Two finishes and a fail

Despite all the remodeling construction and Thanksgiving, I did manage to finish a couple of projects recently.

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The first is a cowl I made from a yarn kit ordered from Craftsy, using the Toolbox Cowl pattern.   The yarn kit came with five colors, so I added a few extra rows to make each stripe wider, as the original pattern called for six colors. However, I didn’t calculate that extra rows in the garter/slip stitch section wasn’t going to really add much height.  So before I got to the mustard yellow, I dug out some cream yarn and added that in as well. I’m really pleased with the way it ended up. It’s a very comfortable, soft cowl.  And there should be enough yarn left to make the matching hat!

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The next finish was my Noro scarf-turned-cowl.  This is the one that I ripped back four or five times and changed my mind repeatedly about how to knit it.  Then I had to graft together ribbing, which isn’t a smooth process when you are connecting top to bottom.  The stitches end up off by a half stitch which really complicates grafting even without adding in knits and purls.  There was more ripping out, and I learned not to graft on a light color row as every wonky bit shows more, but it is a circle now, and when it is doubled up around a neck the grafting isn’t going to show unless someone really looks for it.

If I’d had the yarn I would have immediately started another one, I was so happy with the results after all that ripping and indecision.  I think it would have been too short as a scarf, but it is perfect as a double wrapped cowl.

After that came a really quick fun knit that I can’t show yet as it is a Christmas present.  My mom sometimes reads this blog. . .

Then the fail.  More of a mechanical problem than anything I did, but it still meant I didn’t get the finish I was hoping for.  Sewing has really been on the back burner as we worked on the house, so I was really excited to start working on a quilt again.  And it is a simple brick pattern, already pinned in a sandwich, so I thought I could get it fully quilted and maybe even bound in one day.

I should have known it wasn’t going to go smoothly when it took 40 minutes of intense searching to find my walking foot in the one craft related box that somehow didn’t get unpacked and was hidden away in the rec room closet.

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And then my sewing machine came apart!  I had stopped in mid-line to change a bobbin, and it wouldn’t start back up.  When I checked, the power cord had fallen out of the machine.  When I put it back in, it just fell right back out.  Further investigation showed that there was nothing to plug into – the internal prongs were gone.

I unscrewed the panel and found that the plastic housing for the plug had broken in two, dropping the prongs into the casing.

I probably should have stopped working and taken it in for repair, but I didn’t want to give up, so I grabbed the gorilla glue and some pins to poke things with and dropped glue in to put the pieces back together.  After it dried overnight, it seems to be holding, so I will use it very carefully until I can find a period of time where I am willing to live without it and take it in to have the part repaired.

But the quilt didn’t get finished as the next day I had to clear out the dining room because we were having company.  Sigh.  It has been a long time since I finished a quilt and I really thought it was going to happen this time.  The list of sewing WIPs is not getting any shorter.

At least I’m having more success with the knitting.  A new start with some handspun is coming along really quickly.

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Yak and silk – yum!

 

 

 

A finish!

imageMoroccan Tiles quilt finishedMoroccan Tiles quilt finished

The Moroccan Tiles quilt is finished!  Quilted, bound, and ready for a quick trip to the laundromat (I don’t want to risk putting this big a quilt into my top loader machine – it would be horrible to mangle it!)

My walking foot woes on the Juki were solved with a trip to the Montavilla Sewing store in Portland where I bought it.  It turned out that the lever on the walking foot that fits over the screw (that also serves to keep needles in) was slipping sideways and catching in a groove.  It had completely bent a pretty sturdy screw and even ground off a bit of the lever metal.  The repair guy ultimately solved it by adding a washer so it can’t slip into the groove anymore.  He also smoothed out the metal on the lever so it rides without catching again.  It works perfectly.  Yay!

Juki walking foot with washer
If you look closely, you can see the new little washer that solved all my walking foot troubles.

Though it seems I’ll be making a second trip there soon because all the fiddling has knocked the needle threaded out of whack and it doesn’t work now.  But that wasn’t something that prevented a finish.

The center I quilted in a grid pattern on the gray sashing.  It made a great diamond pattern on the back.

Moroccan Tiles quilt back

The narrow border I stitched on just the edges, and then I added some wavy lines to the wide border – really fun to sew and they make a good contrast with all the straight lines throughout the main section.

Moroccan Tiles backing detail

Moroccan Tiles backing detail

The binding went on quickly.  I almost always do a hand sewn finish on my binding, but my cousin has a dog and I think it might get washed a lot, so I did a machine sewn finish for extra longevity.   I sewed it on the back first, ironed, and then sewed down the very edge of the front.

Moroccan tiles quilt bindingI used the same fabric that made up the thin border for the binding, so it frames the wider purple border.  My cousin came down to Portland last weekend just in time to bring it to me.

I love how it turned out, and I’m no longer afraid to make such a large quilt.  My Juki’s harp handled it without much trouble – having the blocked on point helped with that I think, since I could pull the corners out of the way through the harp space.  A new quilt four our queen sized bad may be in the near future.

Next up is a duvet cover for my mom, a much quicker project.  Though it did take her an hour and a half in the store to pick the fabric.  She and I have a lot in common – we must touch all the pretty colors!

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.

Black and white

I was going to say that it has been a productive day, but that would imply actually completing tasks from the to-do list, or even packing for the weekend away that starts in a about an hour. So instead I’ll say it was an activity filled day.

Started off right with two 60% off coupons that let me buy a new cutting mat and a smaller square ruler to make things go more smoothly with planned projects. Such a deal with the discounts!

Then I went online and bought this pattern for a lover’s knot block (though the designer calls it a carpenter’s square) to make into a mini quilt for our bedroom wall. Our room is black and white overall, with a little yellow and tan thrown in, and I want to make a few minis to cover a blank wall by the closet.

This block requires a lot of precision, in both cutting and sewing.

Neither of those are my strongest skills, but working on this should help.

I’m adding extra rows to make it a little bigger. The dramatic contrast is great, but if I do it again (and I plan to) I will put a color square in the very center. Yellow, perhaps.

This is also giving me practice with my new Juki sewing machine. I’m crazy about the auto cut feature, but I keep forgetting I can use the foot pedal to use it. And the leg lever to lift the foot makes things so much faster. I can’t imagine I’ll ever get to use the rabbit speed though. Medium seems like I’m racing beyond my fingers as it is.