The penguin is loaded on the longarm and getting quilted. I want to work on the binding this weekend and have it done Monday for a March finish. I forgot to take a photo so you'll just have to take my word for it being quilted.
The crochet project is moving right along. My goal is to have 3 sections of the variegated/ I haven't decided if it will get a border yet.
What I know for sure at this point is that I do not like Caron Simply Soft yarn. I'm so glad I've avoided stashing yarn because I'd be really unhappy if I had bought a lot of this yarn. It's really soft in the skein but it stretches like crazy and is splits.
I don't know if splitting is the right term but this is what I mean. This happens all the time and it's really annoying. I know I won't use all of this yarn on this project so I might have to do one more project to finish off the yarn. After that's done I'll explore some other types of yarn. Like fabric, there are TONS of options to choose from. Right now I'm trying to keep myself from doing a bunch of online yarn shopping. That would be really dangerous.
Back in the sewing room I found the last pile of strips (for now). These are cut offs from the Groovy quilts.
I decided to split them into color groups and make a set of rainbow coasters.
I do like having several projects going on at once. I can work on several in a day and I just move from station to station (or more accurately, pile to pile) to switch between projects. This weekend I'll primary focus on Penguins on Ice but will probably also work on postcards, coasters, crochet and maybe even start thinking about something new.
I hope you have a safe and creative weekend. Try not to watch the new too much. It causes way too much stress. Once a day is enough for me.
Baby penguins! Look at that cute little heart penguin.
Here are all the penguins arranged the way the pattern calls for. I'mm look at them a little and see if I have them all in the right place. Then I have to figure out how to make it longer. The patter size is 60 x 66 which I find to be pretty useless for a quilt to use. I like something closer to 60 x 80 for a sofa quilt. I don't know what I'll do yet. I might add some sort of shibori border top and bottom or just make the sashing rows wider. That's my problem to solve for the weekend.
I've also made more progress on the baby blanket. I've added the first of 4 sections of the variegated yarn. Yes, I do realize that the purple doesn't really "match". I went to 3 stores looking for the right color to use as an accent. Purple turns the variegated blue and blue turns the variegated purple. I finally just picked the purple and hope that repetition will make it all OK. It's a donation blanket to it's fine. I do not like this yarn so I want to try to use it all in this blanket so I never have to use it again. I'll take a photo and show you next time why I don't like it.
To finish out the week it seemed like a good idea to make start another set of coasters. Why not?
I have this pile of scraps left over from the Hunter Star veterans quilt. That quilt started with fat eighths and I used the Hunter Star Go! die. That left strips that are about 3/4" wide, perfect for wrapped coasters. It's hardest for me to toss hand dyed fabrics so this pile has been on a shelf for a few months. (I think we have a hint as to why my sewing room is always so cluttered!)
I love how these fabrics look in the coasters!
I've got 2 done and hopefully enough fabric for 2 more and a bowl. This is going to be a really pretty set.
I think I have enough things to keep me busy this weekend!
When I was 8 I fell and broke my left wrist. I was playing with my brothers in an empty furniture box and the box tipped over as I was getting in it. Mom was out Christmas shopping and had to be paged at JC Penney. It threw a little wrench in Christmas and I didn't get any extra sympathy gifts which seemed a little unfair to me.
As with all injuries they always reassert themselves as we age. This particular one often brings numbness in my pinkie and ring fingers if I overuse them. Even typing with my pinkie finger is a little nervy. If I overdo things I'll have pain in my wrist. It's nothing horrible but I can't use knitting needles or embroider with a hoop because I really can't grip small things in my left hand. I can use the hand just fine but gripping is the problem.
Crochet is good because I hold the hook in my right hand. But it turns out that there's plenty of action with my left hand too and I've started to have some problems. I've been testing out different things to try to help it. I have all kinds of wrist braces but I eventually figured out that what I needed was to keep those 2 fingers from being able to close tightly and that's where this little felt roll comes in. There was a lot of R&D to determine that the width and diameter of this roll was just right.
