!

One more thing, that Christmas quilt in the background? It’s by Audrie and it’s my most favorite thing EVER EVER EVER.

Ok, I have to go to Chico today and I need to wash my hair. Let’s talk about long hair in the winter: it turns out you have to blow dry it so you don’t freeze. ;) Girl problems right?

I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! :):)

SewOn NorCal Retreat

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Where do I begin with SewOn Northern California?

Do I talk about how I stayed up absurdly late on a ridiculous sugar high from eating oreos for the first time in months? Or about how I drank wine out of a glass with an owl on it and eating fancy cheese with girls from Napa? Or how about how my butt didn’t leave that couch all weekend? Or that when I did leave the couch, I got to ride around in Dorrie’s super cute Mini Cooper with her cute daughter and we bought fabric?

There is something super satisfying about staying in a huge house with a bunch of ladies with whom you have a common interest. The common interest in this case is sewing but guess who decided they didn’t want to sew? This girl. I found the most cozy couch ever and sat and knit alllllllll weekend. And it was glorious. The room was in the trees and we had amazing thunder and lightning storms with windows open, I just sat under my quilt and worked on my socks. And drank tea. And wine. I told Porkchop that our future house has to have big windows with deep windowsills and I want a leather couch. Because it was just so cozy!!!!

I became friends with this amazing girl named Tamiko who doesn’t know it yet but I’m going to become her best friend. You know when you meet someone and you just really like them? I just really like her! I got to spend time with Tracey who was my roommate, she baked us this super yummy clean zucchini bread and she sewed a super cute table topper for her friend Kelly. And I got to watch Lorelei make a patchwork weekender, every time she’d come upstairs (sewing machines were downstairs) with part of the bag completed we’d cheer because seriously: patchwork weekenders deserve a cheering squad. Adrianne was there, I’d met her before and I was so excited to see her again that I sort of cried and did a little dance all at once, she made a maple leaf quilt that weekend and I truly feel like I need to make a king sized one for our bed and have Lindsay quilt maple leaves on it for me. I have no idea if I even have enough cream fabrics for it but I think this winter I’m going to sort through my stash and get started. It was so fun because you can just watch everyone inspiring each other, everyone’s projects were just SO good. One girl was making a medallion quilt, another a swoon, some were binding…it was just neat to be surrounded by so much talented quilt-y goodness.

I definitely liked meeting new people and seeing old friends. I only remembered I had my camera and snapped the above photos just before the battery died (lame!) so I don’t have any photos of actual PEOPLE. Worst right?

I wanted to steal both Tamiko’s maple leaf quilt and that owl wine glass, I’m kind of regretting not leaving with both. ;)

Finished in 2013: MapleO’s

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If I were a cereal designer, I’d create something maple flavored that only comes out once a year and is like, the Pumpkin Spice Latte of cereals. MapleO’s! There would be photos with artfully applied filters on instagram proclaiming “IT’S MAPLE O DAY!!!!” “OMG! LAST BOX OF MAPLE O’S!” #mapleoomg

But I’m not a cereal designer, I’m just a girl who daydreams about things like that. Please file this under: dream jobs.

One of my September sewing goals was to finish my Single Girl quilt that I started last fall. I used all scraps with the exception of creams- I had some in my stash, Chop bought me a few and friends gave me some. I finally found my pattern, remade my templates (I foundation pieced the arcs) and made 1/2 a block.

And wasn’t feeling inspired.

So I rummaged through my scraps and would sew for 35-40 minutes each morning and built this little quilt top. It has lots of special fabrics and blocks within blocks. The big maples measure 21-22 inches, the little maples measure an inch and a half square, the geese & ribbons measure an inch. Thangles mini pack! Get one! Seriously! They make tiny piecing a breeze.

I’m going to carry this quilt with me everywhere, it’s so soft and cozy. Very special. I love these kind of projects, when you start with something in mind and it just grows into something much better. The piecing just felt very organic, it’s precise and straight in some spots, very improv and using the most of odd cuts of fabric in others. It’s a quilt to read and knit under. It’s one of my favorite sizes: 52×58 inches. Quilter’s Dream Orient Batting, Velveteen backing and for a million reasons I opted to machine sew the binding on using this tutorial. I’m not even remotely good at machine binding and my walking foot was giving me fits but I thought glue basting was FUN! I might have to take it off and redo it on a different machine, it’s pretty sloppy!

