Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sittin' and Knittin'

Yes, it's knitting report day! And last night's snow in Colorado makes today the perfect day to watch Dr. Who on Netflix and knit.

The next deadline for Hats for Sailors is coming up fast -- May 27. I should have a pretty good-sized box of hats to send to our hat "curator," thanks to friends and fellow knitters Marilyn, Cornelia and Gina!

Here are the latest I've knit myself.

First, not for a Sailor because the yarn has acrylic in it (baaaaddd idea in a fire danger environment!). But I just couldn't resist this Schachenmayr "Boston" in neon colors. I got mine from Jimmy Beans Wool -- and they have a free pattern for the cowl and matching hat.

Since this set can't go to a Sailor, I don't know who will end up with it. But as my Mama always said, "someone will love it!" It was a really fun and really fast knit!

This hat was my "car" knitting for more than a year. Knit two, purl two ribbing 128 stitches on a size 4 needle is not a fast knit. This will be a really warm hat, with its double layer of ribbing. The yarn is Tribute Merino DK 100% Superwash Merino from Stitchjones, colorway "Dark + Divine."  Pattern is "Exeter," free on Ravelry.

Here's a closeup of the decreases at the top. Decreasing in k2P2 rib is a little tricky, because the pattern needs to remain consistent. But worth it, doncha think?

This pattern is from the 2010-11 "Knit Happy" Stimulus Program at Table Rock Llamas. It was a free pattern to members of the "club," and I can't find an existing link. The closest I've found is "Amelie Hat," also free on Ravelry.

It's one of those hats that "looks better on the head." The brim is double layers with a picot turning edge. I used Lily Chin's crochet provisional cast on -- go here for a YouTube tutorial or search for "Lily Chin provisional cast on."

The yarn is a combination of leftover Cascade 220 Superwash and Liberty Wool, both 100% washable wool. I will make this hat again, but use a smaller needle for the brim. Although the hat looks enormous, it really fits fine on the head!

If you're a knitter, I hope you'll consider knitting a hat for a Sailor. As long as it's 100% wool and machine wash, hats can be any color and any style!

Tomorrow is "Finally it's Finished Friday," and I don't have a thing to wear (I mean, share). I do, however, have a wonderful stash report for Saturday -- hope you'll come back to read all about it!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Crazy for Shelburne

I think I'm pretty safe that the recipient of this quilt doesn't read my blog. This quilt is an Anniversary gift for my brother and his wife of 50 years!

My sister-in-law likes "brown and sage green." Well, if you've bought fabric in the last 25 years, you know sage green is no longer available in fabric!

So I found this kit at Laughing Ladies Quilting in Berthoud, Colorado:

Crazy For Shelburne by Karen Witt
I'm substituting a green print in the blocks that have red in the kit. It isn't "sage" green, but it's as close as I could find.

I already have the "Magic Triangles" and the four patches made. Go here for my tutorial on Sally Schnieder's Magic Triangle tool. Because the split half-square triangles must all "spin" in the same direction, there is no "speedy" way to make them. I am using my Bloc_Loc half square triangle ruler to square them up, though. Two blocks down, only 23 to go!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Come back tomorrow for the latest Knitting Report -- I have some new Hats for Sailors to show you!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Tool: A New Bloc_Loc Ruler

I would testify that the Bloc_Loc rulers are the single greatest invention for quilters since the rotary cutter!

I bought two new Bloc_Loc rulers at the Springtime in the Rockies show this past weekend. Here is a photo of both of them; today I'll only talk about the Strip Set Ruler.

The "secret" to the Bloc_Loc tools is the groove on the reverse side. This groove "locks" onto the pressed seam and holds the ruler firmly in place, allowing a perfectly straight cut every time. The Strip-Set Ruler has two grooves, perpendicular to each other. [That's OPI's "Kiss Me On My Tulips" nail color.]

The Strip-Set Ruler is made to work with 2.5" strips, so it's perfect for jelly roll projects. It can also be used with wider or narrower strips -- but I'm making four-patches from 2.5" strips today.

Press the seams in one direction. I've pressed them toward the darker fabric. Place the ruler on the strip set and "snuggle" the groove onto the seam. If your strip set is pressed so that it has a bit of a "curve," locking the ruler onto the seam will automatically straighten the seam and result in a perfectly perpendicular cut.

Note: My photos show instructions for a right-handed cutter. If you cut left-handed, watch Janna's video on YouTube!

Cut off the selvage edges on the left side:

Leaving the ruler in place, cut the excess strip set off at the right side:

Here, you can see there is a darker black line at 2.5" increments on the ruler. Slide the ruler to the left until the 7.5" line coincides with the left edge of the strip set.

And make your first cut:

Slide the ruler to the left again, and cut:

Continue across the width of the ruler until you have four perfect two-patches:

Since I'm making a pile of four-patches, I layered two strip sets, wrong sides together with the seams "snuggled," and used the ruler to cut both layers at once. Although the Strip Set Ruler instructions don't call for this method, it worked perfectly for me.

Bloc_Loc now has its own YouTube channel with instructions for their tools. I urge you to go here and watch Janna's instructions for using the Strip Set Ruler.  I bought my ruler from a new shop in Loveland, Quilter's Dream. They're just getting started as a shop, but I bet if you call them at 970-669-2441, they'll mail you a ruler! Or you can go to the Bloc_Loc website and order direct from the manufacturer.

Come back next week to see what I make with the other ruler shown, the Bloomin' Cogwheels Ruler!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Monday, April 14, 2014


Are you keeping up with your Blocks of the Month? I'm about halfway there for April; fortunately, April is just half over!

Ruth's Stitchery, my favorite LQS, hosts an assortment of Block Parties each month. And you know what a sucker I am for Blocks of the Month!

Here are blocks from two of the block parties in which I participate. First, not really "blocks," but a unique sampler quilt from Stephanie Prescott of A Quilter's Dream.

This is Step 2 from "Sample This" in two colorways.

The brown and black is the colorway in the cover illustration. After I bought the kit from Quilter's Stash in Windsor, Colorado, I found the green colorway at High Prairie Quilts in Parker, Colorado. I didn't find anyone to buy the brown kit from me, so I'm making two quilts.

As Anne Marie, who made the sample at Quilter's Stash, said "The hardest thing about this quilt is deciding which colors go where." Too true! Especially with the green colorway, as there is no guiding photo.

Here is a view of the finished quilt, from Stephanie's pattern:

Sample This by Stephanie Prescott

Next month's step requires an unusual ruler, the Thirty-something Square Up Tool by Gayle Bong. Stand by for a tutorial!

Another block party is making "Quilty Fun" by Lori Holt. Lori's books are so bright and colorful. Our class instructor, Beth, is great at showing alternative ways to make the blocks. This month, we made apples.

Here is a close-up of my favorites: the new Queen Anne apple from Washington, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Braeburn, and the ever-popular Red Delicious.

Our next assignment is Flying Geese. Luckily, the clever people at Bloc-Loc tools have made a tiny Flying Geese ruler. Go here for my tutorial on using this best-of-tools for Flying Geese.

The 2013 Scrap Squad for Quiltmaker magazine is having a "bee" to make blocks for each of the members. Here's the one I made for Nicole. It's from Vol. 7 of "100 Blocks" magazine, #663. If you look closely at this block in the magazine, you can see I altered it a bit. It bothered me that the blue points were cut off, so I made my points "sharp!"

Linking up to BOMs Away at What a Hoot!

I "shopped" another Shop Hop this weekend. Come back tomorrow for a tutorial on one of the new tools I bought!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature