Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rumours Confirmed: I'm a Knitter

I can't stop. Here's the 8th shawl I've made since October. It's the Reyna pattern (free on Ravelry), knit with a gifted skein of self-striping shawl yarn from Green Caterpillar called "Fade to Blue".

Reyna shawl made with Green Caterpillar shawl striping MCN in Fade to Blue

Reyna shawl knit by Poppyprint

Now, before you think I'm all super clever with the contrasting bind off, I will admit to my rookie mistake. I didn't leave enough yarn to complete the bind off row. I felt mildly panicked because if I pulled out those lace rows, it would be really hard for me to get the work back on the needle. I decided I might as well bind off with some leftover green yarn from a previous shawl project. It is a heavier weight than the fingering used for this shawl, but I went for it anyway and I love how it turned out!

Reyna shawl knit by Poppyprint

Reyna shawl knit by Poppyprint

After a soak and blocking, it is so light and lacy! This will be a thank you gift for a friend soon. I'm ready to move onto a new knitting challenge and have decided on the Rikke hat (another free pattern on Ravelry). I started it once already, but ripped it out when I realized the cast-on row was too large for my head. With some helpful Instagram advice, I'm ready to start again with a gorgeous skein of Malabrigo Rios.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Penultimate Lonestar

Just a quick share of this mini-Lonestar Circle quilt I recently finished up on a retreat. You've seen a few of these here before. This particular one has been lying around in my sewing room in pieces since the Alaska Cruise almost 2 years ago. It was time to get this UFO pieced, quilted and bound!  A friend once indicated that she wanted to make one, but she's a busy gal and I know she's got plenty of her own ideas brewing, so I gifted her this one for her sewing room wall.

You can find the pattern in my book Make It, Take It. The original quilt was designed by Lynne Goldsworthy and I've shared cutting instructions to make this mini version here.

Lonestar Circle mini by Poppyprint
made with Cotton & Steel, Essex Linen and quilted with Aurifil 40 wt thread

It just so happened that the chicken coop on the retreat property was painted a perfect colour as a backdrop for this quilt.  Lucky me!

This is the penultimate because there is still one more full sized version awaiting quilting in my sewing room. It's a Christmas one, so I have time....

Monday, February 20, 2017

New Work for Workshops

This weekend I'll be teaching in Nanaimo, B.C. for the brand new Nanaimo Modern Quilt Guild ! On Saturday (Feb.25), we're going to have some fun with Speed Date with Improv and on Sunday (Feb.26) it'll be time to play with my Quarter Round block and create some fun secondary patterning. There are still a few spots available in both workshops if you are on Vancouver Island and fancy a day in Nanaimo hanging out with modern quilting enthusiasts learning new skills playing with colour, shape and pattern. Contact & workshop info is on their blog.

Quarter Round 20" Pillow by Poppyprint

Here are my latest creations using the versatile Quarter Round block. In the green pillow, I really changed things up by substituting electric lime green and green for the 'background' strips and ombre grey in the main strips. It turned out a little different from the the digital drawing I initially posted here due to mixing up my greens during cutting.  You can see that half square triangles are used instead of a solid corner square and I rotated the blocks so each half square triangle is in the centre, creating a pinwheel. This gives the composition a concentric square effect with the green background strips meeting along the central vertical and horizontal seams.

Quarter Round 20" Pillow by Poppyprint

I used up my strippy scraps to make an improv backing for this pillow and quilted both the front and back with parallel lime green lines using Aurifil 40 wt. thread.

Quarter Round 20" Pillow by Poppyprint

Quarter Round 20" Pillow by Poppyprint

I installed an invisible zip along one edge of the pillow. You can see that even though this was a 20 1/2" block sewn together with a 3/8" seam allowance, a 20" commercial pillow form isn't quite enough to puff out the entire pillow cover. Before gifting this, I'll stuff a handful of polyfil into each corner of the pillow.

Modern Rose by Poppyprint

And this is my attempt at an abstract rose. Yes, this is the same block! In my Round Peg, Square Hole pattern (link to my Craftsy shop at the top of my right sidebar), this is referred to as the "Basic ombre Block". In this 20" mini quilt, I constructed 4 identical blocks, however 2 have reversed ombre strips. In this one, you can see that the blocks are rotated so that each corner square of "background" white fabric is on an outside corner of the quilt top and all of the widest strips meet along the central vertical and horizontal seams.

