Over the past couple of weeks my hands have gotten better and I've been able to slowly plug away at some crochet. I'm allowing myself about 30 minutes a day and, on a couple of days, 2 30 minutes sessions. Yesterday I finished this blanket that I started in April!
The pattern is from the BagODay YouTube Channel and is called Easy Crochet Blanket. It really is easy! My starting chain was 108 and the simple pattern is worked in 3 stitch clusters of one SC and 2 DC.
The yarn is Caron Baby Cakes and I used 2 cakes. I don't remember the color and it doesn't matter because these yarns are limited edition colors. I used a 6mm J hook and, aside from the hand pain, it worked up fast. I do love working with this yarn. It this pint in my crochet career I'd put is as my #2 favorite yarn behind Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn.
When I bought the 2 cakes I also bought a coordinating solid for a border. I do like a border on blankets. This one is simply 5 rows of single crochet.
The finished size is about 32" x 38". This blanket will be donated to a local charity.
I have a lot of the border yarn left over. I was going to possibly make some hats but I think I'll keep this in stash in case I need a future border yarn. I could see a pink border on a white blanket.
In looking through the stash I found this yarn as a possible candidate for my next project. I made a blanket earlier this year in a similar weight yarn using the Carissa Blanket pattern and I may do the same with this yarn. That one was fast and easy too.
Today my sole goal is to work on the longarm and see if I can get it functioning again. I brought home TWENTY veterans quilt tops from the meeting Tuesday so I need to get busy. Tonight I'll be delivering the most recent finished quilts and I think I have about 30 of them ready to go to the VA hospital! I'm really lucky because the person I deliver them too just moved across the county and is now only 4 miles from me. Less time for driving and more time for visiting.
Before I get into the birthday gifts I have to tell you that last evening my quilt club met as a big group for the first time in MONTHS and IT WAS AWESOME! We had a real program and real show and tell and lots of catching up chatter.
It was a much better time than the 2 days Chris and I have spent burying he phone line (about 300') because the phone company couldn't be bothered. If you don't have Centurylink for your phone service you are blessed. They must have the worst customer service of any company in the world in any category.
Now, on to Eli. Eli is brother to Ella (recipient of couture doll clothes). He's turning 4 this weekend and he's all boy. I decided to dye some shirts for and hopefully he'll like one or more of these. I'm especially thrilled with the spiral. The two in the back were dyed using Color Magnet and stencils.
I had leftover fabric from his pillowcase so I made a gift bag for the shirts. Cookie Monster is his favorite Muppet. The bag is lined in turquoise.
I was rummaging around the sewing room looking for something to use as the drawstring and I spied the clothesline that I usually wrap with fabric for coasters and bowls. I decided to see if it could be dyed. It turns out that it can! I put lots of Fray Check and glue in the knots so that they don't come apart in use.
Mom and I will go to his party Saturday afternoon. Not sure if I'll survive a party full of 4 year old's but I'll give it my best shot. Mom and I might need to stop at a bar on the way home to recover.
New Stash Pack
I am so excited about this new Stash Pack. I wanted to do a pack that was all "cool" colors. As I was planning we were talking about the weather forecast for the next day and the word "overcast" came up. That got me thinking about doing this pack with all the colors grayed a bit. This is the result and I love it. I used combinations of grayed versions of blues, greens and purples. Of course I named it from the inspiration: Overcast.
Each Stash pack has 10 fat eights of fabric and each one is highly textured. 5 are mottled and 5 are streaky. Here are 6 of the fabrics included in the pack to give you an idea of what larger pieces might look like. The fabrics will not look exactly like these except in one pack! Each fabric is dyed in 2 yard cuts so each of the fat eighths from one fabric will vary.
My summer vacation is going to be a really long one this year so I want to give you notice now in case you need something dyed for your next project. We have plenty of time to get it done if we start planning now. I will be away August 6 - September 5 so the shop will basically be closed the entire month of August. If there's fabric that you need please get your orders in by the end of July. The cut off for custom dyed fabric will be July 26.
Fabric of the Week
Keeping with the overcast theme I selected the Eminence Shades Pack as the fabric of the week. Eminence is my favorite grayed purple.
Patricia Caldwell used Eminence, along with other Shades Packs and Gradients in her Purple Stars quilt.
Eminence is 20% off through Sunday.
This weekend was sewing weekend with my quilt club and that means I got to work on one of the 18 veterans quilt kits that I've cut. The number of cutting mistakes in this kit outnumbers my previous record for sure! The bad thing is that I cut 2 of this quilt so both were wrong! zi did eventually get this one sorted out so this top is ready to quilt.