In hindsight, I totally wish I’d had Lindsay quilt it. I bought four yards of velveteen last winter to back a quilt with and it wasn’t until last week that I realized I only received two. So that was a lesson learned, always measure your fabric when it arrives. I didn’t have enough overage to be able to send it to her and I didn’t have the budget for more velveteen. Total bummer. It would have been so cute with little maple leaves on it!

I sort of imagine my inner Mori Girl walking in the woods with this quilt, looking to find the perfect spot for a nap and some reading. ;) Oh speaking of reading, this came out this week!!!! I’m going to re-read the first one on vacation, then start this one. My friend Eva called it perfect fall reading and it’s so spot on!

:):)

Evening Maples

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We went hunting tonight and I stuck some quilt blocks I’ve been working on lately into my pack. Just in case.

Just in case I find a rusty gate.

And Chop picks up a bunch of oak leaves.

And it’s not a million degrees outside.

I like to be prepared for these sort of things. ;)

Noodlehead’s Super Tote

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I’m not quite sure how I managed to complete one September goal so quickly but I’m not going to question it!

I made a Noodlehead Super Tote yesterday with Ashleigh!

We went to JoAnn’s in the morning, she had to pick out a lining for her bag and I wanted some elastic. We both found these super cute microfiber handles for $5.99 a pair…and then they rang up as $2! I think they are phasing out their bag making supplies at my local shop because they had practically nothing left and everything was on clearance! Woowoo! I love using Clover leather handles on handmade bags but I can’t always find them locally and I wanted to work on this bag with Ash!

Together we cut and sewed and watched The Suburban Stitcher podcast (that accent! that sweetness!). And drank absurdly giant RT44 iced teas. I stopped eating sugar (real & artificial) a few months ago and a mango diet green tea was an amazing treat! So good!

Let’s talk about this pattern k?

  • Super clear directions, illustrations and prints beautifully. That last one is important to me, if it’s a pdf and the pattern has you line up pieces and tape them together, nothing is more frustrating than something that doesn’t line up. Printing & taping the few pieces in this pattern is a breeze.
  • Clever design! As I was making the pleats I kept saying “oh, I LOVE this. LOVE.” The pleats allow the top of the bag that sits under your arm to have a slim profile but the bottom remains big so you can cram it full of stuff.
  • Sturdy construction!
  • Anna offered to help! This is HUGE. While I didn’t think I’d need help, I *love* when a designer goes the extra mile and stands by their pattern. Ashleigh & I do this with our patterns and seeing Anna have such a good approach to being available for help with her patterns made my day.

Here are a few of my personal changes and they reflect what I personally like in a handbag!

  • I used Pellon fusible fleece as my interfacing and I used it on the lining ONLY. Why? Because the body of my bag is a sturdy 100% wool tweed. It didn’t need anything but adding the fleece to the lining gives it a little bit more shape.
  • I lined all my pockets rather than just facing them.
  • I didn’t add the extra gusset pieces for the same reason, thick wool is thick!
  • I used commercial handles instead of making my own.
  • I did my zipper and pulls slightly differently because I made this on my featherweight with a jacket separating zipper.

Fabrics I used:

  • 100% Wool Tweed I had in my stash!
  • Fort Firefly for the outer pocket and the top of the recessed zipper!
  • Juliana Horner from JoAnn’s for the lining, I’m not sure why but this reminds me of my grandmother in a very good way.
  • A random orange lace printed fabric also from JoAnn’s for the pocket.
  • Pellon fusible fleece
  • JoAnn’s microfiber straps & a Dritz magnetic snap

Can we talk about Fort Firefly for a second? O M G. Ashleigh and I both love Teagan White. She has such an amazing style, some things are so painfully sweet, like this fabric, then she has this completely heart-wrenching macabre side that kills me. Seriously. She’s amazing. But the fabric is organic cotton, therefore, expensive. I have mixed feelings about organic cotton, sometimes it’s incredible, other times it’s quite thin and practically sheer. So we picked out the above fabrics, bought a yard of each and then split the yards in half. I love sharing fabric. ANYWAYS. When I opened the box I almost died, this cotton feels AMAZING! dreamy! perfect! It’s absolutely worth the price and the print quality is also phenom! So so so so happy! We spent the day daydreaming of dresses made from these prints too. I couldn’t bear to cut any more than I already did, that’s saying something. I’m not a fabric hoarder at all but this stuff feels like it should be something special.

