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. 

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.