The Storybook Hexagon Quilt is Finished!

This quilt serves as a caution against mindlessly window shopping at online fabric sites.  I had no plans to make this quilt, but as I was clicking through SuperBuzzy’s website during Christmas break, I spotted a fabric…and in a glorious instant I saw this quilt in my mind’s eye.  I quickly closed my web browser and ran away from temptation, telling myself that I had no time for making a quilt like that because I was committed to two other quilts for my children already, both seriously overdue.

But the fabric wouldn’t leave my brain.  I stewed about the idea for two whole weeks, all the while reminding myself that I did not have the time to add another quilt to my to-do list.

But then my heart got involved and started pleading with my brain to reconsider.  It was going to be a beautiful quilt, and it would be like creating art, and if I didn’t give my heart what it wanted, it refused to care about anything else.

Sigh…

Alright.

There are three different fabrics used for the fussy cut hexagons, all of which are from Superbuzzy.  The music-themed one is Trèfle by Kokka, and then there’s a November Books print by Kokka, and a folksy print by Cosmo Textile Company.  My selvages are pretty sliced up on the last two, or I’d give you more information.

Everything else, besides the solid blue, came from the stash.  I think the gray polka dot on the back is a Riley Blake print, and the roses print is years upon years old.  (I’m tremendously helpful, aren’t I?)

The quilting is a mix between free motion and walking foot.  I stippled the string blocks, outline quilted the hexagons, straight-line quilted the white stripes, and then did FMQ scallops around the white stripes and borders of the quilt, with some feather hearts in the corners.

I’m super happy with it.  I still stand by the opinion that I did not have the time to make this, but it’s OK in the end.  Sometimes you just have to give your heart what it wants, despite logic and logistics.  My heart is pleased.

Pattern:  “Cat Tails Quilts” from Hexa Go-Go by Tacha Bruecher.

January = Cutting and basting hexagons
February = Piecing hexagon blossoms
March = Piecing string blocks, appliqueing hexagon blossoms to string blocks
April = Assembling quilt top and back (I could have gone faster on this, but I burned out a bit at this point.)
May = Quilting & binding

And that’s how you make a fussy, fussy, my-heart-won’t-settle-for-anything-else quilt.

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The Yarn is My Proxy

I’m trying to be a good little auntie.

I have a weird sibling situation that I finally came to a conclusion upon last year about how I’m going to treat all my present, former, and kind-of siblings:  I’m just gonna love them all.  More love always wins, right?

One of my sisters had a baby last week, and there’s nothing like the actual birth of a baby to really light the fire under one’s rear end to finish the crafties intended for said baby.  She had a little boy, and he is beautiful.

I’ve been working on this layette since October.  The plan was to finish it all before Christmas and then ship it so it’d be there before the birth, but…yeah.  Whatever, it’s finished, and it’s heading to the post office in the next couple of days to make its way to the chilly, chilly Canadian town that boasts one more beautiful baby boy as of last week.

The cardigan is the Little Coffee Bean Cardigan pattern, knit up in Plymouth Yarn’s Jeannee Worsted (51% Cotton, 49% Acrylic).  The buttons are from JoAnn Fabric.  I knit up a matching hat following the Basic Hat Pattern in The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns, by Ann Budd.

The blanket is crocheted, as is every blanket I’ve ever made from yarn.  (The idea of knitting a blanket makes me twitch a wee bit.)  The pattern is “Pastel Waves,” from Leisure Arts Our Best Baby Afghans, which I’ve owned for years upon years.  I used good ol’ Red Heart Super Saver for it, despite its baby-melting acrylic content.  I just haven’t reached the point where I can buy that much cotton yarn at once.  That also makes me a bit twitchy.

So I’ll send this off, with much love and many wishes that I could live closer to this new soul.  It’s somewhat heart-breaking to watch all these nieces and nephews grow up, and know that I’m only seeing it in photographs instead of experiencing it in person.  Sigh.  But, perhaps, they’ll be reminded that I care when they snuggle up in a blanket or sweater I’ve made for them.

