Chris and I were gone about half the day yesterday for an appointment and errands and then we visited friends yesterday afternoon so I didn't get a whole lot of creative things accomplished yesterday.
I am going to get that stack of bags done this weekend to get them out of the way and I'm not cutting any more out! I knocked this one out yesterday afternoon. It will be a great size for gifting a bottle of wine or other spirits. It's made from a fat quarter size ice dyed fabric. It's got one seam in the center back so that I could center the mandala on the front.
Another little chore that I accomplished is restocking my supply of pet bed fabrics. A friend helped me acquire a bunch of upholstery and drapery remnants. I worked through the 2 bags of goodies and got everything paired and precut so that I'm ready to go when the batting scrap bin is full again. Chris and I are pretty sure that one of the fabrics is a silk blend so 4 pets are going to get some really fancy bedding!
On the loom knitting front I've made a few decisions. I'm only doing the loom to give my hands a break from crochet. I don't love doing it but I do need to keep my hands busy. I developed horrible tendonitis in both hands several months ago and they are just now getting better. Loom knitting is working out to be a pretty perfect substitute for those times when my hands bother me. The Copperfit compressions gloves are helping tremendously! I've been working with the round loom only so far making hats and one knit stitch scarf. I didn't like the scarf because it curled horribly and had to be blocked. Making hats is OK but the yarn tension is pretty tight so there's still some strain on my hands.
I had bought a $5 clearance modular set from Michaels and decided to try out a scarf set up and I started making the scarf on the left. I think I've found my perfect project! The tension on this stitch is quite loose and there's no pressure on my hands at all. When we went out yesterday I took it in the car with me to see if it would be too bulky to work with and it's not! I will be making scarves for the foreseeable future during my crochet breaks. I may eventually make more hats but I don't like them as much as this double knit style scarf. It's actually a really soft and warm scarf. I should be able to get a few made before I drop off donations again in September.
One of our errand stops was to Joann where I picked up the ergonomic loom pick on the right. I had to sand off the point a little but it does work better than the pick that came with the loom. I also bought more bulky yarn that I didn't need but it was less than $1.75 a skein after the markdown, clearance discount and military discount all added together. I'll be making loom scarves for the next 10 years if I'm not careful about my purchases!
Today my one big goal is to get all of the bags finished and everything put away so I can get back to the worktable cleanup. Tomorrow I'm giving a quilting lesson and then I'll get the big green quilt loaded and start quilting.
But first, I'm happy to report that I found the missing socks! They were in the dryer and it seems that I dyed 4 pair, not 3. I'm a little bummed that they are all blue or purple but I do have more plain ones to dye and I can do them the normal way (without ice) so I'll know the colors.
I also got a start on cutting up the remaining patriotic fabric. I decided on 4.5" squares and 2.5" squares and strips. I've got a big bag of various light blues from trimmed veterans quilt backs so I'll cut a bunch of that too and eventually make all of this into 4-patch blocks.
Note to self: Do not buy more patriotic fabric until 2023.
On to crochet, I have a finished project! This is a wheelchair blanket. I bought the yarn for a baby blanket because the photo only showed the pastel blues. When I received the order I knew it could not be a baby blanket, but I only had 3 balls. My options were limited. I checked the donation website and saw that they collect wheelchair blankets and the desired dimensions are 27" x 36". I've been wanting to try corner to corner so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
I have been hesitant to try C2C because I didn't think I'd like it but now I see the appeal. It's very easy and very fast and the effect from self-striping yarn is awesome. I t really worked great in this yarn, Cascade Cartwheel. I absolutely LOVE this yarn and already have more in my stash. It was on sale at Webs (yarn.com) so I bought more for a couple of blankets. It's really similar to Premier Puzzle and Universal Major if you have used those.
The C2C patterning created wonderful texture and the marled effect of this yarn makes the striping pretty subtle. I used a K hook and 3 balls of Cascade Cartwheel.
Now on to the topic of loom knitting. Loom knitting is quite fun and is a great "take a break" activity from crochet. My hands are getting better and better every day. I've bought almost ever kind of brace and glove on the market but the one that seems to be the best is the Copperfit Compression Glove. That's been a big surprise to me, but it does work for me.
