Sunday, February 18, 2018

Rainbows, Unicorns and a Granddaughter's Birthday

We have ten grandchildren and with each birthday, Christmas and big life event it gets harder and harder to come up with gift ideas. For Olivia's 7th birthday last week I made her a huge Lisa the Unicorn pillow. Thanks to my friend, MaryAnn, for bringing this pattern to my attention, because the minute I saw it I knew Olivia would love it.
I made the mane using a rainbow of strips from my stash. The horn is made using several different blue fabrics.

lisa the unicorn pillow

To accentuate the mane I quilted it with a series of swirling lines using a metallic thread. You really can't see it in the photos but the thread sparkles and adds great texture to the pillow.

I also used the metallic thread on the eye to make it sparkle, too.

The rest of the pillow is quilted in a 1" grid pattern using white Aurifil 40 weight thread.
I forgot to take a photo of the back of the pillow. I made three pockets on the back. I told Livvie she can use it for a reading pillow or a sleepover pillow. She has room to put her pajamas, a book, or to hide a treasure in the pillow.
I finished the pillow with an invisible zipper on the bottom, so the cover can be removed to be laundered.
We completed the gift by adding pajamas and a set of Ivy and the Bean books to the gift. I think Olivia was pretty happy with her gift.
The pillow is huge. I used a 28" pillow form in it. 

This was a really fun make. Elizabeth Hartman patterns are easy to follow and very well written. The pattern can be made as a pillow or a quilt.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A Birthday Quilt for Susan

If you have followed my blog for a while you know that if someone I love has a special event in their life I usually make them a quilt to commemorate that event. My friend Susan's 70th birthday was such an event. If your birthday is December 19 it somehow gets pushed to the back burner for a while and so Susan and I did not get together until January. We enjoyed a lovely lunch and catching up on family and solving the problems of the world. We have known each other for nearly 40 years and have celebrated many of life's achievements and cried over several of life's sorrows.

A few years ago I was a member of the 4x5 Modern Quilting Bee. I participated in several rounds and collected nearly 20 blocks from members of the bee. My chosen colors were "colors of the sea"; aqua, blues and greens. A few months ago I decided to put most of the blocks together to make a quilt, at the time, with no recipient in mind. Coming up with a setting for the blocks and still getting a good sized quilt was a little challenging, but I decided on this layout creating lots of negative space to let the blocks shine on their own.

I sent the quilt to Crinklelove for longarm quilting. Sarah did a beautiful job.

The backing is a duvet cover from IKEA, with stripes in the colors of the sea once again.
I bound the quilt using Timeless Treasures Sketch Basic in Aqua, the same fabric I used to bind Kyle's quilt given to him at Christmas.

The greatest pleasure I get after gifting a quilt is to receive photos of it in use. Susan was sure to send me a photo the very next day of the quilt on her bed. 

I sometimes miss the Flickr days and the times of swaps and short term bees, especially the 4x5 bee.

Quilt Stats:
Fabric: various greens, blues and aqua fabrics from members of the 4x5 bee.
Background fabric: Michael Miller Cotton Couture Bright White
Backing: IKEA duvet cover
Binding: Timeless Treasures Sketch Basic Aqua
Batting: Hobbs 80/20
Quilting: All over pattern Abundant Feathers by Crinklelove
Size before laundering: 84" x 85"

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Luminous Picnic Quilt

Last spring, after attending a quilting retreat with some friends, I came home excited to cut up my Anna Maria Horner Luminous fabrics. After seeing the really cute baby quilt a friend there had made I decided I wanted to make the same quilt she had made only on a much grander scale. Each of these blocks is made up of a 10" square, a 5" square in a square block and 8-3"x5" flying geese blocks, making the block finish at 15" x 15".

My son had asked for a large picnic quilt for his family to take to the park or beach, where they enjoy spending a lot of time, so this quilt was destined to be for them. I finished the quilt top pretty quickly, arranging the blocks in a 6x7 grid and adding a row of flying geese at the top and right side. I then put it in a closet until the fall when I sent it off to be quilted by the long arm quilter.

Anna Maria Horner Luminous fabric quilt

Sarah at Crinklelove did a beautiful job of quilting it for me. The quilt top finished at 95" x 110" and I knew I could never have wrestled this monster through my Bernina 820.

Anna Maria Horner Luminous fabric quilt

The backing is my go to wide back newsprint from Carrie Bloomston. I am so glad that this print is in constant supply so that I can order more when I start to run low of it. I bound it with Timeless Treasures Sketch basic in Aqua.
I've started finishing the binding on the machine. My hands just cannot hold a small needle for the hours it would have taken me to attach 420" of  binding. Once I resigned myself to liking the look of a machine finished binding, I am happy with the hours it has saved me and also the pain it has saved my hands from attaching it by hand, like I have usually done in the past. 

Anna Maria Horner Luminous fabric quilt

We gave this quilt to Kyle, Briana and Valko on Christmas morning, but I think their dog, Butterball, thought it was for her.

