Summer is coming

As the weather gets sunnier, some of the many tunics I’ve made from work had to be taken out of rotation – flannel was too warm, and the darker ones weren’t right for the sunshine.

So this weekend I made three more.

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It was totally assembly line sewing.  I cut the pieces out in multiples and did all the steps in multiples of three (or six in the case of the sleeves).

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Normally I am not a pinner, but with the sleeves especially I used a lot of pins to ease in the curve of the sleeve caps.

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They are quite shapeless on the hangers, but I do add in waist shaping, and they are very comfortable to wear.  I can be active in them without getting too hot and the fabric makes me feel cheerful.  And with all these tunics, I never have to spend much time thinking about what to wear.

As always, modified versions of Dress no. 2 from 100 Acts of Sewing.  Two scoop necks, one v neck, and the ice cream cones version has ties in the back.

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Crossroads block

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I haven’t started a quilt top for awhile – or done much else with fabric – so it was time to get going on one.  I landed on this tutorial from the Bee in My Bonnet blog.

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I used a lot of my darker scraps on my Growing Up Odd quilt, so for this one I sorted out low volume fabric for the background and dig out some blue solids to scatter in.

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This is what the block is supposed to look like.

After I made the first block though, I realized that I’d have to do a lot of planning if I wanted each X to be from one blue rather than mixed.  I went back and forth on whether I cared, tried a different arrangement, finally decided I did care, and dismantled the completed block.

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So now the plan is to make the X blocks separately from the 16 patches and assemble it from there.

Finished scarf

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I finished my woven scarf and am declaring it a success.

You can read about the set up for this project in this post.

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I wove until I was having to fight to get the stick shuttle through the shed — the top and bottom of the warp get too close together to pass through smoothly, particularly with the mess of criss-crossing strands caused by using a variety of different yarns and spacing them randomly along the heddle.  When I weave with just one yarn I can be tidier and weave much closer to the end before I have to stop.

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Because the strands at towards the ends tend to resist moving up and down, especially the “stickier” alpaca yarn, I had to be vigilant to make sure I wasn’t skipping over (or under) any threads I shouldn’t have.  You can see in the picture above that I missed in one place.  The weft is going over three warp threads, when it should be under the middle thread.

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This was very close to the end of my weaving, so I just cut the warp thread, pulled it back through to the spot I missed, and then wove it in properly with a tapestry needle.

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Then I cut the rest of the warp threads loose and pulled them out of the heddle.

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Knots keep the whole thing from unraveling — every five stands together keeps things in place and makes a nice fringe.

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The finished scarf is a little rough and bumpy, so the next step is to even that out.

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A good sloshing soak relaxes the yarns and smooths out the tension.

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Some time drying in a slight breeze, a trim to even out the fringe, and I have a new scarf to put into the gift drawer.

 

 

 

Warm feet

I think I forgot to post my finished slippers from a while back.  You can read about their making here.

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I’ve been throwing them in the wash whenever we did laundry.  It took more loads than I thought it would to shrink them down.  On the last load I took them out of the dryer a little early so they were still damp.  That way I can wear them around and they conform to my feet a little better and any pressed in wrinkles smooth out more easily.

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They are comfy and warm.  I might make them a little less wide around next time, but they will do the job as is.

The pattern is Fuzzy Feet, free on Ravelry, and the yarn is Lamb’s Pride, worsted weight.

Reviving an old hobby

I dragged my rigid heddle loom out from under the bed, dusted it off, and got it warped this afternoon.   It has been several years since I’ve used my loom, so it took a while to dig out all the parts I needed.

To get the intended scarf long enough, I had to move the dining room table into the kitchen so I could put the direct warping peg on the kitchen counter.  I’m going to need a new plan for the future as that was rather a pain.

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For the warp I used a number of different fingering weight remnants from various knitting projects.

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The weft is going to be from a cone of untwisted plies I bought years ago.

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It took a little while to remember the steps, but it came back to me.  After warping, the yarn is wound up onto the back.

 

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Then pulling single strands through the small holes on the heddle.

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Knotting in bunches.

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Lacing to get even(ish) tension.

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And finally, weaving!

Starting with thicker waste yarn helps space out the warp and gives me a further chance to correct any strands with loose tension.  The warping took an hour or so, but then the weaving goes very quickly.  Knitting a scarf with this yarn would take many days.  I can weave a scarf in a few hours.  And it is a great way to burn up some of the yarn stash.

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Spring break in Surprise

We’ve just finished up spring break in Surprise, Arizona, where my mom has a winter place.

I took my usual plethora of cactus photos.

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We were very lazy this trip, spending much of the time hanging by the community pool during the day and playing games and working on puzzles in the evenings when we could pry the boys off their electronics.

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They finished a lot of puzzles, mainly because they kept buying easier and easier ones.  They wanted the sense of accomplishment rather than a challenge.

I walked a lot around the trails and neighborhoods with my sister, trying to build my endurance back up after a horrid chest cold that had taken down all my family members throughout March.

We did go overnight to Sedona and took one of the pink Jeep tours through the red rock area.  Rough roads but gorgeous scenery.

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On our way back we stopped at Montezuma’s Castle National Park to see the remains of the cliff dwellings.  We needed to sneak at least a little education into the vacation.

EE913583-DA59-490B-B431-65F9D633B256I got just a bit of knitting done – I brought my sock to the pool every time, but the water called me away from the yarn.

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This may be our last year here, as Mom isn’t sure she is going to come back.  Having two places is getting to be a bit much for her.  If it was our last trip, it was a very relaxing one.

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