Monday, July 28, 2008

Back at it

THis my second, or maybe my third quilt. I came home from the Gee's Bend exhibit, put my feet up and drank a glass of water. Then I got in the car and drove to the fabric store, and found this flannel. The Gee's Benders used corduroy, and my fabric store didn't have any. I didn't own a ruler or mat for cutting, yet, so I tore the strips. I think I looked at the knitted version in Mason Dixon Knitting, too. It's not often that I can pinpoint exactly when I went over the deep end into a new pursuit, but that exhibit, and this quilt, mark my jump over the cliff EXACTLY.

Knitting was more insidious- just a few baby sweaters for the second baby, a little something to pass the time on bedrest. Fourteen Rubbermaid tubs of yarn later, I realized that this was not a phase. It crept up on me, one skein at a time. Sort of like knitting itself- all those tiny stitches, one after another, and suddenly, or not so suddenly, I am staring at a sweater, a shawl, a sock.

Well, this is where the summary of those two thoughts go, but I don't have one. Leave a comment if you can tell me what it all means. I have to go to work tomorrow, and in a weird way, I am looking forward to it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Towel Robe

Here's the towel robe I made today. Pattern from Sew Mama Sew. It is full of mistakes and issues, but it still works as a robe. As Clare says, "Finished is better than perfect"! Glad I wasn't making the first one as a gift! My son is at the upper end of the pattern size, and a little measuring would have gone a long way, here.

My first mistake was to not make the sleeves wider than the pattern called for. I think looser would be better- maybe an eight inch drop rather than a six inch. The short sleeves are brilliant, though. My kid hates sleeves getting in his way. My second mistake was the placement of the button holes. My machine balked at making button holes on thick terry cloth. I decided to make a bound button hole, instead, and while I was wrapped up in that I forgot that the button holes needed to be close to the binding. Next time, I think I will make loops out of bias tape. Once I realized that the button holes were too far over, it was too late- I had cut the holes. Sooooo I added the inside flap that you see in the photo below.
I had to piece leftovers for the inside flap, having already cut into the left overs from the under arm to make pockets. Not as pretty as it could be, but serviceable. The final screw up- er learning experience- was that I choose bias tape that was too wide. Somehow I thought that was easier to deal with, but no, wrinkle mania. If I were making this as a gift, I would most likely hand sew on the bias tape.

Even with all these issues, my son likes it, and with any luck, we will see less of his nekkid self after baths.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

free hand fans, machine style

Here's the quilt made of the Drawing Room fabric by Anna Marie Horner. (Can I pause here to mention how much I admire someone with five kids who gets anything done, let alone bringing us loads of lovely fabric.) I am a great admirer of Tonya's free hand fans. I like what Gwen Marston says about fans, as well, that you can see the measure of the quilter's forearm by how big her fans were. But there is that matter of incompatability between myself and hand work.
Thus, machine style free hand fans. I am free motion quilting on the Singer 201. Here you can see both successful and unsuccessful attempts at back tracking when I reach the end of one arc and need to move to the beginning of the next arc. The other option is to lift the needle and then trim the thread ends. I may try that tomorrow, or I may continue on in the imperfect way in which I have begun. The backtracking would work better, I think, if I were using solid rather than variegated thread. When the color of the thread changes, even a perfect back track shows. The other thing I am considering is making that part more obvious, sort of like the small arcs done in saishiko stitching.

In the knitting world, I had a nice knit night at my LYS. I am moving very slowly on the sweater- I seem to have let the part of my brain that remembers pattern stitches atrophy. Ah well, it all gets done eventually.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Keeping House

Hello, here I am, blogging most likely. It has been like a freakish Louisa May Alcott novel around here- cooking, cleaning, cooking, sewing, knitting. Kind of reminds me of when the Little Women decide to keep house.

This fury has been because of news of loss- a faraway friend- and my primal need to cook for funerals. Even funerals that I am not going to attend. It has also been because of my own looming mortality. My fasting blood sugar is a bit high. I come from a family of diabetics, and so it is when, not if, I get diabetes. ( Please don't give me any alternative therapy suggestions. It's better for both of us that you don't.) I would like to get squarely into my fifth or sixth decade, however before I am diagnosed. I am also, dear reader, fat. I didn't used to be fat, although I always thought I was. Boy, I wish I could have those days back, so that I could give myself a good talking to about what a beautiful young woman I was. SO, onto vegetables. Which, dear reader, I mostly hate, unless they involve butter, or butter's fat little sister, sour cream. Nope, not helpful.

