The Escher Quilt

Last fall, I told you about a quilt kit I’d ordered. (That post is here.) The pattern is called Escher and the kit came with Kaffe Fassett fabrics to piece the top. I pieced it in December and here’s what it looks like:

Escher quilt pieced by Deborah Cooke

It’s much MUCH more vivid in real life.

This pattern was pretty easy to sew and the instructions were clear. I enjoyed putting it together. There was extra of every colour, so when I made a mistake in the final piecing (I cut a block that I shouldn’t have) I had enough to remake that block. The black was used for the little triangles at the center of each block: I cut up what I had left to make the widest black border possible. It’s not very wide but I like how it frames the bright colours. The top is about 62″ by 64″. I tried a couple of borders but thought they made it too busy, so it will be a bit of a small finished piece.

Mr. Math loves the finished top, but it’s a bit too wild for me. I think I might do this again, with solids or with a more restricted palette. This will be the first top that I take to be quilted on a long-arm machine, and I’m curious to see how that works out.

What do you think?

More Mitts

I’m still knitting mittens. 🙂

First, I wanted to show you those fair isle mitts in LopiLett, now that they’re finished. Here’s the previous picture of them:

Frost mittens in Lopi Light knit by Deborah CookeI knit the linings in the same yarn. The neat trick is that since the linings are knitted to the cuffs – you actually pick up the stitches at the top of the cuff and knit the lining from there – the wrong sides of both mitt and lining end up together. That means there are no ends or floats to catch your fingers inside. It also means the mittens are double-thickness and toasty-warm.

Here’s one turned so you can see the lining:

Lined mitten in LettLopi, knit by Deborah Cooke

I started a second pair in teal and have the first one done. I think I’ll line this pair with the taupe as I have more of that color left.

Frost mitten knitted in LettLopi by Deborah Cooke

I’ve also been knitting mitts for charity, although I have fewer completed this year because of the hats and these fair isle mitts. All year, I add odd balls and ends to a bag, stashing wool that I think will make good mittens. Every November, I dig out that bag (and sometimes add to it) then start knitting mittens for the food bank. I usually use an old Patons pattern for worsted yarn – it’s a single sheet that wool shops used to give out free. Mine looks about as worn as that one on Ravelry, but has scribbled notes on it, too. This year, though, I had some chunky yarn, some odd balls of Patons Alpaca Blend that I found in the sale bin at Spinrite. I found this wonderful pattern from Tin Can Knits called The World’s Simplest Mittens. It includes instructions for four weights of yarn, and five sizes of mittens, and it’s free!

Here are my first three pair, in that Patons Alpaca Blend. The two pair on the left are a children’s size and the one on the right is the medium adult size. Aren’t they cute?

Mittens knit in Patons Alpaca Blend by Deborah Cooke

I also am knitting some in ends of Rowan Colourscape Chunky. Since this is a self-striping yarn, I’ll knit as many as I can from the ends, then figure out which look the best together as pairs:
mittens knit in Rowan Colourscape Chunky by Deborah Cooke

I really like Colourscape Chunky and am sad it was discontinued. I love the colours and the way the variegation shifts so gradually. I also like that there are tweedy flicks of other colours throughout. Kaffe Fassett designed the colourways and it shows. These green ends are from this vest that I knit for Mr. Math. I have some more bits – left over from this vest for me (which isn’t as nearly as neon pink as it looks in these pix) and also this cardigan for me – plus one more sweater-lot for a cardigan for Mr. Math. I might cast that on in January.

What have you been knitting lately?

Stars!

This week, I knit some stars.

Twinkle Stars knit by Deborah Cooke

The pattern is called Twinkle Star and it’s a free Ravelry download.

I knit mine with some yarn in my stash. The gold is Patons Alpaca Blend and the purple is Louet Bonnie. I changed the needle size to get a nice tight fabric with each yarn. They’re stuffed with polyester fiberfill and I think they’re just cute.

What do you think?

Mitts!

As so often happens this time of year, I’ve been knitting mittens.

This first pair are knit of an Icelandic wool called Lett-Lopi. The pattern is Frost (that’s a Ravelry link). The designer’s company is called Kniterations and I was intrigued to see that she has a Patreon site. I know some authors who use Patreon.

Here they are!

Frost mittens in Lopi Light knit by Deborah Cooke The purple is a bit darker IRL than it appears here.

I did make a couple of changes. The pattern specifies that the star be on both the palm and the back of the hand of each mitt, but I only put it on the back of the hand. It was pretty easy to continue the lice across the other side. (Yes, that allover pattern of stitches is really called lice.) I got into the habit of catching the contrast colour on either side of the thumb gusset, too, as sometimes the floats were longer on the back than I thought ideal. I also changed the shaping at the top of the fingers.Frost mittens in Lopi Light knit by Deborah Cooke

This was a project that I frogged again and again. First, I didn’t read the pattern correctly. I knit the smaller size, which meant starting on row 4 of the chart for the mitt. I didn’t realize that I was working row 1 of the thumb gusset chart and then row 5 of the mitt chart until I reached the star and things didn’t line up. I copied the charts then and pasted the thumb gusset chart beside the mitt chart, lining up the rows beside each other that needed to be knit together.

