28 December 2011

Opinionated Opinions

It is - and has been so far - a very quiet week between Christmas and New Years, which means, that I have time to sit and stitch ... and to think.
And I've decided that I will - occasionally - use this blog to state an opinion.
Don't worry, I'll call them 'Opinionated Opinions' (because they are), and you can just ignore'em when you see'em :-D

ANYway: Ever since the debacle back in August, where we who stitch, knit, bake, sew and blog about it were mightily put out, the whole feminist issue has been (occasionally) tumbling around in my little head.
And frankly, I don't get it.
No. Really. I do not get it.
What is it about traditional female pursuits (and the women who pursue them) that makes ... let's call them neo-feminists so angry?

Back in the hoary dark ages of my youth (we're talking the 1970es and 80es here), I remember women taking up the traditional crafts of womanhood, and turning them into feminist weapons, precisely because they were traditional crafts of womanhood.

We knit, certainly, but we knit what we want, not what 'the (male) world' wants us to.
We sew, certainly, but not the clothes 'the (male) world' would like us to.

So, here's the conundrum :
How come it is suspect, self-repressive and downright despicable that I knit, quilt and embroider, whereas a male textile artist like Kaffe Fassett is admirable when he does the same? And don't get me wrong, I think Kaffe Fasset is quite the bee's knees, it just ticks me off mightily, that when he does it, it's laudable, when I do, it's ... despicable and/or ridiculous.

How come, that my attempts at making tasty, well-balanced and cheap meals for myself and my family is a suspect, self-repressive pursuit, whereas the experiments of Rene Redzepi are laudable?

If we're talking feminine self-repression, denying me the right, the joy and the ownership of traditional female pursuits, while lauding the male take-over is anti-feminist in the extreme.

So, please, tell me again : Why are (traditionally) female pursuits not part of feminism any longer? Why is it, that the crafts/wo/manship of the (usually) textile kind is not appreciated? To a degree where it is ridiculed and dismissed?


25 December 2011

Evenstar !!!

Well, I have been busy, haven't I :-)
It isn't blocked, so it looks a tad weird, and all the lovely holey pattern in the border isn't really visible, BUT Evenstar is finished.
So : Happy b'day and a blessed Christmas to you, Martha! I hope you enjoy your shawl once it arrives on Long Island.

17 December 2011

Sunflower # 20

I like this one. Really like it. The blue innermost triangles work well here (me thinks) and the general brightness of the block ... what can I say. Love it :-)

14 December 2011

Never underestimate the border: Evenstar shawl - 5

Never underestimate the border.
Famous (not quite last) words.
Goes for quilting, patchwork, applique, and most definitely for knitting as well.

About one third of the border on the Evenstar shawl is now knitted. It is looking good, and I am looking forward to getting it out of the way, and move on to something else.
Give me another couple of weeks and it will all be done.
... hopefully ...

10 December 2011

Blue or Green

And now it's time to get a wee bit back to the Sunflowers. They are so much easier to tow along than a complicated lace-shawl, or indeed a full quilt which is in the process of being bound :-)
This weeks offering, which is Sunflower # 19, looks like this :

Colours are a strange thing. Consider the centre-fabric on this. When seen on its own, it looks green ... well ... mostly green, with some teal thrown in too. When seeing the circle (without the rest of the Sunflower around it), it still seems mostly green-and-teal.
Here, with the bright 'other colurs', it looks mostly blue.
The influence one colour has on another, never ceases to amaze me.

07 December 2011

Evenstar shawl - 4

Chart 3 is now finished, and 'all' that is left to do is the border.
BUT, to quote Ann from Oz : "Never underestimate the border".
56 repeats of a pattern that runs over 20 rows each, with 16-24 stitches in each row ... that's a lot of stitching still to do. BUT, I am ready to start it now.

... and even if I say so myself, the shawl is looking good. Real good. Good thing I have yarn to make one for myself as well (yes, this one is a gift).

And in case you have been directed to this post via a Google search : I am not doing the beading. I do not do beads in knitting of this size. No way. Adding close to 3000 beads to the yarn before starting the border, or doing Susan Pandorph's trick with a(n extremely thin) crochet-needle ... not gonna happen. But the border will. Stay tuned, but don't hold your breath :-)

03 December 2011

The giving of gifts

I have a DFreind who has been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. She has had the operation (half a lung removed and just about every lymph-node on the same side). Had the biopsies (all looking good).
She has now started the chemo.

