Finished Objects

‘Tis the season to wrap up in knitwear.  Here are some of the pieces our local knitters have checked off their lists!

Untitled2First we have a lovely fall color inspired Baby Sweater made in a simple Raglan style with a garter yoke. (Find the pattern on Ravelry here.)

UntitledNext up we have a Beautiful Model ( Hi Lori!) with a fantastic Color Affection shawl.  This picture has been hanging around on my computer for a while. I love how Lori selected the colors for this shawl by picking the speckles from her lightest color yarn and featuring them in the stripes.  This idea has really helped me figure out what to do with some Madelinetosh I have stewing in my stash.

red&grayHere is Rachel’s ALMOST finished hat for her uncle.  It is a simple ribbed pattern like Zissou.  You can find this awesome Cascade 128 Multis in a variety of colors at The Crooked Stitch.  The superwash yarn is perfect for quick gifts and it is easy to care for!

 

bluehatChristina finished this Capucine Hat out of Cascade 128 Multis too!  The blues in this colorway are so brilliant.

 

vestHelen finished this Merrigolds in Savannah Sweater in Berroco Weekend DK.  She knit the pattern with some positive ease so it would be a comfortable to wear vest that could be layered in cooler temps.  The Cable and Lace pattern shows up well in this yarn. Excellent Work Helen!

 

Your Turn!

What projects are you finishing up this month?

 

Decorating the Home

When you craft do you think about how an object will look in your home?  Do you plan it to match someone elses? Do you prefer to work with your favorite colors or fibers regardless of where they will wind up?

 

Some times I feel like I put more emphasis on clothing that I do on home decor.  I sometimes forget about the joy of finishing a project and having more than just a stack of sweaters to wear or quilts that don’t fit beds or living room decor.

 

This past month Country Living Magazine put out some fantastic ideas on how to better share some projects and make interesting home decor out of them. For some of these projects you could use old quilts that have age-damage since many of these projects are cut up, but you could also pull pieces out of your stash or make a few co-coordinating blocks to get the look you really want.

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Now this is fantastic.  All those blocks that don’t have a home sure do look nice on display in frames.  10” and 12” square frames are easily available these days thanks to the shadow box and scrap booking craze.

 

02-quilts-bolster-pillow-1114-lgn-26490919What about making a pillow?  Quilted pillows are coming back into style and something about the price of the ones at our local home decor stores makes me cringe.  It isnt the price, becasue we all know quilts are worth a fair price.  I think it is the fact that ever quilt I have come in contact with has a familiar story or a local creator.  I think the romance is compltely lost when the quilter is unknown.

 

03-quilts-folding-screen-1114-lgn-90201931Do you have a room divider or screen that you would like to re-purpose?  Have you considered covering it with a quilt?

 

 

What about you?

Do you use any creative quilt displays? How can we get our beloved projects out of the closet, off the cutting room floor or up on a wall?  I would love to hear your ideas, and check back next week for more home decor ideas with your beloved knit items.

 

Nellknits November

I love a good local designer!

NellI feel like using a design created by someone I know makes the connection to the crafting even stronger.  Just recently I was introduced to Nell Ziroli by some some of my local hand-dyer friend ( Angie and Stephanie of Kismet Fiberworks.)  Nell lives in Atlanta and travels to the Blue Ridge Mountains regularly to visit family… So frequently that I feel like she is a neighbor.

Nell is a designer who has created a nice brand and her exceptional patterns have been designed for the likes of Malibrigo, Swans Island, and Jarred Flood.  Much of her design portfolio is self published, but most recently she was included in the book Wool People Vol. 7.

Nell came up and taught a fabulous class at Sheep in the Shade on Tips and Tricks to Improve your knitting.  I was so moved by this class I wanted to share all Nell’s wonderful tips with all the knitters I know.  Since it is always fun to get new tips and tricks from the designer, Nell will be at The New River Fiber Co. on November 15, 2014 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm teaching her fabulous class.( fee is $40 and there are no supply costs, just bring a 10” by 4” rectangle of Stockinette and some scrap yarn to work with!)

That being said, I also want to knit a very large number of Nell’s designs.  So I had a brilliant idea…

#Nellknitsnovember!

