Friday, April 26, 2013

Trials and Memories

 Since I've been showing you some of the "jacket panels" that I've been working on the last few days, I thought I'd show you one of the completed jackets from a "few" years ago.

This one was for Meg, aka D4.She loves yellow, and had picked out a pretty yellow and light blue floral for the lining. There are some sections of the lining in the piecework on the front as well.

The jacket is finished with a royal blue separating zipper and kelly green ribbing at the neck, hem, and cuffs.

She really wanted lots and lots of tiny patchwork, and that's what she got. Oh, some of it is pretty big, and there are some expanses of plain fabric (like the pintucked section, which is also the lining fabric) but for the most part, it's Mamma piecing itsy bitsy  teeny weeny stuff. 
 See what I mean?

The general theme of the jackets I made was that if some piecing was good, more was better.

Lots more.

Seminole piecing. Itsy bitsy prairie points--they're yellow and they almost show up agains the blue checks in this picture.
Can you spot the prairie points?

 Now, I seriously doubt that this kind of thing will come back into fashion, much less to be worn by the chic young professional woman she's morphed into.

But, maybe some day we'll take it apart (again!) and make it into a wall hanging.

Or a doll blanket. Or a tote bag. Or maybe just keep it around to remember "when."

On to my latest tribulations. After putting it off for a while, I finally managed to get the second sleeve set into Audrey's sweater, and was happily knitting away last night.

When... all of a sudden, the knitting didn't feel quite right.

You know that sinking feeling you get when you look down at your knitting, and y ou have the needle in your hand, but its cable has come undone and is a foot away from where it should be...and there are all those stitches dangling in mid-air...
Luckily I had just finished moving the sleeve from the DPNs to the circular, so they were right there next to my chair. I was able to catch most of the stitches and anchor them onto a couple of DPNs...and that's when I decided that it had better just wait for me there.

This morning I rousted out another needle of roughly the right size and length--it's a 5, and I was working with a 6, but I mainly wanted to get the stitches back on A needle and in reasonable order. I was even able to catch up the stitches that had dropped down a couple of rows, so it looks as if I'm back in business. I did email KnitPicks and in less than 20 minutes from sending my email, I had a promise of a replacement cable to be sent ASAP. No questions asked, either. For the most part, I've had very good luck with  my KP needles, and I love their quick response to problems.

So it's back to onward and upward and hopefully getting this little sweater finished soon! After all, there are two more OTN!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Progress, and a Decision

Managed to get a little quilting done on the "jacket piece" today, so now this one is ready to go into the washer for its shrinkfest. Still not quite sure what its ultimate finish will be, kind of thinking that it will depend on how it looks when it's all done.

(I'm getting some unsolicited help with my blogging from Hi-Hi, who seems to be feeling neglected today. I told him he'd have had his picture taken with  the quilts if he hadn't been snoozing away upstairs!)

The last couple of days have been blessedly and blissfully cool, unlike Monday and Tuesday which felt more like high summer than springtime! I'm hoping the heat will hold off a little longer--I get so much more done when it's cool!

Anyway, this second picture is the third piece of the series, and I think it's going to be a "real" quilt. It's fairly cohesive in a scrappy way, and since it was only straight-pinned to the flannel and not to the backing, it's going to be easy to add some real batting instead and just go ahead and quilt it. The floral fabric to the right of it is the backing fabric, which you can't exactly tell, but is also in the piecing  If nothing else, this will be a great piece to practice some free-motion work on, some fillers and some doodles and kind of try to get some of my skills back up to speed.

Today was one of "those" days that got off to a slow start, because instead of coming right downstairs and getting my day going, I took some time to clean out a drawer in the bathroom dresser. Yes, my upstairs bathroom has a cute little antique dresser in it, along with the clawfoot tub and pedestal sink! We originally had a high-tank pull-chain toilet, too, but the tin lining in it gave out and it was just too much upkeep after a while, so we had it replaced with a nice low-flow model. TMI?

I did manage to get the second sleeve set into Audrey's sweater, so that's going to be my handwork while I watch the finale of Project Runway tonight. That, or more binding...the stack hasn't grown any, but it also isn't shrinking much! Oh well--we'll see if I feel like knitting or stabbing tonight!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Moving right along!

 Well, I've 1added one more quiltlet to the FO stack--one less UFO to weigh me down! Even though this is a little quilt, it's got a lot of quilting on it--two bobbins' worth.

I quilted it on my 1230, and I have to say that Bernina bobbins hold a lot of thread! This is all free-motion work.

You may recall that this is one of the quilts that surfaced in the infamous blue tub o' quilts a while back. I added the binding to it; it had been quilted in the ditch along the borders and outlining the tree.
 I had originally wanted to use a gold metallic thread on this quilt, but when I finally found the one I'd planned to use, I didn't like the effect at all. I wound up using a shiny gold-color Sulky rayon for the squiggles on the tree and in the narrow green border--it gives the effect of shiny gold garland on the tree, which is what I wanted.

