Monday, March 28, 2016

New Life

Here’s Rebecca’s version of a wool appliqué design Julie recently finished.
This was a week to contemplate death, but also resurrection. I see some parallels to my life, even if on a smaller scale. True to our theme, Rebecca has added a butterfly, long considered a symbol of resurrection and new life because it “dies” as a caterpillar and emerges from a tomb in a new form.
Here’s Julie’s wool appliqué wall hanging based on the same design. You may recognize it, as I included it in a blog several weeks ago.

Rebecca also had finished this lovely cross stitch for her daughter’s new house (I believe).

Another project you might remember: Barbara’s appliqué quilt. Marilyn redrafted the block so they would come out the right size, and Barbara managed to get the pieces out of the fabric she had left.

She was not happy with the directions, so it’s just as well the pattern is out of print. If you wanted to make one like it, you would have to reverse-engineer it. It's a very nice design, thought, and lovely fabrics in the kit. Here are the border fabrics that came in the kit.

The pattern was Apricot Preserves by Ann Danzig’s Granny's Attic. If you remember, this kit was left to Barbara by a dear friend who passed away some time back. She had started the appliqué, so some of her work is in it. See how this quilt fits into the resurrection theme?
Brenda has been busy. She finished her Ribbon Quilt, but packed it away, as they are moving to a new (local) location. She was happy to send me this photo for my blog, though.

The pattern is from “Strip Your Stash.”
She also had been working on this quilt, pattern by Sweetwater and fabrics from the “Noteworthy” line.

After eating and having show-and-tell, we sat around and worked on various projects.

A minigroup is a good place to share ideas about how to do things. We all learn from each other.

I’ve been hand-quilting my Delectable Pathways (AKA “Peggy’s Sistine Chapel”) quilt. Just to jog your memory, here’s the finished quilt top on my design wall:

I hope to get it up on the wall over my stairs this spring, but don’t hold your breath. The final knitted doll outfit (for now) is finished. The pattern, sort of spun off from the simple "Everyday Play" dress I designed, is now available as a free download on Ravelry.

Some of you may be aware that our DGD1 moved in with us January 2015. She has been driving my car ever since, first to look for work and then to get to her job, putting a crimp in my independence, as DH and I have had to coordinate our use of his car. Thursday evening DGD and DH went to a Salt Lake City car dealership and they found her a nice, high-mileage, pre-owned Nissan. (Hers is the one in front, and she's paying for it.) So I finally get my car back.

I'm checking into getting my car detailed. It deserves it. Again, fitting the theme of new life. One step toward getting my fiber studio back. Not exactly new life, but it feels like it.
Finally, you may remember my lament from last week regarding the impending loss of the Knit Picks Knitting Community. I can announce (for those of you who don’t know yet) the grand opening of the Ravelry group: "The Frog Prince and His Knitting Community Orphans."
We already have more than 30 members, as of the time I'm writing and scheduling this post, and it has been great to “see” some of our Knitting Community friends who haven’t been as active lately in the Community. One of the nice things is, some orphans of the Knitting Community have also been active on Quilt With Us, and we can have a quilting thread in our Ravelry group, because our group is mostly knitting, etc.
What's on my needles: Remember the Trickle Brick socks? Also back to hand-quilting.
What's on my Featherweight: Still working on cleaning fiber studio.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Listening to No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor Also reading A Lady of High Regard by Tracie Peterson on the Kindle app.
What's in my wine glass: Corbett Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon. I couldn’t find a vintage on the bottle, but it’s nice, and a good value.
What's my tip of the week: If you’re hand-quilting and get too many stitches loaded onto your needle, a hemostat comes in handy for pulling it through. Just be sure when you pull, you don’t twist your wrist--just pull out in the direction the needle is pointing, so you don’t break your needle.

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, March 21, 2016

Fat Lady’s Song

The Argyle pullover is done.

