Finished: An Adventure Quilt

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The first Christmas we were together, at the tender ages of 16 and 17, I knit Tyler mittens and a scarf for a gift. For the 6 following Christmases and his early November birthday, I’ve always made him something, usually knit– a better scarf after the first one felted, reversible double knit hat with a Mythosaur skull (double knitting is a beyotch,) another pair of mittens after the first ones felted, a sweater with sleeves that would thrill a Doctor Seuss character, and a small, frayed quilt.
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Having an early November birthday means double gift making in a marathon time frame– as soon as the birthday’s over, it’s a sprint to the next finish line. That means gift making usually starts sometime around September, so the “feel” of the gifts is always fall-oriented. Luckily, that aligns perfectly with his taste, because brown and forest green and neutral colors and  a love for the outdoors is never so strong as in the fall. Last year, I decided that the tiny quilt from five years ago deserved a worthy replacement, and this half-square-triangle-Ron-Swonson-approved-queen-sized-beast was created. I knew for Tyler only two things would really matter in a quilt: size (big enough for his 6+ft frame to burrito himself in) and warmth.
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Design
My initial plan was flying geese blocks, enough for a queen sized quilt, but after reading Jeni Baker’s “Patchwork Essentials: The Half Square Triangle” I switched gears and decided a “mock” flying geese (2 half square triangle blocks with dark colors together) would be much better. The book enlightened me to the 8 at a time method for making HSTs, and folks it changed my lyfe.
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Fabric
I ordered a fat quarter bundle of “High Adventure” fabric and added in a few favorites– “Sprinkle” from Cotton+Steel in Pickup Truck (the name alone would have made it perfect) and Counting Stars, and canoes from Trail Mix by Rae Ritchie. The neutral off white is Kona in Natural, which has tiny dark brown flecks in the weave that I just love. I wound up needing to order a few more half yards of some of the prints, but the 8 at a time method left very little waste from the fat quarters so I felt no guilt. I love the espresso colored Peppered Cotton from Studio E for backing, and as a special touch, Molly helped me embroider a gorgeous deer motif on a corner of the backing.
Sewing
There’s so much I could say about sewing a quilt this size I’ll save it for a special post, but I will say this– being organized and taking the time to sew where you can get it is crucial. So is good TV for endless hours of cutting, chain piecing, trimming, ironing, chain piecing again, ironing again…
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Quilting
I had my sister and two of my brothers help me stretch, tape, and baste this thing. The internet is also helpful. Then I straight-line quilted it on my new Janome AMH M100 and even though I forgot the extension table, not a single seam twisted or puckered or folded and I think that machine is my best friend.
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Binding
Is it weird that binding is my favorite part of the quilt making process? I hand bound this quilt because I was tired of sitting upstairs alone at my machine and wanted to hand sew next to the Christmas tree in front of Christmas movies. Also, hand binding looks so much better.
Washing
Wool batting has the loft and softness of polyester and warmth like a big, flat oven. I washed the whole quilt on delicate in cold water and it held up like a champ. Warning: it will smell like a dirty sheep when you open the washer machine. Relax, don’t take a deep breath, tumble dry it low and cool then air dry to get the final dampness out.
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After it was done, I felt triumphant and relieved and frolicked with it in the snow to take these photos, thinking about how happy I was it was done and I wasn’t chained to a huge project with a deadline anymore. Then I made a dress (post on that soon,) passed my finals and medicated my stress with wine and tears and cookies.
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He loved it, by the way, and was actually speechless, a feat I don’t take lightly.
Quilt Stats
  • Pattern: Technique for HSTs from Jeni Baker’s book,”Patchwork Essentials: The Half Square Triangle”
  • Quilt top fabric: “High Adventure” by Designs by Dani for Riley Blake, supplemented by “Sprinkle” from Cotton+Steel and canoes from Trail Mix by Rae Ritchie; Kona in Natural
  • Batting: Quilter’s Dream Wool
  • Backing: Peppered Cotton 108″ wide by Studio E
  • Binding: Red buffalo plaid from “High Adventure”
  • Quilting by: me, on my Janome AMH M100
  • Number/size and type of blocks: 256/ 6.5″ half-square triangle blocks
  • Finished size: 96″ x 96″
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Bandana Scarf (free pattern)

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Scarves are so simple, so needed, and have millions of variations– a quick sweep on Ravelry will show you the sheer glut of scarf designs. Yet they remain ever the popular beginner/commuter/in general cold weather project. This one, knitted in exactly the same manner as a center-out triangular shawl, aims to avoid the endless back-and-forth boredom, while being a knitterly twist on the wild west staple.

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A faster, more fun twist on the infinity scarf, the Bandana Scarf can be done a couple of weekends and has no limit on creative options, as well as being a great “pre” shawl practice piece. Sub out the silky wool superwash shown here for a fuzzy alpaca; work in some stripes (they’ll make a single, large, very cool chevron here) or color work slip stitches.

By adding 4 or 5 inches to the body of the scarf and skipping the lace, the bandana is a guy-friendly piece. Pictures to come soon of this variation, but what I did was swap out the picot lace for a wheatear cable border, knit separately and sewed on with a simple whip stitch.

