Yukon wild

Yukon wild
Wild rose

Monday, January 15, 2018

Knitted rug instruction

A couple of people asked me how to make the rugs I showed in my last post.  I haven’t made much progress since this photo, only about fourteen more rows.
Firstly I have to give credit to Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts.  I first saw these rugs on her blog post and was totally attracted to them.  My method of making them is only slightly different from hers.
She suggests using size 35 needles.  I had no idea what this size is, although I just looked it up on a conversion chart and see US size 35 converts to 19mm in metric which is what we use in Canada.  But at the time I just knew I needed big needles and I went with the biggest I could find, which are US size 15 or 10mm.  It is interesting for me to realize now that I am using such smaller needles than she has used.
Amanda Jean suggests fabric strips from 1/2 to 1 inch.  I have used scraps that I collect from our local quilt shop which often include lots of fabric strings.  For the first rug I used whatever size came along, but I found that some were very difficult to knit with because of the bulk.  For the second rug I have cut down any that seemed too bulky to 1 1/8 inch. Many of the strips are narrower than that, but I don’t usually go smaller than about 1/2 inch, unless they are batiks or other “colour both sides” fabrics.  Something that I do that she doesn’t mention is that any strips that are printed – ie the colour shows more on the “right” side of the fabric – I fold in half as I am knitting so the colour is showing on the outside.  With any that are the same both sides, such as batiks, I don’t bother with this.
The other thing that I do differently from her is that she ties her strips together.  She doesn’t say what kind of knot she uses.  I have been using a knot that I found somewhere on the web (that I cannot find again now – too bad, that woman had some beautiful rugs).  I thought it was called a “blood knot” but I have just looked that up and found that it is a completely different knot.  I found some instructions on the internet about how to make this knot, but they all suggest making up a “ball” of “yarn” to work with.  I add pieces as I go, sometimes adding on several pieces at a time, and sometimes only one, depending on the length of the strip.
Here is how you make this knot. 
Fold over the end of the strip that is coming from your knitting in progress.
Cut a slit in the fabric.  If you want your ends to be neater, cut this slit up to 1/4 inch away from the end of the fabric.  I like the knobby knots for their texture and look so I am not very careful about my cuts and they are often 1/2 to 1 inch from the end.
Do the same thing in one end of the strip that you want to join on.
Insert the end of the strip coming from your work in progress through the slit in the new fabric strip.  It is important to insert the strip from your work first, as otherwise you’ll have a problem.  Try it the other way and you’ll see…
Now insert the end of the new strip through the slit in the old strip.
Pull the two strips taut to make the knot.
As you can see, my knot is going to be lumpy and bumpy, just like I want it.  I am going to continue eroneously calling this a bloodknot because I think it fits.
For the rugs that I made and am making, I cast on 50 stitches.  That was all I could fit on the needles.  The rugs are knit in garter stitch, that is using a knit stitch on every row.  I used a simple cast off stitch and wove the long ends from the start and the finish through the knitted rows.   My rugs 23 inches wide by 29 inches long, just the right size for by a bed or in front of the kitchen sink.  They could easily be longer if one just kept knitting.  To be wider one would have to have longer needles, or perhaps a circular needle. 
There are various instructions on the internet for making rugs from fabric strips, old sheets, old tshirts etc.  This is the way I have done it.  I hope you will let me know if you try my method.  Smile  I have a friend who has old wool blankets from her family’s farm who has asked if I could make a rug for her using them.  I am excited to try another medium.  And one day I will try using tshirts.  I think they would be softer to knit with.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Friday Night With Friends January 2018

I’m back!  It has been a while since I last posted.  I retired mid November and life has been a whirlwind since then.  A visit from DD#2 who lives in Newfoundland the last two weeks of November, renovations to my bedroom and another bedroom ongoing since early November, my brother and his wife visiting from Seattle over Christmas and sixteen people here for Christmas dinner.  This along with all the other miscellaneous things that have needed to be done for years that I am finally getting to. 

We have had lots of snow, then a big thaw and lots of ice but we are finally back to lots of snow after a big blizzard a few days ago.  Skiing and yoga and sewing take up a lot of my time.  Yes, I said sewing!  I did a lot of sewing for Christmas – six placemats, two bottle bags and seven hotmats.  I have photos of the placemats…. missed out on the other items.


