Monday, July 28, 2014

A Look Back, Part I: Knitting

While I'm on vacation, I thought I would report on some knitting projects I've made over the years, before I started my blog. For example, this is the first sweater I made for Charlie (my DH). 
As long as I've known him, he's been an avid skier. (It's funny; he didn't look like this when I married him. He's still pretty cute, for an old guy, though.) The pattern is from "Hand Knits for Men in Bear Brand and Fleisher Yarns, vol. 56. Bear Brand "Shetland and Wool" Purchased at Menlo Yarn Shop in San Diego, 1964.
I made this sweater for him in 1965. I wonder if that what why he proposed.
I made this one for myself in 1965. I was tired of the motifs I used for the previous sweater, so I used the same pattern but designed my own motifs.
This Fair Isle vest was completed in 1988 using wool yarn purchased in London in 1988. The pattern is "Katie's Fair Isle" from The Traditional Sweater Book by Madeline Weston, 1986. It's also found in her new book, Country Weekend Knits.
I found the yarn for this in Pitlochry, Scotland, in 1988, and bought enough for this coat and the afghan. It was hand-spun and cheap! The pattern is from Wendy #588 "Outdoor Arans", #1, Ladies Cardigan, shown on the cover, only I exchanged the chain cable for wishbone cable. I made it super-long just because.
Here's the Aran afghan from the hand-spun yarn I purchased in Pitlochry. I finished it in 1989 in California. Pattern is "Killarney," from the Spinnerin book, Fisherman Afghans, 1972.
Here's the intarsia cat pullover I made for our daughter in 1989 from Cat Knits by Melinda Coss. the mice are 3D, and each one has his own pocket. Besides the one you can see, there is one on the sleeve and one on the back.
This Fair Isle card vest I completed in 1989 using yarn purchased in London in 1988. The pattern is "Diamond Fair Isle" from The Traditional Sweater Book by Madeline Weston, 1986.
This Kaffe Fassett's "Carpet Pattern," made with leftover yarns and sale bin finds, using intarsia. It's from his Glorious Knitting, 1985. I also made the coat in that chapter in the book.
Persian Poppy Waistcoat from Kaffe Fassett at the V & A. Finished in 1989. Used miscellaneous bits and pieces of yarn for this project.
Sunbeam’s 1157, Aran jacket. I used an acrylic yarn, which I had on hand. I made this while we were living in Indonesia for a holiday trip to New Zealand. The photo was taken during a day cruise on the Milford Sound on the west coast of South Island. Matching hat pattern was not included in the pamphlet.
Cable-down Raglan from Interweave Knits Spring 2007. Made from Countrywide Windsor 8 ply D.K. from New Zealand, 100% wool. Completed in time for Easter, 2007.
There are more, but I hope you'll find something here that inspires you to knit a sweater for yourself or others. Next week I'll show some of my older quilts.
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, July 21, 2014

Love and Generosity

Wow! What a week! I always have to start with a photo, so here's Kay's rug:
She based this on a photo she took while on a cruise with her late husband. He helped her with suggestions and was a major contributor to keeping her interested in the project. It has been languishing since he passed away, but we're pretty sure she will eventually be able to finish it with fond memories. She's going to try again after a cruise she's taking by herself.
Margareth's been busy with her loom. Here's one table runner:
And another one:
Thursday was a busy day! Besides Common Threads in the morning, the new quilt guild met at Davidene's in the evening. I was blown away by receiving nine blocks for the Habitat for Humanity quilt! Here they all are (including the ones already received), in no particular order:
I'm still expecting to get a few more. This is one more example of how generous quilters are.
We shared tips and tricks, and I learned a few new things. Even though some of the tips I already knew about, it's always good to be reminded.
Then we had show-and-tell. I had sent the baby quilt off already, so I only had the photos on my iPad to show. Here are some of the quilts we got to see in person. A block exchange that was all houses:

