What else do you do when you have a pretty good cold going that just won't go away? You do things that are quiet and will keep your hands busy. At least I do anyway. So this means spinning, knitting, and quilting.....and it also means going through stash to see exactly what you have. I discovered that I have quite a few small skeins of hand-spun yarn. Didn't quite know what to do with them. They were starting to out-number my larger skeins making it more of a chore than a pleasure to go through my yarn basket. And they really were too pretty to give away....even though most had been used in at least one project (if not two). The answer came in a most unexpected way. I was watching an episode of Knit and Crochet Today when I just happen to see a picture of this afghan done in many different colors. The picture was up only briefly.....just long enough to catch my eye really. I did pay attention, though, and at least got the name of the book the pattern was in (Knitalong). Here was the perfect solution to all those small skeins of yarn. I would make them into barn-raising blocks and eventually put them all together into a scrappy afghan. My first two blocks are pictured above. They finished out at about 9" and I was able to use a total of 4 small skeins of hand-spun yarn. I chose to use a smaller size needle than what the pattern calls for (I'm using size 4 dpns) and am doing a few more rounds to make the blocks just a bit larger. To make sure all of my blocks come out about the same size I'm only using yarn that measures between 12-14 wpi. Anything larger or smaller than this will be put aside for another project. While the blocks may not be all that fancy I really do love the pattern and the way the finished blocks look. They showcase my hand-dyed, hand-spun yarns beautifully. The pattern is easy to remember and there is no need to keep track of rows. Plus it travels very nicely. All you need is needles and yarn. :.) Of course who knows when I will actually have enough blocks made to put into an afghan. It really doesn't matter since I enjoy making the blocks so much and now have a wonderful way to use up all those smaller skeins of yarn. Plus it's a wonderful way to record some of the yarns I have spun over the years.
I've also been doing some quilting. Mostly hand applique since it allows me to quietly sit in my chair in front of the woodstove. It's also given me the chance to finally get caught up on the block of the month that I'm doing. Pictured is November's block (purple background) and December's block (pink background). I don't have October's block finished yet. What I'm discovering is that about the only fabric in each month's kit that I've been using is the background fabric and the scrappy squares. The rest has been set aside for one reason or another. I've been digging into my stash of batik charms for a good part of the applique. And have a nice selection of greens set aside as well. The "color" theme of the quilt is supposed to be brights....and not all of the fabric in the kits have been conducive to this theme. I will confess that I am not a "brights" person myself.....leaning more towards the folk art/primitive look and colors.....but I really liked the applique on this quilt. It had the "feel" that I'm drawn towards....although not really the colors. But I figured it would be good to venture outside of my comfort zone every now and then.....which it is. It's been a real challenge to keep the blocks within the "brights" color theme. It's also been amazing to see exactly how many brights I really do have in my stash....even though it may mostly be in the form of 6" charms. :.)