Sunday, April 23, 2017

FO: Quilt-Style Curtains

Remember the quilt-style curtains I was making for the kitchen?

They're done and in the windows!
They have been for weeks, actually, but I only recently took a few photos for "show and tell".

The main attraction curtain is basically a doll-size mini-quilt-- a rectangle to go in the window of the kitchen door.

Quilt-Style Window Curtains

I chose to make a carpenter's star (sometimes called "carpenter star", without the possessive) as the focal point, with a simple chevron for the bottom edge and a row of random half-square triangles along the top.

The fabrics are a selection of greens and deep blue-greens as the darks and a white-on-white print for the lights.   I made a scrappy binding (my first!) from a handful of the same fabrics.

The backing is just leftovers from a pale cream sheet I had on hand.  White might've been a more ideal choice, but you'll never see the two sides at the same time, so this is fine.

The batting is 100% polyester leftover from a quilt, and the quilting is extremely simple-- just straight vertical lines on either side of the seams.  That was enough to give it a little poof and texture.

Quilt-Style Window Curtains

I also made a small valance for the window over the sink (the only other window in the kitchen that has/needs curtains).  I used the same fabrics for this second curtain, except that I substituted a different white-on-white print for part of it (because I was running out of the first fabric).

The valance is a very simple arrangement of half-square triangles.  I think I would've preferred the looks of another band of chevron (like on the bottom of the door curtain), but that would've require more HSTs, and I just wanted it done, at that point.  It's fine-- though it did turn out very slightly narrower than I was planning.  (Oops...)

Quilt-Style Window Curtains

I didn't include loops or ties on either curtain.  The hanging rings come with alligator clips, and those seem to be working well.  (However, the hanging rings don't match the finish of the curtain rod on the door, so I'll probably eventually try to paint the rod a darker color.  That would match the door hardware better, too.)

My seams don't all match up perfectly (as is especially obvious on the valance), but I think it's good enough to count as a success.  I do love the looks of the carpenter's star and would be happy to use it again, sometime.

Quilt-Style Window Curtains


So, there they are!  Quilt-style curtains.  I'm not sure I'll ever want to make them for any other part of the house, but at least I gave it a try, and I like the panel on the door well enough that I can imagine making a few for that window (but probably not matching valances) to trade out as the seasons change.

When the sun comes through (not much, because it is a shaded north-facing window), it lights the fabric up like stained glass-- which is pretty, but also makes it glaringly obvious that my seam allowances accidentally got folded in the wrong direction in a couple of spots, sometime during the process.

But on the whole, it's good.  I like it!  :o)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

FO: Mermaid's Tears

Here's another finished object with photos, at long last.

This is one I knitted in a couple of weeks, back in the late summer of 2015-- but I only recently got around to blocking it and taking some photos.

"Mermaid's Tears"
Pattern:  "Petits Trous de Printemps" by Berangere Cailiau
(Free on Ravelry, in English and French)

"Petits Trous de Printemps"

Yarn:  Knit Picks Aloft, "Tranquil"

One ball made a nice-sized scarf.  I'd estimate it's about 64 inches long.

"Petits Trous de Printemps"

The pattern doesn't call for adding beads, but there are several projects on Ravelry (with accompanying notes) that include them.  My own notes mention the modifications I made (and the Raveler whose notes I found helpful).

"Petits Trous de Printemps"

This was my first time working beads into a knitting (or crochet, for that matter) project, but once I got the hang of it, I really enjoyed the process.  I'd definitely like to work glass beads into more projects.  They add an elegant touch of sparkle, and I like the contrast of the cool, smooth beads with the warm, fuzzy yarn.

"Petits Trous de Printemps"

The mohair/silk-blend yarn was pleasant to work with, too, even though mohair has quite a reputation for being a nightmare to tink or rip back.  The key seems to be to not make significant mistakes. Very helpful tip, right?  But seriously, if you do need to frog mohair, it may help to put it in the freezer for a while beforehand-- and get yourself a pair of small, very sharp-pointed scissors so you can carefully snip tangled bits of fluff-- not the strand of yarn as a whole-- that just don't want to budge.  

"Petits Trous de Printemps"

It's light as a cloud-- soft, fluffy, decadent-- and (though I haven't yet had an opportunity to wear it for very long) I think it's surprisingly warm, for something that looks so insubstantial.  I wouldn't put it up against an Arctic wind on a blustery day, but it's warmer than you might think.

"Petits Trous de Printemps"

All in all, this was a very satisfactory project.  Its super easy to knit (especially if you forego the beads).  It's definitely one of those patterns where the yarn is the star of the show.  Even simple stockinette (with occasional eyelet rows) looks lovely when knitted in a floaty, fuzzy yarn.

"Petits Trous de Printemps"


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

FO: In Anticipation of October

Yet another finished object is finally getting its moment in the spotlight!  ;o)

"In Anticipation of October"
Pattern:  "October is for Spinners" by Sharon Emery
(Pattern free on Ravelry)

"In Anticipation of October"

Yarn:  Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool, "Natural" (hand-dyed with food color gels)

"In Anticipation of October"

I've forgotten most of the ups and downs of this project, but I did blog about it fairly early in the process.  There are also a few notes on my Ravelry project page.