Anna Maria Horner Luminous fabric quilt

Kyle tells me the quilt has already gotten a lot of use on chilly mornings in their home. He said it is nice and big to wrap up in. They have also used it at the parks they like to visit in their neighborhood and in Palm Springs, as picture below.

Anna Maria Horner Luminous fabric quilt

Quilt Stats:
Fabric: Luminous (first edition) by Anna Maria Horner
             Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Bright White
Binding: Timeless Treasure Sketch Basic in Aqua
Batting: Hobbs 80/20 cotton blend
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil
Quilted by Sarah @Crinklelove
Size: 95" x 110"

Monday, January 29, 2018

Knitting Finishes

I finished several knitting projects since last November but never shared them here on the blog.
The first was this pair of socks. It was my first attempt at Fair Isle knitting and I learned a lot from this project. The one thing I learned was that you really need to pay attention to the pattern. As you can see I used the pink yarn on two separate occasions when I should have used the black. Since these socks are for me I knew I could live with the error and be ok with it. I made sure to make the second sock correctly.

Yarns used:  Madelinetosh 100% Superwash Merino color Dirty Panther
                    Republic of Wool Fingering weight 75% Merino/25% Nylon
                    Color: Wonderland
Pattern is a free pattern in one of those pamphlets you get in the big craft stores, but I can't find it right now to give credit.

My next attempt at Fair Isle was this hat. It is so cute but it is too small for me. Since it was a super fast knit I think I'll rip it out and start all over again and make it bigger using larger needles.
The pattern is by Susan B Anderson and the yarns are 100% wool, worsted weight from Barrett Wool Company.

These socks were knit for my son. Made from Scary Monsters and Super Creeps yarn from Lush Knit. I think it's so cool that Amanda names all her yarns after song titles. This one is a David Bowie song title. The yarn is 80% Wool - Merino 20% Manufactured Fibers - Nylon / Polyamide Fingering weight.

Next up is this pair of socks that I knit for my grandson. I purchased the self-striping yarn while on vacation last fall in Montana.
Yarn used: Berroco Sox Yarn

These socks might be one of my very favorite knit projects. I love scrap quilts and have discovered that I love scrap socks, too. These socks were knit using all kinds of leftover yarn and they represent so many other socks that I have made for myself and others. 

The last project finished a few weeks ago is the Kobuk hat. I was so pleased to see the fabric that was created by using these two yarns together, held as one. The yarn made a soft, fuzzy fabric and is super warm.
Yarns used: Sweet Fiber Sweet Sock 80% Merino Wool, 20% Nylon; color "Riverbed
                    Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca; color Revel

I ordered a few faux fur pom poms from Amazon to top off the hat.

I was able to wear the hat this last weekend while we had a little getaway to the Central California coastal city of Cayucos. I just love it up there. We can walk on the beach with Martha the Labradoodle, drive into Paso Robles to enjoy olive oil or wine tasting and good restaurants, or relax by watching the elephant seals in Cambria.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Abalone Shawl, Comfort for Karen, Part Three

I needed a break from knitting socks and after seeing all the beautiful shawls my friend, Krista, has been making lately, I decided to change it up and knit a shawl. I loved the lacy look of the Abalone Shawl and it had the benefit of being a free pattern on Ravelry. *

abalone shawl, knitting,

I wanted to make this shawl for my friend  Karen, who will be receiving experimental treatment for Lymphoma in a few weeks. This is her third recurrence of this ugly disease. When she was first diagnosed I made her a quilt. When the cancer returned 15 months later, I made her a pair of socks.  Now that this horrible disease has returned a third time I sent this shawl off to her saying, "I DO NOT want to make you any more comfort items." The next thing I want to send her will be in celebration that she is cured, once and for all.

This shawl is a nice size measuring, approximately, 80" across from point to point and 18" at the widest place in the back.

I like this pattern because it only  uses one skein of lace weight yarn plus the contrasting yarn for the lacy stripes. Since I used sock weight yarn I ran short but managed to make it work.

Unfortunately, I could tell I was going to run out of both the green yarn and the aqua I used for the lace stripes. as I was getting close to the last section. Lucky for me that I am a "make do" kind of knitter and I had a few yards left of a gorgeous sea blue that I used to finish the green portions and a slightly lighter aqua finished the lace.

The shawl really came to life after I blocked it. All the lacy bits opened up and the fabric took on a beautiful, smooth texture, showing off the variegated colors in the yarn.

Miss Martha made a willing model...can you tell she's smiling with her eyes?

Shawl Stats
Yarn: Rowan Fine Art hand painted sock yarn
          Made with Merino Wool, Kid Mohair, Polyamide, & Mulberry Silk
The contrasting yarn: Incredible Sock Yarn 75% Super wash Merino/25% Nylon 
Color: Unfolding
Needles: Addi Turbo Rocket, US size 4, 3.5mm 32" circular

*This pattern has a lot of mistakes and the author seems unavailable to answer any questions, so proceed at your own risk. I was lucky enough to have Krista to help me through some bumps and I winged it through the other parts when confusion set in. That being said, I'd make it again because I love the finished product.