The Marriage Socks

Gray socks for the hubs

The Marriage Socks

Right before Valentine’s Day (almost two months ago) I decided to make my husband a pair of socks.  He loves handmade socks.  (In fact, everyone in my house does.)  But I had procrastinated as to whether or not to make him a pair because we don’t always celebrate Valentine’s Day.  We usually buy candy for the kids and I get flowers or candy and make a special dinner but we don’t usually go out to celebrate.  (Don’t think my husband is a cheap-skate or not romantic.  He proposed to me on February 2 and we usually celebrate that day and just avoid the crowded restaurants on Valentine’s Day).

So when I realized that we would actually be going out for Valentine’s Day, I wanted to give a gift, thus the handmade socks.  I went to Jo-Ann’s to get some fingering weight super wash wool, not the best but it was too late to order something online and I just didn’t think about my local lys (I should have!).

I decided to make my own pattern (I’m sure it’s not original) this time since my goal is to one day make a matching set of neutral colored socks for him.  I worked a 3×2 rib pattern and then for the body of the sock I went to a 8×2 rib.  I really like the way it looked, very manly but not boring to knit up.  The only thing was that the yarn DROVE ME CRAZY!  I’ve used this yarn before but for some reason it was tough going and I got little gaps and holes around the gusset that I’m not accustomed to having when I knit (and I’ve knit a LOT of socks).

 

Anyway, it was so hard to knit up what should have been a quick and easy knit that it felt like a fight.  Yes, a fight!  There were many times when I would knit up a section and find some unexplained gap or bump.  It was crazy.  These were not knitting up as well as they should have but I persevered and finished them and I’m glad I did.  When they were done, they weren’t as great as I’d wanted them to be but they were done and they were appreciated!

That’s when I got the idea to name them the Marriage Socks.   They started out simple enough and I loved the pattern and the color but knitting them up had a lot of unexpected twists and turns that didn’t turn out as well as I wanted them to or expected.  But when they were done they were beautiful, they served their purpose, and they were appreciated.  What more could I ask?  They just seemed to be a perfect metaphor for marriage.

The Sophia Carry-All – first take

First Sophia Carry-All

First Sophia Carry-All

Introducing my first Sophia Carry-All.  The Sophia Carry-All is an Amy Butler pattern that I purchased in order to prepare to make the famous Amy Butler Weekender Bag that made the rounds in all of the sewing/quilting blogs.  I actually bought the weekender bag pattern when everyone else was sewing it and blogging about it but there were a LOT of reviews that made me re-think whether or not I really wanted to tackle making it.  I am also a habitual procrastinator and that may have also had something to do with me not making the weekender bag too.  But I still had the pattern and, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking that I’d like try it out someday.  Then I saw the Sophia Carry-All pattern in my local quilt shop and decided to give it a try, thinking that if I could handle this I might be able to make the Weekender Bag.  This pattern is even touted as a companion to the Weekender Bag so I decided to give it a go!

The fabric I used was actually some leftover fabric from another project and I purchased the piping to match.  Sewing the bag together was really not so very difficult.  It took me less than 10 hours to make (I don’t really keep track of my sewing time so I’m guesstimating here).  I like the look of the bag and I’m fine with the workmanship but I would will change some things on my next bag.  (Yes, I’m making another one, I’ve got the fabric all cut and everything).  I will definitely use a stiffer interfacing.  The fabric is a nice cotton fabric (not home dec) that was interfaced with the recommended interfacing and fusible fleece.  It feels nice and sturdy but it doesn’t stand up as well as I’d like.  If I use this combination of interfacing/fleece again I would definitely have to quilt it as well to give it a little more body.  I added purse feet to the bottom of this bag even though it wasn’t part of the pattern instructions and I would definitely do it again.  I would also add another layer of timtex to the bottom for more support.

Still, I like this one even though it’s just a little floppy to me.  I’m trying to decide if I want to undo one side of the lining and embroider a monogram or just leave it like it is and use it as a travel bag.  I think it’s a keeper though and I’m excited about making it again with a few changes.

Expo Goodies

What goodies await . . .

Sew Expo Bag

I did buy a few things while I was at Expo.

First, I should explain that I did not buy fabric and didn’t plan to buy any unless I saw some really cool fat quarters at good prices.  The reason I didn’t plan to buy fabric is that I just bought a few several fabric bundles from Fabric Mart as well as a good chunk of knit, wool, denim, and pleather from Fabric Mart and Girl Charlee (more about that later, maybe!).  So I didn’t want to bring more fabric home but I figured that there would be other supplies and notions I wanted or needed that I would find there.

