Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WIP Wednesday: We did it our way!

We saw the cutest project on Sew-Sisters' blog.  It's a play mat from Moda Bakeshop. A Cathedral Window look-alike. Really, really cute! But you know Grandma Coco. She always has to do things her way.

First of all, we would never, never, a million years, never!....cut 40 circles of fabric and 20 circles of batting and then try to sew them all together. Not gonna happen. That would be way too fussy. Nah, what we did was mark a circle on the right side of one piece of fabric. (We traced around a metal pie plate.) We layered this with batting and a 2nd fabric, stitched all around and then trimmed close to the stitching line. We ended up with a stack of 20 disks that didn't need to be turned inside out (which would have been a colossal pain).

The Moda Bakeshop tutorial blithely says that you should make a template of a square that fits on the circle where each point just touches the edge, in order to mark the lines which join the squares together. The designer does say that our square may not be the same size as hers because it depends on the size of the circle you started with and the width of the seam allowance, etc. However, she doesn't say exactly how to accomplish this particular bit of geometric wizardry. We scratched our head over this one for a while and then we figured it out. Measure the exact diameter of your circle. That's the diagonal of your template square. Draw a second line (the length of the diameter of your circle) at right angles to this line, through the mid-point. You have an 'X' where the end points are the 4 points of your square template, each one touching the perimeter of the circle. Join them up and cut out the square. It IS simple. We just couldn't visualize it at first.

Grandma Coco found it was easiest to mark the squares as we went. We're working with circles so we only really need to mark one side, slap another circle up to it and stitch. (Trying to match a marked line on one circle to the marked line on a second would again be a colossal pain.)

Once we had them all stitched together, we gave the arcs a little press just like the Moda Bakeshop lady said to do and then we riffed on her idea by top-stitching them down with a zig-zag satin stitch, finishing the edges and stitching them in place all at the same time. Cool!

Cassie gives it 4 paws up!!

Since there's been precious little quilting going on here
in the Kingdom of Coco lately,
we're delighted to be able to link today to the
Needle and Thread Network for the WIP Wednesday.
Be sure to hop on over there and see what everyone else is up to.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Big Reveal!!!

That's right! That's our  Papa Bear Sampler Scarf  all finished. We love it so much that we have to admit we've been wearing it. The awful truth is that we may not give it away after all. We are greedy....but not ashamed. (It's really nice!)

Here's what it looked like right off the needles. Yarn barf. Just like every other knitting project, it needs blocking to look its best. We know there are as many ways to go about this as there are knitters but we like to get it really wet. We soaked this in the bathroom sink in nice warm water (about body temperature). We left it for about 20 minutes. Then we worked some hair conditioner into it and rinsed it well. We think the big thing at this point is to remember how delicate the yarn is. You have to be careful you don't let the weight of the water-y wool damage it. Support it nicely. Squeeze out the excess water gently and roll it up in a big fluffy towel. Now, stand on it. No, really! This squishes out all the extra moisture into the towel. The knitting will only be damp when you unroll it.

We were fortunate that the big square foam mats (used for exercise, we think....people do that? exercise?) went on sale over the summer. We really like them. You can assemble them in squares for shawls or, in this case, in one long rectangle. We set them up at the deck door where the light was good and the kitty wasn't. Slowly, but surely, we pinned out the scarf, stretching it slightly to open up all the stitch patterns. Again, we don't want to be rough. We wouldn't want to break the yarn at this point.

It looks great! Now, it's just a matter of waiting for it to dry thoroughly.  The kitty will sleep on it. It seems to be an unwritten kitty rule. Anything new on the floor must be put there for her sleeping pleasure. But what pleasure there could be in sleeping on damp wool, we can't imagine.

FYI here's all the wool we had leftover. :)  

We would very much like to thank all of you who played along with us on this project. We enjoyed the knit and hope you did, too. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to email us: grandmacocosdesigns (AT) gmail (dot)com ......... You know what to do with the symbols. Better yet, if you finish your scarf and send us a photo of it to show here on the blog, we'll send you a little gift as a thank you...... a .PDF file to print 2 gift cards to attach to your scarf. There's a place to include laundering instructions and plenty of room for a love note.

