It takes a village right?

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It's still not even remotely fall-ish here which is really starting to bug me! It was 100 degrees all weekend. Ew! I refuse to drink a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte when it's over 75 degrees. But I have been making some homemade ones because Ashleigh has this theory that if we dress like it's autumn, eat seasonal treats and get cozy, the weather will HAVE to agree and turn autumn-y.

I appreciated all your emails and kind thoughts about my hand/arm stuff. I've been trying acupuncture which is so fascinating to me. I've gone five times so far and here are my thoughts:

I lack the ability to sit still. Truly. I am *always* doing things. Knitting. Playing video games. Cross stitching. Reading. Social Media. Just constantly DOING. And that hour where I have to sit still is HARD. Like the first time I went, I was nervously watching the clock and stressing out about my to do list. Then my friend Kelly had the brilliant idea to listen to an audiobook. That definitely helped, I asked my acupuncturist if that was ok and she said absolutely and now I have an hour of The Silkworm time. I'm not 100% able to relax fully but now I'm not feeling terrible about it, I look forward to listening to bits of the story. Last time I made it a full 37 minutes before I opened my eyes and looked at the clock. If you haven't checked it out yet, I LOVE the narrator of this series, I listened to The Cuckoo's Calling last fall and adored it. (Those are Amazon Affiliate links- meaning if you click them and buy those, I get a tiny percentage that I use to buy more books! But I obviously only suggest things I genuinely love!) I know they are JKR but go into the books just expecting a FANTASTIC mystery/crime and NOT Harry Potter and you'll love them. I am finding mixed relief from acupuncture. I knit yesterday for the first time in two weeks and was only able to finish one row of my Great Divide Shawl. I have a dr's appointment in October that some days I look forward to and other days I dread if I'm being honest.

It's really bothering me that I can't knit. And if I'm still being honest, this summer was hard. I had to cut back on all the things I love and I just felt sort of lost. I didn't realize how much of my happiness, self identity and confidence comes from the act of creating. I was really starting to feel sad about it and then I decided to find an alternative solution:

What if I asked for help? 

I had bought two skeins of Socks That Rock with the intent of having a Halloween Great Divide, I emailed Michele and asked if she could knit me one and she agreed! She's doing a gorgeous job on it!

And then! I've *always* wanted a crocheted afghan and my friend Bonnie made a beautiful one for one of her friends. I sent her almost my entire Plucky stash and suddenly...AFGHAN!

I had a pile of quilts I couldn't hand sew the binding on and I'm awful at machine binding...some cupcakes and rosemary potatoes later, Saremy machine bound my quilts for me. I *love* knowing that even if I'm not making things, I'm at least going to be surrounded by hand made stuff.

Someone on instagram sent me a private message asking how I could claim a quilt that someone else designed, someone else quilted and another person bound as my own. This message kind of threw me for a loop. It's definitely something to think about but I'm not dwelling on it. I feel like I have two choices: let my stash of collected yarn and fabric just sit & torment me or send it to friends and trade/buy/whatever in exchange for help finishing projects or creating projects I know I can't physically do. So thanks to CrinkleLove for quilting my Thanksgiving Donut Quilt and Eileen Quilts for quilting my Halloween Donuts, Halloween Squares and Hashtag Quilt and Saremy binding them for me I ACTUALLY HAVE THINGS TO SHARE WITH YOU! I'm looking forward to blogging about each one individually because they are all super fun. AND I HAVE COZY QUILTS TO BE COZY WITH! Because COZY.

I started actually taking Sunday's completely off. I have breakfast with my family at our favorite soda shop in Yuba City and then I come home and soak my arm. Last Sunday I cut out the first block in Moda's Modern Building Blocks. This project comes in two formats: a kit with moda bella solids (check google or your local quilt shop!) and a project fan card. I bought the fan card option off etsy (the shop is now sold out and asked me not to link directly to them) and I *love* it but it appears to be backordered online everywhere at the time I'm writing this.

It's this great sampler and the pattern cards are just the measurements for the blocks. I love it because it's so sweet and inspiring. Every sampler I make will always remind me of doing The Farmer's Wife Quilt with Angela and I wish that TFWQ book was set up this way! For me, it's so much easier to see a block diagram labeled with letters and then below those letters with the corresponding measurements. I sort of "hacked" my pattern, I put washi tape on it and hole punched the outer cover (this shows the entire quilt) so I could keep it all together on a ribbon. I kept being afraid I'd lose the outer wrapper with the quilt diagram on it! I had a perfect matching washi tape in my stash from one of my Project Life kits which made me ridiculously happy.

So today I listened to some music and cut out another Donut Quilt. This one is sort of fantasy book inspired?! And then I made my first Modern Building Block! It's a mix of quilting cotton, linen and silk. So much texture. I have no doubt this quilt will take me the better part of a year to work on and I'm sewing mostly from stash. I have a Big Life Event happening at the moment that I want to shout about from the rooftops but I'm afraid to jinx it so I'm not saying anything which is SO HARD but hopefully in 30ish days I'll be able to share something great with you. If it doesn't work out, forget I mentioned anything. Seriously. ;) If it does work out, this quilt is going to be extra special. I *love* long term projects because when you finish them and look back you see memories in them. Like "oh I was listening to this album and sewing this block when X happened." or "I got this fabric from (insert friend) during November and made a block instantly".

I took some photos last week of my current WIP cross stitch. It's pretty much the most autumn-y sweet thing ever. I just need to make sure it's ok to post them, I'm shooting for Wednesday :):):)

Have a good Monday!

Whoa Nelly.

 
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I'm so incredibly envious of all the folks I see mentioning that fall is coming! Cool weather! Leaves are turning!

It's not even remotely like it here. The only thing that I've noticed is it getting a little bit darker earlier on our evening walks.

So I'm pretending that it's happening here k?

I cut out a new quilt yesterday! I haven't sewn since I made my mod blocks quilt in May. That's crazy right?! I had almost a full day off from work yesterday and I decided to just put on some favorite music (lately I'm obsessed with old Death Cab Cutie) and just cut it out. I have two that I want to make, one sort of Autumn/Thanksgiving-ish and one Mystical/Fantasy-ish. I only got one cut out yesterday but I'm ok with it! I used a Moda Grunge that I haven't tried before, it's sort of a cream with darker cream splotches. I can't seem to find it online but I'll keep checking. I have no idea when I'll be able to sew it together but it was fun to cut it all out!

