Strange title, I know but it has to do with something I was reading in a book last night. I managed to finish yet another cowl last night. I was making one for P out of some Malabrigo in Stone Chat. She wanted it to be at least 10 inches long and I managed to make it 12 inches before I decided to bind it off. I need to wash it before mailing it to her. She will block it out to lengthen it if needed. The pattern for her cowl was the traditional feather and fan lace pattern. And yes, I have started another cowl. This time it is the Seaweed Cowl in yet another color of Malabrigo that is in the stash. I am fast running though my Malabrigo stash though since it was very tiny to start with. But I love the feel of the yarn.
I have been reading Mistress of the Vatican: The True Story of Olimpia Maidalchine: The Secret Female Pope by Eleanor Herman for the past several weeks. I have read the previous books by this author so I did not hesitate to spend the money on a hard back book. If Olimpia Maidalchine was born today she would be a woman to be admired. But she was born in a time when women not allowed to do anything without the approval of the males in their family. She found a way to work the system in her favor. Actually, I think there may be one or two female politicians who may have taken lessons from her. Even today, this woman would have been called a few unfavorable names. From the facts available to us, she came from a relatively poor background and rose to power. She was the force behind her brother-in-law becoming Pope Innocent X and in the manner of the time, she became an extremely wealthy woman through marriages, bribes, theft, crop speculation, shrewd business deals, and plain old greed. Wait, she sounds like some of the people in power now. And yet despite all of her riches and family connections through marriages, she died alone. During her lifetime, and through the centuries, the bubonic plague aka the Black Death killed many. It struck every one equally. The nursery rhyme Ring Around the Rosy has been said to have come from medieval times although there are many folklorists who say otherwise. I am need to hit the bookshelves tonight in search of another book that will keep me going for a week or two.
She stopped moving long enough to capture her
And there has been quilting going on. I have a quilt that I need to go out and purchase some binding fabric for this weekend. I have been slowly working my way through the huge pile of UFO quilts. And the fabric used in this quilt was a special one but I do not have enough left over to bind the quilt. I think this one will look perfect in a friend’s lounge so I want to finish it and mail it to her before the cooler weather truly hits. I know she reads the blog so I don’t want to say who. But P, it is not you. Your quilts are almost ready.
This one needs binding still
The Japanese maples are showing their fall color
I hadn’t planned on going missing this week but I have been trying to catch up on blog reading and pod cast listening. I am almost caught up on pod cast listening. Blog reading is still behind. Email responses is getting better as well.
One thing I did manage to get done this week was to pick up a pile of quilts from the lady who machine quilts for me. She and I missed each other at the guild meeting in August. And I met her at a different guild meeting and she had forgotten them. But I had remembered to bring her more at that meeting. So the pile was a bit larger than normal. I have about 6 more quilts to bind in the pile. One little quilt though has gone straight to the top of the pile. I made this top quite awhile ago and it is black and white with cats all over it. I am pretty easy about what my machine quilter does pattern wise. I normally give her a note card with a description of the quit, a name, and for pattern it normally reads what ever works best for the quilt. For the kitty one, I remember putting down something cat related like maybe fish. But she did even better. I am known for not wearing my name tag at quilt guild meetings. Instead, my name tag is the fact that I am always working on a sock or some other knitting project at quilt guild. The quilting design has little yarn balls on it!!!! I want this quilt done so I can hand it on the wall.
The design on my cat quilt
The rest of the pile can wait a bit. I am going to wait for the weather to cool a bit more first. A few of the ones in the pile are large enough to be lap quilts. I also have to think about who I know would best fit with them. I also need to piece together more backing fabrics to get a few more done this year. I am rapidly getting to the bed size quilts.
A view of the quilt design
With all of the rain recently, my sweet potato vines have taken off. And as usual when my garden takes off, I have been photographing it. I planted three different colors of the vine and the colors together are amazing. One plant is chartreuse, and the other two are different shades of dark purple. I like the color combination but trying to photograph it can be tricky. I have been playing with photographing more and more in black and white. And surprisingly this has been the perfect way to photograph this plant. So enjoy these photos over the weekend. If the weather holds out this weekend should be spent playing with the camera. Tonight is the “free” night at the county fair, tomorrow is wandering around Frederick, and Sunday is a photowalk up in Gettysburg. But this is all dependent on the weather of course. If it rains, I will be quilting and knitting instead.
