posts tagged: finished!

triangle quilt for meg and josh

When I last posted, I had just finished knitting the lace batwing top to wear to a bridal luncheon during my cousin’s wedding weekend. Knitting that flared up my carpal tunnel so badly I knew I needed to take a long break from knitting. (I didn’t exactly do this, and I knit a few more little things. That? Was a super bad idea, and the pain has reached seriously frightening levels, so now I’m completely off knitting until I can get up the nerve to call a hand specialist. It sucks.) This means that I’ve actually been spending time watching TV while doing nothing at all—unfathomable for me normally, and so so boring. But it also means that there’s been a lot more quilting, because so far that hasn’t bothered my hands very much. First up? A wedding gift quilt for the two who got married in April!

isoscles triangle quilt

I’d asked my cousin for color preferences and she said “blues.” This necessitated a trip to some quilting shops for some stash development—how did I not have a good range of blues? Navies, khakis, greens, and purples actually matched their blue and khaki wedding colors, and it turns out they coordinate perfectly with the colors in their living room. I wanted to find a few “special” fabrics but came up empty on that front. However, the one cream with little oars was perfect for them, since they like to kayak often, and Jason donated a plaid shirt that never fit him so that he had a presence in the quilt too.

I have several different triangle rulers and opted for an isosceles one; I cut all the fabrics into triangles and tossed them into one of those big blue Ikea shopping bags, giving it a big mix regularly. Then I set up my flannel design wall and started building the rows by grabbing from the bag without getting caught up in planning the sequences. The only pieces that were immediately put back were ones identical to the one just placed. I ended up with a nice random arrangement, and just a little bit of rearranging at the end gave me a nice balance of colors, patterns, etc. Then I got to seaming!

Though it felt as if I had thousands of triangles, I’d really only cut enough to make the blanket throw sized, and once I realized this I couldn’t bear to cut any more or seam them up, so it is a modest 5-something feet by 5-something feet big. I am in awe of those who have made multiple triangle quilts. While simple in theory, it was a lot more time consuming than I’d expected it to be! I didn’t get the hang of matching my triangles for a long time, despite many attempts to systematize the process.

quilt backing

For the backing, I couldn’t resist my “signature” back, with a little stack of strips of the fabrics used on the front. The main fabric for the backing is Kona, not sure the exact name right now but I suspect it’s actually the color called “brown.” I embroidered their names and the date of their wedding right onto the back, rather than make a label, and I really like the effect. The binding is the same khakis used on the front (both Kona), hand-sewn down; I finally remembered to tuck my “by pepperknit” label into one corner. I quilted lines a half inch from all the seams and greatly underestimated the amount of thread I’d need to get this done; I ran out of two spools in the process! I also had some serious issues with the basting–lately I can’t seem to get my quilt sandwich to come out right on the first try. I’m not sure what is going wrong but I’m blaming the batting, because I know I’m doing a very good job taping the backing down. Should I be taping the batting too? Something is off and I really need to figure it out before I do my next quilt, because it’s not as if I didn’t rearrange my entire living room (separating our sectional sofa even) in order to have as much clear floor I could. Anyway, we’ll see if I can remedy this for my next quilt.

quilt label

I gave the quilt to Meg and Josh at our annual family beach week, just like I did for her brother last year, so we did a little shoot in the backyard of our beach house on the one rainy, cold, terrible weather day. And her husband proved that it’s the perfect couch blanket for curling up with a book. (Note: That is a different cousin sitting on the couch with him.) I hope they love it and enjoy a lifetime of curling up together under it!

isoscles triangle quilt

isosceles triangle quilt

lace batwing top

I finished! I finished! And I can still type, grasp the pole in the subway, hold a book—and look good while I do it.

lace batwing top

When last I wrote my hands ached and hurt so badly I didn’t even know what to do. I iced both wrists on and off for the rest of the evening and took as much Aleve as was possibly recommended. That night I slept with my only brace on, prioritizing my left hand, which is generally worse than my right. When I woke up in the morning it was better. Friends came over for brunch so I was cooking and using my hands differently. When we all sat down in the living room after we ate, I picked up the knitting and discovered that knitting wasn’t torture any longer!

lace batwing top with mom

I took it very slowly, and it was done later that afternoon. I could not believe it. It went into a tub of water and the new Soak scent, yuzu (so bright and springy!), and the sweater was blocking that night. A three-needle bind-off two days later, and I was ready for the Bridesmaids’ Luncheon the day before my cousin’s wedding! (Because I was doing a reading at the wedding, I was considered part of the bridal party.) Paired with a khaki skirt, pearls, and a sock bun, and I was feeling very appropriate for the event. The sweater was actually comfortably warm on what turned out to be a chilly, dreary day by the beach, and so soft. So soft!

lace batwing top detail

Setting aside the pain, I really enjoyed knitting this. My only modification was to do another whole round of the increase chart to add both length and width. Thanks for cheering me on while I worked my way through the pattern! As a reminder/for posterity: Pattern is the Lace Batwing Top from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2012, designed by Brooke Nico. I knit it in Artyarns’ Ensemble Light, the called-for yarn in the color it calls for, even!