These two were for my daughter and s-i-l in Newfoundland, a salmon, which he loves to fish for, and a whale that she sees often when she is out walking on the coastal trail.

The other four were for my other two daughters and their partners.  Another salmon, a halibut, a dolphin and a flying fish.


I also made a knitted rug before Christmas.  A second one is in the works and was my Friday Night with Friends project. It is about half finished.


Here is the completed one, which resides in a bedroom by the bed.  This rug, which is made from scrap strips of fabric, is lovely to walk on with the different textures of the fabrics and the knots.


Check out what everyone else did for FNWF here on Cheryl’s blog.  Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Friday Night Sew In for October

This month I didn't actually do any sewing on Friday night.  That is because there was a quilt show in Whitehorse and a quilt show around here just cannot be missed as they come up once a year at the most.  I love quilt shows.  I love seeing what other quilters have done, I love getting to chat with the people who made the quilts, as one does in a small town like Whitehorse, and I love the ideas that I come away with. 

This quilt show is nothing like the big shows that so many of you get to go to, and I am sure they are spectacular.  One day I will get to one of those.  This one was put on by a local guild.  It has thirty members.  They are all dedicated quilters and one of them, Joanne, is a fantastic quilter who has won prizes in national shows.  We all got to vote on best small quilt, large quilt, Canada 150 quilt and favourite overall quilt.  All blindly of course - meaning the names of the makers weren't advertised.  Although, some of them had labels and you could touch them. 

Joanne won three of the categories, go figure, but there were many lovely quilts.  The show was in a church basement.  It was crowded and the quilts were hung on ropes strung here and there or laid on tables.  It wasn't easy to get good photos.

But I did take a few.  This was my favourite small quilt.  

It was about 16 x 20.  I loved the use of the colour fabrics for the spots on the dog and the eyes were very expressive.  I didn't find out who made it.

This is the quilt that won for small quilt.  One of Joanne's masterpieces and quite beautiful.

This is the quilt I voted for in the Canada 150 class.  It was made by Cathy, who is Joanne's best friend.

I liked the simplicity of the pattern and of course the Canadian feeling it expressed.

This was the winning quilt, made by my friend Agnes.  She said she cut all the pieces by hand.  What a feat that would have been!  It isn't that easy to see but the red batik is all maple leaves. 

Here is the quilt I voted for in the large quilt category.  It was made by my friend Catherine.  She and I met in French class which we have both been attending for a few years.  I remember when she brought in photos of this quilt when she was making it last year.  

I am, of course, a sucker for all that colour.  She said she didn't like the way she had quilted it, but I liked it.  It really accentuated the heart shape.

And this is the quilt I voted for as overall favourite.  It was made by Susan.  The pattern really appeals to me and the fabrics are appropriate for the pattern, although if I was to make it I would probably try to add more colour.  But her hand quilting was superb!  Unfortunately I didn't get a close-up of the hand quilting.

Here is the quilt that won for best large quilt and overall favourite.  Another of Joanne's and it is really stupendous.  She is in a class of her own, in our town anyway.

She had detail on her label about how she had hand painted the applique fabrics following some instructor's method.  Unfortunately in all the excitement I didn't put the information in the right file drawer in my brain and I can't find it now.  

And here are two more photos of quilts that I particularly liked.  Well there were lots more that I liked but these were the two I took photos of.  I don't know who made either of them.  First up, you know I am a fan of hexie quilts ๐Ÿ˜ƒ.  This one was in the small quilt category - it was a lap size.

And this one grew on me the more I looked at it.  I liked the colour and hue transitions.

I have been doing a bit of sewing this weekend but I'll save it for another post.  Hope you enjoyed my quilt show tour.  I hope you have time to check out what everyone else did on Friday for Friday Night Sew In.  Thanks to Wendy for being a great host.  ๐Ÿ˜


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Friday Night with Friends Report for October

I am really late posting for FNWF.  Arghh!  Life seems to be so busy all the time now.  Is the world spinning faster?  Am I out of control?  Or maybe just lazier?

On Friday night I laid out two En Provence blocks to sew together.  You may remember from my last post that I have four left to sew.  This is as far as I got.

