Saturday, June 08, 2013

Saturday Summary

 One of the participants in a Facebook group posted a picture of a little quilt very similar to this one, which prompted me to dig around a bit in the linen closet and get it out. I think it needs to go into the trunk that holds a lot of other "family" needlework pieces.

My mother-in-law embroidered this when she was expecting my husband, and passed it along to me when I was expecting my first baby. I'm pretty sure, from information on the FB list and other sources, that this was a kit, with the muslin pre-stamped and the applique pieces either pre-cut or printed ready to sew on. Where a couple of stitches have come undone, you can see the blue printing.

Most of the embroidery is done in running stitch, although there's some lazy daisy stitches in there too. It amuses me, because looking at it closely, I can tell that she made her stitches match the printed lines exactly.

It's bound in  a light blue calico commercial binding, which is the same print as the blue appliques.

I had thought over the years of doing something with it, maybe layering it and turning it into a "real" quilt but now I'm kind of glad I didn't, since it's (as far as I know) the only piece of handwork of hers that we have. I never saw her working on anything, but I do have a trunk full of things her mother, aunts, grandmothers and other relatives made. I'll share them in other posts.

These two knitted squares--which I photographed while they were blocking--are for a fund-raiser afghan to benefit The Ships Project.  This is sponsored by NETA, the New England Textile Arts group, to help provide postage and other associated costs incurred by The Ships Project in sending hand-made hats, scarves, socks, helmet liners, etc, to our troops.

Even though I'm not in New England any more, I have still managed to make a square or two every year and thus feel as if I'm a part of the project.

The one on the right is The Anchor, from Barbara Walker's First Treasury, and I think it's a pretty appropriate pattern for a Navy (ret.) mom to make for the Ships.

If you're in or around New England, or will be traveling in the area, do check out the blog. There's a wealth of resources there ranging from fiber festivals to shops and farms and vendors and meetups and...

Back to the pinwheels! I was cutting the completed ones (only about half of them) apart when I found this. Yeah, sometimes it's not a good idea to keep sewing when  you're tired or when the cat is being particularly pushy.

Right sides together. Repeat the mantra, right sides together.

Otherwise, Jack the ripper has to come out and separate the pieces.

I found a few more pieces of 30s prints so I cut a few dozen more squares..

Not without help, though. Note that furry butt and rather large paw holding down the rule.. Ain't no cutting happening here.

And he's ignoring me.

I was doing laundry at the same time, so when he would get in the way I'd get up and go wrangle a load or two.  Usually when I got back, he'd have left.

Look at how cute the selvedge is!
 He doesn't like laundry, once it's clean. He loves to sleep  in my dirty-clothes basket, though.  I do not question the ways of cats. Tache used to sleep exclusively in baskets of all-white laundry (diapers were her favorite) probably because, being all white herself, she thought she could hide.

Yeah. Not so much. Her name, which is French for Spot, refers to a little black spot that she had between her ears, on  the top of her head. We think Noelle got carried away washing her head and washed it off completely.

I did manage to get some squares cut, in spite of the help from my supervisor.

Then it was back to the assembly line. I've already cut a few more strips and made more squares, because I had run out of both yellow and green ones.

There are still a lot more squares to sew. At this point, I have no idea how many blocks I'm going to end up with.

I just keep sewing and sewing and sewing. Every couple of bobbins, I clean and oil the machine, and I even changed the needle today for good measure.

I think the message I got loud and clear was, time to stop for the day!

It's okay. I frogged another project and cast on for another HitchHiker scarf, because I really needed another semi-mindless travel/group project. Got a couple of doctor visits this week so must be prepared!
I'm also working on binding quilts. Still working my way around the Tumblers, but I've only got one more corner to go (and two long sides, but I'm focusing on corners...) and it will be done. Then on to the next one, and the next, and...

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different!

Knitting!! And a Finished Object!

The pattern is HitchHiker by Martina Behm,  It's part of her e-book, HitchHiker, A Trilogy in Four Patterns.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams' trilogy--in four volumes, later five--well, I suggest a read.

The movies were not very good, and didn't capture the wry humor very well.

It's easy for jokes that depend on wordplay to fall flat when turned visual.

I first heard of it when a local PBS station broadcast the BBC TV version. That was a lot of fun, and I loved later on reading about how much they improvised when they were filming.

Anyway, this scarf/shawl/wrap/whatever thingy is a long long piece of knitting--this one took all but a yard or two of the 560-yard skein of Miss Babs' Yowza, in Nasturtiums.

It's a wonderful yarn to knit with, and this was a fun project. I mean, really fun in that kind of semi-mindless-knitting kind of way, where you can knit knit knit and the pattern just flows.
 This one starts with three stitches and grows from there, with "teeth" every 10th row. Ideally, if you were using a finer yarn (this one is a light worsted, but the original was done in Wollmeise which is sock weight) you'd get 42 teeth.

I only got 36.

So I guess I came up short on the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

 I couldn't resist posing it under the orange tree next door. I mean, could you?

The funny thing is that orange is normally not my color, but I fell in love with this skein at Stitches West last year, carried it around for a while and then it came home with me.

See, I do use my yarn for knitting with.


Quick shot of my jacaranda tree, which is blooming its little purple head off right now. It's been windy and hot, so a lot of the blossoms have fallen, and not only does my lawn look like a purple carpet, so does the driveway.

Long couple of days, so now it's wine o'clock here.