"In Anticipation of October"

What I do remember is that it was fun and exciting to knit the spider and the first intentional holes.

"In Anticipation of October"

The "end" of the scarf (the part without the spider) is very chaotic and messy-looking.  I had to block it pretty severely to get it to the right width (or "close enough").

"In Anticipation of October"

I'm afraid this project shows that I am prone to "rowing out", which is generally thought a bad thing.  I try not to worry about it, though.  It might be a technical short-coming, but I guess it's one I can live with.

Rowing out aside, I was pretty impressed that I could knit that neato spider!  (g) And to think, when I started out on my first knitting project, I could barely even hold the needles right! ;o)

"In Anticipation of October"

Will I ever actually wear it?  ...Maybe.

"In Anticipation of October"

Some things are worth making just for the sake of the making!  (That's proving to be the theme of all these latest FOs, isn't it?!  I probably am more of a process crafter than a product crafter.)


FO: Rhubarb Scarf Wannabe

Here's another long-overdue finished object report!

This is a project I've written about multiple times before, back when it was still in-progress.  Basically, it's a Catherine wheel pattern worked in two colorways of the same yarn.  The whole thing was inspired by this lovely scarf, which the crocheter called her "Rhubarb Scarf", because (if I recall correctly) the colors of the yarn and the ruffled edging reminded her of rhubarb.  (I think you have to sign in with Ravelry to see the scarf at the link above.)

I dyed my own yarn, and because of the crazy colors, my resultant scarf bears little resemblance to its inspiration, but it was an interesting project, all the same.

"Rhubarb Scarf Wannabe"
Pattern:  "Noro Catherine Wheel Scarf" by Michelle Mooney
(Pattern free on Ravelry)

"Rhubarb Scarf Wannabe"

Yarn:  Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Weight Solids, "Soft White" hand-dyed (see below)

I think I used three skeins, though there was probably some left over of the last one, which I used for edging only.

"Rhubarb Scarf Wannabe"

I've discussed the yarn-dyeing procedure before-- at length!  (And here's the entry about dyeing the yarn for the edging, for good measure.)

"Rhubarb Scarf Wannabe"

It's a little bit kooky, maybe, with all those bright colors...

"Rhubarb Scarf Wannabe"

...But I got a lot of hours of entertainment out of those three skeins of yarn!

"Rhubarb Scarf Wannabe"

I decided to make it into an infinity scarf (with a twist) instead of leaving it as a regular scarf.  It wraps around my neck twice loosely or three times snugly.

"Rhubarb Scarf Wannabe"

(Another old project scratched off the list!)


FO: "Multnomah" Shawlette

This is a... unique (shall we say?) finished object post, because I started knitting this shawlette back in April 2012.  (Good grief!)

The shawl went into a long time-out, but was finished in October 2013.  Then it took me another few years to finally block the silly thing.  And now, only five years from the starting date, I've made the effort to take photos of the finished project.  (Talk about a snail's pace!)

"Obsidian Multnomah"
Pattern:  "Multnomah" by Kate Ray.
(Available for free on Ravelry.)

"Obsidian Multnomah"

Yarn:  Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Weight Prints, "Obsidian".
(It took about two skeins.)

"Obsidian Multnomah"

This is definitely a small shawl, though I think there are tips on how to make it somewhat larger.

"Obsidian Multnomah"

Glancing through my project notes, I see that I had a lot of trouble with this project, with multiple "rippings-back".  I'm quite a bit more confident in my knitting, these days, than I was in 2012, and I'm sure it wouldn't be as much of an undertaking to knit it again-- but it was muddling through projects like this one that helped me to improve.

"Obsidian Multnomah"

I'm still not sure I'll ever actually wear this shawlette-- too small to be flattering on me? doesn't "go" with my usual style of dress?-- but I'll hang onto it for a while, in any case.

"Obsidian Multnomah"

(The next time I knit a shawl, I plan to choose a crescent-shaped one.)

"Obsidian Multnomah"

The wavy parts of the feather and fan pattern are pretty.  I especially like the little blips of color that wind through the border.  They remind me a bit of Van Gogh's Starry Night.

"Obsidian Multnomah"

And that's it!
Until a finished object has been given its photo shoot and blog entry, it doesn't really feel "done" to me-- but now I can finally strike this one off the mental to-do list. ;o)

"Obsidian Multnomah"


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Latest Doilies

"Pineapples & Crowns"
Pattern by Patricia Kristoffersen
(from Pretty Pineapple Doilies)

"Pineapples and Crowns"

Thread: Cébélia size 10, "223 Medium Dusty Pink"

(I love Cébélia.  It's a quality thread with plenty of body and a lovely sheen.  Always a pleasure to crochet!)

"Pineapples and Crowns"

I honestly don't remember much about this pattern... Looking at the finished doily, I'd guess that it wasn't particularly challenging.  It's not a highly textured doily, like some of PK's patterns are.

I like this style of pineapple for a change from the usual "mesh" pineapples-- and the crowns (from the pattern name) are there, too, though they're fairly subtle.

