Sunday, August 31, 2008

Empty Spools

As you can see, I've been busy. All of those bobbins were full a week ago, and the spools of thread, too. One great thing about quilting is that I get to use up all my extra thread on my bobbins.

I know you're supposed to match the thread content to your fabric content. In theory I agree with it, but the practical side of me likes using up every last inch of thread in my bobbins. Especially when piecing and such.

I've been thinking about this project since May, and it's finally finished. Much of the thread was used in it, and I can't wait to show you. You'll have to wait a few more weeks, though. It needs a good, supervised washing, and for that I need to be around a washing machine I can control more than the laundromat ones. I'm looking forward to the crinkly goodness that will come out of the dryer.

The rest of the thread was used to make these:

This is only one of them, but there are really six. And what you can't see is that each of these strips is 44" long. This is going to be a present for my mother. Another one of those promised gifts that I am terribly late on delivering. The goal for this one is September 18th, which might prove to be difficult. The strips are going to turn into a quilted tablecloth, and we would love to use the tablecloth to celebrate my grandmother's 100th birthday. (I have good genes, I guess!)

The hard part about that will be quilting the tablecloth, since my machine only has a small throat. I might try to do some hand embroidery instead. We'll see how close I come!

There is also a reason I've been sewing more than knitting. I have 5 stitches in my left hand index finger that I got while (rotary) cutting some strips for the projects I've shown you. It's healing nicely, and I went last week to get them removed, only to hear I need them in for another week. I can knit, and have been a little, but haven't been able to do too much of it. I am, however, PLANNING a lot of knitting. Stay tuned....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mittens in the Middle of Summer

I have a horrible tendency to promise my mother I'll make her something for, say, Christmas, and then be very tardy with the project's completion.
Here is the first (unlined and thumbless) mitten she asked for. When she looked through Magnificent Mittens, she loved the wide cuffs that go outside of your jacket. I said happily I'd make her some using some leftover yarn she had.

This is Harrisville Cashmere Blend, and is a marvelous yarn to work with. I'm so happy with the smooth stitches. This mitten isn't even finished, much less blocked, and my stitches look fairly even. I had some other colorwork experiences recently that did not go so smoothly, alas.

I was sidetracked by a busy summer and craziness, and so I have not gone back to the second mitten. As I recall, the hand of the first one did not take too long, but the cuff -- and especially the fringe -- were rather painful. I'll finish it up, though, hopefully in time for Christmas!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Another Quilt

I started this one a long time ago, after I saw some of these on blogs. After the Flying Geese Quilt, I had a ton of extra 5" squares, and I loved the idea of color floating in white space.

I did modifly the pattern after my experience with the Flying Geese quilt. I think most of these quilts were made in strips, but I knew my strips wouldn't be even because I still have not perfected the 1/4" seam allowance. Instead, I chose to make this pattern into a block that was 4" x 6". Each block has a 4 x 4" white square on the bottom and on the top a 2 x 2" color square and a 2 x 2" white square. This allowed me to check my measurements for accuracy and square up the blocks before I joined them. It might not have been necessary, but I enjoyed doing it this way.

I still haven't figured out how to quilt straight lines -- but I kind of like the wobbles. I'm enjoying them right now, and I'll branch out later. The back is a lovely Kaffe Fassett print surrounded by the front border print. I bought both of them on, and did not intend for them to go together. Then, when I put them together they worked well, and the border gave the front of the quilt just the right amount of unity.

See how nicely all of the squares line up in this overhead shot? That's the reason I used the blocks. I'm happy now.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A summer of new things....

I traveled this summer. It seems like I've been away from home almost the entire time. Things are finally settling down, and I had a chance to take some pictures this morning.

In my travels I made some discoveries. None of them really surprised the people who know me well.

At the Corning Museum of Glass I discovered I enjoy glass-blowing. They have workshops where you get to blow your own glass. (To be fair and provide full disclosure, you get to choose the colors and blow into the glass rod, but the museum workers do the majority of the work). We had to get our ornaments shipped to us, and I was so happy when I opened mine up.

I'm lucky enough to live in an area where I can take glass-blowing classes. Hopefully there will be one in my not-so-distant future.

On San Juan Island outside of Seattle I found a basketweaving kit. A friend called and as we were talking, she asked me what I was doing. "Basketweaving," I responded. I think it's pretty funny that she didn't question it at all.

This was a great kit, and it was affordable, also. They supply to national parks, museums and historical reenactment sites. I'll be keeping my eyes open for some more.

There was some quilting going on. This has been sitting around for a while, and I finally got my act together to finish it. Once I got motivated, it was quick work.

And, of course, some knitting. I haven't been knitting as much as I had been, what with all of the distractions. I do have a lot more to show, though!