Mom and I are supposed to meet up with my cousin for lunch today so I've been pushing to get this blanket done for her husband. Barclay went to college at University of Richmond and the school colors are blue and red. When I started making this one he was the first person I thought of.
This is the 5th blanket that I've made with this pattern. It finished about 47" x 66". I have enough yarn to make 3 more big blankets and 1 small blanket. Good thing I'm not tired of this yarn but I might use a different pattern on the next one.
This yarn is so soft and squishy and makes a beautiful blanket. It's too bad it's discontinued but there are lots of other similar yarns available. Premier Puzzle comes to mind.
I can hardy believe that I finished 4 of these this year along with 8 other small blankets for donations. But most of the patterns I choose, especially this one, go really fast.
Here are all the details:
Cascade Cartwheel Yarn, 7 balls,
Pattern from BagODay Crochet, pattern repeat is 8 stitches plus 3
I used a K hook and chained 147 stitches (with an L hook)
The day after
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you had wonderful weekend. If you are in the US I hope you were able to stay warm! As soon as we got back from Chesapeake we cranked up the wood stove and the house has been quite toasty. In fact, as I write this Sunday evening, I'm sitting in short sleeves while it's 30 outside.
We had a really nice (and quick) trip to Chesapeake to visit my brother and I was finally able to deliver his afghan to him. Of course, I knew that it would be adopted by their princess. She likes the quilts that I've made for them too. She pretty much owns every surface on the house.
When we were growing up we always had a train running under the Christmas tree. It was the American Flyer set that my Dad had. My brother's best friend has an even more serious train legacy with his Dad. Now, every year, Eddie and John set up a combined display in John's garage and we got to see it for the first time. They put it up every October and leave it through Christmas. They had all of the trains running for us today. It's really cool in a nerdy sort of way.
They have all sorts of buildings and scenes but I cracked up when I saw that they even had a chain gang!
It was fun to see it and appreciate all of the work that they put into it.
Between the drives and time in the hotel, I had a lot of time to finish off a few crochet hats. The top 2 are made of Feels Like Butta-type yarn and I'm making those to be men's chemo hats. The others are the Chunky Guy hat that I'm currently loving for donation hats. They don't look great flat but they look really good on the head. These three are thick and warm. I've already donated my winter hats for this year so I'll put these in a bag and start collecting for next year.
Since my last post I finished one of the 2 Chandelier quilt tops. My first goal of today is to finish the second one. There's also chores. I need to get outside and pick up the ton of sticks and branches that fell during the windstorm Friday and Saturday.
I've also decided to power through and finish this blanket over the next 3 days. I only have one ball of yarn left. I'm making it for my cousin's husband and I'm seeing her Thursday for lunch. It should be pretty easy to get this one wrapped up as my last finish for 2022.
My only wish for the last week of 2022 is that there not be a lot of yarn sales to tempt me into buying yarn that I do not need!
I finally ironed the last of the tea towels
The day that I was tying up all of the tshirts I noticed the rest of the stack of tea towels that I had been dyeing before. There were 16 towels left and I decided to dye all of them. Eight of them were tied and I just used whatever leftover dyes I had from the tshirts. There was no planning at all and I'm really happy with the results. I will absolutely tie dye more and almost wish I had tie dyed all 16 of the ones I had. But I decided to use the Color Magnet on the last 8 to make some more gift sets that weren't seasonal.
Of all 16 the top one is my favorite of the bunch but I'm not unhappy with any of them. Here they are...
These 2 are pretty spectacular too!
This last one is pretty cool too.
Here are the 4 sets that I screen printed with Color Magnet. On a couple of them I did overall designs instead of just edge designs and I think they turned out nice. All of them were done quickly without a lot of thought. I delivered one set last night as a housewarming gift for my college roommate's Mom and some of the others are already designated for gifts but I'm keeping a couple of the tie dyes for myself!
Spring in December postcards
I have a few December birthdays and one is 2 days before Christmas. My only goal with the cards for these birthday girls is to make these cards look decidedly non-holiday. I was a little behind in getting these done so Friday evening I had to get busy and get them knocked out. One of them is already a week late!
These cards started with some sunprints that I made a few years ago. I can't tell you how many times I've pulled these prints out to try to figure out something to do with them. I've been trying to use them as a the whole card image and nothing ever inspired me. Friday evening I pulled them out again and thought that cropping the image might just do the trick.....and it did.
Some shiny, bright pink stitching was all that was needed to finish them off. I made 6 and mailed two of them Saturday. In the end I think they are pretty cute!
I did lots of other things this weekend but I don't have photos yet. The tie dye tshirts are all done and I started 2 new veterans quilt tops that I'm going to probably finish this week. I don't have any other sewing projects queued up so I'll put these two simple tops together. Photos of all those things will come in the next few days.
Only a crochet update today
I'm not sure exactly what all I accomplished this weekend except for watching football all day yesterday (hence the crochet update). I know I did some yardwork and I did make a Christmas gift Saturday. I can't share the gift yet but I can tell you that I'm really happy with it.
Sunday was all football and all crochet so here's where I stand with my crochet.
