Fun, easy patterns for all seasons!
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

What is on your Design Wall right now?

Churn Dash blocks that will become a (much bigger) "Caring Quilt" for the guild

A design wall is something I never thought I would use. But suddenly I took a class and there it was in front of me, and I knew I had to have one at home, too. What did I do? I invested a whopping $3 bucks on a flannel-backed vinyl table cloth and hung it up in my craft room. Fabric and blocks automatically stick to it and if one day they don't, I'll give 'em a shot of basting spray and we'll be back in business.

This is an incredibly valuable tool for a visual person and a designer like me. Why? Somehow, putting colors together goes much better if you can stand back and look from afar. Flipped blocks and little mistakes jump out at you as well, if looked at from across the room.

So find some wall space, and get your designer hat on and lay out some of those old orphan blocks you have. I know you do....make a wall quilt out of one by adding some nice pieced borders, or put those extra blocks from that exchange into a wall quilt and give it as a gift. Not enough time? Sew them into a pillow top and it'll be done lickety split. I'm tellin' ya, that design wall will get a spring in your step and you'll see a creative difference! Post a photo of what is on your wall - we all need inspiration!
Friday, February 18, 2011

Knitting and Purling Patterns

Basic knitting patterns are comprised of knitting and purling. Stockinette stitch is the most common stitch there is. I guarantee that you have a sweater in your closet right now that is composed of stockinette stitch. If you study it for a moment you can determine the knit side (likely the outside) and the purl side (likely the inside.)  When you knit a stitch, you see a small "v" on the front and a "bump" on the back. The front is known as the KNIT SIDE, and the back is known as the PURL SIDE.  Subsequently, when you purl on one side, a knit stitch appears on the reverse side. 

How do you do the stockinette stitch?  
Knit the first row; Purl the second row and repeat.  Work is turned between rows. The above photo shows the progression of these stitches beginning at the bottom and going up. The second section is seed stitch.

Seed stitch is a nubby texture and happens to be my favorite. To do the seed stitch you simply K1, P1, and repeat. On the next row, you K1, P1 and repeat. You will be knitting the purl side of the stitches, and purling the knit side of the stitches. It is easy to follow because you will see that if you come to a V you will purl it, and if you come to a bump, you will knit it. The third section is garter stitch.

Garter stitch is when each and every row is knitted. No purls allowed! This gives a stripey texture to your knitting, as you can see the Vs AND the bumps in rows. You are seeing both the front of the knit stitches and the back of the knit stitches. The fourth section is ribbing.

Ribbing is accomplished the same as in seed stitch for the first row: K1, P1 and repeat. However, for the second row, the pattern is P1, K1 and repeat. In this case you are purling the purl stitches, and knitting the knit stitches. When you come to a v, knit it, and when you come to a bump, purl it. This creates a vertical stripe effect and is often used on the cuffs of socks, sweaters and mittens because it has a lovely stretchy quality. After the ribbing, I did several more rows of stockinette and then some seed stitch again. These progress left to right in the photo below.

I hope this information has been helpful and that you will soon give knitting a try! Check out my YouTube videos on how to knit for specific instructions on this swatch.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Where do I go for Knitting Help?

I have been knitting up a storm lately and I have to tell you that it has a lot to do with a great yarn shop where I can go to vent, ask, share and learn. I wanted to tell you about Mrs. I's Yarn Parlor in Osceola WI. The owner is Linda, Mrs. I herself, someone I've known for a while, and she is a fabulous knitter and teacher! Check out her website at and you can get all the details on her fabulous shop!