Monday, December 28, 2009


The above fabric is called "Woodland Friends" by Ellen Crimi-Trent for Clothworks and honestly, how does one get ideas that cute?!

You might remember my sad story in November of poor zipper planning and the "unneeded" fabric buy. Well that Hedgehog fabric was that unplanned buy. It completely changed a quilt plan on me. I had to have it.

The pattern is "Bright Garden" from Sweet and Simple Baby Quilts by Mary Hickey. Once I had cut and sewn all the pieces and was doing some layout I did agonize a bit about the striping and the direction of the hedgehogs but the more I looked at it the more I liked it and I was able to move some blocks around to get a better balance. I could have gotten around the different direction stripping by creating extra separate triangles rather than using opposite halves of a cut square.

Jungle Quilt

The cute animal fabric for this quilt was a lucky find at Gathering Fabric quilt shop in Woodinville. The fabric was "Jungle Jumble" by Michael Miller Fabrics LLC and it was so popular that I had to wait for them to do a re-order to get the fabric.

The pattern is "Windows" from Phenomenal Fat Quarter Quilts by M'Liss Rae Hawley. The open squares were intended to feature embroidery but I just used it to feature the jungle print. For the pieced blocks I tried to fussy-cut the small center square to get either the head or the entire animal.


I made these dishcloths using Red Heart Eco-Cotton yarn. It is more of a DK weight so for each cloth I would combine colors from two different skeins for more weight and color.

I liked the yarn quite a bit actually. It is mostly a recycled cotton with some acrylic in it. It is easy to work with and surprisingly decent colors.

There are so many dishcloth patterns out there online. The dishcloth below was made to specification but too large for my taste personally. I liked the texture of the design however so if I did it again, I would just make it smaller in width and length.

Lace Zig Zag Dishcloth Pattern:

This other one I really liked. Easy and satisfying to make and I preferred the size. I think you lose a bit of the border patterning with doubled yarn like I did.

Tried and True Dishcloth by Phyllis:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Disappearing Hawaii Nine Patch

I received my first charm pack a few years ago before I had ever heard the term or even knew what one was.

I finally got inspired to try and make a quilt with these Hawaiian prints and after a lot of searching settled on what seems to be called a "Disappearing Nine Patch" design. I used two Web sites a lot to help me with planning:

Snippets of a Quilter
Quilts and ATCs

First to create several nine patch blocks. I tried to make the bolder/darker colors form an "x" as recommended in one blog.

Cutting them apart:

Resulting new blocks for arrangement:

Once all the blocks were cut apart I had to start thinking about different layouts and designs.

I would lay something out and walk away for a couple of days.

Ultimately this layout would prove to be the cleanest for me visually:

Sewing it all together:

This was a perfect quilt for a striking red backing. I agonized over the borders and quilting. Any borders I tried really ruined it and once I got comfortable with the idea of free-motion quilting over the entire quilt I had a fun time with it.

The finished product:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Crashing alder

I heard a very familiar crash and felt the thud today; only I hadn't heard a chainsaw. I went first to check the neighbor and while going towards the other neighbor I noticed that the loss was in fact mine.

It took out another small tree I think and some large branches but it missed any structures so everything is OK. It uprooted in the soft soil - my hillside is also hosting an always changing creek so it is soggy to begin with.

I don't get too upset about losing the alders; although this was one of my older and larger ones.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I went to put the blocks together and ran into a problem. With each block there is a background fabric and you are given the dimensions to cut it down.

So my friend did her blocks without cutting the background fabric down at all while I cut my down exact (sometimes you only trimmed a half inch, sometimes several inches). You can imagine the problem. I managed to get things together without cutting off any animals, but definitely parts of the blocks got sewn into the seams that weren't intended to.

I also found that some of the blocks that had probably been rolled up for years were losing their adhesiveness and I had problems with pieces trying to come up. It looks much more balanced now with the borders on. :)

Finishing the bear and berries

My final task before I begin sewing blocks together was to complete the partially done block 6. I needed to add a bear snout, some branches and some berries. I almost liked the bear without the big branch in front of him when all was done.

