Somewhat Scrappy

I’ve been reading Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It’s the fourth and last in the series, Cemetery of Forgotten Books. I’d read and enjoyed the first two, then missed that 3 and 4 were translated. One problem with 800-page intense books is finding stopping places! But I managed to do a lot of mental quilting and a bit of stitching and scrap control.

Way back in October I had dug out an orphan block to use as center in a guild medallion project. ( https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2020/10/15/turkey-in-the-straw/ ) I don’t really like to wait for next clues, so it was easier to let it sit till there were three. One more is due next month. Three was enough to start sketching options.

Every two months two borders are suggested and directions given. Of course at any time we can do our own thing including figuring out our own measurements. I sorta thought I’d consider options offered first, but design my own if I felt the need.

The first two suggested options were four-patch or pinwheel blocks. That was easy because there is no way pinwheels fit my center. But the four-patch didn’t work either. My orphan piece measured 23.5 x 23.5. Because it was set on point already, I didn’t feel the need of a resting border. The first border was designed for a piece 24.5. I could trim to 22.5, add a row of one-inch squares followed by a row of two-inch squares for a workable modification. I’ve had time only for the one-inch row.

The reds are scraps; the background isn’t. The 2-inch row will be the medium blue, part scrap and part the batik of the center for some continuity. The next row will be dark blue. I have yet to decide whether to point the dog-ear triangles in or out. And sketching hasn’t solved it. I’ll probably have decided by next month. The third two options were square-in-a-square or flying geese. Again an easy choice of block, but undecided where to put background/pattern colors.

Then since I stitched the last of my prepared leader/ender pieces, I had to press some 2-patch pieces so I could start on 4-patch blocks.

I’ll set them aside for some 54-40-or-fight or Jacob’s Ladder blocks.

The 15th is Scrap Happy Day. Visit Kate’s blog to see how much scraps can earn and links to some serious scrap usage. https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/2021/04/15/scraphappy-april-5/

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“Flyover Country”—Scrap Happy Day

My local quilt guild has some very interesting challenges. This year we were given a piece of vintage fabric, of which we had to use 1 square inch in a 9 x 12 inch quilt.

The theme was something we had done without this year. As an introvert, I have adapted pretty well to isolation But there was one major disappointment: my daughter’s bargain tickets became null when Covid caused airlines to cancel flights. So airplanes would be my motif. I consulted my reference book for ideas.

I found 9 blocks that showed airplanes and several more designs named “Airplane” but were not representational. I chose #904, Airways (Washington), attributed to McKim’s Patchwork Parade of States. A square block. I had a rectangle to fill and also wanted to do more than make a block. I pondered making a city across the bottom, but couldn’t make the combination work. So the idea remained dormant till the deadline was a month away.

I thought of how many times I’d heard a comment about how land looks like a quilt from above. The background would be “made fabric,” an idea from Victoria Findley Wolfe.

So I went to my crumb jar and pulled as many green, gold, and tan bits as i could find.

Not nearly enough. So I dug deep into my scrap bin for baggies of sorted crumbs. Yes, once in the past I actually sorted what I had on hand.

And started sewing.

When I had some sizable pieces, I made templates and tried to fit them on the pieces. Most pieces needed additions.

That process took way longer than I expected. I think the basic idea of “made fabric” is that you mindlessly attach pieces when you don’t have any other ideas, then when you need it, it is ready. Maybe someday.

Finally the piece was finished and ready to mail. It is amazing how quickly a 9 x 12 inch piece quilts up. Time was absorbed not only by making fabric but also by working with the odd angles. I even basted and pinned—gasp! And ripped because when it comes to angles, I am spatially challenged.

So here it is.

Flyover Country. 9 x 12

It’s all scraps, batting and backing. At last a use for small pieces of batting other than making Frankenbatting.

If you want to check out other scrappy projects, find the Scrap Happy list on Kate’s blog : https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/

And if you want to see the finished scrappy Surprise Jacket, click on “ previous post” below.

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Finished: Adult Surprise Jacket

It takes a lot longer to knit the adult-sized sweater. Then the finish takes longer than expected after the false-finish feeling once the “blob” is finished. Especially the I-cord bind off.

But I like the look of the finish and would do it again. The buttons are pottery, which my daughter got me from Japan quite a while ago. Since they require hand washing, I’d always thought their best use was on a wool knitted sweater. However, I don’t make sweaters very often. These buttons are decorative only because I didn’t make buttonholes.

