Friday, October 29, 2010

Star Crazy BOM for October

One of my quilt groups started a two-day retreat today, and I used the time to finish my Star Crazy blocks for October. Only one more Irish Chain block to go, and next month we'll make all the half Irish Chain blocks too.

Collectively we got quite a bit of work done today. The snowmen tablerunners are complete as is, except the blue one which is missing a few snowmen. The sunflower wallhanging will have a few more borders, and the crazy pieced hearts will become part of a tree skirt. ChrisP is working on a stack and whack, and BarbD made a mini Sassy Snappy Purse, perfect for a little girl.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Going in Circles

I thought better of my plan to teach myself to knit two socks on one circular needle and decided maybe I'd better try one sock on a circular needle first. Having already had the benefit of knowing how to use a magic loop, it was a piece of cake to apply it to a sock. The only thing I really had to figure out was how to redistibute the stitches for the gusset. Easy enough, and I finished this little toddler sock with only the toe left to finish.

Then I was ready to try two socks on one circular. I had no trouble with the concept; but even with a 40" circular, I struggled with the stitches stretching between the two halves of the socks. I kept wishing I had, like, a 60" circular. After a couple of rounds I decided I didn't like this method, so I ripped it all out. Subsequently I found out at the knit shop that there actually is a 47" circular available, which the store rep preferred also for this method.

This morning I decided I'd try two socks on two circular needles. I spent most of the morning being confused as hell. I eventually figured out how to get the stitches for the two socks on the needles and divided correctly, but after that it was all downhill. I considered the possibility that perhaps I should be using the needles specified in the book, which were 16" and 24" long, instead of the two 40" needles I was using. When all else fails, it's probably a good idea to follow the directions.

So I hopped in the car, drove down to Auburn, picked up the correct needles, a couple more skeins of yarn, a book on sweaters, and drove back home.

It didn't get better with the new needles. After ripping everything out twice more, I finally cracked the code late in the afternoon. I finally realized I was missing one particularly illuminating piece of information in the directions, and now I am well on my way. At least until I get to the heel.

I don't know if I'll like this last method any better, but the gal at the knit shop convinced me I should give both methods a fair chance before I abandon them. At the very least, I probably wouldn't go back to double pointed needles again--I'd switch to one sock on one circular.

I think tonight, I need to quilt something.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Productive Weekend

I finally got a chance to sit down and do some serious sewing this weekend, and I got quite a bit done. This weekend I ....

.... finished up the Conestoga Star blocks through the month of October and then sewed all the blocks I've made so far into rows. These blocks are part of my 6-Quilt Stashbuster Challenge.

.... added three more sets of blocks to a set I already had made for this little baby quilt. I bought the kit last spring on a shop hop just to have in reserve in case I needed it, and now I know someone who is having a baby. This is a very simple pattern called Crazy Eights, which requires only eight fat quarters. There are four different block patterns in the quilt, and you make four sets of eight blocks using each block pattern twice, then scramble them up to make the top.

.... machine stitched the binding on the Jewel Box quilt. I got the quilt back a couple weeks ago from my friend Ann who quilted baptist fans on it. I still have to handstitch the binding to the back of the quilt.

.... made another block for my Pineapple Blossom quilt, which is No 7 in my Power of Ten rotation. I wish it didn't take so long to get through that rotation; but the 6Q blocks take lots of time, and the Champagne quilt ate up a lot of time too. And now there's a baby quilt to finish.

.... and made the October block for the Bali Sea Star quilt, which is also part of my 6Q Challenge. I love batiks, and I'm going to love both the Conestoga Star and the Bali Star quilts when they're finished.

Not a bad weekend, huh?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Star Crazy BOM for September

I am not behind making the Star Crazy blocks, I'm only behind posting them. These are the ones for the month of September. Haven't started October's just yet but soon. Even though I've done lots of knitting lately, I'm still quilting too, just not much to show for it. Today I'm sewing all day and hope to get caught up with the Bali Star 6Q Challenge blocks.

November Dishcloth

Did I mention I'm on a knitted dishcloth kick? I may have to come up with one for every month of the year. In fact, I'm already halfway there. I have patterns for September, October (done), November (done), December, February, and March.

This is the one for November--a horn of plenty. I'm not sure how well you can see it, but "THANKS" is knitted into the top of the cloth.

I like a 10" dishcloth, so I added extra width and height to the borders to make it bigger.

Pattern: Thanks Cloth from Knitting Memories
Yarn: Lily Sugar 'n Cream, color Country Yellow

Monday, October 11, 2010

October Dishcloth

I did get some sewing done Saturday on my day off, but I can't stay away from those knitting needles. JudyS has been knitting dishcloths lately, and she reminded me of a pattern for a pumpkin dishcloth that I got last year and never made. By the time I tracked down the orange cotton yarn for it, Halloween had come and gone. My son wants one too, so I have one more to make.

Pattern: Joan Barnett, Coats and Clark
Yarn: Lily Sugar 'n Cream, color Hot Orange

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Socks

I may not have gotten a lot of sewing done in September, but I was definitely in the mood for knitting. I finished knitting a little pink baby sweater last month but still have to sew up the sleeves and sew some buttons on. Then I really wanted to work on a pair of socks, so I dragged out these that I started eons ago. When I put them away last time, I only had about four inches knit on the first sock, so I had quite a bit left to do. I finished up the second sock this morning. As a novice sock knitter, I was thrilled they turned out the same size. Those sock blockers from Fiber Trends were a big help.

I'm still in the mood for socks, and with three pair under my belt now, I'm ready to try two socks on one circular needle. I found a book about it at a quilt shop in Auburn, and the same lady also authored a book on toe up socks, which I'm going to try too. Seems like you could fit them better if you knit them from the toe up.

Yarn: Sockotta from Plymouth Yarn Co.
Pattern: Classic Socks by Yankee Knitter Designs

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Annual Leaf Peeping Tour

The leaf peeping websites indicated that the mountains attained 30% of their peak color this weekend, but we usually miss peak because we never go early enough in the season. The photo in the header was from this weekend. Does that look like 30% peak color to you? I'm glad we went this weekend. For once we might have hit it just right.

We seem to follow the same circuit every year and take the same set of photos, but I still don't get tired of seeing it. We prepared a small picnic lunch and some snacks and headed up to
Rangeley, had lunch at the state park, and headed home again. This is Coos Canyon in Byron.

Quite accidentally we stumbled across Pins and Needles quilt shop in Farmington. I knew of it from the shop hops we do every year in April, but I'd never been there. What a find this place was! Not only do they have great collections of batiks and 30s repros, but they also have a fabulous collection of yarns, including sock yarns. They do mail order too. The shop is not as far to go as I thought, and those ladies were just plain nice; so I'll be going back there again.

In Rangeley my husband spotted Threads Galore, another quilt shop I'd never been to. They are a smaller shop, and they also offer quilters retreats for groups of up to nine people in the house next door to the shop. That's pretty convenient! We didn't check out the facilities, but you can see some photos on their website.

I'd sure like to go touring at least once more before fall is over, but I work Friday and Sunday so I'm still debating.