She Quilts: Walnut Hill Quilt

This quilt is finally done! I am so excited to share it with you. :)

Progression
Started – February 4, 2013
Completed – April 22, 2015

If you had asked me back in February 2013 how long this quilt would take, I’d probably have said a year. But, I also wasn’t pregnant with our first child at the time. :) The piecing took longer than I anticipated. I actually basted, quilted, and bound it in a matter of days.

Fabric Info
Walnut Hill Farm by Blend Fabrics, LLC
Designed by Charlotte Lyons

I adore these fabrics. They are perfectly gender-neutral for a married couple’s bedroom. The backing fabric (shown in an image below) is romantically pretty, to me, and makes the whole quilt seem a bit more elegant. And that is perfect because I’ve always thought our bedroom furniture (was my grandmother’s) has an elegant country feel to it. Perfect match. :)

Pattern Info
Crossed Canoes 6″ block from 365 Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks
Construction and arrangement, improvised by me

The finished quilt is very, very far from what I originally planned when I bought this fabric. I intended to do the entire quilt out of the crossed canoes blocks you can see dotted throughout. It soon became evident that paper-piecing is very time-consuming. Each canoe block easily took an hour to construct.

When I had 16 of these blocks (needing something like 150), I knew I had to change my plans! I measured the fabrics I had left, determined how many 6″ blocks I could cut from each, and came up with a layout that best broke up the colors. I even incorporated some of the border fabric to ease the busy-ness of the main fabrics. I had to make 2 more canoe blocks to evenly spread them throughout the body.

The main portion is 14 x 15 blocks, each block roughly 5.5″ square. The border is about 4″ wide. The binding strips were cut from excess backing fabric, of which I barely had enough to make it around the quilt.

It is quilted very simply with diagonal lines. On one angle, the lines are 2 blocks apart. On the opposing angle, they are 4 blocks apart. The quilting is difficult to see in the pictures. I prefer less quilting than is usually done. I think it makes the quilt cozier. :)

Photos

She Knits: Wine Blossoms Shawl

I was very glad to start on this shawl after the bulkier knits I had just finished. The lace was a welcomed change of pace.

And then I got pregnant, and as the nausea set in, I could not work on this project. In fact, I couldn’t knit at all, as my body reacted as if motion-sick! Also, with this being a complicated project, I couldn’t work on it if Sprout was awake — she required too much of my attention. Lace is not something you can easily put down and pick up in order to tend a child.

So there it sat, as we inched closer and closer to the birthday of the intended recipient. We are past that birthday now, but I am giving this anyway as a surprise belated gift. :)

Progression
Started — January 26
Completed — April 3

I think I could have finished this in a few weeks if I had an hour or two to spend on it daily.

Pattern Info
Golden Orchids by Aino Haikala
Ravelry

The pattern title inspired the “blossoms” portion of the name for this shawl. This pattern appealed to me as a challenge, especially in reading lace charts. And after working this pattern, I can confidently say I much, much prefer working lace from charts.

It certainly was a challenge, too! I had to restart the pattern four times before getting through the first set of charts. Then, had trouble with the body chart twice. I am glad I put a lifeline in at the end of each chart, which made ripping back easier.

Yarn Info
Knit Picks Gloss Lace
70% merino wool, 30% silk
Port colorway: 0.88 skeins = 387.2 yards used

The silk content of this yarn makes it shinier, softer, and lighter (in weight) than the lace-weight yarn I’ve used from Knit Picks previously (Shadow). The color is a deep maroon, hence the “wine” in my shawl name.

I really loved the pattern in the color of the original design: a brilliant yellow. But I wanted the recipient to feel comfortable wearing this shawl, and… she doesn’t wear yellow. She does wear reds and purples, though. :) I hope this shawl fits into her wardrobe well enough that it is used lots.

Photos

She Sews: Carseat Strap Covers

We’ve had a problem with Sprout’s carseat for many months. It didn’t come with covers for the straps, so the little dear always had red marks on her neck from them. I found strap covers at the store, but running $5-6, I knew I could make something with materials I already had.

After a few weeks pondering on them, I finally made something that I think will work out just fine. :)

Progression
Started — April 8
Completed — April 9

The planning stage was much longer, but I couldn’t really say when I began to think on it seriously.

Pattern
Improvised by me

*Update: I wrote up a tutorial to go on my Patterns website!*

Fabric Info
scraps of quilting cotton

I used materials I had in my sewing room, including some leftover quilting cotton, Velcro, and polyester stuffing.

Photos

I took the pictures using an extra carseat we have that we don’t use right now. This carseat came with its own strap covers. The colors I chose for these match her regular carseat better (it is gray and light blue), though still not perfectly. (Hover over an image to see its caption; click to see a larger view.)

Sprouts Turns One!

