Monday, February 28, 2011

Knitting Fingerless Mitts

My beginning knitting students will be working on Fingerless Mitts in my Knitting II class tonight. I love knitting fingerless mitts—they're fun, customize-able, and don't require a lot of yarn or time.
I wrote this pattern called "Sweet Louise Fingerless Mitts" (named for my MIL). They feature a cable that twists in the opposite direction for each mitt. There are a few other techniques that these mitts employ, so my students will have several new skills they can add to their knitting repertoire.

It will be a fun evening!

Friday, February 25, 2011

ATCs: Feathers

"Yummy, yummy, yummy, I've got bird in my tummy."
Bird? What bird?? Did you see a bird?

"Feathers" (not "Birds") was the theme of the February FiberAntics ATC swap. The cat on this ATC (gulp) appears to have a mouthful.

Photos, fabric, die-cuts, paint, stamped images and, of course, feathers adorn the other interpretations of this Artist Trading Card theme. Enjoy!

Left: "Feathered Friends"  Right: "Feathers" with my sister as the model.
Left: "Quothe the Raven: "Nevermore"" from a photo taken in 1971.
Right: "Birds of a Feather"

Left: "Painted Feathers"  Right: "Feathers"
Above: "Feathers—Molt"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Free-motion quilting class and "bonus gifts"

We welcomed beautiful spring-like weather last Saturday for my Free-motion Quilting class. The classroom was full with enthusiastic students and I was excited to be teaching one of my favorite aspects of the quiltmaking process—free-motion quilting.
We cover a lot of material in this class, including the steps prior to the actual quilting part of the process. Proper prep work, I believe, will make the quilting step more successful. ("Two hours to sharpen the axe and 1 hour to cut down the tree," don't ya know.)
An abbreviated trunk show of my work illustrates thread, fabric and quilting motif choices as well as where I find inspiration for the quilting patterns (a question I am often asked). Quilt sizes range from small wall hangings to lap and bed size quilts—all quilted on a domestic sewing machine.

The Bonuses
One of the things I love about teaching workshops—in addition to meeting so many interesting and creative people—are the "bonuses" that come when people share a bit of their lives and experiences with the class and me. Wanda brought in this quilt top for "show and tell" that she pieced from hand embroidered items made by her grandmother. When completed, it will be a cherished gift for a daughter.

The beautifully embroidered pillow cases and dresser scarves "illustrate her exquisite needlework skills," she said. The stitching that is less precise "... shows her determination and strong character" in her later years when physical problems began to set in. What a lovely tribute and a cherished memory.

A hand embroidered table linen pieced into a quilt block.
Another attendee, Judy, surprised me when shared the story of seeing the quilted altar cloth I made for my wedding that was entered into a regional quilt show. This was in my early quiltmaking days (we had our 10 year wedding anniversary last year!). It earned a first place ribbon in that show and also appeared in a feature article in PieceWork magazine (Sept/Oct 2003).  I am humbled and honored that my work had made such an impression and how sweet and thoughtful she was to relay this memory to the class. I had to dig through the archives to find a photo, but here is the piece to which she referred.
"Vous and nul Autre" ("You and no Other") by Veronica Hofman Ortega.
Original design. Hand and machine appliqued. Machine quilted.

At the request of our former pastor of St. Jude Church (Chattanooga), Fr. Bob Hofstetter, this art quilt now resides at Good Shepherd Church in Newport, TN.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sharing the Yarn Love on Valentines Day

Mug Rugs made with stash yarns in garter stitch on size 10 needles.
The last session of my Beginning Knitting class was Valentines Day evening. It was an appropriate day to share the Yarn Love—with a little chocolate thrown in. My beginning students are becoming very good knitters and were diligent in practicing between classes.

One of the topics I cover in this class is ideas and projects for beginning knitters. A myriad of items can be made from simple squares and rectangles: think about bags, belts, collars, shrugs, ponchos and blankets. For garment inspiration, look to weaving books as weavers naturally work with big rectangles of fabric. With garter, stockinette and reverse stockinette stitches along with knit/purl patterns, the possibilities are also endless. Here is an example of a cute short cardi, "Nimbus" by Berroco, made using only stockinette and garter stitches. Pattern skill level = Easy.
My yarn was self-striping, so I chose to knit the body in the round as opposed to individual back, left and right front pieces as prescribed in the pattern. The pattern has an easy (but very cool) technique for making the fold-over collar. Check it out and get some practice casting on additional stitches to your work-in-progress.

Other fun patterns suitable for beginners are Julie Weisenberger's ("Fear of Commitment Cowl" and the "Bohemian Hat and Scarf" set from Universal Yarn.
Beginning Knitting students.
Get your needles humming and Spread the Yarn Love!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What can you do with rectangles?

My Beginning Knitting students are making great progress! The last class meeting is next week and I'll be including inspiration and ideas for projects a beginner knitter can accomplish. Here is a project that I just completed using Cathy Payson's Colorful Cropped Overlay pattern, that I think an enthusiastic beginner could do. I'd call this piece a "Mailbox Wrap"— something you could throw on during these cold winter months when you have to run out to the mailbox.

I had several balls of self-striping Rozetti Tempest (by Universal Yarn) in spicy reds that would be warm, snugly— and spicy— for this wrap. As the pattern called for a chunky yarn (10 sts = 4"), I married the #4 worsted weight, thick/thin, fuzzy Tempest with assorted smoother red wool blends from my stash.
 I "moderately" followed the pattern with these variations:
  • changed the seed stitch pattern on the lower section to a 2-row modified rib (Row 1: knit. Row 2: p1, k1.) The effort put forth using the seed stitch pattern would have been lost with the textured Tempest yarn.
  • added additional RS knit rows to the ribbed section on the top.
  • shortened the collar. Also knitted it in the round.
  • sewed the sides closed with 2 buttons to create the arm holes. These are non-working buttons but they help me distinguish, at-a-glance, the front of the garment from the back. (The buttons show on the front.)
  • left long yarn tails from the button ties to create a design detail.
This pattern is basically two big rectangles with a collar that could be knit by picking up stitches (per the pattern) or knit separatley as another rectangle and sewn on.

I have a few balls (50g/120yd) of Tempest remaining. Maybe a slouchy red hat to match??? What do you think?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sharing the "Quilt" Love

My friend, Deb, and I delivered 63 Cuddle Quilts to the Children's Home/Chambliss Shelter, a local children's center, today. The members of our quilt guild, the Choo Choo Quilters, make and donate lap quilts as our community service project. We also donated 9 bed-size quilts in December for the teenage residents.
Here are Deb Horn (far left) and I (far right) with staff from the center. A pile of quilts are in front.
Guild members worked the past 8 months piecing, quilting and binding the cuddle quilts in response to our 2010 Great Cuddle Quilt Quest program.
The Director of Volunteer Services, Paulette Acord, and her staff admire the quilts.
Here are some of the recipients that received a quilt today.
Sweet dreams.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...