The elastic hooks over both fingers and it sits right at the base of my fingers. Now I can't close those fingers and no more pain. I think I can use this for hand sewing too. It looks ridiculous but it works and I'm OK with that!
I've been testing it out on a zig zag blanket and I can crochet for longer periods of time now. I still have to work on my posture because my habit of leaning forward is annoying my back. Getting old is a privilege and a challenge!
This yarn is Caron Simply Soft. The first two skeins of yarn that I purchased were Caron Simply Soft in a variegated color palette. I didn't have a remote idea how much yarn was needed for a baby blanket so I only purchased 2. Then I discovered that I didn't have nearly enough! So I bought some white and purple to go with it and still not knowing exactly how much I needed I bought too much. But I'm going to try to use all of it on this blanket. I've made it a little wider than the other blankets, over 40" and I'll make it as long as possible. This blanket will be more of a toddler or youngster size.
It will take a while.
I also played with mroe scraps.
I forgot to share these scraps that were left over from the brown plaid veterans quilt. They were too small to put back in the plaid bin but I thought they would make some nice Americana postcards.
I pulled these pieces to be focal points for the cards. I'll work on these over the next couple of days.
Well, we were supposed to be on vacation this week. It involved air travel so I think you can guess how that went. I was sad for a few minutes and then I thought "hey, more quilting time! I've got this." First I was able to go to sewing with my quilt club Friday (the county parks department canceled Saturday). I'll show that progress at the bottom.
I spent much of my weekend enjoying the beautiful outdoors with a long hike Saturday and I spent some of it agonizing over which shibori blocks belong in the penguin quilt. I eventually narrowed it down to this group with 3 spares (on the right). Then I had to decide which would be for which size penguins.
Here they are all cut to size and ready to make penguins.
You do understand why I can't toss these out, don't you?
But I'll think about that later. I also spent part of the weekend planning new crochet projects.
I picked up this yarn because I really needed to get something that didn't have any pink. I don't even like pink and the first 3 blankets all had pink in them! I tried 3 different patterns in this before settling on the same pattern that I used in my first blanket. It's simply double crochet in the back loop which gives it the ridges. It will be great for travel because it's so incredibly simple. But it doesn't look like I'll be doing much traveling anytime soon!
I'm dealing with a problem with my left hand while I crochet and I think I'm close to solving it. I started another project to work on in front of the TV and I'm testing out solutions for my hand and hopefully with have that to share tomorrow.
These are the quilt tops that I finished Friday. I cut these out a while back as kits. I have a bin of plaids so that's where these came from. I started the green one in February and finished it first. Then Becky pointed out that it was a little shorter than we try to make. I needed one more row of plaids in the center. This one is fine as it is. It will be a good lap quilt for someone getting treatment. I had not pre-cut the sashing in the kits so it was easy to adjust the tan one. These are based on a 4" grid with 4" finished wide sashing. It couldn't be easier and I love how they turned out.
All the quilt club members have been busy making tops so I need to get busy dyeing more backs and it turns out that I have plenty of time for that this week!
I picked the granny square just to use up this yarn. Now that it's done I absolutely love it!
You know that my goal was to use ALL of this yarn. I wanted a border so I estimated when I needed to stop and start doing the border. I figured that I had enough yarn to do a half double crochet. But I came up short about 20" of yarn! It's jsut like quilting when the bobbin thread runs out on the last row of quilting.
The good thing about crochet is that ripping out stitches takes about 5 seconds so I pulled out the border row.
I did a single crochet instead. (The colors in this photo are horrible.)
I used this Youtube Tutorial to make the blanket with 3 balls of Lion Brand Mandala Sparkle yarn. I only had a little bit of yarn left over and I allowed myself to toss it out. The colors of the yarn are most accurate in this photo.
It finished about 32" square. This is my 3rd crochet blanket and I'm already planning the next one.
I'm also working on penguins and coasters and studio cleaning.
My big chore for the weekend is to get the taxes together. For an accountant, I dread this chore a lot more than I should. I stopped doing our taxes years ago when I did the state taxes wrong 3 years in a row (we kept getting a second check) and I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Even in college I would complain to the Dean (a restaurant customer of mine) that tax accounting belonged in a whole separate curriculum. I still believe that. It's not accounting. It's completely illogical.
