Tag Archives: learning new techniques

Success! I Knit a Hat.

I’m super excited to have learned a new skill. One of my new year’s resolutions was to try something new creatively every month. My husband suggested learning to crochet hats. Well, I enjoy knitting a lot more than crochet so I decided to learn how to knit in the round.

As with most things, creating something new comes with lots of… I’ll call them learning opportunities. The hat I’m wearing is the successful end result of four scrapped projects. I chose to unravel them to keep the yarn since the things themselves were not save-worthy.

  1. I got the hang of knitting a tube on circular needles. A small lumpy tube, lol!
  2. Then I began what I thought was a hat pattern in the library book I’m learning from. Flip the page and it’s actually a bag. I have no need for a knitted bag.
  3. Next I learned the importance of making sure the cast-on yarn isn’t twisted before joining it into a circle. Got a good 20 rows in before I realized the hat was going to flip around itself.
  4. The hat’s diameter in this picture was too big. I got quite a ways in before realizing the size was off. So I figured I’d learn how to close up the top before unraveling this iteration.

knittingintheround#5: Ta-da! It’s a cute and functional simple hat. I can learn more complex patterns as I go along. This one’s for me. Hubby’s requested a green one so I’ll take him yarn shopping soon for the exact green that makes him happy. Me, I’m happy to have learned so much and not given up!

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Treasure Hunt in the Crumbs

Crumb-pieced fabric is great for I-Spy or Treasure Hunt quilts! Finding the cute little things in my students’ made-fabric was one of the most fun parts about the test class I taught on Saturday. A BIG HUGE GIANT SMOOCHY KISS to my friends who not only allowed me to use them as lab rats, but who gave me invaluable input on how to do and not do things. Terminology matters and having clear examples does, too!

Anyway, on to the fun part of this post. Three of the artists in attendance sent photographs so I can share them with you guys. I’ll tell you about the fourth’s project first. We’ll call her “M.” Get your imaginations ready because *gasp* I didn’t have my camera in class. This talent made her crumb pieces in the leftover fabrics from working on an appliqued and embroidered mermaid. M is still working on blinging-up that center and will cut the crumb pieces into a 1″ border for it. It’s going to look so good!

Here’s a sample of Z’s creations. This quilter decided not to finish the crumb blocks into something, yet. Z said that the improvisational piecing technique of making these without a pattern helped her feel artistic. She making the pieces so much that (in the heat of the moment, maybe, but maybe not) they might make a fun bed-sized quilt. So Z is saving what she made in class to merge with more she’ll make during her home-sewing time.

Can you see the tiny triangle? It’s so cute! And no, it’s not made from a 1/4 inch piece of fabric… it’s all in how you sew the pieces together.

melissastinytriangleP made this little tree, inspired by a photograph a friend shared online. Like M, she used a limited color palate for her scraps. This time they’re all greens. P also worked on another tree, this one with little dancing ladybugs on the ground. We’ll see if they end up as wall art, a pillow, or something else!

Can you see three pigs? How about monkey eyes?
paulastree

“A” made two place-mat tops in class. I love the blue and tan that she used to keep them cohesive and clearly a set! By the time I asked for photos, A had made two more. So here’s her set of four very modern-looking different but the same place-mats.

Can you find the words “Bug Off” and “Moo”? How about a dog’s face, a circle of flowers, a bicycle and a stop sign?

advacrumbplacemat4 advacrumbplacemat2 advacrumbplacemat1

advacrumbplacemat3

What else do you see in these crumb blocks? I’d love to know which pieces catch your eye. One of Z’s scraps stood out to me because I used that same fabric in a baby quilt.

If you live in Southern California, I’d love to see you at my class in San Luis Obispo on November 7th. I may have more classes next year. Of course, I’ll keep you guys updated. 🙂

If you love the look of crumbs but aren’t a quilter, aren’t local, or just have too many projects on your list already, check out my etsy shop. There are lots of things in there that have these crumb-fabrics. I also do custom orders so if there’s something specific that you want just let me know!

