Monday, June 30, 2014

UFO Sighted!

During the Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour this year, friend Elisa mentioned she found a website called 52 Quilts, encouraging people to finish one UFO (unfinished object) a month (not every week, thank heaven).

The idea is, you bag up your various projects and give them each a number, and then the woman who writes the blog picks a random number each month which tells you which of your projects to finish that month.

Finally finished!
Like, wow, man, this backing is psychedelic!

I didn't want to get quite that organized, but I love the idea of finally finishing up some quilts, and one a month sounds doable.

I only have about ten in progress.

I haven't counted my crochet and knit UFOs in a long time.  Let's not even discuss that right now!

Squaring it up
This quilt is made from the Jelly Roll Race directions--super easy, and probably the second or third quilt top I pieced, back in October 2012.

And then it languished while I worked on other things.  Eventually I got the borders on, and it languished some more, and then I sewed the backing pieces together.

And then, more languish.  At least, not anguish.

Then Elisa helped me pin the quilt sandwich back in November 2013, over a year since I had started the darn thing.

Other projects took precedence once more, and the jelly roll languished.  I finally pulled it out again and started quilting a few months ago.  Then my sewing machine quit working.


Then I found out it was only because I had the free motion foot set too high to catch the bobbin thread.


I tell you, it's quite the quilting roller coaster of emotions around here!

By the time I heard about the UFO a month concept, I was already working on this one again, so, with the sewing machine all threaded and bobbined and ready to go, this is the one I stuck with for this month.

Hallelujah, I finished it several days ago!  It measures 54" x 68", way too big to do on a home machine, in my opinion.  But obviously I did it anyway.  Which is how I know it is way too UFO-ing big!

I quilted the whole thing, mostly doing free motion quilting.  I didn't bother drawing designs on there.  I just wanted to play with the technique and have fun, and get used to it.  I can see my progress, working from the center out.  Definite improvement with practice!

It will probably go to one charity or another.  I keep vacillating as to which.

Do I save it for Maryvale next year, or is it too big?  We've been giving smaller ones mainly.

Should I give it to the Quilting Angels, who have let me hang on to scads of fabric for months on end?  Even though this is not made from their fabric, I feel beholden.

Or shall I just hand it over to the local guild's community quilts project?  They can always use more donations.

The other day, I told friend Debbie I would give it to the Quilting Angels, but then I realized, I have put a label on it with my name, and the date it was finished.  Did you know people label their quilts like they are works of art?  Which they are.  Even mine, beginner-y as they are.

So I shall have to see what the protocol is on that.  More will be revealed.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rebooting the Office

I have a little den.  Sort of an office.  Kinda small.  I had hoped it would be my sewing room, but there really isn't enough space.  I am not a fan of the small room.  Some people find small rooms cozy.  I do not.  I find them confining and cramping and lacking in storage space.

But this little den/office has great built-in bookshelves.  Below are cabinets with doors (preferable, to keep out dust) and above are shelves suitable for whatever, as long as you have a good duster.  (Are you getting the impression that I like things to be clean?)

When I moved in here, a year ago almost to the day, some things got organized well (the kitchen, for example), and others did not.

For a year, the shelves have been a mass of odds and ends, files and papers, and the fifty million things I plan to research or organize that I never get around to, and I absolutely loathe walking into this office and looking at the mess.  I bought some pretty binders and magazine holders and such, hoping that would help, but it just wasn't enough.

Here's what the shelves have been looking like--and this is on a good day, and after I had already moved some of the piles of papers and fiber-related magazines and books out of the way.

Sorry for the blurriness;  in the mornings lately we are having what most people call "June gloom" and what I call "refreshing ocean mist that burns off by afternoon because we are the luckiest people in the world."  Even the flash on my camera was muted by the mist, however.

Anyway, these shelves have been my project for the last couple of days.  First I tried putting all my fabric on the shelves, the way my professional quilting friend Debbie has hers at her house, and her shelves look fabulous!

Well, mine looked like crap.  Back the fabric went into the bins in the master closet.

And out came the yarn!  Or a small sampling of it.

Here's what the shelves look like now.

It's like having my very own yarn shop in my very own home!

To the right of the built-ins is my remaining folding bookshelf, the one that wasn't damaged in the move prior to this one.  This controlled chaos in the corner doesn't bother me so much.

Of course, the floor is now covered with those piles of papers and magazines and quilting books.  But since I have now moved yarn out of my filing cabinets and onto the shelves, I can put files of piles of papers in the filing cabinets, the way "normal" people do.

Anyway, the office feels much more welcoming, even with the mess on the floor.

I like seeing all those puffy scrumptious skeins of yarn sitting on the shelves waiting for me.  I have plans for all of it.  In fact, I have had plans for much of it for many moons!  I am only amazed that I have so little Plymouth Encore left.  Only enough for about three or four blankets.  I have been better than I thought at using up that part of my stash.  So proud.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, as the case may be, one of the local yarn shops is having a big sale next weekend, and so is the quilt shop next door, and oh, dear….  I do want to support my local shops, and I kinda want to go so I can hang out and chit-chat with everyone--after the intense, vulture-like swooping down upon the sale bins that we all do, of course.  But I think I had better leave my credit cards at home.  For the sake of storage, if nothing else!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Free Pattern: Peasant Scarf

As promised, I gave the Equinox Scarf the ribbon yarn treatment.