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Thing is, as adaptable as this pattern is, there’s something beautiful about the simplicity of cranberry red  wool wrapped around one’s neck while strolling through an orchard or corn maze (I know, my Midwestern is showing.) The picot lace is sweet and girly, but not frilly, and just the right touch.

Unlike some scarf patterns, 220 yards isn’t a terribly large amount of yarn, just the right amount to make something from a single skein of expensive luxury yarn or save some cash and have a scarf for less than $10

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. On a totally unrelated note about these photos, who wants some apples? cider? donut? hay ride?

Pattern is given in written form below and PDF form

bandana scarf pattern PDF

Bandana Scarf

Devote Knits

Yarn & Materials

Knit Picks Swish Worsted

2 skiens Hollyberry, 110 yds each

I used every inch of yarn on the prototype, adding about 12″ to finish. I compensated in the design by reducing the pattern by 2 rows.

US 8 16″ circular needles

Stitch markers

Bandana Scarf Pattern

foundation: co 2 sts. Knit 10 rows. Turn and pick up 9 sts from edge of knitted string; 11 sts.

Set up row: RS: p2, pm, yo, k3, yo, pm, k1, pm, yo, k3, yo, p2. 15 sts.

  1. WS: purl all sts.
  2. RS: P2, yo, knit to marker, yo, k1, yo, knit to marker, yo, p2.

Rep rows 2 and 3 once more.

  1. RS: knit all sts.

For scarf body, work in this pattern: Row 1, Row 2, Row 1, Row 2, Row 3.

Repeat the pattern until there are 159 sts in total, ending with a non-increase row.

  1. next row: k2, inc 1 wyif, purl to center st, inc 1 wyif, p1, inc 1 wyif, purl to last 2 sts, inc 1 wyif, k2.
  2. Next row (WS): k2, *yo, p2tog, rep from * until 1 st before center st, p3, *yo, p2tog, rep to last 2 sts, k2.

next row (RS) rep row 4.

BO, using Picot Bind off

Picot BO:

BO 2 sts. transfer st to left hand needle. *CO 2 sts using finger method; bind off 4 sts. Rep from * to end of row.

Block piece thoroughly, drawing points out to exaggerate shape.

Abbreviations:

CO: cast on

k: knit

p: purl

pm: place marker

yo: yarn over

wyif: with yarn in front

inc: increase

p2tog: purl 2 together

BO: bind off

Upcoming Projects + A Friendly Chat

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Hello, readers! Yes it’s been a while. I’ve been ill and behind on classes, chugging coffee and cold meds to get through the day (not at the same time, mind you.) I’m working on not one, not two, but 4 projects to be blogged about in the upcoming weeks, with 2 free patterns, a project journal, and a product review in the mix. In the mean time, a seemingly random but friendly chatter list of things I’ve been working on/liking/want to talk about because I’m socially deprived in this doggone polar vortex.

-At the top of this post is a sneak preview photo of one of my upcoming free patterns. It promises a vibrant splash of color and fingering weight wool to keep the frigid air out of your coat collar.

-Did you watch Sherlock on PBS last night/last week? Are you still obsessing over what REALLY happened at The Reichenbach Fall, even though supposedly Sherlock told Anderson the truth? Are you still swooning over the Sherlolly kiss that was, but wasn’t? Do you ship Sherlolly the way some people root for their favorite NFL team? *raises hand.*Do you assume every random character is the murderer just so you can feel smart when the villain is revealed only to STILL not get it? Did you laugh/cringe/cry when Sherlock gave his best man’s speech?  *deep breath before continuing*  Are you, like me, totally convinced Mary is doomed? Did you Google Mary and John’s wedding venue and figure out how much in US dollars it would cost to have your hypothetical wedding there?  Are you crying in despair because you realized the season is now more than halfway over? The answer to the second-to-last question, by the way, is $2,154.36 for a reception in Goldney Hall’s Orangery, where the episode was filmed. If commenting, remember, if you’ve seen all of season 3, DO NOT SPOIL the last episode for me and everyone who hasn’t seen it. Thank you for your cooperation.

-Something I’ve been wondering: does it bother you if your gloves/hat/mittens/scarf don’t all match? I know it might seem odd to make them all matchy-matchy, but lately having lavender mittens, a red hat, and a cream colored scarf has been bugging me. I think at least harmonious and similarly hued colors are necessary.

-All this indoor dwelling has been good for cooking experiments. A recent tango with the Smitten Kitchen’s dulce de leche was one delicious odyssey. It’s miraculously easy to make, doesn’t burn onto the bottom of your saucepan, and it doesn’t stick to your teeth the way caramel does. Proceed to drizzle it over a banana with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a sprinkling of toasted pecans.  Bonus points if you eat this while watching Sherlock.

-Going on 42 days since Christmas gift of Palette fingering weight wool, and I’m not tired of fair isle yet. Hence the bounty of posts related to fair isle and fair isle related yarns. Thank you for your patience.

-The Irish band Celtic Thunder is amazing. Those guys can sing like nobody’s business. Their concert DVDs are ridiculously good, as are their CDs. The songs the group sing together have great harmony, but the solo pieces by individual band members are really stand-outs (YouTube their versions of Friends in Low Places, Tears of Hercules, All Out of Love, Place in the ChoirSeven Drunken Nights, and  My Land.) Some of the best sing-along songs around.