The background--which is a cream overprinted with white stars--is quilted in freeform stars and squiggles.

Can I just say that my free motion quilting skills have atrophies? Going to take lots of practice to get me back to where I want to be--hopefully at least as good as I was before the long hiatus

This "interesting" piece started life as one of three panels for a jacket. Back in the '90s there was quite a fad for quilted jackets,most of them made with Back Porch Press' diamond design. It's a very basic body, and I made several but all of mine were this kind of crazy patchwork. Meg's is blue and yellow, mainly, and by her request no piece is more than an inch wide or long. My mother-in-law's was in her favorite navy and red, with roosters in one of the prints--it isn't this wild.

The basic idea was that you quilted the design onto flannel and a backing fabric, then cut out and assembled the jacket once the fabric had shrunk--it would look as if you'd cut up an old quilt to make it, but of course you hadn't committed that sacrilege!

Anyway, I found this piece, along with two more, that were probably meant for another jacket. Two of them were safety-pinned to the backing fabric and one was straight-pinned on. I cut them apart, and then found what I thought would be some suitable threads for this piece.  It's all quilted in straight lines with the walking foot on the Brother--top thread is a variegated cotton Sulky, bottom thread a pastel variegated King Tut.

Now this piece is sitting in the laundry basked, #2 is cued up and ready to be quilted, and #3, well, it's going to take a little thought to decide what to do with it. The flannel innards are wrinkled and so is the top and back--not being safety pinned means it didn't come out of hibernation very well.

Not sure what the ultimate destiny is for these pieces. My current thoughts are tote bags, knitting bags, or doll quilts. Definitely will not be a jacket, however!

Shyla has found a nice soft place to call her nest, and it delights me that she naps in the open on this guest bed! She will come up to me for petting, and she has napped her way through a couple of sessions of me folding laundry on the foot of the bed. She still doesn't care for Hi-Hi, but at least it's mostly down to muttering bad words at him and spitting if he comes too close.

She's at least "out of the closet" now!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Still here...

 Really! Was rather appalled to notice that it's been a loooonnnnngggg time since I last blogged! Not quite sure where the time has gone, exactly. Feels as if I've been really busy, but then I don't seem to have much to show for it.

Except that one thing about plugging away on projects is that one fine day, you can start putting finishing touches on things...and lo and behold, you suddenly have 4, count 'em, 4 Finished Objects!

Time to show you what they look like, right? Not that you haven't had a look at them before. Just nont in this state! So here's the little Trees quilt, which I have hung in the living room.

 It was folded for quite a while, so I hope the crease down the middle will hang out. If not, I may just toss it into the washer and dryer and see what happens.

This was from a class at Asilomar with Sylvia Einstein, back a few years ago. That was also the class where I made this quilt and the similar batik one (which is in my to-be-quilted tub).  The border of this one was quilted with a leafy vine design, and the trees are done in a kind of meander that mostly matches the hearts and swirls in the fabric. I really like the way this one came out!

This is a closeup of the red and black "lobsterback" quilt. I stippled in all the black areas, and then put hearts in the middle of some of the stars. The other stars have--so original!--stars in them!
Here's the whole quilt. 

This is the back--hence "lobsterback."

 More peculiarities going on with Blogger and my laptop--very odd. I think they are fighting for supremacy, and I'm getting rather frustrated.

Oh well. This is the Tulips and Peacock Feathers, which was half-quilted when I found it in the tub o' UFOs. I had put binding on it and then have been working on the quilting. I had done two sides of the border in an improvised tulip design--and it looked absolutely awful. I had done it with the same variegated thread I used in the body, and it just didn't work. From a foot away all you could see were the white parts. So I got some more thread (because one can never have too much thread!) and free-motioned a meandering border of leaves. Similar to, but not as pretty as, the leaves on the Trees quilt.

My quilting needs a lot of practice. Speaking of which, I'm trying to decide what to do to finish off this quilt. It was a project many (as in 1983-ish!) years ago in a 'quilt all night" class. I actually did get it all cut and sewn together in the overnight part of the class--added the batting, rolled the back over to make a "binding" and then... The instructions were to tie it with ribbons. I did a few ties and hated the way it looked, and besides it was time to go home and start the weekend "runs." I did get it thread-basted, and it's got a fair amount of hand quilting in it.

And there it sits. I just pulled out all the basting threads, and gave it a wash today. I'm thinking that some machine quilting can finish it off so it's at least usable.  But there are a lot of puckery places. At least, it's found its way into the queue!

Going to finish this post off with some of my "feral" rosebushes, which are currently blooming happily away in the back yard. Just putting a few captions on them, and that will be a wrap for this post!

Pink Rugosa--very prickly! 
Bonica--a shrub rose

Red Rugosa--not as strong a plant as the pink one!

The giant sprawling old rosebush

Calico...a floribunda

One of the David Austin roses
This one reaches past the eaves on the garage!
Calico bush

Sceptered Isle--one of the David Austins

Hi-Hi says goodnight!