Wheaton Wrap

Wheaton Wrap – The top item on my list to knit.

 

#Nellknitsnovember is a month long Knit along featuring Nell’s Patterns.  Join other knitters from The New River Fiber Co and The Crooked Stitch by signing up.

Everyone who signs up will get 10% off your purchases at The New River Fiber Co and The Crooked Stitch for the whole month of November  All month there will be prizes as well as exclusively designed patterns from Nell.

Don’t forget to take pictures of what you knit, and at the end of the month any pictures that have been shared using the hashtag #nellknitsnovemeber on Instagram or Facebook will be entered to win 5 skeins of Swans Island Worsted weight yarn!

Won’t you join us?

 

Little Hand Made Treats

I love Fall… Leaves, Pumpkins, Orange everywhere. Fall is the best season!

Now, Halloween sometimes gives me mixed emotions.  I’m not into the scary stuff, my preference is for the light-hearted, child-like fun that come with Halloween. I love candy and parties, and even dressing up in fun costumes. I love making treats to eat and to decorate with.

Here are some of my favorite this season.

 

TCS 2014-10-23 A#1 Knit little pumpkin!

Why not create your own holiday decorations that will last for years!  These versatile little pumpkins are easy to make, and are a free Ravelry download.  Make a dozen and share with friends!

Pumpkin quilt#2 Sew a little pumpkin

Wool Applique makes this little guy go fast.  Leave off the bat and Jack-o-lantern face and have a pumpkin fit for the whole season.

#3 Make Pumpkin Muffins

You can make homemade pumpkin muffins the easy way!

  • One 15 Oz. can Libby Pumpkin
  • 1 box spice cake mix

Mix and pour into muffin tins then bake at 350˚for 20 to 30 minutes and you get perfect, easy muffins

caramel-445976_640#4 Caramel Apples

There is nothing like the treat of a crisp, tart apple covered by a sweet caramelly coating.  It makes me hungry just thinking about it!  Apple picking is another favorite!

TCS 2014-10-23 C#5 Pick a Pumpkin

Picking out your pumpkin is a high point of the season.

TCS 2014-10-23 B#6  Make a funny Hat

A funny hat becomes a costume of its own and adds fun to each fall day!

 

What about you?

What fun Fall crafts are you working on? Do you have anything special your are making for Halloween? Jump over to the Facebook page and leave us some pictures!!

*** Whitney is visiting the Fall International Quilt Market in Houston this weekend so come by and pick up some of your current favorites for only $8 a yard! All bolts are $8 a yard until October 25th! ***

Finished Object Round-Up

In this installment of the round up we have some exemplary knitwear to share.

First check out Becky and Linda’s finished  Kismet MKAL. (Kismet Mystery Knit Along)

2014-09-18 01

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Next is Lisa’s Acorn Trail.  This is a beautiful Custom Fit Sweater.

2014-09-18 03

 

Custom.   Fit.   Sweater.

 

2014-09-18 04

Did ya catch that?

Custom.   Fit.   Sweater.

Remember those words – we will be doing a Custom Fit demonstration and offering Free Measuring Workshops at the shop VERY SOON!

This last beauty is Graiselle Sweater, made by Lisa in lace weight yarn.

2014-09-18 05

Knitters Tool Kit

The beginning of September always makes me think of going back to school.  I grew up in an area where we never went back before Labor Day. (Mainly, I think, because high school students were needed to labor at the local tourist traps!)

No matter when we went back to school, for many kids like me school supplies are the best part of going back to school.   There is nothing like having an organized pencil box full of cool stuff to use. Organizing all the new sharpeners, crayons, pencils and rulers always made me feel smarter and more prepared.

I feel the same way about having a well stocked knitter’s tool kit. I may not be in school any longer but I do still enjoy learning and not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new about knitting or quilting. Having the correct tools makes every job more enjoyable and easier to complete. (Who doesn’t hate having 1,000 ends to weave in!)

