Archive for October, 2009


Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

I’m slowly making progress on quilting my Card Trick lap quilt. I’m machine quilting in the ditch, which is pretty easy, except for maneuvering the rest of the quilt around when I need to make a turn to follow the card trick pattern, which is not so easy. Maybe I should have just done an all-over grid pattern! Anyway, it’s quite easy for me to ignore the machine quilting in favor of something else more interesting. So, to try to keep myself plugging away at it, I quilt one block each day before working on other things, and at the end of the day I put my walking foot back on and put the monofilament quilting thread in so that it is all ready for quilting the next block the next day. I have 8 of the 20 blocks quilted so far.

Here’s an update on one of the more fun things I am working on:
I’ve been assembling some of the 9 patch blocks that go around the vehicles print for this 1st birthday quilt. Andrew had fun looking through my scraps and stash with me to pick out colors that go with the colors in the vehicles print. It’s pretty bright – maybe I should put a thin black border between the center print and the 9 patch blocks.

Are Crackpots up for NaBloPoMo this year?


Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Over the last few weeks I’ve been pondering what kind of quilt I’d like to do for my friends’ baby’s 1st birthday in December. I don’t have a lot of time to work on it, so I don’t want it to be too complicated. I found a really cute vehicles print at Field’s during the summer, and I know I want that to be the focus fabric. I think cutting it up will take away too much from this great print, so I plan for a big piece of it to be the center of the quilt. Still, I don’t want that to be all – I want to add some piecing or borders or something. So, I’ve been looking through my various quilt books and patterns looking for ideas. Then, the other day, I was looking at Quiltmaker’s web site (which I don’t think is as good as their old one – less content and too difficult to navigate) and found this pattern. Perfect! Or almost – I do plan to make a few changes. I’m changing the number of 9 patch blocks so that my quilt will be rectangular. I have no idea why, but I strongly prefer rectangular baby quilts over square baby quilts. I also changed the size of the squares within the 9 patches from 2″ that the pattern calls for to 2.5″. I have lots of 2.5″ squares from my scraps and that makes the blocks 6″ rather than 4.5″, which struck me as a little small. And I haven’t planned any outer borders outside for the 9 patch because that wouldn’t be nearly crackpotty enough! I’ll post some pictures as things progress.

Big Blankie v3.0 – the end is in sight

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

I’ve been working on this project for a while, between knitting projects. Because the yarn for the next sweater I want to make has been on back-order since the end of August, I’ve had more concentrated time to spend on it.

A little history: Big Blankie v1.0 is the blankie that my mom knitted long ago (while she was pregnant with my brother, I think). It’s huge, acrylic, and I have fond memories of sitting on the sofa on cold mornings, wrapped up in it. It’s probably not in such great shape anymore (I think my mom banished it to the top shelf of the closet on multiple occasions when company was expected), but I remember it as a testament to the durability of petroleum-based products.

My original inspiration for learning to knit while I was in college was the realization that I would have a home of my own and would not have the big blankie to keep me warm. My first large project was my own big blankie (v2.0) – and since I wanted machine-washability, indestructability, was unaware of the wonders of natural fibers, and had the limited budget of a college student, it’s made of cheap acrylic yarn in red, green and blue. I’m sure I’ve regained the price of the yarn several times over in energy savings.

Fast-forward several years to home-ownership and a desire to have a coordinated living room. Now that I have a lot more yarnly experience (and yarn snobbishness) and a job that allows me to buy yarn that costs more than the cheapest acrylic, I’ve upgraded the yarn selection to superwash wool. I’ve also learned to crochet semi-competently. This is the Babette Blanket from Interweave Crochet. The yarn is the lovely Cascade 220 Superwash, in a variety of colors.

Big Blankie-the end is in sight

I still need to knit six more squares in the largest sizes (indicated by the red outline), then arrange and sew all the squares together and crochet on a border using whatever yarn is left. I should be able to finish the squares in the next week, but organizing and sewing together well over 100 pieces doesn’t sound like the most exciting task ever, so if my sweater yarn arrives during the extended assembly process, further delays could ensue. I’ve worried alternately about the blankie not being adequately large and about running out of yarn, but I now think it’ll be big enough for optimal snuggling and I have plenty of yarn to finish and do multiple rows of border.

Gabriel’s Bib

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

While I’ve been pondering the borders and batting for my card trick lap quilt, I was looking through my large leftover fabric pieces and got inspired to make a bib for my friends’ son, who turns 1 in December. This is the first bib I’ve done with a pocket. I also made it larger than other bibs I’ve made because Gabe is 90th percentile for both height and weight! My bib-making instructions say to use an 8″ square for a small bib and a 10″ square for a large bib, but I made this one from a 12″ square. Here’s the front:
Gabe's Bib
And the back:
Gabe's bib back

Batting Choices

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

On Thursday I went out to JoAnn’s to buy batting for my card trick lap quilt. (I’ve decided not to add any more borders. I’m just going to finish it at this point with binding in either the multicolor print (more likely) or white (less likely)). As I was browsing the various options for batting by the yard, I saw wool batting, which I had never seen before. For almost all of my quilts I have choosen 4 oz polyester batting. But for my tulip applique, which I am hand quilting, I went with Warm and Natural All Cotton batting. One of the women in my quilting group has found it really hard to work with – she said it’s too hard to get her needle through, but I have not had any problems. I don’t notice any difference between hand quilting it and hand quilting with polyester batting. So, when I was choosing batting for the card trick quilt, I initially looked at the polyester but instead went with Warm and White All Cotton. It helped that I had a 50% off coupon, as it’s quite a bit more expensive than polyester. This will be my first time machine quilting with cotton batting.

So, I was wondering, what kind of batting have other Crackpots used? What do you like and why?