Thursday, June 26, 2014

Multiple Color Knitting

Intarsia.  I think that's what it's called. 

intarsia or tarsia  (ɪnˈtɑːsɪə)
1. a decorative or pictorial mosaic of inlaid wood or sometimes ivory of a style developed in the Italian Renaissance and used esp on wooden wall panels
2. the art or practice of making such mosaics
3. (in knitting) an individually worked motif
[C19: changed from Italian intarsio ]

This is from the website

Intarsia knitting is when you knit a 'motif' in one color on the background of another.  So you have to manipulate two (or more) strands of yarn, make sure you leave no holes, that nothing shows on the front that shouldn't... it can be simple or get complicated.

Mine is complicated, at least for my previous level of knitting.

Thus far this is probably the most complicated thing I've done... I had to make those thumbholes and work with four needles in a tiny spot to do it.

Oh and there was this hat... rounds of different colors.  But only one color at a time.

So now I'm attempting to knit a Christmas stocking for a co-worker's grandson.  The person who knit all the previous stockings was my co-worker's mom, and she has dementia and doesn't knit anymore.  I think I blogged before about the stockings she did for the others.  There were Santas and snowmen of various kinds, some in red and green and some in blue and white with red and green accents.

This is the pattern for the one I'm making.

Yes, it looks upside down, which confuses me sometimes.  But I'm knitting it from the top down.
So the white band at the top is where the name goes.  Then you start with three rows of blue background, and pick up some black for the top hat.  The next addition is red for the hat band.  Then more black for the hat brim, followed by white for the heads.
You knit front and back at the same time and fold in half.  After tearing out a few times I was SOOO tempted to just knit the front snowman half and make the back all blue!  But I am soldiering on...  here's my progress so far:

Yup, at the point of adding the top of the hat band.  It's slow going.  I now have seven 'bobbins' dragging along the back.  I discovered that it isn't wise to carry a color across more than about four stitches of another color.  The opportunity for snagging, tension issues and error is just too great.

Here's the back:

And with the bobbins:

I stopped at 10:00 p.m. to watch the news and because I rediscovered that it's very hard to knit at night on black and dark blue...  something I should have remembered because it's hard for me to sew at night on those colors too!


So what does it say on that bookmark?  "This is where I fell asleep"?  This is where I stopped and went to bed.

Six or seven inches done... only about 18 more to go!

Knit and sew on...


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Stash Update

Oh my goodness... I am truly horrible at keeping track of my stash.  I need to make this a priority!

On the half-square triangles, I took fabric from my stash and cut off chunks from 22 or 23 pieces.  I cut a four and a half inch strip from each, width of fabric.  That totals about 100 inches, or 2.75 yards.   Then I used about the same amount of white for the other half of the HSTs, plus about a half yard for the corners.

I wanted all the same white background because the blocks are so scrappy.  I can't remember if this is one of my 2014 acquisitions or not.  I think I purchased six yards, because you always need whites.

So six yards out of the stash this week!  Who KNOWS how many are left???

The church quilt group needed backings and solids, so I went into the blue bin and the brown bin and took out eight cuts that were two yards or more and put them in the supply closet.  Sorry, no picture!

Feeling rather virtuous for having moved at least 20 yards OUT of the stash...  I know, don't let it fool you like it fooled me.

I was thinking about getting some more background stuff for the church group, and I visited one of my favorite places, Connecting Threads.  And there was my MARCH 28 order, staring me in the face!  In March of this year I purchased 8 yards of pink stars and 16 yards of two different blue dots.

Yikes!  I forgot I had those!  Wonder where I put them???  Did I intend to donate them?  WAAA!

At the very best I'm down in the count by a couple of yards, at the very worst I've come out even.

That's what I get for being proud of myself!

Sew on...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Triangle Paper and Half Square Triangles

For my birthday last month, my aunt gave me a project we had been working on for several Friday night sewing sessions... a package of blocks in black and white, and a few that needed to be sewn.

Some quilt shops sell a program called Buck A Block, and she had signed up for one of those.  You pay a pre-arranged amount, and monthly you get a mailing that includes two width-of-fabric strips of contrasting fabric and a pattern that is made with squares and half square triangles that are made with triangle paper.

There are many varieties of triangle paper.  Some is actually named Triangle Paper, some is called
Thangles, some can be printed from a computer program.  You can even draw your own if you wish.  The theory behind the paper is that you don't have to do the math, you don't have to worry about whether your points match, and pressing those pesky bias seams is easier.

The black and white blocks I was making were 6 1/2" finished, the patterns were for various blocks like the Friendship Star, the O block and others based on a nine patch layout.

The directions said to make positive/negative blocks, that is two identical blocks but with dark and light reversed on the second block.

Pardon the blurriness, it's the center of another picture.  Would that I had documented the entire process!!
After I had all the b&w centers done, that pattern said to make a bit larger HSTs and turn these little beauties into a 12.5" finished star block.

I love b&w blocks, and putting one color with b&w makes a striking quilt.  I have a bin of reds, so I dug in that and found a bunch of reds that were in the same color group, with prints, near solids and geometric patterns.

Awesome!  The next step is some sashing strips and cornerstones.

Here's the triangle process...

I used the kind that is printed from a computer program to make the larger HSTs.

You cut the triangles on the black line after sewing on the red lines.  Then you press open.
After that you can tear off all the paper.  That's a good job to do while watching TV.

After the paper is removed I went through and pressed open all the center seams.  On this pattern, this is the easiest way to put them together to sew.

I pressed them with my Little Wooden Iron.  Neat!

After that, trim off all the little dog ears.

My HSTs finish at 3 inches.  The dog ears are very small!
Sew two HST blocks together, making four sets.  Two sets get attached to the b&w center block.  Two get a background square sewed to each end.  After sewing the shorter pieces to the center, then the longer pieces to the resulting rectangle, I had this batch of blocks:

I have about a dozen more to go. 
Sew on!