Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blocking an Acrylic Yarn Project

Yey!  I finally finished crocheting my Granny Stripe blanket.  I am so loving the colors and I've been crocheting around 5 stripes at a time.  However, I've noticed that my tension isn't very consistent and after the 4th stripe, I am crocheting a lot looser and the rectangular blanket is starting to look more like a trapezoid.

So, I measure the width after every 4th stripe just to make sure the blanket is not flaring outward.

I added a scalloped border and really liked how this blanket ended up.  However, no matter how I tried, the shape wasn't quite a perfect rectangle and the border was wavy - much like a lettuce.  I was really disappointed. 

So after much research (thanks Google), I decided to block this blanket.  Normally, I wouldn't think twice about blocking as I've done that many times before.  But, blocking acrylic yarn is trickier.  In fact there were countless warnings about blocking acrylic and how you could potentially kill the yarn.

So here is how I did it.

Step 1- I washed the blanket and tumbled dry with no heat.
Step 2- I pinned the blanket down onto the carpet and pinned it down, making sure the width and height measurements were consistent.

Here's an area I was trying to stretch out a bit.  See the yellow head pins?  By the way, it really helps that the carpet has a square pattern so I can block my projects without a ruler :-)

Strep 3:  Heat steam the blanket to block.  Make sure not to touch the acrylic yarn with your hot iron.  I used an inexpensive metal trivet that I had.  It is about 3/4 inch tall so it comes very close to the project and ensures the iron does not touch the yarn.  Then just press the steam button and let the steam heat block the area.  

I repeated the process all around the blanket and just left the pins on overnight to set the shape. I will post a photo of the blanket in a few days so you can see how it turned out.

Right now, I'm putting on the finishing touches of my Abundance quilt.  Quilting is done, binding is sewn on so I am glad this quilt is almost done.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Are You an Innie or an Outie?

So apparently, when it comes to using yarn, there are those who pull the end of the yarn from the top of the skein - what I'd call an Outie.

And those who pull the end of the yarn from the inside of the skein- what I'd call an Innie.

Before this turns into the great over or under  toilet paper debate, I will stay on neutral ground and say that either method is correct.  The advantage of using yarn from the outside is that the end is definitely easier to find.  The disadvantage is that when you pull on the thread, there is a tendency for the skein to roll off and travel across the room.

Using the yarn from the inside is a bit trickier because you have to stick your fingers in and find the little ball where the end is tucked.  It's sort of like taking out the bag of turkey giblets stuffed inside the bird.  But the advantage is the outside stays neat and you can keep the yarn label on.

At any rate, I was inspired to start a new crochet project and my colors were inspired from this swatch of fabric from Lecien.  I think it's from the Flower Sugar collection.  Love, love, love!

So, here's the yarn I gathered together.  They're from Michael's and Hobby Lobby. Don't you agree they're yum, yum, yum?

I couldn't wait to get started and I chose to go with an easy Granny Stripe pattern.  You can find the pattern here.  I love Lucy of Attic 24!  

Here is what I've made so far.  I can't wait to finish this.  

Speaking of finishing things, I'm almost done quilting my Abundance quilt.  Will post photos soon!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A New Winter Scarf for Me!

After I completed dad's scarf, I made one for myself in a bright, cheery, holiday red.  This is a free pattern from Red Heart designed by Kimberly McAlindin.  You can find the pattern here

Here's the photo from Red Heart's website.  I liked the way it goes over her shoulder so next time I will make mine using a larger hook.

LW2286 Shimmer Cowl

I did use Red Heart's Shimmer yarn in red.  Took up 1.5 skeins.  (Available at Joann)  Love the feel of the yarn. Personally, I found the pattern difficult to understand.  But, largely because I am a beginner.  I just started learning how to crochet this summer and all I've really made are scarves and hats.  I got the measurements pretty close to what the pattern indicates.  However, I didn't get the top part as narrow as the pattern's.  I guess I could have done more decreases for a more narrow opening.  But, I didn't want to lose the scallop pattern on the top edge.  It was too complicated for me to figure out.