The sweet potato vine leaves are nice and bright
Yes, they are bright.
The colors are so much better in b&w
ANd if you scrolled down this far, yes there is knitting going on. Photos soon.
I have had my mini quilts for August done but haven’t posted them yet. I used my point and shoot to photograph them. Can I say that there is a huge difference between my point and shoot and my DSLR? It is surprising how fast you get used to manual focus and setting the aperture and picking your shutter speed.
The theme for the month of August was Hand Work. (I got to pick the theme.) I decided to make a yo-yo quilt. I am happy with the way it turned out but figuring out the layout took me quite awhile. I had planned on there being orange in the quilt but ended up using no orange at all. I also did the plain Jane theme. Except mine was not a regular plain Jane. I decided to try and experiment that I had seen in a quilting magazine or book at some point. I like the result and will be doing it again.
I also m managed to take a photo of the socks I am currently working on. It is up in the air who will end up with them since there are now three of us with the same size foot. I wasn’t sure about bamboo yarn at first, but I am loving the Regia Bamboo.
I did try to take a photo of my healing chigger bites but I will have to pick up the DSLR for them. I couldn’t focus in tight enough with the point and shoot.
I am keeping a careful eye on the weather forecast. Hanna can’t seem to make up her mind where she wants to land. The Chesapeake Bay and Washington DC are under the watch. And if she comes up the Bay, I may be looking at lots of rain. But we do need the rain. And if it rains, it means I can stay home and knit.
And since I finally manged to download the photos from the point and shoot, I am posting one of the shoots from Cape Hatteras that has been on there for over a month.
The perfect view
I have been slowly cleaning up my studio and finishing quilts that have been in the UFO pile for longer than I care to admit. When I first started quilting years ago, I was a member of a quilt guild close to the DC area. This guild was always bringing in national quilters/authors/teachers to not only speak but teach. One of the authors mentioned that as quilters we got tended to stay within our comfort range colorwise and that we sometimes needed to expand our boundaries. I honestly can’t remember who it was but I am thinking that it might have been Jinny Beyer. She was and still is one of the queens of color theory for quilters.
I have never been a fan of browns and yellows or anything in those color families. I have always been funny about what shades of green I liked and would work with as a result. At the time, I tended to work mostly in jewel tones. After hearing this talk and reading one of Jinny Beyer color theory books, I started to experiment with the colors that I worked with. I figured what did I have to lose. If I didn’t like it, I coudl always find some one who did. And since brown was one of those colors I did not like to work with, I made a brown quilt. And I didn’t go small either. The quilt was rather large. I liked the final result but the quilt was never quilted.
I recently pulled that particular quilt out of the pile and decided that it was going to be the next quilt quilted. I bought what I thought would be enough fabric to back what I thought was a queen size quilt. It wasn’t. But I decided that I could trim the borders and maybe make the fabric fit. Well, it turned out the quilt was actually king size. I ended up trimming almost 14 inches off two sides of the quilt and about 10 from the other two sides. The quilt now fits a queen size bed with a generous hang over. I still need to buy another strip of fabric to go with the bright pink I bought. (I am thinking bright lime green or something else that will clash.)
A window on old slave quarters in Frederick
I am not planning on keeping this quilt after it is quilted. Although I like the quilt and the way the colors came out, it is not me. It would end up in the bottom of the blanket chest and never get used. And there are already two quilts in the bottom of that chest that rarely see the light of day uinless it is really freezing outside and I need extra quilts on the bed.
When I look at this quilt top, one name comes to mind every time I see it – Priscilla! She loves browns in all shades. And I know that she can use a nice warm quilt for her bed. And her husband is the reason I picked the bright pink backing fabric. Pink is one of his favorite colors. Strange but that is Mac. And since she already knows that this will be her Christmas present, I can blog about it.
Working on this particular quilt led me to break out of my comfort zone in all areas. Okay, except for clothes that I wear. Certain colors just don’t look good on me. I do this with knitting and quilting all the time now. I don’t have anything that is all yellow or solid brown in any of my stashes. But those colors do show up in variegated yarns.
I am curious as to how many knitters are stuck in their color comfort zone. Have you ever gone through your stash recently and realized that you tend to have lots of the same color just in different tones? I know that I have plenty of greens in my sock yarn stash right now. But that is only because I have pulled out about 6 different skeins to use next. And green is not one of my comfort zone colors. Have you challenged yourself lately? Just curious.
