Friday, 31 July 2015

A bit of a funk.

I am in a bit of a funk today.  Or at least I was yesterday.  I think it just holdover from travel and unpacking and not sleeping in my bed and then being presented with the 'usual' again. And so here I am in a funk.

I spent the day working on a quilt square.  One more down.  I think I am going to work on all the coloured and sewn squares in row and then will do all the plain white.  Setting my brain to a process will make it feel faster, right?

Then I knit a little on Carter's sweater.  I love what is going on with the fabric.
I keep having to remind me that no matter how close I feel to this sweater being long enough, it needs to be longer to count for shrinkage and firming up on washing.  

I am struggling a little with the needle.  I don't have a longer free 3 mm at hand  and I don't have a 16 inch 3 mm at all. At both stores, the 3 mm hook was bereft of needles except for the same length I have (All of Alberta and BC are knitting with 3 mm needles this summer.  Must be!) It isn't that it is not do-able.  It is, but it is like binding underwear.  It does the job, but you keep needing to adjust it all the time so it doesn't pinch.

In the evening I took one of my spinning wheels up to the front and thought I would play and set my unsettled self at ease before I went to bed.  

I have some of the lovely stuff I spun a couple summers ago

and I thought it was time to get this set finished.  One of the reasons that these sat so long, was that on the lovely bobbin to the back, the end had become buried in among all the other strands.  It was impossible to find but somehow during moving and the long sit, it worked itself loose.  Good to go.  Well almost.  I need an empty bobbin first.  

I am pretty sure that I will feel better today.  The sun is shining and I am going to have coffee on the deck. Everything will sort itself out.  There, just saying it I feel better already.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Another yarny stop

I did make another yarny stop along the way home.  It was a tough debate.  I could drive through Calgary or take the Icefield Highway and hit Lacombe.  In the very last minute I could possibly chose (as the interchange to the parkway approached) I decided for Calgary.

If my back had been feeling good, I would have done the Canmore yarn store and a couple in Calgary.  In the end I did stop in Canmore.  

Its is a sweet new store, Yarn and Company.  She said they are brand new.  they are  very nice though and she carries a very nice selection of things.

I picked up two patterns from Churchmouse and  some yarn to knit one of them in.  they had a wonderful selection of PimaLino Lace and I think that is going to work well for something for one of my girls.

After that, honestly, I just wanted to get home.  When you are at Canmore it really isn't that long to home, so I drove the rest of the way,  but, if I do it again, I am going to make an allowance for overnighting both ways.  From here in Edmonton to Vernon, that is a really long drive.

And I will be doing it again.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The thinking stage

I thought I would have returned to the thinking stage by now, but I have to confess.  It's a little sluggish returning.  I had the loveliest day with a neighbor.  I returned some books I had borrowed to her and spent the whole day, the entire whole day at her house discussing projects and life and food and...well gosh darn it, I left at 10 a.m. and came home at 5 minutes to 5 p.m. It was wonderful!  We were both a little surprised at how the day just drifted away. Just a little.

To pay penance to the world and to right the karmic balancing of a day spent in leisurely chat, I did some terrible work in the evening.  I looked for missing documents in boxes of paper.  And had success, I might add.

But today, it is time to return from holiday mode.  I thought I would start my day right.

 A pot of coffee just for me.  You can share if you pop over though, but it isn't anybody's strong, It would be lukewarm strong to most, but suits me just right. And I have a feeling I am gonna need the whole pot.

Even with a pot of coffee, my day seems to want to start gently and slowly.  I played with yarn, but then that was my goal for the day.  To play with it enough to show you the wonderful time I had in Vernon visiting a friend and teaching a sock fitting class for the A Twist of Yarn in Vernon, BC.

First off, a warning.  This shop informs you of its vibrant nature before you step in the door.  Cascades of flowers overflow the porch.  Yes.  It has a porch of the very best kind.  

The shop is on the main floor of this beautifully restored home.  It is welcoming and warm and is a most wonderous place for those of you wanting to be led astray in the most delightful way imaginable. You might be headed to the Okanagan Valley for the wine, but oh my sweet heavens, do not pass up the chance to stop in Vernon for a visit.  You do yourself an injustice if you don't.

