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.