Thursday, March 14, 2013

Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe: A Review

Several weeks ago Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts asked if I'd be interested in reviewing Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe. She and 17 other bloggers each contributed a pattern to this amazing collection, so of course I said yes! I'd seen lots of hype about the book so I was interested in taking a look for myself. 

Lanterns in the City by Audrie

I have to say I went into this with no expectations or notions about how this book would be compiled - I've been so busy these last few weeks that I was just glad to have something fun to point my attention to for a while. One thing that I particularly enjoyed were the biographies of each blogger. Most are several paragraphs long and I really, really enjoyed reading all of them. Even though I read several of their blogs regularly, I learned more about their backgrounds and  how/why/when they started quilting. 

Across the Quad by Jennifer 

There is a variety of skill levels in the book, from simple patchwork squares to dresdens, and a fantastic updated Courthouse Steps in Audrie's Lanterns in the City. I appreciate that they left out the basic quilting technique section in the front. Every time I buy a quilting book I think of the valuable space that's taken up with that information. I get that it belongs in a beginner quilting book, but my guess is that most people buying books like this are already quilters looking for inspiration or patterns, not a detailed how-to. I was a little surprised at the 19 patterns included - that's a great value for less than $20! 

Indian Summer by Katy

The photography is one of the high points of the book for me - the quilts are all photographed full-on and the paper is fantastic. You can really get a sense of the scale of the quilt and pattern since it's not draped or folded. Several of the designers also share the back of the quilts and how to duplicate them, which would be really helpful to a beginner quilter or someone who just wants everything spelled out. A couple of the quilts have improvisational piecing, and they are so well explained. I've taught a couple of classes in which people were so intimidated and stressed out by improv, so I was really glad to see step-by-step instructions to make it a little less scary. 

Mini Claw Throw by Jeni

I couldn't help myself and had to pull some fabric to make a block from Jeni's Mini Claw Throw. I'm going to make it into a hot pad with some coordinating coasters for a gift! I also really want to make one of Katy's Indian Summer blocks as a mini-quilt -which is a perfect example of how I use quilting books. I rarely make the patterns exactly as they are written, but use them as a jumping-off point and a source of inspiration. 

If you'd like a chance to win a copy of your own, head to Ellison Lane Quilts and enter the giveaway - it ends Sunday, March 17! Thanks, Jennifer, for letting me be a part of your exciting

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Before winter's over

It never fails that as soon as the leaves begin to turn I have the urge to knit. Last September I picked up my needles and became obsessed. I thought I'd share with you all of my fall & winter knitting adventures before spring arrives.

This is a Saroyan shawl, knit in Blue Sky Alpaca's Alpaca Silk. I love the hand that the silk gives the fabric but I do think this will be the last time I knit with it - I prefer my knits with more body and less drape. This was knitted for my grandmother for Christmas. See details here on Ravelry. 

This beautiful Madelinetosh Merino DK became a Texelle Chunky Shawl for my mom's Christmas gift. This pattern (from Phydeaux Designs) was a blast to knit. It's perfect for ADD crafters since you change stitch patterns every few rows. Super fun.

As cute as those little bobbles are, by the time I had knit about 50 of them I swore I'd never knit one again - they take forever! But now I have amnesia and I'm sure I'll make this shawl again. 

This colorway (William Morris) is so tough to photograph! It goes from a mauvey-tobacco to a deep foresty teal and really changes in different light. Ravelry details here.

I volunteered to do a test knit for the first time, and what a great way to keep on track with a project! This is The Other Million striped cowl, knit in a few different heathery alpacas.

This was a great travel knit - very mindless stripes knit in the round. Choosing the stripe layout was fun and I'm sure I'll knit another next winter in different colors. Ravelry details here.

This Fisher Cabled Hat was a quick knit for my husband and made with leftover Tosh Vintage from my Terra Shawl. Ravelry details here. It has been VERY well loved this winter!

I can hardly look at this sock without wanting to stick my tongue out. The stitch pattern is fine, but I have turned this stupid heel 4 times and have switched from magic loop to DPNs twice. I finally got it, but ugh. I'm finishing these out of pure stubbornness. The only good thing about this project is the yarn, which was purchased at Blazing Needles during Sewing Summit last year.  Ravelry details here.

My Terra Shawl. Also known as my favorite knit of all time. Actually, it's probably up there with my favorite thing I've ever made, period. So many good things about this one. Yarn purchased during Sewing Summit, fantastic pattern, knit as we did a lot of traveling this's just full of good memories. I wore it for our family pictures and had my friend/hair stylist/photographer/all around awesome Erica from Johnson Photography take a few shots so I could share them with you.

The colors in this yarn are incredible - from a denim blue to deep navy with a touch of warm brown thrown in, it matches everything! Best yarn choice ever. Ravelry details (and more photos) here.

Okay, last one, I promise! It turns out I was quite productive - as evidenced by all these projects AND the tendinitis in my left shoulder. :/

This is the Happa Hat, and I only have a phone pic of it - need to remedy that ASAP since it's such a great hat and the yarn color is perfect. This was taken right after finishing it and it has relaxed and is nice and slouchy now. I love it! Ravelry details here.

I'll be back Friday to share a review of Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe. Head over to Ellison Lane to enter her giveaway! It is such a great book - I already have two quilts planned from it!