Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Got That Last Quilt Block Done

After supper last night I trundled downstairs and finished that last damned paper pieced quilt block.  I will not be making any more blocks with that technique.  I'm definitely more of a random, free sewing girl myself, not one to be stitching small, odd-shaped pieces of fabric together--trim, fold, measure, unfold, pin, and finally stitch.  Annoying.  Can you believe that you sew the pieces directly on the paper pattern and then have to tear the paper off before the put the parts together?

One of the other people on the Craftsy Block Of the Month class site used a website to plan her quilt top so I went over there and plonked mine in, then I noticed that their toolbar had appeared on my screen.  I didn't like that so I straightaway uninstalled it.  I saved it but danged if I can find it.  I'll go look again but I'm not hopeful.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


*Finished Objects.  I've been a good girl, not only making new things but finishing something that's been hanging around for a while.  Longer than I thought when I checked the project file on Ravelry, seeing that I cast this on in October 2009.  Holy bejeebers!  That's way longer ago than I remembered, but a good thing it is that my knitting skills matured in the intervening time so that the pattern made sense when I picked it up again.  That's a very good thing, since I rediscovered this pattern because I've got more yarn I want to knit it up in.  Anyway, it's warm and soft and (I think) gorgeous.  The pattern says to put on a button and an I-cord loop to use as a closer but I've got a curve of shell that I think I'll use as a shawl pin instead.

Yesterday afternoon I cast on another one of those tiny purse keyrings and I finished it this afternoon.  This one went much easier because of all the snafus in the first one.  It's even tinier than the first one.  It's no picnic knitting with that thin, fingering weight yarn on US1 needles (think long toothpicks).  The darned stitches like to slip off the needles especially when I'm binding off for the straps and inevitably I drop one and have the devil of a time picking it back up.  You might ask why I keep knitting them if they're so frustrating and I don't have an answer, but I do have yarn picked out for the other two styles in the pattern.  If any of you think of a practical use for them, let me know.

I've been almost monogamous (well, about as monogamous as I ever am with this kind of stuff) in my dedication to the Hubbard Baby blanket.  I finished mitered square #2 at work on Thursday and cast on #3 right away.  This is a great, simple pattern, perfect TV, waiting room, and knitting night knitting because it doesn't really require much concentration.  As long as I keep repositioning my turquoise "right side" marker so that it's near where I'm working I'm good.  I really like how this is turning out; I hope the grandmother likes it too.

I stopped by the library branch this morning to pick up a couple of books I had reserved and there on the "feature" shelf was this book, Knitmare on Elm Street, sitting there looking at me.  Just looking at the cover made me giggle and when I flipped the pages and saw the pattern for a shrunken head I knew I had to check it out.  There's all kinds of cute Halloween-y patterns in this book.  I may never make any of these things but they sure are fun to look at.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Got A Tiny Bit Of Money?

Then have I got the purse for you.  I found this teeny, tiny purse pattern on Ravelry on Monday and couldn't help myself.  At home that night I found that I do indeed own size US1 straight and DPN needles, and I've got a 2-gallon ziptop bag of Z-Dawg's sock yarn leftovers, so I was toast casting-on-wise.  See, if I'd have had to wait until I bought or borrowed some needles that tiny maybe I'd have come to my senses.  Instead I fished out one of the wee balls of yarn and cast on.  I changed the instructions telling me to make 2 pieces, front & back, and made one piece, not reading ahead to see that I needed to make a couple stitches as shaping.  Next time (and there will be another time; the keyring came in a 20-pack so I have 19 left) I'll be using Double Points so that I can make it without side seams at all and be able to do the shaping stitches between needles instead of trying figure out how to tuck them in the middle and not doing it very well.  Instead of making 6" of 2-stitch I-cord to form into a flower shape, I'm not completely insane (... no comments), I found an old button and put that on it.  I like the way it looks; I don't know what I'll do with more of them but I do like 'em.

