Monday, February 8, 2016

Groundhogs, Wheels and Bowls

Last Monday the American Girl Knitters Ravelry group started its February knit along (KAL).


We were given a discount on any pattern by Una Hendry (from lots of choices) and had to finish one item from any of the patterns, post in the KAL thread and link to the KAL from our Ravelry page for the project.
I wanted to use leftovers and found Stroll sock yarn among my scraps in “White,” “Flagstone Heather” and “Rabbit Heather.” These last two are tweed. They were left over from three pairs of socks. It’s the middle of winter here, so I couldn’t see a sun dress or baby doll PJs, so I picked this one of the three ski sets. 
I made the ski pants from the “Rabbit Heather” first, because there seemed to be more of it, and I wanted to make them all one color. Dolly is holding her foot up so you can see the stirrup that goes under the foot.

After finishing the body of the ski sweater and as I was making the first sleeve, I realized I might run out of the “Flagstone Heather.” I decided to stop the first sleeve at that point and knit the second sleeve using the other end of the yarn. I got through the second pattern row at the shoulder before I ran out. I could have substituted one of the other colors without too much difficulty by altering the pattern slightly, but I had a skein of Essential sock yarn in “Ash,” which is pretty close to the “Flagstone Heather,” although not tweed. I substituted this for “Flagstone Heather” in the last two pattern rows on the sleeves. Some of it disappears into the seam at the shoulder anyway, so it wasn’t noticeable.


I used the leftover “Rabbit Heather” as the main color for the hat and used the Essential “Ash” along with the Stroll “White” for the contrast colors. Also not noticeable.


Part of the fun is the staging. As I did with the January KAL project, I used the chair and ottoman I made last month and the iPad for a roaring fire.


I added some “popcorn,” crushed styrofoam peanuts (an idea I found on Pinterest) and a cup of cocoa, with “marshmallows,” (also styrofoam peanuts, a couple of pieces that turned out the right shape). The perfect setting for après-ski.
I still have some things I need to make for Dolly before I put her aside to finish my hand-quilting and other projects.
The Spin Along started Friday and is still going on. I started out with this lovely fiber from Christina “Aloha Blu.”
We started Friday at noon. I chose to start with the two ounces of Targhee “Saturated Spring.” As of Sunday evening, after the bowl game, I had this much done with still about 45 minutes worth of spinning left to finish the 2 oz. bump of fiber.


If you’re reading this Monday morning, I am still spinning away. I plan on Navajo-plying, also called “chain plying,” because it’s similar to making a crochet chain. The loops are much bigger, and you make them as you spin in the opposite direction from the direction you spun the “singles,” which is what you call the individual ply.
Here in the high mountains, the sun shone brightly on Groundhog Day. I know that’s supposed to mean six more weeks of winter, but I wonder if it means ONLY six more weeks. That would turn out to be a short winter for us. To keep warm (even in the house it’s cold) the pups wear their sweaters and soak up the sun when they can.
Rocky’s sweater is made from left over Swish in “Lava Heather” with some “Squirrel Heather” and “Dove Heather” for contrast. Sunny’s is also made from “Lava Heather” and “Dove Heather,” but with “Dusk” as the other contrast color.


Even after a couple of warmer days (high 30s) we still have about three feet of snow on our roof.
Common Threads was cancelled because we had a blizzard, which creates a parking problem, but some of us managed to visit Joanie on Friday. Quilters: Vintage Stitchers meets again this coming Thursday, so there’s some hope for some quilting eye candy next week.
What's on my needles:  Still the “Time for Tea” party dress for Dolly. The Trickle Socks, waiting.
What's on my Featherweight: Still doll socks, tights and undies. Will start on Regency outfit for Dolly soon.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz, his latest novel, which came out in December. I really enjoyed it and think it’s his best so far. Then listened to Her own Devices by Shelley Adina. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. I never thought Steampunk would appeal to me, but it does. Now listening to From a High Tower by Mercedes Lackey. Good so far. Still reading A View to Die For by Richard Houston.
What's in my wine glass: Crane Lake Malbec, one of our favorites.
What's my tip of the week: If you know who won the Superbowl, don’t tell anyone the result unless they indicate that they already know. They may have recorded the game.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Grandmother's House

The Little Red Riding Hood costume is finished:

Here’s the back.