All the instalments of the pattern will remain here on the blog where they're available for free. If you'd rather, you can download the entire project in one .PDF through our Ravelry store
for the princely sum of $3.50 US.

For now, we'll leave you with this..................


Sunday, November 27, 2011


Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011

The Illustration Friday prompt this week is "round".

All our ladies are round. Curvaceous and pillow-y. Warm and comforting. Unapologetically round.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shiny, pretty

We've been working away on several projects at once. That means there's not a lot to show on any given day but once in a while, we finish something. Today's that kind of day. We bought a button (actually, more than one) from Shawkl's etsy shop. They are beautiful buttons. Shiny! They're Czech glass buttons. This one is fairly big.... about an inch and a quarter in diameter. We're rank amateurs at micro macrame but we knew we wanted to build a bracelet around this button. We have in mind a recipient who will really appreciate it because dragonflies have great meaning for her. (It's OK, we don't think she reads this blog.)

We've found it difficult to get much info on the 'net for micro macrame so just in case anyone else is flailing around in the dark..... we used C-Lon cord in Amethyst that we got from . We like them and they only charge a dollar for shipping! We started out with 6  80-inch lengths of cord, knotted the loop and joined the cords so we were working with 12 strands. We put 4 strands through the largest purple beads, single strands through the darkest purple seed beads (size 11), 3 strands through the next sized beads and then on the edge we had 2 strands. We put both strands through the size 8/0 delicas and then only one strand through the gold seed bead, then both through the delica, repeating until there were 7 delicas with 6 gold seed beads in each wedge. There are 7 wedges in all. Eighty inches turned out to be lots because we had a good 10 inches left at the end but the cord is cheap and the sorrow would be mighty if we got to the end and were short.

We have more buttons and more beads. It's a sickness with no cure. And that's OK.

Friday, November 25, 2011

High Calorie Fun

Ever had the experience where a chance encounter sets you off in a whole new direction? We have. In fact, it happens to us quite regularly. We are so easily led. It makes for an exciting life. That's for sure.

Over Thanksgiving, we visited our cousin in the Big City. (It was her husband who so kindly took us to that wonderful wool store we raved about.) Our cousin in the Big City is full of Big City ways and it's always fun to visit her to see what she's gotten up to. She is a very gifted hostess and this time, she had a sugar bowl full of decorated sugar cubes. They were the most darling sugar cubes we had ever seen. As well, she mentioned baking gingerbread men. The more she talked and the more those cubes called to us, the more interested we became.

Small canvases. Tiny edible works of art. Hmmmmm......

We ought to backtrack to explain that about 30 years ago we took a few cake decorating classes. We have the diploma to prove it. For years we didn't even know where our university diploma was (chez our parents, as it turns out) but we've always kept the framed cake decorating diploma on display in our sewing room.

We mixed up a batch of our grandmother's shortbread cookies (the original Grandma Coco) and cut them out in assorted shapes. We're using Royal Icing and we've had to experiment with recipes and getting the consistency right. Pastry bag? Parchment paper cones? or Ziplok baggie? After some trial and error, we like the parchment paper cones. No tip. No coupler. Lots of fun.

Further proof, if any was needed, that art is everywhere.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week #12 of the Papa Bear Sampler Scarf Knit-along

It's hard to believe but here we are with the final stitch pattern. And it's a pretty one. And easy, too. Double Moss Stitch.  We have 47 stitches on the needles now. Please remember the 5 garter stitches at each end.

Row 1: K1, * p1, k1; rep from * to end.
Row 2: P1, * k1, p1; rep from * to end
Row 3: same as Row 2
Row 4: same as Row 1

Repeat these 4 rows, 9 times.

Final Border: Knit 7 rows of garter stitch. 
Cast off. (Yahoo!)

Next week we'll talk about blocking and we'll show you photos!!! Don't forget, if you send us a photo of your finished scarf to show here on the blog, we'll send you a little gift in return.

For a printable .PDF of this week's exciting episode, click here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Week #11 of the Papa Bear Sampler Scarf Knit-along

Can you believe it? The penultimate pattern...... The Medallion Rib.

There are now 46 stitches on the needle. Remember the 5 garter stitch border stitches on each edge.

Row 1: (right side) P4, *yb (move yarn to back), sl 2 purlwise.
C2B, p4; rep from * to end.
(C2B = knit into back of 2nd stitch on needle,
then knit first st. slipping both sts off needle
at the same time.)
Row 2: K4, * yf (move yarn to front), sl 2 purlwise,
purl the 2nd st on left-hand needle, then the 1st st,
slipping both sts from needle tog, k4; rep from * to end.
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: Purl
Repeat these 4 rows, 8 times, then work Rows 1-3 once more. Total 35 rows.

Separator: Knit 5 rows increasing 1 stitch by knitting into the front and back of a stitch somewhere in the middle of the last row. (47 stitches total)

For a printable .PDF, click here.

Next week, we'll tackle the final pattern in this assortment.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Week #10 of the Papa Bear Sampler Scarf Knit-along

Remember how last week we took it easy with a simple pattern? This week it's payback time. We're going to knit a fabulous stitch pattern which is a little more complicated....but not much. And it looks so great that all the effort will be worth it, we promise!

This week's pattern is the Star Stitch. It's a 4 row repeat. We've seen it worked in 2 different colours. Very cool. If you want to give that a try sometime, you use 1 colour for the first 2 rows and a different colour for the next 2 rows.

So, if you've finished last week's pattern, the Farrow Rib, you should have 47 stitches on your needle. Keeping in mind the 5 garter stitch borders on each edge, work the Star Stitch pattern a follows:

Row 1: (right side) Knit
Row 2: P1, * Make Star, p1; rep from * to end.
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: P3, Make Star, * p1, Make Star;
rep from * to last 3 sts, p3.

Make Star = p3tog leaving sts on needle, yrn (yarn round needle), then purl the same 3 sts together again.

Repeat these 4 rows, 9 times.

Separator:  Knit 6 rows, reducing 1 st. anywhere in the middle of the last row by knitting 2 sts tog.
(46 stitches total)

Only 2 more pattern stitches to go....unless you've run out of yarn. :(  Hang on..... You can just jump right to the final border when the rest of us get there in only 2 more weeks! (Can you believe that?)
You can find the .PDF here.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Nah! Not cooties.....SPIDERS!!! We saw the cutest tutorial on Shawkl's blog and we knew we just had to try one for ourselves. Unfortunately, we didn't have any wire in the right gauge on hand so we just improvised with what we had. Shawkl's spiders are more elegant but ours was a lot of fun, too. We really like Shawkl's blog. She has lots of cool stuff going on and is very generous with her time and talents. As well, we ordered some Czech glass buttons from her Etsy shop and they are even more beautiful in person than they look on the computer monitor. Watch for them to appear in future projects!

For now, we finished another beaded macrame bracelet. This one is a gift for a young lady we know. We hope she'll like it!

And, finally......SOCKS!

We finished them. We like this pattern stitch. In fact, we like it so much we're planning to cast on another pair. We have a couple of modifications we want to try and then we plan to share the pattern. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Week #9 - Farrow Rib

We don't know about you, but we've had a busy week so we thought we'd kick back with something really, really simple. Maybe next week all our brain cells will be working again and we'll get to something a little more challenging. For now, though, Farrow Rib sounds just about right. Only 2 rows. Simple. Are you running short of yarn? This is a great one to skimp on, if you are.

There are now 47 stitches. Remember the 5 garter stitch edge stitches.

Row 1: (right side) * K2, p1; rep from * to last st., k1.
Row 2: P1, * k2, p1; rep from * to end.

Repeat these 2 rows until you have about 5 inches worked, ending after Row 1.

Work the separator section:
Knit  5 rows even this time in garter stitch,.  No increase, no decrease. (47 stitches total)

You'll find a .PDF here.

And don't forget, for anyone who finishes his/her scarf and sends us a photo to show on this blog, we have a little present.