Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday books

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A NovelIt's a great day to read or knit or quilt with 4 or 5 inches of fresh snow. The plan is to do a little of each today.
 I recently finished Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.  The story is about  the Chinese and Japanese Americans living on the West Coast and goes back and forth between present day and the 1940's. Many of the events really happened, places in the book are real and some still exist today. Delightful story, I don't want to spoil any of the surprises for you.
I'm a fan of Debbie Macomber and check out  her books on kindle from the library, last one was 204 Rosewood Lane, so many of her of her kindle books have a long waiting list and in my search for an available book I came across her non fiction books. Knit Together, I couldn't resist the title of that one, which lead me to God's Guest List and Patterns of Grace, these are inspirational, they tell about her struggles with her faith and struggles as a writer and handling success. God's Guest List is about people who influence our lives. She really makes me stop and think about who changed the course of my life and how I influence others.
In that spirit thank you to Rea for getting me started quilting 20 some years ago, thank you Emilia for reteaching me to knit with the yarn on my left finger, and my Dad for throwing the book Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier at me one Christmas vacation during college and learning to read for the fun of it.
This was a great idea Judy at PatchworkTimes to see what others read and now to start another "to do" list of books.  Blessings and Gratitude --Ann--

Friday, January 25, 2013

on and off the needles

 Opal socks are finished #2 for 2013!!!!!! Delivering them to college girl this weekend.
 Morning coffee socks, I only work on these with my morning coffee, they are a sport weight yarn 50/50 of merino wool and bamboo. Deliciously soft. The pattern is in Wendy D. Johnson's book Socks from the Toe Up.
I'm brave, I'm trying a sweater, a neck down raglan sleeve. so far so good just knit a row with yarn overs at the sleeve then purl back. We'll see if it is still so smooth when I get to the under arm. The yarn is a DK weight tweed.
 I have a soft spot for tweeds. My gramma made a  skirt for me from a pair of my grampa's wool tweed trousers. He died when I was 5. The skirt was pleated with a waistband and suspenders and a trim that they bought in Sweden in the 1950's. I wore the skirt until the suspenders were too short then my mother took them off and probably moved the hook and let down the hem. She let the hem down a couple times because I remember it being very narrow with seam tape and being very upset that it couldn't be made longer even though that would have been the beginning of the mini skirt era. It was my absolute most favorite skirt. Tactile things bring back memories. --Ann-- Lots of knitting at Judy's on the needles.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sewing room arranged Let's Play

 I managed to find a happy place for everyone in my sewing room. Sweet 16 is where Elna used to sit, I took the leaf out of the table to make a new spot for her. Now the Bernina drawers do double duty for both machines. It is easier to move chairs around than machines because my first thought was to put Elna in the Bernina table when I wanted to use her. I think this arrangement will work very nicely.
The new challenge in the sewing room is to keep this table for writing and sketching instead of a catch all. In the process of making room and tidying up I found all kinds dumb thing I unwittingly collect.......shopping bags especially if they have an interesting logo....I might use it for a project bag......small plastic containers, small glass jars and little cardboard boxes which are all very handy for little things in the sewing room, and postage stamps!?! why? because they are pretty and my mother did.
New Rules for the sewing room
1. I can't put anything new in the closets unless I get rid of something of equal size or greater. The key word there is new. Old stuff can go in and out.
2. Stop collecting bags, jars, boxes and small plastic containers unless it is really really unique or I know exactly what to put in it.
3. Buy fabric only for specific current projects or I absolutely can't live without it. I've never stopped breathing or had heart palpitations after leaving a fabric store with a small bag rather than a large bag.

