Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Free Pattern Link: Missouri Star Fabric Mask

In the midst of the virus madness, I've been grateful to have a huge stash of wonderful fabrics and yarns and so on.  I feel sorry for people who don't have hobbies!

At first I was working on my own projects, in between trying to get groceries and such, which was often an all-day affair.

I kept getting all these emails with links to tutorials on how to make fabric masks, since we have shortages of the N95s.  Most of them looked too complicated for my overstressed brain to decipher.  And at first, our local hospitals didn't want the fabric ones, as they do not protect against the virus, so I didn't feel too sad at not being able to contribute.

But now they are welcoming the fabric ones, wearing them over the N95s to prolong their usefulness.

One of our intrepid quilt guild members sent a link to a tutorial from Jenny Doan at Missouri Star that is easy enough even for me!  Jenny Doan is so great at simplifying things!  Plus I love the cute music they play at the beginning of each of their tutorials.

Here's the first mask I finished, super quick:

Our guild is now collecting the masks, and I deeply appreciate the people who got this organized.  Of course, now my friends are all asking for masks, and I really want to make some for them too, so I have an idea to streamline manufacture (here in my own tiny factory of living room, with one staff member--me).

Finished 3 more!

Here's the plan:  Instead of using scraps, I'm going for yardage.  (Do I have enough yardage?!  Yes.  Yes, I do.)

I'm going to cut a strip 9" wide, width of fabric (WOF) from each of two different fabrics, then sew two seams on either side, the length of the strips, then cut the sewn piece into 6" pieces, with each resulting piece being the face part of a mask.  Brilliant, no?

I'm also going to cut two 2" strips, WOF, for the ties, so I can run each strip through my bias tape maker, thereby streamlining the pressing process.  I don't have a bigger bias tape maker, and the 2 and 1/2" strips I've been using just don't go through the one I have properly.  Might be worth trying to order a bigger one, but in the meantime....

If you watch the Missouri Star tutorial, you will understand better what I'm getting at.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who has figured this out.

Off to sew!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Still Crocheting After All These Years

In case you were wondering, I haven't quit crocheting simply because I'm obsessed with sewing.  I finished this shawl awhile back.

It's mainly double crochet and a few front and back post stitches for texture.

Now if only I liked wearing shawls....  I just like making them!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Burrito Pillowcase

The finished pillowcase in all its glory
One of our quilt guild members recently suggested we make special pillowcases for submitting quilts to our shows.  Many quilts can be folded or rolled up to fit in a standard pillowcase, which keeps them clean and makes them easy to transport.

A novelty print would be easier to spot when picking up our quilts after the show, this lady said.

Sounds logical.  Sensible.  Reasonable.  But at first, in my typical wet blanket fashion, I resisted the idea.  Why would I want to make a darn pillowcase when I have more ideas for quilts than I can finish in a lifetime?!  What a waste of time, I told myself.

It helps to have friends.  When I passed on the info to my quilting buddy E, she sent me a link for the "burrito method."

The burrito!
As it turns out, I had done this once before in a workshop and never wanted to make another!

But at that time, I was just getting back into sewing, and everything seemed complicated and frustrating.  Sewing a straight seam was complicated, let alone doing a French seam.  Threading the machine was complicated, for heaven's sake!

Seven years later, I find this method sew easy!  And sew fun!  And it uses up lots of fabric quickly, which is good, because I have the Giant Stash That Ate New York living in my apartment.
First seam sewn: the first big reveal!

As I told my friend E:  Must Make More!  The pic at the top of this entry shows the finished pillowcase.  Hooray!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A Happy Village on the Coast

The minute I heard about the Happy Villages fabric collage book by Karen Eckmeier, I knew I had to have it.

I ordered the book, and then, a mere year or so later, got motivated to actually try the technique for this year's quilt guild challenge.

We're supposed to use at least one technique new to us, and to add at least two embellishments on the finished wall-hanging.

Sticking to the "legal" size this year was easy.  I sometimes have trouble with that one!

I was able to make my wall-hanging a little larger than Karen's suggestion for a first project, and still meet the size criterion.

Making this was like designing a jigsaw puzzle.  Fun fun fun.  I got addicted right away.  I could not stop cutting out little roofs and windows, doors and trees.

I chose not to follow Karen's suggestion to include steps.  They look great on her designs, but I found them distracting on mine, and I felt more foliage was in order.

I added a few sailboats and a couple of seagulls, then embellished the ocean with hot fix crystals--also a new technique for me--and couched a little yarn around the edge next to the binding.

The crystals don't show up well in the photo, alas.  But I love this thing!  Must make more!

This isn't due until the March guild meeting, and will go on display at the April meeting.  It feels good to finish in plenty of time, and get back to my other 27 projects!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Holden Shawlette

I actually finished this project a few weeks ago, but I  let it gestate for awhile, i.e., I procrastinated until I finally got around to blocking it.

Then I let it gestate again, until I finally took photos, and then I let those gestate for awhile, being busy with other things, but fully intending to blog about this clever little shawlette eventually.

Who knew the gestation period of a simple shawlette was akin to that of an elephant?  You heard it here first.

The pattern is the Holden Shawlette, by Mindy Wilkes, and it is the project I traveled with back in 2018, thinking it would be easy and compact enough for the trip.  Which it was, really, except I created some problems for myself (you can read about them here), and I had to do a lot of frogging.

Totally my fault, not the fault of the designer.

Once I got going on the right needles, it was a simple stockinette for many rows, and even the lace portion was not mind-boggling.

I highly recommend the pattern.  She has revised it so you can make it a full-sized shawl, if you want.  Even at full size, I bet you can "gestate" it faster than I did the little one!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Tuck Me In Again

In my journey through my earlier designs, here's one that's easy enough for me to do even at a knit night.  I used two balls of good old James C. Brett Marble Chunky yarn, and got a nice baby blanket measuring 36" x 42".  I used #10 circular needles, and cast on 93 stitches to get started.  I used up most of the yarn, but had enough left over to do a simple crocheted border.

This pattern is so fun, I’m making another using worsted weight yarn.  Below is a close-up of where to poke your needle for the Tuck Stitch.

It’s the second “hole” below the stitch that’s on your left needle.

In the Tuck Stitch rows, you’ll be purling mostly, so when you get ready to tuck, don’t forget to put your yarn in back of your work.  Then poke your right needle in, and knit as you normally would.

The stitches on the left needle may look like they’re going to fall off, but they will be caught safely by your new stitch.  Then put your yarn in front again to continue purling as directed in the pattern.

Have fun!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Experimental Birds

I and my friend E. invested in the Mini-Curve ruler and the book that goes with it.  We got together to experiment, naturally choosing one of the more difficult patterns in the book, featuring birds with clever little beaks, because we clearly were not thinking clearly.

She made more birds and ended up with a decent sized wall-hanging, but I wasn't sure I wanted to invest the time, and only made two birds, with a rather unfinished looking plant on the side.  I was going to add a worm, but haven't gotten around to it.

I did, however, start making another pattern in the same book, that has lovely lanterns.  I've finished the main piecing and am almost done adding borders.  So the points don't quite match.  Who cares?  Definitely not me.  I'm not entering it for judging in a quilt show, for heaven's sake!

I will post a pic of the finished lap quilt in due course.