“Terror Towel” Quilted Throw

 

Delivery ... and first thoughts

Delivery … and first thoughts

Several months ago a high school classmate asked me if I would be willing to make a quilted throw for him. He and his wife had collected “terror towels” from various sports events that he and his wife had attended.

I am a new but eager maker of quilts but this didn’t sound impossible to me but for months I’ve been “worrying” about this quilt. The terry cloth fabric is a different entity than the traditional cotton fabric. I wasn’t sure what would happen to the towels when I cut them to size.

So I picked peoples’ brains. I was advised that I should use a stabilizer on the backs of the towels. I was also advised that I should not use cotton fabric as a frame between the towels. The thought was that the two weight of fabrics would cause uneven wear. This made sense. Stabilizer, not so much.

As you can see from the picture above, that’s one funky shaped quilt. I had to somehow figure out how to make it square or rectangular … which meant making all the towels the same size.

Deciding on the design and directionality

Deciding on the design and directionality

What I ended up doing was using little paper “towels” to lay out my plan. If I could make the towels to a size of 14.5 x 16.5 inches I could piece them together and make a throw. After many hours of thinking and measuring, I had a plan. A few of the towels were not going to work in the size that I had chosen – three were too small (way too small) and one was printed in such a way as to make cutting it to any size difficult. But the rest of the towels, 16 in all, were going to work!

Day 1: I “ripped” out the stitching around the edges of the towels to make them a little bit larger and then I cut the towels to size. Even cutting the towels is a challenge. They really aren’t square nor are they printed with the designs exactly in the middle. But I used my 12″ square template to center the design and then worked around it to cut the two lengths thus making a 14.5 x 16.5 inch rectangle of each towel.

Day 2: I zigzagged the four sides of the towels to keep them from fraying. Terry cloth is a messy, messy (did I say MESSY?) fabric. Yuck! My studio is a horrible mess and I’m not even done yet!

Day 3: This is the moment … all the towels are laid out on the floor and I decided on the design placement. There are four towels with a different directionality. I chose to have them all facing the same (but different from the other 12 towels) direction. Here is the design that I liked best … the four towels with different directionality are not diagonally down the middle but one in each row and “randomly” placed.

IMG_7224

My final design … I’m ready to make strips!

So, today I started sewing together the rectangles. I decided that because terry cloth is so bulky that I had to sew the pieces together and then “tack” down the extra fabric on the wrong size by sewing them down. I sewed a 3/8 seam and then positioned my needle to the left and ran another line down each side of the seam tacking the bulk to the pieces. So far, I am really pleased with the strips. Tomorrow I will sew the strips together and then it will be time to find a backing. I am thinking that I would like to use two layers of cotton flannel. One white in the middle and a sports-themed print as the backing fabric. I will sandwich them all together but I haven’t decided whether I will simply stitch in the ditch or if I will stitch diagonally across the rectangles, too. I want them to be stable so that the towels wear well.

I’ll let you know how it progresses! I am thrilled to be working on this rather than “worrying” about it. Gone … sewing? (Actually my book club is coming and I’d best go get ready to greet them!)

Burning a hole in my … stash?

Like other knitters, I have a fairly extensive stash. No, not mustache, a yarn stash – that little bit of collected yarns from here and there that you have to buy because it’s so soft or pretty or pretty soft.

I bought this yarn last summer in Maine. I think what made it so appealing was the price … and maybe the color. Yes, I paid $2.49 a ball for it at Marden’s! It’s Main Street by Reynolds (color 6760, lot 8078, 53% wool, 47% acrylic, 50 grams/approx. 98 yards) – 16 sts and 22 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette stitch on US #8 needles.

IMG_1040

 

Yesterday, I was going through one of my stash bins and found this yarn (I have only two balls) and I was thinking about what I could make with it. It’s wool and acrylic. Soft. And it occurred to me that it would make a great hat. I’m envisioning a rolled brim cap that could be rolled down so that it would be slouchy. And then I was reminded of the Steven West post about pompoms that I saw on Facebook (I love making pompoms) and so I think it needs to have a pom pom at the top. Maybe even a crazy multi-colored pompom. That decision has not yet been made!

I measured my own (oversized) head and cast on 80 stitches that, with a ribbed hat, should accommodate larger and smaller heads. And I decided to make it a (sort of) twisted 1×1 rib (knit 1, purl 1) by knitting into the back of the knitted stitches. I love it when there is that little bit of twist in the knitted stitches. It’s just a little bit different and very pretty.

