Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bibbity, Bobble-y, Boo!


There are those who swear by charted instructions and will not use a pattern that only provides written instructions. Then there are  those who swear they can't follow charted instructions and will only work a pattern with written instructions. Then there is me, and I suspect a larger number of those like me, who are pattern method agnostic and will work a pattern regardless of how it is provided.

That said, there are times when a charted pattern is so much easier. Like now.


 I've got Denise Augostine (Owens) Summer Splendor on a hook now. One of several doilies I have on the hook. (Doilies are a peculiar addiction of mine.) Summer Splendor is a beauty consisting of concentric rings of dc bobbles, chain loops, and rounds of dc/basic filet rounds. When I saw the pictures of it on Ravelry, my hook began to sing, and once started progressed nicely through round 21, or so I thought. Take a look at all of the lovelies on Ravelry. I'd link to it, but for some reason my linking ability in Blogger is compromised today.


While beginning round 22 I noticed that my bobble cluster repeat had changed. In a doily this isn't unusual, especially this close to completion. However, in a pattern this easy it heralded that something was wrong somewhere. So I began frogging, round by round to see where my work went astray. Ripping out rounds and rounds of size 20 thread was painful but instructive. My entire final bobble section was off! Sigh.

To Chart, or Not to Chart...

While it is one of the easiest patterns to work - all simple stitches and short repeats, it made me question whether or not I could still read.  This brings us around full circle to charts or written instructions.

Here's the round that I misread:

Rnd 17: Sl st in ch-1 sp, (beg bobble, ch 2, bobble) in same sp, ch 3, skip next dc and next ch-1 sp, sc in next dc, ch 3, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next ch-1 sp, * (bobble, ch 2, bobble) in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, skip next dc and next ch1sp, sc in next dc, ch3,sc in next dc, ch3,skip next ch-1sp;rep from* around, join with sl st to top of beg bobble. 

Rnd 17:
Sl st in
ch-1 sp, (beg bobble, ch 2, bobble) in same sp, ch 3, skip
next dc and
next ch-1 sp, sc in next dc, ch 3, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next
sp, * (bobble, ch 2, bobble) in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, skip next dc and
ch-1 sp, sc in next dc, ch 3, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next ch-1
sp; rep from *
around, join with sl steg bobbl
Rnd 17:
Sl st in
ch-1 sp, (beg bobble, ch 2, bobble) in same sp, ch 3, skip
next dc and
next ch-1 sp, sc in next dc, ch 3, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next
sp, * (bobble, ch 2, bobble) in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, skip next dc and
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/summer-splendorch-1 sp, sc in next dc, ch 3, sc in next dc, ch 3, skip next ch-1
sp; rep from *
around, join with sl seg bobbl
In all fairness to Ms. Owens, the pattern is correct. When written out, it is unfortunately dense and easy to get lost in. Which is what happened to me.

Here's my chart of the same section. Please forgive my poor art skills and even worse handwriting.

Rounds 16 (bottom) and 17 (top)

 In this instance, one picture is worth a hundred words. Far less dense, and everything I need to know about round 17. Ahhh, clarity, I'd omitted the middle ch3, sc on my first attempt.

I first saw this type of chart in a Russian crochet magazine, Duplet. It's brilliant, showing the previous round and current round as a function of their repeats. This is a fabulous blend of the old (written) and the new (charted). For me, there's no better way to not get lost in a pattern.

Back to round 17...Happy crafting, y'all!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sewing for a teenager

Much of the past few months has been occupied by my search for the appropriate quilt top for my teenage granddaughter. I queried her dad, and she liked birds, wanting to be an ornithologist (really?) and blue, preferably royal blue.

In this quest, I finally developed some smarts( hard to believe, I know), by testing squares before cutting the entire quilt.

 At first, it would have 8" squares of embroidered birds in a modified Log Cabin pattern.

