Log Cabin Tea Towels

I recently attended a weaving class for my rigid heddle loom at the Little Red Mitten in St. Thomas. These log cabin pattern tea towels are the result.

I used 2/8 cotton doubled in chocolate and natural to create the patterns.

It was definitely a labour of love, given the time it took to design the simple pattern, prepare the loom and weave the three towels. However, they came out perfectly and have a lovely heavy drape to them. You can’t purchase mass produced tea towels of this quality.

I can’t wait to start on the next set of tea towels, maybe stripes this time.

Lake Huron Study

This is my latest rug hooking piece, titled “Lake Huron Study”. The piece measures 16″ by 25″, and will be used as a large table protector for placing hot or cold items.

For years I’ve been drawn to trying to capture the beauty of the view from the Lake Huron shore, and I find that rug hooking is wonderful way to do that, as the techniques are so simple, and it’s easy to blend colours and textures to create just the right effect.

I recently joined the Burlington Hooking Craft Guild, and that was a great move! The in-studio time helped me get this project completed, and the studio itself – located at the Art Gallery of Burlington – has a lot to offer, including a small supply shop, a huge kitchen with full dyeing equipment, a lending library, and an assortment of strip cutters.

What’s also great is the camaraderie of working alongside other dedicated and knowledgeable hookers.

The supplies for Lake Huron Study were purchased at Martina Lesar’s studio in Caledon. The abstract design is my own.

Cleave

My first knitting project completed in 2017: Cleave by Hunter Hammerson in Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock Yarn (ginger). It is a gorgeous and enjoyable pattern to knit. The cables are beautiful and not too tricky, the ribbing is comfortable, and the gusset increases are interesting. I hadn’t tried this method of sock construction before. It was also interesting because the two socks are not identical, because the cables are only on the outer leg side of each sock. I plan to try the pattern again in a lighter yarn.

You can find the pattern on Ravelry, or in the book New Directions in Sock Knitting.

I have to come clean with you, I didn’t knit a test swatch beforehand to check the gauge, and I regret it, because they are a tiny bit loose on my feet. I solemnly swear to make a test swatch next time and every time before beginning a new knitting project.

My goal for 2017 is to knit a small project (most likely socks, mittens, or baby wear) every two weeks. I’ve already cast on my next project: Knit Sampler, from Stephanie Van der Linden’s book Around the World in Knitted Socks. This book is a must in the sock knitter’s library. When I checked on Ravelry under Stephanie Van der Linden, I saw that she has a great number of amazing designs worth trying.

UFO #2: Keepsake Hexagons

My second UFO is complete! This quilt is named Keepsake Hexagons, because my Mom bought me the base fabrics for is at a shop in New Hampshire called Keepsake Quilting. Believe it or not, this collection came from the clearance area of the shop.

I had bought some half hexagon tools from the Missouri Star Quilt Company, and thought these fabrics would be a beautiful choice to try the larger tool out on. The main fabric that was central to the planning was the large iris print with brown background, so I needed the right size block to showcase it properly.

Once again this is a very simple design, as the hexagons are randomly placed in complementary shades of gold, red, pink, brown and yellow. I think it has a lovely old-fashioned feel to it.

It was pieced in rows using half hexagons, which was a bit fiddly; every seam had to be pinned and checked for accuracy. The quilt was long-arm quilted by Anne Friedrich using an all-over floral pattern in gold thread.

The quilt was sitting as a UFO for about 8 months because I knew the binding would take about 8 hours. It did, but I’m very pleased with the result. I’m discovering that sometimes, when I do long and tedious (quilt-related) tasks, I enjoy being so up-close and personal with the fabric and can use the time to appreciate the beautiful fabrics and design.

Mental note for a future project: I have a great collection of honey bee prints in my stash. Wouldn’t the hexagons be great for using them?!

UFO Number 1

As I promised myself, I have completed UFO number 1! I call this quilt “Cranes and Flowers”. It’s an original design, very simple, and a great way to showcase large prints. The finished quilt is about 72″ by 72″, a nice size for a double bed, but easily adaptable to larger or smaller sizes. For the centre panels I chose two complementary Asian fabrics with large , stunning prints – the kind you don’t want to cut up. For visual appeal, the two panels are in the proportion of approximately 2/3 to 1/3 (I just eyeballed it, no exact science was used). Next I added a contrasting but related 4 inch inner border. The inner border sits at just the right spot to nicely frame a double bed. Finally, I added a strip border (each strip 8″ by 2 1/2″) using many different red, pink and gold Asian fabrics from a fat quarter collection I purchased online from Debsews2.com.  Most of the fabrics for the quilt were purchased from Debsews.

I had this quilt long-arm quilted with a lovely all-over floral design using Sulky variegated gold thread. It was sitting as a UFO for 6 months or so simply because I knew the binding would take about 8 hours. It did, but I am thrilled with the rich red, pink and gold Asian fabric I used. I only wish I had a little more of it for another project!

Let me know if you’d like more details on the pattern.

On to the next UFO…

 

Inventory

I find myself in a very fortunate situation: lots of time on my hands, now that I am not working full time, and lots of crafting materials, collected over many years.

My first order of business was to take an inventory. This was much more difficult than I imagined. It took an entire weekend to survey just my quilting fabric. My Mom very kindly came over and helped out.

Step one was creating relevant categories for sorting the fabric. Here’s what we came up with:

  • Precuts
  • Asian fabric
  • Novelty fabrics
  • Polka dots, stripes and checks
  • Project collections already determined
  • UFOs
  • Whites, off-whites, beiges and creams
  • Browns, yellows and golds
  • Oranges and reds
  • Pinks, peaches and purples
  • Blues, blue-greens, and greens
  • Scraps

My collection has grown over the past 25 years or so of quilting, but I was amazed to calculate there are over 300 metres of fabric in my stash! The sorting process also gave me the chance to review all of my fabric and start my thinking about the projects I will work on over the next year.

There were some surprises and insights that came up during the inventory process. For instance I must be drawn to mushrooms and fish, as I have extensive mushroom and fish designs in my collection. (Maybe a mushroom quilt will be coming up!) There are a lot of large prints in the collection; I need to be on the lookout for patterns that will showcase them – expect a blog on that later in the year. I also want to find quilt designs that will use my novelty fabrics with ,white backgrounds. There are more than a few in my collection that I adore, but haven’t been able to use in a quilt. Another insight came from the almost complete lack of batiks in my stash. This is an area outside my current comfort zone that I would like to expand into in the future.

Now that I’ve completed the inventory and assured myself I have enough fabric, I’ve set some rules/guidelines of engagement for quilting in the next year:

  1. No purchasing fabric (except for accent fabric, solids and backing)
  2. Finish all of my UFOs
  3. Design and create 3-4 projects per month using my stash

Most daunting, however is the pile of UFOs dating back over ten years. There are 13 UFOs in various stages of completion. They became UFOs for a variety of reasons. Some because I didn’t like them, some with many, many hours of piecing, several just the binding. I will begin by tackling these UFOs!