Saturday, September 30, 2006

Q is for Quilt

Actually these rectangles of flannel are waiting to become to rag quilts. You start by taking two pieces of flannel cut the same size and put a piece of batting between to make a sort of fabric sandwich. Then sew across the sandwich in an X shape to secure it all together. Once all the sandwiches have been made, I'll sew the rectangles into rows. Then the rows will be sewed together to create the finished size. When sewing the sandwiches and rows together, the seam allowances will remain visible and on the outside of the quilt, you just have to make sure that they are all on the same side.

Once it is all sewed together, you take little nippers and clip the fabric of the seam allowance into little bits that will fray when washed and create a soft fuzzy edge. You just have to be careful to not actually clip the stitching itself.

These rectangles will actually become two small lap size quilts approximately 58x70 inches each. I'm going to put all the warm colors on one side and use the cool colors on the reverse. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them - maybe pack them away until I'm invited to a baby shower.

The picture to the left shows the first rag quilt I ever completed, and in fact my first sewing project. It was for my sister-in-law when she had her first baby. I used pastel colored flannels in a variety of colors and it turned out really soft. You can see the frayed border around each square. The backside does not have the frayed edges and is much smoother.

This is a very simple project that even a beginner can sew. In fact - it is the only type of sewing project I have ever finished. I've made several for gifts. One year I used red, green, and plaid flannel and created a tree shape in the middle for Christmas presents. My husband got one that looks like it is made out of old flannel shirts. I even made a really large one that looks like an American Flag.

My mom is a quilter and several years ago she sent me a sewing machine at Christmas. I had aspirations of making beautiful quilts like she does. But these rag quilts are all I ever completed. Another attempted hobby that bit the dust.

I did start two other quilt tops but never got them finished. My mom was visiting last week and took them both home to finish up for me. One of the tops is in all reds and purples and the other has a cat motif and is made up of batik fabric. The block above was my first attempt at one of the squares for the cat quilt. I ended up changing the pattern and changed the cat shape so the cat tail curls down and into a tail of a cat below it. I have no idea how long it will take her to finish the quilts - but I'm certainly not expecting them anytime in the near future. I'll take pictures and post them when they are complete.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Fiber Friday

I've been on a sock yarn binge lately. So I've decided to share a couple of my new skeins. This first skein in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck. The color is Red Hot and Green. I love the combination of red and lime green. There aren't too many things that I would wear with that color combination - but I figured a pair of socks would be great. I've not used this yarn before, but it seems nice and soft. I'm looking forward to knitting it. Add another project to the list!

I haven't picked a pattern yet. When I ordered the yarn (it was part of a larger order from Little Knits) I got a couple free patterns. They appear to be simple and would probably work well with this variegated yarn.

Red seems to be a very hard color for me to photograph and get a close representation of the real color. It didn't help that I didn't start taking pictures until last night after work. The natural light was declining and I only had a limited amount of time to get a good picture. I'll have to start earlier to get the shots for next week.

The second skein I shot was my new Rocking' Sock Club installment called Titania. This is my fourth shipment and so far it is my favorite. I love the darker rich colors for fall. I was able to get almost all the colors in the skein in this picture. There is a little more purple between the blues than actually shows up here. You can see a little of it peaking through at the edge of the lighter periwinkle/blue color

I was able to get almost all the colors in the skein in this picture. There is a little more purple between the blues than actually shows up here. This skein came with two great patterns - so it will be hard to choose which to do first. The first pattern is called Titania's Revenge by Cookie A. Check out the pictures on her blog. I love this pattern, but it looks a little more intricate than anything I've done before. The leg of the pattern features a lace pattern and the foot has a faux cable. I'll definitely be giving this one a try. The other pattern is called Central Air by Tanya Bachman. It's a great pattern with lace ribbing. I know I have some yarn in my stash that will be great with the pattern. Check back next Friday for more fiber goodness!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Travels of a Dishcloth

This story began over at Trek Casts On. Trek posted several tales of her dishcloths and their adventures at work. In August I read the story of her southern Redneck Rag. I didn't know if you could really find a true southern made redneck rag in New Jersey, so I sent her one that I made in North Carolina. The humble little cloth had a starring role in a post entitled North Meets South on Trek's blog. Well, I think the Dixie Dishcloth I made got attached to big city living and decided not to come home.

