Saturday, November 22, 2014

Something a little different :)

It is that time of the year again where it is cold outside and my perfect winter's evening is spent by the fire with a good book or knitting project and snuggling my favorite person and our favorite fur children. I don't work on knitting projects that often. But sometimes I see some inspiration on Instagram and that follows some browsing on Ravely, followed by a compulsive yarn buy on or a trip to JoAnn's.

Knitting is not something that I am used to. I picked it up once a couple of years ago and the "scarf" was a hot mess! Then, last year, my cousin (who is an amazing knitter) came to stay with me and she brought her knitting project with her. I was so mesmerized by it, I had to learn (properly)! She taught me the basic skills such as casting on, the knit stitch, and the purl stitch. Then as I was looking for knitting websites online, I came across Craftsy and downloaded Stefanie Japel's Knit Lab class and it taught me all of the beginner level skills that I needed to know. If you have never tried Craftsy, it is wonderful! The classes are an investment but I have learned sooooo much from them.

I don't take on too many knitting projects because it is still really foreign to me. And foreign=frustrating, sometimes! I am the world's slowest knitter, my tension is never consistent, and whenever I start a new project my hands feel big and clumsy and awwwwkwarddd...But I do delight in finishing a project (no matter how mediocre it looks lol).

Which leads to me to my latest finish! My husband has been desperately looking for a warm, manly looking scarf for about a month now. When finally it dawned on us-why don't I make one for him? He wanted one fast so I thought I would give loom knitting a try. My boss had completed a scarf with this technique and it looked great and she said it took no time at all. So I gave it the good ole college try....and I really love it! I completed it in less than a week and it was over 5ft long-that's a big deal for me!

If you want to learn loom knitting, don't try to follow the instructions in the box-they are horrible! I got on YouTube and found the following tutorial:

While I'm on the subject of finished knits, here is a beanie that I made for Ryan this past spring. It wasn't made on a loom, but it was my first in-the-round knitting project:

If you are a knitter and are on Ravelry-let's be friends! :) My username is jkemper8710.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Finally finished... :)

Hello, my fellow crafters! Today was a beautiful fall day and it was a perfect opportunity to get pictures of my most recent finished project.

I love my parents- they have always been so supportive of any of my endeavors. My dad is a watchmaker and he has his own workshop. He loves that I quilt, and this year he asked me to start making quilting projects to decorate his shop with. This most recent finish is of 3 quilted panels that are going to be "doors" to one of his cabinets.

The main fabric is the Indelible collection by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics (can you tell a trend here? I love AGF!!).  The pattern is semi my own. I was inspired by Jaybird Quilts' Giggle pattern and I used her Sidekick ruler to cut out all of the diamonds. I have always loved the quilts that have a pattern that kind of separates out the low volume fabric from the color saturated fabric. This is my first project in doing so, and I love the effect! I have taken a couple of Angela Walter's Craftsy quilting classes and they of course were the inspiration for my quilting. I used straight line/dot-to-dot quilting in each of the diamonds of the color saturated diamonds. Then I used swirls in the low volume colored diamonds. I love alternating between the dot-to-dot quilting and the dense, free motion designs. I believe the dense swirls in the low volume fabrics helped them to fade more into the background, while the minimal, "highlighting" dot-to-dot quilting in the color saturated parts helped the color to pop.

I've been working on this project for several months now (I believe I started back in July). This is the one thing that I sometimes "resent" about making quilts- it is such a big production! We live in the age of instant gratification and sometimes I get a project idea in my head and I want the finished project NOW! But then I have to come back and remember why I got into quilting in the first place. Each step of the process is a labor of love for me. Sometimes, just knowing that I have a project that I'm excited about waiting at home for me at the end of the day, is what keeps me sane. I love getting lost in the repetition of cutting out shapes and piecing. I love the design process that involves picking out fabrics that really build on top of one another and I love the mystery of the actual quilting part. Free motion quilting is still fairly new to me, so it is challenging to pick out a design that fits the quilt and then executing it. If there is one part that can still trip me up or frustrate me it would have to be getting the quilt sandwich made up right and then trying to quilt the whole thing. I started quilting a different project two nights ago and I had to stop because this quilt is one of the biggest I've put together so far and I'm not used to handling it all under the needle while trying to control the quilting design. And, that's okay, it's a learning and growing process- sometimes you just have to walk away from a project and come back to it later in a clearer, more positive state of mind.

In the age of Instagram and instant access to everyone else's projects on the world wide web, it can make your own projects seem pretty meaningless at times. I follow a lot of people on IG that are homemakers and have a little more flexible schedules to work on projects and they get to create more. I think that is GREAT and I hope to one day be one of them. But I'm in a season of my life where I have to work full time and I have other responsibilities that take higher priority to my creative endeavors. I really am doing everything to enjoy and make the most of this season of my life but sometimes, like I said, the world wide web makes me feel like I have very little to contribute. My purpose in talking about all of my "struggles" in all of this is just seem real here. I'm not saying that other people aren't real, but I'm saying it's easy to get caught up in other people's finished projects and victories and to think that "you aren't good enough/do enough." Everyone has struggles in their trade and if they are good, they've had to work really hard to get to where they are. A lot of time people only post the good things that they want you to see. So you don't ever really know what they went through to get there (not that they are intentionally doing that, it's just what you do as a natural human being). So if you are reading this and ever find yourself feeling that way- don't feel alone! Remember why you got into creating in the first place, turn off your electronic devices and get to your craft!