Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Eiko kaleidoscope

I'm trying to get to some of my WIPs that have been lingering way too long. This one started as a test block for Melissa Lunden's Break Dance quilt pattern. I had enough bits and pieces to make up the smallest of the three sizes, a crib sized quilt. Mine finished a bit larger at about 45" x 56" than was indicated on the pattern -- not sure what happened -- maybe I was too skimpy with the seams?

Most of the fabric is from Birch's Eiko collection. Sadly, Eiko prints are getting scarce and won't be re-printed as far as I know. I'm glad I had enough to get this one done!

As I'm looking at the picture below, I'm thinking I should add one more row to the bottom, so that the overall kaleidoscope design will be symmetrical. That would make the quilt 56" x 56", which would be a nice throw size. (No more babies in this household!)

I was so excited to get this one on the longarm.  But now that it looks like I'll be adding another row (hopefully I will have enough scraps for another 5 blocks!!), I'm not quite so irked that the longarm quit on me in the middle of a customer quilt yesterday. I'm waiting for a service call, and hopefully I will get it back up and running soon!

I'm linking up with Lee's weekly WIP Wednesday series. See you there!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Geese in the Pond Quilt

Once I had all the blocks cut, the piecing went pretty quickly. It's currently 60" x 60", which feels a little small for me, so I'm undecided as to whether to add an additional row or border(s). Directions for the Goose in the Pond block can be downloaded here.

This is my favorite block. The background is a map print from the Priory Square collection, in a metallic bronze, which I was so excited to work with when I first saw it.

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced! There are so many cool projects in the making over there...

Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday Finish - Bliss Sampler Quilt!

I just finished machine quilting this top, which I had pieced way back in December 2011. Seriously -- sheesh! Time flies. You can find all the details in my original post, but the short story is the fabric is from an old collection by Bonnie and Camille called Bliss.

I quilted it using an all-over pattern called Royal Plumes. I had thoughts about doing some custom quilting, but the reality is that I'm always a little short on time when it comes to my own work.

The backing is from a collection called Mod Studio by Holly Zollinger for Riley Blake. Not sure where you can get this print nowadays.

And finally, some of my favorite blocks:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's the Balm!

I couldn't help it, very punny, I know. I've been making lip balm and lotion bars! They're super easy to make and totally addictive.

I bought all my supplies at The Portland Homestead Supply Co. (except for the little Altoids tin). If you are ever in Portland, specifically in the Sellwood neighborhood, the store is worth a visit. They have all sorts of homesteading type supplies, including soapmaking, canning, and all things urban chicken raising.

I used this recipe but divided everything in half (i.e,. 1 tbl beeswax pellets, 1 tbl shea butter, 2 tbl sweet almond oil). Also, I used the essential oils I had on hand, which were lavender and peppermint. Combined with the smell of beeswax, it turned out to be a lovely scent. I ended up with enough balm to fill these two containers, plus two standard chapstick-type tubes.

I also made a lotion bar, using the same ingredients (beeswax, shea butter, and sweet almond oil) but in a 1-1-1 ratio, also scented with lavender and peppermint essential oils. I LOVE this bar! My 10-year-old, who has always had a touch of eczema at his elbow creases, has also been using this lotion bar and loves it too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Incredible Hulk aka Kale Ginger Apple Smoothie

I started making these kale ginger apple smoothies last summer, after having one at a juice cart in SE Portland. They called their smoothie The Incredible Hulk. It was insanely good (for being green), and my (at the time) 7-year-old loved the smoothie as much as I did.

The only problem was that it was kinda pricey, being close to $5 a pop. Consistent with the cart's SE Portland location,  the ingredients were organic, from local farms, which helps explain the spendy price tag.

Totally obsessed with the idea that I could make a similar smoothie (also from organic, local produce, of course), for less than $5, I reviewed a bunch of different recipes on the internet. After many smoothies, I came up with this recipe that I now make all the time. I have sometimes served it as a replacement for veggies and beverages at mealtimes, so I don't feel as badly about serviding something like pizza.

Kale Ginger Apple Smoothie

In a blender, crush:

1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and rough chopped
3-4 ice cubes

1/2 banana
1/2 apple, cored and rough chopped
2 handfuls chopped kale (roughly 1.5-2 cups loosely packed; I buy mine in a bag which makes the process way faster)
8 oz apple cider

Blend until smooth. Yields about 16-20 ounces, or 2 servings. According to my My Fitness Pal app, the total calories is 257.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

WIP Wednesday - More Goose in the Pond blocks

It's been a long time since I participated in WIP Wednesday, so I'm super happy to have something to contribute.

These are the latest two blocks for my Goose in the Pond quilt. The first two blocks, along with a link to the PDF instructions for making up the 15-inch block, can be found here.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Just a plain old hat

After I finished knitting up the Skull Isle Hat and Hutchin, my oldest boy requested a hat, too. He was very specific in what he wanted, a black hat with a double layered brim to keep his ears warm. I asked him if he wanted stripes, or colors, or cables...but no, just a plain old black hat.

Despite its plainness, the hat was pretty fun and easy to knit up -- the perfect project for multiple episodes of Broadchurch. I think it could easily made into a stripey hat.

In the language of the great Elizabeth Zimmermann, here are my pithy directions for this hat.

A Plain Old Hat:

This particular hat was knit for a 10-year-old boy, who has the same head circumference as my own, a pretty standard 22 inches. If you want to size up or down, change the needle size accordingly.

I used a nice standard worsted weight wool, Cascade 220 (220 yd/3.5 oz)

Size 6 (4 mm) circlular needles with a long cable


Brim - Using a provisional cast-on technique of your choice, cast on 96 stitches onto a circular needle. Begin a 2 x 2 rib in the round using a magic loop technique. (A 2 x 2 rib is just as it sounds, k2 p2, all the way around.) Continue rib for 15 rounds or about 2 inches. Purl next round. Continue in rib for another 15 rounds, or the same amount of rounds you did before the purl round.

Body - Now fold the provisional cast-on edge toward the inside of the hat, so that the purl row now forms the bottom of the hat. On the next round, knit together the stitch that is on the left-hand needle with one provisional stitch from your cast on row. Keep working the provisional stitches into the stitches on the left-hand needle as you knit all the way around until you have completed the round and there are no more provisional stitches. (Count your stitches to make sure that you still have 96!)

Continue knitting in the round until the hat measures about 6.5 inches from the bottom of the brim.

Crown shaping -
Round 1 - *K14, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 2 and every even round - k all stitches
Round 3 - *K13, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 5 - *K12, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 7 - *K11, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 9 - *K10, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 11 - *K9, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 13 - *K8, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 15 - *K7, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round (48 sts)

Round 16 - k
Round 17 - *K6, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 18 - *K5, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 19 - *K4, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 20 - *K3, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 21 - *K2, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 22 - *K1, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 23 - *k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. 6 sts remain.

Cut yarn and thread through the last 6 stitches. I like to go through twice, to make it feel more secure. Weave in the tail and fasten off. There -- you've got yourself a new hat!