Sunday, July 31, 2011

Project spectrum: July into August

Another month is gone. Project Spectrum is almost half done.

I didn't think my blue pictures lent themselves to a collage so I'm going to post them separately this month.

I got a polarizing lense for my camera and it can really make clouds pop against a darker blue sky. Here are a few:

It doesn't hurt that we have had some really amazing cloud formations the last few weeks. An ever changing delightful display.

I also took a few playing with the white balance:

It made this perfectly normally looking setting sun completely eerie.

And let's not forget my one blue project. (I guess I shouldn't feel too bad since I didn't do any green ones for June!)

Next month we move into PINK! A colour I was really into a while ago thanks to the pushing and prodding of my baby sister. I guess I haven't seen her enough lately because my pre-occupation with pink has definitely waned. Before that, I really hated pink thinking it was too cutesy and too girly for me. She let me embrace my inner girly-girl.

Here's a little collage from my archives to get us all in the mood:
Clockwise from top left corner: tulip in the garden; 3 cotton knit bibs; cotton toddler sweater; pink toddler bed quilt; fluffy chick I pull out every Easter; jewellery set; matching purses for my all my sisters to wear at the youngest's wedding (3 of the 6 anyway).

I don't know of any pink projects on the horizons, but who knows! I will also keep my eye out for pink in unexpected places. See what you can find, too!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fair Entries 2011

Ok, let's get organized! Here is a list of what I am planning to bring the the fair this year:

1. Knitted cardigan or coat: Making Waves Cardigan

2. Knitted pullover - adult: Truffle Tunic

3. Knitted vest or shell: Man's Crazy Vest of Many Colours
I knit this for my dad years ago. He wore it proudly for a while, and then it hung in his closet for a while. After he passed, I got it back and Troy wears it occasionally. I made up the colourwork pattern as I went and winged how to do a steek up the middle. (It's all cotton and instead of sewing the steek, I just knit some extra stitches between the two halves and worked in all those ends! after I cut it apart. It's really crazy if I think about it.)

I did a "plain" striped back but afterwards decided it was too plain and the blue was too bright so I embroidered all the gold on. (Click here to see details.) Didn't I say crazy?

4. Any other knitted article: Belinda Shawl

5. Secret Project. No, I'm not telling what it is but if you go to the fair, you should be able to spot it!!

6. Crocheted doily or table topper: "Star Wheel" Cotton Doily
I don't think I've written about this one, but it's just something I did to try out. It from a vintage pattern.

7. Queen Size Quilt -- machine quilted: Fibonacci Quilt.
Tom and Clures let me borrow this back to show at the fair...thank you!!

8. Quilting: Raffle Block

9. Photography (colour): Head or Figure

10. Photography (colour): Landscape
St Joe River, Niles

11. Photography (colour): Still Life

12. Photography (colour): Animal

13. Photography (colour): grouping.
This is a coneflower that grew up through a leaf of the neighbouring bush, piercing it quite thoroughly. When we were visiting Troy's Dad a couple years ago, he found this in his garden and brought it up to show us. I took a few pictures because it was just so interesting and then had them framed up for him. (If you want to see the pictures in more detail, go to this album.)

Ok, that's all! A couple more than last year and certainly more photography...and yes I could have done more if I wanted. I haven't entered any of my canning or scrapbooks. Maybe some year I'll get inspired for that too...

Wish me luck!! And of course, come on out to the fair to see everyone's stuff. I'm sure you'll have a good time. And there's still time to get your own stuff. Bring it to the fair grounds Saturday morning, July 30th.

I'll be working the table Monday and Tuesday nights--see you then?

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Beginning of New Projects

Where does a project begin? Sometimes with an idea, but more often with the purchase of materials...and in this case I mean actual literal material.

Visiting Missouri always means a quilt shop hop with my MIL. There are tonnes of quilt shops here compared to at home. On top of that, the prices have always been astonishing. This time they were not quite so low, but the fabric was so lovely that didn't seem to slow me down. :)

First I will show you a collection of fabrics I accumulated from three different shops:
If they look a little bright to you, trust me, they are even brighter than they look. I am completely head over heals for them. The orange/pink leaf pattern in the middle started it all. $2/yd. Sounds cheap right? Then you have to buy 10 more fabrics to go with it. Ha ha. I am hoping I have enough there for a single bed size. The green on the bottom right will work as a sashing or border between the rest and the orange/yellow/pink on the bottowm left is for the binding. The rest of the pieces are from 1/2 yard to 3 yard pieces. (The two fat quarters on the left aren't batiks like the rest, but the colours match so well, I took them anyway.)

Next up is another collection I put together:
I couldn't resist the half yard of Asian style fabric. The blue is really gorgeous. But once again, it was on clearance, but then you have to buy stuff to go with it! The fabric along the left are three different abstract designs in bronzes and light blues. I thought I might do a wall hanging with all of this so I just bought 1/2 yards of the left fabrics.

And then, I can't stop noticing browns and tans since I'm making the Big T quilt. I just love this leaf pattern:
 It was with their jungle prints but I think it will be just fine in my quilt too.

And finally, I picked up a few more red tones:
I can't stop buying them either. I have some vague idea of a log cabin with red and ??? something. Ya, not a real solid plan there, but I'll enjoy buying reds anyway.

Believe it or not this isn't all of it either. I picked up a few other odds and ends too. I'll show them to you when I use them.

The knit shop was closed. She has irregular hours and we never have managed to catch her.

All in all, we had a great time of it. And I think the fabric will hold me til the next visit! (But don't hold me to that.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guess What I Got Done!

Yup, that would be my Making Waves Cardigan!! It is so perfect I want to wear it even though we are having a heat wave. (It is so warm out, I actually am deciding not to.) Just a few degrees lower, though, and I will be rocking it with a pair of shorts...
Yeah, kind of like that.

I mentioned that I blocked it the other day. That went very well with the blocking wires. I did end up having to steam the side seams flat. The hem got a crease blocked into it at the side seams and it stuck out funny when I was wearing it. A little steam took care of it though.

The fabric is light and airy but still warm. I think it will be perfect in cool air conditioned places and on summer evenings. Not right now though. It really is stinking hot. Whew!!

I got the clasps in the mail on Tuesday and sewed them on that night. They're not real metal and are very light weight.
That's a good thing with this fabric because it wouldn't be able to support anything heavier. I ordered four and thought I was going to use them all, but two seemed enough. I think they are sweet without being cutesy.

I don't have too much else to write about the final project
so I will let the pictures speak for me.

So happy to have it done!! So happy with it!!

Now for a little cooler weather, please?

Project Stats
: 30 Apr '11
Finished: 18 Jul '11
Pattern: Making Waves by Mary Annarella ($6)
Materials: Fleece Artist Saldanha Two, 1 skein Ruby ($31.80); 2 petit fleur clasps ($4.50)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lessons...Which Might Sound a Bit Like Whining

I'm not going to show you my secret project but I can share a few lessons I've learned over the last couple months:

There are a lot of types of mistakes to be made. For example, you can not understand a new pattern and do it wrong a couple different ways before you figure it out.

You can got lost in the pattern and skip parts or do some parts twice or do parts in the wrong order.

You can convince yourself you know the pattern and not look at it and make very interesting but unhelpful variations on the pattern.

Just because you go back and fix a mistake, doesn't mean you won't make the same mistake the second time through. Or a new mistake. You won't notice these mistakes until you get to that spot in the next round. Once you learn that lesson and start to check your work before starting a new round, you can still miss mistakes. (Kind of like proof reading your own text. We're not wired to see our own mistakes very easily.)

Once you have several parts, you can put them together wrong. You can put them in the wrong spot. Or you can put them in upside down. One time I even put the first part in right, thought it was wrong when I put in the second part so I took it out and made it match the second part only to discover that the second part was wrong after I completed the third part.

That section I took out this evening and tried very hard to put it in the right place. It took me two more tries.

Then when you unravel a part and then go to use the yarn again to redo the very same part, you can discover that it isn't long enough by about six stitches. It was long enough the first time, but for some reason isn't long enough any more. (That's where you stop for the night and whine a little on your blog, just in case you were wondering what put me over the edge.)

You can count wrong. You can even double count wrong. You can count right, but then still attach a piece to the wrong part. You can think you counted and double counted correctly but find out later that you missed one.

But, you can also concentrate so hard during the final row that you never make a mistake on it. This is important because there's no "next round" to find out you made a mistake. So far I think I'm good on that. (I may learn the lesson that you don't talk about success for fear of jinxing yourself, but I don't really believe in that so I'm not going to worry about it.)

You can also continue to chug along (even if it's two steps forward, one step back) and make excellent progress. Despite many little setbacks, it looks like I will get this done on schedule. Who will give me a wOOt wOOt on that?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Attempt at a Save

I wasn't willing to give up on my quilt block even though I had used up most of the fabric and didn't have an appropriate design. It occurred to me that if a Dresden plate block could win second place last year with the theme "Spirit of America," (read about it in the first section of this post) then I may as well put something together with my mariner's compass and see how it does.

