Friday, December 30, 2016

Year End Roundup

At this time of year I like to look back and see what I may have accomplished during the year. I expected to find very little since we moved and had to downsize once again. But I was surprised that there were many new items added to my finished up list. Mostly new garments, since I got a great new serger and that made sewing clothes a real treat. And lots of finished knitting for my list of Jacket orders. But there were also some quilts and paintings and a new view of quilt making with all over quilting and making tops and backings with a goal of using up my fabric. I am enjoying quilting more now than ever!
I had success with dieting and lost about 38 pounds, but can't swear to that since the holidays invited nibbling and eventually gorging. January 2 will get me back to the smarter way of eating.
Resolutions are fun to make and try to keep and 2016 was so great that I intend to make 2017 a repeat. More knitting, quilting and gardening. And I intend to see my family and friends more often and make new ones too. Happy New Year to you all.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Diamond Panel Vest for Maggie

 Diamond Panel Vest. Various wools and merino-silk yarns, in graduated tones of gray to cream. Mother of Pearl button. Because this is extra long I included side slits at the hem.
 The back diamond design is slightly different than the front panels, due to the fact that I was using small leftover skeins of several grays and had to make it work without running out.

 About 34" long and 25" wide (50" circumference) so it is more like a sleeveless coat.

 And knit something for myself, if I can make a choice from all my yarn combos!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

 The older I get the less fuss I make for Christmas. Yesterday I finally got around to making cookies, Cherry Almond biscotti and my oatmeal cookies with everything in them, often called Kitchen Sink. I drank Pinot Grigio while I baked and that made it really fun. I think.
 My sister and niece will be here for Christmas day dinner and we are having Ravioli Lasagna with meatballs and sausage. It is already to bake in my refrigerator, a day ahead.
Earlier Friday I decided to commit to piecing for the foreseeable future and that meant bringing my fabric out of the laundry room and into the studio. I was surprised that I had enough space for the bookcases. And I turned my work table 90 degrees and that makes it work even better. The best change is the newly hung design wall. This time I used Command picture hanging strips instead of hooks. It hangs REALLY flat against the wall.Command Large Picture Hanging Strips, White, 4 Sets of Strips, 17206WM

 The kitchen is all cleaned up and so is the studio...and now I can relax and knit. yay!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Bosna Top #4

Bosna #4 unquilted top. Hand dyed and commercial cottons, machine pieced. 68x66". With this one I went for other than primary colors, which in turn are also more pastel.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Bosna Top #3

O I am having such a wonderful time making these simple tops. Bosna #3, 65" square.
And finally I am seeing the pile of colors reducing. I am out of red-orange! So I will be attempting to work without it. ha!
Primaries are so energizing, but the first three are pretty much using those, so my challenge is to find other colors to excite me.
Bosna #1
Bosna #2

Inline image 1The Bosna Quilt Workshop was founded and carried out in the Caritas Refugee Home Galina, Vorarlberg, Austria in 1993. The quilts, which were designed by the Austrian painter Lucia Feinig-Giesinger, are thin covers imaginatively stitched and seamed by talented Bosnian women. I am kinda disappointed that the designs didn't come directly from the quilters. I shoulda known, since they carried a similar theme throughout.

Friday, December 16, 2016

My New Manifesto

I'm a verbal processor, which is one reason I have a blog. I have to write what I think in order to organize it in my mind.
I feel a desire to explain my new outlook on quilt making.
For so many years I had many different reasons for making my quilts; art for one, commerce for another, justifying my career for a third. Now deep into my retirement I have let go of many of the reasons that used to motivate me and have discovered a new one (or two) which allows me a certain freedom to just HAVE FUN.

I've let go of a need to sell my work. It just doesn't make me as happy as it used to do. I just spend the money on yarn that I really don't need. (a whole 'nother story).

I've let go of needing to have an ending place to put this new work. I figure, I'll make it and the place will come.

I've let go of saving my 'good' fabric for something important. That never came up, so I am not saving it anymore. I am USING IT UP....mostly the prints will become backs, and that solves one of my biggest issues, not being able to decide what to put on the back. Make the back first and design a front to fit. What a concept!

I am less interested in making groundbreaking art and much more interested in enjoying the process. No one can give me the experience but myself and it is the experience that makes me happy.

And I am really enjoying the quilting again, now that I have adjusted my work space to better fit my needs. I am sewing now everyday and working through my stash, which doesn't seem to get smaller.

I am hanging my finished tops and backs to keep them smooth until such time as my table is cleared and I can sandwich and quilt them.
What happens when the quilts pile up? I will add them to our attic space while they await a new home.

Today's back, 65x72"

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bosna #2 front and back

 Bosna #2 top, 70x80" hand dyed and commercial cottons, machine pieced, unquilted so far...

Reverse of Bosna #2, commercial cottons, machine pieced.
74x 82", large enough to have something to hold when I quilt it.

This back was so fast and easy to make, that it was done in one day by 3pm.
I think I may make another back like this while the fabric is pulled, and then quilt these two sides of Bosna #2 later. My goal is to use up lots of fabric. It feels wonderful to sew up these strips, squares, and bits of leftover patchwork. I have been spray starching everything as I go, and that makes the fabric crisp and wonderful to sew. 50% liquid starch, 50% water in a spray bottle.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Inspired by Bosnaquilt

I've been studying the quilts at Bosnaquilt Werkstatt  and loving their strength and simplicity. I had to try my hand at making one. Turns out simple is not so simple.
Here's how lovely and elegant theirs are:
Die Bosna Quilt Werkstatt in Bregenz | Flickr:
While mine got a little more fussy. But it is only my first try.
I photographed this horizontally and can't decide which is the top. I suppose it doesn't works either way.

This is the reverse side, totally different, yes? I quilted it from the solids side and changed thread colors to match that side, including the bobbin, so the quilting on the 'house' side is often contrasting.
 Bosna #1. Hand dyed and commercial cottons, machine pieced and machine quilted, 53x70". $500 Email me.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Sleeveless Jacket for Melanie

It's been a luxurious experience knitting this vest for Melanie. The yarns I used are the ultimate in gorgeous feeling fibers and plump up as each stitch is made. Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend, 30% silk and 70% merino. The contrast yarn is Sublime Organic Merino Wool DK. It's yarn like this that keeps my fingers itching to knit.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Taking inventory

 I still find myself collecting yarn and thinking that I have the perfect other yarn to pair with it for a new knit garment. But then where is it? I spend countless hours opening bins looking for that imagined yarn and not always finding it. Then I decided to drag out all the yarns to pair them up and find matches and re-store them in separate bins. It took most of the day, but was so worth it.
 I found unimagined combinations that work.  Silky Wool
45% Wool, 35% Silk, 20% Nylon
by Cascade Yarns Aran: 55% Silk, 45% Wool
by AraucaniaAran 100% Merino

by Plymouth Yarn Worsted: 100% Wool
 Rowan Merino DK 9  
and Malabrigo Rastita merino
 Noro Taiyo and Rowan Summer Tweed, Aran 70% Silk, 30% Cotton, a non wool combo. 

60% Wool, 30% Silk, 10% Rayon
by Plymouth. Aran: 55% Cotton, 40% Rayon, 5% Silk
by AraucaniaAran 100% Merino
Brown Sheep Lanaloft 100% wool
 ...and then the unmatched wools from Malabrigo, which I fondled for several minutes.