Now, in this process of testing designs, I learned a couple of things. First, I don't mind stitching the occasional machine embroidered design, but the thought of cranking out enough 8" blocks for a quilt top made me twitch severely enough to require seizure meds.

Next, it was 10" squares of embroidered birds set on point with blue corner triangles. Big blocks means fewer embroidered squares right?

The second thing occurred to me at this stage. She's never once mentioned birds or ornithology to me in any way, shape, or form.

Birds, really? What was that all about? But, she talks of her cats constantly.

Oh ho! Here we go! Something I can work with that she likes. Design 3 was an appliquéd cat head square. Adorable, but too cutesy for the teenage granddaughter. And machine appliquéing hundreds of wee bits of cat faces would be a torture worthy of Dante's 9th level of hell.

I pressed onward, because a Nana is NEVER deterred by setbacks. Design 4 is a pieced cat square. The test sewed up beautifully, and the cats are all different colors. Blue is incorporated in several cats, and I'll likely bind the quilt with a patched binding of blues. It's old enough for her now and later in life, but not too old fashioned.

I knew I'd find the right design for her. The cutting of half of the squares is done, maybe more. I like to break up big cutting jobs so that I have a kitchen table in-between cutting sessions. My family likes it too. Off to the sewing room!

Now what to do with those damnable bird squares? Give me time...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Heeeere's Johnny!

Mic Test, mic test, check one, two, three.

It's been a long and eventful 2 years - goes to show ya, I STILL can't count - 3 years since my last post here. A major illness and recovery took up the first year and a half.  I don't know that I'll ever recoup 2014 and most of 15.  After that  a new grandbaby and reacquiring an old skill have taken the last year and a half. Take a guess what that skill may be? Here's a hint:

 Life is good!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Walk of Shame? I think not...

T-minus 5.5 lap quilts on 1 Dec? Didja make it? Didja? DIDJA?

Nope, didn't make it by a long shot. But by tomorrow I'll have 3 of the 5.5 completed since 1 Dec. The accomplishment in that is that those quilts got completed in the face of this list of overwhelming odds against getting them done:

Christmas shopping for husband and kids, fabric shopping for my Kringle's lap quilt, food shopping for the family Christmas party, watching a 2 year old, cleaning for the family Christmas party, baking for mail off Christmas gifts and the Christmas party, cooking for the family Christmas party, decorating for Christmas and the Christmas party, watching a 2 year old, hosting the Christmas party, standing in line at the post office to send off gifts, watching a 2 year old, attending an out of town Christmas party while watching the 2 year old, planning Christmas dinner (we're starting a new tradition: Italian on Christmas Day), miscalculating yardages for the 3rd quilt, choosing new fabrics because what I'd chosen is no longer available, watching a 2 year old, dodging husband so I can wrap his presents, dodging 2 year old so I can wrap his presents. Oy! Busy, busy, busy...  Did I mention watching a 2 year old?

I count it an earth shattering accomplishment to have an empty sink for the first time in 10 days. And it's not over yet.

I know I'm not the only one, what's going on in your holiday plans?

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holy schnikes! It's almost Christmas

I can't be the only crafter who has let Christmas sneak up on them...again.

Can I?

T-minus 5.5 quilts

Think I'll make it?

Trimming visual clutter

I'm still the newbie quilter and with less than perfect vision. Glasses can only correct so much. And my frustration level isn't one of those correctable things. You may be like me in that aspect, so a little help is always a good thing.

What inspired todays post: half triangle squares. Specifically trimming the little buggers up square. Goodnight Avery only has 36 of them, and I'm not complaining about that.  20 2½" and 16 3½" squares to be exact.

Non-quilter FYI: 36 half-triangle squares in a quilt top is only a few, and about as easy as it gets.

UGH! Too many lines!

