Saturday, July 30, 2005
I need over 800 of the motif centers, so it will take awhile. The trick to doing this one well seems to be crocheting the piece and leaving a 2-3 inch end after finishing off. Then use a yarn needle to weave the yarn into it. The motifs are only 1.5 inches square. I do about 10, then pick up yarn needle to finish. If you want a scrap afghan pattern that uses up lots of scraps, take a pass on this one. Half the yarn needed is the background (and I surely don't keep quantities of background yarn around!). However, it is ideal for using up your collection of small scraps (yes, let's not say too much about why I would want to). Here's the afghan as pictured in my instruction booklet.
This pattern was originally featured in a Leisure Arts Leaflet called Scrap Yarn Afghans Book Two. On Ebay, with shipping it costs between $6-9. However, I discovered that the pattern has been reissued in a crochet digest sized booklet called Granny's Delight Afghans. Even better for many of you is that it is sold at Walmart! I personally think that the selection of afghans in this booklet are nicer than what were in the original booklet, but that's just my preference. I just bought this in early July, so whine at your local Walmart if it's not in stock and you like this pattern. It is less than $3. It may be carried at Michaels or Hobby Lobby, but Joann's usually doesn't carry these little booklets. Now, I was drawn to this afghan in the first place, but didn't really like the off-white background. Then, I came across SusanB's (Kansas City) website and I was hooked (pun intended). http://susanbinkc.home.att.net/gdaugh.html . She has many examples that she has made for charity using different backgrounds. If you like this pattern at all, be sure to look at her web site.
Now, you might laugh...another project?! Unfortunately, I don't have any other projects I can work on while watching TV (new glasses with bifocals being one of the problems). I have to keep referring to directions and that makes it hard to watch the show. These are easy.
On the Quilting front, I bought a bunch of Christmas fabrics today to make the blocks for an online Christmas block swap. OK.. I went overboard. Be nice. I need to make additional blocks to finish off the quilt. The nice thing about some of these fabrics is that the quilter's gold or glitter really makes them fabulous (along with their rich colors!). Not pictured is the white on white snowflakes or the nearly solid emerald green, which will be included. The back is likely going to be a patchwork of leftover scenic Christmas fabric. I only have plans for one more Christmas quilt and have way too much fabric, so using it for the back is an ideal choice to use up stash. Since the quilt will go to my parents, I'll get to visit it too. I've included a photo of the block design I plan to use for the block swap. It's done in last year's Thimbleberries Christmas Fabrics.
This block is known as "Single Wedding Ring".
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
See how the handles tangle funny? I think it's my threading that is doing it, but I needed to post a photo!
My particular bag is made from Cascade 220 (purple) and Lamb's Pride Bulky (pink - adds a fuzzy texture for interest). I did have to trim my pockets as they just wouldn't square up after felting. I used regular Coats and Clark thread to attach the front pocket and the inner pocket. Next time, I will use a more substantial needle as mine bent. I am missing one pocket (a long one intended to hold double pointed needles), so when I find that, I will add it to the inside.
Since I rarely buy knitting books, I thought I would review this a bit. Mine is the original hardcover version. Contains a variety of patterns from shops all over US-adult sweaters, both long and sleeveless, a couple of children's items, a very interesting tea cozy, a rug, felted fish and a pillow among them. These are often the most popular selling pattern at the specific shop. Now, the knitting bag is what got me to buy the book, but the sweaters are also an attraction. They tend to be more sophisticated without being too trendy. Many of the featured items use more expensive yarns, however, you can substitute. This book assumes that you are an experienced knitter, so I don't recommend it for beginners.
The paperback version is available at Amazon.com along with more reviews. One reviewer mentioned that there was a substantial listing of errata for this book. I checked, and yes, it looks that way, but the majority of the errors are minor. Here's a link to those changes: http://www.interweave.com/knit/books/be_knitters_stash.asp
I should comment about the reviewers at Amazon who reviewed this book. The majority who did not like the book were either beginning knitters or prefer a style or project not represented in this book. To complain that the name of the book indicates that the book features scrap patterns is your first clue. One legitimate complaint is that there wasn't more information on the specific yarns so that substitutions can be made 10 years from now. However, that complaint is minor because gauge is included in every pattern.
This is not my original pattern, but a combination of a couple that were previously published decades ago. A pattern called Ole Scrap by Lou Ann Millsaps (1995-Needlecraft shop: Afghan collectors series) is very similar and likely based on those older ones. I kept alternating between an I and J (whichever was handy) with a resulting gauge of 10 stitches for 4 inches. I would recommend making a 10 inch swatch (with just a 2 inch tail) to find out how many to cast on for your length. After a while, I started to do colorways from light to dark throughout (adding yellow here and there to add some brightness to the afghan) as it had much better color than just light color followed by dark color. This project was started in early 2004. My digital photo just doesn't show the wonderful color of this afghan!
