Saturday, December 21, 2019

New Raglan Sleeves

Some of you may know that I have a designers page on Ravelry and occasionally I take a look at who has made what from my designs. Well, to my surprise, a knitter Ravelry-nicknamed Londasneller devised a great improvement on my design and here it is. A raglan sleeve! I loved it and wanted to know how she did it so I could do the same. She began at the wrist, and found that increases took her to up to the armpit, where decreases could be made for the sleeve cap. 
This may be all gibberish to non-knitters, but I know some of you are paying attention, so for you very few, here's what I did with her directions.
 I made a mess. 
Three sleeve versions before I got it right. Here are versions 1 and 3, stacked. I decided not to start at the wrist but at the sleeve cap and increase to the armpit.  Then I decreased regularly to the wrist, but not correctly at first or at second try, but by the third try I got it right. 

 The first sleeve was way too wide and would have looked awful. The real problem was that it used up too much yarn and I began to run out when I was doing the second sleeve. So I unraveled sleeve #2 up to the armpit and decreased sharply as I traveled down the arm. Much narrower sleeve and I had just enough yarn to finish it perfectly. Now of course, I will unravel sleeve number one and repeat the decreases as I have marked on sleeve number 3. 

 I have markers at each ridge to note a decrease. For the record, I began at the neck by casting on 3 stitches and increased every right side row until I reached 75 stitches, which corresponds to the number of rows of the side of the diamond it would be attached to. My base diamond begins with casting on 75 stitches. After reaching my 75 stitches on the sleeve cap, I began to decrease each right side row (each edge) until I reached 67 stitches, which is where I could stop that acute decreasing and begin a less frequent decreasing. Next I decreased every other ridge until I reached 63 stitches. From that point on, I decreased only every fourth ridge onward to the wrist, ending with 39 stitches, and a length of about 18 inches from the armpit.

 As you can see it will line up nicely with the front and back. So much nicer than my original design, thanks to Londa!
 Here's the correct sleeve folded and placed where it will be sewn into the body of the jacket.
So I am one happy knitter and will encourage future jackets to be made with raglan sleeves, as it really improves the design immensely.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

More QAYG Stuff

While the rest of the world is getting their Christmas shopping done, I have been so busy in the sewing room. It only takes minutes to make another stripey scrappy quilt as you go block, so when I can grab some free time, I make one or two. But yesterday my Hexagon templates from Missouri Star Quilting company arrived and I am going nuts with these little quilt as you go hexagons. Here's link to the video tutorial. 

I have a bunch of batting scraps and this template is used to cut out the hexie shapes in batting and fabric. 5 inches or so for the interior and 6 1/2 for the backing which wraps around to the front. Machine stitch it down and join with machine decorative stitches, or zigzag. Soooooo cute!

 This really works for a fun scrappy look, but I can so see it in planned colors and fabrics. La dee dah, Happy Mel!

Monday, December 16, 2019


 My darling sister Brooke is switching jobs and in January will begin working at a wonderful sewing machine/fabric shop. She will sell and teach and currently is preparing the first of her classes, which is a beginner's block of the month. I am helping her sew, quilt and assemble the sample.
There are 11 blocks to make in this year long class, but the 12th lesson, to make it a block of the month, is the assembly technique, quilt as you go. 

Here's a close-up of the assembled blocks. Since we are using white throughout, it is difficult to see that the narrow strip between each of the blocks is the 1" joiner, with the folded 2" on the backside. That's the trick of this QAYG method. To make it even more cohesive, we added a white cross to all the plain blocks.
As for me, I have a pile of uneven strips which have been nagging at me to use. So why not make them into blocks and quilt them as I go? These started out on a 12 1/2" backing and batting and I drew a rectangle on the batt 4 1/2" down the middle. I grabbed a bunch of my strips and cut them to 4 1/2"and sew and flipped them down the block. Then added strips along each side to fill out the whole. Trimmed to 12" I added a one inch strip between the two finished blocks and connected them on the back with a folded 2" strip, stitching in the ditch from the front. The skinny looking connecting strip on the front is that diagonal stripe. Neat huh?
Difficult to see, as it is white on white...Here are the steps:
1. Using a quarter inch seam, sew a 1 inch strip to the front of the block and at the same time sew a folded 2 inch strip to the back.
2. sew the second block to the one inch strip which joins the two blocks.
3. press the back strip over the butted seam and pin from the FRONT,
4. quilt in the ditch removing pins as you go
That's it.
I was all excited about the 'new qayg' method in my previous post, but this way is better for beginners, imho.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

QAYG Finished quilt

 I don't have a name for this quilt and always referred to it as that black and white top. NOT a great title.  I put it up on the wall horizontally to get it all in the shot and it measures 61x76". It was made by the Tuesday group, Patsy Brown, and Diane Frandsen and me. 
The important thing is that it is quilt as you go. I did it in long skinny panels, which is also how we made it. Here's a closeup of what the connections look like.
I tried to match the connecting strips with the adjoining sections. Some matched better than others, but it still looks good, in my humble opinion. OK, not so humble...See the previous post for the connecting technique.

The other things going on are all baking related. I was at Home Goods looking for a stiff spatula and saw this fancy cake tin which I originally saw and coveted on the Great British Baking Contest. I had to have it. Only $16.99 and when I checked on the Nordic Ware site, they had it listed at $40. Woowoo!
This Apple Cider Doughnut cake recipe came from Pinterest, of course. I used a spice cake mix and added pumpkin pie spice to give it a bigger boost. Yum.
Lots of cookie baking is going on and yesterday I made banana bread to which I over added bananas, nuts and raisins to and it almost overflowed the pan. Silly me.
Knitting also abounds, and I have finished about 14 hats for charity (no pictures) and am now working on a diamond patch jacket with a new sleeve adaptation.
No Christmas shopping to speak of. In fact I convinced Dave to allow me to donate our huge 12' artificial tree (and all the ornaments) to Goodwill and it took both of us to get in my little car and unload it on the sidewalk in front of our local GW.  This will be my first year ever without a tree and I gotta say I don't mind at all. I may pop for a pointsettia or five...and maybe an amaryllis. When they croak, they will be added to the garden. Happy Mel!
For you folks up North, we had lots of rain last night and the temps are still in the 60" this week. I cannot complain.
Love you all,