Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Whiling Away the Hours

While I'm on the subject of knitting, I recently came upon a box of daisy loom flowers I made in the early 1970's. I was so excited about turning these into a soft floral afghan, just like the picture on the pattern! I made dozens, and as my mother commented, counted them, stacked them and organized them in the same box over and over again. I even kept them in the same box - a Clairol, Kindness custom care hot rollers box! The note on top in my youthful handwriting says " Flowers for Quilt - 198 as counted on January 29, 1975.

The sad part is I can no longer find the pattern for the afghan. I went to Mom, she couldn't find it either! So, the light went on - search the internet! I can't imagine what we all did without the internet! Certainly many afghans were never finished, but rather tossed into the ebay's of the 70's!
But aren't these just luscious!

I found the crochet pattern online to stitch these petals together... now let's see if I can figure out how to crochet? Never fear quilters - quilting is certainly my first love!

Knit Wits

I think a lot of quilters have bounced around the idea of knitting, or at least have admired the lovely bins of colorful fibers at their local shops. My grandmother, Esther, taugh me to knit at a very young age, starting with knitted slippers. I was so overjoyed to be able to knit a real, useful piece of clothing. I wish I still had a picture of those slippers!

Last year, my daughter (who is an avid knitster!) Marin and I went to the local yarn shop. I always swear I'm just going to look! We admired so many different types of yarn. There were ladies sitting in the shop knitting socks. Of course I couldn't help but ask WHY? Why would anyone use such tiny needles to knit a pair of socks? They cost so much more than in the store. Of course all the ladies said once you wear a pair of hand knit socks, you'll understand! So.... being the crazy nut that I am (with virtually beginner skills) I bought a skein of yarn and size 5 double end sock needles.

It wasn't too bad actually, I figured most of it out, and the socks are relatively the same size! Not bad for the first time by a beginner! I ended up buying another skein for the other sock. And what's wrong with dixie cup orange socks? They go with so much in my closet! Believe it or not, this was FUN and I bought size 2 needles and finer sock yarn! Eeeggads!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Patience and Practice

Learning a new skill can sometimes be frustrating. I tried riding an ATV once, boldly taking a rougher terrain, just because I rode a motorcycle and thought they would be the same. NOPE! They were nothing like each other, except maybe the fact that they both had handlebars and a similar ignition. The motorcycle was 2 wheels to be ridden on a good road. The ATV was all-terrain, 4 wheel contraption that we were trying to ride on sand in a dessert wash. WHAT WAS I THINKING?? We were riding with a group of about 20 people and it was clear to me I was holding up the train. So I got off, dusted off my ego, and let the train go.
So you're thinking, what does this have to do with sewing? Well, just because you can operate a domestic sewing machine and have been doing so for the better part of your life, does not qualify you to be an instant success with a long arm quilting machine. Yes, they both have a needle, and are called a sewing machine, but they are entirely different beasts. This process takes practice. WAY more practice than sewing a straight seam on the DSM. There are probably people who are gifted in this skill and take right to it. I think for me it's going to require practice, practice and more practice. But part of that may be the perfectionist in me!

It's kind of amusing though, walk by my window and you'll see this crazy woman with a monstrous sewing machine, pushing and pulling over the quilt frame while Queen's "We are the Champions" is blaring on the speakers. Whatever it takes... practice, practice, practice...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New or Old

How many times have you seen a new project you wanted to start and for a brief moment all the UFO's (unfinished projects) in your closets and drawers were forgotten? All thoughts consumed by the sudden urge to choose new fabric, create a new project, get going! This has happened to me a lot recently. But then gradually reason starts to creep back in, maybe while I'm standing in the quilt shop looking at fabric! and suddenly the images of those projects come floating back. I haven't started many projects that I wasn't crazy about, so there is no logical reason to discard them for something new. I just needed to get myself recharged and start sewing! So this is what I did.

After the move, I had to "get back on the horse" and what better way than to dive into the old projects. I spent the better part of two weeks setting up my HQ16 quilting machine, running on some test pieces, correcting tension, dusting, and getting up the courage to use it on a "real" quilt. The funny thing is I made two tops just for that purpose that have been sitting there waiting for a year and a half!

I'm happy to say that I finally got the first one loaded and it's been started! I'm working on a pantograph on this quilt. It's like following the yellow brick road. I think it will look nice, but I'm not sure I'm cut out for this much of a controlled pattern. The quilt top is so busy it's hard to see the pattern while quilting - so the panto is the perfect method of getting it done. The quilt pattern is called Vanity Fair.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, April 7, 2008

It's been nine months since we picked up and moved our home to a new city. With this move I finally realized the dream to have my own sewing room. Imagine all my fabric, books, quilts, tools, machines and even my computer all in the same room! It's time for a fresh start and after months of "getting organized" I have finally jumped back into my projects.
I recently discovered so many quilters and knitters are blogging and it seems a great way to share your work and progress with family and friends, and meet a few new friends along the way.
This Storm At Sea quilt is one I made and donated for a raffle held by our local quilting guild. It is approximately 14 x 20" - a miniature that was paper pieced and machine quilted. It was one of eight quilts that adorned a six foot lighthouse that our guild built to participate in a local festival.