Shop Hop Part Two (6 more Shops)

So in order to be eligible for prizes you need to visit 16 stores.  With the bus that covered my first ten.  So on Friday I stopped at the three most local to me, and yesterday got the last three more on the way to Mount Rainier.

I picked up my giant length of white for my wedding quilt, the grey background for my guestroom top as well as several bits and pieces for both the wedding and dinosaur quilts I have on the idea board.

Day Two Fabric Haul

And if you recall the Seattle Fabrics I picked up last year and still haven’t made a project with… well the last shop we stopped at had a Washington Fabric that has similar themes…. so I got some of that too.

Washington Fabric

My fabric stash is piling up… I’d best get to work!  Though I will leave you with a teaser of the latest quilt idea I have been working on.

Fishpond WIP top

Shop Hopping Year Two

Yesterday was the North Bus Trip of the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop.  I decided to do the trip again this year, even though Jean wasn’t going… and as usual its a pretty good time if you are a quilter.  The shops offer a free pattern and at least some of the themed fabric to make their square design.  They can also offer the remaining fabrics or other notions as a finishing kit.  If you visit enough shops you can enter to win some great prizes.

I tend to shop with an objectives list as it gives me a bit more focus and I tend to not go as overboard.  So the first thing on my list was fabrics for my wedding decoration and quilt.  I finished up the first block (minus the embroidery) on Tuesday so I would know how much of various colors I might want or need.

Wedding Quilt Block

The second project on my buy list was for a quilt for our guest room.  We repainted it this year and so most of my pale blue and pink was not fitting in.  So I picked up several yellows and greens for that.

Guestroom Fabric

Now, to be perfectly honest… there is always more shopping than just the needs.  Apparently this year I needed some whales, dinosaurs and cats.  As well as a quilters map, and the knitting related fabric.

i also fell a bit in love with this pattern for a modified Dresden and flowers.  The shop had a sample quilt on display and it was AMAZING.  I am thinking of going a bit scrappy with it, as I’ve been piling up a “few” scraps.

Dresden Blooms

This year the shop hop was happening at the same time as the Row by Row Experience, which is a nationwide event.  The shops offer a free pattern for a row.  They can also offer a kit to complete their row which may have a cost. I did pick up patterns, but only a few of the kits.  I seem to have quite a bit of blues in my stash and the theme this year is H2O… so I’ll see if I have the time to assemble some rows.

So here’s my pile of patterns and kits from the hop and the Row by Row.

Hop Kits

Hollywood Socks: Fixing it in Post Production

Ok, so you may recall that I made a nice set of beaded socks for Sock Madness that were a bit too long in the foot for me. Well during Sock Madness there are specific rules per pattern to help ensure that at least everyone knits a standard requirement.  For me, that meant my sock feet were too big. So technically they were finished, but then I needed to re-finish to make them wearable.

Mad About the Gals original finish

Mad About the Gals original finish

I did realize that my socks were going to be too long so I did put a stitch marker at more appropriate measured row for starting my toes and did not weave in my yarn tails, just tucked the toe yarn inside the sock.  So the first step was to un-kitchener the toe.

Here you can see my marker for the earlier toe transition point and I've unworked the kitchener stitches.

Here you can see my marker for the earlier toe transition point and I’ve unworked the kitchener stitches.

Since I have quite a bit to frog back, I decided to just pull back like one would frog the entire item, but by keeping a handle on how fast and far I was pulling, be able to re-pick up my live stitches at or around the row I’d marked.

Once you have your stitches picked up again, you just use your directions to re-knit them to the correct length.  Here’s a photo of the first sock re-completed stacked on top of the other sock in the original finish so you can see the foot length difference.

Sorry about the lighting... I was working on these while taking a drive to Oregon.

Sorry about the lighting… I was working on these while taking a drive to Oregon.

After you have finished the first, then you work the second just the same.

It was a beautiful day for a drive.  I still have some green toes, but not as much and the socks fit.. which was the most important part.

It was a beautiful day for a drive. I still have some green toes, but not as much and the socks fit.. which was the most important part.

In semi-related news.  I also finished my second Woodruff Sock, which is my first colorwork sock.  They are a bit roomy, but not too big I think if I were to knit them all over again I’d probably go down a needle size, but we shall see after the first real wear and block.  Here’s some beauty shots.