Another view:


The cape pattern is Kit's Christmas Cape by Cathy Bird with adaptations, mostly for length. The yarn is City Tweed HW in “Romance.” You can get more information on my Ravelry page for the project.
I’ve always seen Little Red Riding Hood in a dirndl, although versions the fairy tale appeared in many European countries. I couldn’t find a dirndl pattern I liked, so I had to improvise from a free overall pattern for Pocket Dolls (of all things) and the blouse from The Best Doll Clothes Book by Joan Hinds, but without the collar. For the skirt and apron, I just cut a rectangle (WOF x 11” for the skirt, 19” x a little shorter than the skirt rectangle for the apron). After hemming I sewed three lines of basting at the top of each on the right side and gathered by pulling the bobbin threads. I didn’t remove the threads after sewing the bodice and sash on, but tied them together and cut them off short, so the gathers show on the right side. The bodice opens in front, with an overlap and a placket opening in the skirt.


The dress fabric came from Connecting Threads and was a clearance fabric that seems to be no longer available. The apron fabric was a fat quarter from a quilt shop. The apron and blouse fabrics came from some long-forgotten quilt shops.
I haven’t done the staging for this project yet, but I already have the basket and the wolf. I’m waiting until I can get this doll. I’m not sure the dirndl will fit, because I haven’t been able to find her measurements, but there's some room in the waist. If It doesn’t fit, I’ll just have to make another one. Oh, darn!
I plan to make a Regency costume for Dolly, so she won’t have to stand there nekkid after I send the clothes to Miss Daphne for her birthday.
I needed a project for Dolly while waiting for the Ravelry Forum “American Girl Knitters” February KAL to start on Monday and the Spin Along on Friday. Soooo…I had to CO this dress for her. It’s supposed to be a flower girl dress, but I think it would be a nice Easter outfit. I'm using Stroll in "White" for the contrast color and the main color is Stroll Tweed in "Bare" that I dyed pink with Kool-Aid.
Vintage Stitchers met at Diane’s on Thursday. She had this quilt mounted on the wall in her stairway. She told us all to take a look when we used the powder room.


Brenda is working on this flannel/wool project she had started a long time ago.


It's "Primitive Gatherings" from A Primitive Garden. (No, it isn't upside-down; the plants are hanging.)  Julie is working on this sampler.


I couldn’t find a link for it. Maybe it’s too new. However, I did find this link to a kit Julie bought from the same company, but hasn't started yet.
She participated in a workshop during a quilt retreat recently, where they all had to bring strips of cloth in different sizes. They passed out the strips, and each person took some strips out to sew together. Then they passed what they had sewn to the next person, sort of like musical chairs, except that no one was left out. She ended up with this:


Julie has finished her Cathedral Windows pillow cover.


She has the binding on her flannel/wool felt wall hanging.


Julie also took a class at the quilt retreat where they made several different kinds of blocks. This is a something-halo. (I’ve forgotten the rest of the name.)


I think this is a dahlia.


This flower will be appliquéd onto a background.

She also brought us an old quilt top from the 1950s with a plain acid-green background. It belongs to someone else, so I didn't take a photo. She wanted to finish it, but first she needed to see if she could find the green in a quilt shop. It had a border along one side. Either she needed to remove the border or match the green and finish the border on all sides. I came across her after the meeting at a nearby quilt shop, and she had found just the right thing. It's a very unusual color. She's going to finish the quilt, quilt it and give it back. What a nice friend!
Remember those hexagons Rebecca decided to appliqué onto a background? She has lots of this great fabric to use.


Barbara has finished two identical Cactus Flower wall hangings.


Marilyn made this table runner to replace the one she gave away to Rebecca:


...and this Sparkling Gemstones quilt from Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott. (You may remember that several of the members, including moi, also made this quilt.)


Our hostess has finished this poncho in City Tweed DK. She made it according to the directions, but left off the optional cowl collar. She made it according to the directions, but left off the optional cowl collar. That makes her the third I know person to make this project.


Sundance is over. I had a great time, serving four shifts. Got to rub elbows with a few celebs and saw a few great films. I also got some knitting done while waiting for duty and guarding a door. This cold chap gave me an icy stare as I was leaving. I guess the people in the wait-list line got bored. 