I also had to start using a different adhesive. I was using leftover Therm O Web HeatnBond Lite that was probably bought over 10 years ago in another state. So when I realized I wasn't going to have enough to finish the entire quilt, I didn't even bother trying to find that exact brand. Instead I got Lite Steam - A - Seam2. At first I didn't like it. It wasn't its fault. I didn't read the directions and I was used to how the other stuff felt and worked. But the one thing I really did like about it is that it has just a little bit of grip to it before it is actually adhered and that made layout and planning considerably easier.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Hummin' Blossoms" Block 11

"Hummin' Blossoms" is the final main block of the At Home in the Woods series. There is going to be more to do in the borders and across multiple blocks but first I have to get these main blocks all together.

In this particular block, there is an entire second plant missing that will be on the right side and onto a neighboring block with deer.

I still also have some ladybugs to add on the leaves of the plants. The hummingbirds were actually a lot of fun to put together...more fun than the plants.

I couldn't wait to put all the blocks together on the floor just to get an initial sense of the layout. These main blocks are as done as they can be until they are all sewn together and I can start laying out some overlapping items. Also, I do have some final berries and a bear snout still to add - but at least now I can approach the partial block. :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Completed socks

These socks were started a couple of years ago. The pattern is "Roza's Socks" by Grumperina, Spring 2007 Interweave Knits.

I followed the pattern suggestion for Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn, my color was "Purple Club" (701). I actually really really liked the yarn, but I am not sure that I like it as a sock yarn. It seems to have absolutely no stretch or give. None. And amazingly, this is the first time I have followed a pattern and not had my end result run big. The person intended to receive these has a smaller foot than mine, so hopefully that will be OK.

I didn't mind that I ran short in the foot length, I could have adjusted for that, but I found the heel oddly tight.

The socks are worked in a brioche and rib pattern. I don't believe I had done brioche prior to this pattern and you can see the effect sort of in the above pattern when the rib is stretched. It is a very pretty stitch.

These socks were started when my two youngest cats were really young and I was still learning that after years of pets that couldn't care less about my knitting suddenly I had two that were VERY interested. These socks took the most damage between chewed bamboo needles and yarn. I didn't notice one of the small hole until last night when I was all done and admiring the work. So I had to do some "repairing" much as I could anyway.

Freezing Break

We got above freezing today - just a few degrees but it was a huge relief.

You can see the Rhododendron out the window next to Emile. The Rhododendron leaves finally uncurled this afternoon. I am nervous about my little didn't open as much yet, but it is much smaller and less established.

The cats assumed their perches as the bird activity was pretty high today - clearly the wildlife is equally grateful for a bit warmer temperature. Princess Ottoman (Leela) loves my perfect although unintentional placement - easy watching and launching.

So far I only find Emile under the ottoman not on it. Now Emile isn't the brightest cat; but after watching several living room negotiations during this week of changes it appears he is under it mostly because he is not allowed on it.

There is one frog ornament I am about done rehanging they love it so much.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snoqualmie River Freeze

These are taken from the Mt. Si Road bridge. Above photo looking east (upstream).

Also looking east:

Still looking east. Notice the narrowing of the ice channel:

Looking more west (downstream):

Again, looking downstream. I liked the floating ice.

December Freeze

These pretty and colorful flowers of the "Hummin' Blossoms" At Home in the Woods Block of the Month is about the only color and warmth right now in my area. This block has a lot more detail to it and I haven't finished it yet as I am trying to finish a set of socks for Christmas so I am only working on it when I need a knitting break.

We are in the middle of a pretty painful deep freeze. I suppose I should feel bad complaining about it after being in misery with the non-stop rain of November...

In my opinion, a deep freeze is a little similar in inconvenience as a very hot summer stint. Things stop working; people slow down in functioning - myself included.

The plants are trying to stay tough (I have a couple that I am really worried about), but you can see from this rock of ferns that everyone is hurting:

Earlier in the week I could tell the creek had a lot of freeze just by how it sounded. Today was the first day I sucked it up to go take photos.

