Scrappy Trip-Along


I have enough projects half-done that I really ought not take on another one. But we all know how that works, right? The Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt has been flying around, and I’m afraid I caught the bug big-time.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out photographs on the flickr group, or the tag “scrappytripalong” on Instagram. (In fact, even if you do know what it is, go check out those photos, because, WOW, are there some great blocks and quilts going together! I love how very different this quilt ends up from different people’s stashes.)

The idea for this pattern is basically to use up scraps — you cut strips 2 1/2″ x 16″ and put them together more or less at random. The pattern is really quite ingenious. I’ve really only just finished cutting, so I’ve only made a couple of strip sets so far: I’m going to do at least ten, and then pull out the iron and cut them into proper strips and make up squares.

Compared to a lot of people out there, I haven’t been quilting for all that long. And I tend to cut fabric as carefully (obsessively?) as I can, so I went through all my scraps pretty fast and didn’t have enough strips cut for the size quilt I wanted.

So I went through my “mistake” fabrics — you know the ones, the fabrics that looked great on the shelf or in the picture online, that showed up and made you wonder what you were thinking. Then I went through my fat quarter box and pulled a ton of Jo-Ann fat quarters that I bought on sale a few years ago, to so “something” with. And then, with absolutely perfect timing, two scrap packs I bought before I was even thinking about this quilt arrived in the mail, so I cut those all up and added them to the count!

In the end, I cut kind of a lot of fabric.

Why so many? I could tell you that it’s because Brenda, of Pink Castle Fabrics did the math to tell how many strips to cut for various sizes of quilts, and you need 336 strips for a queen-sized quilt. I could tell you that! I’m certainly planning on a queen-sized quilt.

But, um. I kind of just got caught up in the joy of hacking up scraps. I also tossed in every once in a while something that I really do like, so that I’ll be able to look at the quilt and find squares that I love hiding in all the scrappiness.

Now, this quilt thrives on randomness, and I’m really bad at random. So I cheated. I divided up my fabrics into color groups.
In case you’re wondering, I cut 74 Pink/Red/Orange, 74 Yellow/Green, 75 Blue/Purple, 38 Dark Browns, 40 Blacks, 71 Light Neutrals, and 20 OMGWTF ALL THE COLORS strips.

With this pre-color-selected setup, it’s really easy: all I have to do is make sure that each block contains one black or brown, and something from each other pile. Or two from one pile, if I’m feeling in a blue and purple mood. It makes putting together the blocks really easy for me, which it would not be at all if I had to pull from a giant pile on the floor.

I’m trying one new thing for this project: I’m using leaders and enders. I’ve got more than enough 2 1/2″ squares, between my own scraps and some mini-charm-packs I picked up from FatQuarterShop.

I’m using a shortcut for those, too: I’ve divided them into “light” and “dark” and made three piles of each. When I need to pick up another two squares, I match up whatever’s on top of those piles with whatever else is on top and looks best. So far, I’m getting quite a few of them, and it’s really satisfying. Not to mention, not having to hold down the thread ends every time I start a new strip? SO NICE.


I’ve still got a few Christmas presents that haven’t made it up here yet, and a finished quilt to show off on Friday, if I can get decent pictures between now and then.

Gifted and unblogged…

Though my semester was really pretty crazy, I did manage to finish a couple of other projects either in snatches of borrowed time or in mid-December, once my papers were all in.

The one I’m going to talk about here today was another Mabel Messenger Bag, which I put together using Perk Me Up fabrics — I saw them over the summer and instantly knew they were made for a friend of mine who loves all things chocolate and coffee. This collection? Pretty much perfect for her. She asked for a bag she could use for her knitting, and liked the Mabel bag I made over the summer:

This bag is altered in a couple of ways. One side of the bag is a simple piece of Kona Chocolate, with a large print on it as an exterior pocket. The magnetic snap attaches inside the pocket, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but … well, I probably wouldn’t do it again.

The other side is a patchwork of the various different fabrics in the Perk Me Up collection.

One problem I had with my first Mabel bag is that the strap slides a lot. For this bag I made two changes to help it stay in place. I made it scrappy, with seams that add a little bit of body to the strap every few inches, and I made it just a smidge wider than the pattern called for.

The inside has a simple unzipped pocket, just the right size for knitting needles, scissors, crochet hooks, etc. It’s going to be used as a knitting bag, so I made sure it went to its new home with some yarn and a set of DPNs. (The green blob is a lace shawl, which will show up here as soon as I block it. Don’t hold your breath: I’m terrible about blocking things.)

I really enjoyed making this pattern for a second time: it makes for a very smart bag, and I think I managed a couple of the details like the snap and the bag’s strap a little better this time than I did last time. It was a lot of fun to revisit the pattern.

Baby K’s Quilt: Finished!

