Maryvale has eight graduates this year! You can read all about my involvement with giving new, handmade blankets as graduation gifts to the girls here, here, here, and here.
I swore that this year I would have at least two blankets finished by this time, but one of them was going to be a quilt, which I actually started over a year ago, and though I have the excuse of having many other projects in the works, I am still possibly the slowest quilter in the West.
Then I did something that was meant to be responsible and smart. I obeyed the manual, which stated that one should clean certain areas of the sewing machine once a month, take out the bobbin case, for example, and do a bit of dusting with the tiny brush provided. So I did that. And I followed all the directions, really, I did.
The manual is actually not as obtuse as most manuals these days. It is quite thorough. In fact, in the section that shows drawings of all the parts and accessories, and lists the names of said parts, it actually lists "instruction book" and there's a little picture to show what the instruction book looks like! (Inside the instruction book!) Hilarious! (I mean, because, if you hadn't found the instruction book and opened it up, you would not have found that picture. Right? Are you with me?) Ha ha ha it is to die laughing.
Anyway, I put everything back together as per the instruction book, and my sewing machine began misbehaving. The bobbin thread was making an unholy mess on the backside of the quilt. Thank heaven for that wonderful seam ripper Elisa encouraged me to buy, the kind with the razor sharp flat blade that can slide under even the tightest tiny stitch. Best three dollars and change I ever spent.
I tried changing the bobbin, re-threading the needle, changing the thread--everything I could think of, and nothing worked.
Our wonderful local repairperson, who makes house calls and is in much demand, was finally able to get over here, and he began pointing out how things work (as in, gee, I didn't know that threading the machine is easier with the foot up, and threading the needle is easier with the foot down; did you know that?!). He was here for a couple of hours, oiling this and that, unscrewing and opening and adjusting and re-adjusting and resealing this and that, and along the way, he showed me that I simply had the free-motion foot adjusted too high, and therefore it could not be close enough to the fabric to allow the needle to catch the bobbin thread, so really there was nothing wrong with the machine, just the operator!
No big surprise there, huh?
But both my machines were due for service anyway, so it worked out fine.
Blanket-wise, however, my main partner-in-crime, Susan, who is also point person this year for contacting Maryvale, suggested that we might want to relax our stringently high standards and perhaps make slightly smaller blankets, since we have so many to make.
She suggested traditional granny squares as well, since they are a "fast crochet" for most of us. The quilt I am making, however, is larger and less traditional, and I thought, I wouldn't want it to become a source of envy among the girls if it were a lot bigger, and then I knew I was trying to control things that are beyond my control. Back to quilting, and if I get it done in time, fine, and if not, there's always next year.
Luckily, I had decided a couple of months ago to make another of my River's Edge Ripple blankets. I wanted better pictures for the pattern, and I had this yarn lying around, waiting for its turn at the hook. Dark browns and blues generally are earmarked for boys, but in this case, I think it will work fine for Maryvale, especially since IT'S FINISHED!
Right now, it's at the LYS as a shop sample, to help sell some copies of the pattern there, but I have promised it to Maryvale, so I may just have to whip out another for the shop.
It's crochet, I can do it in my sleep.