Check out what Trek sent to me to let me know that Dixie was doing all right. It's a garterlac potholder! I've wanted to try this technique - and plan to as soon as my current working list gets whittled down a little bit. You can see the tale of this potholder, One is the Loneliest Number, on Trek's blog. I've had that song in my head since I originally read the post.

The potholder is blue on one side and a bright sunny yellow on the reverse. It is two dishcloths sewn together and there is a hanging loop that is half yellow and half blue too. I know she stitched these together somehow - but she did such a great job you can't see the stitches.

Take a look at the close up of the garterlac. I think it will look good in some of the variegated colors too. I am sorry to say I have no cool action shots of the potholder actually working yet. The weather has been nice and I haven't handled a hot pot all week. But it is sitting on the kitchen counter at the ready. Thanks Trek!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Yarn Pr0n Friday!

Today is the first official day I'm participating in the Yarn Pr0n Friday ring. I've decided to feature the lovely yarn that Jen sent me last week as part of Knitty's SP7 round. First up is the luscious sock yarn in beachy colors.

This lovely item is a skein of Mama-E's C*EYE*BER FIBER sock yarn in the sand & skye colorway. The skein is 400 yards/130 grams of soft warmth. It is one of my favorite color combinations with the blues and browns. I will use it to make myself a great pair of socks - I just have to decide what pattern to use.

This very pretty pink yarn will be turned into my very first lace project. It is 825 yards/60 grams of 100% extrafine lambswool. There is a sticker on the ballband calling it Lacey Lamb. The rest of the band in written in Chinese. It is so very soft and fine. I'm really looking forward to trying lace knitting and using this yarn. I'm going to use the Print O' The Wave Stole from See Eunney Knit. Thanks to Angie for suggesting it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Knitty SP 7 Wrap-up

My Knitty SP finally fessed up her identity last week, my pal was Jen (Yoshimi) from over at 144 Inches of I-Cord. How cool is that? I've been reading her blog for awhile now and really enjoy it. If you haven't checked out her blog, you should - it's good reading. The funny thing is, she recently started leaving me comments here and using her real name - I was totally clueless the whole time! She was even knitting a project that she sent me yarn for! (Fetching from Knitty) Well, Jen really spoiled me rotten, check out what she sent.

My parcel was made up of two separately wrapped packages. Each one was a clue to her identity. This first one has a Japanese theme. She sent some wonderful Japanese merino lace weight in a soft pink color. This package also included a lovely Lantern Moon silk bag, orange ginger hand lotion, and a beautiful little notebook with Asian inspired flowers. I love little notebooks - and this one went straight into my knitting bag. I've really wanted to try some lace knitting and this yarn is going to give me a great start. It is so soft - now to find the perfect pattern. I have 825 yards of the lace weight. If you have any suggestions - please leave a comment or drop me an e-mail. I'm looking for something for a beginning lace knitter.

The second package provided a clue to where she is from. Notice all the lovely blues and sand colors. The bag in the background is in fact sand from Lake Michigan! My husband and I are looking for a special little glass jar to put the sand in because we have both spent a lot of time at Lake Michigan and really love it. If it wasn't for the cold winter weather, we would live there. Of course the piece de resistance is the Mama-E's C*EYE*BER FIBER! I've wanted to try some of this out and now I have some in one of my favorite color combinations. The little candle is scented as Ocean Water and the wool wash is going to be great too. Thank you Jen for all the goodies! You were a great pal and I look forward to keeping in touch with you.

I also want to mention my downstream pal - Helen (purlpower). I've been reading her blog since the beginning of the round and have really enjoyed it. Check her out - she's an interesting gal and does some beautiful knitting. And I must say she is really understanding. I was unable to keep my identity a secret form her - I posted a comment on her blog using my really name! She found me out about half way through. The last package I sent her was a real challenge too! Helen is in the UK and customs decided to hold the package for ransom because I had mistakenly insured the package for $100, and that is well above the gift limit for parcel coming into the country. The package wasn't meant to be insured for that much. I was sending a couple things out and sent my husband to the post office. He got the amounts for each package mixed up. We eventually got it all settled out - but it was embarrassing. I hated the idea of someone having to pay for a gift I sent. Be careful when sending gifts and packages abroad.

