Friday, February 20, 2015

On my needles Feb. 20

...and here I am again, with another knitting post!  Last week, I was busy knitting a baby sweater for our neighbour's baby - and that's still a work in progress - except there hasn't been any progress this past week...  It's been a busy week, and it's been REALLY cold, and I've been having a hard time staying warm.  I was really excited to find a pattern for knitted socks using worsted weight yarn - they'd be quick to make, and warm!  I had just bought some great variegated WW yarn, so I cast the socks on late Wed., and have managed to squeeze in some knitting time the last 2 days.  I'm happy to say that I have the first one done, and the 2nd one about 3/4 done.  The heel is done differently than I'm used to - with short row wraps, but it wasn't too difficult to figure out.  I had to pull up a video on grafting the toes - I don't knit socks often enough to remember how to do it.  The one side doesn't look that great, but it will be inside my shoes or slippers, so no one will see it - and it won't affect the warmth, so I'm not going to worry about it.  Here's how they look:
And now I'm going to try to finish the 2nd one before I go to bed!

Friday, February 13, 2015

On the Needles (and other stuff...)

I hope that you haven't fainted - this is my second post this month!  My life is starting to slow down, with the result that I'm actually able to work on some things that I want to do, rather than things that I have to do.  Well, I did do a few things that I sort of had to do, but they were fun things, so they don't count!
But first - my "On the Needles" report.  Our neighbours just had their first baby a week ago - a little boy - and I am frantically trying to finish a sweater that I had started before Christmas.  The yarn and pattern are kind of gender-neutral, so I didn't need to find out what the baby's sex was, but it helps to know if I'm knitting for a Billy or a Susie...
I found this free pattern on-line, and had 3 balls of the called-for yarn (now discontinued), which is just enough to make the largest size - 22" if I recall correctly.  I have the front almost ready to divide for the neck, and the back is almost finished too; here's the pic:
 I'll probably do the sleeves next, and leave the hood for last, just in case the yarn isn't going to make it all the way - I can always alter the pattern then.
I also have 2 finishes for you - these were gifts, and I was hoping that they'd be in the hands of the recipients before I posted them - first is Pears the Elephant: 

She was meant to be a Christmas gift, but the knitting ended up being a little more of a project than I was expecting, so she was finished up Tues. morning, just in time to go to her new home.  Next up is the baby sweater that my new grandson was supposed to wear home from the hospital.  It was supposed to have a little hat too, but there wasn't enough yarn to complete it, and the yarn is discontinued...  Then I realized that the pattern was for a 6-month old - MUCH too large for a newborn!  It will be ready for wearing either this spring or in the fall.

And finally, I had mentioned in my last post that I had sent some quilt blocks to my friend Cathy, for a swap that we're doing.  She let me know that the blocks arrived safely, so I may share them here now: 
We're doing a Disappearing 4-patch quilt with large-scale florals, 4 per month for each of us, probably for 10 months.  I didn't have a really big floral stash, but I've found some fun ones since we started, and now I've spent part of the afternoon cutting florals for the next 2 or 3 months - do you think I'm getting excited about this swap?  I sure am!!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

...and I'm back!

Not that I've really been gone - just have been so incredibly busy with too many non-sewing things for pretty much the whole month of January - and, to tell you the truth, February isn't starting off much better!  As a result, I got very little done on my Jan. ALYoF project...
So, guess what my Feb. goal is going to be? yes, you're right - I'm going to try (again) to get some scrappy trip around the world quilt tops done.  I have made some progress:
I have more blocks made, and I have also started sewing some strips together.  The sections shown here are 3 blocks wide - and they should be at least 5 blocks wide by 7 or 8 blocks long.
I'm also planning to take part in the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge over at Angela's Soscrappy site again this year - I managed to cut the blue scraps for January's blocks, but got no farther than that.  I'm hoping to do Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Sister's Choice blocks for my rainbow scrappy project blocks.
One final thing that I'll be doing on an on-going basis this year is a large-scale floral Disappearing 4-Patch swap with my friend Cathy.  I got my first set of 4 blocks made up and sent to her, but I don't think that she got it yet, so I can't share them here yet.  I got the blocks she made in yesterday's mail, and they look great!  It will be interesting to see if we ever use the same fabrics - we don't live that far apart, so it's possible!
Now I'm off to link up on Melissa's site.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Lovely Year of Finishes - 2015 version!

