Sunday, December 30, 2012

lover's knot quilt

Here's the second quilt I finished for one of Sister Suzy's flat-mates.

I picked up the idea from a quiltinaday You Tube video.  This quilt is a log cabin block variation.  You build two blocks that are opposites.  Then as you turn the blocks it looks like the colors are interlocking.   There are 20 of block 'A' and 20 of block 'B' for a total of 40 blocks in the center with a mitered corners border.  The border was four inches all the way around.  I used the dark fabric for the binding because I thought a thin dark frame on the outside edge would be the finishing touch.

This quilt uses 2 1/2-inch strips for the center.  EQ6 over-estimated the fabric by two 2 1/2 inch strips for each color.  I would have just as soon left that five inches on the pieces of fabric they were cut from but I thought I would be slick and cut all my strips at one time.

I used Eleanor Burns' construction techniques for the most part.  I would recommend that you square your block after each set of seams.  I.E. check to make sure you are still square after each set of seams.  Checking like that will save you a lot of grief in the end with all your blocks being the same size.  I had to rip a few seams out and re-sew the seam allowance a little bit smaller to get the right dimensions.

I chose to do very traditional quilt pattern that is normally only seen in hand-quilting by moving in from the seam line a 1/4 inch and quilting around the 'L' shape.

For a bit of whimsy I added a heart in each corner.

I made a template for the diamond pattern I quilted the border with.  Here is more whimsy for the backing.  Instead of blocks how about some stripes?

And finally the quilt can't go out before the label goes on.

All-and-all it was an easy top to set together.  The largest majority of my time was spent quilting.  There was a lot of stopping, turning, and starting! 

Have a good day!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas knitting

Merry Christmas to everyone!  I hope you are having a peaceful one!

My Christmas knitting!

LOL my only Christmas knitting!  I got a wild hair at midnight on the 23rd after watching Hubby rubbing his hands because his gout was bothering him.  His hands were cold. Cold makes gout pain worse so I asked him if he would like a pair of fingerless mitts to wear while he is working on the computer and watching TV.  He was agreeable so I went to work.

The pattern is Men's Fingerless Mitts by Kathy North at  As you can see these mitts are not exactly per the pattern for a couple of reasons.  For one thing the pattern says to knit stockinette until it is three inches above the cuff.  My best guess based on the photograph from the pattern is she meant three inches from the thumb opening.  Three inches from the cuff puts the beginning of  the ribbing at the top of the knuckle for the index finger on the hand.  One inch of ribbing would put the end of the mitt at the first knuckle.  We wanted the mitt to end just after the second knuckle on the middle finger.  I added three inches of 2x2 ribbing to tighten the opening up to keep the warmth in and make the length we wanted.  The next change was to lengthen the thumb so it covered the knuckle down to where the nail bed begins.

I didn't do a swatch. (I know baaaddd knitter!)  So when I had the stockinette part about half-knitted I got my stitch gage out and sure enough, I'm getting 4.5 stitches per inch instead of 5.  Doing some quick calculations said I had 4.5 stitches to many, with that I decreased 4 stitches spaced evenly around the mitts to tighten them up a little.  When I got to the thumb the pattern calls for 20 stitches with a decrease to 16 but I only needed 13.5 stitches to get the 3 inches of circumference for Hubby's thumb.  I did two decreasing rounds of three stitches each to bring the thumb down to size.  2x2 ribbing wasn't going to work so I went with 1x1 ribbing until I had the thumb long enough which in his case was two inches long from where I picked up the stitches for the thumb.

I used worsted-weight Red Heart Heathers in Cocoa on US# 6 circular needles.  I started to do these mitts on two circulars and here.   My initial reaction is what a pain trying to keep track of all those needles and all that yarn.  I transferred everything to a 47-inch circular and used the Magic Loop.

Ah! I hear the timer for the au gratin potatoes for our Christmas dinner.
Once again I hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas quilts #1

I decided to make Sister Suzy and her flatmates quilts for the Holidays.  This is the first one I finished.

I got the idea from Rose Smith of Ludlow Quilt and Sew.  Here is a link to her You Tube video showing you how to construct the quilt.  I couldn't find any black prints I really liked, so I went with a navy blue with a very small white floral print.

