Monday, October 14, 2013

Off the Needles: Another Cat Wrap

Yet another Catwrap for the charity auction. This one with Universal Yarn's "Patchwork" in Granite colorway and Plymouth's Encore in white. I've gotten requests from 2 friends for 3 more of these critters. Good thing they knit up very fast and that I have enough cat eyes on hand.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Off the needles & hooks: More Baby Sweaters

Tonight's the night we bring all the things we've been making for the Knit Night charities. I've made more baby sweaters, 3 new knitted ones and one crocheted that I pulled out of the UFO bag. These are fun to make as they work up fast, look really, really cute, let me experiment with new yarns, and put my button collection to good use. I'm also bringing a cotton bib and a pair of thumbless mittens that I found in the UFO stash that just needed to have the sides sewn up. I'm looking forward to moving these out of the house so I can get cracking on next year's donations.

This one is knitted out of James C. Brett's "Marble" in color MT2, an acrylic DK weight yarn. For an acrylic, it is very soft and I love the colors. I think I might just have to make something for myself out of this yarn. Another pattern I've done several times.

This one is crocheted. I've made this vintage pattern before and like the way is works up very quickly.

I like the asymmetrical opening on this one. The variegated pink is another colorway of James C. Brett's "Marble."

This one knitted up quickly in garter stitch. It's Pymouth Yarn's "Jelli Beenz" yarn.

Monday, October 7, 2013

2013 Heritage Day Quilt Auction: What I Won

This was the 2nd year I was a bidder at the Wake County Heritage Day Quilt Auction sponsored by the Capital Quilters Guild. I bid on 6 quilts and won 5. Each year the proceeds from the auction are split between the Guild and another charity. This year half the money goes to the Historic Oak View County Park's Tenant House Restoration Fund. The park is where the auction is held; they've been raising money for over a year now and this auction will help move that fund along.

 Before the auction I had picked out 5 quilts I liked enough to try for. My method, which worked well for me at last year's auction, is to settle on a price that I think is fair and that I am comfortable with. Then, if the bidding starts going past this amount, I drop out of the competition. That way, whether I win or lose, I don't come away with any regrets or shock when it's time to pay up.

Once the bidding started, I changed my mind about one of the quilts and didn't bid on it, and I lost out on I got 3 of the 5 original picks. As for the other 2 quilts that I won...well, I did like them but didn't think I could afford everything I liked when I was making choices. However, when the bidding started, I couldn't believe how little interest there was for them and how little they were going's sad when the auctioneer starts at $50 and has to drop down to $25 to get any bidders! So I jumped in and started bidding. I hated that the two quilts didn't get a price they deserved, but at least they didn't go for less than the cost of the materials.

Here are photos of what I came home with:

This is the only bed-size quilt I got; the rest are various sizes appropriate for hanging. This is called "Vintage-Modern Finally Finished." It's 72" x 84" in black, white, and red. One of the women who pieced the top died in 2008 and it was finished by two other guild members.

Below is a detail of the stitched design around the circumference of the quilt:

This one is "Three Inch Sampler" and is 22" x 28". Some of the pieces in the patterns are so tiny...another reason why I prefer to buy quilts rather than make them..let someone else fiddle with those tiny, tiny triangles!

This one is a quilt I hadn't originally planned on bidding on. It's a 50" square called "Knights Bee Sampler" and was a challenge bee to get Knights Bee members to try out new quilt blocks. So each block has it's own personality, but the black ties it all together nicely. This one went for an incredible $50!

Here's another one that I hadn't planned on bidding on that almost went for nothing. It's called "Star Blocks" and it's 13" x 15" in red and tan.

And finally, this very modern piece, "Black is the New Black." It's 57" x 58" and backed with a soft furry fabric called Minkee. 

This quilt is typical of the type I like and apparently not appealing to a majority of bidders at these auctions. The most heated bidding seems to go for traditional, bed-size quilts in more subdued colors. There were a lot of quilts in browns and tans which seem popular. My walls are almond and taupe tones so brown hangings would not be my choice. Also, I prefer quilts that incorporate geometric graphics with a lot of black accents, as evidenced by 4 of the 5 quilts I took home.

I was surprised at how slowly the bidding was moving up for one of the larger quilts that was a First Place Winner of the July 2013 Views Choice Challenge. It was vibrantly colored with Kaffe Fassett prints; he is a leader in bringing exciting color combinations to quilting, knitting, and needlepoint. But I guess the quilt was too dramatic for many people's tastes. This lack of interest in more contemporary designs and use of colors makes it easier for people like me to get some bargains on locally-made quilts. I think, however, next year I'll need to skip the auction as it is definitely a challenge to find suitable wall space for all these beautiful pieces in my small house.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Off the Needles: 2 Cowls, One Pattern

I love this's so enjoyable and fast to knit and the result is a little different than the usual cowl patterns. It has an origami-like folding that keeps it from stretching out. The pattern is Miura Cowl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian. The yarn is some Brown Sheep wool that I had left over from another project. I gave the cowl to a co-worker who is always cold. I think she'll get a lot of use out of it this winter.

The pattern is knit in the round so there are no seams to deal with.  However, with the second cowl I decided to knit it as a flat piece and then use buttons to fasten it. After knitting, I added a couple of rows of single crochet and chains to make button loops. The yarn is Lion Brand's "Vanna's Glamour" in colorway Copper. The buttons are from my stash. They look like butterscotch Bakelite, but I think they're just plastic that resembles Bakelite.

I also made a third cowl out of some dark brown Berger du Nord "Tonic" a 60% acrylic/40% wool blend that I had in my stash. The instructions call for 8 repeats of the pattern, but I only had enough yarn for 7. Another nice thing about this pattern is that it looks great even with fewer repeats, so running short of yarn isn't a disaster.

Off the Hook: Left-over Yarn Granny Square Blanket

I started this project last year to use up scraps of acrylic yarn left over from charity knitting projects. Amazingly, I had enough to make 20 big squares before I ran out of most colors. I forgot how many loose ends you have with granny squares so it's been tedious sewing them all in. I took this photo before I'd finished the back. Can't decide whether to donate or keep as it came out much better than I'd thought it would. I've had some projects that ended up at Goodwill in the hope that someone could use the yarn in them.