Oceans BOM – an octopus

img_7794Taking advantage of yet another day without school, I finished a paper pieced block for my younger son’s quilt.   There has been quite a lot of nagging about it lately, so I promised him that I would get back to work on it.

This octopus block is from a quilt-a-long that started in 2015, so I have a lot of catching up to do!  This is the sixth block that I’ve completed, so it joins the sea turtle, message in a bottle, manta ray, sea lion pup, and bluefin tuna in the accomplished pile.

While there were still a lot of pieces, this one was simpler than some of the others. Far fewer tiny little bits to sew together.  Still makes a mess though.


I have a couple more blocks I want to add, although I’m subbing in some creatures from another source, and then I will be able to put the top together. The plan is wide sashing and borders with some sort of sea themed fabric, and to arrange them with the beach creatures at the top  and the deep underwater life at the bottom.

I also think I’m going to try quilting each block individually before sewing them all together so I can get the details right without a lot of wrestling of a bulky quilt sandwich.


Back to OFFF

Each year a couple of my friends and I get together and go to a fiber festival.  It used to be Blacksheep, in Eugene, but the spring pollen combined with the straw dust made it impossible for one of my more allergic friends to survive happily.  So now we go to OFFF each September in Canby.


I actually prefer Blacksheep, because the arrangements for viewing sheep judging and other displays are better for knitting/spinning while watching.  OFFF doesn’t seem to think that people might want to sit in stands for a while to watch the events – maybe they believe only the people showing animals will sit there for long periods?  There are little to no seating arrangements most of the time.  But I always liked learning what made a Romney or BFL a really good example of its breed, or why one bunny was top over another that looks equally fluffy to me.  The announcers were good at filling in the info gaps for those of us who could probably tell a sheep from a goat, but not always.  At OFFF, even the llama obstacle course was moved to the opposite end of the barn this year, away from the stands we used to be able to sit in to watch.  And the judges aren’t wired for sound, so it isn’t possible to hear much of what they are saying.


Also, I miss the evening parade of fiber fashions that Blacksheep had each year.  And the Shetland sheep costume parade.  And the wood fired pizza at the restaurant nearby.

Those complaints aside, OFFF is a good time.  We bring our camp chairs to the lawn under the giant shade trees, wander the booths and barns for two days, and always go for Thai food for lunch.  We knit and spin and shop and catch up, and then go back to one friend’s house on the river to talk and craft some more.

Last Saturday, my sister and niece came along to check out the animals, and later in the afternoon my husband and kids showed up to do the same.  The animals cover the range of fiber creatures, including angora and cashmere goats, tiny Shetlands and massive Romney sheep, alpacas and llamas, and the bundles of fluff angora rabbits.

The weather was also perfect – blue skies but not too hot, and nothing like the windstorm that blew vendors canopies away a couple years ago.  Speckle dyed yarn and yarn felting seemed to be the new crazes with a lot more booths devoted to them, and I spent a lot of time wandering looking at wheels, because despite the fact that I have a perfectly good wheel, I can’t help lusting after the beautiful alternatives I don’t need but still want.  I definitely have wooley winder envy!

There is also always a fiber craft project display.  My favorites this year were both felted octopuses (octopi?)

I was VERY restrained in my shopping this year.  That 27 pounds of fiber already in the stash stayed in the forefront of my mind, and I bought just two luxury spinning tops, one of yak and silk and one a combo of angora, silk and cormo wool.  I got only one skein of sock yarn, because those bins at home are also rather full and a pottery soap dish to replace the plexiglass one in my bathroom I’ve always hated.  For me, it was the equivalent of coming home empty handed.  I just kept reminding myself that I’d bought most of it before, it would be there again, and I have a very busy life and way too many hobbies.  It kept the credit card in my wallet.


Now there is nothing to do but rest up for next year.



It hit 102 degrees here today! That is crazy hot for this time of year. A good day for indoor activities.  Thank goodness I gave in to my husband and we installed airconditioning this winter. Our house is poorly insulated – none at all in the sides – so it heats up fast.

