Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cast-On: Ma Belle Amie

Knitting is the new black. Have you noticed all the knitting happening lately? Not just here, but all over blog-land. It's so inspiring. I've picked up my knitting needles after a long break and it feels really good. Winter is the perfect time of year to snuggle up under a quilt and knit.

Ma Belle Amie by yarn-love
I really liked the stripes and color play in this scarf pattern. It starts with a provisional cast-on which I've never done before but I'm always excited to learn something new. The stitches from my first try were too tight and the motion felt a little awkward. I tried it again and it went much smoother. My inner perfectionist made me try one more time and the third time was a keeper.

Colors: Honey, Hawk, Tranquil and Aegean

When choosing the color order for the stripes it's important to look for contrast. I thought I had it just right until I was knitting the second stripe of grey. Maybe I should have added a cream like the sample? I'm going to keep going and hope that the mustard color helps tie everything together. Come on mustard!

Pattern: Ma Belle Amie by yarn-love on Ravelry
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss DK in Aegean, Tranquil, Hawk and Honey
Provisional Cast On Tutorial from YouTube

Monday, January 13, 2014

Economy Block Quilt Along

I'm taking on the Economy Block Quilt Along as my first project of the year. It's a simple block made even easier by chain piecing and trimming in batches. Many of the blocks on Instagram and in the Flickr group are scrappy with fussy cut centers. I loved they way they looked and I thought I'd give it a try.

I dived into my scrap bin and found this cute little bird print called Love Birds by Michael Miller. Then I found the aqua print from Washi by Rashida Coleman-Hale. I liked how it echoed the wing shape of the birds and the color was perfect. The grey and white print reminded me of a birdcage - so much fun! 

Then I abandoned the scrap idea because it took me way too long to find these three fabrics in my overflowing scrap bin. One day I will organize them by color and make a beautiful scrappy project (or two) but it won't be today. I turned my test block into a cute little pincushion for my sewing table.

Instead, I decided to use a fat eighth bundle of Road 15 by Sweetwater for Moda and I paired it with Kona in Bone. 


In order to work even more white into my quilt pattern, I decided to play with the color placement and alternate an A and B block. The scale of this fabric is perfect for these small 5" blocks.

Here are some of my favorite prints. It should surprise no one that I love the aqua prints. The black and white prints in this line are awesome. Aren't the trees and houses cute??


Economy Quilt Block Tutorial by Rita at Red Pepper Quilts
Economy Quilt Block Along flickr group
#economyblockalong in Instagram

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Vacation Knitting

Over winter break when the kids were home from school and as we prepped for the holidays it was so cozy and nice. I pulled out my knitting needles and started a project. I started making a swatch of herringbone stitch with plans to make the herringbone cowl from the Purl Bee, but my hands cramped up after just a few rows. It had been so long since I've knit anything. Maybe I needed a warm up project.

I liked the idea of making a cowl so I cast on a bunch of stitches and joined them in a round. Then I knit and purled my way through two balls of wool. The calm repetitive motion was so soothing in the evenings especially at the end of a busy day. Does the term "a bunch" alarm you? It should. Keep reading.

After binding off the very last row I had the satisfied feeling of a finished project and promptly looped my project over my head and looked in the mirror. It was awful. I laughed and laughed and I told my husband I looked like I had been in a car wreck and needed a neck brace. Maybe I should have done a gauge test before spending days knitting a circular object that was too small. Before tossing it aside, I tried blocking it with the steam from my iron. That helped relax the fibers and the stitches and made it wearable. Phew!

When I looked closer at the stitches they didn't look quite right. I think it's because I cast on an odd number of stitches in the round and then used an even stitch pattern (k1, p1). Anyway, I got this funky stitch variation on one side and the rows slant ever so slightly. It doesn't bother me too much, unless a knitting ninja wants a closer look. Then I feel kind of silly. Oh well, there is always next time.

Warm Up Cowl

So here is my finished project. I'm calling it the Warm Up Cowl. The color is gorgeous. I used two balls of Cascade Longwood yarn in Deep Ocean which I bought locally at SueDee's.

Hosta Blue by Madelinetosh

I really liked knitting on these cold winter nights so I think I need another project. Up next might be the Honey Cowl by Madelinetosh. Hosta Blue from their Spring '14 collection is so pretty.


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