Thursday, November 23, 2017

Time for Reflection

Church of the Ascension
Hudson, WY
November 2017
Exploring the small town of Hudson one afternoon recently, I discovered this church located across the street from the elementary school. I couldn't resist stopping and snapping a few photos of the area.

Today is the perfect time to reflect on blessings (big and small) in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Patriotic Stars

November 2017

These blocks have quite a history:

•  Marilyn gave me the panel in 2015 (post about that here), and I had every intention of using it before now.

•  In 2016, I finished two Quilts of Valor (Scrappy Lanterns and Cheerio), and they resulted in a lot of "waste" HSTs.

•  November 2017, the two components were discovered while cleaning, and I decided it was time to create some star blocks. I made fifteen patriotic stars from the HSTs and the panel blocks.

Marilyn, thanks again for the fabric and panel.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Finishing Work

binding a Quilt of Valor
The gentleman who machine quilts the Quilts of Valor is speedy, so over the weekend, I trimmed and bound four quilts. I've started using a decorative stitch to secure the binding instead of hand-tacking, and it's much faster.

Thank you, Sheri H. for sharing your technique with me: it's been very helpful. Binding is no longer a chore that I dread.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Solid Foundation

Solid Foundation
61 x 73 inches
Quilt of Valor
The center of Solid Foundation (Quilt of Valor #126) was made with "bricks" from my 3.5 inch x 6.5 inch scrap bin.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Helpful Tools - Quilting Tape Measure

120 inch measuring tape
Friday posts for the next few weeks will feature ordinary or unique items that I consider helpful and/or essential to my crafting (quilting, sewing, knitting, etc.)

A long measuring tape (120 inches) is an extremely helpful tool for quilting. It makes measuring the quilt for borders much easier and more accurate than a traditional 60 inch tape measure.

While this tape is convenient for measuring large quilts, I can't find a good way to keep it contained when I'm not using it.

Do you have a favorite measuring tool?

P.S. I didn't realize the link to the Stars over Scott (yesterday's QOV) pattern was not correct. It's been fixed.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Scrappy Stars II

Scrappy Stars II
Quilt of Valor #125
60 x 70 inches
Another quilt made from the 6.5 inch scrap squares bin and from backing trimmings (background fabric) of other Quilts of Valor.  I chose not to put a border on this quilt.

Pattern: Stars Over Scott by Jamie Jane Elfert (free pattern)

Scrappy Stars II is QOV #125

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Tool Box Cowl #2

Tool Box cowl #2
November 2017
I was able to knit another Tool Box cowl with the scraps. I knit fewer rows in the stockinette sections because I only had 12 grams of each color, and I used nearly every gram. The cowl is only 8 inches high, but still enough height to be an adequate neck warmer.

unblocked cowl has circumference of 24 inches
I don't think I'll block this cowl.

Tool Box #1 can be seen here and here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Razzle Dazzle Socks

Razzle Dazzle socks
women's size 9
November 2017
The yarn for this pair was obtained in the Grab Bag special I ordered from Mary Maxim in September. I love the bright colors. This yarn had one of the longest pattern repeats of any yarn I've ever knit, and I lucked out and came pretty close to knitting a matching pair.

Pattern:  Ribbed cuff socks

Needles: US size 2

Yarn: Red Heart - Heart and Sole (Razzle Dazzle #3965)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sewing HSTs

trimming half-square triangle blocks
November 2017
The hourglass blocks that I made for Time in a Bottle used only a fraction of the stack of 6.5 inch squares, so I needed to reduce the stack even more.

I pulled 84 assorted blocks from the stack, and then cut squares from some beige fabric that was trimmed from a quilt back. The 84 colored squares were paired with 84 beige squares to create 168 HST (half-square triangle) blocks. I trimmed the blocks to 5.5 inches to be used in another Quilt of Valor.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Tool Box Cowl - revisited

Tool Box cowl
12 inches high and 25 inches in circumference
November 2017
I finished the Tool Box cowl on Saturday and blocked it on Sunday.

