What a busy month! And on top of cleaning and decorating the house for all the Christmas festivities, I decided to make house shoes for one of my granddaughters, her daughter, and her daughter’s dolly to give them for Christmas. Found some sparkly turquoise fabric at Hobby Lobby that I knew they would love. I used home décor fabric-backed vinyl for the soles. They turned out great and were a hit especially with the 2-year-old.
After completing the house shoes, I put buttons on the fly-away bells on the sleeves of a blouse I had bought. The sleeves kept getting into everything so had to tame them a bit.
And I made a tea towel for my mom. There is a story behind it. Of course there is, you say! LOL I had made a tea towel a couple of years ago that my mom wanted, but it was my favorite, and I couldn’t part with it. And I didn’t have anymore of the fabric. But as luck would have it, I bought a box of scraps at a garage sale; and, lo and behold, there was a piece of that fabric in there! Woohoo! So now my mom has a tea towel exactly like mine. She’s a happy camper.
For the past 6 months, my husband and I have been scouring thrift stores and garage sales looking for 11 x 14 frames to put my little sister’s artwork in that she was giving for Christmas gifts this year. She told me she had 9 pieces to frame. On Thanksgiving Day she told me she had 13. Okay, we are 4 frames short! So we went on a wild shopping spree searching for more frames. In case you are wondering why we are looking for them instead of her, it’s because she has autism. We help her out on such things when they prove too difficult or confusing to her. Some of the frames needed replacement glass which we found at a local lumber hard for half the cost of everybody else, and several needed mats which were purchased one per week at Hobby Lobby using the weekly 40% off coupon. Then we picked up her artwork, put everything together, and returned all to her so that she could wrap them. I watched as our other two sisters opened theirs on Christmas Eve. They went right to Kip and told her that these gifts are by far the best gift she had ever given them. Our mom and dad received theirs a few days earlier and called me to let me know how much they liked them and how much they appreciated us helping her. Thirteen gifts cost Kip only $34.21. We won’t count the gas, wear and tear on my car, or our time. LOL Here is the picture Kip gave to us.
Somehow during preparing for having 20 plus people over on Christmas Eve and going on wild shopping sprees, I found time to work on a quilt. I had it more than half done by Christmas Eve and finished it a couple of days later. This was a fun experimental quilt. The plaids and stripes I used were cut from a number of men’s cotton shirts I purchased from the thrift store way back when I first started quilting. I feel this purchase requires a little explanation. When I first started quilting, I was extremely short of funds. The thrift store would have $3 bag sales. I could fit a lot of cotton garments into that big brown paper grocery bag which gave me lots of fabric to play with. I’ve used pieces from this stash in a quilt for our grandson, a throw for a cousin whose wife passed away, and a doll quilt. I still had an overflowing tub that I needed to do something with. I certainly didn’t want to waste them so decided to cut all into 2 ½” strips and squares. Took a good while to do that but mission accomplished. Next step is to get all into warm quilts.
Now back to the experimental part of the quilt. I loaded the backing and the batting for the quilt onto my longarm and then pieced long 2 ½” wide strips. As I finished a strip, I took it to the longarm and placed it horizontally across the frame and stitched it in place using my longarm. Bonus was sewing the strips together and quilting the quilt all in one seam. It really went quite fast and made a pretty nice quilt. See for yourself.
But, really, I need to get back to making quad Log Cabin blocks. After all, I need 192 of these 4” blocks to make my quilt; and even though I started it in January, I only have 29 made. So during the month of December I added 3 more to that total and have determined that I will make 3 per week during 2018 and will assemble the quilt top in 2019. Oh, I almost hate to mention that there is a lot of appliqué on the border. This is a long-term project mainly because, although I really do like this quilt pattern, I find these blocks quite tedious to work on and each one takes so long to make! I figured out that in order to make one block, I actually make 5 blocks – 4 Log Cabins and 1 four-patch. So I will spread it out over time – a long time – and will eventually get it finished.
To top off the month, I whipped together a baby quilt top. Started it at about 8:30 one evening, worked for a couple of hours, and got up the next morning and finished it. And, yes, I used some of the plaid from those shirts I cut up and the leftover backing fabric from the other quilt I finished this month.
I need another 1 ¼ yards for the backing which I will pick up at Walmart next week. In the meantime, I’m waiting for the pantograph to come in that I am going to use for this one. It’s called Yippee Ki Yay! This quilt is destined to be the first one I finish in 2018.
Happy New Year!
Part VI: It’s Finished
Testing has been completed. I’ve dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s. And the pattern for my latest creation has been published. Nikki and Maggie are so very pleased to model these lovely sweaters.
Nikki is wearing the shell stitch cardigan with long sleeves. It can also be made with short sleeves. She chose a tee, jeans and boots to complete her cute back-to-school outfit. Maggie is wearing the short-sleeved bolero length sweater with her new polka dot dress. This cute dress with the scallop detail will soon be available in pattern form. It has to wait until I finish my sister’s Christmas presents. You can access my stores at the right. I hope you like this sweater as much as Maggie, Nikki and I do.
Lana, Maggie, Nikki, Daisy and Pansy
Part V: Testing Is Almost Completed
The pattern testers have been busy, and three of the four have completed the sweaters. I received pictures from Linda Campbell today. Her sweaters are so cute I just had to share a couple of her pictures with you, and Linda kindly gave permission for me to do so. The new pattern has the option of a cropped sweater or a cardigan each with either short sleeves or long sleeves. Linda made the cardigan with long sleeves and the cropped sweater with short sleeves and tells me she is going to get more thread and make the sweaters with the other sleeve options. Here is what she has done so far.