That’s the hope–that they’ll feel my love and know that I wish I was right there with them.

Happy BIRTHday, Little Baby J.


This post is participating in Small Thing’s “Yarn Along,”
“Anything Goes Monday” at Stitch by Stitch,
and “Sew Cute Tuesday” at Blossom Heart Quilts.

New Pattern: Harmony Wave Cowl

My second published pattern to date!  This cute little thing was designed for a scarf and cowl contest at Harmony, one of my local yarn shops.

Yes indeed, it is crocheted.  And it is lovely–I crocheted it in Blue Sky Alpacas’ Sport-Weight, and it is completely luscious-feeling against the skin!  I am definitely making more of these!

I’ve named it the Harmony Wave Cowl, in honor of Harmony’s contest, and for the obvious wavy stitch pattern.  It’s a quick pattern; I whipped this up over the course of two days of teaching school.

The original creation is on display at the Harmony shop until the end of the scarf and cowl contest on December 12.

In the spirit of the season, I’m offering this pattern for free until the close of the contest at Harmony.
Just hop on over to Ravelry, add the pattern to your cart, enter the coupon code HarmonyHoliday2013, and you’ll receive one download of the PDF pattern for free!*
Share the news, and enjoy your holiday season!

*Offer is good for one individual download of Harmony Wave Cowl pattern until 11:59 PM MST, December 12, 2013.  Please visit Cara Brooke’s design store on Ravelry.com to complete your transaction.  Registration for a free Ravelry account may be required for redemption of offer.

Tweedy Lil’ Pumpkin Hat My First Published Pattern!

Because it’s October,
Because I have an adorable little nephew who is going to totally rock this hat,
And because I’ve harbored a secret desire to design knitting patterns for almost a decade.

Here it is, my debut pattern, self-published on Ravelry and available to any who wish to partake of its cuteness.

Yes, I’m proud.

Broken down to its bare bones, this is just a simple little hat with cables and a little bit of colorwork on the top.  This particular version was knit with Rowan Felted Tweed DK, which was quite nice to work with.  I prefer DK-weight yarns for kids’ hats because of its lighter weight.  Worsted can so easily get too bulky on wee people, but DK-weight just works so perfectly.

Monkeyboy is modeling the hat, but it has been knit to fit a slightly smaller child, so it’s a tad snug on my boy’s noggin.  I’ll probably knit him one in the 2-4 year size since he was such a fan of wearing it for the pictures.

You can read more about the pattern over on Ravelry, and you can buy the pattern if you’d like.  There’s just something about knitting up little pumpkins this time of year and watching little people run around with stems atop their heads.  Makes me smile so much.

Chudnovsky Pi Shawl

 
All the forced rest of the last two months has seen a lot of knitting happening.  I finished up a few random projects, and then finally allowed myself the indulgence of knitting up this little Pi-inspired shawl, which I saw being knit in a yarn shop in Calgary two summers ago.  Penguin, whose favorite color is green right now, made an immediate claim of ownership during the first hour of knitting.  She has watched, anxiously, ever since, and inquired diligently as to when “her” green shawl would be finished.  I finished this a while ago, but it took forever to get weather fine enough to allow pictures.
 

 
PatternChudnovsky Pi, by Kourtney Robinson

YarnCascade Yarns Heritage Paints in colorway #9882 (1 skein), Schulana Kid-Seta in colorway #45 (2 skeins), Knit Picks Stroll in Forest Heather (~ 0.2 skeins)

Needles:  US 10 (6.0 mm)

Modifications:  None, except some creative license with the edging, color-wise, when my original yarns ran out.

Look at that deliciously fuzzy halo!

This shawl is super soft.  Ridiculously soft, like a baby unicorn belly.  Bluebird wants a “mohair shawl” for herself now, too–so much that she gave me the last of her birthday money to purchase enough fingering-weight and mohair laceweight to make another one of these for her, but in blue.