On a whim the second week of August I went by my local yarn store and picked up two DK weight yarns. I thought I'd try my hand at a Great Divide Shawl! I got a skein of Juniper Moon Findley DK in Buckwheat & Sweet Georgia Superwash DK in I think...Cayenne? Don't hold me to that, I've misplaced the tag. I cast on using size 9's (pattern calls for 8's) and just got obsessed with it! It's a *very* fun and addictive pattern. I could definitely see myself making multiples of these. I'm knitting it a little looser and English style. I haven't decided my border color yet- I have a skein of Tosh DK in Dahlia which just might be one of my new favorite colors. It's the prettiest wine-y plum. And then I have a skein of The Verdant Gryphon Traveller in Maijishan Grottoes. Which is also gorgeous but I'd originally planned on knitting a hat from it. Tough choice! I got some new stitch markers for my birthday that I stuck on my shawl Pecan Pie from Sweet & Savory Trinkets & S'more + PB&J From Sucre Sucre Miniatures!

I haven't been knitting as much as I'd like. At all. If it was up to me, I'd be have that shawl, some fingerless gloves and a new pair of socks done. My hand has been bothering me on and off all spring and has gotten much worse this summer. I've visited a few doctors about it and I'm not 100% in agreement with them so I'm trying acupuncture for the first time this week! I'm equal parts nervous and excited to try it. I'm giving it a shot until October when I have an appointment for a second opinion then I'll see an neurologist for an EMG. It's so incredibly frustrating to be surrounded by amazing yarn, great projects and not be able to work on stuff! But when I do take the time to knit, I enjoy every single second of it. Cute stitch markers, super nice yarn and a great pattern. It's a special treat to be able to work on it here and there.

I've been reading a TON. I think because I used to knit in the evenings, now I'm reading more! I've really gotten into the BookRiot blog & podcast! If you haven't checked it out and you love to read, you should. I also found The Readables BookTube Channel and she's so adorable. I've started reading comics and I was so excited to see that Chico has a great comic book store, BaT Comics!  (Next to a pie shop and one block over from the bookstore. See you later money & waistline ;)) The owner is super nice and really knowledgeable. I've been collecting a few series and have totally become obsessed with Manga this summer as well. In some ways not being able to sew and knit as much has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and try new things! Positive thinking right? Chop surprised me with a strange stuffed boar this spring, who I've referred to as Boarish Yeltsin, I decided he needed his own instagram account so I could share all my book-ish things. I love sharing what I've been finding at my local library- I got these on Saturday:

Our library has started using Axis360 and I've been REALLY liking it. Lots of brand new eBooks, you should definitely see if your library offers it! I'm currently reading Unbreakable and I kept thinking "is this Supernatural?" This morning I checked out GoodReads and read some reviews, yep. Supernatural! I'm not far enough along to say if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Before this summer I was a monogamous reader, just one book at a time. But now I have an eBook (for reading in bed at night), an audiobook (for listening to while I work) and a paper book (daytime reading) going at all times. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep up with the characters in each story or get plot lines mixed up but so far it hasn't been a problem. I get really excited when I get to switch between them as well.

I've been cross stitching a ton lately. Like, nonstop. And I've been enjoying it so much. If you've been reading my blog you might recall that I'm not the most confident of cross stitchers so my goal this summer has been to practice, practice, practice. Which has been a little tricky since my hand hurts and I'm sure it's contributing to the problem. But this is my job! I look forward to my mornings with coffee, my project and a book (or music!). I've made 3 bookmarks for myself, I stitched two of our new mini patterns AND we decided to use my personal project (remember- our patterns are stitched by ladies other than Ashleigh & I to test them) for the cover sample for The Mysterious Halloween Town. I feel fancy! ;) My stitching is not perfect but it's definitely getting better! I started stitching our new Autumn Harvest Festival pattern on a super pretty hand dyed aida and I really am enjoying it, it's so soft and dreamy. Also, we've added two permanent promo codes if you are interested: PARTYTIME which is $2 off 3 or more mini patterns and 15% off 5 or more patterns in a single transaction with PUMPKIN the 15% off one can add up super fast and if you buy some of the bigger patterns, it ends up being close to getting a pattern free which is always nice!

I hope you had a good summer :) My summer blogging hiatus is over and I'll be back to posting more often :):)

Favorite Projects & Books of Summer (so far!)

 
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Here is what I love about summer:

  • extra daylight
  • iced drinks 24/7
  • sunsets
  • ice cream
  • napping

Here is what I don't love about summer:

  • fire season
  • heat
  • feeling sweaty
  • heat. have I mentioned heat?

I made this insane goal that before the temperatures get cool (which is like...November) I want to have a little wardrobe of new knit goods to wear.

I want:

  • a hat
  • a cowl
  • a shawl
  • a pair of fingerless gloves.

I've accomplished one! I finished the cowl this weekend, I made Zuzu's Petals from Madelinetosh DK Twist in Modern Fair Isle. I thought the pattern was fun and well written and I know I chose yarn that doesn't do the pattern justice (I'm forever picking yarn that doesn't show off lace...eek!), I'm looking forward to wearing it!

I started knitting the fingerless gloves. I'm using zombie ViXen by Susan Claudino and it's been REALLY fun! Have you ever looked through her patterns? She is so good at knitting creatures, she gives them freaking eyebrows. That detail kills me! I forgot how great cables are to knit. The yarn is from Spun Right Round and it's called Combat Boots & Babydoll Dresses. Totally 90's and I *love* it. It's kind of a pale oat-y color with tiny flecks of orange, aqua and mauve.

I have no idea what I'll do for a hat or a shawl. I really love Moonraker, it's super unique and looks like it would be a really fun knit!

One of my favorite projects from this summer so far is my Quilt to Read Under. The pattern is ModBlocks by Johanna Masko. I had literally ONE weekend to make a quilt. My sewing time is super limited so when I have time, I want to make the most of it and get something great accomplished. I *love* Joanna's patterns. They are direct and to the point. Really clever. Easy to understand. Sometimes I just want to read the directions and end up with a great quilt with zero math or thinking on my part. It drives me nuts when I buy a quilt pattern and it has a ridiculous amount of waste and strange cutting instructions.

