Friday, May 29, 2015

On the Design Wall

I swear I don't know where the time goes. The color of the month for May for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge was green, and I finished up my green ribbon this morning. I stayed mostly on the cool side of green; and since green will appear in my quilt more than once, I set aside a pile of warmer greens for future use.

This green ribbon is adjacent to the blue one and is also the last one on the right side of the quilt, so there are plain squares at the edge that make a border on that side of the quilt. I'm getting a little more daring with multicolor prints in these ribbons because it seems to be more interesting than plain tone on tones.

See what others are working on here.

I also finished up the yellow Dakota Farmer blocks from last year's RSC and started sewing some of the blocks together. This block was from Bonnie Hunter's "Addicted to Scraps" column in Quiltmaker magazine, and she has a layout for it on her blog. I just realized this morning, looking at the picture, that there's a border of 3" dark blue half square triangles around the whole quilt. Not sure yet if I'll actually add that border, but probably. Perhaps it will look unfinished otherwise.

Orange is the last color that goes in the quilt, and I've started cutting for those. All throughout the quilt, I tried to use background prints that were white or off-white with motifs matching the same color as the stars and not repeat them more than twice. I've managed to pull that off so far, but I just don't have enough background prints with orange in them to make this last batch of seven blocks work that way. Sue Nichols uses all those fancy embroidery stitches built into her machine to create her own backgrounds, so I might try that with a few of mine. Coincidentally there's an article in the Quiltmaker magazine that just hit the newsstands with the very same idea.

I have a little bit more quilting to do on the Cascadia quilt. I'm just doing some quilting in the ditch as it doesn't really need much to hold the layers together. Sometimes I wish I had time to do some hand quilting, but I'd never get it done. Besides I'm not sure I could hand quilt without a hoop, and this little quilt measures about 16" x 17".

This colorful fellow showed up at the bird feeder the other day. I was very surprised to see a pair of Baltimore Orioles at the feeder last fall, and evidently they've come back. The photo doesn't do that gorgeous orange color justice.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Purple Ribbon

I have been awfully busy (aren't we all?) the last month and a half with spring cleaning, a trip to Maryland, knitting and quilting (of course), and a myriad of other tasks. The color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge was purple, and I did actually get the purple ribbon finished last month. Just never got it posted.

The purple ribbon adjoins the yellow one, and now you can more clearly see the two different blocks that make up this quilt (bottom photo). Simple, eh?

Onward to green!

See what others are working on for the RSC here.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

It's Not Plaid!

I finished up the triangles for the outer border of the triangles quilt and got it quilted and bound a few days ago. This was the leaders and enders project I worked on while I was finishing up Patrick's Plaids. It was such a nice respite from the many hours I spent making plaid blocks that I decided to name it It's Not Plaid! Two finishes for March! Yay!

It's Plaid

My friend's quilt, now called Patrick's Plaids, is finally quilted, labeled, bound, de-linted, photographed, and packaged for delivery. I promised her it would be done by the time she came home from Florida, and I'm so pleased I've met this deadline.

I quilted it with a feather pantograph called Paris. Then I worried all the way through the quilting process that the thread color was too dark, but everyone who has looked at it so far seems to think it's okay. I emailed pictures to my friend, and she seems very pleased.

My friend Chris has come into the yarn shop on many occasions with a couple different versions of this crocheted handbag, and I have admired them. I asked if she would make me one in exchange for working on her quilt, and she agreed. She gave it to me early on in the quiltmaking process, and I decided I wouldn't use it until I finished her quilt. So this is my reward, and I'm excited to be able to finally use it!

Part of the appeal of Chris's crocheted bags is that they're lined with old denim jeans, and she does a perfect job sewing in the linings. Mine has five pockets inside the bag, and it tickles me that the zippered pocket is the fly from a pair of jeans.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Rainbow Scrap Challenge -- Yellow Ribbon

It's been a really busy month trying to finish some things up, but I only realized last night that I haven't posted since the end of February. I thought it had only been a couple of weeks.

