Knit1Geek2 Swap Package!

I participated in my very first Ravelry swap this fall as part of the Knit1Geek2 podcast group.  I’ll link to my swap package later, when my recipient gets their box, but for now I’ll just squee about the box I got in the mail today!

The guidelines were:

  • Something handmade
  • Something local
  • Something geeky

Man, did my swapper do a great job!

Here are the wrapped packages:
Wrapped2

Itemswrapped

Here’s a closeup of the pin she included, which is knitted and embroidered and just knocks my socks off.  It’s even more beautiful in real life:
MallornLeaf

Then there are the contents of the packages.  Yarn first:
Wrapped Yarn
The colorway is “Call me WonderWoman”!  It’s Corriedale/nylon sock yarn, and I LOVE it.

Geeky items-wise, this swapper outdid herself.  First up, an Avengers Age of Ultron lunchbox, which held all the other items, individually wrapped.
Avengers

Then a bunch of little geeky owl bookmarks, delicious chocolate, and T-pins and a Captain America tin of candy to use to hold stitch markers!
Geeky

I just love the Cap owl:
CapOwl

But best last: the handmade item.  I got a BEAUTIFUL alpaca lace shawl.  Oh my god, the picture does not do this justice.  I am SO DELIGHTED, I had to wear it today.  It is SO LOVELY.  It glitters in the light, and the pattern is just beautiful.
Shawl

In summary: Thank you, swap partner!  You rock!

Pre-MASW update

I’m going to the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool festival this weekend and decided to turn it into a long weekend out of town visiting friends.

And what do you do when you visit friends who knit? You bring them yarn they commissioned. (I sometimes spin for friends if they buy the fiber.)

First some Gotland handspun for a sweater:
Gotland_1

Then some Abstract Fibers Targhee in the colorway Bandon. My cat had claimed it, but fortunately the friend to whom it is going also has cats.
Cat_Bandon_Targhee
Bandon_Targhee

I also brought them houseguest presents, as one does.

An Avengers knitting bag with a yellow lining for Iron Man:
AvengersBag

Ladybird stitch markers:
SM_Ladybirds

[AVENGERS BAG]

Two-Finish Friday

These are both gift quilts: one for a friend and her husband and one for a new baby. Here they are all folded up, about to be packed and mailed:

StackFolded

The first quilt I finished was made up of hourglass blocks. I pieced them all over the summer on my Singer 66, and then they sat, and sat, and sat over the fall, because I didn’t have time to finish it until the semester was over. But now it’s done!

HourglassFrontWhole

The backing is a boat print, because the mother and the grandparents all sail. You can see in this picture that I quilted a simple diagonal grid 1/4″ on each side of the hourglass blocks.

HourglassQuilting

I used a black pezzy print for the binding because I didn’t want to emphasize any particular color from the front. I think it works! I wish I had more of this fabric in stash to do the same in the future — I’ll just have to keep an eye out for similarly useful prints. I attached the binding by stitching it down twice. On the back you see two lines of stitching:
HourglassCornerBack

On the front, you only see one, because the other is hidden at the intersection of the binding and the quilt:
HourglassCorner

The other quilt is for friends of mine, because they live in northern England and it gets coooooold! For this one I used a pattern by Elizabeth Hartmann: her New Wave Quilt.

WavesWhole

I cut my fat quarters very, very carefully, and had enough extra pieces to showcase the wave pattern on the back of the quilt as well:
WavesBackWhole

This one I quilted by stitching in the ditch along the edges of the white sashing. I stitched smaller diamonds within the “waves” as well. Then I did some free-motion quilting in the sashing, which I’m really quite proud of.

WavesColorQuilting

I did the same kind of binding on this quilt, and also bound it in a pezzy print, though this one was navy, to complement the blues of the quilt.

WavesCornerBack

Not bad for a break that only started on December 23rd!

StackFolded

Linking up to TGIFF!

A little bit louder?

I’ve really been enjoying the Scrappy Trip-Along quilt, especially seeing all the other pictures in the flickr group — it’s great to see the different color and fabric choices!