A handful of knitters who have knit this up have complained that the yardage listed “is just plain wrong.”  Seeing how I ran out of both of my yarns, I’m going to have to agree.  I substituted in some Knit Picks Stroll in a dark green when I ran out of the Cascade sock yarn…it worked pretty well until the mohair ran out as well, leaving me with a stark strip of dark green, previously softened by the bright green of the mohair.  When I knit up Bluebird’s “blue mohair” shawl, I’m going to go down a needle size and see if that helps–the printed pattern listed a US 10 needle, whereas the Ravelry pattern page lists a US 9 needle.  I’ve contacted the designer about this discrepancy and she has responded saying that she looks forward to seeing if the needle size-down helps the problem.

I was still in the first skein of mohair when I started the ruffle.  I ran out of the second skein before the ruffle ended.  The ruffle is a yarn-inhaler!  Regardless, I loved the no-brainer aspect of the ruffle.  I’m actually looking forward to knitting the ruffle on Bluebird’s shawl.  Mindless, mindless, mindless.

It’s a good scooter shawl, don’t ya think?  Penguin loves it and wears it with pride, lovingly folding it and placing it back in her drawer with the shawl pin placed amongst its folds.  The shawl is technically mine, but I’m OK with “lending” it to her for safe keeping.  (Let’s be honest, I’ll probably never get to wear it.  Ever.)

Conclusion:  Easy knit, oh-so-soft, watch your yardage, yarn-eating ruffle.
(And please ignore the wonky formatting–I don’t know what is going on with Blogger today!)

 

Raspberry Ropes Cardigan

Junebug finally has a handknit sweater to call her own!  She’s pretty happy about it, mostly because she picked out the best buttons ever–according to her, they are the reason that this sweater is better than all the other sweaters in the world.

Pattern:  For the most part, I made this baby up!  The cable pattern is “Overlapping Ovals,” from The Harmony Guides: Cables & Arans, edited by Erika Knight.  I also spent some quality time with various cabled yoke sweater patterns around the internet to get a feel for how they went together, notably the “Cabled Knit Pullover” found for free on the Patons Yarn website.

Yarn:  Cascade Yarns 220 Tweed in Color 7608.  (Junebug calls it the “Minnie Mouse Rainbow Yarn.”)

Needles:  US 5 for the ribbing, US 6 for everything else.

Notions:  Six 1.75″ gingerbread buttons from JoAnn.  (The buttonholes are enormous!)

Obviously, I’m proud of this sweater.  🙂

Lessons Learned
Knit the top yoke up to the neck and then start the neck ribbing.  As you can see in this picture, the ribbing and top yoke grew because of the pull of the horizontal cabled section.  I now understand why almost every yoked sweater I saw had a vertical cabled top yoke–cables don’t tend to stretch like plain knit stretches.  However, I still like it and she’s going to grow into more over the next year or two, so I don’t consider it a failure.  Just a design element…yeah.

Junebug will change her mind about everything if you give her the chance.  When we first started planning her sweater, it was going to be “aphid green” with “dark grass green” trim and little handknit ladybugs stitched all over it.  I drew up a little sketch, colored it in and we set off for the yarn store with our idea on paper.  When we stepped into the yarn store, she immediately changed her mind to a black and red sweater with ladybug buttons, to a brown sweater with gingerbread man buttons, to the final “Minnie Mouse yarn with rainbows in it” yarn–with white polka-dot buttons like Minnie Mouse.  I put off buying the buttons when I bought the yarn, and when we went to the JoAnn store to pick out buttons, she was immediately swayed from her polka-dot buttons to these giant gingerbread man buttons.  If I was the sort of person who required everything to match, it would bug me.  However, I think that kids should be allowed the freedom to completely design something for themselves every now and then, so I’m not bothered by all the decision-changing.  (And it was rather amusing to watch her give herself whiplash in the yarn store…)

Sweet girl, growing up so fast.

Enjoy your Minnie Mouse sweater sweater with gingerbread man buttons.

