30 April 2008

Much more to my taste

Here's the glue-basted block # 2 of the Lollipop Trees (or, as my DH referred to it "That Candy Plantation")
MUCH more to my taste. With kick ... donkey colours :-)

And as I was putting things away yesterday evening, I suddenly realized exactly what it was that was all wrong with the first block. Or at least, why it was so very displeasing to me :-)
That is now emended.

You might not be able to see what has changed, but the general feel of the block is very different to my eyes. 4 circles out, 4 new circles in. Easy :-)
Anyway. Two prepared, 14 to go ... and then lots of small blocks. But at this rate, preparation will be a piece of cake.

29 April 2008

Back to Lollipop Trees

Well, "(two inches wide)" is now a finished top, and is winding its way towards the LAQuilter who also quilted "The Advantages of Natural Folly" ... with which it shares colours, fabrics and history :-) Anyway, here it is :
And then ... do you remember the Lollipop Trees ? That I started last year, and found so ... disenheartening that I decided to stall the project for as long as it took to either get me exited about it again, or decide to not do it.
Well. The first block (that disenchanted me somewhat, seeing that it is too bland for my taste), is now (finally) basted and ready to roll. The background fabric for this one is a soft mauve with leanings of green. I cannot say that I love this block, and I might decide - in the end - to re-do it entirely. Time will tell.

This time, with advice from the creator of the pattern and the original quilt, Kim McLean, I have started the other way round : by picking the fabrics. Block # 2 will be fuchsia and cobalt on a bed of very light green.
The selection has been made, and the 3 fabrics for the "big bits" has been chosen. So ... lets see how this one plays out. The fabrics I have pulled look harmless enough when presented like this, but they do have more zing than the above block, and that's what I want.
This one will be glue-basted, and - in the end - have a big basting-stitch run through all the bits (on the machine) to ensure that they stay put until the block is finished. This might take a while, seeing that the ambition is to prepare all the applique before starting to actually sew :-)
... 'tho I just might bring block # 1 for a week-end at freinds' place.
... just to see.
BUT the plan will still be, to prepare ahead as fast as possible. Project preparation is my achilles heel when it comes to quilts. I find it to be mostly boring and definitely time-consuming. The strategy of preparing "everything" ahead worked wonderfully with SE-2, so I hope it'll work with this one too.

26 April 2008

The easiest shawl in the world !

Standard knitting abbreviations (at least I think they are) can be found at Knitty.com
Disclaimer : I take no responsibility for your possible addiction to making these. They are really fast to make, very easy to do if you can just do the knit-stitch, and the "long" edges means that it is great to snuggle in to on cold days.

Use any sort of good, fine yarn. Preferably one with a bit of texture on its own. The above is knitted with a mohair-yarn, which needs a size 4 needle (European), or - if you want to have a loopy and lacey quality, something larger. I have used a size 8 needle for the ones show in this post (there are two more, made with variegated yarns, below).
It runs 300 m to 100 gram (and if you want to translate that into US measurements, you can go to this converter site)

To get a nice edge (on any knitting): On every row, take the first stitch off without knitting it. If you - like I have done on this shawl - only do knitting and no purling, take it off as if it was a purl-stitch. You will get a lovely, even edge this way. Over at Knitty, they call this :

slip one as if to purl

You will also need to increase with 4 stitches on every other row, and (again from Knitty), they call this :

m1 : Make 1 stitch: Insert left needle, from front to back, under strand of yarn which runs between last stitch on left needle and first stitch on right needle; knit this stitch. 1 stitch increased. If you "just" knit, you will have a "hole" in your knitting, and for this shawl, I consider it a desired effect :-) If you don't want that hole, knit through the back loop.

And finally, the directions :

Cast on 5 stitches, any old way you want :-)

All un-even number of rows (1, 3, 5 etc) : slp, knit the rest.

