Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oooooo, Sashing! And Cornerstones!

I've chosen the pale pink dots for the sashing, and I'm liking it a lot. Also a mottled raspberry pink for the cornerstones...I'm hoping the regularity of the sashing and cornerstones will tone down the multiple colors a bit. Here's how it's looking, laying on the floor in the quilting studio. Now for the fun of sewing all those bits on, and then trying to choose setting triangles. Can you tell I'm avoiding the stress of piecing the wishes? Actually, I've printed off Tonya's tutorials and am reading them again. More on that front soon. In fact, I'm not going to post any more pics of this quilt until I'm ready to start on the wishes. Feeling the need for something simple, I decided to start a pair of socks that I can wear with sandals. (Rumor has it that warm weather will arrive here soon...I'll believe it when I see it!) These are Grumperina's Jaywalker pattern, which I love a lot. I've already made two regular pairs of Jaywalkers, and decided to use the same pattern for these little angle-high numbers. Also decided on an Eye of Partridge heel, one of my favorites. Yarn is Crystal Palace Panda Silk, which is a blend of bamboo, merino and silk...really silky and soft. Needles are 2.25 mm, my usual.
And lest you think I'm a fickle person with a bad case of start-itis, I finished the Gentleman's Socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks, and they turned out great. DH loves them...soft, stretchy and comfy.
Thanksgiving approaches, and I'm feeling deprived. Aussies don't celebrate Thanksgiving, of course, and DH doesn't like turkey. What's a poor little California Girl to do? Maybe it's time to take myself off to the pub for a nice turkey sandwich!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Little Rethink, and Some Good Progress

So, as you can see, I made a little change...decided to make more stars and leave out the plain blocks between. I've not got 32 blocks, enough for the design I want to do. This doesn't show the sashing and cornerstones, because I haven't decided on what fabrics to use yet, but it feels good to have the pieced blocks finished. And I made a tiny start on Tonya's words...actually, I decided to wing it first, so I could learn about the issues on my own. This little "LOVE" is my first attempt, and it's pretty poor, but now I have enough confidence to print out Tonya's instructions and make a real start.
Here are the ten wishes I'm thinking of putting in the borders of this quilt, which would then be called Ten Wishes for Tessabell: love, joy, peace, hope, kindness, humor, grace, spirit, patience, grit. I'm nearly in a faint, just thinking about actually making all these words, though -- anyone got better suggestions (for SHORTER wishes!)?
This picture shows the blocks a little closer, but leaves out the blue ones, which will probably be cornerstones for the border. As you can see, I'm trying to group the pink and blue blocks in the center, with little satellites of orange, yellow, green and turquoise at the four corners. Sure looks busy at the moment, though. I'm hoping the sashing and cornerstones will tone things down a little bit.
So, what's your take on where I am with it now? Any suggestions? Toss it all in the bin and start over? Yikes!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Jest a'Quiltin' and a'Knittin'...

Only four more blocks to be made, and then the fun begins:
So there's good progress on the Pale Stars quilt for Tess. Wanna see some up close? These are such fun 6" blocks. I'm planning to set them on-point, with maybe pale pink or pink on white sashing, and cornerstones of various pinks or maybe multicolored. What do you think?

And I'm toying with the idea of making pieced words for the border, a la Tonya, with the words being "wishes" for Tess's life. Here's a scribbled look at what I'm thinking. Now the challenge will be to come up with words that will be meaningful, but that aren't too long. As this will be my first attempt at pieced words, I don't want to get TOO ambitious.

When I need to take a break from all the bright colors in the quilt, I revert to a knitting project: Gentleman's Fancy Socks, from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. These are on 2.25mm needles, using a lovely "creamed spinach" wool from Pagewood Farms, in a mixture of wool, bamboo and nylon. And I'm getting smart in my old age...cast on both socks (on two different sets of dpns) so I can work on both socks alternately, thus avoiding, (I hope!) the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome.

And I swear I don't know how it happened, but Eunny Jang's Print o' the Waves stole sprang onto my needles the other night, too. This requires a lot of concentration -- for me, anyway -- so I just work on it when I'm alone and it's really quiet. The needles are 3.5mm and the yarn is KnitPicks Shadow, a lovely merino wool. You can see my first lifeline halfway down...I used the wonderful facility of KP interchangeable circulars to thread a piece of yarn through the little hole and put the lifeline in as I knit the last row of a repeat. However, I'd forgotten that would also put the stitch markers onto the lifeline...duh. Obviously I need to think this through a little bit. Still, it's SO worth it to have the lifeline, I don't mind adding a second set of stitch markers...it's just a bit awkward for the first row.

And how about this cool new addition. We are hosting our neighborhood Christmas Party on Dec. 6 and really needed an outdoor table and chairs. These look pretty nifty tucked into a sheltered corner of the verandah, and as it's a covered area, it won't be too sunny and hot, I hope...Christmas in the Antipodes is often hot, dontcha know?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

At Last, Some Quilty Content...

But first, before we get to the quilting news of the day, here's the Pink Misti Alpaca Shawl finished. Not blocked yet, but I need to work out something to use as blocking wires first. It's pretty big, even unblocked: 19" x 65", and it's supposed to be about 22 x 78 when blocked. We'll see about that. I'm worried about getting all those points going in the right direction, but I'm thrilled it's finished and beautiful. And now...without further ado...quilt news! I hauled out all the tubs and started ratting through, looking for pretty, "girly" colors. It's shocking to me how many different fabrics I have...no trouble at all in coming up with several pinks in pale, medium and dark...or blue, or green, or orange, or turquoise...seem to be a bit low on yellows.
And cutting things up is always fun. DH always wonders why we buy big pieces of fabric, cut them up and then sew them back together...doesn't make sense to him. Men!

And the block I've chosen is Pale Star, with the blocks finishing at 6". I think I'll do a diagonal setting with sashing, but haven't finalized colors/widths yet. There will be an outer border that may or may not be diagonal stripes or piano keys.

So, I'm back in the game, I think. I felt so awkward as I started out, and had trouble getting precision for my HSTs, but I think I'm getting my quilting mojo back now.
I'd LOVE to use up a bit of my stash this year. Can't really justify buying new fabric when there's so much that's been hanging around for a few years. Of course, I'm sure none of you has ever encountered this situation...