Links

I had seen some beautiful bargello quilts on display and really wanted to make one. Of course I wanted a stunningly beautiful one, but didn’t understand the concepts well enough to design one myself. So I signed up for a class at Sew Etc. and worked from this pattern, “Links”, by Derek Lockwood.

Overall, even using the strip piecing technique recommended in the pattern, this was a challenging quilt to assemble. I did learn a couple of useful tips about strip piecing during the construction of the original strip sets:

  1. Don’t use strips that are too long. I used half the width of the yardage – about 22 inches. The longer the strips are, the harder it is to keep the seam absolutely straight. And if the seams aren’t straight, the squares won’t line up properly when you try to piece the rows on the quilt.
  2. It’s a good idea to press each strip as you attach it to the next, otherwise results are less accurate when you try to press the whole set, and you lose width from the strips.

It was very interesting to learn how the juxtaposition of the colours combined with varying widths of columns creates the curving movement.

Why was this one a UFO? Once again it was time. The quilt top was about half completed during the class, and took me a further 20 or so hours to finish. On top of that add 18 hours for basting, quilting, and binding. I did notice again that spending so much time with the quilt was very pleasant, I really had a chance to appreciate the interplay of the colours.

Could I design one myself? Definitely not one as complex as this, more practice is required. Not sure how soon I’ll attempt another bargello quilt, but it sure feels good to complete another unfinished object.

 

Octo

Octo was my most daunting UFO, because I knew how many hours of work were still required (it took me about 55 hours in total). I began Octo at a quilting workshop in 2015 at the Oakville Sewing Centre. Quilt and fabric designer Brigitte Heitland led the workshop. Each participant received a copy of Brigitte’s Octo pattern and a kit with enough Zen Chic fabric to complete the quilt. We worked on the paper piecing technique which gives the complex quilt such a precise result. I love the contrast of the bright patterns against the octagons and four pointed stars in mixed plain whites, creams and greys.

Because I am not working, I was determined to quilt the quilt myself on my own machine ( a Bernina 550). After the many hours spent creating the beautiful quilt top, I wanted the quilting to be perfect. I ended up using a temporary adhesive spray to baste the quilt, and it was much better than  pinning. Except for the borders I quilted with the walking foot in a way that emphasized the geometry. The borders are simple loops using the stitch regulator and free motion foot.

I cheated and folded and wrapped the backing fabric around the front to create the binding.

I wonder where this very special quilt will end up – I haven’t yet decided!

If you’re interested, take a look at Brigitte’s patterns at her website – www.brigitteheitland.de

 

 

Knit Sampler Socks

This is the Knit Sampler pattern from Stephanie Van der Linden’s Around the World in Knitted Socks. This was my first time knitting cables from a chart, and it was a great beginner project with lots o rest rows between cables. The rest of the pattern is simply knits and purls.

I particularly liked the short row heel with no increasing, picking up stitches, or decreasing for gussets.

The yarn used is Rowan fine Art Sock Yarn – soft and gorgeous to work with.

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?!