Monday, July 29, 2013

Alpaca granny

It seems I can't crochet fast enough to get rid of the backlog of yarn spilling out of the cupboard.  A quick granny shawl will usually take care of a few skeins.  I used this yarn, bought from a woman in the next town, who owns a few Alpacas.
 There were four cream colored skeins, two from one animal and two from another.  I alternated the yarn every five rows, so there is a slight band of color variation if you look close.
My daughter was modeling the shawl and her new bun maker, which she says works fantastic!

Meanwhile, this came in the mail......

because I have a hankering to make the Haiku shawl next.  I don't know what's up with the shawl thing lately.  It's the middle of summer for cryin' out loud. Too hot for clothes, let alone wool or alpaca.  We better have a cold winter so I can get my granny on!

 I used up four skeins of yarn, and bought two.  I'd say that was progress.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

His and Hers quilt finished

This quilt was so fun!  Pulling fabrics is the best part of quilting for me and I honestly enjoy it more if there is a slight challenge.  It's lovely to make a quilt with a whole matching range of fabric, but when you have to scrounge around in the scrap bin, then it gets interesting.  I knew when I started this quilt, I wanted to add to the shirt fabric, and decided to go with some florals.  I got lucky, the shirts came in great colors, so it was easy to find something to coordinate with them.  They were all 100% cotton.   Two of them however, had a very tight weave and were hard to get a needle through, especially when sewing on the binding.  If you decide to sew with thrifted shirts remember that in case you're going to hand quilt it.
I had no clear pattern when I started, but wanted something simple like a patchwork.  I mixed it up  by adding log cabin blocks to the corners and floral lattice in the center.
Then I trimmed up 4 cuffs and whip stitched them to the top as tabs for hanging (that way they are easy to remove if you want to use it as a quilt and not a wall hanging).  Even though the cuffs were different sizes, all I did was move the buttons so they all matched up.
I pieced together a solid scrap of Kona white, with leftover shirt fabric for the backing.
Here is the recipe:

 Cut 64, 3.5 inch squares from 5 thrifted men's long sleeved shirts (cutting instructions here) and about 4 fat quarters of floral fabric.  Sew your squares into 9 patch blocks.  Make 16 of them.  They should measure 9.5 inches each.

Make 4 log cabin blocks for the corners.  I started with a 3 inch center square and added strips in different widths, and then squared them up to 9.5 inches

Cut 2.5 inch lattice from floral fabric
see picture of quilt  front for layout
Finished size 40.5 x 50.5
Machine quilted 1/4 inch from seams, and inside the log cabin blocks.


Thursday, July 18, 2013


I was very close to sewing the 9 patch blocks together for my son's quilt, when I found this tutorial.  It's like the disappearing nine patch, except it's cut on the diagonal.  Cool!  So naturally I jumped right in and started cutting.   Except now I have to sew them all back together again.  Not cool. Sometimes I should just leave well enough alone. When I had originally laid the 9 patches next to each other, it looked okay I guess. This cut-up version has more movement, but I'm not so sure I like it all that much either.  (I think it's the fabric.  All these blues, grays and black are not my thing)   Too late now!  Maybe when I get the blocks sewn together with some lattice strips, I 'll change my mind. 
The funny part is my son doesn't know a nine patch from a log cabin.  He only cares that the quilt be long enough to reach from his chinny chin chin to his big man feet, and that there's no pink fabric in it.  I could have saved myself some trouble.  But in a way, that's what I love about quilting.  Sometimes it's more about the creative process than the end result.  I think that's why so many of us have oodles of projects on the go at once.  It's the initial excitement of pulling fabric, arranging and rearranging, until you hit the sweet spot that becomes a quilt top.
 It looks like I have more work to do before I reach that point on this quilt.  Including taking care of the mess on my cutting table. 
What about you? Got any good creative messes going on?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

His and Hers quilt, the beginning

I got around to washing and cutting the shirts that I picked up from the thrift store.  There were 5 men's 100% cotton shirts ranging in sizes from medium to XL.  They cost $3.25 each, so that's $16.25 total, but I got the equivalent yardage of about 10-12 fat quarters, so I think I came out ahead (the XL was the same price as a small. Bigger size = more yardage!)  Here's how I prepared the shirts to use as fabric.
Cut off the sleeves, removing the cuffs.
Follow along the seams and remove the front pieces.
Finally, cut off the back piece.  When you're done, you should have a pile of scraps left over, made up of collar, yoke, cuffs and button plackets.  Put these in the scrap basket.  You never know what might come in handy.  I have plans for those cuffs.  To see more detailed instructions on how to cut and sew a quilt using men's shirts go visit here.  With seven shirts she had enough for a quilt, backing and binding.  Who knew.
This is my new stack of "His" fabric.  They are sooo soft!
  I could not find any women's 100% cotton shirts that I liked, so I retrieved some "Hers" fabric from my stash.
So far I've used up the fronts, and some of the sleeves, cutting  mostly 3 1/2 inch squares.  I'm saving the bigger pieces (backs) for later.

If your shirts have pockets, you can pick them off, cut around them, or add them in like I did with the green fabric below.  I think it adds some personality!

 Scrappy and no directions in sight.  My favorite kind of quilt.  More to come : )

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Romantic Shawl

I just love it when something works out like I imagined it.  This shawl did not disappoint me.
Even though I found I'd made a mistake halfway through and had to rip out seven rows, I still loved it.
Even when I got to the end, (when you automatically start hooking at warp speed because you're almost done, and you just want to be finished, but then you have to make all these treble bobbles, which can't be done quickly no matter how hard you try, especially with fingering weight yarn because you might as well be using dental floss), and I was forced to sloooow way down, I still loved it.  That pretty edging, so worth it.  The yarn morphed from a shawl to a Romantic Shawl. 
I can't wait to wear it.

Pattern:  Belle Epoque
Yarn: Malabrigo "eggplant",  Madelinetosh merino light "calligraphy"
Hook: H

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hello Friday!

The heat wave has broken!!! Praise the Lord and pass the lemonade.  7 consecutive days of temperatures at or above 105 degrees.  We actually had to add fresh water to the pool because it was too warm and bath-like.  Yuck.
However, this morning I opened all the doors and windows and welcomed the cool breeze off the Delta.  Suddenly I felt energized, and got to work making some country breakfast sausages .
I used ground turkey and the recipe from this book, and this website.

I'm really enjoying eating this way, although part of me wants some biscuits and gravy with those sausages.  (mmmm, carbs)  Yesterday I made some muffins using coconut flour and tapioca flour and I was really impressed with the taste and texture. So no wheat flour and no processed white sugar.  Just some honey and coconut sugar. (No pictures either. They were devoured quickly)

I'm coming down the home stretch on my shawl.  There should be a tah-dah any second now.

 Wandering through the Internet has revealed a new project that I'm excited to start, using men's cotton shirts from the thrift store.  Stay tuned!
I'm off to watch some Wimbledon action.  My husband is already hollering from the other room, so the semi-finals are heating up.  At least we won't be.  Only in the 90's today.  I can't believe that sounds cool to me now.  Enjoy your weekend!