You have probably noticed that I’m creating slower this year. Not as many quilts or knitted projects. I think my sewing is still going pretty strong. So be it, it’s not about speed or the number of projects. I’m working away but at a much slower pace.This shawl is the pattern Lullaby Rain Shawl. It is the first time I’ve knit a shawl in such bulky yarn. Yes, DK is bulky for a shawl. I’m sorry to say that non of the yarn stores near me sell plain solid wool. Everything has either stripes or other color variations. This shawl would have been so much better in a plain solid. Which is why I am forced to order online even when I want to support an LYS. This time I supported them, but in the future, if I want solid, which I often do, I’ll go online.My camera is dying, it’s not focusing very well anymore, I will need to upgrade soon. I’ve had the camera five years, for a bridge digital camera I’m guessing that is pretty good.Then again, I now get the fuzzy filter, (none used here, this is how it captured me) I look better with softer edges! Lol, I need to write up a post about aging gracefully, which is what I’m trying to do.The shawl is in focus, and you can see how pretty it is.This pattern is relatively simple. Before each new pattern, I doubled the number of stitches. Then I worked the length of the pattern, rather than increasing every other row. It works!This is intended as a gift. I am very please with the result.I know the recipient will be as well.
And now, I am knitting myself a sweater.
I’ve been busy creating. Item number one is the blue sweater:To me this is a fail, I didn’t like it from the get-go, I went to support a local shop and it was a fail. You are probably saying, it looks fine, well to me it doesn’t look fine. Not only that, I didn’t even enjoy the knitting process.I spent more money than I would have liked on a simple sweater, I didn’t enjoy the knitting and I don’t really like the end result. I kept at it rather than just frogging the whole thing. At some point I will want to knit another sweater, but I’m going to be much more careful. When that yarn store didn’t have much selection and had no patterns or magazines, I really should have just walked out. At the moment the ‘local’ yarn store I really like is down in Westchester near the airport and really isn’t local at all. I went to my actual local yarn store and bought this yarn for a shawl. Have I mentioned they don’t carry a single yarn that is simply solid?!?! I am enjoying knitting this, it will be a gift. Once blocked I expect the shawl will be lovely. I still think I’d prefer it if the yarn weren’t tonal. I guess I’m back to buying online – even though that has its pitfalls as well. Light matters, this is the exact same corner of my owl quilt. I think the second photo is more accurate. As you can see, I’m busy appliqueing the border. It is going to take time, I think I need another quilting project in the mean time.This is what the applique looks like from the back, with the seams glued down. I’ve been using different glues. I don’t like the June Taylor glue, I do like the Fons and Porter, I especially like that I can buy it at JoAnn’s with a coupon.Four corners done, I want to fill in the background, it will be a lot of work but will be worth the effort. Joel asked who this is for? For us, not giving this one away! I will probably try and put it in some shows, I think it is that good.Look at this owl I saw in a shop, on a little girls dress in Montreal. It is machine embroidered, but I will probably copy this, do it by hand on the label of the owl quilt. Just saying.
Still exploring the city and being creative.Block by block, this quilt is growing.Top is now done. Most of the blocks are very similar, with differences in placement of color. There are some other shape differences as well, but not much. I love scrappy, I don’t like rainbow.
Now I have to figure out how to quilt this.I started a new knitting project, this is the swatch.It will be another cardigan. I know yarn stores are having a very hard time surviving, the big knitting craze of 10-15 years ago is over. So most stores carry specialty yarn, not the basics. Sure, I will be ordering basics online, but that does make it hard for me to support my LYS when I can’t find what I want. Because this is a very simple shape, the kettle dye look works, but I do miss just finding Cascade yarn at my LYS.
Clothes sewing continues. I have a wedding this summer which gives me an excuse to make a cute party dress. Yes, this is very simple, and yet it is lovely. I went to Mood LA and saw my friend Kay who now works there. We both agreed that the option on the right isn’t very accurate, it would take so much fabric to get those very large elements to look like that, in reality, they’d be chopped up.
So I started looking at silks, no luck, I don’t want solid color, what can I say, I’m a print girl! The prints were either too busy, or like this too big.So I ended up with the blue cotton print, a pretty lace for the inset and rayon lining. By fully lining the dress, I will give it more structure and that will help elevate it from a simple cotton dress.This time, I made a muslin, I want the dress to really fit right. I have a long torso, so I did add to the length of the bodice before making the muslin.It fits the dress form.More important, it fits me, no on to actually sewing the dress. Although it is a simple pattern, I’m not rushing anything. I want to get this right.