Last … July? I started a quilt for my neighbors, who were having a baby in late August. I chose Baby K’s Quilt, by Audrey of HotPinkQuilts, which she featured during the her spot on the Lets Get Aquainted blog hop organized by Beth of Plum and June. I had high hopes of finishing it and giving it to them as a baby shower present. Then the semester began, and all my best intentions, well, we know what happens to good intentions.

Well, I finished it just before Christmas. Finally! This is what it looks like:

I used scraps for nearly all of the postage stamp squares, though I fussy-cut some 1001 Peeps and the little blue pigs. The green is Kona Clover, the stripe is Hello Pilgrim.

I’m really pleased with how the postage stamp squares turned out:




I free-motion quilted the squares using Elizabeth Hartman’s orange peel pattern. My peels aren’t quite as plump and pretty as hers, but I’m not unhappy with them.

I quilted the borders on each side of the seam, which was, well, not quite as much fun as the orange peels, but I’m happier with how it turned out — though I need to learn how to adjust my stitch length better next time.

I waffled on the backing for a little while, and finally settled on fleece: I talked to friends this summer who had a little one, and their favorite part of the quilt their mother had made was the soft fuzzy backing. As a bonus, it shows the quilting well:


So that’s one of the things I started last summer and finished in December!

Linking up with Thank Goodness It’s FINISHED Friday. Because, really? I’m so glad this one is done.

WiP Wednesday as the semester first kicks in

The fall semester has been kicking up into gear, so I’ve had less time to work on projects recently. It’s also influenced what I’ve been working on to a certain extent. That said, I’ve still gotten some things done!

I made three notebook covers for classes, following Rachel’s tutorial on Stitched in Color. I’m going to make one more in yellow and red, to match the Plantagenet colors, for my class on the Angevin Empire. And this time, I’ll (hopefully!) remember to add a pocket before I sew it all together!

HST BoM QAL: some progress! I made the second July block & and my first of two August blocks.
July-August HST BoM
-finish second August block (cut and partially pieced)
-fix botched May block already!
-start thinking about how to arrange the blocks & what to back the quilt with.

Knitting lots of progress!
-monkey socks in Persia (Malabrigo sock):
Malabrigo Monkey Socks
The more time I spend on the subway going to and from work/class, the more knitting I get done — I may have to take up hand-stitching things, if the majority of my crafting time continues to be on the subway.

Perk Me Up Bag: some progress.
I finished one side of the bag, which is a patchwork of the various fabrics, and I quilted it, because it’s a lot sturdier that way: I didn’t want to risk knitting needles poking their way through the bag and stabbing someone.
-iron interfacing to back of bag exterior and/or quilt it, too.
-attach pocket to back of bag exterior
-cut strap extender, strap and closure strap, attaching appropriate hardware
-sew lining together with internal zippered pocket in place
-attach lining to exterior pieces
-finish strap and etc.

Simple Math: trimmed a few more blocks!
-finish trimming blocks to 6″ square
-find sashing fabric
-baste, quilt & bind

Baby K’s Quilt: no progress since last week. This one is what’s laid out on my WiP cart right now, but I keep putting things on top of it — I should just get it done! There’s a bit left to work on.
-sew together two more postage stamp panels
-construct pinwheels
-lay out & attach borders
-construct backing
-baste, quilt & bind

Kitchen Window: no progress since last week.
-sort out cut fabrics into groups for individual blocks
-cut black fabric for frames
-cut green fabric for background parts
-start constructing blocks
-fiddle with layout
-make back
-baste, quilt & bind

Spinning: no progress since last week.
-Merino/yak continues to entice me, but I’m not watching much TV, so not much spinning is getting done. Perhaps I’ll watch a move with friends/family one night this week, to give myself some time off before things get crazy. That might be fun.

Mabel Messenger Bag: Done!

My green bird Mabel messenger bag is done!

Pattern: Mabel Messenger Bag by Jenna-Lou Designs
Fabric: Leftover from my Mixtape Quilt. And of course I forgot to write down what it was at the time.
Hardware: 18mm magnetic snap (I got mine from Purse Supplies R Us on Etsy) and a rectangle ring and slider from Jenna-Lou’s Etsy shop. There are lots of other options for what hardware to use, even if you limit yourself only to Etsy. :)
Alterations: I added a flat-applique’d on pocket on the interior, which will be nice for being able to locate pens and pencils and small things quickly. I also top-stitched around the edge of the bag once I was done ironing in the hopes that that will help it stay a little bit crisper in the long run.





This was a pretty straightforward pattern. A little dense in places, so reading the whole thing first was definitely a good idea! I managed to attach the straps wrong the first time, and had to un-pick and re-attach them, which was a little annoying. But there were pictures for all the steps that I might have been confused by, which was nice.

Only one oops: when I put the lining in, I forgot to check which side the zippered pocket was on. Usually (at least, I think usually) the zippered pocket is on the back of the bag — in this case, the side the closure flap is sewn to. Here? It’s on the other side. Oops.


Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.


Linking up to Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, which is hosted at Missy Mac Creations this week!