IMG_1037

See? Aren’t those lines of twisted knit stitches so pretty?! I can get so excited about the simplest little things! I think this is going to be one fun hat! Wait until you see the way the colors subtly shift from purple to nearly red! You can already see a couple of very subtle variations on purple. I’ll keep this pattern going for 9 inches or so. More pictures will be forthcoming at the hat “grows”!

Gone knitting!

Leg Warmers in Process

My daughter the actor wants a pair of leg warmers for Christmas. I love that she asked me to make them for her! Love it! And so, I got on Ravelry and found several patterns for her to give me an idea of what she had in her mind. This child knows what she wants!

The pattern that she liked is by Drops Designs and can be found here. They’re considered leg warmers or yoga socks. Yoga socks don’t have toes or heels. Leg warmers are over the knee length. So, when I was in New York visiting her (and seeing her show on Broadway) we went to Soho and visited Purl Soho. Oh. My. God! Talk about a little piece of heaven! I didn’t get nearly enough time to browse adequately … and I probably could have spent a couple of hours in the store. The colors, the fibers, the light wood and tea and it was so busy!

The Queen Bee at Purl Soho

I was so enthralled with the shop that I forgot to take photos inside! Sorry!

She picked a Madeline Tosh yarn in two colors and wants me to do the pattern design. (The Drops pattern was in a self-patterning yarn and much more .) The yarn is Madeline Tosh’s Tosh Sport (100% superwash merino wool; 270 yards; 5-6 sts = 1 inch) The colors that she chose are warm mushroom, a lovely neutral that is warm and the color of mushrooms – aptly named. The second color is fig. A deep, rich, reddish-brown that is a lovely contrast with the warm mushroom.

My swatch (yes, I made a swatch for this project!) was perfect! On the money – 26 stitches and 13 rows!

Swatched Stitches!

The yarn is yummy to knit with – and I am moving right along! As I’m knitting and designing at the same time, I am never sure if I’ll love the pattern. But I am pleased with it. The sample shown in the pattern is much more pattern-y so I had to make sure she was liking the direction I was taking. (I texted Kate a picture today for the stamp of approval and she liked it.) This is the picture that I texted to her …

Leg Warmer #1 … is on the needles!

So far, so good! Only about 36 inches left to knit. (Oh, yeah, and did I mention that I still have to knit two Christmas stockings?) Did I tell you before that I love knitting? Well, I do! I just hope that they fit her legs!

Gone Knitting!

Hot! Lobster Claws … fresh out of the pot

Hot, hot, hot weekend! We’re having June weather in May. It’s too hot to go outside and I dream of having a car with auto-start so I could get the A/C going before I have to leave. Are you figuring out that I dislike the heat? Even our back “sun room” is super hot … by the time I’m awake, it’s time to get out of there to my cooler Atelier!

My inside activities have been cleaning up and knitting … and knitting planning! I have several original patterns that I’ve written and have been “afraid” to put out for test knitting. Partly because I didn’t know how to do it … but I’ve found a Ravelry group that does test knitting and as soon as I knit my patterns one more time, off they’re going!

"Cooked Lobster" Mittens

First one to be leaving the fold is the “Cooked Lobster” mittens for children. This is one that I wrote after having bought a pattern that didn’t look like lobster claws at all! I love my pattern, though – complete with the knitted band … looks like it’s just out of the pot! And if it was just out of the pot, it would be steaming hot!

Gone knitting (in my cooler Atelier!)

 

Proof – on the needles and newly finished

Here are the photos, as promised!

Socks for my Boy!

Socks for my boy in Trekking XXL (75% super wash wool, 25% polyamid). This yarn might be the most wonderful sock yarn ever but knitting with it has been a nightmare! The center-pull ball has been in knots from the first pull. Grrr! What a pain in the neck (or needles!) But the socks are looking good and the boy has asked for them (the third pair!) Promised for graduation in mid-June.

New yarn arrival!

Yes, you can ooooh and ahhhh!

I bought the Berroco Pure Pima and Cascade Yarns Fixation for two projects. The Berroco is for a cotton sweater (sleeveless tunic) for moi. The Fixation is for a pair or two of baby socks … trying a new pattern!

Also FO –

HUGE socks ... soon to be felted!

Two super huge socks all ready to be felted. These are for my Etsy shop at the end of the summer. One lavender and one multi-colored, fall colors (green, orange, brown, purple, burgundy) both will be felted to size and be ready to go to some cold tootsies!