Ok, back to work.
I’m still busy creating, but it just feels a little slower this year. That is ok, as long as my hands aren’t idle.
I have been very slowly knitting a pair of socks.I bought the yarn during the LA Yarn crawl. That was back in early April.
I’m beginning to feel twinges in my elbow, so I’ve slowed down, I don’t knit every night. I have signed up to test bag patterns by Sew Sweetness. I can’t share the final product until the pattern goes public. But I will be using this clasp. A first for me, luckily other testers are sharing good advice.
Then there are the quilts in the wild. It makes perfect sense that working with tiles is similar to working with basic squares and triangles. These decorate an outdoor shopping mall. I wonder how many people pay attention to them. I will probably used them as quilt designs at some point.
Look what I found for donkey saddle bag. A Camel! How perfect is this?? I know, he doesn’t have any hump, so how do I know he is a camel and not a donkey? Look at the feet, a donkey has hooves, similar to a horse. A camel has big flat feet with large seperated toes, makes it easier to walk along the hot shifting sand.
Love both the camel and his saddle bag, and yes, people are welcome to sit on this.
I’ve knit a few shawls this year. My knitting has slowed down, since these days I only knit at night while watching TV. And if Bosch is on, I don’t want to miss a second because they really use LA as a backdrop to the story, no cutting corners. They even filmed a segment right near my yoga studio in North Hollywood. My only complaint about inaccuracy is that Bosch’s’ house has grown and sometimes the angle of the photography really looks like Shulman’s image of The Schall house in Hollywood. Oh well, it’s still a great show.
Now back to knitting.Orange shawl with orange rose. This is before blocking.This is after. I was trying to create a shorter crescent shawl. So I sort of invented the body but reused a border pattern from another shawl.I’ve yet to see if I like this length or not.It folds over nicely. This is a lovely Anzula yarn. I missed the Yarnover Truck last week, they have the best selection of this yarn. It is so soft and although the color is bright, it has a lot of variation in the dye.So just as the weather warms up, I have another cute wool shawl.It does give me the warmth and coverage I need on my back.
Problem is, I probably won’t be able to recreate this since it was really knit as I go. There were a lot of increases as well as some short rows. So this one is really just one of a kind.
Next, a pair of socks, I now have plenty of shawls, maybe in late summer I’ll start another sweater, we’ll see.
I’m not knitting as much as I used to, I spend more time and effort on quilting and sewing these days. LA Yarn crawl was this weekend, and since The Altered Stitch is half a mile from my house, I walked there on Friday.
It is a lovely shop with all kinds of hand dyed yarns.With samples of items made from the yarn, mostly shawls. My one complaint and it’s a big one is there is no standard basic yarn, certainly no acrylic yarn to make baby items. So yes, I did buy a skeinI might just knit socks with this, no sock lasts forever and I’ve had to retire a few pairs this year.Out in the back is a converted garage and little yard, space is being rented to a local dyer, here the wool is being prepped.Dyes are at the ready.Skeins are drying outside, some have more than one color, I forgot to ask if this is it, or are some of these skein getting more dye? This was it for me. My only stop on the yarn crawl, I am happy to say that another store has opened in Burbank. I have to go check it out, I’m hoping that they will carry sweater quantities of basic solid colored yarns.
I love knit fabric, especially one that is mostly rayon. And look at that print, those roses! This took two hours to make, I love my serger. The only thing I did on my sewing machine was sew the hems.The sun is in her eyes, otherwise, I can assure you, very happy granddaughter. Look how her shoes match perfectly.Who doesn’t love a dress that twirls?
And then there is the knitting that takes a long long time.Another shawl, although, sadly, despite all the work, it’s more like a scarf than a shawl, it does cover my shoulders, but not enough.Knitting with two yarns takes longer than just one. The narrow bands are one skein that gradually changes color.Interesting shaping, which is what attracted me in the first place. I’ve already wound up another ball of yarn, even if my knitting has slowed down a lot, I have to have a project on hand.