Now, chemo is hard on every part of you and there are times where you desperately need the hug, but cannot tolerate the touching or even having people too close. Naturally, a quilt is an obvious thing to give in this situation: it is a long-distance hug that the recipient can take as often as she needs it ... but I don't have time to make her one! And I'm not giving away any of the ones that reside with me right now.

At this point, it is actually very, very good to have a bag of 'white elephants', to wit : One circular shawl, diameter 60" +, pattern from 'A Gathering of Lace' (Feather and Fan shawl, designed by Eugen Beugler), yarn is 'Geisha' from Blue Moon Fiber Arts (currently my favouritest yarn in the world, 70 % mohair, 20 % silk, 10 % nylon, soft as anything and a joy to knit), and all that needed be done was the tying up of the first and last thread and then the washing and blocking of the thing.
I thoroughly enjoyed knitting it, and love the way it looks, but since finishing the knitting, I have had serious doubts as to whether I would ever get around to actually using it, hence the 'almost there' status of the thing.

BUT now the last ends have been tucked in, it has been washed and blocked, and before it is gift-wrapped, I just wanted to show it off. It is not a quilt, but still something she can wrap around her, something which is both soft and warm, and which can hug and hold her when arms and people are too much to have close by.
I hope she uses it to threads.

But why am I blogging about it?
Do I want to brag about how generous I am?
No, not really.
I do want to brag about the beauty of the piece, because I am very well satisfied with how it turned out.
I also want to encourage you, dear reader, to give while you can.
I have - fortunately - not given many gifts like these, but each and every one of them has been given with much love and many good thoughts, and each and every one of them has been used - with equal joy - by the recipient, bringing her or him the knowledge of love and care with every use.

Give while you can.
Don't wait or think you need to have made the gift 'especially for NN', because you don't have to. If you have the time and energy to whip up a quilt in a week, more power to you; I have neither that time nor that energy. I do, however, have 'white elephants' that are both beautiful and well made, and I am not holding on to them in case a 'better recipient' comes along.
With each gift of this kind, I hope it is the last I feel the need to give, but I know that will probably not be the case, so I work happily along, finishing quilts and shawls and afghans, using the best materials and making them as well and as beautifully as I know how.

30 November 2011

More on Lace knitting : Evenstar shawl - 3

The thing about knitting lace is, that you don't really have a clue what it will look like, until you have knitted more than one repeat of the pattern.
The further thing is, that once you have knitted more than one repeat of the pattern, and you realize that you misinterpreted some part of it (the pattern) you need to unpick quite a lot.
The even further thing is, when knitting something where the pattern changes more or less constantly, you get a very beautiful result ... but it can be frustrating.
Exhibit A is the current 'end' of the Evenstar shawl

In a knit-purl sequence, why should I follow the pattern when it says 'knit through back link'? Does it matter at all or is it just a piece of designer idiocy, created to make me loose what little patience I have left with unpicking because I forgot (again)?
The answer is: It matters.
Doing a ribbed (k1, p1) part, with the knit-bits stitched through the back of the stitch means that the knit-stitches stand out more. Since the effect one wants on this particular bit of the pattern is, that of slender columns (think Rivendell in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings triology), you want them emphazised.
And therefore, I unpicked and re-did.
And no, I don't really mind. I want to do things right, but I am on a constant learning-curve here. Mostly re-learning things I used to know (or should know by now), but disregard ... and pay for in unpicking.

The good thing (yes, there is a good thing) is, that I can now knit this particular segment in my sleep, without loosing any 'knit through back' stitches :-) and I will pay better attention to ... well ... let's not be too unrealistic here ... for at least the next couple of rows :-D

26 November 2011


Well, Advent is just around the corner. Tomorrow, actually, so today we start unearthing the first of the Christmas-decorations.
... and I've been making a new one.

I have (sadly) not bookmarked the page where I found this pattern so I cannot give credit where credit is due. If you know from whence they originate, please tell me, and I'll refer to the site. It was a blog (I think), and the idea is too cute for words. SO, I knitted up a pair of tiny mittens, they are finished now (didn't take long), and are ready to go on the tree once we get one up :-)


23 November 2011

And now to something completely different

OK. I'm taking a wee break from the Sunflowers (and so, dear reader, are you), because ...

