Friday, February 22, 2008

More quilting and a knitting FO!

First, my latest finished knitting object:

These first three pictures are before I blocked it.

I really like this picture:

And here it is when I put it on the floor for blocking:

The weather has been icky and overcast so I don't have any decent after-blocking pictures. Hopefully soon!

It's an upcoming pattern from Sivia Harding, called Norwegian Woods. It was fun to knit!


On the quilting front, here's a quilt I've just finished quilting. First on the machine:

And off the machine:

Here's the back, and you might be able to see th quilting a little bit better:

It's my cousin Kristin's first quilt, and my mom helped her finish the top. I put the binding on the front while the quilt was on the machine, so all that needs to be done is to trim it and hand-sew the binding on the back.

I think she did a great job!


I've been bad about answering comments, so to Penny: my quilting machine is pretty basic--no stitch regulator, no computerized anything. :-) While I've seen some beautiful quilts done with computerized machines, most of the enjoyment of quilting is, for me, running the machine. If I just set it to go it would take most of the fun out of it. I don't want to offend anyone with a computerized machine, they just aren't for me.


I have some tags I need to do, but hopefully I'll get to those later. I've had a rather phenomenal head cold for the past few days, and all I've been able to do is lay on the couch and rest. Today I'm feeling the need to get caught up on some of the things I've been neglecting, although I've got to be careful not to overdo! I missed the monthly quilt guild meeting last night but hopefully I'll be well enough to go to a spin in this evening.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Catcing up & I'm Officially Dead

My Hat of Death arrived in Wednesday's mail and it's wonderful! I haven't taken pictures yet but I will. Hat Attack was way fun, and it'll be fun to see how long it takes to play out. It looks like about 2/3 of the participants have been taken out at this point. That was quick!


I conned my DH into holding up my newest (and very heavy) quilt so I could take a picture:

I haven't measured it since I finished it, but before it went on the machine it was 94" x 114", so it's a big quilt!

The pattern is called Checkerboard Chains, although I made it bigger than the original. It's from the book

Here's the back fabric. You can't see the quilting on the majority of it, but if you click on it you can see the dark thread in the border.

And here's a mediocre shot of the quilting from the front:

If you click on the picture you might be able to see the quilting a little bit better.


In knitting news, I'm down to the last four rows on my Norwegian Woods red shawl! There are more tan 700 stitches in the last few rows so it's slowed down a little bit. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some pictures (before blocking).


Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Imminent Death by Hatting

The Hat Attack is in full swing, and I finished my hat last night.

That's the hat I made for my target. I just found out that my assassin has finished her hat, and it will be in the mail "on Monday and using the fastest shipping I can afford." LOL! I will be posting a picture of my "death" when it arrives in the mail, Rollergirl1978!

So it's pretty obvious that I'll be killed in the first round. I had high hopes for making through at least the first round but it's not going to happen. The way this whole thing works is that when you receive a finished hat, you're dead. So that fact that my assassin is already finished isn't a good sign for my longevity in this contest.

Apparently there will be a second Hat Attack later this year and I'll just have to try again!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Shawl Start instructions

I've had some questions about starting a top-down triangular shawl, so here's a short photo tutorial. (Don't forget that you can click on the pics to make them big.)

Begin by cast on as many stitches as you'll have in the border. I'm going to say we're starting with a three-stitch garter border. Cast on three stitches, using a provisional or lace cast on (Eunny Jang has a great explanation here.) In my picture I've actually cast on four, which I usually do--I drop the last stitch (next to the slip knot).

Knit six more rows, for a total of seven rows, which will make three "bumps" from which to pick up stitches. (Other patterns will probably have you knit for a different number of rows.)
Here you can see the three stitches waiting to be reclaimed from the provisional cast on.

Here's the work in position to have the stitches picked up from the side of the garter strip.

Here three stitches have been picked up from the bumps on the side of the garter strip. You can see the original stitches on the right, with the three new stitches.

This next picture shows the last three stitches after being reclaimed from the provisional cast on.

From this point, you'd follow the instructions and begin creating stitches to make the triangular shape of the shawl.

If you have any questions or if anything needs clarification, please don't hesitate to ask!! (I realized that I wasn't consistent with the colors I used for the labels--if that bothers you, I can re-do it when my head is less fuzzy and congested. Just let me know!)


I managed to get a few pictures taken, amazingly!

First up, the soy silk I've been spinning. I've learned a few things about spinning this stuff: don't unwind more than about 6" at at time--once you untwist this stuff it comes apart and immediately attaches to the darkest thing you're wearing. LOL!

I'm loving how it's turning out so far. I'm putting a fair amount of twist in it, as I was putting less in at first and it kept coming apart as I'd pull it back off the bobbin to check the twist. Hopefully it won't be too stiff for lace-weight, since it's spinning up pretty fine.


Up next is the quilt I took off the machine on Saturday evening. Here you can see the quilting in the outer border:

And here's the design in the inner border as well as some of the blocks. The picture has a touch more pink than in the real quilt.

