Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Keeping Up

Today is my day off, with the exception of teaching a class tonight.  I've spent the better part of this morning attempting to log on to the Brooklyn Tweed site to see the newest look book.  True to predictions, the internet has crashed!  All those East coast knitters snowed in are using up the bandwidth, I suppose.  I still have things from the last most recent collections to knit.  The truth is that I want to make everything, and I can't knit fast enough.  When work officially commences on a new dog sweater collection, I'll have even less time to knit all the stuff I want for my personal wardrobe.  I have some warm weather garments that I should finish and be ahead of the game.  Spring will be here soon enough.
The hat photographed is Skiff from the fall 2014 BT collection.  I've knit it four times.  This one was a gift for my friend H.  Who almost never wears hats.  I want her to keep her lovely little noggin warm on the coldest days here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

That's So 2014

It's comforting to think that a new year starts with a clean slate.  I can't say that it's true for this one.  Starting with more crisis for the studio HQ.  When I rented this residence, I was told that the rent was low because of the lack of amenities, like laundry privileges, storage, and parking.  We had another rent increase to ring in the New Year.  A 13% increase.  So in total the rent on this place has gone up >25% in three years.  For the same lack of amenities, with the added annoyance of garage band activities in the basement below our residence.  I didn't think I could despise the people who share this building with me and collect the rent, any more than I do already, but I do.  I'm going to have to drag the Man kicking and screaming to a new place, but I swear it's going to happen.  Why he is content with staying in place has been one of the frustrations of this past year.
My color obsession of 2014 was this shade of pink.  Now most shades of pink.  I love pinks for Madeline.  This sweater is Bellows from the fall Brooklyn Tweed collection.  I knit it in Imperial Stock Ranch Native Twist, in the color Dusty Rose.  My plan was to knit it in a light gray, then a friend came into the shop wearing a lovely pink coat, and I just had to change.  I have more pinks in store for my knitting.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: Truimph and Tragedy

If you didn't get to see it earlier this year, here is one of the knitting accomplishments of my life:  The sweater that I knit for Russian Transport at Steppenwolf Theatre.  Thank you to Mae Haskins of the Steppenwolf costume shop for the photo.  I loved working with them.  That was the triumph.
The tragedy is the deterioration of my Lucky Penny studio and living situation, that occurred at the same time.  Since February, it's pretty much influenced every day.  My fear, rage, and just feeling unsettled.  I haven't felt this bad since 2002/2003, when I lost a residential/income property due to family malfeasance.
I'm staying in this New Year's eve, knitting and hanging out with Madeline, the Man, and the two little dogs I'm taking care of.  Keeping my fingers crossed that 2015 is better.

Friday, December 26, 2014

I'm Older

This past week, I had another birthday.  My favorite gift was the home made cake with buttercream icing that I had been craving.  I'm finishing the last of it as I write this post.  This is the second of four hats I have made with this pattern, Skiff, in the last Brooklyn Tweed collection.  I was obsessed with this color, Homemade Jam.  One of the pattern samples is exactly like this.  The only modification to the pattern was additional decreases at the top, so the tail isn't drawn through 40+ stitches.  This is a real concern if you're knitting with Shelter,  My yarn broke as I was drawing through the live stitches, so I had to improvise a save with some sturdier yarn.  This hat is really warm with the large cuff, and so far this winter, despite all predictions to the contrary, has been very mild.  I've used a somewhat lighter weight yarn to knit two Skiff hats for friends.  More on that to follow.
I'm gearing up for what is going to be a busy week, which includes being out of the crumbling Lucky Penny studio for some in home pet care at someone else's home.
I'm putting thoughts together for my 2014 year in review.  I'll be glad to put this one behind me.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Lucky Penny's Rules for Baby Quilting, Part Three

Personalize the quilt if it's possible.   I had a name and birth date, so it was an advantage to hold off until the baby arrived.  This is a reason I keep letter and number prints in my quilting stash.  The birth date, in this case, was from a tape measure print that I fussy cut and appliquéd on.  Same for the initials. Then, finally, I sign my work.  It's sort of subtle with me.  In earlier pieces, I always included a patch with a dog print.  Now that I have my bolts of Tammis Keefe dog fabrics, I fussy cut the Pekingese and use it for my signature.  On this quilt, the pekingese is one of the red patches in the log cabin block.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lucky Penny's Rules for Baby Quilting, part two

Use fussy cuts to advantage.  The original design, a table runner from a class on Creativebug, had buttons in the center, not suitable for a child.  I fussy cut little round patches, this one is a Heather Ross print, for machine appliqué.  The exception was on two blocks where I thought the prints coming together in the center were interesting on their own.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lucky Penny's Rules for Baby Quilting

I made a quilt for my friend's new baby last year.  A quilt that is loved and used every day.  I've been told that my friend's husband showed the quilt to all visitors.  When a little brother arrived, of course I wanted to make another.  He needed one of his own.  But, as the maker, it had to live up to the success of the first quilt.  I did a modified log cabin block that I picked up from a class on Creativebug, Modern Log Cabin Quilting.  The pattern was for a table runner.  I did sixteen blocks for a top that was 48" square before long arm quilting.  The original design used buttons for the center of the block.  I substituted fussy cut circles for the centers, with prints of dogs, flowers, bugs and birds.  The piece was long arm machine quilted with a fun pattern of intersecting rounded squares called Mach 1.  I like it so much that I want to use it in a Scrappy Trip Along quilt that I have working for me.
My rules for baby quilts pretty much apply to all of my quilting work.
1. Sharp Contrast.   I pretty much like this in all of my color work, knitting included.  What I love about quilting is that it also is a play of color and pattern.
2.  Use collections.   I collect small cuts of fabrics I love.  Usually no longer than a yard.  Exceptions are prints that I might want to use on a quilt back.  The only real exception was the Tammis Keefe dog fabric that I purchased entire bolts of.  Many of the fabrics used in this quilt were in the first quilt, and I made a point to include fabrics that my friend said she loved from the first.
3.  Lots of things for a child to look at.  This quilt, and the first, has all manner of letters, numbers, animals, birds, and bugs in the printed fabrics.
4.  Boys can like flowers.  I don't shy away from florals in quilts for boys or men.
More of this quilt, and more rules in posts to follow.