The moment you walk into the door, you are surrounded by colour.  A saturation of colour, if there is such a thing.  It isn't that there are not quiet colour corners.  There are, but the things that hits you when you step in the door is that energy of the marvelous rich things she carries.

The second I stepped in the door the first time, my eyes landed on this.

There must be a spirit in this yarn infusing it with light from within. I swear it glows in the darkest of rooms.  As you can plainly see, I did not withstand it's call.  Maiden Hair from Handmaiden in Berry.

I also fell under the spell of Elena Nodel and her wonderful Colour Adventure yarns.  

A kit for the Nostalgia Shawl came home with me.  

I picked up Tahiti for a little beaded scarf they had on display. Ah, here it is. The sample that is.  Isn't that just the prettiest thing?  The pattern is Dangling Conversations by Mindy Ross. The soft gradations of colour and a sea of simple knitting.  It only takes one ball, but I think I want mine a little larger.  I have two skeins.

The store also carries a really good selection of yarns from Hemp for Knitting which I was so pleased to see.  I wish I had a source locally.  I have always wanted to try some. This is Hempton, a cotton, hemp and modal blend that I can't wait to see worked up.  My mom mentioned that she wanted a small shrug for with a dress she just bought and if she wants, I will knit her one but if not, I have enough for me!

This is Colour Adventures Super Soft Aran base.  Trust me.  This photo is paled in comparison to the truly vibrant nature of the Tiger Lily colourway.  I honestly had trouble not bringing more of this home.  And soft too?  Utterly irresistible I have a plan for this...

I picked up a blue and vibrant Ocean colourway of Colour Adventures Merino Light blend, yes the same blue as in the Nostalgia Shawl kit, to pair with a hard to describe beauty of a colourway called Pavlin.  It is purple and green and blue and black and just stunning, stunning, stunning.  A Daybreak, perhaps?

And then, I swear I was standing there and these just fell in to the basket.  Some of the new Regia line of Arne and Carlos.  You just shouldn't wait to try this sock yarn.  The patterning in it is just  great.

And a little to temp me back to spinning (not that I need a whole lot of temptation), several braids of Polwarth in Tiger Lily and a braid of Polwarth and Silk in the Denim colourway.  No way can I get the nature of the Polwarth and silk across in a picture.  You just have to feel it.  

Anyway, I have errands and laundry and things to move away from my door.  I have a car in desperate need of clean.  

There is so much more that I want to tell you about my little vacation to the valley but it is going to have to wait for another day.  Onward I say, well past the thinking stage.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

I baaaack

Have returned.

 Have yarn.  Had wonderful time.

Am utterly pooped after very late return home.  Am dozing and not thinking.  Will think tomorrow.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Go West

I am on the road today.  It's a yarny kind of road trip even if today will be very yarn short.

I passed by the yarn store in Lacombe, Craft Lady.  She wasn't open yet.  Sigh.  Then I took the road less traveled, which means that I miss the yarn stores in Calgary and Canmore ( If the Canmore store is still there)  .

I have headed west on Alberta Highway 11 and am currently at the small town of Nordegg.  I am going to fill with gas and then am off to Banff National Park coming on the north most road.   

Monday, 20 July 2015


I've been on a spree of finishing things lately.  I finished the lovely Viajante which has been in the works for 2 years.  I correctly finished the very pleasing Clapotis which had been laying around, waiting for repair for 2 years.  I finished a sweater that had been on the needles for 2 years.

Yesterday, it felt right to finish something else.

I picked up my Myliu Lino which I finished knitting in April.  It has been waiting for sewing seams and for weaving in the ends for many weeks.  It just felt like the right time.

 I was a little concerned about the seams, but then I do avoid seams.  I work very hard to do that. It never turns out so bad in the end.  Even the lace sections seams are pretty decent and that is where I was really worried.  I really ought to stop avoiding seams.

I started this top with 2 bags of 10 balls each of Rowan Bamboo Tape.   I used all but 1 scant ball. There are 950 grams of yarn in this top.  It is going to grow longer just because there are 950 grams of yarn in it, not for any other reason.  But it is lovely.

It doesn't look like much here.  The form is very small.  I originally bought it, with the plan to use it as a base for a new custom fit dress form. Until then, sweaters will look crappy on it, and spectacular on me.

This sweater looks spectacular on me.  I am so very very pleased.  That wide swath of fabric flows just as it should and it just looks exactly right.  After I took this photo I sat down to weave in ends. 

Remember those 20 balls?  There were a lot of ends to weave and secure,  Plus each of those ends need a little knot so that the fabric that makes up the tapes little knitted tube, does not unravel.  It took forever.  And ever.

But it is done and I love it.

Next up, yet another sweater that has been sitting in the wings, waiting for finishing. A finishing frenzy?  Not quite, but I am enjoying it.  I gotta go figure out where all these finished things are going to fit now.  My drawers are full and the closet is tiny.  But that is another story.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Of Bargains and Unfortunate Things

Sometimes a bargain can be an unfortunate thing.

One of the ladies here in the knit group found a hank of very pretty novelty yarn in a discount bin at a bog box craft store.  There was not brand label on it, but there was a handwritten label on it with all the pertinent information.

I was going to help her wind it and we thought it would be okay, but at some point in it's past life, It had been twisted and mangled and was in a pretty sad state.

It actually looks pretty decent here, but hidden in it's depths it was a misery of  twisting, writhing strings.What made it so hard to handle was that most of it was 2 strands that were not spun together, just carried together and when the ball was handled and lost its band in the store, some of those ends became entangled with other strands of yarns, and then got retangled with other bits and twists and turns.  For a very long time, I could not find the ends of anything, other than the two original ends we found.  Just before we left stitching last night to go home, I found a second end of the thickest green yarn.

I took it home with me and worked on it for a couple of hours.  I was tied up in a section of fine thread eyelash yarn, which is a very dark green, and decided that waiting for morning and light was a really good idea.  I am glad I did.

It took a while, but I found where the largest green yarn was tied to a novelty yarn, and was able to ball that up.  I now had two balls from opposite ends of the yarn but I also had a way better idea of the yarn combinations involved.  There wasn't always 2 yarns like I thought, and once I knew which yarn was stranded alone everything became easier.  It took another couple hours in the morning, but it was eventually tamed.  That fine thread of eyelash and its green yarn companion was the last section un-knotted in the very middle of the ball.

 It may not look like much.  It is, after all, just a ball of interesting yarn.

But it looks and feels like success to me and that is a great way to start a morning.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Going waaaay back

About 2 years ago, I finished a Clapotis that was first begun in 2010.  Only it had a problem.

See that funny looking pointy end?  I zigged when I should have zagged.  I got so into watching the yarn running out that I completely forgot to change charts and just knit till it was a corner.  I could have been ok, but it really wasn't what I was going for.  The finished date on the page was April of 2013 and after the start of June 2013, everything just changed.  It has been hiding here and there in piles of things that needed a place ever since. I like the project, it just needed fixing.

Today, I was cleaning a pile of linens that sat on a chair in my back entry hall.  I started putzing today early, and it felt like the right day to deal with that pile.  Linens sorted and put, so now, all that was left was to deal with this.

I pulled out the point,

 and went back to the pattern, and am now knitting the last corner.  Again.  The right way.

Its amazing what happens when you actually read the pattern.  And there will be plenty of yarn left.  No worries.

And here we go.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

To Boldly Go

I am a child of the space race, of Gemini and Apollo.  I was a little too young to really remember Mercury but I do recall the first seven astronauts.  The early space flights ignited my imagination.  If they were launching, and it wasn't during school hours, we watched it eagerly.  The Eagle landed on the moon when I was at summer camp and we were not allowed to see it on to available TV, but there were no counselors around.  They were all watching it or listening to it on the radio.  Not that I am bitter.  Much. My favourite travel memory was watching a shuttle launch from the shores at Cocoa and watching that brilliant stream of light fly till it was just a speck in the sky.  Brian and I did not have to speak to know what each of us was thinking that day.  We were awestruck and space struck by the dreams of our generation.  

There is part of me that has always felt mankind's perfect metaphor for who we could be was landing on the moon.  And the low points were the disasters that befell the shuttles.  I felt a little lost after that.

Last year Chris Hadfield's tour de force commanding of the airwaves captured my heart and I think I have been waiting since. Brian would have really enjoyed that. 

And this.  

Joel's twitter feed, where you can feel the excitement of the room,

I could go on, but there will be more over the next while as New Horizons downloads its pictures.

Meanwhile, I feel like a kid waiting to open presents at Christmas.  I can't sit still, and I feel all jumpy and excited.  Human kind, with the skills of dreamers and talented engineers and planetary scientists and all the people who directly supported them, boldly went where no human has gone before.  And they took us with them.

This could be the beginning of a new metaphor for what we are capable of.

 I need to celebrate.  This calls for ice cream. With a dash of acidophilus on the side.  

Another step

Life presents us with another day or not with bold clarity.  It's stark and you don't get to choose.  If you get another day, you get it, make of it what you will.   Knitting tells me the same thing only so much more gently and kindly.   When a knitting project is finished, it jumps up and like an over eager puppy, with its tongue hanging out the side of its mouth, and says, "Oh boy !  A new project!",   and then it pants till you pay attention.

I think that is why knitting is so vital to me, why it kept me going through the darkest days.  Knitting is the eager puppy in my dark corner.  There is always something waiting to be knit.

Because my little peanuts sweater fits him too closely right now,

  and the chance of him wearing this sweater right now is virtually nil (their house faces west and it is high summer),  I decided to knit another sweater for him. He is going to be out of this pretty thing before the end of summer at the rate he is growing anyway.

I planned this batch of sweaters to last my kiddies a while.  Sweet Thing's and my wee Motor Man's  do that perfectly,

plus, the Peanut's sweater is going to end up going to my little Motor Man, so I know they are good for a while.  But my Peanut needs a sweater from Grandma.

After I finished my pleasing Viajante, I went digging for yarns that would work for a new sweater for the Peanut.  His mom wants easier care things so that restricts me to acrylic yarns, some of the cottons, and my ever shrinking stock of superwash yarns and wool blends for kids.  Mom is also not big into green and the Peanut is one of those hot body kids.  Less is more.  The dk weight of the other yarn would not have worked except for its minimal wool and 80% bamboo rayon.  I have a a well stocked wool room, and if I am starting all over again, there just has to be something that would work for the peanut without stealing from yarn I really want to use for myself.   And there was.  I don't have to buy anything more and that makes me happy.

A very long time ago, I bought a large amount of denim style yarns from a discount seller.  I have a medium denim, a light denim and an inbetween denim with lurex, in adult sweater quantities, all from the same South African yarn company.  My plan on purchasing, was to knit Brian and myself each a sweater.  The lurex one was just such a great price (sucker) but do I really need to knit myself 3 denim sweaters?  Obviously, there is a lot on hand and denim yarn is the perfect yarn for kids.  It did cross my mind before, but I really loved the way the blue Baby Bamboo looks on him and it was so lovely to knit.  Oh well.  Denim it is.

And that is how you take another step in knitting. You just begin.

 First steps.  I am knitting an envelope sweater in more of a gansey look.  The envelope opening is perfect for kids his age, and I am going to make sure that there are nice deep arm openings to make sure it fits a nice long while.

And so it goes. That is how you take another knitting step and that is how not to waste any of the days you get.

Monday, 13 July 2015

A Solo Traveler

I've been working on it here and there, picking away at its massive long rows and then one day, you realize that the lace section looks about right.

So you knit a few rows more, just to be sure.

And then it is time to cast off.  So you start to cast off and realize that it is never going to end and then it does.

 Its massive now that it is completed and the ends are free.  From Tip to tip it is over 80 inches wide.

There are so many ways to wear this piece.

 Ends over the shoulders.

 Long side to the front, though I don't think there is a realistic was I can wear it this way. I would worry i would trip on it.  It is just past my knees.

The famous side shot, which really is a lovely way to display it.

The more traditional long part of the v to the back.  I really love its ability to be a head covering as well as scarf.  When you pull up the back to wear over your head, that v raised a bit and become the perfect shawl length.

And a final shot of it, tossed over the shoulders waiting for you to wear it as something else.

I cannot tell you how much I love this.  I wasn't sure if it would really appeal to me, all that stockinette, but in the end, that and the sheer volume of wearable art is utterly sublime.  It is delicate and dainty and yet so utterly simple. 

I haven't blocked the lace yet, and I am not even going to worry about it.  I will steam it open eventually, but it works just as is.

This yarn was Brian's last gift to me, brought back from his golf trip in 2013.  I started knitting with it in September of 2013.  It was such good knitting for those sad days.  Its has stayed my companion ever since, always close at hand, never tucked too far away.  I could have knit it a little larger, but the lace felt like it was just about right.  It had the right sort of presence to the volume of the stockinette, to finish it off and feel balanced.

So I started to cast it off.  I started on Friday while watching the second half of the Battlestar Gallactica Mini series. Not done.

I worked on it yesterday afternoon and evening, while watching 3 very determined to get it done sort of episodes of West Wing.  Still not done.  

I watched another episode of West Wing.  Half way through the episode.  Done.  The episode played on and I cried for a while.

In a way, I will miss having this and its beat up looking ziploc with me all the time.  The bottom of my big purse feels a little bare.  It was a lovely gift and now the last gift wraps my shoulders like a hug to warm all the memories inside me.    

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Saturday Mornings

Saturday mornings are special to me.  Saturday mornings are for coffee and relaxing.  For years and years, Brian and I would have a first cup of coffee in the hot tub and when done that, we'd take a second cup and take a walk around the yard.  We'd wander the paths, and discuss what  we were going to do for the day and what needed to be done.  The hot tub was where we dreamed big dreams and meditated on the wonders of life, and the walk was about setting the day in motion.  We called it taking our 'constitutional'.  It was a lovely way of doing Saturday mornings and as much as I miss the person I shared it with, I miss the form and the quiet routine of it.

Still life is not one to let you sit in one place too long.  Almost before you know it, new routines form, and life has order again.  

Saturday mornings, I leave the tv off.  I sit and listen to the birds at my neighbour's feeder and listen to the fountain on the pond behind my house.  Saturdays, even here in my older person neighbourhood, people sleep in and it is just me.  I think about slipping out to the bakery down the way, to get one of the lovely scones they make fresh every day, but I never go.  There is something about going out that makes the quiet of a morning turn into the do part of a day even if it is only 7 a.m. .   I love Saturday mornings best when I sit and just listen.  

It only gets better. Saturday mornings are for podcasts.  I look forward to this all week.  Saturday mornings are when I listen to my podcasts.  The Savvy Girls, the Knitmores and then, the Knit Girllls are my Saturday morning trifecta of knitting.    These lovely women, these remarkable people share tidbits of life and knitting and spinning and travel and so much much more. 

And then, if I am perfectly honest with myself and with you, I usually turn to this.  I don't know how that happened and while it isn't 100 percent of the time, lately, as often as not, I am there.  It sure is a long way from folk rock.  Part of it is that it is an old form.  I appreciate things that last.  In books, in art, in history.  What is it about these things, that have kept them alive and kept these stories relevant?  That is always where it starts for me with these old forms of music, these old books and then it takes on a life of its own.  Seeing through the crisp lens of a snippet of Mozart or a phrase of Austen opens up entire worlds to our eyes, and allows us to see and acknowledge depths we might not otherwise be open to seeing.  Or accepting.

Knitting is an old thing too and these knitting podcasts keep me believing that one day, there will be something special about us, about the people of our time that will live on.  

There.  See how that goes? The blog post moves pretty much like a perfect Saturday morning.  Special memories and dreams moving into Saturday routines with a dip into the weird and questing world inside my head.

Saturday mornings are for treasures.  Treasures lost.  Treasures found.  

Friday, 10 July 2015

Too Darn Hot

Yesterday the temperature here was 34.1 and that is just too hot for anything.

It was too hot to read.  It was too hot for knitting.  It was too hot to play solitaire on the computer. It was too hot for TV.  I have no idea what I did all day, but whatever it was, it was too hot for it.  This couldn't have come at a better time.

I know.  That sounds odd, that the heat and that it was too hot should have a right time.  My right hand was a little over stressed from the day I quilted the white square.  It was achy in a not good way.  Even a week later, there still is a little of it in the very center of my right hand.  I can see that I am going to have to be more careful to work the quilt in with everything else.  

While I am enjoying watching the puffing, I can tell you for certain, quilting will never, ever be where I stay. This is a chore, make no mistake about it, but I set myself on this course so long ago.  In some ways, it is something I thought about since I was a very little girl.  That there is wool in the centre of it is happy circumstance.  If it wasn't for the wool batts, I think I would have happily tossed the project when I moved.  Yes I loved the design of this quilt, but quilting has always been about having a warm blanket.  Its about getting it done, once or twice in a lifetime.  