I think I like waiting until the last week of the month to get my RSC blocks for the month done. Most of that time seems to be spent choosing and cutting the squares for the ribbon and arranging them. The actual sewing doesn't take long. This month's color was yellow, but I was having trouble getting the yellows to contrast enough to create the ribbon, so I followed the example in my book and threw in a bunch of rusty colors. Sometimes I have trouble telling the difference between those old golds and cheddar yellows and the rusty colors anyway, so it seemed like a good thing to do. I won't be making an orange ribbon though; and when orange is selected as the color of the month, I'll make a brown one since there is more than one brown ribbon in my quilt layout. I think this is my favorite ribbon so far.

You can see what others are working on for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge here.
I worked on my small triangles quilt as a Leaders and Enders project concurrently with my friend's plaid quilt, and it worked out well. Both those quilts are nearly finished now, and I'll put those up on the blog in the next couple of days. While I was putting together the yellow ribbon this weekend, I worked on this little mini quilt called Cascadia as the next Leaders and Enders project. I spent quite some time cutting and sewing the two-patches; and with that work already done, the strips went together quickly. I have two more strips to make to finish Part 1.

Cascadia was a mystery quilt from Lori's blog, Humble Quilts.  She posted the first part to her blog in November of last year, but I didn't discover it until quite recently and wanted to make it. Lori evidently does some mini quiltalongs from time to time, as I've found a few others on her blog. There's another one called Mountain Trail that I really want to make too.
Next month I start the serious work on the wedding quilt, and I have a new project picked out for the next Leaders and Enders quilt while I'm doing that.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Brioche. . .

. . .knitting, that is. This afternoon I took a little skillbuilding class at my LYS on brioche knitting. It was not a project class, although I did buy a skein of Cascade Superwash 220 and a skein of Painted Desert in a worsted weight to make a two-color cowl.

We spent quite some time playing around with the pattern; and after a number of times casting on and ripping out, I finally produced a small swatch. By the time I finally understood the technique, I realized it's actually pretty simple. It seems to be nothing more than knit 2 togethers, slip stitches, and yarn overs, complicated by fancy sounding names and maneuvers that are the same as the basic knitting stitches we already know. I don't think it's any more complicated than lace work; and in fact, basic brioche in one color is easier.

That is not to say, however, that it can't get complicated. We didn't have much time left in the class to try a small swatch of two-color brioche, but I did get a smaller swatch made. I knit a few rows of garter stitch first, then started the brioche pattern. You can see the pattern developing, with a row of vertical knit stitches in the burgundy color. On the reverse side, there's a corresponding row of vertical stitches in the peach color. It's reversible, which is so cool.

From what I've read, two-color flat brioche (as in a scarf) is more challenging than two-color brioche in the round (like a cowl), so if you can figure it out flat, knitting in the round should be easier.

On Ravelry, I've seen brioche patterns for hats, which means increases and decreases; patterns with cables; and brioche sweaters. I intend to try it all; but for now, I'll start with a basic cowl in one color. And that's after I get my two big quilts finished! has a free e-book on Brioche that explains the technique pretty well, but sign up is required (it's free). If they inundate you with daily emails, you can set your preference for a weekly review or none at all.

Pink Ribbon Weekend

PINK was the color of the month for February's Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I spent much of last weekend working on the pink ribbon and finished it up during the week. I worked on 30 blocks for this one, like last month, and you can see the top and bottom halves of the ribbons. Once finished, the quilt will be about 70" in length, and right now I can't get far enough away from the design wall to get a photo of the whole ribbon.

I used fabrics with a little more texture and pattern this month, and one or two with little bits of another color in them, and I think I like that more.

You can see what others are doing for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge here.

Today will be mostly a knitting day, with a Brioche class this afternoon, post to follow. I think it's just a skill builder, but I'm going to find a pattern for a cowl on Ravelry and take that with me.

There was no snow in the long range forecast, but now I see we're expecting another 1-3 inches on Sunday, and more on Wednesday. Is it spring yet?