I'm calling this "Finished Is Better Than Perfect." I really like it, even though it's far from perfect (as the name says!). Right now I'm about halfway finished with the hand-sewing part of the binding. I didn't get as much done on it yesterday during the Superbowl as I'd hoped, but it'll get done soon (I hope).


That's it from me today! I finished the second repeat of the third lace pattern in the red shawl, so hopefully I'll be able to finish that, too, by the end of the week.

Have a great week!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

First Blog Award

I've seen lots of blog awards around, but this is the first one I've received!

Thank you, Kathy! It really made MY day to get this! I'm a little behind on my blog reading and I just discovered that Andrea of Bad Cat Designs (you MUST check out her luscious lace designs) also gave me this award. I'm feeling so loved!!

I'm supposed to pass it on to 10 blogs and it's so hard to choose! I subscribe to 106 blog feeds and I find more all the time. I'm going to give my 10 to blogs that haven't received this award yet and try it pass on a little bit of the happiness that I feel.

In no particular order:
  1. Anne has been a really bad influence on me--she's gotten me into crocheted snowflakes and lots of other fun things! She's working at a yarn shop to die for now, so she's not posting as much, but she's still inspired me to try a few new things.
  2. Delores of As the Wool Turns helps keep me in touch with what's going on around here, and she's really good at bringing to my attention neat projects that I've overlooked.
  3. Alicia Quilts; her blog has inspired me to pull out some projects and figure out a plan to finish them.
  4. That Logan Chick, because not only is she a lot like me (although we've never met--I'm just guessing from her blog!) but she has a lovely shawl, Beatrice, that makes me happy to look at.
  5. Sivia Harding's blog, Skitter Skatter Knitting. Such gorgeous knitting projects! She's my personal enabler, and I love her taste in yarn and lace.
  6. Kristina's blog, Beadntat By Design, has lots of wonderful pictures of her lace projects, as well as some socks and butterfly pictures.
  7. Debi over at FluffyKnitterDeb has some pictures that inspire me and who could pass up pictures of the newly-dubbed Bubbah? I think I like that better than P-Man but gotta get used to it. ;-)
  8. I love reading Eva's blog, and she's so good to respond to comments--much better than I am. (But then, too, she's got a Wordpress blog and those require an email addy when you comment, so she doesn't have to go track anyone down! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)
  9. Some people just amaze me at how productive they are. icandyarn is one of those people. When does she sleep?!?
  10. Becky of the Moonfrog blog, another knitter who gets a lot of stuff done.
It was so hard to choose! There are so many wonderful blogs out there, and I've tried to give to people who deserve this award but haven't gotten it yet. Gotta spread the love around!!


On the knitting front, I'm nearing the end of the red shawl, a design I'm testing for Sivia Harding. It's been a fun knit and I've really enjoyed it! It's at the stage where it's all bunched up the needles so not terribly photogenic. Hopefully I"ll get it done by the time Hat Attack starts....


I pulled out my wonderful Fricke spinning wheel and did a little spinning this evening after the kids went to bed. Last year at the Snake River Fiber Fair I got some soy silk roving, and I finally decided to tackle spinning it. I'm going for a fine lace-weight yarn, two ply, and trying to put enough spin in it. I was originally going for a single ply but I'm just not experienced enough at spinning yet to try a single ply in soy silk that won't be totally overspun. I'll take some pictures in the daylight tomorrow (I hope!).


Before I pulled out my wheel, I finished the quilting on my Checkerboard Chains quilt! I started this top before my son was born and he just turned four. I think I was severely sleep deprived because the piecing job is really pathetic. I had a lot of squares that I forced to fit for some reason. Not sure if I just did a bad job of cutting them or what, but the quilting made a sow's ear into a silk purse. I put the binding on, took it off the machine, and trimmed it this evening so all that's left is to hand-sew the binding down. That'll probably take me through the end of the week since I'm kind of slow at it (especially with the kids wanting my attention).

I'm thinking about calling it my "Finished is Better Than Perfect" quilt.

I took some pictures of it while it was on the machine but I haven't downloaded them from the camera yet. Since it's almost 1:00 in the morning, that's going to wait until after I've slept!


Yesterday I got my first TWO official customer quilts. It was a bit overwhelming to get two within hours of each other, but now that I've gotten my quilt finished I can start to work on those. I'm thinking about starting a "business" blog that would have mainly customer quilt pictures (with the customers' permission). What do you think, gentle readers? Would you prefer quilting stuff to be on a separate blog? I'd continue to post my personal stuff here.


Tomorrow (well, today really) is Superbowl Sunday, so I hope everyone has a good time! I don't know what we're going to do, as neither one of us really cares about it. We've talked about taking the kids to the zoo but we'll see--there's still SO much to do around the yard to recover from the ice storm in December. Greg got his chipper back from the small engine mechanic and says it's running really well (for the first time in a long time) so he might tackle the huge brush pile in the front. We'll see what happens.

Be safe if you go to a Superbowl party--don't drink and drive!