Category Archives: Uncategorized

LAFS: Brigitte Scarf

I started reading Love At First Stitch (LAFS) the night it arrived.  My goal is to work through the book and I hope by the end I’ll feel more comfortable with garment sewing.  I have no plans to do more at the moment but I hope to be able to make myself dresses, skirts and tops that fit appropriately.  I have a short torso and I often have to take dresses in for alterations.

The first project is the Brigitte Scarf.  Immediately I hit a snag.  The fabric requirement was 60 inches in length.  That’s a bit under 2 yards.  I’ve got a pretty large fabric stash (as compared to myself really).  I consider it large only because I have no more room to have more.  All my bins are stuffed full and I need to use it before I can buy more. 😦  AND I can’t buy more bins because I would have no place to put it.  😦  I say this because I should be able to find something in my stash but I don’t have a lot of fabric that’s over a yard.  When I go to my LQS I generally buy one yard of something if I don’t already have a project in mind.  So, that’s my first dilemma.  I know I have fabric that’s 2+ yards but that could be anywhere in the bins.  I wanted to use fabric I loved but I didn’t want to hunt through my bins wasting valuable sewing time.  I went through a stack of fabric that I had recently washed and placed aside (remember no room in the bins) and found an older piece of fabric that seemed thicker than a yard when folded up.  I unfolded it, and it was enough!  I didn’t love the fabric.  It wasn’t one I bought.  If you remember, I was gifted quite a few yards of fabric from a lady in my mini group whose mother passed away recently.  It was one of those.  I decided to use it.  I may never use this scarf but the goal of this project is to start and learn the techniques so I can move on to the next project.  I do not want to get stuck in my sewing room with piles of bins around me looking for the right piece of fabric.

Fabric chosen for Brigitte Scarf
5/13/17

Dillema #2 – the instructions have me cut a paper pattern that is 25 1/2 inches in length.  I do not have paper that is that long.  I ended up using freezer paper that I had on hand.  Sidenote – I’ve used the same roll of freezer paper for the last 10 years! Those things go a long way!  And it worked fine!

Mistake #1 – I was supposed to cut 25 1/2 inches.  I actually cut 25 inches.  I’m pretty sure in garment making that 1/2 inch would matter but in scarf making, I didn’t think so.  However, I’m reminded that that’s why we check twice, thrice and sometimes 4 times because once cut, you can’t do anything about it but find another piece of fabric and cut again.  Since I’m making a scarf, I’m going to leave it. 🙂

Note – step #3 has us put right sides together long wise but the instructions are a little confusing.  I think it’s because I’m a quilter and had I not been a quilter but a real beginner the long instruction given would have made more sense.  In addition I think I could have skipped the step of cutting the paper pattern.  I have the tools (ruler, rotary cutter, cutting mat) to figure out how to cut the fabric without the paper pattern.  However I never know when I can skip a step or not so I will continue to do all the steps as I learn.  I love how the writing is geared towards the beginner sewist because a lot of times these kinds of books assume the reader knows things that they may not necessarily know and cause confusion and heartache.

LAFS: Brigitte Scarf

I would call this a headband than a scarf but the book is written by a UK sewist so they must call it a scarf there.  I love it and even though I don’t love the fabric so much as a scarf – I prefer brighter colors for a scarf- I think I would still wear this.

~ Happy sewing!

~Melanie

Sunday Morning Treat

Normally on a Sunday, before my hiatus from blogging, I would post about my stash – what came in and what went out – and other number things like how much I spent on crafty goodness.  Well over the last few weeks I haven’t been very good at keeping track of the numbers.

I have made a few bags and I’ve actually bought fabric.  I also spent a lot of money on yarn.  I’ve a thing for yarn right now.  But I’m not feeling the urge to go back and figure out what the numbers are and I’m not sure I want to continue to track the numbers going forward.  That’s for a different post another day.

Today, I want to talk about my Sunday Morning Treat.