Yellow-Green


 
I complained last week about how everything I was working on was pink or purple, and realized that the exact opposite of said colors was yellow-green.  As luck would have it, I had purchased a skein of very yellow-green yarn only a few weeks ago, and figured it was a great time make use of its much-desired colorway.

The original intention was to make Penguin a new hat, but the girl owns numerous hats AND she is bumping up into number of Bluebird’s outgrown hats this year as well.  Penguin doesn’t need another hat.  I asked her what she did want and she suggested mittens.

I’m not much of a mitten knitter.

However, the yarn was a bulky-weight (Lamb’s Pride Bulky–85% Wool, 15% Mohair), and a quick pattern search pulled up Susan B. Anderson’s Outsider Mittens, which looked pretty cute (and free!).

Once I cast on, I was a woman possessed.  I finished the pair in less than twenty-four hours, and I’d really like to some more of these quick little cuties.

What’s analogous to yellow-green?
Oh.  That would be yellow…and…green.
 

Yarn Along: Rustic Baby Cozies & The White Queen

Happened across a neat little link-up called the Yarn Along, in which you just post what you’re working on and what you’re reading.  After seeing it, I felt motivated to read more and stitch more, so perhaps it will become a regular event in which I participate.

This week saw me finish Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen, which is a fantastic telling of Elizabeth Woodville’s story.  She was the wife of Edward IV (usurper king of War of the Roses fame), and eventual grandmother of Henry VIII.  I love to read historical fiction, as it “sets” historical persons more firmly in my mind.  It will be so much easier to keep the Yorks and the Plantagenets in correct order in my mind now.  I’m a huge fan of Phillipa Gregory’s writings–she’s also the author of The Other Boleyn Girl (which I haven’t actually read), and I’ve read a few of her other books.  I look forward to reading more of the titles from “The Cousins’ War” series.

The blanket is for my little nephew or niece-to-be.  I saw the material hemstitched at a local quilting shop and it made me think of my brother and his love of woodland wildlife, so I caved and went completely backwards on my intent to not gift any sort of blanket.  My contribution to the article is the crocheted edging.  I’m not worried about gender neutrality on this–if the Little turns out to be a girl, I have no doubt that she’ll like woodland beasts to some extent.  I’m a girl, and I like bears, deer and moose myself.

There’s also two burp cloths made from the same material and I plan to crochet an edging on them as well, but it will probably be more of a procrastination thing (ie. finished at the last minute).  I’m not a big fan of thread crochet.

Three Finished Shawls

I decided to wear my Rock Island Shawl to church this last Sunday, and when the girls saw me wearing it they clamored to wear their shawls as well.

When we returned home from church and I watched them prance through the front yard in all their finery, I realized that I never posted “Finished Project” posts here on the blog about their shawls, so I ran inside to grab the camera and what follows is the result of our impromptu modelling session:

Junebug’s Shawl
PatternSezession II, by Rodger Murry
Yarn:  Odds & Ends from the stash
Hook:  5.0 mm (H)
Modifications:  I added a crochet shell border, the name of which escapes me at the moment.
Oi.  There are a lot of colors in this shawl.  Junebug wanted a purple shawl like her purple blankie, which is a granny square afghan, so when I saw this pattern I knew we had a winner.  I let her pick whatever yarns she felt like choosing to go in it, and when I’d get to a point when I wanted to change colors, I’d have her decide which color was next.  Her favorite color is yellow, which is why it’s edged in such a happy shade.

Penguin’s Shawl
PatternCitron, by Hillary Smith Callis
Yarn:  Noro Sekku, colorway 1 (discontinued)
Needles:  3.75 mm (US 5)
Modifications:  None
This shawl originally started out as a shawl for me, but I bumped the needle size down and ended up with a pretty small garment.  Penguin had admired it from the beginning, so I randomly gifted it to her after she walked by for the hundredth time with it on her shoulders.
This is a great beginner pattern, not hard at all.  Penguin tells me that it reminds her of candy corn and Halloween.
Bluebird’s Shawl
(Also known as “Fantastically Rainbow-y Shawl for Bluebird“)

PatternFan Pattern Shawl
Yarn:  Knit Picks’ Chroma Fingering, “Lollipop” colorway
Hook:  3.5 mm (E)
Modifications:  None.