One Line Afghan (60 x 75 inches)
Gauge: 10 stitches over 4 inches
Need: I hook and lots of scraps (I used a beer box full of yarns). Use worsted weight yarn. You can use the occasional sport weight yarn, but use 2 strands when crocheting. For some yarns, you may have to switch to a J hook for that row. I did not like the result using specialty yarns. Homespun or Boucle also looked weird (unless you have enough to use throughout the afghan).
Directions: Do not turn your work throughout. Always leave a 10 inch tail on both sides. Leaving a tail of about 10 inches, make 185 chains (this is your length). Finish off, leaving a 10 inch tail. Returning to first chain, sc in first stitch. Then alternate dc and sc to end. Finish off. Always starting at the same end, alternate starting with sc and dc for remaining rows. Stop when 60 inches wide.
Color: to get the nicest effect, work with colorways going from very light to very dark. I found working 6 colors in this worked much better than 2 or 3. A colorway would be like a group of blues or a group of greens. Work a yellow, gold or orange in occasionally to really brighten it up.
Fringe: Gently pull together 4 ends and tie close to afghan. Do not let them pucker. After all ends are tied, use a ruler and cut each section even to 7 inches from the knot (don't try to do a bunch at once--just doesn't work well).
Note: This is an oversized afghan as my family members tend to be either very tall or fluffy. Adjust size as needed. If your gauge doesn't match, just figure out your stitches per inch from your swatch and divide into 75. Makes a very nice pet mat - just make it smaller.
[edited to add]. Why 10 inches on ends? It allows enough length to do several decorative options for fringe as well as allowing for an uneven edge. I just used one knot at the edge of the afghan, but you could also do a double knot, braid, or just finish the edge in multicolor yarns. If you then finish off the edge, you can put in fringe that is more substantial.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
This closeup shows some of the quilting. I primarily quilted in the ditch around the kitties, but having not read the instructions for the batting in advance, discovered, after it was pinned, that I needed to quilt within 3 inches. Thus, I needed something in the spots where kitties were facing away from each other. I used designs from one of my recent quilting book purchases as well as making up things such as a Friskies cat food can and milk container. The little mouse in the corner is a freebee mouse design from Quiltmaker.
The back of the quilt was done with 3 fabrics sewn together. I figured that it was a patchwork on the front, may as well do it on the back as well (and use up some stash).
This pattern is from McCalls October 2000 by Robert Callahan based on a design by Janet Kime. I used the modified kitty block featured at the link below, which gives a little more space for the kitty kat ears.
(edited) The link to the pattern adaptation used for this quilt is no longer active. Therefore, I am placing piecing instructions here. Sorry, don't have the diagrams.
Finished size: 5"x9" (unfinished size: 5-1/2" x 9-1/2")
2. Sew pieced rectangle to matching cat fabric 3-1/2" x 8-1/4" rectangle.
3. Draw a 45° diagonal line on wrong side of background fabric 2-1/2" x 5-1/2" rectangle from upper left hand corner to raw edge. Hint: to quickly and accurately mark diagonal, simply fold upper right hand corner down to left edge to form triangle. Align raw edges and finger-press along fold.4. Sew pieced rectangle to matching pieced cat body. And there you have it! A cute little kitty!
Friday, July 22, 2005
The audio version of the latest Harry Potter came in at the library. My sister is listening to it now and then I will take over. Since we only have 10 days, I probably won't be posting until after I've listened to it, which will take 2-3 days, I'm sure. If you get a chance at all, listen to the audio versions of this book. Jim Dale came out of retirement to be the 'voice' of this series and it is wonderful to listen to his telling of it (and his many voices).
Listening to Harry Potter audios is when I work on cutting out my charms for my 1000 pyramids charm quilt. I have over 600 cut out now. A charm quilt is one where you use one pattern piece and every piece is a different fabric. I just picked a triangle for mine, but many use squares or other shapes. Takes real effort to accumulate a lot of charms. Cutting them out is also a time consuming process. My charms vary in size from just over 4 inches to 8 inches, depending on where I got the charms. Well, yes, and in addition to any fabrics that I bought for other projects. I use rotary templates and a 28 mm Olfa cutter. I first cut out a pyramid, then a Drunkard's Path piece (if there is room) and then squares or 1.5x4 rectangles. Many of the fabrics are top quality, so I really don't want to waste any of it. I can also enjoy it in more than one quilt!
