Monday, January 25, 2016

Crossing Threads

Dolly's bed is finished:

I used a Sterilite Underbed Box 28 Qt., Model #1846 DH found at Walmart for $4.38. To keep the mattress from sinking into the depression when Dolly lies down, I cut a piece of an old political sign the same size as the mattress, which is 16 X 23”, 1” foam (left over from Dolly’s chair), and put it in the mattress cover at the base of the foam. I put the seam of the mattress cover in the middle, so it wouldn’t show. Dolly doesn’t sink in, but the mattress is still nice and soft, so she can sleep well.
The dust ruffle is four 7" WOF strips of quilting fabric sewn together and hemmed 1/4" and an additional 1/4", gathered at the top and sewn with a 1/4” seam to a piece of muslin cut the shape of the lid of the storage box.
The “fitted” bottom sheet was a simple sack, similar to a pillow case, as I showed in last week’s blog post. I used some nice quilting fabric to trim the top sheet and pillow case. The blanket is a piece of fleece, cut to size and trimmed with satin doubled over (like quilt binding) and zig-zagged along the loose edge, to replicate the look of a real blanket.


The quilt was the last item to finish:


It’s a simple 9-patch with sashing. I used some fabrics from my stash collected when a quilting buddy brought out some fabric sample books given her by a relative who was a fabric distributor. I thought Daphne might like the bright colors, which are not really my style. I’m not a machine-quilter, and I don't have a walking foot for my Featherweight, but this project was small enough I decided to have a go. I sewed in the same direction for each vertical line of stitching, starting with the middle, with pins to hold the three layers in place. Then I sewed all the horizontal lines of stitching, also starting with the middle line of stitching and always sewing in the same direction. When I finished, I pulled the top threads through to the back of the quilt, tied it together with the bobbin thread and used a needle to thread them through to the inside of the quilt. 
So Dolly didn't need to sleep in her clothes, I sewed some pajama bottoms and knitted a camisole top.


…and a robe. I used McCall's 2506, now out-of-print, for the pajama bottoms and the robe. Sewing the fleece was a job. I had to use a lot more pins than usual when setting in the sleeves. The fleece kept sliding to the side.


The shopping ensemble is finally finished. You may remember (or not) that I started this outfit right after I bought all the yarn for it and the Valentine’s Day ensemble, beginning with the skirt. January 1st the KAL started, so I made the top that went with that outfit, so Dolly could wear it with the finished skirt. Dolly gradually changed clothes as the other items were finished. The white top goes very well with both outfits.


A bonnet pattern was given for free to each person who completed the KAL. I had yarn left from the shopping ensemble skirt and the same yarn from some socks I made a few years ago, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.


Here’s the complete outfit, including Dolly's new shoes, roomy enough to get on over her socks without too much effort:

Common Threads met at Karan’s on Thursday. Margareth brought her new Jakob doll wearing the outfit she made for him.


Margareth is expecting her first grandchild, a boy, so this doll will be for him to play with when he visits her. She has plenty of time to outfit him completely. She also showed us this diaper bag she made. The base is a changing mat that comes out, and the straps can be positioned to fit over one shoulder or used as a backpack.


The pattern is Simplicity 3031os.


Sundance has started. I had my first shift on Friday. Before my first shift, I met up with fellow fiber fan and Aloha Blu Fiber Shoppe owner, along with her husband.

She brought me this lovely swag:

That will probably be the only swag I get from Sundance this year, but you never know. It was undoubtedly the best, though. You can only use so many oversized T-shirts.

Spinners, don’t forget, we’re having a Spin Along on the Knitting Community if anyone wants to join in.
Where? Right here, in the Knitting Community Spin Along.
When? Noon on Friday, February 5 - noon on Monday, February 8, 2016, in whatever time zone you're in.
Equipment: Spindle or wheel. (If you want to use the pencil method to spin, that's OK, too.)
Materials: Any spinable fiber. (Dryer lint, anyone?)
No prizes, no pressure, just spinning together and sharing what we’re doing.

