I had planned to make a bog coat for my friend Mickey . . . but that’s just not going to happen. After making and wearing a bog coat I realized it was not going to be a garment she would wear more than once. It’s too bulky. It’s too awkward. It lacks shape. For people our shape and size it’s the equivalent of weary a bulky sack. Not good.
So I have this lovely start that was intended to be the center back of the bog coat which now needs to be repurposed into a 45″x60″ lap quilt, something Mickey will use often. I am imagining this as the compass rose of an oval mariner’s compass. I’ve made a mariner’s compass. They go together quite quickly using the freezer paper flip and sew method for the quadrants of the compass and come out beautifully accurate when using machine basting for the center oval.
So that’s my current plan, a mariner’s compass with the horse head as the compass rose.
This horse head is 10″ tall and was appliquéd using my machine basting technique. I love this technique because it lets me be very accurate. One nostril rim is less than 1/8″ wide. Because the fabric is a good quality batik and the thin portions of the design are on the bias, it should hold up really well to wear and washing.
We have a bit of an unusual life, Wadly and I. We live on twelve south-facing acres backed up to forty square miles of Weyerhaeuser on a dead end road off a dead end road mere minutes from the freeway. As locations go, it couldn’t be more perfect. It’s quiet and private here. From the top of our property we can look out over Shoestring Valley and see Mount St. Helens in the distance.
Once our mortgage was paid off we decided living small was better than bigger fancier accommodations with its accompanying debt. Because our living space is small, engaging in crafts like quilting takes some innovating and good organizational skills. Having a table that will fold up out of the way when not needed is a crafty thing indeed. When it comes to crafting in a small space, it’s all about maximizing use of space!
Unless you have a family whose members require personal space, bedrooms are a waste. They’re one-use rooms not used for most of the day. I’ve always though Murphy beds were a really smart idea. They allow the bedroom to be more than one thing.
Our bed is not a Murphy bed. It’s a metal frame that sits up high enough that storage bins can be placed beneath. To further maximize the space, I’ve mounted a 4×6 layout/cutting table on the footboard. The plywood base is covered by an Omnigrid mat I purchased from the factory on a Guild field trip. The mat is held to the table by tiny brass nails to keep it in place when the table is tilted up out of the way.
I’m flirting with making a confetti stars quilt for my bed. I have the batiks, I love the two quilts I made (baby and lap) and I’d like one for sleeping under, something with a dark background and bright batiks. I think I’m going to do a sew-along . . . it’s a really easy pattern but it does require batiks for the stars. If you want in, ping me.
I think we’ve all ended up with things too good or nice or unique to get rid of but with no place in which to put or use them. I have a piece of fabric like that . . . a hand died batik on broadcloth. I don’t quilt with broadcloth, I don’t wear those colors or that style . . . but 3 yards . . . yeah, couldn’t part with it.
It’s now an out-of-the-sun curtain and it works beautifully to keep light from reflecting onto my monitors. And I look at it and smile . . . and think of the wonderful woman I inherited it from who also could not find a use for it but thought it was too good to get rid of. Nice!
Life’s been a bit chaotic lately. I managed to sprain my right wrist and ignored it for the first week which of course made it worse. It’s so hard to be good when I have to be doing something and it’s doubly hard when it’s the right hand that’s out of commission. I haven’t rowed in two weeks and I’m going nuts. Yoga. Must do more yoga.
I ran across a picture of a Fraser Smith piece somewhere this morning. Something on Facebook led to something that led to something . . . I ate the breadcrumbs as I went so can’t find my way back to the start.
Because Smith’s work fascinates me, I popped into his site again today to look. His work is food for my soul. I noticed his “If I am quiet . . . ?” is carved as if it’s done on the back of “Maples”. I am going to have to make this quilt. I don’t do arty stuff, I don’t spend time on stuff that isn’t usable for pretty much every day and I prefer working in batiks to anything else, but this quilt is one I’m going to have to do. I just can’t help myself. And I’m going to have to hand quilt it. This one’s a double whammy.
The six zillion dollar question is . . . how closely do I replicate the work? The quilting doesn’t go through the applique worked on the back. Does that mean I have to applique the back after the quilting’s done? It’s got to be done before the binding . . . Hm.
