Thursday, September 25, 2008

I think I lost a monkey or two.


The pattern for Alex's quilt called for five little applique monkeys, but I got sick of them and didn't make that many. I'm sure I made at least three... but when I unfolded the top on Tuesday afternoon to get it ready for quilting, there were only two little monkeys.

Oh well. I'm not doing more of them. I just want this quilt to be done. It has issues. I made spectacular mistakes with the cutting. I used the wrong presser foot so my seams weren't 1/4 inch and the blocks didn't go together right. I quilted it yesterday when all I really wanted was to finish fast so we could go get some lunch and the thread kept breaking, so I'd lose track of where I was and which way I was looping, and Leif would grab onto my leg...

I hate it less now that it's quilted, but I'm never going to love this quilt. I do need to stay motivated enough to find the fabric I bought for the binding, because Alex wants it done NOW. She's only been waiting, um, eighteen months for me to finally finish it.

After the quilt was off the machine and we'd had lunch, we headed to Walmart so I could buy four skeins of Caron Simply Soft to cast on for a February Ladies Sweater. I've got some in my stash, but I really wanted to use one of those wonderful dark colors I fell in love with a few months ago -- and there wasn't more than a skein or two of each color. They're phasing it out.

I dragged the kids to three different stores, complaining about it the whole way, and never did find one of the colors I had my heart set on. I got a few other skeins to use for sweaters for the baby boys because one store had it marked down to $1.50 a skein, but I'm really annoyed about this.

Simply Soft is my favorite box store yarn, especially for sweaters for the kids. I could fall in love with a pattern and have the yarn in my hands fifteen minutes later -- if it was grocery shopping day.

The next closest place I know of that carries it is Michaels, fifty miles from home. If they still have it. I haven't had the heart to call and check.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm giddy.

I've been this way for two days now, all excited about the opportunity to play with yarn and fabric, which hasn't actually happened yet, but it's going to. Soon. Maybe within the next hour, if I'm not so totally wiped out by nap time that I crawl into bed myself.

We're back from our trip, the one that got cancelled and rescheduled so many times I spent my summer not knowing if I was coming or going or leaving tomorrow. The trip was great -- in ten days we drove through parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho...oh, yeah, and back into Oregon.

Brown Sheep is in Nebraska. I've been suggesting a detour in that direction for a couple of years now and my wonderful husband, the same one who usually won't stop at Joann's so I can pick up a skein of yarn, drove through three states so I could shop for yarn. And didn't bat at eye at the two huge bags Alex and I walked out of there with -- although he did ask which kid I was going to leave behind to make room for them.

So now in addition to all of the stuff I was excited about casting on when we got back, I've got enough Cotton Fleece for three tops, wool for a French Market Bag, and a bunch of Cotton Fine and some sock yarn. And I'm not sure what else -- it was hard to shop and keep Leif from running off and helping Alex pick out her own yarn at the same time. Not everything I meant to buy made it into my bag, and since I haven't had a chance to go through it yet, I don't know what all came home with me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lately I'm finding more and more new patterns I want to buy. The trick is going to be walking that fine line between "I'll wait to order until I'm ready to start knitting the project" and "I'll die if this becomes unavailable before I order it." I'm not sure which category that alligator scarf fell into, but I've bought the pattern and knit the project, so I don't need to worry about that one anymore.

Today I found a pattern for a knit jackalope. We spend a lot of time traveling in the southwest, so my kiddos know all about jackalopes and would probably love to have one. Not that I plan on sharing.

I love the Kelso Lace Cardigan and Spring Vines is just plain gorgeous. I'm not sure what yarn would do that pattern justice and is within my budget. But I'm keeping my eyes open.

Flora is such a pretty little wisp of lace, and the pattern is only four bucks and calls for one skein of Shadow. I could handle that -- especially since I already have the yarn.

Cat Mittens and Fisherman's Friend both make my heart go pitty pat, but I'm not going to let myself buy more patterns for colorwork mittens until I finish some of the ones I've already got planned.

Monday, September 08, 2008

This really is an illness

I spent the past two afternoons fighting the layered squares quilt, which was an absolute bear to assemble. After lots of struggling and whining and grabbing for the seam ripper, I've finally got the top together.


The pattern calls for a wide border, but this quilt needs to hide for a while before I decide whether I've got the necessary enthusiasm to buy it pretty fabric. Right now, I don't like it enough to spend extra money on it. I'm tempted to just quilt the thing and bind it and call it done the way it is.

My biggest problem was that the squares are laid out in horizontal rows. The piecing is done in diagonal rows and I couldn't wrap my head around the whole thing. Towards the end, the layout was getting easier and I started to think that this quilt might look really nice in some bright florals and that if I used post-its and note paper and numbered the blocks...

I'm trying to talk myself out of it.


And, speaking of illness, I felted the second Dumpling Bag yesterday after putting away the quilt for the day. This one is in Paton's SWS, which is prettier than the yarn I used for the first one, but that pink stripe is too bright for me to love. I think the Paint Box will be better, but I can't remember which safe place I hid it in.

So I cast on for a double dumpling with some purple wool that spent its previous life as a thrift store sweater.

There would be pictures, but the camera is throwing its worst tantrum to date. I'm afraid the blog may be photoless for a while. (edited to add the pictures I took after more camera-fighting)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

How much fabric?!

Earlier this week, I saw something in one of my quilt magazines about how many yards of fabric and spools of thread the members of their editorial staff had stashed. They estimated that three yards of fabric weighs a pound so, with an actual formula for figuring out how what that mountain of oddly shaped scraps in the sewing room adds up to, I called my mom and double-dog-dared her to take an inventory of her own stash while I was doing mine.

She wasn't nearly as excited as I was. I think her tentative agreement was mostly to shut me up for the moment. But that's okay. We both know she's got a whole lot of fabric.

What I didn't realize was how much fabric I've accumulated. I'm not done weighing and adding yet and the total is already more than triple what I thought was a high guess.

This is kind of exciting. I keep finding patterns for neat scrap quilts, and it looks like I've enough fabric to keep making them. This is exciting!

After the kid were in bed last night, I started cutting fabric for the new quilt. I really wanted to make this one, even though the construction scares me to death.

It's not assembled in blocks. You're supposed to lay the whole thing out on a design wall and sew it together a piece at a time.

I'm sure that works just fine for people who have design walls that aren't part of a sloping ceiling and can keep their sewing machine next to those design walls. I don't fit that criteria.

But I want this quilt, so I laid out the fabric on the flannel side of an old table cloth and as soon as the kiddos are in bed, I'm going to start piecing. Hopefully I can get it all together before something scary happens.


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