What's on my needles:  A cape for Dolly. The Trickle Socks, waiting.
What's on my Featherweight: Finished Dolly’s quilt. Still a few things for make for the doll.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Still listening to The Final Empire by Bandon Sanderson. Got a special deal on it, along with the next book in the series. Still reading The Other Harlow Girl by Lynn Messina on the Kindle app.
What's in my wine glass: Crane Lake Malbec, a good wine for the price.
What's my tip of the week: I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, but here's a tip I've shared with my local quilt guild. It always surprises me that more people don't know about this, so I'm sharing it here.
To reduce bulk where four or more seams come together, you can often fan them out in opposite directions. You have to take out a few stitches in the seam allowance. (See photo.) These seams are sewn over, so the seam doesn’t become weaker when you do this. This is especially useful when working on miniature quilts, smaller-scale quilts, or quilts that have very small pieces.
Here is a 9-patch block (five of one fabric and four of another fabric sewn together in alternating order) from the doll quilt. The intersections on the lower part of the block have been "treated." The intersections on the upper part show the stitches that are being removed. I use an awl, but a seam ripper (sharp side away from the thread) may also be used to undo the threads from the seam allowance.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mostly Beds

Vintage Stitchers is meeting again after the holidays.


I took my finished Kaleidoscope quilt top to lay out on Janet’s lovely big floor. Most of the fabrics for this quilt are from Connecting Threads Kaleidoscope line, but a few from my stash thrown in. The background fabric is Kona Snow. I adapted the pattern "Fresh" from "Simply Retro with Camille Roskelley: Fresh Quilts from Classic Blocks.” I just changed the block to eliminate most of the extra seams. I also matched up the fabrics in each block, so there are only four different fabrics in each block plus the background fabric.
Janet is making the same quilt, but according to the directions in the book, with the extra seams and the scrappy look.


Janet has finished this Christmas quilt top, one she has been working on for several years. It was a BOM from Thimbles and Threads in Draper.


She also showed us this Posy quilt top.


Barbara also has finished a BOM quilt top.


When she was choosing fabric for the alternate blocks and border, another customer in the store kept telling her she had to use brown. We think the red is just the thing. In quilting or knitting, “one man’s meat,” as they say. Some people like meat, and some are vegetarian. There are no rules for color, only suggestions to use if you can’t come up with what you like on your own. It's "play," after all.
Marilyn had finished this French Braid top for a table runner. It doesn’t go with her decor, but it does go with Rebecca’s, so Marilyn gave it to Rebecca to finish.


Julie was working on this machine-pieced Cathedral Windows piece for a pillow.


She and her daughter bought a layer cake jointly. Julie liked these fabrics, and her daughter liked some of the other fabrics, mostly black patterns, so they shared it.
Julie, Janet and Carol, from Common Threads, have all been taking the Stitching Society class in wool and flannel appliqué at Davidene’s. Julie has finished this piece:


Janet has finished more hexagons for the class:


Barbara had seen Julie’s needle case for the class and copied it:


Carol has tons of yellow and grey fabrics left over from her foray into that colorway, so she’s making a Dresden Strip quilt:


Rebecca is going to appliqué these Kaffe fabric hexagon patterns onto a background.


I also used Janet’s nice big floor to get a photo of my Crystal Stars (aka “Ocular Migraine”). The direction of the light source really shows off Julie's lovely quilting.


This quilt was one I designed after Connecting Threads “Sumptuous,” which was available in a kit but not the pattern alone. I eliminated a lot of the seams for it, too, as described in this previous blog of mine.
Remember the Kitty Julie made for her granddaughter for Christmas? She now has a nightgown.


The Kitty is from Little Cotton Rabbits. They also have a bunny, a fox, an elephant, a mouse and a monkey. You can pick a girl or a boy.
Julie improvised this dress.


Here's another dress.


The monkey is for Julie’s younger granddaughter.


Meanwhile, Dolly’s adventures continue. Remember that extra skein of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino left over from the Valentine outfit I couldn’t bring myself to take back to Wasatch & Wool? The planned cardigan turned out nicely.