My Sunday Morning Treat
4/23/2017

I know it looks like coffee and a muffin but it’s so much more than that.  Ignore the muffin because, while it’s good, the real treat is the coffee.  It just SOOOOO GOOD!  All caps good!  I love coffee and over the years I’ve experimented and tried different things to make this particular treat.  Here’s the secret to my treat.

It’s really in the process and not any one ingredient.  I do not use special coffee.  I use regular Folgers.  The hubby and I drink a lot of coffee so I don’t like to buy the fancy expensive stuff.  We’ll go through it too fast.  Sometimes, I’ll have expensive stuff around that I’ll use when we’ve got friends over.  But I’m trying to use up what I’ve got (hey minimalist wanna-be here!) so I’m actively using the stuff in my cabinet and only replacing the stuff I want to continue to use.  It’s partly how I came up with this concoction…

  1. Boil Water – 
  2. And while that’s boiling, make a shot of espresso. The old fashioned way. Over the stove.  (Thanks to my friend Beth for the espresso stove top maker!)
    1. This about the only thing I’ll actually spend money on. And if Beth sends me fancy stuff from Italy, I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

    2. This thing makes 1 shot of espresso. I’ve got two of these so I can make one for me and one for the hubby if he wants.  A lot of times he doesn’t want and I get 2 shots of espresso in my coffee!  And when we’ve got people over, I have a larger one that can make 6 shots of espresso. 

  3. And while those two are doing it’s thing on the stove, I make a bit of hot chocolate.  Take a tablespoon of hot chocolate mix.  Right now I’ve got fancy stuff because someone gave it to me and I’m trying to use it up.  Add some milk (not too much – just enough to get the mix to dissolve)  and put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  You’ll want to use a big mug.
  4. At some point, the water will be boiled.  Usually, that’s finished before the espresso shot.  So, I make my coffee in my french press.  I usually use the big one because the hubby drinks way more coffee than me.  I am down to 1 cup a day.  He starts the day with 2-3 if I’m not quick enough to grab my first cup before he pours his third. 😦 But because he’s out of town, I have my one cup press that’s perfect for just me.
  5. While you let it do it’s thing, the espresso should be done, and the hot chocolate mix is ready.  Take the mug (with the hot chocolate), mix, pour the espresso into it.  Add your favorite creamer.  I like about 1/3c which is WAY too much in sugar so I’m trying to cut down….
  6. Then take the coffee and add it to the mug.  It should sit in the press about 5 minutes so if you need to wait, wait.
  7. It’s really DE-lish!  It takes a bit of time – maybe 10 minutes.  And I don’t have it every day.  Maybe twice a week.  Once over the weekend and once during the week on those days when you really need a great cup of coffee.

It’s a process, I know.  I enjoy a good process.  While it may look like a lot of stuff to wash, the espresso maker and the press just really need to be rinsed out with hot water.  And all that’s left is the mug.  And if you want everything washed, that’s what the kids are for! 🙂

~Happy crafting!

~Melanie

2017 Crafty Plan – mid-March Check In

march-343914

I can’t believe how time flies.  Well, I wasn’t able to get much done this month as I have been consumed by a work project.  😦  I did get Missing Ivy quilted but I still need to quilt the borders and bind it.  But everything else on my quilty list has taken a back burner.  For the rest of the month, I’m keeping things simple: finish Missing Ivy and finish my March socks.  I try to post pics regularly on Instagram so follow me at @thousandneedles.  My work project should be done by the end of the month so life will return to normal then.

