Monday, November 23, 2015

Circle of Friends Square, Part IV

I've made nine more of the Circle of Friends Squares. They were all inspired by blocks from my unfinished "granny squares" quilt. Here they are, next to the corresponding quilt blocks. The photo is a composite from the Layout app for Instagram.

Here's the ninth square, without its quilt block. I've already started working on the next series of nine squares, which will be based on an assortment of images and ideas.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Works in Progress

These are otherwise known as WIPs. I have a few besides the Circle of Friends squares.

The last round of this thread mandala is very difficult. I have to wrap most of the stitches around a steel ring. I've started doing one point per day, which will guarantee that the thing is done in a few more weeks.
Here's another thread project - I have just recently managed to advance the three remaining squares to the second round. The finished piece will be 3 x 3 of the squares, which are called "Rustic Lace Square." Then I'll put a border of some kind.
I've decided to make ornaments. This one is finished.
These aren't finished - they need the top part and a hanging loop.

Finally here is the big WIP - another Granny Square Flower afghan for my mom. I have been making one square a day for 25 days (when this picture was taken - there's another one now). 11 more days to go, and then a border.
Last time I made this, I didn't make the poinsettia block (pictured) the way it said in the book. I put a squash blossom in the middle and made the leaves and petals be yellow squash and zucchini.
Finally, this isn't a WIP (it's finished), but it is part of the reason I have so many WIPs. I wanted to make a mandala and a bulb that changed color, and I did.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Circle of Friends Square Part III

Today I finished square number 36, so I thought I would take some group photos and also say something about the inspiration for the squares, in case I forget.

In the picture above, they all are together. Half of them have the black border that they'll need for the continuous join. I've actually done a trial run of the continuous join, and it will work. I'm still going for a 7 x 9 square blanket. I'm thinking of adding a colorful border based on the "winners" of color use in all the squares. My spreadsheet counts how many times a color appears in the squares. So far the winners are mustard (golden yellow), white, "bluebell" (light blue), and kelly green.
Squares 1 to 9. Top to bottom, left to right we have colors of the fall garden (white dots are the daisies), favorite colors, what I got by starting with brown (was going to be candy colors but morphed along the way), starting with magenta and using gray (because the gray in #3 was so cool), another one with gray and some of my new colors, bright fall colors inspired by the trees in Wellesley, not sure (probably trying to capture the elusive cheerful primary color scheme), new yarn (red, taupe, black and white), and a not-so-beautiful attempt to make a fruit salad (kiwi, strawberry, pineapple, blueberry, honeydew, raspberry and a pastry color on the outside).
Squares 10 to 18. Top was another try for candy colors, vegetable colors (carrots, beets, peas), yarns from my yellow and neutral box (plus lavender), inspired by a corduroy skirt on Instagram, not sure about this one but it's awesome (maybe just trying to use that peach in the middle), not sure about this one either (maybe something christmas colored), republic day in Turkey, Orla Kiely colors from my origami box, more fall garden colors.
Squares 19 to 27. An attempt at Christmas colors, the other origami box (from the pastel colored cups I saw at the Louisiana museum), probably one that I started with taupe and then just whatever came to mind. The next five are based on quilt blocks from my granny square quilt, and finally another fall color inspired square (from the morning walk down the driveway).
Squares 28 to 36. Fall colors (from early morning waiting for the bus), bright rainbow, pastel rainbow, washed-out rainbow, dark rainbow, dawn colors, christmas colors again, fall colors from the living room window (birch, pine and oak), and finally another square from my quilt.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Circle of Friends Squares Part II

Last week I posted about five Circle of Friends Squares I made. This week I have 25. That means I've made 20 this week. I want them to all be different, but it's getting hard to determine which colors I've already used when I've made so many. I want to make a blanket with 7 x 9 squares, so I need a bit less than twice as many more. I decided to make a spreadsheet to keep track.

Here's a screen shot of the spreadsheet. Each row is a color of yarn that I'm using for this project. Since I'm using mostly Vanna's Choice yarn by Lion Brand, I copied the color swatches they have on their web site to place in the first cell of the row. This was a chore, but it is doable. "Format Picture" in Excel has an option to resize the picture in a cell every time the cell is moved or resized. It was very hard to get this to work at first. The instructions I found on the internet said to select the cell, add the desired picture, resize the picture to be the same size as the cell, and then choose the option "Format->Picture->Properties->Move and size with cells" (I have Excel 2010 on a Mac). This didn't work every time. Eventually I figured out that the size had to be exact. So I formatted the cells to be .25 x 1 inch, and I resized the picture to be exactly this size using "Format->Picture->Size." I had to unlock the aspect ratio first. The picture functionality is still a bit flaky, but with some care I was able to make it work.

Each column represents one square. Round 1 is the center round and round 7 is the outer round. I put the round number in the row of the color that I used for that round. So each column should have the numbers 1-7 in 7 of the cells. Finally I used the "countif" function in Excel to count the number of times a color appeared in each round, and added a total of these for the number of squares on the right-hand side of the row. I can add columns as needed. For two of the squares, I had repeated a color. So I only put the first occurrence of that color in the square's column, and I added one to the appropriate "countif" cell on the right for the second occurence.

Right now I'm using this quilt top for inspiration, though I haven't exhausted all the other ideas I have for my squares. The pattern is the quilt version of "granny squares." Each square gives me a suggested combination of colors, and I'll go through the process here to illustrate how this works.
This block has a mustard colored center with pale yellow and beige on the outer squares. The four middle squares are a light brown batik with some additional colors in the dots. At first this doesn't look promising. How interesting could a brown and yellow square be? So I decided to give the dot colors a prominent role.

Here are the colors I've chosen. The yellow and cream will be rounds 1 and 7. The bobbles will be radiant lime green and bright aqua, and the hint of dark in the batik fabric will be represented by eggplant. The gold and brown colors will be the flat rounds 3 and 5. In this picture, the yarn for rounds 1 to 7 are from right to left, with round 1 being the yellow on the right.

According to the spreadsheet, these colors appear in the rounds I've chosen for them 1, 0, 2, 0, 1, 0 and 0 times in rounds 1 to 7. So if I stick with this arrangement I will have three squares with gold in round 3. I prefer this to the alternative with yellow in round 3 and gold in round 1, even though I've never used the gold yarn in round 1. So I'll stay with the arrangement I chose.

Here's the finished square. In the final version, I switched the aqua and eggplant bobbles.