Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blogger's Block-of-the-Month and More Swoon (Second Edition)

Canton Village Quilt Works

I thought I'd try this quilt-along.  It looks much more my speed, only one block per month.  So here is my first block, designed by Sherry McConnell of A Quilting Life:

Blogger's BOM - Block 1
I'm using a layer cake, Just Wing It, by MoMo for Moda.  This was a very simple block that I whipped up pretty quickly, and I think the fabrics will work quite well.

Last, a couple of more Swoon blocks -- I'm up to six now:

Swoon - Block 5

Swoon - Block 6

Leaflet Cardi in Eco Wool

With the cooler weather setting in, I've gotten back into knitting. There are several things I love about knitting. First, the yarn: I.LOVE.YARN. Wool yarn. Almost as much as I love fabric. Second, the portability of knitting is a big plus, especially when you're following two boys around pretty much everywhere. I have a framed knitting bag that holds all my knitting supplies, including needles of every possible size, all in one location. Third, I love the process -- there's something rhythmic and relaxing to knitting, but it requires just enough concentration to occupy one's mind to be an absorbing past time.

Now, to the project. This is Leaflet, from Knitty.  If you have never heard of Knitty, it is an on-line knitting magazine that offers free patterns from independent (a lot of them very commercially successful) knit-wear designers.  This cardi is my fourth or fifth Knitty project, and I've liked all of them.

I knit this cardi in record time, based on a combination of a fairly simple pattern and big aran-weight wool yarn.  I think it took me about two to three weeks of sporadic knitting in the evenings.

When I asked my boys if they liked the leaflet pattern in the back, they told me the top one looked like a Clone trooper helmet, so this is also nicknamed my Star Wars tribute sweater.  I'm not sure I see it, but I'll take their word for it.

The yarn is a 100% Peruvian Highland wool called Eco+ Wool by Cascade Yarns. It was actually frogged from another (very complicated) project that was two-thirds completed, then I put it away for a while and was hopelessly lost when I tried to figure out where I was in the pattern.

I think I might knit this again as a long-sleeved cardi without the motif in the back.  That's how much I like it!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Stripey Knit T-Shirt

All of my t-shirts have stains on them.  Not kidding, it's disgusting.  My husband thinks I'm crazy, because I'm the only one who notices, until I point it out.  I'm not a sloppy eater, but sometimes forget to put on an apron while cooking and doing dishes.  So my goals for this fall it to sew up a few t-shirts and wear an apron while doing chores.  I know I could probably buy t-shirts for much less than it will cost to make them, but I'm really on the quest for the PERFECT t-shirt pattern.

I used the Creative Workshop 303, Women's Best Tops by Ottobre.  This one is a little snug, but it's a start.  Next time I make it, I will make it a couple of sizes larger, I think.

I cut the color piece on the bias to mix up the stripes a little. I also used a knit fusible tape to stabilize the shoulder and collar seams, as well as the hems. I've never had much success with sewing knits -- I hated the wavy seams -- but I think using the stretchy fusible tape did the trick.

The Six-Year Knitting UFO -- Finished!

This baby blanket has been in my pile of UFOs for so long, I only have remote memories of the details. I started it about five or six years ago, when a friend announced she was having her second baby.  Well, the birth came and went, obviously, and the blanket sat for many years mostly finished.  Recently, I needed the size 7 circular needles that the blanket was on, so I forced myself to knit the two rows that required fixing.  It took all of half an hour, which is the story of my life and many defunct projects. 

I do remember the pattern came from a book (that narrows it down, huh?), but flipping through my knitting pattern books, I couldn't come up with the pattern. The yarn is a 100% cotton worsted weight, either by Rowan or Debbie Bliss.

Detail of intarsia color work.

I knitted the rows straight across on a size 7 needle, using intarsia knitting.  I don't like color work much, because of all the skeins of yarn left hanging about during the knitting process, so this was about as complicated I was going to get with color knitting.

This is a seed stitch heart detail, but it didn't show up well in the picture.
If I come across the pattern, I'll definitely post it so I can add it to my Ravelry page as well.  I have another cardi finished but still damp from blocking so I'll post on that next time.

I like the color combinations of gold, red, cream, pink and blues.
The blanket is now destined for a fundraising auction for No. 2's former preschool.  I almost hate to part with it, because the yarn was so expensive and the knitting so tedious -- in addition to not liking color work, I don't like knitting with cotton.  But, my peer group is getting to the point where we're not having very many babies any more.  Plus, it's going to a great cause.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A New Bag For The Autumn

I needed a break from quilt squares, so I decided to make myself a new bag for "back-to-school." This Echino cotton-linen print has been in my stash waiting for just such a purpose.
Pocket detail.
I used a pattern by Keyka Lou, which you can find here.  As with all Keyka Lou patterns I've tried, this one was well-drafted with excellent instructions.  The only deviation from the pattern is that I made a faux-adjustable strap, using only a D-ring.  I couldn't find a one-inch buckle that would feed the thickness of the strap through twice (as required with an adjustable buckle).  Oh, I also included a little clip for keys, but I didn't take a photo of that. 

I'm completely in love with this bird motif.

This bag is actually different than what I normally carry.  I went practical this time, so I chose something not too big that I could wear cross-body. My favorite part of the bag is the curved pocket, with another one inside.  It's perfect for slipping in a cell phone or keys.

You can kinda see the D-ring in this picture.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The (Unfaithful) Farmer's Wife - Week 4

I have not been true to my FWQAL blocks, true, but it's never too late to make amends.  Especially as these two blocks are so pretty.  This first one, Whirlwind (No. 43) was easy peasy.  For once, I didn't have to use the templates, as the math was fairly straightforward.

Block 103. Whirlwind
This next one, however, was very challenging.  I have tried to avoid Y-seams in the past, and now I remember why I made that vow.  I had to rip out those seams on the coral polka-dot after my first attempt.  My triangle points also did not match up as well as I would have liked.  With a total of 44 pieces in this block, some of the seams got kinda bulky, and I just didn't know how to avoid that.  It's not perfect, no, but it's finished.  And I love how the colors came together at the end. For a truly lovely version of this block, look here.  This is what I aspire to...

Block 43. Garden Path

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Spring Ribbed Cardigan by Knitbot

I love this cardigan and am glad I was able to finish it in time for the early fall.  Ironically, we are having our first heatwave of the summer here in Portland with multiple 90-plus degree days in a row. 

The pattern is by Knitbot and is called Spring Ribbed Cardigan.  I used a Jo Sharp alpaca, dk weight yarn frogged from an ill-fated project started way back when.  The pattern is super easy, but I had to make some modifications because I was running out of yarn (shortened sleeve and shallower front band).  I might try to make this cardigan again in a less textured yarn without any modifications so that the rib pattern shows up more too.

I like how the ribbed pattern echos through the sleeves.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Swoon in Heirloom - The Beginnings

It's been a wonderful, busy summer with the boys so I can't really complain.  I just wish there were either more hours in the day, or that I slept less.  I might try working on the second one.  Hopefully with one boy back to school, and the other soon to be (next week), I will have more time for sewing and updating this blog. 

In the meantime, I have been doing a little sewing.  I don't think I need to say much.  "Swoon" is everywhere, and I couldn't resist.  I was waiting for Ruby to come to my LQS, but Heirloom (purchased here) was calling to me.  For me, it's lived up to all the hype.  The blocks are HUGE.  Each block gets a little bit easier, a little more precise.  I love it.

I've also been doing a little knitting.  I just finished a cardi, which is in the blocking stage right now so I'll post later on this week.  Next up, another quick cardi using this:

The biggest ball of yarn ever.