Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dragonfly Wings Finished

I can't believe how quickly this shawl knit up. I definitely have to remember to look over a pattern in the future before getting scared by the length. 7 pages was daunting until I realized the pattern contained 0 repeats. I'm not a very fast knitter and I still managed to finish this shawl in a week and a half. Across the street from where I work is this beautiful little pond that made the perfect setting for 

I love how this pattern shows off the wonderful color changes in this hand painted yarn. The lace at the bottom is the perfect touch to finish it off without fighting with the yarn.

 This picture gives the best idea of the colors of this yarn although they are a bit richer in person.

The garter ridge rows add such a fun accent and kept the knitting interesting.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Return of the Purple Monster

Last year I was working on a purple bohus sweater that I got as a kit from KnitPicks. After completing a few plain sweaters and one with cables I decided that if I wanted to be a real Knitter I needed to do colorwork. This sweater has taught me to choose projects I love rather than projects I feel like I should do. I've cursed this thing many many times. Finally after finishing the body of the sweater I shoved it in a bag, bought a new knitting bag, and started my green Fogarty Creek blazer. I am in love with the Fogarty Creek sweater, but it has been put on hold until fall.  I can't wait to wear it in the winter, but right now it's 90 degrees outside. Winter is a distant memory and I have a few months where I can live in the delusion that it will never return.

I finished the Dragonfly Wings shawl over the weekend. (I'm going to do a proper photo shoot with Dragonfly and post those pics on Saturday.) I really want to do some more lace and have even picked out the perfect yarn, but I don't like having too many projects on my needles at a time. No matter how much I try to have a complicated project for times I want something interesting and an easy project for times I want mindless knitting I always focus on one project and the other languishes in danger of becoming a UFO. The green sweater and I have worked out an agreement that it will get finished before I start on Christmas knitting (People who are currently slated to get sweaters may be reduced to vests or possibly socks.) The Purple Monster has haunted me like a bad dream and I can't reach any such agreement with it. All I have left is the sleeves (which have more of the stupid colorwork on the cuffs) and steek (this thing should be grateful for sleeves, but since it's got this weird band in the front that sets it up for steeking and the neck is too tight to fit over my head I have no choice but to face the scissors at the end.)

On the bright side the first sleeve is growing pretty quickly so maybe I can order my lace yarn. The promise of alpaca and silk may be the incentive I need to finally finish this sweater.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dragonfly Wings part 1

I’m so glad I decided against using this yarn for the Omelet shawl. The colors of this yarn would have competed with the intricate lacework of Omelet and both would have been lost in the fight. Dragonfly Wings has been the perfect pattern. I was a bit worried when I saw that the pattern was 7 pages long (I've had sweaters that were shorter than that) but after reading the pattern I saw that the designer wrote out instructions for every row. Since the rows follow logical steps of increases, garter, and straight knitting I haven’t been tied to the pattern, but it has been nice having every row (especially how many stitches should be on my needles after every row) written out for me. 

There’s not much to show right now since the shawl is in the blob stage of knitting. Hopefully I can finish sometime this week and block it over the weekend. I’ve been surprised at how quickly this has knit up. Dragonfly Wings uses 400 yards of yarn so I think this pattern might go into my library of gift ideas. I love the idea of a gift that can use a skein of stash sock yarn and be done in less than two weeks.

The yarn is Schaefer Yarn in Heather colorway. 
It's a merion/silk/nylon blend that is super soft and comfy to work with.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sheep on the Mountain

One of my favorite parts of the SPQG quilt show (besides all the quilts) is the rummage sale. Everyone cleans their stashes and brings in fabric and patterns they no longer want. After set up is finished we get to go through the sale first. Last year I found a copy of Tour Ireland with Pat Sloan. I enjoy designing quilts so usually I read patterns and tutorials as inspiration or to see how different quilters construct blocks. When I saw "Sheep on the Mountain" I knew this was one quilt that would come straight from the pattern.

Don't you just love those sheep!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blue Socks Finished!

It has been so hard to focus on these socks. I've been itching to cast-on for my new shawl, but since these are a gift I knew I needed to finish the socks first. I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of sock knitting. I cast on for these Saturday evening and was weaving the toe Monday night. Usually it takes me a week (sometime two) to make one plain sock like this. I'm falling in love with self striping yarns. I love the pattern on these socks and all I had to do was knit a vanilla sock. (I really love that the colors make twisted stripes so I didn't have to worry too much about my strips matching.)