I briefly considered constructing a lighthouse in a 4" wide strip that could go beside the main compass block but just didn't believe it would ever look good. Instead, I finished piecing the mariner's compass and added some borders:
I'm pretty happy with the block and I figure that's a start. I mean an ugly block's not going to win anything, right?

Here's a little closer view of the center pattern:
I like this mariner's compass; it's got a nice extra star in the middle. I would have liked to have my two reds contrast a little more, but at this point, you know, I'm just going with it.

Besides the big question of whether the judge(s) will let this pass even though it doesn't meet the lighthouse criteria, I think how well the block does will also depend on how well my yellow looks with the rest. (You were allowed to add up to two additional colours to the kit you got.) I originally added it because it was going to be the light coming out of the lighthouse. If others had the same thought, then maybe this block will play well with others. If there is no other yellow, then I think the best it will do is to be made into a pillow. (That's like the consolation prize if you're not one of the 20 blocks that made it into the quilt. It is still a prize, because there are also blocks that aren't made up into anything.)

Anyway, this is the end of the adventure which was the process of making this block. If I had started earlier and used practice fabric first (like I did last year), I would have avoided this disaster. Lesson learned. (But I won't promise it'll never happen again...)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fatal Error

Fair time is coming up very soon. I'm going to be gone the week before the fair starts so I have to have everything ready to go a week early. Plus this year the fair is as early as it ever could be. All this is to say, I've been feeling the crunch.

Sometime on Friday I realized that this was my last weekend to get the quilt block done for the raffle quilt. You may recall you buy a fabric pack for $5 and make a block in the chosen theme. This year's is Great Lakes lighthouses.

I had an idea early on but had not done anything about it...until recently. I sat down with a ruler, some scrap paper and some pencil crayons and made an initial sketch:
The entire block needs to be 12"x12". Although the drawing above is not quite to this scale, I decided to go with 8"x8" for the larger subsquare in the lower right corner and 4"x4" for the upper left corner.

I drew out a mariner's compass design myself (that's the "star" in the upper left), but wasn't very happy with the fact that I wasn't getting it very symmetrical. So today I went to the computer and found two very suitable designs.

The one I chose is from Carol Doak. (Pattern link here.) I figured out how to scale it on my printer and printed out copies onto some tearaway paper-piecing paper.

I pulled out my supplies and set myself up in my sewing corner.

And started cutting the fabric (no going back!) and piecing the mariner's compass blocks. Here is the first one:
I was a little scared about running out of fabric (you don't get very much of each) but at some point decided not to worry about it since the worst that could happen is that I'm out $5 and don't get to enter the quilt block contest at the fair. I should be able to live with that, right?

So once I had the first one done and figured it was good, I made the other three all at once. Here they are "dry fit" together:
(I still have to finished the centers of the last three, but you get the general idea.)

As I was taking this last picture, I realized that something was wrong. Very wrong. Fatally wrong. I had wanted the entire mariner's compass to be 4"x4". But I had made each of its blocks 4"x4". That makes the whole thing 8"x8", not 4"x4".

Head meet desk.



Since I was quitting for the night anyway, I didn't even think about attempting to fix it tonight. This, at least, explains why I was using so much fabric, but I don't know what I'm going to do.

Except go have what passes for beer around here. And pick up some comfort knitting to make me feel competent again.

And probably lay awake tonight thinking about it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sneak Peek

Going to the airport and getting some serious hand-craft time in and meeting this week's deadline on my secret project early has led to some serious progress on some other projects.

Here's a sneak peek at what I finished this week:
All the knitting is done and I got it blocked tonight. The blocking wires were a great convenience. I managed to slide a set in the folded hem of the front and back. It worked perfectly!

And I also managed the whole sweater from one skein!! All I had left was 5 g (out of 100):
But this wasn't a "cutting it close" as Troy accused me. I had bought a second skein because I thought I would need it. Now I'm in the beginning stages of thinking of knitting a matching T, shell or even dress to go underneath. Hmmm....

I'm waiting for some cute clasps I ordered to come in and then I'll be able to wear it!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Swap Report

I just realized I didn't post about the Red Purl swap. I was too busy going to the airport over the weekend. (Lots of progress on my secret project...I made this coming Friday's deadline already!)

Once again we had a great group of people at the shop. Quite a crowd...let's say about 16, 17. I was not organizing the swapping this time so I could just sit back and relax!

The package that got every one's attention right away had "boob" balloons on it. You don't need two guesses to get what was inside! The funniest part was that it went to one of the least likely to model them...even over top of a shirt. We all had a good hoot about it anyway.

