Finished Objects, WIPs and taking flight

Today I had a day off and I wan’t feeling quite right. (If I don’t eat before noon, you know something’s “off”.) Despite feeling a little bit off, I had a wonderful day.

My Radiant Reflections quilt is finished! I actually finished it last night but it was too dark to take photos. I am really pleased with this quilt! I started it as a class a couple of years ago at the Cotton Cupboard in Bangor, Maine. We used templates on this project to cut all the pieces. It was a technique that I liked and it helped my corners match up really well. I think it’s the best quilt that I’ve made yet – maybe it’s because with more practice, you’re bound to improve your techniques. Regardless, I love the colors, I love the pattern, it was a challenge and I was successful in completing it on my own.

I also finished my “halloween” socks. I wish that I remembered where I bought this yarn because I really loved the feel of the yarn as I knit the socks. I also love the stripes! A friend reminded me that they are the colors of the Cincinnati Bengals and I like that idea, too. My son and I used to watch sports on television when he was younger and those were fun times. I’m not sure how he learned so much about sports because neither his father or I knew diddly about sports. Go figure! I’l be wearing these socks for any Bengals games and on Halloween, too!

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On the needles, and currently in rotation, are two shawls that I am really pleased with. I’m making progress on my Protest is Patriotic Shawlette by Craftiest Elizabeth Sovern. I know that my red yarn is a Malabrigo Sock in the Ravelry Red colorway. The white is a Cascade Heritage sock yarn and the blue is something that I have no clue what it is. It’s been in my stash and my stash has been moved, organized, packed, and moved again. I’ve lost a few labels. I bought the beads online because the only beads I could find locally were really too small. I am using 3/0 glass beads. I love the way they pop off the blue yarn! I’m hoping to have this done for the 4th of July week!

The other shawl is the Brambling Shawl by Bristol Ivy. This was one of the projects, perhaps one of the first projects in the Year of Techniques project. I really liked this “class” and I have enjoyed each project that I have attempted. I also bought the yarn kits for each season. I love the yarn. This yarn is fyberspates cumulus and it’s really soft and sticky … this is a “don’t make a mistake because thinking back is going to be difficult”! The colors aren’t necessarily ones that I would have chosen but I like them and I am happy mohave my boundaries challenged! I have not ever “studied” intarsia and this project has made me feel very confident with this technique.

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Perhaps the best thing that happened today was watching a family of barn swallows who were flying all over in front of our house. I noticed the swooping birds and went to look out the window of my atelier. There were two baby birds sitting on the roof … learning to fly! Later, I checked again and the parents were coming up to feed the babies … all FIVE of them! I spent the day watching them in complete fascination! Mother Nature is absolutely amazing and I loved this part of my day. Here is a pic of the babies! Mom and dad were way too speedy on the wing to catch in a photograph!

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It was a good day! Gone knitting.

 

 

Happy Mothers/Mother’s/Mothers’ Day!

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It’s hard to imagine that nearly a month has passed (again) since I’ve posted something about my knitting life – or anything about my life. I wish that I could say that I’ve been on an exotic trip to Africa or on a tour around Europe but I’ve been happily ensconced in my normal day-to-day life in Maine, USA.

Today is Mother’s Day. I heard from all five kids and have eaten my gift of Graeter’s Ice Cream (six flavors, all with chocolate chunks) twice a day since it arrived. I’ve been knitting less and resting my hands more. Sadly, I’ve got some arm aches that lead to thumb pain on Friday and that’s enough to make me slow down.

I took my Orange Peel quilt to the long arm machine yesterday and got it about half-quilted before something happened with the machine. Initially we thought it was a band slipping but as I worked, the noise got worse and it was bad enough to stop using it. With any luck, the repair man is coming on Thursday and maybe I can finish quilting on Friday after class.

I’ve been happy at work at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville. I’m in the store Tuesday and Thursday and I teach on Friday. I love our customers and I love working with creative people. We are participating in the first “Maine Yarn Cruise” this summer and we’ve been getting our planning done. Prizes, patterns, kits, etc. There is a lot of planning to do and 19 or so shops participating from around the state. I love teaching, too. I had 20 students last week – three of whom stayed all day – and I so enjoy helping my students conquer their knitting challenges and learn something new. I also enjoy stretching my own knitting knowledge. Each challenge that students bring to me are a new test of my skills as a knitter and I realize each time that I am really a good knitter, capable of figuring out just about anything that’s brought my way. Confidence building!