I got the I-cord instructions from this handy book.

But it didn’t give any hints for a smooth join. I wish I hadn’t made the join in the front.

I suppose it’s one of those flaws that will be visible mostly to me and other experienced knitters.

And here is the end product.

Jacket history.

Begun https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2020/12/31/take-two-already/

In process 1 https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2021/01/24/adult-surprise-2-3-finished/

In process 2 https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2021/02/10/major-piece-finished/

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Major Piece Finished

Two weeks to the day. My time estimates aren’t usually so accurate. The main, irregular piece is finished.

The yardstick is there for perspective. I do not recommend this as a summer project. It is quite a lap warmer.

As with the Baby Surprise, the lower right corner gets turned up to the center top.

The armhole is 2-4 inches deeper than it needs to be. Remembering batwing sleeves of an earlier fashion, I had decided to err on too big.

I have ends to weave in, shoulder seams to sew, and sleeves to lengthen. Then finish with an I-cord binding. Maybe I’ll get to wear it yet this winter.

There is an alternative finish where I would lengthen sleeves while the piece is flat then attach the shoulders with three-needle I-cord attachment as I bind off. Sewing the shoulder/sleeve seam seems easier.

In case I have nothing new to show in the next 5 days, I’ll mention Scrap Happy and Kate’s blog for links to more scrappy goodies after the 15. https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/ Of course it’s fun to see any time. And, yes, all the yarn is scrap, and there is more for yet another project.

Here’s the source of instructions for anyone ready to make one.

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Adult Surprise 2/3 Finished

I was not prepared for how much more unwieldy the Adult Surprise would be than the Baby Surprise. It didn’t take long to shift from a 24-inch loop to 60. But I have made progress from the bit in my earlier post: https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2020/12/31/take-two-already/

I’d not noticed when planning the pattern that the increase “half” is 9 rows fewer than the decrease portion. While I hadn’t planned an exact mirror image on the second part, I’d intended the blues to be the same size and the “other” stripes to be about the same size. The plan was in my head, not drawn. Luckily I started to make reverse color notes and saw what was happening. So I didn’t just run out of space, but began several truncated stripes. I don’t think it will be noticeable in the finished product.

I’m a bit concerned that the finished product will be gaudy. I’d wanted stripes for two reasons: to use up leftover yarns and to accent the right angles. It will do that.

At the rate I’m knitting, and if there are no squirrels, it should be finished in a week or two.

The Stretching Art and Tradition project that I sketched here ( https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2020/11/19/another-beginning/ ) has been postponed a year. So that won’t intrude.

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Take Two, Already

So I started two swatches. One yarn looked smaller but the stitch count was the same. So I did measurements and math and cast on.

The main color will be blue. I have 10 balls left from this afghan.

That’s a lot of leftover, but I remember having no clue how much I’d need and not wanting to chance running out. The other leftovers are from a sampler afghan I made in a class that presented a different technique each month.

My favorite blocks:

Fair Isle
Counterpane

I also have some left from a sweater I made and a sweater a friend made and contributed. No photos of those sweaters.

So swatch finished, measurements taken, directions read, math done and rechecked, I’m ready to cast on 322 stitches. And I get this far.

Something made me stop and count stitches. Uh oh. The sleeve section was fine but the back was already 10 stitches fewer than I should have after about 10 more double decreases. I considered doing single decreases on the sleeve side till it was down to where it needed to be. The area was underarm, so the lack of right angle might not matter. But if it turned out that it mattered, I could rip out later.

But I wimped out and decided not to take a chance. I reread the directions and redid the math. This time I figured I needed to cast on 366 stitches. (Yes I had checked my math before. Apparently I’d made the same error when checking. This time I couldn’t get the old number, so I’ll never know what I did wrong. At any rate, I now am this far.

Is knitting and reknitting a way to get double money’s worth out of yarn?

ETA I don’t have enough to add for another post—knitting process isn’t as interesting to post about as quilting process. So for Scrap Happy visitors, here is the link to Kate’s post with links to other scrap posts.

https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/2021/01/15/scraphappy-january-5/

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Voila!

Well, it really is a little sweater! But first the “blob.”

See the indent in the lower right? That is the front neck and it gets rotated up.