One of the swappers was giving away the second thing she had ever made! That's a very brave and generous thing to do! It was a lovely linen face cloth with various appropriate accompanying gifts.

And what did I make? Well, I took some recycled cotton from a sweater and made a cuff:
 with some silver buttons.
Here it is stretched out.
Here it is folded up.

And what did I get? I got a lovely cotton bag/sachet with sandlewood soap:
I love the colours and texture of the bag!

Amy has a whole basket of felted balls she couldn't stop making:
Her gift was three of these and a book on juggling! (The book was bound with two wooden needles. It was too clever.)

It was a great night...thanks for all the laughs, ladies!!

Project Stats
: 03 Jul '11
Finished: 04 Jul '11
Pattern: Pretty Twisted by Cat Wong (free)
Materials: 15 grams of mercerized cotton from a 2nd hand sweater

Oh, I almost forgot to point out this is my blue project for Project Spectrum this month...way to sneak one in there, eh?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer Swap

If you work a little fast, or make something small, there's still time to put something together for this week's swap at Red Purl.

This month's knit night is on Friday the 8th. Amy has invited people to bring a small project (one skein or less)  made out of summer yarns (cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, silk). Several themes were bantied about, but none of them won an overall majority. Amy eventually left it at "Anything goes from pasties to broaches to market bags to whatever."

When it was looking like "naughty knitting" might be the theme, I started planning a pair of stars and stripes pasties. I abandoned the idea when it was no longer the major theme. (Plus how would I get a modeled picture of the finished objects!?!)

Bonus "blue" shot.
I think that's my mom and Isaac up there.
I'm not going to reveal what I will be bringing, but I can say that it is blue and therefore gets counted as a project for Project Spectrum this month!

Feel free to show up at Red Purl this Friday night if you'd like to join in. (I'm sure you feel safer coming now that you know you won't be getting pasties from me...)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Wherein the question, "What do you mean it's not the same?" is answered with, "It's not."

Confession time. Confession of dumb things I do.

Remember my recent post bemoaning the change in gauge in my Making Waves cardi?

I ripped back the sleeve this weekend and started knitting with the larger sized needles, the ones I purchased just for this project. Before I had finished two rows I knew it wasn't right.

I got a sneaky suspicion of what went wrong and checked my Ravelry notes to find out. Sure enough, I had been using the wrong size needle in the first place!! Instead of using the size I used for the first sleeve, I was using the smaller set that I had used exclusively for the last rows and cast off.

Two results:
1. I learned (again) that you can never have so much experience that you stop making dumb mistakes.
2. All is right in the universe once more: using different needles produces a different gauge and using the same needles does give me the same result. Phew!

I have recommenced the sleeve with the correct needles and all is going well.

Plus I am very relieved to have solved the conundrum of getting such different results from the "same" needles. I can't tell you how much that turned my world upside down. (Honestly, it's like finding out putting the car in reverse makes you go forward faster. It just wasn't right!) Now, deep breath. All is good.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Project spectrum: June into July

June has ended and with it has ended the month of green. I thought I might tackle my green leaf beret this month, but it didn't happen. Not enough crafting time (and not enough energy to take it on). I did not work on a single green crafting project the whole month.

I did, however, take a few pictures. It seemed like everything was green around me. We had a lot of rain and grass, and corn, and weeds, and leaves grew and grew. Some of them you would swear you could see them grow as you watched.

Here are a few green images captured this month:
From top left around clockwise, we have looking through the leaves as I did when laying on my yoga mat in the park; grass gone to seed; corn just coming up; a young green peach in our yard; a bend in the St. Joseph River (this is the corner where we've been doing yoga in the park); and a leather dress I wore as part of my challenge to wear a skirt/dress every day in June. (Which I did! Album here.)

I don't seem to find green very inspiring, in general. I think it is a "base" colour for me; a background onto which other colours should be added. Of course, there are trillions of different greens and it would be silly to  say I "don't like green" but I don't think it does much for me.

July we move onto blue...(now if ever there was a "basic" colour that would be it!) But again, there are so many different blues; I'll try to explore more of them this month.

Here are some shots I found already in my archives:
From top left, a ditch landscape; alliums against the sky; blue lace scarf; detail of my Crossed Canoes on a Starry Night quilt; glass bead necklace; and fancy slippers.

Right now, I can't think of any blue projects I have in mind to do. But I got a new lense for my camera and it's making me very interested in the sky. We have had an amazing variety of amazing cloud formations over the last few weeks. I have been fascinated.

And I even took a pic or two to practise:

We'll see what that may lead to...

May I suggest?

I Say! or at least I did once...