A Couple Scrap Quilts

I recently finished up the binding on a couple quilts almost entirely scrappy in nature.

Upcycled Log Cabins

The first is a log cabin using widths of cut up jeans and khakis – all worn at one time to my family.  The red in the middle is standard Kona quilting cotton.  I now wish I had upcycled an old cotton shirt instead of using “new” fabric for the centers because the whole quilt from front to back to binding is recycled fabric.

Upcycled Log Cabin

The back is an old flannel sheet.  Because the denim is so heavy, I decided not to use any batting.  The binding is leftover denim mostly as well.  However, it got so heavy that I had to improvise with a full fold-over binding that looks pretty cool except in the corners.

Upcycled Log Cabins

Lastly, the Wild West fabric is a throw back to my pre-motherhood days when I was thinking ahead to motherhood and thinking I’d have a son who loved cowboys.  Wrong.  I have a son who loves airplanes and sports.  I still like the fabric and will be using it in another scrappy quilt coming up.

Upcycled Log Cabins

This quilt is destined to be my “car” quilt – you know, the one that’s always available for both wrapping around oneself on a cold day or for laying out for an impromptu picnic or whatnot.

* * *

The second quilt has a story.

Theresa Quilt

There’s a young girl in my church being raised by a single grandma.  She’s since moved to another small town as her grandma looked for work and a place to live.  My interactions with Theresa and her grandma have been relatively small, but sometimes their situation weighs heavily on me.

I don’t want to get “religious” here (even though I do worship regularly), but I felt a strong calling to make Theresa a quilt.  No guilt.  No expectations.  No accountability.  Just a little tap on my creativity to do something for someone else.   I didn’t tell anyone.  I just started making it without a time frame.  No pressure.  Just do it.

Theresa Nameplate

Making it is going to prove the easy part.  Finding her address may be harder.  I know the town where they moved, but I don’t know where they live, and in this day of cell phones, finding an address is going to be hard unless I travel there and casually inquire at a local café or the city library.  The school would know her address, but they won’t give it out to anyone except the CIA or FBI (guessing there).  They might say they’ll deliver it, and I should trust them – small town communities are pretty good about honoring their word.

Stay tuned.  I’ll let you know when it’s delivered.  It will be a July project unto itself.

Posted in Embroidery, Hand-stitching, Handmade, Quilts, Repurposed, Sewing, Uncategorized, Upcycled | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Dud Parade

Oh, I can knit an admirable hat or a much-appreciated pair of socks.

Sweaters – – not so much.

But I will conquer them.  And I’m starting by unraveling the following duds.  All sized poorly.  It will be the “Summer of Unravel and Re-Ravel” around here.

This is a way-too small Kelly Cardigan by Erika Knight.

Bad Kelly Cardigan

This is a way too-big Bardot Sweater by Erika Knight.  Look at those ridiculously skinny arms and the gi-normous neck.  Oh, I wish I could show it to you on, but the fabric literally fell to below my breasts.  It’s the only dud I’ve put on and then laughed hysterically.  Wait, not true, there was a hat that looked like a mushroom, but it was my kids who laughed hysterically more than me.

Terrible Bardot Sweater

This is a too tight La Gran sweater by Pam Allen.

Ugly La Gran sweater

This is a tiny version of OWLS by Kate Davies.

Too-Small OWLS

I’m already working on a newer, happier version of OWLS.  Will post soon.

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Tidying Up

“Use it up!” — That’s been my mantra on many, many things lately. Whether it be the bags of oat bran that are clogging my freezer (from an impetuous 50-lb purchase several years ago–don’t ask…) or the shampoo that no one really likes but is half way used. Of course, it’s also been applying to the BIG THREE: yarn, fabric, scrapbook supplies.

None of the Big Three are even close to being admirably compact in the space they take up, but all of them are so much better than they were a couple years ago. That, in itself, feels marvelous.

Lately I’ve been wrapping up the “small” projects lying about before I tackle a somewhat loathsome task of reworking my knitting duds.

