It has been rather a fortunately/unfortunately story around here in the crafting arena.  I jumped right into quilting yesterday morning, after moving to the dining room where the table can be made significantly bigger than my sewing room can handle.  I need to do quilting in the morning when it is cooler.

Fortunately, I had a lot of empty bobbins to fill.

Unfortunately, I filled five of them with navy blue before I tested it on a scrap sandwich.Stitch testThe plan was gray thread for the top, navy for the back. Defintely not a success.  The loops of the navy show – not a lot, but definitely not something I wanted for the front, which is going to be quilted entirely in the pale gray areas.

Fortunately, I had more empty bobbins to fill with gray.

Unfortunately, there were only two.  But I didn’t want to waste all that navy thread by pulling it off, so the plan is to just refill the two until I get to a store to buy more.

Once I started quilting, things were going smoothly.  I was able to wrestle the whole thing well enough through the Juki’s harp (fortunately).  Unfortunately, just as I was changing out the second bobbin, I realized I’d never put on my walking foot!  I think all this heat has melted my brain.

Quilting A's Moroccan Tiles quilt
Quilting with the regular presser foot.

That was pretty much the end of the fortunately part of the quilting.  I had nothing but woe once I put on the walking foot.  It would stitch along for a while, then suddenly seize up, forcing me to clip the threads again and again to get the machine to function.  It was as if the needle was getting caught on something.  I checked the bobbins, changed needles, did a thorough cleaning of everywhere in the bobbin casing – same problem kept happening.

It seems to be the walking foot is wrenching the whole bar that the needle is in to the side somehow, twisting it. The screw that tighten the needle and the part of the walking foot that rests around is now out of perpendicular, so the walking foot eventually prevents it from moving up and down smoothly.

Unfortunately this is the second time this has happened, though the first time I just thought the machine had come that way, since I hadn’t had it long.  This is also my second walking foot for this machine as the first made horrible clanking and grinding noises (perhaps while pulling the bar out of perpendicular?)

So, unfortunately, no more quilting with the walking foot until I get the machine into the shop on Monday and find out why this keeps happening.

Back to a more fortunate note, there is no end of fiber crafts to switch to around here.  Today I finished a sock.

Hedgerow purple sock

Hedgerow purple sock

It fits perfectly, and I’ll be casting on shortly for sock two.  Much more of a deep purple than it appears in the pics – I dyed the yarn a while back and started the sock on our June trip to NYC.  It has been languishing since the yarn color and stitch pattern make it hard to see in the evening, which is my usual knitting time.  But fortunately (last time, I promise) I was spending a sunny morning with friends and had lots of light.

Visiting socks

My friend came into town for a weekend visit.  She is my long time knitting and spinning buddy, with a particular passion for sock knitting.  Countless pairs of socks have come from her double pointed needles!  Currently she’s working on a basket full of colorful mismatched socks from all the leftovers of previous pairs.  The plan is to sell them at a craft fair – people can choose any two of the socks they like.

Crazy socks

She also wanted to try weaving, so we warped up my Kromski loom with more sock yarn.

Weaving lesson

The two of us converged as crafters from different starting points. I began as a knitter, way back in college, though I gave it up for about ten years after college because of tendinitis. There were a few years in there somewhere when I was an avid cross stitcher as well.  Ten or twelve years ago I took up knitting again and quickly developed a lace knitting passion.  About five years ago I also started spinning, and then added some weaving.  She is a quilter who shifted to mainly knitting about 8-10 years ago and became a spinner fairly recently. And now she can also say she weaves.  I took up quilting two years ago (after a bit of simplistic quilting years and years ago that faded away) and haven’t been doing a lot of knitting since, and even less spinning.   Amongst my fiber friends we all pass the various skills and interests around to each other.  Everyone teaches someone else one of their interests until we all can do most of them to some degree.  Keeps the interest levels high!  We move into and out of various types, but the love for fiber in all its forms never goes away.

I so so miss being part of the knitting and spinning group we had up north.  I really need to do something about finding a group around here to do fiber crafts with.  I’ve just never been good at going out into a group of strangers.  She and I have been friends for more than 30 years, since before either of us had anything to do with yarn or fabric, so it was easy to slip into her already in place group when my husband and I moved back to the U.S. some years ago.  Starting completely from scratch with new people is harder for me.

Oh, and she brought me this!

Sock yarn to dye

We went in together on an order of undyed fingering weight yarn.  So much potential just waiting for me to splash colors onto it!  Add yarn and roving dyeing to the fiber skills list for our crafting circle of friends.

It was great to spend the day together.  She wove, I worked on my running stitch embroidery, and a third friend who joined us for the afternoon was knitting, so there were a lot of different fiber forms represented around the table.

A sewing pause

There has been no more progress on the geese – I took a break to help my mom move out of my basement where she has been camping in my son’s lower bunk bed and into her new condo.

