Simple Math

Of course, now that I’ve gotten to the point where I could, theoretically, bind and quilt the Nine-Patch quilt, my safety pins haven’t arrived in the mail. And I’ve seen tutorials for using a spray-on-adhesive, but I haven’t really got anywhere outdoors to spray it (or any adhesive). I suppose I could always baste the layers together by hand, but I really hate basting by hand.

That delay clearly just means it’s time to start cutting for another quilt, right?

Cut fabric for Simple Math

And maybe piecing a couple of blocks together.

Pieced squares for Simple Math

And then pressing and trimming some of the pieced blocks.

Smallest two sets of pieced and pressed blocks for Simple Math
Fattest cross blocks for Simple Math

And, well, I’ve now made 60% of the blocks I’ll need for a slightly altered (to Twin size) Simple Math quilt.

Thirty two blocks for Simple Math in four colors

I love the way the crosses vary from narrower to fatter, but it’s been making some of the blocks a little bit challenging.

The larger two, with crosses that are 2″ and 1 1/2″ inches wide, are no problem. The smaller two, with crosses that are 1 1/4″ and 1″ wide, pieced into a block 6″ square — well, in that case, you need your seams to be kind of exact — and not all of mine are. There exists the chance that I’ll have to rip a couple of them out and re-do them later, to make them come out quite right — or give them sliiiiightly wider sashing to make a row go together properly. I’ll see when I have more of the blocks done: I did a much better job with the fifth and sixth pairs of narrow crosses than I had with the first four of them.

Nine-Patch Lattice Quilt

This is the Nine-Patch Lattice Quilt from Oh, Fransson!, Elizabeth Hartman’s quilting blog. I stumbled across her tutorial on how to make crazy nine-patch blocks a year or so ago and thought it was genius. So when I got the urge to try my hand at quilting something that actually had a pattern, I thought of the tutorial, visited her blog, and found the Nine-Patch quilt. The practice blocks I did were mock-ups for this project.

I didn’t end up going for crazy blocks, because I preferred the lattice effect of symmetrical squares. I strip-pieced the blocks, which made everything much faster and easier, and aside from learning that I can’t sew a scant 1/4″ seam without a guide of some kind (and even then, I sometimes manage to sew a slightly wider seam, just enough to throw things of a teeny bit overall), it went very smoothly.

I used nine fat quarters I’d picked up at a Joann Fabrics to use together. Originally I was going to use the green sheet I used in the test pillow squares as sashing, but something about it didn’t quite look right to me. So when I went down to Brooklyn General to pick up a 6×24″ quilting ruler, I brought along one of the squares, and laid it against some of the fabrics they had there. This is Kona Cotton in Navy (if I recall the color correctly: a dark blue, in any case) and I really like the way it sets off the greens.

One of my favorite things about this pattern is the back:

The little squares remind me of stained glass windows, glowing in the darker wall of blue fabric.

Baby quilt

When my cousins had their first daughter about four years ago, I asked if they would rather have a knitted baby blanket, or a quilt, and they picked the quilt. So I pulled out a baby quilt that my grandmother had helped me start making when I was a teenager, (which had fallen into the black hole of unfinished projects that is my closet), sewed it all together and appliqued on little ducks, and sent it off.

Well, last year they had a second daughter, and I could hardly make a quilt for one daughter and not the other, so I made this:

The ladybugs are iron-on instead of applique: the idea of sewing on all the little ladybug dots by hand made my head hurt just a little bit.

The pattern is the same one my grandmother always used, which is to say none whatsoever, which made for some fun math and re-jiggering so that the two quilts hopefully sort of match. It’s not perfect, but I think it turned out okay. And it got me started on other projects.

Where it began

Getting into quilting is largely what made me start this blogging thing up again.  And that’s largely because of quilting blogs I was reading that made me think “That’s gorgeous!” and “Hey, maybe I could eventually learn to do something like that!” Besides, it’s not as if I have a dozen knitting and spinning WiPs. I’ve only got, say, eleven or so of those.

The first project I really wanted to try was the Ninepatch Lattice Quilt. Elizabeth Hartman’s blog, Oh, Fransson! is a source of fabulous information and inspiration. Her patterns are clear and easy to follow, and I love the way she thinks.

Of course, I didn’t trust myself to do anything right the first time around, so I made a set of practice nine-patch blocks, and then, when they weren’t disastrous, sewed them together into squares that I’ll probably use as the front and back of a pillow. Test pillow

The print fabrics are fat quarters I picked up at a Joann Fabrics sometime when I was in Connecticut or Indiana, and the green is from a sheet I picked up at a thrift store in Atlanta for pretty much exactly this kind of project. I don’t think they match perfectly, but for a test swatch, I think it came out okay. Front of the test pillow piece

After six years, let’s try this again

Six years ago, while I was in college, I started a knitting blog.  I kept it up for about a month and all of four entries, only two of which had photographs.  Let’s see if I can’t do better than that this time.

Now that it’s 2012, I’m a graduate student in medieval European history, and will be for about another five years.  In the intervening time I’ve picked up spinning (a few years ago) and quilting (a few weeks ago).  Sometimes I miss having a full-time job, especially when I have paper deadlines hanging over my head, but for the most part I’m pleased to be studying things I love.

Links, but still no pictures.

If there’s anything I learned from the Knitting Olympics it’s this:

1) I am a better knitter than I think I am. I am a better knitter than I was a few months ago. My goal was one pair of socks: I finished them in a week.

2) I am so bad at knitting only one thing at a time. I always have at least three things going on at once.

These two dovetail to mean that when I knit only on one project – my Olympic socks – I finished them insanely fast. Seven days, Saturday to Saturday, and I was done. I kinda stared at myself and wondered what happened, because I’ve never knit something that fast before.

How’d I pick my sock pattern? I started off thinking I’d do Aran Braid socks, and could not get gauge for the life of me. I knit a pair of Broadripple socks instead — they’re a lace pattern, but still doable, and not too terribly difficult, right? I’d started a pair of Broadripples last fall and could not figure out how to make the k2tog and ssk decreases look different: I was twisting all of my stitches and didn’t realise it. This time around it made sense right away, and I didn’t get any pesky laddering next to each yarn over. I need to give myself more credit.

Of course, I felt like I had to keep knitting during the Olympics, so in the past few weeks I finished my bottom-up striped raglan sweater and started a pair of socks for my dad. Since getting home for spring break, I’ve also made two stuffed bears for Bay Window Bears.

I started a pair of Norwegian Stockings from Nancy Bush’s Folk Socks, and am working on another stuffed bear. I’ve got to finish my dad’s ribbed socks (the most boring things in the entire world, I swear) and only an insane effort of will is keeping me from casting on for the Print O’ The Wave Stole with my new determination. I can knit it, so why not start now? But I’m going to finish something else first.