And just so we can see everything I haven’t been able to do – here was my original to do list. 🙂

Here’s what I want to get done this month:

  1. Quilting:
    1. Missing Ivy – Quilt her, bind her and get ‘er done!
      1. quilted,
      2. need to finish quilting the borders
      3. need to bind
    2. Celtic Solstice – prep the back
    3. Have yourself a quilty little christmas – prep the back and quilt on my domestic
    4. Raining Cats and Dogs – hand quilt weekly
    5. Provence – Finish the top
    6. Area One Quilter’s Run –
    7. Scrapitude – continue doing the leaders and enders
  2. Knitting
    1. Continue knitting on my sweater “Kimono” – done.  I’ve been working a bit on this each day.  I try to do at least a row or two as it takes me about 15-20 minutes to do a row.  It’s the perfect break between work tasks.
    2. Finish the purple socks and cast on Knitting Expat’s March sock club pattern
      1. The purple socks have become my purse knitting so I take them with me wherever I go and if I find myself with time, I have my knitting to do.
      2. I did start the March sock and I’m almost done with it.  I’ve got to do the toes, weave in the ends, take a pic and update Ravelry.
    3. finish Jacob’s beanie
  3. Cross Stitch
    1. Mama’s Bukid – work on this weekly
  4. Bag Making
    1. make 2 more drawstring bags
    2. make 2 more zipper pouch
    3. Check out the next Craftsy bag class I’ve got.  Gather my supplies.
  5. Clothes Making
    1. One of the members in my mini group is part of a sewing guild.  I think I’ll get with her and see what the resources are for a beginner.  I need help getting going in this arena.

 

 

2017 Crafty Plan – March Update

march-343914

It’s March!  We’re almost 1/4th finished with 2017.  OMG… time is flying too fast.

Here’s what I want to get done this month:

  1. Quilting:
    1. Missing Ivy – Quilt her, bind her and get ‘er done!
    2. Celtic Solstice – prep the back
    3. Have yourself a quilty little christmas – prep the back and quilt on my domestic
    4. Raining Cats and Dogs – hand quilt weekly
    5. Provence – Finish the top
    6. Area One Quilter’s Run –
    7. Scrapitude – continue doing the leaders and enders
  2. Knitting
    1. Continue knitting on my sweater “Kimono”
    2. Finish the purple socks and cast on Knitting Expat’s March sock club pattern
    3. finish Jacob’s beanie
  3. Cross Stitch
    1. Mama’s Bukid – work on this weekly
  4. Bag Making
    1. make 2 more drawstring bags
    2. make 2 more zipper pouch
    3. Check out the next Craftsy bag class I’ve got.  Gather my supplies.
  5. Clothes Making
    1. One of the members in my mini group is part of a sewing guild.  I think I’ll get with her and see what the resources are for a beginner.  I need help getting going in this arena.

 

 

Who is this yarn person that’s taken over my body…

Confession – I’ve been buying yarn. Way too much yarn. Here are some pictures of what I’ve gotten in the mail lately…

Sock Blank!

Sock Blank!

img_3822img_3818

My quilting has taken a back seat to my knitting.  I don’t know why.  I think it’s because it’s easy to pick up a bit of knitting whatever my plan is.  I’ve got car knitting, purse knitting, tv knitting…. I can do it between projects as mini breaks during my work day…

Quilting, on the other hand, is not so easy.  I’ve got 3 quilts ready to be quilted.  2 of them are humongous.  1 Queen size.  Another a King!  The third one is much smaller as it’s going to be hung up during Christmas.  I’m scheduled to quilt the queen – Missing Ivy – this afternoon.  Then I can work on the binding.  I’ve got my project bins for each of these projects still on my WIP shelves and they are taking up space.  I can’t get rid of them until I’ve finished binding because I’m planning to use the fabric in the bins to bind.

According to my 2017 Crafty Plan, here’s what I was planning for the rest of February:

  1. quilt Missing Ivy – now that I’ve got the long arm reserved, I have to prep the batting, press the top and the back.  I think I’ve got a label but I need to make sure and if not, prep that too.
    • done!  I’m heading over to the shop later this afternoon.
  2. Since I’m at a bit of a standstill, I want to go through my quilty closet and reorganize it.
    • done!
  3. Pull out the 2012 LQS BOM Provence and figure out where I am.  Do the next step.
    • need to do
  4. Area One Quilter’s Run – Pull out and do one of the blocks.
    • need to do
  5. Continue to focus on the magenta socks and the kimono sweater.
    • done… more on knitting on my Tuesday knitting update post…
  6. Make more drawstring bags
    • done.. I have a total of 6 bags now.  I am planning to make more to have on hand for gift giving.  They make great bags to put gifts in and the recipient can use them afterwards!
  7. Watch the craftsy class with the zipper pouch and make a zipper pouch.
    • I have watched the class and I’m in the process of making 2 zipper pouches.  I want to finish these in the next few days.

