Friday, January 24, 2014

A Bit of Knitting--and No Quilting

A few more rows added to the fiddly socks...

 About half the leg left to go.

And the beret of dark blues begun....

This just wasn't a good week for accomplishing things.   It was the second week back at work, and a lot of us were fighting viruses.  My favorite math teacher and I got hit the same afternoon.  We finished the day and went to our homes and slept.  I did the same yesterday.  I'm going to make an attempt to knit and watch a movie while I run a couple of loads of laundry--but I'm doing it from the comfort of my bed! My plan is to sleep-in tomorrow.

On one of my after school pick-up duties this week, the temperatures were in the twenties, the wind was gusting from 30 to 50 miles per hour--not as ferocious as the weather some other places, but enough to know for sure that my fairly new good-to-20-degrees-below-zero Lands' End Squall coat would leave me frozen if I ever have to be out in that kind of cold. It took several hours for my toes to feel warm again.  It was 2 degrees F at my house this morning with very little wind while I scraped the frosted stars off the car windows, and I stayed much warmer.

Going to try to link to Judy's On The Needles where you can see some people being more productive than I've been!

Happy knitting and quiltmaking...and stay warm, y'all...,

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Kindle Case for Sweet Coed

My Sweet Coed and I are in need of cases for our Kindles.  I made hers today.
Back of cover on the left; front on the right.

Here's a detail of one of the fancy feathers.
The fabrics are scraps and pieces left over from her music quilt and her college quilt.

The inside includes her scraps and a butterfly print left over from a baby quilt that I made last summer. 
I put a full pocket on the left and strips to hold it while in use on the right. I was going to just make triangle corners to hold it, but those seemed even more fiddly.  Maybe I'll use triangle corners when I make mine.

Of course, the screen caught my camera reflection... 

so I took a photo of the back. 
When I was much younger I loved to spend hours creating all kinds of fiddly things like this cover.  While I had fun doing this scrappy piecing and quilting it, it did take hours to make it. I think that may be one of the reasons I prefer quilts over projects.  It also seemed very strange to be quilting something so tiny.  Interesting.

Sunday night, while watching Downton Abbey, I cast on the ribbing for my beret. 
 Imagine, all these decades of knitting, and this is my first attempt at twisted ribbing...Well, first conscious attempt, since I did some rather strange stuff when I knit as a child.

Finished the cabled socks. Somehow, I started at the toes with the exact same spot in the yarn, but by the time I got to the tops, the stripes were off.  Fortunately, they'll be up under my slacks and no one will notice--at least, not unless I get brave enough to wear socks with skirts.  It's too cold for skirts anyway.

Loved my day off.  Sweet Coed phoned that she needed  some more homemade detergent, so this evening I grated one bar of Fels Naptha soap, added one cup of Borax, one cup of Washing Soda, and 1 teaspoon of  lavender essential oil,   and packaged it up in a quart size ziploc bag inside a gallon bag. (I unwrap the bars of soap so they can dry out before I need to make a new batch--they grate finely and quickly if they are dry.) We use just one or two tablespoons of detergent for most loads of laundry and have clean, pleasant smelling clothes for less than a nickel per load--definitely worth the little bit of labor.

I made a big pot of tortellini soup and put it in containers.  The Coed was jealous of the soup--but I can't stick that in the mail with her detergent and her Kindle cover.

Happy quiltmaking...and knitting...,

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ruth's Star & the Corn Quilt

Two quilts to share with you today...

This is Ruth's wonderful violet star quilt; she first asked me to mark feathers on it so she could practice; when she saw me marking another quilt, she said, "You could almost quilt that as fast as you could mark it, couldn't you?"  So she sent it home for me to quilt.
 My goals was to have it done for last Sunday's quilt blessing, but I didn't manage it.  This morning I finished it and added the binding; it's ready to be passed on to another member to blind stitch the binding to the back.

I thought you might like to see some of the variety of feathers that adorn this quilt.  I do not pre-mark; I just stitch as I go.  I used Fil-Tec Glide thread on top and in the bobbin.

 I used a variety of colors both on the top and on the back.
 My sewing machines love Glide, and the stitches [tension] are so evenly balanced that I can use contrasting colors in the bobbins.

 I do try to add variety and some surprises to add interest for the recipients.
 Every corner is slightly different--just as in life!

The second quilt has been languishing for months--layered but not basted.  I love this old traditional pattern and think I need to make more.  The design yields wonderful quilting spaces.
 One of my friends just purchased a Handi Quilter Sweet 16 sit-down model.  Last week she invited me over, and I shared some quilty knowledge with her.  Then she invited me back to quilt while she pieced.

 Prior to the layered quilt languishing, the corn fabric, a gift from my friend Mary, languished for, quite literally, years--because I couldn't find any additional fabrics with that wonderful green. Finally I decided to pair it with the fabric for a sunflower dress that never got made years ago for my daughter.

 Somewhere along the line, the duck fabric came to visit (more of that in another post), so the three sing a happy song together.  Come to think of it, the duck fabric may also have been a gift from Mary.

 I thought I might put feathers in the half square triangles...

 But then I decided to go along with the corn theme.

When I carried the quilt into my friend's house, I hadn't really given any thought to how I would quilt it, so I'm happy, and just a little surprised, about how it's turning out.

I suspected I was consuming a lot of time wrestling quilts through my vintage treadle machines--which have twice the space of most "modern" machines.  I thought I'd be doing well if I could baste the layers every four inches or so and do some stabilizing stitching. Basted, and all this quilting done in just a couple of hours. I did discover that without having to wrestle the quilts, I need much, much less stabilizing stitching. I quilted until the bobbin ran out--a couple of hours, total--and came home.  Amazing how much faster even a sit-down 16-inch machine is. (I really think a couple of the other quilters in our prayer quilt ministry need one of these machines too.) It does have a stitch length control; I didn't use that.  I did make good use of the needle-up-needle-down control. I don't know that I'd actually enjoy wrestling full size quilts with this sit-down machine, but it's perfect for our prayer quilts.

She invited me back to quilt while she pieces some quilt-tops for the prayer quilt ministry. How fun!

I am also knitting, but forgot to take pictures.

I'll link to Judy Laquidera's Design Wall linky party--because adding the quilting is part of the design process too!

Happy quiltmaking.....

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Knitting and Prayer Quilts

Using the knowledge I gained knitting Sweet Teen's beret, I knitted one for myself.
 Sweet Teen modeled it. (She's back at university now, and her mama's trying to create a balance between all kinds of activities and time to be at home.  (My home is my haven, and I so value the time I spend here.)

I've learned that I really don't enjoy knitting with big needles and chunky yarn.  They make my hands really tired compared with knitting lace weight, fingering, or worsted.  But the hat has enough wool content that it should keep my head and ears warm.

This morning our church had a blessing for a new batch of prayer quilts made by our Victory Quilters. Many of these quilts are already making their way to family, friends, and colleagues facing cancer and other serious health challenges.

 The altar cloth in the back ground was created by three of us quilters and is used on quilt dedication Sundays.

All these quilts were made by about five women, of whom I am just one.  It's humbling to know that our prayers and quilty efforts are going out into the world and that time and time again people tell us wonderful stories about the amazing impact they have on so many lives.

Happy quiltmaking and knitting,

No Pie In the Sky....

but this was the confection I saw in the sky over New Mexico's Estancia Valley yesterday while driving home after taking Sweet Teen back to the university...

I've never before seen such a cloud formation.
Out of kindness, I'll refrain from showing you a photo of today's dust filled air.
Keep quilting, knitting, and keep warm too.
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