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November 23, 2014

Frogging is a word that’s used in two of the mediums I work with, quilting and knitting. In both cases it means the same thing, although the technique is different, it means to “rip it out” ( rippit, ripppit).

I have done my fair share of frogging in quilting over the years, but not so much in knitting. Not because everything I knit is perfect, but because I used to just toss the bad knit on a shelf and forget it. Easy to do when you’re working with the small amounts of yardage needed for hats and gloves, and even socks. Yes, I do have socks that don’t fit in my closet.

But when you start knitting sweaters, with the quantity of yarn needed, that just seems wasteful. And at the expense of the yarn (usually a wool blend) and the care required, finding someone who would fit the garment isn’t usually an option.

About two years ago, I started a cardigan, Nantucket Red in Blue, that I loved the designers garment. BUT, I wanted wool while the original was in cotton. AND I wanted long sleeves, while the original was short sleeved. AND it was two years ago, before I started taking many knitting classes.

The last week or so, I’ve spent a lot of time finishing the fronts and the sleeves. It went into the UFO knitting pile almost two years ago with just the back and half the first front knit.

Two nights ago I seamed all the pieces together using a technique for invisible seaming that I learned at SAFF in 2013. And then I knit the neckline. And THEN I tried it on.

The sweater was inches too wide, probably about two sizes. The modified sleeves went down to my fingertips and had a funny bump/wing at the shoulder seam, and the neckline being that large was too big to stay on my shoulders.

So frogging began. But I had learned that seaming technique really well, and it was late last night.

And I cut the front!

So today in my sitting time, I’ll continue to frog this swearer, hoping to save as much yarn as I can. When i’m done, I’ll weigh the yarn, figure out what I have left and find an appropriate pattern for it. Then the next sweater I won’t take 2 years to finish! (I hope!)


Adjustments for Reality

November 21, 2014

I spent my morning tea time today making adjustments to my dress mannequin.

I bought the size range mannequin that “fit” me a couple years back and haven’t used it much. But with a renewed interest in making garments, I started using it. Every time I would fit the garment to the mannequin, and then try it on, the fit just wasn’t quite right. Apparently I, in my mid 50′s, am no longer a stock size. LOL. I find humor in this as I never truly was, even at my fittest back in the late 80′s.

So the first step was realizing where I didn’t fit stock. Well, that was easy enough, I’m full chested with almost no backside. Always have been, always will be. And the curve in my spine is a little more pronounced than it was as a teenager.

So, off to get the tape measure and some undergarments, an old dress, and some stuffing. A little reduction in mannequin here, a little padding there, and now my top in progress hangs and looks the same on both the mannequin and me.

Now i can pull out that pretty knit top fabric and get to sewing for the holidays.

Adjustment-for-spine mannequin-front mannequin-side mannequin-with-top

A little cleanup

October 13, 2014

My fabric stash has gotten out of control, not in terms of volume, but in terms of organization.

My most used fabrics, batiks, were in closed bins where I couldn’t see them. My commercial cottons were on the shelves, almost falling off.

This morning, when I got into the studio, I decided I just couldn’t work in that chaos any longer. Actually, I have been thinking of it for a while, but didn’t feel I had the time to work on it. Today I took the time.

Partway through, it was looking like this, which is why I never do this when DH is home. Notice the pup on the floor sleeping.? He was totally worn out by then!


Believe it or not, that was progress! And almost overwhelming for me. But I slugged on, sorting, refolding as necessary, and sorting.

At the end of the day, the studio is more organized and I can feel the thoughts and ideas starting to percolate.

This unit holds backgrounds, black and whites, flatfold yardages, and all my batiks:


The wire shelving holds all my commercial cottons, except yellows and novelty that are still in their original place over the computer desk:


And best of all, my cutting table and embroidery machine are both dug out and ready for use:


So, with the inspiration of last weeks show, an organized work area and a week to spend in the studio with only 1 trip into town planned, let the quilting resime!

If you can ‘t quilt….

July 15, 2014

While I’m waiting on parts for my longarm, I am making some progress on personal projects.

What were originally going to be square placemats are now a seasonal quilt top:


And of course with the Tour DeFleece still going on over at Ravelry, there’s always spinning to do. These are ready to ply:


And these batts are going to be started tonight:


Or there’s garment sewing to do:


And if all else fails, I can always watch a silly kitten make her way around the house slowly conquering all sorts of mountains and climbing apparatus:



Or collect some eggs:

Or walk the yard and look at the flowers:


But what I really want to do is go back to work quilting! Maybe tomorrow…..

Coming off the longarm today

July 9, 2014

Backside of the quilt coming off the frame today:



Let’s talk trouble!

July 2, 2014

Let’s talk about troubles of the longarm kind. I started having trouble with my thread while I was quilting, nothing major, just bits of troubles. Only certain threads would run nicely. Thread breaks more frequently than I thought I should have, the little everyday irritating stuff.

Earlier today I reached my breaking point and decided to call a friend for help and then walk away. After walking away, my mind kept going over and over all these little irritations and decided it had to be something in the tensioner or pigtail. And while the pigtail did have a slight wear slot in it, not enough to cause all the irritants.

Now before I go farther, you have to understand, I clean my machine regularly! But I decided to tear apart the tensioner in the off chance the felt pads were dirty. They weren’t. What I did find was a check spring as flexible as a slinky toy. And a bunch of gunk on the shaft.


Once they were changed and cleaned it runs beautifully.

Moral of the story, when I do my annual clean of the motor brushes, I’ll check the internal parts of the tensioner from now on too! Apparently they don’t last forever. Thankfully I had spare parts on hand and have now ordered another set of felt pads and springs to have just in case.

Unexpected blossoms

July 1, 2014

I thought my trumpet vine was long dead as it hadn’t bloomed in a couple years.

This morning I looked out the window and saw it was alive and well.


I also hadn’t seen the Queen Anne’s Lace blooming last year.


Apparently our rainy season combined with warm temps are exactly what was needed to bring some unexpected treasures on my walk today.


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