Lana on Quilt With Us told me about making a bed for 18” dolls using a plastic tote, and offered to loan me the pattern. I went online and found instructions here. The mattress goes on top of the lid, and the doll’s clothes and accessories can be stored inside.
O. M. G.! Lana opened up another rabbit hole for me, and down I went. Of course, I took liberties with the instructions. It’s my way. I mentioned it in the American Girl Knitters group on Ravelry, and inspired Shaggytoby to make the project, too. We have been bouncing ideas off each other.
I used a Sterilite Underbed Box 28 Qt., Model #1846 DH found at Walmart for $4.38. To keep the mattress from sinking into the depression when Dolly lies down, I cut a piece of an old political sign the same size as the mattress, which is 16 X 23”, 1” foam (left over from Dolly’s chair), and put it in the under the foam in mattress cover at the base. I put the seam in the middle at the bottom, so it wouldn’t show. Dolly doesn’t sink in, but the mattress is still nice and soft, so she can sleep well.
The dust ruffle is four 7" WOF strips of quilting fabric sewn together and hemmed 1/4" and an additional 1/4", gathered at the top and sewn with a 1/4” seam to a piece of muslin cut the shape of the lid of the storage box.
The bedding for Dolly’s bed is coming along. The pillow and the sheets are done.


Dolly is showing you how I made the “fitted” bottom sheet like a pillow case. It took a little more fabric, but no elastic (which I’ll be needing for Dolly’s dresses) and the sheet will stay “tucked in” while she sleeps. All bottom sheets would be made this way, I think, if we could lift our mattresses as easily as we can lift Dolly’s. So far, I haven't bought anything new for this project except for the container. Everything else was in my stash or left over from other projects.
The body of Dolly’s crossover sweater is blocking. I found my sewing “ham” perfect for the job.

Now working on the second sleeve.

Spinners, don’t forget, we’re having a Spin Along on the Knitting Community if anyone wants to join in.
Where? Right here, in the Knitting Community Spin Along.
When? Noon on Friday, February 5 - noon on Monday, February 8, 2016, in whatever time zone you're in.
Equipment: Spindle or wheel. (If you want to use the pencil method to spin, that's OK, too.)
Materials: Any spinable fiber. (Dryer lint, anyone?)
No prizes, no pressure, just spinning together and sharing what we’re doing.

What's on my needles:  Dolly’s Crossover Cardigan for “Dolly’s Out for Shopping” outfit. The Trickle Socks, waiting.
What's on my Featherweight: Kaleidoscope Quilt top finished. Now working on bedding for Dolly’s bed.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley, from Audible. Just started listening to The Final Empire by Bandon Sanderson. Got a special deal on it, along with the next book in the series. Still reading The Other Harlow Girl by Lynn Messina on the Kindle app.
What's in my wine glass: Twisted Old Vine Zinfandel 2013, in honor of one of DDIL2’s favorite yarn shops, Twisted, in Portland, Oregon.
What's my tip of the week: If you’re breaking eggs, and a bit of eggshell gets into the eggs, you can use the shell already in your hand to remove it. Nothing cuts through raw egg like eggshell. I like to remove eggs from the carton from the outside in (the last eggs on each end first), to keep the carton balanced. If the carton is at all flimsy, one end can tip, spilling an egg or two onto the floor.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, January 11, 2016

January Projects

Common Threads met at Margareth's on Thursday.

Three of our members have been participating in a class at Davidene’s called “Stitching Society.” I’ve shown off some of their projects previously. Janet is working on this appliqué. They’ve been making needle books, notebook covers and various other items using flannel and/or wool with patterns, motifs and templates from the class. The class meets once a month.
Birna has been making some fun hats, like this Ninja Turtle:


Susan brought this bobble sweater to ask our advice. It’s lovely, but very scratchy. She wanted to know if there was any way to make it softer. She has tried fabric softener. We suggested wearing a turtleneck under it. Any more ideas?


This wrap of Susan’s was designed to be worn with the reverse stockinette side out, but Susan liked the stockinette side better. The only problem is the edges keep curling the wrong way. She’s trying to figure out how to get the edges to curl out if she wears it with the stockinette side out.
Karan used a multi-colored sock yarn to weave this scarf:

Susan and Margareth (both weavers) made a tour of Margareth's weaving studio.

