Archive for November, 2007

Last Day of NaBloPoMo

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Here are a few things that I recently knitted for afghans for Afghans. The socks are by a friend of mine.
afghans for Afghans stuff
The hats and mittens are all made of leftovers from other projects – you may recognize the rainbow hat as a cousin of the propeller beanie. The olive green hat started its life as a hat I made to practice knitting cables without a cable needle, with the yarn I used for a sweater involving cables – I don’t think I’ve blogged about the sweater because I haven’t been able to get a decent photo of it. The hat turned out way too short to be functional – so I added more depth and earflaps to make it wearable. I hope these things will keep some kids in Afghanistan warm this winter.

Quilt Pink Blocks

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

quilt pink

Here are Cathy’s and my completed Quilt Pink blocks. I think you get a nice secondary star pattern in the middle. Cathy gave me hers when I was there at Thanksgiving, and I finally got mine done, too. I mailed them off yesterday, so they should be at Quilt Quarters in plenty of time for the Dec. 1 deadline. (Sincere apologies to Rebecca for not getting a kit to her! I have it here and kept meaning to mail it but never got to the post office and then it was so late that I figured that by the time you got it you wouldn’t have time to sew it and send it in by the deadline.)

Ornament Exchange

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Each year the fiber arts guild has a Christmas potluck and an ornament exchange. 2007’s exchange will be a week from today. I’m working on my ornament, and it is top secret until the exchange. This is what I made for last year’s exchange.

guild ornament

Only two more days of NaBloPoMo. So post, somebody else…

Fat Quarter Exchange

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

With all the Christmas lists floating around in cyberspace, it’s time to consider the Annual Fat Quarter Exchange. Do we want to do it again?

For those who don’t know, the Annual Fat Quarter Exchange occurs at sort of Christmas. Each of us brings several fat quarters. They are all put into a bag, and we take turns grabbing one out. The idea is that we each will take home as many fat quarters as we bring. Or something like that.

After that, the guidelines are a little loose. Some of us use this opportunity to create some temporary open space in the stash. Others give up leftovers from a completed project. Someone may contribute a sample of “I loved it once, but I can’t remember why.” There have occasionally been rumors of shopping for fat quarters to go in the exchange.

As far as wrapping goes, that varies, too. Some of the fat quarters are wrapped; others are not. After much pondering, I have concluded that the wrapping (or not wrapping) depends on whether the wrapper (or not wrapper) (not the rapper) has a very young child or has to bring the fat quarters on a commercial airline.

When we are not all together for Christmas (as opposed to not altogether there), a surrogate usually grabs for the absentee. The traditional way of conveying these fat quarters is in the tastefully decorated round oatmeal box, via USPS.

It’s a tradition, sorta… So what’s the plan for this year? And who has the oatmeal box?

Antique Quilt Top

Monday, November 26th, 2007

I have a piece of an antique quilt top that came from my maternal grandmother. It is about 30 inches square.

antique top

It is quite fragile, and in some places the fabric has completely deteriorated.


I don’t know the date of the textile or who made it. I really don’t have any memory of my grandmother sewing or quilting, and I don’t remember any quilts that she made. As a point of reference, my grandmother was born in 1871 or 1872, depending on the source of the info.

The question is what to do with it. One suggestion from a friend who collects vintage textiles was to soak it in Biz or Oxy Clean! I’m afraid to put it in water! The colors go surprisingly well with the decor of the back bedroom, so I thought about having it mounted and framed, using archival materials.

decor 2

Any suggestions?

Hat beginnings

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

I’m a little nervous about this hat turning out too small, but it’s too early to tell… I cast on Friday evening (start delayed due to that annoying need-to-work on Friday).


The pattern is Syncopated Caps from the Summer 2007 Interweave Knits. I am knitting a lining, so instead of the ribbing at the bottom, I’ll just have an extra repeat of the colorwork. The lining will be with the light blue yarn that I used for the cast on row (look to the bottom right of the photo). The variegated yarn is Colinette Jitterbug.

I bought the Jitterbug yarn on a whim last month. I had discovered that I like wearing handknit socks with my black dress shoes. However, my existing handknit socks are colors that are somewhat less appropriate for business wear (such as not-at-all-subdued red). I decided that I needed to buy slightly more sedate sock yarn for my next pair of socks. The Jitterbug caught my eye at The Sow’s Ear, and since there was only one skein of that particular color, it would surely be gone if I waited until I was finished with the pair of socks I’m currently working on.

I later read some reviews of the Jitterbug online which raised concerns about its durability, and also read the washing instructions – which, while they technically allow washing in the washing machine, don’t meet my requirements for socks – i.e. that I can throw them in the washer with the rest of my laundry. Were I to use the yarn for socks, it would be quite some time before I would knit them – the currently-in-progress pair of socks has been stuck in the state of single sockdom for months, and I’m positive that the first sock was started in some year other than 2007. It turns out that socks are not my favorite thing to knit. Therefore, I’m using the yarn for a hat for myself – which I definitely do need.