Paper-pieced hearts, part of a block exchange:
OMG, I love this quilt! Dianne made this for her DDIL, but had to change the colors somewhat after buying the fabric. She did it with the help of some bleach and some tea. (Long story, but if I thought I could get away with it, and wouldn't feel incredibly guilty, I would steal this one. I love these colors, and the workmanship is superb!)
Dianne also showed us this embroidered quilt:
We also saw this beautiful July quilt. (Sorry, I'm still learning people's names):
This one was was supposed to be a Lone Star, but the quilter, Jill, had some "issues" with it, so she reworked the pattern and named it "Broken Pie Chart."
Sometimes life gives you lemons. I think it's a wonderful quilt!
Someone brought some adorable baby sweaters, made for a charity she helps.
Davidene, who owns the shop where we meet, is incredibly generous with her resources. For example: I wanted to make a label for Johan's baby quilt and sew it on when we get to his place. (The quilt has gone on before us for the Baby "Sprinkle" tonight.) Unfortunately, the ink-jet printer we need to use has stopped working. (These appliances always seem to have a shelf life that's a lot shorter than ours.) Since I'm short of time with all the stuff going on, I thought I would buy the fabric printer sheets and have the copy store print the label for us. Davidene offered her printer AND to break up a package so I only had to pay for one! I elected to buy the whole package, since I'll need to make a label for the Habitat quilt anyway. When I calculated the cost per label, it seemed like a bargain, compared with the work involved in preparing and printing my own. The label turned out great! We included Johan's first photo and the photo of his Finnish great-great-grandfather, after whom he was named.
Speaking of little Johan, he's home and doing well. We're grateful that he was near medical attention, though, because babies who arrive "underdone" often have issues. His were minimal, but a lot of precautions were taken, and he got great care. He resembles his brother a lot at the same age. He's longer-waisted and has bigger hands with very long fingers. It will be fun to see how he grows into his own individual self. Here he is meeting his big brother:

We'll be meeting Johan in person in just a few days. I've been packing and cooking, in preparation for our trip. DH will bring the trailer to the house after his dentist appointment tomorrow. Then we'll hit the road on Thursday, the pups in the back in their car seats, and I'll be riding shotgun surrounded by my fiber fun. Not much to do, riding shotgun, except keep the audiobook running and appliqué or knit, unless we're attacked by bandits and I have to use my knitting needles and appliqué thread for unintended purposes.
I love spending time with family!
What's on my needles: Cat Bordhi's "Bavarian Twisted Stitch" socks from her book, Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles and some plain vanilla socks for mindlessness.
What's on my Featherweight: Back to Delectable Pathways, still working on the hand appliqué for the last panel. Most of the leaves done. Planning to get the flowers done while we're gone. Wish me luck!
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Still listening to Dean Koontz's The City. It has been a busy week, so I haven't had as much time. Still reading Black Diamond Death by Cheryl Bradshaw from Book Bub on the iBooks app. Only at bedtime. It's an interesting story, but I never go through an eBook as fast as an audiobook. Also watching the video lessons to my Craftsy class, "Mastering Foundation Paper Piecing" with Carol Doak. It's so nice to be able to watch a class offline. You don't need internet (except to download) and it takes less power to watch offline. Great for traveling, if you have enough memory/storage on your device.
What's my app of the week: It has to be the Messages app. With phone reception not strong in the hospital, especially NICU, we were getting most of our information from text messages. An added bonus: All those wonderful photos we got of Johan's adventures during his first week in the world were delivered by text. What a joy, when we couldn't be there in person!
What's in my wine glass: Bolla Romagne Sangiovese 2012. Another big bottle. (See a trend?)
What's my tip of the week: When you have a gazillion stitches to cast on using long-tail CO, and you're afraid you'll run out of "tail" before you get to the end, many people elect to use a different CO. However, if you have a center-pull ball or at least  two balls of the yarn you're casting on with, you can tie two separate strands together, leaving just a little tail of both. Using both strands, attach a slip knot to the right needle. Then, using one strand as the "tail" and the other as the working yarn, CO as usual, not counting the slip knot. When you finish your first row/round, slip the slip knot off. Don't knit it. You will have two extra tails to weave in at the end, a small price to pay for not having to start over five sts away from the 456 you need!

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, July 14, 2014

Baby Storms the Bastille..and Arrives Early!

The stork decided that Johan Aro Stuart needed to try out his BSJ and his Horse Baby Quilt sooner than scheduled. He arrived Saturday night, four weeks early.
Even though little Johan is pre-term, he is still a good size, 6 lbs 6 oz and 18" long. Other than some breathing problems associated with being a little "underdone" and requiring medical intervention, he is doing well, as is Mom. We're waiting to find out when he will be released from the hospital before we decide when we can leave for Oregon. His parents named him after his great-great-grandfather, who was a famous Finnish entomologist and teacher. (Google: Johan Emil Aro.)
The week didn't start out so exciting, though, but still interesting enough. Some of my quilting buddies and I are working on a quilt for Habitat for Humanity, for a silent auction. Each block will be a house. Here's mine.
Vintage Stitchers members have agreed to make some blocks. Barbara finished hers already, based on one of the appliqué blocks in Home Sweet Home by Barb Adams and Alma Allen, and brought it to last week's meeting at Ellen's.
Marilyn also made a block, this one with machine-embroidered flowers:
Another quilting group is making sensory quilts for Alzheimer's patients. Marilyn has made two for that effort and brought them to show us:

Julie has been working on this quilt for a family member.

