Monday 25 March 2019

The University Quilt

In spite of the distraction of the virus scarf (see last post), I didn't give up entirely on unpicking the broken quilting on the latest quilt I have been making for my son.  About three weekends in, I really did think it was never going to end though.  The problem is when you do a really great spray basting job, there's just no quick way to unpick quickly!

So, I finally set aside the seam ripper and gave the quilt another press before hanging it over the bannisters to contemplate my next move.  I ordered alternative thread and then sat down to play with quilting ideas.

The doodling was quite fun actually.  I considered the four designs above.  The top left diagonal cross hatch was ruled out just because it was too much work after all the quilting I'd already been through.  Top right is a square spiral set on point - I loved the idea of this one but thought that it might be a lot of switching and turning and twisting, and also I always think a spiral is best quilted when you can do it all in one go, which was just never going to happen here.  The two bottom options were my favoured choices.  Both section the quilting in quadrants and then echo the quadrant lines out.  Given the scales of the blocks,  I was able to afford to quilt a little wider apart than I sometimes can, so this suited my lazyitis / broken heart from unpicking previous efforts.  IG helpers seemed to like the diagonal quadrants best, which was handy because so did I and it made finalising the decision very easy.  So new thread, quilt design, chalk and ruler and off I went.

The quilting lines are approx 3" apart and look well on this quilt - not that you can probably tell from my pathetic photography efforts.  I have to say that the quadrant split was really useful when working on a small domestic machine.  You aren't having to haul and push as much bulk through the machine throat.  I'd recommend it.

So, although there were some metaphorical tears along the way, the quilt is now bound and beautiful and I think probably my favourite 'man-quilt' to date.  As I mentioned, DS wants to keep it for university (he's a little ahead of himself) which is grand.  I'm just chuffed he's happy with it!  And, also very chuffed that it's done!!

Saturday 16 March 2019

Little Virus Shawl

I've been intrigued for some time by the crocheted virus shawls that I see popping up on my Pinterest and IG feeds. In a classic case of avoidance, I used the tediousness of unpicking the quilting on DS's quilt as my excuse to start one.  Makes no logical sense whatsoever, of course, but never mind.

I'm not a very experienced crocheter by any means.  At most, I dabble here and there and stick to relatively uncomplicated things.  I think crochet is all about getting the flow of the pattern in my head.  If I can't get that, then I'm stuck trying to remember which number on which line of the pattern I'm supposed to be at and spend more time counting and re-counting than stitching.

I'm happy to say that with a little help from two sets of UK terminology instructions (24 Carat Crochet and and an incredibly helpful video by Bella Coco on Youtube, I did manage to find the flow, to understand where the pattern was going, and I really enjoyed the stitchy 4 row repeat that grew my virus scarf (not really big enough to call a shawl) relatively quickly.

Once stitched, I rinsed the scarf through in some warm water, squeezed out the excess (don't wring it!) and pinned it out on a towel on my bedroom floor to block it.  The hardest part of this process now, is just finding a time when and a space where CT cannot access it (or the pins) while it's drying!

Ta da, I now have a gorgeously soft virus scarf for the spring - although it currently feels like spring was that week two weeks ago when we had three days of warm air, and now we are back to winter.

I wish I could capture the colour of this yarn for you, but it is impossible to get it right.  Most of these pics looks like hot neon pink instead of the more coral shade it really is.  I think it was called geranium.  It is so very soft and not even the teeniest bit itchy.  I REALLY struggle not to itch with fibres on my neck or arms and lost interest in knitting and crocheting in my twenties because I could never wear anything I stitched!  I live in hope that gorgeous yarns won't make me want to scratch all day, but with little success.  I'm finding that really I need to stick to cotton or acrylic yarns and rarely can I get away with any wool content at all.

This yarn is Stylecraft Malabar which is a blend of cotton 78% and silk 22% and I adore the feel of it.  Being cotton, I'm not sure how warm it would be for a winter scarf/shawl but with just two balls, I've stitched up a decent sized neck scarf for the spring/early summer.  It's a DK weight yarn and I worked it up in a 4mm hook, though I suspect I would have achieved a drapier feel if I'd gone up a hook size.

Next time I crochet a virus shawl I really would like to keep going and make it a proper shawl size.  From what I read most folks are suggesting it takes between 500g and 800g of yarn for that size.  I will need to think carefully what yarn I could use so that it won't itch and be relegated to the non-wearable pile.  I also definitely want to use a variegated or colour changing yarn next time.  It's the only regret I have about the little scarf but I was just using up a couple of balls I had in my box, so that's ok.

Well, that was an itch well and truly scratched (pardon my pun). Only now I'm trying to figure out what excuse I can come up with for starting a shawl sized version when I have still two other long term/large crochet projects on my WIPs list. Hmmm ...

Saturday 9 March 2019

No reply bloggers

Hi Folks

I've had a few requests in the past couple of weeks for pdf copies of my Brick Layer Cake Pattern but unfortunately I have been unable to send them because the requests have been left by noreply bloggers which means that I have no access to a return email address.  If you would still like a pdf copy of the pattern, please comment again, leaving an email address in the body of your comment and I will happily oblige.

Friday 1 March 2019

Mini Archie's February Furtle

Archie The Wonder Dog

It's time for the second of Mini Archie's Furtles Around the Blogosphere - didn't that come around quickly?

Well, my February stitching got off to a great start ...

 Cosy Christmas was bound and labelled to complete the quilt-a-long started over 2 years ago!

I whipped up a 30s Repro fabrics cushion just to scratch an itch after seeing a new tutorial.

I also completed a trio of Bonnie & Camille cushions that I had been piecing.  Love these ones.

All of that came together nicely as the projects were already well advanced as February began.

Then I worked at this quilt for my son, but got stuck in the disaster that was my quilting effort (more here).  So, things have kind of stalled as a result of the unpicking delay and real life just increasing the pace again.  

This yarn is not as neon as it appears.  It's actually a nice coral shade of pink.

Of course, in a classic avoidance tactic I then allowed myself to get distracted by Pinterest, a crochet hook and two balls of yarn I unearthed.  A little virus shawl is coming along nicely, but needless to say the unpicking is not!! Will I never learn?  I think in March I really need to face up to the unpicking and maybe even brave re-quilting ;-)

So, there you have it - mixed month for me.  Off now to see how the other Furtlers have fared in February.

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