27 January 2010

Cathedral Windows

Mr. Peabody made the mistake of telling me this quilter's trick: if you like the look of a quilt, try making a block to see how you like the technique/idea/etc. This led to me immediately starting up with a Cathedral Windows made from some leftovers from hemming my Ikea curtains and some scraps destined for the Hexagonal Quilt.

And here's the resulting block.

I even tested out Blind Stitching

vs. Top Stitching.

I like the look of the blind stitching, but I really find it hard to make it through all the layers of fabric and feel like it's very secure with this stitch.

Working a couple of blocks with the first tutorial, I found it difficult to get good points on the parts of the frame that aren't stitched down. And I really feel this method requires stitching through to the back for best results. With my hand sewing skills at this point makes it pretty sloppy looking on the back which I REALLY don't love. Though I totally dig the oragami folding and ironing, I really wished there was some sort of basting or sewing keeping the loose fabric bits in place. And oragami with fabric makes getting perfect corner folds quite difficult.

But then I read a bunch of different tutorials linked from the Cathedral Windows Flickr Pool. It seems there's another method that suits my fancy thus far. It means more sewing and less oragami which isn't as much fun, but I feel like it leads to a better result. And because I'm REALLY crazy, I'm hand sewing it all.

To be honest, I don't really like sewing with a machine. I have yet to set up a good work location for my machine. It's all in a table and everything so lives in my kitchen which isn't really where I like to do my crafting. There's no TV in there. No couches. There's just appliances and food and dishes and stuff. Really the kitchen is just not my room. Which is kind of funny since it's the biggest room in my apartment. And like I painted it last summer and everything. It looks really nice...after I've done all the dishes and put them away.

K. Back to the quilt. So I've been looking at lots, ok like all the photos from the Flickr pool. And I had a huge eureka moment and came up with a brilliant plan. This photo was my inspiration.

Tuesday Night Sewing Club: Installment 3, originally uploaded by Melissa Dettloff.

Isn't it wonderful how the stripes are affected by the folding of the fabric to create the frames?

Here's the big idea. Cathedral Windows where the backing fabric is woodgrain. Pure genius right? Well I bought some fat quarters and made up a test block.

It looks pretty much like I imagined. Like super awesome right? The downside is the feel of the block. It's it's it's. It's just not the same feel as the block made from Ikea curtains. Yes. Curtains. Curtains are better.

The woodgrain block uses a nice sleek Joel Dewberry print and it's the sleekness that's the problem. The sleekness and the nice flat. It's just not quite as squishy and cosy feeling as the curtain block. There's also the cost to take into consideration. To make a lap quilt I need about 10 metres of fabric which online is like $100 US worth of fabric. Versus the Ikea curtain fabric which is $2 a metre. And really it's muslin not just curtains. Plus it's kind of ridiculous for the amount of fabric I need despite how cool the effect is.

So I went for the muslin. I spent an evening washing and ironing. It took me 4 hours to iron it all. It was pretty epic. It did get scalded a bit in one spot. I just hope that I didn't wreck my iron for having it on that long. I think I'll let it rest for a while.

21 January 2010

Xmas knitting update N°2

Pattern: Christmas socks based on Gentleman's Half Hose in Ringwood Pattern by Nancy Bush from Knitting Vintage Socks
Materials: Zitron Trekking Pro Natura
Modifications: Plugged the pattern repeat into a top down sock with stockinette heel and wedge toe
Start Date: November 29, 2009
End Date: December 14, 2009

I've reached that annoying stage as a sock knitter. Having knit so many pairs, I can take a stitch pattern, crunch a few numbers and BOOM make a sock that fits a foot. Really it's not rocket science, earth shattering and once you understand the mystery of the sock, you're capable of flying solo without a pattern. But having all the knitting practise means that it's almost second nature. The trickiest part is finding proper foot measurements without alerting the recipient that they're getting some socks (this is easy enough with my dad, I just ask mom what his shoe size is). The whole thing is pretty blazé. See? Annoying. I told you.

So before embarking on the shawl knitting marathon for my mom's present, I made my dad a pair of socks. These socks were pretty much no muss or fuss. The biggest deal was finding a conversion of shoe size to foot measurements online. I always end up digging up my pattern for Harry Potter Striped Sports socks for the link. I should just bookmark it for future use.

The Ringwood stitch pattern is really simple and has a really nice texture to it. Perfect for serious dad socks such as these. I had debated on the yarn colour choice, but decided serious charcoal was more suited to my dad. Yes, the last pair of socks that I knit my dad were also charcoal. But the alternative skein of blue was not suitable and I was striving to knit from my extensive stash of sock yarns rather than buying more.

