It’s been a busy week here in the studio. Lots of custom quilting going on. Here’s the backside of what’s been on the frame this week:
This one is finally finished and the next quilt is loaded up. Another custom, this time an applique quilt. It’s going to be another busy week in the studio here.
In the meantime, my flying geese quilt now has all the sashings pieced, and my hexie quilt is progressing nicely with the hand stitching.
Although I may not get a chance until late tonight to link this to the Patchwork Times “On the Needles” post for the day, I thought I’d take a few minutes and share with you what I’m working on currently. I’m not even sure all of these are in the “projects” listing in the sidebar that really needs to be completed; but they’re my current knitting projects.
First up, the never ending socks! Why am I calling them that? Because I decided to knit each skein to the end (or close to it) and they’re much longer than I normally make my socks and seem to be taking forever. Perhaps because, while I know they’ll wear like iron, I’m not particularly keen on the color combination. Yes, these are the SAME socks I attempted to finish for the pooling challenge way back when. But I’m almost done now:
I’m also currently working on a shawl for my mom (photos are okay since there’s no surprise there, she got to pick the yarn). This pic doesn’t do justice to the color, but I needed to use the flash so the pattern could be seen. I’m using the Zephyr Shawl pattern (one of my favorites) and the yarn is actually a deep denim blue, very dark, almost a black blue from a distance:
My last project “on the needles” are swatches! Simple little swatches. LOL I’ll be taking a finishing class later this month on seaming knitted projects together and our homework before the class is to knit several swatches. Makes sense, you can’t learn to seam knitted pieces without having knitted pieces to seam in class! So it’s a boring little mindless take with me project:
So are you asking why a person who learned to knit as a teenager and has been knitting steadily since the late 1980′s would be taking a finishing class? Well, it’s because I truly believe a person can always learn a tip or trick or another way to do something that might result in a nicer end product. And since I rarely do sweaters, in part due to seaming the pieces together and in part due to getting gauge, I thought this might be a good class to improve my skills.
On the longarm this week is a large, really large, Christmas quilt for a customer. The customer requested a freehand holly meander for the background, then custom work in the piecing. I’m on my 3rd day now of holly fill and getting better at it with every new holly leaf. It’s not a feather, but there is a rhythm to it, or would be if certain things didn’t interrupt me, but then again, life here is never boring so disruptions exist!
That’s what’s on the needles at my house (and on the longarm too). What’s on the needles at your house today?
Or should I call this post reclaiming blazers, the do’s and don’ts ? Yesterday I posted that I had found some wool blazers to reclaim the material in for wool applique for my 1847 Bride’s Quilt. And even posted a picture of where I was at in the reclamation. Last night I finished
tearing apart deconstructing the wool blazers and got the last of them started on the washing machine felting process. I ended up with way more reds than I’ll use for a long time to come, and only a bit of blue and green.
The green was a very loosely woven wool and will need at least one, if not two more washes before it will be in useable condition. The blue only needs one more wash.
While I ended up with a LOT of reds and pinks from the blazers I had (6 in total ranging from size 6 to size 16), and while it’s more red than I can use for quite a while, it’s overwhelming to me to look at. It’s that whole visual overload thing, when something is that messy and disorganized my mind goes into a frantic “what, where, how” mode and ends up being very paralyzing. I am much better with a stack of wool like this to work from:
All of these, with the exception of the charcoal piece at the bottom are 9×12 pieces. They all came from Vickie at Annie’s Keepsakes at a reasonable price and I’ve collected them a few at a time over the years with no concerns about major storage being required.
So while I’ve done the reclaimed wool project, I don’t think I’ll be traveling that road again given the time involved in the process and the overwhelming pile of bits and pieces that I now have to determine how to store in an orderly manner.
Although it may be less expensive (on the surface) to reclaim blazers, once I factor in time, electricity cost for processing and storage space the best decision for me will be to continue to purchase from a vendor whose product I love for my wool applique quilts.
As for the don’ts of the project, well…… If you have dogs (specifically young dogs or pups), don’t let any pieces fall to the floor as you work unless you want to play a game of chase the puppy. And have your broom very close by the washer and dryer to repeatedly sweep the floor as you transfer each load of wool from the washer to the dryer. Oh and you may want to have an extra bag near the dryer for the lint that will come off the filter (and out of everywhere) as you remove the wool from the dryer.
