Remember when I mentioned that I'm a member of the 2015 Aurfil Design Team? Well, it's time for the thread fun to begin! I plan to try out all of the different Aurifil threads this year, not just the 50wt that I have been using for piecing and quilting. I'll be sharing a little project that I've made each month.
I had fun trying out the Aurifloss on a teatowel yesterday. The floss is smooth and doesn't shred or fray like other floss brands I've tried. The spools help keep the floss neat and without fold lines or creases in the thread. It is also easy to wrap unused floss strands back around the spool of the same color floss. Anything that helps keep the floss neat and free of tangles is a win in my book. And who doesn't want their floss on cute little wooden spools? It really takes embroidery to a new level.
This flower design came from 5000 Flower and Plant Motifs - a Sourcebook by Graham Leslie McCallum.
I love the rich colors in Lynn Krawczyk's collection. Thanks, Lynn, for sending a box for me to try. I know I'll be using more Aurifloss in the future. I'm eager to try some fancy stitches with it.
Each month throughout the year a different designer on the 2015 Aurifil Design Team will be featured on the Aurifil blog. They will post an interview and a link to directions for a project designed by that month's designer.
If you make one of the featured projects, take a picture and add it to the Aurifil flickr pool for a chance to win a box of thread. EACH month someone will win a big box of 12 spools of thread. That's a BIG prize! I can't wait to see all of the projects coming up this year.
Gudrun Erla is the January designer of the month. You can hop over to the Aurfil blog and read her interview with Pat Sloan. You can also see her project and get the directions on the Aurifil blog.
**links to amazon are affiliate links
Early last year my Instagram feed included a few beautiful Englis Paper Pieced quilts being constructed. They were all from the same incredible pattern, La Passacaglia. I did a little research and found that the source of the pattern was the book Millefiori Quilts by Willyne Hammerstein. The only place I could find to purchase it at that time was from Quiltmania. I ordered it from there and had to wait quite a while for delivery from Europe.
The book sat in my sewing room while I finished other projects and cleared the decks. I drooled over more quilts on Instagram and thought more about starting my own version of the quilt.
In the fall I saw that Paper Pieces has the book and packets of the precut paper shapes for getting started. They also have acrylic templates for cutting the fabric. I ordered the papers and clear templates and got started with the new year.
My fabric choices started with this fabulous Anna Maria Horner coneflower print. Any fabric in the quilt will have to look good with this print.
The clear templates are great for doing the fussy cutting to get each piece of a shape to have the same section of the print. Here you can see that I cut diamonds from this print and will be able to cut the larger hexagons from the space between.
I find the fussy cutting to be more fun than I thought. I love the magic in the symmetry. The same fabric will look different depending on which part is cut and how it is oriented when paired with its neighboring piece. Not all of the pieces will be fussy cut, the pink fabrics in this phot were cut as they would fit from the fabric with no attention to the print.
This is also a fun take along project. Once a few fabric decisions have been made, I cut the fabric and put the parts in a little altoids tin for traveling.
I've been posting more process photos on Instagram as I go so if you're interested you can follow along over there. I'll be sure to post here occasionally too.
I have been following the #lapassacaglia hashtag on Instagram and am amazed at how different all of the quilts look. Everyone is so creative with their fussy cut sections and their fabric choices. Go have a look. I'm SURE you will want to join the fun. Go ahead, you know you want to.
"One morning the whole world was delicately silvered. Every blade of grass was silvery and the path had a thin sheen. It was hot like fire under Laura’s bare feet, and they left dark footprints in it. The air was cold in her nose and her breath steamed. So did Spot’s. When the sun came up, the whole prairie sparkled. Millions of tiny, tiny, sparks of color blazed on the grasses."
On the Banks of Plum Creek, Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1937.
I am on a roll with quick knit projects!
This week I whipped out a pair of slippers for myself from my favorite fast knit felted clog pattern. Seriouly, these things knit up lightning fast.
I used one strand of leftover pink wook and one strand of a leftover hand spun - the same handspun that I used in B's mittens.
I love the way the knitting transforms when it's washed and shrinks.
I should have been keeping count of how many pair of these I've made in the past 10-15 years. I think it must be nearing fifty. One year I made them for all of my nieces and nephews and gave them unfelted. I thought they would get a kick out of shrinking them to fit their feet. Maybe they did but their moms might not have thought it was as much fun.
This is the 9th finish in my Stash 100 project.
Last week, when the temperatures dropped, our boiler could not keep up and the indoor temperature dropped too. My hands got quite cold as I was knitting M's mittens.
As soon as I finished M's project I cast on a pair of fingerless mitts for myself. I am hoping that I'll be able to wear them while working in the sewing room this winter.
These were a really fast knit with only 36 stitches per round. I used two strands of Misty Alpaca sport on size 6 needles.
I mentioned yesterday that I'm challenging myself to use my stash this year. I started a flickr album for my 100 projects so it will be easy for me to see my progress. Already there are 8 finished projects!
Next up, basic crew socks for B, stash busting project 9.
If you want to join in on Instagram we are using the hashtag #stash100.
I have really been enjoying knitting the last couple of weeks. First I was in a frantic flurry knitting Christmas gifts for the kids. Then there was the after Christmas knitting added to that. Then came the envy knitting for the family members who wanted something like I had made for other members in the family.
This week was mostly spent working on finishing the lined, felted mittens for M.
The outer mittens were knit with one strand of Misti Alpaca lace weight and one strand of an alpaca yarn for which I no longer had the label. I had the yarn in two colorways, a brown and a grey and had used it for sweaters for the boys more than 10 years ago. Miss P is almost big enough to wear the smaller of the sweaters.
They are THAT soft.
The linings are knit from Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino on size 4 needles. Since they will be inside the felted mittens I was able to use up some odd leftovers of this yarn. The cuffs are both knit with black but after the cuffs I used up whatever small bits of baby cashmerino were left from other projects.
It always feels good to use up leftover bits of yarn.
Actually, I've been having a conversation on Instagram with a few others about a yarn/fabric stash busting project. It's been ages since I've actually bought any yarn but mostly that's because I have been too focused on quilting projects. This week, in trying to find the outgrown alpaca sweaters, which I actually had stored in the deep freezer in the basement, I dug out most of my yarn stash and now it's in a big pile in the living room. Some of it has been out of sight for so long it's as if it's new to me again. I've taken a quick inventory and will challenge myself to make 100 projects without purchasing any more yarn/fabric. I will allow myself to purchase items needed to complete a project but want to work mainly from my stash. I'm going to count my recent knits in December which makes this pair of mittens Stash Project 7.
And here is a start on Stash Project 8, alpaca fingerless mitts for myself.