In time for a summer road trip

So there was a post earlier about large scale appliqué with a bit of a teaser on this one.  But its so exciting when you get to post it as finished instead of just a work in progress.

TA-DA!

TA-DA!

And here’s the back

Ta-Da Part two!

Ta-Da Part two!

I am actually quite happy with how the quilting of this turned out considering I struggle to draw straight lines WITH a ruler sometimes.   I quilted the outside of the logo on the front and then an all over diamond design.  The back logo was hand sewn on so that it wouldn’t be quilted through to the front.  Its a fleece back with cotton top.

Hopefully this one is a bit better on the backside quilting.

Teslabackzoom

I started this one just prior to a road trip to Idaho with my fiancé, and finished it just prior to our next trip to Oregon.

Socks and other things that happen when pigs fly

Whew!  I am writing this post while sorting through songs to play wedding day… and finding all the photos of things I didn’t blog about.  (Shame on me!) But I have reasons!  Some of them are better than others too!  One of my reasons is we have been redecorating some of the house by painting.  And we finished up the guest room just in time for my future (soon!) mother-in-law to come visit. This is also the home of most of my yarn stash, and now it sports a great chair for sitting and knitting in.

While she was here, we visited a local yarn mill called Abundant Earth Fiber, where we enjoyed getting a full tour from Lydia which included Ben trying out her loom. Even though both his mom and I encouraged him, I am not sure he is going to make any of the rugs we will use when we put in the hardwood floors.

Anyway… back to socks, and specifically Sock Madness.  I did finish the pair with beads for the competition.  I did it “Hollywood Style” which means they are too long in the toes (and I did run out of my skein there too!) so I shall just have to fix them in post-production.

I solemnly swear to try to post my post-production sock fix.

I solemnly swear to try to post my post-production sock fix.

And then after the socks with cables and beads… it was Kilt hose to narrow the teams down to just seven.  So I tackled my first pair of socks made intentionally for someone else.  Which turned out better than I had hoped, and I have the distinct pleasure to present as worn with kilt.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Tradescantia Zebrina Socks

Tradescantia Zebrina Socks

So this is the second to last round… and while I did get started, I’ve not gotten terribly far and will not be advancing to the final round.  The pattern is by the same designer as the Semki socks I made, so its quite the challenge.

While I didn’t make it all the way to the finals, I did win a prize!  And all because I knit a very silly little flying pig between the rounds.

I had so much fun making him… I’ve started to knit a whole fleet!  (While there are several names for groups of pigs, there doesn’t appear to be any for the flying kind.)

As for the other things… well in addition to finishing my wedding shawl, I did actually tackle a shawl that I have had in my queue with yarn assigned from nearly 3 years ago.  I know.. that’s a long time to have something in queue with the yarn, but let me take you back…. back to the early years.  Like many a newer knitter, I started out trying to balance budget and skill, and you know me, I tend to be frugal.  So it was a real splurge when I used some reward bucks at a yarn shop to pick out a gorgeous skein of Malabrigo lace.  The color is called Archangel, but in my opinion, its the Orion Nebula.

The pattern for this one is both simple and complex… mostly bare half-charts which leave some of the mechanics open to interpretation…. so I did my best.

And before I forget yet again… I did enjoy the Yarn and Fabric Swaps.  And quite frankly… I totally made out like a bandit!

Here’s my fabric gift write up.  My giftee posted a thanks, but no photos.

And the one for yarn.  (Here’s what I sent)

So now I have more piggies, more wedding knits, and two pairs of color work socks to finish up… anyone have a knitting clone?

This is why we Block

I’ve discussed blocking previously, and while he example was fine… I think this one is a better illustration. (Featuring my planned wedding shawl)

This is after knitting before blocking:

Its a nice crescent shawl with a bit of a ruffle/flutter texture

Its a nice crescent shawl with a bit of a ruffle/flutter texture

And this is after blocking:

So very much more lacey and airy

So very much more lacey and airy

Yes, that’s the same tabletop in both photos.  Yes, I do sometimes fail with photography (hello lens shadow I see you!).

This pattern has 2688 beads and I knit it up on my salal dyed yarn.  And since I’m rather pleased with it… here’s a ton more pictures.

Sock it to me!

We are now working past the 2 miles of knitting part of the year. 

