Sunday, May 25, 2008

she liked it!

The little sis was appropriately appreciative of the quilt, she's aces that way. A good egg that one, I think I'll hold on to her for a while longer.


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Here she is passed out on the bed after the graduation. The end of college really took it out of her. Notice how her dress is the same color as the dark blue in the quilt.


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The graduation was on the Mall in Washington. Sitting in a metal folding chair in a sea of people with Capitol hill as a backdrop made the usual marathon of patience of a commencement a bit more exciting. I think commencements have been invented just for knitters. Some good knitting got done and I think I was actually able to listen to the speaker better with my eyes focused on my knitting instead of roaming around. Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP, gave an inspiring speech about civil liberities and encouraging all the graduates to be able to look back in 20 years and feel that they had done something to make the world a better place. I wonder if I've done anything?


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I'm working on Stitch Diva's Sahara with Bonnie's Bamboo in Terracotta. I have enough yarn to make the sleeveless or short sleeve version. But as I'm working on this I'm wondering if the long sleeve version might be more practical? Take a look at the link and tell me what you think, short sleeve, sleevless, or long sleeve?

When we were down in DC we went to the new Washington Nationals baseball park to take in a ball game. There is a really nice, open feeling at this ball park, you never feel crowded going in and out of the stadium. I always forget how the pace of the game in the stadium is so different than what you see on TV, the movement of the game seems like slow mo at times and a feeling of relaxation blankets me. Here is Girl Thing and Boy Thing after the game. Girl Thing is zonked. Boy Thing has removed his shirt that got splashed by stadium beer suds and has blue snowcone lips, they sort of match the quilt.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

blue tiles quilt

Taa daah, a finished quilt finally. Here is my Blue Tiles Quilt, an FO, and not a moment too soon. I made this queen sized quilt as a graduation present for my sister, who is graduating from college THIS weekend. It's always good to have a deadline to actually get something done. I'm posting here with the hopes that she's not looking, I don't think she is.


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This is a quilt of my own design. I used an improvisational approach, starting with the center medallion and then randomly piecing strips around it. I was initially stressed about flying so freeform but was really happy once I could see that things were going to work out. The dark blue panel in the middle is a tablecloth from Turkey and parts of the rest of the tablecloth are in the border. As for the other fabrics, I've used batiks, Kaffe Fassett prints and stripes, Amy Butler, Liberty, Olympus, and some dupioni silk. I initially thought that I would use more silk but because of the its shreddiness I felt the need to finish the edges of the silk seams. That really slowed me down and meant some low level swearing.


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Royal blue is my sister's color and the Turkish tablecloth that was loitering in my closet started telling me that I needed to make a quilt out of it. My biggest challenge was finding enough fabric that fell within the warm blue range to go with the tablecloth, there seems to be a whole lot of teal and greenish blues out there.


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I used sashiko to highlight parts of the animals and geometric shapes that were in the tablecloth. I'm realizing that I wish I had taken more detail pictures of the border, which is my favorite part of the quilt and of the little sashiko haikus. It's too late now to take more pics because it's dark and the plane leaves in the early a.m.


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The back of the quilt is a nice batik. My friend who machine quilted this for me really did a tremendous job. She outlined the designs in some places and gave it a cool basket weave texture in the border. I really couldn't be happier with how this turned out. If my sister doesn't show a proper amount of ooh-ing and aah-ing over this I may have to disown her.


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Monday, May 12, 2008

The Festival and some FOs

This past weekend was the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival, we went on Saturday. I was hoping to go with a car full of fiber freaks but they all came up with family excuses, lame-o. So I dragged the Huz and Boy Thing and Girl Thing with me. The weather was glorious and we all had a good time. The only down side was that with the spring air, the dust, the hay, and the animals my sinuses were aching by the time we left. The sheep dog trials were really interesting to watch, it's amazing how a few whistles can command those maniacally focussed animals, and then there were sheep of course.


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The Boy Thing found another loom to sit at, he is desperate for one. I somehow think it would end up sitting in a corner after a few uses.

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The vendors there were incredible, my pathetic little budget for shopping was sorely tested. Below, the Boy Thing was slayed by my stash. I bought enough of Marshmallow (80% Alpaca, 20% Merino) from Decadent Fibers for a sweater. I also bought one skein from Sweet Maple Alpacas, 100% Alpaca from Elijah the Alpaca. I wonder if Elijah the white Alpaca takes phone orders? I would love to make a sweater out of his fur, it's delectable.