Doing it is also about simply using what is on hand, consuming less.  Other than the thread for the quilting, I am making do with what I have. The binding is going to be just the extra backing folded forward over the top because the fabric is there.  I debated about a crisp white edge, but really, there is lots of fabric there already and well, I already have this.

The hand is feeling much better this morning but I am still going to take it easy again today. Light knitting, and again, not too much of it.

The forecast is for hot again today.  There are clouds around, so with a little luck, it won't be nearly so warm today.  It it heads to that horrible hotness, I am going to go find a cool place for a couple hours. I might just go to the mall and find a quiet place on a bench and sit and knit,  

And that is the only time I will ever look forward to going to the mall. and you can count on that.

Thursday, 9 July 2015


Each morning, one of the very first things I do is go check my pots on the deck.  If I leave it till later, my wee eastern facing deck become just too hot to walk on.  The lady who lived here before me wove some bamboo blinds through the rails and my neighbour once asked if I was going to take the ugly things down.  They are ugly and I was going to do it, but not yet.  That little bit of shade on the floor makes all the difference in the world to the total amount of heat reflected by the deck floor. 

I sure wish I could bottle that excess for winter.

Anyway, I have flowers to attend to, but I also picked up a tomato just for fun this year and to see it would go.  I would take a picture of it but the plant itself is in a pretty sorry state.  In order to keep it on the hot days, it lives in the shade of one of the tables. 

My first big harvest.

The itty bitty teeny weeny ones are the best!

Next year I am going to try cucumbers and bigger tomatoes.  I am also going to do something about the heat.  I intend to plant some hops along the rails, and have them grow up to give shade.  I am also hoping that they see fit to grow higher to give a little bit of privacy to the corner I usually sit in.

There are a few outside chores to tend too before the hops can be planted, but step by step, this is becoming home.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015


While each individual day seems long, the weeks fly by slowly and once again speed up when you see how fast a month flies by.  I look at my stash and I wonder how on earth I will ever knit it up.

I've been thinking a lot about lace lately.   A neighbour si taking her first steps into lace after looking at some of my books.  She has fallen and fallen hard.  And I am right there behind her cheering her on.

For as much lace weight yarn I have, there have been very few lace projects.  The 3 that are on my needles right now, two are stalled and one isn't lace really, but rather a lightweight fabric. The 3 are a Bridgewater shawl, an Icarus shawl of really bright coloured yarn and my Viajante.

I do have sweaters I need to complete, but sometime very soon, I am going to knit a massive lace shawl, one of the airy light wonders that I do so admire, that inspired my stash, that lifts my imagination to new heights.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

What else I have been up to

It's not like quilting is the only thing this blogger  has been up to.  In fact, other than one single day, I have pretty much ignored the beast at the back.  I am calling it that because the quilt on the frame takes up the vast majority of free floor space in my back room.

I have worked a little on the Magrathea, and I have dabbled a little in crochet on the granny square blanket.  But mostly, I have worked on socks.

 I used the Maia Spins blog tutorial for a toe up flap heel except that I did use half of the stitches.  I like the feeling of a nice full cupped heel.  I think that comes from garter stitch short row heels which fit me so perfectly.

I've been thinking a lot about heels and shapes of toes in socks lately.  And what makes things happen in lace.  Why are some lace designs stretchy and other much less so?  These are the things keeping this brain occupied the last few days.

My July plans are firming up, which is great considering that it is July.  There is some interesting stuff coming up that I am pretty excited about but that is going to have to wait till a little closer to the date.  Suffice it to say that my mind is full and my feet are firmly on the ground and I am looking forward toi today.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Again with the quilting.

One of the toughest parts of getting the quilt going was deciding how I was going to get that intricate pattern for the blank squares on to the fabric.  

First off, the pattern only showed half the design, so I had to do a mirror image and put them together.  That ordinarily wouldn't be a problem but for the hardware issues I have been having lately.  Once my main computer was repaired on Friday, no problem getting that done as you can see.

But, how do I transfer the design to the fabric?  I thought for a very long time before I made the quilt sandwich.  I decided that rather than the heat transfer or a chalk line drawing or even regular pencil or any other of the myriad ways people do this, I was going to go with the Press and Seal route.

