Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Red Shawls

Fitting the holiday theme, I recently finished two red shawls.  The first one was a UFO that I'd knitted half of and recently picked up and finished.  The pattern is Gaskell by Sarah Jordan.  It's a very warm garter stitch shawl knit from side to side.  It's the perfect shawl for wearing around the house.

I was on looking for a shawl with pockets to knit for my mom when I found the Contralto Shawl, a vintage pattern available free on line.

It has beautiful cables and is also knit from side to side.

Many of the other pocket shawl patterns I'd seen were very plain, but his one has pizzaz.

 I love this barn red color, just what we need during the long dark (and rainy) days of winter.

Happy Holidays to all, and good health and happiness in 2015!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Two More from the Vault

I've got two more fully completed quilts!  The first one, Wheel of Fortune, was a long-term project.

Contemporary machine quilting was done by Debra Dixon, whose work is high quality, quick, and reasonably priced.

This detail shows the blocks that are featured in my blog header, as well as the straight-line quilting.

I found this great flannel for the back.

It's lovely and squishy and it now lives in my home office.  I need a bit of visual excitement when I'm working in there sometimes.

The second finish is of a UFO from LONG ago.  When I first started quilting about 15 years ago I pieced these blocks and hand quilted the entire center of the quilt

When it came time to quilt the borders I ran out of enthusiasm.  When I pulled out this quilt recently I had half made up my mind to throw it out, because I had no intention of finishing the hand quilting.  But, hey, I thought, I have machines that do that.

Sure enough, the machine quilted borders are just fine for this quilt.  I still like the graphic design, and now it's fully quilted and bound. 

Cleaning up my UFOs has left me all kinds of mental and physical storage space for projects for the new year.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

A Finished Quilt


After many pauses and hibernations, my butterfly quilt is bound and on the bed.

Getting my UFOs finished up has been made easier by the machine quilting of my pal Debra Dixon.  She does lovely contemporary machine quilting for a reasonable price, and her turn-around times are very good.  Thanks to her quilting know-how, I've only got one unfinished top hanging in my closet right now, and that will be the next one to go to Debra.

 She can be reached through her blog Debra Dixon Design, and through her Facebook page.

I love the way these colors cheer up my room, especially during the dark winter days.

I think my slow creative process has paid off.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Weaving on the Cricket Loom with Lion Brand Homespun

I've been giving my little Cricket loom a workout, trying out various yarns and yarn pairings.  While I do this, as you can see, I'm binge watching The Good Wife on Hulu.   I used to watch the series before, but I recently caught up on the episodes I'd missed, and now I'm watching it from the beginning.  The characters are great, and there are some very quirky minor characters.

Here are some of the yarns I've been playing with.   When you weave with them, novelty yarns transform into something altogether amazing.

 These two scarves use novelty yarns in combination with some conventional yarns.

This scarf combines a patterned sock yarn warp with a solid black weft that alternates with more self-striping sock yarn.  I love the vertical shots of white in this scarf.

One discovery has been what a joy it is to weave with Lion Brand Homespun.  It's readily available, and inexpensive (especially bought on sale or with a coupon).  One caveat is that once cut, it unravels like crazy, so have your anti-fray product ready.

I wove this scarf with a 5 dent heddle and with Homespun in the both the warp and weft.  I threw in a few passes of sparkle yarn at the beginning and end--it's too scratchy to be around your neck.  The finished scarf is incredibly squishy.  Yes, that's an official weaving term.  It's soft and velvety.  Mmm, I can't wait to make the next one.

Monday, November 24, 2014


I feel so clever this year.  I starting my holiday handmade gifts early, and so now I'm almost finished and plan to relax and make goodies for myself until the end of the year.

I've added a few more dishtowels to my gift pile.  I embellished plain dishtowels with fabric and coordinating trims, and made matching potholders.

This set is especially fun.  The white rick rack adds a little polish.  These are quick gifts to make and they use up odd bits of fabric and trim.  And who couldn't use some nice new dishtowels to brighten up their kitchen? 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Finish Line

I've crossed the finish line with some projects.  First, these fun embroidered dishtowels.  These will be a gift for a former square dancer I know.  I love the vintage design of the patterns. 

There's a whole series of these dancers, but I decided two was plenty, though I personally would like a set a days-of-the-week dishtowels for myself.  They may be on the horizon, and I've gathered a lot of potential designs on Pintrest.

I finished yet another  Easy Ripple Afghan--this one's my fourth.  This one has a more controlled color palette, just 3 colors, and I used up a stash of Lion Wool-Ease, which is a nice acrylic and wool blend.  This will also go into my gift pile, as the holidays are coming.

For myself, I knitted up this super-bulky weight cardigan, Taiga.  I used worsted weight yarn held double and got a usable gauge, and I also used stash yarn.  This is a substantial jacket-weight garment, and it knit up pretty quickly with the heavy yarn.  I also got to use some of my stash of metal buttons.  It was fun to do the color work design in the middle of the sweater.  Again, in a bulky yarn, it pretty much flew off the needles.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dish Towels

I've been embroidering dishcloths.  I look at them not only as something to dry the dishes with, but as kitchen art.  So I'm working on a pair with square dancers.  Pintrest is a great source of vintage embroidery motifs.

I trace the designs on water soluble stabilizer--make sure to draw on the smooth side.  If you draw on the bumpy side it takes forever to dry.  Machine baste the stabilizer to your fabric and stitch away.  When you're done, throw the towel in the wash and it comes out completely.

Here's a finished pair.  These I embroidered with big chunky stitches, while the square dancers are done with 2 strands of floss and small stitches because the design is more detailed.

Another idea from Pintrest: I cut up a vintage tablecloth into quarters.  Three were trimmed with rick rack and seam binding from my vintage stash.  The fourth has a big hole it in, so it goes back into the drawer until another idea strikes.

They're the perfect size.  On number 3 I realized a loop on one corner could be handy. 

A Few Pictures of My Trip to Spain

Michael and I were very blessed to visit southern Spain recently for two weeks.  Here are a few pictures.  As you can see, there was a lot of creative inspiration.

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...