Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Hexagon Project: Blocks 33-37

I’ve had a productive month with my English paper piecing. In five weeks, I’ve hand sewn five hexagon flower blocks, bringing my total up to 37.

Five multi-coloted overlapping hexagon flower blocks in a row on a white background.

The last time I wrote about The Hexagon Project, I had just cut the last of my card stock into paper hexie templates and ordered a pack of 600 pre-cut templates online from Nancy’s Notions. It was my first order with them; the product description didn’t mention the weight of the paper and there weren’t any reviews, so I was anxiously awaiting my delivery.

Well, they arrived on time and I’m so happy! The paper weight is a little lighter than what I’ve been using, but still thick enough to be called card stock — remember, I was originally using card stock that was too thick to fit into a home printer. I want to punch holes in the centers of the hexies, and that will be simple enough.

An open package of paper hexagon templates with some templates spilling out in an arc, next to a machine sewing needle on a white background.

Plus, the store included a free 80/12 universal sewing machine needle in my package. I’m more excited by this surprise than I probably should be — sometimes the little things make a big difference!

At some point in the past few months, I thought that I had passed the halfway point as far as the number of flower blocks needed for a queen size Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. I set out all of the blocks this morning, then crunched some numbers. More realistically, I think I might be a third of the way there. Oof.

How do you stay excited about long-term projects?

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Darn It All

Hello, readers! I've seen an increase in visitors in the past week or so. With so many of us staying at home due to COVID-19 concerns, I imagine a lot of you are passing the time by catching up on reading blogs. Welcome!

I’m working from home until at least mid-April. Although I’d love to ease some stress by immersing myself in making, that’s not an option for me right now. I did place an order for some yarn more than a week ago, but delivery is understandably slow.

While I wait for my new yarn to arrive, I’m focusing on the practical by darning my old hand-knit socks.

A foot wearing a darned green hand-knit sock on a white background.

Can you see the repairs? While I was making the duplicate stitches, I thought the difference between the new yarn and the slightly-faded-and-pilling original yarn was glaringly obvious. But looking at the photo now, I struggle to make out where I made the repairs on the sole at the heel, toe and ball of the foot.

Detail of hand-knit green socks with darned toes and ball of the foot on a white background.

Detail of hand-knit green socks with darned heels on a white background.

This is only the first pair of socks, and the most solid color. The others are self-striping or have short color changes which will be almost impossible to match. I suppose they would have made more interesting photos.

I think this stitch work is helping to relieve my stress. When I have a lot on my mind, I tend to dream about my worries on repeat in a way that isn’t the least bit restful. After an evening of sock darning, however, I dreamed over and over about making more duplicate stitches — and woke up feeling more refreshed than I have in the past few weeks.

What projects are easing your mind?

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Cabled Headband

It is often acknowledged that constraints are what make creation fun. Being able to do absolutely anything can, in fact, be daunting to the point of creative paralysis — fortunately, this is rarely a problem. Life often presents us with constraints such as time, money, and accessibility.

Why not meet them halfway?

Light green hand-knit cabled headband resting flat on a white background.

I work with a lot of scraps. I can’t always afford to buy more materials, and I dislike being wasteful. Every time I work with scraps, I have an automatic set of constraints in the amount and type of material, the color, and whether I have other materials that will work well with it.

After I finished knitting my sweater last month, I had leftover Cascade Yarns Sierra in the colorway 48 Apple Green. It’s an 80/20 wool/cotton blend, which isn’t a type of yarn that I use often. Rather than put it away and possibly never touch it again, I wanted to knit it into something right away.

I decided on the Cabled Headband by Jennifer Hagan. The pattern is published in “The Knitter’s Book of Yarn” by Clara Parkes.

The pattern is easy to follow, and works up as quickly as one would expect for a headband. For myself, I found the recommended 17 repeats to be a little large, although 16 repeats were a little small. I went with 17 repeats then ran the headband through the washer and dryer, which shrunk the cotton and wool to just the right size.

Girl turned away from camera in front of a blue background, wearing a light green hand-knit cabled headband.

To be honest, I haven’t worn headbands in years. My hair is thick and fights against that sort of constraint — there’s that word again! This headband, however, is wide enough that it seems to be able to hold its own against my hair. I like that I can pull it over my ears for extra warmth, or pull it lower over my forehead to catch perspiration when I’m being active, or simply use it as a decorative way to keep my hair out of my face.

I have a bit more of the yarn remaining in an assortment of shorter lengths. I’m trying to think of a way to work it into one more project. I may need to revisit my supply of 100% cotton worsted weight yarn to see if I have any coordinating colors that spark ideas.

What constraints do you find yourself working within most often?