I can crochet about an hour a day right now and then I pick up the loom knitting. The first set that I started working with is this Boye set and it worked fine but I needed a bigger ring for men's hats. The largest ring in this set will make a hat that's my size. Online I found another set branded as Cousin. It was the cheapest one I could find and that's how I made the decision to get it.
While I was waiting I've been watching all sorts of YouTube videos on loom knitting and one was about tips for beginners. One of the tips was "don't buy the Boye looms". I'd been using mine and couldn't figure out what the lady was going on about.
Well, there is a difference. Here are the 2 looms together. The green one is Boye and the purple one is Cousin. There's a huge difference! See where the head of the Boye peg has a hook? The yarn gets caught there so it's more work to move the loop down the peg for the next round. Also that tiny slot on the front of the peg makes it more difficult to hook the loop up and over the peg. Within 5 minutes of starting a new project on the Cousin loom I knew that the lady had been right. I don't think it's a stretch to say that the Cousin look is about 50% faster than the Boye loom. The Boye set is packed and ready to be dropped at the thrift store soon.
THis scarf is the last thing I finished on the Boye loom. It's 6 feet long and is done in straight knit stitch so it really wants to curl even after I blocked it. I probably won't be making another that way again. The yarn is Premier Serenity and it's incredibly soft. I got it on sale and have several big balls of it. I think it's making a nice scarf and hat set. I'm afraid it will pill but there's nothing I can do about that.
The matching hat is the first project on the new loom and it will probably be done by the end of the weekend. I'll be able to make a ton of hats in the car ride to Maine.
Today I'm off to sewing with my quilt club so the weekend is getting off to a great start!
Yesterday wasn't ALL ironing, but it was close.
I started off the day visiting (and sewing) with my friend, Marcy. She also has an Innova and we provide moral support to each other when things aren't going quite right. She helped me when I tried timing my machine the first time and I went over yesterday to help her with tension issues. I took this quilt kit to work on using her machine. I started this in February when I got to go to the beach with Kim. I'll take it to Maine to finish putting together. I think I'm going to really love it. It's got kind of a soothing vibe. If this one works out to my liking I'll make more with my hand dyed scraps.
Eventually I had to leave Marcy and come home to the giant pile of ironing. Here are all of the ice dyed fabrics except for the quilt backs and the few pieces that are already in the shop. My plan is to get all of these in the shop by Monday. I'll work on the quilt backs next week.
Aside from editing fabric photos I think I will tackle the bin of batting scraps left from the June quiltapalooza. I'm seeing my Richmond Animal League friend tonight and it would be nice to get these made and out the door today.
I haven't done a yarn update in a while but I have been slowly plugging away on my projects. The blanket is almost done! In this photo it's folded in half and there's only the upper left corner to finish. I let myself crochet twice a day for 30 minutes each and I have 3 left hand fingers taped up (thumb, pinkie and ring). It's working and my hand continues to improve. I absolutely love this Cascade Cartwheel yarn. It's a bulky weight (great for my hands right now) 100% acrylic roving yarn. It is a little splitty but it's so beautiful that I don't mind the sporadic splits. I want all of the colors!
Once my crochet session is done I switch over to loom knitting. I'm working on my first scarf and I will make a hat to match. The scarf will be blocked. It's not the best scarf in the world but it's good for a first try. The yarn is Premier Serenity Chunky and it got it because it was on clearance. It's super soft and easy to work with. I'll talk more about my thoughts on loom knitting (good thoughts) when this scarf is done.
It's time to get busy on some dog beds.
It's been a busy couple of days and, aside from my weekly dyeing, I'm staying focused on quilting the veterans quilts.
First, I want to thank Lily for providing a nice counter to the propane bill in our mail this week. Isn't that a very cool card? Much better than a gas bill.
Here are the 2 newest veterans quilts. Ribbon meanders on both. Anne is coming over tomorrow to quickly quilt a little picnic quilt and then I'll load the next 2 veterans quilts.
I successfully finished my first loom knitted hat! It's not a masterpiece but it's really warm and will be a nice donation hat and I think this is going to suffice for a donation hat. This yarn is Loops and Treads Tweed Big from Michaels. It's bulky and soft and it was on sale for $3. There are at least 2 more hats in this ball and the second one is underway. That's $1/hat! I can crochet a couple of rows on the wheelchair lap blanket and the I have to take a break and do this for a bit. I'll work on a few hats and then I might try a scarf.