Or, as my friend Holly reminded me, it's Wine Wednesday.

Just a nice crisp tart and tangy Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. You may notice that I'm following my resolution to Use The Good Wineglasses.

Cheers, and good night. Tomorrow it may be back to the pinwheels...

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Pinwheel Hell, Part Something-or-Other, with Bonus Double Wedding Ring

Here, let me distract you with some pretty pictures. Here's the evening sky, just a few minutes before sunset. 

I went for a walk, just because I'd been cooped up in the house for too long, and dusk is my favorite time of day.

Just as I got home, the sun went down, and it was a nice sunset. Not the most spectacular, but a nice one nonetheless.

Oh, you want to know about the pinwheels, and why I feel as if I've been dropped into the fifth circle of Dante's Inferno?
Would you also like to hear about my giant math fail?

Here we go. See that picture over there, the one that shows a white and a colored half-square triangle set on top of a print square?

I made a whole lot of those white/print sets. And I was very clever, and while I was sewing them I carefully set aside one colored square for each set.

Do you see the problem?

As I started sewing, I realized that I was rapidly running out of colored squares. Duh. Of course... each of those white/print sets was cut into TWO squares, so I had half as many as I needed.

 In my defense, last week I was fighting off some kind of nasty little bug. Just lots of fever, chills, aches and an overpowering need to sleep.
 One of the things I found when I was stash diving--because, when disaster threatens, I always shop my stash first!--was a pack of 50 precut 5" squares in 30's prints. Well, my 1/2 square triangle squares were mostly 5 1/4" or a little less, but I determined (yes I used a ruler and measured!) that using them would work and still leave me with 4 1/2" squares.

Would you believe I used all 50 and was still working on the blue squares? Yeah, I'm making a metric ton of pinwheels.

Yesterday I took what I'd done so far to my some-Mondays quilt group and spent something like 3 hours cutting what I've done so far apart. I had my little iron and my cutting stuff with me, but never got to the point of actually being able to press any, much less square them up.
 Of course, the Quilt Supervisor has been expressing his feelings about the whole project.

He doesn't see why I would rather play with bits of fabric than pet my beautiful cat.

I had a little trouble taking this picture. That's my arm and hand he's resting his head on.

Ever try chain-piecing when your "steady" hand is pinned down?

Not the easiest thing to do!

Then he moved over a bit, but kept his paw on the pieces so I couldn't move them.

I love those little chubby white paws of his, though.

Look at that defiant stare!

I've been busy with other stuff, though, so no sewing today or maybe not even tomorrow.

In case I forget I'm a knitter, I have a few UFOs to remind me.

This particular one has been hibernating for a while, and I finally decided that I wasn't going to like it when it was done. It's a pretty design, and the yarn is to die for--cashmere, silk, merino wool, in a heavenly lavender--but I wasn't feeling it.

So I decided the wisest thing was to frog it. Directly onto the ball winder!

 Then there was another round of purging the yarn stash. The first picture is stuff I've set aside to sell, either in person or via my eBay assistant (aka Courtney of the eternal patience and talent).

This is all really good stuff. Not that I've really had any crap yarn around the place for a while, but I have finally realized that I can't possibly knit it all.

So time to rehome it. I've already sold one skein out of the stack, so go me!

The next picture is stuff I decided to just give away.

There was more added to this after I took the picture, In fact, there wound up being two large tubs' worth.

The Great Wall of Rubbermaid
Some of it went to people who are going to knit for charity, and some for people to knit for themselves.

I'm very happy to have it gone.

Those empty tubs next to the full tub are boxes and bins that were emptied out. So now there's less in the Great Wall of Rubbermaid.

Speaking of which:

 And now for something completely different.

With all the interest that was shown over the Double Wedding Ring bits that were left on my doorstep, I thought I'd follow up a bit.

I passed it along to Tim Latimer, who does the most amazing things with vintage quilt tops and unfinished pieces. He blogged about it here

I'd mentioned the DWR quilt Id made for my son and his wife when they were married in '87, and texted JP to ask him to send me some pictures of their quilt.

So here are his pictures!

I love the hanger he made for it. JP has a real talent with woodworking, among other skills.

It's all hand quilted and uses the finest of quilting fabrics that were available in '87. I guess that kind of makes it a time capsule.

Maybe some day a quilt historian will look at this quilt and have some comments about the choices. Some of the fabrics have faded a bit, but I personally am glad to know that they've had it and loved it for all these years, and that it's been a background to much of their family life. Much better for a quilt than to be hidden away carefully "preserved" and yet meaningless!

One thing my hypothetical historian might notice is that the quilting stitches are mostly not perfect, and there's a wild variation in skill levels. That's because I had help quilting it from friends who wanted a part of it, from my daughters who wanted to learn a bit, and even--wait for it--from some celebrities.

This quilt had a "cameo" part in the John-Boy's Wedding episode of The Waltons. So the Quilting Consultants (a co-worker, Janeen Lewis, and I) got to spend a day on set, coaching the actors on how to appear to be quilting (for the ones who didn't actually know how). A few of the ladies did know how to quilt, though. Michael Learned  (Mom Walton) is an accomplished quilter.

So, there's my update about what's been happening. I have a piece of deadline knitting that needs to be finished ASAP, which I can hopefully show off the next time I blog, and maybe I can start dividing my time a little more evenly between the quilting and the knitting.

Well, it could happen. I could finish a pinwheel quilt or two in this millenium. too. Weirder things have happened!