The Seams of the Many, outweigh the Seams of the Few

Just in case I am not the only beginner in the room… I thought I’d take a moment to talk about lining up your seams.  Now there are people that are quilting perfectionists that can be rather passionate about seams and be a little bit more judgmental about such things; I am not even going to get into that.  I will say if you are starting out and you have one of those moments where you just aren’t feeling very perfect, I’ve been there.  You will get better.

So here’s a tip about how to lineup your seams that works well for me.  Its called “Nesting your seams.”  When you are ready to join two seamed pieces, you will want to iron one section so the seams lay facing one direction, and the other piece where you want the seams to match up so they are going in the other direction.  So that as you line up your pieces, and give them a little finger wiggle, the seams but right up next to each other in a bit of an X formation.

Like so:

I'm holding the seam a bit open here so you can see how they come together.

I’m holding the seam a bit open here so you can see how they come together.

And here's what it looks like when its closed, as it would be for seaming.

And here’s what it looks like when its closed, as it would be going into your machine.

Now for me, the best results come from having the seam that is folded away from your body to be on top as you feed it into the machine, and the seam on the bottom is folded towards you.  This way you can guide that top layer under the foot and your machine feed is going in the direction of the fabric.  It doesn’t always work out that way, but if you have the option when you are ironing and pinning, aim for that on the more difficult seams you have on your project.

I do tend to pin across my seams.  I am a pin person.  I see videos of people that do not use pins and they amaze me... but I am not one of those people, and I'm ok with that.

I do tend to pin across my seams. I am a pin person. I see videos of people that do not use pins and they amaze me… but I am not one of those people, and I’m ok with that.

Now when you unpin and unfold your seams they should match up pretty well.

TA-DA!

TA-DA!

Now, since I have teased you with a title and reference photos, it seems only fair that I share a photo of the latest Star Trek quilt top!  This one is a lap/crib size quilt done in a very large disappearing 9-patch style.

I waste no time in using up some of my Shop Hop fabrics!

I waste no time in using up some of my Shop Hop fabrics!

Originally this was to be a commissioned quilt piece, but its not looking like that will be the case at this point.  So once I pick out backing and quilt it… it will probably go up in the shop.

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Oh Ewe!

Last I checked unborn children don’t have internet access… and I am fairly certain my sister-in-law living out in the woods (yes literally) doesn’t have regular internet access, so I think I’m in the clear posting this gift for my future nephew.

Ewe won't believe how many sheep & lamb puns I thought up making this...

Ewe won’t believe how many sheep & lamb puns I thought up making this…

The directions are pretty easy, but would benefit greatly by having a picture of the frame assembly.  I read them a couple times and yet I still managed to put him together a wee bit wrong.  Still right enough that it works and he looks good… just wrong enough I needed to make some minor adjustments.

Since I had some left, I used a pair of safety eyes.  I also gave my lil’ lambchop a tail.

Guess what?! .... Sheep butt!

Guess what?!
….
Sheep butt!

My cord is an I-cord which I threaded a couple additional strands of yarn through to make it a bit more like a rope for strength and stretch.

Mary had a Little Lamb She tied it to a heater...

Mary had a Little Lamb She tied it to a heater…

 

And every time it turned around it burned its little seater!

And every time it turned around it burned its little seater!

 

And if you thought that last sheep joke in the captions was baa’d…

Mary had a Little Lamb, Little Lamb, Little Lamb.
Then she passed her plate again, And had a little more!

Counter-pillaring the Days until Christmas

Normally I do not pre-post gifts, but this one was too cute.. and since the giftee is too young to even read so… I’m going to post it anyway!   So without further ado… the Counterpillar!

What walks down stairs....

What walks down stairs….

I found this very adorable pattern of a string along toy, that includes  some colors and numbers and thought that it would be a great gift.  The original includes beads for each of the numbers, some pom-poms and a picture hook to loop the tail. I was making mine for a very young child, so I omitted those elements and added a soft knob tail for the loop instead.

Knobby number 9

Knobby number 9

If you prefer the knob tail,  here’s my instructions

Cast on 5 stitches to DPN

Work 5 rows as an I-Cord.

Increase in every stitch next row (10 stitches)

Knit a round

Increase in Every Stitch (20 stitches)

Knit 3 rounds

Decrease 10 times (10 stitches)

Knit a round

Decrease 5 times (5 stitches)

Stuff the ball end of the tail, and then use your needle to thread through the remaining 5 stitches to close.

Stitch your I-cord end onto the last segment.

You may need to adjust your cord loop length a bit to ensure it fits over the knob tail, but it seems to work alright!

I'm counting on you Mr. Counterpillar!

I’m counting on you Mr. Counterpillar!

 

Stashed Away!

So my baby afghan spree has revealed a few items that are still floating about in my stash…

Such as this baby sized chunky afghan that finished off a couple skeins of patriotic red, white and blues on some giant needles…

Soft and Thick Patriotic Flavor

And this angelic little preemie/doll size of a hourglass eyelet stitch.  I really like this stitch because even the wrong side looks pretty nice!

Front side, with a simple crochet edging.

Backside. Looks like a fancy basketweave.

And then there is this shawl I am finally going to look at finishing… because I finally found a yarn I think will go well with where I ran out of the last batch…

Fan shawl

So now its off to see if I can finish the fans this month before I have to get started on a September Stocking, finish my snowflakes quilt and various other crafty projects!

