Saturday, July 27, 2013

Scylla Socks

Pattern: Scylla Socks

Yarn: Beurre in Autumn Maples
Fingering Weight

Needles: US 1

This pattern was written to highlight the wild colors and variegations of some modern sock yarns and to downplay the problems that sometimes occur with their use. The slip stitches and all of the texture break up some of the striping and pooling that can turn a pretty skein of yarn into a scary ugly finished garment. 

Not that any of that would have happened with this yarn, of course. I have used it before and didn't have any unfortunate results. Still, I think this is a happy combination of pattern and yarn. The socks fit well, too!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Presents! {Twined Mats and Racy Pillowcases}

My friend, Dianne, is a virtuoso of craft. She has done every kind of craft (I swear!) involving fiber or fabric and she is FAST. She shares the love, too, and recently gave me a set of beautiful twined rag mats. She also loaned me a book on how to do this kind of weaving. Twining is used primarily for making rag rugs and I am intrigued. The first step is making a loom; since we have a full wood and machine shop in the backyard, I think that part is doable. It uses a lot of fabric - I think the finished product is fantastic.

Another one of my crafting buddies, Barbara, recently got completely carried away making pillowcases. She made eighteen pairs! Yes, 18!! She used flannel for half of them and batiks for the rest - she was thinking winter and summer versions. She let me choose my gift (Thank you!) and I picked a pair out of a beautiful pile. I thought the guys at my house would appreciate these "Babes in the Woods" but Ray kind of thought they looked scary. With such a strong focus on outdoor activities, I think they will make great pillowcases for the camper!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

French General Quilt for Karin

This quilt was made as a present for a particular person and place - my friend, Karin, and her condo in Las Vegas! These are her colors and fit perfectly with the decor of her pretty new home.

I used a layer cake of French General fabric and then added another row of blocks to make the finished quilt more rectangular. I had to buy some extra fabric but the leftovers got used on the back.

I was able to quilt it on my machine, using a loopy stitch pattern and a borrowed Bernina #29 free motion quilting foot. I also did the quilting downstairs in our dining room which seemed to help with the heavy wrangling. It looks better than the last one I did - but whether it was because of the practice, the foot or the bigger table, I don't know!!

Notes for future reference: 

Size of finished top - 57" x 75.5"
Size after quilting - 56" x 74.5"
Size after washing/drying - 53.5" x 72"

I was inspired by this quilt from Fresh Lemons who was inspired by this tutorial from Kelbysews. I used the 4.5" sizing for my corner blocks and, yes, I have 96 sewn triangles left over to make something else. For now, I don't feel like ironing and trimming, so that will be a project for another day.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Taiyo Socks

I wouldn't call it desperation but, at the time I bought this yarn, I really wanted to make some stripey socks. I didn't have the yarn I wanted in my stash and I didn't want to wait for mail order so I went downtown to the local store. The clerk was so helpful and had so many good suggestions and I really wanted to buy something. So I settled.

When I got home with my ball of Noro Taiyo Sock, I realized it was single ply. Oops. The last time I used one ply yarn for socks, I didn't really like it. I also didn't much like how the Taiyo handled while knitting so after the toes were finished, I read the reviews on Ravelry. No one who commented liked the yarn very much, yet there were over 2,000 projects posted. I think it is the combination of the single ply and the blend of fibers. The cotton and silk are inelastic and sort of sticky and the yarn twists back on itself in a most annoying way.

Nevertheless, I pushed on through the mist of mild dissatisfaction and now have a comfy, colorful pair of simple socks. There must be a skein of striping sock yarn out there for me somewhere.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

July Bee Blocks

Ahh, summer! I am having a long break from work and am enjoying the easy pace and warm days of this beautiful time of year. Dave and I had a camping trip planned and we decided not to go anywhere at all. It is just too nice here at home! You might think that I would begin to crank out the projects but, no, I just putter along and work in some stitching between other, not very demanding, activities. 

A few friends are training with me to walk in an upcoming half marathon. We are walking 20-30 miles a week at a quick, steady pace and also get in a bike ride once a week. It isn't super grueling but, as the years go by, it has been easy to wimp out and lose the habit of regular exercise so I am happy with the friendly workout program we have fallen into. We have about 8 weeks in so far and the hills are definitely easier to climb! Tennis rackets are on order - ha! - we shall see on that one.

The two bee blocks are from this tutorial, by Amy of the Badskirt blog. Our quilter asked for various sizes of airplanes in light blue, lime green or yellow with white background and borders. It's going to be cute!