Look familiar? This is the second capelet I've made in this yarn. It's Lion Brand Ice Cream Cotton Blend. It's lovely to work with and feels great and I got it at a great deal (the only way I buy yarn).
I just don't love how the colors pool. I also have 6 balls of this in shades of tan/brown and I think it will actually look better. The pattern was for a smaller weight yarn so I had to do lots of adjusting for 4 weight yarn. This one is a medium size. The last one was large.
In the end, I'm confident that it will find a good home.
I didn't have a lot leftover but I added what there was to my 4 weight scrap blanket. Even yarns of the same weight vary quite a bit in size but I"m not worrying about that. It's a scrap project that might become a pet bed so I'll just keep going.
My next charity project will be a blanket (baby or wheelchair....whatever) using tis Caron cake yarn that was also bought on sale last year. I think I got this yarn half off. It will be just like this blanket with either a purple or turquoise border.
It was interesting to go back and read that post where I talked about the pain in my hands and how I had to limit my crochet time. I'm so glad I found a good chiropractor! I crocheted for probably 5 hours yesterday and I'm no worse for it. No pain at all.
I do have some pain from my ab-focused workout this morning. My computer app tried to kill me.
Barclay's blanket is coming along well. I'm about to start ball 5 of 7. He will probably have this right after Christmas.
I still have the blue sweater underway but haven't touched it in a bit. The next step requires me to sit down and focus on the instructional video. I hope to have time for that next week. This week requires me to do a lot of tie dye shirts for Christmas gifts.
Printed tea towels - the 2022 gift
I have a small group of friends that I used to work with and we all get together each month for drinks and to catch up. Sometimes we do other things together but the monthly catch up is our thing. There are 6 of us and we've been getting together pretty much since I retired in 2010. We exchange Christmas gifts each year. Kim, Lora and Mary always make homemade treats that Chris really enjoys. Kim makes amazing peanut brittle. Lora makes a yummy coffee chocolate bark and Mary makes killer Rum Balls and cookies. Mitzy and Susan always come up with something really clever and I always make something. I've done coasters (2 ways), potholders (need to do those again), dyed socks, dyed scarves, soap and lotion, glass dishes......I can't even remember everything. I've even made tea towels before but it was a long time ago. I know that because the ones I made for myself from that year are worn out.
This year is tea towel year again and these are the 5 sets I selected, from the 10 sets I made, that I will gift to my friends this evening.
Here's how I make them.
I use stencils and screens and a product called Jacquard Color Magnet. If' you have been around the blog for a while you will know that I use this often. I have pretty severe allergies to the VOCs in fabric paints so this is the absolute safest way for me to get imagery on cloth. It's limiting because the results is tone on tone, but it doesn't fade over time like paints often does.
The Color Magnet is bright yellow and the consistency of mucous. It's really slimy. It works best with screen printing but I have more holiday themed stencils than screens and I had to figure out the best way to apply it with a screen. I made a sample cloth a couple of weeks ago trying a few different methods and the best, by far, was using a dense sponge and sponging the stuff on.
You have to be very careful using this product because once it touches the fabric it's on there. You really can't successfully wash it out. So any spatters or drips are going to show. Over time I've just learned to embrace that feature.
Having a print surface is very helpful but you can't use the same print surface without letting it completely dry out between uses. Otherwise any bleed through of the product will stick to the next towel and it will show in the dyeing. I have a random roll of batting (that I probably was given or picked up cheap somewhere) that's thin polyester with a scrim. It's pretty useless for most things but it makes a great print surface. I cut 5 pieces of that and I printed 5 towels at a time. I did 5 a day giving the print pads a full day to dry before I did the next set of 5. It worked great because I was usually bored with the stenciling process after 5 towels anyway.
This is what they look like after they are printed and while still wet. Once the dry the yellow image is very pale.
Then you dye! This process works with pale colors. The dye magnet picks up most of the excess dye that didn't stick to the fabric and that's how you get a darker image. But if you dyed the item dark, then the image would not show well at all. Yellows and oranges don't really show up well either. I think it works best with blues, greens, purples, reds, grays, tans.....
This process also works best with full immersion dyeing but I wanted some texture in the background so I used my normal low-water immersion. In one particular bin, because of the way I had the fabric arranged, the images didn't develop as well as I wanted. But I thought I knew a trick to deal with that.
In my early days of using this product I learned that the Color Magnet keeps working for a few washes. I learned the hard way that I cannot put all of the colors together in one wash cycle because the items keep picking up dye and the images turn gray. I have to do the soak process by color. For the ones that didn't absorb as much dye as I wanted, I rinshed them enough to get the soda ash out and then put them in a bin of water with some green dye. The printed areas all took up more dye and the images became clearer. Because there was no soda ash, the rest of the towel didn't absorb any discernable additional dye.
Here are all 10 designs that I made using every stencil and screen that I had in my stash that was remotely holiday themed. I made 2 of each design. The 5 at the top of the page are the ones I selected to give my friends this evening.
These are probably my 3 favorite designs. The snowflake stencils worked really well and I like the other two with the blue middle bit and the green edges. I'll probably keep one of these sets for myself.
