weekly three things: plants, pants, and catch-up

As a weekly routine to promote creativity and happiness, I pick three projects to work on and then share the results. Feel free to post your 3 things in the comments! dots and dot wallets by cate carter-evans

This week’s things:

Thing 1: 75% of quilt top done (carry-over from last week). Thing 2: Order mums and raspberries for fall planting Thing 3: Make corduroy pants.

Last week's things:

Thing 1: Finish 75% of squares for quilt top, and create initial layout for quilt top.

Result: Fail! I only made enough squares for three blocks, and made zero progress on the layout.

In happier tidings, I made myself a new messenger bag out of my stash of leather scraps.

messenger bag by Cate Carter-Evans

I'm working to de-stash my leather by making wallets decorated with dots that I'm then selling at Jiashan Market. Some may soon make their way to Etsy. Each dot is punched out with a hammer and die, and it's really satisfying work.

Thing 2: Create family budget plan for next six months.

Result: Win!

Thing 3: Plan for next year’s garden, and create proposal for increased composting at the community rooftop garden.

Result: Win!

I'm all set to place my seed order for next year, and I'm meeting today with the garden manager to discuss whether or not the garden can have chickens.

What's on your list this week?

Weekly Three Things: A week of plans

As a weekly routine intended to promote creativity and happiness, I pick three projects to work on each week, and then share the results. Feel free to post your 3 things in the comments! This week's things:

Thing 1: Finish 75% of squares for quilt top, and create initial layout for quilt top. Thing 2: Create family budget plan for next six months. Thing 3: Plan for next year's garden, and create proposal for increased composting at the community rooftop garden.

Figs by Cate Carter-Evans

Last Week's things:

Thing 1: Fig & Chiptole Jam, recipe found via Punk Domestics.

Result: Win!

The jam is made, and we'll see how it tastes in a couple of weeks.

Thing 2: Finished blocks for half of the quilt top.

Result: Win! I picked up a couple of new fabrics this weekend to finish out the quilt top. Funny how a de-stash quilt project results in the buying of more fabric.

I'll be revisiting this project this week, so expect a photo next Monday.

grey wool

Thing 3: Spin three skeins of gray wool for blanket project.

Result: Win! I ended up with four whole skeins, and one partial.

What are your three things this week?

Weekly 3 Things

As a weekly routine intended to promote creativity and happiness, I pick three projects to work on and then share the results. Feel free to post your 3 things in the comments! Spinning with Rufus by Cate Carter-Evans This Week's things:

Thing 1: Make fig & chiptole jam. Recipe found via Punk Domestics.

Thing 2: Finish blocks for half of the quilt top. My Dad has signed up for a version of this quilt with grey in place of the red, so you'll be seeing lots more indigo over the next few months.

Thing 3: Spin three skeins of gray wool for blanket project.

bread and butter pickles by Cate Carter-Evans

Last week's things:

Thing 1: Make bread and butter pickles.

Result: Win! Kinda! Made six jars. Tried a new recipe, and right now they're WAY too sweet. Hoping it'll mellow over the next couple of weeks.

Indigo fabrics by Cate Carter-Evans

Things 2: Make 12 blocks for indigo quilt.

Result: Win! As of this moment, 19 blocks with four squares each are done.

Thing 3: Remaining 12 projects to Ravelry.

Result: Win! Kinda! I realized I actually didn't have 12 projects to put up... More like 8. As it turns out, I'm actually behind on releasing patterns.

The good news is I have six patterns I can release in the near future.

The bad news is I have six patterns that need tech editing, new samples, or both.

At least I know they're there.

What are your three things this week?

We 3 Things

This week's things: Thing 1: Make bread and butter pickles. Things 2: Make 12 squares for indigo quilt. Thing 3: Remaining 12 projects to Ravelry.

Last week's things:

Thing 1: Win! Scheduled friend meet-ups for vacation week. Much deliciousness was consumed, especially at Biwa.Hamachi

Thing 2: Win! I uploaded several finished objects to Ravelry.

You can see them here on Infinite Twist's Ravelry page.

Bias Knit Noro Scarf by Cate Carter Evans Infinite Twist

Thing 3: Win! I finalized all the river trip logistics, and had an awesome time on the trip. More on that on Wednesday. river trip

What are your three things this week?

We Three Things

Craft Closet This week's things:

Thing 1: Schedule friend meet-ups for vacation week. Thing 2: Upload 3 finished objects to Ravelry. Thing 3: Finalize river trip logistics (Check and mend dry bags, buy new sunscreen, find sleeping bag, buy beer).

Last week's things:

Thing 1: Woot! I did organize and pack my vacation knitting. Thing 2: Woot! All the what-not under the bed was sorted, folded, organized, and moth-proofed. Thing 3: Fail! I did no sewing at all on the vintage textile quilt.

Instead of the sewing, I organized all things crafty into one shelf, made blueberry jam with wonderful friend Bec, and spent some lazy time with my man and the cats. It felt just right.

blog 2

In the midst of de-stemming the blueberries, Bec and I got to talking about how we use our weekly three things, and I thought I'd share with you.

But first, a wee bit of background. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool list person. I love crossing to-dos off my list (preferably in red Sharpie). I crave the state of laser-targeted single-minded focus where Things Are Getting Done, and to-do items quiver in fear of my ruthless efficiency and strategic planning. I prioritize tasks, and take on the urgent and important ones first. Then I make dinner, do dishes, and go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Important stuff like "Spend 30 minutes playing fetch with Vesper," "take a break," or "do something nice for yourself" doesn't often make it onto the to-do list. There's simply too much going on... or at least that's the usual excuse. It's a brilliant recipe for creative burn-out.

For me, We Three Things is the space where I take a minute to find three things each week that will inspire me, help me get past a creative block, or simply keep the chaos down to a dull roar. Sometimes I pick a challenge, sometimes a comfort, and I know there will be weeks where it's all Fail and no Woot.

If you'll pardon a gardening metaphor, it's the equivalent of taking the time to turn a compost pile.

If you just pile up organic material willy-nilly in a compost bin, you generally get a gooey, smelly, anaerobic mess. It takes different types of organic matter (dry, wet, green, brown), seen and unseen helpers (microbes, bugs, and more) and the sweaty, dirty work of digging and mixing and turning to make the magic happen.

I'd much rather have rich, fertile, nourishing existence than a smelly mess.

Thanks for being one of the helpers (seen or unseen) who makes it happen by visiting this space!

We Three Things

chutney Last week was a 2.5 out of 3 week.

1/3: The mango chutney making finally happened, and the results are really yummy. I've got four half-pints, which should get me through the rest of the year.

yellow quilt

2/3: I also hung my Mom's yellow quilt in the sewing area. It's made with a bunch of textured fabrics, seersucker, and textured madras. I love that you can identify what some of the flowers are (iris, tulips, lilies), and some are delightfully abstract.

2.5/3: The polka dot fabric. Rather than making the skirt myself, I dropped it off at the fabric market to be sewn.

This week, my three things are:

1. Make knitting plan and pack projects for vacation. 2. Sort, organize, and moth-proof Fall/Winter clothing. 3. Make three squares for vintage textile quilt.

I'll share photos next Monday.

What are your three things this week?

Monday Three Things

fruitcake 1 My score for last week's W3T is 2/3. I did make fruitcake and arrange my vacation, but mango chutney did not happen.

Instead, due to various scheduling nonsense, I did a photo shoot on Sunday for my fall line, which I'm calling a win.

photoshootIt as well above 100 degrees, so we scrubbed the plan for a lovely atmospheric outdoor shoot and shot everything inside. Models passing out from heatstroke is not anybody's idea of a fun time.

Vesper was very helpful with the photo shoot. Even with so many people to manage, and so many hand-knits to sit on, she managed to keep it together.

fruitcake 2

But on to the really important stuff - the fruitcake! I'm shamelessly proud of my fruitcake. The secret is soaking the dried fruit in bourbon for 48 hours before baking, and using lots of candied citrus. I like to use dried figs, cherries, apricots, and prunes - so it's like healthy and stuff. Ahem.

This time, I used sliced almonds instead of whole ones, and the result was really nice - more of a marzipan cake texture, and better crumb structure.

In case you're looking to put on five pounds, I'm happy to recommend slathering cream cheese on a slice of warm fruitcake for breakfast. Oh yeah.

This week's list includes: 1. Get that pesky chutney made! 2. Make a skirt or dress or something from Indian polka dot cotton (souvenir from Delhi trip). 3. Hang yellow quilt in my sewing space.

What's on your list this week?

We Three Things

doorbell Happy Monday! As a way to jump-start the week, I'm going to be posting three things I'd like to complete this week as part of the We Three Things project. You can read my friend Bec's post about We Three Things on her blog, Shanghai Experiment.

This week's list:

1. Make fruitcake 2. Make mango chutney 3. Figure out accommodations for upcoming Portland trip

I'll also be posting pictures of projects from the week before. Last week's list included: 1. Refurbish suncatcher and make doorbell (bonus points). 2. Assemble dressers and install closet bar 3. Take a break and watch The Colony.

All three things got done!


The most photogenic project was working on the suncatcher. This little beauty was a birthday present seven years ago, made by the very talented Nancy Davis. It had gotten a little bit beat up and tarnished over time, so I soaked it in vinegar to brighten up the copper, and added some new strings of beads, keys, and bells.

I also did a quick macrame project with a bunch of brass bells I found in Yunnan province, plus some other random bells from my stash.

front door gardenThe front of the house is looking more fun, and I love having the sound of bells alert me to the presence of visitors.

Feel free to join We Three Things - post your things below, or post a link to your blog!


post itsDespite the blazing heat and the crazy humidity, “planning season” is finally starting to start. It’s the time to work on the colors and yarns and themes of the Fall range, and start the nitty-gritty work of preparing the new patterns. Each month of the knitting season has its own mood – What I want to knit in September is different from what I long for in February.

New ideas, samples that need some tweaking, and old favorites bounce around in my head. A color-work hat for January? Socks for December? And mittens – when shall we knit the mittens?

For me, figuring out how the pieces fit together necessitates a rainbow of sticky notes and two colors of sharpies. Moving things around, adding and subtracting, nothing quite final… yet.

But it’s coming. Fall is really and truly just around the corner – Autumn sweater weather, apples, house socks, pumpkin pie – it will all be here before you know it.

I’ll have just the thing (at least I hope I will) for when you first notice that bite in the air that says knitting weather is just around the corner.

So tell me, if you’d be so kind: What’s your favorite thing to knit, and when?

This case for double-pointed knitting needs and its companion crochet hook caddy were instant gratification at its crafty finest. This was a quick-and-easy project (less than 1 hour), made from 100% stash materials, and it solved an organizational challenge.

This case replaces a pretty-but-useless velvet case I made several years back. The needles constantly fell out of the old one and would wind up at the very bottom of the basket of knitting stuff. I could never find what a full set in the size I wanted without digging.

For this new and improved version, I knew I wanted the fabric to be stretchy so the needles would stay put. The perfect material was already in my stash – multicolored 1.25” elastic!

The elastic was a free gift from my previous employer (a sportswear company with a certain German obsession for quality that leads them to test absolutely everything that goes into their products). Testing leftovers were dumped in a give-away bin outside the mterials lab, and one day, there was the super fun elastic. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but loved the candy-hued colors, and home it came.

Confession - this stuff has been in my stash for somewhere around three years. Gah! In any case, I think it was worth the wait.

Cha- Cha- Cha- Changes

The advent of the shiny new job has set off many changes in my world. The commute time is changing the way I craft and what I make, and the whole Monday - Friday thing makes weekend time extremely precious.

This effects you, dear reader, because I will be blogging differently. You'll get more short posts with one image, and fewer long-form essays with a gazillion pictures.

To start off this new trend, Here's a picture of my travel sewing kit. It's a recycled Altoids tin lined with origami paper from Muji. It's got everything I need for quilting, and for most other hand-sewing projects. The Altoids box works especially well because it stays closed, and keeps sharp scissor points and needles safely enclosed.

Here's the packing list:
- scissors
- needle threader (especially useful for threading needles when you're in a moving car)
- needle case
- thimble
- beeswax
- needle emery (cleans off gunk and polishes needle burrs) Do you have any kits or tips for crafting on the go? 

These are the contents of my head

I'm having a crazy week. I'm moving in eight days and was supposed to start a new job on Monday but there's this issue with my old work permit and on and on. I'm interacting with several different bureaucracies at once, and everybody's default setting seems to be "no." I sat down yesterday and made list after list after list of all the stuff in my head that I can actually do something about, ranging from things to buy at the store to people I owe thank-you notes to. The list consumed 3/4 of a pack of 3 x 5 cards.

I made a "where I want to be at the end of the week" list and broke all those tasks down into (what I hope are) manageable daily chunks.

Now all I need is a family-size can of patience (and perhaps a martini or two).


Appreciation for Buttons

I'm in the middle of a magnificent streak of finding just the right buttons for each project. In celebration thereof, I re-organized my button boxes (plural, as in at least one more than is really necessary). The prompt for the re-org was a gentle reminder that there's a pair of brown corduroy pants in this house that are totally done - except for buttons for the fly. They've been that way for over a year. Gah!

When I opened the big box of buttons to seek out the appropriate buttons for the pants, I realized two things - 1. the box was way too full to allow easy digging through the contents without buttons sloshing over the sides, and 2. I have two moon cake tins from Hong Kong that are the perfect size to each hold half the collection - one for lights, the other for darks.

During the sorting process, I was reminded that button hunting has been really, really good to me. I once found a huge mason jar full of buttons at Goodwill that happened to have all sorts of vintage glass beauties in it. Another time, I found a tin full of mother-of-pearl buttons.

The most fun button hunting was courtesy of a business trip last spring to Paris. Upon landing and dropping my stuff off at the hotel, I had two hours before the flea market closed. Sellers were already closing up shop when I got there, but my frantic hunting yielded some gorgeous lace and linen, glass paper weights, coral specimens, and what I think are vintage French naval buttons.

I have learned the hard way that it's a good idea to keep rhinestone buttons in their own bag or box - I've had a few lose stones from being josted by other buttons.

Oh, Frannson recently did a post about sorting her favorite buttons and putting them in frames for display. For general button appreciation, I also recommend the excellent Button Candy blog.

So what about you? If you display your buttons (pics, please!), or have any great stories about your button collection, please leave a comment.


Recently, somebody on the very excellent Apartment Therapy blog was talking about that "January fresh start" feeling. IMHO, it's the best part of January, other than that the holiday hangover of travel, rich food, and overspending is behind us and it's suddenly a whole new year where anything can happen. Apartment Therapy is now on to the topic of organization, which is the second best part about January. Speaking of organization, I wanted to introduce you to the glorious world of the repocketmod. The repocketmod is a customizable, printable, foldable little book that makes everything better. If you like lists, try one of these little guys. They are the paper-thin line between me and total chaos.

Being an organization geek, I have at least six 'mods going at any one time. I do a weekly one with a calendar on the front and GTD all-in-one lists inside for each week, a monthly project one for creative stuff, and calendar ones for travel and long-range planning. Unlike a PDA, repocketmods are fully compatible with stickers and red sharpie. Oh, and they're free. I heart them.

What's your favorite way to keep organized?