Mini Trunk Show for Mother’s Day

MomandMeNursery

My mom (pictured above with baby Megan) was an artist. She loved doing arts and crafts projects with my sister and I. She got into candle-making, wreaths, cross-stitch, chocolate molds, and more. But her real passion became quilting. In the few years that she was a quilter, she made dozens of quilts. Most were given away to friends and family. I have a few. So in honor of mother’s day, here are some of her works of art.

MomManger

Along with being an artist, Mom was a lifelong learner. This was great for quilting because there are so many techniques available! The Christmas wall-hanging above was made with fusible webbing and tied. Years later, I hand-sewed the shapes down that were starting to peel away from the backing fabric.

MomManger Poem

I love the message of this poem. Sometimes what seems like a bad thing is really for the best. I also love that it’s in Mom’s handwriting. She kept her lines straight using a light-box. Lit from behind, a lined sheet of paper was placed underneath the white fabric she wrote on. Smart!

MomHearthHere’s another one that’s mostly fused. Mom machine quilted between the blocks and in the borders on the machine that I now use. It’s the one I learned on and inherited. This quilt hung above the fireplace in our last house. It’s a Christmas one so I intended to take it down in January the first year we were there. My husband and our housemate liked it so much they asked me to leave it up a bit longer, and that was its home spot for all the years we were there.

Another thing to point out about this piece is the skin tones. Can you see it? Mom put in different colored skin tones not only to be realistic, but also to honor her love of people from lots of different backgrounds. Even though we lived in a mostly-white Connecticut town, she her book-club, church, and quilting friends had all different skin tones. And stories. I felt so grown up when I was allowed to join their conversations.

MomSunbonnetSueI took a Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Andy quilt class with Mom. She ended up with this beautiful quilt. I ended up quitting halfway through because my applique skills were frustrating. This was machine appliqued using a zig-zag stitch and invisible thread. I wanted mine to look like the sample, which had perfect tiny black zig-zags. Yeah, black thread isn’t such a good idea for a thirteen-year-old.

I remember helping Mom decide what each character would be doing, and helping her find the embellishments. Sue’s running from bumblebee buttons. Andy’s pulling a wagon with yo-yo wheels.

Mom quilted this one by machine too. The kids are outlined and the rest is stitched-in-the-ditch. I remember the quilt shop where this class was held had limited parking. It had a sign out front that read, “Quilter’s Parking Only. Violators Will Be Stitched In The Ditch.”

MomTulipsBy the time Mom started churning out more quilt tops than she could finish, I my interest in quilting had dimmed. I’d rather be talking on the phone with my best friend for hours, waiting for the radio to play my favorite song ever, deciding which shirt would be best to wear tomorrow, and other teenage girly things.

I do remember picking up a few pieces from the long-armer and being amazed at her huge machine. It took up the whole room! I wish I knew that woman’s name now, so I could add her to the label. This tulip quilt was one of the first to be sent her way.
Mom9POkay now we’re into the baby quilts. My parents decided not to learn the gender of the baby, so there are a few quilts with both blue and pink as my Mom wondered. They picked out two names, one for a boy and one for a girl. James Patrick won out as my brother Jimmy was born. He’s shortened it to Jim and made his way to prom last weekend. Ho boy has he grown up!

MomCatsThere’s at least one more baby sized quilt I’m holding onto until my brother’s ready to have them at his own place. You know, when he’s old enough to have his own place. It’s a grandmother’s flower garden, paper-pieced and beautiful. 
MomAutumn

The last quilt I’m showing you today was made after Mom found out that her colors are Autumn inspired. (Remember this post? I’m an autumn, too!) She didn’t have a lot of fall colors in her stash or quilt collection so she challenged herself to make this one.

When she passed, it was only a top. So her friends in the local quilting group finished it… by hand. Look at this beautiful hand quilting in-between the stars. It’s dedicated to the baby. Such a work of love it takes my breath away just to look at.

MomAutumnQuilting

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, and all the mothers out there. All of this information is recalled from memory. Just know that even when your teenage daughter is rolling her eyes at you and answering every question with “fine” that they’re probably still paying attention. I was.