Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Sewing

As much as I love knitting, sometimes I need to take a few days off (especially if I have been knitting with skinny yarn and tiny needles for too long).

This is what happens when I take a break from knitting... I start sewing. Here are the sewing projects I managed to whip up in the past 48 hours.  I know it looks like a lot, but once I share my secret to this victory you will completely understand how this was possible.

 First, the projects:

1. A Simple Skirt from MADE: This is a great website chalk full of cute free patterns and tutorials. This pattern also included a video tutorial, which I particularly like. There are directions of how to make two skirts: one-layered or two-tiered. The first skirt pictured on Emma is the one-layered skirt made out of Valerie Wells' Nest, which is a super soft light weight corduroy fabric.

The second skirt is a two tiered one with Beatrix Potter pink toile on the top layer and a sweet pink small print ( I think it is called "sweet dreams") on the bottom. 

testing out the twirliness

2. Joelle Hoverson's Super Quick and Easy Blanket from Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts: This was made for my friend's little girl. Like Emma, she is a big fan of all things Peter Rabbit. Naturally, she needed to have this blanket made for her. The pattern suggests using the satin stitch on the sewing machine dotted all over the blanket to help keep it in place (plus it looks really cute). I chose to tie little knots in hot pink embroidery floss instead. My machine is an oldie, so it does not have the satin stitch feature.

3. This morning I whipped up two grocery bag holders. There are collections of plastic grocery bags all over our house. It may not be very green of us, but the truth is, we use them! We line our small trashcans with bags. We have a cat... need I say more? Our plastic and glass recyclables must be bagged in blue plastic bags or they won't be collected (stupid rule, I know). So my family hangs on to these bags and they end up everywhere.

I came across this pattern while looking for a skirt pattern just the other day. It is a free tutorial from Craftiness Is Not Optional. It truly is a quickie. I made two modifications. I substituted 1/8" elastic for the 1/4" elastic suggested (I was out of the 1/4" elastic) and I made my holders longer. The pattern calls for a fat quarter (18 x 22") piece of fabric. I made both of mine from 18 x 24" fabric. And speaking of fabric. These were made with Amy Butler's Midwest Modern fabric (from the Ohio Sky line). Rather appropriate, don't you think?

And now for the big secret reveal...


I did do some of the sewing during nap time, but today I made the bags while the kids  played indoors with sand. Crazy? You betcha! The kids play on top of a plastic outdoor circle tablecloth with storage containers full of sand and they absolutely love it. They also make an absolutely gigantic mess (remember, I have a 2 year old boy and a 5 year old girl), but it is worth it to have the quiet engaged playtime so that I can have my own quiet sewing playtime.

And now it is nap time again. Time for some rest of my own.

Happy sewing!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Colorful Kites and a Giveaway!

Me again. Just playing with color ideas for variations of my newest pattern, Kite Tails.

great lakes blue

milk chocolate
light turquoise

Pop of Color
hot pink
Shades of Autumn

roasted pumpkin

So what color combination appeals to you? If none of the above move you, which colorways would you select? Do you have another yarn in mind? Tell me about it! Write a comment below with a way to contact you (i.e. ravelry name) and I will select a reader at random to win a copy of the Kite Tails pattern. You have until 11:59pm on Wednesday, April 2. Thursday I will post a winner.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kite Tails

The inspiration for this design came to me while I was flipping through a quilting book at my mother’s house. My mother is a talented quilter. Throughout my childhood beautiful fabrics, quilts and quilting books, surrounded me. So naturally, as a knitter,  I have come to love the look of knitted items which are quilt- inspired. 

Here is the picture which first sparked the idea. Aren't those gigantic triangles and hand stitched lines gorgeous?

Kite Tails is a pillow cover with a trifold construction and buttons/buttonholes in the back for closure. The front panel features a classic triangle patchwork motif (also known as flying geese to you quilters out there), reminiscent of kite tails, worked in stockinette stitch in two similar tones of color with a contrasting color background.  

The back panels are worked in two different rib stitch patterns in one of the darker colors from the front. This pillow cover is worked flat and the sides are seamed with a generous overlap. 


My Kite Tails was made with Stonehedge Fiber Mill's Shepherd's Wool yarn. I first came across this yarn at a yarn festival last March and immediately fell in love. For the past six months I have been knitting a vest with it (on and off- the pattern is giving me problems). Every single time I have picked up my needles to work on that tricky fair isle vest, I sigh and tell my husband how much I adore this yarn. 

Stonehedge Fiber Mills describes it as a worsted weight yarn with 4 ounces and 250 yards to each skein. I find it to be more like a light worsted. They are extremely generous skeins at 250 yards! The pillow cover pictured was made with Navy, White and Frosty Blue.

These crisp classic colors are perfect for my home. I'm constantly drawn to all things blue (one peek into my living room and you would see what I mean). Even last week, at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival, I kept picking up squishy skeins in beautiful shades of denim and midnight blue (and sometimes apple green). The simple and repetitive intarsia motif lends itself to be worked in a variety of color combinations. Stonehedge Fiber Mill has an enormous collection of colorways, plus these hefty skeins are sold for a very reasonable price too. You can buy them here, here, or here.

This week I will put together some fun color combinations of yarn for this pattern and post them on the blog. Dig through your stash! Maybe you already have a few skeins just waiting to be made into a pillow for you home.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Such a Tease

Here's a little peek at a new design to be released in the next week...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Highland Square Scarf

Have you seen this?

Scarves Etc. 2014 is a beautiful collection of scarves, shawls and cowls from Quince and Co. with contributions of designers from all over... including one from me!

This is the Highland Square Scarf

The Highland Square Scarf is a long (75.5") and skinny (5.5") scarf inspired by a nearby neighborhood. Highland Square is a small community just a few blocks from my home in the city of Akron, Ohio. It is known for its eclectic shops, diverse population and artsy vibe. The people who live in this community move to their own beat. They can often be seen bustling in and out of the vintage clothing store and record shop or lounging outside the local cafe, taking in the atmosphere.

The scarf, much like its namesake, has bright, bold features and an energetic feel. The body of the scarf features a large herringbone colorwork pattern in gray and off-white with a garter stitch edge along the sides to keep it from curling. The body is sandwiched by a garter stitch “cuff” in a bright contrasting color. The scarf is worked flat from the bottom up.

I love the soft color scheme featured in this design. I've never really been one to lean toward bright and bold colors, but that yellow garter stitch cuff has just enough punch to wake up and balance out the soft and sleepy gray and off-white used in the body of the scarf.

The scarf is made out of Lark, which has 134 yards of worsted weight 100% American wool in each skein. It is soft and squishy and warm. I had toyed with the idea of using Chickadee (sport weight) and even swatched it too.

Chickadee is on the left (in Egret, Twig and Apricot)
and Lark is on the right (in Egret, Kumlien's Gull and Carrie's Yellow).

Chickadee completely changes the feel of the scarf. It makes the fabric much lighter weight and more likely to curl (to curl or not to curl, that is a good question). Why am I telling you all about my yarn indecisiveness? Because everyone has different preferences in the process of knitting and the finished product. In the end, Lark was still my number one choice for two reasons:

1. I prefer a squishy warm scarf against my neck.
2. Who really wants to knit over 75 inches of colorwork in sport weight yarn on size 4 needles when you can do it worsted weight yarn on size 8 needles?

However, if you prefer a lighter scarf and don't mind the extra knitting, try making Highland Square Scarf with Chickadee.

Whichever yarn you choose, I do hope you choose to make this scarf nonetheless. It is modern and stylish without being fussy or complicated. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to destash or for even more fun... go yarn shopping.

Happy knitting!