Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fleece Blankets with Crochet Border

Fleece Blankets with Crochet Border

I finally got to try out a project I've wanted to try for quite some time.  This is a fleece blanket where I've simply added a crochet border. This project is quick and easy thanks to a gadget called a "Skip-Cut Rotary Blade Cutter".  I found this special blade at a JoAnn's Store in Spokane, Washington, back in July. Since then, I've made up four blankets.

In the photo above, you can see that the special blade perforates the fleece at regular intervals so that you can easily crochet around the perimeter of your fleece blanket. I used my Fiskars 45 mm rotary cutter for this project and I also used self-healing mats and large rulers.

First I used the ruler, cutter, and mat to make sure all sides of the fleece were square and even.  Then I used the rotary cutter with the skip-cut blade to perforate the holes in the fleece.  I used a tutorial from Project Linus to get a little more information.  It turns out that it is recommended that you make the holes about 1/2 inch in from the edge so you can fold the raw edge over as you crochet.  In some photos below you can see the folded raw edge and how it is captured under the crochet stitches.  
You can add more elaborate crochet borders to fleece blankets but, for my blankets I like the clean look of a single crochet. It looks a lot like blanket stitch to me.  For my blankets I actually did a single crochet in each hole and then a change between each hole.  I also added extra stitches in the corners.  

Here is the tutorial on the Project Linus website if you'd like more information (Click HERE).

My first two blankets are for our living room.  The fleece is from JoAnn's and is a medium gray color.  The fabric is decorated with the names of different wines in different fonts and colors.  I put the blankets in the living room when it was cold and snowy last week.  The dogs LOVE these blankets!  The two legged creatures in the house are enjoying the blankets as well.  

Yarn used:  Smarty DK by King Cole

Above:  Brutus is enjoying the folded up blanket.  He can see out the window and warns us if any squirrels are trespassing in the back yard.

Above:  Sandy is snoozing.  See, I am telling you.... these dogs love these blankets!  So soft and cuddly.

Zach came home from college for a visit this weekend.  He liked the looks of our new blankets. I showed him this great geometric print fleece remnant I got at JoAnn's a few months back.  It was actually quite big for a remnant.  Zach said he liked it so I found some great charcoal gray yarn and added a border to his blanket so he can take it back to school with him tomorrow.  I promised to make him a larger blanket over the holidays; I'd like for him to pick out the fleece himself.

Above:  Some close ups of the stitches; notice the extra stitches in the corners.  On Zach's blanket, I put six single crochets in each corner.

Yarn used:  Cascade Pacific

Above: In this photo, you can see both the right side and the wrong side of the blanket.  The right side edge is seen in the lower portion of the photo.  The wrong side edge is seen in the upper portion of the photo.  You can see that the raw cut edge of the fleece is folded over and is captured under the crochet stitches.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Autumn Hot Pads

Autumn Hot Pads

If you hadn't noticed, I've been on a bit of a sewing kick ever since I got back from the NW Quilt Expo in Portland, Oregon, a week or so ago.  At the Expo, I purchased a kit to make two hot pads for my kitchen.  The project was so quick, fun, and easy, that I went out and purchased some more "Insul Bright", which is a batting suitable to use in hot pads.  For my Autumn Hot Pads, I used a bunch of Autumn-themed fabrics.  These are all fabrics from my Mom's stash of fabric.  Thanks, Mom!  The front sides of the hot pads are from some pre-printed fabric.  I actually cut out the individual designs a long time ago.  For the backing, I used coordinating fabrics.

Today sure was good sewing weather. Brrrr!  It's so cold and damp out.  Hard to believe since we were out riding our bikes yesterday afternoon when it was 77 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

This weekend, I spent some time working on Zach's Federal Student Financial Aid paperwork for college; I stumbled across this photo from October 1998, mixed in with some miscellaneous paperwork.  Wow! Time sure flies...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Soup Bowl Cozy

Soup Bowl Cozy

This was Sunday's sewing project.  Quick, fun, easy, and practical.  I try to heat my soup in ceramic bowls (not plastic food storage containers), but sometimes my bowls get really HOT in the microwave oven.  I found this pattern tutorial on the internet.

