One of six children, I was raised by a busy mom, who instilled in me a love of fabric. Though I learned to sew and knit at a young age, it was the arrival of my first grandchild that pushed me into action. A long-time knitter, I am now ready to explore all things fiber.
#doodlewashJanuary2020 This one’s for you, Charlie.
Here’s a whole school of the little wrigglers. When I found the reference photo on Unsplash, I just couldn’t resist those beautiful yellow tails. I will confess to adding Micron ink to the sketch after the water color paint had dried.
Since I received such nice art supplies for Christmas, I feel the imperative to put them to good use. In my breaks from sewing, knitting and doing chores, I’ve made a few pictures.
The first reference photo came from a painting tutorial by Lindsey Weirich, the Frugal Crafter. The second came from a Christmas card. Each took me about an hour to finish.
Today I will be volunteering with my husband at the downtown park. We and several other able-bodied folks will be putting the lighted Christmas displays back into the warehouse until next season. Like most small towns, ours relies on many willing volunteers to make the holiday magic happen.
I don’t expect to work on any fiber objects or sketches until tomorrow.
I hadn’t planning on ditch-stitching the Arches quilt. But I have been a bit stuck – uncertain about how to proceed and wary of my skills (or lack thereof) to quilt free motion. Hence, I partook of another tutorial. This one, taught by Susan Cleveland on blueprint.com, promised to teach me some alternatives to free motion quilting.
But first, here are a few views of the panel that I have already quilted.
This block pleases me. I was able to free motion quilt around the color waves in the background which imitate the sky and river. Using the walking foot I quilted the arch itself around the perimeter and also along the color breaks. I then stitched two lines up the side, which give a sense of the way the stainless steel panels are attached.
I quilted around the arch in the top two blocks the same way. In the background to the right of the arch, I chose to echo the arch shape. On the left side I stitched free motion in big swirls. These did not turn out well. I guess I will rip it out, but that kinda scares me.
Susan recommended that I stitch in the ditch between the squares. This is said to stabilize the piece. I am having a problem with fabric stretching out of shape. The ditch stitching and the basting of the panel edges should solve this issue. Once this step is done, decorative stitching can be applied. Some techniques I plan to try include top-stitching with big thread and hand embroidering areas of the quilt.
Now I need to decide which thread to use for the top-stitching and which designs to embroider. (sigh.) The completion date for this project is rather uncertain.
The message came in over the week-end, with a tone of some urgency. It seems that the baby toddler girl had outgrown her hats, and the carefully saved wool hat of #1 grandchild was no where to be found. With the onset of cold weather, there was no time to waste in meeting the need.
The criteria was pretty simple. Earflaps were desired and a cord to tie the hat under the chin. Consulting my stash I found an almost full ball of Cascade 220 Superwash in a pale yellow color. I had purchased this yarn two years ago when I first learned of the baby’s expected arrival. I was excited to try out some stranded patterns using this yarn and various bits and bobs left over from other projects.
First I consulted my knitting stitch dictionary (750 Knitting Stitches – The Ultimate Knitting Bible.) For this project I needed a pattern with a fairly short repeat. I also needed a motif that would fit on the ear flaps.
These two will do nicely. Cosmea will work for the earflaps and Aubrieta can circle the body of the hat. I also liked that the pattern repeat was six stitches. With my gauge of 5.5 stitches, a multiple of six will help me achieve the 18 inch diameter I needed. Here is my chart for the earflap and body, and my calculation for the cast on. I came up with a total of 96 stitches, which is divisible by six.
Ear Flaps done.
After casting on, I completed a modified version of Aubrieta, stopping when the hat body was 4 and 3/4 inches tall from cast on. Next I consulted the pattern I had used ten years ago for grandchild #1’s hat to figure out the crown decrease rate. I added a few rows of dots in the first three rounds of decrease, then completed the rest of the decrease in the solid yellow yarn.
This was a fun and quick project to make from one’s stash. I was pleased that I could use up some yarn scraps of a beautiful Malibrigo yarn that was left over from my blue ribbon vest.
I wanted to call this post Hunker Down Kind of Day” but alas, I had already used that title. Today was the first time this winter when the weather felt and looked like winter. I was really in the mood to celebrate the snow fall. So I decided to break out the Christmas gifts, which included a set of water color paints and a block of hot-press watercolor paper.
There ensued several moments of consternation after I opened the package of paper. It seriously looked like a solid block of wood. I could not for the life of me figure out how to remove the cover page and access the paper. But then, I remembered UTube. Ah. A quick search on line and I found a video that showed me what to do.
Next I loaded a Lindsay Weirich tutorial page in which she paints a fox in the snow. You can find it here.
I got out my new Arteza watercolors and began painting along with Lindsay. This image shows my work after I had applied the first set of washes.
While my paint was drying, I joined husband in the family room. He was sitting in front of the fireplace, basking in the warmth and reading. So cosy. I sat and knitted for a bit while he read. After thirty minutes, my paints were dry and I returned to the studio. It took less than an hour to finish this painting.
What fun. I’m glad that I have decided to learn how to watercolor.
