Monday, December 01, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt

Bonnie Hunter is once again doing a mystery quilt. Once again I am participating, this is at least the fourth mystery I have done of Bonnie's.  This year the quilt is  "Grand Illusion". She does an excellent job of presenting each clue and giving tips that help develop quilting skills. Bonnie breaks things down into small pieces which are easy to accomplish (skill-wise) although often time consuming because she uses LOTS of pieces.

Clue #1 was posted last Friday, and I was actually able to get everything accomplished over the weekend-lots of sewing time since MOTH knew how much I have been anticipating getting started.

280 HSTs plus the squares needed to make 100 of these units.  Wonder what they will become when they grow up, 'cause you know they are part of something larger!

[Others participating in this share their first clue progress here: ]

From previous Mystery Quilts presented by Bonnie:

         Easy Street, instructions now available in "More Adventures with Leaders and Enders".  Easy Street used about 2413 pieces (assuming my math is correct, but that is a big assumption!)

         Orca Bay, instructions now available in "String Fling".  Orca bay used about 2821 pieces before you count those orange triangles which are made of  several "strings" of different fabrics.

         Orange Crush, instructions still available online, for free (as of today)  I didn't count these pieces up, and I didn't make the full size that quilt that Bonnie designed since I didn't have enough fabric. What resulted was a great quilt for a nap, or wrapping up in while watching TV on a chilly night.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Easy Street Finish

It isn't trimmed or pressed yet, but the quilt top is finished!  Hooray!

 I had thought of doing borders to make a concrete visual finish, but right now I'm just happy that it is done. Borders would probably mean buying more fabric, something else I don't want to do for this project. Here are EQ7 renderings of the borders under consideration.  How much difference the color choice makes!  Looking at the borders below, each one seems to darken the overall quilt.  I think I will stick with no borders, and bind with the yellows to keep things bright and sunny looking.

 I'm trying to figure out how far the leftovers from this project will go in a backing. Certainly it won't be enough, but it may make a panel or two so I won't need to buy as much.

In any case, the piecing is finished and I can always add borders any time before it gets quilted.  With all the projects already waiting to be quilted, it will give me plenty of time to change my mind several times.

Meanwhile, the sewing machine has had a deep cleaning, it has been oiled and has a new needle. The area around the machine has been straightened .  Once I do a little more picking up, I will wind a bunch of bobbins and change the rotary cutter blade and  will be all ready to begin Bonnie Hunter's 2014 Mystery Quilt next week.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Getting there

So I've been working on getting all the blocks finished.  I think I have finished the alternate blocks, but after miscounting some of the components, I won't say that I HAVE finished.

How does that happen?  The 3.5 inch components were counted as they were made, the were pinned together in groups of 10 to make recounting easier.  I put the pieces out as they would appear in the block and counted stacks of 9 (9 alternate blocks) and discovered that there were too few of certain little blocks.   I suspect that the same gremlin that absconds with the random sock has found its way to the sewing room and has been having a block tasting party.

I don't have room to get them all up on the design wall, but if you saw last weeks post, the empty spots are now filled with the alternate block. Bonnie Hunter calls this design "Easy Street", I think this one will be named "The Sunny Side of Easy Street".

Monday, November 10, 2014

Trying to catch up

Bonnie Hunter's yearly mystery quilt quiltalong is coming up, so I am making a sincere effort to finish the top I started two years ago before starting this one.  All the little pieces were cut and assembled, but had never been sewn into blocks. The layout for this quilt is on-point, so it requires corner units and triangles along the edges. So far I have made the four outside corners and the triangles that complete the end of each row and have mostly assembled the 16 "A" blocks.

I thought I had finished all of the "A" blocks and was set to knock out the alternate "B" blocks, because, hey, there are only 9 of those! However  it seems that there is one final seam to do on each "A".  I don't know if I should blame that on a faulty memory or on wishful thinking.

I didn't use Bonnie's colors, but substituted my own- which can be risky on a mystery quilt.  As I assembled the blocks and triangles, I worried that the choices I made were way too bright when  put together. I wanted something bright, but not so bright that it would keep me awake!

This morning I decided to put a few pieces on the design wall  to get an idea of how it all comes together. 

