Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Guess what starts tomorrow!

Feb 1:  time to sign up for Sock Madness!  Yay!

Ok, back to English paper piecing.

Fabric selection for the EPP blocks

I thought I'd post about how I make the Valse Brillante blocks, starting with how I select my fabrics.

I started off with a couple of ancient layer cakes, one batik and the other in regular quilting cotton.  These are old and I have no idea what they were called. 

Colors in both layer cakes are teals, turquoise, cream and browns.  So here's the first block in the batiks.  Then I started to pull from the regular layer cake:

And in the process, I found that lovely green in the leaves.  So now I have another color  place to go.

Some pretty green and, ta da, a bit of orange/yellow something or other.

Well this one has the brown, the teal/green and oranges.  I'm not sure about keeping this one, but since this is going to have tons of blocks, I think it will be OK.

This one has the browns, greens and creams that are touched with a bit of turq and very pale orange/yellow.  I like this one a lot.

These are the next two colorways.  This is how I love to work:  I find a basic palette and then wander off into many directions.  Some of these hexies will work; some won't, but it doesn't much matter.  If nothing else, I'll have a mug rug or two out of them.

One of the joys of layer cakes is that you get an entire palette of colors to choose from.  Then you can go to your stash and find fabrics that will live with or complement your original color scheme.  Most will work, some won't.  It's fun.  Why don't you try it?  You have nothing to lose except having a pile of fabric around, which you can then put away.

One caveat, though:  Just because they live well with each other when they are on top of each other doesn't mean that the final product will be what you imagined.  The size of the pieces and where they are placed have a major impact on how you see the colors.  That's the fun of it.

Tomorrow we'll talk about how I actually construct this block.

Monday, January 30, 2017

More Valse Brillante blocks

A few more that I made since Thursday.  I'm in no hurry here; the best part is picking out the fabrics to see what goes with what.  Sometimes they don't quite work, but It doesn't much matter.  These pieces are about 5.5" across so I'm going to need a lot of them, and if one doesn't work one place, it might do OK somewhere else.  At any rate, here are the first 5 in no particular order.

I hand-baste the pieces.  I did try glue basting once, but it was a colossal pain to take the papers out, and I like to reuse them.  It's not much more work, and the papers will just pop out.  The centers have their papers out already.  Nothing else since I don't know what I'm going to join with what.

I'm using a combination of batiks and regular quilting fabrics. 

See tomorrow's post on how I make these little guys. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A bit of quilting

A very nice change from all the knitting posts.  Here's the log cabin quilt; I just finished and have to press the row seams. 

Stats:  center blocks are 2.5" squares and the logs are 1.5".  I think I'm going to get this professionally quilted by someone.  It would take me the rest of my life, and I want to use it as a late winter/early spring quilt.

To celebrate finishing the flimsy, I decided to start an English paper piecing project, Valse Brillante by Willyne Hammerstein.

Here are the paper pieces, then the layout of my first block.

And both next to each other.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Next sock

Blurry pics, but the color is almost correct.  I just discovered this neat 2 round pattern, so I thought I'd share with you all.

Multiple of 6.

Round 1:  *k3, p3*

Round 2:  *k1, p1*

That's it.

I had a question on how to get a nice stretchy cast-on for socks.  Hold 2 needles together and cast on over both of them.  It'll all look very sloppy but will be just fine after a couple of rounds.  I do this all the time.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Little kid socks

I finished a pair of socks for the 4 year old.  Took me 2 weeks mostly because I didn't want to work on them in my germy state.   Nothing special here, just a simple garter rib sock.

Specs:  48 sts, total leg is 9", total foot is 7".  Mindless garter rib. 

I bought 4 skeins of the red yarn (which is really a lovely blue-red and not this orange-red color).  That should yield me about 6 prs of socks for the kiddle, and that ought to cover him for this winter.  Can I say that all these red socks are putting me to sleep?

But he's so cute, and in love with red, and what's a Grannie to do but knit red socks?

DD and Miss P marched in DC on Sat.  Drove from MN to DC with a group, had a grand time, and are energized.  My little feminist heart is so happy.  Wish I could have been there, but not the way I was feeling.

Friday, January 20, 2017


Lots of progress on my fake Bohus yoke sweater, mostly because I've been laid up for over a week with a very nasty bacterial infection.  I'm on the mend now, but for much of the week, I slept, coughed, slept, coughed, and occasionally (when the Tylenol kicked in) knit.  That's it.

"Fake" Bohus because, while it is based on a genuine Bohus pattern, I modified it to suit me.  Yes, it is very very raw looking, but it will all smooth out with a good wash.

Here's a close-up of the yoke.  Isn't it bumpy and lumpy and utterly awful?  But the stranding is very good, with enough slack on the wrong side, so that it will all become very smooth.  Those little blips of color are actually purl stitches.  Kind of interesting to do, although I prefer not having them.  But I am playing with a genuine Bohus pattern, and those purl stitches are used, so I thought I would just put them in.