I picked a bundle of colors that I normally wouldn't go with but this year I'm crushing on lilac REALLY hard. Patchwork is always a very special thing to me, I like to take my time picking fabric to tell a story. I really wanted a new little lap quilt to take on a road trip to Modoc County we went on and I knew I wanted it whimsical and a tiny bit edgy. It has some silk. Some chambray. Linen. Double cotton gauze. Some old favorites and some new. I wanted the size to be small but the fabric to have a big impact. And maybe have a little fairy tale sweetness without being too saccharine. I love this quilt. FIERCELY.

I named it a Quilt to Read Under because I like dragging it to my chair and having it in my lap while reading. And this summer is alllllllllll about reading.

Here are my very favorite books I've read this summer. You should read them. Seriously. They are all very different and very good!

  • To All The Boys I've Loved Before- Jenny Han It was quirky and sweet!
  • Sinner by Maggie Steifvater I'm a huge fan girl of Maggie Steifvater and I went into this knowing that it wasn't meant to be part of the Shiver series but more of a stand alone and wowowowow. With each book she writes, she just gets better and better.
  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson I was so confused for the first 1/2 of this book trying to put the name to the character. Who was the prince and who was the assassin. Just when I thought I figured it out...nope. This was a fast read for me, one afternoon! I just was super into it! And it's an excellent cliff hanger.
  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen I went into this book knowing nothing about it, only that I wanted to read a fantasy with a strong female lead. This is one of those books where you watch the character go from UGH to YAY. I love good character development.
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr This book. If you read just ONE book this summer, make it this one. Truly. What a beautiful and haunting story. It took me about two weeks to read this simply because it's lushly written, I didn't WANT to stop reading it but it's such a HARD subject (WW2) that I'd find myself having to pause to catch my breath. It's incredibly paced as well. Marie's story is going to stay with me for a long time.

We have about A MILLION new patterns in the shop. Truly. So many people asked about my scissor fob that Ashleigh made me last summer that we did the pattern for it. And The Mysterious Halloween Town club is now two clues in and I LOVE IT! Once Upon a Time is growing and it's insane! It feels like just yesterday we were stitching January's block! My birthday is next month and we always pick our favorite things for our birthday month, mine I think will surprise people and I super hope everyone likes it! And speaking of birthday months! It's Ashleigh's birthday today! We always have a BIG promo code on her birthday- this year it's 26% off your entire purchase with promo code BIRTHDAY

Print

It expires on Monday, July 28th at noon PST. Also, Picture This Plus has a huge fabric sale on July 25th so it's a good opportunity to stock up on patterns + supplies!

:):)

Follow Your Arrow & Cross Stitching

 
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Hi!

Happy Tuesday!

This weekend I finished my Follow Your Arrow Shawl.

And I have so many feelings!!! (I'm waving my hands around like a maniac- be thankful you can't see that.)

Ok, first off. What an incredibly enjoyable knit. I literally didn't want it to end. So, so, so much fun! I dragged this shawl with me everywhere. I'm currently wearing it as a lap blanket while I write this.

Second off. I can't figure out how to wear it! Ha! Typically I wear triangular shawls with the point forward, like a kerchief. This is a different shape and when I wear it that way, it looks as if I'm wearing a bib. Not the best look.  I tried to wear it traditionally, with the narrow ends around my shoulders and I look as if I'm pretended to be a super hero. Oh dear! I also ADORED knitting with these colors but wearing them...oh boy. I don't know if I can wear that much hot pink near my face without looking like a clown! ;)

It honestly doesn't matter though because I adored knitting it. And it matches my compound bow. Once I figure out how to comfortably wear it, I'll take more photos & do a big blog post with details.

I started working on cross stitching a new pattern that we are planning to release this spring and it's cuuuuute! For some reason it reminds me of a cross between The Great Gatsby & Downton Abbey. I made a new little Hoop Travel Bag to carry it around in. Porkchop bought me a fat quarter bundle of Catnap for Christmas, I keep trying to sew stuff with it but it's very rare for me to own an entire line of fabric at once so I sort of want to use it all in one quilt but finally I decided CAT BAG!!!!

Last week Ashleigh & I received the sweetest surprise from Rachelle of The Cottage Needle! She had Sugarloaf, The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's official mascot, turning into a knitting needle gauge and a thread minder! EEK!!! Adorable right?! I am so into cute notions and this is like a little dream come true! I asked her if she could order more and she can if you like him too!

On Friday Porkchop is taking me to Stitches West, I'm pretty excited, I've never been before. I'm hoping to find a skein or two of some yarn to turn into special socks. Is anyone else going?!

SewOn NorCal Retreat

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Where do I begin with SewOn Northern California?

Do I talk about how I stayed up absurdly late on a ridiculous sugar high from eating oreos for the first time in months? Or about how I drank wine out of a glass with an owl on it and eating fancy cheese with girls from Napa? Or how about how my butt didn't leave that couch all weekend? Or that when I did leave the couch, I got to ride around in Dorrie's super cute Mini Cooper with her cute daughter and we bought fabric?

There is something super satisfying about staying in a huge house with a bunch of ladies with whom you have a common interest. The common interest in this case is sewing but guess who decided they didn't want to sew? This girl. I found the most cozy couch ever and sat and knit alllllllll weekend. And it was glorious. The room was in the trees and we had amazing thunder and lightning storms with windows open, I just sat under my quilt and worked on my socks. And drank tea. And wine. I told Porkchop that our future house has to have big windows with deep windowsills and I want a leather couch. Because it was just so cozy!!!!

I became friends with this amazing girl named Tamiko who doesn't know it yet but I'm going to become her best friend. You know when you meet someone and you just really like them? I just really like her! I got to spend time with Tracey who was my roommate, she baked us this super yummy clean zucchini bread and she sewed a super cute table topper for her friend Kelly. And I got to watch Lorelei make a patchwork weekender, every time she'd come upstairs (sewing machines were downstairs) with part of the bag completed we'd cheer because seriously: patchwork weekenders deserve a cheering squad. Adrianne was there, I'd met her before and I was so excited to see her again that I sort of cried and did a little dance all at once, she made a maple leaf quilt that weekend and I truly feel like I need to make a king sized one for our bed and have Lindsay quilt maple leaves on it for me. I have no idea if I even have enough cream fabrics for it but I think this winter I'm going to sort through my stash and get started. It was so fun because you can just watch everyone inspiring each other, everyone's projects were just SO good. One girl was making a medallion quilt, another a swoon, some were binding...it was just neat to be surrounded by so much talented quilt-y goodness.

I definitely liked meeting new people and seeing old friends. I only remembered I had my camera and snapped the above photos just before the battery died (lame!) so I don't have any photos of actual PEOPLE. Worst right?

I wanted to steal both Tamiko's maple leaf quilt and that owl wine glass, I'm kind of regretting not leaving with both. ;)

Finished in 2013: MapleO's

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If I were a cereal designer, I'd create something maple flavored that only comes out once a year and is like, the Pumpkin Spice Latte of cereals. MapleO's! There would be photos with artfully applied filters on instagram proclaiming "IT'S MAPLE O DAY!!!!" "OMG! LAST BOX OF MAPLE O'S!" #mapleoomg

But I'm not a cereal designer, I'm just a girl who daydreams about things like that. Please file this under: dream jobs.

One of my September sewing goals was to finish my Single Girl quilt that I started last fall. I used all scraps with the exception of creams- I had some in my stash, Chop bought me a few and friends gave me some. I finally found my pattern, remade my templates (I foundation pieced the arcs) and made 1/2 a block.

And wasn't feeling inspired.

So I rummaged through my scraps and would sew for 35-40 minutes each morning and built this little quilt top. It has lots of special fabrics and blocks within blocks. The big maples measure 21-22 inches, the little maples measure an inch and a half square, the geese & ribbons measure an inch. Thangles mini pack! Get one! Seriously! They make tiny piecing a breeze.

I'm going to carry this quilt with me everywhere, it's so soft and cozy. Very special. I love these kind of projects, when you start with something in mind and it just grows into something much better. The piecing just felt very organic, it's precise and straight in some spots, very improv and using the most of odd cuts of fabric in others. It's a quilt to read and knit under. It's one of my favorite sizes: 52x58 inches. Quilter's Dream Orient Batting, Velveteen backing and for a million reasons I opted to machine sew the binding on using this tutorial. I'm not even remotely good at machine binding and my walking foot was giving me fits but I thought glue basting was FUN! I might have to take it off and redo it on a different machine, it's pretty sloppy!

In hindsight, I totally wish I'd had Lindsay quilt it. I bought four yards of velveteen last winter to back a quilt with and it wasn't until last week that I realized I only received two. So that was a lesson learned, always measure your fabric when it arrives. I didn't have enough overage to be able to send it to her and I didn't have the budget for more velveteen. Total bummer. It would have been so cute with little maple leaves on it!

I sort of imagine my inner Mori Girl walking in the woods with this quilt, looking to find the perfect spot for a nap and some reading. ;) Oh speaking of reading, this came out this week!!!! I'm going to re-read the first one on vacation, then start this one. My friend Eva called it perfect fall reading and it's so spot on!

:):)

Noodlehead's Super Tote

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I'm not quite sure how I managed to complete one September goal so quickly but I'm not going to question it!

I made a Noodlehead Super Tote yesterday with Ashleigh!

We went to JoAnn's in the morning, she had to pick out a lining for her bag and I wanted some elastic. We both found these super cute microfiber handles for $5.99 a pair...and then they rang up as $2! I think they are phasing out their bag making supplies at my local shop because they had practically nothing left and everything was on clearance! Woowoo! I love using Clover leather handles on handmade bags but I can't always find them locally and I wanted to work on this bag with Ash!

Together we cut and sewed and watched The Suburban Stitcher podcast (that accent! that sweetness!). And drank absurdly giant RT44 iced teas. I stopped eating sugar (real & artificial) a few months ago and a mango diet green tea was an amazing treat! So good!

Let's talk about this pattern k?

  • Super clear directions, illustrations and prints beautifully. That last one is important to me, if it's a pdf and the pattern has you line up pieces and tape them together, nothing is more frustrating than something that doesn't line up. Printing & taping the few pieces in this pattern is a breeze.
  • Clever design! As I was making the pleats I kept saying "oh, I LOVE this. LOVE." The pleats allow the top of the bag that sits under your arm to have a slim profile but the bottom remains big so you can cram it full of stuff.
  • Sturdy construction!
  • Anna offered to help! This is HUGE. While I didn't think I'd need help, I *love* when a designer goes the extra mile and stands by their pattern. Ashleigh & I do this with our patterns and seeing Anna have such a good approach to being available for help with her patterns made my day.

Here are a few of my personal changes and they reflect what I personally like in a handbag!

  • I used Pellon fusible fleece as my interfacing and I used it on the lining ONLY. Why? Because the body of my bag is a sturdy 100% wool tweed. It didn't need anything but adding the fleece to the lining gives it a little bit more shape.
  • I lined all my pockets rather than just facing them.
  • I didn't add the extra gusset pieces for the same reason, thick wool is thick!
  • I used commercial handles instead of making my own.
  • I did my zipper and pulls slightly differently because I made this on my featherweight with a jacket separating zipper.

Fabrics I used:

  • 100% Wool Tweed I had in my stash!
  • Fort Firefly for the outer pocket and the top of the recessed zipper!
  • Juliana Horner from JoAnn's for the lining, I'm not sure why but this reminds me of my grandmother in a very good way.
  • A random orange lace printed fabric also from JoAnn's for the pocket.
  • Pellon fusible fleece
  • JoAnn's microfiber straps & a Dritz magnetic snap

Can we talk about Fort Firefly for a second? O M G. Ashleigh and I both love Teagan White. She has such an amazing style, some things are so painfully sweet, like this fabric, then she has this completely heart-wrenching macabre side that kills me. Seriously. She's amazing. But the fabric is organic cotton, therefore, expensive. I have mixed feelings about organic cotton, sometimes it's incredible, other times it's quite thin and practically sheer. So we picked out the above fabrics, bought a yard of each and then split the yards in half. I love sharing fabric. ANYWAYS. When I opened the box I almost died, this cotton feels AMAZING! dreamy! perfect! It's absolutely worth the price and the print quality is also phenom! So so so so happy! We spent the day daydreaming of dresses made from these prints too. I couldn't bear to cut any more than I already did, that's saying something. I'm not a fabric hoarder at all but this stuff feels like it should be something special.

