Archive for March, 2010

Knitting and piecing

Since I’m still a bit under the weather, I’m taking it easy and doing some knitting and piecing (and reading).  I’ve turned the heel on my third pair of socks and LOVE doing two at a time.

And speaking of knitting socks, I  added a couple new items to my sewing room. Can you pick them out?

They clamp on and off the table easily – I set them up long enough to wind two hanks into balls and then unclamped them to store in the cabinet until I need them again. Aren’t these gorgeous balls of yarn?

I was trying not to build up a sock yarn stash but it’s very hard to resist buying. I’ll finish my 3rd pair in a few days but I’ve already got yarn for another 11 pair. I’m enjoying knitting these and feel like I’ll continue to do them otherwise I wouldn’t have bought the ball winder and swift.

Tomorrow I’ll put up the design wall and start arranging the blocks for what I’m going to call the Lattice Quilt for lack of a better name.

Caught in action

Carol belongs to the guild I visited Tuesday to talk about HeartStrings and she captured a photo of me speaking along with other pictures taken that night.

Didn’t feel like working on a large quilt

So I was bad and started a new project today. I think I deserve it because I’ve only started one new quilt this year and it’s already March!

I’m not sure what this block is called — I looked it up and the closest thing I saw was an Indian Hatchet but all those blocks slanted in the same direction. I’ve seen versions of this quilt in lots of books and Judy even has a rectangle version in her new book Weekend Quilts.

So with my GO Cutter and a big set of fat quarters, I started cutting. I’m using my 6.5 inch half square triangle die and my 1.5 inch strip die. The blocks are squared to 6 inches for a 5.5 inch finished block. EASY!

Here’s my EQ drawing.

And how about a 30’s version for Mom to make?

Not quilting

Either Keith has given me his cold or my allergies are acting up again so I haven’t been in the mood to work and spent the evening watching TV and knitting a little on and off  but I’ve done everything on my March *must do* list except Adam’s quilt so I’m making progress.

Tuesday is for strings

But today instead of piecing blocks I had an opportunity to speak briefly at a local guild about HeartStrings. Excuse the quality of the photo (my cell phone doesn’t have a flash). They had two stands and a table where I was able to set up the quilts so they could be seen before and during the meeting.

I pulled fabric for a backing too and I plan on getting it pieced before I go to bed tonight which will probably be very late.

Two birds with one stone

Lori from SD and her friend Theresa are in town and we wanted to meet for lunch so I suggested the Mall of America because I could take the light rail down and then shop for my dress for Adam’s wedding afterwards.

The jacket looks rather shapeless in the photo above but it’s more flattering on and it has a matching sleeveless top. It also has a pretty purple piping and although it looks very VERY busy in these photos it’s more subtle in person.

Want to knit socks?

I’ve had some questions so I thought I’d post my answers in case anyone else was curious.

First, I wasn’t a complete novice knitter but had only done some really simple things (scarves, hats, baby afghans) and hadn’t done much knitting at all in the last 3 years.

I taught myself to knit about 4-5 years ago using one of those “teach yourself to knit visually” books.

I bought several books on sock knitting when I decided I couldn’t resist any them any longer but the books by Antje Gillingham have been the ones that I’ve learned how to knit socks from.

First I bought the book –  Knitting More Circles Around Socks: Two at a Time, Toe Up or Cuff Down –  thinking I was going to knit toe up socks but quickly decided that it might be easier to learn cuff down socks. I did knit my first pair from the instructions in this book as she has instructions for both.

The book I’m mainly using now is Gillingham’s first book Knitting Circles Around Socks: Knit Two at a Time on Circular Needles and it’s the one I’d recommend unless you’re planning to do Toe Up socks.

I’d never picked up stitches in knitting before and obviously hadn’t closed the toe of a sock with the Kitchener stitch and found a couple videos that helped with those parts. These video’s use the Magic Loop technique but they were still helpful.