He was almost gone by Saturday. It rained down in town on Friday night, although it snowed at our place. I think he melted because someone reminded him to "stay hydrated" because of the elevation, and he overdid it in the rain.
The snow continues to fall. And fall. [Sigh!]
Spinners, don’t forget, we’re having a Spin Along on the Knitting Community if anyone wants to join in.
Where? Right here, in the Knitting Community Spin Along.
When? Noon next Friday, February 5 until noon on Monday, February 8, 2016, in whatever time zone you're in.
Equipment: Spindle or wheel. (If you want to use the pencil method to spin, that's OK, too.)
Materials: Any spinable fiber. (Dryer lint, anyone?)
No prizes, no pressure, just spinning together and sharing what we’re doing.
What's on my needles:  “Time for Tea” party dress for Dolly. The Trickle Socks, waiting.
What's on my Featherweight: Doll socks, tights and undies.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished The Final Empire by Bandon Sanderson. I really enjoyed this one. I expect to read more by this author. Then I read Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen and narrated by Katherine Kellgren, who also narrated the “Bloody Jack” series. (I checked after I finished the book. One of the accents she had to reproduce rang a bell.) Speaking of bell, I’m now listening to Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz, his latest novel, which came out in December.  Finished The Other Harlow Girl by Lynn Messina on the Kindle app. It was entertaining, but sometimes you feel like the people in it are from today, and they got sent back in time. Now reading A View to Die For by Richard Houston. Not too far along yet, but it seems interesting and occasionally funny.
What's in my wine glass: Trapiche Malbec, 2014. Lovely.
What's my tip of the week: If you visit a location with a high elevation, do as Mr. Sundance Snowman did: avoid exercise, get plenty of rest, limit alcohol and stay hydrated until you get acclimated to avoid altitude (elevation) sickness. How long this takes will depend on your fitness level and the elevation where you live.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Crossing Threads

Dolly's bed is finished:

I used a Sterilite Underbed Box 28 Qt., Model #1846 DH found at Walmart for $4.38. To keep the mattress from sinking into the depression when Dolly lies down, I cut a piece of an old political sign the same size as the mattress, which is 16 X 23”, 1” foam (left over from Dolly’s chair), and put it in the mattress cover at the base of the foam. I put the seam of the mattress cover in the middle, so it wouldn’t show. Dolly doesn’t sink in, but the mattress is still nice and soft, so she can sleep well.
The dust ruffle is four 7" WOF strips of quilting fabric sewn together and hemmed 1/4" and an additional 1/4", gathered at the top and sewn with a 1/4” seam to a piece of muslin cut the shape of the lid of the storage box.
The “fitted” bottom sheet was a simple sack, similar to a pillow case, as I showed in last week’s blog post. I used some nice quilting fabric to trim the top sheet and pillow case. The blanket is a piece of fleece, cut to size and trimmed with satin doubled over (like quilt binding) and zig-zagged along the loose edge, to replicate the look of a real blanket.


The quilt was the last item to finish:


It’s a simple 9-patch with sashing. I used some fabrics from my stash collected when a quilting buddy brought out some fabric sample books given her by a relative who was a fabric distributor. I thought Daphne might like the bright colors, which are not really my style. I’m not a machine-quilter, and I don't have a walking foot for my Featherweight, but this project was small enough I decided to have a go. I sewed in the same direction for each vertical line of stitching, starting with the middle, with pins to hold the three layers in place. Then I sewed all the horizontal lines of stitching, also starting with the middle line of stitching and always sewing in the same direction. When I finished, I pulled the top threads through to the back of the quilt, tied it together with the bobbin thread and used a needle to thread them through to the inside of the quilt. 
So Dolly didn't need to sleep in her clothes, I sewed some pajama bottoms and knitted a camisole top.


…and a robe. I used McCall's 2506, now out-of-print, for the pajama bottoms and the robe. Sewing the fleece was a job. I had to use a lot more pins than usual when setting in the sleeves. The fleece kept sliding to the side.


The shopping ensemble is finally finished. You may remember (or not) that I started this outfit right after I bought all the yarn for it and the Valentine’s Day ensemble, beginning with the skirt. January 1st the KAL started, so I made the top that went with that outfit, so Dolly could wear it with the finished skirt. Dolly gradually changed clothes as the other items were finished. The white top goes very well with both outfits.


A bonnet pattern was given for free to each person who completed the KAL. I had yarn left from the shopping ensemble skirt and the same yarn from some socks I made a few years ago, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.