As for the do’s of the project. DO have a sharp pair of dressmaker shears as well as a sharp pair of small pointed tipped snip scissors handy. DO take the blazer apart at the major seams first so you’re working in only pieces. I found it easiest to take the dressmaker shears right along the seam to separate the pieces. DO just cut away the hemmed or top-stitched edges (removing those stitches is insane and won’t result in that much more wool. Think hard about how small of a piece you want to reclaim, the collars from the blazers ended up small enough to cut 3 or 4 one inch wool circles from, but not much more and took a lot of time to open the seams from.
And if you happen to get a blazer that is lined with fusible interfacing my recommendation is to just give up on the ones that the interfacing doesn’t come off easily in. I spent over an hour on one blazer removing the interfacing in bits and pieces. While that doesn’t seem like a big deal, I can hear people already saying “tv time”, for my life and my schedule that’s an hour that could have been spent much more productively. And the next one that had that situation went to the garbage bin instead of fussing with it. Most of the interfacing (and you will find it in there under the lining) came away nicely, so I decided not to mess with the ones that were stuck clinging for their life and coming away in 1″ or less bits.
That’s my take on reclaiming wool from blazers, I’d love to hear about your experiments with it. And in the meantime, I’m off to contact Vickie with the list of greens I will need to work on my quilt.
Well, it’s October 1, 2013 and while there are many topics I could comment on today, most of which would raise my normally low blood pressure to a steaming level, I think I’ll talk about my
troubles tendency to suffer revel in startitis.
On the other hand, that has probably been well documentated and demonstrated, so let’s just get to the new project! A while back I saw a quilt that I fell in LOVE (yes, in caps) with. But every option I explored to make it was out of my price range. The quilt is the 1847 Bride’s Quilt. Have you seen it yet? It’s a wool applique quilt with a very symmetrical layout, black background with medium bright wool applique and an interesting corner applique treatment. Here’s a pic I grabbed off the web if you haven’t seen it yet:
But, as I mentioned, I couldn’t afford the price tag on the options I was finding. Thanks to a good friend, who is also a superb enabler, I was able to find an outlet for the patterns without purchasing all the fabrics to go with. A great step in the right direction. And while I have a small (but ever growing) stash of wool felt that I’ve purchased over the years from Annie’s Keepsakes I didn’t have enough to make the quilt. And I wanted to try out this idea of reclaiming wool garments for wool felt or felted wool.
My first stop was to the second hand shops where I’ve collected a bag of used wool blazers:
Removing each blazer, I started by taking off any buttons that were on them:
Then cutting out the lining and cutting the seams apart so I had a basket of blazer parts:
At this point I realized, while taking them apart, that this was going to be a bit more work than I anticipated as most of them had fusible interfacing applied to the fabric. So I set myself to ripping off the fusible interfacing as best I could, leaving me with a basket of miscellaneous lining, unusable parts and interfacing bits:
And while I’m not totally through the bag yet, I have most of the red toned blazers into what I hope are feltable pieces now:
I’ll continue this project a little bit at night until I have all the blazers hopefully felted. And if it doesn’t work (that fusible interfacing has me concerned), I’ll break down and purchase more of the felt I need to make this quilt.
This won’t be a short-term project, it will be a long term handwork project that I can take with me to my sewing bee or when I need to sit and wait somewhere (like the car wash or the Dr’s office) and I need a different project than knitting. My theory is that with the arthritis in my hands I need several different handwork projects to work on so my hands aren’t always stressed with just one motion. (hey, that’s my
theory excuse!). And while I’m at it, I believe it may be time to implement a sidebar with projects in progress on it for easy tracking of exactly what I’m working on. Perhaps that will cure my tendency to startitis……then again I seriously doubt there is a cure.
I thought, perhaps a weekly quilting report would be a good way to keep track of my progress, and hopefully not lack of, on my personal and customer quilts.
This week I managed to accomplish quite a lot. I finished a freehand feathered quilt for a customer:
Hard to see from the front, I had to quilt in the dark using side-lighting for everything except the outer border. I was pretty nervous about my crossing over on the feathers, but once I took it off and got a good look at the back, I’m pleased with the result:
Next up were two identical, except for color, twin quilts. Both received the same pantograph treatment on them. I think they’re adorable!
