Monday, December 31, 2012

Honeycomb Patchwork

Another project is in the works. I saw a cute zipper pouch on Flickr and was inspired to do some more paper piecing. 

I drew up a pattern piece with graph paper and selected some fabric scraps.

I now have the pieces basted and sewn together and need to decide on a background fabric. I will machine appliqué the patchwork onto the background and something with it. It will probably be too big for a zip pouch, so may be another knitting project bag.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gloves to Give As Gifts

Making gloves kept me interested for a few weeks so I had a few pairs to give as Christmas gifts. I like making the fingers but sometimes I reject those patterns because I don't much like weaving in all the ends. Some folks really like wearing this type of glove; for me, if it is cold enough for gloves, I want my  fingers covered, too. They were all fun to make.

The pattern for this pair is here. I happened to have a copy of the magazine in my cupboard.

This pattern is here. There are some good notes on Ravelry about centering the cable pattern. I read them too late for this pair but next time, I'll make the adjustment. The yarn is Madeline Tosh (yum!) and, though I only used the one skein, the gloves look like they are made from different colors. Hand painted yarns can be odd like that.

This is just my generic glove pattern with a garter rib cuff, made with fingering weight yarn.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Back of The Pillow

Now that I have a picture, here is the back of the Tallahassee Pillow. I used this tutorial for inserting the zipper. It was a pretty smooth operation!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tallahassee Pillow

I was inspired to make this paper pieced pillow after viewing these two pillows on Flickr. I started out intending to use the light fabric as the background for all of the blocks but ran out of that particular shade fairly quickly and switched to the alternating light and dark backgrounds. I printed the paper patterns from this website, scaling the pieces to end up with 6.5" blocks. Nine blocks sewn together finish up as an 18 inch pillow.  It has a black and white striped binding and the back has a hidden zipper under a placket. The quilting is by machine, with golden thread, enhancing the circular shapes formed when the blocks were joined. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


All pictures by Jon Prescott

Shave Ice
Ray went to Hawaii in June with his friend, Blake, and Blake's parents. Blake's dad, Jon, took some beautiful pictures and copied all of them onto a CD for us. I procrastinated with posting some to the blog for so long that eventually it seemed like the best course was to just wait until the dead of winter, when beach scenes would seem especially appealing.

I try hard to just be happy with where I am and not pine away for other times and places. Ray is completely absorbed and busy with high school friends and activities these days and my focus is supporting him, which mostly involves feeding him and driving him around. But, the days have been short and dreary, and the clouds low and oppressive and I do think the beach looks inviting.


Queen's Bath

Monday, December 10, 2012


I sewed some scraps from bee blocks into a pretty potholder. It has two layers of cotton batting and one layer of Insul-brite and is quilted with zig zag wavy lines. It landed in a box of goodies sent as a gift to a friend.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


My sister, Anita, made the pretty basket
I'm not sure this project really deserves a ton of pictures but since blogging is paid for on a flat rate basis, why not post them all? 

I have been planning to make placemats for our table for some time and had even bought some different fabric for the project. I ended up using most of that pile for other things and finally fashioned some placemats out of a charm pack of Mama Said Sew, mixing in a few other fabrics from my stash.  The designs are pretty traditional - 16 patch, 9 patch and wonky stars.

I did some zig zag machine quilting to hold the layers together and then sewed on the binding before adding some utility hand stitching. I used #8 red perle cotton for the hand work, which doesn't show up all that well on most of the mats. Hmm, not quite how I envisioned it, but I couldn't see any better plan so I powered through and finished. They look just fine on the table and will eventually get splattered with wine and spaghetti sauce anyway, so I wasn't going to get too picky.


Monday, November 26, 2012

A Portrait of the Kids

Our friend, John Corso, offered to come over yesterday and take some pictures of the kids while Katherine is here visiting. Wow - he only spent a few minutes snapping photos and today he sent us this very pretty image. I'm going to have to make him a pecan pie or something to say thanks...