It took me over a year to work out how to sew the “30” quilt. I wonder if this one will set a record for active planning time.
A friend, knowing I love Singer 301As and trapezoid cabinets, found one for me. The cabinet’s a lovely thing, mahogany veneer with just a tiny chip on the right end of the under-table. The 301 is a black short-bed that’s in really lovely shape, just needing a good cleaning and lube and new wiring. The cleaned machine is very quiet and smooth and I had the necessary wiring in my stash of parts.
This machine came with three bobbins. Two of the bobbins had four separate colors/lengths of thread each. The remaining bobbin had seven different pieces/colors of thread wound on. There was so much lint, packed in so tightly, I had to disassemble the bobbin carrier to get all the lint out.
If you’re wondering what makes a trapezoid table so special, it’s for two very nice reasons. The left end of the table is hinged and the swings out to support the table extension when it’s open. Secondly, because the shape of the table is shorter on the front than the back, the table extension wraps to the front just a bit making it easier to keep things on the table.
I’ve already sewing a bunch of quilt bindings and today I’ll use this lovely machine to put borders on a quilt top. Color me happy.
I’ve got not quite a quarter of the honeycomb blocks done for the background on Lorr’s quilt. In this picture I have only about half the finished fog on the wall.
It’s gone a bit slowly because I’ve been testing ironing seams this way, that way, pressed open . . . I think I’ve got what I want now. I’m happy, happy, happy.
The colors, the variety, the textures. Yup, I’m happy. If all goes as planned, this will be a stunning quilt.
Now that the picture is up, can you see what’s wrong? This is why pictures are so important! In the very center of the picture, see the blue sky showing through the leaves? Oops. Can’t see the sky through the trunk. I’ll have to replace that with a non-sky piece. It’s the little things . . .
Now that the leaf portion of the tree for Lorr’s quilt is done, I’m working on the background fog. I don’t want it to be all one foggy piece of fabric, I want it to be more in keeping with the rest of the quilt, more random color and texture.
I’d been searching for over a year to find enough foggy batik fabrics for this part of Lorr’s quilt, but they just aren’t out there. Progress was at a halt.
Our Guild had a fabric dying workshop with the fabulous David Christensen. I dyed 10 yards of batik quality fabric trying for perfect soft shades for the fog. Some of the pieces are too dark, but not too many. Overall, the result was a nice collection of soft greens, blues and grays with enough texture to be interesting.
I had originally intended to use one of the Dance template sets for this portion of the quilt, but I’ve since changed my mind. I’m going with a machine sewn honeycomb block. Sewing this block by machine isn’t for the faint of heart. I’ve developed a technique that gives me accurate placement of the pieces. I’ll try and get a tutorial together showing the technique.
I drafted the 2″x4″ template for the honeycomb block on pallet slip sheet cardboard. I get this at the local feed store. It’s a 4’x4′ sheet of thin cardboard that’s waxed or plasticized which makes it a little difficult to write on, but it makes great templates . . . and it’s free!
I get a weekly newsletter from Quilting Books, Patterns and Notions and I occasionally find inspiration therein. This week the periodical has a lovely and splashy flower wall hanging that’s lovely, full of bright color and made from batiks. Not only does the color sense suit my style, this would be a perfect pattern for machine pinning. Perfect! The pattern is available here.
I restarted the leaf portion of Lorr’s quilt. My original iteration hung on the wall and I just wasn’t happy. I couldn’t make myself continue with what I’d started. It was months before I realized what it was I didn’t like. I’ve redone it and now, I’m happy!
I bought a jacket pattern and have made a number of jackets from that pattern. It’s three pattern pieces and it goes together really fast and is very comfortable.
I had some denim in my stash, some stretch, some red pinstriped, and I combined the two into a single garment that turned out really nice. It’s going to my sister for her to wear at work. I was really pleased with the jacket but this iteration really needed pockets. Patching pockets to the outside would have ruined the appearance of the front so I made curved slits bound in red goat leather. The pockets are stretch denim patched onto the inside and sewn down using navy thread to make then as invisible as I can make them.
