Sunday, July 30, 2006

Set Those VCRs!

Just a little reminder that I'm going to be on National TEE VEE tomorrow, Monday, at 10:30 eastern time, on Uncommon Threads on the DIY network.

Here's a picture from the taping; that's me and host Allison Whitlock in front of my quilt that I talk about on the show.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Eye Candy Friday

Purly came up with an idea last week that I love:

I don't work in an office anymore, but I do admit to being a little impatient on Friday afternoons, waiting for the weekend to begin. And the internet is SLOOOW readin' on Fridays.

So I thought I'd participate.

Most people who know me through quilting know me for my art quilts. But I have also made many bed quilts over the years. Here are a few. The pink, yellow and green one on the far left is my daughter's. The log cabin is a vintage quilt top that I bought at an antique mall and quilted myself. The multi-colored square one I gave my husband for his birthday about eight years ago--it is a queen, and our bed is now a king, must remedy that situation. The blue and purple checkerboard is the first bed quilt I made, about eleven years ago. The blue and green is one of the curl-up-on-the-sofa quilts.

I'd like to act all casual and say, "oh, just freshening up the quilts and thought I'd snap a quick photo." But of course, it's totally staged.

And now that I've dragged these quilts out through the weeds, I have a lot of work to do to get these washed up and put back on the beds or there will be an uproar tonight! (Yes, even the 41 year old "big kid" here at the house will be unhappy tonight if he doesn't get to sleep with his special quilt.)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

New Fall Sweater Knitting

I can't believe how many comments the blankie saga generated! You guys really showed your blankie love. I had no idea it would be even remotely blog-worthy and almost didn't even write about it!

So, just at the time I was feeling a little knitting project boredom, I sunk my teeth into that purple Mission Falls cotton. And even though it was faded and a little ratty, it reminded me: man, I love that yarn.

Enter new fall sweater knitting. This is Belle from the Mission Falls book Quinte Scrapbook, in 1824 cotton color Cosmos (from stash!). I have always wanted to make this sweater! I've always been a little intimdated by the Mission Falls patterns, but once I got the hang of the cable pattern, this is pretty straight forward. In fact, I took this picture a couple of days ago, and now I almost have both fronts done.


On another note, I told you I would put out an APB when my episode of Uncommon Threads on the DIY channel was going to air. (See my entry from last year for some of the story--it's the June 30th entry and if you scroll down to June 15th you will see the quilt that will be on the show). Here it is! APB! The show will air next Monday, July 31st, at 10:30 eastern time. Here in the Chicago burbs that's channel 121, but check your local listings.

Set those Tivos and VCRs!

I hope I don't look stupid.

(If I do, don't tell me.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Best Comments, Ever

"Purple" before:

And after:

Thank you to all of you who thoughtfully left your comments! They were so wonderful. I read them over and over and laughed and sighed. So great. So funny. And all of the suggestions were really good.

One commenter even offered up precious yarn! Which was not only great in and of itself, but what I love even more is the concept of "Ramen Noodle Yarn". I will never look at kinky frogged yarn the same way again! Thank you!

I did consult blankie owner as to what I could and could not do. Anything with the word "cut" in it was definitely OUT! He said over and over "Do nothing!" "I love Purple just the way she is."

Of course, what could I do but abandon the "quickie fix" idea and do my utmost to restore Purple to her former glory.

My decision was based on two things. First, the overwhelming response that I could easily expect Ethan to carry the blankie around into his twenties any beyond. One commenter said "you need to fix the blankie as it as if it will be used FOREVER." Of course, you are right. I just wasn't thinking! I was looking for a quickie fix as if he was going to be "over" the blankie in another six months.

And one thing I want to make very clear: I was never worried that he would use it for many more years. I love that he loves it. He can wear it as a cumberbund in his wedding, for all I care. Let me repeat: I just wasn't thinking!

Second, I was looking at chaining the stitches back up individually, with a crochet hook. At some point, I had the realization that these holes were big areas, where I could put many stitches back on the needles and KNIT the rows back up, (which, if you have read this blog for awhile, you know I do all the time when I discover an error down below: unravel and knit back up sections at a time.) Knitting. Not crochet chaining. That made a huge difference in being able to mentally tackle this project.

I started with the big hole in the middle and got all the live stitches on one side back on a needle.

Here I have a couple inches knit back up.