Flower Power Dish Cloth

Also trying to use up some of the cotton yarn that I’ve been carrying around. This green turned into a dish cloth. Perhaps it will live in my kitchen (replacing the icky ones that are there) or perhaps it will be matched with a couple more and sold in my shop. We’ll see what I decide.

Cooked Lobster Mittens (a Queen Bee Knits Original Pattern)

Since I have a bunch of wonderful merino wool that I bought in Maine last summer, I decided to resurrect my original pattern and make some more Cooked Lobster Mittens. I love these cute little mittens for kids. I’ll be knitting up several small pairs (and knitting up the bands for the claws, too) for my shop. One down … if you want a pair in a specific size, best to request because I know they’ll fly off the shelves!

Meantime, a friend of mine and her partner welcomed to the world a beautiful baby girl yesterday. I’m thinking a pair of those lovely cabled baby booties needs to be knit up and sent to West Palm Beach! What yarn to use? What yarn to buy?

Oh, the challenges this Queen Bee faces every day! (The last was said in sarcasm … next, in all truth and sincerity) How lucky I am!

Got to wait for my camera battery to charge so I can post the pictures. For now, I’m gone knitting!

Repairing Knitting

I’ve designed a baby blanket.

Long story short, I loved the blue color and the price of the yarn that I saw a while ago at JoAnn. I bought it and decided that rather than follow an existing pattern, I’d design one and add it to my Queen Bee Knits originals.

I’m on a seed stitch kick! I love seed stitch. I love the texture and I love the way the stitch feels when I am knitting. So, my blanket needed to have a seed stitch border. I also like “simple” for babies and didn’t want too many “holes” or lace in the blanket because baby fingers and toes get stuck in them. So, for the body of the blanket, I chose to do a simple stockinette stitch with a tiny lace row between the two.

I got the entire blanket finished and held it up … and there it was. A stitch right smack dab in the middle of the blanket had split and only part of the yarn formed the stitch and it looked like there was a gaping hole in the center of the blanket. UGH! (I think I may have said something I’d rather not type here!) So, because of the seed stitch and the lace, it wasn’t possible to drop one stitch and “zip” down to the mess. So, I “frogged” the seed stitch top border and the lace row and then zipped down to the mess and, with my trusty pink plastic crochet hook, stitched my way back up to the top. One row of lace and a few rows more of seed stitch border and it’ll be done again. This time without a hole in the middle.

I love that when I see a problem with knitting today that I can laugh at my mistakes and then solve the problem without a lot of drama. I love that there is relatively little drama in my life today – and when there is drama, it’s usually something that’s out of my control.

I’ll be publishing the pattern as a free pattern very soon. Just have to write it down!

Gone knitting (and finishing the blanket!) Photos coming soon!

Personality Plus

So, I designed this pattern for a competition – I won “skein-ettes” and had to make them into something. What better than a sweater for my “little girl” (aka Lola).

Animal lovers know how each little critter has a personality all their own. My brother has two big dogs. One is afraid of her shadow and hides behind the kitchen table. The other is just “one of the boys”, my fourth nephew, and always wants to play – drops slimy soliva-covered popped ball pieces (chewed frisbees, bits of sticks or firewood, plastic water bottles, shoes he grabbed indoors, etc.) at your feet morning, noon and night. He never gives up.

Ever watchful Lola. Ever sleepy Boogie!

My little dogs each have their own personality: Boogie is a “stoner” … he’s very trainable and has “sit”, “down”, and “give me five” but he is not a self-starter. Lola is the “alpha” dog in the pair;  she’s independent, and as nosy and bossy as dogs get. She’s a whopping 9 pounds dripping wet … go figure. In order to get Boogie to go outside, we call, “LolaBoq Come” … most of the time we get both dogs. 🙂

Anyway, I digress …

I have a first Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits order. The first sweater, “Turtle” is finished and ready to ship. BUT the yarn that I originally bought for the second sweater just wasn’t doing it for me. I ordered a second skein and cast on this morning. I love it – and I want to recommend it to you knitters out there in blog-land! It’s called Koigu KPPM. The one I bought this time is one of their solid colors but they have an endless line of wonderful colors sure to please every person’s taste. I’m buying mine at JimmyBeansWool.com because their service is very quick, their prices are reasonable and they’ve got a great selection. I think I could knit with only Koigu and be happy. I just ordered their last book … I’ll report on it as soon as it arrives.

So, off I go to knit AJ’s baby girl a pink Señorita Lolita sweater (Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits’ first design) … gone knitting!