Monday, March 21, 2016

We all scream for Ice Cream

Forgot to post about my finished Harlequin Ice Cream quilt.

This was a block of the month mystery quilt sponsored by my quilt guild.  I sent my quilt top to my local long arm quilter, and she did a beautiful job with a swirly overall design.

I entered the quilt into our guild's annual quilt show, where it was displayed together with the other completed BOM's from our guild members.

Here is how mine looked, hanging in the show:

And here are some of the others:
These were all made from the same pattern of blocks, yet how different they all are depending on the color placement and the block layout.

This one used the exact same layout as mine, but the lights and mediums were in an alternate position in the block:

This one was made by my friend Rosemary.  She was the only one who used sashing between the blocks, and also the only one with a pieced border.

I'm not usually a fan of mystery quilts.  I like to know what something is going to look like before I invest the time into making it.  On the other hand, knowing that so many others were getting their quilts finished in time for the show was great motivation to get mine done too.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Shawl wrap up

In 2015, I completed 12 shawls as part of my church's Prayer Shawl Ministry. It's time for me to blog about them so that I can look back and remember how they turned out and which ones  I might like to do again.

 This first one is a crocheted triangular shawlette from a free pattern on the Lion Brand website.
I added a pretty scalloped stitch to the lower edge:

 After making the shawlette, I wanted to make something more suited for a man,  and I settled on this rectangular shawl in two shades of green:

This name of the pattern for this next shawl was called the "X Stitch" shawl.  It was a little tricky to begin with, but then the pattern was easy to memorize.
I gave this shawl to my sweet mother-in-law for Mother's Day.  She almost wasn't going to wear it because she thought it was "too pretty to use".  But, the next day she called me and told me that she was sitting with a cup of tea, and her feet up, and wearing the shawl.

This next  shawl started out completely different, but I got off track with the pattern and ended up pulling it all out.  I wrote about this one here.   This was round 2 with the same yarn.

I like to have at least one easy-to-knit project to keep in the car to pull out on long car trips or when sitting in doctor's offices.  This was one of my car projects.  The yarn was so beautifully variegeted that the the simple pattern of straight knitting was all it needed. 

I gave it to my aunt who had a spell of bad health this past winter.  I was so pleased when my cousin sent me this picture of her wrapped up in it:

After success with the long variegated yarn of the previous project, I picked out some new variegated yarn, in colors of pink, green and purple, and started the shawl pictured below:
I pretty much hated the way these colors were coming out, but the other members of the shawl ministry encouraged me to finish it anyway, saying that someone was sure to like it.  Sure enough, somebody picked it out with much happiness at our next dispersal of shawls

 These next 3 shawls were also travel projects that I just kept in the car to pull out and work on whenever time allowed.

I wrote about this next one here.
It has since been given to my mother's friend, who it turns out, has a favorite color of "turquoise". 

This one was knitted with a blue heathery yarn,  in a pattern of 3's, with alternating sections of plain knitted rows:
This next picture shows the pattern a lot better, although the color is off a little.

It was the leftovers from the blue heather shawl above that formed the basis for this most recent shawl finish, which I wrote about here.
This one was given to a family friend who just underwent knee replacement surgery.

On February 1st of this year, our Prayer Shawl Ministry celebrated it's second anniversary, and to date we have crafted and given away over 500 shawls.

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Styrofoam, scraps, skinny spaces and a snow day...

Being stuck inside on a snow day, it was time to address a problem that has been bothering me for a long time...this:

This is the skinny space between my car's seat, and the front seat storage.  Everything, especially my phone, seems to fall into that space.  See that pen in the above photo?  Guess where it is in the next photo.

When something falls into that space, it is impossible to get it out without getting out of the car and reaching under the seat from the back.  What to do to defeat that annoying, bottomless, Pit of Despair?

I started with some leftover packing styrofoam, and a bit of fabric:

From the fabric, I made a narrow tube, and then boxed the ends:

I turned the tube right sides out, and added a loop at the open end.  As you can see, I made use of the selvage ends to save from having to make a hem.   Nothing fancy here.