The rest of my day was spent getting fabrics ready for ice dyeing today! I haven't ice dyed in a couple of years so be on the lookout for more ice dyed mandalas in the shop soon. If you need me today I'll be out in the driveway making a big mess with 100 lbs. of ice.
It's official now, my longarm is well and truly fixed! The tension is perfect just like it used to be. No more thread breakage, no more shipped stitches and no more bobbin nests. Best of all I feel very confident that I can fix it myself alone going forward. I even feel like I could work on mu Juki straight stitch machine if I needed. My brother (the auto mechanic) has repaired a couple of sewing machine himself so we're probably going to service my Juki together at some point.
I immediately got busy tackling the stack of 20+ veterans quilt tops that I have here to be quilted. I've told the group that I'm not taking any more tops until September, after vacation. I'm going to quilt as many as I can this week and then I will not quilt any others until the fall. I've done 34 already this year and now it's time to work on some of my own quilts.
These 4 were made by 2 club members and are only 4 of the 10 that they made from the fabric that was donated to us from Benartex (to compensate for the quilt that was stolen.) These fabrics are so busy that it doesn't matter at all how I quilt them.
With the goal of speed and volume, most of the quilts getting quilted this week are getting wavy straight lines, ribbon meander, wavy cross hatch or some other type of continuous curves. All of those are fast and I can get 2 quilts loaded, basted and quilted in less than 3 hours. My goal is going to be to get 2 done every day this week through Saturday. On Sunday I'll load one of my own quilts.
On the crochet front I'm making progress on the corner-to-corner blanket. I haven't been a big fan of the c2c blankets but now I get the attraction. It's so fast and easy! I think this Cascade Cartwheel yarn is beautiful and it will make a very soft wheelchair lap blanket. Working with the bulky yarn seems to be more tolerable for my hand as well for the moment. I've devised a weighting method with the yarn so that I don't have to use my fingers for tensioning and that's working really well. I'm also taking lots of breaks. I like this yarn so much that when I saw that Webs had it on clearance I ordered a bunch more. It's 40% off right now and it was an additional 15% over the weekend but I think that part of the sale has ended. It seems like June is the big yarn clearance month.
I got the 4 quilts done before I left for Eli's birthday party Saturday. Mom and I had a great time watching the kids play on a giant inflatable water slide. It was a fun afternoon. After the party we stopped by Joann's. I've been researching loom knitting as a possible car project and project to do in the evenings when I need a crochet break. I picked a pack of looms and a $3 ball of bulky yarn and watched a bunch of You Tube videos. I think this is going to be a fine project to do when my left hand gets fatigued with crochet. This is mostly a right hand task and I can make hats and scarves to donate.
This week is going to be all about veterans quilts. I don't have any appointments or house projects so I should be able to get through the quilts and maybe even get some other, more interesting, sewing projects done.
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.
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.
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.
After a day in the basement dyeing fabric yesterday, I decided I needed a little walk outside in the evening. The first stop was the bird box to see the new batch of baby bluebirds! They hatched Saturday. So cute. They look the same every year but I still get excited to see them.
We checked on the iris. There are loads of them in bloom and lots more getting ready. I don't know the story on that last one. I don't know if it's a hybrid that's gone bad but it's not something I planted!
We also saw that in just the right light that weeds can look like grass.
Now back to our little trip. When Anne and I got to Lancaster Sunday evening we decided to check out one of the outlet malls. I really hate shopping but I seem to do great at shopping when I'm traveling. Otherwise my shopping is almost 100% by mail. I've lost a couple of sizes this year so I'm in desperate need for new clothes. I lucked out and found some shorts, pants and tops and everything was on sale. Don't be diverted by the ugly maroon and orange sweater. That's specifically for cheering on my Hokies during football season! I can't believe that Gap ever thought an orange and maroon sweater was a good idea. It's no surprise that the clearance rack was FULL of them. I even picked up one for my best Hokie buddy.
