06 Jan

Knit Night

It’s been a while since I wrote a Knit Night post. One, I haven’t been posting much of anything. Two, I don’t yet have a knit group I’m attending in Portland. And three, pretty much everything I’ve been knitting was a holiday gift so it had to be kind of secret.

But now the gifts have been given and I can share. And in honor of my wonderful Charlottesville Knit Night, I’ll keep posting knits on Wednesdays.

Last summer I got the idea to knit a scarf for each one of my close girlfriends. They would all be knit in my friend Elisabeth’s wonderful color changing cotton yarn, both because I had been collecting skeins while working with her, and because it’s wonderfully versatile and can be worn year-round.

Technically not a knit since it’s crocheted, but I still teased on social media with a #placesyoucanknit tag. This one went to the beach with us and had a great time.

Natalya Scarf 2

I started with something for Natalya since I had a black to grey skein that didn’t work for the top I made for myself (here’s where it got frogged from the project), but became a very Natalya combination when paired with a purple to grey. Natalya lives in New York and while she doesn’t wear all black, solid neutrals and plenty of black and grey do seem to dominate her wardrobe.

 

Natalya Scarf 1

The pattern is Ribbon Afghan, which seemed boldly architectural and therefore suitable for Natalya. I found it because it had similarities with two blankets I had crocheted, but along the way, I saw that someone else had used Wolle’s yarn and made a thinner version to wear as a shawl. The way the lights and darks of the ombre yarn played with the thick and thin stripes intrigued me and I was “hooked.”

The specifics are in my Ravelry projects here.

 

 

16 Apr

Knit Night

I missed yesterday’s post. I have a knit fail I’m willing to share, but I haven’t gotten around to photographing it. I’ve got some fun knit related accessories though:

Circ holder 1

 

I made this circular needle holder last week. I made a book style needle case about a year ago, but it didn’t have enough pockets for all the sizes and now I have enough needles that it was getting too full. This pass-through style holder looks messy, but is actually more organized since each section only holds one size of needle, so I don’t have to get out my needle gauge each time I want to start a project.

Circ holder 2

 

Also, when I was at the Maryland Homespun Yarn Party a few weeks ago, I got this awesome monster yarn bowl from Claymonster. It’s so fun to look at this silly face every time I work on a yarn project.

Yarn Bowl and Elfe WIP

30 Mar

1000 Quilt Inspirations

Have you seen this book yet?

1000 Quilt Blocks book

It is chock full of quilt blocks and details for one to peruse. It’s by no means definitive (the quilt world is just too too huge for that), but there’s plenty to catch the eye. The book is divided into sections: Traditional, Modern, Pictorial Art Quilt, and Abstract Art Quilt. The traditional section sometimes leans towards the arty, and I doubt any hard core Modern quilter would see themselves in the Modern section. Really, the sections are there to add a little structure, and that’s OK. Given that author Sandra Sider is an art quilter, I’m not at all surprised at the leanings of the book. That’s also OK. It’s a book of inspiration, and it provides plenty.

 

100 quilt blocks inside

I have three pieces in the book — all from the Twelve by Twelve Colorplay series. Fellow Twelves Brenda Gael Smith and Deborah Boschert have work in the book too!

It’s a nice resource when you want to browse for inspiration. The book can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or through the publisher themselves.

09 Feb

Improv Handbook: The Process

Last year I volunteered to be a test quilter for Sherri Lynn Wood’s upcoming book The Improv Handbook (it will debut at QuiltCon and be available through Amazon on March 17th). What appealed to me in Sherri’s proposal was that the book would not have specific how-to patterns, but would inspire makers to create their own designs based on inspirational “scores.” Examples in the book were to be in a range of styles and experience levels. Ultimately, my quilt did not make it into the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed making it — and only wish I had had more time to commit to the process because the more I worked on the score, the more options emerged. I could have easily made three quilts from the ideas that were spurred by the prompts in the Flying Geese score I was assigned.

So, here’s a glimpse of how I made my quilt “Nene” (named for the state bird of Hawai’i which happens to be a type of goose).
The begining
I chose fabrics based on a favorite painting in the room where I was likely to use the quilt.

Kunia Painting

 

 

Sewing a Flying Geese block
Then I made a bunch of flying Geese blocks (without measuring or using rulers).

 

Flying Geese block
What if I stretched out the proportions?

 

Improvisational Flying Geese
What if I “outlined” the geese? I really wish I had made a bunch more of these. As I ran out of time, I wanted to make a whole quilt with just this style block.

 

Flying Geese blocks
I made lots of geese.

 

Improv Flying Geese blocks
I made so many that I had lots of leftovers.

 

"Nene" in progress
I started out thinking I might make an abstracted version of the landscape in the painting.

 

Improv Dutchman's Puzzle block
But I made some Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks and liked where that was going.

 

"Nene" quilt in progress
They looked pretty good alternating with solid color blocks. That might be too tame though.

