Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Guest Post - Washcloths for Honduras

The crafting front has been a little slow chez Crafty Roach, so today I'm bringing you another guest post. This one comes to us from MaBrown, the mother of Mr. T's best friend from high school and college, and now one of my good friends. Just as with our previous guest poster, Lauren, MaBrown took some time away from knitting, but she's easing her way back in with these washcloths.

Photo courtesy of MaBrown
And now I'll hand it over to MaBrown:

I have recently been inspired to pick up knitting again, thanks to "The Crafty Roach." I used to knit when I was a teenager, but school, career, and children pushed my crafty aspirations to the back burner. My kids are grown now and I am exploring new ways to foster my creative side.  

Photo courtesy of MaBrown

Every year my husband and I go down to Honduras on a medical mission trip with the Luke Society. We take care of patients in the mountain villages with all sorts of medical issues. I am a pediatrician and love seeing all of the kids. Many of them have never seen a doctor, much less a pediatrician, so we have lots to talk about.  They are grateful for any small thing we can give them, so every year, with the help of my church friends, we fashion "hygiene kits." They include a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant soap, anti-dandruff shampoo, and for the babies I throw in some baby shampoo and baby lotion.  I am happy to be able to knit the colorful washcloths, which add a personal touch to the kits!

Photo courtesy of MaBrown
Thank you, MaBrown! I'm sure the kits are much appreciated, and its always satisfying to create a product that you know will be well-used. 

Pattern: Slanted garter stitch dishcloth/washcloth (not the exact pattern, but similar)
Yarn: Lily Sugar n' Cream

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Guest Post - Curves Ahead Cowl

It's finally time for another guest post!  Several friends have been churning out amazing items, so I hope to have more of these in the near future.

Today, I'm happy to present my beautiful friend, Lauren!  She took a bit of a hiatus from knitting, but now she's back and here to tell us a bit about her project.

I decided to get back into knitting because a new yarn shop had opened in my town. The owner was the friendliest knitting shop woman I had ever come across, and her store was so beautifully set up, with couches, coffee, and the nicest yarns I had seen in a while. As soon as I stepped inside, I couldn't wait to start a project. She suggested this cowl because it was slightly more advanced than I was used to and would get me back into the swing of things. Also, it was a one skein project, so it would be quick to finish, which would be encouraging to continue knitting more.

My favorite part about this was knitting in the round and doing the increases and decreases. I loved this pattern and the final look of the cowl is super fun. I recommend it!!!
Thanks for sharing, Lauren! We will definitely be taking a trip to this shop the next time I come visit.  I just love this colorway.  Doesn't it look gorgeous on her!

I've also seen a pillow she currently has on her needles, so we'll be hearing more from Lauren soon!

Pattern: Curves Ahead Cowl (free)
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Baby Me Boo

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Eli's 2D Zoo

As a child, I was part of a big brother/big sister program.  Every Sunday after Hebrew school, my PAL, Marcia, and I would go toiling around the suburbs of Atlanta.  We kept in touch even when I "graduated" from the program, moved away for college, and never returned.  She has always been an important part of my life (and I can't imagine that I was an easy kid to get along with - very moody and non-communicative), so when I learned she and her husband were expecting their first child, I couldn't have been more excited.  Naturally, I immediately started planning something special.  I was unable to go to their wedding a few years ago, so I felt that this had to make up for that absence as well.

After harassing Marcia about the color scheme for the baby's room and scouring the internet for ideas, I settled upon a minimalist approach using this quilt as inspiration. I wanted something subdued and classy that didn't scream BABY, but also had a bit of fun and whimsy.  The Alexander Henry fabric was perfect. The colors were just right and, based on the registry, the nursery has some nods to jungle animals. I paired the focus print with a few shades of brown, as well as some blue and green for accents. I didn't want bright white for the background, so I used Kona bone, which compliments the different shades in the quilt really well.

When it was time to piece the back, I had just watched Elizabeth Hartman's Creative Quilt Backs class on Craftsy, so I was feeling inspired to try something festive.

For the quilting, I kept with the square theme and practiced my FMQ, inspired by Angela Walter's book.  It's not perfect, but it improved over the course of the quilt.  Though I definitely had a sore back and arms by the time I was finished, especially trying to wrangle this quilt through my machine's 5 inch (if I'm being generous) throat space .

To really make this quilt special and personalized, I tried my hand at embroidery for the first time. I used #5 DMC perle cotton, which I really liked, though in retrospect I probably should have used stranded floss instead just so I could have made the lettering a bit thinner.  Next time...  Anyway, I think this simple label with the baby's name and birthday, plus my initials, is the perfect touch.

Finish with some Madrona Road to pull in all the colors for the binding, and that's it. My fifth completed quilt! Marcia and Eric, I hope you love it and Eli gets some good use out of it!

Quilt Stats:

Quilt Name:  Eli's 2D Zoo (I'm bad with quilt names...)
Quilt Size:  43" x 43"
Pattern:  Improvised by me, inspired by this quilt
Fabrics used:  Riley Blake Small Chevron; Robert Kaufman Spot On Tiny Dot and Small Dot; Oliver + S Roundabout Dots; Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow Herringbone; Violet Craft Madrona Road Haystack;  Kona Bone and Navy; Bella Platinum
Binding:  Violet Craft Madrona Road Broken Herringbone in blue
Backing:  Design by me, same fabrics as above
Quilting:  All over meandering square FMQ done by me on my home machine

Mr. T got a little impatient during the photo shoot.
Check out the awesome backdrop (you might need a magnifying glass)!

