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.