Thread Thoughts

The Nut Graf knits, sews and attempts other crafts

Too many threads, so little time… July 24, 2007

Filed under: Quilting — chengat @ 5:12 am

I’ve sewn clothes and knit a few baby blankets, but I prefer to knit garments and sew quilts.
About this time last year, when it became too unbearably hot to knit, I decided to revisit my sewing machine to learn to quilt. It’s a great way to play with colors and patterns in a way that I don’t like doing with knitted garments.
Here is my first quilt, a baby blanket for my son, who was born in the year of the monkey (and I love sock monkeys). It’s a free pattern from Fat Quarter Shop:
Here’s the matching wall hanging (machine appliqued):
Then came this one, a lap quilt for my husband, who likes to fall asleep on the couch in front of the TV (blue shot cotton by Kaffe Fassett, patterned fabric by Amy Butler, using “Hop Skip & A Jump” pattern from Denyse Schmidt’s book) This was also my first time doing free-motion quilting:
Hop Skip Jump - front
I made a quilt called “China Palace Quilt” for my mom on Mother’s Day featuring Chinese-themed prints of children, horses and peonies (my mom was born in the year of the horse and is an avid gardener). The colors work very well in emphasizing the theme of the quilt. I gave it away before taking a photo, but here’s a picture of the pattern from McCall’s Quilting magazine:
My latest one was a baby blanket and matching pillow for our newest nephew. He just turned one, so I wanted to make something that he could grow into. I’m calling it “Circles and Squares” because all the patterned fabrics have circular motifs and the overall pattern is called Bento Box:
Gabriel’s Quilt
In the works: I’m piecing a “Turning 20” quilt for my brother, for his upcoming birthday (although at this rate it will be very much belated); and also have almost finished piecing the top of a surfing/beach print quilt for my son’s playroom/guest room. I also plan to make the Flora quilt (pattern by Valorie Wells, kit from Sowing Sisters) and Kaffe Fassett “Rice Bowls” quilt (from his Passionate Patchwork book, using his shot cottons and some Amy Butler fabrics for the bowls). Here’s the photo of it from the book (Doesn’t this look like Andy Warhol with an Asian motif? I love it and it’s so ME!):
Rice Bowls
And l’m also trying to find a pattern to use these summer-themed fabrics by Heather Ross:
Well, at least my fabric stash takes up less space than my yarn stash!


Knitting under stress July 15, 2007

Filed under: Knitting,Socks — chengat @ 4:31 am

Hello and welcome to my blog, where I will share my tragedies and triumphs in the world of yarn, fiber, fabric, and other handicrafts. Though I have delved into cross stitching, embroidery, needlepoint, and sewing, in the past four years knitting as taken over as my main compulsion. I am obsessed: the textures, the colors, the classic designs, the crazy designs, the gadgets (oh how I love my stitch markers and how can you resist anything called a Kachakacha?!)… It’s a craft that can be as simple (garter stitch washcloths) or as complex (cobweb lace shawls) as you want it to be. It’s a great de-stresser, a way to take your mind off things and force you to focus on something constructive.

Having said that, however, knitting under stress can be a dangerous thing. I give as an example, this sock, made during a stressful time in my life (medical issues with my son while trying to buy a house and traveling abroad – always stressful these days.) Here it is in happier times, enjoying the view from the Sheraton Centro Historico hotel overlooking The Alameda, a park in Mexico City’s central historic district:

The yarn is Sundara’s Bird of Paradise sock club yarn scored off Ebay, the pattern is the ubiquitous Monkey. This looks fine upon first inspection, but I warn you this is the preblocked state. I forgot that lace will stretch considerably after blocking. In my hurrid haze of packing, I also misread the labels on my needles and brought the wrong needles. Rather than knitting this on size 2, or 2.5mm, needles, I knit this on size 2.5, or 3mm, needles. That .5mm makes a big difference, people. The end result after blocking fit my husband’s size 10.5 feet rather than my size 6 foot. I would have let him keep it but lace doesn’t look so pretty on hairy man-legs.

But wait, there’s more. So I finished this sock, realized my error, and knit the second sock on the proper needle size, blocked it and it came out fine. The next day, I decided to rip the mistake sock to reknit it, went to my sock blocker, grabbed the sock, and in seconds it became a pile of curly yarn. Then I decided to grab the “correct” sock and realized —- I had ripped the wrong sock! Yup, I ripped the good one.

So my first yarn tale is a tragedy. Morale is: be extra cautious when you’re knitting under stress. Double check that you have the right sized needles and don’t be in a hurry to rip out any mistakes. There is a happy epilogue though. I did in the end make the pair. Here it is:
and a real Bird of Paradise from our new house: