FOF: The Wrap-up

October 6, 2010

My Focus on Finishing has ended, and I would call it a big success!  I started with 34 projects in various states of completion, and I was able to completely finish 26 of them!  I also made progress on two other projects.  I am thrilled with what I was able to accomplish this month, especially given the yucky events of the month.

FOF 2010 done

1. halloweensocksnotdone, 2. Whippoorwill, done!, 3. curtains, done!, 4. booties, done!, 5. cabled capelet, done!,

6. my design tote, done!, 7. IMG_0010, 8. IMG_0009, 9. bill’s fun pj’s, done!, 10. billsglovesnotdone,

11. nappy bag, done!, 12. amysquiltnotdone, 13. Lizard Ridge Afghan, done!, 14. Feather & Fan, again, 15. voile top, done!,

16. blue cotton top, done!, 17. IMG_0023, 18. focusonfinishing2 092010, 19. satin top, done!, 20. gatheredscarf notdone,

21. coasters, done!, 22. bill’s green pjs, done!, 23. BB Chevron Love Mitts, done!, 24. fabric boxes, done!, 25. IMG_0014,

26. bwafghan notdone, 27. Reindeer PJs, done!, 28. dog bed, done!, 29. B&W Tunic, done!, 30. concettacardi not done,

31. table not done, 32. jersey top, done!, 33. tawashi, done!, 34. green cotton top, done!, 35. sweetheartsocksnotdone

Here’s my mosaic, showing my completed projects.  The whited out squares are the projects that I wasn’t able to finish.  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to finish everything.  I do need to sleep, after all.

Aside from everything I’ve finished, this process really helped me clean up my craft room.  It looks better than it has in months!  All these unfinished projects were taking up valuable space.  I spent time this month reorganizing and cleaning up.  I’m starting October with a clean slate!

The only downside to my month of FOF was I didn’t always allow myself to enjoy the process of whatever it was I was making.  In some cases I forced myself to power through and get it done, whereas I normally would have put it aside and taken a break.  On the other hand, I can’t complain about the results.

I’m still motivated to finish the unfinished projects I have left.  I do need to start on Christmas crafting soon, but for now I’m still focusing on these last few projects I have going.

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Lizard Love

September 29, 2010

I can hardly believe that after 3.5 years, I have finished my Lizard Ridge Afghan!!

Lizard Ridge Afghan, done!

I am pretty sure that I bought the yarn in January 2007, on sale at Woolwinders in MD.  I remember Bill helping me pick out the yarn.  I worked on the squares off and on, but when I came to California for Christmas 2008, I made major progress and finished knitting the squares in February 2009.

Then it sat.  Mostly because I wasn’t sure about seaming it all together.  It seemed daunting.  I had also seen some pictures of some where you could see the seams, which I didn’t like, and I just wasn’t sure what I was doing.  So it sat.  My new LYS, Green Planet Yarn, offers a class in seaming and weaving in ends.  I knew that I could teach myself, but I thought the class would be fun and since it is personalized to each person’s project, I would learn the best technique for the afghan.  It was exactly what I needed and I was able to seam it together in two nights.

And then there was the crocheted edge.  The only thing I know about crochet is how to make a chain.  So I took at class at Green Planet Yarn.  Again, it was something I could teach myself, but it’s more fun to be shown.  And it gets me out of the house and socializing with other people.  It was a nice class and taught me everything I needed to know to do the edging as well as how to make granny squares which is something else I want to do.  After a marathon crochet session last night, I did the edging.  I’m really happy with the edging.

Actually, I’m happy with the whole thing.  It took awhile, but I got her done!

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My Fleet of Turtles

September 17, 2010


They are done.  Six cute little tippy turtles.  I am so relieved.  I stayed up late last night trying to finish, but they were taking longer than I anticipated.  After three more hours this afternoon, I have finished them.

Over, I’d give the project a B+.  High marks because of the end result.  The embellishment with the flower and leaves is a much needed finishing touch.  It takes the turtles from nice to really cute.  For construction, I’d have to give them a C, mainly because I found them a little tedious.  But I was making six of them.  The feet are pretty superflous; the turtles really sit on their bellies. Two of them are especially tippy, resting on their chins for balance.  I’d say that adds to the charm.  My feet also have little creases in them.  I couldn’t get them stuffed to avoid it, and I was almost ripping the seams trying when I overstuffed.  Again, I’m chalking it up to charm.