On a personal non-crafty note, this past week went by in a blur.  Monday was a wonderful break.  I didn’t get to craft as much as I wanted to but the kids and I ran our errands and took care of some much needed personal tasks.  Have you every thought about how you want to live your life in 10 years?  I’m going through this process now… What is my vision of my life 10 years from now?  It’s hard for me to do this and write it up.  I’ve tried many times.  Right now my dream is to live as crafty a life as possible.  What would that look like?

Stay tuned for next time…

Melanie

Happy love month!


hearts

As always life has been busy.  Thankfully it’s the good kind of busy.  A bit of quilting, a bit of knitting, a bit of driving the kiddos around, and a bit of working.  Okay a lot of working but that’s normal.  I am enjoying my crafting at the moment.  I hit a point in my sock knitting this morning where I just sat and knit with my coffee.  A podcast playing in the background and I can truly say, these are happy times.  Even with the world going crazy around me, my own little space is calm, quiet, and filled with joy.  I love these moments. I relish these moments.  And I wish you all these quiet happy moments.

Today’s agenda involves helping out a friend and some crochet.  I’m not sure I’ll have more time for other things.  I spent all morning on my knitting so I’m all knitted out now.  I picked some fabric for some bags I want to put together.  I want to continue perfecting the drawstring bags I started working on a few weeks ago and start working on zipper pouches.  I am working on the border of Have Yourself a Quilty Little Christmas but I’m not sure I’m in the mood for that.  I’ve got all the pieces ready and pressed.  All I have to do is lay it out and figure out how I want all the border pieces to go together.  Sometimes I just need to kick myself in the butt to get me going. ;0

I hope you all have a wonderful crafty day!

~Melanie

Super Bowl Weekend!

Not much crafty stuff going on this weekend.  We’re hosting Super Bowl Sunday with our friends so today I’ll be spending the day cleaning and organizing.  The cleaning isn’t too bad.  The hard part is organizing all the stuff I’ve got laying around.  I’ve got a ton of office stuff all over everywhere and I’m at a loss as to what to do with all the paper, staplers, tape dispensers, scissors, pens, highlighters, etc.  I hate to throw them away as they are all working and in good order.  And I know as soon as I throw them away, I’ll end up needing them.

I am doing the minimalist thing and getting rid of stuff every day.  So at some point, I’ll have to deal with the office supply problem.  I’ve gotten rid of 14 items so far this month.  It’s a bit slow for me but I do not have the time to do more than the little bit I am able to do each day.  I do have a friend coming over next week to help me figure out what I can sell and post them on the various apps to sell.  That will help me a lot.  But we’re having people over tomorrow so I have thrown everything into my office/sewing room.  It’s a mess.  In addition, I’m going through years of file boxes and I’m slowly shredding the docs.  I’ve got a ton of shredded paper all over the floors.  But as long as I could close the door then I’m okay.

To be honest, I do not even know who’s playing this weekend.  Can you believe that?  I don’t watch much TV and I watch more basketball than anything.  The funny thing is that I’ll go to my girl’s high school football games but have yet to go to a basketball game.  ;0  On to cleaning…

I hope you have more of a crafty Saturday than me.

~Melanie

 

Free bundtlets for a year!