I have been busy quilting lately. The weather has been more fall than late summer here in the mid-Atlantic so I have been motivated to work with fabric instead of yarn. I took my current mini to me to the beach since it is a hand-work quilt. But I have been finishing up quite a few quilted UFOs lately.
My August mini quilt in progress
I have also been playing with some of the techniques I have found in an art quilt magazine that I love. I have been rusting fabric. Yes rusting fabric. I like the first piece of fabric that I have dyed using this technique but I need to get more rusty objects and try it again. I can see using this fabric as the background for an applique piece. I will be doing this again after getting more rusty items to lay on/wrap around the fabric.
A shot of fabric rusting
Some of the quilts that I have been finishing have been languishing in my UFO pile for quite awhile. I took one to the machine quilter the other nigh and I honestly can’t remember when I pieced it. But I am slowly reducing the UFO pile. Almost all of the small and lap size tops in the pile have been quilted. Next up are the larger bed size ones. And since I don’t want to have to piece together backings for them, I am going to be going to the a quilt store or two this weekend to see if I can find some 108 inch wide backing fabrics that I like. If I can’t find any that I like, I will be piecing fabrics for the bed quilts. I want to give my machine quilter at least one bed quilt in a few weeks.
Hand dyed fabric by me!!!
A closeup of the fabric colors.
aka Moo cards sewn together
They really do look like Moo cards up close.
I hand dyed most of the fabrics in this quilt
A closeup view of the pattern
And just as a note, the quilts were photographed before being washed. The quilting patterns really jumped out after being washed.
The color purple is the reason for so little knitting lately. I have been sewing on the binding onto a quilt that is purple. I finished sewing on the binding and just need to create the label for the quilt now. Once I finish sewing on a binding, I generally wash the quilt before sewing on the label. This is a quilt that I finished the top for a few years ago but never got around to having the top quilted. The problem is now that everyone in the family wants the quilt. But this one is my quilt or it will be until I have the next one quilted. And I know what I can give for presents this year at least.
And the weather has been strange lately. My eggplant is still blooming. And there are tiny eggplants on the plant. Eggplant is normally a heat loving plant and the temperatures have actually been dropping at night. But we have not yet had a frost so I may get lucky and get a few more eggplant from this one plant. The cooler weather has meant that it was time to plant fall lettuce. I planted mesclun mix and mustards in my planters. And they have started to come up already. I need to thin them a little but I will wait a few more days. I can eat what I thin.
Now playing: Chely Wright – Scars
Filed under garden, quilt
Today will be about quilting. And the reason is that this coming Friday and Saturday I am taking classes with a British quilter named Barbara Barber. This lady is the queen of starch. If you click over to her website make sure you read about how she likes her fabric starched for classes. Am I starching my fabrics? Let’s just say that I have been one to play by the rules. So my background fabrics will be starched but that is it. I spend yesterday evening spraying starch on a piece of fabric, waiting for it to dry, and ironing it. And repeating the process for a grand total of six times. I knitted while waiting for the starch to dry. I can think of better ways to spend my time but that is just me.
But I have new quilting fabric to show off. Jodi from A Caffeinated Yarn recently last week sent me a wonderful present of some Heather Bailey Fresh Cut fabrics. She was a super nice friend and sent me half-yard cuts of the entire collection!!! I can not find the fabric in my local shops. I waiting to find the perfect design for the fabrics.
I also managed to pick up over the weekend a copy of Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. I had looked for the book at my local quilt shops and even Borders before finally breaking down and calling my local Barnes & Noble. Borders told me the book was even in print yet. And yet Barnes & Noble had it. I really like this book. There are several projects in there that I see myself making.
I really like the little birds on the front cover. I can see myself making a few of them and stuffing them with something extra for some one’s cats to play with. I also love the pincushions in there. They will be great way to use up scraps. I tend to keep even the tiniest scraps. I used to do log cabin quilts using 3/4 inch strips. I really love the washed silk quilt in the book. I can see making that for myself at some point.