They are cute though, aren’t they?!

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Turtles, Turtles Everywhere!


I’ve been working on a herd of Heather Bailey’s Henrietta turtle pincushions.  For three days.  These little guys are more time consuming than you might think.  They are one of my FOF projects.  I cut most of the fabric around April or May.  Then they sat until this past Tuesday when I started working on them again.  And here it is, Thursday, really Friday and I’m still. not. done.

I will definitely be done later today but I can’t believe how much time these have taken.  Except for maybe two hours I spent on my embroidery, these have been the focus of my attention.  They are fun, but challenging.  My sixth one went better than the first. The first took me all of last night.  They are fiddly, and I’m not used to working on such small things.  The other problem with them is that they are almost too cute to use as pincushions.  All this trouble to make them and I can’t bring myself to stick a pin in it.

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To Line Or Not To Line?

September 10, 2010

Another one of my projects was to finish making curtains for my craft room.  Actually, I’m making a valance but they are still considered curtains, aren’t they?  I cut the fabric over a year ago. And then it sat. One of the reasons was because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to line them.  Then I got to thinking that it would take forever to cut the lining and do the ironing… Momentum lost.

prelined curtains

Bill helped me out one evening by ironing the fabric panels. They had gotten a little wrinkled sitting in my fabric drawer.  The next night I ironed all the seams and the fold over for the rod pocket. That was an exciting evening.

Once again, the question was whether or not to line the valances. Reasons why not to line: 1.  they are just for my craft room and 2. why make a simple project hard.  Reason why to line:  1.  if I’m going to do something, do it right, 2.  I have curtaining lining out the wazoo, 3.  it’s good practice and 4. they should last longer because they won’t fade as fast.  It was important to me that they last because we do plan on moving at some point (though not in the near future) and panels could be used again on a different size window.

lined curtains

Yesterday, I cut the lining and did the sewing.  It went pretty quickly because I had already ironed the seams.  And by quickly I mean it took me the entire afternoon.

curtains, done!

Here’s the end result.  It is perhaps a little too cutesy, but I’m keeping them.  They are also a tad bit too long because they just brush the top of Bill’s head when he goes in and out.  The rod was already there and since we’re renting, we’re not going to move it.  All in all, they are cheerful and it’s nice to not see the bare rod and brackets.  Looking at them hang, I’m kinda impressed with my cutting job.  All the flowers line up and the curtains are even along the bottom.  I’m also very happy with my decision to line them.  It definitely gives them a more professional look and it wasn’t as much work as I thought it was going to be.

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Fabric Boxes, Take 2

September 9, 2010

Last week I started making some fabric boxes for my entertainment unit, as blogged about here.  I was very pleased with the result, but upon further review, there was one thing that was bothering me.  And it kept bothering me.  Actually, it started bothering me more and more.  There just seemed to be a lot of excess fabric and it made the end result look less nice.

fabric boxes v 1.0

I decided to go to Joann’s and get some heavy duty interfacing to use to make the boxes stiff instead of manilla folders.  I found one that happened to be fusible, though I didn’t see myself fusing it.

The only other change I made was to cut the lining fabric 1/4 inch shorter on the height.  I made no adjustments to the length and the width.  I followed the same steps as last time, including sewing about a half inch in the seams to create a pocket for my interfacing.  On impulse, I took an iron and fused the interfacing to the canvas and it actually created a very nice, crisp final product.  I fused the bottom as well, putting the fabric box over another firm box and ironing on that.

Fabric Boxes v 2.0

The outside doesn’t look that different from version 1.0, but the inside looks A LOT better.

fabric boxes, done!

And here they are in their final spot on my entertainment unit.  I decided to only do 4 boxes instead of 6.  They are easier to get out and I think it looks better than having a wall of fabric boxes.  Now I’m doing another happy dance!!

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FOF: Day 7

September 7, 2010

I hope that everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend.  I had a fabulous weekend.  Bill worked from home on Thursday and took me to my allergy shot and out to lunch.  Then he was home on Friday for a vacation day, and the rest of the weekend.  It was a nice change of pace to have company during the day.  We did lots of relaxing, watching tennis and baseball, and working on projects.  Bill did a couple of things around the house, and I’ve been working on my focus on finishing.

As of Day 7, I have completed eight projects total, five more projects since my last update.

booties, done!

