February 2007 Archives

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

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Man Sized Sock in STR Heavy, "Mudslide"

Okay. It is now officially cold here in Chicago. Really cold. Like it was 7 degrees this morning when we got up. My husband is a public transportation commuter and his trip downtown on the bus leads to some outdoor walking to his building. So some of my personal knitting and spinning has been put on hold while I work on providing him with some extra barriers against the cold. In other words, it was time to make this man some boot socks.

The nice thing about boot socks is that you get to use nice big yarn. In this case, I'm using Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock, Heavyweight. STR Heavy knits up at about 6 stitches/inch on size 3 needles and it makes for a pretty quick pair of socks. I completed this sock in three days -- it would have been two if I had started on Saturday instead of Sunday. And it's actually taller than I normally make socks for John. Once again, my attempt to help keep him warm on his commute.

John is still a touch suspicious about the striping in the colorway, but he likes the feel of the yarn and the thickness of the fabric. And in the end, warm feet win out over somewhat dodgy color options for him.

What I am particularly pleased about with STR Heavy is that I can easily get a pair of good sized socks for John out of one skein. I was a little worried about this, so I actually split the skein in half before I started and then knit toe up. This sock is 12" from bottom of heel to top of cuff and the foot fits a standard men's size 10-1/2*. What this means, is that if John likes this pair of socks, then there will likely be more in his future, since I know one skein will yield a respectable pair of warm socks.

So now it's time to cast on for sock number two. With a KIP tonight, I should be able to make good progress on getting John a new pair of socks for his trip to work on Monday.

*Well, perhaps not entirely standard. John has very narrow feet for a guy. I was surprised to take a measurement and be reminded of the fact that the ball of his foot is pretty much the same circumference as mine. But even if I had been knitting for my dad or my brother, I would have gotten a very respectable sized sock. I had enough yarn left over to knit another inch or two I think.

Little Rewards

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A Clean Desk

Look what I've been able to do two nights in a row. Yep. I actually have attained a state of clean deskness. I do love my Longaberger organizing baskets. They do such a nice job of helping me find a place for everything. Now if only I could have a state of clean bookcaseness and clean closetness to go along with it. One goal at a time though. I don't want to get too ambitious.

Actually, now that I have cleaned my desk, I find that it's easier to remind myself to put something away after I am done using it. It actually makes the process of going to bed with a clean desk much easier if you don't completely cover it in clutter all the time. Perhaps this goal won't be quite as challenging as I thought it was going to be.

To give myself a little reward for positive first efforts, I decided that I could start a nother little project for myself. Recently, I created some holes in my favorite pair of mittens. I've never actually made mittens before, so I thought it would be fun to make a pair for myself. When I found Laurie's pattern for "Fiber Fish", I knew I'd found the perfect thing. Fun and cute and an opportunity to play with some interesting techniques that I hadn't used much before -- mitred squares and entrelac.

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Fiber Fish Pattern and Auditioning Trekking Yarns 110 and 108

I really liked the Trekking yarn for these mittens (in addition to the way it shades the entrelac so well, I also like the fact that it is superwash and contains nylon, so the mittens should be durable) but had a lot of difficulty selecting colors. It's hard to judge what you're going to get by looking at pictures of unknit skeins. Flickr to the rescue! Did you know that you could search Flickr for Trekking XXL and see almost any colorway knit up? Very cool. You know, Flickr is one of those things that I always know is out there, but I completely forget when I am doing yarn colorway research. I was really glad I remembered it this time.

Even so, I still ended up ordering two different colorways from Carodan Farm -- I just couldn't decide between colorways 110 and 108. Once I had them both sitting on my desk, however, I really liked the strong contrasting colors in 108 and I thought that the contrast between the yellow and blue would make for more interesting mittens. I spent a little time this evening getting started on the cuff for my first mitten. The mitres don't take very long to get the hang of and are easy to execute. I'm thinking this might be good knitting for while viewing a certain football game over the weekend.

The Many Moods of the Mudslide Socks

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Right now, as I type this, it is 1 degree farenheit in Chicago. Send in the polar bears and the penguins it is officially cold here. So it's a good thing that I finished up John's newest pair of socks.

