Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Slow Knitting

This week's progress has been slow. (I suppose that happens when a complicated bag takes over your attention.) I love that every little stitch adds up. There may not be much progress from last week, but the sweater has still grown. Knitting reminds me to keep at the harder things in life. It may not look like much right now, but every little bit adds up to make something beautiful. Sweaters definitely aren't instant gratification, but they're worth the time.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekender Travel Bag Part 2

This weekend I've been working on my Weekender Travel Bag. My goal was to finish the main panels this weekend. The bag is a challenge, but Amy Butler writes an amazing pattern. (I've been intimidated by her patterns since the bags always look complicated, but having read this one I won't be intimidated by that again.) 

I was really surprised how easy the piping was. I found several tutorials on cutting bias strips from a fat quarter that provided the perfect amount of strips. I also followed the advice of several bloggers who used 1/4" stitch witchery to fuse the piping in place. (Sorry I looked these up on my phone and can't remember who's tutorial I followed so I don't have a links. If you google bias strips from fat quarter and piping with stitch witchery you'll find hundreds of tutorials.) I also read hints of using clips to hold the piping in place. I didn't have wonder clips or binder clips, but I did have clothes pins. I found they worked perfectly since I could position my piping in the little groove of the clothes pin and nothing wiggled. 

I saw lots of people that advised using a piping foot, but my machine uses slant feet so I used the zipper foot that she came with. Once I realized that I could position the foot to be on the side of the needle that the piping wasn't on it worked great. The zipper also went in without any problems. Now I just need to decide if I want to use the white flower fabric or the persimmon acorn fabric for the base. (I'm using the acorn fabric for the lining. I love the little pops of orange, but don't want to over do it.) 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday 26

I was so happy this week to get back to the book. Both blocks this week are straight from the book with no substitutions or alternations. It also looks like I'm getting back to some of the simpler blocks so maybe I'll have some time for some other sewing projects too.

I really have to give Lori credit for some crazy math skills. I'm not a fan of the templates, but figuring out the sizes for a 6" block with a 5x5 grid and seam allowances is insane. I'm so glad I could just use her templates and have the block come out the right size.

#45 Grape Basket

Morning was a lot easier. I love the nine patch variations. I The four black side units are designed to be flying geese with a solid strip attached to the bottom. I decided to eliminate the seam and cut 2.5" squares. I then sewed my white triangles to the top of the square to make an extended flying goose. This quilt has so many seams that I don't know if cutting out four will really make that much difference, but it did make assembly a bit easier. It would also make a huge difference if I ever decided to make this block for another quilt using prints.

#57 Morning

After playing with the Farmer's Puzzle block in EQ7 last week I finally broke down and bought the companion CD for this quilt. I'd read some reviews saying that the CD didn't work in EQ7 so I was hesitant to buy it. Since it was on sale on Amazon I decided to risk it. All I needed to do was change the file type to "Previous EQ Versions" and the CD worked perfectly. Since I've run out of space in my apartment to lay out all of my blocks I had a lot of fun putting all of the blocks I've finished into EQ. I'm not sure how to put the layout I want into EQ so I'm using the layout from the book for my sketch. I know that I've finished over half of my blocks, but it's still surprising to see how full the quilt is.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Double Trouble

One of the things I love about blogging is being able to see progress. For me knitting feels like a slow process. I love sitting in the morning with my coffee or at the end of a long day at work and relaxing while I play with my yarn. I focus on each stitch and row as it comes so I sometimes forget how much I've accomplished. I was about to write that this week has been busy so there's not much progress, but looking back at last week's posting I realized that my sweater has nearly doubled in size this week.

I'm so glad I chose to make both fronts at the same time. I messed up and repeated one of the rows. I didn't discover it until I'd knit three more rows. It's not a major mistake (if you look really closely at this picture you might see it,) but I know that if I was knitting one piece at a time I'd have frogged it. Since I knew the mistake was minor and was the same on both pieces I decided to leave it. I still love my DPNs so I probably won't use this method for socks, but I definitely see using it again for sweater fronts.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Farmer's Wife Friday 25

This week I've decided to make another block substitution. I know that the swastika is a sacred symbol in Hinduism and several other religions, and that it was a symbol of good luck for Europeans since antiquity. It's not surprising that such a simple geometric block with such a positive meaning would be turned into a quilt block (there are several swastika quilt block patterns out there.) I debated included Farmer's Puzzle in my quilt. It's a very dynamic block with an interesting secondary pattern of flying geese, and I can understand why several quilters choose to include this block in their Farmer's Wife quilts. I struggled to get past the swastika and when I shared this with my husband he encouraged me to leave it out. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Farmer's Puzzle quilt block I did a mock up in EQ7 to show you what I'm talking about.

While I was playing with EQ7 I decided to change out the colors and see what the block looked like repeated in a quilt and put on point. The swastika is still there so I doubt I'll ever do anything more with this pattern, but it does create a striking design.

I looked through The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns and found Mill Wheel. This block dates back to 1934 and was published in the Chicago Tribune by Nancy Cabot. I really love how many different blocks there are that use a 3x3 grid. 

#33 Farmer's Puzzle Mill Wheel

I love the Broken Sugar Bowl block. I've been making a list of blocks I want to play with more when I finish this quilt. This block is definitely going on that list. I know that Broken Sugar Bowl is a block that has been used many times before, but it's still got a lot of potential in it.

#12 Broken Sugar Bowl


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Two at a Time!

When I first started knitting socks I tried using the two at a time method. I'm not sure if I chose patterns beyond my skill level, used the wrong sized needle, or just didn't have the experience but my socks were terrible. They had huge ladders up the sides and were way too big. I fell in love with sock knitting after trying DPNs and swore off the two at a time method as not for me. I've decided to give this method another try for the fronts of Blueberry.

I was worried about my fronts matching perfectly and this method ensures that even my mistakes will line up. It's taking some extra concentration from keeping my yarn from twisting, but otherwise everything is going smoothly.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekender Travel Bag Part 1

This weekend my husband and I went to Sioux Falls,SD for a small get away. It was such a nice treat to spend the weekend together. On Friday we went to the Canaries baseball game and then on Saturday we went to the zoo. It looked like there would be rain later in the day so we went early only to get caught in the thunderstorm. I had so much fun feeding all of the sheep and goats in the barn that I really didn't mind the rain. My favorite animals are the penguins and my husband loves the monkeys and thankfully all of them were inside on Saturday. The rain was a great excuse to stay and watch our favorite animals for long periods of time.

I've been thinking about making Amy Butler's Weekender Bag for a while now, but have always resisted since I don't go away for that many weekend trips. As I was thinking about packing for this trip I realized that I don't have a small suitcase for short trips. After listening to me go back and forth several times my husband finally told me to just order the fabric. (Gotta love it when the husband tells you to order fabric.) I knew that I wouldn't be able to finish this bag before my Sioux Falls trip, but I was still excited when my fabric arrived on Friday. 

I'm using Autumn Woods by Katie and Birdie Paper Co and will be making the quilted version of this bag. (The instructions don't include this method, but there's lots of tutorials online for how to do this.) My plan is to use the squirrel and tree fabric for the pockets, the words will be the panels behind the pockets, the flower fabric will make the sides and the acorn fabric will be used for my piping and lining. I'm not sure if I'm going to use the acorn fabric or one of my blue fabrics for straps, but that decision is still a few steps away.