I am knitting and making progress.

I cast on for the Joji Locatelli “Starting Point MKAL” and have gotten about half-way through clue number 1. Trying to pace myself. More details will follow but you can also check me out in Ravelry (lindar). I’m nearly finished with a sweater for my sweetie. I’m knitting “Flax” by Tin Can Knits. What a great garment! I’ll have to make more. “Flax” is designed to be worked in worsted weight yarn. I’m using Ella Rae Classic Wool in a really pretty blue color. My husband will look wonderful in the blue! I’ve got most of one sleeve to complete and then the ribbing for two sleeves (after it’s tried on once more).

I have two pairs of socks on the needles – one cuff-down in a speckled yarn and a toe-up pair in Heritage Print by Cascade in Christmas colors. These are the socks that I taught in my adult ed class this past session. One class turned into two … two nights of teaching each week may be one of the reasons I haven’t been posting a whole lot! I also have started another pair of Miriam Felton’s “Footie Socks”. One down, one to go.

I’ve finished husband’s scarf and several “knitted knockers” (www.KnittedKnockers.org). Have also knitted a pair of socks for my new cousin. I’m in the process of making him a flannel quilt like I made for his big sister.

Image (1) knitting-002-199x300.jpg for post 1462My little dog, Lola, has had kennel cough and is now struggling with a goopy eye. Probably spring allergies. Both little dogs are heading to a new groomer on Wednesday and I’m sure that will help – we’re horribly over due for a hair cut! I’m working on finding a new hair dresser, too!

Moving to a new place is a challenge. I’m still working on finding all of the doctors, hair and nail people, groomers, veterinarians, stores to shop in, etc. But we are so glad that we moved to Maine. We are looking forward to more time on the front porch and summer visitors!

Gone knitting!

“Its fantastic!! Absolutely love it!”

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The “Terror Towel Throw” is delivered and I am delighted to report that my friend, the owner, is thrilled with it! Yay! I’m so glad that he loves it.

What a process! (I have already written about it here.)

I worried about it while finishing a bunch of things that had to come first. Picked brains. And worried some more. (I don’t really worry, more like obsessive thinking.) The good news is that I figured it out, and got the top assembled and I really liked the result. Then the choice of batting and backing … and I chose flannel. A plain white flannel in the middle in place of thick bulky batting and a medium gray flannel for the backing. With a flanged border. The border worked out really well and frames the towels perfectly!

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I used a simple stitch in the ditch for quilting because I didn’t want to “mess up” the printing on the towels with stitching over it. I thought that simpler was better. I like it. The border was the last and most difficult decision. I happened to see a tutorial on Facebook (of all places) and thought it would be a perfect frame for the quilt top. I was happy with the tutorial and I really love the way it went together.

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I am thrilled to have gotten the enthusiastic reaction to the throw and I am thrilled to have completed my first quilt “design”. It’s simple and I am so pleased with it. And proud of myself. I know it’s not knitting but it’s part of my creative development and so it’s all good. (And this is MY blog after all!)

I’ve got so many projects, both yarn and fabric, and I’m working at the yarn shop quite a bit for the next month. My boss has left on her annual holiday in Hawaii. I hope she has a wonderful and relaxing vacation.

We’re binge watching Mad Men … just a little bit behind!

Gone knitting.

“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.

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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!)

Busy (Queen) Bee!

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This weekend, I’m home alone. We live in this bee-utiful place and I feel so grateful to be here. The fiance flew off to Atlanta leaving me with the three dogs and “nothing” to do! So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to update you all (all one) of you on what I’ve been knitting. I have been quilting, too … rather, piecing quilt tops!

On the knitting side, I’m working on Christmas gifts and have finished two pairs of socks and a hat. If I showed you pictures, I’d let the cat out of the bag and ruin the surprise for a few of the people that I love most. So, suffice it to say that I am enjoying these projects and am happy to start some Christmas knitting this early! I have a third pair of socks planned and the yarn is purchased.

I have a pair of socks on the needles for me and a shawl, too.