I was working on the Ugg boots to Dolly’s Valentine Outfit. They were the last component of the ensemble, and here it is, finished:

I got inspired (aka “carried away”) while participating in the January KAL in the American Girl Knitters forum on Ravelry and ended up making up an overstuffed chair and ottoman for Dolly using a pattern I bought years ago and had never used. It’s Simplicity 8641, out of print now, but Etsy and eBay still have it. (If you go looking for it, there is another pattern with the same number, some kind of costume. Make sure you’re getting the doll furniture.) I found the chair difficult, but persevered and got it done. There were places you had to stitch something on the outside to something on the inside, and it was hard for me to see what I was doing. The ottoman was easy. I haven’t done much in the way of clothing sewing in years, and this wasn’t as straightforward. Still, I’m glad I did it. Miss Daphne will enjoy it when she gets it for her birthday.
When I posted in the KAL, I showed the required finished outfit first and said Dolly had just come back from an outing on Valentine’s Day. This is what followed:
Look what came for Dolly while she was out!

Dolly's plans for the entire afternoon: Sit by the fire with her knitting, a nice cuppa and her chocolates, watching the entire BBC version of "Pride and Prejudice" (all six hours) with that dreamy Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. [Sigh!]

Dolly likes to share. Would you like a (very small) chocolate?

(I’m getting the feeling that Dolly is my alter ego.) 
The box of chocolates took some engineering. I started with this pattern for making the box. As I was putting it together, I covered it with satin. The glue gun got a workout. The base for the chocolates is styrofoam from some packing materials, which I covered with satin. The “chocolates” are large black beads. I used appliqué pins with their white tops painted black with a permanent marker to fasten the bead to the base. The beads are pushed into the styrofoam, making an indentation. The fireplace and fire was provided by my iPad. The cup of tea is…a cup of tea (teabag cut down to size), and the “cookies” were kibble borrowed from Sunny and Rocky. I used two 4” dpns with beads stuck on one end of each for knitting needles. The balls of yarn are balls of yarn, of course.
I had a lot of fun doing this, in spite of the difficulties with sewing the chair but I think the photo shoot was the most fun. I took a lot of photos for this before the outfit was finished, but my favorite is this one, where I caught Squeekers having a look.

He saw me in the window and came to beg me for peanuts, but seemed a bit intimidated by Dolly standing there. The wig brush arrived, and I found it did a good job on Dolly’s hair, which is now soft, smooth and tangle-free.
Here’s the Ravelry project page will the information on pattern and materials.
There was a full skein of the darker yellow left, so I’m going to try making a cardigan to go over the outfit, matching the hearts and kisses pattern around the bottom. Stay tuned….
In other news, we’re having a Spin Along next month on the Knitting Community if anyone wants to join in.
Where? Right here, in the Knitting Community Spin Along.
When? Noon on Friday, February 5 - noon on Monday, February 8, 2016, in whatever time zone you're in.
Equipment: Spindle or wheel. (If you want to use the pencil method to spin, that's OK, too.)
Materials: Any spinable fiber. (Dryer lint, anyone?)
No prizes, no pressure, just spinning together and sharing what we’re doing.

What's on my needles:  The little cardigan to go with “Dolly’s Valentine Set” and still the crossover cardigan for “Dolly’s Out for Shopping” outfits for Dolly. The Trickle Socks, waiting.
What's on my Featherweight: Ready to work on the last two blocks of the Kaleidoscope Quilt. Hopefully this week, but I have to clean up my fiber studio first.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Still listening to The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley, from Audible. Still reading The Other Harlow Girl by Lynn Messina on the Kindle app.
What's in my wine glass: Gato Negro Malbec 2014. Very nice.
What's my tip of the week: I clean my toilets frequently, at least once a year, whether they need it or not. They can be hard to clean while still full of water. You don’t have to turn off the water to your toilet and empty the tank to get rid of the water in the bowl. Just get a dishpan full of water. (The water you used for washing the dishes is fine, just make sure you have taken all the dishes out.) Dump the water into the toilet bowl, and almost every bit will disappear down the drain. I think it’s the sudden force. It will stay that way until you flush again, giving ample opportunity to scrub that year’s worth of gunk out of the bowl.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Power, Light and Heat

We’ve had very cold temps, hovering around 0°. Squeekers found some sun to warm up in on the back deck.
Sunny’s flat screen had good reception until it got dark. (It’s mostly bird and squirrel shows, but she enjoys them.)
We’re set up for cold temps, but the evening of New Year’s Day the power went off.

