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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One Snow Puzzle "solved"

So I've been thinking about Delaney's Snow Puzzle quilt and when I'm going to do the topstitching that creates the curves. I've finally made my decision - it will just be so much easier to do as I'm piecing the blocks. Now that I've made that decision, I cut out some more pieces today and worked on a couple more blocks. The first picture shows the block pinned so that I can pull the bias edges down into the curve while sewing it. The next picture is the four colors that I now have stitched. I've darkened the photos slightly because the metallics seem to cause them to look washed out. The final picture is a closeup showing the topstitching and the way-sparkly fabrics. :)

block pinned for topstitching
a couple more colors
sparkly closeup

I had the holiday off yesterday, and spent most of it being completely irresponsible and playing Super Mario Galaxy. Okay, at the end of the afternoon I pieced just a little more of my Afternoon Tea quilt when I finally decided to take a game break. I felt just decadent being mostly lazy!

I'm still slowly working on my second sock - I'm nearly through the gusset - so I might have it finished in about another week. I'm already thinking about my next pair, but I've stopped myself from going to look for sock yarn. I resolved not to buy any more until I finished my first pair and I'm sticking to that! I wanted to make sure that I could do it first, and that I'd want to do it again, and I actually think I do want to knit another pair of socks. But before I do, I'm going to do a little more quilting on the DWR or piecing on the GFG quilts. I'm finding it hard to put the socks down once I start them! Alas, cross stitching is still taking a back seat (it probably feels more like it's in the trunk), but I don't think it will be back there for long. Maybe it's a seasonal thing? It's so nice right now to be curled up under a quilt.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Persistence pays off

I'd like to share my first finished sock with you. I actually finished it Wednesday night while watching American Idol. It fits just a little snugly (in the length), so I'll probably add a row or two to its mate. The mate won't start at the same color anyway (they're being knitted for me, and for practice, so I don't need them to be identical). I'm just so pleased!

My first knit sock!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Quick update

I thought I'd log on today to answer a couple of questions that have been asked recently.

Snow Puzzle is by Shelley Swanland, and was featured in the January 2003 issue of The Quilter Magazine. It looks like you might be able to get a back issue (at least the web site does not say that it is sold out of that issue).

About the BOM quilts - "When you do the BOMs, do you cut out your own fabric or do are they already cut out for you?" And the answer is yes. :) For the SSS BOMs, my quilt shop provides fabric cut into strips that are enough fabric (usually with just a little left over, but not enough to make another block), but I then have to subcut them in order to piece. They give really great instructions on how to cut and piece each block (with diagrams). Afternoon Tea was different - it was originally a BOM quilt that I bought as a pattern, so I had to cut out all the fabrics for each of those blocks.

I wish I had 30 hours in my day! Just think of what I could accomplish!!! :)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New year, new block-of-the-month quilt

SSS 2008 block of the month quilt - January, Friendship Star

I've been working on quilts again this week (mostly), and I have a little more progress on my sock, but not enough yet to really take a picture. Hand quilting the Double Wedding Ring, hand piecing the Grandmother's Flower Garden, machine piecing the backing for the SSS 2007 quilt, the Afternoon Tea quilt top, and the first block of the SSS 2008 quilt has left me little time for anything else. :) C was really pleased with how the first block looks, and he's already looking forward to his "blankie number 3".

When I haven't been quilting or knitting, I've been playing video games - I decided to play some Resident Evil 4 again on game night (still just as creepy as the first time). And we went video game shopping today after picking up my January quilt block kit - C got Assassin's Creed, and I got Super Mario Galaxy for my Wii and WordJong for my DS. We both couldn't wait to open our packages and get to playing (I've already beaten the first boss in SMG). We could use another vacation... :)

Friday, January 04, 2008

3rd 4th time's the charm?

I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to learn to knit socks. I was so excited about this prospect that on New Year's Eve I stopped by my LNS and bought some yarn, double-pointed needles (dpns), and two books that were recommended by the owner. I figured that since I was going to try to learn it out of a book, two references might be better than one.