TA-DAH ! I have quilts.

TeaRoses and Passacaglia are back from the long-armer, and are looking great :-)
Which means, that, the next couple of weeks, my stitching will not be Sunflowers, but binding on quilts. It is long-winded and tedious (to me), and almost feels like real work, but ... it has to be done, and I loooove when it is done.

And don't worry. There will be proper pictures and close-ups and such, once the binding is on.

19 November 2011

Evenstar shawl - 2

The Evenstar shawl is progressing. Slowly but surely.
I have now reached the third stage of the process (chart 3), which is the last before the edge goes on ... and it is a huge chart. More than 60 rows, each with 560 (or more) stitches on it. But I am having fun ... in a masochistic sort of way.
Let me put it this way : I am learning a lot about knitting lace with the directions in a foreign language.
It is a challenge.
I am also (re-)-learning why I don't do a lot of knitting with pure silk : there is no give in it, and if you drop a stitch on lace-knitting like this, you might as well just pull the plug on the thing and unravel until you reach the closest life-line, because there is no 'hold' in the yarn either.
As before, this has not been blocked, and it will (hopefully) be the last picture you see of it until it is practically finished. Lifelines are a great thing, but picking up 560+ stitches, just to show you a picture ... IF on the other hand I mess up, and need to unpick at one or more stages of the next 60+ rows, I will remember to take a picture and show it you, if not ... you'll just have to wait as patiently as you know how :-)

16 November 2011

Double the bits

Double the Sunflower, Double the joy. Well ... almost double the number of pieces 97 bits of fabric in this one, and that is without the background-fabric on. That will add another 4 bits to make 101 pieces of fabric in one 12" block.
I must be mad.
Sunflower # 18 for your perusal. Another fussy-printed centre, and - again - tried to match the colour of the pattern on the centre, and the inner-most triangles.

09 November 2011

05 November 2011

A growing patch of flowers

So now there are 16 Sunflowers.
And they are looking good, even if I say so myself :-)

02 November 2011

The bright and the bold

More Sunflower. I like the light rays around the sun-face on this one. I liked the dark orangey ones too, but I think I like this one better.
The yellow fabric I've used for the middle bits are the - now almost extinct - remnants of one of the first F/4s of batik I bought. It cost an arm and a leg, but the colour was too lovely for me to resist. It still is. Love those saturated, unafraid, yellows

29 October 2011

Auditioning backgrounds - part 2

Well, after all the song-and-dance on this blog about what background to choose for my Sunflowers, I bit the bullet, and now I have two options, none of which have been shown before.

Option 1 : Lots of different blues.

Option 2 : A fabric bought the weekend before last, which actually has all the nuances of greens that I use in the flowers proper, and a few more, plus some yellows and blues too, and a big leaves pattern, which will probably be unrecognizable when cut into pieces.

I think I'll go with Option 2, the fabric of the many greens, for the main quilt, and with Option 1 for the 'Reject' quilt.
And no, they are not properly rejected blocks. As was the case with the Passacaglia, there will be blocks that doesn't work with the rest, and the ones that stick out the most will be getting a multiple-blue background and will - eventually - form a quilt of its own ... hopefully a quilt smaller than the one with greens in the background :-)

26 October 2011

All things bright ...

Well, this one certainly is bright.
Sunflower # 15, for your perusal and (hopefully) enjoyment. The fabric I've used for the outer diamonds doesn't work too well, but ... it stays !

22 October 2011

Gorgeous Hexagons

This past week-end, I spent a wonderful couple of days in a vicarage in Jutland (Louns if you want to look up the place on Google Maps or the like).One of the things we did was getting DFreind to the point where she can finish her second quilt-top. Yes. Her second.
It is made using the 1" shapes from Inklingo Collection # 1 (a sold-out CD), and is looking spectacular. And yes, you can still get most of the shapes here in downloadable collections, viz. the 1" hexagon collection and the 1" diamond collection. The only shape used here, which is no longer available (unless you have Collection 1) is the 1" elongated hexagon.

