This and That in the Sunshine

I haven’t much knitting to show you – I have so much secret deadline stuff on my plate! I did finish my new shawl design out of 1 skein of Wollmeise Twin, and I love it. The pattern will be out as part of a small collection, hopefully next month.


I like to keep my knitting to the work day if I can, and do other things at night like sewing – but lately playing Minecraft has been taking over the evenings! That game is a total time suck, and we’re only playing on the PS3 where the world is limited. So I haven’t been hand quilting much, but seeing the rolled up quilt on the back of the couch makes me happy anyway. It looks like knitting!

quilt backing

We spent a good amount of time this weekend on the porch, tidying, mixing soil and compost, and planting out some of my giant tomato “seedlings”. Dale’s been playing with my camera, and he took some good shots. It’s really nice having the documentation of how things progress out there.

garden, may 25 2014

Shelling peas – we won’t get a ton of them, but I like the way they look. Plus nothing beats eating fresh peas right out of the garden.

garden, may 25 2014

Basil in with a tomato – the variety is Italian Large Leaf. I also have some Purple Opal basil that hasn’t come up yet.

garden, may 25 2014

I need some better plant labels.

garden, may 25 2014

garden, may 25 2014

Tomatoes, left to right: Ivory Pear, Matt’s Wild Cherry, Eva Purple Ball, Black Cherry. The two on the right are these ones, they must be relieved to be out of those yogurt containers! I have four more tomato plants in the process of hardening off. We’re definitely going to need a few more bins to plant in, a few more tomato cages, and more plastic netting to keep the squirrels out.

Jelly Roll Race Quilt Top

I bought a Comma collection (by moda) jelly roll last summer, and started hand sewing some of the strips together, only to stuff them into a bag for a long time. I needed something easy to sew on the machine this past long weekend, so I unpicked the handsewn seams and worked the strips up into a Jelly Roll Race Quilt!

jelly roll race quilt

Dale caught some good photos of me basting. I decided not to use all the colours in the jelly roll – I took out the pinks and greens, and added in some other fabrics for an overall palette of black, grey, white, blue, and yellow. I followed the excellent instructions from Blair of wise craft, sewing the strips together end to end, then folding the strip in half and sewing an edge together, folding that in half and sewing an edge together, etc. It’s kind of difficult to explain in words, but really easy to do!

jelly roll race quilt

My strips are shorter than they were originally – I cut the strips in half so that it would be easier to blend in other strips cut from fat quarters. I didn’t really calculate what size it would come out to, so it while it was wide enough, it wasn’t long enough for the bed! I decided to add grey borders to the ends, which look similar but were done a strip at a time to make sure I got the right dimensions.

grey border

I made a backing from some larger pieces and scraps, and sandwiched it all up. I actually had a piece of batting the right size (60″x80″) without checking before I made the quilt top, though I do think I might lose an inch or two from the width when it comes time to trim it. I’m planning to hand quilt it, and have quilted few simple lines on it so far. It’s fun!

Unrelatedly, I bought these buttons at the Purple Purl yesterday. They’re made by Debra Barnes, aren’t they lovely?

gorgeous blue buttons

Oh, Brother

Meet my new sewing machine!

New sewing machine!

It’s a really inexpensive Brother XL2800. I agonized over what machine to get, but in the end I just went with something easy that’ll get the job done. I haven’t sewn much with it yet, but so far it seems just fine – smooth, tension takes adjustments well, good selection of stitches (that I’ll probably never use!). I cut and sewed up another Wiksten tank muslin, which went just fine. Ah, the speed and ease of a machine!

another wiksten seam

It’s a bit too tight across the bust, unfortunately, even without a bra and before the neck and armhole bindings. So, I won’t be finishing this one, but at least I know that I need to cut a larger size or use a different fabric. I rarely buy or wear woven fabric tops anyway, so I think next I’ll try one in a jersey. Just need to pick up some ballpoint needles first!

I don’t have a lot of time to spend tinkering with sewing right now anyway, because I have waaaaay too many knitting projects to work on, and yarn on the way for more! Some have external deadlines, but mostly I’ve just got a bad case of startitis.

Socks that Rock

Socks that Rock in Neptune.

too many projects

A big mess on my desk!

Garden update – the front window is FULL of plants (check out the tomatoes on the right, they got huge so fast). I want to believe the chance of frost is past now, but who knows with this winter. I’ll wait till our safe planting date of May 24 before I even think about moving stuff outside. I’m in the process of hardening off most of the tomato plants now, giving them some outdoor sun and wind time so they can get used to it.

window jungle


The peas are finally up, after being planted outside over 2 weeks ago. They’re so cute!