Sunday, 16 February 2020

The Nacho Quilt

I'm calling this a nacho quilt, as in "Nacho favourite quilt." At least, it definitely is not mine. (Nacho = not your). It's not bad enough to rank as a Bodley quilt, but it lacks that pizzazz, that zing, that wow factor that I like to see in my quilts. So, I've coined a new term for quilts that fall somewhere between Bodley and Wow: Nacho. 
I was looking for a quilt that I could work up quickly for a friend/work colleague that is going through chemotherapy, and I was hoping for a tulip quilt because this friend is of Dutch lineage. While I definitely feel that the leaves are out of proportion to the flowers, I really didn't dislike this quilt when I saw Jenny Doan's tutorial on YouTube. However, I think even hers is a nacho quilt. If I'd had more time, this definitely would not be my first choice for a tulip quilt. 
Once the quilt top was done, I took it to work to get the team to sign it with messages of hope and encouragement. If you look closely at the above picture, you can see some handwriting on the quilt. 
Then I had to figure out what to do for backing and binding. I was planning on going into the city to find something, but started looking through my stash, and found this. 
And there was enough for a backing! Frankly, I think the backing is prettier than the quilt top.
Mystery assisted with cutting the batting.
Actually, he hindered rather than helped, sitting right on the cutting line.
I would have liked to quilt with a tulip pantograph if I had one. Then I remembered that I had a pantograph with hummingbirds, called Columbines with Hummingbirds, by Deb Geissler. It comes with two borders - one of columbines alone, and one of hummingbirds alone. But with both borders, it made the pantograph so wide that it didn't fit my pantograph shelf. So, I cut it apart, with the 2 borders in one piece and the main pantograph in the other. 
I was a little concerned as to how the hummingbirds would turn out, but was quite pleased. 
And here is one of the columbines.
Now that it's quilted and bound, I'm feeling better about it. Although it is still a nacho quilt. 

Sunday, 2 February 2020

A Couple More UFOs Done

I really want to have fewer projects lying neglected around my house, so am attempting to get old projects finished (somewhat successful) before I start new ones (not so successful). I don't remember when I started this About Town Ruana for my daughter, but it is finally finished. Not soon enough for this past Christmas, but in plenty of time for her birthday in September. It's made with one colour of Red Heart Unforgettable (Dragonfly) and a couple of different colours of regular worsted weight (4) yarn (Bernat Premium green and purple). Unfortunately, as I mentioned in a previous post, I find that cell phone pictures don't always give true colours. I had to tweak these pictures with my picture editor, but they're still not totally accurate. I like the colours better in person. 

I also find that if too much time elaspses between the start and finish of a project, especially if I don't work on it for a year or two, my gauge can change, which is the case in this project. The second half is actually a little smaller than the first half. Another word of advice if you're making this project is when you're sewing the back seam, don't sew it all the way to the middle or you end up with the ruana too long in the back. See the first photo. I probably could have stopped 2 or 3 inches short of the centre. 
Once that was done, I needed to find another UFO or WIP to finish. While I was pondering this and looking in some of my books, I realized that I didn't have a current knitting WIP or UFO. Well, not exactly - I do have one project that is more of a sampler afghan, where some blocks are knitted and some are crocheted. But I had no strictly knitting projects on the go (at least I don't remember and haven't found one). So, I decided to start on the San Diego Sunset afghan, using Loops and Threads Kidding Around yarn instead of the mohair called for. I'm not sure why I opted for that, except that I think it was on sale at Michael's when I bought it. And the fact that mohair is not readily available. I probably could have used Red Heart Unforgettable, but it's a lot more expensive than what I likely paid for the Kidding Around. I'm not sure how well Kidding Around - a 6 weight - is going to work with knitting worsted (4 weight) in the same project, however. I guess I will see.