Well, the snow has stopped. After lunch perhaps I will take a walk to enjoy the winter wonderland before tomorrow, when the snow and ice are likely to melt.
No, friends, this is not a publication by a religious group. This is an exercise in making a reference guide for your own sewing machine.
Yesterday I took a few hours to document all the stitches that are programmed into my Bernina 1080 Special. I would have done this sooner but for my own impatience to get on with my making.
Basically, you just make a column of stitches, move to the next button and repeat until you have a sample of each stitch. In addition, I changed length and width as I stitched along, making notes in permanent marker along the way.
It wasn’t as boring as I had imagined, mostly because I listened to podcasts while I stitched.
Even though my Bernina only has 28 different stitches, I worked my way through several bobbins of thread. The payout of this exercise is getting to play with different combinations of the stitches that I discovered. My favorite setting is the mirror-image button. This allows me to highlight nice sections of my fiber objects with mirrored embroidery stitches.
I also learned how to couch cord, ribbons and yarn.
If you haven’t made a stitch bible for your sewing machine, I suggest that you give it a go. It may spark in you some creative ideas for future fiber play.
I have finally finished piecing the Gateway Arch quilt. Next I stitched the blocks into three panels.
Before I move on to making the quilt sandwich and quilting, I will be adding some details to the blocks using fabric paint and possibly some embroidery. This step will allow me to practice a new technique I learned over the holiday.
As many of you are doing right now, I also am looking back at my work in 2019 for the purpose of choosing favorites. It was an interesting exercise. I especially was surprised when comparing the difference between most popular projects and my own favorite projects. They didn’t always match up. Here are the top picks in each discipline.
1. Embroidery: Prayer Flags.
This fiber object was actually a mixed media work, including the crafts of painting and applique. But embroidery was the new skill that I was practicing and I was thrilled with the results.
2. Knitting: Luna Moth Baby Dress.
Starting with some yarn purchased the prior year and a design of my own featuring a ruffled hem, this project morphed into something special when I discovered a Luna moth resting on a blade of grass in my backyard. She looked so much like the dress I was knitting that I decided to embroider her image on the back.
3. Mixed Media: Henry’s Haiku
When my grandson handed me this little poem, I felt that it was special. To illustrate it, I chose an image of a jaguar which I painted and embroidered. The background fabric is treated with candle wax drips and overpainted. I embroidered the poem so as to match the author’s handwriting as closely as possible.
4. Drawing: Overgrown Garden Shed.
While not my favorite sketch, this one received the most likes and comments. All of these skills were new to me, especially using ink wash and brush pen.
5. Quilting: Oakleaf Hydrangea Study
Every day is a happy one, when I see this quilt in the morning light. New skills included working with resist and free-motion quilting.
6. And finally: Crochet: Purple Yogi.
This object is so silly, and yet it turned out to be the most popular by far. Perhaps I had accidently connected with the current Zietgeist. The doll has florist wire bones so that it can bend and twist as needed to strike a post.
Happy New Year to all, and may 2020 bring you your most creative work.
Knitters: What is the big cliff-hanger that every knitter faces? No, not the one about whether it will fit, or if you will finish on time. I’m talking the night-mare proportion, no-turning back, hold-your-breath issue. (Clue: I had 4 yards to spare.)
My latest stash-busting knitting project is the Peace and Love Gloves, from the colorStyle book by Pam Allen and Ann Budd published by Interweave. That book is 10-years old, so I don’t know if you can still buy it. The pattern is by Veronik Avery who has many patterns on Ravelry. Here’s the link.
This is my second go-round to knit these gloves. I lost the first pair in Milwaukee last spring. But lucky me – I had another ball of the grey Knit-picks Stroll and almost two balls of the 100% alpaca white finger weight yarn.
The pattern claimed that I would need two balls of the main color, but ha, I didn’t believe it. After all, I had already knit this pattern, using only one ball with a little bit left over. Well friends, that bit made all the difference today. It was used to knit the two thumbs.
Okay. I am now ready for winter weather. Dish it up, Mother Nature.
Ho, ho ho – I must have been a good girl. Santa left me some wonderful art supplies this Christmas. He knows that I am playing around with color these days.
True confession: Santa was working from my list. This set of 36 watercolors is made by Arteza. The first thing I did after unwrapping them was swatch each color. The Prismacolor pencils are the erasable type. I’ve been told these are very useful in sketching, specifically the line drawing used to start a water color.
Since Christmas day I have been working fairly steadily on the Arches quilt. I’m pleased that I have finished assembling the hand painted backgrounds of the16 blocks that make up the quilt design.
The images below show a few completed blocks compared to the reference photos I worked from. Here is the upper right block.
This photo shows two blocks, representing the slender upper sections of the Arch.
I’m on a roll now. My hope is to finish the quilt top before the new year.
On a shopping trip to Tulsa I found the backing fabric – a purple-black color with a graffiti style print on it. I still need to choose border fabric. But what color? I am considering something lighter, just to provide separation from the dark blue and purple of the background. But I don’t want the border to compete with the bright yellow-gold of the subject fabric. Suggestions would be welcome.