Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stocking #3

This year's third stocking, like stocking #1 from Ann Norling pattern #1018.

It doesn't show in the photo, but the band on the hat and Santa's mustache have angora carried along with the white yarn, which has been brushed after knitting to make it more fluffy.

Back to stocking #4...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Haeli's Quilt, completed

I cut and sewed on the binding yesterday. I needn't have worried, as there was plenty of the striped fabric; indeed, I cut more strips than I needed to go around the perimeter of the quilt. But that's ok, because now I have some pre-cut strips for another project, as well as a sizeable chunk of the fabric.

This morning, I signed the back of the quilt and embroidered over the writing.

Here's the finished quilt, on our bedroom floor (so I could stand on the bed to get the whole thing in frame).


= stamped poly/cotton Jack Dempsey Sunbonnet blocks (crib quilt set) from Herrschner's
= cotton prints, including some 30s reproduction prints from a variety of sources (most were purchased as fat quarters here and there, including from Sew Sassy in Urbana, IL); none were bought expressly for this quilt (yay!)
= border & binding fabrics from Threads of Time in Danville, IL
= Warm & White cotton batting from JoAnn Fabrics in Champaign, IL
= repurposed pink flannel sheet for backing
= sashing and embroidered blocks handquilted with Americana 100% glac├ęd cotton quilting thread

Next quilt in the queue will be Christopher's Pajama Quilt. But first I need to knit some more Christmas stockings.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Houston, we have a border...

I sewed the border on Haeli's quilt this morning. It's a good thing I'm striving for "cute" and "cozy" rather than accuracy, because this corner is obviously not square. Oh well. The piecing in some of the blocks is off, too, but I doubt Haeli will mind. I don't think it's veered into the "loving hands at home" camp, and if you think so, please don't tell me. I'm not redoing anything.

Next, the binding, which will be this striped fabric, assuming there is enough:

I think I'll apply it perpendicular to the border print. Ideally, I would have mitered the border, but as I say, oh well.  I am learning a lot from this project. 

It should look something like this: 

Just imagine that there's no space between those photos. I'm not inclined to figure out how to make one abut the other. Again, oh well. 

Thanksgiving looms tomorrow, and should be the easiest, most stress-free yet, at least for me -- I will not be hosting, and will only have to drive across town. 

Last year, I cooked the turkey on Wednesday. I don't know why I thought to do that, or why I never thought to do that before,  but it makes a huge difference in the kitchen "traffic". I don't think I will ever again try to cook everything on Thanksgiving Day. 

The turkey was cooked and disassembled last night. I have two 9x13 cake pans full of meat (one dark, one light), a stockpot with the carcass and odd bits, and nearly two quarts of broth/drippings. Interestingly, it's easier to fit those four items into the downstairs fridge than it is to get the roaster in there. 

I will make gravy and stuffing tomorrow, and the rest of the family will bring the other components of the feast. 

I wish you a pleasant Thanksgiving, among family and friends. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stocking #2

The second of this year's efforts, knitted on behalf of a former customer who has moved to Texas to be nearer her children and grandchildren.

Virginia had knitted this stocking for 5 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. She sent along yarn and most of the charts for the pattern, but not the instructions.

I recognized it as the "Personalised Christmas Stocking from 1945" from Sarah Bradberry's website.  


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stocking #1

Here's the first of this year's output, from an Ann Norling pattern (#1018). 

No, I didn't knit the whole thing in a day; the client had knitted down to the bottom of the angel's gown. I took it from there, embroidered the name, sewed the seam, took in ends, added the hanging loop, and blocked it. 

Blocking was a little nerve-wracking, because the client had used 100% wool for some of the colors, and 25% wool/75% acrylic for the green. I'm not sure about the white. She'd also pulled her stranding tight enough in spots that it was quite puckered, but I managed to steam it enough to resolve most of that, without melting the acrylic. Whew! 

This will go in the mail today or tomorrow. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Now, It Begins...

...the mad Christmas-stocking-knitting-marathon, that is.

For the last several years, I've been knitting Christmas stockings on commission, usually replicating the family stockings knitted by Grandma or Great-Aunt Tilly for the new babies, in-laws, etc. who have come along since Grandma's or Great-Aunt Tilly's demise. One year, I duplicated six family stockings that had been lost in a house fire. It's very satisfying work.

