Monthly Archives: January 2009

You are so lucky you can’t smell this

Well, this isn’t so bad, although an unwashed fleece is not something that you smell more of than you have to. I still have half a fleece left from last year Maryland Sheep and Wool, and it is a really nice sunny day here.
But this? Wheeeeeewh It is a nice rose color, but man, does it stink. I had some cochineal soaking and sort of forgot about it. It didn’t smell really, bad, so I mordanted some wool and set it on the stove. OMG, does it reek. I rinsed the yarn twice, and it will need a real wash before it can be worked with. Yergh. I’m a nurse, and some days it seem like I smell bad things for a living, but this is an outstanding odor. I am actually sitting on my own from porch, hoping that having all the windows open and boiling a sliced lemon on the stove will air the house out enough. Two people walking by just commented. “What’s that smell?” coming from the back yard. Yep. I’m a public nuisance. But a public nuisance with some really pretty rose mohair.

In Case you think I have forsaken knitting

I have not. Behold, the hat that all the cool kids are wearing. Yes, it is pathetic that a forty something is looking at the hats worn by the twenty somethings, but the pattern is free, so I believe that provides karmic balance for foolishness.
Here we have some crochet, my first fiber love. The yarn flung itself at me at the LYS. What sock yarn? Alison H taught me how to write one line of a lace pattern on one index card. The next line is on the next index card, and so forth. When you finish a row, you put that card to the back of the stack, and you will never be lost again.
And here we have a myth busters on foundation piecing. I have always been told that a paper or fabric foundation is necessary for string blocks. One of these has a paper foundation, the other three do not. I found I needed the foundation mainly to tell me what size strip to use. Using an eight inch square ruler ( quilting rulers come in all kinds of sizes and shapes) and comparing the about to be sewn block to thr ruler worked just as well for me. In fact, of the three I had paper pieced, two had to be resewn because of wrinkles. The not paper foundationed ones allowed the wrinkle to press out.

Not bad for a Saturday when I had four kids ( two are loaners) in the house.

Two More Tops

Well, the last pictures were bad because it was dark, and these ar bad because it was sunny! I may need to face facts about my picture taking abilities. Above if the Spiderweb quilt made only of scraps, from Bonnie’s site. Very fun.
Here we have a quilt made of I Love Lucy fabric, and a chicken butt in the lower right. Chicken butt not included. This one used a bunch of colors I don’t usually use, but I was keying off the Lucy Fabric. Setting things on point makes my brain hurt (the way the blocks on the left and right border are is called on point, for any knitters who are playing along today.) The Lucy quilt is for a friend who is a fan, the spider web quilt I am not sure…both sons want it, I may add a border of some kind…

You will need to squint

I kept waiting for to take decent photos in daylight, but it seems to get dark a few moments after lunchtime, so here is some nice, blurry, flash photography. Above is a quilt for donation.
Close up of the cute fabric in the next quilt
Do not adjust you set. We are looking with broad strokes, here. Another quilt for donation.
This one is inspired by the blog Busy Intersection. Not done yet. the center is surrounded by houses. Inside each house’s window is a woman holding a baby. The words say ” I know how to love. My Mother taught me.” This one really needs a decent photo. Not done yet,.
Here’s the Chinese coins quilt, made of the difficult fabrics. Now I suppose I will have to find somewhere clear on the floor and baste some of these tops, and quilt them. It’s the finding somewhere clean and clear that is the hard spot, when no one is around to step on the quilts.

The Unhappy Pile makes itself into a Happy Pile

Well, I have been sewing up a storm, but since it gets dark right after lunch, I have no pictures for you. I have finished four tops since I last posted. I think I got my mojo back.

It all started when I read the knitters review post about the Happy pile and the Unhappy pile. The gist of it was if a ball of yarn made you happy when you saw it, it stayed. If it made you unhappy, it left. What was odd was that as I sorted all the fabric and re- folded, I noticed something. The unhappy pile all had similar characteristics. they were: large scale print of something no floral, such a turtles of children; brown or beige undertones; Asian inspired prints; gold accents. Oddly, I really like how a lot of it looked, but kept thinking I didn’t want to cut it up, because I have an aversion to slicing through the middle of a child, or a turtle, even if it is just a picture on fabric. It seems..wrong. ( Yes, I do have a rich inner life, why do you ask?) Gold accented fabric feels weird to iron. Odd, but off putting. and brown….well, I hate it. I hate muddy colors. All of my premade parts for my quilt parts department are made in bright colors. The browns always seemed to suffer, and to be a buzz kill for the rest of the colors next to each other.

When all the difficult fabrics were piled by each other, they looked much better. They were with their family, and it brought out the best in them. Something to remember. OK, so what to do? Well, duh, start cutting things up. Enter Bonnie’s wonderful book. I made a Chinese Coins quilt, and had the proportions of the blocks based on 10 1/2 inch blocks, because that leaves nothing left but the selvage edge, and baby, that fabric is gone.

So, the next thing was to make the back out of 10 1/2 inch squares, and call it a day. Suddenly it got stressful. The squares were imperfectly cut, because that is just how I do things. If I am starting your IV or hanging your med, it will be perfect. If I am listening to Melissa Ethridge loudly in the Sewing Cave and happily cutting things up, it will not be perfect. My seams will be in the neighbor hoood of 1/4 inch, but honestly if I could concentrate continuosely for hours at a time , well, I’d be some doppelganger of me, because I get three, four minutes at a time. If I am relaxing and enjoying thinking about all the theings my bummble bee brain thinks of while aI am running my machine, well, then, that quarter inch thing is just not going to make me sweat. So I’m sewing a long, and I have this big old nine patch unit that is thirty inches by thirty inches, and it seams boring and my seams don’t match, but not in a fun free way, in a tight twisty way, and I think, hmmm. what went wrong?

Oh, right, I like improvisational quilting. Ok, what next? So, thanks to this blog, I start making massive disappearing nine patches, and suddenly all is right with the world. I find a way to put in some larger scale prints that are kid prints, and the back I am making for Chinese Coins turns into the front of some donation quilts.

Tommorow, the kids go back to school. I will take some pictures for you.