I was doing garter stitch, instead of following the pattern because :

a/ fixing took enough concentration without also worring about following the pattern

b/ I had to add a few stitches here, subtract a few there as I went, depending on the amount of yarn I had in each strand

c/I thought the garter would "fill in" the looseness of the blankie better, and

d/ the blanket is such a mess at this point that I didn't think introducing a new stitch into the overall effect would really matter.

After I got to the top of the whole on the first side, I knit up from the other side to meet in the center:

And when I had live stitches on either side I kitchenered it together:

Here's another small patch fixed:

And lastly, I tackled the really big section:

That part was a lot of work, but at least it was pretty straightforward, without a lot of broken ends and weirdness. We won't even discuss what happened here:

Whew, almost done:

I finished that section and turned it over to discover, oops:

I missed a little straggler! I guess I will cut that and weave them towards each other, square knot, and weave them away again.

If you see the stitch markers hanging out in various places, they are making live ends that I intend to sew down with a sewing machine.

In fact, I am thinking about machine sewing a grid--matching thread, would hardly be noticeable--about 5 times across, five times down, and around the outside, just a few rows in from the edge. So if/when it springs a leak again, at least it won't get out of control before I can fix it.

So was it worth it?

Resounding YES.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sending Out an S.O.S.

I know you didn't come here today to see a ratty old blankie, and I realize there hasn't been much exciting knitting content here the past several weeks, but please, bear with me today, and I promise more exciting knitting to come.

This may look to you like something the dog drag in. But to me, it is this:

Cue dramatic music.

*The Most Beloved Object I Have Ever Knit*

I have fixed this thing (what seems like) a million times.

Time 1: Rework stitches, re-weave ends, make it look pretty.
Time 2: '' " "
Time 3: Rework stitches, knot ends, leave as "fringe"
Time 4: Knot ends.
Time 5: Ignore and hope the problems go away.

I gave up fixing it because, for crying out loud, the boy is six. How much longer will he carry this thing around?

But, when I finally noticed that there weren't only runs here and there, but there was a huge HOLE in the middle (he was wearing it as a poncho, and ponchos are out) I realized that I really needed to do something, as it was verging on dangerous. And besides, I have friends who have recently informed me that blankie loving can last easily into their twenties. Sigh.

Here is a close-up of the pattern. Seedstitch squares alternating with stockinette stitch, and a seedstitch border, to keep it from curling. Mission Falls 1824 cotton.

Above is the left side of the blankie, the better side, below is the right side, almost hopeless.

Ideas so far:

1. Machine stitch around the good part on the right side. Cut away the rest. Bind it with fabric.

2. Machine stitch around the good part on the right side. Cut away the rest. Pick up stitches and do a little border with 1 ball of leftover yarn.

3. Knit a mini blankie from the 1 ball of leftover yarn.

4. Frog the whole thing (gasp--don't vote for this because I really couldn't do it!!!!!!) and re-knit it.

5. Chain up all those runs and tie off the best I can.


I was really unwilling to do the chaining up, which is why I was thinking of the machine stitching and cutting, but the more I think about it, how can I frog or cut this most treasured of all objects?

Please help. Votes/comments/ideas/suggestions most appreciated.

Knitting in Public

Where are we?

Were at the Kane County Cougars game! Thanks to my friend Carla, who gave us her season tickets for the game while her family was out of town.

We have gone to games with the kids, but having good seats this time, we decided to leave the kids at home with grandma and invite our friend Dave, who is just as intense about the game as my Dave. Here are the two Daves:

Lucky for me, our friend Dave has a wife who knits. How convenient! Why, it's our friend Mrs. Mel!

Mel and I don't really care about the game (shhh). But we ARE intense about the eating, drinking, and knitting.

Mel was quite organized and brought along her crafting caddy:

I started out with a new Trekking sock:

And switched halfway through to a hand-dyed royal blue sock:

Really, I don't know why there weren't more knitters there. They really promote knitting at that Kane County Cougars. Look, they even have these convenient yarn-holders attached to the seats in front of you.

My friend Carla, who is usually in these seats with her family, is a crazy knitter and knits at the games too. It made me wonder what the people around us were thinking: “Hmmmm, its not that usual crazy, baseball-game-knitter, but it’s a different crazy, baseball-game-knitter. In fact, this time it’s TWO crazy baseball-game-knitters. They’re multiplying!"

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Saved by the Butterfly Garden

Faced with the possibility of being the worst -alonger ever, when Dave unexpectedly offered to take the kids to the butterfly garden yesterday, I jumped at the chance to finish my Sew I Knit-along blouse on the dot of the deadline.

