Friday, December 20, 2019

travel pouch

I needed a quick gift for one of the barn folks I work with, and the advantage of having a rather robust stash and some sewing skills is that I could make one in an evening! I've have been wanting to make some zippered pouches lately, probably because I got going on those drawstring bags which were so satisfying to make. A little bit of scrap diving came up with the lovely patchwork below.

I had a lot of approximately 2 inch strips of Indie fabric that I sewed into strip sets. To make the patchwork I just cut the strip sets into strips 90 degrees from the stripe to give me tubes of squares. I ripped the seams of the tubes in different places to give me strips of squares that I could just sew together with a few seams to give me the patchwork. I like the ikat print across the bottom to ground it a bit, and I used the same print as the bag lining. 

For the back I kept the strips intact instead of making the patchwork - I like the difference a lot and it is a nice way to see more of the print intact. Each of the outer pieces were sewn onto scraps of quilt batting with straight lines 1/4" away from the seams using a contrasting thread, navy I think. 

Assembling it was a little bit of a pain mostly because I don't think I left myself enough room to maneuver around the ends of the zipper. I definitely broke a needle sewing over a piece I thought I had cleared! Oops. At least it was an old needle. The zipper is a light blue one I had hanging around and while it doesn't match any of the colors in the prints I like the way it works with them.

All in all this was a fun quick gift to make and I hope the person getting it uses it in her travels to shows and clinics.

Monday, December 16, 2019

sustainable fisheries

While out shopping on Small Business Saturday at our local yarn shop, I found myself oohing and aahing at the lovely skeins of Noro yarn they had in stock. I chose one for my mom to play with and one for this project. In barn buddy tradition, I’m making a friend a cowl for her birthday. It will come in handy to wear while riding and puttering around the barn in the cold(ish) weeks we have here. 

I chose a pattern out of my book of slip stitch knitting and knit until I ran out of yarn. Simple! The pattern itself, not so simple. There are a lot of cable crosses and maneuvering of yarn onto different needles that are required and some manual dexterity was key in getting this to not take forever. I fiddled around until I could hold all three needles in such a way that the cables weren’t cumbersome. Once I got a rhythm established it went pretty smoothly. The fun part was seeing new stripes of color come off the skein and into the fabric every few rows. 

I like the way the pattern turned out. Pairing a simple single texture with the more exciting self striping yarn worked out nicely. I’m calling it sustainable fisheries for a couple of reasons. First, the recipient is really interested in the sustainable seafood program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Second, the pattern reminds me a lot of fish netting on the right side and waves on the wrong side. Seemed appropriate.

These cool blue and green colors are right up her alley, and I’m happy to say that after blocking the finished piece will wrap around a neck twice to stay out of the way while riding. I hope she likes it!

Pattern: Zlaty Dest cowl (my Ravelry page)
Yarn: Noro Taiyo in color 124
Needle: US 9

Sunday, December 15, 2019

I love this hat

I started this hat late yesterday afternoon and finished it early this morning. And I love it. I am really enjoying the color combination of these four leftovers of madelinetosh dk yarn, the stitch definition, and the way the color work pops. Super excited for my dad to open this gift on Christmas morning.

The pattern is a free one from tincanknits called Anthology. They give you a recipe for the hat, a cowl, and I think one other thing in the pattern as well as a bunch of colorwork charts. I ended up finding a different motif on their website called clayoquot that I liked better than any of the charts in the actual pattern, so I referred to a picture of that and used it in part of my hat. I started with the brim in dark gray (until I ran out) and then finished with the beige. The clayoquot pattern then morphed right out of the brim really nicely in a way the makes the overall color transitions look great. After one repeat of the motif I improvised my way up the rest of the hat, dictated by when I ran out of the beige. The crown decreases were really easy, and I still think the whiskey barrel brown is one of my favorite colors to knit with. 

I added this spiffy leather tag on the brim, which is witty and true for both hat and wearer. 

Pattern: Anthology by tincanknits, free on Ravelry (my Ravelry page)
Yarn: madelinetosh dk in 'el greco', 'court and spark', 'terra', and 'whiskey barrel'
Needle: US 4 and US 6

Friday, December 13, 2019

Julekuler 2019

I've been busy making little potato chip knitting projects (i.e. julekuler) among the other crafty things that have been happening lately. These are great things to sit down to a football game with, and there's lots of that going around this time of year! This is the second year of julekuler knitting from the Arne and Carlos book Dave got me last year, and it's just as fun this time around as it was the first.