I taught this workshop for the first time last weekend for my traditional guild and it is so fun to see how people work with colours and prints in this pattern. I can't wait to see some quilts come together!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Canadian Sampler Start

Last year I was invited to participate in a very exciting and patriotic project organized by the clever people at Sew Sisters, a long time partner here at Poppyprint. Having been born in the summer of Canada's Centennial year, it has always been easy to keep track of my milestone birthdays because there's typically a national event around every biggie.  So you can easily guess the whopper of a birthday I'm celebrating this summer!

The Canadian Sampler celebrating Canada's 150th birthday is 100% Canadian designed (by designers from coast to coast) and administered by the folks at Sew Sisters*. You can still sign up! While not generally keen on BOM's or sewalongs because I always lose interest before completing these projects, I have the extra incentive of always wanting to make a red and white quilt. At first I considered going all scrappy red, but most of my stash leans towards orangey reds. Instead, I chose Karen Lewis' Flowerbed print (on gorgeous "Chinese Red") from her first line of commercially screened Kona. The unique block designs don't scream Traditional Sampler to me. I like it.  I'm making it.

Here's the first block, designed by Daphne Greig. It is called Pacific Stars.  The beginning of this work coincides with a short lecture I'm preparing at the request of the VMQG board on the importance of accuracy. As I mentioned on IG the other day, sometimes it feels good to try hard (after a lot of improv work!).

The Canadian Sampler blocks from

The Canadian Sampler blocks from
One of the tips I'll be sharing is to piece with geese points on top, to ensure you don't cut off your points with the seam. You can see on the left white point, my seam fell just outside the point (yay) and on the red point, my seam fell exactly on top of the point (which will require a good press). Both worked to preserve the point.

The second block designed by Sandy is so cute. A very appropriate element of the Canadian winter uniform, the toque! We've been wearing way more toques than ball caps out here on the west coast this winter. People are so tired of the snow, but not me. I find it much easier to get through this time of year when the ground is white and the air is crisp. I love snow and always will.

The Canadian Sampler blocks from

I'm not sure what month will feature my block design, but I'm looking forward to it because I've designed a very cool quilt with it that I'm eager to share. 

*I would like everyone to know that Sew Sisters very fairly compensated all of the designers who worked on this quilt, which is much appreciated in this industry that constantly asks designers to work for free.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Another Quarter Round Variation

A dude friend recently dropped a hint that his new grey couch needed some colour and perhaps that colour was green. I did up this variation on the Quarter Round block and I think this will become his new pillow!  I'm teaching this block (or the whole Round Peg, Square Hole quilt) at a few workshops in the coming months, but my quilt is currently en route to QuiltCon, so I need some more samples anyway. Win-win!

I'm replacing the starting square with a half square triangle to form the centre pinwheel.

You can design your own variation using the colouring sheet in my pattern - visit my Craftsy pattern store (link in upper right side bar) for your instant .pdf download!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Open To Interpretation

So, I am still having a great time playing with my Speed Date with Improv workshop samples. After debuting this new class with the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild before Christmas, I came home with more demo pieces that I played with on my design wall over the holidays. This is what I came up with.

Improv Untitled by Poppyprint

Improv Untitled, 31" x 36"

One of my students, VMQG member Jaydeen, pieced her improv collage, then surrounded it with a lot of negative space to make it into a gorgeous lap quilt for a friend. After seeing her quilt, I thought about playing with borders for these pieces, so that the improv elements could float in a background of white, black, or the 'free colour'.  

I'm excited about the possibilities this brings up for the viewer. When I posted photos in instagram, one person commented that if she turned the composition, she saw a locomotive. Another person saw the shape in the lower right as a pendulum that had knocked all of the other pieces askew. That's so cool. It is exciting to think that every person seeing the quilt can interpret it in their own way.  The expansive background gives the improv shapes more room, opening them up to imaginative possibilities.  The magic of negative space.