I'm also making good progress on the second mitered square of the afghan for AddCinHub's coming grand-baby.  I'm really liking the colors and the knitting.  The yarn's chain-plied so it doesn't split and it's easy to knit with--thanks for giving me such great yarn, Skully, I'm totally buying you lunch next week, no arguments.  None.  I can't hear you.  Lalalalalalala.

It's week #43 of the Maple Tree Scarf and I've taken out the green.  *sigh*  I was tired of green, really I was, but I'm still sad to see it go.  I have some yarn that's variegated brown, gold, and orange--excellent for representing an autumn tree.   Soon I'll be back to merely brown and black with a little lichen-gold mixed in; then there'll be snow to add in.  At least I'm hoping there will be.  Wait!  Don't be mad, I don't want to shovel and snowblow any more than the rest of you but the bay of Green Bay's water level is so low and the farmers need it in the ground, so we need a snowy winter.  Really, we do.

No sewing today, maybe on the weekend.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

New Life Needs Knitted Things

We went down to Racine, south of Milwaukee, to spend a couple days with old friends.  Said friends are going to be grandparents for the first time come January.  You all know what that means, don't you?  That means I get to knit things for AddCinHub's coming grandbaby.  (they say it's going to be girl baby but I never believe it until it arrives and its plumbing confirms it)  I tucked a skein of "baby" colored acrylic yarn into my bag, along with a pattern for a rolled brim hat and the requisite DPNs.  I cast it on Thursday night and finished it Friday afternoon.  It's one of those "worsted weight yarn & big needles" patterns that works up like the wind.  I was so excited to give it to the granny-to-be I forgot to take its picture.  Trust me, it was cute.  (hmm, maybe I have a photo of a preemie hat made of the same yarn... I'll look... not the same pattern, just the same yarn)  It was the first gift too.  *patting myself on the back*

On Wednesday Skully came to knit with me for an hour or so at work.  She was knitting a scarf with a lovely bulky variegated yarn but yanked out the needles and shoved all 3 skeins my way.  I tried to refuse, tried to pay her for the yarn (it wasn't cheap) but she insisted I take it.  I surfed the Pattern pages on Ravelry for something to knit with it and found one for a baby blanket made of mitered squares knit on size 11 needles.  My kind of pattern!  When I got home after work I cast it on and got to work while we drive to Racine.  I worked on it at times over the days we were there and finished the first mitered square on the way home.  I love the colors.  Love them.  I figure I'll say that this is a blankie to stay at Grandma's house.  I'm going to go pick up stitches for the second mitered square right now.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

One, One October Quilt Block

I know I said I was going to sew them both up today but there was all that cutting and measuring and sewing and sewing and ripping and...  I did my best, really, I did.  It took me longer to pick out the fabrics.  I mean, I thought I had them all picked out but then I changed my mind so I had to lay things out, flop them around this way and that, iron out all the folds, then make sure that the pieces were big enough.  The first triangle (there were 8 in all) took forever and even though I was watching the instructional video (evidently I can't count from three to four reliably), so I got to spend time ripping out the tiniest stitches my machine makes without ripping the foundation paper pattern piece.  *sigh*  Finally I managed to get all 8 of them made, got the paper patterns ripped off the backs, got them back into the correct order, and sewed them together.  Naturally the middle's not exactly right but I love the colors and I love the way it looks.  Once again I imagine a grandchild snuggled under it tracing the lines, liking the disconnects better than the ones that are smooth... but then I have a rich fantasy life.

I have one and one half rows to knit on my Lava shawl, bind it off loosely, and then block it.  I can't wait to finish it and show it to you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Done & Gone

(I just realized that those two words are spelled exactly the same except for their first letter but they're not pronounced the same.  Shouldn't they be "dun" and "gun" or "dawn" and "gawn"?  Instead they're "dun" and "gawn."  Hmph.  Well, now they sound like some shyster law firm to me.)  Moving on ("awn" gah! stop me before I hurt myself).

