Thursday, April 30, 2020

Not MK - But Amazing

Friday, April 24, 2020

New - I did a quilting video

I locked down rather early, because of some of the reading I'd been doing about this virus that wasn't quite in the general news yet.  We've had a really easy time with lock-down at our house.  John is working part-time from home.  Our kids are fine, our house is comfy, and we try to be sensible and avoid too much news.

Best of all, we both have great hobbies, and we love to work on them. 

After a while, the machine knitting seminars where I was booked to teach cancelled.  I was faithfully working on my next MK project, knitting and filming a rather cool new pattern collection.  I put a whole bunch of my monthly videos up ahead of time.  I did some de-cluttering, but not too much, wouldn't want to go overboard.  I watched other people's how-to videos on some of my favorite subjects (cooking, crafting, sewing, quilting, traveling, and decorating). 

As I cleaned out, I ran across at least a half dozen unfinished quilt projects from over ten years ago!  Let's face it, I just put everything else away when I got so involved with teaching MK back in 2009.  I looked at them, knowing how many quilts I DID finish, and thought about why each one of these sad little orphans ended up on a drawer or basket.

Maybe a project was super fussy and I was just tired of it.  Maybe I was convinced it would be difficult to put together.  Maybe I didn't know what I could make out of a few blocks that I did just to try something new.  By and large, though, I realized it was perfectionism - if I wasn't sure it was going to turn out great, I'd set it aside.   

I looked at them with fresh eyes and decided these projects weren't so bad.  I had been too critical...perfectionism is just another kind of fear, anyway.  I decided to finish each one and find it a home.

I had done practically no hobbies other than machine knitting for over ten years.  Why not take a little vacation from MK and finish these quilt UFOs?  

When you haven't done something in a while, you feel pretty clumsy, but after the first few days, my  skills were improving.  I got up in the wee hours one morning, sorted my old quilting scraps and cuts by color and pressed them.  I love scrappy quilts and the challenge of trying to make something from what I have without going to the stores.  I had a pretty good fabric stash, even spare rotary cutter blades, sewing needles, and lots of neutral thread.

I just wanted to get 'em done on my good old Bernina, and I came up with a fairly simple machine quilting routine.  I put binding on some of them, and on some of the charity ones, I simply made a bag with front, back, and batting, sewed around it, flipped it right side out, top-stitched around the edges and tied the quilt with perle cotton, tugged those knots tight and trimmed them neatly.  As I did those, I thought about my grandma.  As a small girl, I "helped" her tie a Sunbonnet Sue quilt - she was crazy about Sunbonnet Sue and I know she made a whole lot of them.  She used to applique a little boy in overalls, too, but I forget his name.  Do you remember? 

My grandma, who raised seven children in the depression, didn't waste anything.  She used an old blanket for the padding in that quilt.    

On several of my UFOs, I used a very simple, shortcut edge treatment.  I know people have done this forever, but I didn't find anyone teaching it on YouTube.  I bring the backing fabric around to the front to form a self-binding, and I've got a very nifty way to make beautiful mitered corners - fast.  Nope, it's not professional.  It's not something you'd use for a quilt show or competition.  It's practical, though, not too bad for a such a rusty seamstress.

I decided to do a YouTube of this shortcut method:

Now, knittin' buddies, I know many of you are quilters.  Got any UFOs to finish?

My quilting binge was a fun diversion for a strange time, but I've got lots of knitting projects and plans to go back to.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Video for April - Brioche Made Easy

My April video is about double-bed work - a simplified machine knitter's Brioche Stitch. You'll knit two rows, change the settings and color, and knit row rows.

This is a useful stitch!  It's extremely wide for the number of needles used, thick, warm, completely reversible and quite flat.  Once you cast on and get a rhythm, this is fast and easy.  Of course, I had to go and do it with Bernat Baby Velvet - now that's a different look and feel!  Have a look.

I know there's a fussier way to do true Brioche stitch (a la Barbara Walker's hand knit explanation), but that takes too much fiddling for me.  I'd like to make a whole blanket out of Brioche stitch, and I probably will.  I think it would look cool to use black or white throughout for color #1 and then use assorted scrappy colors for color #2.   

Give me some help, faithful knitters - Please you go to this video over at YouTube, could you make sure and subscribe, up-vote, and click on the bell to be notified of videos?  YouTube uses all those clicks in their rankings.  I would love for more of my videos, even thought they're about our little-known hobby, to become "recommended" videos.  If we MKing YouTube creators can get more videos "recommended," perhaps we'll get more machine knitters started.

I have done 240 machine knitting videos, beginning in August 2008, and I'm now up over 7 million "views."   I believe I was the first YouTube creators to do free, systematic machine knitting teaching, My goal was and is to popularize machine knitting and teach lots of beginners.  Now there are a number of other MK teachers using YouTube, which also helps reach people. 

I've got plenty of additional MK videos coming.  In fact, I have them planned, filmed and edited through the middle of next year.  Maybe life will change and John and I will travel more, but no matter where we are, pop! here comes another YouTube video near the beginning of the month.


Unfortunate but not surprising news, the Monroe machine knitting seminar is also cancelled.  It isn't possible, in the available space, to keep everyone safe from the virus.

While there are not many seminars going on in 2020, I do have some ideas about what we can do instead.  More about that later!  :)