Theresa's quilt

I finished the binding on a scrappy improve quilt.

Project bag

I made a little project bag for sock knitting.  I had to have this ribbon, and then I quickly grabbed a quarter yard of fabrics to coordinate.  This was my most recent impetuous purchase…some 8 weeks ago.  Let it be known that I’m trying to keep impulsive spending to small projects and (importantly) I’m making the project soon rather than let it linger in some plastic bin for years (talking about me – not you– even though I know, dear reader, that you must identify with me in some degree. But to each her own!).

Everdeen Beanie

Then there’s the Everdeen Beanie.  Knit with Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, it was heavenly to work.  The pattern was very easy once you got in to it; I just needed to pay attention to the end of the chart.  I think if I make it again, which I probably will, I’ll be sure to string in a lifeline on the last row of the chart before continuing on.

I wanted to get these finished because I’m going to tackle “The Duds.” Four sweaters knit without regard to swatches or measurements. Four disasters. Four money pits. Four frustrations. The dud parade starts tomorrow.

Posted in Hand-stitching, Handmade, Hats, Knitting, Quilting, Sewing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Just a Monday Morning

I love Monday mornings. I know I’m in the minority. After a week-end of being on the go, I love the solitude of the house to myself after the kids get on the bus and my husband heads off to work.

It’s a happy production day here. I finished a hat.

Lionsdaughter signature hats


I’m trying something new ala Knitting Sarah’s challenge to try a new sock technique and enter in for a yarn giveaway.  I’m trying LACE with a Raindrop pattern, but with the orange yarn, I’m thinking of renaming it Dragon’s breath or something fiery like that.


I tried a new alternative recipe for peanut butter muffins. These are so good, but loaded with fat (which I’m trying to eat MORE of as I listen to the advice of gurus who say it’s the FAT that keeps you full).


And I’m working on some scrapbooks. Yes, I scrapbook. I used to do it exclusively, but now I do it to keep track on the zillions of photos around here. So, I’m nearly finished with our 2008 trip to Hawaii – one more page. Yay.


And call me crazy, but I just finished a scrapbook for my dog that passed away a couple years ago. Her death was hard, so putting her pictures together has been a balm.

Arwen's book

I hope your Monday is excellent!

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I’ve been knitting socks lately. I’ve mentioned it before that I never intended to knit socks when I began my knitting odyssey, but these days socks tend to fly around my magic loop. I think I’ve completed something like 14 pairs, which still astonishes me a little, but clearly I need to own up and announce that I like to knit socks.

McIntosh Boot Socks

I just finished the McIntosh Boot Socks by Jennifer Burke. These were a small challenge to make because the recommended Rowan is thicker than standard sock yarn. I also cast on in the prescribed size 3 and changed to size 4 when the pattern indicated, but those needle sizes were WAY too big for my calf. I knocked it down to a size 2 for the whole sock, and even that size is a little too big.

McIntosh Boot Socks

The caveat with these socks is that I can’t wear them on bare legs or else they’ll fall in a bundled heap around my ankles. This was so upsetting to me after knitting the first sock that I grumbled and cursed a little at the sheer time it took to knit the pattern and the expense of the Rowan yarn. I frogged them for a while, nearly set to unravel them. Then I somehow learned that they would stay up as long as they had another fiber to cling to, so aha! I could wear them with leggings.

McIntosh Boot Socks

Unfortunately, they are so thick that they only fit with one pair of boots, but it’s all good. At least I have these boots to show them off.


Meanwhile I made my husband another pair of Skyp socks. I’m so happy that he loves handmade socks. I’m naming these the Porcupine Skyps because the colors remind me exactly of the colors of Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains in autumn (where we’ve started taking yearly treks in early October and staying in their yurts – deserves a whole post of its own – very good times and beautiful trails).