The back and sleeves are solid blue stretch denim which makes the jacket very comfortable while still looking classy/casual. The red leather to match the pinstripes on the front makes a nice accent and the curved opening makes the pockets easy to use. I’m altering the pattern one more time for a more fitted sleeve and a fold over shawl collar. I’ve got some black stretch denim I’ll use for that iteration.
I had gotten one pocket put on and was taking a break to eat lunch when my 35 year old Viking 6750 suddenly started running and billowing smoke. <wince> I unplugged it and set it out on the deck to finish smoking where I didn’t have to breathe it. I figure if it was smoking I wasn’t going to be repairing it anytime soon.
My mother was an awesome knitter. She could also crochet like nobody’s business. There wasn’t a baby born that she knew of that wasn’t blessed with something from her hands. Growing up we all wore sweaters she knitted. I still wear a pair of wool socks she knitted. I’m pretty sure they weren’t knitted for me but they shrunk to where I’m the one they fit! <grin> I can live with that!
I was searching for something . . . I can’t even remember what, and I ran across an online knitting magazine. Therein I found discussion regarding magic cast on for socks. The technique was so cool I just HAD to try it. So here is Judy’s magic cast on!
I’m halfway through the heel turn and I’m using a modified Cat’s Sweet Tomato Heel Turn. Instead of dividing the stitches into thirds (two for the heel, one for the front) for three sets of increases I’m greatly increasing the number of heel stitches for the first and third set of short rows while decreasing (not proportionally) the center set. This should allow the heel turn to better fit my ankle and heel.
Pattern? Yeah, not using a pattern. I never have. I do the math to figure out how many stitches/rows for the needle/yarn combo and run with it. The last knit project I made was a denim/navy heather double yarn short jacket worked on big needles. It had pockets, a collar and a big brass zipper up the front. I wore that jacket for a long time, passing it on when I was done wearing it. That was a lot of years ago.
I watched another video about a technique called “magic loop” which allows socks to be knitted on a single long circular needle. I’m not so enamored with that. I really like using two short circular needles to knit small round stuff.
My mom’s entire stash of needles has only one size 1 16″ circular needle and it’s got a rough join where the cable fastens to the tips which makes sliding the work from one tip to the other a bit of a chore. I could live with it but a set of newer needles would be better. I’ve got plenty of double-ended needles but I prefer cable needles.
I tried to find new needles locally but no joy. I bought bamboo needles at Michael’s but I knit pretty tight and the yarn doesn’t slide on the bamboo needles easily enough to suit me AND the join between the needle and the cable is not seamless. The join uses a metal collar to connect the parts and it doesn’t look very sturdy AND looks like it would snag fine yarn. Maybe they might work great for someone who doesn’t knit tightly, but they aren’t going to work well for me.
Terry stopped in at the local knit shop but they don’t carry aluminum circular needles. I ordered two 16″ size 1 circular needles from a vendor on Amazon but the join where the cable meets the aluminum tip is two full sizes bigger than the needle. Tell me where the logic is in that? There is no way I could get my work off the tip and onto the cable. I can’t even use them until I make a draw die and fine down that lump! Plus the cable’s so stiff I would have to fight it constantly while I’m working. I’m going to have to heat the cable up and cool it straight, and even then that’s not a perfect solution.
I was at Fabric Depot yesterday and they had the same needles I got on Amazon with the same two-sizes-larger lumps where the two materials join. Been there, got those. They also had the bamboo needles I got at the local craft store with the you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me yarn snagging pin-punched metal collar join. <wince> Next trip to town those are going back. There’s nothing I can do to fix them and make them usable.
Fabric Depot also had a needle I’ve never seen before . . . squared off tips on cables, a square circular needle! I know that sounds kind of strange, but the needles really are square and the cable is real soft and flexible. I bought two short (16″) and 1 long (42″?) and I’ve got my sock transferred to the new 16″ needles. The tip length fits in my hand perfectly, they don’t have that stupid bend in the aluminum right before the tip meets the cable, the cable is soft and doesn’t interfere with my knitting and I am mostly in love. They do have one draw-back.
