Finished scarf

39F4A947-BA20-4496-B69D-884558008A4C

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

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

0acd69c6-1a6d-4142-aba6-91dc8b32107d-e1555887425167.jpeg

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.

7329183B-3F01-4A2E-B19A-2543F6E98C13

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.

761179D6-6E8F-4EA0-A4E8-1789BEBB95EA

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.

8ADEB3A7-C1B1-4763-951C-7F95264202A4

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

398A00F8-4BFC-4CE4-BD77-C17F9E97C80B

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

18863F6E-0DA8-4EEE-9B18-E9F172C81474

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

8629F0C9-11CC-4389-8349-1BA07E6AD9BD

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

7CD413DD-BDA3-4BE5-8C54-4DF1BAE5677F

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.

 

 

 

Growing Up Odd – a finish

97AA7B65-F118-4B39-BA97-639FE138780A

A windy photo shoot in the backyard for the finally finished Growing Up Odd quilt, based on a tutorial from the Wedding Dress Blue blog.

29A03E8E-E323-4573-BFC0-0BFC4E3D0B22

We were racing to take the pictures in the last of the afternoon sunshine, hampered not just by the wind but by the fact that even on a chair and stretching, my son is barely 100” tall.  My husband didn’t need the chair but then he is 6’ 4” tall, before stretching.

image

This quilt is made up of 2 1/2” squares from my precut scrap bin, sashed in Kona cotton’s windsor blue.  Nine-patch, 21-patch and 49-patch sections combined into 16 giant blocks randomly rotated to make a top that after quilting and washing is almost exactly 100” x 100”.  Bigger than a queen size, not quite a king.  It will be perfect for our bed in summer when the down comforter is too warm.

This is the quilt that I spent hours pinning badly, an epic fail of tape and will.  It ended up at Quilting Longarm Magic, a local service.

This was the first time I’ve ever sent a top out for quilting by someone else.  It felt a little bit like cheating, but then there are no quilt police, and I could never have done as well on my home machine.  It isn’t something I can afford to do often, but I can see doing it again for something equally large or a quilt that deserves really special patterns.  I don’t mind quilting, but it isn’t the part I truly enjoy, so I could finish a lot more quilts with the longarm help.

I chose a meandering squares pattern goes well with the multitude of square blocks.  With all those seams, I also wanted to anchor as many of the squares as possible.  A bed quilt will go in the washing machine and needs to be sturdy.

2559B01D-ACDF-47C3-A4BD-D68DC2D4FA37

The pattern shows up better on this section of the backing.  The thread used is almost the same blue as this backing fabric.

B292878C-2C7D-409A-A98D-4BA05D4779A6

He got it back to me in less than two weeks, on Saturday, and I spent Sunday squaring it up and then using the sliced off edges to make the binding.

It gives plenty of coverage on our bed.

9F09ECD9-5CA0-43B6-A4D0-CA1488EAFE32

This is the largest quilt top I’ve ever made, and I have ambitions to make more now that this was a success.

376BFCED-518D-4E52-AC6A-63A2BC7C2C96

74CB052D-B152-419D-BB91-AB83A5720A61

P.S.  I just did the math and there are 1,552 little squares in this quilt.  And I still have even more than those left in the scrap bin.  The scraps can never be defeated!

 

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.

16ABF7AD-A4B6-4DC9-ACAC-A3367CEB8E4C

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.

81344703-686F-452F-BC3E-B4328D844A06

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.

AEF6B923-22FE-400C-A05D-4B2687DF4BE4

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

 

Done is better than perfect

99CC3708-2453-45A7-8ADE-D06C4D8ADB6E

After more than two years, my red and white Xs quilt is finally done!  It waited in its box for a long, long time before getting quilted.

The background is all loops, really the only free motion pattern I can manage over wide areas.  But I did try some new quilting patterns inside the Xs.  I gave up quickly and picked out my free motion attempts at fillers, but I had more success with the walking foot.

I used the border to practice some simple dot to dot lines, marking my turning points with pins.  Then I went back and did more in the Xs that had relatively large open areas.  Nothing complex, but I got better as I went on.

There were a LOT of thread ends to bury!

I used the bright red for the binding which went on really fast after all the pulling and pausing and turning during the quilting.

We no longer have a house with an upper deck, so my tall husband did his best to hold it up in the kitchen.

7C411EE0-F0A3-49E0-877A-EA1D4ABE6BB0

It is done just in time to put it on the couch for Christmas.  I guess I need to make a blue and white one for Hanukkah next since we celebrate both.  It is too late for this year – the last candle was a few days ago – but I can have it ready for next year.

I was really scared to put this one in the washer.  I would have skipped that step, but after being dragged around for all the sewing, the quilt needed to be cleaned.   I didn’t think to prewash the fabric way back when I was starting the blocks. I never prewash, but this time it would have been wiser.  Red and white – the bleeding potential was very high.

I did a lot of research about washing it and ended up putting it in with as much water as the washer allowed and double rinsing.  I also threw in six color catchers (the normal amount is one, maybe two for really strong colors).  They came out pretty pink:

386B312C-9DE9-4826-8BC0-E29F2259EBC9

But the quilt did not.  Yay!

C5948A90-097E-4158-81FC-08C1C1E2B19A

The back is a crowded red and white winter village.  It is busy enough that the quilting doesn’t really show, neither the white or red thread.

