Thursday, March 07, 2013

Review: Knitting Knee-Highs: Sock Styles from Classic to Contemporary

Knitting Knee-Highs book cover

In the world of sock knitting, there are many sock patterns, but few patterns for knee-high socks. If you like to knit knee socks, Knitting Knee-Highs: Sock Styles from Classic to Contemporary by Barb Brown probably has at least one pattern that will interest you.

At first glance, I wasn't very interested in the book. The first half of the book has patterns for socks with stranded color work. I'm not interested in learning stranded colorwork, especially for socks. Then I realized the second half of the book has lace and texture patterns suitable for solid, near solid or self-striping yarn.

I found the pattern for my next pair of knee socks! "Airy Mountain Knee-Highs" on page 65 looks great in the purple-y self-striping Berroco Sox that was aging in my stash. A couple more inches on the feet and they'll be done.

Knitting Knee-Highs: Sock Styles from Classic to Contemporary begins by presenting a formula for knitting knee socks based on the number of stitches in the foot of the sock. A page of information on custom fitting helps you customize the fit of any knee sock pattern.

Ironically, it appears that all the socks in the book were knit for an average leg, then modeled on extra tall, skinny-legged models. The socks all look like they'd fall down if the model walked in them!

Since many of us knit shorter socks as well as knee-highs, the information on converting a knee-high pattern to a short sock is an extra bonus. Additionally, every knee-high pattern is accompanied by instructions for making "regular" socks, anklets or leg warmers.

Knitting Knee-Highs: Sock Styles from Classic to Contemporary has 11 patterns with stranded colorwork, 8 lace and/or texture patterns and the cover socks, Dance Little Jean. Dance Little Jean has a bit of colorwork at the top of the leg and color accents the top of the heel flap and beginning of the toe. The leg features cables separated by columns of eyelets. All of the patterns feature intricate looking designs, that aren't necessarily hard to knit.

There are a lot of great knee-high sock patterns in this book. I may add it to my personal library instead of just using my public library's copy.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Danger! Fiber Fumes

I kept hearing about a secondhand store that sells fabric and yarn. A couple of women in our Knits & Needles group at the library had been there.

After our Knits & Needles meeting about a month ago, I headed across town to buy groceries at Aldis. I decided to go a few blocks out of my way to check out this secondhand fabric and yarn store. Just a quick look to see what it was all about. Not shopping. Certainly not buying. Just looking.

Fabric Recycles is a resale store with 2 locations in the Kansas City metro area. They sell fabric, notions, trims and yarn. They buy from people who are reducing their stashes and from estates of those who failed to outlive their stash and didn't take it with them.

I was just looking. Research for possible future shopping, right?

crocht thread and fabric

So why did these three items come home with me? Why?

It's those fiber fumes. They're dangerous. Wander around in a store full of fiber and you'll be overcome by the fumes.

The blue crochet thread will be used to make some patriotic bows/ribbons. I have red, white and blue crochet thread in my stash, but the blue is a sky blue. This royal blue will look much better in the bows/ribbons.

Take a closer look at the fabric.

trains and monster trucks

My 4½ year old grandnephew loves any mode of transportation: cars, trucks, buses, planes, trains, construction equipment. You name it. If it moves, he'll love it. So the fabrics with the railroad cars and monster trucks will be stashed away for a potential future quilt for said grandnephew. No prediction on when it will get stitched.

Prices at Fabric Recycles are certainly better than your local quilt or yarn shop for comparable merchandise. Cotton quilting fabric was $4 a yard. However, some of the merchandise was stuff you find at chain stores and for that yarn and fabric, you'll likely save money or at least break even shopping the sales and using coupons at the chain stores.

Watch out for those fiber fumes. You may find your actions are uncontrollable when you are under the influence.

Design Wall Monday - Strips

This week I'm quilting a couple of tops so they'll be finished and ready to turn in at our next Project Linus group meeting. But I couldn't resist arranging some strips I'd cut for another bargello quilt. So on my design wall are the strips for Life's Ups and Downs #2.

bargello fabric strips
11 cobblestone blocks

Look what's hiding over on the right edge of my design wall: Cobblestone blocks. There's 11 blocks now; still a long way from being enough for a quilt top, but it's a leader / ender project. I. e., something to stitch when I have to pull my current project from the machine to press, cut, arrange blocks, etc.