Anyway, it's my chore and after that I'm going to immerse myself in penguins and yarn de-stashing.
This week I've been making a little progress on the next baby afghan. This granny square stitch is rally easy and fast. I now know why it's so popular. It would be great for working on a plan or in a car.
This is how much yarn is left. I intend to use every inch of it so I'll splice in those bits of pink and green on the side. I really don't think it will take very long to finish this, it's going really quickly.
I've also been trying to figure out how I will quilt the postage stamp quilt. I don't intend to enter this quilt because it will be so huge but I'd like the quilting to be nice. I don't need to be in a hurry though because finding a king size black batting is next to impossible. I've found one place to order it but I'd have to get 2. I found another shop and did place an order but they canceled it a refunded me. I'm now trying to see if a local shop will order it for me.
Meanwhile I ponder the quilting.
I printed off a pale copy of the quilt and slide it into a page protector and can do my drawing on the page protector. This is the idea that I've had in my head all along. Spirograph circles floating behind the postage stamps. It didn't take long for me to realize that this is a really bad idea. There's just too much going on and it would take FOREVER to quilt.
I'd like this quilt on my bed sometime before I die.
So then I started thinking more traditional, focusing on the black spaces.
The first idea was the wreath. I envision it in bright colored thread to stand out on the black. I'm planning to CC the postage stamps and I could carry that in the black to the edge of the wreath. I like that OK but then I thought about using the edge of the black diamond instead and I really like that. I'm thinking I could even do a connecting diamond in the postage stamps too.
This is where I left off with ideas. You are welcome to give my your ideas too! I've got plenty more thinking time before I start this quilt.
I'm making progress on a lot of fronts.
The Quilter's Dream company helped me find a vendor that carried their king size black batting, so that's finally on order.
This cabinet at the end of my pressing station used to be full of beads. I've moved the beads to my button cabinet for now but they are probably on their way to my sister-in-law. She has a group that makes jewelry for a fundraiser for her local library so I think the beads are going there. I bought them years ago when I was experimenting with using beads on quilts. I lost interest in that pretty quickly. I'm keeping the small beads (top shelf on the right). The other bin has all of my hot fix crystals. I use those a lot on postcards. Now I had space to bring my Masterpiece thread upstairs. I've stopped using it for longarm quilting and now use it for piecing so it's closer to my piecing machine. I cleaned out another cabinet this size of fiber art stuff. That cabinet will house my crochet stuff.
But I can't clean all day.
I'm slowly working on the penguins. These beaks took a surprising long time. They are very fiddly and I would have done much better if I had made some foundation papers. They are cute though and worth all the effort.
There's a new baby blanket underway. This is the same yarn that I used on my first one. It's Lion Brand Mandala Sparkle. I had one ball left from my first one so I bought 2 more balls to make another blanket. I don't want lots of little balls of yarn hanging around. This blanket will be as big as 3 balls of yarn will allow. I've never been a big fan of the Granny Square but I like this approach of making one giant one. I know why people love them, they go very fast!
I'm also working on the scrappy coasters and more cleaning. I hope it's going to be a productive week.
Chris is away on a ski trip and I was going to have the whole weekend to myself for making stuff and it almost worked out that way. My brother and his partner are trying to move to Richmond to be closer to her family and apparently the market here is on fire and houses are selling fast. Wwhen she finds one she either gets her daughter or me to go look at them and that's what I got to do Saturday afternoon. I enjoy looking at houses so I don't mind at all. I take video tours to send to her so she can see a walk through of the house. Of course there are things that I miss (what kind of stove does it have) but also things that don't show in the photos (desperate need for gutters). It was fun and I look forward to the next one. It's so much less stress when it's not your money!
I did get a few things done though. This is not the postage stamp quilt like it's supposed to be. I had planned to baste the postage stamp but I realized that I need to get black batting. Since the Mid-Atlantic quilt festival is next week I'll pick it up then. Meanwhile I loaded this little quilt that Mom and I are making for a surprise gift. I'll tell you all about it Wednesday.