More about Bonnie: Bonnie Hunter is a talented, prolific and generous quilter, pattern designer, author and quilting teacher who has shared her patterns with other quilters.  There are a good number of free patterns on her blog.  For several years now she has designed a mystery quilt as a gift to quilters, and hosts an informal quilt-along. Each Friday a new set of instructions is given, everyone works at their own pace, but can ask questions and share progress via Bonnie's blog. Generally the first 'clue' is posted the day after (American) Thanksgiving and the final clue arrives around New Years. To learn more about this years mystery quilt, click the link then click on the last tab "Grand Illusion Mystery".

Monday, October 06, 2014

Escargot for her birthday

Last week my granddaughter turned 17.  I made the Escargot cloche hat for her in one of her favorite color combinations.

Escargot  by Veronica Parsons is available for free, check on Ravelry.  It was interesting construction, and at times I feared I was misunderstanding, I didn't quite recognize where I was going.  However if you just follow the instructions, everything works out simply.  My only issue is that even after swatching and adjusting needles size to get correct gauge, the hat came out large.  Checking projects on Ravelry, many others had the same problem.  I managed to shrink it somewhat, even though the yarn was a washable/non feltable type yarn.  If she chooses to tuck that thick braid of hers up and inside, the fit will be better.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Another FLK heel finish

I finished that second pair of socks using the FLK
heel method. My verdict: I like it and will be using it frequently.

This time I used a new (to me) yarn.  It was near the other sock yarns and was the same weight, so I didn't look as closely as I might have.  It is a microfiber yarn and it feels very nice, but it isn't spun tightly, it is almost like the fibers are just side by side, very little twist.  This results in some splitting.
Most of the time it was fine, but it did present problems more often than regular yarns.  I will have to wear it a few times to decide if it will be ok for socks. (note to self: too late now, they are made!!)  I have more, so will not use that at all until I've worn the socks.

This pair and the last pair that I made, I tried using some pattern in the legs, but both use self stripe yarns, so the patterns are lost.  No more patterns until I find the plain sock yarns.

Take a peek at  JudyL 's blog for some more knitting goodies.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

On and off the needles

I finished the first pair of socks using the Fish Lips Kiss heel method.  I like it.
I like the FLK method enough that I have already started a second pair of socks, and will use the FLK again.
This pair will not be quite as 'identical', as I started one a little further into the pale yarn than the other.  Close enough. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fish Lips Kiss heel socks - On The Needles

Trying another new (at least to me) method of doing sock heels.  This one has the very imaginative name of Fish Lips Kiss, because of the way it looks when finished. Personally, I don't see it, but I think I like the method.  I have just finished the heels on a pair of socks which I am doing two at a time, toe up on two needles. It is a short-row method without wrapping or counting.  Very straight forward once you understand how to make the twin stitch and the twin purl and do so properly each time (guess who kept forgetting the which way to mount the stitch? urgh, senior brain syndrome).

This method also uses a footprint, similar to Cat Bordhi's footprint to correctly size the sock and to indicate where to end toe increases and where to begin the heel. I do like this, my socks fit so much better with footprints.

The sock on the right has the footprint in the sock, showing how it will fit on my foot. The socks are the same size, the left one just looks smaller because it doesn't have the cardboard footprint.

The footprint, which is a tracing of my foot, has a line indicating where to stop making toe increases, and one (determined by ankle bone) of where to begin the heel. The designer also includes a way to double check that you have placed things correctly by doing some calculations, hence the dotted line on the heel.  The white bits you see curling around the edges at the toe end are the ends of a mailing label that is on the other side, on which I have recorded the type of yarn, size of needles, etc. for future reference. When I use this method for a different size yarn, I'll add another label.

If you are interested in giving this a try the method/instructions/pattern info:

Fish Lips Kiss Heel

Be aware that this is instructions for making the footprint and how to make the heel, with explanations of why this works. It is not a line by line pattern for a whole sock.  The cost is only a dollar, for me it was well worth it. There is also a Ravelry group "Sox Therapy" in which designer participates and will answer questions, should they arise.

Check out:On the Needles to see what other knitters  are doing.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Soleful Socks on the needles

Back in January I found a new book on knitted socks, one with a new type of architecture.  I keep trying new ways, because anytime I can find something a little easier means I can just make more, with the added advantage of learning something new and pleasing the little gray cells.

This book is Soleful Socks by  Betty Salpekar.  The method is neither toes up or cuff down.  One begins by creating the sole and then continuing on up over the top of the foot and up the leg.

I misread (or just misinterpreted) the decrease instructions when I started onto the tops.  What emerged greatly resembled the snout of a rhinoceros!  I was fortunate to find a group dedicated to this book/method on Ravelry and was able to contact the author to ask what I may have done wrong.  Betty lives in a neighboring town and suggested we meet for coffee and 'knitting'.  

