Friday, February 7, 2014

Ravellenic Games- GO!

Today is the first day of the Ravellenic Games! We are going to be watching the opening ceremony later this morning and I'm ready to cast on. I am knitting Wee Wildflower by Alana Dakos, and the Wildflower Cardigan by Alana Dakos...

I decided to start with the Wee Wildflower for my daughter (knitting size 2) and then move on to the adult version (knitting the 36 1/4), with the exception of the sleeves. Sleeves tend to really hold me back on a project, so I'm doing those first. I also mentally decided that I will have reached success if I just get all the knitting done- if I don't quite make the seaming THAT'S OKAY. This is already a big boat of crazy.

Except that I know me.

And it won't really count in my head if I don't end up with two wearable sweaters by the end of this.

I tried out one of the stitches in the pattern last night to make sure I understood it- it took me a few tries, but I think I have the hang of it now.

Because of the snow days this week I *do* have to work this afternoon, but I'm going to try to sneak in some stitches between students.

Happy Ravellenic Knitting, and go Team Sasquatch!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Hello everyone, I'm Sue- joining this blog with Erin my oldest daughter. I am new to blogging so this will be quite the adventure. She asked me to tell you about myself and the kinds of projects I work on.


I was one of those kids that did arts and crafts all the time. Making my barbies clothes, making Christmas trees out of folding the pages of a readers digest for hours and then spray painting it green, painting by numbers kits, etc. I starting real sewing in Jr. high on my moms old singer machine. I later discovered mom knew the basics of sewing but I needed more instruction than that.

In high school I took 4 years of sewing, and as a senior I made a winter coat and a men's suit jacket, welted pockets and all. I kind of wish I still had that jacket to see what i would think about the workmanship on it now! I pretty much sewed my own clothes and even made my prom dress and my brides maids dresses for my wedding. After all that I pretty much can read a pattern and learn to do it, just by doing it. I'm a visual learner so If I can see it it makes sense to me how it was constructed.

I know I am mainly a quilter because I always want to quilt, but I have to be in the right mood to do all the other crafts I like to do. I run a long-arm quilting and sewing business. It funds my sewing habit so as not to take money from our family budget. I try to keep the business part time so that I have time to sew my own stuff. I can tell the balance is out of whack if I'm missing my own projects.


Midnight Quilt Studio is in my unfinished basement and when I sew I mostly watch BBC (Downton Abbey, Doc Martin, Sherlock)  and some other t.v. series. I love my new wireless headphones- now I can hear the t.v. over the hum of my long arm.. No more dragging a cord around!

My customer work consists mainly of long arm quilting. Right now I'm doing a lot of twin size T-shirt quilts from start to finish, for high school graduates to take to college. It's a fun and memorable gift.

I also finish and repair old quilts. Some were found in an attic and needed some love, borders, quilting and binding. Some need totally repaired with new (but old looking) fabric to repair damage. Those quilts are a labor of love- I make very little money on them, but if that was my special family quilt and I didn't know how to fix it, I'd want someone to love on it as they fix it, so that is what I do.

Another part of the business is alterations. I used to do clothing alterations for a clothing store and ran a home alterations and sewing business. At one point I made 150 black choir robes for my daughter's high school. Now I try to made the alterations part a very small part of my business and do it to help out my friends, their friends, and their friends, and... try to get it to stop there.  Last year I altered  two wedding dresses, relined a winter jacket, a bunch of hems, replaced zippers... oh, how people are afraid of zippers!

I also have a group of older ladies ( 55-85) who come to my home and I give them small sewing and quilting help. One year we made a king size Block of the Month quilt just to learn. Now we bring a project to share and get help and ideas. I also design patterns when we can't find what we want. I love teaching women to know about the little helpful things that give them better results with their projects.Now my 20 + year old daughters have bought sewing machines and want to learn to sew. Of course, they want my skill level in just a few easy lessons that took me 40 years to acquire, but they'll figure out soon that it takes time.