Ellen showed us her Mariner's Compass, which she pieced several years ago during a paper-piecing class using Carol Doak's techniques.

 In knitting news, I finished Johan's BSJ. I edged the front, bottom and neck edges with single crochet worked from the inside. Here it is blocking:

Here's the finished BSJ:

The Baby Horse Quilt for Johan came back from Julie, all quilted:

Here's a closeup of the center block after washing and drying:

Finally, a shot of the baby quilt taken during the daytime, showing the quilting.
Now that we know the baby's birthdate and name, I can make a label. The quilt is based on "Twin Stars" from Pam and Nicky Lintott's book Jelly Roll Quilts.
Sunny and I needed to be reevaluated for Therapy Animals of Utah, and that happened Thursday evening. As usual, Sunny made me look good. We (Sunny and I) are semiretired, which means we'll participate in special events and occasional visitations that don't take so much effort or driving.
Happy Bastille Day, everyone. Have some wine and a baguette!

What's on my needles: Cat Bordhi's "Bavarian Twisted Stitch" socks from her book, Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles and getting back to my Mr. Foster.
What's on my Featherweight: Back to Delectable Pathways, still working on the hand appliqué for the last panel. Several more leaves done.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished listening to Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey, one of the 100 Kingdoms series (Not Elemental Masters, as I reported last week). Now listening to Dean Koontz's The City. Still reading Black Diamond Death by Cheryl Bradshaw from Book Bub on the iBooks app.
What's my app of the week: I have to go back to Craftsy. I just finished the Craftsy class "Sweater Surgery" taught by Carol Feller. There are many ways to alter your knitting after the fact, as well as things you can do to alter a pattern. This was a great class, and I can recommend it to anyone who might want to do alterations at any stage of the knitting process.
What's in my wine glass: Trader Joe's Zinfandel 2012. Tasty and good value.
What's my tip of the week: When sewing binding on by machine, the top layer tends to more forward in relation to the bottom layer. You can avoid much of this by pulling slightly on the binding while sewing, if you have cut your strips across the width of fabric. It will stretch the fabric slightly, so the amount of stretch on the two layers will be closer to the same.

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, July 7, 2014

She Completes Me

Mary Tudor is finished!



It was 68 days from start to finish, and I was obsessed. Nothing got in my way! She and I had some adventures along the way, though, some of them during the last week of construction.
I don't know what happened, but my math was off for the sleeves, and they came out too long:


With knitting, many things can be fixed without frogging your project. Here's how I fixed the sleeves: First I picked up the sts right about where I wanted the cuff to start.


While doing the first sleeve, I discovered it wasn't as easy to come up with useable sts when there are two colors in a round. After ending up in a real mess, I finally got the cuff knit and everything was OK, but I lost one round of sts.  I used what I learned on the second sleeve, which went much faster. This time I picked up the sts where I wanted, as before, but instead of taking out the row below, I knit one round, then removed a round of sts two rounds below, leaving the extra round until I made sure my sts were stable and I wasn't going to pull out sts I needed:


Then I knit the cuff, following the chart from the top down.

I needed a single button and thought I would pick it up on the way back from the veterinarian’s office on Saturday. When I got to the yarn shop, though, it was 100 degrees in the shade, and even with the windows and sun roof open and parked in the shade, I didn’t want to leave the pups more than five minutes. I popped my head in the door, saw there was only one employee winding yarn and four people waiting, so I left and went home. Going through the box of buttons my DBIL had given me after his wife died, I found this great gem:

It was meant to be! After sewing the button in place, I trimmed the steeks and sewed them down with a row of cross stitches.
Even here in the mountains of Utah, it's getting too warm to do too much heavy knitting. I promise my quilting readers more quilting next week...but first I have to clean up my studio! Then the first thing I'll do is make that house block for the Habitat for Humanity quilt.
We got some hiking in last week and then had a quiet Independence Day with the pups. Soren enjoyed his second birthday at the beach. (We'll be seeing him soon when we go to greet his baby brother.)
What's on my needles: Cat Bordhi's "Bavarian Twisted Stitch" socks from her book, Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles and getting back to my Mr. Foster. Finally!
What's on my Featherweight: Back to Delectable Pathways, still working on the hand appliqué for the last panel. Also ready to start a house block for a quilt for Habitat for Humanity.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished James Patterson's 2nd Chance, from the library through the Overdrive app. Now listening to Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey, one of the Elemental Masters series. Still looking forward to Dean Koontz's The City, as soon as I get my Audible credit for July. Reading Black Diamond Death by Cheryl Bradshaw from Book Bub on the iBooks app.
What's my app of the week: Public Radio from PRX. We can't get radio here in the mountains, but with internet, we have Public Radio whenever we want.
What's in my wine glass: Corbett Canyon Merlot in the big bottle to finish the holiday weekend. Nice finish!
What's my tip of the week:  Make ice tea using solar power. I use salsa bottles, because they make pouring easy. Fill the bottle, add two tea bags and place in the sun until the tea is the color you like. I put a black lid on for regular tea and a yellow one for decaf. You can use a gallon jar if making tea for a crowd.

