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. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Brick House Quilt

Last month the Thomas Fire devastated the beautiful coastal town of Ventura, California and much of the County of Ventura. Deeply affected by these fires were three of my life long friends. My mom's best friend and a woman I consider my "second mom" has been displaced because of the smoke damage in her home. Every house around hers burned. She is living with her former daughter-in-law and caretaker while her home gets cleaned up. We visited with LaVonne just 2 weeks before the fires started. She's 96 years old and just lost her husband of 74 years last June. I love our visits and always look forward to seeing her. I wish she didn't live 2-1/2 hours away. 

You can see in this photo the only house left standing is LaVonne's. She can't return to her home until all the damage has been fixed which includes a new roof on the house, all carpets and mattresses replaced, painting inside out out, a deep cleaning and new landscaping.

I finished these socks a week after the fire and sent them off to LaVonne. She was so excited to get them. She is the person who inspired me to learn to knit, as a child. It was fun to make something for her that she can use and feel my love.

Also displaced by the fires were her two sons. Steve, on the right, was evacuated but his home escaped without any damage. Greg's home was burned to the ground. He only had 15 minutes to get out of his home and he lost everything, escaping only with the clothes on his back and one car.

I have known this family since I was a toddler. My parents met them when we first moved to California, from Pittsburgh, in 1955. We were such good friends that Greg and I went to school dances together. This photo is from 1968.

So what does a quilter do when someone they know has gone through a tragedy? They make them a quilt. of course.

I call this quilt the "Brick House" quilt. To me it symbolizes stability and love. It will probably take 2 years for Greg to rebuild his home but at least he'll have a quilt to give him some form of comfort as he goes through the harrowing process and paperwork involved in rebuilding.

I made this quilt using Karen Lewis' Blueberry Park fabrics and combined them with a Fat Quarter stack of  Carolyn Freidlander coordinating solids and prints. Each block was strip pieced using 3-1/2" strips pieced together then cut into 5-1/2" pieces, flipped and sewn into a block that finishes at 12" x 15".

The backing is a 108" wide print from Wyndham Fabrics. It has color names written all over it. I thought it was appropriate for all the colors represented in the quilt.

I quilted it using an Ivory 40 weight thread from Connecting Threads. Straight lines 1/2" on both sides of each seam in both directions was easy, fast and allowed my to get this quilt finished and in the mail quickly. I used Warm and White batting and quilted it on my Bernina 820.

Lots of prints and color in this quilt make it a happy quilt.

The binding is my favorite go to black and white stripe from Timeless Treasures.

The quilt is in the post and should arrive tomorrow. I enjoyed making this quilt for Greg and look forward to making this simple pattern again. It was inspired by Film in the Fridge's 2x4 quilt
After laundering this quilt finishes at 71 inches wide by 80 inches tall.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Farmer's Daughter Ikat Quilt

My most recent quilt finish was made using two jelly rolls of The Farmer's Daughter fabric and a pattern by Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic. To be quite honest using a jelly roll was a pain but the finished quilt made it worth it. I thought the quilt would end up very misshaped and wonky but all the wobbliness quilted right out.

I love the colors and prints in this collection. The sweet mix of floral and gingham prints combined with some text prints and basics make for a great quilt.

For the backing I found a great print that I really love. The only problem is I didn't order the correct amount. I added some black and white gingham to make it work. I have used Tim Gunn's "make it work" phrase more times than I can count. Ha! Ha!

The binding needed to be sort of neutral so I used some Widescreen by Carolyn Freidlander in Black. 

My sweet friend, Jennifer, of Knotted Thread quilted it for me on her newly acquired long arm machine. She used  pink thread and I provided my usual Warm and White batting. After laundering, this quilt measures 60" x 76". It shrunk 4-5 inches in both directions. I guess that's pretty normal.

 The best part of this quilt was gifting it to my dear, sweet friend, Jennifer. We have been friends for over 30 years. She is the last of our Glamorous Granny group to celebrate her 60th birthday. It's always such a pleasure to get together with these dear friends for our monthly lunch date. We laugh and cry and try to solve the problems of the world, but most of all we always count our blessings.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Low Volume Baby Quilt

Sometimes I make a quilt with the intended recipient in mind and sometimes I make a quilt because I just love the idea. This quilt falls somewhere in the middle. 
Earlier this year my friend and fellow Stash Sewciety bee mate asked us to make her wonky, low volume log cabin blocks. I enjoyed making them so much that I continued making lots and lots of them with no plan in mind as to how many I would make or how I would combine them.

I combined many sweet prints with lots of little fussy cuts as the center of each block and then  squared them up to 12-1/2". When I ran out of low volume prints I ordered more from a dear friend's fabric shop. (Stitch Supply Co)

I wanted to keep going but stopped at making 36 blocks, which makes the perfect large, baby quilt, at six feet square.

Lately, I have not enjoyed quilting my own quilts because it causes me a lot of shoulder pain, so I sent this one off to Crinklelove to work her magic. She does such a great job and she has a quick turnaround. The backing is my go to newsprint from Carrie Bloomston.

For the binding I found a great pink stripe from Michael Miller in my stash. It really was the perfect finish to this soft and sweet baby quilt.

Our newest granddaughter has the cutest nursery, so I cashed in on using it for the photo shoot.

This quilt is sitting, safely waiting, to see if my friend's baby will be a girl or boy. I'm hoping it's a girl so I can gift her this quilt and just in case it's a boy...I have a perfect boy quilt waiting in the wings. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Socks for Linden

I finished another pair of socks and sent them off to my niece in Philadelphia, hoping that she will make good use of them this fall and winter.

I made my go to simple sock pattern that works great for me, but added a single cable up the front and back of each sock.

I love the fall colors of this gorgeous yarn I purchased while on vacation in Montana this  September.

I've recently switched from using the Fish Lips Kiss Heel to making a gusset slip stitch heel. I like the look of it and think it fits better, too.

I'm always searching for a new toe to try, but I guess if it ain't broke, why fix it? Right?

A two by two ribbing is also my go-to. I work toe up, so the ribbing is the last to do before another pair is off the needles.

Here is proof that Linden liked the socks. How gorgeous are my little great-nieces and nephew? Ages 9, 6 and 3, I sure wish they lived closer so we could see them more often and they could play with my grandkids.

Sock Stats:
Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot hand-painted yarn in the Azalea colorway
          60% Superwash Wool 25% Mohair 15% Nylon
Pattern: My own Stockinette Simple Sock pattern with a gusseted slip stitch heel
Needles: Addi Turbo Sock Rockets size US 1 24" circular