**no affiliation here...

**no affiliation here…

Sorry this post is late today.  The kiddos and I trekked it over to our local Nothing Bundt Cakes and were among the first 50 to get a free bundtlet each month for a year.  They are celebrating their anniversary today.  We are super excited.  We love this place.  I love their bundtinis which are bite size bundt cakes with cream cheese frosting.  It’s so good.  My favorites are Pecan and Lemon.  The problem is you can only get bundtinis in a dozen so I only get them when we have people over.  A few months ago I was given coupons for free bundtlets and lately the kiddos and I have been going every Friday after school to redeem them.  The bundtlets are too much for me but are perfect for the three of us to share.  Anyway, now we’re going to get a free one each month for all of 2017.  woohoo!

Red Velvet Bundtlet

Red Velvet Bundtlet

 

Here’s my to do list this weekend on the crafty side of things:

#1 – Celtic Solstice – work on getting border #2 on…

#2 – Knitting – weave the ends of the pink/blue socks

#3 – cross stitch

#4 – Rainbow garden – trace pattern onto freezer paper

On a personal note – no bad things this week.  It was relatively calm.  I did have a conversation where I relayed some news and was given more work and more things to think about but I think it was all good stuff.  My office/sewing room is even messier today as I’ve dragged all the boxes from my living room in so that the living room can be somewhat presentable.  We’re having friends over for SuperBowl Sunday and we need to hide the mess in here.  😦  It’s making me cranky.  Oh well.  Having my gratitude journal is really helping me keep things in perspective.  Even on days when I only have 1 item listed.

Happy crafting!

~Melanie

Women’s March

womens-march-la

Just a quick post before I head over to the Women’s March this morning.  I’ll be there with my daughter and a friend.  I’m just a bit excited as I haven’t been to a march/rally in years and never with my daughter.  This will be a new experience for us.

In crafty news, knitting continues to be my go to craft on a day to day basis.  I’ve worked on the boy’s hat while waiting in the car for various reasons.  I’ve worked on my magenta/gray socks.  And I am currently trying to get gauge on a sweater.  My focus this weekend will be my pink/blue socks:

pink/blue socks 1/17/17

pink/blue socks
1/17/17

This is how they looked last Tuesday.   All I need to do is graft those toes together and then it will be done.

In addition, I want to make project bags.  I’ve been wanting to make these for awhile as I’ve been seeing so many cute project bags lately.  I’ve been watching a lot of you-tube shows about knitting and quilting lately.  I’m drooling over those project bags.  I don’t want to spend $20-$40 since I know I have the fabric and supplies to make them myself.  Zippers scare me though so I’m going to start with a drawstring bag.  I made one years ago… and I found a picture…

1st Drawstring Bag

1st Drawstring Bag – 10/2013

I figure I’ll start with these and move on to the zippered bags at some point.  I am planning on doing some this weekend.

On the quilty end of things, I was able to get the inner top to Celtic Solstice complete.  After it was all pieced, I noticed a few of the blocks (block A) turned the wrong way.  It’s not hugely noticeable and I’m not going to rip to turn them the right way.  This weekend my plan is to take a picture of it and work on the border.  It looks like there are supposed to be 3 borders and one of them is a pieced border of chevron units.  I believe that we’ve already put together those chevrons in a previous step (I really hope so!  If not, I’ll be doing something different.)

On a personal note… more bad news this week.  It seems like every time I feel like we’re leveling out and may even have a bit of calm something else happens.  I guess in the true sense of things, it’s not really bad.  We have our health.  We have each other.  I have my sewing machine and my fabric. 🙂  and now my yarn.  I did have to say no to a request my quilt guild made of me.  I felt bad to have to say no but I knew there was no way I was going to be able to help them.  I really have to say no more often.  I started my gratitude journal again.  A year or so ago I was posting a gratitude post every day and at some point it fizzled out.  But since I’ve been going through this negative period right now I felt like I needed to jot down things I’m grateful for.  Unlike before where I was doing this at the end of the day, I actually am writing my gratitudes as I see them.  That way by the end of the day I have a list of things to reflect upon and be grateful for.  It is helping.  I’m also not posting them online.  Maybe I will, I don’t know.  I just started a few days ago and I’m keeping things real simple for now.   Thanks for everyone who reached out with positive words via comments or emails.  They help also!