The Multi-Purpose Room

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

The issue of the Room Soon to Be Known as the Room Formerly Known as Pink remains. The previous inhabitant has relocated to Someplace Else, and she refuses to claim the room any more. She is no longer fond of the pink color she picked out at age four.

The room has since morphed into my sewing room. It works quite well, especially since we had new lighting installed last winter. And I keep bringing more and more of my sewing supplies up from the basement.

However, every time the boys come, I have to move my sewing machine out to make room for the air bed. And with the new blue quilts I made for the boys (see earlier post), the pink is looking a little sad.

This morning I told the boys that we had some work to do to get the room ready to paint.

“Peel off the wallpaper?” was the response.

Hmmm… that was not exactly what I had in mind, although a three-year old and a five-year-old could probably do a pretty good job at it. No, the work was to sort through the dolls and stuffed animals of the previous inhabitant. We would decide which ones to send to Rebecca and which ones to keep here to play with.

No surprise–all the dolls are in the bag for Rebecca.

bag of dolls

And now look at the additional shelf space I have. I’ll reorganize some things to make even more space on the shelves.

new shelf space

Tomorrow after the boys leave, I’ll move the sewing machine back in and start on a few Christmas projects.

Shopping Day Report

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Our better natures prevailed, and we did not venture out at an uncivilized hour this morning. Nancy and I got to JoAnn’s by about 9:30 a.m. Folks were still lined up for the cutting table three-quarters of the way to the back of the store. Nearly all of them had their arms full of bolts of the sale flannel. The line moved surprisingly quickly. It’s hard to imagine how much flannel there must have been at 6:00 a.m. for so many bolts to be in line with their prospective owners three and a half hours later.

We did note that everyone seemed to be in a good mood–not nearly as determined and intense as the shoppers we saw last year at 6:15 a.m. I guess the more laid-back crowd doesn’t get up at the crack of dawn to shop.

We didn’t by anything but notions (half off, of course). Nancy got a silicone mold for little gingerbread cookies. My splurge was a book–Quilting by Improvisation by Vickki Pignatelli. Ok, so I used my 50% off coupon. So far, I’m quite pleased. There’s lots of design information that will be helpful to those of us whose most recent art classes were (ahem) 40 or 50 years ago.

Then after lunch Ann joined us for a trip to our locally-owned favorite fabric shop. She was the only one who purchased anything. But Nancy and I spent a long time looking.

And what would Thanksgiving with four of the five crackpots have been without a quilt activity? Ann’s friend had given her some old copies of Foundation Piecing/Quilts With Style. Our job was to go through them and see if we wanted any. My goodness, they have some amazing quilts! Foundation piecing with a bazillion pieces! The only reason the mind did not boggle was that it had been fortified with pumpkin pie.

And for the one crackpot who could not attend–running a 5K and having to work. Some excuse! We’ll catch up with you on Christmas. And send your mom your Christmas list–soon…

I told you I was knitting a sweater

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

My Hillswick Lumber sweater finally looks like an entire sweater. I still need to cut the front steek and knit the button and buttonhole bands, then do miscellaneous finishing work (i.e. deal with about a zillion yarn ends).
Hillswick Lumber - before front steeking

This morning I cast off the neckline ribbing. I guess one advantage to running a 5K the morning of Thanksgiving is that my usual pre-race way-earlier-than-I-needed-or-wanted awakening can lead to early-morning productivity.

Hillswick Lumber-neck

The cast-off is quite tight, but that’s intentional – since this will be a cardigan, I don’t need to fit the neckband over my head. My first sleeve has a somewhat looser cast-off, and I think it looks a bit messy in how it interacts with the corrugated ribbing.

Welcome, Quiltmaker Readers!

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

If you’re coming here because the blog was mentioned in the January/February 2008 issue of Quiltmaker magazine, welcome! We’re delighted that Quiltmaker mentioned us in their “Blogs to Watch” column, though frankly we’re mystified as to how the editors found us!

As you can see, we talk about lots more than quilting – one of us is more of a knitter than a quilter currently, and we also post about other sewing and crafty projects. And Cathy, the founder of the blog, just had a baby and so isn’t doing much in the way of quilting at all these days. 🙂 We’re also participating in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), where bloggers everywhere pledge to post daily during the month of November. So far we haven’t missed a day yet.

The series of posts about the QM Mystery Quilt, mentioned in the Quiltmaker column, can be found here, if you’re interested.

So welcome, and have a look around – we hope you like what you see! We never anticipated that anyone but us would look at the blog, so we haven’t opened it up to comments from the general public (this also keeps spam comments at bay). If you’d like to drop us a line, you can send email to Cathy at spamloaf2001 [at] yahoo [dot] com. Thanks for visiting!