Who knows why, but most of my latest projects involve quite a bit of dedication—as in, they’re not anything I expect to finish by my next blog post. It might have to do with this hibernating time of year; long-term projects to keep me company throughout the winter months are just so appealing.
For starters, it has slowly dawned on me that one area of quilting which I tend to overlook is, well, the actual quilting. Most of the time, my creative energy goes into patchworking together the top, and the final quilting stitches are practical, following the seams, and not particularly inventive. But now that my jobs involves being surrounded by truly gorgeous stitching, I’ve decided I need to try give my own handiwork a bit more attention. So I’ve put together this very simple patchwork top. I bought the simple brown cotton and the flannel backing at Sewfisticated, my new home away from home. The patterned fabrics are from the remaining fat quarter pack that I bought at Portsmouth Fabric Company of Anna Maria Horner’s designs.
However, this one pattern is a gift from my friend Autumn.
Autumn and I met while participating in the TNNA summer internship program, PiPN, and I fell immediately in love when I realized I’d never met such a crazy eclectic girl—she has a thing for chickens, McDonald’s apple pies, and spins lovely yarn, sometimes while wearing only her underwear. Autumn recently sent me the most wonderful impromptu gift; a beautiful little collection of cotton fabrics. This one went so conveniently well with the other fabrics in this quilt, I had to include it, but I’m saving the others for something special. I’m particularly fond of the mushrooms, they’re just adorable:
Anyway, back to the quilt. The extremely simple, large block pattern is intentional since I’m going to use this piece as an opportunity to explore my hand quilting,. It’s the perfect winter/holiday project since hand stitching can easily be done in the company of others (as opposed to sewing machine work) and to me, this time of year is all about lounging around with the people you love.
I’ve committed myself to several fairly ambitious knitting projects as well, but for now I’ll focus on one. As is probably clear by now, I have a major weakness for Classic Elite Yarns, which isn’t such an awful thing since I have easy access to them given my summer internship there a couple of years ago. All those gorgeous, natural fibers… not to mention their patterns. And even though I haven’t been following patterns much these days, my heart practically skipped a beat when I saw this stunning sweater.
I knew it had to be mine. And I’ve wasted no time. Since I decided to spend this past Halloween weekend in NYC, I had 8+ hours on a bus which means lots and lots of knitting time. Only yarn this lovely (Kumara: 85% extra fine merino and 15% baby camel) could have kept me alive and functioning on Sunday morning. By the end of the weekend, I’d completed the entire back and most of the front. This might not be such a long-term project after all…
Speaking of Halloween, I have two new nine patches in honor of this past week, the inspiration for which should be clear:
I also did a little costume sewing, though not for myself. About when I was going to sleep on Sunday morning, my older sister was waking up and taking the bus to the start of the NYC marathon. Let’s just say that she runs about as much as I patchwork, and she is absurdly good at it. But, since she couldn’t exactly celebrate Halloween evening given her run the next morning, she requested a Winnie the Pooh hat and gloves to make the actual event a little celebratory. I was, of course, honored to help—and sewing a fuzzy hat and mittens out of yellow fur material was a total blast. It turned out quite well, if I do say so myself:
I’d also like to brag that her final time was 3:13:33 (for those of you who don’t normally follow marathons, this is an average speed of about 7:24. That’s fast). I’d like to think it has something to do with the ensemble, but I realize that no amount of awesome accessories could make any normal person run at that speed. Congratulations, Charlie!
Let’s just say that I’m glad it wasn’t me running on Sunday morning. I managed to overload on sugary coffee and somehow drag myself back onto the bus, but I wasn’t up for much more than that. Imagine how good it felt, then, to come home to pasta and fool waiting for me in the fridge. I love when I have the foresight to make leftover-producing meals before a trip.
The pasta is a taco-inspired ensemble of avocado cream sauce, black beans, grated cheese, and ground turkey meat. I used Greek yogurt (along with smashed avocados, lemon juice and diced tomato) to make the sauce and the result was enough to give the meal some substance, but thin enough to spread throughout the pasta.
And the fool: cranberry-orange. Seeing as my mother’s stupendous gooseberry fool is what got me started on this dessert in the first place, I was absolutely delighted to discover that cranberries are pretty darn close. Once stewed in orange juice and doused with sugar, they’re the perfect amount of sweet and tart, and their tangy flesh dissolves just a bit, yet lingers so you get little bites of it spread throughout the fool. Truly delicious.
Yummy food that lasts, plus sewing and knitting that keeps you company during the cold winter months… Commitment feels good.