As a reward for finishing these socks my husband helped me wind the yarn for my shawl into a ball last night. I don't own a swift ye

Saturday, June 8, 2013

New Ironing Board Cover

I've been looking at my ironing board cover with more and more disgust lately. In December when my husband was looking for ideas to get me for Christmas I suggested he pick up 2 yards of fabric so I could make a new cover. I have to brag that my husband not only went into a quilt shop by himself, but he picked out fabric with very little instructions from me about what I wanted. He's even started talking about learning how to quilt.

I read several tutorials for ironing board covers and then just kind of did my own thing so I'm afraid I can't really link back to anyone.

2 yards fabric
2 packages of binding or leftover binding from a quilt
if your current cover doesn't have a cord running through it you'll want a pack of cord

Lay your fabric out flat and lay your old ironing board cover on top to use as your pattern. I'll spare you a picture of the old cover. You can imagine from the stains on the back how gross the front is.

Cut around the old cover leaving about 3 inches of space. (As you can tell there's no need to be extremely precise.)

Attach the binding tape to the edge. Be sure to sew close to the edge of the tape and leave a channel to thread your cord through.

This is the cord that came with my old ironing board. If yours doesn't have this it's just a basic nylon cord (I'd guess there's about 4 yards here. The little blue-grey thing is used to hold the cord tight, but a square knot would be just as effective. 

Tie your cord to a safety pin and thread through the binding tape channel. Lay your new ironing board cover on your ironing board and pull tight. I like my ironing board to have lots of padding so I used the foam pad that came with my ironing board and then added a couple layers of cotton batting. There are heat proof battings, but since I had Warm and Natural on hand I just used that.

My new ironing board in all of it's glory. I love the fabric that my husband picked out for me and with the extra padding ironing isn't so hard on my wrist anymore.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Blue Socks

I think I'm finally starting to recover from this spring's allergy attack. It's such a miserable thing when winter finally ends and all of the bare branches and empty flower beds burst forth with life. It makes me want to run around singing that the hills are alive with music and then suddenly the music stops and I find myself in a movie where the hills are just alive.

From the hazy fog of allergies and contemplating moving to the arctic circle I haven't had energy to work on much more than socks. I'm still working with the Deborah Norville sock yarn; this time I'm using the Aquamarine colorway. It sounds like such a girly color name, but my husband assures me the colors are masculine enough to please the recipient of these socks. (Of course I'm giving someone hand knit socks in June so they may not be focusing on color so much as wondering if I'm a few yarn balls short of a knitting bag.)

Usually as I get healthy after several weeks of not feeling well I have a major desire to start something new. As I was drooling over patterns this lovely yarn showed up in a box of birthday presents. I'm debating trying my hand at lace knitting and making Knitty's Omelet shawl. I think it will go perfectly with a dress I'm planning to wear to a wedding this fall.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

SPQG 2013 Quilt Show part 2 (and some sneak peeks)

This is the second half of my pictures for the quilt show. (There were many more beautiful quilts, but if I share everything I'll be posting quilt show pictures all year.)

It's hard to tell in the picture, but lots of the accent pieces have touches of color. 

Not Quite Black and White by Natalie Brummel

Virg made this quilt when her brother retired from the Post Office. It honors his years as a mail carrier and his military service in Korea. 
(This quilt won member's choice.)

May America Always Be Free by Virg Oordt

Mary graduated with her Master of Science in Nursing this year. 
She made this quilt to hang in her exam room. 
Dragonflies in the Office by Mary De Young

This is one of the quilts from our Winter Workshop. 
Dancing Daisies by Mary Zagaeski

These are three of the challenge quilts this year. In order to encourage people to vote for the best quilt rather than their family or friend's quilt these are unlabeled aside from their voting number. 

(Out of the Box was my entry into this category.)

Finally here's a sneak peak of this summer's year's new quilts.
The first time I saw Comma I knew it would be perfect for my husband. After talking with him he came up with the name "Writer's Block" and I've come up with a pattern to match the name.

I'm joining Kathi from Design Originals by KC for her hand quilt along. This is going to be a memory quilt in honor of my puppy. I plan on machine piecing blocks from the light fabric and then hand appliqueing paw prints with the rainbow blocks.