I’ve been planning on making my quilt 8×8, to be a (really large) queen size with plenty of drape, with a narrow solid border around the edges, and a plain binding. But I laid out the blocks I have right now, all 48 of them, and now I’m on the fence. I think 8×8 might be too large!

 

I’m considering three things and I would love opinions: please weigh in!
— 6×8 with a 6″ border = roughly 81″ x 104″ Concern: I worry that 81″ x 104″ is lopsided.
— 8×8 and a 4″ border = a neat 100″ x 100″ Concern: I worry that this is too big!
— 7×7 with a 6″ border = 92″ x 92″ Concern: I have an irrational dislike of odd numbers.

 

I laid the blocks I already have finished and trimmed out on my kitchen floor (after moving the kitchen table out of the way). This is what I had to do to get a picture of the whole thing:
me-ladder-cropped

That’s an 8 foot ladder. But from the top of it, I got this picture:
6x8-before1

And after moving some squares around a little bit, I got this one:
6x8-after1

I tested the layout in black and white, and I think it’s almost right:
6x8-after bw

This quilt is going to be a gift, and I want it to be something the recipients can really use, not something that’s just not quite right. So I have to make up my mind: 6×8? 7×7? Or 8×8? Let me know what you think — please!

I have the fabric all cut for the other blocks, so the time or work involved in making the next blocks is absolutely not a concern: I want this to be as good a gift as it can be, not something I think about later and wonder “what if?”

Gifted and unblogged…

Though my semester was really pretty crazy, I did manage to finish a couple of other projects either in snatches of borrowed time or in mid-December, once my papers were all in.

The one I’m going to talk about here today was another Mabel Messenger Bag, which I put together using Perk Me Up fabrics — I saw them over the summer and instantly knew they were made for a friend of mine who loves all things chocolate and coffee. This collection? Pretty much perfect for her. She asked for a bag she could use for her knitting, and liked the Mabel bag I made over the summer:
GreenBirdDoor1

This bag is altered in a couple of ways. One side of the bag is a simple piece of Kona Chocolate, with a large print on it as an exterior pocket. The magnetic snap attaches inside the pocket, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but … well, I probably wouldn’t do it again.
PerkMeUpFront

The other side is a patchwork of the various different fabrics in the Perk Me Up collection.
PerkMeUpBack

One problem I had with my first Mabel bag is that the strap slides a lot. For this bag I made two changes to help it stay in place. I made it scrappy, with seams that add a little bit of body to the strap every few inches, and I made it just a smidge wider than the pattern called for.

The inside has a simple unzipped pocket, just the right size for knitting needles, scissors, crochet hooks, etc. It’s going to be used as a knitting bag, so I made sure it went to its new home with some yarn and a set of DPNs. (The green blob is a lace shawl, which will show up here as soon as I block it. Don’t hold your breath: I’m terrible about blocking things.)
PerkMeUpInside

I really enjoyed making this pattern for a second time: it makes for a very smart bag, and I think I managed a couple of the details like the snap and the bag’s strap a little better this time than I did last time. It was a lot of fun to revisit the pattern.

Baby K’s Quilt: Finished!

Last … July? I started a quilt for my neighbors, who were having a baby in late August. I chose Baby K’s Quilt, by Audrey of HotPinkQuilts, which she featured during the her spot on the Lets Get Aquainted blog hop organized by Beth of Plum and June. I had high hopes of finishing it and giving it to them as a baby shower present. Then the semester began, and all my best intentions, well, we know what happens to good intentions.

Well, I finished it just before Christmas. Finally! This is what it looks like:
KampfQ-Full

I used scraps for nearly all of the postage stamp squares, though I fussy-cut some 1001 Peeps and the little blue pigs. The green is Kona Clover, the stripe is Hello Pilgrim.