My mom is a snow bird, in Arizona in the winter and in the PNW in the summer.  Last year she sold her condo in Seattle so she could move closer to us.  But by the time the condo sold, it was nearly fall and she was worn out by the whole process, and decided not to hunt for a new place until this summer.  We put all her stuff in storage and she went off to play pickleball in the desert sun.

This summer, after a lot of hunting in two states, she found a condo just over the river in Washington. I wish she was a little closer, but I can drive by on my way home from work fairly easily, and my sister (who has been living in the other son’s room) plans to be on the same town when she moves at the end of the summer.

Anyway, moving yesterday, unpacking today, and no geese before the sewing room got too hot each evening.  But I did get the heel turned on my Hedgerow sock.

Hedgerow sock in progress

Pattern modifications so far – reduced to 60 stitches, changed heel flap to eye of partridge for additional wear protection.


We came back to Oregon just in time for a major heat wave!  It is supposed to be in the low 100s today and has been in the 90s for several days.  And the ten day forecast shows the same level of temps for the foreseeable future!  In a house without air conditioning, this is not fun.  I’m used to maybe a week or two of weather this hot in August, so we are not enjoying it.  Wilting children are lying about moaning, and the parents and grandparent aren’t much better.

How do people on the eastern part of the state cope with this so regularly?!

My post trip plans were all about quilting, but the sewing room is upstairs, which is a good 20 degrees warmer than the basement. So I’ve done a little sewing in the morning before things get too warm, and then abandon the machine for more portable projects.

Scrapitude quilt borders

I finished assembling the blocks for the Scrapitude quilt and got the narrow and widest of the borders on.  There will be one more medium width dark blue one to finish off the top, but that will have to be done on another cooler morning.  A lot more ironing needed as well, but that additional heat was what drove me out of the room.

Running stitch circles

Hedgerow sock in progress

I’ve also added a few circles to my second running stitch pillow cover, and I’m making some progress on the Hedgerow sock that I had for plane knitting on the trip.

But I’m frustrated because I want to be finishing quilts!

A brief detour

There has been little to no crafting in the last couple of weeks.  Finals and essay grading played havock with my free time, though I did get the Scrapitude quilt sashing done and I’ve started to sew together the blocks.

But it then even that minimal progress was interrupted by a planned-but-not-prepared trip to New York.  We abandoned the children to Grandma’s loving care and headed with friends to the airport the day after school got out.  Since then, we’ve been hoofing it around the city and the only fiber activity has been about two inches of sock knitting that I did on the plane.

Though I did find a yarn store in Manhattan and bought my trip souvenir.

New York yarn purchase

A skein of Tosh merino light in Vanilla Bean (On the right)  and Maiden Hair silk & mohair yarn.

There was supposed to be more fiber craft pics as today my plan was to spend a lot of time at the Folk Arts Museum, but to my first puzzlement and then disappointment, the eight story museum building was torn down by the MoMA people to expand their building, and the folk arts are now a three room squeeze in a corner of a nearby Mormon temple.  All the many crafts have disappeared somewhere and they only have a single rotating exhibit at a time.

I did not take this well.  There were sad exclamations, and curb kicking, and trash talking of modern art.

And honestly, having visited MoMA the day before, I do not GET modern art.


Yoko Ono exhibit


I believe that Yoko Ono has been perpetuating an elaborate hoax for decades and is secretly laughing at museum visitors.  It is the only explanation I could come up with for pages and pages of little typed squares like this:

Yoko Ono exhibit


So, not a fan.  Probably just uneducated, but still, not a fan.

Since this is a crafting blog, I’ll get back on topic and share part of a really interesting exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art I was a fan of.  It involves cloth and sewing, so it counts.  They have a show called China Through the Looking Glass about how Western culture has borrowed from Chinese culture, usually without really understanding it.  In one of the rooms, I inspired by blue and white china like this:

China plate

there were dresses like this:

China blue and white dress


Broken China dressChina blue and white dress


Between the the dramatic outfits scattered through the many rooms and the Chinese embroidery, I was slightly reconciled to the loss of the Folk Arts Museum.

Well, no.  I’m still really disappointed and a little pouty. But it was a good museum visit if I had to make a substitution.


Not much to show for it

All that time spent gathering yarn and choosing projects and this is all the knitting I accomplished on our trip to Israel:

Color block mistake rib scarf in progress

I just wasn’t feeling like knitting.  Too jet lagged at first, then busy, and then I got immersed in a murder mystery series by Nancy Martin that took up all the down time.  So I carted a lot of yarn across several continents with not much to show for it.

But my boys made adorable ring bearers, despite the fact that they(we) didn’t understand a word of the ceremony, other than mazel tov.

Ring bearers

And my sister-in-law was the opposite of a bridezilla and we really liked the groom.  However, I’m still a little miffed about the fact that it rained (and hailed! and snowed!) most of the time we were there.  What is the point of visiting a desert country in February if it isn’t going to have any better weather than Oregon?

