Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Chrysalis

I'm almost done with the second Butterfly/Papillon shawl.  It's still on the needles in this pic.  Almost ready to spread its wings!

Tonight, fingers crossed, I will finish knitting the last section and bind off.

Actually, it's easier to knit with fingers uncrossed.  (I just cannot resist a bad pun.)

Friday, June 8, 2018

Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour 2018, Part 2

Luckily, Roxanne's shop is close by, so I can go back and get more of the beautiful blenders I saw.

I only grabbed half a yard of this black on white print and some thread to finish up the tour last weekend, because even I was running out of steam for shopping.








At Superbuzzy, I found this wonderful jelly roll, and I think I have the perfect pattern for it.  More will be revealed.

I turned in my passport and kept checking my cellphone to see if I won any raffle baskets or the grand prize or anything, but alas, it was not to be.  Never mind, it's great fun just the same.


Must sew faster to make room for more fabric!  Already looking forward to the tour next year!


Saturday, June 2, 2018

Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour 2018

Well, we did it!  Or most of it, yesterday.  I missed the Quilt Shop Tour last year, and was really happy to be back on the Fabric Trail again.  (Like the Oregon Trail, or the Chisholm Trail, but with an SUV instead of a covered wagon, and no cattle.)

First stop, Old Town Quilt Shop in Orcutt.  We really love it when shops give little gifts just for coming in--not everyone wins a raffle basket, after all.  So we got some little treasures like a notebook and a refrigerator magnet, and after we shopped, we got to play their Plinko game and win cute little prizes, in my case, a mini-charm pack of batiks.  Hooray!





Next we went to The Quiltery in Paso Robles.  We were grateful it was only in the 80s and not the 100s temperature-wise!  (Good luck to those of you who are going tomorrow!  Stay hydrated!)


Found several fabrics to go with some others I have for a major English Paper Piecing (EPP) project I have in mind.  The orange batik is for something else.  I don't know what, but who cares?  We all got a cute little gift just for walking in the door:  a bit of fabric, a pattern for a tissue holder that I will never make, but who cares?, a ruler, and a piece of candy because we all need to keep our strength up for shopping!


Not on the tour, but just around the corner is Birch Fabrics.  Lots of modern stuff.  I have a half yard of the turquoise fabric already, so clearly, I only needed another half yard.  This, too, is for that major EPP project that's gestating.

The white and black fabric was just too weird and wonderful to pass up.  And we each got a free fat quarter with purchase!  Yippee!





At Quilter's Cupboard in Atascadero, I got hooked by their demo of this battery-operated seam ripper.  Just in case I ever need to rip out a seam again.  (Oh, no, surely that will never happen to me!)  And some pretty fabric.



Also in Atascadero, Sew Fun.  I already had half a yard of the fabric on the left, so I only needed half a yard more, right?  And then, of course other fabrics.  Cf.  EPP project.  Are we noticing a color theme here?





The Cotton Ball in Morro Bay gave us each a free spool of thread and some trail mix.  Found some more EPP-destined fabric.  I mean, here's the deal:  if you're fussy cutting, you need a lot more fabric.  This is not over-buying.  (Actually, yeah, it is, but again, who cares?  It's been a rough year.)



At Betty's in San Luis Obispo, I didn't find anything that grabbed me, for some odd reason.  Usually I have fallen in love with at least four fabrics there.  We are all sorry to see they are closing soon.



Last but not least, Picking Daisies.  I already have a jelly roll of the dotted gradient fabrics, all different colors, but I thought I might like some actual yardage of a couple of the colors.  These fabrics are super popular this year, though, so the shop didn't have many colors left.  The fabric on the right, though dot-less, still appeals.


Today was a day of rest.  And laundry.  And back exercises.  Tomorrow, only 2 more shops to go!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Everything Old is New Again

As promised, here are photos of the finished quilt from my previous post.  The pattern is called "Corner Pocket," from American Patchwork and Quilting magazine, June 2013.


I practiced free-form free-motion feather quilting in the squares.  If you look very closely, you can sometimes see them.  And when you can't, that can be a good thing, because, as I say, I was practicing.





Some of them turned out well, and others were...entertaining.  There was the occasional thumb or flower petal rather than "feather" shape.  All to be expected;  it was lots of fun to play with this technique.





Friday, May 25, 2018

The Perils of Pinning

My dining room table is one of my favorite pieces of furniture.  Not only is it an attractive white tile, it doubles as a desk--no, triples as desk and quilting station.

The problem is, as I have begun to make larger quilt tops in an effort to tame The Wild Stash of the West, it's difficult to pin together the quilt sandwich, i.e., top, batting, and backing.  You need a flat surface.  I was taught to tape down the backing with painter's tape, for starters.  It's impossible to tape it properly when you haven't got a large enough surface to which to tape.

I thought I did a good job sandwiching this project, only to discover myriad bumpy billowy spots on the back that were sure to turn into tucks once I started sewing the sandwich together.

So, having spent quite a bit of time pinning it in the first place, did I spend quite a bit of time taking out all those pins, and redoing it a little at a time?  Yes!

I taped one end down, then weighted the other side (actually the middle of the quilt) with some heavy objects and hoped for the best.




Then did the center section, and so on.


When I was done, the back still looked a bit bumpy, but not nearly as bad as before, believe it or not.  And it came out just fine!  I'll post the pics of the finished quilt soon.

