Sunday, January 10, 2010

I've been busy

Christmas reveal! I made this pillowcase for my daughter using the Hot Diggity pillowcase pattern. I would make the next one differently. I didn't really like how the french seams came out. The pillowcase is made from two Kaffe Fassett fabrics purchased at Mainely Sewing in Nobleboro, where the choice of Kaffe Fassett fabrics is very large. DD loves her pillowcase and went out and bought blue flannel sheets to match.

I knit these socks from Cascade Yarn Heritage sock yarn. 75% superwash merino wool and 25% nylon. One skein contains 437 yards, so I had plenty for size large socks with a nine inch leg. Good thing as the yarn was $18 for a skein! That was okay because the yarn is beautiful and these socks were a Christmas gift for my son.
Sock model: Mr. Quilt Island himself, feet resting on his lap quilt made at a Camp Kieve retreat some years back.

Yes, I've been busy knitting socks, this time using Cat Bordhi's new book
Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters. If you have not seen any of Cat's knitting videos on youtube, do treat yourself to her unique mind and sense of humor.
This sock is the
Discovery sock, knit to the individual's own footprint (the cardboard cutout above my sock). Youtube overview of the method is here.

The sock is knit from the toe up, a method I tried and rejected earlier, but with Cat's method it was a breeze.

After increases around the toe (no grafted toe or seam) the foot is knit with increases as necessary to fit around the foot. The sock is tried on numerous times to ensure an exact fit. Get your husband or someone handy to mark a dotted line on your leg to show where the leg will fit in, then continue to the heel. Two rows for the leg stitches are left on "lifelines", the yellow yarn. The row inbetween the lifelines eventually will be cut to open up the sock so the leg can be knit. The heel is knit next with decreasing rows to a final number of stitches all calculated for a perfect fit. Ingenious and intriguing, I just can't stop knitting! Cat's directions make everything clear and easy to follow, believe me, it just looks daunting.

(the formatting on this post leaves something to be desired, sorry)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ducks and Ducklings

As promised, today I want to show you how I drafted a larger block using Marie Henry's Teach Yourself Blocks from the Past book.

In this book the blocks are all 6 inches square. I started by making the applique blocks. I found the 6 inch size was too small for me to comfortably applique. I scaled the patterns up to 8 inch size on a photocopier.

Not thinking ahead, I sewed a number of applique blocks before considering that I would also need to increase the size of the patchwork blocks. I certainly did not want to start over again and try to make the 6 inch blocks afterall.

This block is called Ducks and Ducklings. The block is based on a grid of 25. You can count 5 units across the top. An 8 inch block based on a grid 25 units is hard to calculate accurately. Just how do you measure that unit?

Above is the 6 inch block drawn out on paper.

Now draw an 8 inch square.

Place your ruler so that the "zero" or end corner touches one side of your block. Angle the ruler so that the 10 inch mark hits the opposite side. It really doesn't matter where along the side you put the zero mark.

Place a dot at each 2 inch increment. I am using 0-10 because I want to have five units (25 in all). The next number after 5 which can be divided by 5 is 10. 10 divided by 5 equals 2, so mark along the diagonal every 2 inches.

Draw parallel lines through these dots.

Turn the block around and do the same thing to make the grid.

Here is the grid of 25.

Referring to the block, draw in the diagonal lines to make the ducks and ducklings.

Shade the units and label A, B, and C.

Here is the finished block. You can make templates from your grid or make squares and half square triangles using the grid as your guide.

The blocks in the finished quilt are on-point. Looks very different, doesn't it?

I first saw Alex Anderson demonstrate this technique on The Quilt Show. I didn't really get it right away. I found a photocopy of instructions for this method tucked away among my things. It may have been from a Jinny Beyer book.

I won't have to do this for every block, but it sure was a big help for this one. I'm still learning about this, so if you have any suggestions, please leave a comment.

P.S. Does this only happen to me?? Immediately after posting this I went up to my sewing room. There on my table was a pad of graph paper. On one side the graph paper is 4 squares to the inch. On the other side is a graph at 5 squares to the inch. Never mind. Happy New Year!