Baby Afghans, take 3 for August

So, a while back, I obtained some yarn from another knitters stash… and I am a fan of trying new stitches and finding ways to use up the yarn stash… so this one, the solid blue and the yellow are yarn that’s probably as old as I am (based on the yellow skein’s wrapper) so its well past time it got a new life.

This pattern makes a nice dimensional stitch.

I knitted it up until I nearly ran out of the dark blue… and I still have some light blue and yellow to play with!  But its at least baby afghan size, so there is that.

After some blocking, laid out on my library/sewing table

 

Perhaps I shall have to make up some hats or booties or something…. As a bonus, this pattern made a fun picture to use as my cell phone wallpaper.

Rows almost look like diamonds

The colors remind me of a dress I used to own, with a denim bodice and a yellow floral long skirt… I loved that dress.

Pattern available on Ravelry. 

Fun with counterpanes!

So I’ve had this yarn from the yarn shop where I learned to knit for some time.  I believe I originally bought it oh about six years ago or so.  Well I am out of blue thread for my other project so… time for more knitting.. and time to tackle something with counterpanes!

There were many to choose from but finally I settled on a three leaf counterpane pattern, originally seen here: http://www.knittingparadise.com/ (Scroll up for images)  Through some alterations based on my trial square, this is what I ended up with:

Mint Leaves!

Now as you can see from these two closer in views of the leaf section and the diamond section, I am not the greatest of fancy joiners, but I do think they look alright… just not very lacy.

At this point its more flowerlike

Diamond Point join

So I think it turned out ok, and here’s what I did differently for anyone curious or wanting to replicate.

  • I did a knit increase in my first knit stitch instead of a yarn over increase.  I tried the yarn overs, but it just looked to loose and sloppy to me, so I went with the knit increase instead.
  • My Row 15:  Row 15 YO, (k1, yo) twice, k1, p4, SKP, k9, k2tog, p4, (k1, yo) twice, k2  — I felt that swapping two stitches to purl instead of knit made for a better transition.
  • When you swap to the Diamond Point (included in the follow up post from the three leaf section)  you need to add a simple knit across row so that your diamond point turns out purl side up as the right side.  do not increase that row, as you should go into the Diamond Point section with an uneven set of stitches
  • For Row Two in the second post its just: k2tog, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog — She corrects this in a later post on the thread, its just a duplicate in there in the original.

I finished it off with a simple double crochet row and then a scalloped crochet row (2 single crochet stitches, then 3 double crochet in the next stitch and repeat) because three skeins meant I was pretty much done with just a 9 pane blanket.  Seriously…. this is all the yarn left:

Dr.Pepper can for scale

So if I had my life to knit over so to speak… here’s what I would do differently:

  • Buy about 4 more skeins of yarn so that I could knit up 12 counterpanes, which would leave me with all diamond edges instead of some leafy edges, and an all around better size.  (Nothing wrong with a 9 pane size, but 12 would be even better for the repeats imo)
  • I’d finish it off with a border of leaves, which I figured I could snag from another counterpane pattern such as the one here: http://www.knitting-and.com/knitting/patterns/counterpanes/rosedale-counterpane.htm

I greatly enjoyed how it turned out… so much that I’m actually contemplating making something more full size at some point, perhaps as a gift.

I could totally see this as a much larger piece.

One for the family tree

So I finally finished my baby afghan I started ages ago as just “trying out the branching out pattern” on an airplane trip… and several trips and pulling out several rows because I forgot a yarn over later…. its finally done:

As experiments go, I think it turned out ok.

It does have its issues.. I found my green and blue together yarn was rather limited, so there are a couple spots where its a bit more blue… and there is one wheatear cable that is one row too long…

Said long cable included in this image in all its glory. -_-

On the other hand, I really lucked out with where my final leaf border seam fell in the colorway:

A leaf on the wind…border…. thing.

But overall I think its an alright thing, and someday I’m sure someone will love it.

Various patterns in this afghan include:

Not just geeky knitting happens here…

I realize that I knit quite a bit of geeky things… even my first quilt was all videogame blocks. But I do work on other more traditional beautiful projects. The banner above was a peg-rack full of scarves. So here’s a couple in the works projects…. (apologies in advance these are cell phone photos)

First I have some pieces that will eventually be a baby afghan. I don’t have children, and frankly don’t really know what I’ll do with it when its done, but I just liked the designs and was given some children’s weight/color yarn. So these are my edges based on and a wheat ear cabling. I like the leaf design, and my somewhat matching yarn is just the blue verigated with no greens…. I am thinking I will make it a tree row and then add a border.

Half Done with the second side.


Here’s a closer detail on the stitching.

To be fair, I’ve had that project on the needles for some time, was working on it while traveling and just getting distracted and kept pulling out rows because I flubbed it up and then going back… but I’m finally making some solid forward progress.

Second item…
I am working on my second quilt. The original plan was a very hawaiian style quilt, as a gift to my grandmother. She used to go to Hawaii every winter with my grandfather. And I wanted her to know how much I think about her and worry about her even though I am the world’s worst letter writer (in the mailing it out dept). However, my quilt blocks aren’t super Hawaiian, and fall more toward the snowflakes realm of things… so its a snowflake quilt. I have all my flakes cut out and I’m currently appliquéing them on.

Yes, I love snow.

Unfortunately my quilt shop near me is closing this month. 😦
Which has me all manner of sad, since the proprietor was the kindest and most helpful person in my quilting experiments. She always seemed sincerely interested in my quilting efforts, even though it was obvious the subject matter wasn’t familiar. So now.. my nearest fabric shop is once again.. at least 30 minutes away.