Improv Untitled by Poppyprint

See the pendulum? A wrecking ball? Chemistry lab glassware? A little black house or a blue arrow?

I'm teaching this class in Nanaimo in late February, in PEI and NS in May and in Ottawa in September. I know that every time I teach it I will learn more from my fellow quilters and each composition will tell a new story. When creating my first quilt with these techniques, jigsawing the improv elements together, I thought about the wooden blocks my son and daughter used to play with - you know the standard ones that have squares, rectangles, half circles, cylinders and little "bridges"(rectangles with the 1/2 circle arc cut out). I'm sure many of you have seen these blocks, or even built towns with them yourselves!

Improv Untitled by Poppyprint


All of this improv play has really ignited my creativity but unfortunately, I'm sort of overwhelmed with ideas at the moment. I'm making sketches so that I don't lose any of the sparks. I just have to focus and start on something. My teaching/travel schedule is packed for the coming months (so exciting!), so there won't be tons of time for big projects.  Manageable improv to the rescue!

Improv Untitled by Poppyprint

One permission I've given myself is to not obsess over quilting these compositions. I think that the 'wonky waffle' improv grid really works well without overwhelming the piecing. I mark the lines with a hera marker and then quilt them with my walking foot and a 4.0 stitch length. The quilting goes quickly and the piece is done. Result. My previous two were faced, but I bound this one with black.

You can tell with these photos that balancing colour in our winter light is a challenge for me. This minty blue proved difficult!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Poppyprint Knits!

When I went down to Seattle to shoot the photos for my book Make It, Take It, I needed some pretty knitting needles to show off Kristie's Knitwit Needle Clutch project. All of the interchangeable cable sets that my friends had were clear cables with white needles that wouldn't show up against the low volume print fabric inside the clutch. Thanks to the generous people at KnitPicks, I was sent this beautiful set of their interchangable circular needles to use as a prop and then keep! Lucky me!

Image result for martingale make it take it

Knowing how much people love these needles, I figured I should at least try knitting something with them. Last spring while visiting a friend in Victoria, we went to a sweet neighbourhood knitting shop called Knotty by Nature. While there, I chose two skeins of Malabrigo Rios in a gorgeous deep blue along with a copy of the free Boneyard Shawl pattern by Stephen West on Ravelry. The helpful man-knitter working in the shop that day convinced me that if I could knit and purl, then I could knit this shawl. My mom taught me to knit when I was a teenager, but since then the only thing that I'd made was a set of simple beanies for me and my family for Christmas 2014. I am definitely a novice.

I made this coral one for my sister.

It wasn't until Thanksgiving weekend in October that I finally consulted YouTube for a cast-on video and got started. Well, I actually got started about 5 times because I just couldn't tell if what I was doing was correct. Right off the bat, I had to learn what M1R and M1L meant (that's "make one right and left" for you non-knitters). Once I got the hang of the pattern things went very quickly for me and I really enjoyed the process. I could actually sit with my family in the evenings and knit (I can't do that with my sewing machine).  The hardest part for me was remembering to count my rows and inserting the purl row that makes the ridges.

Boneyard shawl by poppyprint
This is mine and I so love it! Malabrigo Rios (I don't know the colourway). I'm mostly wearing it with the "V" in front and the ends wrapped around my neck over my shoulders, like a scarf.

My first shawl was such a success, that in true Krista fashion, I decided that my sister and 3 SIL's would all get one for Christmas.  I did it! I knit 5 shawls (plus a bonus one that I donated to the Christmas Bureau) before December 22. Yay! There is a freedom and total lack of stress knitting something that doesn't have to actually fit anyone.

Boneyard shawl by poppyprint
This is the Malabrigo Rios in Lettuce

I won't go so far as to call myself a knitter, but I think there will be more projects in future.  There are so many great free patterns and although I never thought I'd be a shawl wearer, our much colder than normal winter has me thinking I could use another.  Perhaps I'll even venture out to an easy lace pattern.  Knitting holes on purpose has appeal.

One think is for sure: I'm going to promise not to collect yarn. I have zero storage space and simply cannot allow myself to stash yarn like I do fabric. I repeat: NO STASHING YARN.

I'll let you know how that goes.