Ok so this year in addition to getting married, and apparently resuming cookie baking, I also joined a sock knitting competition called Sock Madness.   Yes that’s right, the lady that whined about how bad her Second Sock Syndrome was in April of last year with the prior experience then of one pair of socks that took nearly a year to finish.  Well last year I finished three whole pair of socks, for a new total of four pair, and then pair five was the first project of 2015 so I was on a roll.
So first up, you had to make a reasonable effort in the qualifying two week round. Apparently I’m still sorting out gauging correctly, so the first pair were a bit large and now belong to Ben.

10 days, 2 socks, one at a time.

10 days, 2 socks, one at a time.

After that you get assigned to a bracket team, with people that should be approximately the same skill/speed as you are.  My team is Purl, and the first thing most of us commented on was how much we don’t like purling.  And then it was on to the competition rounds.

Round Two:  Fight!

The first pattern in the competitive rounds was top down and cabling.  Only 32 members of the bracket team would advance.  So while we did take a drive down to Oregon to see the Spruce Goose, I was knitting away the whole way.

Wanted to make sure these fit, so I tried them on a time or two.

Wanted to make sure these fit, so I tried them on a time or two.

The second sock, complete with the kitchener stitch toe (which was required so I actually did) was a bit tight in the leg.  So I knit the leg of the second sock on a bigger needle.  So my submitted socks were not exactly matched, but did qualify.

Sock one on the right, all size 0 needle, Sock Two starts with a size 1 needle on the leg.

Sock one on the right, all size 0 needle, Sock Two starts with a size 1 needle on the leg.

Of the two week timeline, I finished the pair in six days.  And then once I got the advancement confirmation I immediately frogged and reknit that first sock and so now I have a real matched pair, just had to knit three socks to get them.  (Wore them yesterday too!)

Round Three: Fight!

Next up, was a pair of toe up socks with lace.  These knit up so fast the round didn’t even take a full two weeks for 25 members of the bracket team to advance.

Spring Flowers for your feet!

Spring Flowers for your feet!

Round Four: Fight!

So here we are in Round Four… and I’m updating my blog when I should be knitting.  (Don’t panic I’m knitting right after this!)

This round the sock is top down, both cables and lace, AND BEADS.  Oh… and a different gusset decrease too.  Technically I am beading a bit more than required by going all down the leg, but this is shaping up to be some great socks.  I hope I’m one of the 17 from the bracket team that advance!

This yarn has some cashmere in it.  I'm going to feel like I have fancy feet!

This yarn has some cashmere in it. I’m going to feel like I have fancy feet!

Now how I convinced myself to do this whole madness was partially the pile of sock weight yarn in my stash, the prompting of a fellow knitter and the fact that I could really use more awesome socks.  (Though not necessarily for the TSA) Which was why I had actually finished the first sock in my pair of first colorwork socks just prior to joining in Sock Madness.

I have managed to cast on the start of the second sock between rounds, but this will probably take a bit as I’m still working on the wedding shawl, which takes priority since I’d like to take it with me when I go dress shopping. (Which is now just a few weeks away! WAHHHHH!!)  

I better get back to knitting. @_@

PS – A Word about Brackets Teams:  I was soundly informed that while Sock Madness calls them teams, because you are knitting against your team they are actually brackets.  I say… who cares so long as you can explain it.

Getting on Top of the Quilt Tops

Someone asked awhile back about how to do a large central image on a quilt, and at the time I wrote a rambling reply about how I would make such a quilt.  Well since that time, just that sort of quilt has come along “needing” to be made, so I thought I would document and give a bit of a photo tutorial on hand appliquéing a large central image.  (Later I have some machine appliqué planned for the back side, so you can see that method and compare)  This might not be the best way and certainly not the only way to do it, its just how I did it this time.

My quilt top in this tutorial/photos is for our new car blanket.  (You know.. for taking car trips to quilt and yarn stores in other states. ^_~) For materials you will need your fabric, matching thread, a needle and some iron fusible interfacing (I did one sided this time, I’ll do a double sided example when I do the back, but I had some spare one sided from my Mario Quilt [keep scrolling for an update on that]).  