I still need to buy the knitting worsted for this project. So this was as far as I could go for now. So I looked for another UFO to work on. Earlier I had pulled out the Feileacan shawl and assembled the first butterfly I had made. It had been a lot of work and I really didn't like how it turned out. So I googled and found an alternate butterfly pattern and tried it. I liked it better than the one I made using the pattern, but it was still a lot of work. And because it was slightly smaller than the original one, I would have to make more. And I've kind of lost my motivation for crocheting butterflies.
Top is from the pattern, bottom is from a pattern I found online
I suppose I will finish this shawl eventually - another project for my daughter - but not right now. I also did a little half-hearted work on Sophie's Universe.
So I rummaged around in my rough totes and found this afghan.
I suppose I will likely never know this afghan's full story, but on one of my frequent trips to the thrift stores, I found what was probably a crafter's stash: yarn, patterns, etc. I concluded that, in all likelihood the crafter had either passed away or been admitted to a seniors' home and her stash ended up at the thrift store. I bought some patterns and some other crafting stuff and found this afghan, partially finished, plus the unused yarn in one of those zippered vinyl storage packages that afghan kits come in. 
No pattern and no picture, but I determined to take it home and finish it in honour of the anonymous crafter that had to relinquish her (or his) craft. The first thing I had to do was determine how to stitch this pattern. 
With help from the members of a crocheting group on Facebook, I was able to find directions online and start stitching this afghan. I also had to determine what size of hook to use in order to keep my stitching gauge consistent with that of the original crocheter. I ended up using a 3.75 mm. And then I had to decide how to alternate the colours. In the absence of a pattern to give me any direction, and since the first part of it didn't seem to have any consistent number of rows for each colour, I just more or less randomly chose. But then I ran out of the ivory yarn, other projects took precedence and this one ended up at the bottom of one of my rough totes. 
But last night, I finished it. I'm not sure how big the original project was supposed to have been. I ended up with an afghan approximately 46" x 67", a good size for an afghan, and still have 3 skeins of the red yarn left over. I wanted to finish the end with ivory, so used some from my stash. Even though it, too, is knitting worsted, it was substantially bulkier than the original yarn, so I didn't want to use too much of it in this afghan, so just did 3 rows to finish it off. 
Originally, I had thought this afghan had come as a kit, which is why it puzzled me how I ended up with 3 extra skeins of yarn. However, several of the labels had price tags on them, which is not generally done in a kit. Likely the original crafter just used the vinyl package to keep this project together. Even bed linens come in this kind of package, so it doesn't necessarily have to have originated from an afghan kit. I did a little research to determine how old this project might be. Canada became officially bilingual in 1969 (note the French on the label), but Simpsons Sears did not become just "Sears" until 1984. I thought maybe it was older because it seems like forever since yarn was called "sayelle." Evidently not. 
Two UFOs finished and a new project started. That's still progress, isn't it?

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

My 2019 Crafting Year in Review

Happy New Year, everyone!

It's time to look back and see what I've accomplished in the past year, craft-wise.
First in my yarn arts, I made my grandson and I toques on knitting looms from the same skein of yarn. (I have since shipped my knitting looms to one of my sisters in Ontario as she will get more use out of them. Aside from toques, I find that I can knit most projects faster on needles. And they were taking up a lot of room for something that I seldom used). I've also done lots of dishcloths,
beginning with these for myself for St. Patrick's Day. But most of them were made to give away.
I gave every nurse on the home care team a dishcloth during Nursing Week, and every health care
aide a dishcloth on Health Care Aide Day. A lot more will need to be made in order to be ready for
those events again this year. I found a new Bernat Handicrafter yarn, Scrub Off, and bought a skein to try it out.
While I was in Ontario in late August/early September, I picked up the book, A Year of Dishcloths, by Maggie Weldon, and I've started working my way through the patterns.
I've also been trying to use up my dollar store cotton yarn.
And thrown in a few made with Bernat Handicrafter cotton and Red Heart Scrubby.
Dishcloths are a quick and easy take-along project and I have made them when I have been in inservices and workshops. And have sometimes gifted them to the presenters.
You would think I do nothing but make dishcloths. Not so. I also finished the Lilac Grove afghan.
I made some small progress on Sophie's Universe.
And I'm done 50 rounds of Rings of Change, which I think I will name Flamenco Rings.
I made this cover up for myself 
and began another afghan, this one made of Handicrafter cotton. 
The pattern calls for 14 motifs each of 3 different colours. My goal is to make all 42 motifs a different colour. I've made 22 so far without repeating a colour. 
As for quilting, I started the year with The Art and Science of Mathematics
followed by finally getting My Beloved's Vineyard quilted.
This was my first queen-sized quilt completed on the longarm. Next was another green quilt, Wintry Woods
Following that, I did a couple of baby quilts: Baby Blues (my first flannelette quilt)
I then did my first signature quilt, Irene's Rubies.
Being frustrated with the performance of my longarm, I put together Neutral Territory to get more practice.
Go Broncos was made for a great nephew who had graduated from the University of Western Michigan. 
Getting back from Ontario, I had to start in on my Stonehenge Block Party project, but when the going got a little rough, I decided to take some less challenging quilting detours. (Is it really less challenging to draft your own blocks from a 2" square line drawing in a book?) I made my grandson the Odd Fellow's Treat Bag for his Hallowe'en treats.
With my niece's birthday coming up, I decided to make her a tote bag as well 
and added a table topper for Christmas.
After enough quilting detours, I finally finished Audacious, my Stonehenge Block Party quilt, and my first king-sized quilt. 
Coming close to year's end, I had a few projects I wanted to complete: Cat's Comfort,
the Country Christmas table runner set, 
My True Love Gave to Me,
and Licorice Allsorts.
I wanted to finish the year with a trio of hot pot holders to go with this trio of dishcloths, 
but I couldn't find the fabric I wanted to use. These will be gifts for neighbours. I have two new neighbours and a third will be a thank you gift for the cheerful Christmas display they set up in their yard. 
I suppose one of my New Year's Resolutions should be to find that fabric.