Ray, 15 and Katherine, 23

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November Bee Blocks

Here are pictures of the November bee blocks I made for the Cheer circle of do Good Stitches and the link for the tutorial we used. The colors for the blocks were assigned - it will be a bright and happy quilt.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


This picture was taken six weeks ago, on the night of the homecoming dance. In high school time, that was ages ago but these two cuties still seem to like each other quite a bit. Young and starry-eyed, isn't life grand?

Ray and Casey

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Project Bags Six, Seven and Eight

I have been working at the clinic more than sewing the past few weeks but I still have several small completed projects that haven't made it to the blog. I was pumping out these knitting bags for awhile, unable to stop, and then, poof, I was suddenly done. These last three will likely be Christmas gifts. 

I have a bee block  or two to make this weekend, some placemats to finish up and some knitting projects swirling around in my head. Socks, mittens, gloves? I haven't been able to match yarn with pattern and get going on the next thing. Oh, well, it will come together eventually.

Sunday, November 04, 2012


Saturday is the best day when you are working. Dave has been home so there are not too many chores - sweep the vacuum around, pop some apple crisp in the oven, scrub the counters - there are a few things to do that I like to have done. There was time in the morning for a walk, and several neighbors were out as well and wanted to chat. The weather, always, is discussed - "Nice day!" - and it is, a mild sweatshirt only morning with piles of yellow leaves lining both sides of the road. I chatted with John about his apple trees "Great crop this year!" and with a dog walking woman about the sheriff who spent a couple of days parked at the end of her drive, giving out 29 speeding tickets and arresting 3 people. She is focused on the mean black lab who scares us all and the "whack job" next door who lives with his mother and is violent. Also, she says, pointing up the hill, Frank was probably one of the arrests because, though he drives slow, he always drives drunk. 

Home again, I talk to Ray about the birds and the bees. It's just a review, really, but I want him to know about the Teen Clinic in town because I would be a fool if I thought he would always come to me about everything. He has a new girlfriend and we invite her to come over some time this weekend. She has not yet been allowed to visit so permission granted to join us for sushi on Sunday is a small victory. 

I don't sew or knit all day. I've been wanting to read more and have started in on the first book of three sent to me by a well read friend. It is called Several Strangers, Writing from Three Decades by Claire Tomalin. Her collected reviews from 1969-1999, published in London, reach way back to authors of the 1800s, recalling this writer or that and maybe the book is too literary or the house is too warm from the fire; I doze awhile on the couch. I don't know most of the references but I do like teasing out the biographical tidbits from the short pieces. She introduces each section with an outline of her career and I want the book to be more about her. She is my mother's age and remembers, vividly, in the mid 1950s "crying into a washbasin full of soapy grey baby clothes - there were no washing machines - while my handsome and adored husband was off playing football in the park on Sunday morning with all the delightful young men who had been friends to both of us at Cambridge three years earlier. I had wanted to do something with my life - I thought I had some capacities, and here they were going down the plughole with the soapsuds". Her charming, brilliant, successful journalist husband became a "bolter", unable to resist the office vamp, and was killed at 41 by a Syrian missile during the Yom Kippur War.  She had three daughters, lost a newborn son and had a second son with spina bifida. I am a lazy, drowsy reader and I want the book to be more of a memoir than it is. She writes well about women, "rescuing them from obscurity"- we are such interesting creatures. 
Knitting Project Bags 4 and 5
The three of us went downtown for Thai food. Ray drives - Dave is the right seat co-pilot - and we chat at the table while we wait and wait for our food. The high school band teacher pops in - he is walking around town with his girlfriend, handing out fundraising posters. No one looks at their phone. Ray explains some calculus that we don't understand and we explain how to calculate a tip when the service is poor. The owner asks how everything was - it turns out his 5:00 server came to work at 5:30 and they fell behind and were unable to catch up. 