My own personal projects learn toward primitives, darker colors and applique, and I love to sit and piece a quilt. To listen to the hum of my machine zipping along at "rabbit" speed.  I do a quilt each year to keep me challenged. This year it is a Di Ford Quilt from Quilt Mania's Primarily Quilts book called Rotherfields Greys. It has lots of hexagons, which is a new technique for me. It is a 2 year Block of the Month club from Homestead Hearth in Mexico, MO. When I learned to applique I spent a whole year practicing different methods on one quilt to find out that "needle turn" is my method. It did take me a year to be comfortable and know what I was doing and not have to think so hard with each applique piece, but now I love applique. So stick with it! You develop skill with lots of practice, rarely on one project.

I also make a lot of baby quilts for my 12 grand kids. The rule is 1 for a baby shower gift, another when you turn one year old and then more if the kid asks. I try to keep a stack of them ready at all times.

Lest you think all I do is quilt, I occasionally do counted cross stitch and crochet, but only for smaller projects. I can knit and Erin says I am an experienced BEGINNER. I can read a pattern but forget how to do things that I don't do often enough. So I call Erin or get on youtube to see it done. I started a cardigan in Jan of 2013. I have the front and back done and two cuff up sleeves started with 4" on each one. I am learning to do the magic loop on these sleeves. I will then finish with a collar and front facing. The goal is to finish by Dec. 2014- two years for a cardigan... I'm okay with that.

I'm looking forward to sharing projects here and working with Erin on some new projects too. I'll share more next week!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Good Swatchy, Doctor Swatchy*

{Yarning Along with Ginny today. Won't you join us?}

The Ravellenics are coming... and I'm just now swatching.


I'm ready to go now. I know what sizes I'm making, I've marked my patterns appropriately, made the project pages on Ravelry, and now I only have to wait for Friday to jump in and get knitting.

I'm still considering how to work this particular challenge. There are 17 days, I work on 8 of those days, but can still put in a little time each day. I have 2 sweaters, one for my almost-2-year-old daughter and one for me- Wee Wildflower cardigan and the Wildflower Cardigan, both by Alana Dakos.

Do I cast on both at the same time? Do I do the little one first to get that "I finished the first one!" rush to lead me into the bigger sweater? Do I work hard at the big sweater hoping to finish with enough time to squeeze out a toddler sweater?

But it all might be crazy and I know I'll be fortunate to finish even one. I *am* able to knit a little faster now even with the change in knitting style, and with frequent breaks I think I can still get more than decent totals on the days I do not work.

I'm finishing Voyager by Diana Gabaldon right now (hopefully tonight) and I have the next book in the series already waiting on the kindle. I am so loving how easy it is to borrow books from my library on the kindle, and I'm definitely reading more because of it.

What are you knitting and reading this week?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Just a Few Changes...

If you visit the site directly, you've already seen... but I'm making some changes on the site, and I'm really excited about them.

1. I'm working on a re-design, so don't be alarmed if things are a bit shifty over the next few days. Since this is my side gig at the moment I unfortunately can't spend a bunch of hours on it in a row so I'll be working on it in the evenings (and maybe tomorrow afternoon if we end up with a large amount of snow and all or part of my teaching schedule cancels).

2. I'm making a name change to Midnight Fiber and Fabric Studio (and hopefully a URL change to match in the very near future). This name better describes what I'm doing in this space AND in real life at home. After all- most of my creative time is found late at night (hence midnight) and as I work on opportunities lately, the studio part is becoming more and more true. The most important part of the name change is...

3. My mom Sue is going to join me in posting in this space. She's a quilter and serious sewist- in fact, she's my go-to guru when I need help sorting out my sewing and machine issues I'm having. For now, she'll be posting on Thursdays and as she gets more comfortable in this space she will post more often. I'm excited to have her working with me on this project. Her aesthetic is quite different than mine, but very beautiful. I really value the opportunity to have different types of work shown here. I hope you will enjoy her work as much as I do.

And the most exciting part...

4. I am starting a podcast called Midnight Fiber and Fabric. This is something I've wanted to do for several months, so I'm jumping in with both feet. I signed up with Libsyn and everything is just about ready to go. The first episode will be available on Monday, February 10. I'll have show notes up on this site and I would really appreciate it if you would take a listen next week and let me know what you think.

I'm really excited about the new direction for the site and I am so grateful that this space is available to share creative work.

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