Saturday, May 25, 2013

Embossed Leaves Socks

After I succeeded in learning how to knit two socks on two circulars, I wanted to try a patterned sock, that is, some pattern other than stockinette or ribbing that runs the length of the leg and down the instep. I signed up for the class for this sock three times, but there were never enough people signed up to make it go. Finally the instructor relented and said she'd teach a couple of us privately.

The Embossed Leaves sock pattern is from a book called Favorite Socks by Ann Budd. I really like this pattern a lot, so I hunted the book down on Amazon and plan to buy it next month. There are some lovely patterns in it that I'd like to try.

In the meantime, I bought this book yesterday, also by Ann Budd, at my local yarn shop, Hook, Yarn and Stitcher. It is full of interesting techniques and detailing to take sock knitting to the next level (at least for me), like this fun pattern on the bottom of your socks. There's a DVD inside the book, which will help with the mechanics of the techniques. These two books should keep me busy for quite a while.

Easy Street Finished

My Easy Street quilt has been quilted and waiting for binding since the beginning of the month, and it's finally labeled, bound, finished. It is bigger than I thought it would be, 93" x 93. Two of the kids are already fighting over it, but I want to have it for a little while first. After I finish the Lazy Sunday, which has all the same colors plus orange and fuschia, then maybe I'll let them choose which one they'd like.

Not much progress has been made on Lazy Sunday, Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt from Quiltmaker magazine. I have three other big quilts that are close to being finished, all three UFO's, and I'd like to get those done first; so I'm making the half square triangle units from Lazy Sunday as leaders and enders for the other three projects. Next month I plan to work on it in earnest. The release of the next Quiltmaker containing the last part is right around the corner, I think.

The weather has been miserable for most of the spring, and this week has been cold and rainy again. The grass will be up to our knees before the ground dries out enough to get out and mow. We also have 9 cords of logs to cut, split, and stack; new cedar shingles to re-side the house with; and 12 new replacement windows to install, but the weather won't let us. It's gonna be a busy summer. Those sweet little bleeding hearts in the header are lovin' the weather though.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Knitting Finishes

I finished weaving in the yarn tails on these socks this morning. The knee socks are for my sister-in-law, and I've been working on them for quite some time. My SIL is taller than I am and needs a 19" leg, so no wonder they took so long.

The baby socks were an experiment in knitting two socks on two circulars. I tried this technique two or three years ago, and I can't remember now whether I ever figured it out or not, but I didn't stick with it. I finally took a class a month or two ago at my local yarn shop, and wa la! Success!

 I've been knitting socks and small accessories for about four years now and wanted to move up to knitting an adult garment. My local yarn shop owner suggested a vest, so I pestered until she found someone to teach the class.

The pattern is a freebie from Paton's, their Chunky Knit Vest, I think. There were lots of learning opportunities here--sizing and fitting a garment, making a gauge swatch, invisible seaming for the sides and shoulder seams, picking up and adding a seed stitch trim, and buttonholes and buttons. The best part is that it actually fits me. 

I'm working on a new sweater now from Knitting Pure and Simple, top down, no side seams, no buttonholes, and no set in sleeves. Easy!

The shawlette class presented another learning opportunity--lace edging. I had fun making this, but it was an exercise in patience because I used fingering weight yarn, and it just took a long time.

I took my daughter-in-law to the yarn shop and showed her the model of the shawlette, then told her if she liked it, she could pick out the yarn and I'd make it for her birthday. That was in February, her birthday was in April, and I just barely made that deadline.

After I finished it, I decided I liked it well enough to make one for myself. I've added it to my arm-length list of knitting projects to do.

The yarn for this shawlette was Ella Rae Lace Merino. I love this yarn! Can't wait to make some socks with it.

Thread Case

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there! It's been a cool, rainy day here in Maine, but the sun finally came out a little while ago. I spent all day in my sewing room, finishing up this thread case for a workshop I'm assisting with on Wednesday.

I've wanted to make one of these for several years, and I'm so pleased it's finally finished. The pattern directions were clear, and the case was easy to make. I don't know why I didn't just do it a long time ago.

The fabric of the case is quilted, and it closes with a piece of grosgrain ribbon wrapped around the case and held shut with velcro.

It unfolds to reveal five vinyl pockets that hold up to 48 spools of thread plus a few sewing necessaries.

The case opens to 10" x 30" and folds to a nicely compact 8" x 10".
The tan fabric under the zipper is a piece of ultrasuede or faux suede. Thread tails are fed through the ultrasuede, and you can easily thread a needle without removing the spools from their pockets by simply pulling the thread through the ultrasuede.
The sewing necessaries pocket is about 6 inches, so there's plenty of room for scissors, needles, thimble, measuring tape, other notions, and of course, a little chocolate. Fabulous!

The pattern also contains directions for a smaller case that holds up to 12 spools of thread and folds up to 5" x 5".

Credit where credit is due: Thread Dispenser/ Sewing
Case, designed by Patterns by Annie

Sunday, May 5, 2013

An Apple A Day

At last, a finish! Actually, I finished a small strippy in February, but I don't bother to post photos of those anymore because I've made so many. Anyway, every year our quilt chapter, Tacoma Lakes Quilters, issues a challenge; and this year's was to make a small 16-block quilt from Maggie Ball's book, Bargello Quilts with a Twist.

These fabrics were from a kit I purchased several years ago on a quilt shop hop. The kit was supposed to make up into a quilt with four basket blocks, but I never was crazy about the pattern. I thought the fabrics would work just fine for my bargello, and that's a few more yards finally out of the stash. This quilt will make a nice little table cover for my son's kitchen table. He's a foodie, and he has red accents in his kitchen.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Bonnie Hunter Comes to Maine

It has been too long since I posted to the blog. Life is busy, and I've been doing lots of quilting and knitting but just haven't taken the time to post about it.

The Pine Tree Quilters Guild in Maine contracted with Bonnie Hunter quite some time ago to come and teach a couple of workshops and do a trunk show for us. I am a big fan of Bonnie's; and after what seemed like an interminable wait (for me), she finally arrived this week.

I took her workshop for the Jamestown Landing quilt yesterday and had a blast. Jamestown Landing is one of the quilts from Bonnie's book, String Fling. I've been quilting a long time, and her book explains well enough how to do the piecing for this quilt, so my objective in taking the workshop was to learn more about the methods that she uses to piece her quilts; and I was not disappointed. I get so used to doing things a certain way that I don't stop to think if there might be a better way to do it, so I had some lightbulb moments during the workshop.

Bonnie took lots of pictures of our workshop and uploaded them to both her blog and her Facebook page, so you can see more there.

We received instruction on the Easy Angle tool to make half square triangle units, and she also showed us how she makes her string blocks. Jamestown Landing is composed entirely of these half square triangle units and small string blocks, arranged in an unexpected way. I only finished 14 or 15 string blocks and maybe about 70 half square triangle units, so I have lots of work left to do.

Today Bonnie did her trunk show for the membership. She is a very enjoyable speaker and shared lots of information about her scrap users system and the way she actually chooses and uses her scraps.

Her trunk show was marvelous. I thought about taking photos, but I really just wanted to listen to the lecture and look at the quilts. Besides, the photos of the quilts in her books are much better than any I might have taken at the presentation, and I have all of her books.

Bonnie has one more workshop scheduled for tomorrow in Augusta, then she'll be moving on to her next engagement. I asked her yesterday if she'd been to all 50 states to teach, and she said she'd been everywhere except the Dakotas. If you ever have an opportunity to see Bonnie Hunter, don't miss it.