Overall these socks were kind of like background knitting. Not terribly challenging. Not boring. Not overly long to complete. No need for my full attention. Perfect take along project for the air travel and subsequent road trip while this project was underway (a trip to LA and SF). I was kind of surprised when I finished them.

They were well received by my dad and as you can see they fit his feet rather well.

20 January 2010

For Mr. Peabody

IMG_4236, originally uploaded by Alexia Abegg.

This is your kind of quilt block. Click through, there's more of these goodies!

19 January 2010

Not Qualified to cut

Big Giant Fail. I should have my rotary cutter and ruler revoked. I should be pulled back to kindergarten to relearn how to cut things properly. Insert many expletives.

So here's the story. On a Saturday crafternoon, I alternated cutting out hexagons for quilt n°1 and cutting out background blocks for Hawaiian quilt n°2. 18 x 18" blocks. No problem right?

Well, when I went to cut out one of the batiks for creating the appliqué, I ended up cutting a 13" square instead of the 14" square that I intended. So I went and checked the other 'squares' I had cut out. Out of the 12 blocks that I cut ONLY ONE is actually 18" square. ONE!

The culprit? My green cutting mat. It has two sets of 'starting lines' and I usually use the more interior one. Unfortunately there's only one set of numbers. And they start from the outer starting line. So when measuring I should either mentally add an inch to whatever I intend to cut, train myself to measure from the outer line OR (probably the best option) USE THE RULER TO MEASURE instead of the mat.

I'm going to consult with the other Courtepointistes to figure out a solution.

18 January 2010

Xmas knitting update N°1

Pattern: Laminaria by Elizabeth Freeman
Materials: Malabrigo Yarn Lace in Pink Frost
Modifications: Worked on 3.75 mm needles, added a few repeats of Blossom Chart and missed the final purl row of the final edging chart to use have enough yarn.
Start Date: December 13, 2009
End Date: December 27, 2009

This Christmas I decided to knit a couple of presents for the family. For my mom I made this lovely shawl. You may remember me debating how to proceed to knit the present in front of the recipient. Well I decided to go for the pretending to be knitting something for myself. This proved to be quite an easy and effective diversion technique as my mom is tired of me telling her I won't knit for her. If I did knit everything she asked for, I'd have no time to knit for anyone else.

This shawl was a race to finish in time for the festivities. I spent most of my 17 hours of airplane/airport time knitting. It was exhausting. During one flight a mother of 3 under 8 who was juggling her own children helped me deal with all my knitting paraphernalia while my rowmate had to use the loo. I was a machine. But I had to take a snooze break for the final few hours of my last flight. It was just too much.

The next few days, when not at the beach, I worked on the shawl. I managed to finish it before Christmas. Blocked even. But trying it on (and sneakily having my mom try it on) I decided it was too small, took out the border and added a few more repeats of the blossom chart before adding the border back on. Eking out as much as I could out of the two skeins of Malabrigo that I bought.

The interesting thing about this shawl that it curves around. There's a significant amount of increase between the different pattern charts that causes a curve rather than a triangular increase. When I blocked the shawl the first time, I allowed for the curve and ended up with a rather long but somewhat narrow shawl. My mom likes her shawls to be fuller, covering the arms more. So when blocking the shawl a second time, I really made sure to maximise the horizontal wingspan of the shawl.

As you can see, once it dried, it still has a bit of the curve to it, but not nearly as much as after the initial blocking.

Oh and my mom had NO idea the shawl was for her. While I was knitting, she tried to convince me that the next green shawl I had brought with me was really her colour.

15 January 2010

Fabric Info

Perusing the internets on my lunch hour has revealed that some fabric I'm using and just bought (and love) is by Heather Bailey and Heather Ross. I'm this close to buying a Medocino Fat Quarter Bundle...only $29.95!

9 January 2010

What I did on my Winter Vacation

I was very lucky this holiday season and was able to go to Hawaii with my whole family for just about 3 weeks. It was fantastic. Hawaii at Christmas is kind of a family tradition and I hope it's one that continues well into the future.

While on vacation, my brother signed us up for a Hawaiian Appliqué quilting class at the Maui Quilt Shop. After knitting like a maniac to finish my mom's Christmas present shawl as close to Christmas as possible, I was ready for a change of scene craftwise.

There were 7 of us in the class and after quickly picking our kits, Mr. Peabody and I sat down and got to work. At the end of the 2 hours I came away with an understanding of Needle turn appliqué and a drive to finish my block. It only took me a 6 days to finish it (between the beach, tropical drinks and Hawaiian sunsets of course). I became so addicted to the Hawaiian appliqué that I bought enough fabric to make 12 more blocks. Our pillow kits included enough for 2 blocks, so I'm going to be making a 16 block Hawaiian appliqué quilt! I'm super excited.

I predict that 2010 will be the year of the quilt for me.