Thursday, July 28, 2016

special delivery!

 I feel like I can take a deep breath and relax after stressing for awhile about creating a new pattern for our Quilt MN event.  At Bear Patch, I am given the opportunity and freedom to create something new each year with this special edition fabric collection.  This year, I decided to think back a couple of years and re-invent a row quilt design I have used before.  This is the result:
Ten by Emmaline Design
 Here's a closeup of one of the sections, including portions of the great border print that I used.

I had a couple of challenges to put together the pieced blocks that I used.  The fish blocks, shown in the picture above, were derived from another block that I found when I was looking for something to create a frame.  It actually included diamond shapes where the orange pieces are, but I was pretty sure that few people would really want to tackle little set-in diamonds with Y-seams!  So I converted it over to triangles and flying geese blocks to get a similar look.  
I think they look like fish fins and tails!

I also had to do a bit of head scratching to create this chain link row!  I had seen something similar somewhere, but needed to make it fit into the dimensions of 8" x 48".  And find a way to end it neatly without a partial link chopped off!  I like the way it looks now!

If you are interested in making this quilt, we can send you a pattern through Bear Patch.  (I don't do any direct retail sales myself.)  Call 651-429-1039 if you would like to request one.

Also, I put together some of the tools and supplies that would be most helpful in making this quilt:

Starting at the upper left and moving clockwise:
a square ruler 8 1/2" or larger
a rotary cutter with a sharp blade
good scissors
Companion Angle ruler
Strip Stick
Clearly Perfect Angles
a cute pincushion with good (not bent) pins
a chacoliner for marking
mechanical pencil
frixion pen
an awl
seam ripper, get a good one like this one from Clover
good thread like Aurifil
a 4 1/2" square ruler
2 1/2" x 6 1/2" ruler
new needles

If you put those all together, you are much more likely to be successful!

I will be posting some other tutorial-like information over on the Bear Patch blog.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

not a lot of knitting

Knitting has not been at the forefront of my fiber life lately, but last weekend I did pick up a project that has been in the works since winter sometime.  

This pattern, Technicolor Scarf, and the yarn (sorry, I can't find the yarn label to tell you what it is, but the pattern recommends Liberty Wool by Classic Elite Yarns) were gifted to me.  By someone who also likes knitting, and knows that I do!  It's a fun present to open with pattern and yarn together.  It's made from 2 colors of yarn, in my project, one is lime green and the other is that purplish-green-blue mix that you see in the lower half of the picture.

The scarf is made with something called a Brioche stitch.  I've linked to a video about it.  Not sure where that name came from, but it has nothing to do with brioche bread.  Maybe because it leaves me hungry for more?  Each row I do makes me want to do the next one?!

Anyway, it's not a difficult pattern to do, just a rectangular scarf.  And the yarn looks and feels great, all soft and cushy.  The stitch pattern repeats over a set of 4 rows, and ends up making a nice reversible-looking scarf.  The stitches are basic:  knit, purl, yarn over and slip.  The yarn seems heavier than worsted weight but not as much as bulky.  I'm no pro at knitting, so some of these yarn variations in size and weight leave me wondering.

The only problem I have encountered with it is correcting mistakes.  Yes, I make mistakes!  Even though I always think I'm doing it right, I sometimes miss something and don't find it until the following row.  This project has 224 stitches in a row.  I have had to "unknit" more than once because unlike some other stitch patterns, this one is a bugger for me to repair as I go.  I get the yarn overs crisscrossed with slips and knits and purls, and it makes a mess.  Carefully removing 224 stitches takes some thought!
Here's an ugly tangled mistake that I thought looked OK on the reverse side.
Not so much.

Last weekend, I knit this while riding in the car to go to Nisswa to visit some friends at their lake home.  It's about 2 1/2 hours away.  On the straight parts I can easily knit without getting nauseous!  But it's not always the best positioning in the seat, a bit cramped, so it's easy to slip up on the pattern.  I now find myself at a mistake that I tried to fix, but it's not a good fix.  So there's some unknitting to do again before I can move on.  It probably didn't help that I also did some of this while we were playing 500 out on the deck at 9PM as it was getting dark!  I think that's where the mistake was made!

So I will have to set aside some time to focus on this in a few days.  Right now I am engrossed with a new quilt pattern that is on a deadline to be done soon, so knitting is on the way back burner!  Someday I will have a finished project to show you!

Monday, July 11, 2016

thread gone wild!

Here's something a little different for your Monday!

Black Books - Favorite Place from DaBrainkilla on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

book report

I am always reading and/or listening to a book whenever I have time.  Recorded books have been a big bonus, I can read while doing other things (like driving!)
I get most of my books through the library on Kindle or digital recordings on iPhone.  Sometimes I do read an actual paper book, too!

I just finished listening to this book--

I recommend it.  It's non-fiction.  If you have read anything by Jon Krakauer before, you know he does a lot of research and study of his subject.  This book involves a lot of police and judicial system elements, which can get kind of long and drawn out to listen to.  When I was impatient to get onto the next chapter, I would remind myself that if it felt prolonged to me over the course of some minutes, it must have felt interminable to the women going through the process.  It is not a happy story.  It really makes me think about a lot of things differently.  Read it and tell me what you think!

Monday, July 4, 2016

summer fun

What I've been doing this summer:

1.  Admiring the beauty of nature!
I only wish these gorgeous flowers could last longer!

2.  Quilting for a customer, a hand-embroidered quilt from a pattern by Crabapple Hill.  There are many beautiful designs from Meg on her website and available at Bear Patch.  
This one is called Vintage Tin.

I took this picture to show the little wireless speaker that I attach to my handlebars to listen to recorded books while I work.  It's called the Buckshot and is made by Outdoor Tech.  The holder is intended for use on bicycle handlebars, but it fits right on my machine handlebars, too!  I get most of my books through the Anoka County Library as digital downloads on my iPhone.  With this little speaker, I can still hear the recording and the sound of the machine at the same time.  I have to have an ear to the machine to pick up on the noises and sounds that alert me to a problem.  Headphones don't work as well for that.

3.  Visiting North Carolina to get some playtime with my little guys!

Happy Jack!

The best selfie I could get of the boys and Brita together.
We had something fun to do every day, and I learned all about the favorite books, videos, foods and anything else you can imagine in the life of a 2 and 4 year old!

4.  Starting a new quilt design for a new pattern.
This is for the Quilt MN fabric and shop hop starting 7/29.  So I need to keep pushing to get this done!  I have it all done in my head, but that doesn't really count!
I'm using a row quilt layout again, with the border print cut and place between rows of pieced blocks.

It's coming along, but there's still a lot of work to be done.  The top row of spool blocks is pretty straightforward, that's a block that's been made many times.  The row of chain blocks was something I pretty much had to invent to get the right size and shape that I wanted.  So that took awhile.  The bottom row of fish blocks was a block design that I found in my EQ program, but had to modify.  It was made with diamonds and Y-seams where the orange points are.  That type of construction is not easy, and I want this pattern to appeal to any quilter who looks at it.  So I re-drafted it to incorporate half-square triangles instead.

I have one more row of different blocks to make, then assemble the rows with borders, get it quilted, bound, photographed.  And write up the directions!  And get them printed and packaged, too.  And kits cut!  But hey, I've got 24 days to do it in!

What are you doing this summer!