Sunday, December 14, 2014

Do you want to build a snowman?

Last weekend I went to see Frozen with my sister. Our movie theater does Merchant Movies and since one of the merchants with free tickets is the quilt shop (right across the street from the theater) of course we had to go there to get tickets. I was planning on getting a fat quarter of Christmas fabric for my guild's party, and since they don't like to take credit cards with less than a ten dollar purchase it only made sense to buy more than just a fat quarter. As I was wondering around I saw the store sample of a wall hanging using the panel from Deb Strain's "Be Jolly." I couldn't find the kit, but did find the pannel and fabric that I liked. I'm afraid there really isn't a pattern for this one. I used 1/4 yard of the blue cut into 3.5" strips, and 1/2 yard of the red cut into 2.5" strips with enough left over for the binding. The sample in the shop had red as the wide strip closest to the snowman and then dark blue for the 2.5" strips and binding. I tried that, but it didn't look quite right so I flip flopped them. I'm really excited to see red binding framing the blue snowflakes on the top and bottom. 

 I had hoped to finish this today, but Rite (my sewing machine) is misbehaving. I bought a spool of thread from Connecting Threads a few months ago. I've been using it for piecing with great success and decided to try using it for quilting. I don't know if it's the machine or thread but I've been struggling with it breaking a lot. I've only got a tiny little section left in the corner so hopefully if I let Rita rest tonight she'll be up for finishing this tomorrow. I know it sounds crazy but this has happened to me several times that I have a problem with her and when I come back the next day I set everything up the same way and she works perfectly. (Before someone asks I did rethread the top and bobbin, dusted, oiled, and checked tension and pressure.) Despite having lots of threads to bury the stippling is looking great on the front and even on the back it's smooth. I can't wait to finish this one and get it up on the wall.

I've also been busy this weekend trying my hand at painting. I tend to think of myself as creative, but not artistic. For our anniversary this year my husband bought me a canvas print of Imposter. We decided to buy some blank canvases and make some paintings to go with the penguins and bunny-dressed-as-penguin. After searching pinterest for ideas I settled on Snowman Gazes at Night Sky and Moon and Winter Wonderland for inspiration. (I'm not sure where the line between inspiration and shameless copying lies, but I will say that Terri has an amazing tutorial for creating a similar painting if you follow the Winter Wonderland link.)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Penguin Winner

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Penguins on Parade pattern give away. I had so much fun reading everyone's penguin names. There were 63 entries for this giveaway and the winner is number 10 Wild Irish who would name a penguin Flippers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Socks

These socks are coming along nicely if a bit slowly. I finished the leg last night so there's just the foot part left. I think next year might be dedicated to smaller projects and hopefully I can spread some gift making out throughout the year. (I say this as I still have the back for Blueberry waiting to be reknit and I have yarn for a sweater for the huzby waiting in the closet.) At least I'm almost done with these and the cowl and then I'll be through the knitting portion of my Christmas list.

*Pattern is by Lion Brand Yarn and yarn is Knit Picks Felici (They brought the yarn back last month and only have a small amount of one color left. Hopefully this means it will come back permanently soon.)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Penguin Giveaway!

If you're new here WELCOME!!! To give you a bit about myself I live in Northwest Iowa with my amazing husband. I love to knit and quilt and am an aspiring quilt designer. Recently I had one of my patterns published in Fons and Porters' Easy Quilts Winter 2014.

I know that there are a lot of postings to read right now with the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day so I've put instructions for entering the giveaway in bold at the bottom of this post. Please feel free to enter the giveaway and come back next week to learn more about me.

I don't think it's a secret anymore that I love penguins. I was so excited this morning when someone shared on facebook that there was a penguin for sale on ebay. While my first thought should have been asking why someone would sell a live penguin online or maybe that penguins are wild social creatures that need to live in a flock not as a pet. My first thought was CUTE!!!!! When I told my husband I expected him to remind me that our lease doesn't allow pets or maybe that a penguin is an impractical pet, but instead it was to remind me that we don't have room. Imagine our disappointment when it turned out that the penguin for sale is a walking foot for the feather weight. I say disappointment because the foot sold for $700 so I don't foresee this penguin ever coming to live with me. The good news is that if you are also a lover of penguins the little guys on this quilt can come to live with you!

When I was first learning to quilt I took a workshop on the drunkard's path block. Being new to quilting I didn't know that curved seams were supposed to be hard. Ignorance and a wonderful teacher proved to be bliss and I learned that the drunkard's path block is really pretty easy. I wasn't happy with any of the patterns I could find so I created my own. With encouragement from my guild I wrote the pattern for this charming quilt and included the tips that I learned that make curved seams so easy. The quilt finishes 60"x60" and the pattern includes instructions for the angled corners or a square quilt depending on what you want to make. 

Today's give away is for a digital copy of Penguins on Parade and is open to everyone. 

Please leave a comment telling me what name you would give a penguin. Although I don't have any live penguins I do have a stuffed penguin named Matilda. If you want a second chance to win please follow my blog and leave me a comment letting me know how you follow. I'll be announcing the winner next Saturday December 13. 

If that's not enough I've decided to offer my Penguins on Parade pattern half price this week only! (If you buy the pattern and win the giveaway you can choose to give the pattern to a friend or choose one of my other patterns. I have Chrysanthemum in my Craftsy shop and have two more that are almost ready for publication.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Pinterest Thanksgiving

I know usually a post titled "Pinterest Thanksgiving" will be full of delicious recipes to try. Since I don't tend to use pinterest like people usually do it shouldn't surprise you that my pinterest Thanksgiving post will be different. Only about half of the posts on my board are food. The other half are ways to decorate the table. 

You can find the links to my inspirations and what I'll be eating tomorrow on my Thanksgiving Pinterest Board.

I found a great idea for filling a rectangle vase that I already owned with candy corn and candles. A perfect cheap centerpiece.

In the past I've always struggled with how to make a meal special at home. When I visit my parents the special meals are served on my great grandma's china. These dishes will be coming to live with me one day, but I really hope that day is far in the future since it will mean my mom no longer needs them. I found a couple of blue china plates in an antique store a few years ago, but they're better suited to an afternoon luncheon than a feast where the food should be the star. I decided to try the "sharpie mug" method and picked up a couple of plates at Wal-mart for 88 cents each. 

I read that there seems to be a high margin of error on these plates but most people have success when they let the sharpie dry for a day or so before baking. I baked my plates for 30 minutes somewhere around 400 degrees (my oven is really old and will do it's best to get to the requested temperature, but is considered successful if it gets within 25 degrees either way.) I then let the plates cool in the oven. I haven't washed them yet, but the marker does look a bit faded from when they went in. I like this look and see it as a sign that the sharpie has permeated the glaze. I think these plates will be dish washer safe, but since we don't have one I'll be hand washing them.

The last thing I made was a table runner. My husband and I decided late last week that we were going to do a Thanksgiving meal together on Thursday for the two of us. (Crazy work schedules means we won't be heading to my family until Friday morning.) I've been thinking of a quilted winter table runner and hadn't bothered to think of Thanksgiving. I don't have a lot of Autumn colors in my stash and wanted something that could easily be done in an hour. I got half a yard of burlap from the store, cut it into a square to fit my table, and used a Sharpie to write one of my favorite Thanksgiving hymns onto it. I don't have fancy handwriting so I found a font on my computer that I liked and printed off my hymn. Since burlap is full of holes I just laid the fabric over my paper and traced the letters.

Monday, November 24, 2014

New Filing Cabinet

This week I'm going to take a small detour from my usual topics of fabric and yarn. I've been spending lots of time on Pintrest and have been trying out some of the projects I've found. When possible I'll give you links to tutorials. Most of the time I look at dozens of similar projects for what I want to do and then figure out a way to make the project my own.

I've needed a filing cabinet for a long time, but have been struggling to figure out where to put it. Recently I decided to replace my side table with a filing cabinet. My sister works at the local college which had a garage sale last week. She was so sweet to run across campus in the freezing cold to buy me a filing cabinet for two dollars! My dear husband then ran into town and brought it home for me.  

Aside from being rather drab it's in great shape. My original plan had been to spray paint it a nice aqua color and use contact paper to give the drawers an extra pop. However the day I was planning to paint we got a blizzard and I don't see our temperatures getting back into the 50s (which the can says I need for the paint to work) until spring. I really didn't want to have a big green filing cabinet in my living room for six months so I went with Plan B.

Contact paper! Amazon has hundreds of choices of contact paper. I found this great walnut contact paper for $6.02 a roll. After following my husband's advice I measured the cabinet and figured out that I needed 2 rolls for my filing cabinet. (Thanks husby for averting crafting disaster.) I also found this cute polka dot for $5.98 for the fronts. 

Two hours later and my filing cabinet looks like a piece of furniture worthy of being in our living room. I'm afraid I don't have any pictures of applying the contact paper. I made sure to clean the cabinet before hand, took my time and peeled the paper off slowly as I applied it. I saw recommendations to use a squeegee, but since I didn't have one I used a fake credit card I'd received in the mail. I also used a pin to pop any air bubbles that I wasn't able to smoosh out with my "squeegee".

 My husband and I are talking about making a real wood top for it with some scrap lumber. I'm also thinking about painting the drawers and reapplying the contact paper this spring with some nicer drawer pulls. The green and tan paint from before show through, but for now I'm really happy with how it turned out.

In summary:
Filing cabinet:                                           $2.00
Walnut Wood Grain Contact Paper                    $12.04        
Polka Dot Contact Paper                           $5.98
Total Cost:                                                   $20.02

Come back Wednesday to see how Pintrest inspired my Thanksgiving table! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

All but the toe

I'm thinking next year I might give the year of socks another try. I've really been having fun with this pair of socks and need to start working my way through my stash of sock yarn and pattern books. All I have left on this sock is the toe (and its mate but let's not look too far into the future.) Today I'm celebrating the completion of the foot. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Easy Quilts Winter 2014

I've been told that Fons and Porters' Easy Quilts has started to ship out to subscribers. I haven't seen it in any stores yet, but as my local stores are limited to the grocery store and Wal-mart it might be on stands.

If you open this magazine to the center you'll find a quilt that is very special to me. Mine!!! That's right this girl is a centerfold. Not sure if that's as big a thing outside of magazines with bunnies, but I don't care. I have a quilt pattern in a magazine!

I haven't gotten the quilt back yet so I'm afraid these are the best photos I can share right now. I'm guessing that with all of the markets and expos going on right now my quilt might be out on tour. (If anyone sees her in the wild please send me a pic.)

I'm thinking about hosting a quilt along in January. Would anyone be interested in joining me? If you can't find Fons and Porters' Easy Quilts you can also buy the pattern for North Wind on their website.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Farmer's Wife 32

A rather curious thing has happened with my Farmer's Wife quilt. After giving myself permission not to worry about the end of year deadline I'm suddenly feeling excited about this quilt again. As the deadline loomed closer this quilt was feeling like a chore and was causing a great deal of stress trying to figure out how I was going to get it done. 

I'm really glad that the blocks for this week were fairly easy ones. I've loved all of the quilts that recently popped up using the economy block, but have never tried making this block myself. It was as easy as they say and turned out looking very nice.

#29 Economy

The other block for this week is snowball. I debated making the snowball white, but I liked the combination in the book. Also with pictures of feet of snow not far north of us and a big storm predicted for tomorrow black seemed appropriate for a snowball. 
(I'm always a bit torn with winter. I think that it is my favorite season and I love the snow, but I'm not that fond of the bitter, bone chilling cold that steals my breath every time I step outside.)

#81 Snowball


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

October Supernova Blocks

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love that my partner for the Supernova swap hasn't cared about strict deadlines. I sent these blocks at the end of October and finally get to share the last of our blocks. We decided to make 12 blocks for our quilts so in October we exchanged two blocks.

This is the first of the blocks I made. I tackled the directional print again and only had one mistake between the two blocks. After ripping it out twice I decided to leave the wonky bit as is. I'm guessing you'll have to look closely to find the wonky section and wouldn't see it if I hadn't just told you it was there.

I did change my fabric choices for the last block so that I didn't have to mess with directional fabrics. I really like how this block turned out.

I love the blues in this block. I find it funny how many times during this swap we've used the same fabrics for that month's blocks. 

And the last block for this quilt. Do you see the repeat fabrics in this one too? I know that since we're working from the same bundle it probably isn't such a coincidence, but it still makes me smile.

Since this was our last exchange for the Supernova Swap we also exchanged some quilty gifts. Cheryl sent me the black bag. I had planned on using it to store all of my quilting pens, but before I had a chance to move those in one of the socks I was knitting jumped in and made himself at home. The bag is the perfect size for holding socks in progress so it will probably stay with the knitting stuff. 

I made the little wallet on the right from some of the fabrics I had leftover from my Weekender Bag. I was in the process of cutting out the pieces for the wallet and was really getting disappointed at the thought of giving away something so cute. Thankfully I had enough fabric that I was able to make two wallets. Now I think of Cheryl and our Supernova Swap each time I get out my wallet. 

*The pattern is "Little Wallet" by Valorie Wells. I found this in a quilt shop several years ago so I don't know if it's still in print.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Vacation Projects

This past week my husband and I went out to Illinois for a few days to visit his parents. His mom is also a quilter and let me use her machine so I got a lot of work done. I brought my camera with the intention of blogging, but as usually happens on vacation the day was half over before I realized it was a normal blogging day. Surprisingly I really didn't take too much extra stuff (just don't ask my husband how much stuff isn't being counted in the "extra.")

I got the jelly roll quilt for the class I'm teaching tomorrow quilted. I still need to add the binding, but since the students were a bit confused by that step in the Intro to Quilting class I taught last month I think I might do the binding in class. Hopefully they'll let me take pictures of their quilts too and I can do a proper quilt teaching blog posting so I'm going to hold off on showing the picture of my quilt.

Most of the week I spent working on the Mystery Quilt I designed for my quilt guild this year. I'm working on the queen sized version of this quilt for my mom and got everything laid out. Since the guild is still on step four the most I can show you of that quilt is this picture. (If you're looking for a cheap way to sort out blocks I highly recommend getting a cheap pack of paper plates. I've used 16 fat different fat quarters for my pinwheels and the plates were a great way to keep the right pieces together. Since I already had the plates I'm also using them to keep the pieces for my blocks in the right spot.)

We have an 8 hour drive when we go visit my in laws, so I also had lots of car knitting time. I'm half way through the alpaca cowl. I was so disgusted when I reached for the second ball of yarn and realized that I forgot it at home. This cowl will definitely need some blocking before it's done, but I'm liking how it's turning out so far.

I also got a fair bit done on one of the socks I'm making for Christmas. Considering that I hadn't finished the ribbing for the cuff when we left I'd say I'm doing really good on this one too.

There still aren't any Farmer's Wife blocks to show. I'm seriously doubting if I'll have these done by the end of the year, but as my husband pointed out I'm the one who set the goal and I can change it whenever I want. There really isn't any reason that I need to kill myself trying to finish these blocks in time for a random goal I made up without knowing what I was getting myself into.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Workshop

Saturday was my quilt guild's fall workshop. We vary between having guild members teach us a new technique and having a professional teacher come in. We've held a couple of retreats at Canton Quilt Retreat and asked the owner, Catherine Erickson, to teach our retreat this time. She's a certified Judy Niemeyer teacher and we choose to make the Compass Rose Table Runner. I was a bit hesitant since I hate paper piecing and was even less pleased when I found out that we had to use batiks. (She later changed this, but I had already used my birthday discount in May to get batiks from my LQS.) Needless to say I wasn't very excited on Saturday morning, but I love hanging out with the ladies from my quilt guild so I decided to suck it up.

I have to admit Catherine has really changed my mind about paper piecing. The methods she taught (and the extremely well organized pattern by Judy Niemeyer) actually made it somewhat easy. It also was great that Catherine told us to hand all mistakes to us and she ripped them out for us. After the third time of handing her my fabric I watched how she used a rotary cutter to cut the offending stitches. I probably shouldn't write this since my husband will read it, but on Sunday I messed up my Supernova blocks and had to rip out a double line of stitching on 32 pieces. I tried using the rotary cutter method of seam ripping and it was pretty efficient. It will take some practice before I'm as fast as Catherine, but I'm confident I've mastered the technique enough to avoid ER visits.

I was surprised that in an all day workshop I didn't finish a single block.  It was very comforting to see that the other members of the class got just as far as I did so I wasn't really any slower than anyone else. I learned so much with the first block that I think the next ones will go a lot faster. 

I'm excited to see this table runner all put together. I think I've pulled off a somewhat modern block using batiks. They still aren't my favorite fabrics, but I do like how these are turning out.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Farmer's Wife 31

I had to look back to see what number post this is and was startled to see that my last Farmer's Wife post was September 25. Oy. I'm so glad that most of the crops here are out of the fields so hopefully the dust will be settling soon. It's dangerous to announce, but I love winter. The allergens are mostly dead, I get to drink hot cocoa, and I get to wrap myself and my loved ones in all of my knit and quilt lovelies. It also means I want to spend less time outside and more time working on my quilts so it shouldn't be too long before I'm caught up with my Farmer's Wife blocks.

#4 Basket Weave

#44 Gentleman's Fancy


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Almost Done

I'm just about finished with the first purple cowl. Thankfully this weekend I finally started feeling better and was able to do some catch-up work on quilting. (I actually have two Farmer's Wife blocks to share on Friday and am half finished with the third step of my guild's mystery quilt. I'm not sharing that one until it's finished though.) All of this quilting meant that the purple cowl didn't get as much love as she needed. 

I'm still two inches away from the end, but my list of Christmas knitting has been focused a bit more so I'm not worried about this. I also had a really pleasant surprise in my e-mail yesterday. I found this great alpaca yarn at the renaissance festival last month and have been searching for the perfect pattern. Yesterday Sweater Babe sent me a link to this month's free pattern, the Deluxe Lace Cowl. I'll need to read the pattern a bit closer to see if I need more yarn, but I'm really excited to cast on the second purple cowl.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Modern Building Blocks

I'm afraid I don't have any Farmer's Wife blocks to share this week, but I want to get back to my regular schedule of posting so I'm going to share my next "slow stitching" project. I know this term has probably been around for a while, but yesterday I found a copy of Quilty at one of my local stores and they had a great article about slow stitching. I like having some faster projects that let me feel like I'm accomplishing something and meet timeline goals I set for myself. I also really enjoy having long-term projects that focus on building skills. This year that project has been my Farmer's Wife quilt. I'd started thinking about what I wanted to do next year and was debating Dear Jane, but wasn't sure I wanted to commit to another big traditional sampler. 

When I saw the first glimpse of the Modern Building Blocks I knew I had to make that quilt. A few weeks ago Quilter's Square had a sale on pre-ordered kits so I took the plunge. I think this is going to be a great motivator to finish the last 30 FW blocks since I'm really excited to start the MBB quilt.

At one of my guild's work nights I finally admitted that I'm not a fan of batiks. I know that there are countless numbers of beautiful quilts that are made from batiks (believe me the quilts the members of my guild make from batiks are stunning.) I compare it to an art museum though. There are hundreds of paintings that are amazing, but you wouldn't want all of them in your home. Likewise batiks just aren't my style right now (which is okay because solids aren't most of my guild's style.) I'm hoping that when they see this quilt some of them might be tempted to use more solids in their quilts. Just look at all of these yummy colors!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lots of Knitting Time

Sorry for the disappearance. I'm not sure if I've been struck with allergies or a nasty cold, but either way it's really knocked me off my feet. Unfortunately the meds I take for my RA weaken my immune system so tiny bugs will leave me sick for days weeks. Since Iowa is heading into winter and cold season I'm sure this is only the first of many illnesses that will hit. If I disappear for a few postings here and there it's because I've been hit with another bug. Thank you in advance for your patience. I promise I will be back as soon as I can.

The one good thing about this bug is that I haven't had energy to do much more than go to work and lay on the couch. This weekend the couch and I were very close friends and I got a ton of knitting done in between my naps. I'm just about finished with the first of the 2014 Christmas presents. 

I'm really loving the Change of Heart cowl. I think that if I wasn't sick and falling asleep as soon as I finish supper I'd have finished this two weeks ago. I'd definitely recommend this pattern for a quick and easy Christmas present.

I'm joining up with SewCalGal's Handmade Christmas Challenge. In this day and age when time is so precious I believe that a handmade gift shows my loved ones that I love them enough to spend time making something just for them. This cowl may look simple, but in it is stitched hours of me thinking of the person who will receive it. It is also a tangible symbol of my love that she can hold close to her on days when she needs a little extra love.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles

I had the good sense to marry a man who enjoys cooking and is quite good at it. This means that most of the time that I spend working in the kitchen I'm working on quilts. (Read about how my quilting studio doubles as my kitchen in this post.) Tomorrow night I'm scheduled to bring treats to my quilt guild's meeting so I've spent a fair bit of time in the kitchen working on Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles. Since they turned out super cute and I thought to take pictures I'm going to share a tutorial for this simple dessert. (I don't know if other countries have the obsession with pumpkin that we do in America, but as soon as it hints at cold everything here is pumpkin flavored.) 

1 cake mix (I used yellow since that's what The Frugal Girls used, but I think next time I'm going to use a spice cake mix so it tastes more like pumpkin bars.)
1 15oz. can of pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 package of low-fat cream cheese (not pictured)
1 package of almond bark
1 T. vegetable oil (not pictured)
1 can of white frosting
1 bag of pretzel sticks
food coloring (In the picture I show liquid food coloring, but you'll want to use gel or powdered. Liquid food coloring causes your almond bark to seize. Seized almond bark is very good on graham crackers, but not good for dipping our truffles in.)

Mix your cake mix and pumpkin until smooth. Pour into 9x13 greased glass pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow your cake to cool completely. (I covered mine and let it sit over night.)

Crumble cake with a fork or your hands and mix in the cream cheese. Blend until everything is smooth and there's no white showing. (I started with a fork and found it easier to finish mixing with my hands.) Form cake mixture into 1" balls, and roll in your hands to make them round.

Melt your almond bark. I started with 90 seconds in the microwave, stirred, and then continued with 15 second intervals stirring between each interval. When the almond bark is smooth stir in 1 T. vegetable oil and gel food coloring until the desired shade of orange is reached. It took a fair bit of food coloring to get the almond bark to be pumpkin orange, but go slowly. It's always easier to add more. Dip truffles into almond bark and insert pretzel stick immediately. (I broke my pretzel sticks in half and did the truffles two at a time.)

Mix green food coloring into frosting (if you want your frosting a bit stiffer you can also add some powdered sugar, but I just used it as is.) Put frosting into a piping bag with a leaf tip (I used Wilton 65) and add leaves to your pumpkins.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday 31

At the end of the month I'm taking a Judy Niemeyer Paper Piecing workshop with my guild. I'm not a big fan of paper piecing, and when we first made arrangements with the teacher she said that we had to use batiks. I'm not a fan of batiks, but since my LQS has a birthday special where you get half of your age off during the month of your birthday I bought my batiks. The thought of fabric I don't love with a technique I don't love has been filling me with dread. This week I remembered that I've done paper piecing for my Hobbit quilt (I was trying to find pictures to this finished quilt and I'm not sure if I've ever shared it.) I've also done paper piecing for a few of the Farmer's Wife blocks so really this workshop shouldn't be scary to me. This week I had 3 blocks that looked like paper piecing would be the best method for assembling them, and I remembered why I don't like paper piecing.

Up first is Gentleman's Fancy. (Yes, it's not finished.) If you look closely at the upper right black triangle you'll see some of the white paper peeking out from the corner. 

Next is Storm Signal. Would you just look at how nicely those points turned out! Unfortunately I forgot that the grey and black are supposed to trade places on two of the blocks so that there is a pattern in the block and it's not just a complicated way of making a 9 patch.

Finally is Rosebud. I still had a fair bit of reverse sewing on this block, but at least I was able to get it finished. I was too frustrated with the other blocks last night to fix them, but they should be pretty easy to finish this weekend.

#75 Rosebud


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Change of Heart Cowl

A few months ago I was listening to a podcast and found out that you can do an advance search on Ravelry for projects that use a certain weight of yarn and how many yards of the yarn you have. This has quickly become my favorite feature on Ravelry. I love being able to find the perfect pattern when I get a luxurious skein of yarn as a gift, or to start a project using yarn from my stash. I love Knitty so I'm sure I must have seen this pattern when it came out in August, but at the time I wasn't looking for a project that used a small amount of fingering yarn so it didn't catch my eye. Last Tuesday I wanted to cast on a Christmas present that night so I searched on Ravelry for a cowl using 400-500 yards of fingering yarn. I'm so glad that I found Change of Heart

I'm really surprised by how quickly this thing is flying off my needles. I normally am a fairly slow knitter, but I'm almost half done already. It's a fairly simple project, but I absolutely love the lace and cables that keep me wanting to do one more row to see the pattern grow. I definitely have to recommend this pattern if you're looking for a quick project that will make a great Christmas (or any other holiday) present.