Friday, 10 April 2009

A good Friday and review of Clover Yo-Yo Maker

We've enjoyed our Good Friday (a holiday here in the UK), the first time the family has all been home all day for a long time. And it was raining all day, so no outside jobs. Very relaxing and I even did some sewing, which took my mind off yesterday's debacle.

I finished off this lap quilt, which is going to a friend who is making lap quilts for a cancer hospice. (ignore the red lattice peeking out from behind, which is the quilt on my bed) This used to be a Planet Patchwork mystery quilt, in a double size. I never liked the yellow border, and this year I used it for quilting practice in my frame - when I discovered that you can't continuous curve on squares that are longer than your limited sewing throat on a domestic machine in a frame. It was actually kind of satisfying to cut it down to size and finish it off.

I also quilted this table runner, which I am making from a Quilter's Almanac magazine I bought in Hawaii. It will feature 52 Yo-Yos in 30s fabrics. I made a lot of the Yo-Yos in the car last weekend when we had a really long drive up to see a historic ship, HMS Trincomalee, at the historic quay in Hartlepool. I have been reading the Aubrey and Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brian, and this ship is the only warship left that is a similar size to the smaller ships Captain Aubrey sails in many of the books. We had a great time going all over the ship and exploring the buildings on the quay.

I used the Clover Yo-Yo maker to make the Yo-Yos, which is a gadget I am quite impressed with. When I first saw it at a show, I didn't buy it because I couldn't see why I would need one when I can just make yo-yos the traditional way: create a circle template, trace round the template onto fabric, cut out fabric with seam allowance, eyeball a seam allowance and stitch a running stitch all the way around, pull tight to gather Yo-Yo.

Which would be fine for one yo-yo, but when you need 52 identical yo-yos, this gadget is fantastic. I timed myself in the car and I could complete a large Yo-Yo, starting from a fabric strip, in under two minutes. And they are exactly the same size every time, with neatly gathered folds. No tracing or cutting out circles, you just snap the two plastic pieces together with your fabric in between, cut roughly around the device with scissors l eaving an approximately 1/4 inch seam allowance, then stitch through the holes in the device while holding the seam allowance down over the plastic rim with one hand. Pop apart the two plastic plates, pull up the thread and Shazzam! one yo-yo. The round yo-yo makers come in several sizes, and Clover also make fancy shapes. I bought the 'flower' shaped Yo-Yo maker, and I'm going to use some of those on my table runner as well. These are made with the same basic principle, but take a bit longer as there are more holes to stitch through, and a separate circle to gather up in the middle of the yo-yo to create the flower centre.

I snapped a couple of photos of my knitting. Here is 'Hey Teach', as you can see I have finished both fronts but haven't done the back yet.

And this is a new project, a lace shawl for summer which was the March 16 pattern in my Knit-A-Day pattern calendar. The pattern called for an aran weight Bernat yarn, now discontinued. I was imagining it in a smooth cotton or cotton blend but couldn't find anything in an aran weight. Then I remembered that you can knit two strands of DK to arrive at aran weight, and ordered some 'Juicy' (bamboo and cotton blend) online for a good price. It took me a while to get going on the lace pattern and I had to rip back a few times, but I now understand the pattern and am really enjoying this. It is an 8-row repeat, but the alternate rows are just purl.

I've been looking for a project to take with me to Paducah in a few weeks. I was going to try the Pi Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmermann, but I am enjoying this lace shawl so much I am tempted to take it instead, even though it will be a lot bulkier to travel with.

Hope you have an enjoyable Easter and get some quality crafting time in.

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