Textured Circle Shrug Knitalong!

Wahoo! Lucky me! I get to be the next host of the Lion Brand Notebook Knitalong!

We’re going to make the Textured Circle Shrug from Glam Knits. I think that this will be a good -Along project for a number of reasons….it’s got some interesting features like the knit-on collar-in-the-round, and it’s a really good springtime knit!

We’re going to be using the LB Collection Organic Wool.

Rather than duplicate the post by Zontee from earlier today, I’ll just say, “check that blog for all the information, links, and space to comment / ask questions!”

Looking forward to it!

Back from teaching at Loop!

Hi All!

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I’m back from Philly and stocked up on Alchemy silken straw *AND* a ton of cute fabrics and patterns to SEW. Loop is a gorgeous space, and I can tell that the clientele really has a love for t he craft, the shop, and the owner, Craig! It was such a great weekend! Here are some pictures I took on my phone…I’m still looking for my camera so that I can post actual pictures….Please don’t laugh, Yahaira only had the weekend to teach me this fascinating new phone / Twitter combination.

The classes went really well, and I had a great time meeting everyone!

Here’s a note from one of my students that I got in my inbox just today:

I worked through the formulas and I started knitting the neck. The 1st time
through was a little overwhelming but I got over it. This first sweater
will be my template for adding elements to other sweaters. Your class was
just what I was looking for!

Marnie

YEAH! She got it!! Woo hoo!!
Did you know that Craig and Laura’s shop Spool is *THAT* Spool? The spool of the cute stuffed birdy pattern(pdf link) that everyone is making?? I totally didn’t make the connection until I was standing in the shop. Wow. A brush with fame.

Yahaira, Jo, and I are making Chinese Coins quilts together, and I picked up a copy of the pattern and a whole bunch of 2.5″ strips with which to make it. I unintentionally picked out mostly Jay McCarroll fabrics for the quirky animals and bugs (Mazie loves animals!)

Finished Quilt!

OK, so here’s the finished quilt! (It was really cloudy last night…never did rain, though!)

Quilt Front

I really love this one. It’s the biggest quilt that I’ve made so far, and I think it’s happy and awesome. That light turquoise-y blue is one of my favorite colors to be around. I rarely wear that color, but I love that color. It’s the color of swimming pool water. Remember how happy you got as a kid every time you went someplace and saw that there was a POOL!? That’s how this color makes me feel. Just, YAY!

I really think it’s interesting how disorganized the red squares became as I was doing my piecing. I knew as I was going that something didn’t quite work out with them, but until I had it all laid out on the floor, I didn’t realize how much some of them had wandered. Those red squares are frisky!

Here’s the back:

Quilt Back

I put this one together by putting the front and back face to face, with the batting on top. I stitched all around the outside edge (leaving a 6″ opening,) turned it inside out with the batting in the middle of the two quilted pieces, then topstitched all around the outer edge. Then, I used a really pointy big-eye needle and tied it using a bamboo-cotton yarn.

I Frankenstein’d the batting together from spare parts. (I’m cheap) I did make sure, though, that all of the parts were the same composition, so that when I wash it, it’ll all do the same thing. You don’t want half of the quilt to shrink (or full, or whatever it’ll do) at a different rate than the rest of the quilt.) That’s why it’s important to use fabrics of similar weights and compositions on the top, too.

I’ve had a couple of emails from people encouraging me not to give up on knitting (after my last few posts, I realize I must seem pretty disillusioned.) Not to worry, fearless readers, I won’t. I think I had a post-winter, post-deadline crash, and I just needed to work through it.

I’m currently working on a knit top that will combine patchwork and knitting and hand-dyed yarn. I’ll start with the progress reports after I get back from teaching at Loop this weekend!

Quilting.

So I used to knit to take a break from school and other work, and I just realized that I quilt when I need a break from knitting.

I’ve finished two big quilt tops in the last month or so…I’m a little bit afraid to show them because I know they’re not perfect. I have a very wabi-sabi approach to quilt-making. I actually like it when my corners don’t match up. I get a lot of satisfaction out of knowing that they never need to be perfect, and sometimes I even turn the pieces until I find edges that don’t quite match up and then use those.

Here’s one that’s ready to be quilted:
(mostly) blue quilt

This quilt uses up a lot of the flannel that I bought before Mazie was born. There are fabrics here that were incorporated into other quilts that I made last summer, and into the one I just finished for Ida Rose (Rob and Beth’s new baby.)

I cut out all the squares, then I match them up in twos…then I unfold those and sew the ends together…until I have long strips that I then sew all together. In doing that, some pieces get turned the wrong way, or even whole lines / strips move into the spots where other strips should be. And I leave them. It’s just the way it was meant to work out!

So this one looks pretty crazy in parts…but that’s how I like it. Something about the disorder is just so gratifying.

The back of this quilt is just strips of the border (cloud) fabric paired with a coordinating flower fabric. The batting is bamboo. I think I’ll tie this one, instead of stitching the quilting. I’ve never machine quilted, and I want to try it on a smaller quilt before I try one this big.

I’ll post better pictures when it’s more stable. I don’t want to try to take all 3 layers outside or hang them up.

Monday

Well, it’s back to (knitting) work for me! …here’s my “work bag” (actually a totebag that I need to give back to Kristi at some point.)

Work is Calling

In that bag are so many unfinished patterns, sketches, swatches…all screaming for attention! I’ve already even crossed a few things off my to do list.

This is the first day in quite a few weeks that I’ve woken up feeling like working. Mazie woke up at 6:30, and we all just got on up! It was nice to be up with the birds in the cool of the morning.

My daughter is not an early riser, usually. She some days wakes up as late as 10:00. It all depends on when she’s finally able to settle down and go to sleep. I was the same way as a kid. My parents had to put me to bed several times every night before it stuck. Mazie hates to miss any of the action.

Someone commented after my last post asking why we’re teaching Mazie to sign. It wasn’t something that I had decided all along to do. I think we started it because we got the Baby Einstein DVD and she enjoyed it, and started actually doing the signs herself. Then Nathan and I had to quick try to learn from the DVD, too. (And now my mom and dad are also signing with Mazie.)

At this point, we have pretty much outgrown the first DVD and gone on to using other books and references. There’s a lot of information available on the internet (both pro and con) about baby signing. We haven’t taken any classes, just tend to look up signs for words that we need as we need them.

A lot of the tantrums that happen at Mazie’s age (approaching two years) are because babies can understand most of what we say, but don’t have the physical capability to make words in a way that we can understand them. So they become frustrated at not having their wants understood…and the only way they can communicate that is to have a little tantrum.

SO. Signing gives babies who haven’t yet learned how to speak a way to communicate. For example, she can tell me when she’s hungry, thirsty, wet, and even what specific things she wants to eat or drink. She has a sign for “all done” so that instead of crying to get down from her high chair, she just tells me she’s ready.

Just so far, I think we’re seeing a lot fewer tantrums than we would without the signs. (Because we do see some, and mostly when we can’t figure out what she wants, or what specifically she wants to do.)

In other news! Nathan and I actually took off a couple of weekends ago! We went to the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero. It’s a beautiful spot. I recommend it if you’re in the area. It was a gorgeous drive, and the Inn itself is nice, too. It must be gorgeous in the winter with skiing! We talked about going up with Mazie next winter.

Inn of the Mountain Gods