One thing I personally am rotten at is knowing the size of things. I just struggle with envisioning numbers. Is it Nordstrom where their purses online have a little key that says "fits water bottle, magazine, etc", I can't remember, BUT I LOVE THAT. SO! Here we go!

What does a Super Tote fit?

  • An iPad in a case!
  • A knitting bag with a sock (um, also a tutorial by Anna, it's her open wide pouch that I made giant! Did you know I like Anna? Yeah, Lizzy too a ton!)
  • A wallet! 
  • A cat pouch crammed with girl essentials, a present from my bff.
  • Part of a Single Girl Quilt top.
  • My camera (not pictured because...you know! I'm using it!)

That is pretty super. Sadly, the pattern doesn't come with a cape. Or a super hero power. But you'll feel pretty pleased with yourself when you finish so that's kind of like a super power, the power to conquer sewing a new cute bag!

Anyways, I had fun and I wholeheartedly suggest this pattern! Now to find my Single Girl pattern so I can finish this top...I was hoping if I pulled it out and took some photos on it, I'd be extra motivated to finish it. ;) success!

Worsted Weight Socks

This weekend I finished my Worsted Weight Socks and omg. I'm already wanting to cast on a second pair. Seriously. These are so squishy and fun and cozy and amazing to knit up. You can find my ravelry notes here and I was inspired by Susan's blog post & Virgina's instagram photo.

While digging through my yarn basket this weekend I came across another skein of worsted weight yarn that Rose (Cakewalk Yarns on Etsy) dyed for me last winter. I'd planned on some sort of hat but now...SOCKS! It was funny, I flipped the yarn over and it's also a skein of Sudden Valley! That's what I absolutely *adore* about hand dyed yarn, the same colorway can be completely different. My socks have sort of a purple.gray base but my skein is more white! Her shop is closed but I'm crossing my fingers she'll go back to dyeing because her skeins are totally amazing.

I got my Dyak Craft Heavy Metal Needles last week, I'm so excited to cast on. The cord is so long and the join is dreamy feeling. I can't decide if I'll knit a pair of socks for Chop or if I'll cast on with a new skein of Numma Numma that's supposed to arrive today. Chop decided he wanted to enter a salsa contest at work...but he doesn't even cook! LOL! So I made a giant jar of salsa, sadly we didn't win but I think he felt bad so I "won" a skein of yarn & a little bottle of a new Soak Wash scent! haha! BEST! He's the most amazing guy.

Yesterday we went to Target and omg. Holy Halloween. It's amazing. It's not quite as good as the year they had Domo as the official mascot, but that year was epic and hard to beat. I wanted to buy the Pumpkin Spice & white chocolate candy corn M&Ms so bad but I decided on candy corn flavored coffee instead and WOWOWOWOWOW. My house this morning smells like a candy factory in the very best way ever.

I also made use of some JoAnn's coupons which is always fun. I have a few sewing goals this month:

  • Esme top in flannel! I found a really pretty flannel there that is quite soft. I've already made an Esme dress and a top but they are too big now. I think I'm going to make a muslin of the size 14 and go from there! I just think a cozy flannel blouse with wooden buttons would be amazing this fall.
  • I'd love to finish my little four block single girl quilt. I can't for the life of me find my copy of the pattern though. So this week I either need to find the pattern or get a new one. I found my quilt progress and fell back in love with it. Plus I'd love to quilt some circles. And be cozy hand sewing the binding on in the evenings.
  • I want to make a Noodlehead Super Tote for knitting SO BAD. Ashleigh & I are obsessed with Teagan White,  like crazy fierce, so we are splitting a yard of a few of her new fabrics. I'm pretty sure the fabric I got for the lining won't match (Juliana Horner flowers!) but I'm not sure I care, I just like it! a LOT! This bag is so neat! The side pleats and elastic pockets are such pretty details.
  • I'm going on a quilting retreat the end of this month and I couldn't for the life of me decide what to bring to work on...then I saw this pattern: Suburbs! So I'm going to make a Halloween Suburb quilt. Does that surprise you? It shouldn't. While at JoAnn's I saw all their fox themed Thanksgiving/Fall fabric and I almost died. I need a Thanksgiving quilt at some point in my life.

:):):)

 

Finished in 2013: Winter Woodland Weekender

Happy 4th of July!!!

I've spent this entire heat wave week sewing....because my sewing machine is directly in front of the air conditioner. ;)

This week I:

  • finished two Halloween quilt tops
  • finished three sock sacks
  • finished two rough drafts of new sewing patterns
  • finished a pair of leggings
  • hemmed two pairs of pants
  • added darts to two tank tops
  • anddddd...

Finished this bag! yay!

I don't really have much to say about it that I didn't cover in these two posts already. I will say this version isn't even remotely as neatly sewn as my previous ones. In fact, I'd go as far as saying it's a hot mess. I just struggled with assembling it every step of the way: broken needles, tearing fabric with a seam ripper, puckered spots no matter how many times I seam ripped & fixed them. It was just strange! I double checked all my pieces against the pattern pieces and it should have gone together smoothly!

Either way, I love this bag, even if I don't let anyone look at it up close. ;) I wanted something very zakka, very handmade looking and very winter-y fairytale-ish. Mission accomplished!

I love:

  • the fabrics
  • wool straps!!!!
  • getting the lining for $2.50 a yard (Denyse Schmidt too!)
  • how big & sturdy it is

and...

Lots of room for snacks and projects!

We are going on a little family weekend tomorrow and I'm excited to cram it full of stuff and lug it everywhere with me.

Briar Rose & The New Leaf Obsession

I genuinely feel bad for anyone that crosses paths with me this summer. Chances are, I'm going to talk your ear off about New Leaf. Poor Instagram, all day long I'm like NEW LEAF! NEW LEAF! NEW LEAF! Ask Ashleigh. She made the mistake of asking me if Animal Crossing was like Frogger (fair enough!) and I spent an hour yakking about my town. Poor Smash.

So what's new New Leaf?

The newest in the Animal Crossing series of games! Quite possibly the cutest, most fun video game everrr!

I hemmed and hawed about buying it. I read a million reviews. And I decided as an early birthday to myself, I was getting New Leaf. It didn't hurt that Target had the 3DS XL on sale either. And in pink.

After a hilarious afternoon scouring Yuba City for the game, I bought the very last one at WalMart and I did a little dance in the check out line. That might be weird but you know, it was WalMart, so I didn't stand out. ;);) You can download the game through the 3DS but I wanted the physical game.

You start the game as MAYOR! This is huge! Compared to past games you can customize your town so much more! It's incredible! I'm already on my third house expansion, a gardening center has opened up in my town and I won a Bug Off!

My typical New Leaf day is watering plants, buying clothes, picking fruit, digging up fossils, fishing and visiting the island. YES. THERE IS AN ISLAND! Incredible. Also, I have some new neighbors I've never had before, including a little frog named Croque!

Naturally on day one once I ran out of battery life I decided to make the 3DS a little pouch and I'm so glad I did, I carry it everywhere. Seriously addicted.

I just measured the 3DS and make a quick piece of scrappy patchwork using a beautiful Briar Rose bee from Amanda. Seriously, how sweet is this line of fabric? It's so charming. And it goes perfect with the New Leaf theme. Because you can catch honey bees with your net. Or you can shake trees and get stung. Either way! I think the bee prints and the clover are my favorite for sure. Once yardage is available I think I'm going to buy bee fabric for a dress. Or sleep pants. Or both. Amanda has fat quarter bundles for pre-sale and I'm so tempted to snag one and make a summer-y Sparkling Cider. Because that would be so fun!

I made the little pouch on my featherweight, which was really exciting for me, I don't have a zipper foot and it turned out just fine! woo woo

<3<3<3 Back to my town!!!

Finished in 2013: Scrappy Shoo-Fly

In March I dove into my scrap bin and pulled out some text-y fabric and some special scraps. I decided on a super traditional Shoo Fly block. Over the course of a quiet weekend at home, I made this quilt. I bound it while watching a show on netflix called Luther! So good!

I love the size of this one, it's around 75x75 inches square. Perfect for napping on the couch!

<3

ps: I feel like I'm emotionally spent! Last night we watched the season finales of Dr. Who (omggg), Lost Girl (whattttt! Kenzi!!!) and Grimm (NICK! NOOO!!!). Now what am I going to watch this summer?! I think we are only regularly watching Longmire!

pss: After watching Dr. Who, we couldn't sleep and one of the movie channels was playing Grosse Point Blank. I totally forgot how much I *love* that movie. Dry humor at it's finest!

Finished in 2013: Bear Paw BFF Quilt

If it's possible for a quilt to steal your heart, this one has stolen mine.

I made this quilt top the last week of January/first week of February. I gathered all my treasured pink fabrics for something ultra sweet for myself...but with a little bit of a soft graphic edge. And traditional. I love traditional. Nothing is more traditional than a bear paw block. But with a different sort of twist.

My fabrics came from so many friends, so many that I've been hoarding and some that I searched high and low for!

  • Tracey helped me find the background fabric online. She's a pro at finding fabrics online. Seriously. Keen eyes will notice that I used this fabric alternating with Farmer's Wife Blocks. It's a Sweetwater subtle gray zigzag. I can't for the life of me remember it's actual name but I did buy 7 (!!!) yards of it off eBay. First time in my life I've ever purchased that much continuous yardage. I'm going to be crushed the day I use up all my scraps.
  • Karyn sent me the feathers and the Japanese center block fabric (it's a little rabbit who's gardening with some radishes-I should have taken a close up photo!). She's the best.
  • Pam sent me some of her dots that I'm totally obsessed with. She sent me three colors- bright pink, light pink and a taupe. I have only the tiniest squares left. It's *that* good.
  • Sudi-Laura sent me the William Morris fabric. O M G. I had bought a fq quarter in Sacramento years ago, uncovered it while cleaning and decided I needed more. And wow. I vastly underestimated how popular Barbara Brackman fabric is. Like, I called easily 20+ fabric shops, searched online for hours, finally turned to instagram friends and BAM! Sudi-Laura sent me some. I may have did a little dance when I opened the package!
  • Heather Ross. Ok, I'm not actually BFF's with Heather Ross, she has no idea I even exist but without her- no quilt! I used Mendocino, FFA3, Nursery Versery. I've been quilting a mediumly long time and I think without Heather & Lizzy, I wouldn't bother quilting that much. Seriously. Their fabrics keep me sewing because they just make me gleeful. Don't get me wrong, there are a ton of amazing fabric designers but I truly love fabrics that are narrative & tell a story! And those two ladies get me without even knowing me! The backing is lightning bugs in jars and a pretty Anna Maria Horner from field study.

And of course! This quilt couldn't be possible without Lindsay! The quilt was fine but nothing special when I sent it to her. When I got it back? Amazing. Brilliant. Perfect. She used this incredible new thread that is a shiny pale pink and helped me pick this quilting design. When in doubt, I always let her pick. She just *knows* and gets me. I love that. She also uses my favorite batting ever, Quilter's Dream Wool! This stuff has the best texture, warmth and loft. I debated ironing the quilt for these photos but nope, you can see it with all of it's wrinkly goodness. Also, let's face it, I'm too lazy to iron a quilt. ;)

 

Thanks friends for helping me make this pretty quilt! I can't wait for winter so I can use it on a regular basis instead of just a background for knitting projects, lol!

 

<3

(ps: thanks handsome assistant for helping me wrangle quilts and making sure I don't get run over by a train! love you Chop!)

 

WIP: Halloween Donut Quilt

Yahoo!!!!

Earlier this week I dug out Bee, my featherweight, cleaned off my table and got ready to sew.

Except the tension was off! This is apparently the story of my life lately.

But Chop came to the rescue! Last night he fixed it, this morning I adjusted the bobbin a smidge more and VOILA! Back in sewing action!

I'm working on my Halloween Donut Quilt, I'm using oranges/blacks/grays and one bright green fabric. The background is a really neat Lecien Inkwell fabric, it's like splotches of mold. I know, isn't that a terrible description? It's only mold-y in a Halloween quilt, everything else it's really pretty splotches of ink or watercolor.

This is my second Donut Quilt, if you want to see my first one and find links to the pattern, click here!

I'm crossing my fingers Lindsay can squeeze me in this summer to quilt it for me, she quilted another Halloween quilt for me, SWOON! And she did an amazinggggg job on it. It's so perfect. And that's the quilt that started our friendship! <3<3<3

While I was cleaning off my table, I came across an old Riley Blake Halloween panel that I bought a few years ago on clearance, I sort of want to beg Lindsay to quilt it to some minky, just as a simple whole cloth throw! I need to find minky on sale first, I looooove the Shannon Fabrics stuff best! I've made two throws with it, one for me and one for Chop. Mine is cream minky with AMH voile on top, his is kona crush and camo minky. I think I made them 2-3ish years ago and they wash beautifully, not like some minky which looks like a haggard muppet after a while!

I've barely been knitting lately! My hand has been driving me crazy, I think I over did it last week but I have about 5-6 inches of sweater knit?! My only goal is to just finish clue two of the mystery shawl and let everything else marinate. It's so frustrating because I have some great projects and not being able to work on them is killer! But it's given me a lot of time to read! So that's ok, although I haven't read anything that I've *LOVED* since maybe...February?! I did get Born of Illusion last night, I'm hoping it's awesome!

Also! Ashleigh & I made our 1/2 way goal of Summer Sampler sign ups! With that goal reached, we celebrated by giving back to our local community by joining this Kickstarter Project! It's helping a local farm buy a tractor! How awesome is that? If you live in Northern California (or really anywhere!) you should consider contributing! We all need to eat and I think it's pretty important we support farmers. If you live locally, you may have seen this farm, it's along the highway and they have these gorgeous horses and mules! Each morning I wake up and see if they've gotten further, these kickstarters get you emotionally hooked! You find yourself rooting along and getting really excited! I'm crossing my fingers they make it!

I hope your week is going good so far! :):)

Help me pick!

vs

Eek! eek! EEEEEEEK!!! Just when you thought it was all Halloween all the time around here...NOPE! IT'S PINK AGAIN!

I finally finished binding my Bear Paw BFF quilt this week! I'm crazy obsessed with it. I need to take some proper photos of it, I found a random building in Gridley that has a PINK WALL. Unfortunately it's along the highway. And next to a Burger King drive thru. So I need to gather my courage to set up a photo shoot in such a public place. Although, there is a local photographer who I've noticed bringing a large ornate velvet couch to set up along side an abandoned tin building in town for photos, so maybe I wouldn't stick out so much!

This week a little order I placed in April from The Plucky Knitter arrived! I got two skeins of Plucky Feet: Berry Cordial and Brooch. And omg are they HARD to photograph. These photos are sort of close but not quite. Why is bright pink so hard to capture?

Here is Berry Cordial according to other ravelry photos! I'd describe this color as a true hot fuchsia. Very similar to Madelinetosh Pop Rocks but more amped up and with less tonal variation.

I couldn't find any ravelry photos of Brooch but my photo is pretty close. It's like a dusty mauve.

Both are beautiful but I need to pick one so I can finish my Life on Sunday's shawl! My main color is called Grady's Grouse which is a gray/oatmeal-y color that is cozy. I love Plucky's neutrals, they are always so unique.

I think the contrast between BC & GG is so unique and pretty! GG & B is more subtle and sweet. SO TORN!!!

So! Which do you like better? Berry Cordial or Brooch?

:):)

ps: thanks Chop for making my two photos squished into one. <3

Works in Progress: May Edition

I thought I'd share with you all my current WIPs (works in progress). Some of these are long term, some are instant gratification, some are work related and some are just silly.

I took my photos this morning before the sun was fully risen in our bedroom so they are a little dark but that's ok right?! ;)

I'll start with my most recent sewing:

Amanda from Westwood Acres very sweetly sent me some Briar Rose scraps! I knew instantly that I wanted to make the same pouch that Amy did. I made it my goal to use JUST scraps and NOT cut them. Oh and improv piece it. Those are all things I'm quite terrible at but I wanted to branch out. I'm not sure I *love* it but that's ok! Unfortunately my sewing machine started to act funny during the quilting (ok-let's be honest, it's been cranky all winter). I did all the normal things: clean, oil, replace needles/bobbins/etc. Still no luck. By the time I attached the piping the machine wasn't holding it's tension at all anymore SO! To the dealer I will go and get a tune-up. And I think the timing is slightly off. No sewing for a little while!

Two weeks ago I got it into my head that I *needed* a new Halloween quilt. I decided to make a new Donut Quilt from my stash. I have the blocks partly done. It'll be a fast finish once I get my machine fixed. I haven't decided on a border fabric yet though. All I know is, that donut quilt gets SO much love around here, it's the perfect size for me to drag everywhere. I think this might be the first time I've ever made a pattern twice?!

Oh these blocks! They kill me! (in a very good way of course!) They are from the Forest QAL and quite possibly my favorite things ever. However, I need at least a full day of complete quiet for each block. Not because they are hard, they are really straight forward but because I am *really* slow at paper piecing and these blocks have a ton of pieces in them. I have the feather and the woodpecker done, I'm using just scraps which is fun. It's a little tricky to pick fabrics for them though. This is definitely my long term project- it's special and I'm not into rushing it. I'd love to finish it by July and enter it into the fair but that's probably wishful thinking. Also: They are crunchy & wrinkled looking because...I haven't removed the paper yet! LOL! ;)

I've needed to apply the binding to this quilt since March. Eep! Lindsay did an amazing quilting job on it! But literally that's the only corner bound. It doesn't stop me from using it all the time though.

It's not all sewing though...I cast on for a new pair of socks this week! I happily knit outside in Chico yesterday while Ashleigh worked on our shop! It got a facelift! And we re-released Fruit of the Month Club! Somehow in my excitement to be hanging out, I started doing the size large chart on my size medium sock! Doh! But I tried them on and somehow the pattern is still pretty centered. Maybe my feet are strange shaped? IDK! But I'm going to keep going. They also got the nickname "Cinnamon Toast Crunch Socks" from Chop?!

Speaking of work! Here is my Woodland Sampler! Even though we've had the full chart done & tested last year, I cross stitch along with everyone. It's just more fun that way. Plus I can share sneak peeks leading up to the first of each month!

That's everything! All my current WIPs! How about you? What are you working on?

Real Life Talk: What's Your Style?

I've been thinking a lot about personal style lately.

Chop & I have a huge goal to be homeowners next year and we started a pinterest board of things that we both like. It's been a lot of conversations such as:

"Can I put neon pom pom garland on your bear head?'

