Friday, January 30, 2015

Knitting UFO Revival

Strange title but it does reflect what I'm working on.  I have two sweaters that I started at various times that I also abandoned at various time. I understand why I gave up on them. I had to think too much to actually work on them.  One has been defines revive: to activate, set in motion, or take up again; renew. Oh yes. To Take Up Again.  Perfect definition for one of these sweaters.  

Here's the picture of the sweater pattern I've decided to take up again: 
OOOH, can you say '80s?  Look at the shoulders on this sweater and sleeves for that matter.  And all the little grapes on the yoke are actually bobbles.  For you non-knitters out there bobbles are 2 or so stitches that are knit/purled 6 so rows out away from the sweater and then brought back in so you have a small roundish bobble when you start back knitting on the row.   I was halfway up the back yoke bobbling and changing colors and etc. Every time I've taken this sweater out to work on it I could do three or four rows before keeping all the different colored yarns got to me and I'd put it away.  When I started it I had a beautiful skirt to wear with it.  I actually wore skirts and dresses a lot then. The skirt is gone. Life has changed. But I still like cardigans. 

Fast forward 30 years (really, 30 years since the '80s?) I am in the mood to finish things up and put them to use. (Big question, will a sweater started 30 year and xxxxxx pounds ago still fit?) I don't like the bobbles anymore. I love the color which is actually a deep green/blue --eweeee can you say teal? It was the "in" color then.

Late one night last week I pulled the sweater out again and I decided to yank out all the yoke work. You faithful readers know I don't mind pulling sittches out if I have to. See my post here for my last let's pull it all out event.  I started yanking out the stitches.  Three colors meant 3 different balls of yarn but I had more because I didn't want to carry yarn from one side to the other.  It was more like 6 balls of yarn.  It took me a while, but I finally got all the bobbles and other colored yarns pulled out along with the main color back to before the bobbles started. Then, it took a bit of time to get all the yarn untangled and rewound into its balls.  Finally done. I'm kicking myself that I didn't take a picture of all the bobble work but I didn't.  

I'm not sure I would have enough of the main color yarn to actually be able to finish the sweater sans bobbles.  There is no way I'd be able to match the yarn. So I came up with the idea of thin stripes in the yoke area.  In a week I've been able to get  farther up the yoke than I had been with the bobbles and 30 years.  
What you can't see here is I like to knit in the round as much as I possibly can. Take a look at the front! I stopped where the raglan sleeves will be put in so I am MUCH farther along on this then just the back.  I really like it so far and hope I can fit into it.  (yarn stretches, right? Hey, it's a cardigan, I don't have to button the front up.)
And, look at the cables on the ribbing.  Gorgeous.  What was I thinking of when I started this? I had a job, a husband and 2 small children.  I'm Wonder Woman, no doubt! 

Now, a question to my knitting friends.  Remember those sleeves I was talking about?  Do you think I can make them narrower?  By not adding so many stitches in the upper sleeve area?  I haven't checked the sleeve pattern out that much but I'm guessing stitches are added from the cuff up to the point the sleeve will be sewn into the body of the sweater.  What do you think? Any brilliant ideas of how to make this look not so padded in the shoulders/sleeves?  

My other question is do you think each of the pattern graphs with the bobbles and design in it will match up with the other graphs if I change them all to stripes?  I originally thought so but now I'm second guessing myself, especially on the sleeves.  Any thoughts would be great.  I basically drew stripes across the back graph: 4 green rows followed by 2 stripe rows up the entire graph until the shaping for the neck started.  No need to stripe and shape the neck at the same time.  And, uh oh.  There is a separate band for the front. Yikes, I'll need to stripe it too.  Hopefully I haven't bitten off more than I can chew on this project.  

I really enjoyed working on this several nights this past week but recently I've been doing other things. I need to get back to it. I'd love to get this sweater done before winter leaves entirely.  Too hot for anything like this in Central Va in the summertime. Yeah, that's going to happen! 

Thanks for visiting everyone. I hope you are making progress on whatever project you are working on. I should have a quilt finish to show off soon. And, fyi, Monday I hope to have some new fabric to show off.  I'm going Super Bowl Sunday fabric shopping.  

Happy Quilting All! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

15 Minute Studio Spiff Up #4

I've heard from a couple of people on various spiffing up success stories.  Long-time reader Nancy who blogs at Wyoming Breezes wrote, "Did you see my post today? Thanks to your sewing room cleaning challenge, I actually finished an old UFO."

And Melanie who blogs at "Mel's Quilting Blog"  wrote, "I don't really have a FQ collection, so I'm going to clean up an area that is bothering me." Excellent! Although every week I will give suggested areas to tackle, I'm tickled that folks are doing what is important to them.  Great job ladies.  Anyone else out there with a success story or two?  Please leave a comment and I might feature you and your blog (or just you if you don't have a blog) on an upcoming 15 Minute Studio Spiff Up post. 

Here's this week's assignment: 

Clean, put away and general make your sewing desk/table/area neat. 

