my creative pursuits with quilts and knits

Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

Slow Sewing

The trendy term these days for hand stitching projects is “Slow Sewing.”  In the busy pace of life, it is a joy to slow down and create things with your own two hands. This summer I started a hexagon project using the English Paper Piecing technique of basting fabric around a cardstock template, then whip-stitching the pieces into larger shapes.image

The traditional shape is a called Grandma’s Flower Garden.

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I made a few of these (and I would love to swap more…check out the #hexiefriends on Instagram!) but, I have a hard time following the crowd at times. I decided to sew the hexies into a diamond shape

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with the ultimate plan of making an Argyle pattern.

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It was easy to make this diagram in EQ7. Under the Quilt tab, select One Patch Quilt, and it defaults to hexagons.  The layout is a bit skewed since I didn’t start coloring on the correct row.  My piece will be turned 90 degrees, but I didn’t figure out how to rotate the quilt in EQ7.  I’ll probably be working on this for the next 20 years!

Here is another project that I had to put my own spin on…the Mitered Square Blanket.  This example shows the standard layout.

image from Confessions of a Sockaholic, found through Google

I loved the idea of a multi-color project, so I chose a bunch of colors, but instead of making squares, I had the brilliant idea to use a layout called “Card Trick” where each color combination is found in 3 blocks and they look like an overlapping deck of cards.

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The blocks were fun to knit…way back in 2008?!?!?  The seaming got the best of me, however, due to all those zig-zags.  I think I have all the groups of three seamed, and even a good chunk of larger sections.  When I glance at the box where this project is stored, I always think that if I just sewed one seam per day, I could finish it up…and then I pick up something else to work on!

What projects have you set aside?  Is it time to finish them or donate to someone who will?

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Small projects

We have been on a family vacation, and I wanted some hand work to take along for the plane rides and long trips in the car.

I am using a skein of Dizzy Blonde yarn/colorway Run Amok to make a scarf.

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I wound the yarn into two balls, and I am waiting to see how long it is after one ball before I decide if it is too wide.  I generally prefer skinny, long scarves, but I am trying to keep an open mind.  Plus, I am basically lazy and don’t want to rip it out to start over!

For my second project, I jumped onto the English paper pieced hexagon craze.  No scissors on airplanes, so I prepped a bunch of pieces before leaving home.

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I am making diamond units, and I plan to use an argyle pattern, so there will be solid color sections with white Xs.  These are 3/4-inch hexagons so this piece will probably end up as a wall hanging.

Knitting Finishes!

I have been in a scarf/cowl knitting frenzy for a couple months, mostly because there is such luscious yarn to work with!  I have mentioned my “Dark Side of the Moon” scarf, from the rainbow colorway by Must Stash Yarns: image  I used a simple pattern to knit a garter stitch scarf which lets the yarn shine.

Next was the Bar Hopping Cowl in a limited edition Lorna’s Laces colorway inspired by Frozen.

image  This was a gift for the director of my daughter’s holiday ice skating show.

The most recent finish was a moebius cowl using a pattern by Cat Bordhi.  This was a gift for a fellow math teacher.  I used Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, which is deliciously soft.  With 47″ needles, the circumference of the cowl is only about 15″.

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I do have another shawl on the needles.  My daughter’s group was invited to take their skating show to a nearby town for a performance on New Year’s Eve, and that means rehearsals every day between now and then.  Prime knitting time for mom!  I grabbed a skein of multi-colored sock yarn which is turning into a pretty hideous shawl.  A reminder for the new year: Life is too short to knit with ugly yarn!

Puzzles

I looked over my UFO pile, then glanced at the calendar, and decided to finish a Christmas quilt.

imageMany years ago, I collected Christmas fabrics, several in batiks, and put them together with the Turning 20 pattern. Now, I have to come up with a backing.  I would love to buy some extra wide fabric and not mess with piecing a back, but I am trying to stick to a budget and use up my stash.  So I dug around for some of the leftover prints and calculated a patchwork layout that would fit.

imageThe top is 65 x 80, so I am making the backing about 70×88.  I cut 20 squares at 16-1/2″ (the size of my largest ruler, lol) and added a 6.5″ strip in the center.  I sew all my backing seams at 1/2″ and press them open.  I will need an 8″ strip across the middle to get the right size back.  I have a new pantograph with poinsettias and holly leaves, so I should finish this today.  Stay tuned!

I have spent much more time knitting lately.  I was able to gift this cowl (infinity scarf) for one of my daughter’s skating coaches.

imageThe yarn is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted in a limited Frozen colorway.  The pattern is the Bar-Hopping Cowl.  I knit to a width of about 8″ and a length of about 60″ – perfect to loop twice around your neck.

I am making progress on Stephen West’s 2014 Mystery Shawl.

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This section uses two color brioche, which is a fairly easy stitch with fabulous results.  However, my stitch count was off at the end of the section and there was no way to add stitches without throwing off the whole pattern.  So…I ripped back the whole thing 😦  Hopefully things work out better the second time through!

We are enjoying a few days of vacation as we get ready for US Thanksgiving.  We have an invitation to a friend’s house so I am relieved of cooking duty, for which I am VERY grateful!!

Happy stitching!

 

 

 

Knitting Progress

I am dividing my time between two projects.

For me, the Dark Side of the Moon Diagonal Scarf:

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I love this colorway of yarn!  It is sock-weight, and the pattern is straight garter stitch.  I am having fun watching the bright yellow inch across the stripes.

#2 is the Bar Hopping Cowl in Frozen-inspired yarn

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This pattern uses yarn-overs and slipped stitches to create a lacy effect.  I have been trying to alternate between these two projects, keeping them both in the car for my wait in the parent-pick-up lane at my daughter’s school.  The Frozen cowl is a gift, so that has a deadline.

[By the way, this blog-every-day-in-October goal has become quite a challenge!  I have to really plan ahead to schedule posts during the week when I am busy with club meetings and skating practice.  Speaking of the prep that needs to be done…I should go take pictures for the rest of this week!  You get to see alot of old stuff since I really am not that prolific.  My silly day job gets in the way!!]

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…

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!

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