Second, I didn’t get gauge so had to frog and reknit on smaller needles. This happens when you don’t swatch and I often don’t. Third, I didn’t like the shaping of the tip of the mitt (possibly because I didn’t read the instructions correctly), so I frogged that and redid the shaping in the old familiar way. Fourth, I knit the lining for one mitt in a coordinating yarn, but it was too small and I didn’t think it actually coordinated that well once it was done. I frogged that, too. I had gone down another needle size for the lining, as the pattern instructs, but I’d already dropped a size for the mitten. Now I’m going to knit the lining in the same purple wool on the same size needles as the outside. I think there should be enough yarn since the lining doesn’t have ribbing. (You pick up stitches for it at the top of the cuff.)

The second one went much more quickly than the first. Once they’re lined, I’ll knit another pair in green.

I really like them. What do you think?

Cupcake Hats

I’ve been knitting hats!

These are knit from a self-striping acrylic yarn called Caron Chunky Cupcakes. It comes in six colourways: each ball has enough yarn to make a hat, and includes a matching pompom.

It was on sale one day when I was at Michaels and (of course), I bought all the colours.

I didn’t knit the pattern on the ball band, but went looking for another one on Ravelry. I found this free pattern called First Snow, which I followed for the first six hats.

Here they are:Cupcake Hats knit by Deborah CookeYes, it’s true: I still have more of the yarn to make more hats.

I’ll probably try a different pattern next, although I really like this one.

Cupcake Hats knit by Deborah CookeOne of the things I liked about this yarn – even though I’m not a fan of acrylic – is that there are dye flicks in each colour band of some of the other colours. That reminds me of hand-painted yarns. It also is a nice squishy yarn.

One irksome thing was that two of the balls had knots in them, and the striping didn’t continue properly after the break. (Can you guess which ones?) I understand that most yarn manufacturers say that one to two knots per skein or ball is acceptable, but finding one never makes me happy. When the yarn is dyed to stripe, a break often creates a challenge. We could suggest they discount balls with knots, but these were discounted and I was still annoyed to find the knots. :-/

What do you think of them?

New Socks for Me

I finished a pair of socks this week. Not only are these for me, but I like them a lot.

Socks knit of Diamond Sock Yarn by Deborah Cooke

This is my usual pattern. The yarn is Diamond Luxury Collection Foot Loose, which I had in my stash from half a zillion years ago and discontinued. It’s in a red mix colourway. (This pic makes the socks look more pink than they are in real life.) The blend is 90% merino and 10% nylon, and is quite soft. When I was knitting, I thought it might be too soft and worried a bit about how the socks would wear, but they did some magic with the twist – now that the yarn is knitted up, it feels sturdy but yet still soft. It’s also superwash, but doesn’t have that superwash feel.

Here’s hoping they wear well!

Next week, I’ll show you some hats I’ve been knitting.

What’s on your needles right now?

 

A New Quilt Top

I told you a few weeks ago about the Escher quilt pattern I’d bought, and mentioned that I needed to finish another quilt top before starting that one. Today you get to hear about the quilt in progress. It took me a bit longer than expected because I had to rip back the borders and redo them.

I saw a quilt made in this pattern during the summer (it was red and white) and I thought it was pretty, so I doodled down the pattern. I don’t know the name of the pattern, but here’s my version:

green quilt sewn by Deborah Cooke

It’s just half square blocks sewn into larger blocks. I chose to make the central diamonds in each block darker in the middle section, then also alternated florals and stripes all the way around. On the outside borders, that protocol doesn’t quite hold. 🙂 I sewed the outside blocks on and ran outside to get a picture before the sun was gone, so it still needs a good pressing. It’s a bit more green than it looks here, and it needs another outside border. I think I’ll use that dark blue/green batik that is in the last border before the outside blocks. It’s about 72″ on a side right now.

I like it, and that it ended up with a contrast between stripes and florals. As usual, I was more concerned with pattern than value, and I did let the pattern placement fall randomly, but I still am pleased with the result. Many of the fabrics are Kaffe Fassett fabrics – all of the stripes and many of the florals, too. Those mustard dots and the blue/green batik are rogue. 🙂 Once the borders are on, I’ll need to quilt it.

What do you think?

The Dark Dragon

Sounds like a book title, doesn’t it? Well, (surprise!) it’s a knitting project instead. This is Fiber Friday, after all.