Tyrolean Stockings by Ann Budd

Tyrolean Stockings by Ann Budd

The socks are Ann Budd’s Tyrolean Stockings. I was teaching a class a week or so ago and happened to look through one of the books populating the table and loved the cabled knee-length socks. I have a stash of wool and decided to use some to make these socks. They are so pretty that I may enter them in the knitting competition at some fairs this summer. The pattern can be found in Interweave Knits, Fall 2007 and on Ravelry. They are also in a compilation of sock patterns but I can’t tell you the title or the author. I’m sorry. The socks are knit top down and are a fun knit. I’m using a Patons Classic Wool yarn in the seafoam colorway. I love the color and I can’t wait to finish sock #2 and hope to wear them before the weather here in Maine gets too warm. The picture doesn’t, unfortunately show the great color … why do cameras do such a poor job sometimes of accurately displaying colors?

Crushed by Rachel Henry of Remily Knits is project number two on my needles.     I have had this bee-utiful yarn gifted to me by my sister-in-love in my stash for a while now waiting for it’s perfect project and I think this is it! It’s a lovely lace shawl and I am excited to see the color change from black to yellow and all the colors in between! In case you didn’t figure it out, it’s a gradient yarn. Vice in the Loki colorway, 80/20 merino/nylon. I rewound it so that the shawl starts with black and ends with yellow. No pictures yet but I will update on this project as I get some color change!

Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket

Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket

I knit a Baby Surprise Jacket (Elizabeth Zimmerman) as a sample for the LYS that I’m working for. I used Little Birds yarn by Universal Yarns. I think it turned out super cute! The yarn is soft and I love the way the pattern works up. I have to admit that I was confused by the directions at first and had to google some hints as to how to get the increases right. But the wonders of the internet helped and I got over the hump. It was a super quick knit and would make an adorable baby gift!

One day on Facebook, I think, I saw a “Tablet Stand” that was knitted. I was intrigued and also needed something to help my charts “stand up” so that I can read them more easily.  IMG_6325This is the result of that … It won’t hold my tablet but I does hold my iPhone and the metal piece that support my patterns with charts. Sometimes I still knit the old fashioned way … with a paper pattern. The pattern is called “Reading Rest” by Frankie Brown and it can be found on Ravelry. The stitching up/assembly is quite fiddly but I did finally get it. I would stuff mine more aggressively if I was going to make a second one. I used beans and some fiber fill … rice might also work. It definitely needs to be heavy enough to support technology! I used some stashed Knit Pics yarn (DK or Sport weight, I’m not sure what it was and I don’t have the label.) I think it could also be knit in a worsted weight and made a bit larger than mine. I’d say mine is a moderate success, though!

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Missouri Star Quilt Company “Orange Peel”

I have also started sewing in the last year or so. My friend, Beverly, is a talented quilter and she got me started. I’ve been busy finishing sewing projects in the last couple of weeks. This is the biggest of the three that are now finished. It’s a Missouri Star Quilt Company’s “Orange Peel” quilt. The little orange peels are all little individual pieces of fabric cut to shape and then “stuck” on the dark gray squares and then they are appliquéd (stitched around).

I have also finished two other quilting projects and I am waiting to go learn how to use the longarm machine to quilt them myself. I sure do hope I enjoy it and do a good job because I have a lot of time invested in them!

My Quilting 101 Sampler Quilt is done. I really enjoyed taking this class at the Cotton Cupboard in Bangor, Maine. The staff there is very friendly and knowledgable. They helped me pick out my fabrics so that they match and the classes that I’ve taken have been great! Of course, this one is in my favorite (bee) colors!

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IMG_6354The third quilt top is the flag quilt that I started in a class last spring. (Yes, I know, it has been a full year in my atelier waiting to be finished!) I am happy to have this one done and wish I had taken it more recently because I can see a lot of “issues” in this quilt top but I’m not “dedicated” enough to re-do it. It will serve as my first quilt with round parts sewn together. Not easy to piece! I really like the quilt and can’t wait to to hang it up in our house.

So, there you have it! I’ve been a busy bee and I’m making progress with my projects. I always feel particularly proud when I wrap up and new project and feel content with the work that I’ve done. I am learning that I am a very competent and capable woman and I am learning to be proud of myself. What a good feeling!

Gone knitting!

 

Three Cheers (for the Red, White and Blue)

Yesterday I spent a wonderful day learning something new.

The Class Sample … this is what my quilt will look like

The Class Sample … this is what my quilt will look like

I took a Flag Quilt class at the Cotton Cupboard in Bangor, Maine with a friend and we had a great time. It was my first ever quilt-making class and it was a positive experience for this  once-a-failure sewer!