One thing I personally am rotten at is knowing the size of things. I just struggle with envisioning numbers. Is it Nordstrom where their purses online have a little key that says “fits water bottle, magazine, etc”, I can’t remember, BUT I LOVE THAT. SO! Here we go!

What does a Super Tote fit?

  • An iPad in a case!
  • A knitting bag with a sock (um, also a tutorial by Anna, it’s her open wide pouch that I made giant! Did you know I like Anna? Yeah, Lizzy too a ton!)
  • A wallet! 
  • A cat pouch crammed with girl essentials, a present from my bff.
  • Part of a Single Girl Quilt top.
  • My camera (not pictured because…you know! I’m using it!)

That is pretty super. Sadly, the pattern doesn’t come with a cape. Or a super hero power. But you’ll feel pretty pleased with yourself when you finish so that’s kind of like a super power, the power to conquer sewing a new cute bag!

Anyways, I had fun and I wholeheartedly suggest this pattern! Now to find my Single Girl pattern so I can finish this top…I was hoping if I pulled it out and took some photos on it, I’d be extra motivated to finish it. ;) success!

Worsted Weight Socks

This weekend I finished my Worsted Weight Socks and omg. I’m already wanting to cast on a second pair. Seriously. These are so squishy and fun and cozy and amazing to knit up. You can find my ravelry notes here and I was inspired by Susan’s blog post & Virgina’s instagram photo.

While digging through my yarn basket this weekend I came across another skein of worsted weight yarn that Rose (Cakewalk Yarns on Etsy) dyed for me last winter. I’d planned on some sort of hat but now…SOCKS! It was funny, I flipped the yarn over and it’s also a skein of Sudden Valley! That’s what I absolutely *adore* about hand dyed yarn, the same colorway can be completely different. My socks have sort of a purple.gray base but my skein is more white! Her shop is closed but I’m crossing my fingers she’ll go back to dyeing because her skeins are totally amazing.

I got my Dyak Craft Heavy Metal Needles last week, I’m so excited to cast on. The cord is so long and the join is dreamy feeling. I can’t decide if I’ll knit a pair of socks for Chop or if I’ll cast on with a new skein of Numma Numma that’s supposed to arrive today. Chop decided he wanted to enter a salsa contest at work…but he doesn’t even cook! LOL! So I made a giant jar of salsa, sadly we didn’t win but I think he felt bad so I “won” a skein of yarn & a little bottle of a new Soak Wash scent! haha! BEST! He’s the most amazing guy.

Yesterday we went to Target and omg. Holy Halloween. It’s amazing. It’s not quite as good as the year they had Domo as the official mascot, but that year was epic and hard to beat. I wanted to buy the Pumpkin Spice & white chocolate candy corn M&Ms so bad but I decided on candy corn flavored coffee instead and WOWOWOWOWOW. My house this morning smells like a candy factory in the very best way ever.

I also made use of some JoAnn’s coupons which is always fun. I have a few sewing goals this month:

  • Esme top in flannel! I found a really pretty flannel there that is quite soft. I’ve already made an Esme dress and a top but they are too big now. I think I’m going to make a muslin of the size 14 and go from there! I just think a cozy flannel blouse with wooden buttons would be amazing this fall.
  • I’d love to finish my little four block single girl quilt. I can’t for the life of me find my copy of the pattern though. So this week I either need to find the pattern or get a new one. I found my quilt progress and fell back in love with it. Plus I’d love to quilt some circles. And be cozy hand sewing the binding on in the evenings.
  • I want to make a Noodlehead Super Tote for knitting SO BAD. Ashleigh & I are obsessed with Teagan White,  like crazy fierce, so we are splitting a yard of a few of her new fabrics. I’m pretty sure the fabric I got for the lining won’t match (Juliana Horner flowers!) but I’m not sure I care, I just like it! a LOT! This bag is so neat! The side pleats and elastic pockets are such pretty details.
  • I’m going on a quilting retreat the end of this month and I couldn’t for the life of me decide what to bring to work on…then I saw this pattern: Suburbs! So I’m going to make a Halloween Suburb quilt. Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. While at JoAnn’s I saw all their fox themed Thanksgiving/Fall fabric and I almost died. I need a Thanksgiving quilt at some point in my life.

:):):)

 

Finished in 2013: Winter Woodland Weekender

Happy 4th of July!!!

I’ve spent this entire heat wave week sewing….because my sewing machine is directly in front of the air conditioner. ;)

This week I:

  • finished two Halloween quilt tops
  • finished three sock sacks
  • finished two rough drafts of new sewing patterns
  • finished a pair of leggings
  • hemmed two pairs of pants
  • added darts to two tank tops
  • anddddd…

Finished this bag! yay!

I don’t really have much to say about it that I didn’t cover in these two posts already. I will say this version isn’t even remotely as neatly sewn as my previous ones. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s a hot mess. I just struggled with assembling it every step of the way: broken needles, tearing fabric with a seam ripper, puckered spots no matter how many times I seam ripped & fixed them. It was just strange! I double checked all my pieces against the pattern pieces and it should have gone together smoothly!

Either way, I love this bag, even if I don’t let anyone look at it up close. ;) I wanted something very zakka, very handmade looking and very winter-y fairytale-ish. Mission accomplished!

I love:

  • the fabrics
  • wool straps!!!!
  • getting the lining for $2.50 a yard (Denyse Schmidt too!)
  • how big & sturdy it is

and…

Lots of room for snacks and projects!

We are going on a little family weekend tomorrow and I’m excited to cram it full of stuff and lug it everywhere with me.

Briar Rose & The New Leaf Obsession

I genuinely feel bad for anyone that crosses paths with me this summer. Chances are, I’m going to talk your ear off about New Leaf. Poor Instagram, all day long I’m like NEW LEAF! NEW LEAF! NEW LEAF! Ask Ashleigh. She made the mistake of asking me if Animal Crossing was like Frogger (fair enough!) and I spent an hour yakking about my town. Poor Smash.

So what’s new New Leaf?

The newest in the Animal Crossing series of games! Quite possibly the cutest, most fun video game everrr!

I hemmed and hawed about buying it. I read a million reviews. And I decided as an early birthday to myself, I was getting New Leaf. It didn’t hurt that Target had the 3DS XL on sale either. And in pink.

After a hilarious afternoon scouring Yuba City for the game, I bought the very last one at WalMart and I did a little dance in the check out line. That might be weird but you know, it was WalMart, so I didn’t stand out. ;);) You can download the game through the 3DS but I wanted the physical game.

You start the game as MAYOR! This is huge! Compared to past games you can customize your town so much more! It’s incredible! I’m already on my third house expansion, a gardening center has opened up in my town and I won a Bug Off!

My typical New Leaf day is watering plants, buying clothes, picking fruit, digging up fossils, fishing and visiting the island. YES. THERE IS AN ISLAND! Incredible. Also, I have some new neighbors I’ve never had before, including a little frog named Croque!

Naturally on day one once I ran out of battery life I decided to make the 3DS a little pouch and I’m so glad I did, I carry it everywhere. Seriously addicted.

I just measured the 3DS and make a quick piece of scrappy patchwork using a beautiful Briar Rose bee from Amanda. Seriously, how sweet is this line of fabric? It’s so charming. And it goes perfect with the New Leaf theme. Because you can catch honey bees with your net. Or you can shake trees and get stung. Either way! I think the bee prints and the clover are my favorite for sure. Once yardage is available I think I’m going to buy bee fabric for a dress. Or sleep pants. Or both. Amanda has fat quarter bundles for pre-sale and I’m so tempted to snag one and make a summer-y Sparkling Cider. Because that would be so fun!

I made the little pouch on my featherweight, which was really exciting for me, I don’t have a zipper foot and it turned out just fine! woo woo

<3<3<3 Back to my town!!!

Finished in 2013: Scrappy Shoo-Fly

In March I dove into my scrap bin and pulled out some text-y fabric and some special scraps. I decided on a super traditional Shoo Fly block. Over the course of a quiet weekend at home, I made this quilt. I bound it while watching a show on netflix called Luther! So good!

I love the size of this one, it’s around 75×75 inches square. Perfect for napping on the couch!

<3

ps: I feel like I’m emotionally spent! Last night we watched the season finales of Dr. Who (omggg), Lost Girl (whattttt! Kenzi!!!) and Grimm (NICK! NOOO!!!). Now what am I going to watch this summer?! I think we are only regularly watching Longmire!

pss: After watching Dr. Who, we couldn’t sleep and one of the movie channels was playing Grosse Point Blank. I totally forgot how much I *love* that movie. Dry humor at it’s finest!