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Mudslide Socks at Attention
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Mudslide Socks at Ease
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Mudslide Socks in Retreat

General specs:
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Socks that Rock Heavyweight in Mudslide'
Needles: US Size 3.0 (3.25 mm) Chiaogoo* Needles
Gauge: 6 stitches/inch

These socks were knit toe up so that I could make the most out of the yarn.. I did my "standard" wedge toe, a short row heel and the rest was pretty much straight up stockinette. These socks are taller than most of the socks I've made for John -- 12" from base of the heel to top of the cuff, and are meant to fit a man's size 10.5 (somewhat narrow) foot I did a conventional bind-off, but in order to make sure the tops weren't too tight, I bound off on US 7 (4.5 mm needles) after 2.5" of K2P2 ribbing. I had about 31g (1 ounce) left over of the 200g (7 ounces) I started with, so I think it's clear that one skein of this sock can make a respectable pair of socks for most men. All told, these socks took less than a week to make. Practically instant gratification from a knitting perspective.

John is happy with these socks. The stripey-ness is just about at the edge of his tolerance for striping/pooling but he likes the browns and he really likes how thick, warm, and soft the socks are. In fact, I received the coveted, You could make me another pair of sock out of this yarn. statement that makes everything worthwhile. John tells me that because of their weight and warmth, these socks are only good for late fall, winter and early spring. They will definitely be ideal for his Monday morning commute downtown.

What's next for John? Either another pair of thick socks or a double knit headband... I haven't quite decided what would be best suited to the weather and my mood.

* BTW these needles are destined to be some of my new favorite sock knitting needles. They are a wooden needle (I'm not entirely sure what they are made out of -- it's a light wood) and they have a smooth, but not too smooth surface that really has the right amount of grip for keeping the stitches on the needles but not so much grip that the stitches don't slide well. Also, the size of the needle is laser etched into the needle. Most double points, by the time I've knit a pair of socks, the sizing information has worn off. But for these, after this pair of socks, the numbering is still completely clear. Even better, these needles are completely cheap! I found them at the Fold and I think they are less than $5/set. And they come in those very handy 6" lengths!

Fish Tale

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The Fiber Fish have started to swim! So far, I've finished the first cuff of the first mitt.

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Fiber Fish Tail

These little mitred squares are surprisingly fun to knit and connect together. Originally, I wasn't so sure that 5 of those little squares would be enough to go around my wrist, but when connected to 5 more squares offset, they do just fine.

I followed Laurie's instructions, but if you wanted to have mittens that were more like gauntlets, it would be very easy to lengthen the tail by adding an extra row or two of squares. And given how much yarn I've used so far, I doubt you'd have to worry about running out of yarn or anything like that.

After a little bit of ribbing, I get to launch off into some entrelac. Something new in knitting for me! I'm hoping it's fun to do and easy to make look nice.

My First Quilting Class

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A Whole Bunch of Sewing Machines at Quiltology

For my birthday this year (Monday, in case you were wondering) I treated myself to learning a new craft. You see, there's this awesome new (well, relatively new) quilting store in Lincoln Park, Quiltology. While I never expect sewing or quilting to become my primary craft, I do really really want to get over my current sewing machine anxiety. You can do so many things with woven fabric that just don't work all that well in the knitted medium. Or you can use fabric to provide structure to a knitted item, like a purse or a blanket. And I just love the idea of making a quilt. There are so many fabulous fabrics out there, and there are a lot of shortcuts (like letting people with long-arm quilting machines do the actual quilting) that make a large quilt project something that a dilettante like myself can actually contemplate.

The class I am taking is called "Starting @ Square 1" and it literally starts with an introduction to sewing machines and how to use them, and ends with a simple quilt. Tonight was the first class, so we learned all about how the spiffy Bernina sewing machines at Quiltology work (Quiltology is also a sewing/quilting "workshop" where you can come in and rent time on their spiffy machines if you don't have one of your own). Now, I do have some basic sewing machine know how thanks to my mom, but I wanted someone who could help put some structure around it for me. Believe it or not, it was actually a cool exercise to "sew" on a piece of lined paper without any thread in the machine -- there was no way for me to screw anything up, so I could just play with the speed and get a sense for how the machine behaved.

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A Burst of Color in the Front of Quiltology... Plus a Quilt that I Positively Lust After

As it turns out, those Berninas are pretty well behaved machines. I don't think they are quite as nice as my mom's Husqvarna (I thought the bobbin mechanism was a bit fussy) but they are easy to control. And they have a lot of fun electronic features on them. Give a geek girl a digital display and she can be endlessly entertained.

