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






Thursday, May 10, 2018

Mug Rugs or Coasters?

Back in January, I found a small piece of fabric on our Treasure Table at the Guild that looked like it would be great throwaway demo fabric for when I taught some of my fellow quilters how to do English Paper Piecing (EPP).  I wanted to use something I didn't love so much that I would weep uncontrollably if I screwed it up.

I wish I had taken a photo of it before I started butchering it, but here it is, partially dismembered.



I started liking how the motifs were turning out, and I thought of doing a wall hanging, perhaps, scattering them about like stars on a New Mexico night.




After intensive experimentation for at least 20 minutes, I decided I didn't love that idea.

So I decided to make coasters instead.  Having done intensive research for almost 30 seconds on the difference between mug rugs and coasters, I am calling these "coasters" even though "mug rug" is much more fun to say.

Apparently, size matters.  Mug rugs, it seems, are large enough for your mug and perhaps a snack, whereas a coaster is just for your beverage.  So some say.

Don't ask how long these took to make.  Lots of hand sewing.  Utterly insane, but really fun.  I promise I quilted them on the machine, at least!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Guild Show Vortex

Preparations are underway for our Quilt Guild show in the fall.  I plan to participate in the boutique, and to help as a scribe on judging day.

We're already putting together gift baskets to raffle off for fundraising, and we're going to be doing some 10-inch by 10-inch mini-quilts for that as well.

Not every guild member has to make one.  That would give us over 200 mini-quilts!  Yikes!

But once I heard about it, I was tempted.  I had just finished making this, and I was thinking, it's the perfect size.  But it was a lot of work to make that cat in the middle.  Do I really want to give it away?  Hm.

The answer to that keeps sounding suspiciously like, "No."

As in, "No, not in a million years, are you kidding?!"



So I thought, I'll just make another type of block, a really simple one, and donate that.

I put this together in two or three hours, thinking, "I'm using up all these scraps, isn't this great?"

Well, dang it, it is great, and I like it too much!  Can I bear to part with it?  Or do I want to make a bunch more and make at least a lap-sized quilt?!

The answer is veering towards, yes, make more blocks!


Meanwhile, every month, the guild has a Block of the Month (BOM) challenge.  For every block you make, you put your name into the basket, and then there's a drawing, and you can win all the blocks.  I don't always participate, but since my friend Elisa was going to do it, her enthusiasm sucked me into that vortex as well.   Plus, we love the name of this pattern:  Contrary Wife.  Who can resist?


This block is for the month of May, really easy to make.  And I used up more scraps!

I also got inspired to make a bunch more out of charity fabric, so when that's done, I really will donate it.  I promise.

I mean, it's their fabric.  Even greedy little fabricaholic me can't condone keeping something made from charity fabric!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

This Butterfly Means Business

I wasn't kidding when I said that I was going to make another Butterfly Shawl.  I've already started!







I'm telling myself, in my usual over-achieving way, that I am going to do at least one section a night.  We'll see how soon that falls by the wayside.  Especially once I get three hundred stitches and more on the needles.

But so far, it still has that New Project Smell, and I can't wait to take it out for a spin...er, knit.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Butterfly Shawl Revisited

I promised I would show this once it was all blocked, so, behold the butterfly.

I think it's beautiful, even though I made it with sport weight yarn instead of fingering, so it's more like a diagonal blanket than a shawl.

Meaning it's kinda heavy.  Meaning I will never wear it.  (Meaning hours and hours of work and tons of yarn and I will never, never wear it.  And yet, that is nothing new!  Insert mad laughter here.)


While I was making it, I thought, "This is so much fun, I'm going to make another with fingering weight yarn!"

I didn't have enough of the colors I wanted to use for Butterfly 2, though, and I successfully resisted buying more yarn and adding to my Enormo-Stash--you know, the Stash that Ate Los Angeles?

And then, well, by the thousandth wrap and turn, I admit I was getting a little sick of it.

But once it was blocked, and enough time passed, I started thinking of knitting another.

I have a nice gradient yarn that would look gorgeous, but as I said, I didn't have enough.

I knew my friend Elisa had a skein of the same yarn, however, and I offered to buy it, since she hadn't used hers yet, and lo and behold, she GAVE it to me!!!!  I mean, GAVE.  Sorry, didn't mean to shout, but y'know, it's really nice yarn, meaning it ain't cheap, and it's pretty, and she just GAVE it to me.  I knew she was a good friend, but this is ridiculous!

So, now I simply have to make this again, don't I?  If you are drawn to it, click here for the pattern.  Not free, but worth the money.  Lots of pics, line-by-line directions, and so fun to watch the butterfly emerge from it's yarn-ball cocoon.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Happy Bears

Just looking at this quilt makes me happy.

The blocks and their yellow borders, as well as the smaller pink, black, and yellow squares, were all scraps from the Treasure Table at the Guild.

In other words, free!  More happy dancing!





The middle square actually showed up many months ago.  It has been hanging out in my stash, waiting for its cue.



The other "balloon animals" showed up recently, and they seemed made for each other.


I couldn't resist working on this, while other older projects languished.

The sashing (white paisley), blue border, backing, and binding came out of my stash.



I've been watching Angela Walters (free) Free Motion Quilting Challenge videos, and I tried out a couple of the techniques she shows, like stippling.  I have seen videos on how to do this before, but she makes it so easy and fun.

Click on her name above, and it will take you to her YouTube channel, where you can access all her videos.

Happy quilting!