Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Jingle Tree Ornament

'Tis the season — for kits!

I always seem to end up digging through my stash of project kits this time of year. Many of the kits are Christmas-themed, so on that level the timing makes sense. However, they’re rarely as quick and giftable as I want them to be. This week’s kit is an exception.

A few years ago, I was given a beginner’s Jingle Tree Ornament Kit from Penny Marble Quilt Designs, complete with all of the necessary materials except glue. Although it’s made with fabric, this is a no-sew project.

Contents of the Jingle Tree Ornament Kit

I don’t want to give away they entire process, but I will say that the most difficult part of making the tree ornament was punching the holes into the fabric-covered paper strips. I actually broke a sweat!

Note to self: A hole punch can be sharpened by punching through aluminum foil. I wish I had looked that up earlier.

Colorful Strips of Fabric Covered Paper

The entire project took only about an hour to make, which is great for quick holiday gifts. I used quick-dry craft glue, and the most time-consuming step was still holding the pieces together as I waited for the glue to set.

Colorful 3D Tree Ornament Pieces Made from Fabric Covered Paper

To construct the ornament, the three fabric pieces are strung onto a piece of ribbon along with a star for the top, two large beads to serve as the tree trunk, and a small bell at the bottom. Yes, it really does jingle!

Finished Jingle Tree Ornament Hanging on a Christmas Tree

I wouldn’t recommend this kit for young children because it requires the use of an iron, plus the patience to hold the pieces together as the glue dries. But it would be a fun holiday activity for older children with supervision, teens, and adults alike. I’m definitely going to come back to this pattern again.

What are your favorite quick and easy projects for holiday gift-giving?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

In Progress: Knit Diamond Pullover

In the United States, we celebrated Thanksgiving last week with family, food, and football. Our family hosted guests for two nights, then visited out of town family for two more nights.

While our guests were with us, I didn’t have much time for any of my usual making; I was too busy cooking, cleaning, and visiting. But I spent about 10 hours as a passenger on our way to and from another town, which allowed me to make up for lost time.

Skeins and Balls of Sport Weight Purple Yarn with Knit Sweater Ribbing in Progress

A few weeks ago, we travelled out of state to attend a wedding. Since we don’t have any local yarn shops near us, I took the opportunity to splurge on a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy in colorway 43 Boot Camp and four skeins of Plymouth Yarn Reserve Sport in colorway 306 Mauve Mix. I’ve purchased both brands in the past and could have easily ordered them online, but it makes such a difference to me to be able to touch the yarns and see them in person when I can.

The Reserve Sport is a soft blend of 45% wool, 35% silk, and 20% rayon from bamboo. The colors range from light to medium lavender, with touches of ivory and beige. I thought it would be perfect for a top, and chose the #07 Diamond Peplum Pullover pattern by Jill Wright from the Holiday 2012 issue of Vogue Knitting. I love the classic look of the sweater.

In order to match the gauge, I’m knitting on US-3 (3.25 mm) and US-6 (4.0 mm) needles rather than the needles specified in the pattern. So far, the pattern is straightforward and works up quickly. Errata is available for one misprint.

Close Up View of Ribbing Knit in Purple Sport Weight Yarn

I had the ribbing for the back finished before we set out. During the drive, I was able to finish the back and knit almost half of the ribbing for the front. I’ve added an inch (2.5 cm) to the length. As much as I love the diamond pattern, I don’t plan to include the peplum in my version of this pullover. I also have some adjustments in mind for the sleeves.

If all goes well, I’ll be wearing this sweater by our next family gathering in a month’s time. What are your making goals during this busy holiday season?

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Hexagon Project: Blocks 15-17

Isn’t it nice when things work out as planned? It doesn’t seem to happen nearly as often as it should, but this month it did.

Three Overlapping EPP Hexagon Flower Blocks at a Angle

Last month, I only managed to make one block for The Hexagon Project. My plan for improving that rate was to sew during my lunch breaks. And I’m happy to report that I sewed three English paper piecing hexagon flower blocks this month, for a total of 17 blocks to date.

EPP Hexagon Flower Block 15 with Yellow Pattern and Colorful Letters on Brown

Seventeen blocks are enough for a baby quilt! It feels like such an accomplishment to lay out the blocks and start to envision them coming together.

EPP Hexagon Flower Block 16 with Dark Fireworks and Bright Orange Batik

I like to have some color combinations ready to go so I can easily add them to my project bag. My supply was getting low, so this week I planned ahead for another 30 or so blocks.

EPP Hexagon Flower Block 17 with Blue Print and Colorful Letters on White

If you’ve been reading about this project from the beginning, you know that I originally cut hexagons from my smallest pieces of scrap fabric. As a result, I have a lot of certain fabrics but very little of others. As I use up these pre-cut pieces, it’s a challenge to group the colors and prints of the remaining hexies.

Three Overlapping EPP Hexagon Flower Blocks Straight On

As much as I don’t want to make this project more monumental than it already is, I think cutting more fabric pieces is in my future — but with more than 30 blocks ready to go, not in my near future.

For now, I’m going to stick with the plan: I’ll keep sewing through my lunch breaks and believing that it will all work out.