This shawl is so Bluebird.  It’s bright and colorful, just like her personality.  She picked out the pattern after I offered to make her a shawl, and she chose the yarn out of my stash.  (The yarn was originally intended for making her some mittens, but the yarn didn’t want to be mittens.)

The pattern is pretty easy, just a simple repeat over and over again.  I like to just look at it when it’s hanging from the hook next to Bluebird’s bed.  She’s inordinately fond of this shawl, which makes me smile.


So there they are, three cute shawls for three cute girls!  (Penguin insists that I still owe her a shawl “made especially for her” because “her” shawl was actually meant for me in the beginning.  We’ll see how that pans out.)

The Story of the "He Loves Me" Yarn

As mentioned earlier this week, Michael had to go on a last-minute business trip to Hawaii.  For a week.  Before he left, he asked if I wanted any souvenirs and I answered with my all-time favorite answer:  “Yarn.”

I didn’t expect anything to come of it.  It’s Hawaii; and yarn…well, that’s kind of a colder climate commodity.  I put the notion out of my head and tended to the joyous week of single parenting.

When he returned (with an arrival time of 7:15 AM at the airport one hour away and on a Sunday when I was scheduled to hold a choir practice and also sing a duet in church…) and got to unpacking his suitcase, he presented me with a skein of yarn.  And an apology for it not being the kind of yarn I usually like.

He then proceeded to tell me the story of how he came to possess that skein of yarn:

He arrived in Hawaii on Saturday.  On Tuesday he decided to google for the location of the nearest yarn shop.  He left his hotel room at 4pm to go to said yarn shop and, after navigating the chaotic streets of Honolulu, arrived at the shop at precisely 6:05pm.  The shop closed at 6:00pm.

He pushed back his Wednesday morning meeting and set out for the yarn shop in order to be there when it opened at 10am.  He arrived at 10:00 on the dot, but the shop wasn’t open.  Figuring there was some sort of Hawaiian laid-back attitude in regards to opening on time, he decided to wait for the shop owner to show up.  One and a half hours later, he was still waiting.  It was then that he noticed that the store hours listed were for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  The shop was closed on Wednesdays.

He walked in on Thursday at 10am and informed the shop owner that he wanted locally-dyed or spun yarn that was impossible for his wife to get in the State of Utah.  She said that a lot of people wanted that kind of stuff and that she tried to keep lots of it in stock, but he had happened to come to her store at a time when she had none of it in stock.  I’m not sure what kind of conversation and/or awkward silence followed that statement, but Michael’s telling goes on to say that at point she exclaimed that she might have one skein of something in the back.  “I’ll take it.”
When he presented me with the skein of yarn and apologized for it not being quite the right color, I silently agreed with him.  The turquoise was pretty and I thought the purple was sort of nice, but the blue-ink color was definitely not my style.  However, upon hearing his tale of his quest to acquire the yarn, my heart softened considerably and I pledged to make myself a hat from it and wear that hat until it died.
And so I proudly present the “He Loves Me” Hat:
Pattern:  Turn a Square, by Jared Flood

YarnNadezhda’s Crayon Box, colorway “Kahana Bay.”  (67% Cotton, 25% Wool, 8% Silk) and Berrocco’s Ultra Alpaca in “Lavender Mix” #6283 (50% Alpaca, 50% Wool) leftover from my mother’s Christmas Hat.

Needles:  US 8

Modifications:  I made the hat about 1.5 inches longer than called for so it could definitely cover the tops of my ears, and also have a little bit of extra space to accomodate any sort of pulled-up hairstyle.

Thank you Michael!
You are all sorts of persistent awesomeness!