I made my gauge swatch (trying to learn THIS right), and it turned out nicely 7 stitches/inch. So I started casting on stitches, and after successfully moving them on to 3 dpns, I started knitting in the round. I was going pretty good (in my opinion) until I realized I'd added a stitch a row or two back. I am absolutely horrible at trying to un-knit or un-purl stitches that I just decided to rip everything back and start over again. I also thought I'd try a different pattern for the rib, thinking it might be a little easier and less-prone to mistakes.

Round 2 was going along so-so, and then I dropped a stitch. Ripped it back out. Okay, I'd really rather do this right, so I'll just start again. A little knit across then purl across for several makes the edging curl up some before getting into the ribbing.

Round 3 actually seemed to be going along well. I finished the cuff and I started the leg pattern (basically another knit across, then purl across) when I realized something was wrong. The purl side and the knit side were opposite where they were supposed to be. I couldn't figure out why, because the curled up edging was the way it was supposed to be. And that's when the light bulb blew (it didn't just turn on, it blew right then and there). I was knitting INSIDE OUT. I had been doing that since my first attempt and just hadn't caught it until then. No wonder my work didn't look like the photos in any of the books. :( And I couldn't even turn it right side out and make it work, because then the curl at the top of the sock would be going in the wrong direction.

So, I ripped it all out and wound the yarn back on my skein. Then I cast on again, trying to make sure that my stitches weren't twisted, and I very carefully and deliberately started knitting and purling on the outside around. I also decided that I didn't really love the curling and the knit-1, purl-1 ribbing, so I went back to the original knit-2, purl-2 ribbing, which looks much nicer. I've tried to be even more careful about not adding or dropping stitches, and this time things seem to be working out better (so far...). I'm through with the cuff and the leg (fairly short), and I'm now working on the heel flap. Whew! PLEASE don't let me drop or add any stitches, I just don't think I could take it! :)

The beginnings of my attempt to knit a sock

In quilting news, I've quilted about 11 of the [56] "squares" on the double wedding ring quilt. I've focused so much on this sock knitting, that everything else has been cast to the side for several days. I also worked on piecing the first column of my Afternoon Tea quilt. It's going to be huge, and it's all mine, mine, mine! :)

Piecing the Afternoon Tea quilt columns

Oh, and I pulled out some of my fabrics for the next quilt I'll be starting - Delaney's Snow Puzzle. I made a test block some time ago, and decided to try again. The picture shows my first test block (along with the topstitching that will need to be done on the block) underneath the one I made a couple of days ago. I'm still trying to decide whether the topstitching should be done before assembly or at the same time as the quilting. I haven't made up my mind, but I'll be poring over all the pros and cons over the next few days and weeks. It's going to be yummy to work on because of all those Fairy Frost collection fabrics. I think I've praised the Michael Miller line of fabrics before - they include my Cocoa Bling Kitty fabric. :)

Snow Puzzle test blocks

Yay, we have a new Stargate Atlantis tonight! Because of the holidays and the WGA strike, we knew that we'd have few new episodes of our favorite tv shows to watch, so we've been passing the time watching lots of Charmed (we're near the end of season 6 [of 8 total]), and we just started watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine again. Although we don't like it, we've been preparing ourselves for the effects of the WGA strike, knowing that it would take a couple of months to start feeling the full brunt of it. Thank goodness for Netflix, TV Shows on DVD, and our own collection of tv series on dvd. Yes, we're tv-holics and proud of it. :) Of course, I'm hoping that this strike will be over soon, because I would like to see the Battlestar Galactica conclusion sometime in this decade, and I'm afraid that (once again) some of the new shows that we've started watching this season will have been cancelled. We have a couple of shows on TiVo that we haven't started watching yet because we don't want to start watching and then find out we'll be left hanging without resolution forever (a la Jack and Bobby, Surface, Threshold, Invasion, John Doe, and Traveler just to name a few).