Here's one triangle of my 1000 pyramids. When put together this way, instead of row by row, you can create disappearing mountains. This was the feature I most loved about this pattern! Also, a link to the template set that I use: http://www.ezquilt.com/products/acrylictools/classic.htm. This set has the advantage of showing the sewing lines so that you can view exactly what is going to show up and center flowers or butterflies or some other feature.
This is the Drunkard's Path quilt that I've been making from the leftovers from charms. It's a 3 inch Drunkard's Path (also a set from Pepper Cory/EZ Quilting - got mine at Michaels). I have enough of these now to finish my queen sized quilt, but I can't help it. It's my very favorite pattern, so I'll just keep cutting more.
Bright fabrics don't often work with all the other fabrics in my charm quilt, so I have been making a tumbler semi-charm quilt with those fabrics (as well as leftovers from my fish and bug projects). Yes, I know, this probably has a lot to do with why I have problems finishing! I have too many things going. This will probably end up a modified eye spy quilt for a kid. If you look carefully, every tumbler has a corner clipped out of it. This is part of the template that makes matching very easy when sewing. You get the actual sewing done more quickly and accurately.
The 1.5x4 inch pieces are being saved so that I can do this Flip and Sew Mystery quilt. It's just a technique I wanted to try and since I have a ton of this 3 inch cash register tape. I was unable to participate in the mystery at the time, but still want to make a quilt from it. Here's a link. http://members.aol.com/qltblockcenter/04benfranklin/index.htm. Now, I don't specifically measure these to be 4 inches, just that they are at least 4 inches. The ends will all get cut off anyway. Yes, folks, there are faster ways to accumulate these, but I'll do that AFTER all the charms are done!
Monday, July 18, 2005
She also sent me a wonderful square for my afghan. A simple stitch featuring a fabulous ribbon yarn. It is by Patons and I am now totally sold on ribbon yarn. It is SO soft. The label is missing part of the name of the yarn - starts with Bell which may be discontinued or simply not sold in US (sure is soft). Feels somewhat like a rayon. Did I mention soft? I would like to make a short sleeve garment out of this as my first garment. This was a wonderful package from my British Elf!
I also wanted to mention the potholder/mat that I bought at a garage sale earlier this year. It was a newly made item. This has been, by far, the best potholder for me so far. I have large hands and many potholders just aren't big enough or are too thick or thin. This one is great! What she did was single crochet two rectangles and then crocheted the two together using a nifty picot stitch. It is made of kitchen cotton (I don't know brand). I really like fancy potholders, but well, this one works for me. The cheery color helps as well. I bought two from her and have been using them since May and I just love them! Interestingly, my Mom doesn't like them, although she is finally using mine. She prefers the cutesy ones (she also has small hands). I'll have to make her a sheep or cow one. You know...she's my Mom.
Yes folks, it is no longer a rumor. The digital camera and the computer are buddies once again. Of course, we had a beautiful morning and the MOMENT I go outside to take photos, it becomes totally overcast (and is darkening even more as I type). Anyway, I did take some photos of projects. The first is my Christmas Snowball quilt That was one of my UFO projects. The center snowball blocks have a Christmas scenery fabric. Really a great way to feature a fabric! I quilted poinsetta leaves and berries in the center of the snoballs and meandered the rest. The pattern was called Monet's Garden and it was from Quiltmaker (republished last year in one of those 'favorites' issues). I started the quilt in 1994, I think and finished earlier this year.
The second photo is of the nearly completed One-Line Afghan. As mentioned before, this afghan is entirely made up of yarn purchased at garage sales. Takes a long time and uses a lot of yarn, but it sure feels nice. Most of the yarn is worsted (a lot of it Red Heart before and after the turn to no-dye-lot), but I also used some sport yarn by doubling it up. I have one of those yarn winders which makes it really easy to use both ends of the yarn without tangling. This is also an afghan where making a swatch to get gauge is really important. This puppy ended up considerably longer than I had planned-not that my cousin's SO will object (he's pretty tall).
In any case, I have only 8 more rows of crocheting left on the One-Line. Then on to the fringing. My goal this week is to finish that and the Kitty Kat quilt (which still has it's strings and needs block quilted). In addition, I hear rumors that I will once again be able to upload digital camera photos as the camera and computer made up and are speaking to each other again!
It is almost hotter than spit around here (and actually is hotter than spit in much of Texas according to the weather guy). I am planning to go to Texas for the Houston Quilt Festival (http://www.quilts.com/). Brochure link: http://www.quilts.com/fqf05/FQF05PanelPC.pdf which occurs at the end of October.