By the end of the class, we'd all stitched without thread on paper, learned how to "turn corners", wound bobbins and threaded the machine and started stitching on some fabric squares that Colette had ready for us to play with . She did a nice job of introducing things without being overbearing or micromanaging. And we got a short tutorial on presser feet and when to use particular kinds of them and also got to try out some of the more specialty stitches programmed into the machine. The class ended with a lesson in cleaning one's machine and a discussion aimed at helping us pick out what we wanted to do for our projects.

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The Keyboard Biologist Bonds with A Bernina: Proof that I Used a Sewing Machine

One of the nice things about Quiltology -- she has some "premade" quilt kits where the fabrics have already been bundled together (nothing has been cut out or anything like that). While I could have picked my own fabrics, I didn't need to since the Serenity quilt kit already reflected some of the colors I love best in batik prints, which I am always drawn to when I am in a fabric store (just ask my mom). For me, since this adventure is about getting comfortable with sewing and not so much about color selection (at least not yet -- one hurdle at a time) I really don't feel guilty about taking the easy road and letting someone else put together good color combinations for me.

No homework for this class, but since my mom is coming to visit this weekend, it might be time to get out the sewing machine she loaned me and do a little practicing. Next week in class we'll be focusing on rotary cutting, so I don't have any "homework" this week. However, I did buy a copy of Amy Butler's In Stitches">In Stitches to help get me inspired to sew. And there are a couple of small projects in there that seem like they might be fun to try.

Entrelac

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Entrelac in Macro Mode

Just a quick post... on a busy night. The entrelac section of my first Fiber Fish mitten. A surprisingly easy technique to generate such an interesting effect. My only thought: the colors stretches in the Trekking (at least this colorway) are a little too long to show off the individual panels of entrelac as well as I would like, but still a very cool looking fish body, I think!

Requiem

There are a lot of posts that I go back and forth on. Sometimes it's because I don't know if what I am going to talk about is interesting enough. Sometimes it's because some topics are too personal for the internet. Sometimes it's because the situation isn't really mine and I don't know whether it's right for me to be doing any talking.

Today I find myself in the same position. I've spent most of the last day trying to decide whether this post would be about my difficulties sizing the fish mittens (not pattern related difficulties, just personal decision and ripping related difficulties) or about a sad family event going on right now around me. In the end, I've opted for the family event, because I really haven't been able to focuse that much on thinking too hard about knitting.

You see, on Wednesday evening, just as John and I were about to sit down at a our date night restaurant table, John got a call from his mother. His father had passed away suddenly during the afternoon. In an instant, what had been a nice day that was going to be capped with a nice dinner, changed completely. We left without sitting down. Since that time, John has been dealing with the realities of his father's passage.

I'm not going to say too much about John's dad. Like all people, he was a complex, multi-faceted individual, and because my Polish is limited to food vocabulary and his English was not very deep either, I knew him in a very shallow way. He was deeply religious, missed farming, and loved his grandchildren. He always took the time to ask after my family when I was over to visit. When he could, he liked to raise bunnies and tend to his summer garden. We were glad that John had talked to him just yesterday and and that he had recently had a chance to go back to Poland and that we'd shared some nice Christmas holidays together.

But this really got me thinking about expectations and how easy it is to delay reaching out to other people in our families because we think we're always going to have another day. Or dropping my husband off at the train station and not kissing him good bye because I was irritated about something minor we were discussing in the car. Or not staying in touch with a friend because I have too much work to do. It's so easy to forget that something that can change your life forever can happen only in a few seconds and you might never get the chance to do something that you meant to do.

So I wanted to use this post to encourage everyone out there to stop and look at the people in your life. Call up a parent or a sibling that you haven't talked to in a while, even if you don't have a reason. Be sure to part ways from your spouse or partner or children in the morning in a positive way. Look up an old friend and send them an email and let them know you're still thinking about them.

Peace to all of you this weekend. May you be happy and have the warmth of the people you care about around you.

Thoughts on A Weekend

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For those of you looking for knitting content, I'll warn you right up front that there is no knitting content to be found here today. It will be back tomorrow. Today I need to write about something else. For the past several days, knitting has not really been front and center in my head.

John's brother put it best: This weekend seemed like it went by an an instant and took an eternity.

And so it did.

John's family is Polish. To be more descriptive, they are Goral*, or Highlanders. When John is in a joking mood, he says that translates roughly what Americans would understand as "hillbilly". But that is really not a fair comparison. Goral are better described as a people of the mountains: strong, fiercely independent, deeply religious, very traditional. In many ways they are the keepers of the faith in ways that go far beyond just attending to their churches.