Here’s the complete outfit, including Dolly's new shoes, roomy enough to get on over her socks without too much effort:

Common Threads met at Karan’s on Thursday. Margareth brought her new Jakob doll wearing the outfit she made for him.


Margareth is expecting her first grandchild, a boy, so this doll will be for him to play with when he visits her. She has plenty of time to outfit him completely. She also showed us this diaper bag she made. The base is a changing mat that comes out, and the straps can be positioned to fit over one shoulder or used as a backpack.


The pattern is Simplicity 3031os.


Sundance has started. I had my first shift on Friday. Before my first shift, I met up with fellow fiber fan and Aloha Blu Fiber Shoppe owner, along with her husband.

She brought me this lovely swag:

That will probably be the only swag I get from Sundance this year, but you never know. It was undoubtedly the best, though. You can only use so many oversized T-shirts.

Spinners, don’t forget, we’re having a Spin Along on the Knitting Community if anyone wants to join in.
Where? Right here, in the Knitting Community Spin Along.
When? Noon on Friday, February 5 - noon on Monday, February 8, 2016, in whatever time zone you're in.
Equipment: Spindle or wheel. (If you want to use the pencil method to spin, that's OK, too.)
Materials: Any spinable fiber. (Dryer lint, anyone?)
No prizes, no pressure, just spinning together and sharing what we’re doing.

What's on my needles:  A cape for Dolly. The Trickle Socks, waiting.
What's on my Featherweight: Finished Dolly’s quilt. Still a few things for make for the doll.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Still listening to The Final Empire by Bandon Sanderson. Got a special deal on it, along with the next book in the series. Still reading The Other Harlow Girl by Lynn Messina on the Kindle app.
What's in my wine glass: Crane Lake Malbec, a good wine for the price.
What's my tip of the week: I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, but here's a tip I've shared with my local quilt guild. It always surprises me that more people don't know about this, so I'm sharing it here.
To reduce bulk where four or more seams come together, you can often fan them out in opposite directions. You have to take out a few stitches in the seam allowance. (See photo.) These seams are sewn over, so the seam doesn’t become weaker when you do this. This is especially useful when working on miniature quilts, smaller-scale quilts, or quilts that have very small pieces.
Here is a 9-patch block (five of one fabric and four of another fabric sewn together in alternating order) from the doll quilt. The intersections on the lower part of the block have been "treated." The intersections on the upper part show the stitches that are being removed. I use an awl, but a seam ripper (sharp side away from the thread) may also be used to undo the threads from the seam allowance.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mostly Beds

Vintage Stitchers is meeting again after the holidays.


I took my finished Kaleidoscope quilt top to lay out on Janet’s lovely big floor. Most of the fabrics for this quilt are from Connecting Threads Kaleidoscope line, but a few from my stash thrown in. The background fabric is Kona Snow. I adapted the pattern "Fresh" from "Simply Retro with Camille Roskelley: Fresh Quilts from Classic Blocks.” I just changed the block to eliminate most of the extra seams. I also matched up the fabrics in each block, so there are only four different fabrics in each block plus the background fabric.
Janet is making the same quilt, but according to the directions in the book, with the extra seams and the scrappy look.


Janet has finished this Christmas quilt top, one she has been working on for several years. It was a BOM from Thimbles and Threads in Draper.


She also showed us this Posy quilt top.


Barbara also has finished a BOM quilt top.


When she was choosing fabric for the alternate blocks and border, another customer in the store kept telling her she had to use brown. We think the red is just the thing. In quilting or knitting, “one man’s meat,” as they say. Some people like meat, and some are vegetarian. There are no rules for color, only suggestions to use if you can’t come up with what you like on your own. It's "play," after all.
Marilyn had finished this French Braid top for a table runner. It doesn’t go with her decor, but it does go with Rebecca’s, so Marilyn gave it to Rebecca to finish.


Julie was working on this machine-pieced Cathedral Windows piece for a pillow.


She and her daughter bought a layer cake jointly. Julie liked these fabrics, and her daughter liked some of the other fabrics, mostly black patterns, so they shared it.
Julie, Janet and Carol, from Common Threads, have all been taking the Stitching Society class in wool and flannel appliqué at Davidene’s. Julie has finished this piece:


Janet has finished more hexagons for the class:


Barbara had seen Julie’s needle case for the class and copied it:


Carol has tons of yellow and grey fabrics left over from her foray into that colorway, so she’s making a Dresden Strip quilt:


Rebecca is going to appliqué these Kaffe fabric hexagon patterns onto a background.