Originally, I was flying into San Antonio, renting a car and visiting the area (and festivals, if any) and then driving to Houston. Then I found out about the Cowboy Gathering around the 21st in Fort Worth (http://www.theredsteagallcowboygathering.com/). I'm particularly interested in the Ranch Rodeo (cowfolk from various ranches compete against each other), but food that is not from Minnesota is also a good draw. So, now I'm torn between Dallas/Fort Worth area vs. San Antonio. I can't do both this trip. Well, I could if I was taking my own car, but I'm stuck renting a car. At least my airline ticket is free but for the taxes.
The Cowboy Gathering also includes poetry. Now, I'm not partial to poetry that doesn't rhyme (fan of Dr. Suess?), but this one by Wallace McRae is worth reading- http://www.cowboypoetry.com/mcrae.htm#Rein. Be sure to click on the link to the parody-it's just as funny. It was read (probably by author) on Prairie Home Companion radio show back in the early 90s and I still could remember it nearly word for word. Never expected to find it on the Internet!
Friday, July 15, 2005
My One Line Afghan has 15 more rows to go. Nearly done. Then I have to do the side edges and the fringe. I would say this is a guarantee finish for July! In addition, I wanted to use my new Soft Touch crochet hook a little, so started a Tissue Box cover using Red Heart in "Jump" which is a variagated crayon color. Finished the top while watching "Dawn of the Dead." This wasn't a bad horror movie although it was more an action/adventure movie with zombies. Anyway, I had bought a matching purple for the trim, but I'm thinking that the yellowy/gold would make a better trim.
I came across this pattern booklet, which I already own called Learn To Crochet The Mile-A-Minute Annie Way. If you've never made a Mile a Minute afghan, this was a great book to learn from. I've made 3 of these - one was blue/light blue (for Mom). The next was jewel colors/black (for my Aunt Vilma) and the last was using Christmas yarn. They were fast but a tad hard to figure out how to enlarge in length. I always need them longer and wider due to very tall and fluffy family members. I did all three afghans during lunch hours in the early 90s. It's a fairly good take-a-long project once you've made the first one. I do not recommend using a no-dye-lot yarn for this one. No-dye-lot yarn isn't as soft and cozy as the regular yarn and this design (Mile a Minute) doesn't result in a soft weave that makes up for it. I thought Sayelle worked very well (well, really, almost anything in the Caron line did). This is not to say you can't use Red Heart. It just won't be quite as soft.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
The first one has some fabulous afghans. Although they are listed under 'juvenile', any adult who loves the genre will love these afghans. I particularly like the cover aquarium one (I kept aquarium fish for 25+ years). There is also a heraldic dragon shield that is great also. Second one has all motif afghans--need those for take-a-long projects.
I saw the sheepie made up as a gift for someone who visits my blogs (she knows who she is). I saw the pattern and it was MINE! My Mom needs a couple of these.
A number of gals have mentioned these cushioned crochet hooks. I bought a 'G' so that I could try it. I don't usually have trouble with my hands unless I'm doing a bunch of sustained crocheting (like during a movie-a-thon). This is a Clover Soft Touch crochet hook. Looks interesting. We'll see how it works!
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Here's A Year Of Afghans (Book 2). I really like the cover afghan as well as this orange/yellow one pictured inside. I tend to focus on motif-by-motif afghans as I get 'er done! I can work on them anywhere-not just sitting in my chair.
Another book I bought today had these wonderful balloons featured in the afghan. My Mom has hinted that she wants this one made. I have to work on her rose one first (the next in line after the One-Line is done).
Current Leaflet from Leisure Arts that I found at Half-Price Bookstores (used book dealer found primarily in upper Midwest and Texas). Features afghans done in one jewel color using different pattern stitches. I can tell you from my own experience, that it is REALLY hard to finish an afghan done in only one color. Requires some really interesting stitches to keep going (or very quick to finish). That's why I have trouble finishing the One Stitch Homespun afghan. I'm nearly done, but just got totally bored working with one color.
For a Half Price Bookstore near you, consult this map: http://www.halfpricebooks.com/find_a_store.html. I go to several different used bookstores, but our Half Price one has had more used craft and cooking books than any other.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
I really like Quilterscache, but have only been able to use one block from her website. It's either the wrong size, or paper pieced. I took a class on paperpiecing only because I have 2 patterns and a book that turned out to be paper piecing. I hate paper piecing. However, I promised myself that I would do these patterns starting by September (one is for Christmas Santas) just to get them over and done with.