Then, for fun, I threw in one of the stitch patterns from Catch A Mermaid.  The combination reminds me of the lace in some of those white peasant blouses I used to wear in my flower child days.

Adding a third stitch added to the effect.  I was going to switch between the three in a free and random fashion, but instead, as usual, I ended up being consistent with the number of rows of each.

My nature clearly tends to the organized.  At least, in knitting.

The finished scarf is just about the right size for Handmade Especially For You. They give comfort scarves to battered women in domestic violence shelters.  I am planning to send this to them as soon as I can gather a few more.

Now I'm trying one with chunky yarn, or carrying along two at a time.  I cast on 12 and I'm using #11 needles.  This time I am randomly changing the stitch patterns.

Also testing some beautiful beaded mohair, Schulana Kid-Seta Pearl, which I got from Roxanne's

Sorry you can't really see the beads in this pic.

I cast on 24, using #10 needles.  I'm making it a little wider because it's so floaty and ethereal.

To me, this pattern looks good with any yarn!

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© 2014 Reyna Thera Lorele

See below for list of abbreviations.
Finished size:  about 5" x 65"
Materials needed:  about 200 yards worsted weight yarn.
#10 needles.  Or use any weight yarn and size needles that give you a lacy effect.  Gauge is not crucial.

Cast on any multiple of 2.  With worsted weight, I cast on 16.

Knit 52 rows as follows:
k1, *yo, skp* across, end with k1

Row 1:  k1, *yo, k1*, rep from * across to last st, k1
Row 2:  k1, p across to last st, k1
Row 3:  k1, k2tog across to last st, k1
Rows 4 and 5:  k1, *yo, k2tog*, rep from * across to last st, k1
Rows 6 and 7:  k

Rep rows 1 through 7 two more times.

Repeat EQUINOX for 16 rows.
Repeat MERMAID MESH 7-row sequence, twice.

Row 1:  *yo twice, k1*, rep from * across.
Row 2:  *k2, p1, pass k sts over p st*, rep from * across.  (See Note below.)

Rep rows 1 and 2 three more times.

Note: Row 2 of the Knot-Stitch Mesh is a bit tricky.  You k the first st, then k the first yo, then p the 2nd yo.  Now pass both k sts over the p st.  Just be careful, when you k the first yo, not to slip that 2nd yo off the L needle before you p!

Repeat MERMAID MESH 7-row sequence, twice.
Repeat EQUINOX for 52 rows.
Repeat MERMAID MESH 7-row sequence, twice.
Repeat KNOT-STITCH MESH 2-row sequence, four times.
Repeat MERMAID MESH 7-row sequence, twice.
Repeat EQUINOX for 16 rows.
Repeat MERMAID MESH 7-row sequence, three times.
Repeat EQUINOX for 52 rows.

Bind off, weave in ends, block if desired, and donate!  (Or wear.)

k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 together
p = purl
psso = pass slipped stitch over
rep = repeat
sl = slip
skp = wyib, sl 1 if to p, k1, psso
st = stitch
wyib = with yarn in back
yo = yarn over


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Spring Sprang

Spring sprang, and it's almost summer.

Jacaranda everywhere.

The whole city has been smelling like jasmine.

We don't have dogwood, alas, but we do have magnolias.  And hibiscus.

Looks like a Hawaiian shirt

And the agapanthus has been popping out of its pods.

We have bougainvillea all year round, but it's especially lush in spring.

And wildflowers, of course.

Inspiration everywhere!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour 2014, Part 2

Finished up the tour over the weekend.  Does Roxanne's have any batiks?

Anywhere?  Just a few?

No, I did not buy one of each.  Are you proud of me?

I also covet some of these dots, but I have restrained myself so far.

Posting these pics just in case you didn't know Roxanne's has fabric besides Kaffe Fassett and his friends!

On the way to Quilt Ventura, one of my favorite shops, I saw this train, keeping pace with me on the freeway.

I love QV in part because that's where I took my first (and second and third) quilt class.  They have great teachers and lots of classes to choose from.

I was having so much fun chatting with my friends there, I forgot to take a photo of the shop itself, dang it.

As for fabric, I got this green swirled stuff (hard to see in the photo, but those circles are actually swirly things) which goes great with the new fairy fabric, and it is 108" wide, perfect for backings!  So I got enough for a couple of backs and maybe a few borders as well.

And this handy portable design wall/tracing board thingy.

We also gave our friend Debbie her fabrics, and she seemed pleased rather than horrified, so I think we done good.

I hear someone else wants us to shop for her next year too!  I don't see how we would have the time!

All shopped out, I am still recovering.  Soooo tired!

But quilting!