Today, I am finishing the first of this year's commission stockings, which had been knitted by the client almost to the heel shaping. I've finished the toe and woven in ends, and still have to embroider the name on the top, sew up the seam, and add the hanging loop. It should be complete by dinner time (it's mid-morning as I write this), assuming my grandbabies cooperate -- they'll both be here today.

I've gradually accumulated a fairly extensive library of vintage and contemporary Christmas stocking books and patterns. I'm sure this surprises no one. 

Two or three years ago, I decided it was time to knit proper Christmas stockings for my own immediate family, the "cobbler's children" rule being rather dismayingly in evidence. Since we have our own new half-dozen family members (my son's family), I took my stocking books to his home when we went to his son's first birthday celebration. Each of the kids chose a pattern, and so did my son & daughter-in-law. She also selected a pattern for the baby's stocking.

I'll get started on those stockings once I've finished the commission orders for this year, and post photos as they are finished.

Then there's the pullover I've contracted to knit as a Christmas gift for a 6'4" individual...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yesterday, I bought more thread.

I taught my Functional Kniteracy class at the Danville store yesterday afternoon, so of course I drove over early enough to do some shopping at Threads of Time first.

I found a cute print to use for the border on Haeli's quilt:

I was torn between it and the striped fabric on the left, but (a) the print will work better with the generally scrappy look of the quilt and (b) there was only 7/8 of a yard of the striped fabric left on the bolt. I took it all, of course.

I may still manage to use the striped fabric for the binding. We'll see.

I broadened my fat quarter palette (is that a mixed metaphor? or somehow redundant?) with some darker, more abstract, rather subtle prints, which should work well with some Japanese fabrics I've acquired from Studio Aika. I have a Plan gestating. 

Threads of Time now carries sashiko fabric on the bolt, so I got lengths of sage green and white, which should make lovely runners and/or placemats. When Elin & Mike were here a couple of weeks ago, we went  up to Mitsuwa in Arlington Heights for the day. I was able to find three Japanese sashiko books at the bookstore there, which have a lot of patterns and ideas for household textiles, but I hadn't yet gotten around to ordering fabric to make them. Now I don't have to.

Then I bought more colors of sashiko thread, because (as you may recall) I collect thread. And a Chalk Cartridge Set, which should be useful for sashiko, quilting, and general embroidery marking.

I really hope it works well, because it looks so cool, and I like writing sticks of all kinds almost as much as I like thread. 

Oh, and I got some stinkin' cute flannel, which will make a stinkin' cute nightgown for a certain little someone. But no picture of that, because there have to be SOME surprises around here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm still here...

and still playing with thread, though I haven't had time to post lately.

My daughter & son-in-law from San Antonio were here for a glorious week, and I've otherwise been keeping my head down getting things organized for the local fiber guild's Annual Show & Sale, which I have coordinated since 2007.

The S&S is moving into the 20th century, if not the 21st, this year -- we will have an actual CASH REGISTER instead of multiple pocket calculators, and will have a Guest Book/Email List Database (coded by my other son-in-law) running on a laptop (lent by the same). I will have the regular paper guest book available, if people don't want to type their info into the laptop.

I publicly committed to entering 12 items in this year's S&S, and will just make it. I have to block 2 scarves today. I have so many more ideas than time.

I've also finished knitting a commission sweater for a client; just have to weave in the ends, block it, and weigh it to determine the yardage consumed & send him an invoice. Then the knitting of Christmas stockings for clients will commence.

Here are some pictures of last year's S&S. We hold it in the worship space of a local church, which looks like this on Thursday evening:

and is transformed to this by Friday afternoon:

Guild members' demonstrations of fiber techniques are always a popular attraction. Last year, Esther Peregrine demonstrated silk reeling, using cocoons from the silkworms she raised.

She'll be doing this again this year.

Barb Stultz demonstrated weaving on a tri-loom, on which the warp threads are applied as you weave:

It's a pretty slick technique - I have a tri-loom, but haven't yet played with it. The white and lavender wrap with the lavender flower pin above was woven by another member, on a similar tri-loom. 

The S&S is open for business Friday 4-9 and Saturday 10-4. Then we take it all down, "fold our tents" and steal away until next year.