I also used Janet’s nice big floor to get a photo of my Crystal Stars (aka “Ocular Migraine”). The direction of the light source really shows off Julie's lovely quilting.


This quilt was one I designed after Connecting Threads “Sumptuous,” which was available in a kit but not the pattern alone. I eliminated a lot of the seams for it, too, as described in this previous blog of mine.
Remember the Kitty Julie made for her granddaughter for Christmas? She now has a nightgown.


The Kitty is from Little Cotton Rabbits. They also have a bunny, a fox, an elephant, a mouse and a monkey. You can pick a girl or a boy.
Julie improvised this dress.


Here's another dress.


The monkey is for Julie’s younger granddaughter.


Meanwhile, Dolly’s adventures continue. Remember that extra skein of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino left over from the Valentine outfit I couldn’t bring myself to take back to Wasatch & Wool? The planned cardigan turned out nicely.

Lana on Quilt With Us told me about making a bed for 18” dolls using a plastic tote, and offered to loan me the pattern. I went online and found instructions here. The mattress goes on top of the lid, and the doll’s clothes and accessories can be stored inside.
O. M. G.! Lana opened up another rabbit hole for me, and down I went. Of course, I took liberties with the instructions. It’s my way. I mentioned it in the American Girl Knitters group on Ravelry, and inspired Shaggytoby to make the project, too. We have been bouncing ideas off each other.
I used a Sterilite Underbed Box 28 Qt., Model #1846 DH found at Walmart for $4.38. To keep the mattress from sinking into the depression when Dolly lies down, I cut a piece of an old political sign the same size as the mattress, which is 16 X 23”, 1” foam (left over from Dolly’s chair), and put it in the under the foam in mattress cover at the base. I put the seam in the middle at the bottom, so it wouldn’t show. Dolly doesn’t sink in, but the mattress is still nice and soft, so she can sleep well.
The dust ruffle is four 7" WOF strips of quilting fabric sewn together and hemmed 1/4" and an additional 1/4", gathered at the top and sewn with a 1/4” seam to a piece of muslin cut the shape of the lid of the storage box.
The bedding for Dolly’s bed is coming along. The pillow and the sheets are done.


Dolly is showing you how I made the “fitted” bottom sheet like a pillow case. It took a little more fabric, but no elastic (which I’ll be needing for Dolly’s dresses) and the sheet will stay “tucked in” while she sleeps. All bottom sheets would be made this way, I think, if we could lift our mattresses as easily as we can lift Dolly’s. So far, I haven't bought anything new for this project except for the container. Everything else was in my stash or left over from other projects.
The body of Dolly’s crossover sweater is blocking. I found my sewing “ham” perfect for the job.

Now working on the second sleeve.

Spinners, don’t forget, we’re having a Spin Along on the Knitting Community if anyone wants to join in.
Where? Right here, in the Knitting Community Spin Along.
When? Noon on Friday, February 5 - noon on Monday, February 8, 2016, in whatever time zone you're in.
Equipment: Spindle or wheel. (If you want to use the pencil method to spin, that's OK, too.)
Materials: Any spinable fiber. (Dryer lint, anyone?)
No prizes, no pressure, just spinning together and sharing what we’re doing.

What's on my needles:  Dolly’s Crossover Cardigan for “Dolly’s Out for Shopping” outfit. The Trickle Socks, waiting.
What's on my Featherweight: Kaleidoscope Quilt top finished. Now working on bedding for Dolly’s bed.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley, from Audible. Just started listening to The Final Empire by Bandon Sanderson. Got a special deal on it, along with the next book in the series. Still reading The Other Harlow Girl by Lynn Messina on the Kindle app.
What's in my wine glass: Twisted Old Vine Zinfandel 2013, in honor of one of DDIL2’s favorite yarn shops, Twisted, in Portland, Oregon.
What's my tip of the week: If you’re breaking eggs, and a bit of eggshell gets into the eggs, you can use the shell already in your hand to remove it. Nothing cuts through raw egg like eggshell. I like to remove eggs from the carton from the outside in (the last eggs on each end first), to keep the carton balanced. If the carton is at all flimsy, one end can tip, spilling an egg or two onto the floor.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.