Friday, November 25, 2011

Shelly’s Ten-Year Quilt

Later today, I plan to get out my rotary cutter and start cutting the fabric shown below into smaller pieces.

(BTW, the fabric in the lower right which appears to be blue is actually purple.)

Eventually, it will all be reassembled into something resembling this:

. . . which is based on a quilt from a book called Bright Quilts from Down Under.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Afternoon

In my family, after large holiday meals, my father liked to take what he termed “post-prandial strolls” and I have continued this tradition.

Today, my lovely husband Tim and I went up to Bellingham to share Thanksgiving dinner at the home of his sister Nancy and her husband Jerry. After an early afternoon repast, Tim and I went for a walk in Whatcom Falls Park, which is directly adjacent to Nancy’s house.

On our outing, we crossed the bridge above the falls. The bridge was constructed as a WPA project in 1939-1940 and has a vintage appeal to it lacking in more modern constructions. Being significantly covered by moss helps.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fun with Stamps

Today is the 95th birthday of my aunt Alta, my mom’s older sister.

When my sister Palma reminded me of this last week, I thought a special card was in order.

A few weeks ago, I had gotten out a set of stamps I bought in the late ’90s at some crafts fair. The packaging specifically touted them as being designed to recreate quilt block designs, so of course I had to get them. They came with a box of blank cards, and I also purchased a number of ink pads (which after all these years have not dried out and are still quite usable).

The box of cards became a Christmas present for my mom, each stamped with a different quilt block. The box I have now I bought later from the same vendor. (I suppose if I wanted more I could write to the street address on the booklet to see if they are still in business. There is no phone number and no web address.)

I hadn't used the stamps in a long time, but I wanted to make a unique birthday card for a co-worker. In the same drawer are some Crayola stamping markers that used to belong to my daughter, as well as a set of alphabet stamps.

My stamping supplies

The front of the card

The inside of the card

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Quilt Finished, Quilt To Be

This morning, I sewed together the rows of this quilt last seen as individual blocks arranged on my design wall.

It will go in the stack of quilt tops be donated to Project Linus.

When that was done, I sorted a pack of 8-1/2" x 10-1/2" cuts of Whispers in the Wind by Sandy Gervais in preparation for selecting pairs for another Linus quilt top. Details to come.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

(Nearly) Mindless Knitting

Sometimes, I need some knitting that I don’t need to think much about while I’m working on it. The most mindless knitting would be a garter stitch scarf, and I admit I made a few of those when I first began knitting. But I don’t really like garter stitch.

The next most mindless knitting would be alternative rows of stockinette and purl, but that rolls under at the edges. I think there is a way to avoid that, but I’m not sure what it is.

So what I like to do is what’s called a mistake rib. I think there are one or two other names for it, but when I came across it the first time, that is what it was called, so that’s what I call it. It's a 3-stitch repeat of K2P1, back and forth.

This scarf is made from a yummy worsted yarn from Malabrigo called 176 Loro Barranquero. Pure merino wool. Very soft. The kind of yarn you see yarn shop customers caressing.

I don’t know when it will be completed; I don’t work on it very often. And it’s not completely mindless. I do have to pay a little bit of attention or I do something like make a an extra knit stitch and don’t realize my mistake until the end of the row when I only have two stitches left when I should have three for the K2P1. Fortunately, the rows are quite short so the ”unknitting” isn’t too hard to do.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thrifty Is as Thrifty Does

In the wintertime, I have two sets of flannel sheets that take turns keeping me and my lovely husband Tim warm at night. However, last weekend when I was folding the laundry, I discovered that the bottom sheet of the set that had just gone through the laundry had developed two holes.

Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I really like those sheets. I like them almost as much as the sheep-print flannel sheets that they replaced.

Knowing that even if I mended the sheet, its useful life was now nearing the end, my lovely husband and I visited the various department stores near us to see what sorts of designs were available. Long story short: I was not inspired by the selection of boring solids, unimaginative plaids and snowflakes, and cutesy penguins.

So this morning I patched the holes.

My mother would be so pleased.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Works in Progress

I have a tendency to have multiple projects underway at any given time. Currently, besides a couple of knitting projects, including the silk socks, are these three.

This is a quilt I'm making in an effort to use the fabric I have on hand. Awhile ago, I decided to try not to add to my stash. I’d be having more success with that if I hadn’t volunteered to coordinate making the Ten-Year Quilts at my work.

