Thursday, February 18, 2016

Jammie Pants Galore!

Hi all -

I've been finding that the quilting muse hasn't been visiting me lately so I've been concentrating my efforts in other places. My biggest project lately has been the making of jammie pants. I love flannel jammie pants and have a pattern that's perfect for me. Since I work at home most of the time, I really spend a lot of time in these pants. (I probably shouldn't admit that....) I've been collecting on-sale flannel for a while and decided it was time to get these piles of fabric out of my stash and into my drawers so I just completed six new pairs of jammie pants:

Hopefully the UPS guy will appreciate all of the new colors and patterns he'll get to see! I always buy a lot of extra flannel for these since fabric manufacturers are really skimping on fabric width and I always prewash so I often don't have anywhere near the required 44/45" of fabric width, so I have a jammie pants quilt somewhere in my future. That'll be fun!

The other little bit of sewing I've done lately was making a gift bag to hold my friend's birthday gift. A couple of weeks ago, this friend gave me a big bag of specialty fabrics that she wasn't going to use. I always take it all in and hope that a use will come along. As I was getting ready for her birthday, I thought it would be fun to make a gift bag out of one of her fabrics:

I think it turned out beautiful! The main fabric was a moderately heavy, shiny, slightly slippery fabric that seemed to fray fairly easily. To tame the fabric, I fused some Pellon Shape-Flex to the back of the fabric. It worked really well and added some body to the bag. For the bag lining, I just used a solid black quilting cotton (Moda Bella).  It sewed up nicely, but I'll be ordering some slippery lining fabrics for future gift bags since, even though these are harder to sew with, they make it easier to slip gifts into and out of the bag.

It was really fun giving her the gift. When she saw the bag, her face lit up and she said that she thought she had some of this fabric at home. With a smile, I told her that she didn't. She got a quizzical look on her face and said she was pretty sure she had some. Then, all of a sudden, she realized what she had done with the fabric and where I had gotten it. We both had a good laugh!

Along with the sewing, I've continued to work on my knitting. The first project I made was another scarf. This one I made out of a really pretty acrylic yarn that had frequent color changes. I thought this would be a nice pattern for a long scarf that could be wrapped around the neck twice, if desired, so I just kept knitting until it seemed to be a good length:

Of course, I have to make poor Lance model it for you because everything looks good on him!

Doesn't he look thrilled???

The second project I made was a pair of fingerless mitts. I wanted to learn the technique where you knit both mitts on a pair of circular needles so that you complete both pairs at the same time and also are sure to have the same number of rows in each. In my Craftsy class that teaches this, she had a pattern for fingerless mitts knit out of a bulky yarn, so I used that pattern so I could easily follow along with what she was doing. The technique worked well for me, but the mitts turned out terrible. I'm still figuring out how to determine what yarn to use for each project, especially since a lot of patterns (including this one) only specify which yarn she used and the gauge that she got, but not the weight (worsted, bulky, super bulky, etc) of the yarn. I wanted to use something out of my yarn stash so I picked a yarn but it ended up being a little too thick:

Actually, the part around the hand is okay, but the thumb is ridiculous. The picture that went with the pattern didn't show the thumb at all so I don't know what hers looked like. But these will still keep someone's hands warm, so they're fine.

My other knitting project was a washcloth for my friend's birthday (her main gift was a large photography book, so this wasn't the only thing in that big gift bag):

I really like how this turned out and she seemed to be really happy to receive it.

Well, that's all for now. I'm hoping to move back to quilting soon. I'll let you know when I get there.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Winter Wonderland

Hi all -

I thought I'd share pictures of our first big snow of the season. I define a "big" snow as one that I have to shovel. We've had other storms, but none were more than about 8" so I was able to just drive over the snow and smash it down rather than shoveling. The latest storm started on Sunday and finished up yesterday, leaving behind about 18" of snow. Here's what it looked like out the back door:

And out the front:

I start my shoveling on the front porch. Here it is halfway done with Lance sitting next to the snow to try to give it some scale:

Then I head out the walk to the gate:

When I get to the gate, I get to see what's still ahead of me:

The road is way down on the left side of the photo. But another hour or so of work gives me a nice, clear driveway:

I actually really enjoy these snows. It's a bit of work to get the driveway clear, but it's beautiful outside while you're doing it and it's so quite and peaceful. We're supposed to get some pretty big dumps this spring, so we'll see what tune I'm singing after shoveling a multi-foot snowfall....