This is my first finish for FAL 2013 Q2! Much better start than last quarter!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

do. Good Stitches - April 2013

This month Linda tasked us with making half-square triangle blocks of contrasting values to make a quilt like one of these. The last time I worked with HSTs was my first ever quilt (in retrospect, probably not the best idea knowing what I know now about bias edges), so I was excited to try them again now that I know more about fabric and better piecing techniques.

So here are my blocks!

Fabrics: dark: Dear Stella; light: Denyse Schmidt for JoAnn

Fabrics: dark: Free Spirit; light: Dear Stella
I must say, I'm quite please with my center points.  I don't think my points have ever matched that well, except maybe when paper piecing.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Finish-A-Long 2013: Quarter 2

she can quilt
I can't believe it's already time for quarter 2.  After my ridiculously poor showing during Q1, I'm trying to keep my goals realistic.  I thought I was doing that last time, but apparently not.  We'll see how it goes...

1) Baby Quilt

Carried over from Q1. This is a gift, so only a sneak peak.  Just the binding left - should be a quick finish.

2) Index Blocks

Carried over from Q1. I made these blocks in October as a pattern tester and they've been sitting around since then. I didn't even look at them last quarter. I have a few friends moving soon, so the plan is to turn them into something that can be a housewarming gift.

3) Coasters

My friend just redecorated her place and asked for some coasters, so that is what this pretty stack will be. Main fabrics are cut - the three middles ones are the tops and the two on the ends are the backs, so 6 coasters. Just need to add batting and bind in the solid purple.

4) Wiksten tanks

More Wikstens! The pattern is cut, the fabric is pre-washed (not sure if that's necessary with voile since I let it air dry, but I was doing laundry anyway), and the weather is getting warm, so I'm ready for more tanks!

Items that don't count towards the FAL, but I'm including for motivational purposes:

5) Snowballs in Helsinki - still need to start cutting! My friend is becoming inpatient (understandably so)
6) Boyfriend Sweater - need to block and add buttons, and maybe pockets if I can figure out how
7) Spectrum socks - I really want to start working on these again, but I currently have two projects on needles, plus the BF sweater, that I need to finish before I can re-cast on

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wearable Clothing!

I made a tank! And I'm kind of in love with it.  It's a Wiksten, which is all the rage these days.

After deciding I had no desire to even try to fix it, I cut up the Schoolhouse Tunic I made last fall and reconstituted it for this tank.  The tunic skirt wasn't quite large enough for the tank pattern, so I did have to piece it a little bit, but this fabric is very forgiving and, unless you're looking for it, I think it's really hard to tell where the seam is.

Following my tunic fiasco, I was a bit nervous to take on clothing again, but this went really smoothly! I had a little bit of trouble with the bottom hem, and the sleeve and neck bindings are a bit fiddly, but it was nothing that elicted yelling and swearing, so that's always a good sign!

I made the medium and it fits really well! Though depending on how I move it can be a bit tight across the chest. I have a small bust but big ribs and wide shoulders, so I think in the next go around I might give just a hint more ease across the chest, but otherwise I really like the drape.  This was not the best fabric choice - it's a bit too stiff - but I have some voile washed and ready to go to make a few more!  Good thing the weather is warming up - I'm going to be in a Wiksten every day!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Finish-A-Long 2013: Quarter 1 Recap

she can quilt
It's already the end of the first quarter, and despite setting what I thought were achievable goals, I failed miserably! Well, not failed, but I was certainly not as productive as I thought I would be.  Clearly, these past few months have been a lot busier than I originally anticipated. I only have one completed WIP. And even that one took me an embarrassingly long time.  Oh well, here's to quarter 2 being more productive!

1) Stanford iPad case

COMPLETE! See post here.

2) Index Blocks

Not even touched! They're crumpled somewhere at the back of my bookshelf, buried underneath other fabric.

3) Baby Quilt


Quilting now! Really trying to have it done by the end of the link up, but I'm just not sure it's going to happen...

4) Schoolhouse Tunic

I decided I was never going to wear this and it wasn't worth my time to fix, so I made it into a Wiksten tank instead (which I may or may not be wearing as I type this...). Not counting it towards the FAL considering that I didn't finish the project I originally entered and the tank was not in progress at the start of the FAL. [Blog post coming once I get photos. I just made it this weekend and my photographer (aka, Mr. T) was out of town].
UDPATE - Blogged here

I don't think these last three count towards the FAL, but I wanted to document them anyway.

5) Snowballs in Helsinki quilt


Ugh, still not a cut made! I promise it's next on my list. My friend also keeps harassing me about it, which is good.  I'd be inpatient too if I were her, especially considering we bought the fabric 8-9 months ago....

6) Boyfriend Sweater

Looks the same. I've been too lazy to block it, plus I still have to find a place to lay it out to dry where my cats can't get to it and rip it to shreds.

7) Spectrum Socks

These have been frogged and I still haven't restarted them.

See the original post with my FAL Q1 list here