And to give my hands a break from my size 0s, I started not one but two Clapotis. I really like this pattern obviously. These are actually Clapotis four and five for me. The first one is being done in Lion & Lamb in the Bittersweet color way. For some reason, I only have three skeins of the yarn so I am making the shawl a bit narrower and will sacrifice a little bit of the length, Clapotis number five will be wider and longer than the pattern calls for. I am doing it in Cherry Tree Hill‘s silk/merino DK weight. The color way is Dusk and I have four skeins of this yarn. And the yardage per skein is 313 yards each so I can make it wider even though it is a totally different gauge.
Now playing: Leahy – The Coulin
Filed under Projects, quilt
There is nothing like new yarn to make you feel better. So I ordered myself some sock yarn while I was sick. Okay, I never need an excuse to buy new sock yarn but it does make you feel better. So I ordered some yarn from my favorite source for Fleece Artist and used up my credit at the Loopy Ewe.
I also added some yarn to my stash at the same time I was getting rid of quite a bit. Steph is still collecting yarn for her knit group at school. And I brought a large bag full of yarns and some straight needles to give her at our stitch group this weekend. She gave me a skein of Bright Dyes sock yarn that she received as part of her sock club. She thought the colors were a little bit bright but I like them.
And I also received my first installment of the semi-solids sock yarn club from Zen Garden. I love the color!!!! I actually have a pattern in mind for this yarn already. As soon as I opened the envelope at the post office, the pattern came to mind. And to give you an idea of how nice the color is, the ladies at the post office were petting it.
I am still waiting on two more yarns coming from the far coast of Canada. But from my last order from this same dyer, I have already started a new sock. I actually do not have a plain sock on the needles, so the new sock is a plain sock. The yarn dictated a plain sock too. The sock is named after the yarn color. The name of this new sock is Kermit Had a Nightmare!!!! It is acid greens and black. And I love it.
I also joined a local quilt guild this weekend. I used to belong to a very large guild about 40 miles down the road. But I stopped going because the church where the meetings were held was basically out in the middle of nowhere. There are two guilds in the Frederick area. And the one I joined is the newer of the two guilds. The only reason I joined the guild was to save some money on some classes. The dues for the rest of the year are only $6 and that saved me #30 on two classes. So I am now signed up for two classes from a British quilter at the beginning of next month.
I also managed to finish piecing another top yesterday. I started a new top which is based on on Amy Butler pattern. I am not really following the directions since the pattern isn’t well written in my opinion. I am still sewing the strips together. I bought the yardage stated in the pattern but I didn’t get the number of pieces called for. I want to sew all of the stripes before I go out and purchase a little bit more fabric.
And has anyone made any of the Amy Butler purse patterns? I purchased one of her purse patterns Saturday and some fabric. But she calls for canvas plus interfacing. So I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions.
Now playing: Anúna – Greensleeves
Filed under Misc, quilt, Socks
The weekend wasn’t as productive as I had hoped. One thing about having an appointment to get your hair cut in the middle of the day on Saturday means that it seems like you don’t get everything done. Yet, I did manage to run all of my errands on Saturday.
Sunday was spent in a class at my LYS. The class was free and the project was a cabled purse in a chunky yarn. The owner of the shop wrote the pattern but it is knitted flat. So I may rewrite to knit it in the round. But everyone in the class had fun so that is what matters. But she was having a big sale out on the back patio which included some shop samples. There were several sweaters made out of Noro that I liked but I either didn’t like the fit or the sleeves were way too long. But I did find a sweater that was made out of Silk Garden that I like the color of except for the fit and design of the sweater. I tried the sweater on and it did fit with room to spare except that the sleeves covered my hands completely and the sweater was long enough that I could almost wear it as a dress. But the best part was the price. The sweater was only $45 and I am figuring that there are over 10 skeins of Silk Garden int he sweater. So I bought the sweater to frog it. The sweater is already in 4 pieces and I am frogging the first sleeve. Once I have the sweater frogged I will search for a pattern for the yarn that I like. I am kind of leaning towards either Rosedale United or Rosedale.
I spend Monday making granola for my niece and oldest nephew. My nephew called me on Saturday and asked me to make him something that he can eat as a snack after school that is sweet but he didn’t want cookies. Since he called while I was at my local food co-op and I was looking at the bulk food items, I decided to make him granola. I was looking at some walnuts that were already coated with maple and cinnamon which are among some of his favorite flavors. I ended up making two different granolas for them.I made them a peanut butter granola and a variation of a granola recipe I had found in the Chicago Tribune’s food section a few weeks ago. Once I write up the changes, I will post the recipes.
