Friday, January 31, 2014

Knitting lizards

Some of the women at my church have started up a Prayer Shawl Ministry.  The focus of the group is to knit or crochet shawls that will be donated to someone in need of comfort.  A few years ago, I wrote a blog post describing more about the idea of prayer shawls, and showing the one that my mother knitted for me.

I love the idea of knitting a prayer shawl, not only because of the comfort I hope it provides to someone who might need it, but also because they are straight forward, rectangular projects, and there are no pieces that have to fit together in the final product.

There are lots of patterns for shawls, but I had an idea of my own.  I turned to this book which I have had for more years than I would care to admit but never used.

It contains page after page of knitted pattern swatches showing an amazing variety of knitting stitches, and gives the pattern steps that make up the swatch.

I chose the following pattern, not because of it's name, but because I thought it would give an interesting texture to the shawl, and yet work up fast:

I don't know how "Lizards" relate to this stitch pattern, but after knitting a few rows, a very appealing woven pattern began to take shape:

I am enjoying the work as it grows, and with the Olympics coming up, I know what project I will be working on as I watch TV.

Check out  Patchwork Times to see what other knitters have on their needles this week.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Blogger Girls BOM

I decided to take the plunge and do the Blogger Girls BOM designed by Monique Dillard at Open Gate Quilts.  The thing I liked about this BOM is that the block size is only 6 inches square which is a size I like to work with.  Here are my January blocks:

It's hard to tell, but both blocks are made from the same basic block pattern.  Each month Monique posts the directions for one block, and you select your fabrics to create 2 different looks.  I decided to pull out the 30's repro fabrics and work with those.  It's refreshing to work with Spring-like colors at this time of year.

The blocks in the photo above  have their white sashing already added, and eventually, an additional colored triangle will be added to each corner.  I haven't yet decided what color I want to use for the triangle corners, so I am leaving them as is for now.

I have finished the quilting on my Monkey Wrench quilt.  Here's a photo that was more about the SUN than the quilt.  Been so long since I've seen the sun this winter that I took a photo to remember it by.  LOL!

I'm happy to have two quilt tops quilted so far this year. It was fun to take a little break and do some piecing with the Blogger Girls, but now it's back to my goal of getting some tops turned into quilts in 2014.

Next up  is this Rangeley Star quilt.
Rangely Star is a pattern by Deb Tucker.  I sewed it up as a class sample probably 2 years ago, and it has been waiting to be quilted ever since.  Time to clear the decks and  get out those basting pins....

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Oh, Snap!

This unusual cold snap we are experiencing is a great excuse for staying in and sewing.  I have finished quilting the interior of my Monkey Wrench quilt:

I just did stitch-in-the-ditch quilting around the main pieces of the block.  My humble quilting is not going to knock anyone's socks off, but as they say  "Finished is better than perfect"!

I had to stop at this point because I want to switch to a brown thread to quilt the border, and I don't have any on hand.  I'm not going to brave the frigid temps just to buy thread.  There's always another project to work on in the meantime.

This won't be the first time that the borders have caused me to put this project aside.  After all the piecing was done in the center, I had a hard time choosing a border fabric.  I took the quilt to a shop that specializes in Civil War reproduction fabrics, and (with the help of a staff member), I  picked out a CW brown floral, but after I got it home, I just wasn't feeling it. (Caution: badly lit photo ahead)

Something about the print of the fabric was just not working.  The colors were perfect, but I felt it was too loud,  and some of the cornerstones in the sashing were blending into it.  I think I had let the shop staff have to much input into my choice of fabric.

Anyhow, the project got shelved for a bit until I figured out what to do.  Eventually, I decided to do  a double border.  I chose a narrow border of deep red which didn't appear anywhere else in the quilt, and then paired it with a quieter  brown for the border.

Much better!

Someday very soon, I'll get this border quilted.  In the meantime, I'm going to take a tip from Toby for keeping warm.....keep my nose tucked in and my tail wrapped around me.

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year, Old Projects

Happy New Year!  Hope everyone is off to a good start in 2014!

I've seen lots of postings about resolutions, but this won't be one of them.  Instead of a resolution, I have set myself a goal for 2014.... turn some unquilted tops into quilts!   I took stock of my sewing room, and came up with too many finished tops just waiting to be quilted.

First up, is La Vie En Rose.

It's just a small table topper, and seemed like a good place to start.  I let the lines in the design dictate how to quilt it.

I've got the binding all cut and pressed, and should have this done in a couple of nights of TV watching.

Right now, I'm sticking to straight line quilting, but hopefully will work up the courage to do some free motion quilting eventually.   Up next, is the Monkey Wrench quilt top I started at this time last year.  As of this posting, this one just needs some borders.

Time to get back to work.

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