Monday, October 09, 2006

Rainbow and Rhubarb

Last week it seemed like summer had said good-bye to the city and hello to fall. I'd been poking through my yarn bin hoping to get an idea of what to do with odd balls of yarn when I found my unfinished Kureyon scarf. I'd started it back in february when it was grey and dreary outside and I desperately needed some color. There's no better yarn to pick for some instant happiness than Noro (ok, Malabrigo), it's like the chicken soup of yarn, knit it and you'll feel better. I'd wanted a grown-up version of the Child's Rainbow from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and got two skeins of Kureyon, thinking that would be enough. But then one color ran out much earlier than the other and the scarf wasn't long enough, I didn't want to purchase more yarn. I lost interest. So when I picked it up last week I decided to get one more skein and knit from both ends.
The colors are so beautiful, I want to hang it on the wall so I can look at it all the time.
During my vacation I finished a pair of socks. They were supposed to be for me but then I started missing my boyfriend and they morphed into socks for him!
It's just a standard top-down rib pattern, but the yarn is a treat. The colorway is called 'Rhabarber' (rhubarb in English) and it made my mouth pucker a lot during knitting because the colors are just like the real thing. You can buy it here. I got mine as a surprise from Suzi, who I got to meet while I was back home! It's a pretty exciting thing to meet someone you've only known via blogging and email, but it's even more exciting when you have so much fun together you don't want the day to end. It was just a perfect day of sitting in cafes and talking, shopping a little, ending with a wonderful dinner. I was a little sad afterwards, because it'll be another year before we get to have another day like this. But I'm so happy to have experienced that day at all. The possibilities of the internet still boggle my mind!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Hop, Skip and a Plane Ride

I'm back from a very sunny and lovely trip to Munich, which was almost perfect except for the masses of people in town for Oktoberfest (I wish it would have been Socktoberfest!!). I'm not big on crowds. But I got to meet my niece for the first time and that was incredible. I know childbirth is the most natural thing in the world, but seeing this little human being that is part of my sister - and therefore a part of me as well- was very moving. I get all choked up just thinking about her. Here she is with her new quilt:
It was difficult to get a good picture of it, here it is a little wrinkled after the long plane ride.
And a close up of the front and back:
Size: 36"x45"
Pattern: I don't have the book so I came up with my own wonky shapes of Denyse Schmidt's 'A Hop, Skip and Jump' pattern from her book Denyse Schmidt Quilts. You can also download it for free here, just scroll down to Flea Market Fancy.
I used four different solids, all Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton, the rest is a mix of fabrics I purchase online and at my local quilt store. I was especially happy to find the musical kitties fabric which I used for the binding, both my sister and her husband are musicians. The batting is almost 100% warm&white cotton JoAnn's sells from the bolt. It's all machine pieced and quilted, and since the fancy walking foot I bought for exactly this purpose messed up my stitches, I used my regular foot which worked fine. This was my first quilt, and I'm glad I had no problems with it at all. Otherwise I wouldn't have wanted to try quilting again, but now I can't wait to make a big one for myself! I have to give lots of credit to The Modern Quilt Workshop by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, their quilting instructions worked really well for me and I followed their quick binding technique, which doesn't use bias strips but has you cut strips on the straight grain, thereby saving a lot of fabric.
I didn't think too much about how I wanted to quilt this project. It had to be quick and easy so I could finish it the weekend before leaving. I did a few figure eight shapes (the ones you see on many of Schmidt's quilts) on a practice swatch, they look really pretty, but took too long. I went with diagonal lines for simplicity but also because they add a little bit of movement. On a larger quilt, I would definitely take the time to either machine quilt very dense shapes if that's the look I'm going for, or I'll quilt by hand. For some reason I feel a real need to once quilt by hand, I just love the look of handquilted stitches and their soft tension.
I've got some knits to show you, but no photos yet. Sunset tonight is 6.54pm, maybe a few rays will stick around long enough for a little photoshoot.