Although I do have a lovely doctor. Her advice, and it means a lot to me that she can say this with a straight face, is to eat the vegetables anyway, and then, when I have gotten used to the idea, slowly reduce the fat flavors. Well, maybe, and I appreciate her trying to meet me where I live. But I am a diabetic educator, and so I have a wealth of low fat recipes, so it wouldn't kill me to actually cook some of them, would it? ( Did you know that you can give yourself a bad case of GI distress by suddenly quadrupling the amount of vegetables you eat. You heard it here first. Stop smirking. It is not funny. )

On the knitting front, I am making darling little socks to wear with sneakers. Five rows for a stockinette roll, five rows of ribbing, five rows plain and whoops you are at the heel. I think I can get two per 50g of sock yarn, or four little sock siblings from a big 100g ball, and that will be very satisfying.

On the quilt front, I have had it up to hear with the freaking turtles. Which is good, because Son Two is a little jealous that I have been focusing on Son One's quilt. So I will start Two's and hopefully it will be less arduous. I am just not a pattern follower, at all. Good to learn. Also, if I am going to follow a pattern, I should, uhm, follow it and maybe read ahead a bit, so to avoid shocking revelations of yardage requirements.

Have to get up off the couch and go wash dishes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Constant Motion

I have never seen a dog as bouncy as this one. I still can't get a decent photo. He gets his first haircut at the end of next week, and I would really like a baby picture. I've actually never seen him asleep, either. He must wake up instantly upon hearing me move.

Made a few more turtles. Got bored with the black background squares, though, so I got some black with white dots to sort of lively things up. I am supposed to paper piece the wave blocks. This sounds tedious. I may just free piece them.

I had a long day at work where I got nothing done except paperwork. My patients didn't get much closer to discharge, and I just threw my hands up at orders that were not written in a timely manner and families who didn't want to come in. Usually, I am more proactive, wheedling the orders out of the docs and being kind but firm to the families. But today, no. I just shrugged, and started working on a paper work project my boss wants done by next week.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'mm Hooommeee!

Look, scenery! Beaches, oceans, relaxation, waves, snorkeling, swimming, swimming, swimming.
They have a quilt store. A very friendly, very welcoming, very well stocked quilt store, with lots of things we don't see on the mainland. Not pictured are the Japanese indigos that are in the wash right now.

I also bought a Lisa Boyer pattern ( She of That Dorky Homemade Look fame. How can you not love a woman who says that people who can only make a triangle with three sides are not being very creative?) I am not a pattern buyer, as a rule, because I am not a pattern follower. (Really, Laura, when did that happen? ahem) This pattern, however is really worth the money. It's a technique I've never thought of for a quilt with a lot of scope for freedom and the text of the pattern is laugh out loud funny. This turtle quilt needs sixteen turtles, and here are five of them.

I knit quite a lot of the sweater- the whole yoke. I have started the lace pattern, but my brain required a lot of coddling to follow a lace pattern, so I stalled out there. I did also have the sock. I always forget to take pictures of socks, because, well, they always look like socks. It's great to be home. I missed every room, except the kitchen. The kitchen and I, we are not so good. But everything else, yay, house!

Friday, July 04, 2008


I leave early Sunday for a week of sun and fun with the family. I work Saturday, so this is may last day to pack. I am, of course, casting on a new project to take. Go look. Isn't that how everyone packs? DH has gone to the store to buy cereal and granola bars, because we're the kind of classy family that eats breakfast from food we packed in our suitcases . I may not have much connection with my Polish immigrant roots, but damn it, I know how to travel in steerage.

No quilting, but I will take the camera. Maybe I'll make one of those landscape quilts when I get back. Happy 4th of July to all the American readers ( right, like I have a big international following. More realistic, Happy Fourth to my brother and best friend, any any one else who has stumbled by.) See you in a week!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

New Puppy

It is really, really hard to take a picture of a creature that never stops moving. This is the best I could do. May I present Magic? I got voted out of Wally, Cosmo, and Lucky. So far, so, good. He has made potty outside and been polite about being in his crate. Well, sort of polite. You can tell he'd rather be tearing the place up, and we haven't hit on a toy that fascinates him, yet.

Ginger, the old dog, has developed a droll interest in dog toys that we are finding very amusing. SHe has also deigned to play with puppy for a brief, queenly moment. Wish me luck.