Friday, June 28, 2019

Finding My Marbles

This bag of Marble Chunky yarn has been sitting in my office for months, looking luscious.  It's a "yum of yarn," like a flock of birds, or a pride of lions.

There are four different color ways in there, and a long time ago, I had a design idea for using all of them together.  I've worked on this brilliant idea sporadically, and it just never quite comes together.  Maybe I'm not in the mood.  Maybe it's not that brilliant.

I finally decided to use color way MC32 for a River's Edge Ripple throw, only instead of crocheting strips and sewing them together to get a vertically striped blanket, as in the original pattern, I am letting the gentle flow of color changes in this wonderful yarn speak for themselves.

With an "I" crochet hook, I chained 112 to begin, a multiple of 9 + 4, and then followed the directions for a strip of River's Edge all the way across.

I'm loving the result so far.  The pattern repeat is only 2 rows, so it's mindless crocheting for me.

I will probably add a narrow border to the sides to finish it off.

If all goes well, the finished blanket will measure approximately 42" x 48" using 4 balls of James C. Brett Marble Chunky.  It's all acrylic, machine washable, so start your crochet hooks now!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour 2019

We did it!  And fit in a couple of extra stores along the way, because they were so close to the ten shops on the CCQS tour.

I got four batiks I have earmarked for certain projects, including a mostly black one that will work for all kinds of things.

I got some other batiks Just Because.  They look pretty garish all together!  But they will go in different projects (some day.)

Then the fabrics I needed/wanted for a big English Paper Piecing project that is maybe halfway done.

And more fabrics, two of which go with projects in the queue inside my brain, and two of which are Just Because.

Then notions, including Sashiko thread, hand quilting thread, and regular thread for the English Paper Piecing project.

I love the 3-color Bohin marking pencil, and needed another one to go in my hand quilting bag-of-tricks.  The circular cutting tool from Creative Grids was on sale, half price, so who could resist?  Well, my friend resisted:  she handed it to me!

Not pictured: some stiff double-sided fusible for another project I have in mind.

Along the way we all got freebies, which we love, including little patches to sew on things (which I probably won't, but they are cute), a kit to make a pincushion, a batik mini-charm pack, and sew on and sew on.  Plus, some very handy little scissors, which were the prize for going to all the shops and turning in your stamped passport.

I have decided I can't go shopping again until I finish at least six projects.  We'll see how long that idea lasts!

For those who are wondering, I promise I will get back to blogging about some yarn-y stuff soon.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Startitis: Is There a Cure?

Some months ago, I came across a group on Ravelry discussing the topic, "How many projects do you have going at once?"

I am amazed that there are some people who can do one project at a time, or maybe two or three, and they finish them before starting seven others.

It turns out that I'm not alone in coming down with Startitis on a regular basis.  There are others like me who have at least twenty projects going on hooks, needles, spinning wheels, looms, sewing machines, or all of the above.

Right when I think I have my project queue under control, it seems there is a new class or workshop happening.  For example, here's another result of the Rami Kim fabric folding workshop I took:

I almost got sucked into making more of these cute kimonos, but I couldn't decide what fabrics I wanted to use, so I was spared further Starting (or was that Continuing?) and got back to a project I was already working on.

I sometimes think I'll choose, say, three projects out of my enormous queue of UFOs and WIPs (UnFinished Objects and Works In Progress), and that I will work only on those until they are done.  Hilarious, right?

Then a quilt show happens, or a stop at a fabric shop, with shopping-enabling friends, and Startitis resurfaces.  (The Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour is coming up this weekend!  Yikes!)

I used to keep track of how many projects I have going at once.  I lost count about six years ago.  I gave up.  It's exponential growth.  They're like bunny rabbits.

No matter how many projects I finish, with major Startitis outbreaks reoccurring as often as pollen allergies, or backaches when it's cold outside, it is impossible to keep track unless one wants to make it a full-time job, which I don't.  If I kept track, it would take time away from trying to finish all those dang projects!

