Saturday, December 28, 2013

Gloves for Alicia

My sister asked me to knit her some gloves. Ok! I'm happy when I know what people want. Her favorite color is green and her winter coat is green but somehow, the first pair I made were purple. Later, I made two pair of green gloves and a fingerless pair for her friend, Fay. They were all knit on size US 2 needles from a self devised generic pattern for different weights of yarn.

Dianne Corso's Targhee Handspun
Jojoland Splatter Dash
Superwash Merino
Madelinetosh Tosk DK
Superwash Merino
Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK
Superwash Merino and Silk

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Doll Quilt from Santa

My friend's four year old granddaughter recently went on a big adventure to the American Girl store. Elsa has been playing with her mother's childhood doll and she got to pick out a new one for her very own. All of the fawning adults are piling on the accessories so I made a quilt for the doll's new bed. Grandma will make her more clothes and quilts and blankets, I'm sure.

The quilt measures 16.5" x 19.5". After I made it, I saw the doll lying on her bed and it looked like this quilt should have been a bit wider. The doll isn't going to care, though, and neither is the little girl.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Writing Prompts

I'm doing a writing exercise this month - offline - in a journal/smash book sort of format. The prompts originated on the write alm blog. I wouldn't have known about it without a tip from this blog, My Sister's Knitter.

I'm not taking it too seriously, like panicking at the sight of a blank page. It works better for me when I interpret the prompts loosely and so far, I am keeping up. I haven't had to resort to a limerick yet, but I'm willing to if necessary.

Three good books about writing:

1.  Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing

2.  Stephen King - On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

3.  Anne Lamott - Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Rikke Hats Two and Three

Tosh DK - Cathedral

I do like this pattern a lot, especially when it is made up in such luscious yarn. These two skeins were ordered online and I was a little surprised to see all of the brown tones when it arrived. How do I miss those details? When I looked again at the website, the pictures actually do a great job of representing the colors; I just have a tendency to see what I want to see. I recently did the same thing with 5 yards of fabric I bought for a quilt back - I thought the brown was wine red. Oh, well. 

The hats look great, though, even with all the brown. They fit well with just the right amount of slouch and are toasty warm without being too hot or itchy. I do so love me some Madelinetosh. 

Tosh DK - Firewood

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Patchwork Pouch

I was sending my friend a couple of hats and I wanted it to be more of a package, more like a present, so I made a quick patchwork pouch to include in the box. The blue squares came out of a jar that is filling up with 2" pieces left over from other projects. Some scraps are just too big to throw away.

At some point, I decided that these squares were probably too small to save so I switched to 2.5" and added another jar on the shelf. There was no real gain, though, because now I am adding to both piles; I still can't toss those smaller bits.

Tutorial here

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Spiral Stashbuster Socks with Afterthought Heels

Here is a real mash up of yarns in a pair of socks - five different balls of leftovers. Since two of the stripes are so varicolored, the stripe pattern really doesn't show. So that part is a fail. But the real aim here was to use up some small balls and the overall effect is warm and pretty.

The pattern link is here. I only used the pattern for figuring out how to get the stripes going. Not wanting to do any heel shaping, I opted for an afterthought heel.

Knit the socks with a contrast waste yarn where the heel will go.

Blue yarn is the place holder.

Pick up stitches above and below the waste yarn.

Knit your heel like a toe on a top down sock.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November Bee Block - Jumble

The assignment for the charity quilt this month was to make Jumble blocks with pink and green. It is always interesting to see what other people come up with. Despite having more fabric in my stash these days, it always feels like I don't have much of the chosen colors or prints. Somehow, though, it also seems to always work out.

To see all of the finished quilts our circle has made so far, click here

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Neon Hat

Pedestrian safety, that's the main reason for the new neon hat. My daily walk is lovely - it's right out the front door with varied scenery and rolling hills. But the road is narrow with blind corners and it helps everyone when the joggers and dog walkers and bicyclists are easily seen.

I ripped out this version of the hat. It was a tight cone and looked stiff. The second try was all wrong as well, for different reasons and didn't warrant a picture. But I like the third hat - floppy and bright and fun. 

Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Maxima
Color: Highlighter
Needles: US 5 and 8

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Diamond Star Blocks Finished

All 42 of the Diamond Star blocks are now finished and sewn together. Yay! It has been a fun process - not really slow slow but something that has served as my main project for the past month. This part measures 63" x 73" so I will add some kind of border to make it more bed sized. We have enough lap quilts!

