Row by row

My work on the Woodfords cardigan continues.  I’m still amused and amazed by how it grows out in all directions.

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To get to the current stage involved joining provisionally cast on stitches at the top of the back that form the neckband to the body, then knitting down the right front panel, complete with increases marked with safety pins. ( I can’t remember what these kinds of safety pins are called, but they don’t have the little circle, coil, at the end so they don’t get stuck in the yarn.)

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Then I unraveled the crochet at the start of the provisional cast on, picked up the live stitches, and knit in the other direction for the left front, still in progress.

Because of the nature of provisional cast ons, the stitch pattern is half a stitch off where I changed directions in the neckband.  You can see it in the pic below, but when I’m wearing the sweater and the neck scrunches up some it shouldn’t be noticeable.

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I’m still having fun, and the directions are very clearly written, so I haven’t run into any problems so far. Although, as usual, I’m a little worried about the gauge. I’m using a size 5 needle with this Silky Wool yarn, but I’m wishing that I had used a 4. I think this sweater may grow over time.

 

 

Madrona

1A84D652-93E3-4291-9AB5-B597BEEC1C7EI spent the weekend with friends at the annual Madrona winter fiber retreat in Tacoma, Washington.  Four days of classes and vendors and hanging out with people who understand that knitting is an appropriate activity pretty much anywhere.

There were opportunities to see all sorts of examples of the crafts, from the stylish sheep in the pic above to even more intricate samples.

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The inexhaustive options offered by yarn were inspiring.

The Murano hotel where the retreat is held is within walking distance of the Museum of Glass and the decor is all about glass – which is similarly inexhaustive in its varieties.

55CDAB07-5148-4A8D-B60D-620A4A5A9B0AOur favorite was the kind that came with a drink in it.  I highly recommend the Murano’s chai vodka sidecars.

I didn’t take classes this time and I didn’t arrive until Friday afternoon, but I learned a lot from my friends and spent time knitting and spinning.  I also spent a lot of time wandering the vendors.  So many beautiful colors and ways to display them!

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I kept my head and came home only with a new bobbin for my wheel.

But I also found a pattern I loved that I had enough yarn for in my stash.  I cast on as soon as I got home Sunday afternoon, even managing to coordinate my tea mug with the yarn.

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The pattern is a cardigan called Woodfords, and the yarn is Silky Wool.  The construction is very interesting — I’ve had to trust the pattern rather than understand it in advance and just dive in to each section as the sweater grows out in various directions.

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So far I’ve cast on with long tail and provisionally, picked up stitches, knitted in three different directions in two different stitch patterns, and added a braid in what will become the upper back.  It all seems to be working so far.

 

Covering the walls

Our previous house had very few wall spaces that were free of windows or doors, so we moved into the current house without a lot of things to hang on the wall.  One of my favorites that we do have is a wood and metal framed mirror that I bought in a trip to South Africa.

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I bought it impulsively, and then discovered that it wouldn’t even fit in the rental car — I’m not sure how I thought it was going to fit in a suitcase.  I walked right back into the shop and they mailed it to the States for me, minus the glass.  Except I lived in Israel at the time, so it sat in a friend’s storage until we moved back.  I was so happy to be reunited with it several years later.

I love everything about it: all the metal colors, the cute animals, the little nails holding all the pieces together.

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The wall hanging I’ve been working on is for the same hall.  I wanted the colors and feeling to go with it, minus the creatures.

Today, yet another snow day (those foothills on the side of the school district keep even those of us on the rainy lowlands out of school) meant sewing time to finish up the binding and hanging sleeve.

It was hard to get a picture of it hanging because of the narrow hall.  I didn’t have a dowel so it is just pinned, and at some point I need to dampen it and toss it in the dryer as it got overly pressed in places while I worked on the binding, but it is done, and up, and works in the space.  I left room between it and the mirror to hang some smaller pictures in the future.

I started without a real design plan in mind and it morphed a lot along the way, but I’m calling it a success.

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(I stood inside the coat closet to take this picture.)

 

Sewing and snowing

The magic snowflake blocks apparently had a delay in their effects this time, because we rode out the rest of the week with just one late start.  The ground did eventually get a little white on Tuesday, but not a really impressive snowfall in the low lands.  However, that changed Friday night.