"Pineapples and Crowns"

I had some leftover yardage from that ball of thread, so I made one of PK's "little doilies".

"Doily #64"
Pattern by Patricia Kristoffersen
(from 99 Little Doilies)

Little Doily #64

I love the way this doily looks!  Square doilies require a little more focus than the "'round and 'round" doilies, but sometimes that's just what you need-- and the results are worth a bit more effort.  This is one of PK's textured doilies.  See all the "raised" stitches?  It's fun to see them work up, but you do have to pay attention to what you're doing and follow the pattern carefully.

I still haven't used up the whole ball of thread, but I'm not sure there's enough for another "little doily".  If nothing else, I can use it in a multicolored doily, sometime.

Little Doily #64

"Pineapple Bloom"
Pattern by Patricia Kristoffersen
(from Pretty Pineapple Doilies)

"Pineapple Bloom"

Thread:  Cébélia size 10, "747 Aqua"

(I had a hard time getting the colors adjusted accurately in these photos.  The actual color is a "more blue than green" aqua.  Very soft, very fresh and pretty.)

"Pineapple Bloom"

This is another of the less-textured PK doilies.  Fairly simple, but no less beautiful for that.  I like it!

"Pineapple Bloom"

Again, I had more thread left, so I found another small doily to try.

"Mathilde"
Pattern by Grace Fearon

"Mathilde"

There's a ton of texture packed into this tiny doily.  I think this is the first time I've tried a pattern by this designer.  She has a number of gorgeous patterns available for sale on Ravelry, but there are also several free patterns, so you can sample her pattern-writing, if you'd like.  ("Mathilde" is one of the freebies.)

If you're a fan of textured doilies, this up-and-coming designer seems like a good one to follow.

This pattern (as well as some of the designer's others) is gorgeous worked up in multiple colors.  Some crocheters seem to be changing color manually every round or two-- which yields lovely results, but also leaves many tails to weave in.  However, some seem to be using variegated thread with long color changes, including a line called "Miss Batik" from a company (I think...) named "Alize".  I'll be filing that one away for future reference.  This mercerized cotton thread comes in some beautiful colorways!  It looks like it has to be ordered online (from any of a variety of sources), but it might be worthy of a little splurge, sometime...

"Mathilde"

(And no, I didn't use up all of that ball of thread, either.  More for later!)

The last doily is my current WIP.  I mentioned it last time.  It's the charted Japanese pattern with no real name (unless "P19 Table Runner" strikes your fancy).  I'm calling it "Graceful Undulations".

Runner Doily

I've started the second half of the central panel.  It's slow going, compared to a round doily, because I have to keep referring to the pattern.  Each row is different from the last, of course, and I am not capable of memorizing such a long pattern repeat-- so there's not as much room for rhythm and that peaceful, meditative "zone".

Runner Doily

I don't dislike crocheting this, but it's one of those things I'm making more because I want the runner than because the act of crocheting it fills me with any particular sense of joy.  I won't be making this one again and again, in other words.  Once will be quite enough for me!

When the central panel's done, I'll make the two flanking panels, which are narrower; however, since they're identical, I'm sure it will feel like a never-ending project, for a while!


Friday, April 7, 2017

Machine Piecing and Blocking Doilies

I've been machine-piecing many four-patch blocks for a quilt I want to make.  It's a version of "Rainbow Rows" from the APQ 2015 Quilt-Along.  I don't have a copy of the pattern, but I'm winging/reverse-engineering it, based on photos.  I think I can get a reasonable approximation-- or at least some version of it that I'll like.

I'm using this method for making my four-patch components-- though mine aren't so tiny as the ones in the tutorial (and I didn't press the seam allowances open, on the final step).

I must've miscalculated, somewhere along the way, because I ended up with (more than a few) more than I needed.  That's ok.  I'll either use them to make the quilt bigger or save them for another project-- maybe a crazy mix-and-match quilt, somewhere down the line.

In addition to pointing out that either I'm scatterbrained or bad at math (or both!), this project has demonstrated that I really need to improve the accuracy of my seam allowances.  (They need to go on a diet...)  It's not the kind of thing I enjoy fussing over, but if I can sew more accurately, it will make the whole process flow more smoothly, which is worthwhile.

Machine Piecing

Now I'm cutting some plain squares, and the next step will be constructing nine-patch blocks using the four-patch components and the plain (low volume) squares.  (Fun! --I hope.)

- - - - - - -

The latest trio of doilies are on the blocking board.  Details about the patterns when they've been properly photographed.

Blocking Doilies

The current crochet project is another doily, but it's a departure from my usual choice in patterns.  It's a rectangular runner, for one thing, and is constructed in three pieces that are then joined and edged together.

Different from what I'm used to, but so far it's enjoyable to crochet.  However, because it doesn't go "around and around", there's less of a sense of repetition and losing yourself in the rhythm of the repeats.  I've had to rip back a row a couple of times because I was paying too much attention to what I was watching and read the wrong row of the pattern.  (It's charted, and the chart isn't huge.  A ruler placed just above the current row is helpful.)

It will be a while before this one's done, I think!