19FCB3E5-ED82-457E-9A34-91DFEC820D41

I especially like like the little snowflakes falling on the rooftops.

044A1B9D-AA48-44D6-8EAC-1A47500D0C3CThe quilt is done, the tree is trimmed.  Now I just need to do absolutely everything else for the holidays.  It may be time to start panicking.

ADA7C4DC-A40E-49BB-8666-EC6E4FDA4F8D

F37B1BD4-8547-4EEE-9A67-40AC1BA4A579

 

 

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?

A0A50495-2629-4D53-9CE6-9009FC9EA98B

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.

55D0B9AF-1FEA-458C-B969-0374AAA6D3D6

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.

FF1275F0-3C3C-4995-83B8-AC0DB2B7C342BDA4F965-E83D-4931-B177-2EF4A853E464130CCC0D-FFCE-4E28-844E-ADE62AB5878F

 

Olympic gold finish

I’m awarding myself an unexpected gold medal because I did in fact finish my Knitting Olympics wrap before the extinguishing of the flame at the end of the closing ceremonies.  Of course, this was on NBC time, rather than the Korean peninsula time zone, but so was the casting on, so I’m counting it.

I owe my victory to two snow days and a late start, so thank you Canada for the cold front assist.

The blocking may have been a bit excessive – this thing stretches to the floor if I don’t double wrap it.  In some hazy future I will soak it again and reblock for width and reduced length, but for now, I’m just loving it.  I’m almost sad that spring is finally starting to show up because I won’t get to wear it for months and months.

Not sure why it then took me two weeks to get that finish posted, but life gets in the way.

I’ve moved on to another wrap, this one called Pralines.  I ripped it out three times in the early stages, twice because I didn’t like how I was managing carrying the light yarn up the edge, and the third time because I decided to change the contrast yarn altogether.  In stead of a greeny-blue yarn I dyed a while back with Olympic white left-overs , it is now the greeny-blue with a variegated lighter green.  Looks less like I’m knitting nautical wear.  If I had the brown yarn shown in the pattern, I’d have used that because I love the color combination, but I’m trying to knit from stash.

B1F92BA2-2803-4AA6-B178-92E67C8E5D59

Which, by the way, is totally my excuse for buying three new skeins of yarn at the Rose City Yarn crawl last weekend.  I needed the new yarns to go with three skeins I already had, so I could make some two color shawls I have my eye on.  can’t knit from stash if it doesn’t match!  None of my remaining sock yarns really went with each other.  So I was pretty much forced to buy more yarn, right?  (Oh, rationalization.  It makes for great shopping sprees.)

My friend Paige came down to spend the weekend, so there was much knitting and yarn shopping and making of bagels.

That last became a full family affair because the many stages of bagel making were so interesting.  Kneading and pulling, then broiling, boiling, and baking.  We had a great time, and then a fabulous bagel feast.

 

 

 

 

 

A finish, a start, and a revival

9C22D13B-8E96-46B7-877F-A4EA7936CD7C

My finish this week is my Aether shawl.  I’m sad to have finished it.  I loved the yarn, loved the pattern, loved the process.  And I suspect, if the trend continues, that I will love wearing it.

The before and after shots show the magic role blocking plays in lace knitting!  This shawl has a six foot wingspan, and that is after I skipped the final pattern repeat.

I finished it up in Seattle where I joined my fiber friends, Paige, L1 (AKA Seattle Leslie) and L2 (AKA Oregon Leslie).

B6A3EC86-CB11-48EA-8CEF-D9754AC579FD

(A sample picture of the necessities for a knitting weekend. Plus wine.)

We spent most of the time hanging out with our knitting, but we did take a break at one point to drive over to Carnation, for a first time visit to Tolt Yarn and Wool.

It is a warm, friendly shop, and a sweater knitter’s dream.  So many beautiful yarn lines, worsted and woolens in a rainbow of solids and heathers.  Whole sections provided enough colors for any fair isle project.  It made my fingers inch to take up a project with lots of cables or complicated multi-color patterns.

There were less of the highly varigated or speckle dyed yarns that are the recent craze.  It fell into more classic styles in the yarn and in the samples.  It made for a very pretty shop.

So what did I buy? Yarn made of nettles. Not soft, not pretty, but it intrigued me. I think it will someday become placemats, or a table runner. They should be hard wearing and drapey after repeated washing.

D3FBDE6D-38DB-4C99-AAFB-4F8334B2AF08

My new knitting start is another pair of socks, to become the tote bag project.  There always needs to be a portable project in my tote bag.  These will be made from another skein of Knit Picks Bare that I dyed in jars, this time in turquoise, gray, and a gray-blue.  The free pattern is called Petty Harbour, and I have knit it before.  It is a simple four row repeat, which is what on-the-go, frequently interrupted knitting needs.

2D6EC878-79E0-4954-88FD-B99C0991887F

My revival is my handspun sweater that has languished in a bag in the craft closet for months.  I’m not sure why, other than it has so many different balls of yarn attached that it takes some effort and space to keep untangling them all.  The pattern is simple, the yarn wrangling is not.

1A02EFB5-D4BF-4DA3-9EB3-7EA9ACE3D197

Just a simple raglan cardigan-to-be, made entirely from my handspun yarn.  It is using up a lot of the single skeins that had been piling up.

Overall, a yarn filled week.  That’s never a bad thing.  🙂