What's done is Bandwagon Afghan block #10.  I have been making these mitered log cabin block off and on since just after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami decimated part of Japan.  Kay of Mason-Dixon Knitting had written this pattern that melds quilting and knitting ideas so well, and sold the pattern sending all proceeds to some relief agency.  I bought the pattern, picked out stash yarn, and got started.  I made the first few blocks fairly quickly but then other patterns and other yarn caught my attention and I put this away for a while.  I worked on block #9 on our vacation and cast on #10 immediately upon finishing it.  I did not, as I'd imagined, apply myself to my knitting and finish more than one or maybe all remaining blocks while we were away those 2 weeks but at least I got one done and one begun.  Only 2 to go!

What's gone is the third start of the Rebelle Wingspan scarf/shawl/doohicky, and it's gone for good.  See, I was knitting along on the first wedge at Friday Night Knitting and I realized that I was over halfway through the first of four skeins and not through the first wedge.  Uh-oh.  Not going to make it.  On Monday I finally remembered that there's an Advanced Search function on Ravelry's Pattern page that lets you say how you want to make it (crochet or knit), how much you want to pay (I chose Free), what you want to make (sweater, baby, hat, accessory, etc. I chose shawl/wrap in the accessory category), yarn weight (the yarn I want to use is Aran), and (this is the vital statistic) how much of said yarn you have (~392 yds.)  See all the green lozenge-shaped boxes across the Ravelry screen shot?  Wingspan didn't make the cut. I got 41 matches,  one of which I already have OTN (on the needles) in another yarn (Colonnade, second from left, first row); one that has been nagging to be picked back up for the last week or so.  I went downstairs and got the Lava Shawl (I knew right where it was) and last night I plunged back in to see if I could keep going (it's lace-ish) or have to rip back to the beginning of the lace part and start over.  Happily my knitting skills have improved over the months it has been set aside.  Yahoo!  Now I have 12 more (ever-increasing) rows to knit, then 4 edge rows before binding off.  THEN I can cast on another shawl using the Rebelle yarn that I want so badly to knit up since it's merino, silk, and mohair and a joy to knit with.  Unless I decide to cast on something else instead.  Like Christmas gifts.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

September Quilt Blocks

Yeah, I know it's October but I was intimidated by the curved piecing of the September ones and having to make my own templates since I wasn't willing to spend $18 on the "official" ones if I didn't know if I'd like making them (and I don't), but I girded my loins the other day and dived in.  I realized only after I'd cut out all the pieces for the Chain block that I'd followed the printed directions--and they're wrong.  It said to add a 1/4" seam allowance on the pieces and shouldn't have.  I thought about tossing those and cutting again, then yesterday I thought "what the heck" and just sewed them up.  Putzy, putzy, putzy.  Sixteen little 3 1/2" squares made from two oppositely curved pieces, each one needing 7 pins to hold the raw edges together... DROVE ME NUTS.  (oh, sorry, I didn't mean to shout.)  Once all the pieces were sewn together and the block was trimmed all nice and square, I liked it.  Still do.  It's not exactly like her example but when has anyone made something exactly right the first time.  I liked it enough cut the pieces last night and tackle sewing the next one today.

The second September block's called Cleopatra's Puzzle and it too is made from those little annoying wedges and L-shaped pieces which curve away from each other until you wrestle them into submission with a raft of pins.  Good thing I'm patient, also have audiobooks to listen to because otherwise I'd be even nutzier than I already am.  I'm not sure that choosing a "one way" design was wise but it's done and it looks okay.  Who's going to notice?  It's not like I beheaded a bunch of birds like I did a few months back.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Made A Shirt