The yarn gave me fits on this project. It's "Loops & Threads Woolike" from Michaels. I had to go up a needle size to get gauge on the pullover because the yarn is thinner than fingering weight. Also, the colorwork was difficult with this synthetic yarn due to static electricity. Three strands clinging together don't make for easy knitting. Next time, I'll use wool and nylon sock yarn or Superwash. It worked out OK for the other projects I made with it, though, and I’m happy with the result of this pullover, even though it had its challenges.

I went on to CO the Sweet Sweater Dress using this pattern:
I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino in Teal Blue and White. It was nice to work with. However, the yarn used by the designer for the project had more yardage than the one I used, and after finishing the body and the first sleeve, I could tell (by weighing the sleeve and what was left of the yarn) I wasn’t going to have enough. Fortunately, I had left the yarn attached, rather than cutting it off, which would have used more yarn because of the weaving in of ends. I guessed at removing six rows of stockinette stitch from each sleeve would be enough, ripped out the first sleeve to that point and reknit, then, without cutting the yarn and using the other end, I CO the second sleeve and knit it the same. When I got done, I had 65” of yarn left for sewing up and sewing on the buttons. I cut it off once I was sure.

The I-cord sash had to be knit out of the contrast color (white), but the dress was finished. Here it is blocking.

The pattern has a cute head band, but since I’m out of yarn, I will have to make that to go with something else. Here's the finished dress, though, worn by Dolly, an expert model now:

I did get SOME sewing done this week. We’ve been practicing for The Messiah Project, a concert of the most popular selections from “The Messiah,” sponsored by the Park City Interfaith Council with professional soloists, a volunteer choir made up of people from most of the faith-based organizations in town (which is where I come in) and an audience that gets to sing along to some of the chorus pieces. Maestro Jonathan Griffith (he of Carnegie Hall fame) came to direct us. So here is where my sewing came in. We had to cover our score in black, so the books would all look the same from the audience. We were told we could go to Staples and have them spiral-bound with a black cover or paste black construction paper on them. Or whatever would make them black on the outside. I had no construction paper and no car to go get some. Staples was out for the same reason, but…I have some black fabric in my quilting stash. I also had some buckram interfacing. Friday morning was spent making a cover for my score. 

I used black ribbon and staples (small S) to hold the cover to the book, and some ribbon down the back goes over my hand so my thumb doesn't get tired while I’m holding my music. We had a practice Saturday morning, and several people said they would pay me to make one for them. I said they couldn’t pay me enough to make another one. (Although now that I have the engineering down…)

The concert went well. We had a lot of fun. I should soon have a photo to share of the chorus and soloists, but for now, here’s a photo of the reception after the event, where we..ahem..vocal artists...mingled with members of the audience and ate cookies.

So that’s done, and the doll clothes are almost done. 

However, there is more ending besides that, thus “Fat Lady’s Song,” and this part is especially for people who have participated in the Knit Picks Knitting Community.  I received an email this week saying that the Knitting Community is closing/ending. This website has been part of my life for more than seven years.

I don't know when I joined, but my first blog post was November 26, 2008. It took me a few days to learn how to post photos. My first one was on November 29, 2008. I participated in the speed-knitting contest and came in third. Since joining the Community, I have written 416 blog posts and uploaded 1,753 photos into 47 albums.

Susan Dearnell, Cheryl Waters and I were interviewed for the April 6, 2011 podcast, #122. We were acquainted before that through the Community, but we got to know each other better through our PMs on the site where we pondered what questions we might be asked for the podcast. We began communicating, sometimes as often as several times a day, through PMs, where we shared not just our fiber projects but also our lives, including all the family and social agonies, as well as health problems. Susan was relatively new to knitting, but amassed a knowledge of fiber-related skills very quickly with a fearless intensity that amazed some of us. Maybe she sensed she didn’t have long to participate in this activity. A year and a half ago we lost Susan, as we have a few other friends, including Xena the wonder dog and yarn skein impersonator, but some of us have continued to stay in touch by PM on the site.

Even though I was also a member of the Quilt With Us social network, sponsored by Connecting Threads, part of the same company as Knit Picks, my special home was on the Knitting Community. Where else could I be known as one of the three “Fairy Godknitters.”

