The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels


Christopher’s Quilt

My nephew Christopher arrived on Feb. 2. And man is he cute!

Each neice and nephew have received a handmade quilt from me.

I picked up these fat quarters at  The Cloth Shop  on Granville Island in Vancouver BC. It’s a fun little shop with a thoughtfully curated quilting fabrics.  I couldn’t resist the main fabric with the pirates, ships, maps and treasure chests as well as the navy one with the sea critters. I just searched the collection and am not seeing it much out there including on Makower, UK’s website.  Missouri Star Quilt Company has a bit.  The line is called 1674 Pirates Fishes buy The Henley Studio. I’m not sure what line the octopus and white fish prints are from. The red and white dots are from Cotton and Steel.

Not wanting to cut up the larger prints, I found a pattern off ETSY called Husky which may be the best $9 I’ve ever spent on a quilt pattern. Sized for baby to queen each block requires a fat quarter or a couple fat sixths. It’s simple, speedy and allows your prints to shine in large pieces.  And did I mention speedy?

I have the greatest respect for the heirloom quality, hand quilted, intricate quilts out there but in reality, that just isn’t in the cards for me.

This gal’s shop, Sunnyside Fabrics has a collection of simple quilt patterns I’ve added to my favorite list in Etsy.

I quilted it in a meandering pattern.  I really struggle with machine quilting. Even with my super grippy gloves and long table attachment to provide a slick, large, machine bed height workspace it find the process cumbersome and tiring.  Someday I’d like to build (I mean have Pete build) a table with a recess to drop the machine down into. I also dream of a long arm…but that would require a new house – with a large room for it…and a small fortune…alas!

This will head off to MN today and become a baby warmer, floor pad, brain synapse developer and spit up catcher.  Such a multitude of uses I believe a baby quilt should be.

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A Two Month Lapse

Jeez. I haven’t posted in two months – not for lack of interesting things to share.  Still here. But I’ve been ignoring the laptop on days off as I’m glued to one on work days.

I’ve had some knitting disappointments, placing an entire finished sweater in a don’t look at it and you won’t know it’s there pile and a vest that fell victim to a lying gauge swatch.

So knitting momentum is slowed – but not gone.

Here’s what’s been filling up my time-

  • A new nephew, Christopher arrived on Feb 2nd. He’s adorable!  Keeping the tradition, I made him a quilt and am nearly done, sewing the binding down.  Pirates, Octopus, Fish, in huge and simple blocks are delightfully colorful. More on that once done.
  • Spring won’t arrive. It’s been cold and rainy. Folks I am so ready for sun and warmth.  We must be at least 3-4 weeks behind in weather.  Nevertheless, gardening’s happening. We had the entire east side of the house dug up and prepared for landscaping.  We’ve planted 9 trees thus far – A Black Tulip Magnolia, A Japanese Stewartia, a Hinoki Cypress, A Vine Maple and a Japanese Maple, a Weeping Birch, a clump of Himalayan Birch, a Juniper and a Shore Pine.  This is the spring of investment in trees.  Seeds are starting in the dining room window and a couple new garden beds are in place. On work-outside- days, that delightful fall into bed and sleep better than you ever do feeling is back. There’s something so gratifying and therapeutic to me for working in the garden.  Photos to come.
  • Working in the yard has displaced some crafting time.  The little I’m doing tends to be while listening to the Wet Coast Wools Podcast on Youtube which I’m glad to recommend to you.  Glenda and Bernadette are goofy,  informative and enjoyable. I look forward to seeing their FO’s and WIPS.  5 minutes into a podcast I know if I’ll stick with it.  I’ve been watching back episodes as well.  Glenda owns and Bernadette Manages/works at Wet Coast Wools in Vancouver, BC. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them and shopping at their shop.  They kindly welcomed me to join them at their knitting table while waiting for Pete to return to pick me up.
  • I’m on book three of Ransom Riggs Series that starts with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Sure they’re kids’ books. But man I can’t put them down.

What else is in the queue for you?  How about a weekend at Madrona Fiber Arts? Or a hiking trip at Dosewallips State Park? Maybe some photos of the Olympic Mountains from above tree line? And there’s that fingering weight colorwork hat that’s done.

I’lll get going on those this week.  Until later!


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Christmas 2015 Sewn and Knitted Gifts

I kept homemade gifts this year pretty simple, allowing reality an honest role in my ambitions.  Below are some projects with links to my Ravelry project pages for more details where applicable.

For me, made from true need, wooly mittens, light but warm. These are made from Berroco Ultra Alpaca and the patterns is Basic Cabled Mittens by Amy O’dell. I love this yarn’s lightweight warmth.  I’ve a sweater’s worth stashed in the color Redwood Mix just waiting to be used.