The sub-blocks for the first block are sewn into rows, but the rows aren't sewn together.  The second block isn't even started.  I kept thinking I would at least get the rows sewn sometime this week, but it isn't going to happen.

It was Thanksgiving weekend in Canada last weekend.  I had to attend one turkey dinner and host a second one.  Both were delicious!  Lots of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, yams, Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, whipped cream and other miscellaneous offerings such as broccoli salad, kale salad, green bean salad, and delicious appies.  Today is my hubby's birthday as well as a good friend's.  We are going out for dinner and then to a documentary about the Tragically Hip, a legendary (at least in Canada) Canadian rock and roll band, which is one of my hubby's favourites.

On a fun note, I have another "what is it" photo for you.

This one should be easier to guess.  The teaspoon is there for determining size.

I hope you will stop by Cheryll's blog to see what everyone else got up to for Friday Night With Friends.  I haven't had a chance to check them all out yet myself!


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Quilt Retreat Fun

Our local quilt store hosts two big quilt retreats a year in the Village of Haines Junction, about three hours from my town.  Last weekend was the fall one and, yes, I attended. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ The retreat runs Thursday through Sunday, so there is lots of sewing time.  As well there is tons of good food.  Jonathan, our cook, comes 1,400 km just to cater for us.  And a group of us put on a pre-dinner cocktail hour with good cheeses and other delicacies, that he loves to attend as well. 

But I guess I should tell you about the sewing... I made my September swap hexies for Jacqui and got them into the mail on Friday. 

When I was gathering up my pin cushions for the parade a few weeks ago I found yellow pieces that I had cut to make a block.  So I put them together.  

 I had made the orange block last year sometime.  Eventually I want to make more of these blocks and put them into a quilt.  But they are pretty complex - one block takes about four or five hours to make, what with finding the scraps and cutting the pieces etc.  So this is a project for later.  This block was designed by Elizabeth Hartman and can be found by clicking on the link.

I have been wanting to make myself a new tote bag and really love the shape of a bag I made last year.  My blue scrap bin is overflowing, so I decided to make this a blue scrappy bag and I made a larger size.  I still have to find grommets that will match with it to put the handles through.  So right now it just looks like a lump.

And the piรจce de rรฉsistance - I now have twelve En Provence blocks done!  Only four more to go.

There were tons of beautiful quilts being worked on, but I only took a picture of one.  Of course I want to make this quilt pattern!  Isn`t it fantastic!  

You might think I would want a little break from sewing - but it is Friday Night With Friends coming up this Friday and I have my name on the roster.  Why don`t you come along too!!


Sunday, September 24, 2017

A lovely weekend

I had an extremely stressful week last week.  Monday and Tuesday were long days taken up with back to back meetings at work that were not fun.  Then I had a ton of work to do the rest of the week and hubby was away from Wednesday on.  Although I like having time to myself, I was too tired to do anything constructive with it and my diet deteriorated rapidly as I didn't have to cook for him.  So I was ready for some fun this weekend!

On Saturday a group of us got together to do some talking and scarf dyeing and a little bit of sewing.  It was supposed to be a lot of sewing but the talking took over ๐Ÿ˜‚.  I took a few pics of the scarf dyeing in process.  This is the same method we learned about in Saskatchewan in the spring.  You can read about the process here

I wasn't happy with how my scarf turned out, so I redyed it this morning. 

I didn't get a great photo of the overall scarf, but here are a couple of closeups that give you an idea of the detail.

Seeded Eucalyptus 

Raspberry leaves

This afternoon we went for a bike ride to the cranberry patch with our neighbours.

And we came home with lots of cranberries.  Here are a couple of trays ready to go in the freezer.

So all in all it was a very pleasant weekend and I feel ready to tackle work again this week.  Only three days and then I am off to a four day retreat.  YAY!  So I'll see you hopefully next weekend with some sewing updates to show. 

I hope your weekend was equally as relaxing and fun.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

September Friday Night Sew In Report

I had my usual tired Friday - I think that is going to be my new name for it - like thirsty Thursday, then there is tired Friday.  Not that I hit the bar or the put on Thursday! ๐Ÿ˜‡

But even though it was a tired night I managed to work a bit on a hand work project.  DD # 2 is coming for a visit in November and I realized that there are two projects that I want to finish before she arrives - not that they are gifts for her, but just so I can show them off to her.  She is my biggest critic of the fact that I don't finish things.  Well I do, but she is sceptical about the number of projects I finish compared to the number I start.  Probably correctly.