I can only surmise why the website is closing. Almost from the beginning it was targeted by spamers, so blog posts had to be approved before they could appear. Also, Ravelry seemed to provide an outlet for knitters/crocheters/spinners/weavers, but there was no such alternative for quilters. I'm sure it's expensive to maintain a website of this sort.

For whatever reason, the website is singing its swan song. Some of us have special friends in the Knitting Community, and we don’t want to lose touch. If you're a member, let me know if you’re interested in some sort of “afterlife” for the Knitting Community, either by PM, comments to this blog on Blogger or send me an email to

Quilters: Fear not. I will be quilting again.

[Cue fat lady and swan for their respective songs.]

What's on my needles: Ready to CO final doll knitting project (for now).

What's on my Featherweight: Progress made on cleaning fiber studio, but still more to do.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Magnificent Devices by Shelley Adina and narrated by Fiona Hardingham and looking forward to the next in the series. Downloaded No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor, but haven’t started it because of the busy week with The Messiah Project. Also reading A Lady of High Regard by Tracie Peterson on the Kindle app. I think I would have liked this one as an audiobook. 

What's in my wine glass: Lindemann’s Cawarra Shiraz Cabernet, 2014, in the big bottle. I needed it this week.

What's my tip of the week: Ever have a knitting pattern that says to wind of a small amount of yarn for a small section of knitting? If you have a center-pull ball of yarn, you don’t have to do this. Just work the small section using the yarn from the outside of the ball. You can also use this trick when you have a lot of sts for a long-tail CO (say…300+). Tie the two ends together and pretend they are one strand of yarn. Do your CO as usual. Both strands will be unlimited.  True, you will have two extra tails to weave in, but a small price to pay.

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, March 14, 2016

New Inspirations

Vintage Stitchers met at Barbara’s on Thursday. She showed us this great Dresden Plate quilt top:

She had a quilt pattern that had big, empty squares in it. She substituted the Dresden Plate blocks for the big squares. What an interesting setting! Carol also had a finished quilt top:

This is a fairly simple design, starting with a snowball block, but Carol’s pairings of fabrics (some of them from Kaffe Fassett’s collection) makes it stunning.

Barbara had also finished this appliqué for a quilt she had inherited from a friend who passed on.

No truer friend can be had than one who will finish your UFO when you're no longer able. The pattern was “Apricot Preserves” by Ann Danzig's Granny's Attic. She found some mistakes in the instructions that led to making the blocks too small. She'll have to buy more fabric. Oh, darn!

I’m still knitting Doll clothes. The second “Kiltie Combo” outfit is done, this one in blue. It will go to Daphne Jr. in May.

You may remember from last week's post that the inspiration for this outfit came from the shoes, sent to me by mistake instead of the pink and gray shoes. (I ended up buying them anyway, because they're so cute, but the store sent me the correct pair, seen on Dolly, below.) Here is the Ravelry page for the project.
I snapped a photo of both “girls” together, so you can see them with the hats:

I caught them discussing where they could get their hands on a jumprope.
The blue version is from machine-washable yarn, just in case it ends up in the laundry hamper. This is the pattern I’m using for a pullover to go with it.
Here’s my progress:

I’m not crazy about the yarn, although it’s soft and machine-washable. The strands cling together with static electricity, making the colorwork difficult. (I had no trouble with it during the making of the rest of the outfit, though.)

In other doll-knitting news, someone else on Ravelry used my Everyday Play pattern to make this cute dress. I love the creative changes she made to my simple little design.

Rehearsals for The Messiah Project continue. We expect to have Maestro Griffith back again to help us rehearse beginning on Thursday. I’ll try to get some photos.