I finished these baby booties (rav link), which I started about two weeks ago and then put down.  They were simple enough, but a little bit of a weird construction.  They are knit flat and then sewn up.  If I were to make them again, I would try and modify the pattern to knit them in the round.  The botties needed some blocking so I gave them a bath and stuffed them with saran wrap so they would keep their shape.  These are going to be a gift for a pregnant friend.

tawashi, done!

My next completed project was cotton tawashi (rav details here and here).  Tawashi is a traditional Japanese scrubbing brush, or sponge.  I had some cotton in my stash, and I started knitting these in September of 2009.  They were easy enough, though boring.  I’m curious to see how they hold up.

coasters, done!

I was on a roll on Sunday night and I finished these coasters. The patchwork had been completed, they just needed to be stuffed with batting and quilted.  The quilting was easy enough, but I challenged myself on one set and practiced my free motion skills. The free motion skills needed some work, but I’m happy with the result. Not sure what I’m going to do with the top two sets, but the bottom set is for my living room.

BB Chevron Love Mitts, done!

Next up with a pair of Chevron Love Mittens (rav link).  This was actually the first pair of these mittens that I started.  They were about 90% complete when I realized that I was knitting very tightly.  These were my first attempt at colorwork and I was also doing something funky with the yarn on the inside, twisting it. The kit comes with a generous amount of yarn so I started new gloves and left these to sit.  All that needed to be finished was the top decrease section and the thumbs.  And weaving in the gajillion ends.  I also had some drama where I ran out of one of the pinks for the thumb (short by about 20 inches).  I gathered up all my scraps and used a felted join to put them together.  What a pain!  And it added about an extra hour of work while I tried to figure out what to do.  Once I finished knitting and joining and weaving, I gave them a bath and stretched them out a tiny bit before I laid them flat to dry.  They look better and aren’t quite so small so I’m happy.

dog bed, done!

Last up is CJ’s bed.  I had this large piece of green foam sitting in my craft room for over a year.  I had no good place to store the foam so it’s been getting in the way and annoying up like you would not believe.  I had the cream canvas/duck cloth in my stash and the side is done with Heather Bailey’s Pop Garden fabric, also from my stash.  The dog bed is for my living room, and I have the same Pop Garden fabric as my window treatments, but in a different colorway.  I think I did a pretty good job on the bed. I put in a zipper, though I’m hoping I don’t have to wash this much because it’s still a pain to get on.  The cover is also a really good fit, so that means I measured well and sewed accurate seam allowances.  I also finished the edges on the inside which you can’t see, but trust me it looks good.  Bill wasn’t sure CJ would know what to do with it, but my girl hopped right on it and made me happy.

I’ve been working on a couple of other projects, seaming my lizard ridge afghan.  I also had to frog some of my cocktail capelet because I saw a pretty obvious mistake, but I’m back to where I was pre-frogging.

Believe it or not, I’ve also had some time to read.  I finished Sense and Sensibility and am now 25% through The Girl Who Played With Fire.

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FOF: Day 3

September 3, 2010

Beating the heat

Today was a lovely day in the South Bay.  Bill and I had originally planned to go to the beach, but we slept in and were off to a late start.  Instead, we stayed home and relaxed.  We bought a kiddie pool early in the season so that we could cool off on those hot Cali afternoons.  Today, we opened it up and took advantage.  It was perfect.  We sat out there and read, ate the picnic lunch we had prepared for the beach, and read some more. Very relaxing and just what Bill needed to recharge his batteries.

Later in the afternoon, I came in and started working on some projects.  It is Day 3 of my Focus on Finishing and I have already finished three projects!

Whippoorwill, done!

First to be finished was my Whippoorwill Shawl (rav link).  I was able to finish this beauty in eight days.  It was a pleasure to knit, though a little tedious at the end.  Top down shawls tend to be that was as you start with 5 stitches and end up with hundreds, in this case almost 500.  But the pattern was fantastic and I am already contemplating at least two more.  One a gray with navy accents and another a gold with slightly golder accents.  I knit up the medium size in DK weight and it is a generous medium.  It might actually be a large if I were to take the measurements.  I’m loving the yarn, purchased from A Good Yarn, and it’s a colorway unique to their store.  They ship, in case you were wondering.  Anyway, I think this was a great pattern for the yarn, and love the results!