I’m slowing moving along with the purple quilt.I made more stars. I am very unhappy with these two. Working with mirror image and small sections – yikes! Many quilters these days embrace ‘improv’. I dislike that term and the resulting quilts. I like order, I like design. To me it’s a cop-out to throw things together haphazardly and then to pretend it’s some great design. Especially in quilting, I really like the accuracy of quilt blocks. So when I posted this on Instagram I got all kind of comments like: I don’t see whats’ wrong. Or I love the improv.
Two things, looking at these images on your phone means you can’t see the details. And no, no improv for me. So these two are joining a pile of orphan blocks. They may end up in a charity quilt. I don’t do my best work for charity. So be it, a bright handmade quilt is still a wonderful thing to give a needy person, even if it’s not my best work. I’m very selfish about my best work.I’m done with the stars for this quilt. Look closely and find the mistake, there is one. I’m not against using only perfect blocks. I like everyone else make mistakes, some are worth keeping.
So now it’s on to borders.Not bad.But does the narrow border come before the flying geese?Or after? I’m not sure yet. I really do enjoy having the design wall, it gives me a chance to try different options and step back. Right now I’m working on the flying geese border, and it doesn’t look like the picture, changes are being made.Other creative pursuits this time of year, making marmalade.I ended up not using the kumquats, I just ate them. I found a new Meyer lemon marmalade recipe that worked really well. I may have added more sugar than I have in the past. It still is that wonderful combination of tart and sweet. I made two small batches, easier than one big batch.Knitting is happening. This will be a shawl. The interesting thing about knitting, I’m doing less of it. I don’t need a lot of sweaters, shawls or socks. I am very selfish with my knitting since it is created one stitch at a time. So I find myself knitting less. I am grateful to have reconnected with some knitting friends, we get together once a month. Honestly, it’s not about the knitting, it’s about the friendship.
I exchange gifts with a number of friends around the country. This is supposed to be a Christmas exchange, but sometimes, things get delayed. It’s fine, because it’s so much fun getting a fun package in January.Vivian is from Texas, got to love Texas, Texans are full of state pride.What I really love is the shawl she knit me. Not only did she knit it, she also dyed the yarn. She is now my source for hand-dyed yarn, Hillview Yarns.January in LA means the Camellias are blooming. I have one bush, but my neighbors’ bushes always show off with a riot of color.I happen to be wearing a sweater I knit that matches this shawl perfectly. How cool is that?Then there is the gift I made. Shannon Fabrics has put out a very easy pattern for this blanket, using both their double gauze fabric and their super soft cuddle.I didn’t pre-wash the fabrics, just threw it into the machine after I put it together, it came out great.Eyal likes it.He sure is getting big. Very serious right here, although these days, he has that wonderful baby smile – where his whole face lights up. I was too busy enjoying the smiles to worry about getting a picture.
When I got back to knitting about 15 years ago I made a scarf out of Noro yarn for my son’s girlfriend, soon to be wife.This was the first brightly colored yarn out on the market that I remember. It is still going strong. So my DIL requested a new scarf, just like the old one, which has been destroyed from use. I had made another scarf a few years ago, but not with this yarn. So I placed an order and it arrived right after Christmas.A simple garter stitch on the biggest needles I own.I found another skein of Noro, in pinks and orange and combined it in.I haven’t blocked this, I won’t. With time the scarf will simply stretch out on its own.Sometimes the old tried and true are the way to go.And then there is quilting. In May, at the Spring Quilt Market, this fabric line and pattern were debuted with Moda. I fell in love with this pattern. I had to have it. What is shown at market usually doesn’t make it to the stores until months later. So I stalked an online store that said they’d notify me when the pattern arrived. Turns out that they were selling it as a kit with the fabric. You know me, I don’t like kits, and I really don’t like working with just one fabric line. Luckily I was able to buy the pattern on its own.Got to work, this bear is similar to Elizabeth Hartman’s animals. But it is much larger than I expected.Love seeing how the bear grows from row to row.Here the bear is complete, now to add the borders.I’m stopping here. Yes, the pattern calls for another round of borders, but that will make this too big. This is a baby quilt, it is quite large enough. I might make this again and if I do, I might make a larger size, but not on this project.
No, I didn’t complete this in 2017, I still need to quilt it. It is always a good idea to have a project that carries over into the new year.To end on a bright note, while the rest of the country is suffering record-breaking cold, my roses are sending out their final blooms of the year. In a month or so, the gardener will prune them back, so they can build up strength for next years blooms.