Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lot's of quilt activity ....

I had sent the scrappy, basic but utilitarian top off to the long-arm quilter's a few weeks ago. That happens to be my local quilt shop: North Country Quilters. They have a very long long-arm quilting machine and I've been more than happy with the results. (There is a picture of the long-arm machine on their web site.) For this quilt I chose a pattern called "Aspen Leaf" and it worked out very nicely. The top's piecing is all rectangular, angular, and straight lines, but "Aspen Leaf" has curves and they create a wonderful contrast. I chose to fill the quilt with wool--utilitarian requirement for the winters up here. I like cotton filling for spring/fall quilts but since I made this one quite large (80"x100") I want to get good use of it during the frigid months between November and--as present weather can attest: March! Indeed, any notion that March might be a spring month up here really needs to be dismissed. We may have reached the equinox, but there is some lag in play which keeps spring at bay. We are expecting another snow storm tomorrow into Saturday!

It's OK, rather. I am content to know that the day lilies, which I bred and raised into what will be their 3rd year this summer, are safe and sound (I hope) under the protective coat of snow. This should be the year I discover what sort of blossoms my handy dabbing between stamens and pistils has produced. I went on this hemerocallis sexcapade at the urging of my dear friend Bobbie--a day lily hybridizer on Cape Ann--whose garden is a glimpse of heaven. I can't remember the parents-to-be of my babies, but I'm pretty sure it's written down somewhere around here. If I get good blossoms, it will be my honor and privilege to name the new hybrid. But that's jumping the gun... it won't be known until mid summer if indeed I'll be handing out cigars.

Oh that's right, I was talking about the basic, scrappy quilt that is now quilted and bound. I recall the day I brought it into the shop to pick out a quilting pattern, filler, backing material, and thread. Another customer in the store, upon seeing the top, exclaimed that the colors "popped". They popped. I remember when colors didn't "pop", and seem to think this usage of the word came into being on television arts and crafts programs within the last few decades. The word in this context makes me cringe. Understatement. It makes me want to pop someone ... well never mind. I shall not allow violent thoughts to intrude on my blog! But the sentiment was kind and I appreciate it; and she got away unscathed.

It took well nigh 400" of binding to finish the quilt. I make my own. A nice, uncomplicated, relaxing endeavor. I sew the first edge of the binding onto the quilt with the machine, but then fold it over and finish the second side by hand using an invisible "ladder" stitch. I enjoy this bit of hand sewing. I leave it till late evening when the day's work is done, turn on a creative television program or put on a video and stitch away. It took 4 evenings to finish.

I'm very much pleased with the result. It's going to be a useful quilt; it wasn't hard to piece; and the yellow/orange/red warm colors create vibrancy with the green/blue/purple colors. They ... No! I shall not use dreaded "p" word! ... they create striking contrast.

The "Aspen Leaf" quilting pattern is a nice contrast to the lines of the piecing:

I am currently binding another quilt, one that was finished and quilted some time ago but for some reason and another never got it's binding. When that's done, I have still another quilt to bind.

Progress is proceeding well on the "Celtic Solstice" quilt and I expect to finish piecing it sometime next month. I am hoping. Another post to come on that.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Moving right along ...

The scrap quilt--the diversion--was finished last week. It's off to the long arm quilters at the moment. Since I forgot to snap a picture of it all sewn together with it's borders, it'll have to wait till it comes back. The Celtic quilt is now back in play. I don't think I ever showed any progress pictures, so here's a few pics of some pieces and believe me, there are a lot more pieces to go.

I think I'm ready to tackle it once again. Making the large, not too difficult scrap quilt has put me in the mood.

The "big honkin' shawl' is done! (Except for some loose ends which I'll weave in this weekend). The time has come to stop referring to it as the "big honkin' shawl'. The word "honkin'" isn't suitable now that it has been blocked into it's fine finished state. "honkin'" worked when it was a mass of unruly stitches; now it's a refined shawl. There were close to 900 stitches around the last row. Holy moly, those rows took time to knit! Much pleased with the result. It measures approximately 62" square.

(Click pictures to make them bigger.)

The beads that I wanted to use for the edge did not work out, so instead I used small seed beads. But they are red. I'm just as happy with this result. Now that I see it, I think the original beads would have been too large. I'll save them for another project.

With that massive amount of knitting off the needles, I've decided to take it easy for a bit and I'm knitting up some simple, yet elegant, wash cloths. I'm planning to make soap again soon (my neighbor and her friend want to learn so we're going to make a fun project of it) and isn't it nice to have lovely new wash cloths to go with some lovely new soaps? I bought new scents this week: "Sweet Pea and Ivy", "Sandalwood", and "Jean Paul Gaultier" (A spin off of the pricey cologne. I bought a bottle some years back; one of my favorite modern colognes.)

This is an inexpensive cotton I found at Walmart. Perfect for wash cloths, on size 7 needles, knit corner-to-corner.