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, June 30, 2014

Cutting Up

Two months into my Mary Tudor cardigan I thought I had the sleeves done, when I discovered a major oopsie while taking this photo:
Do you see it? (Sleeve cap on the left sleeve, to your right in the photo.)
The chart symbols for two of the colors are two different sizes of circles, not very obvious with the sun in your eyes. I was happily knitting on the front deck, paying attention to the decreases for the sleeve cap (and my exciting audiobook), and didn't notice my mistake, not even when I blocked the sleeves. Since I was already working on the collar when I discovered the mistake, I finished that before ripping out the top of the left sleeve. Here's how the collar looks,


The collar, cuffs bottom border and front bands are all garter stitch colorwork, something I've never done before. It was a bit of a challenge, because when you work back and forth, like the collar and front bands, it's easy enough to knit across the front, but then on the back side, you have to switch the yarns every time you change colors, bringing the old color to the front and the new color to the back. For knitting in the round, like the cuffs and bottom band, you have to purl every other round, exchanging the two yarns every time you work with the other color. I got used to doing this in the round and had some difficulty switching to knitting every row, back and forth. Moving the yarn to the front always seems to trigger the purl impulse. I finally got the hang of it. Here's what it looks like. The wrong side is shown on the right in the photo, and the right side, folded over, on the left. 


Now that I'm done with the collar, I'm reknitting the sleeve cap. Fortunately, I didn't have to take out much. I got ready to reknit the incorrect part of the sleeve cap by picking up the sts on the last correct round. (I'm using two circular needles.)

I have plenty of yarn, so I decided to cut off the incorrect part of the sleeve cap right above the picked-up sts.
I could have just frogged it (rip-it, rip-it, for nonknitters), but I had already blocked the sleeves, which caused the sts to cling to each other, making it slower going, and, as I said, saving this little bit of yarn wasn't important. The red squirrels (Chickarees) are building nests for their babies now, so I'll just let them have it. I've been knitting on the sleeve cap and only have about 2.5" to go to BO. If I need to shorten the sleeves, I'll do it pretty much the same way, except that I'll have to remove the yarn below the length I want. Instead of cutting it off, I'll just snip one strand of each color in the top round I want to remove after picking up the sts in the last correct round. (I'll post photos when I get to that.) You can't frog from where you started knitting up, only from where you stopped knitting down.
In quilting news, Vintage Stitchers met this week at Rebecca's. Rebecca has finished her appliqué table runner. 
Barbara is working on this great peacock appliqué:
She also just finished this great Christmas quilt top:
Carol has finished this great charm quilt:
The back is almost as interesting as the front:
(That stripe is three strips of Kaffe Fassett fabrics.)
Zachary and his family have been watching the World Cup games. I get to post lots of photos of Miss Daphne, but it's hard to get photos of Master Zachary because he's a man with moves. This was a good one, though. Maybe both kiddos will play soccer when they get a little older.
What's on my needles: Mary Tudor cardigan, collar done and reknitting the second sleeve cap.
What's on my Featherweight: Back to Delectable Pathways, still working on the hand appliqué for the last panel.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished James Patterson's 3rd Degree and now reading his 2nd Chance, out of order, but that's how they became available from the library through the Overdrive app. Looking forward to Dean Koontz's The City, which comes out tomorrow. Still reading Pursuit and Persuasion by Sally Wright from Book Bub on the Kindle app.
What's my app of the week: Reminders. I tell Siri to remind me to take the yarn out of the freezer after four days. She never sleeps!
What's in my wine glass: Green Fin 2012 California Red
What's my tip of the week:  If you don't have a phone that takes photos, take your camera with you everywhere. You never know when you're going to see something you want to remember! With digital photography, you don't have to worry about wasting film. I even take a photo of the shopping list before I got grocery shopping with DH. That way, we each have the same list. He pushes the cart (he likes to drive), and I go around with a hand basket. We can call each other if we get separated. If I want to have a record of a book, a pattern or a yarn, I can get a photo and look it up later. Also great for candid shots of the pups or local wildlife.

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.