Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Diamond Dreams Revisited

Lately, I've been wanting to revisit some of my older knitting and crochet patterns.

I get to give my brain a rest from planning and designing, I get to use up yarn in my stash more quickly, to take some new and better photos, and besides, gosh darn it, I like my designs.  They're fun to make.

Diamond Dreams is one of my oldest crochet patterns.  I'm using James C. Brett Marble Chunky, 4 balls total.

This is what my dining room table looks like as I sew the squares together.

I admit, doing the mattress stitch to join the squares is the only part I find mildly annoying, but I do like the result.  The colors in this next photo are truer, too.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Selvedges and Their Annoying Cuteness

Have I mentioned I have a lot of fabric?  I believe I may have let that slip once or twice.

Do I really need to be spending time making things using selvedges, the roughly 3/4" wide sliver of more densely woven fabric at the edge, that we trim off before using the actual fabric?  No, don't be silly, of course I don't.

Yet sometimes selvedges have interesting symbols on them, or pretty dots, or just more of the beautiful pattern of the fabric itself.  I didn't really think about that when I first started quilting.  I considered selvedges scraps and threw them away, until I took a workshop a year or three ago from a woman named Kristin Otte, who creates really beautiful objets d'art using selvedges.

And we hate to be wasteful, right?  Didn't Mom teach us, "Waste not, want not?"  Of course she did.

Using a stiff, double-sided fusible interfacing and a bunch of selvedges, many from Kristin's stash, I made this little wallhanging in class.  To me, it looks like an Easter egg.

This is the back.

After that, I couldn't resist hanging onto selvedges.  I had a plan to make a big, impressive project that, once I started it, was taking way too long, and getting boring and irritating.  So I gave all my selvedges to Kristin.

But then, there were more.  Because I kept making quilts and wallhangings.  Some selvedges are too darn pretty to throw away.

I decided on a smaller project, and I did finally make it.  It hangs in my office and is a good reminder to remain calm.  Especially in the face of the tons more irresistible selvedges I keep collecting.

I toy with the idea of making something else with them, but I have so much fabric, I think I'm ready to stick with using bigger pieces.  Kristin may be inheriting more "scraps."

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Experimental Shawl

I finally finished this thing.  Thought I would never be done.

I was experimenting with three different stitch patterns, hoping it would become a pattern I might like to publish.

And I don't like to publish it, no, I do not, because the third pattern is way more complicated when doing increases in a triangle shape than I want to bother writing.  Call me lazy.  Call me a quitter.  Hurl all the epithets you want, I am moving on to another project!

I also would've done less of the third pattern and more of the second band of the first pattern (if that makes any sense) had I really been planning ahead, but I was just messing around, and the shawl got big enough that it seemed silly to keep going.

So I let myself off the hook--or the needles--and I'm calling it "done."

As my friend Elisa says, "Better done than perfect."

Friday, July 19, 2019

Birch Trees

For a long time I've had this modern, easy quilt project in my queue.  I thought it would be a great way to use up scraps.  And it is!

It's a pattern I found at "crazy mom quilts," but I just tried to find you the link, and it no longer exists.  At least I can't find the webpage today, with my limited tech skills.

I made my top with fewer blocks because I plan to quilt it myself--someday.

I'm not usually great at the "random fabric selection" concept, but for those scrappy strips, anything looks good.  You really can't go wrong!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Finding My Marbles

This bag of Marble Chunky yarn has been sitting in my office for months, looking luscious.  It's a "yum of yarn," like a flock of birds, or a pride of lions.

There are four different color ways in there, and a long time ago, I had a design idea for using all of them together.  I've worked on this brilliant idea sporadically, and it just never quite comes together.  Maybe I'm not in the mood.  Maybe it's not that brilliant.

I finally decided to use color way MC32 for a River's Edge Ripple throw, only instead of crocheting strips and sewing them together to get a vertically striped blanket, as in the original pattern, I am letting the gentle flow of color changes in this wonderful yarn speak for themselves.

With an "I" crochet hook, I chained 112 to begin, a multiple of 9 + 4, and then followed the directions for a strip of River's Edge all the way across.

I'm loving the result so far.  The pattern repeat is only 2 rows, so it's mindless crocheting for me.

I will probably add a narrow border to the sides to finish it off.

If all goes well, the finished blanket will measure approximately 42" x 48" using 4 balls of James C. Brett Marble Chunky.  It's all acrylic, machine washable, so start your crochet hooks now!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour 2019

We did it!  And fit in a couple of extra stores along the way, because they were so close to the ten shops on the CCQS tour.

I got four batiks I have earmarked for certain projects, including a mostly black one that will work for all kinds of things.

I got some other batiks Just Because.  They look pretty garish all together!  But they will go in different projects (some day.)

Then the fabrics I needed/wanted for a big English Paper Piecing project that is maybe halfway done.

And more fabrics, two of which go with projects in the queue inside my brain, and two of which are Just Because.

Then notions, including Sashiko thread, hand quilting thread, and regular thread for the English Paper Piecing project.

I love the 3-color Bohin marking pencil, and needed another one to go in my hand quilting bag-of-tricks.  The circular cutting tool from Creative Grids was on sale, half price, so who could resist?  Well, my friend resisted:  she handed it to me!

Not pictured: some stiff double-sided fusible for another project I have in mind.

Along the way we all got freebies, which we love, including little patches to sew on things (which I probably won't, but they are cute), a kit to make a pincushion, a batik mini-charm pack, and sew on and sew on.  Plus, some very handy little scissors, which were the prize for going to all the shops and turning in your stamped passport.

I have decided I can't go shopping again until I finish at least six projects.  We'll see how long that idea lasts!

For those who are wondering, I promise I will get back to blogging about some yarn-y stuff soon.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Startitis: Is There a Cure?

Some months ago, I came across a group on Ravelry discussing the topic, "How many projects do you have going at once?"

I am amazed that there are some people who can do one project at a time, or maybe two or three, and they finish them before starting seven others.

It turns out that I'm not alone in coming down with Startitis on a regular basis.  There are others like me who have at least twenty projects going on hooks, needles, spinning wheels, looms, sewing machines, or all of the above.

Right when I think I have my project queue under control, it seems there is a new class or workshop happening.  For example, here's another result of the Rami Kim fabric folding workshop I took:

I almost got sucked into making more of these cute kimonos, but I couldn't decide what fabrics I wanted to use, so I was spared further Starting (or was that Continuing?) and got back to a project I was already working on.

I sometimes think I'll choose, say, three projects out of my enormous queue of UFOs and WIPs (UnFinished Objects and Works In Progress), and that I will work only on those until they are done.  Hilarious, right?

Then a quilt show happens, or a stop at a fabric shop, with shopping-enabling friends, and Startitis resurfaces.  (The Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour is coming up this weekend!  Yikes!)

I used to keep track of how many projects I have going at once.  I lost count about six years ago.  I gave up.  It's exponential growth.  They're like bunny rabbits.

No matter how many projects I finish, with major Startitis outbreaks reoccurring as often as pollen allergies, or backaches when it's cold outside, it is impossible to keep track unless one wants to make it a full-time job, which I don't.  If I kept track, it would take time away from trying to finish all those dang projects!

There is no known cure for Startitis.  Some people have it, some people don't.  But apparently it's contagious!  All my friends have it!