Malabrigo Rios in the Marte’s color begged for my mom so I nabbed it and turned it onto The Age of Brass and Steam Shawl by Orange Flower Yarn. She loves it and wore it on our shopping excursion.

The colors are so pretty.  I worked on it while camping in UT in October.  It’s a super travel project – portable – I rarely looked at the pattern.  I shall make more for sure.

Before flying to MN for the holiday I, in usual form, stressed over selecting travel projects. Tensfield by Martina Behm jumped into my checkout cart a week prior as well as Langfield.  Martina is so clever. Both hats are knit in a modular manner and can be crafted in any gauge, no swatching.  I had a blast making Tensfield. I tossed the pattern and a lovely skein of Noro Silk Garden in my carry-on.  Once the colors grew, I just knew I had to give it to my neighbor Renee. They are her colors.

The funny thing was, as it lay blocking on my dining room table, she lamented her losing her favorite hat. I planned on surprising her with this hat. I couldn’t contain my excitement.  I spilled the beans and let her know a replacement was almost on its way.  She loves it!

I shall make more. Many more.

My sweetie got a new hat, this one very warm and sturdy. Windschief in Lambs Pride Worsted in Tahiti Teal  looks great on him. Blue!  I always suggest he wear blue.

My sis Rachel’s been asking for Christmas socks for years. I finally made good on my word and produced a pair based on Charlene Schurch’s Waffle Rib socks in Socks That Rock Heavyweight in the color Muddy Autumn Rainbow.  I had issues with these.  I finished one then set it aside for a month or so.  When starting the second I used the wrong needle size.  Twice.  The first time being the entire leg. Once on the correct size my row gauge was still off, hard to figure since it was just a month or so between socks.  Several repeats added on later, they matched, and I had to look away from the obvious difference in # of pattern rows.

Since I cast on less than Schurch’s recipe calls for,  I couldn’t figure out how to recalculate the heel turn numbers. Noting my agony, a friend suggested Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s heel turn recipe in Knitting Rules. It was a lifesaver let-me-tell-ya.  I almost failed Rachel another year minus socks.

Rachel requested a stocking for my niece Lily which I gladly made and I’m proud to say I sent it early enough for actual use. I do not have a pic of the cutie with it.

Jane enjoyed its warmth while in progress.

Many, many years ago I made my sis Ali a table topper for the holidays. A second style in the same fabrics I made this year.

Running out of time to knit more gifts I made my sis Karen a table runner and matching napkins. The runner was actually supposed to be four placemats but I read the pattern incorrectly. Doh!

Niece Sonja received a quilt but I’m waiting for a pic of her on it.

Currently on the needles are charity hats. My LYS Bazaar Girls is joining the efforts of 25,000 Tuques, a Canadian project gathering hats for Syrian refugees in Canada.  Our goal is 50. I’m looking forward to seeing our collaborative results before mailing.



Charity Quilts for Syrian Refugees-September, 2015

Today I taped up a box full of love. Via Ravelry I found a group called Hats and More for War-Torn Syria.  Sadly, the charity I knit for in the past, Afghans for Afghans cannot ship anything because of the country’s instability.

War and strife cause me great sadness. Charitable knitting, and now sewing, help me deal with those feelings, feeling like I can contribute something to meet others needs, to infuse some sort of happiness into dour situations.  One year ago I shared a post with a link to a photo of an Afghan girl holding up the Icelandic sweater I made for that campaign. How happy that made me.

This group collects childrens’ quilts as well as knitted items.  I lucked out and connected with a gal that will quilt donated tops on her long-arm machine.  It would take me hours to do just one.  How generous of her. I prefer piecing to quilting in general.

Using requested size limits, I pieced 10 tops from stash that needs a more worthy home than my shelves. Only one I used a pattern for. All others were improvised as I went along.

This process was liberating!

I dove into my batiks:


Miscellaneous fat quarters put to good use:


Close up detail of some of the prints:


Simple. Simple. Simple.

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The quilt on the left uses a panel well-marinated in deep-stash-land. I used leftover blocks from my nieces quilt to insert into the split panel. The one on the right was great fun. Stacked coins on a fabric foundation strip are bordered by larger cuts of fabric. It’s vibrant.


Uber simple strips of flannel. This one will be cuddly.

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Here’s the only one I used a pattern for.  Sun Sprite by Villa Rose takes only 6 fat quarters.  Printed on a just a small card, the Rosecard patterns are easy peasy. I’ve made three total including Limelight and Senior Prom.


This quilt I call Pink Lemonade because of the lemon fabric and the salmon pink fabric. It’s a giant log cabin block.