The picture does not do the colours justice, just so you know. It is far more vibrant in real life than it is here. I can hardly wait for it to be a finished top, so we can send it off to a quilter :-)

19 October 2011

Still shining

Sunflower # 14.
And I'm still enjoying myself hugely. And I like the colour grading from pink, via orange to yellow. Would love to have the individual shapes show up more clearly, but ... you can't have both a gradation (?) and a clear difference.

I do fear, however, that I need to start printing and adding the backgrounds soon, just to get a better impression of what the finished article will look like.

... but I think I'll make just one more Sunflower before doing so :-D

15 October 2011

Auditioning backgrounds

Well, "That Perfect Background" hasn't worked out. Can't find more of it anywhere in the world, so I'm looking into alternatives. And this is where a digital camera is a true blessing, because one can place the blocks, take a picture, and move on to the next suggestion.

Here's a fabric that I just got in. Ordered it ... just because. I will need to order more (and hurry up about it) if I want this.

And this is the fabric I ordered, because it looked close to "That Perfect Fabric" while on the monitor. Unfortunately, it turned out to be much lighter in real life than it was on the picture on the screen. It doesn't happen often, but it happens. Looks ... ok, I guess, but rather light. The good thing about it is, that I have enough of this fabric :

And then something completely different : What about a bright, warm, yellow background ? If this is what I end up deciding upon, I need to order more, and - again - need to hurry up about it.

I'm holding out a bit, though. I'm going with a DFreind to a place which never has a sale, but has a warehouse full of fabrics tomorrow. She might have something. I hope so. If not ... I'll just have to make an executive decision and stay with it.

12 October 2011

A Baker's Dozen of Sunflowers

Another attempt at 'doing something' with the huge centre of the 12" Sunflower block
This time, I've dug out some patterns I made ... what ... 8-10 years ago. Applique. Some of them are actually perfect (and the perfect size) to use as Sunflower centres.

And I like this one.

What I did was :
Print the Sunflower circle on the yellow fabric.
Draw the applique-pattern on the back of the green fabric (and since it is a batik, the 'back-front' thing is not an issue. At all).
Layer so the yellow fabric is on top of the green; both with right sides up, and so the printed circle aligns with the drafted circle (a light-box or a window with day-light on the outside are great helps here).
Baste from the back.
Applique !

Stitch the Sunflower as usual.


I like this one. I'll dig through my old designs again. I know there are at least two more circular designs in there, that might, just might, be appropriate to use for a Sunflower center.

08 October 2011

Printing with too little fabric

Occasionally (frequently), I find myself just short of the desired size of fabric when I want to print something with Inklingo.

Example : I want to make some small Broken Dishes blocks. For that, I need HST.
What is more, I would love to have them finish at 3", because then I can make them work with the 6" format that I mostly use for my block-experiments.
Now, to print a total of 8 HST, each 1.5" with Inklingo, I need a piece of fabric which is 5.25 x 5.5", BUT, I would so much like to use some (prewashed) 5" charms (which, after washing, are then more like 4.75 x 5").

Here's what I do :
Cut the freezer-paper 5.5" square.
Set the printer's Custom-size to 5.5" square

On the plastic-side of the freezer-paper, print the desired shape. In this case, 1.5" HST in Layout 1. Print it with colour 00. It really doesn't matter if you can see the actual print here. What is important is, that you can see the rulers that are on top of and to the left of the print proper.

(click on picture to see more clearly ... and yes, I can barely see the 00-colour print on this sheet of paper. I can, however, see the ruler-lines fairly clearly).

Take the 5" square.
Position it so that it just (barely) covers the straight line of the printed (and visible) ruler. (again, click on picture if you have trouble seeing what I mean)
Iron in place.

IF your iron gets slightly gunky from this exercise, take a brown paper-bag (or another uncoloured piece of scrap-paper), place it over the edge of your ironing-board, and run the sole of your iron over the edge a few times. This will do away with most gunk on the sole of your iron (trick learned in clothes-construction class; it works when you want to remove remnants of fusibles like vlieseline or steam-a-seam from the sole of your iron).

Print normally ! staying with the 5.5" user-defined / custom-size of setting.

As you can see, the fabric just (just !) covers enough of the print to give me both cutting- and stitching-lines for all 8 HST.

The general principle can be used with any (custom) size paper. Set your setting to the size paper you need, and you can (just) make do with a piece of fabric which is up to 0.5" smaller on one or both sides.
It is a particularly useful trick to do, when you - like the case is in this example - have a certain size pre-cut, and need just that teeny little bit more fabric to make it really work.

