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Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 January House Block of the Month

I am so excited to be participating in one of the QuiltingBoard.com's 2011 Block of the Month groups.  We started voting on what our theme would be back in October 2010.  The big winner was the House BOM.  However, we had so many votes for Stars that they decided to do two BOM groups.  One for House blocks and one for Stars.  I am doing the House BOM.  I have never done anything like this and am really looking forward to it.  It is a great way to practice new techniques each month.  It will be fun and at the end I will have a fun town quilt made up of all my House block of the months. 

For January they picked this great paper pieced Church block. Already, month one and I get to try something new.  Of course at this point in my quilting career everything is still new. :)  I decided to do some really simple practice paper piecing blocks just to get my feet wet. I didn't buy any new fabric for this block, I am using what I already have. I would like to be able to use my stash every month and then only purchase new fabric for the borders and backing.  Once I got started I had to rip out my seams a few times and I had to reprint two sections after already finishing them.  I didn't realize I needed to enlarge some of the print outs.  Now I do!  It probably took me longer than some people to do this block, but I am VERY happy with how it turned out.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Knitted Neck Warmer

This was my first completed "real" knitted project.  I have done swatches and tried my hand at washcloths in the past but this was something new.  My mother-in-law has been asking me for months to make her a neck warmer.  Knowing my skill level, I seeked out the easiest knitting pattern I could find.  Wham Bam Thank You Lam Neck Warmer by Susan Chang is what I found.  It is available for free download at Ravelry.  Love Ravelry!

Even though the pattern was super simple I still managed to mess up in a few places.  I apparently slipped a stitch in 2 different places, which leaves a nice hole.  My intention was to crochet flowers and attach them over the holes.  However, after seaming the neck warmer the holes are not near each other and not in places that it would seem appropriate to have flowers.  Good news is the way you fold over the flaps it kind of covers itself.  I still really enjoyed making it.  I find knitting, crochet and hand embroidery to be so meditating for me.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

1st Art Quilt

Finished my first Art Quilt wall hanging in May of 2010. I followed along with a book to learn how to do fast-piece applique. The book is by Rose Hughes called Dream Landscapes Artful Quilts with Fast-Piece Applique. I really liked the easy instructions and am definitely going to do some of the other patterns in the book.

This was a lot of fun!!! I can't wait to start my next project. Pics are below. I did mess up on the binding. I guess if I do it wrong enough times I will finally get it right!

Pacific Nights

For my second foray into quilting I decided to try my luck with a pre-cut quilting kit.  I found on eBay for only $20 a log cabin pattern with all of the pieces already cut.  Perfect!  I think this is a great way for a beginner to practice their machine piecing and quilting.  All of the fabric was cut the precise size it was supposed to be.  My kit didn't come with backing or binding material and to be honest I haven't done anything except complete the top.  I was so happy with the way the top looked I didn't want to mess it up finishing it.  I have in the past few weeks been thinking about finishing this wall quilt, I feel now I have more experience and can really do it justice.

Chrismtas Table Runner

This is my first quilt project.  I decided to go with a small project to practice my skills.  I thought this would be an easy one not realizing that the stars meant having points, I was clueless at the time.  I did all of the cutting myself, and pieced the top on a machine.  I did hand quilt this, at the time I really thought that was all you could do.  I didn't measure my quilting lines just started.  It is a little bit of a mess. :)  I then added embellishments by sewing Christmas themed buttons in the center of each block.  I did sew the binding by hand also.  Started in November and wanted to complete it by Christmas.  I finished on Christmas Eve, 12.24.09.

Granny Square Throw - Strawberry Fields

This was my first "big" crochet project.  Still my biggest one to date.  Granny Square Throw (lap blanket), I call it Strawberry Fields.  I used 5 different yarn colors in each square.  2 of the colors were multicolored yarns.  Lots of fun color changes going on.  I have always been a fan of the brown and pink combination.  This pattern is called Granny Square Throw by Susan McCreary and is posted in the Crochet Today! All-Time Best Blankets 2010 Magazine.

Baby Hats

Here is 2 different designs worked up for hospital donations. Very simple double crochet with single crochet rows plus added ruffle or flower for embellishment. I personally always use Bernat Baby Sport Solid yarn when doing any baby project.

Basic Crochet Pattern: Newborn Baby Hat, use Size G hook
CH 5; slip stitch in first ch to form ring
Round 1: Ch 3, 12 dc in ring, join with sl st in top of ch 3 (ch 3 counts as first dc throughout)
Round 2: Ch 3, 2 dc in each dc around - 24 dc; join; turn on each round
Round 3: Ch 3, (dc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc)  12 times - total 36 dc
Round 4: Ch 3 (dc in next 2, 2 dc in next dc) 12 times - total 48 dc
Round 5-14: Ch 3, dc in each dc around

You can alternate colors of yarn every few rows to create a striped hat.  To create a different texture you  replace any row or rows in round 7-14 with sc all the way around.  I did this in the pink and white hat below.
You can then add ruffle or flower for embellishment.  

To add a ruffle:
Row 15: Ch3, 4 dc in each stitch around and join.

My 1st Hat

Well my first hat might not have been pretty but I did it.  When looking at a completed crochet hat it looks so much more complicated than it is.  I believe starting the ring and keeping track of what row you are on is the hardest part. 

I picked a really simple pattern for my first hat, Double Crochet Hat Pattern, you can find the pattern here.  I don't think it gets any simpler than this.  I used Red Heart Ltd Eco-Cotton blend.  75% recycled cotton and 25% acrylic.  My mom loved it so much when I was done with it I gifted it to her.  The cool thing is she didn't just put on her shelf, she actually uses it.


My love of Crafting

It all started when I quit smoking on September 11, 2009.  I knew that I needed to find something to do with my hands and I had always wanted to learn how to crochet.  I tried teaching myself, but was having a hard time getting past the instructions in the books.  I even bought 3 or 4 different "teach yourself to crochet" books.  I would get so far, and then not understand the lingo or exactly what they were trying to explain. 

I have a Joann's near me and decided to take one of their learn crochet classes.  I had just missed the crochet class for the month so I decided to take a beginning sewing class.  Sew much fun!  Next thing I know I am making my little girl MU pajama pants and buying a new upgraded sewing machine.  I didn't stop there, I wanted to try my hand at making a quilt. There were so many beautiful examples in the store and in the magazines, this is what I wanted to do.  Yep, you guessed it I bought some books and started to teach myself quilting.  I will say I do love to watch Fons and Porter on PBS on Saturdays. I have learned so much from them. I DVR and keep them all. 

Finally, I do get into the crochet class and within 2 hours I am crocheting along.  I have since then taught myself to knit.  Whenever I don't understand something I find myself on Youtube looking up videos.   This has been a lifesaver. 

These are my humble beginnings.  I am still a newbie and my work has lots of flaws, or as I like to call it character, but I love doing it.  I have found my passion in life. To create beautiful things.
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