Friday, August 31, 2018

Charity Quilting

This quilt was pieced by another member of Annapolis Quilts for Kids. I loaded it up and quilted it
This is a wonderful scrappy quilt pieced by another member of the group. Quilted and ready for binding!

2018 Charity Quilt Count: 35

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Travel Knitting: Holey Chevrons

Last week I did some traveling for work.
Like usual, I prepared a project to start at the airport while waiting for my departure flight. I paired some fingering yarn I dyed a couple months ago with Stephen West's Holey Chevrons pattern.
From such humble beginnings. This is how many shawls begin, just a simple garter tab. The pattern is designed to be done in alternating stripes, but I wanted to use my long color-change yarn. Easy enough change. 
I made pretty good progress waiting for my departure flight. 
By the time I had reached my destination I was really pleased with my progress. 
This trip had a bunch of driving around to get from place to place, and one of my travel partners did the driving, so I could keep working on my shawl. 
This is where I was by the time I headed back tot he airport to return home. 
This is where I was after we had landed in Baltimore and the jetway wasn't working. Our early arrival (about 15 minutes) was defeated by the jetway. 
By Sunday morning I was into the second ball of yarn and really looking forward to the chevrons part of this project. The rows are pretty long now (about 500+ stitches) so it is slow going. As projects go, this one is a winner. Projects that don't take too much thought make great travel knitting.

Knitter's Pride 4/3.5mm Dreamz Fixed Circular Needles, 32" (affiliate link)

Monday, August 27, 2018

Tiny Monster

Friends of our recently welcomed their first child into the world. Darling Husband wanted something with dragons. Sadly, the big box fabric store wasn't very helpful. They did have some fun, tiny monster fabric that we decided would be perfect. I decided to make another disappearing 9-patch. Because it is an easy pattern and you can do some fun things with it.
The tiny monster fabric and three solids became eleven 9-patch blocks. Then, they got cut down into 42 blocks. That odd-ball block ended up being only two blocks, the other half of that unit got put in with some of the other orphan blocks.
Since I had two distinct units, I tried a new layout and I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out. There are so many ways to get a great quilt out of this simple block.
After stabilizing the outer edge, I loaded it all up and got stitching. If I don't add a border, I stitch around the outside edge at about 1/8". That way I'm less likely to distort the edges or pull apart the seams when working with it. A border also does this stabilization, if you use a solid (not pieced) border.
I quilted with a right-angles meander that I hope mimics the tiny skyscrapers.
Labeled with the little monster's name and bound.
The last thing was to make a tote with some of the leftover fabric. Now it is ready for gifting.

Tools (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Vitessa Advanced Steam Iron
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Fiskars 8-inch scissors

Friday, August 24, 2018

Charity Quilting

I realized I missed sharing a couple more charity quilts over the last few weeks. Here is a fun one with puppies. 
This one is really fun, too. 
That flower motif is so much fun to quilt.
And I squeezed in one more before the last Annapolis Quilts for Kids meeting. A fun little rail fence.
Here is the bag of quilts I dropped off. I also picked up a couple more finished tops to quilt and some batting.

2018 Charity Quilt Count: 33

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Disappearing 9-Patch

Remember the disappearing 9-patch I made last week? Well I got it all quilted up.
Swirls and waves and loads of echos. This might be my new favorite.
I even found time to get it bound. This quilt was made entirely with fabrics, including the backing, I already had in my collection. It's nice to create without heading to the store.
My most recent Superior Threads So Fine order even matches!

Tools (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Vitessa Advanced Steam Iron
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Fiskars 8-inch scissors

Monday, August 20, 2018

New Ball Winder

I've had this plastic ball winder from Knit Picks (affiliate link) for a few years now. I wanted one (along with the beautiful swift from Knit Picks (affiliate link)) since I borrowed the tools from a friend to wind up some hanks of yarn. The plastic ball winder had started to give me some issues and I was frustrated by it more often than not.
It seems it had slipped some internal gear and wasn't winding correctly. Here is one of the resulting winding sessions. I even took it apart a time or two and just couldn't get the gears to stay meshed. In a fit I went to Amazon and looked at some sturdier ball winders. There aren't very many but one stood out.
That brings me to the Stanwood Needlecraft large ball winder (affiliate link). The reviews were excellent (4.8 stars out of 5 with 750+ reviews is pretty awesome) so I decided to give it a try.
It came in the mail and the next day I sat down to wind some yarn. This thing is as awesome as those reviews indicate. Here you can see 150 grams of cotton yarn wound up with plenty of room for more. I might have been able to get all 300 grams into a single ball, but I thought two 150 gram balls would be easier to fit in a project bag. I'm really happy I decided to upgrade. If you wind more than occasionally, this is a tool you want to add to your tool bag. You might be able to get three of the plastic ones for the price of this one winder, but I don't think I'll never need another winder in my lifetime.