On St. Patrick's Day I met her at a Starbucks and had one of the most delightful times I can recall. We recognized each other right off-must have had that knitterly look.  I started laughing, I pointed out that we were dressed alike, with the same colored turtlenecks and the same color coats, additionally, we both have the same color hair and eyes.

After chatting about many things for quite a while, we dragged out my rhino sock and her teaching samples.  Betty was able to discern where I had gone wrong and point me in the right direction.  Let me say I have seldom met someone more generous and enjoyable than Betty.

Making the corrections involved ripping out many rows, all the way back to the sole. Thankfully, I had used a lifeline - how apt.  I have since made some progress, but am stalled out because of some life issues that intervened.  

The turquoise is the lifeline and is placed through the stitches of the final row of sole stitches

Moving up the foot to the ankle and leg

Recently, Knitty has published one of Betty's Soleful patterns, one that doesn't appear in the book. If you like trying new types of socks, or just hate heels, you might want to take a look at the article, or check with your library for the book.

See more knitting projects on JudyL's blog.

Friday, June 13, 2014

While I haven't been posting, I have made a few things. 

One was a knitted hat that I had hoped to give to one of my sons.  I found the pattern and checked on the projects page at Ravelry to see what others had done.  I was glad that I did, as it was almost unanimous that the instructions as written made the hat too shallow.  I read how several others adjusted to fix this problem and did likewise.  For me, it is still too shallow/short. If I try again, I will make it much deeper.  Had I followed the directions to the letter, I would have had a cabled yarmulke, which is not what I was going for.

Another project was a Reading and Knit Along on one of the Rav groups, the book being a Miss Marple mystery and the project was named Miss Marple Scarf. I liked that it threaded through itself so that it would fit warmly around the neck and STAY there. Where it narrows and appears to be ribbed it is actually two layers, so one pointed end can thread through. Unfortunately, scarf met new puppy, fun for puppy, not so good for the scarf.  Guess I'll just have to make another. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

An ending and a beginning

In March, our little Silky Terrier Mac crossed the rainbow bridge. He was really a little dog that was all personality, and the house was unspeakably empty and quiet without him. We had decided that he would be our last dog, but the empty stillness was unbearable.

 Enter Eli.

Playing with the Grandsons

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Catching up, part Deux

In the fall, we joined some of our camping friends for an outing in Tennessee.  It was very good to reconnect. It was only possible because the group selected a campground in a park that also has a motel. Since we no longer have our motorhome, we booked a room for a couple of days, as did a few others so that we could still enjoy ‘camping’ with our friends.

The outing was at Fall Creek Falls, TN. It had cottages, the motel and 3 campgrounds. I believe it also had a golf course.
      Our own patio
 We always eat well with this group

 This is the way we camp these days:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Catching up

Is anyone still out there?? It is obvious that I haven’t posted in quite a while. If you are still out there and reading, I will attempt to catch up and then be more regular in posting.
This past year was  quite …interesting. I haven’t done any quilting and little knitting. I just haven’t had the inclination to do anything when I had any free time.
About this time last year, MOTH (Man of the House) wound up in the ER with a problem that could have gone very, very bad. It required surgery and a number of weeks of post-surgical care (by me, at home, thank goodness not in hospital) and a very restricted diet.

Just about the time that MOTH was given the go-ahead to resume normal living, our youngest grandson turned one. He and grandfather warmed up for the birthday party by.....taking a nap! Such party animals.
That led us into the fall, whereupon our youngest son had some alarming symptoms which required tests before he was issued a clean bill of health. That was just behind him when he was car-jacked at gunpoint.  The thief also took his phone, wallet and keys, so that left his home at risk while we scurried to change locks and ask the police to patrol the neighborhood for a few days. His car became a celebrity of sorts when it was noticed by the police and led them on a chase through the city before coming to an abrupt stop and making the nightly news. Good news, car was recovered after about a week, bad news, it needed repairs. A few months later, same son was laid off from work. He found and started a new job just before his unemployment ran out.

During all this time, I have had a few health issues of my own to work on. I am grateful that following the directives worked for me and one issue has greatly improved. The second will require some surgery next week, and I am hopeful that I will be given an all clear shortly.

The year wasn’t all bad, we had some very good family times. It was heartwarming to see the way our sons rushed in to help when MOTH was hospitalized.  We also had a lot of time with the grandchildren.

more to follow......