Next up in the bags queue is a second Mabel messenger bag, in Perk Me Up. I still haven’t entirely decided on how to use the fabrics, but I’ve got a little while to play with ideas yet.

Tuesdays are for knitting

I’m still working on the same sock, and it’s still a subway project! I’m using Happy Feet yarn on size 0 (2.0mm) needles.

I’m about halfway done with the first sock, and well into the part of a sock that is the least interesting to me: the endless march down the foot. Unlike the cuff, you don’t have turning the heel to look forward to, and the toe isn’t interesting enough to make me excited about getting to it.


Thankfully, the pattern for this sock is enough to keep me engaged. I altered it slightly to fit my larger-than-average feet.

This pattern, Monkey, calls for you to cast on only 64 stitches: 4×16 = 4 pattern repeats. Well, I happen to know that my feet and ankles (not to mention my very high arches and deep heels) just don’t fit into a 64-stitch sock, unless I knit it with thicker yarn on larger needles. And we’re not talking about a “slightly bulky” sock, here — we’re talking about slippers. So I had to find a way to expand the sock to make it fit, without making it look really odd.

I know that about 80 stitches makes a ribbed sock that fits me nicely, and that the Monkey pattern doesn’t have a huge amount of stretch to it: it’s knitted, so there’s some, and there are purl sections, which help, but it’s not super springy.

I considered adding a fifth repeat of the Monkey pattern, to put me at exactly 80 stitches, but that would get awkward when it came time to do the heel and would be difficult to space out over the top of the sock when the time came for the foot: two and a half repeats? Three repeats? It didn’t seem like a great plan.

So instead I cast on an extra ten stitches, and knit p2, k2, p2, k2, p2 ribbing between the first and fourth repeats of the pattern, along the back of the leg.

If I had been thinking more clearly, I would have added fourteen stitches, because while this sock fits, it’s snug, and it’s a near thing: any smaller, and I wouldn’t exactly be eager to wear it. As it is, it fits, though getting it up over my heels can be a bit of an endeavor.

In any case, it’s certainly better than my worst sock ever. In college, I went through a phase of knitting on VERY SMALL NEEDLES. Let’s just say that if you knit a sock on 000 needles, with a normal sock yarn, and you pull the yarn as tight as I do? Well, I could wear it and have one very bullet-proof foot. It is SO uncomfortable, it lives in the back of a drawer and gets used to clean dust from my computer screen and that’s about it.

What about your disasters? Any funny mistakes that you look back on now and laugh?

Smalls and a potential project

I made two other little pouches last week, and while I’d love to say that I intentionally made one of each type, the truth is that I went on autopilot for one of them and ended up with another little flat pouch instead of the boxy pouch I was going for. Both are appallingly pink, but they match the zippers I had on hand, which was the goal.



I also cut scraps for another set of coasters following this tutorial from In Color Order. They’re all a little bit different, because I cut them from my scrap bags, but I think they’ll turn out all right. They sort of match the potholders I forgot to photograph, and they’re going to the same home.

Finally, I think I’ve picked out my next large quilting project (which I’m not allowing myself to start cutting until I’ve quilted the Mixtape Quilt) — I’m fond of the Urban Cabin pattern, and I realized that I have two sets of fabric that might work nicely with that pattern:


I’d alternate blue Ls with brown striped blocks with brown Ls with blue striped blocks, with a white background. What do you all think? Is it too subdued and/or boring, or do you think it might work?

Simple Math blocks completed!

Those four stacks are all one hundred twenty (120!!) blocks for my adapted-to-double-size Simple Math quilt. There are four widths of crosses: 1″, 1 1/4″, 1 1/2″ and 2″. There are fifteen fabrics total, and two patches in each width in each fabric.

I made up blocks in five patterns each of light, medium and dark fabrics.

Here are the light-colored fabrics I used:

The center block in the back row is Kona cotton, because I wanted to add a solid to each group. The one in the back right is from the fat quarter bin at my local fabric store. The other three came from Jo-Ann fabrics sometime in the last four years.

Next up are the medium fabrics:

The center top is a Kona cotton solid again, and the bottom left is from the local fat quarter bin. The other three? Same as above.

And the dark fabrics, which might be my favorite:

Top right is the Kona cotton solid, which looks black here, but is actually the same deep blue as the Nine-Patch Lattice Quilt I made last month. Bottom right is Illuminate, from Lizzy House’s 1001 Peeps collection. I love the whole collection, so when one of the generic calicos I had for this didn’t work out, I was pleased to be able to pull this one in.

But now that they’re all done, they’re actually going to have to sit for a little while, until I can find a time when both my mother and myself can get to a fabric store together to pick a sashing fabric (and a backing fabric!). Once that’s all done, I can start putting them all together and worrying about how to quilt it properly. (I have some ideas, but they have to wait until I’m sure I know what I’m doing…)

In the mean time, I still have to quilt my Nine-Patch Lattice quilt, and I’ve started another quilt for a friend’s son, which will show up next time.