Jet lag has continued to plague me since we got back and I’m not getting much sleep, but today I finally felt alert enough to get back to the sewing machine, so I hope to have some progress pics on projects to post soon.  (Jet lag apparently leads to alliteration.)

Craft packing

We leave in the wee hours of tomorrow morning for a trip to Israel – my sister-in-law is getting married.  It will be the first time I’ve been back in almost ten years, so I’m pretty excited.  I taught there at an international school for a few years, and it is where I met my husband.

Color block scarf yarn
Yarn for a mistake rib color block scarf to knit on the plane.

Since I can’t take my sewing machine with me, it will be an all knitting trip.  So hard to judge how much to take.  When I was there before there weren’t really any yarn stores – just a little acrylic tucked in the corners of general stores.  It was in Israel where I restarted my knitting.  I’d knit years before when I was in college, but I had wrist troubles due to a factory job and I had to give it up.

Then my cousin called me to say she was having a baby and I was determined to knit a baby blanket.  I sat in a park and retaught myself how to cast on, dredged up memories of the motions for a purl stitch, and my new little baby cousin got a fairly electric yellow blanket in a thin acrylic – it was the only remotely baby colored non variegated yarn I could find in all of Tel Aviv.

That set me off on years of knitting joy and obsessiveness.  I would order yarn online and have it delivered to my folks and they’d bring it to me when they came on annual visits.  I knit blankets and scarves and sweaters and mittens, and then I discovered lace and knit probably 50 shawls and wraps.  I ran out of people to give them to.

Nearly finished fingerless gloves - I'm taking these to get them done and because I'll need the needles for the sock knitting.
Nearly finished fingerless gloves – I’m taking these to get them done and because I’ll need the needles for the sock knitting.

Knitting led to spinning and fiber fairs and classes and hand dyeing, and a knitting group run by a friend from college who I’m now in daily crafting conversations with.  (Hi, Paige!)  Yarn has been an amazingly comprehensive part of my life for 12-13 years.  When we moved down to Portland a couple of years ago, it was an embarrassment to me how much yarn I had to pack.

I dyed this purple to knit into socks.
I dyed this purple to knit into socks.

And even though a year and a half ago I jumped whole heartedly into quilting, knitting remains a constant.  I don’t go anywhere I might have to sit for a while without yarn and needles.  I can barely watch TV or read a book without needles in my hand.  I’ll never be able to wear all the cowls and scarves and shawlettes, and I’m running out of people to give them to!  Knitting is happiness, and calm, and entertainment whenever I need it.

Which means a lot of yarn going into my suitcase.

Dye lots really matter!

Muir wrap knitting project in progress

Recently I started knitting Muir, a pattern that I’ve long had on my Ravelry favorites list. But as I knit repeats and weighed yarn balls, it became clear that no matter what the many people who’ve made this project with Malabrigo lace yarn have said, my knitting gauge wasn’t going to be able to stretch only two skeins of yarn to all the repeats and the borders. So I went online and ordered another skein of the colorway VAA from the fast and friendly people at Jimmy Beans Wool.

Which is where my neglect of dye lots comes in.

Malabrigo lace yarn

My plan to switch skeins every couple rows is not going to save this, not when I already have four repeats done with just the original, darker yarn. The differences are too drastic. The new yarn has a third color completely dominating it, a color not even present in the first skein.

I think this is going to be another navy-is-my-friend overdyeing project. Navy acid dyes have saved me many times. I’ll feed the new yarn in here and there and then plunk the whole thing in the dyeing crockpot when I’m done.

Color changes aside, I love this yarn. Malabrigo lace is one of the softest yarns I’ve ever come across, and it is a joy to knit. I’ve been knitting a lot of worsted and thicker yarns lately, so the soft, weightless slip of this through my fingers is pure joy.

This can’t be good

Broken walking foot

I was happily and successfully quilting away on a fairly simple quilt – just straight lines along seams – when the needle started falling out, then broke, and something went sprong, and the walking foot stopped feeding the fabric from the top.

I took it apart to see what was the matter, and now I can’t get it back together again. I’m going to try again in the morning with better light and a less tired brain. There aren’t that many pieces, but I’m all fumble fingers.

So, since I couldn’t keep quilting, I switched to knitting. Also not a smooth ride. When I finally figured out the crochet cast on for a new lace project, I was almost to the right number of stitches when the cable separated from the needle and dropped the middle stitches. Tried again with a new cable and had to unpick the new stitches of the first row when I didn’t follow directions correctly. I’m now a whopping two rows into the project and I’m putting that down too.

I’m excited about the quilt, though. It is made with Moda’s Road 15 by Sweetwater line. I had a layer cake and a charm pack, so I added some Kona solids and did a combo of squares, half square triangles, and four patch blocks. I also found a great green and white fabric for the back with lots of little houses that fits the roads/houses/maps theme of the top.

White houses on green fabric

Quilt in profess

P.S. Wrote this last night, but couldn’t log on to post it. Not my night for great success!