The mistakes started with the blocks. I only cut half of the cornerstones that I needed for the blocks. I don't have any of this fabric left so I had to start piecing the few scraps and some of the extra sashing.
Then I cut too much away from the inner border and had to add the dark blue corner stones that you can see in the first photo.
I figured that out after I came home Saturday and decided that I wanted to get the quilt wrapped up.
I got that first border sewn on and put the quilt on the design wall to measure for this outer border. That's when I discovered that I had designed a much larger quilt! For our charity the quilts are 48 x 60 and this on was going to be 54 x 68. How in the world did that happen?
I have no idea. But I know now that I'm not going to do anything with the batik scraps until all of my quilt kits are sewn together!
After I got that top done I pulled out the second quilt and adjusted the sashings and inner border so that I can add the star border on this version.
I sure hope I haven's screwed up all the other kits to this degree!
I also finally have a crochet update. I haven't crocheted in at least a month because I developed a lot of pain in my hands from overdoing it. I've been wearing various braces, applying a lot of ice and stretching my hands. My right hand is pretty much cleared up. The left hand is good except for the pinkie finger but I have long term nerve damage in the wrist of that hand so this isn't anything new. I'm down to KT tape all day instead of braces and I've altered some of the ways I crochet to make sure there's no stress on the pinkie and ring fingers of my left hand. I'm not allowing myself to crochet up to 2 short sessions every day and I was finally able to finish the body of this blanket. This is made from 2 Caron Baby Cake. I have a coordinating pink cake that I will use for a border. I might have this one don this week.
I love the mindlessness of doing crochet in the evenings so I had to find something else to do while I couldn't crochet. That turned out to be puzzles. I know that the right way to do them is to start with the border but I tend to start with a color block and eventually work my way around the puzzle. I also like to start with the hardest area, like solid skies. In this one I'll start with the white and gray waterfall. I'd rather being crocheting.
The last thing I have to share is this postcard that I received from Beth H. this week. What a lovely surprise!
My number 1 goal for this week is to get the longarm up and running again.
Today's inspiration comes from one of my local friends, Becky Brown. Becky is in our quilt club and she and another member taught me to applique. She is also a pattern tester for Barbara Brackman so you make recognize these blocks if you follow Barbara's historical QALs. Becky used fabrics from Cranberry and Forest Shades Packs for her background and lots of Gradients and Stash Packs for the applique elements.
You can click on the photos below to see close up how she uses fussy cuts fabrics for special effects in her elements.
For sharing, Becky received a 20% coupon for the shop that's good for 3 months! If you have made anything with my hand dyed fabric I hope you will consider sharing it in the Customer Gallery. The only rule is that projects have to be complete. It doesn't have to be made totally from hand dyed fabric, just include a recognizable amount.
What time of day is most productive for you? I'm not particularly productive in the mornings. I do exercise every day but I don't even eat breakfast until 10. Then I will do computer stuff and I don't get motivated to make/sew/due until about 2. But after 2, I'm on fire until about 10 pm.
I've become my father who was an incredible night owl.
Yesterday afternoon I made some good progress on my weekend goals.
I got the little t-shirts tied/stamped and ready to dye this weekend. These are for a birthday gift for next weekend. One will be a spiral, the one with the little tied nub is a fish and I'm doing color magnet with another fish theme. Hopefully he will like them.
Then I got started cutting out more veterans quilt kits. This is a panel that my friend bought for me. It's almost as wide as the quilts we make so it's getting 3" stripes above and below. This one will sew together in a couple of hours.
I had enough batik left over to cut out 2 HST quilts with 6: HST blocks. Both are in blue and cream batiks.
Here's what's left of all of that 30+ yards of batiks that I bought several months ago. These leftovers might become placemats.
When I get back from sewing today I'll get started cutting into those 2 piles in back. That's all that's left of my patriotic fabric. I'm so glad because as of now I have EIGHTEEN kits cut out. That should keep my busy for the next year.
I will not be buying more patriotic fabric for a while.
I didn't get anything creative done yesterday except the regular Wednesday dyeing session. I was sill a little tired from the long day Tuesday so at the end of the day I just say and worked on a puzzle and listened to a book. It was kind of a perfect day!
My big goal for the weekend is to cut the rest of this pile into veterans quilt kits. I like pre-cutting kits for my quilt club sewing days and for vacation sewing. I have 2 quilts planned from this pile and the rest might be cut into tumbler or square or HST scraps. But I'm committed to not returning these fabrics to stash!
The other thing I'm doing this weekend is tie dyeing these toddler t-shirts for a birthday gift. I know I'm doing a fish and a spiral but I need to quickly come up with another idea.
It is sewing weekend with my quilt club so Friday and Saturday I'll be working on 2 kits in this pattern. One has the light blue background and one has ivory.