One quilting friend suggests "sandwiching" on the carpet using T-pins such as we use for blocking our knitting projects (see here for more on that).

I gave that a shot but the pins didn't seem to stay put.

Another has offered use of her hardwood floor, and I am taking her up on it for my next large project.  Luckily I have kneepads, but I'm a little concerned about my poor back.

And maybe you can see all those pins!



I watched a video on how to use basting spray instead of pins, but for a large quilt, the technique required two people, and again, a large enough flat surface.  So it may be my friend's floor and basting spray for the next big quilt.  Having the right tools is so important.  And having friends--crucial!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Handsome Handspun Cowl

A long time ago in a land far, far away, a friend and co-worker (Koryn) gave me a special skein of yarn, which she spun herself.  Nice!

It has been percolating in my stash all this time.  I finally made this cowl with it, from my Christina Cowl pattern.




I cast on an extra 7 sts in order to make it just slightly larger than the originals, as they were a little snug.  They weren't uncomfortable, but they kinda looked more like a turtleneck than a cowl.

I still have enough of this yarn left over to make another cowl, and I'm designing something relatively simple.  I say, "designing," but I mean, "winging it."  We shall see how it turns out!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Free Pattern: Wildflower Basket Blanket


This is based on two stitch patterns, the Wildflower Knot Stitch and a Garter Stitch Check.

I was going to switch back and forth between the two, but ended up using the check only as a decorative band on either end of the blanket.  You might choose to use more or less of either pattern.  Or you could cast on more or fewer stitches to make a wider or narrower item.

The only caveat is that the Wildflower Knot pattern is a multiple of 8 stitches plus 5, while the Check pattern is a multiple of 10 stitches plus 5.  I also did 5 stitches as a border on either end of each row.

So. whatever you cast on needs to be divisible evenly by 8 and by 10.  Then add 5, which is part of the pattern repeat, plus your border stitches, in this case, a total of 15.  Doesn't that make perfect sense?!

I am so sorry if I lost any beginning knitters here.


On the other hand, I am going to risk insulting your intelligence by going on and on about it.

Here's how it works:
I ultimately cast on 175 stitches.  I figured first on 160, which is evenly divisible by 8:  8 x 20 = 160.
It is also evenly divisible by 10:  10 x 16 = 160.

See?  So easy!

Then I added 5 because that is part of both stitch patterns.  Then I added 5 and 5 for my borders.
5 + 5 + 5 = 15.

So, 160 + 15 = 175.

Of course, you could always knit increase or decrease stitches when you change patterns, but that could be even more annoying.  Or not.  I mean, I'm annoying myself at the moment.

Here's the pattern, at last:

WILDFLOWER BASKET BLANKET

Materials needed:
1500 yds. worsted weight yarn
#7 needles (at least 32" circular), or size to get gauge

Gauge:
4.5 sts per inch in stockinette

Finished size:  39"W x 52"L

DIRECTIONS
CO 175 sts.
Border:  knit 8 rows.

Wildflower pattern:
Rows 1 & 3:  k5, p across to last 5 sts, k5.
Row 2:  knit.
Row 4:  k5 (for border), k5 (for pattern), *p3tog, leave all 3 sts on L needle, yo, p same 3 sts tog again, k5*, rep from * to * across to last 5 sts, k5.
Rows 5, 6, & 7:  rep rows 1, 2, and 3.
Row 8:  k5 (for border),  k1, *p3tog, leave all 3 sts on L needle, yo, p same 3 sts tog again, k5*, rep from * to * across to last 6 sts, k1 (for pattern), k5 (border).

Rep rows 1 - 8 once more.
Rep rows 1 - 7 once more.

Next 4 rows:  knit.
Garter Stitch Check section:
Rows 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 10:  k5, *p5, k5*, rep from * to * across.
Rows 2 & 4:  purl.
Rows 7 & 9:  knit.

Rep rows 1 - 10 once more.
Next 4 rows:  knit.

Center section:
Follow Wildflower pattern until center section measures 37"L from top of Check pattern.

Next 4 rows:  knit.
Garter Stitch Check section:
Rows 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 10:  k5, *p5, k5*, rep from * to * across.
Rows 2 & 4:  purl.
Rows 7 & 9:  knit.

Rep rows 1 - 10 once more.
Next 4 rows:  knit.

Wildflower pattern:
Rows 1 & 3:  k5, p across to last 5 sts, k5.
Row 2:  knit.
Row 4:  k5 (for border), k5 (for pattern), *p3tog, leave all 3 sts on L needle, yo, p same 3 sts tog again, k5*, rep from * to * across to last 5 sts, k5.
Rows 5, 6, & 7:  rep rows 1, 2, and 3.
Row 8:  k5 (for border),  k1, *p3tog, leave all 3 sts on L needle, yo, p same 3 sts tog again, k5*, rep from * to * across to last 6 sts, k1 (for pattern), k5 (border).

Rep rows 1 - 8 once more.
Rep rows 1 - 7 once more.

End border:  Knit 8 rows.
Cast off, weave in ends, and block!

ABBREVIATIONS
CO = cast on
k = knit
L = left
p = purl
p3tog = purl 3 sts together
st, sts = st, sts
yo = yarn over


© 2018 Reyna Thera Lorele