Friday, December 28, 2012

A Holiday Pear Partridge

How do you like this festive appliqué quilt block?
A Partridge in a Holiday Pear Tree.
Marita, the owner of The Quilters Path, a delightful quilt shop in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, showed me this beautiful quilt block that she made with Blank Quilting's Holiday Pears fabric collection. The pattern is Baltimore Christmas, a Block of the Month (BOM) design by P3 Designs. What a perfect application for this fabric print! The scale is just right and the pears have built-in shading that gives them a 3D look hanging from the branches of the tree.
"Baltimore Christmas" appliqué BOM pattern by P3 Designs.
Another project that one of Marita's customers made with Holiday Pears is this casserole carrier. She complemented the colorful pear fabric with red, blue and green batik strips and accented the piece with a smart black trim. The casserole tote pattern is called "Hot Stuff" by Atkinson Designs and is available at The Quilters Path quilt shop.
Casserole carrier featuring Holiday Pears fabrics by Blank Quilting.
Hot Stuff pattern by Atkinson Designs.
Here is a view of the inside of the carrier which can hold a 9" x 13" pan comfortably. Why not take your favorite casserole to the next pot-luck dinner or summer picnic in a stylish carrier like this one? The Holiday Pears fabric collection is not only great for the holidays, but is versatile enough to be used throughout the year.
"Hot Stuff" casserole carrier.
Here is a post from my first visit to The Quilters Path. Marita offers a wonderful selection of quilting fabrics, notions, patterns and programs and the customer service is top notch.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pillowcases wanted for Newtown, CT children

Quilters reach out to others in times of joy as well as in times of sorrow. In the aftermath of the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week, here is a "Plea for Pillowcases" for the children in Newtown, CT. It is being coordinated by two quilt shops in Connecticut and New York.
Pillowcase made with Bugalicious fabrics from Blank Quilting.
Send pillowcases to the following locations by the deadlines listed:

By December 23, send to: 
     Log Cabin Fabrics, 1145 Route 9W, Selkirk, NY 12158  or
By December 27,  send to:
    Quilter's Corner, 312 Danbury Rd., New Milford, CT 06776.

Yes, this is a busy time for everyone. But it's also the season for giving to others. Whatever you can do to contribute, your efforts and prayers will surely be appreciated.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Poetry in Motion vest, a cavalcade of color

Poetry in Motion vest by Deby Lake for Universal Yarn.
It's hard to put down a soft, fluffy yarn with a sumptuous color palette and so many possibilities! While working with Poems Chunky yarn in my Short Row knitting workshop, I couldn't help but delve into another project with this lovely, chunky weight yarn.

(Heads up, knitters! This pattern is a FREE download!)

This is the Poetry in Motion vest, designed by Deby Lake for Universal Yarn. It is knit in one piece and the construction doesn't interrupt the rhythm you get into while knitting the eaily-memorized slip stitch pattern. It allows you to enjoy the anticipation of the next color that will flow from the ball of yarn, up through your fingers and onto your needles.
Poetry in Motion vest (back view).
Construction is simple: starting at the vest's lower back hem, you knit up to the neck and continue over each shoulder to knit the left and right fronts.

Finishing is minimal: the sides are the only seams. (How easy is that??) The armhole trims and a ribbed collar are knitted additions.

Poetry in Motion vest.
I used Ultraviolet for CC1 and Reverie (with leftover bits from Sunken Treasure) as the CC2 color. Because of this color combination, I can wear mine with 5 different tops—each a different color. Any of Poems Chunky's beautiful colorways should knit up just as captivating. (See the Old World Plum/Mantra combo on the pattern (left).) With the long color change of this yarn, you might even be able to use all the same color but start at different places in the balls. Swatch it and see!

With this chunky yarn, the project is quick to knit. The stitch pattern is interesting but easy to remember. You could spotlight a particular color or value by choosing a specific color sequence when knitting the collar. Or, with this 100% wool single, employ the wet splice joining method and create your own color sequence. (My workshop attendees had blast with this technique!)

So many possibilities! Relax and enjoy the color parade
And, let me know if you try this project.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Documenting 12-12-12 with the Sky Scarf

The Sky Scarf flies through the trees on this cold, windy December day.
The Sky Scarf flies!
The Sky Scarf climbs the trees, swings on the branches and scales walls. "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, wherefore art thou?"
The Sky Scarf swings on branches and climbs walls.
The Sky Scarf converses with the lavender. It brings a lightness to the otherwise brown and gray wintered garden.
The Sky Scarf sits beside the lavender in the garden.
Alas, it's time for the Sky Scarf and I to return to the warmth of the inside. 
The Sky Scarf on 12-12-12.
I couldn't pass up this numerical date rarity—when all three numbers in the date are the same—without documenting it... since it won't come back around for another 88 years, on 1-1-2101. With only 19 more days left on my 2012 Sky Scarf project, I thought it appropriate to document the date with my scarf. So here we are, on a cold and windy December 12, 2012 in Chattanooga.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Spectra scarf: a short row and intarsia knit

Want to indulge a bit more in short row knitting? I saw a sample of this scarf, Spectra, by Stephen West, at Bliss Yarns on our "yarn and BBQ outing" last fall— inspiring. Bliss was out of patterns at the time, but I came across the scarf again at a knit shop in Birmingham while visiting The Smocking Bird. "Pattern is in stock..." "I'll take one, please."