Here’s the back view.

Surprisingly, one error in marking increases and decreases fixed all the problems in the first try. https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/the-skeptics-win-the-first-round/?preview=true

In the previous post I’d mentioned changing color on the wrong side so I got the divided line where it would show on the right side. And I wondered if I could make it look intentional. I think I did.

And here it is, all ends woven in and shoulder seams sewn. This design is for a baby with strong taste, who doesn’t want to dress like a baby.

The Complete Surprise book does more than clarify instructions. There are photographs explaining stitches and charts to help with design. It is so thoroughly explained that the end result is no longer much of a surprise. And if you like line-by-line instructions, they are there too.

It offers variations in size and feature. It explains the geometry and sizing. So I think I’ll make me one.

Let’s see. I am to cast on the desired width + 6 times the arm width times gauge. I guess I can’t avoid knitting a swatch.

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The Return of BSJ

Plan A had been to do some quilting, but books got in the way. Then I finished Christmas knitting and had some leftovers. So it was time to return to the Baby Surprise Jacket. Here it is a little under halfway.

You can’t see much—24-inch circular bunches it up. The side showing is supposed to be the right side. I changed yarn on the wrong side so got the extra line. Then decided to do all changes that way to make it look on purpose. Don’t think anyone will be fooled.

Moving the marker to the center worked wonders. Now the double decreases do what seems intuitive: one stitch off each sleeve and one off the body each time. I’m at the more stitch-counting part now, and the count keeps coming out correct. Soon we’ll know if the more complete instructions work better. I think they will.

Scrap Happy day will be here on the 15th, so I’ll mention that the brown and dark blue are scraps. The light blue is new; I wanted to be sure to have enough of the unifying color. Cheating again. I know I have left overs of more colors, but of course I can’t find them now. I’d wanted a more multicolored look. Maybe another time.

Starting December you can see more Scrappy projects linked at https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/

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Another Beginning

So the T Quilt doesn’t have a deadline after all. (Plans had changed when I wasn’t paying attention. ) There is no rush for the baby quilt. What better time than now to start something new?

Stretching Art and Tradition is coming up early next year. This year’s entry is being held to show next year, but we have also been given a theme for next year: When One Door Closes. (Wonder where that came from. )

This time the size requirement has changed to 24 inches by 36. A little easier than the old 18 x 36. So I started thinking. As you will remember, I prefer more abstract design, and that makes following a theme sometimes challenging. Also I have some Japanese kimono silk that I’d like to use; working with silk would be the new technique.

The first idea I had was an overall 9-patch structure composed of 9 9-patch blocks, each adding one more light square (well, rectangle and an odd size at that).

The idea turned out to be more interesting conceptually than visually. So I shifted to a grid of 4-inch squares with a dark to light movement. First try

I plan all the light squares to be the silk with fabric manipulation for variety and the dark to be one shade of dark, varied textures (velvet, cotton, satin, corduroy) and maybe different close hues ( brown, purple, black).

Not sure I like the clump of four, though the idea was to have it reappear after being blocked. Again the visual interest may not equal the conceptual. So I tried again.

I’m liking it better but not committed to it. Stay tuned.

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Leaders/Enders Progress—and Scrap Happy

Another project I worked on during the virtual retreat was attaching 4-patch blocks to their alternate blocks for their last round as leaders/enders. These 2-inch squares have been leaders and enders for forever—at least 2 years, maybe 3. Of course their use had been interrupted by two other leader/ender projects: Star Kissed https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2020/05/14/star-kissed-1-is-finished/ and Irish Star https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/2020/04/15/irish-star-2-top-finished/

After this step was finished at the retreat, it was time for them to graduate and become a project. So after a while, I laid them out and did a bit of rearranging so that fabrics that drew attention to themselves were somewhat spaced. Then sewed.

36 x 36

It won’t make it to this year’s Toy and Joy, but the fire fighters need the quilts (and quilts get delivered) all year. Usually a fire fighter representative picks a dramatically large batch up at the December meeting, but with Covid and virtual meetings quilts had to be dropped off early November. It will just not get to the guild’s total, and that’s not the end of the world. It will augment next year’s.

This top is made 100% from scraps. There were only threads remaining after I cut the 72 squares for the alternate blocks. If you like Scrappy projects, check out Kate’s blog and follow links that are there. https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/

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