Anyway, the quilt pictured above is currently on my design wall and is made from the leftovers from one of those projects. In the past, I usually design my own quilts. If I do happen to use the project instructions from a book, as often as not I end up changing it in some way. However, this is pretty much made as written. It is “Picnic” from Scrap-Basket Sensations by Kim Brackett. The one difference is that the block is a mirror image of the one in the book. When I sewed on the first background triangle, I placed it in the opposite corner of the block. When I saw what I had done, rather than "unsewing" it, I just made them all the same way.

This will become a quilt called “Use a Napkin” from Country Threads Goes to Charm School, by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene.

I did not use a purchased charm square pack, but cut five-inch squares from the fabrics in my Batiks bin. If you follow the book’s instructions, you get four of these quadrangles from each square. But I ended up cutting six; the last two have one corner cut off a little but there is still enough seam allowance to make it usable (those pieces are in the stack to the right).

Last but not least is a Hand Pillow close to being done. There is the front, the two back pieces, and the fabric that will go around the cording. Sometime when I have about two hours to spare, I will finish it up.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Several years ago, my oldest sister gave me a hummingbird feeder. But I didn’t really have a good place to hang it at the house I was living in at the time. So it lived in the garage on the workbench, in its original packaging.

Fast forward a few years. I meet my lovely (now) husband Tim and we buy a house together. A couple of years pass, and I decide I really really want to put up a bird feeder, or two (more on that later).

I hang it outside the window over the kitchen sink. It takes maybe a couple of weeks before the first hummingbird sighting, but now they are regular visitors. Well, at least one or two. I've never seen more than one at a time hovering there, but there is at least one male and one female.

Funny story: last Sunday morning, I brought in the feeder to rinse it out and change the sugar water. While I was at the sink rinsing it out, a hummingbird flew up. But the feeder is not there! He hovers here, flits over there, hovers, flies to where the feeder SHOULD be, but it’s gone! Where did it go? It was here just a minute ago!

I refill it, hang it up, and wait patiently. Within half an hour, he returns.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Urban Wildlife

This afternoon, my daughter and I went for a walk around Green Lake. I took my good digital camera along, the one with the 10x zoom, hoping that maybe there would be something worth photographing. Here’s what we saw.

A bird perched out on the lake. I thought it was a heron, but when I got home and looked closely at the photo, I saw that it was something else, but I don’t know exactly what. I only know that it was also not a duck or a gull. But I like the silhouette it makes against the water, with the rowers off to the side.

Farther along, we happened on some people stopped along the path looking up. So we stopped and looked up, too. What had captured everyone’s attention was a bald eagle atop a tall tree.

It was a good day for birdwatching.

Tim’s Birthday Quilt

Today is my lovely husband Tim’s third annual 44th birthday.

For his birthday, I gave him this quilt.

I didn’t actually make the quilt. The credit for that goes to his mom, Naomi. Many years ago, she made a log cabin quilt for each of her five children. A year or two ago when Tim and I were visiting her, she brought his out and we took it home.

It lived in my studio until a couple months ago, when I got it machine quilted and bound it with some red fabric from my stash that matched the slightly orangey red in the center of the log cabin blocks.

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Silk Sock

I like to knit socks.

After the obligatory scarves, a couple of hats, and several pairs of fingerless mitts (more on that later), and a shrug for my daughter that had a severely intense decrease going on way and a corresponding increase on the other side (2:1 and 1:2 respectively), I decided to tackle socks.

I tried a short-row heel but decided that wasn’t for me. My mother had knit socks and she did the whole heel flap/gusset thing, which I think looks much more elegant. I also tried the two-circular-needles technique. Again, not my thing. I seem to do fine with one sock at a time and still ending up with a pair.

The first couple of pair I made (for myself as a test subject) were a little on the large side. But they keep my feet plenty warm in the winter.

I made a pair for my husband, from a pattern I found on the internet appropriately called the Gentlemen's Matrimony Celebratory Socks. If I recall correctly, I adjusted the pattern to fit him. Even then, I liked to fiddle with the math.

Since then, I have designed and made a pair for me, my daughter, and a select other lucky few.

But there is a sock project I have been working on sporadically for the last several months that speaks to my true obsessive-compulsive nature.

A pair of silk socks.

On size 0 needles.

This is what I’ve accomplished thus far. One hundred and five rounds of K3P2 rib and 6 rows of slipstitched heel flap.

This is actually the second silk sock I've worked on. The first one I attempted to introduce a cable stitch, but I couldn't find a cable needle or cable needle substitute that was small enough. So eventually I decided to cut my losses, ripped it back and started over. I decided that if I was going to knit a pair of silk socks, I better be pleased with the result, and cables just wasn’t the way to go.

Back to the drawing board, and a simple rib.

So far, so good.