I had to do some research to find out the dimensions of a charm pack.   They come in two sizes; the most common is 5 inches square and the other is 6 inches square.  Most charm packs have between 40 and 42 squares of fabric in 10 to 12 different fabrics.  However, some charm packs do not.  So if you decide to buy charm packs pay attention to the number of fabric squares.  Also, be aware of the cost, twelve dollars for 2/3 of a yard of fabric in my book is pretty expensive way to buy fabric.

I went through the stash and cut two of each fabric I liked, cutting a total of 58 squares, using about a one and a quarter yards of fabric for the charms.  EQ6 said I need about 2 5/8 yards for the dark background.  I bought 3 yards and used 2 1/3yards, which also included the binding for the quilting.  EQ6 also said I needed 3/8 of a yard of white and I forgot to measure the two-yard piece I bought after I cut the white strips for this quilt.  The back took 3 yards of fabric so I used about 7 yards of fabric in total for a 48 inch by 72-inch quilt.

All and all it was a fun easy project.  I used stitch in the ditch to quilt it and top-stitched the binding on.

If you look carefully you can see where the horizontal white stripes are smaller than the vertical stripes. To get the center panel to come out the right size I had to increase the vertical stripe units by a quarter of an inch and decrease the horizontal stripe units by a quarter of an inch.  Not real noticeable unless you look closely.

Why I didn't photograph the whole back I'm not sure.  I pieced the back in 12.5 inch squares in several different colors so the quilt is reversible.

As you can see the label is on!

Have a good day!


Monday, December 17, 2012

finally finished

I started this quilt before Christmas of last year.  I finally found my mojo to finish it!  Yes, another gingham quilt!  I only have 3/4 of a box of blocks to use up now.  LOL!  My youngest sister decided to get a regular-size bed so I thought it would be a good idea to make her a quilt that fits it for Christmas.  Weeellll, a year later it's finished just in time for Christmas!  LOL

This is a 'trip around the world' quilt set together using the Crazy Shortcut Quilting method for quilt-as-you-go.  This works really well for bed size quilts.

Here's the plan from EQ6:

I had to do some playing around with where I wanted the setting strips to go.  I wanted a nine-patch that was balanced on both side and top-n-bottom.  I end up starting in the middle and working my way out, some days I'm a little slow.  ; >)

Then I went through the box picking out blocks for the colors I wanted to use.  I picked out all the seams, pressed the individual pieces and trimmed or rejected any pieces that were not the right size.  Then I stacked them up in piles to sew together.

Then based on my plan I started setting the blocks together and quilting them by stitching in the ditch.  I used 80/20 cotton batting because polyester batting beards through fabric with high polyester content like gingham fabric.  I used scraps of backing fabric from Mother's other quilt projects for the backs of each block.

I ended up numbering each block as it was finished because I was having trouble keeping them in order and reversing the tops.  I choose black for the setting strips because I wanted the eye to see it but not focus on them.  This is, also, why symmetry was so important.  You want the eye to see the whole design.  I used gingham strips on the back for some color and the border.

I had to repair a block.  Somehow, I nipped the quilt somewhere along the line with either my scissors or the rotary cutter.  I used fusible web and 2 small hearts of gingham to add a bit of whimsy to the repair.

The borders were sewn on after setting the body of the quilt together.  Then stuffing the batting between the two pieces of fabric and quilting.  I have started using a basting spray because I want to stipple a quilt so I gave it a shot on holding the batting in.  Much better than what I have done in the past.  I wanted to use gingham for the binding and thought about a multicolor one.  I rejected that idea as too busy and went with just black.  I'm glad I did.

I ask myself, "Why did I lose interest in finishing this quilt?"  I have a couple of thoughts. One, gingham is very ravelly and can be a trial to work with.  The other is I have done quite a few quilts in gingham and want to move on to something else.  Then you really don't get a sense of accomplishment as you are setting 'a trip around the world' together like most quilts.  The, "Oh Boy, this is looking good!"  You have to wait until the quilt is finished and then stand back and look at it.  I'm glad it's finished and I like it a lot.

More quilts to come have a good day!


Update 12/23/12:  My youngest sister came over on the 21st and saw the quilt hanging over the balcony railing and said she liked the quilt with the yellow in it.  I said that was good because it was hers. Yeah!