I am 3rd generation Lithuanian. That translates to an American who understands that the fact that she has an "as" ending on her last name associates her with a group of people in eastern Europe. I speak no Lithuanian, have no connections to Chicago's Lithuanian community, understand almost no Lithuanian traditions. This is how my family wanted my generation to be. When they came to the US in the early 20th century, there were many good reasons not to be identified as an eastern European immigrant. When any of us asked my grandmother to teach us some Lithuanian, she would always say, Why? You are American. You should speak English. And aside from eating some traditional food (kugeli, anyone?) and celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve I know very little of what makes someone Lithuanian. American is what I am. A little bit of everything, a cultural tradition that is always in flux, from a country that still doesn't entirely know what it's identity really is.

It's the rituals in our lives that begin to teach us who we really are. When John and I got married, I was insistant that our wedding not reflect only Polish tradition. It caused a lot of conflict because where John comes from, tradition is so strong. And if you met John at work or at a party, you might think he is Polish the way I am Lithuanian. His tradition is important to him, but he grew up here, surrounded by both Polish and American culture. I wanted our wedding to reflect us. At that time, I thought of "us" as very American. And I still do. But John very much lives and participates in two worlds. I was intrigued by his family traditions but didn't understand them very well, and, to be honest, was a little afraid of them. They seemed like the sort of thing where one could lose one's own identity. And I didn't really want to do that.

Nonetheless, our wedding was marked by the religious ceremonies, the traditional music and musicians and a good deal of Polish food. At John's parents house we received a traditional blessing for our marriage from our parents. When the Goral musicians (essentially a Polish string quartet) started to play the traditional music for the occasion, I started to cry. It was something that just overwhelmed me. The music hit me in a very deep place. As we were walking out the door from John's parents house on the way to the church, a woman who is one of John's close family friends took my hands, Ah Theresa, now you are goralka.

By marrying John, I married into a lot of tradition. Most of which I still don't understand, and, I am sorry to say, a good deal of which I have resisted because of my strong personal discomfort with the religious component of it. It is a selfish thing on my part. After almost 9 years, I am getting better understanding, but I still opt out of a number of things when I can.

This weekend was a growing up experience for me. When the person you care about most in the world loses his father, opting out of things that scare you is not an option. In fact, it does not even cross your mind. I stood next to him at the front of the funeral home chapel for the visitation. I greeted and hugged people who had come to pay their respects to his father and his family for 6 hours. I got choked up when the people from "Klub Ludzmierz" said special prayers and sang traditional songs to honor my father-in-law's passing. I was there when the funeral director closed the coffin lid. I walked behind the coffin into the church. I placed a rose on the coffin at the cemetary and touched the coffin with a final Good-bye before it was lowered into the ground as those who had come with us sang a final song and said prayers.

It was one of the most emotionally wrenching and deeply moving things that I have been a part of. It was a priviledge to be able to stand next to my husband and his family and participate in a sad but important tradition.

When we went back to the funeral home to collect the flowers and few other things that still remained there, the funeral director and I were talking a bit as we moved flowers closer to the door where John and his brother were loading them into the car. He said to me, I hear from your husband, you're Lithuanian. When I first saw you, I thought for sure you must be Polish.

I think, perhaps now, I have earned a bit of the honor of being a goralka.

Rest in peace, Tat. We'll miss you.

* to anyone out there who speaks Polish better than I do, I apoligize in advance for all the incorrect spelling of Polish words that may show up in this post. My understanding of the Polish language is minimal by anyone's definition.

Square Six

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Six Log Cabin Squares

I am now 2/3 of the way through my log cabin baby blanket project. 6 squares finished, 3 to go. I was able to get through these 6 squares on the first three skeins of yarn that I used, which means I have nothing to worry about when it comes to having enough yarn for the last three squares. A lot of leftovers may encourage me to come up with a more elaborate border. Or someone may get an interesting pair of winter socks.

Working on the baby blanket is a very pleasant thing right now. A reminder that life ends, but new life begins as well.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a comment on yesterday's post. It means a great deal to me and John also appreciated your kind words and thoughts. There's some really kind people who read your blog, he said. I couldn't agree more.

Happy V-Day to those of you who celebrate.. and even if you don't I wish you a very good Wednesday.

