New Zealand Yarn

Socks From New Zealand Yarn

A friend recently brought me a couple of 50g balls of New Zealand sock yarn from Australia – I decided to make it up into socks straight away.

This variegated pattern, as is all of them, dependent on the number of stitches you’re knitting. I started with 72 stitches and got one pattern for 20 rows; I decreased to 68 stitches and got a second pattern; then I decreased to 64 stitches for the lower leg and the foot which resulted in a third pattern. With a yarn like this, dyed in very short segments, the difference in patterns is very noticeable. In most of the other variegated yarns, the dyed portions are of much longer length so the pattern isn’t disrupted by a change in the number of stitches. What emerges in this yarn at 64 stitches is the lime green spiral with blue patches and short red stripes.

The yarn I began with last evening changes colour every 4 rows so the number of stitches doesn’t make a big difference in how the design knits out.

Japanese Strip Quilt

Pieced Strip Top Completed

I finally finished piecing this strip quilt – much more difficult than I expected it to be. Assembling long strips, particularly strips that have themselves been pieced, and consisting of different fabrics, tends to produce a “bow” – so you have to alternate the direction in which each new strip is attached. This means you sew one strip placed on the top, the next the strip is beneath because you want to start at opposite ends of the growing top for alternate strips.

Assembling The Strips

The piecing of the strips themselves was also a challenge. I joined lengths of complementary fabric pieces being careful to alternate the direction of the joins from one strip to the next. Then to assemble the top each strip had to be carefully laid out, the background fabric attached at one end, that end trimmed and aligned, then the opposite background end had to be attached and trimmed.

No chain piecing here – each and every strip is unique with the joins needing to be staggered and in alternating directions. So, of course, the creating and assembling of this quilt top took much longer than piecing say a collection of half-square triangles were it’s possible to mass produce the blocks.

Now I have to come up with an idea for the back. I have 66″ of a single width of backing fabric – I will need to insert close to 10″ in order for the back to be wide enough for the top. Still thinking about what kind of piecing will complement the strips on the top.

Small Zippered Bags – Again

Three Different Fabrics

I made 40 small zippered bags before Christmas. During the holiday season I gave most of them away. Two days ago I went to my bag stash to pick out one to give a friend and realized I was down to just four bags. Time to make more!

Yesterday, I bought three half-meter pieces of bright fabric, raided my quilting fabric for a length I didn’t like any more to use as lining, cut batting from a large piece left over from a recent quilt, cut lengths of zipper tape, and 2 1/2″ pieces of grosgrain ribbon for a small tab on the side. An hour later I was set to go into business.

This morning I went into production – three hours later I had eighteen 6″ x 8″ bright zippered bags. 

I’m getting organized at this mass production thing – I resisted the temptation to do all the steps on individual bags; I completed each production step on all eighteen bags before moving on to the next. The whole job went quickly.

However most of my sewing/quilting is focused on unique constructions so what I’ve learned from bag production line isn’t much help for the other sewing I do.