The kit was purchased on Craftsy: color way - Purple Martin. The teal section (second from the top) was not included in the kit but was knit with some scrap Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn.

I have enough of the kit yarn remaining to knit another cowl because I was unsure if the kit had enough yarn for the larger cowl size.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Colorful Cousin - revisited

Colorful Cousin
November 2017
When I cleaned my sewing room last week, I unearthed the unblocked Colorful Cousin shawl. It was finished in September but got pushed aside and forgotten. Sunday, I gave it a good soak and finally got it blocked.

The colors are vibrant (much to bright for me), but I will find someone who loves it.

Knitting notes can be seen in this earlier post.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Time in a Bottle - a beginning

trimming hourglass blocks
November 2017
Last week, I worked with squares in my 6.5 inch square scrap bin. The stack of squares was nearly four inches high. I pulled out 60 dark squares and 60 light squares and made 120 hourglass blocks for a Quilt of Valor.

Sewing and trimming the blocks took a couple of afternoons/evenings.

Since the Daylight Saving Time ended on Saturday evening, I've decided to name this quilt, Time in a Bottle.

I listened to Jim Croce a lot in the 1970s, and hearing his voice takes me back to those days. What singer brings back a special time in your life?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Snowy Retreat

Cinde P. plans a Fiber Retreat at Togwotee Lodge twice a year when the Lodge is officially closed (between seasons) in November and April. This year's November retreat was Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I considered going to the retreat in the past, but life always seemed to get in the way.

Sue asked me a couple of weeks ago if I wanted to go with her for just the day - Saturday. I agreed.
WYDOT webcam of Togwotee Pass
Friday, November 4, 2017
Then Thursday it began to snow in the mountains, it continued to snow on Friday, and on Saturday, the snow was still falling.  The roads looked pretty dicey on the WYDOT webcams and. . .
Togwotee Mountain Lodge webcam
Thursday, November 3, 2017
the webcam at the Lodge didn't look any better.  I've lived in Wyoming nearly all my life and have driven in some nasty conditions during the winter, so I tend to avoid being out on the roads when they look like this. The weather report for Saturday predicted even more snow on the Togwotee Pass. I dreaded traveling up the mountain on the snowy roads.

Friday afternoon, I texted Sue to tell her I was going to pass on the trip. Since I didn't need to get up early, I stayed up late (12:30 AM) working on a quilt and slept through my 6:30 AM alarm. At 8:00 AM my doorbell rang, and then my cell phone rang: Sue was standing on my door step.

After a bit of discussion about the road conditions, we agreed to head west. If the roads were too bad, we would turn around and head back. I threw on some clothes, brewed a quick cup of tea, and we were on the road by 8:20 AM.

The first 70 miles, we drove through intermittent fog, but the roads were basically dry. Then just outside of Dubois, it began to snow, and the roads were covered with snow just as the webcams had shown. A couple of snowplows were headed east, and traffic was light.

Slowly, we worked our way west, up the mountain, and over the Continental Divide to Togwotee Mountain Lodge.  We arrived at the Lodge about 11:20 AM, and I'd estimate 20 inches of snow was in the parking lot.
Togwotee Mountain Lodge
November 4, 2017
Inside the Lodge, thirty women who had arrived on Friday were busily working and chatting.
knitters and crocheters
A small group was near the large fireplace knitting and crocheting and some had spinning wheels ready to be used as well.
more knitters and crocheters
Another part of the large room was occupied by several quilters. They had quite a set-up with cutting mats, ironing boards, sewing stations, and table for laying out quilt blocks.
Sue O. (in orange shirt) gave needle tatting lessons after lunch
view from my knitting chair
The large windows offered a view of some older cabins. It was lovely to knit, visit, and watch the snow fall.
view from my knitting chair
By the time Sue and I left at 3 PM another three inches had fallen. The snow was up to my knees as we walked to the vehicle. Again, we met a snow plow, but our lane had not been cleared. 