I'm not planning on any other patterning in the yoke.  No good reason except that I think this is enough.  I will do the rib in the off-white to live with the other rib sections.

And that's it, kids.  I now need a yoke break.  I'm thinking of yet another fake Eriskay gansey.  Haven't done one yet this year, and it's calling me.  Or maybe a very wide panel of pattern on the body?  We shall see.

Quilting?  I was too sick to even contemplate sewing a seam, but the urge is coming on me again.

Thanks, Ramona!  It's been interesting!  Can't wait until I feel human again.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Progress and a great book!

Knitting yoke sweaters can put you to sleep.  All that stockinette on the body and on the sleeves is not exactly exciting.  But, that's what you have to do before you get to the fun part.

The body length is 15", so you can just imagine the soporific effect this has had on me.  On the other hand, it's great TV watching knitting.  It's so mindless that you can pick it up while waiting for your tea water to boil.  You don't have to think at all.  All stockinette except for the last st before the front and back of the sweater; that's done in purl to make a fake seam.  I almost always put in a fake seam.  Looks kind of neat, and helps me find the "seam" line when I block the sweater.

So, the body is now done and put aside to work on the sleeves.  Yep, more motoring along except that I'll have to pay attention to increases every inch or so.

And here's the great book!

I'm an old hand at stranded knitting.  I did tons of it around 25 years ago, so much that I burned out of it and haven't done much at all until now.  I do have hand and wrist issues, which stranded knitting will annoy, but a yoke design is only at the top of the sweater, and the teeny bit I'm doing as a border on the body and sleeves doesn't count at all.  In a moment of lunacy, I had tossed just about all my Fair Isle and Scandinavian books.  I had to buy my 2 favorites on Amazon:  Sheila McGregor's  Traditional Fair Isle knitting and her Traditional book of Scandinavian knitting.  

These two are my basic stranded knitting books because of the incredible charts in black and white which are so much easier to read than color charts, plus you get to put in the colors you want.  I've owned a number of very beautiful Fair Isle books, but once you understand the techniques, it's all easy peasy.  So then this gorgeous book comes out and I'm totally smitten.  I don't really need all that info on color, but you can always learn something new and anyhow, the pictures and ideas are amazing. It's available on Amazon, Knit Picks and Schoolhouse Press.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Knitting in progress

4 projects on the needles, 3 of them socks, of course.

Another pair of socks for the little guy.  Same yarn as the previous post, same inability of my camera to get the red correct.  It's a lovely deep red with more blue than yellow in it.  You'll have to trust me.  I've just finished the gusset and am zooming onto the foot and finish.  Then sock #2 gets knitted.

Yet another helix sock for the little guy's big sister.  At 14, she's into mismatched socks, and this is a great way to use up my leftover sock yarn.  Of course it never gets used up; the balls just get smaller and smaller, but they never go away.  Kind of like dust bunnies:  you sweep them up, but they propagate over night.  At any rate, these are mindless and fun and she loves them.  Plus, if she misplaces a sock, she has a bunch more to choose from.  That's the beauty of mismatched helix socks.

A pair for me in my usual basket weave pattern.  No hurry on this pair since I have at least 60 pairs already.  And when I'm done, I'll have a nice ball of yarn leftover to be applied to yet more helix socks.  It never ends.

And now, the really neat knitting news:  I'm so into yoke sweaters that I've started another one, this one with a Bohus-style design for the yoke.  Bottom up with body knitted first, followed by sleeves, and then joined for the yoke.  I saw an Icelandic yoke sweater with a contrasting rib and little pattern, and I liked it, so that's what's here.  The body of the sweater will be that lovely heathered pale brown that you see with the off-white.  KnitPicks sport Wool of the Andes, which is delightfully woolly and warm and delicious to wear.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Socks for Benjamin

Benjamin just turned 4 and he's beyond adorable.  But then, every Grandma thinks her grands are adorable.  Still, he really is a cutie patootie.  His favorite color is red.  So, red socks for Benjamin.

Sock specs:  48 sts.  Sock yarn.  Gauge:  around 7.25 sts/".  Length of leg is knee high.  (The child lives in the Frozen Northland and needs to be kept warm.)  Total foot length is a pinch less than 7", with room for growth.

Pattern is my go-to pattern for everything:  basket weave!

Yes, they will fit him; there's a lot of stretch in the circumference.

Monday, January 2, 2017


Since I retired from the yarn dyeing business, I rarely post on my blog, which makes me think a change is in order.  What I plan on doing from now on is keep a log of what I've completed as well as what's in progress, mostly for my own information.  Kind of a log blog.

So, here's the first post of 2017: my version of the Afmaeli sweater that's making the rounds on Ravelry.  I used KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, worsted wt, and wanted a size between the women's small and medium, so a gauge of around 4.75 sts/inch, and a circumference of approx. 36".  I actually finished this last Wed, so not 2017, but that's the way it goes.

Thanks, Deborah!


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