"Will you help me glue my mini figs onto magnets?"

"Wanna wrap some yarn around these antlers and spray paint them gold so we can put them on a coffee table we don't own yet?"

"I saw this on pinterest- let's build it" "Of course I know that aged wood that big is expensive"

"Our front door should be mustard colored!!!!"

"We need stars on our bedroom ceiling. No, not the glow in the dark sticker kind."

"Let's get a small marlin and hang it in the bathroom!"

"Basil Grimm Jennings is the best cat name ever right!? Can we afford adopt a grumpy little fatty within the first year? Wait...you want a dog? And ducks? Are we starting a farm?"

"I'm going to want to hang my pots & pans from the ceiling. Can you buy me a drill as a housewarming gift? Oh...I guess I'll need a stud finder then. BUT I ALREADY MARRIED YOUUUU so clearly....!!!"

How do you blend your love of ridiculously cute and your husbands love of hunting? With patience of course. And good sense of humor. And trying to figure out what your TRUE style is. Like the stuff you actually LOVE LOVE. Not like, only kinda sorta like on Tuesdays but LOVELOVE.

My TRUE style is a whole lot of:

  • kawaii
  • cat tshirts
  • leggings
  • pink fabric (but I won't ever wear pink. unless it's blush.)
  • halloween! gimme the orange, the black and a million apple cider candles. and candy.
  • fruity scented body wash in the summer only
  • glitter EVERYWHERE.
  • cozy

Sooooo these are things I love...WHY DO I HAVE THINGS THAT ARE THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE IN MY LIFE?! For example, I only wear gray tshirts and cat tshirts...why does my wardrobe consist of a million dresses? Dumb! I purged my closet and donated a ton. Then I started thinking about:

CRAFT STYLE!

Do you have one? You know you do! I know you do. When I look at instagram or pinterest, I can immediately pick out the majority of my friends without looking because their style is SO THEM.

Here's my craft style:

  • I DON'T KNOW!

No. But seriously. I like to knit socks and make little patchwork. I've been sorting through fabric and yarn and I realized my taste is alllll over the place!

But now I'm trying to figure out what I actually like making and what I actually just like looking at. Do you do that? Have things you like to look at but when you think about actually creating them you kind of gag a little bit because the process is so uninspiring to you?

I want my crafting time to be super joyful and I want my future home to be filled with creations that are totally rad and us. For example: this week I cut out a Halloween Donut Quilt. That's both fun & glorious because it's Halloween AND donuts.

So yarn photos...I decided I obviously NEED a giant color affection shawl. I've given away almost all the shawls I knit last year and I want something halloween-y autumn-y squishy! But I can't decide on my third color. Last year my big birthday long term project was a pair of mittens that I only wear when I need to find something at the bottom of the freezer. SO! This year it has to be something I'll actually use a ton. Oh AND my next pair of socks will be these pirate ones. Because I've had the pattern for a while and I found a good gray for them in my stash. And because they look tricky awesome!

How's this for the most random blog post ever! What is your style? Does it transfer to your crafting? What color should I use to go with the orange and the gray?

 

ps: the winner of the embroidery book is Denica! Shoot me an email so I can forward your info to Lark Books! :):)

Sock Sack Sewing Pattern Giveaway! CLOSED. THANK YOU!

It's Monday! It's the last week of my & Ashleigh's small business finance class-our brains are exploding from ratios, quickbooks and cost analysis. It's already over 90 degrees here-omg. I have a million hours of work to do this week (I'm looking at you mailchimp!) and it's a little overwhelming so let's do something fun k?

How about a pattern giveaway?

Last week I cast on for a new pair of socks (I went with a toe up version of these) and posted a little photo on instagram. Libby saw it and commented that I needed a sock sack. My first response was HEH? WHAT? But then I learned it's a pretty dang cute sewing pattern by Ramona, I bought it off Craftsy and a half hour later I had a new little bag. No joke. 30 minutes. Instant gratification which is totally right up my alley lately!

I've already made three (one was mailed as a secret present for a friend this morning) and I've cut out a Halloween and a Christmas one. Yeah. I *love* project bags. I have easily a dozen box bags, several drawstring bags, etc but this is just for two at a time sock knitting which is my favorite way to knit socks. It has little snaps so you can move your yarn and a neat little divider that helps give the bag structure.

These little bags are sort of like candy, once you make one suddenly you want a dozen. I already made one for a friend but I think I'm going to make a bunch for Christmas gifts and include a skein of yarn for my knitting friends. So act surprised if you get one in the mail from me k?! ;)

Leave me a comment telling me about either your very favorite skein of yarn or pair of socks by Wednesday and I'll randomly pick a person to win a copy of Ramona's pattern! On Thursday I'll announce the winner & post an embroidery book review! (but I pinkie promise that I won't do a million giveaways-that's not my style.)(pss: this quilt I'm taking photos on? Still not bound! I get an F ;))

FO: Tardis Dish Cloth, Lady Rainicorn Socks and WIPs

A little knitting has been happening lately! Woo hoo! Clearly...pink love is continuing!

I knit my first dish cloth! That's sort of exciting I think?! I used Cascade Pima cotton in a pretty hot pink, the pattern used to be available on Ravelry & I'd downloaded it ages ago but the designer took it down. It was a fast and fun knit! Tardis = LOVE!

This is the first pair of socks I've finished since my Pheasants! Sock knitting hasn't agreed with me lately which is a bummer because I made a grand goal of knitting 12 pairs of socks this year, I think it'll be more like...6 pairs. And that's fine! Even just ONE pair of hand knit socks is special and an accomplishment! There is no greater pleasure than a pair of cute socks!

Details:

I cast on yesterday for some new socks. These are called...nothing yet! Haha! I can't decide on a pattern! I LOVE these ribbed ones, I haven't knit a pair of plain ribbed socks yet and they just look so squishy and soft!

  • Yarn- Becoming Art Agave Fingering in Hummingbird...it reminds me of zombies & halloween! IDK why!
  • Needles- Quite possibly my new favorites! The *new* Kollage Squares! They are pointy...like SHARP. And I looooove them. I'm using a size 1 with a 40 inch cord...two at a time. Dreamy!

Have you made a pair of ribbed socks? Which pattern did you use? I'm working with 64 stitches! :):)