Monday, October 26, 2009

Laws of Physics

The other day I was making a few more blocks for my spiderweb quilt. This paper pieced pattern uses up some small scraps, so I decided to go through my scrap bin and cut some of the larger pieces into units for a different scrap quilt.

I actually have two scrap bins, but from this one I cut almost all the pieces for the second quilt.

I cut 110 5 x 5" blocks, and even more 5 x 2.5" rectangles. The quilt requires another 20 squares. I think I can scrape together a few more from the drawers full I fabric I have around here.

Since I'm easily distracted, I decided to work on another scrappy UFO. This one uses up skinny strips. You foundation piece them on used dryer sheets. Make sure the sheets have been through the laundry a few times, because otherwise, they're sticky, and they especially stick to your iron. Using dryer sheets for foundation piecing is one of those quilting tips that sounds like a good idea, but it practice, it's not that useful.

But when you get a bunch of these pieced and trim them to 6 x 9" rectangles, I think they look super together.

So I did all this scrap busting, but when I checked the scrap bin, it was still full.

I've discovered a law of physics. Scraps can never be completely used up. At the end of time, it will be them and the cockroaches. We quilters are engaged in an impossible task. The scrap bins, according to the Second Law of Things in Small Pieces, can never be used up. It's impossible. I should give up now.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Knitted Vest

Yesterday I finished knitting this vest. The pattern for this Woman's Textured Sleeveless Pullover is available free on the web.

I made a few modifications, including knitting the back in plain stockinette, instead of in the fancy stitch pattern. This made it go a little faster, and heck, who notices the back anyway?

The vest was knit from some upcycled yarn I harvested from an 80% lambswool and 20% nylon sweater. I've linked to some good tutorials for reclaiming yarn in the past.

Here's a newly wound batch of upcycled yarn. It's 100% wool tweed and the color is more of a raspberry that the photo shows. The little tags tell me how many yards are in each ball. I figure this out by using a fishing line counter.

But it's not all recycling around here. I bought myself these nice new cowgirl boots. I've been wanting some for awhile, and I found this flat pair that I liked. I have totally lost my capacity to wear high heels, so these are perfect.

Things have been busy at work, but I've had a great quiet weekend. I'm in the lull before the storm: next week I'll have a pile of midterms to grade, and then another the week after that. But for now, I'll put up my feet and knit a bit.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Garden Harvest

On one of my furlough days I decided to make jam. Michael's neighbors gave him a big box of pears and we made pear butter, pear chutney, and pear-pineapple marmalade, pictured above. Isn't it beautiful?

Then, a few days later, we picked blackberries, about 3 gallons worth, and I made blackberry jam. I also put a couple of bags of blackberries in the freezer for crisps. At the end of all of this, I was exhausted, but looking at all the preserves we put up gave me a feeling of accomplishment. I use an old Sunset Magazine canning book, but I just bought a brand new copy of the Ball canning book, which has great recipes for mustard I want to try. Just owning the Ball canning book makes me feel like a model of self-sufficiency.

This was a good zucchini year in my garden. Last year they did very poorly, but this year I put one plant in a different spot, and it has given me a steady supply of squash. I've made fried zucchini a couple of times. It doesn't use up tons of the stuff like some other recipes, but it's delicious.

Slice the zucchini lengthwise, and dip it in flour to which you've added salt and pepper. Dip that in lightly beaten egg, and then in Japanese style panko breadcrumbs.

Fry until it's crispy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with a little pasta. It's a treat to eat well from things we've grown.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Harvesting Quilt Fabric from Pillow Cases: Part 3

The top of the pillowcase quilt is done. I really like the way it turned out, and at 71 x 71" it's a pretty good size. I used almost all of the 4-patch blocks I made at the beginning of this project, and two pillowcases were incorporated into the neutral fabric of this quilt.

The colored strips for the blocks and borders came out of the scrap drawer. I thought I had used a lot of strips, but the drawer is, somehow, still pretty full

There is a "where's Waldo?" in this quilt. If you look at the second row in the photo above, you can see that some of the blocks jumped into their own version of order. When I caught this, I decided to leave it as is. It's my little joke to see if anyone notices.

Here are a few more pillowcases waiting for inspiration to transform them into something new. In the meantime, I'm going to be looking through my closet to find a batt and some backing fabric for the finished top.