January 5, 2018

As I sit here having breakfast, I thought I’d share a few projects that I worked on over the holidays and this week.
One of my online groups had a WIP challenge over the holidays.  After two years languishing on the needles, the challenge was the perfect boost to finish them.  The pattern is Louisella by Mary Hough Designs.  Mary is one of my favorite sock designers on Ravelry.  

  

I also worked on a custom quilt for a customer.  I’ll share just a sneak peak.

And a class sample in progress.  More details are on Quilters Loft blog, this is one of the mini lap quilt series.  http://quiltersloftcompany.blogspot.com/ 

And finally, I rejoined WPKnits Stunning Mystery Society 2018 knit a long.      http://wpknits.com/ This year we’re knitting a total of five shawls.  Four are quarterly projects and one is a year long knit.  The quarterly shawls release one clue a week, the year long shawl releases one clue a month.  This is the start of the first quarterly shawl after the opening clue. And yes, it has beads in it!

My toast and fruit are done, so it’s time to take my coffee and head to work. The question is to which job first, the office or the studio?  

Quilt and Sew In Retreat

This past weekend (Thursday through this morning) I attended a Quilt and Sew In Retreat in Blowing Rock, NC put on by  heARTS Desire Creations.  This was the first “retreat” I’ve ever attended.  I’ve attended quilt shows and fiber festivals many times.  I’ve taken classes along the years, but this was totally different and refreshing.  First, there was no “must do” agenda.  Participants were free to come and go as they pleased, to sew or not sew as they pleased, and no expectations were implied!  A chance for me to totally relax.  I had no phones, except what I chose to use my cell for, no animals demanding attention, no chores that had to be done, just free time to create as I wanted to (or not).

 

The lighting in the room was great!  I took my Ott Light and never took it out of the bag.  Everyone had their own table to work on, but the tables were in clusters so you had company to talk with if you wanted to.  And there was a lot of joking and kibitzing over the weekend.

Thursday after arriving, I set up for sewing, and did a little.  My goals for the weekend were to finish the hand-quilting on “Hope”s border, to make some scrap blocks for my 2009 Block in the Box from Lake Norman Quilters, and to make some Hunter’s Star blocks for that same project (aka UFO), as well as to spend some time knitting.  I accomplished some of them and would have finished all if not for my machine, but I’ll tell you about that later.

 

First I finished the hand-quilting on the border of Hope.  This was from a long ago class by Susan Brubaker-Knapp on hand applique.

Hope

I had originally thought to hand quilt the entire thing.  Quite an ambitious project with the arthritis in my hands that I quickly gave up on.  I machine quilted the center and decided I would only do the borders by hand.  Finished one motif and gave it up for “another time” (UFO).  With the arthritis more under control now than it was back then, I spent one day hand quilting the remaining border motifs while away.  And while my stitches are far from the even tiny ones that I used to make years ago, I’m pleased that I can still hand quilt a little.

Hope-border

After that I started working on some scrappy (kind of) blocks.  I had no plan for these.  Before I left I looked at a couple of my Accuquilt Go Dies and thought “these should go together” and cut some pieces.  Then the play started and I like the results.  These are for the aforementioned 2009 Block in a Box project that I hope to finish soon.

Scrap-block

 

Of course the project needed more blocks, so I used the GO to cut out pieces for eight Hunters Star blocks using the colors above and a white as background.  While I didn’t finish them, I am well along.   All the halves are pieced.

Hunter-Star-halves

And two of the blocks were pieced, but I’ll be re-doing them as I’m not happy with the centers.

Hunter-Star-Points

The fault of the centers was my machine.  I took along a 1941 Featherweight that I just love.  And while it goes great for some things, when I encountered the bulk of the center, the machine consistently wobbled around the bulk rather than over it.  I did this block twice, then tried on another block and each time the same thing, wobbles between the arrows so I put it aside to finish on one of my newer machines.

wobble

In the evenings I did some knitting, the red sock is a test knit for Mary Hough Designs, and the striped sock is my go to plain vanilla sock.

socks

 

Of course, who among us, goes on retreat, or on vacation and never shops at all?  And I did do some shopping, at both of the two quilt stores in Boone where I added to my collection of batiks and splurged on a jelly roll (I LIKE those things!).

 

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As well as the yarn store in Blowing Rock.

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Will I go again?  Most likely if I either the husband or the son are going to be home that weekend to care for all my critters!  If you get a chance, I highly recommend this particular retreat as a fun long weekend away!

 

On the needles (and longarm)

Although I may not get a chance until late tonight to link this to the Patchwork Times “On the Needles” post for the day, I thought I’d take a few minutes and share with you what I’m working on currently.  I’m not even sure all of these are in the “projects” listing in the sidebar that really needs to be completed; but they’re my current knitting projects.

 

First up, the never ending socks!  Why am I calling them that?  Because I decided to knit each skein to the end (or close to it) and they’re much longer than I normally make my socks and seem to be taking forever.  Perhaps because, while I know they’ll wear like iron, I’m not particularly keen on the color combination.  Yes, these are the SAME socks I attempted to finish for the pooling challenge way back when.  But I’m almost done now:

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I’m also currently working on a shawl for my mom (photos are okay since there’s no surprise there, she got to pick the yarn).  This pic doesn’t do justice to the color, but I needed to use the flash so the pattern could be seen.  I’m using the Zephyr Shawl pattern (one of my favorites) and the yarn is actually a deep denim blue, very dark, almost a black blue from a distance:

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My last project “on the needles” are swatches!  Simple little swatches.  LOL  I’ll be taking a finishing class later this month on seaming knitted projects together and our homework before the class is to knit several swatches.  Makes sense, you can’t learn to seam knitted pieces without having knitted pieces to seam in class!  So it’s a boring little mindless take with me project:

DSCN1253So are you asking why a person who learned to knit as a teenager and has been knitting steadily since the late 1980’s would be taking a finishing class?  Well, it’s because I truly believe a person can always learn a tip or trick or another way to do something that might result in a nicer end product.  And since I rarely do sweaters, in part due to seaming the pieces together and in part due to getting gauge, I thought this might be a good class to improve my skills.

 

On the longarm this week is a large, really large, Christmas quilt for a customer.  The customer requested a freehand holly meander for the background, then custom work in the piecing.  I’m on my 3rd day now of holly fill and getting better at it with every new holly leaf.  It’s not a feather, but there is a rhythm to it, or would be if certain things didn’t interrupt me, but then again, life here is never boring so disruptions exist!  😉

 

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That’s what’s on the needles at my house (and on the longarm too).  What’s on the needles at your house today?