Crafting at the coast

This weekend was a long planned crafting weekend at the cabin.  A lot didn’t go as planned.  My husband’s new job erupted with emergencies, meaning he had to work late on Friday and on Saturday.  Luckily, Grandma stepped in to kid watch.  Then my sister got sick and couldn’t drive up on Friday with me.  Sort of creepy to arrive after dark at the cabin lot – no street lights there!  One of the two friends who was arriving Saturday also got sick, so our retreat of four became a retreat of two.

But it was very crafty anyway!  I finished my silk mohair shawl, despite running out of yarn half way through the edging chart.  It goes on the blocking pile (with too many others – must do a lot of blocking soon!)

Mohair silk Nypon shawl

There was a lot of spinning, Paige on her Ashford Joy, me on my Kromski Sonata wheel.

Spinning at cabin image I finished the last of a green and blue merino I’ve been spinning occasionally. I’m trying to relearn spinning thicker singles after years of spinning thinner and thinner yarns. This one was going to be a two ply, but I decided I wanted to blend the colors more and have a bulkier yarn, so I sent each two ply through again adding lots of extra twist, and then plied the two together to end up with a four ply crepe yarn. I love the texture and look of the resulting yarn!image image I started a new pile of green polwarth and silk yarn next, again trying for thicker singles.  There are actually two different dye jobs in that pile, one with a lot more variation in shades, but the plan is to ply them together.  Still sticking with the green theme of my recent yarn work, obviously.

Paige’s yarn had a green tint as well, but a lot of other colors too.  I really envy the huge bobbins on her wheel.

Paige spinning at cabin

There was other knitting in addition to my shawl.  Paige continues to work on her socks of many colors:

Paige's socks of many colors

Paige's sock yarn

And I started a simple pair of garter stitch slippers with some leftover handspun, though I haven’t quite figured out how this rectangle is going to become a foot shaped slipper.  I’m going on faith and following the row by row directions.

Knit slippers

When not spinning or knitting socks, Paige also worked on fingerless mittens that she sells, along with the socks, at a holiday craft fair.

Paige's mitten in progress

There was also pizza, and catching up on family and friend news, and quilting talk, and a lot of needed sleep, and generally a really good time bookmarked (pun alert) by a weird but engrossing audio book that I listened to in the cars during the hours there and back.  If you aren’t squeamish, I can highly recommend Stiff by Mary Roach, the history of cadavers.

I’m back home now, in the storm of chaos we call bedtime, happy to be back with my family, but also really ready to get the next fiber retreat on the calendar.

A green theme

Maybe because briefly the rains came back before the heat deepened again, but I’ve been on a bit of a green kick the last week or two.

The trees for the Night Sky quilt are coming along slowly, with pieces coming together in weird partial seam combinations when I have a minute to add to it.

Night sky trees in progress

The process is a messy one!

Green tree scraps

Green tree scraps

There was also a burst of knitting when I wasn’t somewhere that sewing was possible.  And without intending it, all of it green.

I finished one home spun cowl –

Handspun cowl - green

Started another –

Handspun cowl 2 a green

And then when I left that cowl in progress at school, I started a third.

Green cowl with combined lace

The first two are knit from the same fiber spun two different ways.  Cowl #1 is a two ply.  I had planned on making it very wide, but it turned out that what I thought were additional skeins were the same hand dyed fiber, but I’d spun it into a three ply yarn.  So those two skeins became a new cowl.

The third cowl I’m combining yarn.  I have a lot of lace and light fingering weight yarns from my obsessive lace knitting days, so I’ve decided that I’ll combine various skeins to make the bulkier knitting projects I’m in the mood for now.

After all these are finished I’ll need a burst of fuchsia or lemon yellow to recover from all the green!

Fortunately/Unfortunately

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.

Melting

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!