Friday, May 9, 2008

Graduation Quilt pt 1

Last Christmas my wonderful, darling husband bought me a new sewing/embroidery machine. I decided that to properly break it in, I should make a graduation quilt for my brother Harmon. Harmon runs Cross Country and the one and two-mile events in Track as well as plays soccer and basketball. In addition he is a very good student. I would love to have students(s) like him! I wanted to honor his activities in a quilt that allowed me to play with my embroidery machine, so I picked a quilt pattern that had large white blocks that I could embroider with motifs about his sports.With this in mind, I picked the Bear Tracks pattern in the Spring/Summer '07 "Quilt Sampler" by Better Homes and Gardens which my mother had given me for Christmas.
I used Harmon's school colors. The fact that the pattern has bear claws is fitting since his school mascot is the wildcat and they have paw prints on everything. (yes, I know that the bear claw has 4 toes and the cat paw print has only 3)
I just finished piecing it to night and have laid out the backing, batting, and quit top sandwich. I will start quilting tomorrow. I am very pleased with how it is turning out so far.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Other News and Knitting

Two weeks ago, the DH and I went to the D/FW area to hang out with some friends and I took the opportunity to do some yarn shopping at Yarns Ewenique in Fort Worth. I got some great yarn. First I bought some beautiful Classic Elite Miracle in the most gorgeous deep plum color I have ever seen. Alas, I have no pictures, as that yarn was purchased for my Swap on a Budget partner on Ravelry, and it has been sent off. I bought some other yarn for some secret baby knitting. And then I splurged and bought two balls of Jojoland Harmony in rust and green colorway to make my first lace project; the Pretty as a Peacock Shawl by Some Knitting Required. I am hoping to have this done by the middle of June so that I can wear it when I go out to California for my grandparents 50th anniversary.

I have gotten about halfway through the second chart and am really enjoying this knit. The colors are gorgeous and the pattern is really interesting. I love getting far enough into a chart to see what picture this portion creates. I also love the moment when I "get" the pattern and what is going on, how the row I am knitting now relates to the previous row. That is a really great feeling. (I also am less likely to mess up because at this point I understand what I am doing and not just blindly following the steps, trusting that they will get me to the desired end product. I wish that my students could get what we are doing in class the same way. It is the best moment in the world when it does happen. Those are the moments that remind me why I am teaching.)

Anyway, here are some pictures, because that is why you are here, right? You want to SEE what I am making.

Here is where I was on April 27th. At this point, I had completed the first chart.
Here is where I am now. You can see the change of colors that is happening and the change in pattern from the little tiny feathers at the center to the bigger feathers that overlap like scales at the outer edge where it is green. You can also see the yarn I am using. I love it. It is really soft and having the colors change has been a lot of fun to watch.
If you look closely, you can also see the 17 stitch markers that I made so that I can separate each pattern repeat. They don't all match because I made the big pink ones first and used up all of those beads (Yes mom, they are the leftover beads from the bracelet I made you for the wedding). But then I got to the next chart and it repeats 15 times so I had to make 10 more markers and so I used some plastic pearl beads that I have had for ages and ages along with some purple seed beads left over from when I made my sister's prom dress a few years back.

Completed Fifi!

I have completed Fifi finally! I have been holding off on posting because I have had difficulty obtaining a decent picture. I finally decided I should post and show you the pics I have and then come back and add the gorgeous pictures that Emerald is going to take for me.

First we have a picture of it in its finished glory while blocking. Yes, it really is THAT orange while wet.

This picture was taken on Monday, when I thought that I was going to wear it, but then I turned on the news and it was 37 degrees outside. 37! in Abilene on April 28th. So I changed into something else and then wore Fifi on Tuesday. I wore it again on Friday night. I really, really, really love this pattern/top! It is super comfortable and super cute. Don't you think so?
I want to make another one soon, probably in a plum or dark teal for some variation. The color on this one is really interesting. Thus the varying colors in posts. The color makes me think of a Creamsicle. It is just about that color of a soft orange.

Even though I made mine in the size medium and made it 3-4 inches longer than the cropped length in the pattern I still used only 5 balls of Rowan Calmer instead of the recommended 7. That means that since I bought it as a bag of 10 balls, I have enough left over for another one. I am hoping to be able to either trade or sell what I have left over to obtain yarn for a new one. The only thing that I am not completely sold on with this pattern is the dip in the center front and back. Before I make my next one, I want to experiment with changing the center section so that it doesn't end up so much longer than the rest of the top. I am thinking about continuing the three center cables, keeping the outer ones as staggered cables. This is based on my theory that the diagonal ribbing is what is causing the "V" shape in the center and that the cables won't do that. We'll see.