Doughty Dragon knit by Deborah Cooke in Noro Kureyon Sock I knit this dragon out of Noro Kureyon Sock from my stash. It used about half a skein. I’m not actually sure what to do with it now that it’s done, but when I saw the pattern, I just had to cast on. The pattern is called Doughty Dragon and it’s a free Ravelry download. (That’s a Ravelry link.)

Above, he is clearly as outraged as I am that some squirrel has sampled my pumpkin two weeks before Halloween.

Doughty Dragon knit by Deborah Cooke in Noro Kureyon SockHere, he looks like he’s going to eat something off the steps. (Bad dragon!)

I seriously lost my enthusiasm after making the body of the dragon – I think the toes nearly finished me – so he’s been waiting headless for me to get back to him. This summer, I made his head, then he waited in two parts – because I didn’t enjoy making the teeth and still think I did them wrong – until about two weeks ago. I was trying to clean up my office, and there he was, on the floor, in parts. How sad. I picked up my needles and worked away on those back scales – which I also did wrong. There’s supposed to be two rows, and you’re supposed to pick up every second stitch on the back as you go – alternating would be a good idea – but I misread it and picked up every stitch. Rather than frog back, I just kept going but only did a single row of scales.

Trust me. By then I was done with this project. It was fiddly knitting and slow going.Doughty Dragon knit by Deborah Cooke in Noro Kureyon Sock

I think his back scales look good, even if they are wrong!

Making this dragon took even longer than I thought: when I went back into Ravelry to mark my project done, I saw that I’d cast on in July 2015. More than three years to completion! Ha. I won’t be making another one of these.

Although he is kind of cute, isn’t he? I have to find him a perch in my office.

What do you think?

My Juicy Gloss Cardigan

A while back, I showed you the cardigan I was knitting from Koigu KPPPM, using the pattern called Juicy Gloss. (That’s a Ravelry link.)

Juicy Gloss cardigan knit by Deborah Cooke in Koigu KPPPM

I’ve finally finished knitting the body of this one and have it off the needles so I can show it to you again.

Here’s the older post. It shows the colour of the yarn better than these new pix do – here, it looks a lot more mauve than it is. And here’s the front:

This is a looooooong sweater. A big part of that is because of the changes I made to the front at the top. If you look at the pix for the pattern, you can see that the fronts are much shorter in the original design. I didn’t think this was as flattering as I wanted it to be, so added rows of stockinette to the front at the top as I was doing the raglan increases. In the original design, there isn’t any stockinette on the fronts: the lace starts at the raglan line. I like this better.

Juicy Gloss cardigan knit by Deborah Cooke in Koigu KPPPMHere’s the back of the cardigan. It’s hard to see in the variegated yarn, but there’s a garter stitch ridge at th waist, then there are increases to flare the lower half of the sweater. In an ideal universe, that garter ridge should be just above the waist, I think. Because of my increases to the front, mine is about an inch below my waist. This is less flattering than would be ideal, but I’m not going to rip it back.

I’m quite impressed that the yarn didn’t pool at all. It’s beautifully soft, so soft that I know I could wear it next to my skin.

I haven’t knitted the sleeves yet: you can see that I’ve put my sleeve stitches on circular needles already.

Juicy Gloss cardigan knit by Deborah Cooke in Koigu KPPPMHere’s a picture from the side. You can see that swooping angle of the waistline, which is a very pretty feature. If I knit this again with the same modifications to the front (ha), I’d make the back waist swoop across closer to the point where the lace ends at the sides. There are short rows shaping the back, and I’d knit a lot fewer of them. That would bring up the waist.

And now, on to the sleeves! I feel as if I’ve been knitting this sweater forever, but progress should be quicker now.

I really like the I-cord edging on this cardigan. It’s on the fronts, worked as you go, and the hem is bound off with I-cord. That makes a lovely neat finish all around.

One thing that puzzles me about this pattern is the name of it. I read the pattern notes again and wonder if it’s a reference to the yarn used in the sample photographed for the pattern – it’s a beautiful red, which she calls “juicy”, maybe because the color is reminiscent of ripe cherries. (?)

What do you think of the sweater so far?

A New Quilt Kit

I haven’t had a Fibre Friday post in a while, mostly because I’ve been concentrating on my Juicy Gloss cardigan. I’m almost down to the hem on the body, but those are really long rows. I should be able to show you the cardigan without sleeves next week. (The last post about it is here.)

Escher quilt, designed by Christopher Weinhold

I’ve been sewing a little bit, as well, and working on a couple of quilt tops. When they’ll actually be finished and quilted is anyone’s guess, but I like playing with the colours. I particularly like the fabrics designed by Kaffe Fassett, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that this kit caught my eye.

It’s called Escher and was designed by Christopher Weinhold. You can buy a kit right here.

I’m so excited about this one that it will probably jump my queue of sewing projects so I can get started. I’ll share my progress with you!

What do you think of this quilt design? Would you make it?