I’m really pleased with how the postage stamp squares turned out:
KQ-Square1

KQ-Square2

KQ-Square3

KQ-Square4

I free-motion quilted the squares using Elizabeth Hartman’s orange peel pattern. My peels aren’t quite as plump and pretty as hers, but I’m not unhappy with them.
KQ-Quilting-Square

I quilted the borders on each side of the seam, which was, well, not quite as much fun as the orange peels, but I’m happier with how it turned out — though I need to learn how to adjust my stitch length better next time.
KQ-QuiltingCorner

I waffled on the backing for a little while, and finally settled on fleece: I talked to friends this summer who had a little one, and their favorite part of the quilt their mother had made was the soft fuzzy backing. As a bonus, it shows the quilting well:
KQ-BackCorner

KQ-Back

So that’s one of the things I started last summer and finished in December!

Linking up with Thank Goodness It’s FINISHED Friday. Because, really? I’m so glad this one is done.

Baby K’s Quilt (& WIP Wednesday)

First off, I find it hilarious that Audrey, of Hot Pink Quilts called this quilt Baby K’s Quilt, because the baby I’m making for it? His last name starts with a K! It fits perfectly!

Part of the challenge for me on this one was to work entirely from stash: I’ve got a lot of fabric, and I really need to use it! And as much as shopping for more fabric is fun, I really can’t justify it right now, with the volume of stuff I already have.

Luckily, I was able to cut nearly all of the little squares of it from scrap!
Panel Layout

The only ones that didn’t come from scrap are the little black and white Daiwabo elephants, the blue pigs and the 1001 Peeps fussy-cut people and horses. Everything else was leftover from previous projects — and I’ve been cutting scraps into 2.5″ squares for a little while now, which was a big help.

The borders were a quandary. I have a lot of black and a lot of white, but neither of those says “baby” to me — particularly not white, since, oops, stains! I had a yard of Kona Kelly green that had no particular intended use, and two half-yard cuts of the green stripe from Hello Pilgrim, which (when I stood back and looked at my stash for a moment) started hollering “baby quilt!” at me. I think the two of them together should work nicely!

Borders&Backing

There was one oops: I cut three strips of the Hello Pilgrim stripe before I remembered that I wanted the stripes to go lengthwise, not width-wise. Ooops. Now I have a few strips of 3.5″ wide green stripes. I’m sure I’ll find a use for it eventually.

That reminded me that I’m not certain how I’m going to make sure that the stripes in the pinwheels line up properly with the stripes in the borders (problem with a directional patterned fabric!) but I suppose I have time to fiddle with that. And if it’s not perfect, it’s not perfect.

I’m going to use a half-yard cut of an adorable Japanese train-line print for the back. Zoom in on the picture above and see what the various stops are called: I love it. I think it’s the perfect print for a NYC baby.

I was worried that I would find piecing the little squares together too tedious, but it turns out I really enjoy it! Neither of the two blocks I’ve finished so far are perfect, but they’re still really cute, if I do say so myself.

Block1

Block2

I’m really looking forward to getting to work on this more! It’s been loads of fun so far. I’m going to free-motion quilt the little blocks with Elizabeth Hartmann’s Orange Peel pattern, but I haven’t decided what to do about the borders just yet.

As for other projects, I’ve completed my second June and July blocks for the HST Block of the Month Quilt Along, and one August block. I pieced them all on the Singer 66, and one of them came out a little too small, but I can live with that.

The Mabel messenger bag hasn’t really shifted much: I need to fuse the pieces with interfacing, now that it’s arrived in the mail, and start putting it all together. Simple Math has gotten a few more blocks trimmed, but that’s really quite tedious, so they’re not all done yet.

Knitting-wise, I finished one pair of socks, and started another. I’ve still got a pair hanging out on the needles waiting for the cuffs to be finished, which might turn into a TV project, and my enormous baby-blanket-log-cabin project, for which I have to do only two more sections, but of course they’re the largest ones.

Spinning-wise, I’m spinning up a merino/yak blend by Spunky Eclectic in a green-and-brown colorway called Walden’s woods, and I was making really good progress on it during the Olympics — now that I have fewer excuses to sit down in front of the TV, it’s going more slowly.