The past year has been a roller coaster of experiences. I’ve cried tears of both joy and frustration. I’ve marveled at this little child’s innocence and then at her sinful nature of defiance. God has blessed me beyond measure by allowing me to mother this sweet, giggly little girl.

And in the past year, I have learned so much about Him through parenting her.

I’ve learned about mercy and grace and love and discipline and thankfulness and joy.

I’ve learned about prayer. I pray for her soul, that she will grow to know and follow Jesus Christ. I pray for her mind, that she will learn to obey and grow to be self-disciplined. I pray for her body, that she will sleep well, eat well, be healthy, and grow in strength. I pray for her purity in a world that revels in sin. I pray for her future, that she will know the love of a husband in a Christ-centered marriage and will someday also know the pure joy of motherhood.

And then I think of this (John 3:16):

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

My love for her, though great, is dwarfed.

And then, I pray she will know His love for her.

Because there is none greater.

She Knits: Kori’s Hexa-ghan

She Knits: Kori’s Hexa-ghan

I blogged about this WIP wa-a-a-ay back at the end of October. Though I hoped this would be a Christmas gift, I did not stress about that too much because this niece’s birthday is in February (and she’s turning a whole decade old!). It’s been sent to her as a birthday gift, instead. :)

Progression
Started – October 2, 2014
Completed – January 26

This blanket took much, much longer than I ever anticipated. Though I knew I was finishing hexagons (the skeins of yarn dwindled, there were new stitches always on my needles), the blanket didn’t seem to grow in size very quickly.

Pattern Info
Hexa-ghan by verybusymonkey
Ravelry

This is a good pattern, with clear instructions that yield a blanket as shown in the photographs. The technique involves no seaming — you knit each new hexagon onto the previous ones. This appealed to me in the beginning, but I quickly realized I would have preferred a blanket with seamed motifs. As the blanket grows, it becomes very cumbersome to flip it back and forth as you knit the newest hexagon in the round (outside to center). As you near the center, the flipping happens more often.

Instead of working in strips as per the design instructions, I worked in a spiral, of sorts. I did it this way because I was unsure how big I wanted it to be when I first started.

My hexa-ghan finished at about 4.5 feet, measured at the longest diagonal. It consists of 44 hexagons total (15 each white and dark blue, 14 teal). On the longest row, there are 8 hexagons.

This blanket looks very fun in bright, high-contrast colors.

Yarn Info
Caron Simply Soft
100% acrylic
white: 1.66 skeins = 523 yards used
pagoda: 1.57 skeins = 494.6 yards used
blue mint: 1.46 skeins = 459.9 yards used

This is my go-to washable, soft acrylic yarn for blankets. I know from experience it will gain a fuzzy halo in the first wash and lose some of its shine, but the softness can’t be beat.

Photos

She Knits: Baker Blanket

This is a blanket I knit for my sister’s baby, fondly known as Baby Baker while in utero. :)

Progression
Started – November 25
Completed – January 20

I started this in time to take to Thanksgiving celebrations. I put it aside occasionally to work on other projects.

Knit baby blankets always take longer than crocheted versions. But when I saw this pattern, I just had to make it. I think it has a very traditional look, but the gray gives it a more modern feel, which is something my sister will appreciate.

Pattern Info
Cabled Cradle Spread by Anna & Heidi Pickles
Ravelry

Try saying the name of this pattern five times fast! It is a lovely pattern, though I found a couple of mistakes in it. I noted my revisions on my Ravelry project page (guest link).

I knit my blanket as long as I could, to use up the yarn I bought. The finished dimensions are about 27″ by 36″. It is very long and narrow, for a baby blanket, because it is a cable spread. The narrow width is so the blanket fits into the narrow cradle better. I think this would also make a nice stroller or car seat blanket because the extra length could be tucked up under the baby’s feet.

The cables make the blanket slinky and stretchy and squishy and wonderful. Also, they give the pattern just enough detail to make the knitting interesting.

I considered adding a colored crochet border to this, but refrained. If I knit this again, though, I might go for it. I think a colored crab stitch or slip stitch around the edge would look very nice.

Yarn Info
Knit Picks Comfy Worsted
75% cotton, 25% acrylic
Whisker
8 skeins = 872 yards used

This is the same line of yarn I used for Sprout’s Romper. Therefore, I knew how it would wash. It will get fuzzy, pill slightly, and lose a touch of its shine, but none of that is horrible in a baby blanket. The cotton/acrylic blend is breathable and soft and squishy.

I was able to use all of the 8 skeins I bought for this project. I had to fudge the last repeat of the pattern slightly, and I was only able to work 9 rows of the last garter stitch border instead of the 10 needed to match the beginning border. I finished with a measly 27 inches of yarn, so I’m very pleased with myself. :)

Photos
These photos are all taken before washing.