Then I saw the Minnie Mouse fabric! Last week Pixie Fairie offered this shirtwaist dress as a free pattern. I didn't plan on using it but I downloaded it anyway. This fabric is so perfect for it and Ella is going to Disneyworld for the first time this month.
Then we went to Ruthie's Tees (next to Log Cabin Quilts) and I saw THIS!! It's supposed to be an adult coin purse. For $6 I could not let it pass. I see the dress with red collar, cuffs and belt with this awesome plaid bag as an accessory.
Now, on to a crochet update. I took this yarn with me and made this chemo cap on the trip. I've taken to buying some yarns in single skeins to try out. I've been learning a lot about yarn from a few YouTube channels and have started venturing out a little. I actually like making hats so that's a good way to test out new yarns with single skeins.
After making the gingham blanket that I liked so much, I ordered some different brands of yarns (on sale) for 2 more gingham blankets. One set was some Herrschner's yarn and the other was Premier Basix. I didn't like the Herrschner's yarn right out of the box so I'll donate that. The Premier yarn seems nice so I'll make that blanket. But for basic worsted weight acrylic I'm probably going to stick to Hobby Lobby. I like their yarn best of all that I've tried. Red Heart and Herrschner's are definitely out. I still need to try Lion Brand and Premier Anti-Pilling yarns but Hobble Lobby is 15 minutes away and it's always well stocked and they have a sale every other week.
The yarn I used on the gray hat is Lion Brand Feels Like Butta and it's pretty much the same as Premier Bundle Up that I used a couple of months ago. I think this yarn is incredibly soft and perfect for chemo hats. But I have a feeling that it might pill a lot. Does anyone have any experience with this yarn?
While Anne was at her appointment I did a little retail therapy at the nearby Michael's. One yarn that I've decided that I absolutely love for baby blankets is Caron Baby Cakes (see below) so I bought 3 cakes for one more blanket. I figure this stuff (like Hobby Lobby yarn) is on sale enough that there's really no need to stockpile it. But it was on sale so I picked up 3 cakes. Here are the other yarns that I've bought to try and I started a new hat with the Flecks. That yarn is really soft too! This ball probably has 3 hats in it. I got the Basic Stitch Reflective to make a hat for my brother. He's a cyclist and I thought he might want it for winter rides. It really is very reflective!
Meanwhile, here's where I stand on the current project. Once this ball is done I'll add a pink border. This yarn is so soft and squishy.
I am taking crochet in short bursts at the moment. I seem to have a bit of tendinitis in my hands. It's getting better so I should be back in full gear in a couple of weeks.
Today, after spreading a 4th truckload of mulch, I hope to spend the day quilting veterans quilts. We have quilt club sewing this weekend so I want to have quilts ready to return to the quilters. I won't get them all done but I can make a dent if I just focus and don't overcomplicate the quilting.
Yesterday was dyeing day and that usually means that not much else happens. Wednesdays evenings I can usually be found sitting with my crochet and listening to a book. It's all the energy that I have left.
Last night I finished the last few rows on this hat that I've been working on. I'm just trying to use up some leftover yarns and hats seem like fine projects especially now that I've found a local place to donate all of them: men's, women's, children's, babies. You name it, they collect and distribute.
This pattern is from Crystal at BagODay on YouTube. The written pattern is in her Etsy site and this particular one is called the Chocolate Bon Bon Beanie. I like it because the increase rounds at the crown include front post stitches and it makes it a lot easier to keep up with the increase counts. I'm still not very good at keeping toe right stitch counts on each round. I tend to add extra stitches. This pattern also has a nice decrease at the base so that the hat will stay snug on the head.
The local charity also takes yarn donations and I think they will get the whole skein that's left of this yarn. I really don't like it and don't see a need to make myself work with it.
Earlier in the week this group put out a call for premie hats. I've never made a tiny hat so I decided to give it a try. They like them a little long so that they will stay on the baby's head so I added an extra row. This little thing took only about an hour so I can see making more of these. I've got some leftover yarn in peach, white and turquoise and those should work fine for the little hats.
Today I'm planning on some longarming of veterans quilts and to work on the border of the giant Summer Sunset quilt. Once that's done I can get the serger out and work on my stack of serger projects.
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In Bloglovin you need to search "Colorways By Vicki Welsh" to find the blog.
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.