Little birds

As you can probably tell from the blog title, I am fond of birds, and fiber, and especially the combination of birds with fiber.

Add in the fact that there is a new baby in the family – my sister-in-law’s – and it was time for some bird sewing!

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I used helpful tips from the pattern on this website, though I abandoned the measurements and paper piecing and figured I would even it all out after the fact.  I just used the pictures to figure out the general idea, and then started mass producing birds.

Occasionally I went a little too quickly.  There was some seam ripping.

 

Dratted beaks don’t always end up where you want them.  I might have been a little tired at that point.

But I persevered, and the baby quilt grew.

It took awhile to decide what I wanted to do in the middle.  I was going to put four more birds, like compass points, but it didn’t look right.  Then I was just going to go with the light background colors in a scrappy layout.  But this is for a baby, after all, and likely to be on the ground, and suffer various baby fluid indignities, so it seemed like darker colors would be the way to go.

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Similarly, I went back and forth on the corners.  Nests of eggs?  More bright blocks?  In the end, I added in more birds.  Because, as has been mentioned, I really like birds.

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The back got more of the bold colors.

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Now just the pinning and quilting remain.  I have a couple of weeks for that as my husband is going to hand deliver this when he flies to Israel in mid-October.  (I actually did all this sewing a couple weeks ago, but I’ve been very behind in the blogging.)

Shawl progress

As I showed at the end of my summer vacation post, I didn’t get a lot of knitting done this summer.

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That trend has continued.  There has been progress made on the shawl I started at the beginning of July, but it has been very slow.  Now the cooler, wetter fall is upon us, I think that it will speed up a lot.

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Pattern:  Lochlyn Shawl — Yarn:  Tosh Merino Light, in Whiskey Barrel and Cove.

 

Grellow

One of my favorite color combinations is gray and yellow. My new kitchen floor and backsplash are examples of that, although with the yellow turned way down.  Add in a warm brown, and it really helps with the rather washed out falls and winters around here.

So when we got our new living room couch a while ago, I inevitably chose a rather gray toned brown fabric, to go with the accent walls my sister painted yellow for me.

But a new couch demands a new quilt, right?

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I actually made the top last winter, and pinned the quilt sandwich in my school library the day I had to stay late for evening graduation back in June.

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But then my beloved Juki had to go into the shop to repair a broken part, and ended up having to be mailed back to the factory when the injury proved serious.  It was gone all summer, and my Brother machine, while excellent in its way, doesn’t have the harp space or the heavy duty power to quilt easily.  So the WIP waited until summer ended and the Juki finally returned.

By this point, I really needed it to get done, if only to reclaim the pins.  I have enough projects sandwiched and ready for quilting that I was running out of the curved safety pins.  Only a small pile remained.

I auditioned a few thread colors: gray, variegated, a dark brown.  I liked the dull gold of a 50 wt. Aurifil best for tying all the fabric colors together.   I chose a fairly simple quilting, just double echoes of all the seams, so it went fast.  As you can see in the photos, the quilt is made up of 10” squares, half square triangles, and four patches of 5” squares.  Not at all fancy, but bright and rich colors that I love together.

Add a binding made of the remnants of the backing fabric after trimming and it is exactly what I wanted for keeping warm on the couch.

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Summer’s end

 

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I go back to work tomorrow, and it rained yesterday for the first time in a couple months, so I guess we are finally letting go of summer.

There was very little fiber or fabric in my summer.  Too busy, too distracted, and just never in the mood.

Instead, we remodeled, and traveled, and lazed, in about equal amounts.

I took the first major road trip we’ve ever done with the kids.  My sister and I loaded up a 1970s tent trailer and the boys and took off for California, driving south for 8 days.  We stayed mainly in state parks along the way.

We stayed in the redwoods first.

And then headed over to the coast:

We saw wild and aquarium creatures of all sorts:

The boys enjoyed every minute of it, of course.

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(And oh, how I wish I could have recorded their appalled voices when they found out that national forests don’t supply wifi!  Insert evil mother’s laugh here.)

At the end of the eight days we reached Anaheim, dropped my sister at the airport, and greeted my husband, who had flown down to join us, and we temporarily traded the trailer for an air-conditioned hotel.

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Then it was a week of heat, and rollercoasters, and junk food.  It was the kids’ first time at Disney and Universal Studios, and my first time in 20 years.  I have really mixed feelings about that part of the trip.  It was crowded, and expensive, and exhausting, and omg-level hot, but it was also fun, and nostalgic, and scary, and funny.

