The blue and orange quilt has been mailed off to Cleveland and I got texted a photo of one very cute baby enjoying it.
This was the second quilt I’ve made using the Double Trouble block, which I’ve already described as the perfect level of wonkiness for me, but it was the first I’ve quilted using thick embroidery floss (specifically DMC 116 8-93 Pearl Cotton Thread Balls, Variegated Cornflower Blue, Size 8). I loved the look of it. For no more than I quilt, I’ll probably stick to this particular pattern/floss combo for a good long while.
The other combo we’re into is smoked salmon and egg sandwiches on Bricco Panneteria’s olive bread. The bakery opens super early, so we make a point to stop by on our 6:30am visits to Boston’s North End on summer Sunday mornings.
I was quilting during lunch this week and a coworker asked who had taught me.
That’s not a brag; it’s an apology to recipients of my earliest quilts.
When I visited Cincinnati last summer my friend P told me that his kids love the quilt I gave them in 2009. “They snuggle up with it when they watch movies.” At least if they’re watching movies the lights are off, because that quilt is all out of whack. The pastels with blocks of black, the helter-skelter piecing…it’s weird.
I make probably two quilts a year and I’m only half interested in truly improving (otherwise, I’d take a class or something, right?). But just in making more I’ve learned a few tricks and developed a better eye.
In 2012 I made a quilt for my friend’s first baby that was also wonky, but more purposefully so. It had better balance…a nice tension between the movement of the chevrons and the expansive white space.
Last fall I finished a baby quilt for L using the “double trouble” block. It’s easy to make a whole stack of them assembly-line style, and the block itself is an even split between precise (the 90-degree triangle) and improvisational (the off-kilter white strip and tiny triangle). Double-trouble and I are friends. We get along.
My friend announced she’s due for her second baby so I’m turning to the double-trouble block again, this time with oranges and blues.
For the first time I’m trying a thicker thread for the hand-quilting (recommendation courtesy of Bonnie, maker of some truly beautiful quilts). This is #8 Perle cotton in a variegated blue.
I held up the quilt last night and R deemed it my best one yet. “It’s prettier than yours!” he taunted baby L. True. But that just goes to show that the quilt-improvement train is still moving forward!
“What are you making?” is the quintessential icebreaker question when people see you knitting. After hearing about whatever it is, the unanimous citizen response is, “Oh I don’t have the patience for something like that.” Repeating this interaction but replacing knitting with sewing produces an eerily similar response: “Oh I can’t even sew a straight line.”
It’s as if people feel a need to justify to why they haven’t (or don’t plan to) take up the same hobby. Or they’re trying to fend off what they perceive as a forthcoming recruitment pitch, which, given a knitter’s love for knitting, isn’t entirely crazy. How do you usually respond to these unsolicited explanations? (I’m assuming you get them too) Because I’m not sure that people are accurately identifying the barriers.
I usually say that patience is something I possess in wildly different amounts depending on the situation.
And as for the sewing in straight lines, it’s actually pretty hard for me (probably because it requires so much damn patience…measuring, cutting, piecing).
I’m working on a stash-busting scrap quilt that – like most – requires sewing together lines of blocks (the last quilt pattern I used was cleverly chosen to avoid this). It’s so hard to match up row after row of little squares! What trick am I missing? I had to rip out several seams and redo them so that the lines weren’t egregiously mismatched, and there are still plenty of little places where it’s not quite right, but…I like where it’s going. I think it will look good when it’s finished.
…this is the most lucrative bit of cat real estate in the apartment.
They love the warmth of the pilot light. It also provides a nice vantage point for spying on a brown Boston terrier who we’re dog-sitting. He is very cute and nice, but he and the cats aren’t quite sure about each other.
Edith took her own safety very seriously at the beginning, and for the first time ever I found her perched on top of the shower door.
If you were caught up in Storm Hercules, I hope you’re safe and warm. We didn’t get too much snow here – maybe 8 inches with some drifting – but it was incredibly cold out. My walk in the snow didn’t last long.
So…naturally I worked on some knitting and sewing. The sockyarn that I spun up this fall yielded a pair of Christmas socks for my mom and there was still enough left over to make myself a pair. I’m finishing up the second one now. I also started working on a new quilt. Kind of a wonky chevron thing to use up a bunch of scraps. Did you have any snow day projects?
I’m a few days late in putting together my salute to 2012, a year not terribly different from 2011. It was our coasting-comfortable year – same job for me, same apartment, same program for R – a welcome respite after so much change the two years before and what I’m sure is more change to come in 2013.
Compared to 2011, there was not quite as much experimentation in the kitchen this year. There was more sewing though, inspired by my trip to the fashion district of L.A. in early spring. Some mittens, a couple of dresses, a maxi skirt, two shirts, and my biggest accomplishment with the sewing machine: the chevron baby quilt.
Still a lot of knitting. I think Holl was my favorite FO of 2012. I published two hat patterns – Joyride and Ryegrass – and my goal is to do more of that in 2013.
We did a little more traveling in 2012 – Ohio to the park where I found Sam, Oregon, South Carolina, Cape Cod, Los Angeles. Everyone splurges on something, and R. and I have talked about how we’d rather have a tinier house in the future if it meant we could afford more travel (tinier house, but still yard enough for some sheep 😉
Much love to you and yours in the coming year! I’ll sign out with one more photo collage, this one of the person (and pets) that make this space a home.
It’s done! And in time for the show this week too, although we’ll see how big of a disruption Hurricane Sandy is to the workweek. This is definitely the best of the few quilts I’ve made (click here and here for those earlier attempts), both in craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal. I want to make a few more like it.
Pattern: my own, inspired by this tutorial. Machine-pieced and hand-quilted
Fabric: cotton scraps, including leftovers from these three dresses, plus yardage for the cream front and purple back
Batting: Heirloom Cotton
Size: 44″ by 55″
Recipient: Arden Pax, my friend’s first baby
Not only do I like the idea of cotton batting (vs poly), especially for a baby, but I also like the look of it. The first wash/dry makes it shrink, giving the quilt extra puffiness.
This tutorial was extremely helpful when it came time to make and attach the binding. This is the first time I’ve done a proper binding….I sometimes cut corners…so I was very proud that I did the process from start to finish and it turned out.
I didn’t get to Rhinebeck this year, but I have more than enough yarn and fiber for another year’s worth of projects so I’ll be alright. If I wasn’t festival-ing what was I doing?
– a hat in aubergine tweed
– the makings of a new pattern idea in the most wonderful olive color from Christine. I knit the entire front and blocked it, only to realize that it was a lot floppier en masse than the small blocked swatch. So I will start again with a smaller needle. blehh
– and a continuation of the quilt! There’s an art show going up on campus for students, faculty, and staff. I got asked to put something in the show and decided to submit this. The hand-quilting is going faster than I expected, but I need a name for the piece. I hate naming things….help!