There is no known cure for Startitis.  Some people have it, some people don't.  But apparently it's contagious!  All my friends have it!

Saturday, May 25, 2019


I finished this charity project awhile back.

I'm really proud of how quickly the actual quilting went.  I pinned the quilt sandwich together, and decided to do a great big free motion meander across the whole top, by maneuvering around the pins, so I hardly had to remove any pins while quilting.
Project pinned

The back

I know some people like to spray baste, and I've done it a couple of times, but pinning is still my habit, so far.

Very happy with how it turned out, and it has already been donated.  Hooray!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

On the Needles

A couple of people have been asking what I've been working on lately.  I've been neglecting the blog.  But now Mom has asked, and I can't say no to Mom.

I've been hand sewing a lot, so it isn't exactly "Yarn In, Yarn Out."  More like, thread in, thread out.

I took a Sashiko (Japanese embroidery) workshop in January.  Here's what I did in class.  The bottom square, in process, is a design that appears as you work on a grid.

And here's the wall hanging I'm making with all the sample squares I made.  The grid is the second square from the top.  I'm doing a little hand quilting in the borders, to enhance the machine quilting I already did.  Not the tiniest of stitches, but it's actually the look I'm going for, although it may be hard to tell from this pic.

Next is what I'm making with a Sashiko pattern I bought from the teacher, Nancy Ota.  I've never been interested much in embroidery, but I love Sashiko:  we use a big needle and thick thread, and I love the geometric patterns.  It's very relaxing and because the thread is so thick, progress is made quickly, which is satisfying.

I've also pulled out one of the two-color needle-turn appliqué projects I haven't quite finished, and I'm hand sewing the borders down so a little of the background colors will show on the sides.  Then it will be ready to quilt.

And I just took a fabric folding workshop with Rami Kim.  Not sure what I'm going to do with this hexie flower, but it's an interesting technique using fusible batting, so each piece is sandwiched and quilted as you sew them together.

And I've been machine piecing a nifty modern quilt top:

This one required serious frogging halfway through.  I was initially using some tropical-themed fabrics for the centers, replete with parrots and palm trees and lurid sunsets, and the whole thing looked busy and horrible.  I conferred with my quilting friend, Elisa (as in, "Am I right that this looks horrible?")  She, of course, was very tactful as she agreed with me!  So I got out the seam ripper and went to town, and it was worth the extra work.  I like this much better.  All I have to do is finish sewing all the blocks together, sew a backing, create the quilt sandwich, quilt it, and bind it!  Almost done, right?!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


Last month, our guild collected 10.5 inch square quilt blocks in the shape of houses to send to a quilt shop in Northern California.  These will be made into quilts to give away to people who lost their homes in the fires last year.

I made five--they're laid out on my cutting mat in the photo.

I searched for patterns that would come out to just the right size, and ended up changing a few measurements and otherwise tweaking things to make a simple pattern using 2.5" strips or squares of fabric for every section.

Easy!  And stash-busting.   I also omitted chimneys.  I decided under the circumstances that anything even remotely hinting of fire was undesirable, and considering I am also lazy, well, that clinched my decision.  My blocks aren't as cute or detailed as some of the others that were donated, but at least mine have playful cats in the windows.  One is even dressed as a ballerina!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Presidents Day Project

Actually, I pulled all this fabric out just before Valentine's Day.  I figured it would be good to make a patriotic quilt during that holiday and the Presidents Day weekend.

Our guild donates patriotic quilts to the local hospice, to be given to veterans, and the hospice has run out of quilts, so guild members are already busily making more.

One 12.5" block in process

Four blocks together

I've got the fabric and the time, so I'm making a double bow tie pattern, a freebie on the American Quilters Society website.

Lots of open space for quilting, but I will probably quilt something very simple.

As a friend of mine says, "Done is better than perfect."

Of course, this is nowhere near finished yet.  Maybe by St. Patrick's Day?