So, here's an enchanting project that will quench your thirst for short rows and give you practice with basic intarsia colorwork as well.
Spectra scarf pattern by Stephen West.
The yarn and color combos for this gracefully curved scarf are infinite. Solids (with some contrast, of course), heathered, variegated, hand painted (ooh, wouldn't that be pretty?), and those with a long color change that would fill each intarsia wedge would all be magnificent. I'm working it (above) in a worsted weight yarn [Heaven by Universal Yarn: 50% silk/50% Merino wool] and modified the number of cast on stitches.

My other version—also a WIP (work in progress)—uses Rosebud from Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street collection, accented with Yummy, a sock weight yarn. It looks like stained glass to me.
Spectra scarf with Rosebud (color: iris) and Yummy sock yarn.
I don't know which one will get finished first. They are both pretty.

Knitting with short rows

Short Row Corners scarves in Poems Chunky.
Colorful chunky yarn + short rows = fast and fabulous knits!

What a fun knitting workshop we had! Here are some of the resulting achievements from the short row knitting workshop using a soft and cuddly chunky wool yarn, called Poems Chunky [Universal Yarn]. Each project required only one ball of this yarn.

Knitting short rows is a method of creating additional fabric and dimension in a piece of knitting without changing the number of stitches on the needle. This technique really elevated the results of the long painterly color changes of the Poems yarn. For the Short Row Corners scarf, some knitters took some creative license to achieve scalloped edges on their scarves. I embraced a more "wabi sabi" look with asymmetrical wedges by changing directions of the knitting predicated on the color changes in the yarn. (This way I don't have to count rows. Wink-wink.)

Two other short row projects, written by talented knitwear designers, were the Urchin hat by Ysolda Teague, and Kink, a neck warmer by Jodie Gordon Lucas. You can see the symbiosis between the color changes and short rows in these fabulous results. Kismet!
Sharon (left) and Lois with scarves, neck warmers and hats.
Irene (left) and Pat (right) with their Kink collars.
Here is one Urchin in progress. The color changes occur vertically rather than horizontally.
Urchin short row hat.
And, what winter ensemble would be complete without a pair of mittens? Here are my AnyDay Mittens knit in the Sunken Treasure color way.
AnyDay Mittens in Poems Chunky (Sunken Treasure color).
Lois knit this mitten in the Blue Mist color way.
AnyDay Mitten in Poems Chunky (Blue Mist color).
Thanks to the talented knitters for attending my Fast and Fabulous with Short Rows workshop with me. I had a great time and I hope you enjoyed learning the magic of knitting short rows. 

If you had to choose, which was your favorite project?
Attendees in the Fast and Fabulous with Short Rows knitting workshop.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

ATCs from "Women and Fiber Art" students

ATC by a Women and Fiber Art student.
On the heels of the November FiberAntics ATC swap, I had to share this with you...

One of my friends from the fiber arts guild, Ann Buggey, is a professor in the English department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). This semester, Ann offered a 1 credit course, Women and Fiber Art, for first-year students in which 9 students enrolled. The course encompassed women's work in textiles, and the role this played in both historic and contemporary culture.

In Ann's class, students were introduced to and had hands-on practice with fundamental needlework and fiber art techniques such as sewing, smocking, spinning with a drop spindle, and needle felting, among others. She complemented the practical exercises with her lecture and presentations by women in the Chattanooga area fiber art community. I was pleased and honored when she asked me to give my "Shibori: Making Marks with Resists" presentation to her class in November. The students were energetic and delightful and ranged from those studying art to those taking engineering and science coursework.

Ann was also inspired by blog posts of my Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) swaps which led her to have students create ATCs (incorporating something about fiber or fiber art) for their final class project. Here are some of the students' ATCs.

This ATC incorporated fabric flowers from a grandmother's wedding gown
and a favorite button.
The class ATC swap consisted of students explaining the concept behind their card(s) along with an explanation of the materials or techniques used. Most of the students made one-of-a-kind cards—as opposed to multiples of the same as in a "limited edition"—to trade with fellow classmates. (I must tell you that making one-of-a-kind cards takes a lot of time and thought!) One student incorporated fabric flowers from her grandmother's wedding gown on her ATC. Wouldn't you have loved to be present at this ATC swap??

