Monthly Archives: January 2013

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New Books

Well, did you all have a good weekend? Ours was dreary weather-wise, but it was a good, productive weekend. I achieved 4 out of 5 of my goals for the weekend. I managed to knit a bit (project will be finished tonight); I finished the binding on the quilt (pictures coming if we ever see sunlight again); and I played Hand and Foot with MeMum. I didn’t get my fabric pre-shrunk, but that little failure was totally eclipsed by the fact that we got the master bedroom closet all cleaned out. WooHoo — that was a BIG job!

I also had a little fun looking through some of my Christmas books. (Long-time readers might recall that I usually receive and Amazon gift certificate for Christmas and I always save it for a middle of winter pick-me-up.)

Christmas Books

I usually try to mix-up the choices with cookbooks and craftybooks and this year I had an even split. The quilt books aren’t anything new (Some Kind of Wonderful and Remembering Adelia ), but I think I’ll enjoy them — they both have quilts in them that I would love to make.

It’s always hard to purchase a cookbook over the internet, so I guess my expectations are never terribly high. Lots of sites have been raving about Smitten Kitchen and I love her blog, so I put it in my basket.  Sadly, I’m a bit disappointed. There are probably only a handful or two of the recipes that I will want to try. I will say though, that those recipes look REALLY good LOL!

Vintage Cakes

I purchased Vintage Cakes after reading a few good reviews. I don’t have any of Jane Brocket’s other books and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised by this book.   There are lots of recipes in here that I want to try. I’ve already tried the Welsh Cakes. I made them one afternoon for BigDaddy. His ancestors were Welsh miners (it’s said that the miners used to take these little cakes into the mines in their pockets) so I thought he might like them with a bit of tea. It almost made us feel like we were back in Wales — they were Yummy! (As you can see I was very heavy handed with the sugar — we both have big sweet tooths!)

Welsh Cakes

Based on my other book selections, Amazon recommended Pure Vanilla to me. TheManoftheHouse loves most anything vanilla, so I sort of purchased this book for him. It looks like a really good book – there are a bunch of recipes that I want to try (Twinkie Bundt Cake, Vanilla Bean Dutch Baby, White Hot Fudge, Frosted Vanilla Almonds, and Vanilla Creme Cookie Sandwiches just to scratch the surface.)

Pure Vanilla

And, last but not least, we have Handknit Holidays.  This book is now out of print, but obviously, you can still get it.  I remember looking at it several years ago but nothing in it snapped my socks (as Ms. Farmhouse would say)  so I didn’t buy it.  In December, the newsletter from one of our local yarn shops arrived and it had this cute picture of Christmas stockings in it.

Christmas Socks

The stocking in the book looks nothing like these cute socks! Anyway, this picture made me order the book. Someday I’d like to make them — I think they would be fairly quick and easy.

So, a pretty good book haul for this year, don’t you think? Now, I’m off to finish that knitting project!
XOXO,
Anna

Virtual Friday

Woohoo — anybody besides me excited that the end of the week is here?  It’s Thursday!  Or, as we call it at work, Virtual Friday because we have the day off tomorrow.  Yipee.  Do you all have a plan for the weekend?  I have a list a mile long.  Here’s my top 5:

1.  Knit a bit.  Or a lot to finish this sneak peeky project.

Spots

2.  Clean a closet or a drawer.  Or many closets or drawers.  However many I can squeeze in without working too hard.

3.  Bind this quilt — another sneaky peek.

Check

4.  Play some Hand and Foot with MeMum. (Our rules are a little different, there are many variations of Hand and  Foot.)

5.  Pre-shrink this yummy pack of fabric.

Preshrink

I know that many of you aren’t pre-shrinkers.  Even some of you who are near and dear to my heart (you know who you are and don’t worry, I won’t out you here.)  Becky from Piece O’ Cake blog wrote a great post today on just why you should pre-shrink everything.  You really should run over there and read it.  I thought it would be funny to re-create her picture with her pre-shrinking supplies, but to my horror I found that I’m out of color catchers.  They’ve been added to the grocery list for this weekend.  Whew.  So, in place of the color catchers, I’ve put my soon-to-be-clean bundle of fabric.  It’s Noteworthy by Sweetwater.  And then I realized that I put my bottle of Retayne in my picture instead of my bottle of Synthrapol.  Use your imagination, I’m not going to go re-take that picture!

I should be able to get at least that much done this weekend, don’t you think?
XOXO,
Anna

P.S. If you were following along last year with the Aurifil Embroidered Block of the Month, you’ll be happy to know that Pat Sloan has sewn our blocks all together into a cute quilt top. Go take a look!

P.P.S. Someone out there sent me an e-mail asking about the wedding quilt.  If you’re out there, I’m so sorry, I accidentally hit the delete button and I don’t even know who you are to respond, so please send me another e-mail and I’ll try not to be so clumsy again!  ;-D

What do Yarn, Fabric, and …

…a potato peeler all have in common???

Well, they’re all new goodies here in ThimbleannaLand.

Yarn:
I’m a sucker. When I got an e-mail saying Allison had a new Lorna’s Laces yarn in her shop I had to run down and buy some. And do you know why??? Because some brilliant marketer named it Downton Abbey, that’s why.  Lead me to the slaughter.