My very favorite method of doing geese units is using Eleanor Burns templates. The limitation is that you can only make 4 sizes. However, those 4 are PERFECT. They are made slightly larger and then cut to size. Perfect and quick geese with little waste. If you are making a border or entire quilt with geese, this is the way to go! This link shows several ways of making flying geese units without a special ruler. Allows you to do any size and use scraps.
This link also doesn't use a special ruler, but shows you how to make any size goose.
Another method uses a ruler and makes 4 geese at a time. No math at all. Here's a link so that you can see it (scroll down a little). I have this ruler, but have yet to use it. Guess what? Gonna use it!
Still working on One-Line Afghan. There is hope that I may finish the crocheting this month!
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
One of the advantages of having combined blogs is that I can also have non-related stuff without guilt. One of my non-needlework hobbies is trying new recipes. I don't really like gourmet food (although I won't say no to gourmet chocolate). My preferred cuisines are American, Cantonese and Italian. I started trying a lot of Southern and Southwestern recipes last year (yes folks, Texas isn't all about chili and hot peppers!). I'm most familiar with MN/WI cuisine and New England as I grew up on both these places. Anyway, today it was cool enough to bake, so I tried a pound cake recipe. Yum. Easy. And family sized rather than celebration sized. Keep in mind that if you have one of the new dark, colored pans, your baking time may be shorter. This isn't really a cooking blog, but when I come across something really easy to make, I'll post it for ya. Consider this Needlework Food.
Aunt Evelyn's Pound Cake
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 pound butter, melted (do not substitute margarine)
1 cup flour
1 tsp. almond flavoring
Beat eggs well with 1 cup sugar. Add butter. Add flour and almond flavoring. Bake in greased and floured loaf pan in low 325 F oven for about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Set in center of oven on middle shelf. Remove cake from pan between 5 to 10 minutes after baking.
Recipe by Flo Hanwick (MN) from Our Redeemer Luthern Pre-School in Aquebogue, NY 1981.
Monday, July 04, 2005
I spent much of yesterday crocheting on the one-line scrap afghan while watching the last DVD of Season 2 of 24. Very exciting. Almost too exciting! Jack sure gets beat up. Here's a closeup of the one-line scrap afghan. I plan to post the instructions when I am done. It uses up lots of scraps, but there is a tendency to buy more yarn (from garage sales) to add more variety. So, as a use-it-up project, it's a little questionable. However, all told, the project probably cost $20 total. I'll probably have enough to make some little cat mats for my cousin's kitties.
In addition, I worked on blocks for my block exchange. We are doing a Barbie quilt - pink, white and black are the only colors used. The hostess has even provided a silhouette of Barbie to applique on a block. For this round, I am doing the Maple Leaf block. As the whole block will not fit on my scanner the first photo is what the complete block looks like. Second is the scanned image of my actual block!
Today's goals include finishing the blocks, more 24 (season 3) so more One-Line Afghan and planning out the cowboy/rodeo quilt. The longer I take to finalize the plans, the more fabric I buy so I need to figure it out before I have enough 1 yard pieces to do both the front and the back (yes, this has happened to me before).
Saturday, July 02, 2005
The colors are totally off and I don't know how to fix images. The variagated yarn is Red Heart Classic in Spice and Fiesta. Those colors should be blue, dark green, beige and white with medium blue trim. The pattern is located here: http://www.crochetpartners.org/PatternLibrary/CPpat222.html
New happenings today. First of all, today is my parent's 50th wedding anniversary!! This is only the 2nd 50th wedding anniversary in my extended family, ever, so it's pretty exciting. No, I have not finished their anniversary quilt, but the top should be done this week. They then get a choice between lofty and tied, or quilted and flat. Secondly, my Aunt and Uncle announced the birth of their 2nd grandchild. She was born a week ago and is named Samantha Jeanne. Mom Kayla and Dad Steve are doing well. I guess I'll have to get a move on that Moez Bear afghan I was making--I didn't even know the baby was coming! Samantha's cousin Sean (now 5) is a major Thomas the Train engine fan. I'll have to make him one of those afghans as well (he loves my afghans).
Friday, July 01, 2005
[Update Dec. 2005: My other craft blogs have now been deleted, so I have eliminated the links. Projects can still be seen at www.picturetrail.com/quiltsrus]
Current projects in progress include One Line Afghan (crochet), LadyBug Afghan (knit), Halloween Scarecrow (cross sitch) and a Thimbleberries Pine Tree quilt for my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary. My goal had been to have the top done by their anniversary (July 2) so that they could decide if they wanted it tied or quilted, but I guess it won't be done until next week. Car trouble and unexpected sewing machine failures messed up my goal!