Feather & Fan, again

My second completed project is the Misty Garden Scarf from Scarf Style.  I started this in October 2008 and finished it on September 1, 2010.  I probably finished knitting this in 2008, but it has taken me until now to weave in the ends, all two of them, and give it a bath.  I didn’t give it a heavy duty blocking, but enough to smooth it out.  I originally intended this to be a fall/spring scarf for myself, but I have so many scarves and shawls.  It’s pretty so I’m sure it will find a home.

Reindeer PJs, done!

Yesterday, I pulled out this pair of pajama bottoms.  All they needed were the elastic and to be hemmed.  They are mid-calf length pajama bottoms, for me, in a Christmas flannel.  I started them last November or December, but must have gotten caught up with getting gifts done that I never finished these.  Well, now they are ready for Christmas 2010.

After our relaxing day in the “pool”, I have been working on my tawashi (Japanese term for kitchen scrubbies) and my Brilliantly Bold Chevron Love mittens.  Hopefully I get one of those projects finished tonight.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend, either relaxing or productive or both!

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Focus On Finishing

September 1, 2010

My projects at the stare of September's Focus on Favorites

I was talking with a friend a week or two ago, and she mentioned how she wasn’t going to take any more classes or start any new projects until she finished some of the quilt tops she had already started. I knew the sentiment but didn’t really think anything of it. Somewhere in the dark and cobwebby section of my brain, an idea started to percolate.

How many projects, both knitting and sewing and otherwise, do I have in different baskets, bags, and drawers that I started but never finished?

I spent one afternoon pulling out all those projects.  The grand total came to 34 projects.  Some were started a week ago, some were started four years ago.  Some need only an hour to be finished, some probably three weeks.  I can’t say why some of these projects were set aside.  Perhaps my adult onset ADHD, maybe boredom, most likely something shiny (or more interesting) caught my eye.

How many of these projects could be completed if I spent a month focusing on finishing these projects?

I’m going to try and find out.  I’m calling this September my Focus on Finishing.  I’m really excited about getting some of these projects completed.  It’s an opportunity to clean up my craft room, get some stuff done, and clear the decks before Christmas crafting starts.  I’m not going to put any of these projects away until they are either done or the month is over.  If I’m lucky, one of these projects might end up being a Christmas gift.

Bill asked me this morning if I had a plan of attack.  There’s definitely some low hanging fruit that I’m going to start with to build up some momentum.  And I already know that there’s at least one project I am not going to work on, an afghan I’m knitting that’s only about 20% complete.  It’s more of a November – December thing anyway, when it’s cooler outside and you want something warm on your lap.  There’s a couple of larger projects that I’m going to try and work on every week so that I make progress, but still leave time for other things.  My goal is to try and finish at least 25 projects.

Here’s a list of all the projects (from left to right):

  1. halloween knee socks     (Row 1)
  2. whippoorwill shawl
  3. craft room curtains
  4. baby booties
  5. cabled capelet
  6. my design tote bag     (Row 2)
  7. satin lingerie set
  8. cotton skirt
  9. bill’s pj bottoms #1
  10. green chevron love mittens
  11. nappy (gym) bag     (Row 3)
  12. amy’s quilt
  13. lizard ridge afghan
  14. feather & fan scarf
  15. cotton voile top
  16. blue basketweave cotton top     (Row 4)
  17. elephant pin cushions
  18. fuschia satin top
  19. gathered scarf
  20. coasters     (Row 5)
  21. bill’s pj bottoms #2
  22. bb chevron love mittens
  23. fabric boxes
  24. happy forest sagano shawl
  25. basketweave afghan     (Row 6)
  26. christmas pjs
  27. dog bed
  28. black and white tunic
  29. concetta cardi
  30. green table     (Row 7)
  31. jersey knit top
  32. tawashi
  33. green and white cotton top
  34. sweetheart cuff down socks

I’ll keep you updated on my progress and if you’re interested, feel free to join me this month as I Focus on Finishing.

Mosaic created using fd’s Flickr Toys.

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About Me

Welcome to my spot on the web where I talk about needlework, crafts, and [many] other random things.

A few tidbits about me: I met my husband in college, flirting over tuba letters in the Penn Band. Our dog, CJ, and our cat, Sabrina, round out our family. I'm a sewist, knitter and needlepointer, and an occasional scrapbooker. I love organizing, reading, making jewelry, and hiking. A Chicago girl at heart, I am an avid follower the Cubs, Bears, and Blackhawks.

You can email me at mlynapier [at] pobox [dot] com. Thank you for stopping by!

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