Quilt Fabrics

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In the midst of our Tuesday snowfall, I got in my car and headed over to Quiltology for my second quilting class. This class was about preparing the fabric and using our rotary cutting tools. Because of the snow, there were only three of us there with Colette, and it turned out to be a great opportunity to learn how best to use a rotary cutter and just to talk about the state of modern quilting and sewing in general. Really, if you're into quilting or fabric and live in Chicago you should definitely support Colette. She has a lot of good ideas and a great urban sensibility.

The quilt I am working on is called the "Serenity Quilt" and it's a crib or lap-blanket sized quilt. I could have selected my own fabrics, but I loved the blue and green batiks that Colette had already kitted up. Besides, for this project I really wanted to focus on the mechanics of using the sewing machine and understanding how to assemble a quilt. I'll leave the color theory to another project, especially since these colors suit me perfectly.

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Quilt Block Pieces

In spite of the flash photography, the colors of these fabrics are captured quite well. For the blocks in the Serenity quilt, you basically have to cut out two different sized rectangular shapes -- simple, but it definitely took more time than I expected it to. Even so, I have a better appreciation for rotary cutting tools and the 12" x 12" gridded lucite square that I bought to help me with the cutting process.

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A Possible Quilt Block

Serenity's quilt blocks are very simple -- 4 of the larger rectangles and 8 of the smaller ones. Even though I didn't pick out the fabrics, I'll still get to play with figuring out how I want to put them together. I'm thinking that I'll get out my blocking board and some pins and try out some prototypes over the weekend to see what combinations I like best. The block above was one I put together on the spur of the moment to demonstrate what the blocks looked like.

I'm really looking forward to the next class where I get to be back in front of a sewing machine and we get to hear more about the strategies of putting a quilt top together!

Prototype Kate

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A short post today... a nice weekend with my parents marred only by the fact that my poor husband has been pretty miserably sick. But dad did bring me some spinning inspiration.

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Prototype Lazy Kate

Dad and I have been talking a bit about spinning tools. One of the things I have complained about the most is not having a Lazy Kate that I really liked. Dad, who has just gotten to the point in his own spinnign where he needs to ply things, decided to take on the challenge. This weekend he brought me a proto-type to test out. Pretty neat, eh? Dad figured out a clever way to make the tensioning easy and adjustable, and how pretty is that walnut with the oak base and the brass pins? It's also quite solid and has enough weight that it wouldn't slide around easily.

Sadly enough, I have not been spinning all that much, so I had no way to test it out this weekend. But it has given me motivation to get back to a project that would give it a real work out: spinning the rest of my moorit CVM. I spent a little time doing that Sunday afternoon and was reminded why CVM is such a nice fiber to spin, even if it isn't dyed exotic colors.

Square Seven

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Seven Log Cabin Squares

It's beginning to feel like I am in the home stretch with this project. I now have 7 squares and I've started on square eight. I had thought that this project might have started to wear on me by now (I'm not known for either my patience or my ability to do most things multiple times), but instead I find it to be a nice comfortable project, perfect to work on when I need something to do with my hands. Probably it's only drawback is the fact that since it is a multicolored project, it is not terribly portable.

The baby that this project is being worked on for is only about 7 weeks away now. So I'm trying to pick up the pace a little bit so that I have plenty of time to finish the squares and get it finished out right. The more squares I have, the easier it is for me to visualize the final product.

Now I'm off to play with some fabric pieces. Tonight it's going to be time to start sewing the squares for my Serenity quilt together, and I want to spend some time thinking about what fabrics I like together the best. I'm actually really looking forward to sitting down in front of a sewing machine. Hopefully that feeling lasts through my class!

A Third Week of Quilting

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I'm beginning to look forward to Tuesday evenings a lot: I get to go to my quilting class. Last night, it was time to start sewing quilt blocks together. So during my lunch break on Tuesday, I spent sometime trying to decide which fabrics went best together.

I started by getting out my blocking board and pinning up all the big squares I had cut out in no particular order.

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All the Colors of Serenity

The idea was for me to move the squares around until I had pairs together that I liked for the larger quilt blocks. Since the board really isn't large enough for full blocks, I just put the color pairs that I liked together side by side.

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The Final Order

The fabrics that ended up together are in pairs, starting from the top left. One thing that proved challenging for me was trying to make sure that the fabrics that I put together didn't all have the same depth of shade. It was very easy to want to put light fabrics together and dark fabrics together. But the contrast is important to making things stand out. I actually found that some of my experiences playing with hand-dyed yarn were helpful working with these batiks -- I put fabrics together, sometimes just based on a small amount of a color in one fabric that was more dominant in a second piece.

