Category Archives: Knitting

Blue Hill Fair Quilt Submission

Yesterday I dropped two small, machine quilted wall-hangings at the Blue Hill Fair in Blue Hill, Maine. This is my first time ever showing anything at a fair, and will be the first public display of my quilts. I’m excited and nervous all at once!

blue hill fair maine

Entering my quilts in the fair was surprisingly simple. The website simply said to bring the quilts to the fairgrounds on the Tuesday or Wednesday prior to the fair. I sought out a woman from my church who is very well versed in the local quilt scene and active in the local quilt guild last Sunday, and confirmed the simplicity in entering quilts in the fair. I was worried about getting the quilts ready to hang or display and she gave me a priceless tip: they don’t need to have a hanging sleeve or dowel since they will typically display quilts with clips. That saved me a good hour of hand-stitching!

It took only about five minutes to hand my quilts over and give them the necessary information. It almost seemed too easy, but I suppose when they have hundreds of people entering all sorts of handcrafted everything, efficiency is key.

blue hill fair tagsI went with my mother-in-law and aunt, since 1) they had been to the fair before and knew generally where the quilt display building was, and 2) it was about 45 minutes away so we decided to make a day of it with the kids at the local park and beach. After submitting my quilts, we headed to Blue Hill Park for a picnic, and then the kids played on the playground while I got some rare mommy time. I sat in the shade and worked on the knitted Katniss cowl I’m making in exchange for a logo design, enjoying the cool breeze and the gorgeous view of the harbor.


Katniss cowl progress

My gorgeous view of Blue Hill Harbor.
My gorgeous view of Blue Hill Harbor.
Swimming in the harbor at Blue Hill Park.
Swimming in the harbor at Blue Hill Park.

This morning I read a post by Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl about her experience entering quilts in her local fair, and now I’m even more excited. I didn’t realize that judges actually filled out a score card and left comments about your entered quilts. The Blue Hill Fair begins this evening and runs through Monday, September 1st, and I think my family will be going this evening. I will be sure to take photos of my quilts on display, and I’m eager to see the other quilts, too!

As for what quilts I entered, you will just have to wait and see, since I didn’t get good photographs before drop-off.


Summer Knitting and a New Toy

IMG_1008Spring is officially here in midcoast Maine, which means summer won’t be far behind. I typically do most of my knitting during the colder months, since the gardens call my name during every waking moment of the warmer seasons.

I’m still working on the Panem Katniss Cowl that I’m knitting as a barter for Night Quilter logo design, but I’ve completed the Julian Vest for my son. Normally, I would probably complete my current works in progress without picking up a new project until fall, but I think this year I may try some summer knitting. I have some skeins of linen blend yarn destashed by my knitting cousin, and I received a gorgeous new knitting toy for my birthday that makes me eager to cast-on a new project.


Holly DeGroot from Bijou Lovely recently designed some adorable heart-shaped, engraved wood knitting and stitching tools, and my mother-in-law bought the knitting gauge for me for my birthday. (Thanks, Johanna!) Anyone who knows me knows that I spot hearts everywhere, and I knew that I just had to have a heart to help me sort out the knitting needles at the bottom of my knitting basket.

IMG_0997Now all I need to do is choose a quick summer project or two. I’m not sure I’d wear knitwear during the hot summer months, but a few projects on Ravelry caught my eye.

leafycloth5_medium2Maybe some Leafy Washcloths by Megan Goodacre? I’m not sure I’d be able to let them out and about in my house, though, since my kids would surely turn them brown with mud in no time. They are super adorable, though!

cozy_coaster-0225-2_medium2Or maybe some Cozy Linen Coasters by Anne B. Weil. I think I’m leaning toward these, since I know we will definitely use them. In fact, perhaps I’ll knit up both the leaves and the cozy coasters and use the leaves as coasters, too.

Linen_Stitch_Bag_medium2I also might try the Little Linen Stitch Bag by Cindy Walker. Thus far, I’ve mostly knit hats, cowls, and baby sweaters, so I’m eager to try something new.

Do you knit during the summer months? What’s your go-to hot weather knit?




The Making of an Easter Tradition

maddie tea leaves cardiLast year in the wee hours of the night on Good Friday, I wove in the ends of my first-ever knitted sweater, an almost-frogged Tea Leaves Cardigan for my daughter Maddie. It had taken me a year and a half to knit, with an ah-bugger-I-think-she’s-outgrown-it-before-I-finished-it break mid-way. This year, in those same wee hours, I wove in the last ends of a sweater vest for my son (the pattern is the Julian Vest by Raya Budrevich). I think I’m creating an Easter tradition: barely finish a knitted item for a beloved family member with the intention that they wear it on Easter.

Since I completed my son’s sweater the night before he was meant to wear it, I didn’t have time to block it. Honestly, I have never blocked a knitted item before, so perhaps I could have had time? Either way, I didn’t have time to learn how to block it and then block it, so I had to improvise.

Improvisational sweater blocking: smash with a stack of books overnight.
Improvisational sweater blocking: smash with a stack of books overnight.
As flattened as this sweater looks under this stack, the method did not actually work all that well.
As flattened as this sweater looks under this stack, the method did not actually work all that well.

While spending a night under a stack of books helped a little bit, I don’t think it was nearly as effective as actual blocking would have been; the shoulder straps still rolled.  Rolling and last minute finishing aside, the sweater was the perfect Easter sweater, and Max seemed happy to wear it. Maddie’s sweater from last year still fit, too, which is an added bonus!

Max modeling his newly finished Julian Vest.


I made a few alterations to the pattern, since I knit the Julian Vest in size 4 and my son is currently wearing a 3T.  Once the vest is split for front and back, I knit the back until it was 15 1/2″ from cast on edge (pattern says to knit until 20″ from cast on edge) and I knit the front straps until they were 16″ from cast on edge (pattern again says to knit until 20″).


For how trimly the sweater fits, knitting to 20″ length may make it suitable for a VERY skinny, long-torso-ed 4 year old, but it would have been a dress on Max. I think my sizing changes resulted in a good fit, although next time I probably would leave out one row of the “V” pattern in the front, and lengthen the shoulders a bit more. I would have added a few more stitches to the cast-on, too, since my son still has quite a bit of his pudgy baby belly since he’s not yet two years old.

Despite some less-than-pleased comments on the pattern on Ravelry, I really enjoyed knitting this sweater and think that the pattern was well written and easy to execute. I would definitely recommend measuring your child as you knit to make sure that the chosen size will fit well.

Blurry sweatered kids playing before Easter brunch.
Blurry sweatered kids playing before Easter brunch.

I’m pleased that both of my children enjoy wearing their hand-knits, even if they refuse to cooperate for a photo. I told my husband that next year, I will finish a sweater vest for him on the eve of Easter to continue with my tradition. I probably should start now, huh?


Beauteous, Bountiful, Botanical Blue!

Today is our last day in New Jersey before heading back home to thawing Maine. I’ve heard from friends that the snow is disappearing, grass is finally showing in spots, and the flowers are even beginning to pop up out of the cold earth, but I’m still thoroughly enjoying my last moments in the peak of hot New Jersey spring. It’s been especially hot and sunny this week, which has been a special treat. I admire the flowers every day, especially the growing sea of Siberian Squill in my mom’s garden.

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Yesterday I noticed that one of my travel knitting projects perfectly matches the beauteous, bountiful, botanical blue of the Siberian Squill sea. I just couldn’t resist a photo shoot.

2014-04-12 18.45.41This is the Julian Vest by Raya Budrevich knitted in size 4 for my son. I’m using Cascade 220 Wool dye lot 9603 Country Blue Yarn for this project. I’m SO close to finishing this vest; I only need to pick up stitches to do the finishing around the neck and arm holes. Novice knitter as I am, I forgot to bring my double pointed needles. The finishing will have to wait. In the meantime, feast your eyes on this beauty! Nature and knitting in perfect harmony:

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2014-04-12 18.44.42

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A Note on Lighting

One of my goals as a blogger is to continuously improve my photographs. I am so drawn to aesthetics, I feel like clear and artistically taken photographs are key to having a beautiful blog that begs to be read (or at least gazed upon). I’ve often heard that cloudy days are better for photography than sunny days, but haven’t ever been in a position to test it out. After yesterday’s experiment, I’m convinced that photographing in shade or on cloudy days is best for color! Yesterday, I noticed the jiving nature-to-knitting colors in the bright sun of morning and did my first impromptu photo shoot:

Beautiful blue in the bright sun.
Beautiful blue in the bright sun.

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Later in the evening, after the flowers and garden were in full shade, I decided to do a repeat photo shoot. You can see in the top photos–the ones I chose to use for the bulk of the blog post–how vivid and rich the blue appears in the shady photos. It’s the same exact vest in just about the same exact spots, yet the colors are very different. Here are some side-by-sides for comparison (sun on the left; shade on the right):


Photos taken in both sun and shade have their value, but I definitely prefer the shady photos for accuracy of color and clarity of the knitting. Which do you prefer?


Knitting in the Sunshine

Yesterday was a gloriously sunny day near 60 degrees F, a joyful treat after a long, cold, lingering winter. Since we are visiting my parents in New Jersey, I haven’t been sewing. Knitting, on the other hand, has been snuck into each day. Yesterday was so gorgeous, we spent every possible second outside: walked to and from church, walked into town for lunch, then played at a playground, and walked home. I think I may be even a tad bit sun-burnt! Once home, I had a few moments to myself while my wonderful mother (Grandma to my kids) cooked dinner and my dad (Pop Pop) played with my kids in the backyard. I relaxed with my knitting and watched them laughing and running and enjoying the setting sun.

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Working on my son’s vest as my Dad plays with the kids in the backyard. What a great day!

I think I’m nearly finished with my son’s Julian Vest. I am somewhat hoping I can finish it before Easter, but I’m going to let that be a relaxed goal. I’ve finished the six pattern rows for the body and I’m now working on knitting up the back. I’m altering the pattern a bit since it calls for knitting until the back is 20″ long and I think that is way longer than my 22-month-old-wearing-size-3T will need. (I’m knitting the vest in size 4). Next comes a short split for the straps, then working up the front, and finally joining the straps. I’ll show my progress once I start on the front straps. I am really liking this vest and am eager to see it completed on my little big boy! A few more sunny days and I might be there.


How do you balance your desire to craft and your desire to be out in the sunshine during these first spring days?

Cast On in a Different World

Yesterday morning, we left snowy Maine on one of the first warm (40 degrees F) days of spring. Snow still covered almost all surfaces, and the snow was still knee deep in many drift-collecting spots. At least at our house, we had yet to see any grass, peeking flowers, or any other hopeful signs of spring. The chickadees had returned, and the sun was shining by day to melt the snow, but winter was still very much lingering.

Here are my kids playing out in the driveway just a couple days ago in snowy Maine. Note the piles of snow in the background!
Here are my kids playing out in the driveway just a couple days ago in snowy Maine. Note the piles of snow in the background!

At the end of a long day in the car, we arrived in New Jersey by the dark of night. Along the way, even southern Maine was mostly free from snow, but New Jersey is in full spring bloom! Green grass, daffodils, crocuses, irises, Siberian squill, cardinals, and chickadees abound, with no trace of snow.

During the drive, I was able to cast on for my new project, the PANEM Katniss Cowl Wrap by Dahlia in Bloom. Doesn’t the wee cast-on with the super bulky yarn look happy amidst the spring flowers!? I am loving this project so far, and looking forward to knitting in the warm sun!




Bartering and a New Project

The Night Quilter is a fairly new blog, documenting the crafting of a new, but hopefully blossoming, business. I’ve designed two paper piecing quilt block patterns so far, both of which are for sale in my Craftsy store.

Circling gulls thumbnail
Circling Gulls
four pointed star
Four pointed star

In designing these patterns, as well as in getting this blog going, I’ve been thinking that the Night Quilter really needs a logo. Every successful business has an image, or some consistent logo to help with customer recognition, continuity between patterns, the blog, a shop, etc. As an infant business, though, growing as a stay at home mom’s creative outlet and within a teeny budget, logo design options are pretty much limited to “make it yourself”.

Enter the blogging world of pattern designers. Recently I was reading a blog with tips for getting a pattern design business started, and for the life of me I can’t remember which blog! One word stood out to me in the article, though, about delegating tasks to be more successful: barter. I decided to reach out to a local friend who happens to be a co-creator of a quickly growing new local business, Linear. Linear is a full service creative studio offering web design, graphic design, commercial photography, video production, and social media management. They do amazing work! I asked about the rate for logo design and Andrea said that a logo normally costs around $500 (only about $450 more than my budget ;)), but she also said she would be open to work something out or even barter. There’s that b-word again!

“Do you knit?” Andrea asked the next day. Done and done.


I am going to knit a PANEM Katniss Cowl Wrap by Dahlia in Bloom (found on ravelry!) for Andrea in exchange for logo design for the Night Quilter!! I’m so excited, both for the barter and for my awesome new knitting project! This will be the coolest thing I’ve knit to date!

Andrea specified that she wants it to be soft and washable, so I decided to go with the same yarn used in the pattern: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick super bulky yarn in oatmeal. I couldn’t find enough of the yarn in local shops, so I ordered it online. It arrived yesterday afternoon, which is perfect timing since today we are driving down to New Jersey for a bit over a week, and I can’t bring my sewing machine!




I cast on today during our epically long 11 hour car trip from Maine to New Jersey (driving with a 4 year old and 22 month old adds a few hours to the trip), and I love the project already. Pictures to come!

Have you ever bartered for something awesome?

Sick Days

With my daughter sick this weekend, and both my son and husband coming down with a bug today, my nighttime sewing time becomes invaluable health-boosting time. As healthy as I feel now, I know that I would be asking for trouble if I stayed up to sew. Instead, I will get all the sleep I can scavenge between sick-tending wakings, and hope I can fend off this bug!

Today, once my husband confirmed that he was feeling sick too (I’m surrounded!), I made a batch of fresh turmeric ginger tea. Not only is this tea delicious, I immediately feel healthier when I drink it. Psychosomatic or not, I’ll take it!

Fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, organic honey & black pepper. Not shown (but essential!): juice of half a lemon.
Fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, organic honey & black pepper. Not shown (but essential!): juice of half a lemon.

I also made use of my sick boy snuggle time and worked on his vest a bit. I have to create a bit, even on sick days.