Christmas came early for the cats in the form of their first Christmas tree ever and living room furniture. I would chase them off the furniture only I am already fighting with them about the tree.

I just noticed now that the navy blue against the maroon/eggplant curtains is a bit unfortunate. I don't think it looks quite as bad in real life as it does in this photo...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Baby Jacket

This project is called "zip-up jacket" and it is from "Adorable Knits for Tots: 25 Stylish Designs for Babies and Toddlers" by Zoe Mellor.

Overall the pattern came together nicely. It was easy to follow and I didn't notice any mistakes. I happen to love seed stitch so it made it enjoyable to knit up. I did omit the pockets but I was using a yarn not entirely intended and had to make some modifications for yarn shrinking so I wanted to make sure I didn't run out.

The yarn was Rowan denim. The description reads: "Denim shrinks in length and fades just like jeans." I had read that the yarn could shrink up to 10 - 20% in length. Because of my limited stash, I increased the length of the end project by 10% only. I only had problems with the Rowan denim color rubbing off on my hands with one skein. I don't know why. Anyway, I will be interested to see what fading happens.

I have never had a zipper give me so much hassle. Two problems were my fault:

1. I tried to put it in using a sewing machine versus hand sewing it = puckering.

2. I bought a zipper that was not intended to detach at the bottom. Next time you ask yourself, what person would put a zipper that doesn't detach at the bottom on a baby's garment...well now you know: a person not entirely firing properly in the fabric store. Not only did I buy the wrong style zipper, but I also bought a ton of "unneeded fabric." But that is a subject for a later entry.

Once I put the zipper in properly, and then managed to accidentally take it off its track entirely and then put it back again I will say the sweater is quite cute. But I give myself some minus points in the functionality column.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dance of the River - Block #10

This block had a LOT of pieces. It also had the most colors and that was definitely where I messed up the most. I had a hard time always matching their colors correctly; you are trying to make sense of the small photo, the animal and color names such as "curry." :) This time I took a lot of cues from the fabric size as well.

I still made the most mistakes on this one so far. I had to retrace a couple of them because I misunderstood colors. Fortunately I didn't run out of color.

The water piece was huge. It is actually two adhesive pieces brought together. At first I didn't want to waste adhesive but then I realized that if I just cut it myself I would have to needle turn it all down and that seemed equally involved.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Kamikaze "Source"

Today was one of those warm and beautiful fall days that I knew I would regret not hiking in...only I wasn't entirely in the mood to actually hike. In any case, I left with the plan to go up Tenerife. Had I actually stuck to that plan, there wouldn't be much to write about.

After you visit Kamikaze on the way up to Tenerife the trail starts to gradually move east and away from the falls. Today I eyed an off-shoot "trail" I have eyed before and thought to myself today I am going to see the "top" of Kamikaze...which as you can see from the first photo is a very sheer drop.

The "trail" quickly ended and before I knew it I was on one of my poorly planned treks which I usually only do every few years...long enough in-between for me to forget about the last one.

I didn't actually hit the "top" of the falls, rather I was above them (significantly) along the Kamikaze then I thought to myself, maybe I should see where this water feeds from. The creek itself is very pretty. I think for some reason I was building it up to be this hidden beautiful lake (not that there is one on the map).

From that decision on resulted in a day of wandering up creek, uphill and off trail. It was pretty but steep. And worse than that; the creek eventually broke off in two directions. At that intersection I got distracted by an uphill area which reveled some interesting caves which the photo doesn't capture well. They are less caves and more a network of extremely large rock that creates very deep area. This one looked lived in:

As far as my source finding...eventually I hit swamp, snow, and slash and the creek really spread out. Yes. It was that bad. There was occasional tree flagging by someone who was clearly marking trees. After some unhappy tromping around; I then had to make a tough decision, and seeing as I had left my map at home because I never planned to go off trail in the first place, I decided to go back the way I came. (After consulting my map at home, I made the right decision to turn back).

There were some good parts to the exploring that I wouldn't mind getting back to; but I will need some time to forget the not so good parts.

If only a packet of 12 fake mice made people this happy: