my creative pursuits with quilts and knits

This week’s prize is a set of 100 charm squares (2 1/2″)

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I recently participated in a swap and I have some extra sets!  The winner will receive two identical sets of 49 squares, plus a couple odd balls to reach the magic number of 100.  You can see the sets I cut for the swap pictured above.

I will ship internationally.  This giveaway closes at 8pm MST Sunday Oct 26th.

TBT – Socks

** Last chance to enter the Oct 17 Freebie Friday!  Comment on last week’s post for a chance to win**

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Here is my collection of hand knit socks. In 2007, the popular pattern was Jaywalker.

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I joined the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin SOck Club for a year.  They have fabulous colors and the yarn feels great too.

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Some other random patterns that caught my fancy…(L – R: Tofutsies, Dizzy Blonde Studios, Blue Moon Socks that Rock)

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Collector’s edition Lorna’s Laces Franklin Habit on the left and more Socks that Rock…image

And more self striping fun:

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Alas, I rarely wear these beauties!  It seems a shame to hide them under worn out tennis shoes, and Phoenix is a little warm for wool socks anyway.  It was a fun phase while it lasted.

So…if you know any fun knitting patterns for fingering weight yarn, I am in a sweater mood, and I still have some skeins from that sock yarn club…

Furry friends

Meet my pets.

Gidget is about 13.  We got her as a kitten when a friend found her roaming the neighborhood.

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She is extremely shy and spends most of her days hiding in the master bedroom.  In the evening, she comes downstairs and lately she claims the messy coffee table as her napping spot.  She has very specific places where we are allowed to pet her, so I feel honored when she comes into my sewing room and hops onto my chair for some attention!

The middle child is Casey.  Another friend found her on the street.  We think she was about 2 years old when we got her, so she might be around 8 now.

image (sorry for the dark photo, my iPad doesn’t have a flash)  We thought she was a Maine coon because of her size, but the vet decided she is a Brown Mackerel Tabby.  She demands petting and has a funny habit of butting her head into your arm or leg to get attention.

My daughter wanted a kitten, so three years ago we visited the shelter and brought home Amy as a 6-week-old:

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She is a grey tabby and very much people-oriented.  She is also very vocal, meowing to find us if she wakes up and no one is in the room.  She adopted one of my daughter’s stuffed animals, so it is very funny to find that little bear dropped in various places…at night it’s in the kitchen and by morning we find it at the top of the stairs.

Every quilt and knitting project has a bit of cat hair in my house!

Creativity

**Go back to last week’s Freebie Friday post and enter to win some books!**

Phew…I am past the halfway mark in Blog-tober! Thanks for visiting with me.  Today feels like I am really reaching for content.  I will be happy to take a break in November.  Although, the pressure/schedule/routine of blogging every day is making me a bit more productive!

I am going to turn the spotlight on my crafty kid.  Here was my birthday present:

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She says she found a picture online and copied it.  I love it!  I want to join the fun…she usually has these painting nights with a friend when I teach in the evening…so maybe we will try one of those painting class/studio places one of these days.

Here she is with her portrait of our friend’s dog:

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It is so much fun to watch her create!

Jelly Roll Races

**Freebie Friday – Books!  This giveaway is open until Thursday Oct 24 at 9pm MST.  Comment on this post to win**

A quick and easy quilt pattern is the Jelly Roll Race.  Jelly Rolls are sets of 2-1/2″ strips, usually packaged in groups of 40 to highlight a designer collection of fabrics.  The race part came in when a group of quilters decided to see how long it would take to make a quilt from a jelly roll.  The first step is to sew the strips end-to-end, creating a 1600″ length of fabric.  The strip is then folded in half and sewn along the long end.  Repeat the process…folding and sewing, several times to create a lap-size quilt.

This pattern is ideal for beginning quilters and charity efforts because you don’t have to worry about precise cutting and it goes quickly.  Once the strips are joined in step one, you can finish the quilt top (before pressing) in about 45 minutes.  There are several variations – join the strips on a diagonal vs a straight seam, add spacer triangles or squares, slice two finished race tops in half to mix and match, etc.

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I chose a jelly roll with batik fabrics to make a masculine QOV top.  It’s a little smaller than the recommended size, so I need to add some borders.

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And, I can make my own Jelly Roll if I ever get my 2-1/2″ bin of scraps organized!

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Knitting Shawls

I live in the desert where we are celebrating fall’s cooler temperatures with highs (only) in the 90’s.  So, knitting wool sweaters is not really practical.  However, all those people you see wearing tank tops and shorts end up freezing when they go inside to restaurants, churches and movie theaters.  So shawls come in very handy.

The first shawl I knit was “Color Affection” – one of those patterns that becomes instantly popular.  It was fun putting colors together.

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I quickly realized I like a deeper crescent.  Color Affection is a bit narrow for my taste, but it travels well and came in very handy on airplanes and trains during my recent summer vacation.

Stephen West is another designer who has a vast and loyal following.  The past few years he has been running a Mystery Knit Along.  I made Rockefeller in 2012.

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I enjoy making shawls with sock yarn (fingering weight) and I might have mentioned my compulsion for mysteries and knit-alongs…

Here is Fire and Blood, a Jimmy Beans Wool exclusive colorway and knit along inspired by Game of Thrones.

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And waiting for a final wash and block is Evolution by Rachel Henry, a design I discovered while watching Skacel’s first season of “The Fiber Factor”, a reality-type online competition featuring knitters.

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I think I am well stocked for those chilly air-conditioned spaces!

New Knitting

**Freebie Friday giveaway is open all week.  Leave a comment to win, on this post.**

Yes, I just shared new yarn last week.  My Dark Side of the Moon scarf is now about 8 inches long and continues to make me happy, which is the ultimate goal of any hobby!

But, there was this knit-along on Ravelry…

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Jimmy Beans Wool is a fabulous yarn store in Reno, NV.  I have to shop online, but their customer service is great – sometimes they warp the space-time continuum and I get my order in two days.  Unbelievable!  They have a very talented staff who design and run a variety on knit-alongs, many based on popular TV shows.  The above yarn was inspired by Elsa from Frozen, who has taken over the ABC show “Once Upon A Time.”  It is actually shades of icy blue and light teal, merging into pink and lavender.

I did not actually join the knit-along, shocking I know since I tend to join everything!  But my daughter has a solo part in this year’s Christmas ice skating recital, and they are doing Frozen.  So, I had the crazy/brilliant idea to make the director a cowl. The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted, and it is so soft and cuddly!  I picked an easy-to-memorize pattern called “Bar Hopping Cowl,” and I will take better pictures once you can begin to see the pattern.  I have three rows done plus the seed stitch border.

And I have to mention the needles. You can barely see the red tips in the photo.  I made a cost-saving decision to try Knitter’s Pride Dreamz instead of my usual Addi brand.  So far, I am impressed.  They have very sharp tips which is helpful, although the tip is longer than I am used to.  The join on the circular is smooth.  Overall, a thumbs up.

Tis the season – are you doing any handmade gifts this year?

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