Monday, March 31, 2014

Design wall Monday

 We had two days in a row of spring weather. Sunday morning I took sons dog for a walk and I could smell  spring, the air was moist and the ground had thawed it smelled like fresh earth, I even saw some tiny blades of green grass. There were robins in the field and kildeers were swooping near the ground with their shrill cries. Geese and cranes were in scattered threads across the sky. I wondered if they were in a hurry to get out of the way of the coming snowstorm. The geese honk, the cranes chatter what do they say? How far do they fly in a day? It was spring on the prairie. Today is 30 degrees cooler with strong winds and snow still to come.
The last stitches are in the Star Bright Quilt it just needs a warm soak then a tumble and fluff. I always pre wash baby quilts so the new mom won't be afraid to use the quilt. Do you like the polka dot binding?

 As I was refolding my stack of brights I found these beach umbrella blocks that I started a decade or two ago. I am clueless as to the original plan so I stuck them on the wall for a visual break from machine quilting the winding ways / wheel of mystery/ Afterimage quilt come back tomorrow to see progress on Afterimage. Isn't that how the best ideas come? when you are doing something else. So as my arms tire from moving all that quilt under the needle I jump up and rearrange beach umbrella blocks and dig further in my stash for turquoise blue fabrics. The color and designs on the bottom fabrics say water and waves and they are batiks. Friday I got my new issue of  BH&G AP&Q it has an article about mixing fabrics; its okay to mix prints and batiks. Thank you quilt police. I was going to do it even without your permission. My matra this year is use it. Check out Patchworktimes and Stitch by Stitch and be inspired. --Ann--

Friday, March 28, 2014

On the needles

 I have been wearing my sweater since spring is being evasive. Here a day and gone a week. I'm back to knitting socks. The top is a trekking xxl yarn I thought I would try a different stitch pattern in each color so in the blue is a 3x3 basket weave with a knit row between then a purl row when the color changed to pink. I thought I could remember a stitch pattern I saw in a magazine but not quite....I put an extra knit stitch in so I am a designer now! The pattern was supposed to make an X of purl stitches but my extra knit stitch dominates. The pattern should be row 1: p1-k2-; row 2&3: k1-p2-. I did row 1: k1- p1-k2-p1-; row 2&3: k2-p2-k1; repeat row 1, I repeated those 3 rows so there are 2 rows of row 1 in a row. How many rows are in that sentence? Next color change to pale pale grey with pink and blue I did 3 rows of 2x2 basket weave without a knit row between. I forgot the purl row when the yarn changed to blue but I am repeating the same pattern in each color.
 I started these in early February and set them aside, the yarn is a Blossom Street yarn I think the color name is juniper. I enjoyed the cable so much in the sweater that I started a cable pattern when I started the heel gusset. The pattern is gentle waves from the Threads Hand-Knit Socks magazine. I was reading the credits in the magazine really a boring thing to do but I learned the patterns in the mag all came from The Big Book of Socks by Kathleen Taylor so I looked up her book on the internet and low and behold she is a South Dakota writer who has written both fiction and knitting instruction. I read most of her mystery books 10 - 12 years ago, they are just delightful. Titles include: Foreign Body, Sex and Salmonella, Funeral Food, Hotel South Dakota, Mourning shift, The Missionary Position, The Cold Front and newest The Nut House which I have not read but will. Staying warm in hand knits and wool on the prairie. --Ann--  Whats on your needles? check out Judy's OTN

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Coveting talents

A comment from a fellow blogger sparked this memory and post. I am in awe of her knitting and she of my quilting so.....

 A true story: Fifteen or so years ago a couple of my mothers college classmates were all in town at the same time so my mother hosted a coffee party. All these women graduated in home economics, married, stayed married and raised a family of 3- 5 children. One taught high school home economics and started a nutrition/ early childhood education program for teen moms, one moved to the east coast and was involved with fundraising for various charities, my mother married a farmer, raised 4 kids and took up weaving. They each went to their siblings where they were staying and shared their feeling of inadequacies and awe at what their classmates had accomplished over the years. I know this because my mother shared those feelings with me then I heard it from a girlfriend who is a niece to one of the gals and said her aunt said I can't believe what G and J and L have done with their lives and all I've done is..........then I saw a neighbor who was the sister-in-law to the other gals and told the same story. We had a good laugh and I reported back to my mother.

My mother's weaving started with rug weaving on her grandmother's loom, then she took some weaving classes and needed a 4 harness loom then an 8 harness loom. And weave she did. The coverlet on the bed is a double weave meaning she wove that blanket folded in half then opened it. The pink is an overshot pattern, that just means a complicated treadling pattern to raise the warp threads so the weft can make the pattern. She made each of my kids a baby blanket, this is also a double weave but the bottom warp and weft threads were brought to the top to make the designs, I believe she hand picked all the pink yarns because it couldn't be done with the treadles. Heirloom treasures, gifts and talents--Ann--

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Practice stitching

 Some times I need to do a little practice piece before machine quilting on a larger quilt. I did what I so frequently do swing arcs from corner to corner. It always works. In the border I swung arcs again but echo stitched then filled in with a squashed serpentine line.
 Its a nice table topper beside my chair. Another great day for stitching.--Ann--

Monday, March 24, 2014

Off the wall

 Friday was onto the frame for pin basting. Saturday was under the needle for free motion machine quilting with swirls and hooks and echos. Sunday was prepping the binding and sewing  it by machine and now I'm ready to curl up like a cat in the sun and sew the binding by hand the black polka dots with black thread I need all the light I can get.
Last week I went to Pierre for an eye appointment, the pressure in my eyes is good, then met a friend for lunch we caught up on each others lives and how we were quilting from our stashes and only buying fabric if we needed it to finish a quilt. I had this quilt top in the car its just kinda awkward to show a quilt in a restaurant even though the lunch crowd had long gone by the time we were done. So we went to the quilt shop to unfold my quilt, I needed some turquoise for the corners, its not a match to the diamonds or center triangles but it pulls the quilt together. I bought the turquoise and the polka dots for binding since all my black and whites were fat quarters then we both broke our rule and bought more fabric just because it was there.