With all this indoors time on my hands. I made a dent in my long WIP list, but only because I chose the very quickest projects to get them off the list.  Which meant a lot of ripped out knitting.  I spent all the spare minutes here and there today on frogging various projects and wondering why I let them hang around so long.


I keep a lot of my unfinished knitting in a basket on a bookshelf.  Some of it has been in there for years.

Frogged first:

A novelty yarn scarf on gigantic wooden needles – you can see it peeking out in the basket picture above. The yarn was a free handout from a Mariners stitch-n-pitch day in Seattle.  Before the new stadium was built, which means it is years old.  And only one skein of the unattractive yarn, so how did I think that would make a whole scarf?  And who was going to wear it?  It’s undone now, and the yarn is going in the donation bag.


Next up for frogging – some slippers in a pink handspun yarn that was remnants from other projects. I could never get the shape of the first slipper to be what I wanted, so after several tries, it is permanently unraveled and the yarn is going back into the odds and ends bin for a future use.  I bought slippers a while back anyway.

Also frogged – an odd little project started back when my youngest son asked for a knitted cupcake.  Neither he or I can remember why he wanted it, and I never got the weird novelty yarn to look very frosting like.  It is gone now.


My daily temperature scarf I rather regret saying goodbye to.  It was part of a Ravelry knit-a-long where the rows represented the high or low temperature of each day.  I did a linen stitch pattern and really liked the overall look.  But it fell to the pressures of packing up our house and moving out of state; I didn’t keep track of the temps and never caught up.  Plus, as it grew, I doubted my yarn choice. Knit Picks Palette yarn is great for color work, but not soft around a neck.  I doubt it would ever have gotten worn.  It is currently in the wash pile to be felted and cut up for coasters.


The oldest project I just unraveled was the start of a ladybug stranded knit that I started back when we got our adoption referral for our first son. He was two then; he’s ten now.  Time to say good-bye to the luridly colored little thing.  The colors – what was I thinking?  And he’s never been willing to wear a sweater since we met him, so this project was not one to ever be finished.


In addition to all the destruction, there was one completed project today.  Again, a very quick one from the list.  All my niece’s fused fabric octopus wall quilt needed was hanging tabs sewn on the back and one button replacement.  It is done as of this afternoon, so I get to cross something off the list that was construction rather than deconstruction.


I recovered a lot of yarn and some needles.  This picture is pre-ladybug frogging, so the pile grew bigger.  And my friend just texted about an upcoming yarn swap gathering, so some of it will go away all together.

All the low-hanging fruit is now gone, however, and I’m going to have to start diving into the bigger projects.

Scrappy Stars Around the Corner, clue 2

Several sewing sessions this weekend yielded 20 finished blocks.

Lots of sizing up and corner clipping.  I mixed sewing randomly and trying to make sure that the same fabrics didn’t end up directly next to each other.  Generally successful, but a few times I slipped up as the number of fabrics grew along with the blocks.

I had fairly good luck keeping all the points, so I’m showing some improvement there, but my scant 1/4″ seam is a little too narrow so I’ve a new goal to work on.

And then there is watching which way I attach the pieces:

The finished blocks are 12 1/2″.  I still have a lot of squares left, so either these blocks are going to get bigger, or the sashing is going to be fancy.

There are a lot of yellow squares that haven’t been touched yet.

The original directions specified squares of three values: dark to medium fabrics, medium to light, and very light.  The background could be very dark or white.  I went with the white, since I was already using blacks in the pattern and didn’t want to lose the difference, but now the pale grays/tans I used for the light colors don’t seem much different than the white background.  It works in these blocks, but I may have to make adjustments coming up if the two are ever going to touch.


While I sewed, my visiting sister worked on the octopus that we started months ago.  She is in charge of getting the button suckers sewn on so I can quilt it.


There is a ways to go, but she’s promised to add at least six buttons a day.