Friday, September 30, 2016

Travel Shawl Knitting

Whenever I go on a trip I usually start a new project. It is nice to have something new to work on when I sit down to wait for my flight. I am also relatively sure I won't finish the project until after I return so I won't be left without some hand-work to keep me busy on the flights.
I grabbed my ball of Esopus from Jill Draper Makes Stuff and got knitting. I didn't want too much thinking with my travel so I decided a simple, asymmetrical crescent might be nice. I didn't use a pattern for this one as I've been trying new things with shawl shaping.
I made pretty good progress on the outbound leg of my trip.
This is a coordinating skein of yarn I picked up at Happy Knits while I was in Portland. Good thing, too, as I finished up the ball of Esopus before I got home.
I'm still working on this one and am continuing to try new things when it comes to shawl shaping. I hope this works out. (Forgive the less than perfect focus. There were bumps on the gravel road we were traveling down when I took this picture.)
What's next? Well, I did pick up Stephen West's new book Best Knits from Fibre Space. I love that it included a code to download the e-book through Ravelry. I love that! I've already used the e-book to print myself the pattern instructions so I don't have to carry around the book with my next project. I wish every paper book came with a copy of the e-book.

What's next? So many things! I am so tempted to join Stephen West's next mystery knit along. I enjoyed the last one and I do enjoy knitting his shawls.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Happy Knits makes for a Happy Knitter

During my short time in Portland I stopped by Happy Knits because I learned they have Black Trillium Fibres, a local hand-dyed yarn that is truly amazing.
I couldn't resist and grabbed two skeins of this yummy Merilon Sock in the colorway Roco's Modern Tweed. I have tried to stop buying yarn just because it is amazing but I don't always win in this battle with my shopping.
I also picked up a skein of Jill Draper's Esopus SW Merino to finish this partially knitted shawl experiment.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Knit and Crochet Update

Before I left on my trip to Portland I had reached the point where I was ready to start the decreases for my hat (Langfield). I was afraid I would forget where I was (I did) so I stopped and waited to work on the decreases when I got home.
I've been making slow progress on my Virus Shawl. I like this one more every time I work on it. I think I will have to buy some more Jazz Handz Fusion Fibers for another crochet project. It's great to work with and the colors are perfect. I might even request some custom color combinations.
When I was packing for my trip, I packed these two balls of yarn and patterns, Myndie and Spindrift. I decided to make neither of these shawls and went my own way. I'll share that progress shortly.
Bosc Pear continues to progress slowly. This time I was knitting in the car as a passenger.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Travel Time: Portland, OR

Last week I boarded a plane and headed off to Portland, OR. This was a business trip, but I did see some fun things along the way. I got to see the airport in Minneapolis.
 If my limited research on Google is to be believed, this is Mount Hood.
Here I am at PDX.
Where the carpet is internet-famous. If you don't believe me, just do a search for #pdxcarpet on Instagram.
I attended the ION GNSS+ 2016 at the Oregon Convention Center.
Oregon, where we don't care if you stand up or sit down to pee.
There is a dragon boat floating in the convention center. (Okay, not floating, it's on wires, but it does seem to float above the floor, way above the floor.)
On Thursday I headed back home. Isn't the sunrise pretty?
This time my layover was in Atlanta, GA.
Delta has these tablet-like things imbedded in the seat back so you can track your progress. It will show you position, speed, and the temperature. The most important for me, was the estimated time to arrival. Not that that time allows for the time it will take to deplane, find the baggage claim, claim your bag and get out to the curb for your ride.
On the ground in Baltimore. I didn't go on many adventures during my time there, my days were filled with conferences, and meetings, and running around for work. I did find my way over to a great little knit shop and I'll share that adventure with you soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Discovering Buried Treasure

I was searching for something in my sewing room and I found a shopping bag filled with wonderful things.
Look at this wonderful loot! Batik strips, the Add-a-Quarter I've been looking for when I decide to do some paper piecing, some patterns and plates from last year's Row-by-Row, and a scrap bag from Moda.
This is why I shouldn't buy more fabric. I have so many projects waiting to be done. I will never find the time to finish them all.
I've been doing some more cleaning up in here in an attempt to get a handle on the mess and to help me stay focused on certain things so I can finish them up and get them out to new homes. I think I have a plan for this fabric. Only time will tell.