Sue did a great job driving. The road was clear by the time we got to the Brooks Lake road, and in Dubois, the roads were dry. 

We talked about attending the retreat in April and staying the whole weekend. I just hope it doesn't snow . . .

Togwotee Mountain Lodge webcam
Sunday, November 5, 2017

Friday, November 3, 2017

Tool Box Cowl

Tool Box Cowl
October 2017

I fell in love with the Tool Box Cowl pattern when I saw a kit (yarn and pattern) for sale on Craftsy. The pattern is also available on Ravelry.

My observations about the pattern: It is written to use US size 2 and size 3 needles, which I thought was waaaay too small for this project. The pattern offers directions for a neck warmer and a longer cowl. The neck warmer stitch count is 168 stitches. I use a size 2 needle for knitting socks with 60 stitches, and I knew that a size 2 for this cowl would not produce a neck warmer large enough for an adult. I chose to increase the needle sizes to size 5 and size 6, and I am pleased with the result.

The pattern is easily memorized and goes fairly quickly.

This cowl pattern would be a great way to use scrap sock yarn; however, I doubt that it would look as nice with variegated yarn which I use almost exclusively. Each section uses approximately 15 grams of yarn with the needles that I'm using.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Yarn Bras/Sleeves

Razzle Dazzle socks
yarn sleeves or yarn bra made from bath puff
October 2017
One of the items Betsy included in the Anything but Yarn swap were net "sleeves" for yarn cakes. I loved them so much that I wanted to purchase more - easier said than done.

Marilyn and I stopped in several yarn shops in the Denver area as well as Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, and Michaels and looked for the netting. We fell short, time after time. Finally, the clerk in Colorful Yarn suggested I purchase a bath puff at the dollar store. Hmmm, why didn't I think of that!

The puffs are quite crinkly after the cord holding them together like a pom pom is cut. I remedied that by soaking the netting in boiling water, and the netting relaxed. The netting can be cut to any length. I cut some about seven inches long (allowing enough for the knot), tied a knot in one end and slipped my yarn inside. I discovered the smaller bath puffs work the best, but they are still a bit loose for a wound cake of sock yarn.

I purchased two small puffs for a dollar, so the price of these yarn bras/sleeves is minimal.

The process of turning a bath puff into a yarn bra is explained here

Jimmy Beans Wool has a product that they are marketing as Yarn Bras, but I personally wouldn't recommend ordering the product for yarn sleeves, as the Spool Stockings are only three inches long. The product was originally designed for spools of thread and embroidery floss.

I discovered that Superior Thread sells a similar product (six inches long) for a good price: they are called Handy Nets. While this product was also designed for spools of thread, they work for cakes of sock yarn. I prefer these nets to the bath puffs because they are not as wide, and thus, hold the yarn tighter.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Grab Bag Socks

women's size 9
October 2017
A month ago, I purchased a Grab Bag of sock yarn (enough to knit three pair of socks). The Premier Yarns brand was new to me, so I was eager to work with it.

I was thrilled with the results. The yarn is soft and has good stitch definition.

    Serenity sock weight (color DN108-08 Aquamarine)
    50% superwash merino, 25% rayon made with bamboo, 25% nylon

Stitch count:
    60 stitches

    US size 2

This Grab Bag purchase was a good one: I would not hesitate to purchase Serenity Sock Weight in the future.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Holiday Inflation

Halloween yard decorations
October 2017
Large inflatable decorations are gaining popularity and can be seen in my neighborhood for nearly every holiday. This display was fun: the dragon's wings moved from front to back.

Some people only inflate the decorations at night, but in my opinion, the crumpled heaps look pretty pathetic during the day.

Are inflatable, holiday decorations popular in your area?

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