Well, on to the march!  I can’t wait to see all the pussy hats!  (btw, I really hate that word.  It makes me cringe.  But that’s what their being called.  At least it’s easier to write than to say!)

~happy marching, ladies!

~Melanie

Knitting Tuesday, 1/17/17

While on hiatus, I’ve been doing a lot of knitting.  It’s been easy to pick up and just start and then put it down until the next time I get the chance to knit.  I’ve started a few more projects and I thought it would be cool to show the sock projects I’ve been working on.  It’s been awhile since I’ve posted pictures on my knitting.  And I’m very into socks right now.  I’ve got 4 started in various degrees of finishing.

pink/blue socks 1/17/17

pink/blue socks
1/17/17

This is almost finished.  I need to graft the toes on the second sock and weave in all the ends.  I’ve got a mini hole in the first one that I need to close up.  Then these will be done.  As you can see, the second one is much better than the first.  I ventured off and used multiple colors because I didn’t have enough of either yarn to do a pair of just one color.  So I decided to mix it up.  And I had just enough for these two!  What’s great is that that’s 2 mini balls of yarn used! 🙂  woohoo!

magenta/gray socks 1/17/17

magenta/gray socks
1/17/17

In this sock, I’m working on knitting the foot.  Since it’s straight stockinette, this is in my purse for those moments when I’m out and about.  It’s great to do while waiting in line, waiting in the car for kids or hanging out with friends.  I find it soothing when I’ve got knitting in my purse waiting for downtime.  This is Malabrigo yarn I bought in Florida and started the ribbing while I was there.  I have the label somewhere but I can’t find it right now.  The pattern is from a Craftsy class, My First Socks with Lucy Neatby.  I’m just doing all my socks with this pattern until I feel comfortable and can do them in my sleep.  I’m knitting these on #1 – Chiaogoo’s 9 inch circulars.  I’m not certain I love them yet.  I find that I have to push the yarn through.   I was watching the grocery girl’s podcast and one of the ladies mentioned that it takes time for these to warm up and once they do the yarn will glide more smoothly.  We’ll see how it goes.

Purple/gray socks 1/17/17

Purple/gray socks
1/17/17

I bought this purple/gray yarn from Florida too and it’s also Malabrigo.  I’m working on the heel and it sits at home because I still need to kind of concentrate while I’m working on the heel.  I’m knitting these on the #2 Chiaogoo 9 inch circulars and I recently bought #2DPNs from my local yarn shop.  The DPNs are Knitter’s Pride.  I just started using those and I like them but the tips are not as sharp as my knitpick’s DPNs.

Snowberry socks 1/17/17

Snowberry socks
1/17/17

And finally, I just started the ribbing on this one.  I love the yarn!  It’s Mountain Colors Crazy Foot in “Snowberry”.  I love how it feels to knit the yarn. 🙂  I’m also using the #2 Chiaogoo 9 inch circular.  That’s my sock knitting right now.  These are all for me and my girl.  We’ve got similar size feet so we can share.  My ankles are bigger so once I get an idea of what works for me, I’ll have to figure out how to adjust the pattern for her.  Then I’ll make one for my boy and maybe one for the hubby.  I’m not sure he’ll actually wear it so I don’t want to make it until I’m ready to make it. 🙂  I just casted on another hat for Jacob but I don’t love the yarn so we’ll see how long that takes me.  I don’t love it because it feels scratchy.  I’m not sure where I bought it but I had 2 skeins in my yarn stash and I must have purchased it with a project in mind but I do not remember which pattern.

Even though I’ve got 4 sock projects and a hat project going on, I still want to start working on a shawl.  I know the shawl will take a long time so I want to get started and do a row or so a week or a day depending on my mood. :()  if the yarn shop was not closed today I have the strong urge of heading over there to get started on one. 🙂  Luckily they are closed.  Hopefully the urge is not so strong tomorrow, when they are open.

~Happy Knitting

~Melanie