2. slp, k 1, m1, k1, m1, k 2 (7 stitches).
4. slp, k1, m1, k1, m1, k1, m1, k1, m1, k2 (11 stitches)

- and now the "fun" begins :-) I would advise you to put a thread loosely in there, just before the middle stitch, to help yourself keep track.

6. slp, k1, m1, k3, m1, k1, m1. k3, m1, k2
8. slp, k1, m1, k5, m1, k1, m1. k5, m1, k2

Every other row, the amount of stitches between the first two and the last two increases, are +2. The bold-type above
And now, you just go on this way, until you run out of yarn :-) I can make a "big enough" shawl, using a good quality, fairly thin, fuzzy yarn, with 150 grams ... that would equal 450 meters of yarn on needles size 8 :-)

As announced : two other shalws knitted from this pattern. Both with a variegated yarn.

20 April 2008

Two Inches Wide - again

Well, you have now seen the big diamond-quilt "The Advantages of Natural Folly", and one or two might remember the layout I had on my designwall, using some of the full-size diamonds that didn't make it into the big quilt, and some half-size ones as well. The working-title of that one is "(two inches wide)" seeing that that is indeed the size of the smaller diamonds.
Well, the top is almost finished. Still needs the final border.

And yes, the small diamonds used to "set" the larger ones are really only 2" wide. And each side is 2" too. Half-size.
I put it together on the machine. Not my favourite way of doing things, and there are points that do not meet as perfectly as they would have done, had I put it together by hand.
So, not perfect, but - with the words of a fellow struggler against UFOs - perfectly good.

And then I had the inspiration to take the top out into our tiny yard, to set off the colours with the spring-colours found in the yard right now ... and this is what happened :

Rabbit was told "munch and die" so ... after a little while she pottered off the top, and I could put it back on the safety of the wall.
What is it with critters and quilts ?

18 April 2008

Old news

I realized that there are actually 3 quilts that I have only shown partially or unfinished. My 3 most recent big-quilt finishes ! SO to amend that, here are 3 pictures :-)
The "oldest" finish, from the summer of 2007 "The Advantages of Natural Folly" :

Then comes "The Sampler", made mostly with blocks from Dear Jane and Dear Hannah, but the blocks are 6" square rather than the 4½" found in DJ and DH. Finished in February this year

Finally, SE-2. A not-quite copy, but close sibling to the triangle-quilt I made for Brenda and for the Dear Hannah book. Got it quilted exactly like the first one :-) And the first one, which is in the Dear Hannah-book, and lives in the collection of Brenda Papadakis, is called Sara Eleonora for my DDaughter. Hence the name SE-2 :-) Finished in March this year.

17 April 2008


Yes. "Allsorts" the applique album quilt with 96 blocks each 4½" square (and then sashed so the quilt got a decent size), is now FINISHED.

Quilted, bound and signed (with a pigma-pen on the back, but signed !)
And here it is :-)
First block sewn on June 1st 2003 (!), quilting started October 29th, 2007, last stitch on binding taken yesterday evening, April 16th, 2008.
Hand applique. Hand quilting.
Go me :-)

14 April 2008

I forgot ...

Being organized in one (small) area of one's life does not of a necessity indicate, that one has it all together. SO, here's a picture of the finished Raspberry Truffle quiltlet. 22" square (or thereabouts), made with 2 sets of charms and some added chocolate-fabric. Not by any stretch of the imagination is it great quilt-art, but ... it's a nice enough piece. Useful and cute, and really ... how much more can one expect :-)

And here's a closer look at the binding. Not huge, but wider than I usually make them ... if not, how could one see that it is indeed chocolate-fabric on the edge :-)

13 April 2008

Feeling organized ...

Feeling organized is *always* a dangerous thing with me.
Feeling organized AND being on the last leg of finishing a project is a killer-combination. Occasionally one has to give in to temptation ... or one does not deserve it !
And all of this translates into the fact, that today a PIG has been dug out of the closet, and is being experimented on ... oh, and to avoid any humane societies (which - strangely (considering the name) - has to do with animals) becoming upset about my experimenting with PIGs, let me hasten to assure you that these are the textile variant : Project In Grocerybag.

