Friday, February 14, 2020

Sweater Genesis

A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find a sweater made from more expensive fibers.  Last year I bought the holy grail of sweaters to harvest: a worsted-weight cashmere sweater in a nice navy blue.

It came apart easily, and then I unraveled each piece onto my yarn swift.  I washed the yarn to de-kink it,  and caked it into balls.

The result is a new cashmere pullover for me.  The pattern is Caitlin Hunter's  Koivua, though my version is edited down from the original pattern: I only did color work in the yoke, and knitted the rest of the sweater plain.  It was the feather pattern that originally drew me to this pattern and I like the drama of setting it off by itself.

The light blue yarn was also harvested from a wool sweater and dyed with kool-aid some time ago. 

I love wearing this luxury sweater from recycled yarn.  I feel thrifty, ecological and cozy all at once.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

A Strip Quilt

Strip quilts are one of my favorite kinds of scrap quilts.  I've got a stack of books on this topic to inspire me, and I recently decided to take on this pattern. 

The center square allows me to use up fun fabrics, some left over from "Wild Child," the king sized quilt I recently finished.  The side strips are between 3/4 and 2 inches wide.  I've got some zip bags full of small bits for the corners.  It's very satisfying to burn through some scraps. 

I've had so much fun making these blocks that I've decided to make enough for a double bed quilt.  Or better said: I'll see how I feel when I've made enough for that size.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Turning the Page

After completing Wild Child, with all it's HSTs and blocks, I was in the mood for a simple quilt I could cuddle up with.  I had picked up these charming pre-printed blocks at my local reuse place, which has a nice selection of craft supplies.  I've never seen any pre-printed designs like these, and I liked the rabbits and cottages. 

I combined them with my favorite 4-patch blocks, some from charm squares from Debra, and some from stash fabric.  It went together fast and easy.

I treated myself to new fabric for a big floral border, and I've picked out a coordinating piece of fleece for backing and batting.  As soon as I get this pinned, I'm going to do some fast straight line quilting.  This is a nice switch from my previous 2-year long project.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Street Fabric

I've been doing a lot of walking lately.  I've enrolled in a program to get in shape, so in addition to going to the gym, I spend a lot of time taking walks around the neighborhood.

We've also added Sarah the Rescue Dog to our household, and she requires these walks too, so between Sarah and the get-in-shape plan, I'm spending lots of time cruising the neighborhood.

In my town it's pretty common for people to leave things they want to get rid of on the curb.  Lots of times it's just junk, but recently Sarah and I stumbled on a stash of Street Fabric.

Yes, it was spread out over the ground in a snarl, and yes, it had been rained on, but I recognized that it was the good stuff right away.

In this trove were fat quarters, half yards and even one yard lengths, in addition to some sewing remnants of quilt shop-quality fabrics.

 I scooped up as much as I could and carried the wet ball back to my house.  Yes, of course, I ran into a neighbor on the way, who was polite enough not to ask what that wet ball was that I was carrying in one hand, while holding the leash in the other.  The next day I went back and rescued the fabrics I missed the first time, and assured myself that I hadn't missed any.  After washing and ironing the goods, you can see what I took away.  Who knew I'd get more than fresh air and exercise for my troubles? It's like Santa missed the chimney, but got close to the house.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

A Big Finish

Happy 2020, may the new year bring us health and creativity.  I'm celebrating the new year with a big finish: a king sized quilt I made for my daughter Allie and her husband Brandon that I worked on over the last 2 years.

The pattern is Bonnie Hunter's "Wild Child" from her book String Fling.  I made my quilt in a similar colorway as the one in the book because I happened to have a whole bunch of solid turquoise fabric.  In fact, I still have a bunch.  Lord knows where I got it.

 It was a lot of fun assembling the fabrics for this quilt.  Lots came from stash, but I also bought some novelties to reflect the interests of the recipients.

Under the pillow turn are portraits of Allie and Brandon's three cats.

Here is some math for this project:  112 x 96 inches, 168 blocks, 1680 half-square triangles.  Lots of matching seams (I did get better at it as I went along).  I was feeling brave and straight-line quilted it myself. 

The quilt has gone to live in its permanent home, where the cats are already sleeping on it, and the people are sleeping under it.  

 On to the next project...

PS.  For some reason, I don't get email notice of comments.  I'm trying to fix it.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Zippered Bags from Upholstery Samples

I felt moved to make some zippered bags from my upholstery sample stash.  The smaller ones, from 10 x12ish-inch pieces, I figure, will make nice gifts.  But my real objective was to conquer zipper installation and to make myself a couple of knitting project bags.  People in my knitting group have some nice zippered bags, which I know they've purchased.  When I see these bags, I secretly covet them, and then tell myself those infamous words: I can make that.

I overcame a mental hurdle when I realized that the fronts and backs of these bags do not have to be identical.  I wanted to use as much of these 10 x 12" pieces a possible, as well as to get a decent-sized bag, so I used different, but related, fabrics for each side of both the inside and the outside of the bag.  Because upholstery samples often include collections of related prints, this was easy to do.  The fabrics in these bags are not twins, but siblings, or cousins.

Another insight that came to me during this process relates to that awful paper that's stuck to the back of upholstery samples.  Sometimes you get lucky, and it will peel off easily, even in one big piece.  I realized I could live with getting most of it off, especially in the seam area.  I eventually accepted that I could live with paper residue even in the seam areas.  It's a little free stiffening.

I pieced together some heavy samples into this bag for a knitted shawl project.  It's about 10 x 14 inches and it stands up perfectly while I'm knitting, a real bonus.

 I pieced three fabrics for this oversized bag (about 20 x 16 inches) which I'm using to store a sweater project.

 Here's a peek at the pieced lining.

Some of my favorite tutorials for these bags are:

Pull-Ease!  How to Shorten any Zipper from your Stash by Blueprint
Sew Mama Sew's No-Stress Tabbed Zipper Pouch Tutorial
Jedi Craft Girl's My Favorite Zipper Pouch [tutorial] 

Happy Crafting!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Dog Star Quilt

 This quilt began with a pile of 3" dog blocks that Debra sent me so I could piece a top that she would finish and donate.

I happened to have a stack of 3" squares already cut, which was good since I also have had some wrist pain recently that I know comes from rotary cutting and knitting (all the fun activities). 

Each individual block is a 4 x 4  16-patch and 10" square finished.  I thought it would make the dogs pop more to make them the center of stars in the quilt.  I was one dog short, so one block has a red star with no dog.  The corner dogs are not "stars" as I made those before I hit on the idea of the stars. You might notice some cat fabrics sprinkled in among the light fabrics.  

As it turns out, while I've been making this quilt top, Debra found the perfect dog fabric for the border, so this one will go back to her for completion, and then it will be donated.  This part of the quilt is about 50 x 60"so the finished quilt will be about twin sized.

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...