 Both of us being farm girls we couldn't resist the barns, I'm going to fussy cut the barns and sew log cabin strips around. I'm in bright fabric mode so I bought some stripes for borders and bindings. It was a great day I've had a productive weekend now I can curl up in the sun and hand stitch the binding. Check out and be inspired by all the quilts at Patchworktimes Design Wall Monday.  Happy stitching--Ann--linking to FMQ

Friday, March 21, 2014

On and Off the Needles

 I finished my sweater and love it. I do love wool. Thank You Ruth for suggesting I rip and redo the neck. Fewer stitches and smaller needles is just what it needed and I did the 2 X 2 ribbing. It fits so nice now. Spring was yesterday for real!! but temps are back in the 30's so I will be wearing it.
 Just started more socks. Linking to On the Needles at Judy's.  --Ann--

Monday, March 17, 2014

Design Wall Kaleidescope

Like a kaleidoscope I can turn the blocks and change the look. These log cabin blocks made with diamonds and triangles have so many possibilities.  In the end I followed the configuration in the book. Scroll down to last Monday's post or click. Now I just need to square it up by adding borders to fill in the corners. Then cut more strips and make another one. Linking to Judy's Design Wall Monday and be inspired. Happy St. Patrick's Day! and more snow in our forecast  --Ann--

Happy Saint Patricks Day

For 'tis green, green, green, where the ruined towers are gray,
And it's green, green, green, all the happy night and day;
Green of leaf and green of sod, green of ivy on the wall,
And the blessed Irish shamrock with the fairest green of all.
~Mary Elizabeth Blake

Happy St. Patrick's Day --Ann--

Friday, March 14, 2014

On the needles

A concentrated effort on my sweater, I'm working on the second sleeve. The pattern is Beginner Cable Sweater from Knitting Pure and Simple the yarn I am using is Cascade 220 superwash wool. SW Rainier is above the barcode that might be the color name but amethyst is the color that comes to my mind. If I had known how easy this pattern was going to be I would have started it during the Olympics but it had markers so I thought it would need my undivided attention so I waited until the Olympics were over. I could be wearing it by now. The markers make it easy so I don't have to count very important for the numerically challenged. I have to remember markers make it easy. I think one sleeve is long enough to start the ribbing but I'm going to knit the other sleeve to the same point and try it on again. I did the neck ribbing but am not thrilled with the way it looks maybe I need to go down another size with the needles or try a different bind off, it is rippled even when I put it on. I used the knit 2 then knit those 2 together then knit one and knit together for a stretch binding. Maybe I just need to knit the bind off stitches tighter any suggestions fellow knitter?? linking to Judy's On the Needles.--Ann--

Monday, March 10, 2014

Design Wall Monday

I was in search of a design for a baby quilt and was leafing through this book by Sara Nephew and found a bright fun quilt.
Decades ago when my daughter was very small I would let her pick out a couple fat quarters whenever she was fabric shopping with me. Her stash became known as the Erin colors click to see the series of Erin quilts. Anyway since she is all grown up and on her own I called her and asked if she had any objections to me using her stash of bright fabrics for this quilt. She said "what fabrics?!!?" So I am free to use them and I'm sure I will barely put a dent in the stack.
The directions are very clear in this book just go slow and pay attention to how the log cabin grows around the starting piece. I did figure out that I could cut the pieces for the B blocks by layering strips right sides together I could cut B and B reversed at the same time.  But I'm only sewing one stack at a time to keep everything in order.

And so many fabrics to choose from! I sorted them into a pile of lights and darks. My goal for the year is to only buy fabric if I need it to finish a quilt. Our snow is almost gone but now everything is a dirty brown so these colors are extra fun to play with. Linking to PatchworkTimes and be inspired. --Ann--

Friday, March 7, 2014

On and off the needles

I started my sweater last weekend when it was too cold to do anything else. I practiced the cable on my gauge swatch and had questions as to where the yarn was supposed to go when I moved 3 stitches to the cable needle and held them in back. Does the yarn go behind the cable needle? in front? between? I looked in a magazine featuring cable patterns......didn't answer my question. I looked in my Vogue knitting book...... didn't have the answer. I looked at youtube videos. My question was never addressed, finally I came across one that the photography was clear enough that I could see where the knitter was holding the yarn. When the cable stitches go to the back the working yarn is in front of the cable needle and behind the next 3 stitches to be knit. If I keep at it I might be able to wear this before the spring thaw.
 Some finishes: top reading mitts were a gift, the recipient told me she wore them to bed that night.  The yarn I used for the variegated mitts is too heavy for the stitch pattern they are bulky to wear but they are pretty and warm. And another pair of footies I used the twin stitch also called the shadow stitch instead of wrap and turns. Much easier, you insert the needle into the back of the stitch in the previous row and pull the yarn up and onto the needle then turn and purl back. You  treat the two stitches as one when you come back. Much easier than lifting the wrapped stitch over. Find it by entering twin stitch short rows in the youtube search window.
A few more rows of ribbing and these will be done. I have another skein of this yarn so I can make 2 more pairs of socks or maybe reading mitts. Maybe I can find a stitch pattern that makes the color more interesting. Staying warm in hand knits. Check out what is On the Needles at Judy's. --Ann--