I lay a nice smooth sheet of Glad Press and Seal wrap, the kind that tacks to itself, over the pattern sheet I made, and trace the desing with a washable marker.  Then, I take the pattern paper off and simply press the Press and Seal to the fabric, making sure that the square corner matches.  And off I go.

 One of the lines is a little off, but this quilt, a lot is just slightly off.  It will be fine.  You see how there appear to be little flowing wrinkles in the fabric above the flowers?  The fabric is adhered just slightly to the tacky wrap.  It absolutely stayed in place through the whole process.

 All stitched with the wrap on

 And with the wrap removed. If you see tiny bits of blue, those are tiny tiny bits of the plastic that I did not come off when I removed the wrap.  You do have to work a little to get it all off, but I think it's well worth it.  The rest of this process was just so easy and quick.  Any bits that remain at the end of the quilting will disappear in the wash.

Only one small problem.  I oriented the embroidered fan the same way that the pieced fan sat.

As you can clearly see, that is not how the pattern shows it.  I was about half done when I realized my error, and had to have a little time out while I thought about what to do.  I decided to complete the square as is but the rest of the squares are going to be laid on correctly so that the lovely v shape that spans pieced and embroidered squares can happen.  

Its not a perfect solution, but I have always considered perfection highly overrated.  The point, as ever, for me, is the learning, the act of making it, and the joy of using something you made with your own hands.  

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Beginning Joy

The quilting has begun. 

I don't know how anyone could bear to send this step out to have a machine do it.

How could you bear handing off the puffing to a stranger?  Or a machine?

I've quilted before.  Simple things.  I made quilts for the boys a couple time through the years, because even my amateurish work was better than store bought quilts in the late 80's.  That was the era of the tricot blankie.  The outer fabric fell apart after a few years and the batting?  What batting? I quilted because no matter how bad I did, I knew the boys would be warm.  They were not pieced work, and the quilting designs came from the patterns on the fabric. Simple, simple blankets.

What I don't ever remember is getting this kind of thrill before.  A lot of it has to do with the ability to take my time.  There isn't any rush to get this done till it gets cold in the fall.  Let's say late September.  I can think while I sew and contemplate all manner of things. 

If you don't look closely, this looks fantastic.  You do have to look past the uneven stitches and past the way that the one pink section doesn't quite make it to the blue like it ought to. It is my secret affair of 20 years and  I am having the most amazing love in with this quilt.

This is square one of row one of 64 squares.  This is also the easy square where the work to be done is laid out right in front of me.  I completely expect that by the time all 8 of the pieced squares and 8 plain squares of the first two rows are all stitched and done, that I will rue the day I thought I should do a quilt this complex by hand and will be dreaming that I had a long arm machine to do it on. 

Yeah, I am pretty sure that the day will come where all the quilting and hand stitching is going to be driving me batty but for now, for just this moment in time, I absolutely love what I am doing.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

All things considered

It's funny how just a bit of knitting here and there for a few days in a row, can get big project off the needles.

I still have a crochet edging to do around the fronts and the ties to do, but the knitting is done!  No particular pattern, but inspired by all the crossover front sweaters that were being knit a few years ago.  Its a classic shape that works nicely for me. 

I started this in May of 2013.  Two years and a thousand lifetimes ago. I cried a little when I realised that.  It was started just before everything began.  Days, by my reckoning. I think I must have begun it when Brian was out fishing with his dad and his brothers.  I had hoped to have it finished for a niece's wedding in late July, but by late July...well, that is a story already told. 

I'm pretty pleased.  Its a good piece that will fit with my entire wardrobe, dressy enough closed but laid back and just the right kind of casual open. 

I think the next up is going to be a Lipstick from  Joji Locatelli.  I am not 100 % set on the yarn choice yet.  There is a lovely rich red Ultra Alpaca and there is also a deep forest dark Mission Falls 1824 Wool .  There are numerous other possible yarns in my stash that would look lovely in this pattern, some Madelintosh Tosh DK, Some Elann Sierra Aran.  There are several possibilities of Cascade 220 and to top it off, there is at least one really good choice for it in the cottons bin.  maybe two.

I have finished a project, I have the next in  the planning stage, I have little things to knit on, and I have that quilt to quilt (started that today, but that will be a post for another day) so there is no reason to rush.   

All things considered, its pretty darn good,