Monday, June 30, 2014

MMSC - Week 26

I seem to be, at best, a one-day-a-week EPPer. Usually on Sundays, when I realize I have to blog about EPP the next day and I haven't picked up a needle all week. This means my progress is often small and my posts are a little boring and repetitive. Sorry about that.

This week is no better … just 10 basted hexies for my Batik Hexie Quilt.

Lately, I've noticed that I've started to become a one-craft-a-week person. Some weeks I get into cross stitch, other weeks I get wrapped up in knitting. I don't seem to be very good at giving all my crafts equal time. Maybe I have too many hobbies? I feel like nothing really gets done this way. Hrmm.

Anyway, linking up with Jessica's Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

More yarn = More starts

I started two new knitting projects - a double seed stitch blanket and a lacy shawl. I've never worked with lace weight yarn before and it is proving to be more challenging than I like at the moment. I've put that one on hold for now. The blanket is a joy to knit. I just wish I knew how I screwed up so badly only 2 rows in. I'm trying to get my nerve up to undo and restart the silly thing.

The obvious solution, of course, is to buy more yarn and start yet another project! I, as usual, can't just buy stash for one project, I have to buy for multiple projects. I'm only starting one project though.

I picked up some Cascade 220 Superwash Paints for a scarf for my dad. Several years ago he asked me for a red and black scarf. I crocheted him one last year, but he doesn't like it much. He says it curls up on him and turns into a rope around his neck. So I'm trying again with a Tweed Stitch Scarf.

I'm loving the tweed stitch! It's quick and easy and I can recognize the stitch pattern as I knit. I'm still learning how to recognize stitches (and mistakes) in my work.

However, I am a little pissed about the seed stitch border. I'm following the pattern, but it looks like a line of stockinette stitch. See:

The pattern reads as follows (it's a free pattern and I linked to the original above):

Row 1:  Slip 1, P1, K1 (these 3 stitches are the seed stitch border), K1, *yf, sl1, yb, k1*; repeat between *’s to last 3 stitches (Row 1 of Tweed Stitch), K1, P1, K1 (seed stitch border).
Row 2:  Slip 1, K1, P1, (seed stitch border) Purl to last 3 stitches (Row 2 of Tweed Stitch), P1, K1, P1 (seed stitch border).
Row 3.  Slip 1, P1, K1(seed stitch border), *yf, sl1, yb, k1*, repeat between *’s to last 3 stitches (Row 3 of Tweed Stitch), K1, P1, K1 (seed stitch border).
Row 4:  Slip 1, K1, P1, (seed stitch border) Purl to last 3 stitches (Row 4 of Tweed Stitch), P1, K1, P1 (seed stitch border).
I am not happy with the border at all. I tried knitting a swatch where I invert the Row 1 & Row 2 and Row 3 & Row 4 border order. It still doesn't work. Anyone have any idea why this isn't working for me?

I can't decide if I should continue knitting with the messed up border or if should I undo everything and restart it either with a fix for the seed stitch border or with a different border. Opinions?

I also picked up yarn for a tweed stitch scarf for me - Manos del Uruguay silk blend. So gorgeous!

I definitely need to figure out the border so I can get my hands busy with this stuff!

Monday, June 23, 2014

MMSC - Week 25

So, after last week's very successful basting binge, I wasn't sure what I'd get into this week. What I should have done was start stitching together my diamonds for the 6-point star. However, what I did was cut fabric for a new project. (I know, I'm ridiculous.)

These are a selection of prints from a collection called Indigo Patchwork by I'm working on an arrowtail quilt with 4" 45 degree diamonds. I managed to iron and cut the fabric for 315 diamonds, which is half the quilt.

Maybe next week I'll actually stitch something together. :)

Linking up with Jessica's Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I love Alpaca?

I finished another dishcloth yesterday. This one was seed stitch with a garter border.

I struggled with this one. I wasn't used to switching between knits and purls, so my knitting speed slowed down considerably and I felt awkward and clumsy. It made me not want to knit. Finally I forced myself to do more than a row at a time, and I began to get into a rhythm. Next thing I knew, it was done! Yay!

I will say that I love the texture of seed stitch. It looks lovely. Almost too nice to use as a dishcloth!

Now to the alpaca situation. I didn't know this about myself, but apparently I love alpacas, or at least the yarn that comes from them. I decided to start two new projects for the summer (both are pretty big projects). The first is a double seed stitch blanket for a friend of mine using Misti Alpaca Chunky in natural. It is the softest thing I have ever touched -- 100% baby alpaca. It is heavenly! I also decided to start a lace shawl using Shimmer lace yarn by Knitpicks in Elderberry. It's 70% alpaca and 30% silk and beyond lovely!

Now … to knit!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Three sides

I've made it through three sides of the filigree on Ciara Blue (Blackwork Journey).  It is slow progress, but working on another border simultaneously makes it much more bearable.