Head on over to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times to see what JudyL and many others are working on and add your own Design Wall Monday post to the Linky list.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Design Wall Monday - Making Friends

That lonely little Cobblestone block from last Monday is still on my design wall, but it's not so lonely now. It has 4 friends.

5 Cobblestone quilt blocks

Our Project Linus meeting yesterday was my only piecing time last week, since I spent the week finishing quilts to turn in. I remembered to take my leader / ender project to the meeting and finished 4 more Cobblestone blocks.

Head on over to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times to see what JudyL and many others are working on and add your own Design Wall Monday post to the Linky list.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Project Linus - Third Sunday Group - February

Our Fast & Fun quilt top for February 2013 was Up & Down. Our Third Sunday group met today at JoAnns Fabrics in Independence, MO to work on Project Linus blankets.

Up & Down is a 40" by 48" quilt featuring 2 coordinating fabrics plus an accent fabric. Jodie had plenty of kits ready complete with instructions for us.

Jodie's Up & Down quilt top

We had a small but dedicated group today. Jodie was the first to finish her quilt top featuring a Disney print. She used a striped fabric for the accent.

Look below for a close up picture of the fabrics in this quilt top.

Jodie's fabrics
Marie's Up & Down quilt top

I've noticed that Marie frequently picks kits with blue fabric. Her quilt top features another Disney print with a (different) striped accent fabric. The third fabric is the same blue/aqua tone-on-tone print that was in the Diagonal Puzzle quilt I made.

I'm sorry the picture is blurry. I don't know if it was my camera or the quilt top that was moving. Maybe both.

SusanB's Up & Down quilt top

I've been picking kits based on my supply of potential backing fabrics I have in my stash. Today I picked one that I think I can pair with a baseball print on the back for something that will appeal to the boys. The baseball print has a light blue background, but I think it will work.

Want to know what is on the red and blue prints in my quilt top? Look at the picture below.

SusanB's fabrics

Can you see them? Sharks! Some boy (or girl) is going to love those sharks!

I had an uneventful drive home until I was about ¼ mile from my neighborhood entrance and came upon 3 deer crossing to the right side of the road. No problem, it was a 35 mph zone. What worried me was the 4th deer that was still on the left side of the road. Fortunately, it stayed there while I and the car behind me drove by.

I see deer around my neighborhood occasionally, but it's always a surprise. I enjoy seeing them, but I have neighbors that wish they weren't around. Seems the deer are rather fond of their garden.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Quilting Update

I finished quilting both Diagonal Puzzle and Life's Ups and Downs, so they are ready to turn in at our Project Linus meeting tomorrow.

Diagonal Puzzle Quilt

Diagonal Puzzle quilt

On Diagonal Puzzle, I ditch quilted the edge to edge seams between the horizontal rows of blocks. Then I quilted zig-zag lines from top to bottom, first going through the center of the black squares on one row, then zagging at a right angle across the solid block on the next row arriving at a black square corner and turning again.

Once all the zig-zags were quilted through the black squares, I used a chalk pencil to mark half way between the points of the zig-zags and quilted a set of zig-zags through those points so the stitching was close enough to hold the batting securely. You can see that better in the close up picture below.

Diagonal Puzzle quilt detail

Life's Ups and Downs Quilt

bargello quilt

On Life's Ups and Downs, I first ditch quilted some of the vertical seams to stabilize the quilt. My goal was to have the vertical stitching about 5" to 6" apart, but I had to work with the width of the pieced strips.

With the quilt stabilized by the vertical stitching, I quilted horizontal waves across the quilt. First I stitched waves through the yellow lizard print and the 2 waves of continuous green (the only 3 fabrics forming an unbroken wave). With those lines as a rough guide, I quilted more waves to divide the area and leave no spot more than 4" from a line of quilting. A closer view is below.

bargello quilt detail

I used Pellon Quilter's Touch polyester batting in these quilts. I bought a 60" wide by 20 yard long roll at JoAnns when it was a door buster special on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It is a nice batting to work with. Definitely better than the 10 yard rolls of polyester batting that JoAnns sells.