What's on my needles: The Argyle Pullover for Daphne Jr.
What's on my Featherweight: Fiber studio is under construction. Can we say, “Spring Cleaning?”
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Listened to "The Silent Girls" by Eric Rickstad (fascinating and creepy) and now listening to "Magnificent Devices" by Shelley Adina and narrated by Fiona Hardingham, a continuation of the series from the Steampunk genre, which I find interesting. Also reading "A Lady of High Regard" by Tracie Peterson on the Kindle app. I think I would have liked this one as an audiobook. 
What's in my wine glass: Fisheye Pinot Noir. Always nice.
What's my tip of the week: A little late for this, but the time change isn't as bad if you gradually move your sleep and eating schedules over to the new time. Better yet, just keep them at the time you normally do these things if you can. For instance, if you normally eat lunch at noon during the winter, wait until 1:00 PM after the time change. It works for the pups. Even better would be if they would leave Daylight Savings Time all year.

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, March 7, 2016

Topping Off

A couple of weeks ago this pattern fell into my cart in the Ravelry store.

First, about the shoes Dolly is wearing with this outfit: Someone on Ravelry saw my black-and-white oxfords and tried to order them from The Doll Clothes Store, which is where I got them, but they were out, so she ordered these pink-and-gray oxfords instead. Then I saw her shoes and wanted those. (We “infected” each other, I guess.) I thought they would be great with a pink-and-gray outfit, so I ordered some, then went stash-diving for yarn in pink and gray. All I had in the sock yarn was the dark gray I used with the ski sweater, so I dove into my massive supply of Palette and came up with Palette in "Cotton Candy," "Fog" and “Ash." 
Realizing that Palette wouldn’t do well in the washer and dryer, and that they could end up there, I decided this outfit should stay with Dolly until Miss Daphne is old enough to keep her doll clothes out of the hamper.
I made a pullover to go with the outfit, because it’s pretty cold here still for short sleeves, and it made me cold just to look at Dolly.

The hat pattern was a free download. Here’s a closeup of the front:

…and here’s the back:

Back to the story of the shoes: When my package came, the long-awaited shoes to go with the pink-and-gray outfit were blue-and-gray instead. I called and talked with the nice people at The Doll Clothes Store, offering to buy the ones they sent (they were $1 cheaper than the pink-and-gray anyway) and they should send me the correct pair. They would pay the postage for the replacement. I figured I could always send the extra shoes to Miss Daphne with the birthday shipment, which would be less trouble than sending them back, and I really didn’t want them to “eat” the shoes by giving them to me. (Filet of sole? Tongue sandwich?) The correct shoes arrived a couple of days later and really complete the outfit, I think.

However, I also had a little surprise in the package. They had included a note with an apology and for free this cute little outfit that Gabi is modeling:

Now…what to do with the blue-and-gray shoes. The skirt and blouse were so much fun to make, I decided to get some machine-washable yarn and remake the outfit in blue and gray to send along with the birthday present. I’ve started the second skirt with that yarn. It was a fun knit the first time, so why not?
In other news, as cold as it is in the house, it still has been unseasonably warm here. We usually can still go snowshoeing during March, but this turned out to be a hike instead.

We had more snow Sunday night, so the trip to practice for The Messiah Project was scary. We will be getting more snow, I’m sure. We can have snow anytime through the first week in July, although the way this year is going, it’s unlikely we will have it that late.

What's on my needles:  “Plaid” doll skirt #2.
What's on my Featherweight: Doll slips. Will start on Regency outfit for Dolly soon. (I actually have the pattern now.)
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander AND  A View to Die For by Richard Houston on the Kindle app. Looking through my library to find my next listen/read. Also using the iPad and iPhone to select music on the new Bose, which is working out well. Our hikes are recorded on the Walk for a Dog app, which not only keeps track of your walking with your dogs but donates to whichever charity you select from among their dog-related charities. We're walking/hiking for Friends of Animals.
What's in my wine glass: Fisheye Pinot Noir. Always nice.
What's my tip of the week: If you’re trying to see if you have enough contrast in your quilt fabrics, take a photo and either print it in black and white or switch it to black and white in a photo processing program. (I use Photogene on my phone and my iPad, but there are a number of good programs, such as Photoshop.)

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.