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.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Guardian Games

If you are a fan of games, board games, miniatures, card games, role-playing games, deck building games, or dice games, you should check out Guardian Games the next time you're in Portland, OR. I wandered around in there for what must have been a hour. The shelves are stacked high with games of every type. I'll admit that I was overwhelmed and in the end didn't buy a single thing.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Twisted Yarn Shop

When I travel, I try to find at least one new-to-me yarn shop to visit. This time it was Twisted Yarn Shop in Portland, OR.  It was a great shop filled with things I wanted. I had to narrow it down to a couple options or I wouldn't have been able to get it all in my suitcase.
I wanted to buy a fistful of the available colors of Twine. Sock. I settled on this fun pop of yummy pink called Electric Youth. I also grabbed a Knitted Wit Smartie in blue because I like having little bits of fun colors, especially with the latest Stephen West Mystery Knit Along that just started.

Do you know of a fun shop I should check out if I get a chance?

Monday, October 2, 2017

Travel Knitting

When I go on a trip, I plan to take a brand new knitting project with me. I usually pick a shawl pattern, mostly because I really enjoy knitting them. Last week I traveled for work and this time I picked Close To You (follow the link to this free pattern on Ravelry). Clearly written and perfect for one skein of yarn. The yarn is from Snallygaster Fibers.
I cast on at the first gate while waiting for the boarding call.
I knit from Baltimore to Chicago. I had no idea this flight was going to Chicago, so flying with Southwest continues to challenge my ideas about commercial air travel.
Then, Chicago to St. Louis.
At some point I finally made it to Portland, OR.
After several days of work (and no time to knit), I found myself back at PDX and waiting for the boarding call to get moving home.
After what seemed like forever (13 hours of traveling feels like forever when you just want to go home) I found myself back in Baltimore. This project is about half-way done but it will be a good take-along project for the next week or three. I don't let my time be wasted. If I'm riding in a car, or an airplane, I have time to knit and I'm going to make the most of it.

Happy knitting!