Next up in the Christmas making department is tie dye tshirts. I've got 2 weeks to get those done.
Cards are done....on to hats!
So, recently I went to Joann to get some thread for Mom. I took my usual stroll through the yarn department to see what was going on there. There was a lady standing by and end cap looking at the O'Go Colorama yarn. I stopped for a second and she pointed out that it was buy 1 get 3 free. We started talking about making hats for charity and discovered that we make things for the same organization, From The Heart Stitchers.
I know I said a month ago that I had made my last hats for the year but FHT had made a request for more hats recently so I bit on the Colorama deal.
I like The Chunky Guy beanie for fast hats made for men. They don't look so good flat but they actually look great on. So I got started and decided to only work on hats until I made as many as I could with this yarn.
I paid about $9 for all of the yarn and I got 9 hats made. I probably could have made one more but by the time I got it down to $1 a hat I was done. I did not love this yarn. It made a comfy hat but it wasn't fun to work with. I refused to put this yarn in the closet and forced myself to use it as a lesson to myself on impulse purchases.
With the hats finished it was time to make a delivery. These are the things that our Ashland group made in the past few months. I delivered the Tuesday. I'm already working on another of the blue capelets. I'll be happy to see the end of that yarn as well. I love the texture of the cotton/acrylic blend but I don't like the way the colors flow. I know someone will love it though because it's very warm and comfy.
In other news, I keep a puzzle going and usually work on it while I'm eating breakfast. This one was a little surprising because it turned out to be one of those with hidden animals. I just couldn't do the sssss so I'm calling this one done.
The other thing I've been working on this week are some gifts from friends. I think I'll have them done and ready to share tomorrow. Next I have to work on some December birthday cards and I want to make sure they don't look anything like Christmas.
The Christmas Tree cards
Every year I do one design that is tree themed. This card was supposed to be the design for last year but I got stuck in the design process and couldn't come up with anything that I liked.
They ended last year like this. I had the stenciling done and just did not like it and didn't think I could save them. I decided to let them rest for a year.
They needed more red! I think the red stripe fabric is a Kaffe fabric that I had in my stash. It made for nice edges and some red paint dots fixed the trees. Once I had my mind made up they came together quickly.
I made 24 of these.
I think I made a total of 80 cards and they are addressed and ready to mail today or Thursday. Also, I have a few extras! If you would like to receive a card leave a comment below and I'll contact you to get your address. I have at least 5 extras and will take them on a first come first served basis.
Bling Moon postcards
The idea for this card started in the heat of summer when I did some sunprinting with Estelle and Marcy. I dyed 32 fat quarters that weekend. Two of them were dyed using a window sheer that I picked up at Goodwill. The star motif sunprinted really well and I knew that I wanted to use these fabrics for some Christmas cards this year.
Two years ago I painted a stash of fabric with metallic and pearlized paints. I found a couple of those to use for my moon and star.
The stitching took two different machines. Once all of the Christmas cards were done I had used all 5 of my sewing machines! The Brother (the most expensive machine) doesn't like sewing with specialty threads so I could only use that one for some stitching on the tree cards (unveiled Wednesday). I used a Janome 415 for the zig zag on the star but it doesn't have a free motion foot. I pulled out the Janome Gem Gold to stitch the gold loop and do the straight stitching on the star. I used the Juki for some stitching on the candle card that I shared Friday and I finished all of the cards on my serger.
For once I didn't have too many machines!
It took me a long time to figure out what to do on the edges but in the end I felt that the card needed more sparkle so I picked a Razzle Dazzle thread from Superior Threads.
It needed just one more thing. I had a ton of crystals left over from on one (and only) foray into diamond painting and just needed some Super Glue to finish these cards off.
I made 24 of these cards. I'm addressing a few each night and hope to have them all in the mail by Saturday.
Christmas candle postcard
The first of my 3 postcard designs is a Christmas candle.
These cards started with the "snowflake" batik. I don't know what this pattern is really called but I'm calling it snowflakes. I found this fabric in a quilt shop in Greenville, Maine called Crazy Moose Fabrics. I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to figure out a way to use it to make postcards. It's not very often that you get a good Christmassy batik and one with metallic highlights is an extra bonus. I bought enough that I have leftovers and feel some new placemats coming on soon.
I wanted to feature one of the motifs in whatever design I used and I ultimately came up with the idea of having the motif be the background for a candle flame. I found some pretty textured hand dyes in my stash to use for the candles.
My first trial was having 3 candles but that was just too busy and took away from the fabric motif. Then I tried on one chunky candle and that was much better.
I fussy cut the 4" x 6" background pieces and fused them to the Peltex and then painted the flame with a couple of different metallic paints. I cut a template out of an index card to use as a stencil for the flame because I was never going to be able to paint an attractive flame freehand.
Every step in postcard making involves some kind of trial and error and that includes the edging. First I tried the dark green on the right and I felt that it left the card flat and I would need to add some other element. Then I tried the dusty red and that finished it off perfectly. I'll still use the green one, it's not "bad", but it's not as good as the red one.
I made 30 of these cards.
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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.