I did manage to get my little doll quilted though. I like it better now that it is quilted but it is not going to be a keeper. It may become one of the doll quilts that I am supposed to have done for Christmas for some one. It will find a home though.
I did dig out some of the older quilts in the blanket chest to photograph them and display them. I took the photos of them today under the shade from a tree so the colors are a little bit muted. The one that is orange is better seen muted. It is a tad bright.
The other one was one that I wanted to make it look old so I basically abused it by washing it quite a few times after finishing it. I also did not pre-wash any of the fabrics in the quilt and used a cotton batting. The little tiny quilt was made out of the leftover fabrics. To give you a better idea of the size, A sheet of 8-1/2-inch-by-11-inch paper is bigger lengthwise than this miniature quilt. And other than the green one doll quilt, the rest of the quilts are over 10 years old. More quilts will follow as I dig them out of the blanket chest. I have some big ones in there to pull out that need to be aired. I use the big ones on the bed in the winter.
Now playing: Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah
Okay, there really is some knitting going on again but I just keep finding quilts to pull out and photograph. And last night, my oldest nephew decided that he wanted another quilt for Christmas. And since making him a quilt means that he will not be asking for electronics from me, I will make a quilt for him.
My nephew started looking at patterns on-line last night and found one that he liked. It is actually a very sophisticated look. The quilt pattern is very linear and done in black and white prints with a splash of red. He wants it done strictly in white and black to try and create an optical illusion. But he will let me pick the fabric so long as we stay with black and white prints. He would prefer that I not use any other colors in it. But I may go with an electric blue for the accent color instead of red. He said that all I need to have done by Christmas is the top. He will wait for the actual quilting since he wants to go to the fabric store and pick out his backing. The thing to keep in mind is that this is a thirteen year old boy. I will start pulling together fabrics for his quilt soon.
His sister wants something that has either pink, purple, or blue in it. She found a pattern that she liked in a magazine but she also likes an Amy Butler design. The design is is the Lotus Brick Path which is a traditional design. I am planning on making this quilt out of some wonderful pale pink and green fabric my local quilt shop has in stock right now. I am sure that she will go for it. If not,, I will have anew quilt that I like.
The youngest nephew doesn’t care what he gets. But at two, he really doesn’t care. He was chattering away to me last night. I know that it had something to do with Elmo since he kept saying Elmo and he was watching Elmo while we were having this conversation. So his quilt will be the easiest since I just need to make it bright and toddler friendly.
I did perform a quilt rescue last night though. My oldest nephew has several quilts. Most of them were made for other members of his family but has acquired them. I am wanting to photograph all of the quilts so I took one home with me last night. He has has the quilt since he was 7 and it is in really good shape given that it is used daily and well loved. JT picked all of the fabrics for this quilt and the design. It is a variation of a traditional 9-patch and the fabrics in it are reproduction fabrics from the late 1800s. I mixed up the 9-patch blocks with some plaid squares. The quilt gets its name from the backing fabrics. He picked out fabric with cowboy fabrics on it. He also liked a fabric that had chili peppers on it. So the quilt is the Cowboy Quilt. I am going to resew the binding again before I give it back to JT. The binding is loose in spots but that is the only damage to the quilt. I will be getting the rest of the quilts back shortly to photograph them and make any needed repairs.
The knitting that I have been working on is a sweater that has been on the needles since last fall. What is sad is that this sweater is knit on US 17s! And I just can’t seem to get it finished. But the sleeves were done first since they were my gauge swatch. The back is almost done and I am working on the front now. The problem is that I am lengthening the sweater since the original design is cropped. So regardless of the fact that I am using size 17 needles, it is still 17 inches of stockinette stitch.
And just a note that most of the quilts that I have finished up lately have been sitting in my stash just needing a few things to finish up the piecing. But the September Doll Quilt Challenge was done in less than a week. I am going to hand quilt this one since I have the time. And the other one for today is a mini that is fused appliqué based traditional Hawaiian appliqué designs. The difference is that I made them in miniature. So for my own sanity, I used fusible appliqué for the design. And since this is strictly a wall quilt, I am not worried about it too much. I have another traditional Hawaiian appliqué in the stash that I have started appliquéing the design.
Now playing: Old Blind Dogs – The Ritual: The Ritual / The Leap Year / Johnnie Macdonald’s Reel