Saturday, May 02, 2015

Picasso's Puzzle Quilt

Here comes another attempt at posting a blog using photos from the camera on my phone. I'm a little more hopeful of good results this time! 

So this is a tale of a small plastic box that has been floating around in my workroom, my garage, outdoors during the Great Renovation Experience of 2008, in storage... and finally into  my newest workroom.  May I present Picasso's Puzzle. 

The story is that back in the early '90s, I had found a pattern for the old style Streak of Lightning quilt, which someone had made up and called Hot Flashes. Well, that's kind of an inspiring name, and I knew just what to use: a new fabric that had come into the shop (the original Bearly Stitchin' on Roosevelt, in Pasadena, before it was expanded) from Hoffman International. They had a line called Pablo's  Puzzle, based on some Picasso-ish squiggles and zigzags and things.
I pulled a group of matching solids--and by the way, these Kona cottons are all still available!. I cut out all the triangles and sashing strips and put them in a box, which I even labeled Hot Flashes Quilt. 

Fast forward to last Monday--20+ years later, after the box had survived many moves and shuffles and threats of being tossed by persons unknown. 

Pablo's Puzzle by Hoffman International
These shapes are parallelograms, not trapezoids.

Back view
I was working on the Prismatic Star, having finally figured out the easiest and best way to sew the diagonal pieces together so they had a prayer of matching. (I know that Judy's patterns are precisely engineered and in theory go together like buttah. I am not the most precise sewer, though, so mine need a little fiddling and adjusting to get the diagonals to match.) When I had sewn a fourth set together and put them down on top of the previous three, and discovered that they were all soaking wet since the iron had leaked--well, that was the last straw! 
I needed something quick, easy, and relatively mindless. My eye lit on the Hot Flashes box... and the rest is history. I spent most of Monday sewing triangles to triangles and then into rows, with just a few hiccups along the way. 

Fast forward to today, Saturday, and I finished the piecing--even figured out how to eke out enough extra Pablo to make side borders. So after 20 years of languishing, in less than a week it's a finished top, has been assigned a backing fabric (lime green with white bubbles) and is once again in a box, this time to ship to my faithful longarmers!

 There may be a moral to this story, but if there is, it's eluding me. However, it's another UFO to move up the list. I had to add it to the sidebar, because it was so deep in obscurity it never made it to that special place. I renamed it Picasso's Puzzle, because the old name just didn't fit, and besides, that was the other quilter's name for her quilt. Mine will remind me of visiting the Musee Picasso in Antibes and perhaps inspire me to unearth some more project boxes. Yes, sadly, there are more of them lurking...

Contents of "the box." Talk about a precut kit!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Vogue Knitting Live in Pasadena

Doll vest in Twisted Stitch
Finally getting to "finish" this post from my wonderful weekend in Pasadena at Vogue Knitting Live! It was a great experience, and I'm glad to be able to share a few vignettes with you!

I took some stimulating classes, got to see some interesting exhibits and awesome vendors, and met up with friends old and new--all very satisfying!

My first class was Bavarian Twisted Knitting with the incomparable, one and only Franklin Habit.  I know, right??  (Check out the very end of this blog post for a surprise!)

Back of the doll vest
 I was feeling shy about taking too many pictures in class, even though he gave permission for non-flash photography, but I just loved this little doll vest. Do I think I'll make one?

I always think I could make something like this. Time and energy constraints mean I have to be mostly satisfied knowing that I could if I wanted to!

 My sampler from the class. The really amusing part--to me--is that I had no problem learning twisted knitting--and that's because I had spent a lot of years unlearning it!

When I first learned to knit--age 7 or so--this was the way my mother taught me, because it was how she knit. (My mother's knitting is a good topic for another blog post!) I didn't realize that it was "wrong" or different until many years later. I "helped" a friend who was bogged down on one of those endless projects that seem like such a good idea when you cast them on... Anyway, I knit a couple rows for her, and she informed me that she would have to take them out, and pointed out how my stitches all leaned a different way than hers. She showed me what I was doing wrong, and my knitting got a lot better looking.

Anyway, twisted knitting is fascinating to do, the charts are really easy to read, and I think there will be more of it in my life!

The second day was two classes, also with Franklin, on designing tesselating patterns. Sounds fancy, huh?

Well--turns out it's very similar to things I've done with quilting for years! Applying the principles to knitting was fascinating!

I did one sample with knit/purl variations and a second with two colors, the green and white.

Not enough contrast between the colors but the pattern did show up better.
 We were encouraged to play with our own designs, using the principles he showed and explained about how to make sure the patterns truly tesselated.

Of course when I came home I went to my bookshelf and found both Jinny Beyer's and Christine Porter's books on tesselating quilts.
Same principles, different materials, but equally fascinating!

All of which segued nicely into the Sunday morning class, on designing with Fair Isle patterns with Mary Jane Mucklestone.
She had tables full of samples that we could touch and examine and try on and try not to drool over.

 I also learned something that will make stranded knitting much easier for me. Again, back in the dim dark past when I was learning to do colorwork, I picked up some bad habits--or poor info, to be fair--and was making life much harder for myself than it needed to be.

When I think of all the colorwork sweaters (and even long pants) I knitted back in the day, well, I wish I had known then what I know now! Anyway, many thanks to Mary Jane for the lesson!

Of course I came home and checked my bookshelf, and I had some of her books. It was kind of exciting to look at them and realize that I had been handling those samples!

The Mochi Mochi table was fun and for some reason the only display I took pictures of! I think it was because by Saturday evening, my feet hurt and I was tired, and I thought I'd get back on Sunday to do a proper job. Well, I didn't make it back on Sunday, instead I met up with some Ravelry friends for lunch and then hit the freeway for home.  On Friday I was cruising the market with the incomparable Ellen Bloom and that was not conducive to picture taking either!

Technical note: both the iPad and iPhone Blogger apps have been refusing to upload pictures for me, so today's photos came via a chain of emailing them to myself then downloading them to the computer and then uploading here. Pretty cumbersome. At least it worked, and here's my post a couple of weeks later!
I have a new friend!