I've ordered the backing and batting for the king size quilt. The backing needs to be dyed but I'm a little closer to getting that quilt done. Because the backing needs to be dyed it means that I will be ice dyeing again soon!
Yesterday was the Democratic primary for 3 positions in Virginia and I spent the day working at the polling station. I did this the first time for the last presidential election and I really enjoy doing it. Unfortunately the turnout was abysmal (as expected for a single party primary) so we were all quite bored. We had 82 voters in a precinct with over 1400 registered voters. There were 5 of us working and we all got lots of reading in and I finished off this hat that will be donated as a chemo hat. It's a 15 hour day so I was almost straight to bed by the time I got home.
Back to the hat. The yarn is Flecks from Michaels. I had been hearing a lot about and I caught it on sale and picked up this skein. I like buying single skeins and trying them out with hats. Then I can figure out if it's something I want more of. This yarn is really soft so it would be great for shawls, hats and scarves. I've seen it made up into a pretty swing-style tank top too. I think it made a pretty chemo hat and I have enough for at least 2 more. It's pretty splitty so I don't know if I'd buy more of it but I'm glad I bought some to try out.
I think this brings my total number of hats to 6 for the year and I finally feel like I'm starting to understand hat making, so that's good. I'm also glad that I have a place to donate them.
My hand is starting to get better so I'm doing a little bit of crochet every day. I'll have to avoid doing hours of crochet every day again. I did love sitting down after dinner and doing crochet until bed time. Now I'm working puzzles and piecing. I'm going to try a turmeric-based anti-inflammatory to see if that helps. The problem is all inflammation but I can't take ibuprophen or other drugs. I hear good things about tumeric/cumin but I'll need to try it for myself. I have discovered that, as with most things, the good brands are not inexpensive.
New Stash Pack
I have to admit that when I design a new Stash Pack I'm only focusing on a color range. I don't have a real theme in mind. I'm just having fun. Naming inspiration comes to me when I'm ironing the fabric. In this case I saw every fabric as a great idea for granite counter tops! That's why this collection of browns/grays/blues is called Quarry.
These would be nice elements for a forest themed piece, a landscape with roads or rocks and some would work great in space themed pieces. I'd love to hear what ideas you might have for these fabrics.
Each Stash pack has 10 fat eights of fabric and each one is highly textured. 5 are mottled and 5 are streaky. Here are 6 of the fabrics included in the pack to give you an idea of what larger pieces might look like. The fabrics will not look exactly like these except in one pack! Each fabric is dyed in 2 yard cuts so the fat eighths from one fabric will vary.
Gradients Back in Stock
Thank you for all the love you showed for the new gradient Waves. It sold out quickly but I have more for you this week if you missed your first opportunity. Azure Sea is also back in stock.
Fabric of the Week
Maybe you like the new Quarry Stash Pack but you need a larger cut of a brown textured fabric. Harlan may be just what you need! It's part of the Reflections collection. Reflections are larger cuts of streaky textured fabrics in beautiful nature colors representing sea, sky and land.
Harlan, in beautiful bark-like brown is 20% off through Sunday.
The fun part of my weekend was delivering the Minnie Mouse doll dress to Ella. She loved it and then I spent the rest of the visit tethered to her little brother playing with a bottle of bubbles. Who knew that a $1 bottle of soap would be so popular? You never know.
The rest of the weekend was much quieter. I had the time to get the big green quilt together! Now, I know that most of you are not to sure about this one. Frankly, I'm not either. But my college roommate LOVES anything green. She's seen this and says that she loves it. But just in case I'm going to dye a really pretty back for it so that it will be two-sided.
Here it is spread out flat on the back porch. It's 108" square to fit their king size bed. It's growing on me. For a quilt that wasn't planned at all, it's not too bad! It started as a desire to empty fabrics from my green hand dyed drawer and to use some of the waste fabrics. It accomplished both of those things. The pattern is Club Noir from my favorite quilting book, Colorful Quilts for Fabric Lovers by Amy Walsh and Janine Burke.
This will head to the to-be-quilted pile now.
On the longarm front there's been no progress. Innova tried to call me Friday but I was out running an errand. I expect I'll hear from them today.
Tomorrow I'll be working the Virginia Primary election. It will be really slow so I'll have to take a book to read or some crochet or hand sewing to do. It's a Democratic primary and Virginia Democratic elections are pretty much controlled by national organizations so everyone already knows who the candidate will be. I don't personally know any Democrats that are bothering to vote. It's going to be a long 12 hours in my largely-Republican precinct. The people I'm working with are all nice so it will be fun to reconnect with them.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.