This particular PIG consists of gorgeous South African Indigoes, lots of different US shirtings. The original plan was to make Bear's Paw blocks, but ... I reconsidered that. I'm thinking that something excruciatingly simple is in order, to show off the indigoes properly, and ... here are the experiments so far :

And then, in order to not make more scraps, I'm not only cutting up the remnants as I go, I am joining them into small (2" finished) and medium-size (4" finished) 4-patches :

*And* I even have the 4-patch "kits" gathered in a tin, pin through the f, to be leaders-enders the Bonnie Hunter way :-) And, eventually, they will possibly be a doll to lap-size quilt :

Yes. I am feeling very organized today ... good thing I'm not showing pictures of the floor :-)

12 April 2008

Organizing !

OK. Scraps have now been dealt with. And the box of ironed and cut scraps is overflowing.

They used to fit into the box in the back of the picture (to your left) , but ... not any more.
The front bit is a box with 2" squares. Next row is a bag with 4" squares, destined to become a Tumbler-quilt (in the fullness of time) and 1 ½" squares, ready to be made into tiny scrappy 4-patches. In the back, the 2½, 3, 4 and 5" squares.

And I will *not*, NOT get a bigger box !!!

After cutting and sorting and generally dealing with (most of) my scraps, I decided it was time that my sewing-boxes (yes, plural) got a work-out.
First empty 3 boxes (on the right) :

Then empty the "Present handwork on the couch"basket and the "loose change" carry-along bags as well.
And we have a fine old mess on what was, 2 minutes previously, a nice, fairly empty table.

BUT less than 10 minutes of focused attention brought the mess down to this (on the right) ! There really was a table and a cutting mat beneath all the ... stuff :-)
And even that got cleared away, as I gathered everything necessary into the 3 nice boxes I have
To the left is the one for hand-quilting (I bought the candy for the box).

To the right / below, is the box for applique. Yes. I've taken off the lids, so you can see them. That's what makes these boxes seriously nice :-)

And finally, below left, my present work on the couch basket with the hand-sewing tools necessary to piece or - as is the case right now - to handsew a binding down.

All in all, not a bad result of today's organizational zeal ... even if I do say it myself

06 April 2008

Scraps !

I'm in scrap-mood.
Forced on me by the need to find / make a binding for Allsorts. I only have two repeats left to quilt of the border-design, after which it will desperately need a binding.
I ordered some fabrics to test, but none of them really worked with the quilt. SO, last ditch effort is making a striped binding, comprising of all the batiks that make up the applique's.
Which necessitates my cutting the strips first.
As luck would have it, the bag of miscellaneous batik-cuts, used for the applique, had not yet been sorted or cut into squares and strips, so ... that's happening now.
And as I work, I realise some things.
First : It is a joy to go through fabrics you have used, that you know and that you love. There is no sadness in cutting up the last itty bit of a scrap of fabric that has been used for several different projects. Only joy.
And remembrance.
And the knowledge, that when next I fondle this little bit, it will be because it goes into yet another quilt, and yet again tells me stories of the diverse usages that one piece of fabric can have.
ANYway. This is what my table looks like right now.
Slightly messy, but still workable.
To the right, the strips that will be turned into a binding. At least I hope the monster-stripe that will result will work as a binding. If not, I'm up the creek with that.
Top right : the cut-offs. The bits that cannot be used for anything even remotely sensible.
Centre left : a strip of the first batik I ever bought, and two tiny squares of a yellow that has had a long and productive existence in my stash, being used for Jane-style hexagons, a RowJane, a Baltimore medallion and Allsorts. Now being put into the scrap-box, where the ironed and cut scrap-squares go to live, until something is made of them.

Right now I'm cutting strips from the red-pink colour-family, and many of the pieces tell stories about quilts and freindships made.

I think there might be a lesson to me somewhere. Something about not being afraid to use my fabric to the last thread ... something about not hoarding ...