I have to say, this round of Knitty Secret Pal was a lot of fun and I'm happy to have met two great new friends. Thanks to Jen and Helen for making this so much fun! I'll be staying in touch with both of you.

On another note, I've joined the Yarn Pr0n Fridays Ring, so come back this Friday to see some up close and personal photos of the great yarn that Jen sent to me!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Stitch Marker Swap - Part 2

I got four new sets of stitch markers from the swap. So I need to thank everyone for their work and creativeness. This first set is from Sarah Mackey (sarahjanet). I like the little alphabet beads she used to spell KNIT. The cute little bee charm just makes the fifth marker.

The second set is from Nicole Kent (hotmama). I love the combination of the glass and metallic beads. The markers are on nice larger rings and will be perfect to use on my upcoming felting projects.

This set is from Rachel Young (PrincessRach84). She did a great job of attaching the rings to the markers - you can't even see a knot or join at all. I love the beads - I have some just like the speckled one she used. The bunny hugs button has been pinned to my knitting bag already.

Vesna Gronosky (batty) sent the fourth set. These remind me of raspberry candies. I love the color. I never thought about using tiger tail (flexible beading wire) for the markers, but what a great idea! They move nicely across my needles and don't add any unnecessary bulk. She did send a set of five. There are only three pictured here because the other two are already being used!

Thanks to all for such nice markers.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Afternoon Snack

No, not my snack, but this praying mantis caught a very larger black fly for his snack. The black fly was as large as my thumb. And I thought it was kind of funny how the mantis turned to look at me when I took his picture.

This second picture was taken a couple minutes later and you can see that he's really loving his snack. I was just out pulling weeds in the back yard flower bed to spruce things up. While weeding I noticed this guy sitting in the branches of a bush and was really surprised to see this feast. As I stood there watching nature take it's course, I noticed two orb spiders had made huge webs in the same bush.

The spiders were a little harder to photograph because the way they had spun their webs placed them with their back side to me. I was able to position the camera and get this on from the front. This is the first time I've seen a Spiny Orb spider in the yard. I like the unusual pointy shaped body and the bright yellow, red, and black colors. This spider was actually quite small compared to the other orb spiders I've seen around the house. It was maybe the size of a quarter overall.

I wasn't able to get a shot of this spider from the front. It is interesting to see it from this view. It was a lot larger than the spiny orb spider. I know spiders are good for the garden and these are not poisonous, but I think this one is definitely creepy looking!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

More Ballbands - Warsh Rags and a Towel

My husband and I have been car pooling to work recently and our commute is 40 minutes each way on a good day. So I figured that I might as well use that time to get some extra knitting done. I tried working on a couple different projects and discovered that I can't really concentrate on anything intricate while in the car. There are way to many distractions.

So I've been using up the Sugar 'n Creme in my stash to knit some more ballband dishcloths. I used the leftover mixed colors from the dishcloths to make a dish towel too. These are the dishcloths that are in the stack next to the towel in the picture above. I've ended up with a lot more dishcloths than I can stick in a drawer so I'm going to have to figure out something to do with them.

I do have the towel hanging off the dishwasher door in the kitchen. I haven't used it yet, so I don't know how well it will really hold up. I've thought about using the dish \cloths at Christmas or save them for small hostess presents. Maybe pair them up with some nice kitchen soap. I do know that some people don't really like using these knitted cloths because they are kind of heavy and tend to stay wet for awhile.

I thought about sewing them together and using them as a little throw rug. I would have done that if the rags were just a little thicker. I do want to knit one of the rugs form the Mason Dixon book. I just have to order some cotton on cones to do that. The shops around here aren't stocking many cones at all and the ones they do have are stocked on the bottom shelf and they are usually kind of dirty.

I'm not going buy any more cotton though until I use up what I have. I did just get some of the Sugar 'n Creme in a Neapolitan stripe color called Rosewood. I don't know anyone having a baby, but maybe i can knit some baby items to donate. I'll have to come up with something to do with the rest of the Sugar 'n Creme in my stash because I think I'm done with dishcloths for awhile.