Friday, January 29, 2016

Put Your Name on It!

I have two knitting bags I use, depending on the size of the project, and one knitting notions kit packed with tools. I would be crushed if I lost any of them.

I recently read on Mason-Dixon Knitting that Kay left her knitting behind more than once in a week's time. The day after I read that, one of my knitting friends relayed a similar story about rushing back to the doctor's waiting room to retrieve forgotten knitting. I had a brain wave... why not put our name and phone number in our bags?

I realize I could've just hand lettered a label and called it done. But it was a great opportunity to get out the manual for my machine and practice creating and saving stitches to the memory.

Label your knitting bag!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Growing up I never liked argyle sweaters. I associated them with poindexters and dwebs. Don't ask me why, who knows where these mental connections come from.

Enter a tradition that got started at my husband's work called "Argyle Thursday". The staff started informally wearing argyle sweaters each Thursday and a fashion trend was born. As a result, my view of argyle started to change.

I found the Christopher Hayes sweater Frank's wearing (on the left) at Goodwill, 100% Shetland wool and really warm. Too warm for most argyle Thursdays in our town. So I kept looking, maybe I'd find a cotton argyle vest like Justin wears (on the right).

What I found instead was another Christopher Hayes sweater, 100% Shetland wool in my size and my favorite colors.

What's a woman to do but join the Argyle Thursday fashion trend!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Evergreen Jolly Wee Elf

They say two's company, three's a crowd. But I've changed it to, two's a couple, three's a family.

I think Dad's on the right, they're listening to him tell a story.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

What to do With Blocks That Don't Fit

I've been sewing the LeMoyne Star quilt together, slowly, ever so slowly. I discovered that the blocks made 15 years ago don't really want to play well with the blocks made using the Rapid Fire method. I've replaced many blocks and set them aside.

Then I found whenever I want a quick gift, it's easy to use them to make a pin cushion.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Fast Patch Flying Geese

I've had this book since 1991. I decided to finally try one of the quick piece methods on a small scale to see if I might want to use it for a Community quilt.

I chose colors from my 21/2" strip bin. That made cutting out go fast!

I pieced the dark (geese) fabrics alternately with background fabric.

Then I cross cut and sewed the strips back together, off-set by one and a half units. Spunky was sitting in the window checking my work.

Then I trimmed off the end squares.

I carefully drew a line through what the book calls 'the two centers' of the background fabric and cut it apart with scissors. At this point I'm really wondering where this method is going!

Next I sewed the pieced units created in the last step into what's called an 'S panel'. I never did learn why it's called an 'S panel'.

Then I cut this apart to create strips of Flying Geese .

I have to say there are three things about this method that leave me less than enamored with it; in each row the Geese are all the same color, the Geese are in strips, so I can't rearrange them into alternating columns of Geese flying up and down and most of all, this method puts the entire strip on the bias. (!)

Usually speed piecing methods are created to sew the bias side(s) of a piece first to stabilize them and then cut the units apart. All I can figure is that the age of the book shows how much speed piecing methods have changed. I don't need to finish this and I won't be using this method for a larger quilt, but it was a good mental exercise!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Christmas Charm Revisited

Blogging is a great memory aid.

After Christmas I got my Christmas Charm quilt out again and began adding more rows. I'd been collecting charm squares for a number of years and thought I could finally finish it. I wondered how long ago I had started this project. The post from 2009 said 15 years earlier.

I include these close-ups to show the 'charming' prints, so many are lovely small-figured calicos (click to enlarge). Does anyone else feel that quilt fabric has lost something in its move to so many textured tone-on-tone?

Next up, borders, batting, backing and bind. Maybe we'll be able to enjoy this quilt Christmas 2016!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Bonus HSTs

I usually create a leaders and enders project to have available while working on a main project. But I decided to start sewing the bonus HSTs from the Stars of Valor quilt.

No plans for these yet, but they're a lot more likely to get used if they're ready to go!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Revamping My Autumn Pullover

Back when I finished my autumn pullover, I struggled with the neckline bind off. I redid it four times, increasing the needle size each time, until I was working with size 8, the sweater is knit on size 5. At the time I didn't know about stretchy bind offs. And the sleeves were much too long, you can see it in this picture from 2014.

I wore it last winter, but was never happy with how difficult it was to get on and off. And as time went on, the upper part of the sweater started to stretch out.

Since I had successfully reworked the neck edge bind off on the Irish Aran, I realized I could do the same for my own sweater. HOORAY for stretchy bind offs! I worked it using size 3 and it's much better. I also reinforced the back of the neckline with grosgrain ribbon.

As long as I was reworking the neckline, I decided to shorten the sleeves too. I picked out each sleeve seam, undid the cast on edge and unraveled an inch and a half. Then I picked up the live stitches and reworked the cuff. Much better! To me this is one of the joys of handmade clothing, I can make it to fit.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Olde Town Petaluma

A perfect site for a retro-look photo shoot.

My DS2 and his wife.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Break in the Weather

After two weeks of rain, it was really nice to see the sun.

"Hey there Mr. Blue, we're so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do
Everybody smiles at you." ~ ELO

It really lifted my spirits.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Jolly Wee Elf Too

I decided the red wee elf needed a friend.

Now that I've made two and know how to adjust the stitch and row count to fit the yarn, I think I might make even more. Such a fun little knit.

Monday, January 04, 2016

The Cost of Making a Quilt

This has been going around the Internet, among my quilting friends. I thought I'd also share it here.

The number of hours listed to hand sew the binding seems a little high, but other than that, I think it's pretty accurate. Attributed to Alex Anderson.