Saturday, July 30, 2011

What the... I don't even...

Verb Quilting Class Project

I have no idea where this came from!

Verb Quilting Class Project

Honestly, someone else is using the sewing machine. Maybe Starbuck.

Verb quilting class project

What's that? It can't be the cat because he doesn't have opposable thumbs?

Veeb Quilting Class Project

Is there such a thing as sleepsewing? It'd be like sleepwalking, except at the end you have a blanket and it's a miracle that you didn't stab yourself fourteen times with straight pins.

In other words, many thanks to Marisa (who blogs at Quilt Otaku) for teaching me how to line up the seams on a nine-patch block, Peapod Fabric for providing some of the fabric, and Verb for providing the rest and offering the class in the first place.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

And endings...

I feel kinda like the cat did two weeks ago. A bit bewildered and a bit ashamed, but knowing full well there isn't anything more to do about the situation.

He wears the cone of shame!

So, the Tour De Fleece ended two days ago. This is what I have finished:

TDF 2011

Four measly bobbins of singles. I didn't find time to ply anything, and I didn't even finish one of the four bags of fiber.

Since starting off with my best intentions, I've also finished my summer classes, got a cold, went to Disneyland, planned a birthday and an anniversary celebration, and taken the cat to the vet twice (once to get a cyst removed, and once for accidentally jumping out the window). To answer your questions: Yes, we have screens on our windows. No, they didn't help. The cat is fine now (see below), although he did split his chin open and I think he chipped a tooth.

Mostly Healed!

Life has gotten in the way, and I wish I could blame my slow TDF performance on all that, but the truth is I've been less than faithful to the spinning wheel.

More Buttercup Bags!

The fabric is from the first shipment of Verb's new club: The Pressed Seam.

Pressed Seam July 2011

I love the club so far, and have taken half of a machine quilting class at Verb so I can avoid little slip-ups that I made on my first quilt in subsequent projects. But lest you start to think I should change the name of this blog to "Starrycraft", which to my mind doesn't flow at all, I do have some actual knitting content! In addition to being distracted from the wheel by sewing, these were far more interesting than brown wool by the last week of the tour:


I finished this one at the annual San Francisco Ravelry Meetup. It's some precious Gothsocks yarn in the "Goblin King" colorway. This yarn was an incredible hassle to get (the Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs shop is almost always sold out), but so worth it. The striping is fantastic, the base yarn is awesome, and the solid black Koigu KPM is a good match for heels and toes if you can't get your hands on a skein of all-black Gothlings yarn. I've got another skein of this yarn, and it might just hop right onto the needles after I finish this pair.

All in all, I only feel a little bad about not doing as much as I hoped to do for TDF. The point of the tour is to challenge yourself and (for a lot of folks) spin more often than they normally do. Could I have spun more? Sure. Did I spin for an above-average amount of time this month because it was TDF? Absolutely. If it hadn't been for the tour, I would have plodded along much more slowly on this project. So although I'm not going to go so far as to say that I've accomplished my goals (I reckon I only have about 1/3 of the yarn I need for a Husbeast sweater), I can still say with confidence that I did well this year.

Hopefully I'll be able to make more reasonable goals one of these years!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I'm excited about starting three new things right now. First, on the spinning front: Yesterday was the first day of the 2011 Tour De Fleece, and although I didn't make a strong start, I have big plans for today and the rest of the tour. Here's my progress from Day #1:

TDF 2011 Day 1 Progress

I spun as much as I could yesterday morning before we had to leave for a wedding. I'm making up my TDF goals as I go along, and I might only get to this one.

Blake Fleece

The husbeast has been hinting that he'd like a sweater. It's a little bit funny because normally he never gets cold, but I think he'll need one if we ever end up on another camping trip like the last one. Since I've got more than 5 pounds of fiber in there, that will be plenty for a large man-sized sweater. Goal #1 is to spin as much of this fleece as I can before going crazy-bored out of my mind. If I have to, I'll sacrifice a bobbin or two for my sanity and spin some Hello Yarn fiber.

The second thing I'm excited about starting is exploring sewing. The quilt, as I hinted earlier, is finished:

Blue Owls Quilt

I hand-stitched the binding to the backside of the quilt during the drive to and from Yellowstone, and finished it up when we got home.

Blue Owls Quilt

It was a fabulous first project, and made me realize that several guidelines that I like to tell beginning knitters hold true for beginning seamstresses as well. A simple pattern executed with beautiful materials and solid tools will be far more pleasing than a project done with cheap tools or materials that you don't love. The simple rectangles were very forgiving when my cutting was less than perfect, and although the quilting lines tend to meander a bit, I can't resist running my hands over the smooth surface and smiling at the tiny owls on the underside of the fabric.

Blue Owls Quilt

We put the finished quilt on the bed immediately, and it hasn't come off since. I can hardly wait to make another one.

The third thing I'm super excited about starting is this:

Little Red in the City

The book arrived on Tuesday, and the yarn was formerly a very ill-fitting cardigan. I've read through about one-third of the introductory material, and I've already learned a great deal. I think the first sweater I'm going to swatch for will be Cria, the short-sleeved version.

What have you all started recently that you're excited about?