Friday, November 17, 2017

Recreating a Memory in Fabric

A few months ago I wrote this post about the name of this quilt block. The block design was taken from a quilt my husband received from his grandmother more than 40 years ago.
I had a stack of 1930s reproduction prints that I thought would be perfect for this quilt. I cut the pieces to make 25 of these blocks during the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild retreat.
I managed to finish all but one of those blocks as I misplaced a single square.
I arranged the blocks and pieced the rows.
Then I sewed them together. Now I need to buy fabric for an outer border and some backing.
Here are a couple of the original blocks faced and ready to be mounted and framed. That quilt earned its rest. I used this tutorial to attach the facing to these blocks.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Make Modern

I made these blocks for a group project.
You can find instructions to make your own Cross-cut Blocks in this post from A Quilter's Table.

My blocks measure at 12.5" by 12.5" (finish at 12") but the idea is the same.

Monday, November 13, 2017

In The Mail Monday: Badass Quilter

A few weeks ago I saw a post for this hoodie from BadAss Quilters. It had to be mine.
It showed up this past week and it has been chilly enough in the house and out-and-about to wear it every day since.

If this is something you're interested in I recommend you follow the BadAss Quilter's Society Facebook to know when specials like this are going on.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Royally Striped Update

While waiting for the doors of the ballroom to open for retreat, I knit away merrily on the Royally Striped cardigan. I finished the first section (which is really sections 1-3). 
I started in on the next section, section 4, the center back. I really like how this is coming together. Now that I'm sewing 20 hours a day at retreat I hope to make some more progress.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Sparkle - A Scrap Quilt

I grabbed my bin of 4.5" crumb blocks as a project I might, maybe get to during the Baltimore MQG retreat. Somehow, this became my primary project on Thursday. I started playing with the hundreds of squares and encouraged my guild-mates to lend a hand. I would go to my station, sew some half-square triangle units and look over to see what the design wall looked like.
I rearranged units regularly until I had something I thought would work. Then, it was late and I had had enough of sewing for the day. (Crazy, I know.)
Friday morning I decided the piece was good enough. I grabbed the first few rows, and the rest of the bin, and got to webbing the rows together. This was the final result. I think I'll dig through my stash for a suitable border to make it a little bigger. Right now it measures about 80" by 80". I'd like to add a border to stabilize it and bump that up a few inches.

Being able to pull a quilt out of the leftover bits is such a great feeling. Unless you worry about being a hoarder, then some of those fabrics from 15+ years ago make you groan a little.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Baltimore MQG Retreat 2017

This past weekend I attended my very first quilting retreat with the wonderful members of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild.
As this was my first retreat, I packed more things than I could accomplish. I packed this fun 30's reproduction print quilt. 400 half-square triangle units cut and ready to assemble. I also packed a few other things but this one was one I really wanted to make great strides with.
I set up my sewing station. That brilliant little clamp-on ironing board is available from Penny Marble Quilting. The travel iron (Steamfast SF-717 Home-and-Away Mini Steam Iron) is really awesome for its size and I recommend it if you travel or just want a small iron that heats up fast.
I pieced and pieced and pieced.
I finished all of those half-square triangle units by Saturday and got to assembling blocks.
These blocks finish at 15" by 15". I did find I was missing a single 3.5" square of fabric for the center, so I only manged to finish 24 of my intended 25 blocks.
This finished stack is just one of the things I finished during retreat.

I'll see you later in the week to share some of the other things I managed to finish during retreat.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Royally Striped Project

After I tried and failed with the last Stephen West Myster Knit Along I decided to try another West Knits design I've had my eye on for a while.
This is the beginning of my version of Royally Striped by Stephen West. Modular knitting with more than a few short rows for shaping and I think this will be a great project to keep me busy for a while.
I'm using worsted instead of the recommended DK as I have loads of worsted and managed to get gauge on slightly smaller needles. So far I'm enjoying the process and I can't wait to learn how it all fits together. It has already given me so many ideas on new and different ways to shape knit.

Needles: Knit Picks Options Interchangeable Nickel Plated Circular Knitting Needle Set
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Improv Piecing

I needed a project that would use up some of these leftover bits of fabric taking up space in a bin. I pieced a bunch of bits and strips.
I added some wedge shapes to the mix. 
I kept going and filling in some of the empty space with larger pieces. Making more small pieced in turn. It is far from done and will be a creative process project for a long time. I'm glad I finally started this since I had been thinking about doing it for a while.