Here are some of the things I think are essential to a knitter’s tool kit:

2014-09-11 01A Knitting Bag

Lets Start with a bag:  I like a box bag or zipper top bag.  I really love the KSC Designs bags that we stock at The Crooked Stitch. They are well contructed and so hold up well for a very long time. All of the bags I currently use have been around for several years.  I really only add to them when there is a fabric pattern I can’t live without. They are a great investment and make your tool kit look very stylish.

A Medical Kit

Inside the bag I like to keep a travel “medical” kit stocked with lots of little knitting items. These are available at your local big box store, or a dollar store – usually for less than a buck.  There are any number of things to keep in this kit, here is my list:

  1. 2014-09-11 02Stitch Markers -  I like to keep at least two different kinds of stitch markers in my kit because some projects require loopy beaded stitch markers and others require just the round ring markers. It is really a personal preference, but I like to be prepared for my mood.
  2. Knitters Safety Pins - Knitters safety pins are really just coil-less safety pins.   They are great for marking the right side of a project or for making a dropped stitch. They won’t pick the yarn and are very handy.  I also use them when adding a tag to a knitted gift.
  3. 2014-09-11 03Snips - My favorite snips don’t fit in my med box, so i just leave them loose in the bag.
  4. Darning Needles - I recommend three sizes so that you can thread any yarn into the eye and weave those loose ends into place ASAP. (It is best not to let them linger as they are never too much fun to deal with – and really – sweaters being worn with loose ends just look silly.)

Measuring Tools

I generally carry three different types of measuring tools in my knitters kit.

  1. 2014-09-11 04A needle gauge so that I can make sure I am using the correct needle for my projects or I can identify the needles that have wiggled free of my needle case.
  2. A clover clicking row counter is very handy on charted projects or if you are trying to keep track of decreasing and increasing.
  3. A Hiya Hiya retractable measuring tape. Some times I think the tape lies to me – especially when I have knit eons of stockinette stitch… But scientifically I know it is really right.  Frustrating but handy.

Dental Floss

2014-09-11 05Last but not least I carry dental floss.  I use this for safety lines in lace projects and to park stitches for sleeves and the like.  Extra yarn works well for this too, especially cotton which is not too sticky.  I just like the dental floss because it is waxed, so it won’t stick and it’s in a neat case so it doesn’t go everywhere in my bag!

What about you?

What special tools do you carry?  Share your ideas with us, you never know what others are ready to learn!

The Parade of Fabrics

Out with the old and in with the New!

Aisfor

“A is for” from Windham fabrics has a 30’s vibe but very fresh.

Over the last few weeks you may have stopped by (Thank you!) and noticed that our fabric inventory is changing.

Homebody

Homebody by Kim Knight and Moonlight by Rasida Coleman Hale for Cotton and Steel

We pay attention to what our customers tell us, and you have told us that you wanted new fabrics!  So we are moving out some of the commission fabric we had from the (now closed) Smith Mountain Lake Quilting in order to make room for fresh stock.

We will be focusing on the traditional prints you know and love, the more exciting and modern fabrics, as well as continuing to stock the novelty fabrics that you crave.

In fact, we recently received some wonderful pieces from Windham fabrics, Cotton and Steel/ RJR and just this week Quilting Treasures!

Sarah Watts

It feels like I just came back from the Spring Quilt Market, but here we are only about 6 weeks away from the Fall Market which means all the latest and greatest will soon be available.


What are you favorites? Is there anything you would like to see more of at The Crooked Stitch?  Share here, or join the conversation on Facebook.

Finished Object Round Up

We just love to show off our customers’ finished work!

Here are just a few of the recent finished projects that have turned up at The Crooked Stitch.

2014-08-21-01Linda did a great job finishing up this beautiful crib quilt for a friend.  She made it with Helen’s Garden Fabric from Michael Miller using a great pattern from Simply Fat Quarters. That baby is going to really love it!

 

2014-08-21-02Then, at a recent meeting of the Roanoke Modern Quilt Guild we saw our friend Dani showed off her Orion Quilt made from vintage sheets.  Such pretty colors!

 

What about you?

Have you created anything recently that you want to show off? Take some pictures of those fabulous finished objects and share them with us!  We want to put them here and let you SHINE!  Yippee!!

