Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lillian's Christmas Stocking

This my sixth time making this stocking. The first time was for a son-in-law, the second time for a daughter-in-law, and now, this is the sixth time for a fourth grandchild. With dedicated knitting for several hours each day this stocking can be made in one week. Yes, if I knitted more hours of the day it could be completed sooner but my powers of concentration dwindle more quickly than do the hours in the day.

This is the most fun part, inserting the name at the top band.

I complete the top portion of the four children holding hands,

I complete the children and start the two Santas. The Santas are the hardest.

Thursday - Thanksgiving Day:
No cooking for me this  year - we ate out! I could devote more time to knitting. I finished the Santa bottoms in the morning while I was fresh. Those three Christmas trees are the easiest and I whizzed though them later in the day.

Black Friday:
Although I vowed not to fight the shopping crowds on this day. I needed to venture out to buy more red yarn. My knitting momentum was stalled a bit while I drove to my local yarn store to purchase it. I was fortunate to get a match to the red yarn. More red yarn would not be shipped until January. Then I came home to sew in the loose yarn ends and block the leg portion of the stocking. 

Here is is nice and flat  viewed from the right side after it cooled and I unpinned it from the towel I'd used as my steaming pad.

This was my day of knitting rest but I made up for it on Sunday

At the base of the red Christmas tree band, I made the transition from straight needles to double pointed needles to begin the heel, which will be in white.

Here I have just completed the white heel gusset and am switching to green for the instep band.

The upper foot and arch area have been completed in green the lower band of the foot is in red.

Finally I shape toes in white and finish off. All that remains is sewing closed the toes and stitching up the central rear seam.

I opted for another day of diversion from Lillian's stocking in order to devote my attention to other Christmas projects.

Voila! The back seam is joined and the hanging loop has been added. Lillian's stocking is complete! The next photo shows both sides of Lillian's stocking, one with her name and the other with her year of birth.

The dates below are clickable links to posts about stockings knitted for other  family members. Autumn and Isaiah are sister and brother. Vivian and Lillian are sisters. The post for Vivian's stocking has the most knitting tips. I'd learned a lot by then, having made three other stockings previously.

December 31, 2011 Jeremy and Carrie
December 10, 2014 Autumn (born in 2012 - I was late completing hers)
December 17, 2014 Vivian
December 28, 2015 Isaiah
November 29, 2016 Lillian (this post)

The original 1945 pattern can be downloaded for free from http://www.knitting-and.com/knitting/patterns/christmas/1945-stocking.htm. I changed the background color of the bands a bit to match the sequence knitted by my husband's aunt for him when he was a young child.

I will now visit Let's Bee Social #153 to share my completion. I have time to do so since I finished Lillian's stocking with 8 days left before her arrival for a holiday visit. My timing and planning has improved. Last year I was down to the wire, just barely completing her cousin Isaiah's stocking, seconds before the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Velcro Is My New Friend

The master bedroom curtains, sewn from a striped fabric, are now completed but still have yet to be hung. Here is a section of the valance, pleated and awaiting to be hung above the window, and steamed.

While awaiting my husband's portion of the hanging task I decided to make matching window seat cushion covers. The cushions are box style with the insert made from 3" thick foam. I planned to substitute out the cushion covers I'd originally made from novelty rope fabric. Although I really liked the whimsy of the rope fabric, it did not have enough color punch. The rope covers will not go to waste. I will save them as a backup. When I strategically cut that rope fabric, I'd been able to preserve some knots. I intend to incorporate the tassel and rope sections into pillows.

The cushions from the novelty rope fabric had been fussy cut with a gusset band running around the vertical side surfaces showcasing the rope image. Then they were zippered closed in the back. The construction was non-trivial and I described it in my post for January 6, 1015. In that post the wooden seat part had not yet been painted coral.

The striped curtain fabric allowed me more freedom with an easier non-gusseted wrap type of construction style. All I needed to do was fold the length of fabric in half wrapping it around the 24" seat depth of the foam, and sew a seam on either end, pretty much like one big pillowcase but one that is wider than it is long. I added vertical seams across the two front corners and got a crisp box effect without those tricky set in gussets I struggled with on using the rope fabric.