Then I wrapped the styrofoam in a remnant of batting, secured it with Scotch tape, and stuffed it into the tube.

Ta Da!

Time to test it out in the car.

The loop goes around the seat belt latch:

And the rest gets stuffed nicely into the skinny space...

Problem solved!  Now just have to make one for the other side.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Just one ball of yarn

I had one skein of leftover yarn from a previous project.

In an effort to use up what I had, but unable to find any more of that exact color, I picked up some coordinating yarns to use in a new shawl project.

I chose a chevron pattern that I though would really be accentuated by using different colors, and I was very happy with the way it started out:

But wait!  What's that over on the right side of the photo?  All this!

Ugh!  Lots and lots of ends to weave in.

In an effort to retain my sanity, I chose to make the middle portion of the shawl a solid gray, and continue with the chevron pattern again when I reached the other end.  After the knitting was done, it took a couple of nights of TV watching, just to weave in all those extra ends.

I laid the shawl on the bed to get a better photo of the pattern, and stood on a stool to get a nice aerial shot.

As I was looking through the camera lens, the shawl began to move....
Caught in the act 

Thankfully, he only got as far as the doorway before he dropped it.  (My hysterical "Oh No! No! No!" as I jumped down off the stool may or may not have had anything to do with it.)  In any case, my shawl remained unharmed, and my dog is still my loyal companion.

Oh, and that one ball of yarn?  I still have most of the skein left, only now it is joined by a teal skein and a gray one too.  Next?

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Not your Grandma's Ripple

When I was growing up, anyone who knew anyone who crocheted seemed to have a "Ripple Afghan" over the back of their couch.
In my family, it was a pink and blue ripple afghan made by my grandmother.

It seemed almost like a rite of passage in the crochet world to attempt a ripple pattern.  It was even showing up in a few of the Prayer Shawls being crocheted by the women in my Prayer Shawl Ministry.  I particularly liked this one, done by Paula,  using a gray yarn with silver flecks:

I decided to give the ripple pattern a try, and chose this Summer Sonata shawl from the Lion Brand website:

I made mine using a teal colored yarn.  There are only two rows to this pattern, but you have to count carefully to get the peaks and valleys of the ripples to line up.

Here is the finished shawl.  My mother requested a prayer shawl from me to give to a friend who just had back surgery, and this one will be going to her.

Today, I think that the pattern I affectionately refer to as a "ripple", would now be called a "chevron".

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Perfect spot for a quilt

My sister-in-law, Brigitte,  inherited this beautiful washstand, and set it up in her guest room.

When I saw it in the corner, I immediately thought that the little towel bar was the perfect spot to hang a quilt.   I measured the open space and began thinking about creating a little wallhanging to surprise her.

Keeping her favorite color palette in mind, I chose 2 small charm packs and some yardage of this Moda fabric called "Castlewood":

The opening was an odd size for a quilt, so I made up an asymmetrical design to include a few stars, and I sewed it all together into this mini quilt:

The next thing to do was to figure out how to be able to hang it from the non-removable towel bar. I decided to make tabs with button closures for hanging.    I made the tabs using 2 inch strips of fabric, folded with short sides together, and then sewn up the two long sides:

I turned the tabs right side out and experimented with the button hole maker on my sewing machine until I came up with the right size for my buttons.  I sewed the tabs to the back of the quilt at the same time that I attached the binding:

I brought the binding around to the front, and sewed it by hand.  (It was just a happy accident that I aligned the tabs about 1/2" in from the sides so that they didn't interfere with the binding.)  Then I sewed the buttons to the front of the quilt:

The finished quilt looked like this:

This past weekend, we visited with my brother and sister-in-law and I surprised her with the quilt.  As soon as she opened it, Brigitte said "I know right where this belongs!".  She brought it into the guest room and put it on the washstand right away.  I could tell that she loved it!

She later added a pitcher and bowl to the washstand and it made a very pretty pairing:

And then the quilt and the washstand lived happily ever after.

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