The patterns above are: Bird on Branch, Greek Cross, Xs and Os version 1, Hearts, Secret Rose, and Handcraft Border from the book. I wanted to try out some of the patterns that had lots of cross/diamond-like patterning to them. I think those are my favorite type of designs. And of course, the bird I made in red as a cardinal, in my mind at least. I miss hearing their chirps since we don't have them out here in California. 

The ball below is a very special one I made for Andrea, who is a puppy raiser for an organization that pairs service dogs with veterans and autistic children. Elwood was a black lab she had for almost two years and is now paired up with a teenage boy helping him through life. He was a wonderful dog and it is so rewarding knowing he has a job at last! I found this paw chart online and adapted it for the julekuler pattern. If I had to do it over again, I'd leave the toes all black rather than trying to checker them, but this one looks cute too. 

They were all steamed, stuffed, and finished this afternoon. Some may be destined to be gifts, but the majority we will keep and grow our collection year over year!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

pillows of plaid a-plenty

Dave has always made fun of me for my excessive number of throw pillows. In fact, in the last place I had agreed to get rid of some of them by making pillow covers and gifting them to people. Buuuut since we got the house our throw pillow demand has gone up, especially with the fabulous couch we have in the living room downstairs. I'm pretty committed to nesting and decorating for the seasons (we'll see how long that lasts!) so the last trip we took to the fabric store Dave helped me pick out some prints to make pillow covers of our own for the living room. 

He's been big into stags/reindeer the last couple years and there have been many nice prints to choose from lately. We also wanted to try to keep that room more of a red/white/gray Scandanavian vibe for the holidays this year so I kept to that palette for both prints, the backing fabric, and thread. I improvised my way around making a 20" x 20" pillow cover by piecing the front, adding batting, and then stitching those layers together before adding the back. For the backing I used a heavy duty gray canvas that I've had forever. It must have been a remnant I picked up somewhere, but I've got a lot of it! It's perfect for pillow backing and makes the end result much more professional than regular fabric would. 

The zipper was a 16" zipper that I installed with fabric tabs on either side. It wasn't difficult at all to put in and I really like the look of a contrasting zipper showing. The only "quilting" I did on the front was this very appropriate decorative stitch around the center panel that looks like snowflakes when done in white. It adds a touch of whimsy and some texture to an otherwise pretty simple pillow.

It was fun doing a project for the house and also one that was quick to finish. They are installed and being enjoyed by us and the kittens already! Here's hoping we can keep the cat hair off for a while... 

Monday, December 2, 2019

be our guest

Last week I went stash diving. While it's all very well to have a stash of fabrics to make quilts from, sometimes it's nice to grab some fabric and play with smaller projects and bigger prints. Each of these prints wouldn't have been great to cut up, but work out great on big drawstring bags. 

We are super excited that we will have a house full of family for the holidays this year, and because I think it's fun I decided to make everyone their own laundry bag for traveling. I love the one I made myself - I take it to all the horse shows and every other trip I go on - and Dave has a couple he likes to keep with his suitcases too. It was fun to pair up prints and see how these each came together with their own personalities.

I think the hardest part is picking the fabrics out, and after that it's just a few seams, some pressing, and a bit of top stitching to a finished bag. Lumiere would be proud!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

a two hat kind of day

Some days you just whip through a couple of stash busting projects, and one of those days was today. Boom! Two hats. Very gratifying.

I found myself rummaging through my yarn to see what I had that I could make fast holiday projects with and found these two chunky colorful yarns. For the red one, I used a pattern I saved on Pinterest a while back, and for the rainbow I repeated the very same pattern I had already used with this yarn to make myself a hat back in January. I love how they both turned out and they'll end up going to my nieces who are coming to visit. 

Of course, any hat could always use a pom pom. I don't add them to all of my hats, but I sure want to.  I snapped up these two pom poms at the local yarn shop, Continental Stitch, on Small Business Saturday (which was really fun to "celebrate" in Morgan Hill, by the way - so many great local shops!). I couldn't really decide which way I liked them best, so consulted the expert - Mom! She liked the black on red and buff on rainbow best. I didn't start out thinking that's how it would go but seeing both options side by side, I agree. I like that one is sort of Stanford pride and the other will be a nice way to go out together and "match" but hers will have a pom pom so will be way cooler than mine. Hope they like them!

Pattern for red hat: Chunky Catamount Beanie, free on Ravelry (my Ravelry page)
Yarn: Premier Yarns Serenity Chunky Prints in 'red ochre'
Needle: US 11 and US 13

Pattern for rainbow hat: Swirly Smooshy Chunky Beanie, free on Ravelry (my Ravelry page)
Yarn: Loops & Threads Facets in 'peridot'
Needle: US 13