If you want to try something like this, I can make a couple recommendations.

Sherri Lynn Wood has a series of blog posts that take you through the creative process from color selection to curved piecing. Great way to start thinking about curved, improv piecing. You can also check out her book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously.

Victoria Findlay Wolf (15 Minutes of Play) has a great series of tutorials about scrap piecing that helps you cut and sew to create colorful fabric.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Crochet Dragon Wing

I don't crochet very often as I prefer the fabric knit produces.
I did find a great video tutorial to make a dragon wing shawl from the always fabulous Fiber Spider so I wanted to give this one a try. I used one ball (about 100 grams) of fingering weight sock yarn from my collection and a size 3.25 mm crochet hook (US-D). The directions were easy to follow and I soon had the row repeat down and used the project as a take-along for awhile. I like the finished shawl. I may have to try to design a couple boomerang shape shawls of my own.

Yarn: Sock yarn of unknown make/manufacturer, if I had to guess, it would be some Kroy Sock
Clover crochet hook: Clover 3672 Amour Crochet Hook Set, 10 sizes
Blocking mats: Balance From Puzzle Exercise Mat with EVA Foam Interlocking Tiles
Blocking wires: Knit Picks Lace Blocking Wires & T-Pins
Knit blockers: Knitter's Pride Knit Blockers & Pin Kit

Friday, October 27, 2017

Open Wide Pouches

I was asked to lead a group project during the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild retreat. I've never done such a thing, but I decided to take the leap. We'll be making a pouch using the Open Wide Zippered Pouch tutorial designed by Anna of Noodlehead. The above is a closeup of the quilting on a fun Dr. Who print.
To give everyone the best look at the steps, I needed to make a bunch of bags. That means I cut or pieced enough outer bag panels to make several bags and loaded up the long arm. This is a quick way to quilt several small things at the same time. I make my bags a little bigger than the medium by cutting the panels to 12" by 12". This makes a great size to carry a one-two ball of yarn knitting project like a shawl or a pair of socks. 
Why do I need so many? Each one is only partially constructed, meaning you can get a good look at the construction up to that point. It also means I'll have several projects to finish during the retreat which is a win in my book.

It is possible everyone I know will be getting a pouch as a mid-winter gift.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Giving Up: A Knitting Story

It isn't often I give up on a project. Often, I would rather finish a project than rip out mistakes and try again. Sadly, this time I just didn't have it in me to keep working on a shawl project.
Why? Mostly because I have a real problem following directions blindly. I know, why am I fooling around with mystery projects if I'm not willing to follow directions blindly? Because I like to challenge myself. This time, it didn't work out.
I jumped on the bandwagon when Stephen West put out his latest mystery knit along Speckle and Pop. I even knit a fade swatch to make sure I was close on gauge, something I rarely do when knitting shawls. I figured it would be a good idea because Stephen likes to build one section onto the last and this was my first real foray into a fade.
I started with great excitement.
I quickly fell behind and had not quite finished clue number one when clue number two hit the streets.
I definitely wasn't ready when the last clue came out and I was still struggling with clue number two. In the end, I ripped out clue number two and decided clue number one was good enough. I don't like to admit defeat but sometimes that is just what it is.

I learned more about what I like and don't like about knit construction. I learned I really like to play with short rows and the fade thing is fun. I'm not a fan of closing the gaps on short rows when I think I know how to do it better. I'm not a fan of stitch patterns that have a knit one, purl one, row. I would rather not knit at all than have to (k1, p1) on every wrong-side row.

Did I learn a thing or two about knitting? Absolutely! I am I unhappy with the result? Not really. I learned a couple things about myself as a knitter and that is always a good thing.

Am I discouraged? Absolutely not. I think I'm going to try to make Stephen's Royally Striped next. That's ambitious. Besides, I still have all this yarn.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Close to You Shawl

I always have a couple projects going on. This was my portable project for about a month.
I started it in late September when I went on a business trip to Portland, OR. Casting on while waiting for the first flight is how I like to start any trip.
I finished the bind off this past weekend.
And got it blocked. I did not use the picot bind off as written in the pattern. I'm not a fan of the picot bind off.