... oh, and my printed 5" charms ?
They are made into Broken Dishes and Pinwheel blocks, and I'm doing them as Leaders-Enders (thank you for the term, Bonnie Hunter)
And yes, in the fullness of time, there will be enough for a quilt :-)

... in the fullness of time :-)

05 October 2011

Nicely Neutral Sunflower

Or : Sunflower # 12.
I know I have 'always' said, that fuchsia and chartreuse are neutrals. So here it is. The nicely neutral Sunflower, using (from the outside and in) : chartreuse / lime, orange/pink, fuchsia, turquoise, and orange!
And with a fussy-printed centre too :-)

There is one full sun left on the F/4 of Sun-fabric used in the centre here, I think I *need* to make another one, with the fussy-printed centre, but with light-yellow inner triangles, to match the light-yellow rays of the sun on the fabric ... and even though this block seriously kicks ... donkey. It kicks donkey, the turquoise really stands out up there on the wall.
... but I might just return to it anyway :-)

01 October 2011

Knitting in a foreign language

And so it is October, the weather is getting colder, and I'm knitting again.

I've started Susan Pandorf's 'Evenstar' shawl. And I blame Martha. (Martha carries the blame for many beautiful and wondrous things that are in my life, so I'm sure she'll shoulder this one too).

Lace-knitting without a multitude of reapeats is a challenge on its own. To do lace-knitting, where the pattern is written in a foreign language adds a new dimension to the challenge (and yes, to me English is a foreign language). There are some of her abbreviations that I can simply not wrap my head around, and have spent quite some time on Ravelry and google to try and find out what they were.

Thank God for YouTube, and generous people who share how to do things. Seeing a stitch is essential when you cannot understand the written directions.

ANYway, the Evenstar shawl is well started, using silk-thread (from Blue Moon Fiber arts for which the pattern is written), in a lovely variegated blue. Silk isn't very forgiving to knit, and since the project has just been started, it isn't in any way blocked yet. I hope you can still see a bit of the loveliness.

The pink thread (you can see it clearly on the small picture to the right), is a life-line. Amazing concept when knitting lace in the round :-) And again, thank god for YouTube :-)

And yes, I know one usually doesn't blame someone for that which is good, but since many of the good things Martha has brought into my life are quite addictive, I think that blame is a good word :-)

28 September 2011

Here comes the Sun(flowers) 11

After loads of double Sunflowers, with and without the home-made middle bit, it's time to return to a single one. BUT with a fussy-cut / printed centre.

And yes. It works. Sort of.
The outer triangles are not the perfect green for this combination, BUT, it will work well enough, when seen with the others ... I hope.
I'll have to see what else I've got on the shelves that would work for fussy-printing.

24 September 2011

That extra bit for the Sunflower

I've had a question : That extra bit for the Sunflower, the 'small outer-triangle, large inner-triangle combo' thingie. How have you drafted it.


Use 2 sheets of freezer-paper.
From the 6" Sunflower collection, print a sheet of Outer Triangles
From the 12" Sunflower collection, print a sheet of Inner Triangles

Make sure your sheet of freezer-paper is big enough to yield 16 bits. I just printed on a Letter size (8.5 x 11") piece of freezer-paper. That got me too many bits, but that's ok.

Cut out 16 of each shape leaving the Seam Allowance in place.

On the 12" Sunflower Inner Triangle bits, cut away the bottom (curved) seam allowance.

Iron the outer-triangle bits on top of the inner-triangle bits (see picture on the right)

You can leave the seam-allowance on your templates, or you can cut them away. It all depends on how you prefer to prepare a block with freezer-paper rather than Inklingo.

I chose to leave the seam-allowance on. That way, I can place the composite templates right up to each other, and know I have the seam-allowance in place.

If you do that, you - again - have two options :
Draft the stiching-line on the fabric-piece, or not draft the stitching-line.
If the rest of your Sunflowe is prepared with Inklingo, you do not need a stitching-line, because there are stitching-lines on every piece it is going to be joined to. Just peel off the paper and you're ready to roll.