I have been practicing with my Sweet 16. She sews so smooth and nice and all the space!!!!!! I have just been trying a variety of things on this quilt; echo quilting, grids, loops, arcs, and outlining and unfortunately the pastel thread does not show up on a pastel quilt. Let me sew, let me sew, let me sew and if it snows that's ok too.--Ann--

Monday, January 21, 2013

Design Wall Monday

The borders on the the quilt ready to be layered. I tried so hard not to have the same two fabrics side by side but in sewing the blocks together I turned a couple around and there are 2 pairs side by side. One is obvious the second pair I noticed when I was taking the picture but is not so easy to spot in the photo because it is a different section of the same stripe. click how to 30 degree angle What's on your design wall? Have a look see at  Judy's  PatchworkTimes. --Ann--

Friday, January 18, 2013

on the needles

I just love the way this opal yarn is striping. Will I have them done by next weekend when we go to Mankato to visit college girl and take in some hockey? I have turned the heel and am working on the leg. I think she will love them.

 I finished the scarf with the pattern in sequence. I learned 1. place chart on the arm of the chair, 2. hold up knitting and look for last trio of yarn overs, 3. compare to chart, 4. begin knitting. 5. don't try to remember where I left off that's where mistakes start. As I was picking hairs and lint off the hood of this jacket because we all know how obvious lint becomes after the picture is taken............anyway there was a hard spot that was stuck together in the hood......here's a gummy bear firmly nestled in my hood. The wee beastie has probably been there since the last time we went to a high school basketball game last winter and someone with a mouthful of gummy bears  sneezed behind me. Have a look at what in on the needles at Judy's. Hoping you are cozy warm in hand knits and staying healthy.--Ann--

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New girl in the sewing room

Here's the new girl in the sewing room, Sweet 16. Thank you hubby dearest.  Now to get things organized and workable. Clear the table and the top of the book shelf, find room in the closets and throw away some stuff.  My Elna, who has been my faithful and reliable companion since 1977, used to sit where I put the new girl. The Elna will fit in the Bernina table but I'm having a real hard time setting her aside and making them take turns piecing quilts. It just feels wrong to retire her. I want her available any time I want. I don't want to switch them back and forth in the Bernina table.  I need a make it fit button. Back to the sewing room.  --Ann--

Friday, January 11, 2013

on the needles

 First socks for 2013 finished!!!!  I love the way this striping yarn knitted up. My slip stitched heels are not symmetrical, one has 2 more rows of slip stitches so the other had 4 extra stitches before joining to the front of the sock. They are not for 4-H or Mr Monk. The back of my heels are a long way from anyone's eyeballs. In the future for slip stitched heels I will count in 15 or so stitches on each side and place a marker then count how many stitches are between the markers and adjust, there should be as many stitches in the center as on the insole side of the sock. This will be so much easier for the numerically challenged than counting and knitting 47 some stitches in then 30 some stitches back. I get really bored counting much over 20.
I hardly let the needles cool off before I started these socks with opal yarn I just can't wait to see how these stripe. I really love the little short color changes.
Also began work on a scarf to go with my cap for my red coat. I have started the scarf at least 4 times because I am not working from a pattern. It is the same stitch pattern as the cap, I tried 5 repeats too wide then 3 repeats and now 2 repeats of the stitch pattern. I have seed stitch in the borders and I will knit until I am out of yarn. I see I goofed on my vertical repeat as I am numerically challenged in both directions maybe this is why I was never much good with music?!? but I am going to continue rather than un- ravel. Its a scarf for me not for 4-H or Mr Monk. Knitting will never be mindless for me which may be a healthy thing. --Ann--linking to Judy's on the needles

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

30 degree tool

 I love this tool it makes the tippee canoe block so easy. Darlene Zimmerman, inventor of the tool calls it Hummingbird. How do you get that kite shape between two triangles without fussy piecing?!? Three 30 degree triangles equals 90. such simple math.

Cut 6 inch strips for the kite shape and 5 inch strips for the background you need 2 background for each quarter block. Flip her ruler back and forth to cut the triangles.

Match the narrow ends and sew 1/4 inch seams.

Open it up and finger press

Sew the second background piece to the center triangle match the point.
Open it up and press the seams to the left.