And so much screaming.  My husband doesn’t do heights and falling, so I was designated rollercoaster parent.  So Much Screaming.  I may never recover from the Guardians of the Galaxy drops or the twists of the IncrediCoaster.  Frankly, I barely made it through the sliding gondolas of the California Adventure Ferris wheel.  My youngest and I clung to each other to the point of bruising on each ride.  But we were proud of ourselves after we shakily exited each car and shook the blood back into our limbs.

And now they can say we have taken them to Disney and we don’t have to do it again for another 15-20 years!

The last leg of the trip was a bit truncated.  We dropped Roni off at the airport, and the plan was for me and the boys to drive up I-5, stopping at historical spots and in the mountains along the way, but wildfires put an end to that.  Once we got to Sacramento, the smoke was starting to get bad, and the huge Redding fire meant it only got worse the further north that we got.  So, we sped up the plans and cancelled a lot of stops, and made it home in four days.

It was arid, and smoky, and we were a bit vacationed out, so it was just as well.  And once the tires on the elderly trailer started to go, I was about done with camping.

All in all, it was a great trip. The kids got to swim in pools and rivers.

They saw new parts of the country and drove some really twisty roads, and some really straight ones..

We learned that we really like tent trailer camping (no sleeping on the ground!) and I think we are going to buy one.

And I learned that changing a tire on the side of I-5 is possible, but not pleasant.

We are definitely going to hit the road again on future vacations.  But with newer tires.

And in all that time, and all those miles, this is how much knitting I got done:

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Much brighter

My sister decided yesterday that she could no longer live with the curtains she inherited from the previous tenant when she moved into her apartment.

It is not hard to see why she turned against them.

Crtains before

She is very far from a brown and red plaid person.  I don’t know how they lasted as long as they did.

Here’s a closeup.  I think they would maybe work in someone’s hunting cabin in the woods?

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There was a lot of agonizing at the fabric store because she couldn’t find a print that matched what she saw in her mind.  She wanted bright, but not too busy.  She also didn’t want to pay a fortune for curtains when she isn’t sure how much longer she will live in this apartment.

And then we hit on the idea of ombré color block curtains.  Kona cotton rainbow of options to the rescue.

After a bit of math confusion at the cutting counter, I handled the cutting and sewing, and she handled all the ironing.

 

I made French seams to encase the raw edges, as they will show from outside through the windows when she is on her patio.  We didn’t line them as she needs all the light she can get in that living room.

On her way home she went to Lowe’s and got a can of silver spray paint to turn the rings and rod from black to silver.

Such a vast improvement after a morning of work!

Curtains after

The teal/turquoise is also in the quilt that I gave her when she moved.  (A camera shy niece is hiding under there.)

Quilt a d curtains.

Next we need to make some pillows for the gray couch that will brighten up that too.  It is so satisfying to be able to make such a difference with a few yards of fabric.

Summer progress

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Finally on summer vacation!  And then I made the mistake of watering all the new plants in the garden, and a sudden rain storm blew in.  My fault – I should have know better than to temp the rain gods like that.

But it made for a lot of available sewing time.  I’m back at work on the Growing Up Odd quilt, chain stitching the little squares and building the different sized blocks.

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I’ve finished the 7×3 and 7×7 blocks, 16 of each, and I have 34 of the 48 3×3 blocks done.

I tried hard to not duplicate fabrics in the same blocks.  That was easy in the nine patches, but harder when it was a 49 square block, sewn together randomly in chunks.  There is usually at least one repeat.

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Sashing next.  I’m planning to quilt it in strips to make it more manageable, though the actual quilting will have to wait until I get my Juki back from the shop.  My smaller Brother machine is great for regular sewing, but it doesn’t like too much bulk under the needle.

I also finished up my ribbed scarf knit with a variety of coned yarns.  I’m trying to clear up space in the craft storage.  It is entirely 1×1 ribbing, so it made a great work project I could pick up during lunch or faculty meetings.  No pattern or thought needed.

While I was knitting it the yarns were thin and almost cotton like – coned yarns still have oil on them as they were meant to be used on machines – but once it was done and hand washed in hot, soapy waters, and then dried on the hammock, the yarn softened and bloomed. Definitely a cold weather accessory, so it will be put away for awhile.

Tool box hat

A while back I knit a Craftsy kit called the tool box cowl.  Mine was the hill myna colorway, a gradient of grays with a mustard yellow to cheer things up.  (I love gray and yellow.  Love, love, love.  Pretty much the color scheme of my entire house.)  I added in some cream as well to get a wider cowl and to create more contrast.

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There was yarn left over, so I just knit up a tool box hat to match.

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They are both really simple patterns, with a slip stitch garter transition between colors. I was never knitting with more than one color per row thanks to the slipped stitches.

No decreases needed, and a quick three needle bind off.  Then the corners turned in, a braid, and a matching set is done.

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