The first thing you will want to do is get an outline of your image.  Many office supply stores or printing locations can offer you a large scale print, or you can use an internet source that will scale the image across multiple letter size pages you print at home, such as Blockposters.com which is what I did in this situation.  If your image is not symmetrical you will want to either print it flipped horizontally or trace from the back side of the page.  After you have your image you want to trace it onto your interfacing on the non-fusible side.

My block print was four letter pages wide.

My block print was four letter pages wide.

Once you have your image fully traced onto the interfacing, you will want to cut it out.  In my sample its two pieces.

You can check your design by simply flipping the fusible side up.  It should look like it is facing the correct way.

You can check your design by simply flipping the fusible side up. It should look like it is facing the correct way.

Next you are going to take your fusible pieces and iron them onto your design color fabric.  If you have multiple pieces, you can lay them out however best fits your fabric, so long as you maintain at least a 1/4 inch or more buffer around your pieces.

Here's mine ready to be ironed down.

Here’s mine ready to be ironed down.

You will then cut your fabric at least 1/4 inch around each of your pieces.  You will be folding over that edge onto the non-fusible side of your interfacing and ironing down.  You may find that for curves and points you may need to cut into that selvedge a bit in order to get the fabric to follow the lines of your template.  What you have done at this point is make your giant image a slightly stiffer patch.  The interfacing helping to give you smoother lines.

Ironing in my edges on the big piece.

Ironing in my edges on the big piece.

You will then flip your patch over, place and pin to your background.

All pined down

All pined down

You are then ready to begin stitching your piece onto the background.  Now growing up I used to have this step great grandmother that was teaching me about piecing and I am quite certain that no matter how tiny my stitches looked to me, they were just not small enough.  She was either right, or just cranky, but at any rate… here’s some tips on how to make tiny stitches.

The travel of the thread should mostly be behind the  background fabric.  When you place your needle going down into the background, you want to bring the point back up right along the edge of your top piece, use that as your guide.  When going into and out of the top patch piece you want the needle to move along the folded edge of your piece and not bring it up through the top of the piece.

Now before I wrap this tutorial bit up and get onto the list of other things I managed to work on since last month…. I want to take a moment to talk about how you assemble your background fabric.  For this quilt I am aiming for a mostly twin size quilt. I am planning to back this quilt with fleece that is a bit over 60 inches wide and a nice slightly larger than 80 inches long.  Most quilt fabric is roughly 42-44 inches wide.  I could have chosen to use 2 pieces, in which case my image would be right over the central seam, but since I didn’t want a seam there, I chose to split my fabric into 3 pieces, like the illustration below.

Writing out notes and diagrams can be very useful.

Writing out notes and diagrams can be very useful.

Which brings us to the Tesla Quilt Top!  In need of some ironing and then its time to sandwich and quilt!

Ta-DA!

Ta-DA!  BTW, if you do a central piece like this, you can wait to seam together the background fabric until after you are done appliquéing the front design, which saves a bit on how much fabric you have to manipulate around.

Ok so now that the How To portion is done… I did say Tops (plural!) in the title. So guess who finally finished all her Mario QAL blocks?  That’s right.. THIS GAL!  I even sashed the top blocks together.

So here’s the progress on that quilt top.

This also needs ironed... but I am also planning to do a bit of a border and I needed to lay it out to calculate the math.

This also needs ironed… but I am planning to do a bit of a border and I needed to lay it out to calculate the math.

I have also knit up three socks.  (Yes I know they usually come in pairs!) I am participating in Sock Madness this year… so you will eventually see all those socks in a later post.  Other bits to look forward to would be finishing up these two quilt tops into actual full quilts, and I am yarn swapping and fabric swapping this year.

Perspectives and Finish Lines

Ok so for the first part of this post there’s going to be a bit more non-kniting/quilting stuff, so if you get bored or you just came for the crafts, scroll down to the quilt picture, and I won’t get offended, because frankly I can’t tell if you scrolled past or not anyway!

My non-traditional Ruby Wedding Ring. (Mid finger because its being sized atm)

My non-traditional Ruby Wedding Ring. (Mid finger because its being sized atm)

In the spirit of “out with it!” the news is… I got engaged on Valentine’s Day! (insert squeals and wedding march hums here).  My fiancé and I have been together for quite some time, and have decided to formalize the situation with paperwork and pageantry.  Because we have been together long enough that the only answer to the query of how long we have been together actually is, “long enough” we are planning to get married this year in a smaller ceremony with our parents and closest friends.