Lorna's Laces

I couldn’t help myself. But the colors are pretty. She doesn’t have many skeins left but she said more will be coming soon. If you have to have some too, you can order it here.

Fabric:
The new charm packs for Glamping and Avalon have arrived. I immediately ran to the dungeon and laid out some of the Glamping charm pack in my favorite easy quilt pattern, just to check it out.

Glamping

There are a ton of patterns out there for charm packs. Just yesterday I saw Amy’s new Square Knots quilt and it has me re-thinking my layout. And this Square Dance pattern from Amber is super cute too. What to do, what to do.

Glamping

I LOVE this Avalon fabric. I’ve never paid much attention to the Fig Tree fabrics in the past, but there’s something about this new line.

Avalon

Can you tell which print is my favorite? (Hint: the little rosebud LOL.) It reminds me of Amy.

Avalon

If you’d like some Glamping or Avalon charm packs, I’ve put some in my teeny little store. They’re $1.00 off of suggested retail. These fabrics aren’t due to be released until February and March — be the first on your block to have a quilt made from either line!!! ;-D

Potato Peelers:
Behold, my trusty old potato peeler of 30+ years.

Peeler

I’ve LOVED that potato peeler, but as you can see, her blades are getting pretty thin in the middle and for the last few years, she hasn’t been in top form. I bought a new little peeler about a year ago, but it’s been such a struggle. It’s a piece of crap. Even the extra cooks here in the kitchen at Christmastime complained. I’d resigned myself to crappy potato peeling for the rest of my life.

But then, after Christmas, I had a little extra Williams Sonoma money to spend, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and buy their ridiculously expensive potato peeler.

Peeler

The clouds have parted, the angels are singing, and I’m in heaven! It’s a fantastic potato peeler. Like peeling butter. Just thought I’d let you know, in case you, like me, had given up on ever finding a good potato peeler.

Ok…off to do a little quilting…yipee!  Have a good weekend!
XOXO,
Anna

Cordurain

Well kids, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend. It’s been dreary, chilly and rainy here. I went outside today and found this pretty scene on MeMum’s clothesline.

Clothespin

I’ve managed a bit of sewing this past week, and I was in search of a bit of sunlight (not to be had!) to take a few pictures of my new top.

Corduroy Shirt

Remember a year ago when I made a shirt using the bright green Amy Butler corduroy? I LOVE that shirt. I’ve worn it to death.

Corduroy Shirt

It’s so warm and cozy in the winter, so I decided to make another one from the same pattern. This time with a blue Amy Butler corduroy.  It’s hard to get a good picture of the shirt ’cause the print is so wild. I’m thinking maybe next time I should find a solid corduroy.

Corduroy Shirt

In the meantime, this shirt should be pretty happy with some jeans.

Ok peeps, off to pay some bills. Have a good week!

XOXO,
Anna

Cable Knit Throw

I’ve been having fun reading everyone’s new year’s resolutions and goals. My goals usually involve working on UFOs, but I really loved what Vreni said about UFO’s in this post. She basically said that life’s too short to worry about them, so if you see a new project you want to start, why not go for it? Bravo Vreni!  Sadly, I’m stuck somewhere between adopting that attitude and watching all of you scrappy trippers drive me crazy with your wonderful, scrappy quilts. I’m resisting for the time being, as I have a project or two that I really need to finish. Then, who knows, maybe my inner Vreni will emerge!

Vreni also mentioned that she likes to review the highs and lows of the past year. For me, the low absolutely had to be BigDaddy’s heart event. That put our little family in a big fog and I feel like it’s just starting to clear. The high, though, was definitely the trip to the UK that I had with SweetiePie. I’ve been cleaning up trip pictures this week and re-living our fun. And our memorable mountain climb from hell. I came from that day feeling like I definitely owed SweetiePie a BIG favor. That’s why, when she hinted that she’d like a cable knit throw for Christmas, I couldn’t say no.

Cable Knit Afghan

BigDaddy was having a nap over the Christmas break, so I covered him up and took a few pictures. This is the Cable Knit Throw from Lion Brand Yarns. The free pattern is available here. I made a few changes to the pattern. It originally calls for knitting each cable in an individual panel, so that you have 5 cables with a 2-stitch garter stitch row along each edge. Then, when you’re done knitting, you sew the 5 long panels together to create the throw.

Cable Knit Afghan

My VERY least favorite thing to do in knitting is to sew seams together. I detest it and I never do a very good job. So, I decided to knit all 5 panels at once on a big circular needle. It worked great! By the time I was about half-way, the blanket was getting pretty heavy, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I also doubled the width of the garter stitch columns (increasing the edges from 2 stitches to 4 stitches and the inner columns from 4 stitches to 8 stitches) — I wanted the overall throw to be a little wider.

Cable Knit Afghan

Then, I just knit until I thought the throw was long enough. The pattern called for 9 skeins of yarn but I didn’t think that was long enough. I ended up using 12 skeins and I really could have used one more — a little longer wouldn’t hurt!

Cable Knit Afghan

This was a pretty quick knit. A Friend to Knit With made this throw a few years ago and she estimated that each cable panel took her 4 hours. Which would make the entire throw a 20 hour project. I’d say my time was closer to 40 hours, but then I’m a pretty slow knitter.

I’m really happy with the way this throw turned out and I think SweetiePie is too. It’s really comfy — I wouldn’t mind making one for myself!

XOXO,
Anna