I had to piece the fabric since it was not wide enough for the 50" wide cushion. I was able to keep the horizontal stripe repeat intact with some finagling. The stripe does have a horizontal asymmetry to it and it is possible to have it be upside down. I kept reminding myself "the wide coral is to the left of the skinny periwinkle".

Piecing required one seam on the left cushion and two seams on the right cushion. The reason for the second seam on the right was that I wanted the break between the two cushions to still repeat the stripe pattern in the correct sequence, consistently spaced. I did manage to keep the repeat sequence and spacing consistent across the divide between the two cushions. The previous photo show I succeeded. The coral stripes are equally spaced even across the crack between the two cushions.

Instead of zippers to close at the back, I folded the fabric as I would when wrapping a present, short sides in and creased at a 45°. The other two opposing flaps I folded in and instead of Scotch tape, I added velcro along the overlapping edges.

There it is, neat and tidy. The Velcro was far easier to attached than the four zippers had been.

I had previously used Velcro extensively on some bar stool covers I made for my daughter-in-law. The soft, non-snagging side of the Velcro was attached to the fabric and the stiff scratchy loop side to the wood of the chair. IKEA does have some great designs so this was a wise choice. By the way those completed chair covers are in my post for February 2, 2016. My exposure to that project gave me the idea to use Velcro in this situation. I think I learn something new from every different item I make.

Fabric choice can really make project execution easier or harder. Although I had to pay attention to the left-right directionality of the stripe orientation, those stripes were really helpful guides in keeping seams straight, matching seams, and folding edges at 45°. I guess as well as Velcro, stripes are my friend, too. Now I think I will hop over to Let's Bee Social #152 for a quick visit with my other friends.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Demand Meets Supply

Clearly my four year old granddaughter needs some doll blankets. Those door knob hang tags are indeed a creative solution but as a quilting grandma I think I can do better.

I have a great idea that will efficiently pair supply and demand. I am hesitant to throw away anything. That is why I have in my closet this tidily labeled plastic shoe box full of leftover quilt blocks from previous projects. I opened it and spread them out, grouping them for a walk down memory lane.


The first two sets of 6" blocks are left over from a pair of baby quilts for my twin grandniece and grandnephew, born in 2007.

The following two sets of blocks are from baby quilts for two nieces, cousins of the twins, born in 2011 and 2013. I randomly joined central square and a flying geese components to form 6" squares in the first group. The second assembly with the 6" hearts was made with a fabric folding technique that looked really neat but was quite time consuming.

I blogged about the first three baby quilts in my post for October 9, 2011. The unique assembly technique for lilac and pink hearts is in my post for March 21, 2012 and its completion is the sixth quilt in my December 2012 in Review post.

These joined pinwheels are leftover half square triangles I accumulated from various projects. It measures about 12" x 12" - a good size for a Barbie doll.

This next assortment of HSTs I'd like to make up for a cover for plush toys for my grandson. Boys do pretend play too. For the sake of his dad however I will refrain from calling it playing with dolls. This color scheme is boyish. Its leftovers are from the completion of a nautical baby quilt shown in my August 2014 post.

I also have this random collection of candidates from a Debbie Mumm watermelon wall hanging, a stack and whack quilt for my nephew, a tree of seasons quilt for my sister, and a trial broken dishes block. The dishes block was an interesting experiment meshing a central 4-grid with a perimeter 5-grid block design.

With three granddaughters ages 4 years, 2 years, 6 months and a grandson age 16 months visiting just before Christmas, I am looking forward to repurposing these orphan quilt blocks into toy blankets. Doing so will also give me great FMQ practice. I think I can complete one and even perhaps two per child before they arrive. It depends on if I back them facing style or bind them. Hmm ... I do have a big clear acrylic train case of leftover binding to influence my decision ...

I will take a break to be social at Let's Bee Social #149 before I begin playing.