I thought by having a plan before I got to class that I'd be able to knock out a bunch of the full sized squares in no time.

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Three Completed Blocks

But all I was able to finish was these three. However, by the time I'd finished the third block, I had some insights into how to speed up the process by using the chain sewing we were shown in class. I'm going to have to be efficient here at home since I'd like to have all of the blocks ready to sew together for the final class.

Tonight I felt like I had a little breakthrough with the machines -- the sewing machines are not seeming quite so scary any more. In fact, I was struck by how nice it was to just sew these pieces together and how fast it goes when you compare it to knitting each section of a log cabin square. It's nice to have a simple project to work on during the learning process, as well. Even though my sewing is by no means perfect, I'm getting pretty good results and I feel like I can actually finish this project and end up with something I really like.

More Quilt Squares

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5 Squares for Serenity

Wednesday evening marked a pretty momentous occasion in my house: I sat down in front of my own (well, my own borrowed from mom) sewing machine and put together two more quilt blocks (the middle center and bottom left blocks). This doesn't seem like much, but it was quite a milestone for me, since it involved

1) Getting thread on the bobbin.
2) Threading the machine
3) Getting the bobbin threaded properly
4) Adjusting the stitch length
5) Positioning the needle horizontally so I could use the edge of the presser foot as the 1/4" mark
6) Actually sewing

all by myself.

Most of you still won't be impressed, but my mom will probably be cheering a little bit. Working with this machine (a Husqvarna Romeo -- a moderately priced machine that mom uses as her "traveller") made me appreciate a few of the creature comforts that the class Berninas have -- like the big "tables" that make it a little easier to control and support fabric. But table or no table, Romeo did the job and I am two more blocks closer to having a completed quilt top.

I really wish that I had a bigger blocking board -- I'd like to be able to pin all the squares up and move them around. Maybe if I really take to this I'll go to the Home Depot and invest in a big piece of foam board.

There is something a little magickal about seeing those quilt blocks after I press them out. I'm enjoying this process a lot more than I thought I would, even if it does still require a lot of effort on my part because I have to think carefully about everything I am doing. But the more I sew, the more I get to thinking that this whole sewing machine may not be so bad... and that it might even be fun to have one of my own.

Before I sign off for the night, I do have one admission to make -- I appreciate all of your kind comments on the colors, but while I did put the blocks together, the fabrics were all picked out by Colette at Quiltology for the Serenity quilt kit. I went with the kit because I just loved the colors batik prints fo the fabrics and I really wanted to focus on the basics of sewing not on the color selection process. Between the class and the kit, Colette makes it easy to work towards a good result. My next project (yes, there will be a next project, more on that later) will involve me doing my own color selection. I think it will be easier to focus on that after I have gotten to the point where I feel like I no longer have an adversarial relationship with the sewing machine. In the meantime, playing with these blocks is still a lot of fun, even if I didn't have to do so much of the heavy lifting on fabric selection.

Finished Squares

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All of Serenity's Squares

I think it's fair to say that Romeo and I got along well today. Maybe this whole sewing machine using thing isn't so bad after all....

Swimming Upstream

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Ready to Take on the Thumb Gussett

This weekend I got back to my Fiber Fish mittens for the first time in a while and completed the main body of the mitten. I ended up adding another section of entrelac (this is because I'm doing the small mitten, which I think is meant to be mostly child-sized, and while wide enough for my hand is not really long enough) and then completed the head of the fish. As it turns out, I like this a lot better than just knitting extra rows after the last round of entrelac specified by the pattern for this size because it meant that I got that extra nice blue area in the body of the fish and got a bit more color in the head area.

The next step in the process is to pick up stitches for the thumb gusset -- the thumb creates the top "dorsal" fin for the fish and is the last major part of the mitten before I get to think about weaving in all those ends.

Even with the slow pace I am knitting up these mittens at, with all the cold and snow hitting Chicago lately, I'm beginning to think I might actually get to wear these mittens this year!

Square Eight

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Eight Log Cabin Squares

The end is drawing near for this project. Only one more square remains! Clearly a full DVR and a lot of unpleasant weather can lead to some productive knitting time. Now that I have most of the squares to look at, though, I'm still pretty happy with my original design. I just love it when things work out in real life the way you planned them out on paper!

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