Tools (affiliate links):
Stanwood Needlecraft large ball winder
Knit Picks yarn swift

Friday, August 17, 2018

Ocean City Maryland

Since our last trip to Ocean City Maryland was rained out, we decided to take a day during the week to go and people watch. I grabbed my current crochet project for the drive. This is a free design on Ravelry called Small Fans Shawl. It is really just a chart, not a pattern. If you are comfortable with charts, then you should check it out. Easy to memorize and quick to work with a great finish. 
Last time we were there we discovered that if you park at the Park and Ride near the outlet mall in Ocean City, you can take the Beach Bus across the bridge.
The fare is reasonable ($3 all day during the 2018 season) and the parking is free. 
We started our walk at the inlet. I will admit, I was spending more time watching the people than learning about Ocean City

Down on the boardwalk, we came across the Ocean City Firefighter Memorial. I had to stop and take a couple photos.
My uncle was a firefighter for many years and I wanted to share this with him. I texted both images to him shortly after taking them.
 There is always something interesting flying on the beach across from The Kite Loft.
One of my favorite things is finding art scatter throughout the places we wander. This wasn't the only piece I found, but it was the one I stopped to photograph. 
On the way home, we stopped in Berlin, MD. I was hoping to stop in to a yarn shop there but they were closed before their posted 5pm closure. Oh, well, maybe another time. It isn't like I'll run out of yarn anytime soon. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Mixed Bag

Saturday morning I was looking for a quick-start project. I had these two charm packs and some coordinating prints on the shelves so I pulled them down and formulated a plan. It's always nice to use some of the fabric I already have. That doesn't seem to keep me from buying fabric, but I do try.
I decided I didn't want to work too hard, so I went with the disappearing 9-patch. It doesn't really disappear, but it does make quick work of making somewhat scrappy blocks into even more scrappy blocks. If you want to see how it's done, there is a great tutorial by Missouri Star Quilt Company. Jenny will tell you all about in her wonderfully cheery way.
I cut a few more charms from my yardage so I would have enough to make the required number of blocks. Each of mine has the same orange fabric in the center of each 9-patch units. I then cut them into the smaller units. This was my starting layout.
Once I had rearranged the blocks, this is what I ended up with. Plenty scrappy and didn't take too much work to accomplish. I want to try this with a more limited palette and see what happens. I want to do so many things. Someday I hope to have the time to try them. Now to get it quilted.

Tools (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Vitessa Advanced Steam Iron

Monday, August 13, 2018

Marled Dotted Rays Shawl

I've been working on this shawl for what seems like forever (it wasn't forever). On Sunday morning I made it to the bind-off. The pattern is Dotted Rays from Stephen West. I knit it using two strands of fingering held together (more info on the yarn at the bottom of the post). This meant it knit up pretty quickly on size 8 needles. I also blended the colors together like in the Marled Magic Shawl
During the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild meeting I continued working on the bind off. I was pretty pleased when I made it to the end of the stitches before the end of the meeting. I wove in my last end before stuffing it in the bag to head home. 
Here it is pre-blocking. Kind of a lumpy, pretty thing.
It was big, but didn't seem that big. Then I washed it and sat down with my blocking wires. 
I love how blocking opens up the fabric. Really great with this pattern so those double yarn-over holes open up. 

By the time I get home from work on Monday it should be dry and I can add it to my pile of finished knit projects. Now I have to decide what to do next.

Yarn: Fingering weight yarn call Sock Hop from Dancing Leaf Farm. You can learn more about them from my post after the 2017 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

Tools (affiliate links)
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, August 10, 2018

Charity Quilting

I've been trying to complete small projects during the week. Trying to get much crafting done after the workday is no easy feat. I did manage to piece this charity quilt for Annapolis Quilts for Kids.
Then I spent some time last weekend getting it quilted. This one was just a simple meander. 
This one I did a fun flower motif. This one is great for covering a bunch of area relatively quickly and creating some great texture. I had to share the back so you could see the design.
This one was pieced by another member of the group, I just loaded it up and quilted it.

2018 Charity Quilt Count: 31