My Quilting: Evolution

I Love Quilts!

I am sure this is no big suprise for many of you. My love of quilts began when I was rather young in connection with my love of history and everything old.  As a child I felt that being near and admiring a quilt made me closer to history: it made my little mind explode with happiness.

As time wore on, my love of quilting changed.  Now, quilts are no longer just about history and remembering days gone by.  For me quilting has become the ultimate expression of love and care for others.  I feel like everyone I love should be wrapped in a quilt. Slowly I have made everyone in my family a quilt and, with lots of help from fellow members of my quilt guilds, a few to give away to worthy causes.

First Family Quilt

My first ”family” quilt was made for someone who was not yet a member of my  family!  While watching  Alex Anderson’s show over Christmas break I felt compelled to make a quilt just like the one she was making.  The quilt was an amazing jumble of squares and rectangles.  I loved it!  But I must not have paid very close attention to her directions, and I wasn’t quite sure where to start.

I don’t recall the pattern she was showing, but it was something like “turning twenty” and I tried to replicate it – without a pattern. I got it done, although the machine quilter may or may not have criticized me for how square the quilt was, or how accurate my seam allowance was. Luckily, she was kind enough to referred me to my local quilt shop (LQS) for lessons on how to do things the right way (ie – learn to follow a pattern.)

Local Quilt Shop

My encounter with the LQS was like diving into the deep end of the fabric pool.  There was no going back! I was officially sunk in the fabric world.  Up till then I had only made quilt blocks from learn-to-quilt books and had only actually completed two quilts.  This quilt for my husband to be (I did not know then that we would end up married!) was my first really “good” quilt. I gained some tools and knowledge from my LQS  and was well on my way to creating many more quilts.

My Quilting: A Series

Over the next few months I will be sharing more about my quilts, the processes and thought that evolved with them and how I feel those quilts will stand the test of time.  But I also want to hear from you! What are your thoughts about quilting? How have those thoughts evolved over time? What is it that makes quilting special to you?

2014-08-14

My Current Favorite: Scrappy Trip Around the World with Denyse Schmidt

Mixing Fabrics

Playing with paint from someone else’s palette can be fun and exciting!

Do you ever think of fabric like paint? Fabric and paint share variety, richness and the ability to be blended together.  The blending of the paint colors is easy, but fabric colors blend a bit differently. It is the eyes’ job and the brains’ job to make the fabric colors blend to tell the whole story. I think that makes blending color by playing with fabrics more complicated, but also more fun!

Technology

The internet has changed the way quilters play with color and choose fabrics. We can follow our favorite designers on Instagram and Facebook. We have the opportunity to see a vast arrange of inspiration, rather more than just what is in our own backyard. We now have access to whole lines of fabric that are sold together in tidy little bundles or color or texture. You are promised almost perfect results when using those little bundles of color together in one project, too.

Let me illustrate how the process has changed and what the results are ( Warning – This thought process is highly generalized and will fail to shock you) :

A Quilters Story

Mixing FabricsLong ago, in a land not so far away, Ma decided to use up the huge pile of scraps she had accumulated from dress scraps, flower sacks, and old shirts to make a beautiful new bed quilt. Every piece she used was special, thick with memories, and had a perfect place in the lovely new quilt. The quilt became a beloved family heirloom and it looked something like this.

Not so long ago, Sis decided she would make a quilt. But Sis worked in a very different way.  She purchased an adorable little bundle of fabric from her Local Quilt Shop. Each piece she used was special because of work the artist who had designed it had put into it.  Mixing FabricsWith each step she celebrated her love for the designers style and how that style augmented her own style, and the style of her family.

She went to town cutting and sewing.  Her fabric looked like this:

Mixing FabricsHer finished quilt was equally beautiful.  It was made of fabrics that spoke to her of her love of beauty, and it matched her lifestyle and her personal aesthetic.

What do you think?

The two quilts are beautiful, but different.  What is your preference? Do you like Scrappy Quilts? Do you mix lines of fabric?


P.S.  This post was inspired by a beautiful stack of fabric curated by an adorable customer. I found it really inspiring and a fresh combination of colors.

Mixing Fabrics