Friday, April 18, 2014

March-April Knitting Finishes

I got some knitting done when I was too tired to work on the champagne quilt. These are thrummed mittens, with little bits of wool called thrums knitted into the inside of the mitten. I think roving is usually used for the thrums, but I used a single ply yarn, which seemed to work just fine. These were a gift for my sister-in-law.  She lives in northern Virginia, and she may have gotten to wear them a few times before their weather turned warmer.

Our weather is still pretty chilly here in Maine. We had a little snow Tuesday evening, which may have finally all melted away today. We may be getting another dusting in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow. I'm beginning to wonder exactly when winter will end this year.

The emerald socks have been on the needles for quite a while, only because I usually keep a pair available as time fillers for car trips, office appointments, and days when I just can't think. I like the way the yarn pooled in this pair.

I have another pair of socks on the needle already. I'm using String Theory Caper Sock, which has a little cashmere in it, and they are so soft! My feet will be so spoiled! String Theory is made right here in Blue Hill, Maine, and I am waiting for the chance to get up to their store. 

The push is on to get this sweater done. It's from the book Knit Swirl by Sandra McIver, which is a perfect descriptor of the sweater. I started one of these two summers ago but was so overwhelmed by the sheer number of stitches (798) that I abandoned it and thought I'd never try it again.

I have quite a few more knitting projects under my belt since then, so felt quite confident with larger yarn and a cast on of 665. After the first welt, there are lots of decreases, so it goes along faster.

I've set a deadline for myself for May 30 to have this finished, because I'd like to wear it to a spring concert my husband and I are attending.

April Finishes

The last couple of months have been crazy. I spent every spare minute working on a couple of quilts that were to be gifts for friends. My local yarn shop owner was married mid-February. She gave us only four or five days advance notice, so I worked as fast as I could to get this done.

This is what has become known to me as a champagne quilt, so named for the variety of neutrals used in the quilt. I made my niece one several years ago for her wedding. It's a simple enough pattern, but I think it makes a stunning quilt.

I liked the title "Champagne and Roses", so I found several fabrics with roses for the quilt, found a backing that had tan roses on a white background, and asked my friend who machine quilted it for me to use her rose pantograph.

One of these years I might get a champagne quilt made for myself. Alex Anderson has a book on neutral quilts with a nice star block design that I'd like to make.

The second surprise quilt was simply a gift of friendship for someone I've become very fond of. My friend was classically trained as a pianist and has been studying the harp for the last six years. I saw this quilt, called "Symphony in B" in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of McCall's Quilting magazine and couldn't stop admiring it, so finally decided to make it.

Except for the keyboard units, the quilt was really a quick sew. I thought the way the keyboard was constructed was really cool. My younger son, who played a string instrument as a kid and now plays some guitar, saw it after the top was finished and liked it so much that I've ordered another kit for him.

The presentation for both quilts was April 2, and both recipients seemed to be quite pleased with their gifts. A few tears, and lots of hugs and laughter made for a fun afternoon.

Now that those two quilts are complete, I can focus on another Curvy quilt for a workshop I'm teaching for our quilt chapter next month. I made this one last summer, partly because I wanted to try sewing these curves, and partly because I thought maybe it would be something different for quilt group.

For the first one, I went through the stash and pulled a bunch of fat quarters that were mostly red, yellow and green, with a little purple thrown in. For this one, I pulled fabrics that were mostly orange, yellow and green, with bits of blue.

This is my stack of curved units for the whole quilt, 280 in all.

Once the strips were sewn and the curved units cut, I divided up all the units into four piles, and I'll piece a quarter section of the quilt at a time, leaving the last quarter for use at the workshop. Although I like the colors very much, I'm not sure if I'll like this quilt as much as the first one. The scale of most of these prints is much larger than the ones in the first quilt, and maybe that's what's bothering me a little. Maybe I'll like them better after they're sewn together.

Credit where credit is due: Curvy quilt design by Mark Lipinski