Ann's Women and Fiber Art class is being offered again next semester at UTC. You have to be a first-year student, however, to get in... one of the few perks to being a college freshman.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

ATCs: The Big Chill

Who is she? What is she thinking? 
   Has she been forgotten or is she patiently waiting for someone?
The Big Chill by Lisa in Ashburn, Virginia.
The November ATC swap brought these enchanting, intriguing, playful and magical images in response to the theme, The Big Chill. Take a look...
The Big Chill by Carlene in Harrison, Tennessee
As I complete another year of hosting my ATC swaps, I would like to send a heartfelt Thank You to all the artist traders, both current and past, who have shared their creativity, talent and a bit of themselves with me and the other ATC artists through their art. This month, I have credited the artists in the photo captions and included their geographic location.
The Big Chill by Arlene in Lincolnshire, Illinois.
Next year will be Year 5 of my ATC swaps. Believe it or not, there have been a few ATC artists that have been with me since the beginning. Wow!
The Big Chill by Marilyn in Memphis, Tennessee.
To everyone who views my FiberAntics ATC posts, I hope you have enjoyed and been inspired by the themes and the artwork. Leave a comment and let the artists know you enjoy seeing their work. I know I treasure my 4-year collection of ATCs that I have received through the trades.
The Big Chill by Bonnie in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
You can view ATCs from previous swaps by typing "ATC" in the Search field under Search this Blog. The themes for 2013 are posted here. Details, guidelines and a little history about Artist Trading Cards can be found here. If you'd like to join us for an upcoming swap, send me an e-mail.
The Big Chill by Karen in Ooltewah, Tennessee.
The size of these cards are 2.5" x 3.5" and you might be surprised all you can do on artwork this size. The medium and materials are up to you. All that is asked is that you do your best and follow the Golden Rule: give what you would like to receive.
The Big Chill by Veronica in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
So, until next year, I hope you have enjoyed the show!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Knitting the sky—November skies

As the year winds down, my sky scarf project—or should I say, "adventure"—is nearing its final rows. Here it is against the December 1 sky, measuring over 98 inches.
Sky Scarf Project: January through November 2012
I had a couple thoughts on finishing those loose ends... 1) weaving in the ends (yuck, not likely), 2) knotting them to form a decorative fringe, or 3) knitting and attaching an edging... what do you think?

I bought some multi-colored yarn during one of the stops on my Fabric Rep Trek, but at 100 yards per hank (I have 3 hanks), I'm wondering how far it will go on an edge that will likely be 110 inches or more.

Put on your creative hats and tell me your suggestions and ideas for finishing this 365-day knitting project!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Fabric Rep Trek: Dizzy Divas Fabric Shop

Off the I-640 loop on the northeast side of Knoxville is the Dizzy Divas Fabric Shop. "Busy" they are... with several WIPs (works-in-progress) on the classroom design wall. "Dizzy?" maybe or maybe not... but they do have like to have fun in the shop with their quilting, sewing, fabrics and classes.
Colorful lap quilts hang from a clothesline inside the Dizzy Divas Fabric Shop.
Wanda McCarter, the shop's owner, opened Dizzy Divas Fabric Shop about 3 years ago in December to serve quilting and sewing enthusiasts in the area. 
Dizzy Divas Fabric Shop, Knoxville, Tennessee.
Every room in the shop (a house with a split-level floor plan) is filled with fabrics, patterns, notions and books. Samples of quilts, tote bags, and other sewing projects hang on the walls and from the ceiling.
Walls and shelves of fabrics at Dizzy Divas.
 Bright, bold prints, florals and blenders fill the shelves in the store...
Here are a few of Blank Quilting's lines: Splash and Magnolia
along with a wonderful selection of 20s and 30s prints, an assortment of black and whites...
Shelves with 20s and 30s prints.
an abundance of patterns for quilts, bags, children's clothes, and accessories...
Patterns for a variety of projects.
dots, stripes and novelties...
Fruit novelties, stripes and blenders.
like these dog prints and coordinates found in this cute wall quilt.
Wall hanging made of dog-themed novelty prints.

These 2- and 3-fabric projects showcase Positively Poppies, Magnolia and Counting Sheep fabric collections from Blank Quilting.
Fast and fun quilted projects include lap quilts and table runners.
Up a few stairs is the classroom. A snowball quilt using fabric strips, and another large print quilt were in progress on the design walls.
WIPs (works in progress) in the Dizzy Divas classroom.
This quilted jacket—made for an upcoming class—was also in the classroom.
A quilted jacket class sample.
The shop's mascot is Princess, who showed me around and accompanied me into the classroom. I'd say she is the "doggie diva" of the store.
Princess is the shop mascot at Dizzy Divas.
Pillowcases hang above shelves of Fat Quarters.

Dizzy Divas Fabric Shop is easy to get to from I-640. The shop is located across the street from a shopping plaza and next to the Dairy Queen.

So to all you quilting and sewing divas and princesses (aren't we all??), the next time you are in the Knoxville area, pay a visit to Dizzy Divas for a much-deserved fabric fix. Then treat yourself to an ice cream at the Dairy Queen.
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