Sunday, May 17, 2015

Crocheting Fun!

Hey guys, Wrennie here! 

Callie and I are working on a super secret project! I can't tell you about it yet BUT I decided to make something for it. A blanket! Or an afghan really.  But first I needed some yarn:

We have a really big yarn stash! I spent forever looking for just the right yarn.

I really love this brown sparkly one but that's not what I want!
Finally I found what I was looking for in my own yarn basket!

These two:
Rainbows with a sparkly white! That will be perfect for me and Callie.

I decided that I wanted to do granny squares for this blanket:
Crocheting is fun and pretty easy! It's also a super old way of making fabric. Here I found that it most likely comes from a very ancient kind of embroidery from China. They used tiny hooks to embroider tight super right fabric. In the 1700's French people started using hooks and string to make fabric without using a fabric back. It was called crocheting in the air! Isn't that cool?

Granny squares are harder to find any kind of history on! But from several sources it looks like they showed up in the 1800's as a way to use up and not waste the bits and pieces of yarn left over from other things! They're still pretty useful for that but I'm not really doing bits and pieces this time!

I made two different kinds of squares:
Rainbow on the outside with white on the inside and rainbow on the inside and white on the outside. I had to make A LOT! Like 8 of the first kind and 17 of the second.

Next I had to attach them all to each other! You can do that in a lot of ways but this time I decided to crochet them together:
I like doing that because it makes a cool little ridge pattern.

I crocheted the squares into strips:
 And then I crocheted all the strips together:
Gotta make sure that the ridges all go the same way! I had one more strip to go in that picture and don't worry about all those strings. They got taken care of next.

After all the squares were crocheted together I started on the edging.
I single crocheted all around the blanket for two rounds. See? No more strings!

But then I decided I needed something a bit fancier. So I used the rainbow yarn again and made a shell edging. And finally it's done!
 Doesn't it look cozy?
It turned out pretty big too! It covers up my whole couch!

I think it's time for a nap now:

Nah! I'm just kidding!
But it is my new favorite blanket :) and I'm pretty proud of it! I hope you guys like it too. Now for that nap......


     Outfit: AG Striped Hoodie Outfit
     Earrings: AG Fresh and Fun Earrings

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Quilt Block Post! I have two this time!

Hi everybody, it's Callie (again)! I hope you're all having a good time. It's May now which means we get new blocks! We have three this month, because I guess two of them are kind of really similar, and I've done those two together since they're basically the same block. It made researching interesting!

So this month's blocks are called a pinwheel (the crazy blue one on the left) and broken dishes (the pink and green one on the right). I hadn't done triangles before so I was a little nervous, but it turns out it wasn't so bad. I do the blocks before I do the research for them, and I kind of assumed that these blocks had popped into the world at around the same time and that the pinwheel had kind of come first.

It turns out that both blocks are American and from the early 1800-s ish. They're both very popular designs from the era and all of my research shows that they started to be made in larger numbers when America started producing cheaper fabric. I guess it'd be hard to make a repeating pattern kind of patchwork block like this without a lot of the same fabric.

Anyway, quilting was really important to girls back then because they learned how to sew and how to mend things, which helped to get them ready to take care of their own families... but they also made friends. Quilting bees were starting to be popular then too, and while girls and women made their own blocks, the quilting was usually done in a group, so little girls literally grew up making quilts with other women.

Look at all those triangles! Sometimes it's hard to research quilt blocks, especially when the patterns are from such a long time ago, because a lot of this stuff wasn't written down.... and sometimes you'd get what's basically the same block that shows up in two different places with totally different history and how do you know which one is right?

It was a good thing quilt blocks were getting to be a little fancier, because quilts were starting to be used as more than just... well, quilts. Sometimes, people would hang them in their houses to make doors or as curtains... but this block doesn't take forever and a day to put together, so it could still be quick *and* pretty.

But I also learned something else. The broken dishes quilt might have been used as part of a secret quilt code for the Underground Railroad, which was a secret way to help slaves escape from the South and into freedom in the North. Because a lot of plantations and other houses would hang quilts outside for airing out, nobody would notice if the blocks meant something specific, like "hey, you need to hide right now." I guess the broken dishes quilt meant something! But I can't figure out what. Some things I found say "this means there are broken dishes up ahead," but I don't know what shattered crockery means.
broken dishes
Another thing I was reading said that broken dishes were a traditional gravesite decoration for slaves, and that the pattern comes from there, and it's supposed to look like a mosaic. Something else I read in a kids' book just said that the sharp corners were supposed to remind little pioneer girls not to touch the sharp edges of broken glass. (that one is the one I don't really believe, though.)

And then something else I read said that quilt codes didn't exist at all during the Civil War and that someone just made that up. I don't know if it's made up or not, but if it's real it makes a lot of sense and I think it sounds really smart. Why not learn to use something that people see every day and wouldn't think to find a code in?

Overall, I really like these blocks! I didn't think they were very hard, just different, and I really like the design of both of them and could see myself making a quilt of just these blocks. Plus I learned a lot reading about them!

Here are all of my blocks so far. They don't match at all... but that's okay, this is a scrap quilt. I've decided I'm going to try really hard not to repeat any patterns in my blocks, but solids are okay to repeat. Hopefully I'm able to do that!

Talk to you all soon!


Dress: Saige's Sparkle Dress
Boots: OG Let's Motor