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While nothing compared to what Seattle got, this is a pretty good snowfall for southwestern Washington.   And more is supposed to be on the way, though I don’t think it’s going to be the snowpocalypse students were  hoping for on Friday when we left school with weather warnings ringing out on the intercom.

And of course it is perfect sewing weather! I don’t think I’m going to risk pushing the weather gods any further with the snowflakes this weekend. Instead I’m working to finish off my framed strips wall hanging.

I started by outlining all the shapes and stitching in the ditch between all the strips on the bottom border.

My plan was to use matchstick quilting for the background.  Everything I’ve read says don’t change direction with straight line quilting to avoid puckering and waves, but quilting around shapes in the middle of the lines’ paths meant not being able to just sew off the edge.  That leaves a lot of thread ends.

When I make wall hangings, I often don’t put the backing on until I’ve done most of the top stitching. It means I don’t have to tie knot after knot after knot to bury the ends after pulling them through.  I can just leave the ends loose on the back.  That speeds things up a bit.  And they stick to the batting or get sewn over with the next lines so they stay put.

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Still, there were a lot of ends to pull through!

I started the matchstick quilting in the smaller background areas.   I figured that would give me practice, and also I could just change directions and go back-and-forth because it was such a small area it wouldn’t make waves.

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It’s very time and thread consuming! After I finish those two small areas, I decided that I wanted to vary the texture, so I kept the lines in the rest of the background half inches apart. I marked lines two inches apart, then the one inch lines in the middle of those, and then I was able to eyeball all the rest of the lines without marking to get the half-inch spaced lines in there.

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It is now fully quilted, the backing is on, and it’s been trimmed square. Just the binding to put around the edge now and it will ready for the wall.

While I sewed, my son spent some time doing his own type of craft.

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Dove

Papercuts snowflake #3 – Dove

 

For some reason this one really gave me fits.  I managed to get all the fabric right side out, but putting the pieces together was one dumb mistake after another.  Clear visual and written directions aren’t a lot of help if you don’t look at them!

I thought things were moving along swimmingly – all four part As were attached to their part Bs.

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That was when the seam ripping began.  Part C was not going to fit on that short edge.

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Sigh – I’d sewn A & B together on the wrong sides.  And because I was working in an assembly line fashion, that meant all the sections were mis-sewn.

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The misaligned version on the left, the corrected version on the right.

The Cs finally on, my next struggle was to get the seams to line up right.  There was more seam ripping — three times on the last seam! — and a bit of cursing, but it finally came out.

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Just don’t look at the back.  There is a lot of fraying.

Snowless snow day

Apparently the sympathetic magic worked – I woke up at 5:20 this morning to an automated phone call from my district declaring a snow day.

Except there is no snow.

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I guess the storm split and went around our town.  But up in the hills it got white and icey, so the buses can’t safely get those kids down to the schools.  So the whole district stayed home.

My boys were devastated to discover that because their district is in a flatter part of town, they had to head out into the cold while mom stayed in her pajamas.  I was . . . not devastated . . . to have a quiet day to myself.

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And I made the second snowflake for the January blocks of the Papercuts BOM. It is called Squall, so we will see what the evening brings!

Papercuts

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I’m really excited about the block of the month quilt that I signed up for.  It is called Papercuts, is designed by Amy Friend, and I love both the idea and the execution.

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I’ve always liked making paper snowflakes — my boys and I used to make them and tape them in the windows to help attract snow. And a blue and white quilt is on my to-do list.  This BOM runs all year, so it will be finished in time for the holidays next year.

I got a late start, only stumbling across the pattern in late January, and then my background fabric order only arrived yesterday.  Turns out I also didn’t have much white fabric either, so I had to run to the store to get lots more.  But finally on Sunday I was able to sit down and make the first snowflake,

This block is called Cloud.  (Each snowflake is named after a descriptive word for white.)

There is a second one for January, and the two patterns for February have also come out, so I need to increase my speed.  It takes me a while to get back in the paper piecing groove when I haven’t done it for awhile.  There’s always some sewing wrong sides together and misjudging scrap angles when I first start out again.

Next up is Squall.

And the paper snowflake magic may be working — we have a prediction of our first possible snow fall tonight.