I’ve made a few other quilts in my life. I made several Amish Tied Quilts back when my children were little. One for each of them and a few others interspersed. They are funny to look at today … my color choices “date” the quilts with the exception of the eldest daughter’s which is red, white and blue. My quilt already shows that I was into the black and yellow “bee colors”. I have all of them here in Maine and one day they’ll go to the kids homes … when they all have room for a quilt.

My Log Cabin Quilt …  finished and on our bed

My Log Cabin Quilt … finished and on our bed

The last two summers I worked on a Log Cabin quilt which I finished and had quilted at Quilt Divas in Rockland. I love it and it’s on our bed.

The quilt that I’m working on for this class is a throw quilt and it’s got several things going on. It’s straight piecing, some appliqué and some curved sewing. I’ve never sewn a curved seam in my life! I felt relatively adept at the cutting and straight sewing although one of my classmates gave me a couple of new tips that I really appreciated. The appliqué I had done once and that was alright. I have a lot more stars to appliqué so I’ll be a professional when they’re all done! The curved sewing will take me awhile … and is my biggest challenge.

Curved seams … I did pretty well. It just takes time

Curved seams … I did pretty well. It just takes time

When I was all done, I was sore and feeling successful … I had only screwed up one star square (and have to cut a few other pieces to be able to finish my quilt) because I hadn’t been warned about making sure the squares were not all facing the same way. Fortunately I have extra fabric!

I will keep plugging along at it and I will show the pictures of the final project …. whenever I get it done (and quilted.) Since it’s a throw, I’ll plan to quilt it myself.

Gone knitting!

I’m the Queen Bee and it’s Been Over a Month Since I’ve Posted.

Welcome to Maine

Welcome to Maine

I can’t believe that I haven’t posted anything in over a month! I’m sure I’ve thought about it many times … apologies to my loyal followers (all three of you!)

I was a sick puppy!

I was a sick puppy! Out of work for five weeks!

I’ve recovered from a nasty bout with pneumonia and bronchitis and finished the school year and moved up to our home in Maine. I’ve also started a new “diet” to try to lose some weight before the big wedding (not mine, my daughter’s). I have been way to “happy” (read this as eating for all celebratory reasons) for the past several years and have gained a good forty pounds since my divorce diet and weight loss. I’m hoping to get back to that post-divorce weight without severing a long relationship. I’ve enlisted a team of coaches and doctors and am starting day 6, having lost about six pounds. Woo! Hoo! The program that I’m using is Your Road To Health. It’s a Medifast program. I was hungry and cranky the first few days but I’m feeling better as the days go on. Today I am feeling hopeful and that’s a really great way to feel.

I’ve been knitting a lot, too. Have several projects on the needles. I’ll go into more detail over the next few days. Suffice it to say, there is no shortage of projects – and the ones that have deadlines are the ones that I don’t really feel like working on.

I’m almost done with the lap blanket for my daughter’s wedding (there will be rocking chairs on the Yacht Club’s porch and she really wanted to have a cozy blanket on them … it could be chilly in September in Massachusetts.) Bulky yarn knits up pretty quickly … even if it’s a boring project.

Wonderful Wallaby sleeves … two at a time.

Wonderful Wallaby sleeves … two at a time.

Closing in on Row 70 … a bazillion rows left!

Closing in on Row 70 … a bazillion rows left!

I’ve kind of given up on the idea of finishing the lace shawl by her wedding. But maybe not.

I started a “selfish knitting” shawl … one of those projects that I can work on at knitting classes because I don’t have to count.

One mitt down, one to go.

One mitt down, one to go.

I have one of my two fingerless mitts done. An Intarsia pattern. I have decided I need to practice intarsia more … not my favorite technique. One left … and I haven’t even started it yet.

Wonderful Wallaby sleeves … two at a time.

Wonderful Wallaby sleeves … two at a time.

Last, I have a Wonderful Wallaby sweater that I am knitting for myself. Another easy pattern that  I can knit and visit with. I have the majority of the body done and am working on the sleeves. Would love to finish this before the end of the summer so it can live here in Maine. It’ll be way too warm for Florida.

My super-duper LL Bean bag is full of yarn and “hopeful” knitting projects. If I can finish even some of my projects already on the needles, I can start those. A sweater for my soon-to-be niece, a sweater for the soon-to-be big sister, an Australian possum pelt kit … OH BOY!

And then there's this project! A king-size Log Cabin quilt!

And then there’s this project! A king-size Log Cabin quilt!

I’d best stop writing and get knitting!

Gone knitting!