Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Stash Busting Placemats with Tim Holtz Fabrics

I have had the same set of placemats on our table, since my husband and I got married 10 years ago.  They were a gift from my mom, whom I later found out, had stolen them from my brother.  Sort of.  Turns out he left some stuff at her house when he moved, and she decided he wouldn't want them anymore, and gave them to me.  I moved halfway across the country with them, only to get an angry call from my brother later.  Admittedly, I never bothered to mail them back.   Mostly because they were beaded, and unable to be folded up to go in a box.  But 10 years later, and the wooden beads they are composed of, are starting to fall off, and it's getting annoying.

In thinking about it, I realized how ridiculous it is that I've never bothered to MAKE myself a set, and it was time to rectify that.  I was inspired by TheMistressT's Humongous Stash-busting, Scrappy, Place Mat Project posted on Craftster,  so I dug through my stash, and came up with a layer cake of 12" squares of Tim Holtz fabrics that I found on clearance for about $6 at Joann's last year.  I sliced and diced them to various widths, mixed up the strips, and sewed them all back together.  Then I cross cut the large panels, laying in perpendicular stripes of black, before backing and quilting them.  The backing was cut 1" larger all the way around, and folded over to become a self binding. 

The backing and batting both came out of stash as well, so it was a good project for using up extra fabric, as well as those narrow bits of batting I always have left over from making quilts.  I'm pretty pleased with how they came out, and kinda can't wait to have friends over for dinner now.  I have some chunks of the strip panels left over, and I think I might make some mug rugs and coasters to match, since the dining area and living room are one big open room.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Warlock Virus Shawl

My friend Edel is currently battling breast cancer.  While her prognosis is great, and it was caught early, I'm still worried about her, and wish I could be there to give her a hug.  Since I can't, I decided to whip up a shawl to hug her for me. 

The pattern is the same Virus Shawl, that I made for myself a few months ago.  There is no written pattern for this one, but there is a chart and lots of Youtube videos to get you started.  Once you do the repeat of the same 4 rows a few times, you can coast along on autopilot and ignore the chart. 

The yarn is Lion Brand Mandala, in the colorway Warlock, and was $4.97 a cake at Walmart.  I wish I had gotten a better picture that more accurately shows off the colors in natural light, but I was in a rush to get it shipped to her before Jim & I left for Christmas.  The yarn is listed as a 3 weight, but I'd swear I've used 4's that are the same thickness.  (It's definitely thicker than Lion Brand's Shawl-in-a-Ball, which is listed as a 4.)  It's 100% acrylic, and not as soft as sCaron Simply Soft, but it was not scratchy on my hands as I worked. I liked using this slightly thicker yarn, since the project worked up so fast.  I actually managed to finish it in just 1 week!

More about the yarn: It's a beautiful set of colors, but they don't blend into one another gradually.  They just jump from 1 color to the next.  I had read that in an online review, so I bought 2 skeins, afraid that the jumps would be in lousy places when I was working, and that I might want some room to spare.  I'm really glad I did that.  (Especially at $4.97 a piece, they were a good deal.)  I unwound the first part of my the cake, which was a deep purple, because I wanted to start with the creamy tan color. 

I got the first 5 repeats out of the tan and taupe, and could tell the color would jump in the middle of the next row, so I cut out the remaining taupe and moved on to the next color, mustard.  I did the same thing again with the green and teal, and when I was working I could tell that I would run out of the first skeins total length of teal before I would be done as much as I wanted to do, so I jumped over to the second skein (which just happened to start with teal), and continued.  I ended up doing the same with the deep brown, rust, deep purple and light purple, jumping back and forth between skeins to get enough yarn of each color. 

When I was running out of yarn in light purple, I switched back to the creamy tan, and did a row of single crochet around the whole thing, to give it a finished look.  I would have liked to do another whole round of the repeat in tan, but I would have needed another 1-2 cakes to get that much tan, and would have had all the rest leftover.  As it is, I have a quart ziplock bag full of mini balls of the remaining bits of color!  It measures 30" from the center back, down to the point; 60" across the top; and 42" along each side.