Pattern: Close To You, free pattern available on Ravelry
Yarn: Snallygaster Fibers

Friday, October 20, 2017

Charity Quilting

Jelly roll race quilt. 
This disappearing nine-patch looks so much more complicated than it is. 
 Quilted and ready to go to Annapolis Quilts for Kids.
I love being able to drop off a stack of quilts!

2017 Charity Quilt Count: 42

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Countdown to Christmas

A few months ago I finished the quilting of Countdown to Christmas.
That quilt, with its binding, sat around for months before I got around to the binding.
I loaded the backing before I realized I hadn't stitched the label on the backing. That label ended up being stitched right onto the border. Because a label is more important than a label on the back.
These charm-pack tumbler quilts are a great way to use up a stack (I have several stacks) of 5" charm squares. This one uses six charm packs in the same line, plus a couple cut from the border fabric. I add a narrow 1" border followed by a 3" border (1 yard of each coordinating fabric is enough for this). This makes a substantial quilt that is perfect for gifting all year round.

This one wasn't on the list of 12 UFOs to finish this year, so this is bonus quilt.

You can find a ruler similar to the tumbler ruler I used on Amazon. They don't seem to carry the same one I have.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Quiltville Mystery Quilt 2016: En Provence

En Provence!, Bonnie Hunter's 2016 Mystery Quilt is finished! This is the final post for this quilt. I shared my progress on clue #1clue #2clue #3clue #4clue #5, and clues #6 and #7
I found the time to sit still long enough to add the binding to my En Provence quilt. This is what it looks like when you pile a queen-size quilt on your sewing table to finish the binding by machine.
It is so nice to finish something. Now I'm really ready for the next mystery quilt.

You can buy En Provence as a digital download directly from Quiltville.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Charity Quilting

This past week I managed to finish up two more charity quilts for Annapolis Quilts for kids.

2017 Charity Quilt Count: 40

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Zombie Jamboree

The September 2017 UFO Challenge was number 2. Spring Water Designs is trying to keep me on-track to finish so many things this year. 
I got lucky and managed to squeak this one in before October 1st. I call this one Zombie Jamboree. I wanted a quilt design that didn't hide the many fun zombie prints in the bundle, so I went with large blocks and coordinating solids. It isn't a big quilt. It is just big enough to put on the back of the couch for some spooky fun for October. 

I attached and finished the binding by machine for a quick finish. 

I'm planning a year-in-review to put all the finishes in one place. Look for in late December or early January. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Guild Mystery Quilt

I'm a sucker for a mystery. This goes for mystery quilts and mystery knit-alongs. I'll join them and sometimes finish them. Okay, I mostly finish them. Some just take longer than others.
The Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild hosted a mystery quilt this year. It took several months to get all the clues as clues were distributed at the monthly meeting. This is a painfully slow pace for me as I generally participate in mysteries that are released weekly. These are my fabrics. I'm getting lazy and have been buying a single piece of fabric even when scrappy would work just fine. It doesn't mean there isn't scrappy in my future. Only that I didn't go that way with this one.
The pattern had some pre-cutting to do which I liked. Since the project took months to get all the clues, I added this project to my current leader and ender bin until the clue was done. If you don't know what a Leader and Ender is, please check out Bonnie Hunter's excellent post about the hows and whys of this technique. It can save thread and time.
I won't go into each of the clues (or the name), as this was a mystery. If you have a group that would like to try a mystery, I can recommend the directions as well written (pattern information at the bottom of the post). The pattern had several potential finishing layouts and I played with my blocks until I found one I liked.
I could have added more blocks to increase the size. Instead, I added a 1.5" border in the green.
Followed by a 3.5" border in the orange.
I made the binding with the blue and a couple strips of the orange. Since backing fabric is one thing I rarely have on-hand, finishing this one will have to wait until I get to the fabric shop to buy some backing.

Pattern information: Pattern designed by Debbie Caffrey. You can find several mystery quilts on her webpage Debbie's Creative Moments, Inc. The site also includes several free patterns and mysteries if you would like to try one of her patterns for yourself.

I'm not giving the name of the pattern to maintain the mystery. I recommend you try at least one mystery quilt in your quilting life. It is a great way to learn new techniques and tools. A way to stretch your quilting muscles and make something new. You might surprise yourself.