I wore this last Friday to a Christmas party with a black shirt underneath and a black blazer. Glad I was able to wear it before the 81 degree heatwave we had in Southern California on Christmas Day.

Hope y'all had a wonderful holiday!  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Winter Scarf for Dad

Over the summer, I learned how to crochet and I've been working on a few hats and scarves for this winter.  Dad wanted a  white scarf but definitely not in wool (because of the itch factor). So, I found this interesting scarf on Ravelry and made it with Red Heart Soft Baby Steps yarn in White.

The pattern itself is not difficult but it can get confusing because you are starting with a front post double crochet and back post double crochet alternating in every other row.  So, you definitely need to  keep track of which row you are on to ensure that the basket weave pattern is correct.  A bit time consuming but the pattern is really unique- not something you can just buy off the shelf.

The scarf ended up to be quite thick, soft and cozy.  You can find a tutorial on the basket weave stitch here.  The blog even has a video so you can follow along.  I used up about 2 1/2 skeins and made 166 rows.

And here is dad modeling his new scarf.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Taking a Stroll Down Sonya's Garden

Wow!  It's been over 2 months since my last blog entry.  Anyone still out there?  If you are, thanks for your patience or indifference, whichever the case may be :-)

So, I took a mini break and flew to the Philippines for a 2 week vacation.  Nothing crafty to report.  The Philippines isn't a big crafting mecca (unlike Japan or Korea) but don't feel too sorry for me.  I ate so much and had spa treatments and even had some time to work a little bit on my Redwork.

But, I wanted to share some photos of my travels. It is called Sonya's Garden and it is a restaurant/ bed and breakfast/day spa located about 1 1/2 hours outside of Manila.  

The restaurant serves a buffet (one set menu daily) highlighting the vegetables grown in the premises.

Some of the beautiful china.

It is a tranquil (no unruly children allowed) and calm oasis where you can get away and just unwind, enjoy a spa treatment,  maybe do some embroidery or learn the art of doing absolutely nothing!

Sonia's Garden reminds me of life around the turn of the century- when people ate foods from their garden served on fine china, take siestas outdoors under a canopy or shady tree, play cards or do some embroidery and listen to the vitrola record player at dusk and enjoy a sangria and dance an the evening lit by fireflies, candles and the moonlight.

If a picture paints a thousand words, then I will just allow them to do all the talking.  

Here are a few of the daybeds located around the garden for a quick nap or Tete-a-tete.

Here's one of the little cabins for overnight visitors.  Sliding windows are made of Capiz (windowpane oyster) shells.

Back in Manila, I spied a kalesa (horse drawn carriage) in the old district of Manila.  When I was little, my mom and I would take a kalesa ride from my dad's office in the textile district called Divisoria to Chinatown for lunch and a movie.  

You could fit 2 adults in the carriage.  The little seat upfront is for the kutsero or driver.  Some of the kalesas are brightly and beautifully decorated and they definitely all have a waste sack so the horse does not leave a mess around the streets.  Not a lot of kalesas are around anymore.  Like any big city, people are in a rush and riding a horse carriage isn't the most time efficient.  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Just Staring Into Space

I started machine quilting my Abundance quilt.  But I ran out of thread.

So, I decided to work on my Kaffe Fassett Bordered Diamonds quilt- which has been on my design wall for almost a year now.  I have sewn some of the borders on the diamond blocks. But, I'm still not satisfied.

I'm second guessing my fabric selection.  I'm  over analyzing my fabric placement.  I'm obsessing over this quilt and I feel like I'm stuck in quicksand...immobilized and slowly sinking.

But then again, I think it's the damn heat!  How can it be a humid 100 degrees?  No wonder I'm just staring into space.

Oh, and yes.  I realize my car interior is very dusty.  But if I I think it is too hot and miserable to quilt, then it is definitely too hot and miserable to clean.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Criss Cross Pretty Rose

Just finished this free little project from Cross Stitcher magazine.  

Have a great Thursday everyone!