I’m using two circular needles to knit and bought my needles and sock yarn at

Finally a lot of people mentioned that they’d tried two socks at once and spent more time untangling yarn than knitting and there was one suggestion to put the yarn in separate baggies but I’ve got to say, I’m not having any problems with tangling — I just set both skeins in my lap and watch how I turn my work.

If you’re new to sock knitting — I suggest you do like I did and knit one sock at a time for the first pair or two until you’ve got a little experience under your belt before trying two at once.

So if you’ve been wanting to knit socks you should go ahead and try. I’m having a lot of fun with them.

Some quilting today

I took a break from binding and knitting socks to quilt this donation top of Tamera’s.

The variegated thread and Bubbles pantograph were already on the machine and were just right for this top.

Tamera used the Twister ruler for this quilt. It can be hard to find but I did a quick search and found it at this shop – I’ve never purchased anything there so this isn’t an endorsement 🙂

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Today I bound the uneven edge of the Tumbler quilt and it was much easier than I expected. (UFO #5)

I was afraid I’d need a miter at the inner curves but with bias binding, I just kind of zig zagged following the edge of the blocks and made sure I didn’t sew any tucks and it worked great.

I cut bias strips using the instructions from this book (great reference!) I could have made continuous bias binding but I didn’t feel like searching other books for the instructions.

Just a few details:

I cut my strips 2.5 inches and used a 3/8 inch seam to sew the binding on.

I sewed a straight seam following the line of the block; pivoting when I hit the seam between the blocks making sure that I didn’t sew a pleat which was pretty easy to do with the bias binding.

I had to watch my corners to get my miter’s just right — needed to angle my fold to follow the edge I was turning. (I only had to take one out and redo it).

So for those of you who wrote and told me to figure it out …. go bind those tumbler quilts!

I had a feeling I wouldn’t last all week

Yep, I started a new pair of socks this evening and was brave enough to try knitting two socks at once. I’m finding it much easier than expected and not having problems with my two skeins tangling up which is something several peopled mentioned they’d had problems with.

Today was kind of a lost day between running errands and knitting but I’ve got the tax stuff ready to drop off Monday and one of the two wedding quilts finished so I’m on schedule.

It feels like spring around here with temps  in the 30’s and 40’s but here’s one not so pretty sign of spring – large DIRTY piles of melting snow.

Another finish, UFO #4

I love how this quilt of mine turned out, completely from stash and I’m not sure where it will go yet. Maybe a gift quilt down the line or a donation quilt. I’ll wait and see.

UFO #3

This was the quilt I finished the binding on last night. It’s my 3rd UFO finish for the year. I just love the checkerboard border on this one.

I’m going to get a binding on another one and start stitching that down tonight.

I’ve been SO good today

Last night I got through a lot of the tax stuff so today was mostly devoted to sewing….but first, I had to finish up my socks.

Pair #2 – aren’t you impressed? I almost feel like a pro now.

And then I spent the day on wedding quilts….ugh, working on two big quilts when I would rather start a new quilt or cast on a new pair of socks.

I trimmed, bound, and hand stitched the binding down on one of the two so all it needs now is washing and I finished the borders on the Stars and Pinwheels for Adam. That one needs quilting and binding — the wedding is on the 27th so I can’t put it off either.

Thanks to buckling down and working hard today, I made a lot of progress and don’t feel so pressured.

It’s nice to be back at work

The binding was finished on this little HeartStrings quilt made from donated blocks and pieced by Sue (or her mom Monica).

It’s Tuesday again

Since it’s Tuesday, on the agenda this afternoon is piecing a few string blocks and a backing. I’ve also got to start assembling the tax stuff but I think I’ll wait and do that when Keith goes to bed tonight — I slept late so I’m sure I’ll be up late.

Did I tell you all that I LOVE knitting socks? I’m almost finished this pair and I think I’ll try two at once next.

Other than a book on Drunkard’s path quilts and a three fat quarter sets, my only quilt show purchase was this antique quilt. The back is discolored from age but there’s just one spot on the front that can be strategically placed so it’s hidden. I don’t have a good place to display quilts but I hung this one over the wall on the landing for a photo.

And a closer view.