Then I moved on to working on a commission quilt. This one is to commemorate the life of a beloved pet who was my customer’s daily companion for many years as she traveled for work. The blocks have one side of the first sashing on them. I’m thinking of doing a double vertical sashing and a single horizontal sashing, with a single cornerstone treatment, if I can figure the measurements properly! Otherwise the quilt is going to be much longer than the customer asked for.
And finally, I started working on my next personal quilt. Having the GoCutter made cutting out all these pieces a breeze! I’m so glad I invested in it.
That’s it for last week. Hopefully I’ll accomplish this much, if not more, next week!
With all that has been happening here this summer, life has been crazy and hectic. Along the way I didn’t spend my usual time schedule on the computer and was doing more of a grab a minute here, or a minute there, get lost in a certain social site and lose an hour (or more) type of life.
Now that things are settled down (and I say that hesitantly cause we all know how “THAT” goes!), I’m trying to catch up to a normal computer life for myself. My old life (before this summer and getting lost in social “stuff”) consisted of morning coffee with my I-google homepage and my Google Reader. After a cup of coffee, I would feel in touch with what was going on worldwide and head off to start my day. As I said, this summer it’s been grab here, grab there, get lost in social media, lose time, run out the door feeling frustrated and behind. Not the best way to start your day.
So this morning I decided to remedy the situation. If there is a remedy to a constantly changing social/technological world for someone that likes things to remain consistently recognizable (especially at morning coffee time!).
Earlier this summer, I had grabbed the “Feedly” reader when I did a quickly terminated attempt at using Google Chrome. But I really don’t care for Feedly. You might, and that’s okay, but I didn’t. The homepage never did set up to a comfortable (for me) way of reading blogs, and I do get easily frustrated trying to navigate around something that my mind says should be simple. Today I went blog reader hunting again and found a few new (to me) options. A few options that came up were NewsBlur, Newsvibe, and The Old Reader.
On further investigation here are my results.
NewsBlur, would not work for me as it’s limited unless you pay an annual subscription fee. You can, for free, follow up to 64 sites. Over that you must pay the fee. And in my old feed I have over a hundred blogs that I followed. Nope, not going to work unless I have no other choice. Hey, I pay enough for internet access already, between the internet service, and the upgraded programming for certain blogs I own, and the cost of running my quilting business website. Then there’s the anti-virus programming charge and …… well you get the picture. So strike that one off the list.
Newsvibe sounded like a great program. Except I couldn’t add any feeds to it. Neither by trying to import my Ighome feeds, nor by manually adding a feed. It would tell me it added the feed, but then not show it when I refreshed my subscription list. After three or four tries I gave up. Did I mention my limited patience for technology?
Finally I tried The Old Reader. Now I’m NOT going to proclaim this as the next and best since sliced bread site. But, so far it seems to be adequate for me. It has three columns, like most sites I use. On the left is a subscription listing. In the middle a frame for new posts or to read/glance at new feeds. On the right is the frame I like best as the very first heading is “Recently Updated” which shows current feeds.
The only major drawback to this whole experience is that I did not export my Google Reader feeds before they shut down and I have now gone from following over 100 blogs about many varied topics, to just 8 that I can easily remember or find. Although maybe the silver lining in that is that I’ll actually finish my cup of coffee earlier now and move on to other things on my daily to-do list.
As for my I-Google home page, it’s not gone yet, but they say it will be on November first. So for now I’m trying out IgHome as a substitute and it seems to work for my visual preferences. I choose the gadgets I want to see, it’s a three column setup (yes I really like that) and it’s a clean page. Not a lot of social media stuff on it. Well, okay, I will admit I did immediately delete the Twitter and Facebook gadgets. But that’s another story for another day.
In the meantime, now that I’ve got a “hopefully” workable and time saving way to catch up on morning news, I’ll refind my old favorite blogs, gain a little more time each day, and slowly wean myself away from the time draining website I’ve come to visit all too often! But then again, we (or I) do get addicted to certain sites and find myself not quite ever able to draw away totally!
I hope this post doesn’t come through twice, I tried the first time from the WordPress App on my I-phone, but it seems to be lost in space somewhere……………..
This evening when I went up to feed the buns, Amaya was a little anxious, energetic, happy…… you name it! By the time I got them all fed, they were all doing a similar dance to Amaya. Well, all except Gwennie, she’s much to regal to dance like that (or be caught on video!).
I think they were all reacting happily to the cooler temps and the fact that I left the fans on today, so it was like a fall temperature day for them. A much nicer change than the heat and humidity they had a few days ago.