Porcupine Mountain Skyp socks

And I also just finished another pair of Basic Ribbed socks, which I swore would be my last pair of basic ribs, but then I opened the sock yarn stash to see a frogged project with, yep, basic ribs started. So, I’m working on those now and they will be the last pair of all-over ribbed socks. The story on these stripes, however, is purely a use-up project of yarns. The orange played a part in this project, and the pinks came from leftovers on this project (both basic ribs – surprise!)

Basic Ribs - Lionsdaughter

The stripes are differently sized in homage to my oldest daughter who only wears mismatched socks. And, as you can see, I ran out of yarn. Looking back I should have made the leg length a little shorter. I finished the toes off with some leftover blue from this project.


It’s snowing here again (big, wet snow in bursts between rain), so I think today is a good day for the thickness of hand knit socks.

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Knitting for Dystopia (or sorta like that)

I’m an absolute sucker whenever my kids ask me to knit them something. They can ask me in the rudest, most growly manner, and I’ll coo back, “of course, I’d love to knit you something.”

Even though there’s a wee rational part that says “they won’t wear it once they get it,” I make it anyway.  That wee rational part only triumphs when it comes to selecting the yarn. Okay, so I won’t make it the project in the gorgeous Rowan Big Wool that costs $16 for a 100g ball even though I would prefer it. One must be reasonable.

And thus I went with the Katniss Cowl my 14-year-old daughter requested.

Katniss Cowl

Made with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and with new Rosewood needles in size 17, I knit in early January wondering all the while if I would end up with this half sweater, half cowl in my closet. Then I wondered if I could wear it since Katniss is a Young Adult icon, and I’m a 40-something mother whose “hipness” is up for considerable debate, always instigated by said 14-year-old daughter. All I know is that I definitely am not a Katniss wannabe.

My daughter did wear it out (into a crowd no less), and she did get compliments on it. But…she hasn’t worn it since. But I’m glad I made it. The pattern was nicely challenging, the yarn was much nicer to work with than I expected, and I predict the shape of this cowl will transcend the young adult genre (as The Hunger Games itself did).

In other news, I took up the Herringbone pattern in the cowl and made a super skinny cowl by casting on just 11 stitches. Made from gorgeously woven Plymouth Baby Alpaca Magna yarn, I stretched it out a little to make it wrap around my neck three times. I’ve worn this cowl more times than I can count, and it’s kept me warm even in the most brutal winter we’ve just had.

Skinny Herringbone Cowl

Skinny Herringbone Cowl

Meanwhile, my son recently asked me to make him a hat that resembles Yoda…you know, the green beanie with the donkey-like ears protruding. Erm, I’m hoping he conveniently forgets about it as summer draws near, but if he asks this fall, I’ll probably say yes.

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A Snow Day Bonanza

School released early…AGAIN…because of an April snow storm.

Snow Day

Happily it’s the first day after tax season, so it feels like a holiday on several levels to have my husband back in a “normal” capacity. The woodstove is blazing, the dog is barking like a maniac every time a snow plow goes by (erm, “maniac” is an understatement), video games are being played, Taylor Swift serenades from downstairs, and naps are in progress. It’s like one of those somewhat idyllic days, even though all of us are a little chagrined at MORE snow.

We dyed Easter Eggs.


I sewed a little. My youngest daughter has a somewhat odd fascination with giraffes at the moment, and she spied some luscious giraffe minkee fabric at Treadle Yard Goods in St. Paul a few weeks ago. I’m all about encouraging my children’s interests, so we bought enough to make a pillow and a cowl (she chose the orange coordinate color too). It’s good to finish up these easy projects.

Giraffe Pillow

Giraffe Cowl

I also finished the binding on a table runner for a swap over at Mary Jane’s Farmgirl Connection. It’s an Earth Day swap with a caveat that one makes something ONLY from things already in one’s possession. I had seen a YouTube video on how to quilt a table runner as you go, so I experimented with this project. I will definitely be making more of these; they are so easy and saved me big time on paying for outside quilting.

Scrappy Table Runner

Whatever your April 16 weather is, I hope you’re cozy!

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