I have some fabric ordered for the backing so I will wait to have a look at that before deciding how to do borders and binding. The blocks really are pretty - I just haven't been in the mood to photograph each one and post them here and on Flickr. Likely I will get some additional pictures once the whole thing is completed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Diamond Star Hand Pieced Blocks

I've made thirty of these blocks in the last couple of weeks. My inspiration was from a Guernsey Island quilter who favors hand piecing over English Paper Piecing and, with the technique she outlined on her blog, I have been converted to her method. It is so much faster! 

Here is a link to Little Island Quilting. Thank you for the instructions, Alison! Also, I used your exact same block, the Diamond Star from Quiltivate, because it is just the perfect one!

I started out with a trial block after making some templates out of cardboard. You know, just to see if it would work. It stitched up pretty quickly and so I made another. Then I realized that I had a start on a quilt without a color palette and I was headed for a murky mess so I gathered some fabrics  together to try to coordinate with my first two blocks of coral red and kelly green. 

I had to have some sturdier templates so was able to cut some from an old John Flynn Cut Your Own Template kit that my friend Barbara loaned me. The material is the vinyl laminate that is used for countertops which sounds pretty weird but it has worked out fine. It isn't clear, though, so fussy cutting isn't as easy as with acrylic templates.

My blocks are not completely hand stitched. I sewed the six smaller pieces together by hand and then, after ironing, sewed the four triangles to each other by machine. The blocks will finish at about 10 inches.

I feel done for now. I don't have a super stash so I had to buy some new fabric just to get the final row of six blocks completed. I really didn't want to repeat any of the prints but I did reuse a few. I also want the finished quilt to be bigger so I will wait to gather up some more material. I think 12 more blocks will do it then maybe a mellow border with rounded corners? We'll see - it will evolve.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Goodbye Guernsey - Hello Rikke Hat

I made this traditional guernsey sweater about 20 years ago and it has mostly just sat on the shelf. The yarn is the classic 5 ply, hard twisted wool that has been used for these seaman's garments for generations and I knit it up with smallish needles for a tight gauge. I made armhole gussets and mock side seams; the typical patterning decorates the front and back yokes. It is a fabulous sweater but I never, ever wear it. It might do for the back deck of a North Sea fishing boat but it is way too hot for my usual indoor life. 

I ripped out one of the sleeves, wound the yarn into balls and then unwound the balls into skeins. The skeins got a soapy soak, a few rinses, some towel squeezing and were hung to dry. Once again, the yarn was wound into balls. Ready to knit!

This hat pattern, Rikke, is popular for a reason. It was easy, fits well and will look good in many different colors and yarn types. It would also be very simple to adapt it to other gauges and head sizes. I'm going to make a couple of more!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Green Gloves for Jeni

When pressed, my friend Jeni admitted that she could use another pair of fingerless gloves. I showed her some examples on Ravelry and she quickly picked a pair made from the uber popular pattern, Fetching, in a soft, lettuce green color. When I was shopping for yarn, though, I had trouble choosing a shade of green and was encouraged by my consultant, Dave, to just buy all three skeins. 

So Jeni got three pairs of gloves - one pair of Fetching and the other two made from my own plain vanilla pattern.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October Bee Blocks

These were quick and easy blocks but were also some of the prettiest! Stars make such beautiful quilts.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Kilter Hat

When I saw this pattern, I wanted to make the hat out of the same exact yarn that the designer used. Luckily, it was available and, wow, it is squishy and gorgeous in real life. Sometimes pictures do a good job of representing reality!

The pattern is Kilter and on Ravelry, it says it is published in Dull Roar. It turns out Dull Roar is a blog (linked above) but in my mind, the hat name was Dull Roar and I still call it that rather than Kilter. It doesn't much matter but funny how things get switched around in one's head. 

I used smaller needles because I didn't have giant sizes 13 and 15 so my hat probably isn't as poufy as the pattern. I made the entire thing twice; the band was reknit because it was too small, the hat was reknit because it was too big and the crown decreases looked lacy so I reknit those as well. Still, it was a quick project and it fits well so all of the ripping out of stitches was worth it.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Woven Alpaca Squares on the Zoom Loom

Since I really didn't know where I was headed with this project, I was glad that my friend, Patty, wanted to make a bag out of these woven squares. She had given me the yarn so it is fitting that it will head back to her for the next step.

There are 45 four inch squares in the pile. They are nice and soft and tweedy looking. Originally, I had planned to make a scarf but I thought it looked a little too quilty - too much like patchwork. I'm happy to send them off. Bye bye!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

This Summer with Friends

Aren't friends just the best part of life? Here are a few pictures from this summer that document some of the easy times I spent with friends from near and far, catching up over a meal or a walk on the beach. So fun!  


Oregon City

Alaskans in Anacortes

Juneau pals in Port Townsend