Daylight savings time ends tonight. We can sleep in tomorrow and still get up early.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rose Star Quilt

The Rose Star quilt is finished. I started it in February, as a long term project, thinking I could just poke away at it over the years while I had other stuff going in the foreground. But, at heart, I am a one-project-at-a-time person, so I made block after block until it seemed I had enough and then forged ahead with the background piecing. The total number of Rose Stars was 32 whole blocks and 6 half blocks. I didn't count up the background pieces. 

English Paper Pieced using ladder stitch

Machine quilted with golden yellow thread

Hand quilting with No. 8 Perle cotton, various colors

The finished size of the quilt is 57" x 68", which is simply how big it became.  I did put a two print border on it, which it seemed to want, sewing it on by hand to avoid losing any of the pattern to a seam allowance.

Binding and borders
The backing is a single print - Alexander Henry Folklorico Fiesta Fireworks - which I found at a local fabric store. 

Backing with binding
I didn't set out to make a clown bright quilt but it sure turned out that way. I'm glad it is done and I'm pretty happy with the result. It was never really difficult to let it sit for awhile but it did teach me that I should probably keep these hand work projects a bit smaller in scope. I do like to get them finished up. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Doll Sweater

Here is a pattern I found on Ravelry, Doll Aran. It came together easily enough; I changed it a bit by making the fronts and back at the same time up to the armholes then using a three needle bind off for the shoulders. I picked up the stitches for the sleeves and knit in the round down to the cuffs and also changed the neck and front edges. Even with all these modifications, it is nice to use a pattern and not have to calculate the sizing and chart out the pattern stitches.

The yarn is by Lorajean Kelly - The Sassy Girl, at It is 60% superwash merino wool, 30% bamboo and 10% nylon. I got it at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Portland. 

The sweater will go to the daughter of my co-worker friend, Jewell. I saw Jewell yesterday and she said the doll clothes I had given her recently are being put to hard use in play land. That's good to hear.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Apple Press

It's been a good year for fruit, though the farmers don't deserve any credit. We did the same thing this season that we do every year (nothing) and our apple and pear trees have given us bushels of produce. 

We have consumed quite a bit of fruit in all the usual ways and have bags and bags stored away in the freezer for using up later. We borrowed an apple press last week (Thanks, Lou!) and squished the remainder of our crop into juice.  

Chop up the fruit
Grind and press

Strain the juice


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

John Corso Pictures

Here are a couple of more pictures from my friend, John Corso. He snapped a few shots of a hat for me while he was taking some pictures of Dave in his shop. John is a talented self taught photographer and his example inspires me. I keep resolving to learn more about my camera and to actually install Photoshop Elements on my computer. Maybe this winter...

Photo by John Corso
The hat pattern is Ida's Kitchen. I have made a couple of versions with 7 different colors but this one is made with self striping yarn. It probably should be slouchier but I decreased for the top when I got to the end of the skein. Good enough.

Making boxes


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunshine Socks

Photo by John Corso
My latest socks were made with Madelinetosh Tosh Sock yarn, 100% superwash merino wool. I love this stuff - it has just the right amount of sproinginess and body and comes in dozens of yummy colors. I got this skein in Portland recently at Twisted, a very cool store; the color is called Earl Grey. I am usually drawn to the darker colors but intentionally chose a lighter one to highlight the twists and cables in the pattern.

My guest photographer, John Corso, was at our house to take pictures of Dave in his shop. A magazine author is writing a feature on the motorcycle toolboxes Dave builds and they needed some images for the article. I was joking around about photo styling for knitted socks, and how easy it is to keep taking the same old boring pictures. This is a first for me - BMW 1200GS hardware as background.

Photo by John Corso
I did make two - the pattern is Sunshine from the book, Sock Innovation, by Cookie A. They are for a friend who has larger feet than I do, so I think the fit will be just right.