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






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!