It didn’t disappoint.  Here’s my stash:

My Precious

Sew Expo Purchases

When I see this picture, it doesn’t look like much but it was really ALL that I wanted to buy after making three rounds through the vendors.  There is a bag pattern with accessories missing from this picture but other than a Japanese fabric that I really should have gotten, there was nothing else that appealed to me although I had a great time looking.  I did add an Amy Barickman book to my Amazon list based on a fashion show of her patterns that I got to see.

So what did I buy?  A pattern notcher, tweezers, oiler, mini iron, stabilizer, a French curve, and a purse pattern with accessories that’s already on my sewing table.

It was nice bringing money home and I did end up buying some fat quarters and a charm pack when I got back home!

Sparkle Table Topper

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This is Sparkle by Joanna Figueroa.  This is the tabletop version (measures 36×36″).  I picked this up a clearance sale over at Connecting Thread.  I wasn’t really crazy about the fabric choices because I prefer a whiter white and brighter colors for the colored blocks and half-square triangles.  This one has more of a “country” feel that’s not my favorite right now but I bought it because it was a great price, it was a pattern that I wanted to make, and it was an opportunity to practice my quilting.

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I like the way it came out even though I probably won’t keep it.  It looks really good and I really got into the quilting.  The different areas of the quilt are all quilted differently with some ‘new-to-me’ free-motion quilting techniques.

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There’s cobble-stone quilting in the squares surrounding the center square, radiating lines in the solid white triangles and pebbled quilting in the solid colored block border.

The back is a batik that I got at Jo-ann’s.

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I’m not sure who it’s going to go to yet, but I am glad that it came out so well (even the binding) since this wasn’t a project that I really put my heart into.  It was great free-motion quilting practice with the added benefit of actually producing something I really like and am proud to have made.

 

Sewing & Quilt Expo, Atlanta

I had the privilege of going to the the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Atlanta this past weekend.  I can’t compare it to any of the other expos from the past or the ones in other cities but this one was a lot like I expected – a nice quilt exhibit and a lot of shopping.  It did not disappoint. I have to qualify that by saying that I was only going for a day (Saturday) and I had purposely decided not to take any classes.  This is because the weekend was also a getaway weekend for my husband and me and while I was going to get a nice sewing/quilting fix, I really didn’t want to spend too much time away from him.

Still I have to say it was fun and inspiring.  There were a few small galleries in the quilt exhibit area.  There was an especially nice gallery featuring a modern take on double wedding ring quilts that made me want to go home and cut up some jeans and make the second-coolest double wedding ring quilt ever (the coolest one was on display).  Here’s a close-up of one of the blocks:

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This is the entire quilt:

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Here’s another modern take on the beloved double wedding ring:

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And here is a close-up:

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There was another gallery that featured old/antique, unfinished quilt tops that had been quilted by modern (that is current) quilters.  Here’s my favorite:

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Yes, I was originally attracted to the orange and white but look at the quilting, FANTASTIC!

Here’s another favorite from that group

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and again, close up

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I could have studied the quilting on just these two for hours but I settled for taking a ton of pictures, trying to get as close as possible to get some ideas for free-motion quilting on my own quilts.  I also did some shopping, which I will share in another post.  I’ll probably share some more pictures in later posts as well because I got a LOT of ’em.

 

What I’m Doing This Weekend

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I’m finally getting some time to quilt this quilt.  I started this quilt back in January.  It’s an adaptation of a Quilty magazine pattern called “Modern Plaid”.  I just changed the colors and added more width to the sides so that it fits a king-size bed. 

 

This quilt is huge and I’ve only just started the quilting this weekend but it’s going fairly well.  I still consider myself a beginner quilter so I’m only going to stipple the huge red sections but my goal is to do a little something more in the pieced sections.  My goal is have it finished and on the bed by the beginning of June.  Funny, because this is supposed to be our winter quilt but after all the work going into this quilt, it’s going to be the all-year quilt!  (At least until I start the next one ;)

 

Never Start a Blog Before a Move

So, I started this blog and then we moved.  

 

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I thought that I would just get back into my online world right after but I found that life continues even when you’re trying to unpack stuff. I still had to take kids to activities, plan homeschool schedules and lesson plans, co-op (teaching) lesson plans, and still do all the normal things like get dinner on the table.  Now that the school year is just about over, I’ve finally got time to breathe and try to actually do this blog thing which is still very much in my heart to do.  

To start off, I do want to share some of the projects that I did manage to finish last year as well as some random thoughts.  So, coming in the next few posts I’ll share mostly knitting projects that I’ve completed.