I started making penguin eyes. I thought the penguin quilt would be fast because the bodies are so big and there are only 20 of them.....but I missed the tiny penguin faces. Lots of 1 - 1.5" pieces to cut and sew for those and I'm having seam allowance size challenges.
I also finished the second crochet blanket. These things are really addictive and I find that I'm watching too much TV just so I can sit and do this. Hopefully I'll be over this soon and will save most of this for car and airplane rides. But I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.
The yarn is this Mandala and it used 2 balls to make a blanket about 30" square. This yarn is sooooo soft. To get the symmetry patterning I started the first ball from the outside and the second from the middle.
I did a border on this one just to try it out. It took 2 tries to get it right but I'm happy with it in the end. Crochet is so much easier to undo than stitching.
I have 2 more balls of this yard for another blanket and I'll splice in the leftover yarn into that one. I do not want to start creating a yarn scrap bag.
I think my third blanket is going to be a giant granny square.
This weekend wasn't nearly as productive as I wanted. I felt like I was fighting allergies all weekend but now I'm pretty sure that it's just a full blown cold. We'll see how it goes the next few days. Hopefully not the flu. It's a good time to sit and crochet!
With the first baby blanket finished and delivered it was time to start looking at what to do next. The internet, as always, is a gold mine of ideas and wasted time. I spent hours and hours looking at free patterns and watching technique videos. Here's where I ended up.
The firest task was to find yarn. The first blanket took 3 balls of the sparkly yarn in the background. I bought 4 so I had one left over. I went back and got 2 more so I could use the last one. While there I found this yarn and got 3 balls of it too. It's really soft. Then I started looking for patterns.
I used the leftover yarn bits from the first blanket to work up some swatches. This pattern was from Yarnspirations.It's cute enough but I didn't love it.
This pattern was really pretty but required more concentration than I'm willing to commit to yet.
The hooks and the primary reference book that I'm using belonged to my paternal Grandmother. Did anyone else have this Reader's Digest book? It's still a very good resource.
I've never been a big fan of granny squares but I see on Instagram that GS blankets are REALLY popular now. I thought that if I could do a giant granny square that I could easily make it as big as my yarn lasts and wouldn't have any yarn leftover. The book instructions are good but I found better instructions on YouTube.
Here it is started in the sparkle yarn. (That first one was made with a leftover bit of yarn from the first blanket.)
I finally settled on this pattern. I don't know anything about Rescued Paw Designs but she has tons of crochet patterns and this one is really simple and fast.
I'm already making great progress! Now that I have these two projects planned I can clear off the cutting table and start planning the next quilting projects.
I love our monthly sewing "retreat" days. We are so fortunate to have a county resource at our disposal so we can get together and sew for 2 days every month.
I finished the second Hunter's Star veterans quilt top! I absolutely love this quilt and can't wait to quilt it and get it done. I knew I would finish it this weekend so I was ready to go with one of my other quilt kits that I cut a few weeks ago.
I decided to start with a really easy one! I just have to add the bottom 2 borders and an outside green border. I wasn't sure how this would look but once I added the green border I knew it would be OK. I will miss the March sewing days so I'll finish this in April.
In the evenings I've really enjoyed crocheting again. I think the last thing I made was a blue sweater that I crocheted in high school. It was easy to get back in the groove.
This is just a small double crochet baby blanket and I'll give it to a friend who donates quilts and blankets to local agencies. These are going to be perfect projects for TV and car time. We'll see how long I stay interested in this. My goal is to not start collecting yarn!
The edging started off a little messy but I figured it out by the time I finished. I'm pleased with it and the yarn is really soft. Here's the free pattern for this blanket.
Of course I had one whole skein of yarn left over! So I'll just buy more of this for the next one. I'm not even getting close to Ravelry and I'm already down a large rabbit hole of free crochet patterns.
This week I want to focus on more veterans quilts and getting those placemats wrapped up.
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.
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