(So I hope the goal was to finish by the deadline, not necessarily blog by the deadline.)

Here is my blouse, body of Burda 2561, altered neckline and cap sleeves by moi.

Sorry that's blurry.
Here's a better view of the pattern of the fabric, I just didn't want you to think my sleeve was scrunched up like that, and yes, I do have two arms, even if my six year old son can't photograph both of them.

I blogged about the pattern before here, in the June 14th entry.

To change the collar to the scoop neck with ruffle, I first cut out the front as per the pattern:

Cut away by eyeballing it, what I thought was a good scoop neck (in future, this made it too vee for my taste, see how the line from the shoulder is slightly diagonal toward the center front? That should be straight down, I learned, and I will change that on my next one.

Then I cut front and back neck facings to match the front and back, and interfaced them.

The ruffle was just a long strip of fabric 3" wide, cut on the cross grain of fabric, folded to make a 1.5" strip, and with a .5" seam allowance I ended up with a 1" ruffle. I like it, but if I do it again, I would make the ruffle 2".

Even though there are a couple things I would change, I really like the way this turned out and want to make another. I just noticed some solid red fabric in stash....

p.s. the Sew I Knit theme for next round is "quilted". Hop on over there and sign up by July 31st!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Yarny Goodness

The new Sophie's Toes is here! You can get it in my Etsy Shop.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My Baby is TWO!

Happy Birthday, my sweetie.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Color Fusion: Hanging a Quilt Show

Three kids in the car and a handful of quilts, we set out this morning at about 9am. Destination: this quaint little building.

The Bloomingdale Park District Museum brings a section of Quilt National to Illinois every year. This year they invited some quilt artists who had a well-received show last year (Melody Johnson, Laura Wasilowski, Anne Lullie, Frieda Anderson, Ann Fahl, and myself) to hang a show in the adjacent gallery.

I dropped off Sophie at her first day of "Mom's Day Out" and arrived at the museum with the other two a little after 10:00.

We arrive to a big empty room and start piling rolls of quilts on the floor.

I set up my trusty assistants with their Leappads.

Quilts get unrolled and we assess what we have from everyone.

Some of us prefer to lay things out and think about the "flow" of the show before starting to hang.

Others just like to start hanging things willy-nilly. Not naming any names.

Good thing we all love each other! It ends up being fun, with lots of laughing, no matter how we do it.

Hey, I'm good with a hammer!

Are we done yet?

Nope, we have to get a group shot!

That's Melody, me, Laura, and Anne.

But enough of us, here's what you want to see, the quilts. I don't have the exact names of each quilt, but I will identify the artists:

Above, from left to right, Frieda Anderson's Sunflower quilt "Sun Dance", Laura's house "Red Rain", and Ann Fahl's Ginkos.

Very dark in the front, that's my butterfly quilt called Mariposas, and Melody's Cruciform series quilt, with Anne Lullie's small quilts in the background.

Here's a closer look at Anne's quilts.

That's Frieda's beautiful leafy quilt closest (on the right) Anne Lullie's further down, Laura's further down, and Melody's at the left edge.

Melody's on the left, Laura's "Land O' Leo" on the right.

What you are looking at on the left are the backs of the quilts that are hanging in the middle of the room. On the right is my daffodil quilt. On down is another Ann Fahl, and straight ahead are two of Frieda's.

That is another daffodil quilt of mine on the left, and Mariposas on the right.

Anne Lullies quilt on the left, and two by Laura on the right.

That's Quilt National down the hall in Gallery II. We got to peek through the windows, but I have no time for a tour and lunch with the rest of the gals because I had to pack up my trusty assistants (at this point, not so trusty....more like "run around like little hellions") and head back across something like, 14 suburbs to pick up our littlest at 12:30. Then straight home for lunch.

And here's what happened during lunch. Yeah, I think I could do that too.

Here's the lowdown on both shows:

Gallery I: Color Fusion
Gallery II: Quilt National 2005
July 15-August 19, 2006
Hours: W 4-8,TH 10-4, F 10-4,SA 12-4.
Artist Reception: Friday July 21, 6-8.
Admission: $4 Residents, $6 Nonresidents
Workshops with Sidney Jostes and Denise Havlan during the show run, contact the museum for information (630)539-3096.

Bloomingdale Park District Museum is located at 108 S. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL. About one hour west of Chicago.

*Edited to add: Melody's account here has a few more pictures and a lot more humor than mine--go read!