I suppose you can make this project SAFE to put in the microwave oven, but I am just putting my hot bowl of soup in my bowl cozy after I heat up my soup in the microwave. I have been reading a bit on line about different types of batting and some battings are definitely NOT safe in the microwave oven.  From the sounds of it, you need all cotton batting, all cotton thread, and 100 percent cotton fabric for projects if you want to put them in the microwave.  Since I used miscellaneous old supplies for my bowl cozy and I am not certain of fabric content, I am erring on the safe side. Also, the microwave oven I have is a microwave/convection oven (I have only used the convection function one time!), and I read on line about specifically NOT putting these types of projects in microwave/convection ovens... so I am really erring on the side of caution.

This project was done just in time! Sunday, was a beautiful, sunny, and warm. We went for a great walk in the morning and a nice bike ride in the afternoon.  It was about 77 degrees Fahrenheit.  And Monday...

It's a great day to sit inside and knit and sew and bake.

Here's the link for the Soup Bowl Cozy tutorial:

And here are a few more photos of my Soup Bowl Cozy.  I used a pretty orange fabric for the inside and a Southwestern print fabric for the outside.  The project is actually reversible.  For the project, you need just two 10 inch by 10 inch squares of fabric and two 10 inch by 10 inch squares of batting.  I used fusible fleece and I think this batting was a little too thick.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Trip to Oregon

I wanted to share a few more photos of my recent trip to Oregon.  My mom, sister, and I spent two days at the NW Quilt Expo in Portland.  We took three classes, enjoyed shopping in the marketplace, and also spent a bit of time looking at the quilts on display.  My favorite quilt was the sweet cow pictured above.  Below are some photos of some other quilts.  All were amazing!

Another treat while in Oregon... we went the Cirque du Soleil show called "Kurios".  My parents have been to some Cirque performances in the past but my sister and I had never been.  It was a real treat!  I would love to go to another Cirque du Soleil show in the future if I have a chance.

Left to right: Mom, Dad, sister, and me.

Friday, October 6, 2017

NW Quilt Expo

I've just returned from a trip to Oregon. My folks live outside of Portland.  My sister and I both traveled to Oregon and we went to the N.W. Quilt Expo with our mom while we were there.  I've been to the Quilt Expo before but never took any classes. This time around, we took three "take and make" classes.  At the Quilt Expo, we also did a lot of shopping in the market place.  The photos above and below show two potholders I made from a kit I purchased.  The kit included everything I needed to make the pot holders.  Now I know how to make these fun potholders so I can make more with fabric I already have.  I just had to purchase some batting which is suitable for potholders. 

Below you can see my Puppy Pillow.  This item is made from plush fabric.  This class was sponsored by McKay Manor Musers.  Their designs are adorable.  I think this company is a mother/daughter collaboration and the mom taught our class. She was a really delightful lady.  We got no where close to finishing our pillows in class; I worked on this a bit more at my mom's house and a bit more once I got home to Colorado.  If you like the looks of this pillow, I encourage your to check out the McKay Manor Musers webpage.  You can find it HERE.

By the way, that's Brutus behind the Puppy Pillow. Great photo bombing, BruBru!

Next we took a Velvet Pumpkin class.  This was a project we were able to finish in the allotted time frame.  The pumpkin is made from some hand-dyed velvet and a REAL dried pumpkin stem.  The pillow is filled with some dried beans, dried barley, and some poly-fil stuffing.  We used a hot glue gun to attach the stem to the pumpkin.  I would love to make a gazillion of these pumpkins if I could get my hands on some nice velvet and some dried pumpkin stems.

The last class we took was for a table runner called "Jingle All the Way".  This class was taught/sponsored by Fabric Depot, a fabric store in the Portland area.  The kit or "pod" is from Maywood Studio and the designer is Kimberbell.  All of these fabric pieces for the table runner (except for the binding) were pre-cut.  I did not finish this project in class either.  This project made me realize I could really benefit from a very BASIC quilting class.  The binding on my table runner is a disaster!  I am convinced I can never launder this table runner for fear the binding will unravel. 

Back at my childhood home, my mom had some goodie bags for us (patterns, sewing notions, craft magazines, etc.).  She even took the time to make up a kit for us to learn the paper piecing technique.  We did not have enough time to devote to this while visiting, but I took the time to work on it once I got back to Colorado.  I love how it turned out!  And the paper piecing technique is right up my alley.  I sort of turned the paper pieced square into a really big pot holder/trivet.  I look forward to trying out this technique some more! 

After this crazy fun sewing frenzy, I am back to working on some knitting projects.  I splurged on a fun kit from Biscotte Yarns for my birthday back in September.  I'll have that finished up soon so I can show you what I've made.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Jelly Rolls Socks: Complete

Jelly Rolls Socks

You know... it's kind of difficult to take photos of your socks when you have them on your feet!  But I wanted to show you my new cute socks.  This pattern is called Jelly Rolls. It's not a FREE pattern on Ravelry, but it's worth the price for the download. There are two different options for making these socks included in the pattern. I encourage your to check out the completed projects on Ravelry to see how cute they all are. I will definitely make this pattern over and over. The socks fit GREAT and I loved the double rolled cuff.  Also, I was able to make one pair of socks with one 50 gram ball of sock yarn, so if you find yourself with a random ball of sock yarn, you can make up these socks as long as you have some contrasting yarn for the cuff, heel, and toes.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Jelly Rolls

Jelly Rolls

There is a super cute pattern on Ravelry called "Jelly Rolls".  It is not a FREE pattern but it's totally worth the purchase in my opinion.  Here is the link (click HERE). The construction is very creative. I love the contrasting rolled top to the sock, heel, and toe. The pattern comes with a few variations including a color work (using two colors of yarn) in the heel and foot portion.  If you look on Ravelry to see the various projects using this pattern, you will see a lot of inspiration for creativity.  Once you learn the technique, you can just take what you've learned and run with it. 

For my "Jelly Rolls" sock which you can see above, I used Patons Kroy Sock 4 ply in the Eclipse Stripes colorway.  This is left over from the socks I recently completed for my husband. The solid pink yarn is Knit Picks Stroll; I am not sure what that color is called.  Where did that yarn label go? I just don't know. 

Sock number 1 fits great so I am motivated to get working on sock number 2.  I highly encourage you to check out the completed Jelly Rolls sock on Ravelry.  The link is HERE.  Chances are, it will get you thinking about yarn in your stash and you'll be coming up with fun combinations of yarn. 

I've already got plans for Jelly Rolls number 2.  Here is a photo of the yarn I've selected.

For my socks, I am using size 2.50 mm dpns and I cast on 56 stitches. I did do 32 rows in the heel flap (more than the pattern called for) since I do ordinarily work 32 rows in my heel flaps.  If you would like to make these socks and include the color work portion in the heel, you will also need a larger set of dpns to make this project.  This is all spelled out nicely in the pattern.

Happy Knitting folks! 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Socks: Mens Size 13.... done!

Socks: Mens Size 13... done!

In LATE February of this year my husband says, "Hey, would you knit me a pair of socks for my birthday?"  Did you read that I said LATE February? 

His birthday is March 2nd. 

And he wears size 13 shoes.  This is why I've never made him a pair of socks.

I did cast on the socks on February 21.  His birthday came and went... no socks.  In late August, I told myself his "half-birthday" would be September 2nd, so I aimed to get them done.  I tried really hard to get them done, but did I mention... he wears Mens Size 13 shoes?  Those are some big feet and those are some big socks.

For the socks, I used Patons Kroy Socks 4 Ply and the colorway is called "Eclipse Stripes".  I cast on 72 stitches for each sock on 2.50 mm needles.  The cuff/leg and top of the foot/instep are worked in k3-p1 ribbing.  I made the leg portion of the socks just 6 inches long.  I worked 40 rows in the heel flap and I picked up and knit 20 stitches on EACH side of the heel flap.  I used two balls of yarn for the socks with not a lot left over. I actually purchased a third ball of yarn just in case I needed it. If I would have made the leg portion a few inches longer, I would have needed more yarn. 

With the leftover ball of yarn, I am making the cutest socks for me. I'll show you them soon.  Here are a few more photos of these big ol' belated birthday socks.  My husband says that he doesn't know why any one else calls there feet "feet".  He goes on to explain that his feet are exactly one foot long... 12 inches... so he can call his feet "feet" or he can call his foot a "foot".  Hopefully I am explaining it well. It makes me chuckle when he explains it.