Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sacred Threads

My Fall Madonna has been accepted into the Sacred Threads show in the Washington D.C. area this summer. I'm very exited to be included in my first non-local show.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Converting a Pullover into a Cardigan Using Ribbon, and Making 1000 Pyramid Quilt Blocks

I'm having a cashmere love affair.  It's softness makes it a wonderful indulgence, and I've been on a streak finding cashmere sweaters at the thrift store.  Recently I found this really nice pullover, clearly from the 90s since it's long, and brought it home, only to discover why the tag said "as is."  

It had a tiny hole right in the center of the front.  Undeterred, I turned the pullover into a cardigan by machine sewing two lines of stitches up the middle to prevent raveling, and then cutting between the stitching lines with a sharp scissors. Here's a link to another sweater conversion I did using bias fabric, which has additional photos of how I cut the sweater.

At the fabric store I found a wide ribbon in a matching color, and pressed a seam along the length so that one side was a quarter inch wider that the other.  I then cut a piece of pressed ribbon for each sweater front, making sure I had a little extra on the tops and bottoms.

I machine sewed the narrow side of the ribbon to the inside of the sweater, having lined up the cut edge of the sweater with the fold.  Do this for each side.

Then I hand sewed the wider side of the ribbon to the outside of the sweater, and trimmed, folded, and stitched up the top and bottom ends as well.  Initially I thought I'd do a Laura Ashleyesque finish on the sweater, embroidering a few French knots along the ribbon, and using a flower button for a closure.

But then I found these great wood fish beads in my stash, which is really more my style.  These are purely decorative.  I sewed hooks and eyes to the inside edge of the sweater.

I'm loving this new-to-me sweater.

I also stole an hour from my day to make some blocks following Debra's 1000 Pyramids Tutorial.  I have a drawer of 3" strips in purples and greens.  I'll throw in some yellows and oranges for good measure.  When people were making 1000 Pyramids quilts for the millennium I was a newish quilter and never made one.  This is my second chance.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Spring Scenes

I was invited to do a poetry reading at the University of California, Merced last week, so I hopped in my car and took the drive down to the Central Valley.  I had a lovely time on campus, reading to a receptive audience of students, and chatting about Chicano literature with Manuel Martín-Rodríguez the faculty member who invited me, and with his graduate assistant Martha Acevedo.  That's me in the orange (store bought) sweater. 

The trip had many other benefits: I got out of the torrential rain zone here on the north coast.  We've really been soaked this year.  I also got to visit with my parents, sister, and nieces, who live within a short drive of Merced.

Spring had sprung at mom's house.  Here she is in her garden with Handsome her cat.  She's wearing the Corrie vest I knitted her for her birthday last year.  She has assured me that she's wearing it a lot.

Her tulips were in bloom, and Handsome was enjoying his sunbath in the grass.  God, it was nice to see some sun.

Baby, one of my parents' other cats, also kindly posed for me.

 I took a different route back home, as highway 101 had suffered a major mudslide near Garberville since I'd left.  The highway has been closed down for days, though there is some hope that it will open tomorrow.  I returned home on highway 299, and caught this view of Lake Shasta from my side window.

This is a beautiful drive, and at the summit, there was a considerable amount of snow on the ground.  The day after I got home, a mudslide temporarily closed 299 as well,  and I felt lucky to have negotiated the highway closures without getting stuck.

When I got home, the skies were grey, but the azalea in my front yard was putting on the best show in years, and some red tulips were also showing themselves.

I returned to the Top Down Raglan sweater I'm making with Laura Chau's free pattern and a bag of Noro yarn I couldn't resist buying recently .

The sweater is knit in one piece from the neck down, so there's no seaming.   I'm in the home stretch, making my way down the second sleeve, and I'm thinking of adding some embroidery over the fabulous long color changes for which Noro is famous.

While I was gone, Fatty kept the knitting basket warm.

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...