This means that I am now on a 6 months to wedding plan and making lists of things to do.  Do not fear dear readers, I still think I will have time for updating my blog in my usual “sometime every month” schedule. But, it does bring me to the perspective portion of the blog.

I have been rather noticeably in a bit of a GO!GO!GO! rush mode as I make my list of all the things needing to get done in time for an August Wedding.  And yesterday, after booking our photographer my fiancé (woo!) sweetly reminded me that in the past 10 days I had managed to settle on the date, book locations, and get the photographer.  I had been spending all my time looking at the to-do portion, I hadn’t appreciated the scope of the done part. So I am passing it on, and telling you… take a moment to change the perspective, and look away from your to-do, and appreciate what you have finished.

And speaking of finished….. (way to segue there!)

The third Star Trek Quilt!

The third Star Trek Quilt!

I have finally finished the Star Trek Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt I first teased about in June of 2014.  The quilting on this one is a clear indication of some attempts at something more than just stitch-in-the ditch.  The central blocks are stitched in an echo around the Star Trek insignia, with the outside blues and reds in decorative horizontal and vertical stripes.

The backing and binding is a space/stars print with glow in the dark stars.  (I did attempt to get a glow photo, but its not super great.)  I used a different technique on the binding, that I’m sure has a real quilting name, but I’m calling it a fold over binding, instead of making the binding a separate piece.  After quilting, the batting is trimmed to the edges of the top, and then the backing is folded over (at least twice to give a nice edge) and then seamed down.

This one is currently homeless.  This quilt has found a home! The idea came from a commission request that fell through.  Now down to 13 planned quilts on the idea board. 

The January 1000

Believe it or not… I knit 1000 yards in January.  (Yeah I know, I hardly believed it myself)  The whole month I was in “I’m never going to finish all the things I want to get done this year” for a mindset which may have helped but then again was a bit stressful at times.

So let’s see… first we made socks that I’m putting firmly in the category of “will wear for benefit of the TSA.”  This is a silly idea of mine that since we have to take off shoes most often to travel, and since the TSA officers then get to see a myriad of socks, I shall wear socks as if it were a sock contest.  Previously this was novelty holiday socks, but now I have these beauties checking in for the first 200+ yards:

No officer, a clown did not puke on my feet.

No officer, a clown did not puke on my feet.

 

That pattern probably would look a bit better in a less variegated color, but it was a nice simple repeat suitable for taking in the car or when concentration isn’t as needed.  Which means it offset my lace and beads shawl project.

The pattern itself was only available for a very short time called Dance With Dragons.  I used about half of my Secret Santa yarn, so I shall need to find another project for the remainder, but overall I am loving how it came out.

Next up… it was the January Cold Sheep challenge… find the oldest yarn in your stash and knit it up.  Technically I’ve other yarn that was in my stash for longer, but due to the time of year and the plans for it, I went with actually probably the oldest yarn.  A vintage Dazzleaire from the era of when it was “new” that may even predate my own existence.

Dazzling Yellow Dazzleaire

Dazzling Yellow Dazzleaire

This yarn joined my stash from another knitters stash.  The idea of what to do with it went through several considerations and I really do like the colorway.  But when pressed for an idea… I decided to make my very own design Neck Cat.

This kitty loves to travel.

This dazzling kitty loves to travel.

The essential design idea is a cat themed neck/travel pillow, and I’d say that while its comfortable, and obviously a cat, this fella needs a second go through the design phase.  The next iteration I plan to aim for a more curved and less square body shape, with feet that are a part of the main pillow.

Now at this point I was just shy of both February and 1000 yards. I wasn’t yet ready to start another beaded shawl.  Another person shared some mosaic knit dish/wash cloths, and I am sitting on a stash of quite a bit of cotton so….I churned out a pair of cloths myself.

Coral and Peach Partners

Coral and Peach Partners

Technically the photo above is at the one and a half cloth stage, but I thought it was a nice showcase of how you can just swap the two colors around and get a mismatched yet still matched pair.  It successfully made two skeins of cotton exit the stash and so now I’m starting another mosaic pattern for another pair.

Mosaic knitting is where you slip one color while working the other color across the design.  When you get back to the start of the design, you swap and work the other color while slipping the first color.