Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Home Again

I was on the road for a couple of weeks: to the CantoMundo writer's retreat in Austin, and a visit to my parents.  Now that I'm back, I officially took the butterfly quilt off the design wall sans borders.  Thanks to everyone who offered moral support and weighed on on that decision.

I had pieced a bunch of 5" squares for the aborted border, and decided to sew up some nap quilts rather than squeeze them back onto the Closet of Doom. 

So far, I've got these two, which are roughly 36" x48," and I'm still working in the scrap pile.  I'm going to get some fleece to back them and do some simple quilting.

The nap blankets, along with these knitted caps, will go a Head Start program for pre-schoolers on the Pine Ridge reservation.  The hat pattern is the Easy Peasy Charity Hat, free on Ravelry.

Here's a gratuitous cat pic.  Just so you can see how quiet it is around here these days.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

A Quandary and Some Weaving

The butterfly quilt is still unfinished and I think I may be talking myself out of adding borders. It's 78x 78" and after straightening up my linen closet and quilt truck I realized I really don't need another big quilt.  As is, it will fit nicely on the twin bed in my sewing room.  Any advice before I take it down from the design wall?

While I mull over the future of my quilt, I've done a little weaving.  This lovely scarf was warped with a solid lavender sock yarn, and the weft was a self-striping sock yarn, alternating with a sparkly variegated yarn.

I used the sparkly yarn to break up the solid sections of the self-striping yarn.  The patterned parts of the self-striping yarn wove up into some nice geometric patterns.

Now I'm weaving a sock yarn warp with a variegated wool blend.  That's eyelash yarn in the warp along the sides.  I've picked up several colors in the thrift store and I'm experimenting with weaving with them.  I like the pop of texture it gives.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Baby Socks and Hats

The group Afghans for Afghans is having a campaign to gather hand knit baby socks and hats for distribution at the Malalai Women's Maternity Hospital in Kabul.  They would like to send one year's worth of items to the hospital, which delivers an average of 85 babies per day.  The deadline for the campaign is being extended into July so that more items can be collected.  If you'd like to contribute, you can read about their requirements on their website.  There is also an active friends of A4A group on Ravelry.

As my contribution, I've been clearing out small amounts of worsted weight stash by knitting Amber Ward's free pattern Ribbed Far-Away Baby Socks, a very quick project.  The variegated pair was knit using another pattern.

In between the socks, I'm knitting and crocheting a few hats using the following patterns: Jennifer Jackson's Basic Newborn Hat, and Little Monkeys Crochet's Super Simple Newborn Beanie.  I've lost track of the source for the ribbed hat pattern, but these were all free patterns available on Ravelry.

The thrift store buy of the week was this lidded basket for $3.

I've filled it with more odds and ends for baby socks and hats.  It's being supervised by the resident yarn guardian, so robbers beware.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Lucky me, I was in New York last week to do a poetry reading at Bryant Park, as part of the Word for Word series.  Lucky me, I stayed in midtown, near the Garment District.  There's an active zone of production and distribution in the area, which includes clusters of fabric stores for retail and wholesale, handbag shops, and costume jewelry stores.  I spent a pleasant afternoon scouting supplies for my next crazy quilt.  The trims above are from Daytona Trimmings on W 39th St.

I picked up these beads on clearance in a large shop that I happened upon.

These trims are from the large, well-lit and extraordinarily well-stocked M & J Trimming on 6th Ave.  I especially like the velvet trims.

Lucky me, once I got home (with a terrible cold--I seem to pay for my travels by getting sick lately) my daughter was here to celebrate her birthday.  Yes, that's a number 26 on her cake, where does the time go? 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Butterfly Quilt Borders

I got the center of my butterfly quilt pieced.  Those big blocks are very forgiving, a good thing since my piecing skills have gotten a little rusty from disuse. 

I have lots of this bubblegum pink for the inner border, so that was an easy decision, but the outer border stumped me.  I tried a few different pieced blocks, and I struggled with the size these blocks should be.  

In the end I decided on a simple string of 4-patch blocks, which emphasizes the hominess of the quilt.  Also, I'm determined not to add any of the left-over fabric back into my stash.  Whatever doesn't get used up by the border, will go into one or more baby quilts I can set aside for gifts.  I'm shooting for an empty drawer where this project's supplies once lived.  I think I can do it.

I want to finish this quilt and get if off the design wall.  In the past, I'd have let it marinate in the closet before I tackled the borders, but I think I'm slowly changing my ways.

Monday, June 02, 2014

A Chevron Scarf from Self-Striping Sock Yarn

I  have a stash of self-striping sock yarn, in spite of the fact that knitting socks isn't that compelling for me.  I love to wear hand knit socks, but it takes me, on average, three years to crank out a pair.

Now, I like to knit scarves, and I love chevron stripes.  Wouldn't you know, that self-striping sock yarn makes a pretty nice scarf too.

The free pattern is Kary's Chevron Scarf.  It's a simple 4-row repeat, and 2/3 of a 100 gram ball of yarn gave me this 9.5 x 68" scarf.   I knit it until I reached 70", but when I blocked it, stretching out the width took up some of the length.  To make it lacier, instead of the "knit front and back" in row 1 of the pattern, I did a yarn-over knit one. 

Lovely stripes, with none of the effort of changing yarn colors. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Time Travels

I took my first trip of the summer to attend my 40th high school reunion.  We had a pretty good turn out: almost 1/3 of the Immaculate Conception Academy class of 1974.  ICA is a girls' Catholic school in San Francisco, and it's one of 3 that survives of the 9 girls' Catholic high schools that were available in the city when I was a teen.  That's me, third from the left in the back row.

It was a fun event,  some people I recognized right off, and others I recognized after looking into their faces for a moment.  People's personalities were remarkably consistent.  There's an 18 year old inside us looking out, not matter how old we get.  I was impressed by the number of people who still have teens at home, as well as by the folks who are already grandmothers.

On the same trip I visited my parents, who live in a town (Lodi, California) with great thrift stores.  I got the linens in these  photos for less than $2.  The handkerchief on the top left is actually a set of 3 identical hankies. 

I also got this embroidered luncheon cloth, and a monogrammed tea towel, and a doily embroidered with crewel yarn (not shown).

On the last leg of my trip I got to visit my daughter Allie, now living in the Bay Area, 6 hours from home.  She's becoming a big city woman.   It was a sweet journey all the way around.