The front of Linda’s cropped sweater with short sleeves.
I will be publishing this crochet pattern just as soon as I hear from the final tester. I contacted her earlier this week, and she reported that she was almost finished with the body of the cardigan and will be working on the sleeves shortly.
Each of the testers have several years experience with crochet, and one of them authored crochet patterns herself. I am so pleased to have them on my team and thank them for their service. I am looking forward to showing you, with their permission of course, what the other three testers have done. And my girls (dolls) are anxious to share the pattern with you.
Lana, Nikki, Daisy, Pansy and Maggie
Part IV: Pattern Has Been Sent To The Testers
I’m a very lucky designer. I’ve had four ladies volunteer to test the pattern without my even asking. All I did was tell about my year of waiting for my sister to test my first pattern. It too was a doll sweater. One that I could crochet in an evening. Very simple. I finally told her to bring it back to me with her comments on any problems she had seen. I told her that I had planned on publishing it that past Spring which was a couple of months after I gave it to her. I suppose I shouldn’t have told her that because it made her feel bad about taking so long, but I needed to light a fire under her. My other inquiries into how she was coming along (Hint! Hint!) didn’t do a thing. She brought it back with apologies but is very VERY relieved that someone else is testing my new pattern. I’m thinking she didn’t much care for testing patterns although she did get a cute sweater for her doll. That is if she ever finishes it. She is the queen of procrastinators. LOL
I’m so excited about this new pattern because it has options! Don’t you just love patterns with options? There is a short-sleeved version and a long-sleeved version. There is a cropped sweater/shrug and a cardigan-length sweater. And there are options for the closure. Shouldn’t be much longer to the release of this latest creation. Stay tuned. You’ll hear it here first.
In the meantime, I’ve purchased an American Girl doll to model this newest creation. After all, she has to earn her keep. She will make her modeling debut when the pattern is published. Her name is Maggie named after my late mother-in-law, and she is very excited about her future with Lana’s Lark Designs.
Lana, Nikki, Daisy, Pansy and Maggie
Part III: Crocheting the Sweater the Second Time Through It has been two months since I’ve given an update on how the pattern writing is going. Seems like I have been ripping out more crochet stitches than I have actually stitched in the first place. Yes, I know that isn’t possible, but it sure feels like it. The first time through gave me a rough draft of the pattern. The second time through, however, is for carefully checking my written instructions and changing them as needed. I corrected a lot (emphasis on “a lot”) of instructions. I even changed my mind on how the collar was to be done. But I have completed the instructions for the body of the sweater and for the edging and collar. It looks great. I am now starting to check the instructions for the sleeves. And in addition to the two sweater lengths included in the pattern, I’ve decided to include two sleeve options – long sleeve and short sleeve. I have already written instructions for the short sleeves but am starting from scratch on the long sleeves. I am shooting for release of this pattern in time for the Fall season, but I’ve got to get it completed and sent to the testers in time for them to do their thing. Then they will send their suggestions and/or corrections back to me, and I incorporate their input and put on the finishing touches which includes a cover. A lot left to do yet, but it’s coming along. Happy Sewing, Lana, Nikki, Daisy and Pansy
My girls, Nikki and Daisy, made a very important decision today. Nikki finally confessed to me that she didn’t like the way the leggings looked on her. And Daisy being my little Tomboy confessed that she truly wanted them. So now the new outfit belongs to Daisy. What do you think?
Part II: Crocheting the Sweater the First Time Through
So the crochet stitch pattern, the crochet hook size, and the thread have been chosen. I first went through my stash of crochet hooks to find the one size D that I own. When my sister tested my first sweater pattern, she had to buy a size D. She went to Hancock’s and Joanne’s with no luck and was about to give up when I found it online at Walmart. So she went to Walmart and bought it there. Now why didn’t the needlecraft stores have it? But I digress. Now to dig out all the Perle Cotton thread in that pretty wine color. I hope I have enough.
Can I use my first pattern as a starting point? Well, let’s give it a try. Here is how it went.
Eight rows into the sweater I realize I’ve dropped a couple of stitches. But where? And how far back will I have to rip? Arrrrrgh! Four rows back! Why didn’t I catch this sooner? And Nikki is wanting to know when her sweater is going to be done. Every 5 minutes she is asking if it is done yet. I’m working on it Nikki. Be a good little doll and go play with Daisy and Pansy.
So now that more than half the sweater is ripped back to just before I made my first mistake, and I re-crochet the next four rows. Then row nine and I think this is where I want to change things up a bit. Started with the new crochet stitch pattern, and things are looking really good until……Oh, man, I don’t have enough stitches for my pattern! But I counted!! What went wrong? Double Arrrrrrgh! I needed one more stitch. Well, this is just a first run so that I will know where to make adjustments I tell myself. And so I cheat a little on the pattern so I can continue – only I will know.
After writing a note on my pattern of the change I need to make, I finish the sweater and barely have enough thread. Whew! Now to make something for Nikki to wear with the sweater. How about some leggings and a tank top? Do I have a pattern? No. So to the internet I go. After a google search, I have both of those patterns and a tutorial for making the cutest ruffled skirt.
I need knit fabric for the outfit. Surely I have some somewhere. Searching. Searching. Oh, hey! Why not use those old t-shirts I stashed away for making t-shirt yarn? Here’s a deep forest green. That’ll work! Cutting. Sewing. Searching for the Velcro. Cutting. Sewing. Done!
Hey, Nikki, come try on your new outfit. What do you think?
Nikki, stop jumping on the bed!
The second time through on this sweater is coming soon. Maybe I’ll get the count right this time.
Lana, Daisy, Pansy and Nikki