Sunday 23 June 2019

Neutral Territory

I bought the jelly roll used in this quilt at a Christmas craft and bake sale this past year. It's Tim Holz Eclectic Elements, and it was only $10. A steal, really, and the fabric is quite interesting: dictionary pages, music scores, posters, lepidoptera, maps, etc. Definitely eclectic. So it appealed to me for it's uniqueness. However, if I had to do it over again, I would likely have used it in a larger quilt with a darker or brighter coloured fabric for contrast, because, as you can see, it's mostly beige. Boring Beige, which is what I could have called this quilt, except that that's not a very appealing name. So I chose Neutral Territory. And it has so much neutral and so little contrast that you can barely discern any pattern. I used the 9-Patch pattern in this book: 

 It's a nice and reasonably simple pattern, but unless you get up close and personal with this quilt, you really can't see it. But I was really just putting this quilt together to have something to practice with my Amara as I was still having issues. And this time the cotton thread misbehaved, but with the help of a piece of batting in the thread guide above the cone of thread, I was able to use polyester. This was good news since I've got several hundred dollars tied up in polyester thread. And, to give this quilt a little more pizzazz, I chose the Funky Music pantograph by Beany Girl Quilts from Willow Leaf Studio. It's challenging and the quilting is quite dense. Maybe overkill? But it was fun and I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out looking as good as it does. With all of those corners, angles, straight lines, I really wasn't sure how well it would turn out. 
But they are readily identifiable music symbols. And I used leftovers from the jelly roll to make a scrappy binding. 
Another note about this jelly roll: pieces not all the same width or length (not as bad as the non-jelly roll I used in Baby Blues, but enough that it was frustrating), and most of them were actually a little wider than 2½", which threw my blocks out. And just saying, if I haven't said this before, I really do NOT like pinked edges. They're too inconsistent in where the actual precut measurement falls. These ones seemed to fall somewhere between the peak and the valley. 
Now I have to figure out what to do with this quilt. It wasn't made with any particular recipient in mind. Maybe I should just use it as a dust cover for my Amara. Perhaps I shall try to sell it. I certainly could use the money. I've overspent lately on fabric (no surprise there) and really should start earning some extra money to pay for my extravagance. 😁

Lilac Grove

Not so long ago (2015?) and not so far away, Walmart had a sale on Bernat Blanket yarn. I hadn't tried this yarn before, but the pickings were slim so I ended up with a skein or two of the Lilac Bush colourway. As this was insufficient to make an afghan (at least, not an adult sized one), I did pay full price to acquire the remainder of what I needed when I found it available. Then I started knitting an afghan. I think I had actually wanted to try a cable stitch and I don't recall why I chose against it. Perhaps it was to help fulfill my goal of completing at least one project from every craft pattern book I own. I actually started this one prior to Lavender Rhapsody, which was my first project with Bernat Bundle yarn, but I finished that one first. I chose the Toasty Warm pattern from this book However, the pattern instructions have you repeat bands of four rows of garter stitch following 8 rows of pattern, but the pictures did not show any bands of garter stitch, other than the beginning and ending, so I opted to skip them. 
I also used curtain rings to separate the pattern sections, which you can see on the needle in the above picture. When knitting, I find I can't see the stitches on the needle well enough to know where I am in the pattern, and if I lose track, it can end up a mess. So I find using some kind of stitch markers, even if not called for in the pattern, help me keep on track. 
Being a not-highly-experienced knitter, I was pleased with how my stitches turned out. 
I'm not sure why the pattern started with 4 rows of garter stitch and ended with 6, but I just ended with 4. I also skipped the fringe called for in the pattern as my afghan was already plenty big enough, about 60" x 70". You can see in the top picture that it almost covers my queen-size mattress. It's also pretty heavy and the weight of it dragged it down when I tried to hang it on the line for pictures. So I got Allan, who was there working on my fence, to hold it from the deck. 
Difficult to get it stretched out wide enough and keep it high enough so it wasn't dragging on the ground. That's when I took it inside and spread it on my mattress.
Another WIP finished! I'm trying to discipline myself to not buy any more yarn, other than what I may need to complete a project, until all of my WIPs and UFOs are finished. That's challenging enough, especially when a beautiful yarn that I haven't tried yet is on sale. But it's nowhere near as challenging as doing the same for fabric.