Saturday, January 28, 2012

Blooming 9-patch

Have you ever made a blooming 9 patch quilt?   Cecile G. from our guild led us in a workshop last week with her pointers on making the blooming nine patch.  

I'm having second thoughts about my colors.  I'm not sure what I was thinking!!  

Anyway before leaving for Cuba, I had all the larger squares and side setting triangles cut. Also, the binding done and 4 of the 7 sets of nine-patches are done.    I plan to get the other 3 sets of 9-patches done  the week after we arrive home from Cuba.  Then it'll all get stored in a nice kit, and the assembly of these nine-patches and between squares and setting triangles will be a nice little project for me while we are away in South Carolina next month.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Wool washing experiement.

Last week I decided to try a different way to knit with Briggs & Little yarn.    That is by pre-washing.    So here are the simple steps.
Wash skein in mild soapy water.  Rinse in clear water, twice.
Hand squeese out water then lay on a towel.  Fold the towel over and squeese more water out.

Then hang to air dry.
Well,  I had these three skeins washed and hanging in my bathroom for a day before we left for Cuba.  They were quite dry and I couldn't quite feel a difference in the texture, but maybe knitting with it will give more of a true test of the feel.     I'll be knitting a Rococo Shawl this when we go to South Carolina next month, so I'll update you then.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Vacation in Cuba

I'm getting great use out of my double passport holder that I made last summer.  My little wallet was made from a free tutorial and every time I use it, I say to myself, "This was a useful little project!  Besides my passport, I keep my boarding pass stubs, and my Air Canada Kiosk Cards in it. 

Well it's been a few months since we've traveled, so at the last minute we decided to take a little trip to Cuba.  We've never been there before but many of my friends have, and we've got lots of advice to relax and enjoy the beautiful resort and beaches. 

We leave on the first flight out, tomorrow morning.   There is no Internet that I know of at the resort, so no blogging, or email...

We'll be back in a week.  See you all then!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Briggs & Little Wool Yarn - To Wash or not to Wash.

To pre-wash or not to pre-wash, I should say, that is the question?   I love using Briggs & Little yarn.  I have a closet full of it.   The problem is that it's coarse texture is so hard on your hands.  I was proudly wearing my new shawl today when I visited the St. Dunstan's Quilters.   We got on the topic of knitting and one of the quilters said that all B&L yarn could and should be washed before being used.    What do you think of that?  I had never heard of such a thing...

There were a couple of suggestions on how to do it.   Since I really want to make another Rococo Shawl, I decided I would try the pre-washing of the wool.  I will use the suggestions of the ladies of course.      

It needs to be gently washed/agitated, while still in the skein.   Then roll in a bath towel and squeeze so that the towel takes up most of the moisture.   Then let skein hang over the end of a quilt rack, or ironing board until it's dried.     I will be away for the whole week next week, so it will have a week to dry.  

When I'm back I'll report back on what I think of the texture...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Rocco Shawl

I finished my Rocco Shawl today and have all the ends woven in.   What got my needles clicking so fast to finish it, was that my friend, Donna C. gave me an unexpected gift yesterday!!   It is a Shawl Pin.   She bought at her local yarn boutique in Bathurst, NB  and  I love it.    It's dark brown and I will have to research ways on how to wear my shawl and pin it closed so that it shows off the pin.  It's hard to see in this picture, but look closely, you'll find it. 

Many thanks Donna for the pin.  Your timing was perfect.  And also thanks to my niece Stephanie for the gift of the pattern.  It's been so fun to get back into knitting in the past few weeks..... Now I'm thinking... what will I knit next!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Presenting a Log Cabin for the St. Dunstan's Quilters

I am pleased to present St. Dunstan's Log Cabin Raffle quilt for 2012.   I was so glad to have a guild meeting today, because that was all the motivtion I need to help me get it done a bit early.  

I will deliver this and the prepared binding to the ladies of the St. Dunstan's Quilters group on Thursday.   

Friday, January 13, 2012

Stitching in the Snow

Our first big snowstorm of the season has started yesterday afternoon.  A snow day is a great day to get lots of sewing work done. 

One of the things I did was to lay out the log cabin blocks for St. Dunstan's quilt on the living room floor.  It's going to be a large queen size. 10 blocks across by 12 down which will make this about 85" x 100".  I like the layout..

 Every time I walk by, I move around a couple of blocks... It is supposed to be random... and it is... but every once in a while, I will see two blocks that are butting up against each other, that have the same color... Don't want that, now do we....  This could go on for days.  But I'm only giving myself until suppertime on Friday.  Then it gets all picked up in order, and on Saturday morning, I start to sew it all together... 

Looks like I'll make my personal deadline and will be showing this at guild this coming week!!  Yippee...

Then it goes to the St. Dunstan's Quilters for marking and hand quilting.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rocco Shawl - Ball 2

I'm really enjoying knitting on my Rocco Shawl.   I bought two balls of the Lion Brand Fishermen's wool, and hoped it would be enough.... Now that I'm done ball one, I am confident that I won't need a third ball.    I've finished 5 of the 7 pattern repeats.  So that means two more repeats, and the long ruffle on the other long side of the shawl... then the ruffle on the two short sides. 

With my continued evening knitting, I'm positive that in another week, I will have it done.   Now, I need to find a beautiful shawl pin.   I've been pinning a few on pinterest.   I wonder if they can be bought locally.  If you have seen any, will you let me know.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Help - I need knitting needles

We're all on a knitting kick!!  
All 5 of my grand-daughters are knitting!!!   Isn't that heaven.   When Jessica and Emily were here over the Christmas Holidays, we knit!!   Jessica has been knitting since she's a child, but only knitting really good for the last year or two.  Recently, she caught the "Big Needle" craze... and Loves how knitting with big needles produces such a fast and soft scarf.   Emily just learned when she was here over the holiday.  She's a quick learner and she's a fast knitter too.  I am so impressed that she caught on so quickly.