I love my rotary cutter and mat. I also love quilting rulers. Individually, they outslice sliced bread for awesomeness. BUT, and there is always a but, using them at the same time makes me crosseyed from visual clutter. So much so that I welcomed stopping my first Goodnight Avery quilt to let my phone charge and my eyes rest while I write this post. My phone is my camera, and as they say, seeing is believing.

What got my eyes hurting after trimming only 10 squares today was eyestrain from cutting them to size while keeping them square.

Busy, busy, busy!

The fix came to me in these stages:

Tip 1: Mark the half inch square corner with X's on the diagonal line of the ruler.

I was tired of trying to visually line up x.5" squares on the diagonal. Quilting rulers are marked in ⅛" increments. To put it mildly, that's a lot of tiny squares in a very little space. Following them visually with old, tired, and poor eyes is a recipe for not just for eyestrain but cutting errors. Goodnight Avery only has 36 half triangle squares, but some quilts can have hundreds. I don't know about you, but fabric is too expensive to potentially screw up 100+ of these little, er, suckers in a larger quilt. OUCH, indeed.

Wee blue crosshairs are larger than they appear in the picture

Tip 2: Trim the squares en pointe.

In combination with tip 1, "standing" the square on a point for cutting lets you easily measure from the inside of the ruler to the outside of it, and make any needed cuts along 2 sides.

Look Ma, just 2 quick cuts!

Tip 3: Use the back of the cutting mat.

Here's where I had my V-8 moment: I noticed that I could see my X's on my ruler more easily on my sewing table because it's solid white and the ruler is clear (DUH!). Turning my mat over and cutting en pointe on the solid green side means I only see the fabric or the solid green through the ruler and no distracting gridlines or angle lines. AHHHH! Now that's easy on the eyes!

Sometimes less is more....

Once I hit on this process trimming up squarely was quick and easy peasy. My knitting hero, Elizabeth Zimmermann, called rediscovered knitting techniques, stitch patterns, and tips such as these unventions.  Therefore I unvented a highly workable process today. Hooray for me!

What about you happy crafters? What have you unvented?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wait for it... wait for it...

This chilly morning, I toast the completion of the mentalpause project with a cuppa lukewarm joe. This was to be my daughter's high school graduation gift: nice, right? Well, that graduation was in 2008.  Now to wash and block it, then have it matted and framed for her kitchen. Good thing her college graduation gift was a graduation party, yes?
A 7 year wait isn't too long, is it?
I'll admit, I'm a bit slow on the uptake. Having taken 7 years to complete the mentalpause needlepoint, any needlework project advertised as "quickpoint" would be a welcome change of pace. I chose some cute Penguins and started the next color by number with yarn. For some goofy reason I thought Quickpoint would be a basketweave needlepoint project, but it's really cross stitch on a very large mesh (4.5 stitches/inch) with worsted yarn. At least I don't have to count stitches... It's quite sizable (16 inches square) but when you compare stitch counts it's far far less work. There's only a few stitches over 5100 in the whole thing compared to the 28200 plus of mentalpause in only a 14 x 14 space.
Maybe quick point means this one
will only take 3 years to complete?

And I did cut out a quilt after finishing mentalpause and the office-to-sewing room reorganization. Actually I got much farther than cutting it out. Quilting is about to commence so that my favorite West Virginia fan has a Christmas present. Really, that's WVU blue and gold, not LSU purple and gold. LSU Purple is a color not allowed in my household.  The pattern is Donna Robertson's 'Friendship Star' from her book 3 Yard Quilts. I think this one is my favorite pattern in the whole book.

Eek! Excuse my kitchen floor, please?

But I'm still not brave enough to tackle my closets... yet. The closets may hold things that have never seen the light of day. Sticking my hands in there will require the fortitude of a, nay several, steaming cuppas Irish coffee. With whisky, thankyouverymuch. There be beasties in there.

What about you?

Next quilts up:
One each Vicki Bellino's Goodnight Avery's in little boy construction prints and little girl critter prints 
Several Stella Table Mats in Christmas fabrics