Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Baby Quilts

Debra asked for baby quilt tops to donate to a program that allows incarcerated women to keep their infants with them.  I was very interested in supporting these women and their children, and the idea of making a few baby quilts appealed to me.

I spent a very pleasant Sunday afternoon whipping out these tops.  The pink and green one was from a set of blocks I had made with an eye toward a larger quilt.  What a relief to make one more pink block, put on a border and be done!

This quilt's center is a pre-printed panel left over from another  project.  I added two borders, the outside one being from The Fabric That Would Never Die.  Debra sent me a bunch of this blue tropical fabric years ago for some charity quilt project, and she sewed up a bunch of it too, and yes, there's still some in my stash.

The blue and yellow fabric in this quilt is flannel, and the novelty fabric is regular cotton.

Here I used another novelty panel, added a border, and voila.

This has been so satisfying, I think I'll make more until Debra tells me to stop.  I may also stash a few of these for gifts.  If I want to finish a big quilt, I'll trick myself by breaking it into baby quilt-sized units.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Sometimes I find patterns that I just want to knit over and over.  Right after I finished my last Ridge and Furrow Shawl, I cast on another one.  It's a perfectly mindless project.  Just grab two balls of yarn that go together, and keep knitting in the pattern until you run out of yarn.  This one is made of one ball of Berrocco Lustra, a blend of wool and tencel in solid brown, and one ball of Crystal Palace Yarns Taos, a variegated wool yarn.  Both were sale yarns I picked up with no project in mind.

I've already knit two more pairs of Basic Fingerless Mittens, this time with two colorways of Fibranatura Oak, a blend of superwash wool, silk and linen, that I got for cheap at Tuesday Morning.  This yarn is a light worsted, but I doubled the yarn by knitting from both ends of the ball simultaneously, and used a size 9 needle.  These gloves are a women's medium, while the ones I made from the superbulky yarn were a women's large.  Throw in an extra two rows after the cuff and they'll fit better. 

I like to stockpile projects like these for gifts.  Oh yes, that gift giving season will be upon us soon.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Vintage Embroidery Patterns

I've long been a fan of the Flickr site Hoop Love, a treasure trove of vintage embroidery motifs.  Some of the designs can also be found on Pinterest.

I found a couple of designs I liked, enlarged them to 8 x 10, and traced one onto water soluble stabilizer. 

 I've done this before, but this time I used a gel pen, which took forever to dry and which transferred ink to the needle when I stitched.  Next time I'll use a Sharpie or Pigma pen and hope for better results.  I prefer to use this method over a transfer pencil, because I feel like I get a clearer image of the design.

You can see here where I machine stitched the stabilizer to the top of a cotton dish towel.  This work goes fast: big stitches with 6 strands of floss makes for a bold design. 

Next I'll rinse the stabilizer out, wash and iron the towel.   It will add some cheer to my kitchen.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Mitts and Apple Time

I've been very busy at work these days, so I don't have much creative work to show for myself.  I did, however, knit this pair of mitts in a chunky wool, an old ball of Noro Bonbori. I always love the color changes in Noro yarn. The free pattern Basic Fingerless Mitts,  is knit flat and seamed, and it's a quick project to make.  These went to a colleague who gave me some wool to unravel. 

I have an apple tree in my backyard, and it's Apple Time, so I had to do something with this year's harvest.

 I cooked up a couple of vats of applesauce...

...and got over a dozen pints.

I also made over a dozen small jars of apple chutney.  We eat a lot of chutney at my house.  This was a half day's work, but it was a team effort.  Michael was in charge of peeling the apples, and I have one of those little hand crank peelers that's fun to use. 

I still have apples, but I've done my canning for the year.  With the leftovers, they'll be some apple crisps, and maybe a few baked apples.

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...