Caitlin (in the pink) has been knitting for some time, and we just taught Grace (in the blue) to knit last night.  She said.."This is kind of cool!".   So we decided to let Aurora (in the middle) try to knit.    She's got a ways to go, but she seems to have the knitting bug too.  We'll let her think that she's knitting with all the big girls for the time being..

Here's my problem.  I've run out of needles. I need a variety of knitting needles to cover all my kiddos knitting needs.  (and they each have a friend who might want to learn to knit).

Before I go to the Walmart to buy needles...I know many of my local friends have a bundle of needles that they are looking for a new home for.  I'd love to put your old knitting needles to good use...  I need double pointed needles (for Caitlin) and regular needles.  I'll take circulars too.  You'll probably see me at guild next week.  Just bring them along... I'll be ever so grateful.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A visit from Aurora

Aurora is visiting. We're doing lots of things.  Coloring, playing barbies, sewing and cooking.     We had some dough left over from our Christmas cooking so we made them up today. She's going to take some home today and share them with her best friend Sadie.   She loves eating the leftover gingerbread dough after we did all the coutouts.
So, here is our cookie works of art.  Aurora did half and I did half.  Don't they look yummy!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm Hooked on Hook Feathers

I think I first saw these Sally Terry hook feathers when I read about her classes at Maine Quilts 2011 last summer.   I thought they were so nice, and didn't quite understand the hook.  I googled her and found that she has a  book and I saw her demonstrating her unique feathers in a video.  I can't seem to find the video right now to share with you.     Well, I think I forgot about these hook feathers until recently.  They came to mind when I was deciding how I would quilt my half square triangle practice piece......  I did a little 2 minute sample and they were easier than I thought....  It took less than an hour to quilt up this runner. 

When I go to the USA next month, I'll see if I can find her book.   These feathers are everything she says they are... quick, easy, and no backtracking.   I'm dying to see all the feather formats that are in her book besides these ones.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A New Sizzix fabric cutter

I have a new fabric cutter.   It's a Sizzix that came from Michaels.   See, a couple of months ago, even though I had no cutter, I won a half square quilting die from a B.C. quilt shop blog give-away (Thanks Stitchintheditch).   I've been looking at the Accuquilt and the Sizzix cutters, trying to see the difference between the two.   I stumbled across this video by Patsy Thompson and loved her explanation of the Sizzix machine and decided to go that route.      

So with my friend nearby for confidence (thanks Kathy), we cut out some half square triangles.  They were a cinch to cut out... in about 10 seconds flat.  

The next thing was, how easy were they to sew together.  Half square triangles have been known to be tricky because one of the edges is a bias edge.... (Thanks for the warning Linda H.)

Since we cut two fabrics together, the triangles were layered together, I made sure to sew using my Pfaff with the walking foot.  The pairs were very easy to sew together and they came out perfectly.  I sewed all my half square samples together with ease. (Now I'm wishing I used nicer fabrics.)

Just the same, I sewed my pieced sample half square together in a pattern that Anne V. designed for a guild project last month.   Check out hers at the bottom of this FQG blog page,  hers was smaller triangles and much nicer seasonal colors.

My prototype sample is now layered and pinned.   I will finish this little project by machine quilting using a new feather technique that I saw a while back.    

Stay tuned to see my finished project in a couple of days.

Friday, January 6, 2012

St. Dunstan's Log Cabin 88 of 120 blocks done.

I put some of the blocks on the spare bed to see how the layout was going to look.  First thing I thought was that maybe I've made this way too big. It's intended to be a queen size borderless quilt in that it's strictly blocks from edge to edge.  With only 32 more blocks to sew together, I'll be moving into the layout phase soon.  I enjoy that phase and usually  have one of my little helpers to look for places I need to change blocks out.  

This is a closeup of one of the blocks.  I've used a traditional gold for the center of each block and light cream/tan prints for the light logs.  I like how they are all different and the texture it adds. 
It's my first time doing a log cabin quilt, but won't be the last.   Love the Marti Michel techniques. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Knitting my Rococo Shawl

I love knitting on my new project in the evenings.  It's the Rococo Shawl pattern that my niece gave me for Christmas.   When I started last week, the thought of casting on 432 stitches and knitting a dozen rows was a little intimidating.  But I got through it, and now that I'm on the main part of the shawl, I'm only dealing with half that amount of stitches.  I have the ruffle border done, and one of 7 repeats of the pattern.   The repeat is only 12 rows, so a repeat can be easily knit in an evening or two  The pattern is starting to emerge and it's so nice.   

Sunday, January 1, 2012

St. Dunstan's Log Cabin 42 of 120 blocks done.

Happy New Year everyone.  A quiet icy but almost mild day in Freddy Beach.  Couldn't do our healthy walk today because the Willie Rink is closed, and it's so icy out, I know I'd fall and break my neck.  So today will be a knitting and sewing day.

Progress on my St. Dunstan's Log Cabin is good.  I have 42 of 120 blocks done.  I'm loving Marti Michel's technique of pre-cutting all the logs.  

I know now that sewing 16 blocks takes me about two and a half hours.  I can't sew for that long so I usually sit down to sew them in two sessions.    I need to do 5 more sets of 16 and then all the blocks will be done.   Then I'll need a day to do the layout and sew them together. 

My goal is to have the top it done by Monday, Jan 16th so that I can take to my guilds show and tell on the 16th and 17th. 

 It looks like a quiet week ahead so I should meet my goal comfortably.