Trim the block to a square. I trimmed them to 4 1/2inches which extends over the point of the square. The instructions oversized all the blocks and trim to 4 inches, I did not like throwing all the excess away so I cut them as large as possible. There is still enough for the quarter inch seam.

Pair up and ooohh and aahh your fabric choices.
Flip right over left, match up seams and sew.

First seam, do not cut between the two parts, flip over and sew the second seam. The seams will butt up and match.

Sew easy. All the outside edges are on the bias so handle as little as possible.
Because I cut my blocks larger than the instructions I also need to cut the sashing longer to 8 1/2 inches. Cut a 8 1/2 inch strip of fabric then cut 1 1/2 inch strips. The sashing is on the lengthwise straight grain which eliminates stretching when sewing.The setting triangles and squares also need to be cut larger. The cornerstone is still the same, 1 1/2 inches sew to a 1 1/2inch  x 4 inch strip sew that to a 4 x 5 inch rectangle. The setting triangles are cut from a 4 inch wide strip using the easy angle.
Happy sewing! --Ann-- P.S. I found the booklet at a quilt shop in Minnesota but no ruler so darling daughter found it on the internet for me for Christmas in 2011.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Design wall Monday

Its always nice to start the new year quilting with bright cheerful colors. This will be a graduation gift.  I need to decide which way the stripes should go in the setting triangles and border. Vertical and horizontal as shown, horizontal (crosswise) then vertical (lengthwise) or all crosswise or all lengthwise and maybe a little spacer of dark purple or black? The green in the setting squares is the backside of the fabric the right side was a bit brassy.Check back later in the week for a tutorial on the 30 degree tool I used for this quilt.  Do you ever intentionally use the back of your fabrics? --Ann-- linking to Judy at PatchworkTimes for lot of inspiration

Friday, January 4, 2013

on the needles

Last socks for 2012 making 7 pairs of socks since August. They feel so good on my feet with my wool slippers snuggled up on the couch with a quilt and sniffling. Knitting is such a nice thing to be able to do when I have a cold. Now I am feeling better.
A black stocking cap knit with the same design pattern as the socks but on size 15 needles. The morning sun is best for knitting on black. The yarn is alpaca it is soooo soft.

Have made progress on striping socks, working on the slip stitched heel. I count the stitches and read and reread the directions and my heel is off center. I unknit stitches and reknit. Speaking of unknitting Navy son, daughter and I were in the final rounds of a very competitive game of Scrabble, you know when everyone is down to their last tiles and the only options are 2 and 3 letter words and Navy son makes the word fid so of course he is challenged whoever heard of a fid but there is such a thing it is a tool used to unknot cables and ropes in the Navy. I needed a fid to unknit some of my rows. I asked if it was and acronym but it is not even though it could be....maybe..... freeing interlocking device teehee   Just for the record I had a w that I put between an a and l for awl which also went between 2 es for ewe. It must have been a record for most points from a single letter. Back to the socks........I have more stitches on the right side than on the left side of the slip stitches where the gusset is getting worked into the heel flap.  How can this be so difficult?? What am I doing wrong???  ~~Ann~~ Linking up to Judy at Patchworktimes.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Design Wall

Happy New Year I feel like celebrating now after a week of having a cold, runny nose and lots of sneezing. Now that the Christmas tree is out of the house the sneezing stopped or maybe it was having son's dog so much in December or maybe it was the homemade chicken noodle soup last night that improved how I was feeling.  Ok it wasn't homemade but I did put the water in the pan to boil then dumped the package of ingredients and a can of chicken. I did get this much done on a quilt for a graduation gift. She asked for purple and green, lime green. I am using Darlene Zimmerman's 30  degree ruler, there will be sashing and cornerstones between the blocks. I would have the top done if I hadn't been napping everyday for the last week. I'm feeling better and have big plans for 2013 and lots of inspiration from Nina's creative side.  --Ann--