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.

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."