It was already dark. Stuff for dinner was in a.) the gas oven, which doesn’t work without power, b.) the electric oven, which, obviously, doesn't work without power and c.) the microwave oven that doesn’t…well, you get the picture. Of course, the TV went off during the Rose Bowl game. (Did Stanford win?) DH had to trim the oil lamps by candlelight. With no power, we had no heat for the house other than the gas stove downstairs and the fireplace in the living room. I had washed the tablecloth and set the table with the good dishes, but we weren’t going to be able to eat in there, because it was already getting cold when we were ready. The bright side: the bread was already baked (I use the bread machine to mix the dough and bake in the oven) and sitting on the cooling rack. The salad was made, and the salad dressing and the butter were already out on the table, so we didn’t have to open the fridge. The stuff in the ovens was close enough to being done that we could just leave the doors closed for a bit. We just had to wait until the power came back on to heat up the asparagus in the microwave. It made a nice dessert. Dinner turned out OK, even if we couldn’t really see what we were eating. I tried to knit by candlelight, but gave up and settled down with my iPad and the book I was reading on it.

I had finished the “Dolly Does Dinner” outfit for Dolly. Here it is with the bolero. I think Miss Daphne and Dolly's counterpart, Daphne Jr., will enjoy it when it arrives for her birthday in May.


I was ready to start on two new outfits, using the patterns “Crossover Cardigan Set” for "Dolly's Out for Shopping" and “Girly Tank Top Set” for "Dolly's Valentine Set" both from Ravelry designer Jacqueline Gibb using this yummy stuff I picked up at Wasatch & Wool on Wednesday. (The ribbon came from Michael’s, where I stopped before going on to the yarn store.)


The yarn is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in White, Ultra Marine, Yellow and Butter and Frog Tree Ewetopia with the romantic color name “1251.”

I’m participating in a KAL (knit along) on Ravelry in the American Girl Knitters group. We have to make a project between January 1st and 31st that has a heart and/or kiss somewhere on it (for Valentine’s Day). It has to be either a sweater and hat, or a dress, and it can be knitted, crocheted or hand-woven. We can use any colors we want. We get a free hat pattern if we finish, and all qualifying finishers will be included in a drawing. On top of that, several designers in the group have offered special deals on their patterns. I wanted to start something, but had to wait for January 1st to start the Valentine outfit, so I CO the houndstooth skirt from the other outfit (which doesn't meet the qualifications for the KAL). It was done the next day, a quick and fun knit, especially if you pay attention to the pattern instructions. On Friday, when it was legal, I CO the "Skinny Rib Top" from the other pattern, which fortunately also goes well with the houndstooth skirt. Dolly really wanted to get out of her party clothes. Here they are together.

We also ordered Dolly and Daphne Jr. "wig brushes," which have metal tines or spokes set in a rubber base, recommended for both American Girl and Madame Alexander Dolls, which is what Dolly and Daphne Jr. are.

What's on my needles:  The “Dolly’s Valentine Set” and “Dolly’s Out for Shopping” outfits for Dolly, working on the second skirt. Still the Trickle Socks, of course.

What's on my Featherweight: Still waiting on the last two blocks of the Kaleidoscope Quilt, as well as some underwear and other stuff for Dolly.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor, then started The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley, both from Audible. Finished reading The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer on the Nook app, then started the The Other Harlow Girl by Lynn Messina on the Kindle app.

What's in my wine glass: Nathanson Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, the one with the frog on the label because I ended up having to frog the houndstooth skirt a couple of times because I misread a couple of lines in the pattern. (Not the designer’s fault. It was very clear.)

What's my tip of the week: If you live where the power goes off in the winter, it’s really good to have an alternative form of heat. Keep flashlights with fresh batteries, candles and matches and possibly oil lamps. More important, know where all this stuff is so you can find it by the light of your phone. Speaking of phone, keep it and other devices charged. It’s a good idea to have a backup power source. Ours has a plug like a car cigarette lighter that we can plug our charger cords into. You can also use it to start your car if the battery is dead. It’s a good idea to be prepared for power outages no matter where you live. Tornados, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes can all leave you without power. Be prepared.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.