My life is incredibly busy right now - and it seems that every time I turn around, another task gets added to my already overflowing to-do list.  I don't know if this is a good time to commit to a January ALYoF project, because I have no idea if I'm even going to have time to pick up this project - but then again, maybe it's the inspiration that I need!
A year or two ago, I started cutting a 2 1/2" by the width of the fabric, strip of fabric from every quilt I started.  Most of the time, projects call for "yard-age", and of course, Canada is a "metric" country; so, if a project called for 2 yards of fabric, I'd buy (or pull out) 2 meters of fabric.  That way, I'd always have a little extra, just in case I bungled a cut, or whatever....  Most of the time, I'd end up with 1 or 2 extra 2 1/2" strips, and I'd set them aside.  Then, in September or October, I needed to work on something new, and I remembered my extra strips!  I cut them in half, making two 2 1/2" x 18" strips - and I sewed 7 of those strips together, making a rough-cut square.  I sewed the strips into tubes, and cut 2 1/2" sections, until I ran out of strips.  I unpicked the top seam of the first strip, the second seam of the 2nd strip, and so on; then I resewed the strips together, and ended up with "Scrappy Trip Around the World" blocks.
I've chosen to try to finish this quilt top for my January project.  I suspect that I have enough strip sets to make at least 2 tops, depending on how large I make them, but I'm going to commit to making only one top for now.
These are some of the strip sets, and the first blocks that I made:
There are a number of different ways of putting them together, so the layout should probably be my first decision!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year's day mystery quilt

Oops!  I just realized that I promised pics of my mystery quilt, and I totally forgot to post anything about it!
I have done several of Heather Spence's mysteries, and always have a great time.  She designs a quilt, and chooses a charity - then, anyone that wants to participate makes a donation to the cause, and we get the pattern clues.  I love that we have the option of choosing a local charity as well.  (This time, the charity was a woman's shelter.)  We got the cutting instructions a few days ahead of New Year's day, along with the note that it would be a modern quilt.  I had planned to make it entirely of Kona solids, but I needed another piece of yardage for the 1st background colour - so, I toodled over to my local quilt shop, where coincidentally, their anniversary sale was on...  They didn't have the colour that I was after, but they DID have all their batik Fat Quarters on sale!  I needed 13-14 FQs, and I found that many (and even a few more!), and they begged me to take them home with me.  How could I resist that?  So, I found a new background colour that worked with my FQs, and went home.  The quilt went together fairly easily and quickly, and by the time I headed to bed, I had the top finished - and here it is:
It was SO much fun to see the different quilts that were produced from that pattern - each one very different from all the others, and every colour of the rainbow.  Now the challenge is to get it quilted (it's quite large at approx. 75" x 100"), and then deciding who will be the recipient...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014's final post

Well, the end of this crazy, insane year has finally come - and, as usual, I'm not ready for that to happen just yet.  (Could I get a 2-week extension please?)
I should have a few finished projects to share with you - after all, I've had all month to work on them!  (What have I been doing with all that 'spare time' that I'm supposed to be enjoying?)  Yesterday, I decided that I was going to try to finish one or two of my Rainbow Scrappy Challenge projects - it's just a matter of putting the assorted blocks or strips together - that can't be that hard, can it?  Well, it might not be if I had actually finished the November portions of my projects; then I had to decide on, and make, the sashing or whatever assembly method that I chose.
I actually managed to finish one of the tops, and a second one is quite close to being finished (no pictures of that one, unfortunately).  I'm planning on both of these quilts being donation projects, and I think that this first one will be a cheerful one, wherever it ends up!  It's the "Scrappy Braid" strips - 3 sections each month for 11 months.  I chose a greeny-taupe Kona cotton solid (Limestone?), and just placed 2.5" strips between the rows; 3.5" strips around it finished it off.
They say that "the proof is in the pudding" - so, get out your spoons, 'cause the pudding is right here:
My always popular "Kickin' Stash" blocks will be getting mottled gold sashing strips; I'm not completely sure if there will just be continuous strips, or whether there will be cornerstone blocks at the intersections.  However, that decision will have to wait for another day - tomorrow is New Year's day, and I have a quilting mystery to prepare for!  It's going to use a lot of batik fat quarters, and butter and (?)limestone Kona cottons for the backgrounds.  Hopefully, I'll have a picture or two by tomorrow evening...

Friday, December 12, 2014

On the needles, Fri. Dec. 12th

I finally feel like I can sit back and take a few deep breaths!  It was a lot of fun having our kids home last weekend, and especially, enjoying giving, and getting our Christmas gifts.  They were all on their way home again by Tuesday afternoon, and then "life" kicked in again - doing the routine things that had been put on hold while the kids were home.  Now, that part of my week is mostly behind me, and I'm able to pick up my knitting again.  I'm still working on finishing "Pears the Elephant" - I've got all 4 parts of the ears "on the go" at the same time, so that I make sure all the shaping gets done at the same time - the two back parts are the gray, and the fronts will be striped, white, fuchsia and blackberry.
I decided that having only 1 knitting project on the needles at one time is boring, so I started the first of what will be several pairs of socks for our (as yet unborn) grandson.  This little sock is working up really quickly - I did all the ribbing in about 3 hours (between getting up a few times to tend to other little things), and I've just done about 4 rows of turning the heel.  The pattern calls for leftover sock yarn, which I never seem to have, so I bought a ball of Kroy in typical boy colours (Singin' the Blues), and I'll knit socks until the ball is finished.  That way, if one sock gets lost (which inevitably happens), there will be a replacement available!  I'll try to make the socks match, as much as possible.  By the time this sock is finished, I'll have a better idea of the striping pattern.