BUT, some of you might want a stitching-line anyway, in spite of it being unneccesary. I would suggest that you draft that before peeling off the freezer-paper.
I would further suggest, that you place your ruler so the 0.25" mark is just outside of the paper. Just. Not visibly away from it, just ... just outside.
When you draft your stitching-line (using a fine-line pencil), it will be placed right :-)
Click on the picture (right) to see it in a larger size, you will be able to see what I mean.

... but really, you don't need that stitching-line. You have perfectly good stitching-lines on the other pieces, and since you've used Inklingo to prepare everything (including the templates for this bit), it will all fit together nicely.

21 September 2011

Here comes the Sun(flowers) 10

Green inner diamond. Check.
Homemade middle bit. Check.
.... hmmmm .....
Other than me thinking that the fabric I have chosen for the outer (large) diamonds, is not really suitable for this, I like it.
Maybe one could use the fabric better ?That'll be the next one to try.

17 September 2011

... hanging on the wall

(sung to the tune of "Ten Green Bottles")
9 Sunflowers, hanging on the wall
9 Sunflowers, hanging on the wall ...

Picture is a bit dark, they are brighter in real life, but they are up there on the wall, brightening my play-room every day. And I think this is a case, where more is more. Don't you ?
And I've been looking into background-fabrics. A (little) while back, I ordered some F/4s and found what I believe is 'that perfect blue' for setting them. Sadly, it is a batik from ... ooooh ... 2005 (? I think), and I thought it was no longer available anywhere in the world.
So, I asked on a list, and someone found it at the Blue Bamboo on-line shop ... only - sadly - it turned out to be sold out. At the Hingeley Road quiltshop, all but a F/4 was sold out too.
SO, Google didn't return any useable results; quiltshops.com didn't return any useable results; eBay didn't return any useable results.
So this is my last ditch effort. The fabric is an (ancient) Hoffman batik; E137 Sea Breeze, and looks like this :

The above is a F/8 of the fabric, and the dark splashes are coppery, not really brown or red. Anyone ? I need (at least) 3.5 yards.

15 September 2011

Only 100 days to Christmas !

Ladies (and gentlemen), I have an announcement : This year, Christmas day will be December 25th.
Yes. I know it is shocking news, and that it takes you completely unprepared.

There is worse : December 25th is only 100 days away.

If you want a stress-free (or just stress-reduced) Christmas, this is the perfect time to start doing what you can do in advance.

If you are planning to make hand-made Christmas-gifts this year, you are too late.
Sorry, but there it is. It will take (at least) twice as long as you think it will, and you will not have the time to work 8 hours a day on those projects for the next 3 months.
Face it !
Pick one of the Christmas-Present-Projects you have already started. Yes. Just one ! Focus on that. Take it all the way to the finishing line. Once that project is finished is time enough to pick up and focus on the next one.

Procrastination is a fine art, but it ain't fine if it stresses you out.

14 September 2011

Here comes the Sun(flowers) 9

SO, double Sunflowers with or without the hand-made middle bit work for me.

But there is still a bit of 'shaking up' I can do.

Sunflower # 8 is - and this is one of the small ironies of life - not green enough :-)
And there is (at least) one placement of green I haven't tried yet.
So that's what is being tried this week : Green inner diamonds.

Do I like it ?
Well ... the inner Sunflower seems almost a separate flower, and I'm not sure I like that.
The centre 'spokes' stand out very clearly, and I think I like that.
I will try to mix 'green inner diamonds' with 'home-made middle-bit' and see if that works better.

That aside, yes, I like the block ... but then, I have liked all of my Sunflowers so far :-) And yes, I can see the 'faults' of a block and still love it. Lesson learned from Dear Jane :-)

On to the next one !

11 September 2011

I have fabric !

The Dear Jane collection from Windham.
Lovely, lovely fabrics. Just the kind of cotton-therapy that one needs on a day like this.
And yes. I do remember.
All too well.
But I don't feel the need to add my voice to the throng. Read your newspaper today, or watch the many, many memorial-programs on your telly.
Then go hug the stuffing out of someone you love, and do something which makes you happy.
I'm patting fabric today :-)

07 September 2011

Here comes the Sun(flowers) 8

SO, I liked the double Sunflower with 'homemade' middle sort-of diamonds (made from 6" outer triangles and 12" inner triangles), and decided to make another one. This one.

In conjunction with the other Sunflowers I've made (so far), the outer diamonds are very, very bright (and light), and the block sort-of stands out, but in and of itself, it is a great-looking block (at least to my eyes).

