FOs: Cowl & Quilt

Silkwood What a great spring weekend. Perfect for finishing projects and take photos of said Finished Objects in the park.

First up, my new favourite piece of knitwear. A super-simple cowl knitted in the round out of three different silky yarns. It feel luxurious, it is easy to wear and I love the play of textures. It is not a shouty piece of knitwear - it does not go look at me, I'm handknit! - but it is really versatile. It'll live 'round my neck until proper summer hits Scotland.

My first quilt

I have rav'd the cowl here and I recommend trying to pair up very different yarns and textures. My next big knitting project is all about textures too but more on that later.

Now my next project and one which gave me that amazing did I really make that? feel which I rarely get with knitting these days (sad but true).

My first quilt, y'all.

The second weekend workshop took place yesterday and I managed to finish piecing the top, sandwich the layers, quilt the whole thing and do the binding. No wonder I'm exhausted today!

My first quilt

An error on a sewing machine supplier's part meant that instead of freemotion quilting we had to choose quilt patterns that we could finish with straight-stitching. That sudden constraint worked wonders for the class' creativity, I think, and people became very engaged in thinking up quilting designs rather than worrying about getting their patchwork perfect. I chose to do an asymmetrical starburst on top of my (mostly) symmetrical design. It may be difficult to tell by the photo but the starburst is oddly effective. The interplay between the patchwork with its rigid lines (and made from geometric prints) and the asymmetric quilt lines lets your eye travel - and also looks far better than any freemotion attempt on my part would have done.

My first quilt

My good friend Kirsten Marie wondered if I enjoyed quilting and if so what I enjoyed about it.

Honestly, I am not sure if quilting is for me. I am not a very precise crafter - I work best on the basis of intuition and fudging things - and I think you need to be anal rentative into measuring things twice and following rules to really enjoy quilting.

Having said that, I am really bowled over by my first quilt of mine and I really liked seeing it come together. I enjoyed having an idea in my head regarding colour and seeing how that idea panned out.

My first quilt

And I liked how everybody's quilts in my class looked so different because of fabric choice and how personal all the quilts felt as though they really did reflect the personalities of the people making them.

(I think my quilt looks modern, colourful and Scandinavian - I think that runs pretty true to my taste!)

Will I be doing more quilting? Probably, yes. I do think the cost of materials is fairly prohibitive and I stress out during certain parts of the process, but I will probably return to this craft occasionally. I like snuggling up in blankets, after all, and there is something to be said about making your own quilted blanket..


Quilt 1Yesterday I went shopping for supplies for my quilt class next week at Mandors, a downtown fabric store, with my good friend Dr JB who is doing the same quilt class as me. It was an interesting shopping experience. Mandors was hosting its quilt group/class and it was quite intimidating. The leader/teacher of the group was shooing us about whilst issuing short, sharp commands at her group/students. I felt rather glad that I signed up elsewhere as I probably would not have taken nicely to someone barking "I have fifteen years of quilting experience and my mother hand-quilted.." at me if I asked a newbie question.

But it was very fun finding fabrics.

Mandors has a large area devoted to quilt cottons which meant we almost had too much to choose from. Dr JB ended up with a gorgeous burgundy/cream/light green combination while I have obviously been inspired by Roobeedoo's current obsession with orange. That art deco-esque cotton just .. yes.

However, again I felt slightly weirded out by Mandors whilst I was choosing my fabrics.

Thanks to my day job (and my other preoccupations) I know I have a good eye for colour. I want a contemporary edge to my quilt so I deliberately stayed far away from flowery fabrics and cuddly teddy bear prints and instead opting for fabric with clean, simple visual design - but I had to do battle with the young sales girl to get away with this (yes I'm serious when I say I don't like blue) and I now regret giving up on a grey-and-orange idea I had going into the store. I wonder what the girl would have made of the Oh, Fransson! quilting aesthetic which I think takes quilting into the 21st century.

Mandors is a good shop with a great selection (and I happen to have friends working there too, so I think some of their staff members are wonderful). I just feel a bit odd about how my aesthetics match up what I ended up buying. The fabric selection is lovely but perhaps a touch more matchy than what I had anticipated..

Questions: how do you choose your supplies, dear crafters/knitters/sewers? Do you have a strong, distinctive style that you do not deviate from? Do you go for "things that go together" in a slightly nebulous way? Do you have an idea in mind before you purchase? Do you look for inspiration in the shop? How much does staff influence your choice? How much advice do you look for?