Looking good eh? She's a beauty, that's for sure!

Monday, June 16, 2014

MMSC - Week 24

I went on a bit of a basting binge this past weekend. I don't know what got into me, but I was in the mood! I finished basting the last 35 diamonds for my second 6-point star.

Now I can start stitching again! Woot! I'm playing around with the layout for this star as I want it to be slightly different from the first star. We'll see what happens this week.

I think part of my motivation was that I really want to start cutting fabric for another project and I couldn't justify having 3 projects in the basting stage. Now to see how long I resist before the rotary cutter comes out …

Linking up with Jessica's Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Learning to Knit - Progress!

I was stupid in March. I let myself try something new … I tried knitting. And of course I fell in love with it. Totally stupid, 100%, head-over-heels in love with it. I'd been avoiding knitting for years because I knew this would happen …

Anyway, I took the advice of a dear friend and started small and simple with a dishcloth (here). Then I tackled a bigger version of the same pattern to make a doggie blanket for my boy Toka. I was hoping to have it done in time for it to go with him the first time he was boarded at a kennel, but no such luck. I was 3 weeks late. But … it's now finished!

Now, I have a major gigantic project planned, but it's a wedding present and I want it to be perfect. So, I needed to learn/practice the purl stitch. It made sense that the practice piece was a stockinette dishcloth.

Look at that!! I did it. Woot! :) Stockinette stitch!

Thankfully, I got the hang of it quickly. My knitting in general is a little slower, but at least I can do it without major mishaps. I got so into the swing of it that I actually finished it in just a few days! Holy crap! This one used Sugar'n'Cream worsted weight cotton in Moondance.

I'm quite proud of this one. It's pretty, has no mistakes, and was done in a flash. Now I feel like a knitter!!

I think I still have a little more to learn before I tackle my big project though.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Turtle Trot - June

It's Turtle Trot time! Turtle Trot is a slow SAL where participants chose 10 WIPs at the beginning of the year and each month we report on the progress made that month.

As usual, my progress is not huge. Stitching has not been at the forefront of my crafty time this year.

I did make a little progress on Welcome Sampler by Kincavel Krosses.

I realized I don't have enough of the silk I was using (Pizzazz by Carrie's Creations), so I thought I could add in some black and maybe remove a few elements from the design. However, I stopped pretty quickly as it is not working out like I had hoped. Not sure what to do with this piece right now.

I also spent a little more time with Ciara Blue from Blackwork Journey.

Slow progress, but very pretty!!

I keep hoping I'll find more time to stitch, but really it isn't about finding time. I can always find time to craft. My problem this year has been motivating myself to stitch.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

MMSC - Week 22

Remember a few weeks ago, I laid out my hexies for my Batik Hexie Quilt (Grandmother's Flower Garden) and I hated it?

Yea ... I still hate it. It just is not working for me. I thought about it for weeks and every time I looked at the photo the hate rose up. I needed to do something about it, otherwise I had a few hundred hexies and several hundred 3" squares of fabric that would be shoved in the back of a closet.

The Mini Lotus quilt by Jaybird Quilts was recently added to my pinterest page, and I love it. I love the pattern, the colours … I knew this would be something I would try in the future. I started thinking about it more and more. Then it came to me. I can do a variation on it with some of the hexies from my Batik Hexie Quilt.

I knew that I still loved the blue fabric I was using as the background in that quilt. I also loved the purple vines fabric. It took a while to decide on the filler fabric colour, but I went simple and it is working for me.

What do you think?  Lots of blue flowers (88 in total) with a handful of purple flowers (13) with crisp, clean white filler pieces. The litte triangles are actually a white-on-white fabric (cute little stars) and the diamonds are just white kona cotton. This week I managed to baste 6 triangles, 5 diamonds, 5 blue hexies, and 5 purple hexies. Big progress for me! I also cut fabric for 26 more triangles and 85 diamonds. All the hexie fabric is already cut. (Hence my need to find a way to salvage this project. The other hexies have been stashed away for future projects.)

The quilt top will now be smaller than I originally planned, but if I add a 6" border I can make a decent sized throw. I've calculated how many I need of each shape (541 blue hexies, 166 purple hexies, 606 triangles, and 606 diamonds) and I have a lot of basting to do, but I am much happier with how everything goes together.

I've discovered I'm not really drawn to scrappy or multi-fabric quilts (at least not of my own making -- I have, however, seen some amazingly beautiful scrappy quilts out there). I'm not even overly drawn to patterned fabric. I'm a solids kind of girl. I think I need to rethink a lot of my future projects …

Linking up, as usual, with Jessica's Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts.

PS All of my shapes are 1.25" in size. The hexies are an almost perfect size, not too big and not too small. However, those diamonds and triangles are tiny!! The triangles in particular are a challenge to baste since a few Clover clips take up all the space and I can barely find a place to hold it as I'm basting. Challenging, but super cute!