It's been a coon's age (and then some) since I've made a shirt.  I whipped up a few skirts last year, but skirts are easy, even if you put in pockets which I did.  A shirt's something that needs to fit, at least a somewhat.  Happily this pattern calls for a single knit, t-shirt fabric so it's forgiving of my rusty garment sewing skills.  You remember that my roomie at The Clearing, cda, wore a shirt kind of like it, I admired it, and (of course) wanted one for my very own.  Too cheap (frugal's a better word, cheap implies low quality) to look for and buy a ready-made one I found a pattern and some fabric.  I was surprised that t-shirt knits aren't as popular as they were when I was sewing for my kids (over 20 years ago--eek) so it was difficult to find what I wanted and the fabric's no longer as inexpensive as it was (no surprise there, nothing is-- pattern prices have gone from less than $5 to nearly $20, good thing for sales).  Aaaanyway, this is a wordy way of saying that I made a shirt yesterday.  I cut it out at work on Monday and knuckled down yesterday afternoon and evening and I'm wearing it today.  I like it but there are a few mods I want to make.  I love the 3/4 sleeve length but I'd like the body to be a bit shorter, less like a tunic, so that the front & back hems hit mid-hip.  I knew that'd be a problem (I'm short), that's why I bought the solid color knit to make one as a kind of "muslin" (a practice one) to save the striped fabric for the "real" shirt.  That's easily fixed; there's even a "lengthen or shorten" line printed on patterns for just that reason.  And I need to figure out a way to fill in the neckline a bit.  It's wide, not even covering my bra straps, so today I'm wearing a tank under it but I'd like to make one I can wear without that extra layer... or without the underlayer being so obvious.  Research will commence once posting is accomplished (unless pesky customers get in the way).

In the saga of casting on the right number of stitches to make the Rebelle Wingspan I have triumphed.  I cast on 75 sts and knitted a few rows Monday evening while watching the TV.  This morning I laid it next to my previous Wingspan Redux (so named because it got started 3 or 6 times before I was happy with it) and it's exactly right, so now I can just mindlessly knit on it not needing to think.  Thinking, it slows down the work.  (remember to make a note on the project page in Ravelry, Barbara)

Monday, October 1, 2012

I Have Knitting To Show You

The knitting, it seems to come and go lately, and last week it came.  We're swinging into one of the least busy times of year in the dive shop so I had lots of hours to knit on Bandwagon Afghan Block #10 at work.  So many hours that I kind of stressed out my left forearm muscles.  Good thing I have an elastic sleeve support thing-y for when I do that sort of thing to myself.

After a summer of unrelenting shades of green knitted into my Maple Tree Scarf, it was time to snip the latest green yarn and tie in a green/orange/burgundy/purple variegated skein remnant.  The sock yarn that I've been using for about the last month has a light avocado, orange, and purple in it so I've been using that to represent the colors of the first leaves that turned.  Now the color change has gone too far so it's time to let green begin to fade out of the scarf.  I unrolled the whole thing this morning and took a picture of it.  It's long, very long.  I wonder how I'm going to wear it.  I wonder how I'm going to take a picture of it all.  Maybe I can make a mosaic photo like they do when they put together a shipwreck picture.  It's week #41, which means I have 11 more weeks to go, so about 77 more garter ridges before I bind off on New Year's Eve.  I think I'm going to be glad to be finished with this thing.

I gave into an urge on Friday and cast on a Wingspan with the wool/silk/mohair yarn I bought at Rebelle the last time we were in Lexington.  Following the notes I made last time I cast on the full 99 stitches and got started.  Too big.  So on Saturday morning early I frogged what I'd knitted at Friday Night Knitting and cast on 90 stitches.  I got a few rows done while watching TV Saturday night and last night.  This morning before the photo shoot I measured what I have against the previous Wingspan I made to discover that the Rebelle Wingspan wedges are going to be twice as big as the Redux.  I wouldn't mind except I have only 4 skeins of the yarn, no one is selling any of this color out of their stashes in Ravelry and I don't really want to buy more yarn anyway.  So that means I'll be frogging this second effort and scaling back to 75 stitches (needs a multiple of 3) which is halfway between the first shawl's 60 stitches and the too-long 90 stitches I currently have.  Time will tell.  I do love this yarn.  Love the colors, love the size of it, love how it feels.  Knits up nice too.  It's going to look lovely--if I can ever get the stitch count right.  *sigh*  I saw one in the gallery of Wingspans on Ravelry knitted in black & white like this and the knitter used red for the finishing rows of garter across the top.  Oooh, tempting.  I must have some red yarn I can use for that.  (don't get too far ahead of yourself, Barbara, just simmer down and enjoy the journey)