I know I tolerate a lot of stuff out and about me.  Hubby is the exact opposite. So my dresser is loaded with stuff, his is clear.  My desk has notebooks on it, his is clear.  And, yes, I have lots of stuff I like at hand when I'm sewing at my machine.  But, honestly, it had gotten out of hand.  Heck, the dust bunnies were propagating more dust bunnies.  Enough already.

Left side. Ooh, look at all that junk out.  In my own defense I must say the desk is really wide so it's an open invitation to put things on it! 

And more stuff.  Wait, isn't that the Grim Reaper little quilt waiting to be quilted back there? This was taken in late December.  Prior to my spiff up it hadn't gotten much better.  I also took the time to DUST this area.  I probably hadn't done any dusting there since I moved into the studio in Aug 2013.  YIKES. 


You'll notice I do like a "glob" of stuff to the right of my sewing machine.  These are things I'd rather not have to stand up and go find - lint brush, my walking foot, small ruler, scissors, forceps, and all sorts of very important stuff -- to me. I've gone through and put away things I don't use often and left the items I really want close at hand. Hum, I wonder what happened to the yellow handled paint brush I use for cleaning the bobbin area of the machine? It's not there anymore. 

I am trying to avoid really time intense areas of my studio.  I'm trying to keep my "spiff up" time to only an hour or two for the week.  So far it's working, except for the cutting tables.  But it was so needed I didn't mind taking the time.  

Let me know how you are doing and what you are doing.  I still have several areas that need to be done.  I'm guessing I'll be adding areas each week for at least 6 weeks more.  I'm loving the changes in my studio.  And, for the most part I have been successful in keeping the space neat.  

I'm busily working on a quilt on Ruthie.  Hopefully it'll come off Ruthie today and I can get right to binding it as I want a finish this month.  

Happy Quilting All! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Design Wall Monday 1 -26 - 2015

I decided not to work on all of my goals this week -- I got into making backings so I didn't think it was a bad thing since I generally hate to make backing.  

First, I finished the backing for my red and black heart quilt -- I finished the top in June. (Wait, that was 6 months ago!)  I split the black and white fabric in half and put a strip of the red down the middle. The backing is half loaded on Ruthie.  I use the "water spray" method of getting wrinkles out of a quilt top or backing.  So, I have one end clamped and the other end floating loose while I heavily spray it with water.  When I get upstairs later it will be ready to finish loading.  I need to do a bit of planning to decide on what quilting is going where.  I'm going to place hearts on each of the big hearts.  Then I'll need to decide what to do in the rest of the spaces.  I'll keep you posted.  I also opened the batting package I was planning on using to let it fluff up a bit.  All set to get going on this later today. 

I've learned that if I want to be successful with pieced borders I need to draw out the designs on graph paper.  I should be able to do simple ones in my head but it always messes up when I don't draw it out. The next quilt up is the red /white and blue/white pinwheels.  I don't have any larger pieces to use as a backing.  And I ignored my number one rule about making lap quilts and the like -- don't make it any wider than one fabric wide.  So, most of my charity quilts are only 40" wide. This one is definitely bigger.  I am not always thrilled with pieced backings but I decided I would try to make a 9 patch using fat quarters.  I picked 12 fat quarters in case I needed more fabric.  Then I made sure they were about 18" x 21. I auditioned them on my design wall.  Hey, they looked pretty good so I started sewing them together.  I'll finish them this week and then try to get this quilt on Ruthie also.  
I like the idea of a finish or two this month.  And both of these tops are UFOs.  (Of course, once Dec 31 passes I count everything I am working on as a UFO. Maybe that is why I have so many UFOs.) And the best thing about my possible finishes?  I haven't bought any fabric this month.  I have no intention of buying any until Feb 1 -- Super Bowl Sunday.  Unfortunately the red, white and blue pinwheel quilt is made from blocks sent to me by FCQ Equilters so that won't be busting a lot of my fabric. But the backing is definitely from stash.  I found that I need to be a little neater as I am pulling fat quarters out of my baskets and box tops.  Sigh.  I had just gotten those fat quarters straightened up too.  

Here's a donation quilt I just finished for Dorothy.  I used a new edge 2 edge design called Whootie Hoot.  Very cute and shows up nicely on this 3 yards, 3 quilts design called Super Sized 9 Patch by Anita Grossman Solomon.  I've made several quilts using this great pattern.  This is the last of the three Dorothy made.  You can pick up the pattern by clicking on the above link. It's a great pattern for donation quilts. I used "Pumpkin Spice" Essential Pro thread from Connecting Threads. Someone will really like this one. 

Here's how I did on my goals this week. 
Week of January 19, 2015
Sew borders on Wild Dog top Postponed 
Sew first border on Mystery of Powhatan√ and second ones are ready to be pinned on
Make backing for heart quilt
Load and begin quilting heart quilt√ loaded but no quilting yet

Week of January 26, 2015
Start and complete quilting on black and red heart quilt
Finish making backing for the red, white and blue pinwheel quilt
Sew the first border on the Wild Dog Top

Finish Mystery of Powhatan borders 

I'm linking up with Patchwork Times.

Happy Quilting All!