Anyway I can't show this project because then she'll know as she does read my blog.  But I took a little sneaky picture.  Tee hee...

And then today I managed to finish sewing the four patch purple squares for En Provence.

And remember this photo that I showed you a couple of weeks ago...

A lot of you bravely guessed what it is, and lots of you were close or spot on....  it is a milk crate full of potatoes that were in a cold room in my friend's basement, for who knows how long, trying their darnedest to grow.  Here's what they looked like when I tipped them into the compost pile.

Please be sure to drop by Wendy's blog to see what everyone else got up to for Friday Night Sew In.


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Ugly Pincushion

It was hard to pick an "ugly" pincushion, because really I like them all and they all have a little fond memory of some kind for me.  But this one got the honor of being the ugly duckling.  My friend Nancy gave me this pincushion.  She also gave me my little chair pincushion that is made out of a tin can.  So you can see the style of pincushion she likes, even though she doesn't really sew much and doesn't have a pincushion collection of her own.

The reason I don't like this one as much is because it is so small, and I don't really have a spot to put it where it would be useful.  So it is being useful today, as my ugly pincushion!

And I think this is my last post for the Perfectly Pleasing Pincushion Parade hosted by Ida at My Sister Made Me Do It.  Go and check out the other entries - they are all really fun!


My Pincushion Parade

Today I am linking up with My Sister Made Me Do It to show off the rest of my pin cushions.  Last year I posted quite a few of my pin cushions for the parade  You can see them here.  But I realized I missed a few, and maybe I've acquired a couple of new ones since last year.  ๐Ÿ˜‰

I bought this beautiful swan from someone online.  She had acquired a lot of old china pieces like this and had decided to make them into pincushions and sell them to raise money for charity  I think I paid $10 for this though, so I'm not sure how much she would have raised.  Unfortunately I can't remember who she was.  The pin cushion is very elegant and sits on the windowsill watching out for wandering animals in the yard.

This is another one that I acquired and I can't remember who from.  I think it was in a swap or a giveaway.  Isn't that terrible - that I can't remember, I mean.  This one is felted wool and I like it quite a bit except that it is only about an inch thick.  I have it hung on my cork board and it does get the odd pin or needle stuck in it.

I got this one last year at retreat.  A little fairy came through in the night and lift it on my table.  I made the decorative pins using buttons and tiny glass headed pins.  They aren't really practical for using but they are cute.

This last one was made for me by Lynn from Ontario.  It is pretty but very shallow so it is a decorative rather than useful pincushion.

And here are all of my pincushions out on parade.

Except that there is one more.... The ugly pincushion.  He gets a post all on his own....๐Ÿ˜


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Perfectly Pleasing Pincushion Parade

I said I was going to make a new pincushion for this parade.  And I got an idea in my head and even though I didn't necessarily want to make it, it wouldn't go away.  So I made the pin cushion yesterday.  I hope this pincushion is not offensive to anyone.  I am trying to think of the right way to describe it and all I can think of is commemorative, but maybe memorial would be a better word.

I have no idea why I was so fixated on making a pin cushion to remember what has been going on in Texas the last few weeks.  I have no connection to Texas, other than my friendships with Irene and Ida.  My brother and sister-in-law lived in Dallas for about five years before they moved to Seattle.  And I drove through Texas once, back in 1975.  I was on my way to a year of travel in Central and South America with two companions.  We were going to cross into Mexico at Brownsville, Texas but one of my friends fell in a big pit in the middle of the night and broke his leg.  He had to fly home to Canada.  My other friend and I decided that we wouldn't take our car into Mexico and we drove on to Phoenix where we left it at a friend's house.  So I probably spent two days in Texas and the time was spent travelling.  Hardly an experience that created huge bonds.

But hey I needed to make this pincushion and here it is in the parade.  It isn't too beautiful, but it is good and sturdy.  Stuffed with fibrefill but I put a little pouch of lead shot in the bottom of it so it is sold and stands up the way it is supposed to.

I'm linking this up with the Perfectly Pleasing Pincushion Parade at My Sister Made Me Do It.

And I'm off to see the parade of pin cushions!