The butt of the tip, where the tip joins the cable, has a rounded end into which the cable merges. This causes a small but abrupt “hip” which stops the loops of yarn from sliding smoothly back onto the tip. With that in the way I can’t just shove the loops back onto the needle, I have to stop and coax them from the cable onto the tip. Despite this work-slowing design flaw, the needles are an improvement over the other needles I purchased.
When I’m done with this pair of socks I’ll rework the butt join to see if I can solve this problem, either reshaping the hip to a more gradual 45° slant or developing a collar to sit against the hip to ease the transition. It would be perfect if the manufacturer would change the design to fix this as it’s a drawback to an otherwise perfect knitting needle. I’m having so much fun knitting socks I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to knit more than one pair and I refuse to fight every transfer of stitches from cable to needle.
One more nice thing about this needle . . . the size and length are stamped right into the tip. I don’t have to dig out my needle gauge to make sure I’ve grabbed the right size. Sweet! Now, if they were just as perfect everywhere else . . .
I started a new project last night. I haven’t been able to appliqué for a couple years so I’m really excited about this.
I’ve wanted to try some new stuff. A friend supplied the material and will get the resulting coat. I’ve made tests of the coat pattern (A Little Something), made the necessary adjustments and I’m ready to go!
This is a three color coat. The left side of the jacket is purple batik. The right is green batik and the accent is ink navy. The sleeve bottom and coat bottom will be bordered in Oriental Dance blocks.
This bit of the project is all hand appliqué. The horse head pattern is on a piece of paper on the back. I sew the three layers together (paper, background and foreground) using a sewing machine and staying on the pattern lines. From the front I carefully cut the foreground material away and, as I unpick the stitching, I turn the edge under on the stitching line and appliqué the foreground down to the background being careful not to catching the paper in the stitching. This technique gives me accurate and flat appliqué. It always looks like the appliqué was just ironed flat. So far, so good! I think it’s looking awesome!
I’m not sure how it’s going to be quilted. I may give Karen the background and batting and have her pin the coat pieces to it and quilt them. So far I’ve got the pattern pieces cut extra big so there’s room around the outside to stitch it down to the backing before it’s mounted on the quilting machine. That might work. You can tell I’m still pondering this part.
LouAnn has been entering her quilting and canning in our local fair for years. I’m fortunate that she drags my quilts along for the ride.
This year I have three quilts entered in the fair. LouAnn called yesterday to tell me they had all received blue ribbons. While that’s nice, it was even more exciting to hear her grape quilt had been considered for the grand poo-bah prize. That’s pretty awesome!
Note: LouAnn called to tell me Sunset on the Farm got People’s Choice at the fair. How nice!
The quilt show is over and two of my quilts did really well.
The Sunset quilt got People’s Choice the second day and second in the pieced category.
The Ichthy Bog Coat got a Vendor’s Choice ribbon and a first in the “Other” category.
Even better, LouAnn’s grape quilt got People’s Choice the very first day! That rocks! And Karen‘s been asked to teach the Square Dance (block used as the border on the bog coat) at two different location! That really rocks!
LouAnn’s Wreath of Life quilt hung in Karen’s booth and many asked for the pattern. We all agree the quilt would have been pretty without the pieced background, but the large Dance block in pastels behind the appliqué really added to the depth and richness of the quilt.
I’ve got the majority of the body put together. I need to cut blocks to fill in the edges. I need to get baby quilt (non-flammable) rayon batting and some pretty pink and green or purple and green flannel for the back. I won’t add borders. This is supposed to be a drag around quilt as she gets older so there’s no point in getting fancy or “heirloomy”.
I have had to find a new vendor for template cutting and in the process of getting templates cut I’ve had to retest some of the templates. Because the Confetti Stars is cut from strip sets, and because I hate to waste material, I’ve elected to take the testing down a productive path. Baby quilt!
I saw my friend Rachel at Safeway Thursday. She’s got a new baby girl she and Travis have named Eva. If I can get this finished and quilted little Eva will be able to sleep under the stars!
LouAnn and I went to the Guild’s Sew Daze yesterday and I got the binding on my sunset quilt. LouAnn’s taken it home with her to stitch down the binding. The quilt is beyond beautiful. The quilting is gorgeous, the colors are gorgeous. I’m going to enjoy sleeping under it.