 

"Nene" quilt
Ultimately my quilt became something between the two ideas. Clusters of more complicated blocks, surrounded by larger swaths of fabric, vaguely reminiscent of a landscape.

 

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“Nene” detail.

I have not seen The Improv Handbook yet, but based on my experience as a test quilter, I am very much looking forward to seeing the final product. I wish Sherri all the best and hope that her book is a smash hit at QuiltCon!

improvhandbook-button205

29 Aug

A Random Mix of Projects

Remember Pretty, or Pretty Ugly? It’s now Blorange.

Blorange quilt top

I like it much better, and I thought the top was done until I laid it out to photograph and realized that it was almost large enough for our queen sized bed. What it really needs though, is one more column of blocks on the side. I’ve used all the wider blue and brown strips, and I’m afraid I don’t have enough thinner brown to add enough width, so I may add a purply strip down one side. Scrappy, right?!

The name Blorange came from blue + orange since I have been calling my smaller foray Grellow (grey + yellow).

Grellow

Grellow may become a gift. I rather like it in it’s oddness.

I spent today making bags for the kids out of the ninja and bacon fabrics I bought while in Oregon.

Ninja and bacon fabrics!

Seriously, how could I pass up coordinating ninja AND bacon fabrics?!

Zip pouches

These little zip pouches are loosely based on the Purl Bee Zip Pouch Tutorial. I interfaced the small one but forgot to do the same on the larger bacon one. It suffers a bit from that. The ditty bag is from a tutorial by Sew4Home. I love the way the ninjas dance along the top! The lined bag is of my own design (because they’re just that simple to make). The boy wants the bag and the girl gets the rest — much to her satisfaction.

Finally, I also made a half dozen little House Icons to add to an upcoming show with the 8 That Create ladies at Etui Gallery in NY. More details on that to come soon. These are so satisfying to make and I enjoy searching through my beads and floss to find just the right combinations.

Tiny house icons

27 Jan

Stepping Away

Paper Houndstooth

 

I’ve been plugging away at this security envelope apron for about two weeks now. It was awesome in my head, but as I’m progressing, it’s got so many mistakes in it and as I try to fix one it seems only to exacerbate another. It’s not as clean and flat as I’d like it either.

My biggest issue is that I know proficiency requires repetition and practice, yet I don’t really have the time for that. I wanted to create this for an exhibit in March and I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. I’d feel differently if this was going well and I was proud of the work, but I’m not. The worst part is that it is taking time away from other work that I know I can do, and do well, and that I need to do.

This morning was the decision point. I worked for a few hours and got more and more frustrated. So, I’m setting this aside and moving on to something else. I may or may not return to the weaving in time to participate in the exhibit. It’s disappointing, but I think realistic.

28 Dec

Christmas Crafting

Both my daughter and I did some crafting this Christmas. An entirely handmade holiday would be too much work, but we always try to sprinkle in soft gifts with the inevitable techy ones.

This cowl, knit earlier in the year, went to my sister:

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And this one to my sister in law (who is moving to Wisconsin and will need more luxurious warm things):

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My brother in law got a manly, but still silky soft, scarf for his Wisconsin wardrobe:

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Hubby and other brother in law got silly mustache cowls:

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My nephew got Legos, but my niece got rainbow leg warmers (which looked so tiny while I was knitting them, but are obviously just right on her)!

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I found a great coffee cup sleeve pattern on Ravelry that is perfect for all those ends of yarn skeins and knit up a bunch to give to my knit night ladies.

Coffee Cup Sleeves

 

 

My daughter wanted to make pillows for her girlfriends. She did a great job pulling from both my scrap bins and my regular stash, working improvisationally, to go from her “whiteboard” sketches to finished gifts (we even put the embroidery module on my sewing machine to work to add initials to the backs):

IMG_8481

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And finally, our tree got a little love. Years ago I made a red tree skirt with Swedish Dala horses which goes great with all our red and folky ornaments, but I’ve been wanting a more frosty looking skirt for the years we hang our icicle and snowflake ornaments. It’s been low priority though. This year I came into possession of four garbage bags of fabric from a woman who passed away. Included was a huge piece of grey wool. Perfect for embroidering a few snowflakes onto and making a tree skirt. When I cut the fabric though, I realized it was full of moth holes. So, I pulled white felt (leftover from Halloween Smurf hats for the taekwondo dojang a few years ago) from my stash, and the dregs of a skein of yarn leftover from the ripple afghan I made a few more years earlier, and voila, every circle covers at least one moth hole if not more. It’s simple stitching, but gets the job done and looks quite nice under the tree I think.

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Now it’s time to get back to the regular artwork. Or more knitting…

15 Dec

Been Knitting

It’s been quiet here on ye olde blog. I’ve been knitting for Christmas. And to be perfectly honest, been knitting for fun just because it takes less brain power. I promise myself that I will get back to taking myself seriously as soon as the holiday festivities are over, but in the mean time, here’s the sea of wool I’ve been swimming in.

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