Monday, September 19, 2016

In the Mail Monday: Thread is my favorite color

Okay, maybe it isn't my favorite color, but it is on the list
Another great package from Superior this week!
I will be able to retire to a life of quilting with all this thread. Purple and purple and a wonderful gray!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Charity Racing

I found a box of 2.5" strips that I had cut from leftover quilt backing and decided they should be made into some jelly roll race quilts.
I sat down at my treadly to race along to some quilt tops and found this fun tangle in the bobbin area. It was a good excuse to clean under the bobbin case and make sure there was oil in the guts. This machine is almost 100 years old and sews like a dream. Such a pretty machine, too.
I measured and marked the 1/4" seam allowance with a piece of washi tape and got stitching.
It wasn't long before I had a quilt top.
Quilted and ready for binding.
I raced to a second little quilt.
Quilted and ready for binding.

I have another one ready to go but I haven't found the time to sit down and race.

2016 Charity Quilt Count: 37

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Big Knitting with Caron Cakes

Recently Caron Cakes have been in the feed in crochet and knitting groups. I will admit, I fell for the bright colors and bought a couple cakes to play with. Don't be fooled, this isn't a small cake of yarn. This is 200 grams of yarn. Enough to make something. That didn't stop me from grabbing two of them to experiment with.
I cast on for a shawl using a size 9 needle and got stitching. It knits up quickly and the resulting fabric was soft and squishy. The band calls for a size 8 but I like the looser fabric created with a slightly larger needle, particularly when working a shawl. EDIT: I did not use a pattern for this shawl experiment. I worked with shawl techniques I've used in constructing other shawls and did not follow a pattern.
I knit outside.
I knit inside.
The resulting wing is a very big shawl. The shape is slightly unexpected, but still fun.

Joy did a review of the yarn from the perspective of a crocheter. She followed with another video when she started her knitted scarf.
Good things: 200 grams of self-striping yarn in a cake, inexpensive at $7.99/cake

Bad things: 80/20-acrylic/wool, labeled as hand-wash, more difficult to block than wool, color is often muddy (there was more red on my yellow than I would have liked)

The bottom line: I generally do not use acrylic and I will likely not buy more of this yarn. If you are on a tight budget and want an easy-to-use, self-striping yarn it might be perfect for you. I like to be able to aggressively block my work and acrylic doesn't like to be blocked much at all.

Have you tried this yarn? Did you like it? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Charity Quilting the 6" Square

I had an appointment with the gas fitter to inspect the work done during the replacement of the HVAC equipment for my house. The window of arrival was 0730-1500, because inspectors like to have their schedule open. I took the day off work so I could meet this demanding schedule. I spent some of that time quilting. Okay, maybe I spent most of that time quilting.
I grabbed my stack of 6.5" squares and started playing on the design wall. A quilt like this only takes a few blocks and works up rather quickly.
So quickly that I made two that day. I see more than a few of these in my future. I made these two (including backing) with fabric from my wonderful collection of fabrics and I'm sure I could find more than a few more quilts hiding in there. I haven't been very good at keeping up with the Sew My Stash 2016 movement but I'm still making things from fabric I already have. I just need to try harder.

Once I get the binding added these will be headed to Annapolis Quilts for Kids.

2016 Charity Quilt Count: 35

Friday, September 9, 2016

Knitting and Crochet Update

I'm still making slow but steady progress on my Bosc Pear Shawl. Yarn is Hawthorne Fingering from Knit Picks.
I've decided that this super-fun, striping yarn called Vesper from Knitterly Things wants to be a hat. Specifically a Langfield hat. I bought this yarn on a whim and it has taken me forever to figure out what it wants to be. I hope this is the right answer.
I've started my first ever Virus Shawl. I followed a great tutorial on YouTube that I found through Ravelry. There are more tutorials out there so if one doesn't work for you I recommend you keep looking until you find one that does work. I'm using my beloved Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber for this project.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Walking in the Wilds

Don't let that title fool you, or the photos. These may look like I live in a wilderness and that is pretty far from the truth. Each of these was taken within 100 yards of a suburban neighborhood. Suburban neighborhoods within 30 miles of the nation's capital.
From young bucks...
to tiny does...
swimming turtles...
and flying things. Each of these can be found in the suburban areas where I live and work. Sometimes you can find Pokemon, too. The wild things are much harder to capture, even on film.