A Quilt for Jess

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My friend Jess lives in Brooklyn with her two adorable kids, and we’ve been online friends for years! She was lamenting that she had all these beautiful fabrics that she’d brought back from a trip to India, but never enough time to do something with them.

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I’ve really been enjoying hand quilting the last few years, so I volunteered to make her fabrics up into a quilt! It seemed like a nice opportunity to put a quilt together without having buy all the materials (which can be a lot) and sometimes I like the act of making even more than the finished product.

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She packed up all the fabrics and batting and mailed them up to me, with the understanding that it might take me awhile to get the quilt done. I was aiming for a year, but it took a little longer – about 17 months. Of course I didn’t work on it intensively, there were times when I would put it down for weeks. The top went pretty quickly because I did it on the machine – this strip piecing tutorial came in very handy. Each block is about 4.5″ square, finished.

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I actually make the top a little too big the first time, so I just took a couple of strips off the side and bottom. I used one pieced strip down the middle of the back, and the others to make the striped binding.

The back is made up of width-of-fabric strips that I didn’t use for the top, with blues/greens on one side of the centre strip and pinks/yellows on the other. Once everything was pieced, I made my quilt sandwich and thread basted it together really well before I started hand quilting.

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A Quilt for Jess
Time: March 2015-August 2016
Materials: Printed cotton fabrics from India, cotton batting
Techniques: Machine pieced, hand quilted, hand bound
Size: 80″ square

It’s not perfect, but I know it’ll be cherished for years to come!

new skeins

I forgot to share my purchases from Verb in Oakland! One of the “reasons” I “had” to buy stuff was to pay Denny for her excellent sample knitting.

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She got some fancy yarn…

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And some fancy fabric! Khadi cotton and cotton grown by Sally Fox! I’m pretty sure Denny’s already knit and sewn up all this stuff by now ;)

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I got just a yard of this wide naturally-dyed linen – I think it’ll be enough for a longish sleeveless top. And a little yarn, of course! I also picked up Sonya Phillips’ Dress No 3 pattern, since she had picked us up from the hotel to go to Verb it seemed like the right thing to do.

More new skeins, a few that I spun up in July. It’s a good thing I wasn’t reeeeally doing the Tour de Fleece because this is all I managed.

july-handspun

Top: Polwarth in Flintstoner from Indigodragonfly
Middle: BFL-silk in a colour way I can’t remember, also from Indigodragonfly
Bottom: Polwarth/silk in Reverberate (OOAK) from Pigeonroof Studios

For all of these, I split the top lengthwise down the middle and spun each half onto a separate bobbin, because mine don’t quite hold a full 4oz. Then once all the singles were done, I used the jumbo plying head on my Lendrum to chain-ply them, joining the two bobbins’ worth and hopefully keeping the colours nicely intact.

I’m planning to put up some handspun for sale soon so keep an eye out if you’re interested!

New year, old needles

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Hello! Been awhile, hasn’t it? I had a nice relaxing time over the holidays, with just a little work sprinkled in. I spent Christmas at my parents’ house, and packed way more knitting than could possibly have been knit in three days away. My sisters and I decorated cookies, and filled our parents’ stockings for the first time (I think they liked it), and helped with the cooking for a very quiet Christmas dinner with no guests. The extended family usually comes over for a huge dinner, but it’s a pretty big do and my parents just weren’t up to it this year. At first I was a little disappointed that the tradition was broken, but it was really nice not to worry about cleaning the house and getting everything ready for guests!

I’m a big fan of the week between Christmas and New Year’s – it really feels like it’s okay to be perfectly slothful, even if you need to work for a couple days that week. Dale and I went to Ikea to scope out a new couch on the Wednesday before New Years’ – pro-tip? Don’t! Luckily we didn’t actually need to buy anything, the lineups for the cash registers were insane. (We did end up ordering the couch from the Ikea website, they had a new year’s day flash sale! Hooray new couch!) New Year’s was spent at home, doing a lot of cleaning, playing new video games (thank you!) and drinking hard ciders.

Since I didn’t get to it before Christmas, I cast on a new pair of Fiber Trends Felted Clogs for Dale! His last pair had been worn to death and he even managed to wear a hole straight through the sole on one of them. I picked up some navy Cascade 220 (1 skein was enough) and light grey Galway (2 skeins) to work up a new pair.

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The finished unfelted slippers look so funny, don’t they? But this Fiber Trends pattern really is just the best – clever shaping, super fast, always turn out well! My only complaint is that you really do need to follow the pattern carefully, so no stuffing this project into my purse for on-the-go knitting. Perfect for loafing around at home knitting time. It took me until last week to actually felt them – excuse any fluff on them, of course they’re already in use ;)

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They aren’t felted quite as firmly as his old pair, but those ones have been through quite a few washes since they were first made, and probably tightened up more every time. I love that contrast band around the opening!

Alas, back to reality is tough as it always is. I’m a bit between projects at the moment, and had a bit of a tough time last week trying to figure out what I need to do in the next little while. There’s yarn on its way for some upcoming deadlines, but it’s not here yet, and I don’t want to get toooooo far into a brand new project at the moment. Solutions?

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Work on my colour work sweater – both sleeves are done, so it’s just about time to join for the yoke.

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Also, spinning! It’s been ages since I’ve had time to sit at my wheel, and I really missed it. For awhile my spinning stash was pretty low and uninspiring, but I’ve restocked with some very pretty fibres.

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The Mountain Colors targhee wool was really lovely to spin. Targhee has an interesting matte quality to it, and is quite sticky (the wool fibres want to clump together) but also very springy and elastic, making for easy long draw drafting. I divided the top into 2 pieces, then spun each separately aiming for a 2ply fingering weight. We’ll see how it ends up after the plying, I’m pretty out of practice.

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In addition to the targhee, I also spun up the green-blue-white braid on the left side of my spinning basket there – it’s Polwarth wool from Pigeonroof Studios. I’ve always wanted to try Krista’s yarns, and this fiber was on sale in her Etsy shop awhile back. Spinning the polwarth right after the targhee was pretty educational! Polwarth has more sheen than targhee, and is a little bit more slippery. It was really fast and easy to spin! I split the top into 2 pieces and spun them separately again, but a bit thicker for a 2ply worsted-ish weight.

I’m not one for resolutions, but this spinning jag has me wanting to spin a LOT more this year! A numbered series of skeins for the year is pretty appealing. I even ordered the jumbo plying head for my Lendrum yesterday. Unfortunately it’s out of stock for a few weeks, but I’m pretty excited about it. Speaking of which, I should go do some plying.