Sunday, January 30, 2011

Not knowing who was reading this in the lead-up to the holidays, I kept my head down, with four major sewing projects going, as well as some knitting. I'm not as enthused about sewing - though I've sure got to do a lot of it! - so I kept my nose to the grindstone, meaning to photograph all these projects when they were done. Then I got excited about wrapping them and getting them to their recipients – and then it was too late. Since nearly everyone now has their presents in hand, I can explain them, even if I can't show them. Take my word for it, they did come out rather nicely! They included potato-baking bags, made from cotton fabric and batting, for baking potatoes in the microwave; patchwork pot-holders with fairly complicated patterns, and for my sweetie, wool socks - red of course, because as everyone in our Thursday night knitting group could recite in chorus, red is WARMER.

Now, in January, things have moved on… a bit. We’ve weathered the holidays, a touch of flu, a snowy Roc Day. The lambs we began three spinning meetings ago (this is a Lion Brand KAL pattern) got finished. Mary’s is the pink one on the left, mine, using some roving I was presented with by a visitor from England on the right I changed the pattern to do the whole thing in the round and minimize sewing – a lot of parts were knitted-on instead. When I finished, I had used 13 knitting needles. Not quite sure how that happened. Also, because of the variegation, some beholders thought the lambie was really a piglet. Then we gave ourselves a winter challenge – spinning a set of wild batts we each made from various bits of fleece we all threw into the center of the room, divided, then carded. We each ended up with about 7 ounces in two colorways – one was a sort of green/blue/white blend, the other was an orange/brown set that spun up looking like a dog’s breakfast. More on those later.

I’ve undertaken some reorganization in the studio – but the “before” photo was so horrendous, I don’t dare show it. Can we take it as read that it was awful? The still-disorganized progress might be nothing to write home about, but it is a whole lot better! I produced a tatting booklet called “Baubles, Bangles and Beads,” – here’s a photo of some of the projects. Anyone who’s done design work can well imagine the amounts of time, thread, dropped beads, projects that got scrapped because they didn’t turn out and bad words this entailed. But I was really, really pleased with the results. One project that didn’t get in because I misplaced it three times led me to think I needed to design something different – and I liked that a whole lot better.

Came up with three projects for the Finger Lakes Tatting Seminars in April – Marcia will teach one of them (the carrots). And take a look at these grapes – I believe I may have invented a new technique for making Catherine Wheels with a continuous thread.

We’ve had a bunch of snow, so there’s been a lot of creative time. The current focus, between tatting and tatting, is making homeless quilts. (These would have looked a lot better if I'd photographed them from further away.) That is, the quilts are for homeless people, though since they’re not yet currently connected to the individuals who need them, I suppose the quilts are themselves homeless. I was gifted with a godsend – bags of gorgeous fabric from a hobby seamstress with elegant taste, which helped a lot. Thanks, Edna! Her stash even included a length of fleece I could use as a warm layer. That quilt is the only one that’s not a “quillow” – the rest are, because you know how personal your pillow is, and it seemed like a good thing to combine warmth with a pillow. So far, I’ve made 7, and my friend Jean J. has made one. I want to keep going on this project for at least another week, but I seem to be running out of quilt insides....