It’s been a fun way to use languishing stash for a great cause.


Kurt’s Quilt

It’s been gifted and the recipient loves it.  Now I can share.

I’d long planned on making this friend a quilt.

After auditioning many combinations, I settled on a grouping of reds, gold, rust, blue and purple batiks.  The pattern I chose was Limelight by Villa Rose Designs. I’ve sung their praise before.  I added three blocks to make it longer for his almost 6′ frame.  Quilts should cover one fully for naps, I think.  Robin at Robins Nest Custom Machine Quilting, back in MN, quilted it for me on longarm machine.

Here it hangs on the trusty backyard fence.  That’s the only spot I have for photographing quilts.


Close up details:


This was fun to make and great way to use batik fat quarters. I’ll surely be making it again.

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On the Needles, Off the Needles and some Charitable Sewing

I’ve been a busy bee in the crafting department and not so much with the blog.

Just completing a major yarn and fabric destash,  I’ve decided to repurpose quite a bit of languishing stash into charitable knitting and sewing projects.

BTW, is it possible to ever completely destash?

In the past, I’ve knit for Afghans for Afghans. Conflict over there prevents any shipments. I’m knitting up quite the pile of mittens, hats and socks and sitting tight. I’ve my eye on another charity, however, called Wool Aid (Rav link)  (Website Link).  I found them on Ravelry. Depending on what happens with A4A, I may send a box off to Wool Aid.

I’ll photograph these later.

There’s another charitable knitting group on Ravelry that knits and sews for Syrian refugees. It’s called Hats and More for War Torn Syria.  I’ve been piecing up children’s quilt tops from bright fabrics in my stash that need a good home. There’s a gal that volunteers to long arm quilt and bind any top sent to her. What a saint!  It would take me hours to do that. She can zip those out in a flash.  I love piecing.  I don’t care for quilting once I’ve pieced.  What a match up!

The three quilt tops I’ve made up so far:


This one below is mostly from leftover fat quarters from a grouping I purchased. The pattern I used is Sunsprite by Villa Rosa Designs. I just love their simple designs. Check out their website.


A plus to these projects is the license to create, to go patternless, to really stretch what you can to with odds and ends. Below, I made a coin stack of scraps using fabric as a foundation.  I then applied strips to frame it and add more width.


This last top started out as a cute border print I purchased ages ago with no intended project. I split it up and inserted a strip of leftover blocks from my niece’s quilt.


Quilts are to be about 45-50″ in width and 50-60″ long. It’s a great size for a manageable project. I’ll be making many more.

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Quilting up a new home – Turning Twenty – A New Bed Quilt

It’s spring, I’ve a new nest to feather.  It’s time for a new bed quilt.

Back in 2008 I made a queen sized bed quilt from a riot of mostly Kaffe Fassett fabrics using the classic and trusty Turning Twenty pattern. That version was made using the “Twisting Turning Twenty” version which used blocks, pieced in all light or all dark values, cut in half and arranged to make chevrons of values into geometric shapes. Pretty cool.

You know it’s a little odd peeking at vintage blog posts I wrote 7 years ago. Have I really been doing this for that log?  Jeesh!

This version was more simple, truly easy-peasy. I (cough) impulse ordered two fat quarter collections from Cotton and Steel, a fabric line I really dig.  Mesa by Melody Miller caught my eye for it’s Southwestey kitsch and Moonlit by Rashida Coleman-Hale was the other.  Both play well together. Needing 30 fat quarters (I added blocks to make this a larger queen than the pattern specified and skipped the pieced border) I used most all from both fat quarter collections (minus some i wasn’t keen on) and some from stash.  Leftover FQ’s will likely become a pieced shower curtain like this one I spotted on Pinterest.  Perhaps I’ll write up a pattern to share?

This baby’s colorful, but would you expect anything neutral from me?  Not really.




I mailed it off to Robins Nest Custom Machine Quilting in Lindstrom, MN for quilting and took it home, in a checked bag, when I visited last month. Robin does an outstanding job and is exceptionally reasonable.  I often send her projects and she phone consults on thread color and quilting pattern suggestions.  I completely trust her judgment as she has never steered me wrong.  Loyal I am to her!


Ii tried to piece the backing from stash only but didn’t have enough large pieces. That’s a sign I’m using up stash.  The middle strip I found at my local quilting shop Creative Union Fabrics.  The colors fit in with the others and it is delightfully whimsical. I’d not choose it for something front and center.


Close up of it’s silly print.


There’s a long lap size quilt (almost a twin) I also had quilted that is awaiting its binding. A special gift I’ll mail off to a dear friend, that one is top secret until it’s received.

Next project will be to get a lap quilt quilted and bound.  So many projects!