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a quilt for Holly

I somehow ended up with a copy of this book, 5500 Quilt Block Motifs, and every now and then before bed I browse it. The blocks in the book are all individually inspiring to me—as potential quilts. I have a long list of blocks from this book that I think would make great full quilts if blown up. I find it both inspiring and soothing to think about quilts before bed—in fact, if I’m having trouble falling asleep because of work stresses or something spinning around in my head, I shift gears and mentally plan quilts. Getting caught up in both color planning and actual math (calculating sizes based on internal blocks) is better than counting sheep for me—I zone out and drift off to sleep in no time. But I wake up with ideas solidified in my head, so it’s a win-win. My recent mini quilts are a perfect example of that. But this traditional square caught my eye; it seemed perfect for a Big Birthday present for my dear friend, Holly.

star quilt

It came together over a few weeks last fall, using fabrics in a variety of colors that coordinated, many from my stash. Rather than make HSTs by stacking two squares and cutting on the diagonal, I cut each triangle individually, decided on my preferred placement, and sewed them together. I wanted all the pairings to be unique, rather than structured in pairs. It was also not that useful to work it as HSTs because there are a lot of triangles that don’t have an opposite one. The backing, which is hard to see in the photos she took, is just a zig zag using up extra triangles I’d cut, and the binding is the Kona Berry that I used as the background for Rosie’s Spoked. The quilting is just double lines along all the angles.

a glimpse of the quilt back

Holly took these pictures for me on her birthday weekend trip to  Mexico. She took the quilt with her on her trip. Sniff. It’s just the best to make something for someone you love, and then find out that they love it exactly as much as you’d want them to, you know?

quilt on the beach

honey cowl

honey cowl

I made a Honey Cowl too! After several people suggested it to me when I asked for pattern ideas for worsted-weight yarn, I jumped on the bandwagon.

honey cowl details

The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash, and I actually took advantage of that by hand washing it and then throwing it in the dryer (because wet-blocking makes it grow to at least double the size!). I checked on it every five minutes for the first fifteen but then grew tired of sitting in my apartment building’s basement, so I went upstairs for the last 30 minutes and left it to its own devices; when it came out it had juuust started to slightly felt to itself, but it was easily pulled apart. Phew! I’m ridiculous, aren’t I? I started out so cautious but then got lazy—I’m super lucky it worked out in the end. Putting it in the dryer got it back down to the original size and firmed it up a lot, which is what I wanted. I love the color; the slight heathering gives it a lot of depth.

It was knit for my friend Allison, who works in our industry but doesn’t knit (yet) and didn’t have any handknit items! The honey cowl was an easy, mindless knit, great for knitting on the subway—it would be ideal for group knitting, too, because you’d be unlikely to mess it up. But it didn’t capture me the way it has for so many people (I won’t make the pattern again, that is). I also couldn’t bear to go the full 11 inches in height; I quit at about 9. She likes it just fine, though!

happy honey cowl recipient

color affection

color affection shawl

When I bound off my Color Affection the other day, I did it with loathing. I had been working on this pattern since March of last year. Every row was a small torture—the final length is something like 7 feet long!! Now that it’s done, though, I must objectively admire its beauty. The colors are just what I wanted.

color affection

But I’m ambivalent. It’s a million miles long, so it can be wrapped around and around, which I like to do with scarves, but it’s unwieldy. I don’t understand how to wrap it successfully like a shawl. What have I done??

color affection shawl

 

color affection shawl

I kind of can’t believe I knit something so enormous; it’s no surprise it took so long. I know I went too far with the first color and decided not to rip, so I actually made it longer than the pattern expects. Despite my lack of affection for it, I’ll tell you that I saw so many Color Affections in the aisles of the Vogue Knitting LIVE Marketplace this past weekend, and every time I did I thought to myself “I made that too!” It made me feel as if we were all in some club, like those who’ve climbed Mt. Everest or survived a harrowing experience together. We’re the war-worn, the triumphant, the ones who made it to the end. And for that, I do feel pride and kinship. (Don’t even tell me how much you adored knitting it and disagree with it being a torture, ok? Let me pretend we all feel the same way.)

color affection shawl

Details: Light gray is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock yarn, which I bought at Twisted in Portland. Dark gray is Periwinkle Sheep sock from Rhinebeck, always my first stop at New York Sheep & Wool. Green is Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock that Felicia kindly gave to me when I told her my whole whiny story about choosing a third color (my first color, a mustard yellow, turned bumblebee with the grays and I hated the look, so I frogged). I used a size 6 needle (though I wish I’d used 5s). This was technically cast on in June; the one I started in March did not use any of the recommended methods you’ll find on Rav to make the edges looser (ultimately I wrapped the first stitch twice, which made a huge positive difference), and I was unhappy with the color. So it took about six months in all, with a ton of breaks.

Photos taken by the fantastic Kriegs, on a walk we took down to the Verrazano Bridge to see—or, rather, not see—it in the fog.