Friday, November 29, 2013

On The Needles - November 29, 2013

For the month of November I chose to knit the "Checker-Square Garter Dishcloth" designed by Kala K.  If you are interested in the pattern, I found it Here.  


This pattern has a total of 24 rows which are repeated 4 times.  I'm using size size 7US dpns and 100% cotton yarn in two colors - white and psychedelic (by Sugar 'n Cream).  I absolutely love the bright variegated yarn in contrast to the white.  

Presently I'm on my last pattern repeat with only about ten rows to go.  The pattern says it finishes at about 10-1/2" square, but mine will be slightly larger.  

I'm also still working on finishing up the Holden Shawlette.  I chose to do the picot bindoff which takes a lot longer to do.  

Thanks for stopping by.  Check out Patchwork Times for more On The Needles links.  

Happy Knitting,
     ~Diane

Monday, November 25, 2013

Design Wall Monday - November 25, 2013


Over the weekend I was able to get the four alternate blocks made.  I chose white for the background fabric which is a bit brighter than the off-white used in the original blocks.  


Once these blocks are all assembled the interior of the quilt will measure about 34-inches square.  The next step will be to figure out what or how to expand this to meet my goal of a quilt that measures about 60" x 80".

I'm open to any suggestions you might have.  Just leave me a comment if you have any good ideas to share.  Thanks for stopping by.  I'm linked up with Patchwork Times.

Happy Quilting,
         ~Diane
  


Friday, November 22, 2013

On The Needles - lace shawlette


Progress is being made on the lace shawl I'm knitting.  Only seven more rows to go.

I really like this yarn (merino wool, superfine alpaca and nylon blend).  Unfortunately I've had to un-knit several rows which got pretty discouraging.  At one point I wasn't sure I wanted to continue with this pattern.

I think that I figured out the problem.  Some of my stitches cross over each other and appear to be one stitch so essentially I'd knit two stitches as one (decrease) and that throws the pattern off.  Now I'm very attentive and use my left thumb nail to separate the stitches as I go.  I've also incorporated the use of stitch markers to give me a starting point for the pattern repeats.

Thanks for stopping by.  Check out Judy's blog for links to other On The Needles posts.

    ~Diane



Free-Motion quilting practice

Back in early October I free-motion quilted a flower basket applique piece.  My intention is to make a sewing machine cover.  Over the past week or so I've been working on quilting the Baby Blocks baby quilt and came to the point of indecision about how to quilt the outer border area.  The second side of the sewing machine cover has become my test ground for possible border designs.  I'd like to do something that I haven't done on any previous projects.


The width of the border for the baby quilt will be 2-inches, so I divided my practice piece with vertical stitching lines and began to fill in those areas.  I find that, like a writer trying to overcome writer's block, it's best to just jump in and begin.

My favorite design is the one with the circles and scallops.  For this pic, I used white paper to isolate the design from the others because I don't like the design I stitched to the right of it.  In future I will probably draw some pencil lines as guides for the scallops to keep them more uniform.  I really like how the little circles turned out.  Not bad for a design on the fly, first attempt.

    
Even with this practice sample I'm not sure what border design I will stitch on the baby quilt.  It's a boy quilt so feathers and flower designs are not on my radar.

I'm linked up with FMQ Friday over at the Free-Motion Quilting Project.  Be sure to head over there to see what other's have been quilting lately.  

         Happy Quilting,
              ~Diane

Monday, November 18, 2013

Design Wall Monday - November 18, 2013

Last week I went to a QOV (Quilts of Valor) sew-in and worked on some orphan blocks that someone else had made.  I added the light blue strips and red corner stones.  There are a total of five blocks which I'll lay out in a giant 9-patch.  Now I'm auditioning fabrics and possible designs for the offset blocks.  

Please visit Judy's blog for links to other design walls.  
Thanks for stopping by and Happy Quilting!
        ~Diane

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My "QOV Stars" quilt is quilted


I was so pleased today when I went to our local QOV (Quilts of Valor) sew-in at Montavilla Sewing in Portland, Oregon.  My quilt has been beautifully quilted.  In fact I heard that it was one that was quilted by the group during the recent Machine Quilting Expo last month.  I don't know who to credit, but they did a wonderful job.  I love the stars.


I also finished with making the pattern instructions and graphics.  Whew!  So, if you would like a pdf copy of my pattern, "QOV Stars", you can find a link on my Free Patterns tab here on my blog.  Please remember that any of my free patterns are for personal or charitable use only.  

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Quilting,

             ~Diane



Friday, November 8, 2013

On The Needles - November 7, 2013

In my quest for dishcloth/washcloth patterns to try I stumbled upon the Yahoo Group - "Monthly Dishcloths".  I've only been a member for a couple of weeks, so I haven't had a chance to look at all the member photo albums.  What I have seen so far is awesome.

Each month members get the pattern clues for two KAL's (Knit-A-Longs), one at the first of the month and the second one starting around mid-month.

Soon after getting the clues for Day 1, I got out my yarn (Sugar N Cream 100% cotton yarn......White and Blue Jeans) and size 6US needles and began knitting up the November 1st KAL.  There were a total of six daily clues and each one covered about 10 rows.

Here's what it looks like from the front side.  Pretty unassuming, Huh?

Looking at it from a different angle, the design magically appears.....


I think the snowflake would show up better had I used a darker blue.

Here's what it looks like from the wrong side.

This was a very simple pattern for work with only two different stitches - knits and purls.

If you haven't done this kind of knitting, I suggest you do.  My friend liked it so much I decided to give it to her so now I have to make another one to keep for myself.  These would be great little gifts for special friends.  I'm thinking I'd like to do this pattern with a different contrasting color.....perhaps red or green for the holidays.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Knitting,

          ~Diane

FMQ Baby Blocks quilt

It seems like it's taking me forever to get this baby quilt finished.  Progress has been made this past week and I'm happy with my design choices.

This is also my first attempt at free-hand quilting text.  I wanted the blocks to look like the real thing, so I angled the letters and used a pencil to draw the lines on the quilt.  Some of my stitching got a little too dense, but I'm not going to pick them out and do it all over.


I believe this is the first quilt I've quilted without using my walking foot.....not even once!  My goal was to do all the quilting using only my embroidery foot.  That means that my sewing speed has been greatly reduced.  I've found that it is possible to stitch a straight line but the trick is to go slowly.  Most of the time I use the foot as a guide to achieve a 1/4-inch echo.  There were some areas that my lines got a little wonky so I occasionally used a pencil to mark where I needed to go.



For the most part I used white Coats & Clark 100% cotton 50wt thread, top and bobbin.  But when it came time to stitch inside the tumblers, I switched to Gutermann's Invisible thread so my misses wouldn't be as noticeable.  I still used the white cotton in the bobbin.

This was the first time I've used Quilter's 80/20 low loft (up to 3/16 inch) batting.  The package states the recommended quilting distance to be 2" - 4" so I felt I could get away with just outline stitching inside the larger blocks.

For me, looking at the stitching on the back side is almost as pleasing as the front.  Periodically I flip the project over and inspect how things look back there just to make sure I didn't miss any areas or outlines.

 


Next up is deciding on a border stitching design.  I put together a test sandwich so I can audition ideas.  Here's what I've come up with so far.  Oops...the pic is upside down!  Sorry 'bout that.

Anyway, this is one idea I had.  I'm looking for designs that allow me to travel down the border with little or no re-positioning of the entire quilt.  I had enough of that when I was doing the interior of the quilt.  Also I want to restrict some of the motion because my machine (always blame it on the machine) tends to make bad stitches when I move in a circular motion toward the left and upward.  I guess if it were a map, then my problems happen when I move into the northwest quadrant.  It's probably me, but I've tried slowing down and adjusting tensions with the same results.  I figure it's just best to find a design that works with me instead of against me.

Well, that's all for now.  Thanks for stopping by.  Be sure to visit The Free Motion Quilting Project blog for links to other quilting project blog posts.

Happy Quilting,
    ~Diane

Friday, November 1, 2013

On The Needles - November 1, 2013

Last night, while waiting for the kiddies to trick-or-treat our house, I finished the picot bind-off on the Holden Shawlette.  


Because I wasn't sure I'd be able to work this lace pattern I used some fingering weight acrylic yarn from my stash.  It's not likely that I'll be able to properly block this because of the yarn I used, but I'll give it a try anyway.





Here's a pic of what it looks like from the back.

There are a couple of other easy lace shawl patterns I'd like to try next.

What's on your needles today?

Happy Knitting,
   
          ~Diane




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