04 September 2011

There must be something in the water

... there really must be. Something in the water. Or the air. Whatever.
Because these colours turn up everywhere :-)
We had some freinds over for dinner yesterday, and she had scrounged up some of the last flowers in the garden. A perfect match for my Sunflowers :-)

31 August 2011

Here comes the Sun(flowers) 7

Results on Sunflowers so far :
I like the double Sunflower.
I do not like having a big 'empty space' in the middle, the kind I get when I do a 'single Sunflower' in the 12" size.
I like it that there isn't too much green in the flowers.
What about making the outer triangle on the 6" sunflower and the inner triangle on the 12" sunflower of the same fabric ... and then aligning them ... and then doing away with the seam, by making my own 'middle diamond' template.
Done :

And frankly, even though there isn't quite enough contrast in there, I think this is very close to 'That Perfect Sunflower' ... at least in the double sunflower category. Never fear, though, I'm going to plod on and continue to experiment with this block for a while to come.

28 August 2011

My machine and I

You who read this blog on a regular basis will know that I like hand-work.
Any kind of hand-work really.
With a preference for what my freind Diane in NY calls 'DLS' (Dinky Little Sh ... Stuff).
BUT, I do have a sewing-machine. As a matter of fact, I have 3. I have a hand-crank, that DH salvaged from a dump, took home, gave some TLC and now it purrs on like nobody's business.
Then there is the Viking / Husquarna. It was top-of-the-line 22 years ago, it isn't anymore, but it still goes strong.
Finally, there is the tiny Janome, which is what I tend to use mostly. It is small, doesn't have a zillion different stitches, but it works.
... most of the time.

Now. I like my machines well enough. Yes. All of them. And in broad general, they are not too averse to me. We're not like BFF, or intimate in any way (remember my hand-work preference), but ... generally we can work together well enough.
And then, one day, we couldn't.
The little one just stopped. Wouldn't budge.
And, after some work, I understood perfectly why :

Exhibit A (on your right) shows the compact used-to-be-fluff I picked out of the spool-house. Using tweezers. It was stuck fast and really hard.
There is nothing fluffy about it. The spool is there to show just how much there actually was.

After I had carefully lifted all of that from the spool-house, I 'stole' DHs canned air, and gave it a good blow-through as well.
And now the little Janome purrs on again, and harmony has been re-established in the little home.

The moral of the story :
Clean your machine.
If you are on intimate terms with yours, you probably know already, and don't need my reminder, if you are more like me, and not all that close with your machine, now would - probably - be a good time to get out the tweezers, the canned air, a bit of patience, and get the fluff out of the spool-house :-)

24 August 2011

I blame the Van (aka : Sunflowers 6)

.... or "Here Comes the Sun(flowers) 6"
A young couple down the street have bought a "new" van / car / whatever that kind of vehicle is called. Actually, it is bordering on antique. It is most definitely a vintage car. An around 1968 vintage. For a long time, I thought it was a prop for a movie but nope, it's an original and they love it.

The paint-job and the stickers, are originals, and while it has never been to Woodstock, it definitely wanted to be. So ... this is where I put the blame for the Sunflower of the Week.

See the similarities ?

And then a few notes on this week's Sunflower :
The double Sunflowers I've made so far have had the outer triangles on the 6" bits and the inner triangles on the 12" bits, staggered, so the point of the 6" diamond was in the middle of the 12" triangle (no, diamonds are not 6" and triangles are not 12", but .... you know what I mean, and if you don't this whole post will probably be gibberish anyway). This time, I have aligned them. Outside triangles on the 6"-block-circle, and Inner triangles on the 12"-block-circle have been aligned.

And apart from the fact, that it looks terrifyingly 68'ish in the colours I have chosen (and I blame the constant presence of 'the van' just outside our house for those colours), I like the alignment. I really do. Another thing to experiment with. I also think that the dark green around the edge makes it a lot less garish than it could have been.
And isn't it great, that I seem to be doing one Sunflower every week :-) My own personal Block-Of-the-Week challenge. Leaves me room to experiment with other stuff too, and still feel like I'm advancing on the Sunflower project. Feels good, actually :-)

And, just for the record, I like my 'hippie Sunflower' a lot :-D