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I finished my Easter Egg Socks. The pattern is Priscilla's Dream Socks from Favorite Socks. I used Spunky Eclectic sock yarn (superwash merino) and size 2 bamboo dpns. I cast on 68 for a women's large. It turned out just a wee bit on the large side, so I might go down to size 1 dpns at the foot next time. The interesting thing about this socks is that it has a short row heel and a short row toe too. The top opening at the toe is closed with a zig zag bind off that is really fun to work, but does leave a little ridge. I thought it might bother me in my clogs but it seems fine. The other option for the toe is to work the front first, leaving the opening at the bottom of the foot and then use a kitchener stitch to close the opening. I've said this before, but this yarn is the bomb.


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Here is a close up of the toe and the zig zag finish.


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The Girl Thing needed some pajamas bottoms. She has been having a ridiculous growth spurt and is popping out of everything, so I whipped off some PJs for her. I used Kwik Sew pattern 2905 in size 7. This was down and dirty sewing with only 1/4 inch seams, so I had to bring out the serger. There was no option for fussing over pressing the seams open like I would normally do, but they sure were done kwik. My only beef with this pattern is that they don't give separate yardage requirements for the top and the bottom. I had to guesstimate how much fabric I would need for just the bottoms and only bought one yard, which wasn't enough. I ended piecing in extra bits of fabric to fill out the crotch area with the purple pair and went back and bought more fabric for the other one.


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The flannel animals are Zipa Dee Zoo from Lyndhurst, the Russian nesting dolls are West Hill by Heather Ross for Free Spirit. Both purchased from Portsmouth Fabric Company.


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Friday, May 2, 2008

swatchapalooza and the paranormal

This was vacation week hereabouts, so we spent a lot of time in the car. I spent my travel time cranking out swatches, my swatchapalooza tour. Below on the left is Bonnie's Bamboo (100% bamboo)  in Terra Cotta, knitted on size 6 needles, which gave me pretty close to the 5 stitches/inch that I was looking for.  It is wonderful stuff to touch. The two gold swatches are Karabella Glimmer (90% rayon, 10% lurex) in color 808. One swatch was knitted on size 6 needles, the other on size 7, and both of them are much tighter than 5 stitches/inch. The yarn band claims that it will give me 20 stitches/10 cm. with size 6 needles, but I am way off, much more like 6 stitches/inch. I knit fairly close to gauge, not too tight, maybe a little loose, so I don't know what is happening there. I haven't washed any of my swatches yet, maybe that's the answer? The dark red cone and the little swatch in the middle is the Habu wool and stainless steel blend stuff that Kim sent me. The swatch was knit on size 0 dpns. I love this miniature swatch, I think I might hang it on my wall. I used bamboo size 0 dpns but it makes me wonder how I can get even smaller. I wonder what bugknits, who does all those insanely detailed miniature sweaters uses when she knits?


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During swatchapalooza, we spent two nights at the house of a near and dear relative whose interior decor never ceases to amaze. We stayed in the master suite in the attic that was last decorated in the 70s, Jonathan Adler wishes he could channel this stuff. The second photo shows but does not capture the musty essence of the deep orange shag carpeting with green flecks that the kids slept on with their sleeping bags. The first photo has a portrait of The Huz, 40 or so years ago. Yup, that's him, and there's a matching portrait of his sister on the other side of the couch. The last photo is just an amazing shrine of family photos and religious icons. Click on the photo for larger and check out the pillow.


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The last time we were there, in the wee hours of the morning, The Huz woke up and heard someone reading the newspaper in the bathroom. The Boy had been sleeping with him but had left the bed. I was sleeping downstairs with The Girl. After listening to the newspapers rustling for awhile he called out to The Boy and the rustling stopped. He went into the bathroom and there was no one there. The Huz swears that this was unquestionably a paranormal experience and is a bit offended when I suggest that his hearing was playing tricks on him when he was in and out of sleep. The fact that I'm such a non believer in ghosts has caused a little marital discord. We now call this room the Paranormal Suite. I must say, I was a little freaked out staying in the Paranormal Suite, but there were no ghosts reading on the can this time. Below is the site of the paranormal activity.


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