Sunday, May 10, 2015


As if I didn't already have enough crafty stuff going on around here, there's something new: a small loom.  A rigid heddle loom, to be exact -- just about the easiest kind of loom to work with. I've been looking at other bloggers' weaving projects for the last year or two and finally decided to take a class at a local shop.  Just before the class, I went to Stitches West  (a huge yarn show in Santa Clara -- sort of the equivalent of PIQF except it's pretty much all vendors!) and saw a woven scarf that I knew I had to duplicate -- and here is it:

The yarn has lovely thick "blobs" in it that I pulled up into puffy bits of texture in the weaving. It was so much fun that I had to buy the loom.

I've just finished my second project, using some recycled silk sari yarn that's been at the bottom of my stash for quite a while.  We recently replaced out 25-year-old sofa -- can you guess why? I have no idea what possessed us to pick out that huge floral print...
 The new sofa is simple and bright, and the silk yarn became accent pillows for it:

The yarn is like one of those old-fashioned surprise balls we used to get as gifts -- a way long time ago, before everyone decided it was a bad thing to give tiny little toys to small children -- as the lengths of spun cloth are joined together in no particular order and you never know what color will come next in the ball.

I have about 2 balls of yarn left, so there will probably be another colorful shawl coming up sometime.

Where have I been?

Well, I think 6 weeks is long enough!  There's been some travel along the way (Lisbon and New Orleans, both for work) and a new little hobby (weaving) but mostly just "too lazy to write".  I think I'll do at least a couple of posts so anyone left reading this blog doesn't suffer from overload all at once.

I'll start with Lisbon, since that come first.  I'd never been there before, and now I'm dying to go back and spend more time all around Portugal.  I had a free day the last day, so I took a food-and-wine walking tour that lasted nearly 6 hours.  We had traditional, extremely strong coffee and pastries, cheese and port, cherry liquor, beer, a variety of seafood treats, and local wine -- along with a bunch of stairs, a ferry ride, and lots and lots of history. It was fabulous!  Our guide spoke beautiful English and was so knowledgeable.

Lovely and very rich pastries at Pasteis de Belem  
(sorry, I can't figure out how to add the accents in blogger...)

wall ornament seen from the trolley in a hilly area near the castle
Wonderful graphic design for one course of a great dinner -- I think this included a scallop, a turnip, and about 8 other flavors!
One of many mosaic sidewalks
One of my favorite views -- looking at the castle

Shortly after returning from Lisbon, my sister and I were off to Asilomar to take a workshop with Hilde Morin. It was called "In and Around Town" and the project was to create your own vision of a town, cityscape, village... working from a photograph.

 I used the photo from Lisbon for inspiration, and here is my finished top. I have the backing ready to but haven't started quilting yet.

The class was one of the best I've had! Hilde was full of information and helpful ideas, patient with everyone, and taught a variety of techniques -- and she'll be there again in 2016 if anyone is interested...

Next up: New Orleans, and more pastry!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cross Stitch De-stash / Giveaway

My friend Kate did a giveaway of a bunch of cross stitch patterns recently, which has prompted me to go through my cupboard and offer up the following patterns.  Some of these I've made and some have just been sitting around for way too long...

 I did make this bookmark a while ago -- I keep losing it and re-discovering it...

 This one was made with hand-dyed thread... lovely!

 Hard to see the photo, but this is tiny gardening tools

 Another one that wouldn't photograph well for me -- it's apples, one of my favorites!

 I made this for a sister-in-law. Again it's hard to see, but there's a sundae dish in the middle.

 I think originally came from Kate, actually!

Send a comment or an email if you're interested in any of these. If there are conflicts, I'll flip a coin...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

A little bit late in the day, but thought I'd post a picture of a top I finished recently -- this is a Buggy Barn pattern.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

blog feed question...

Is anyone out there using Feedly to read my blog?  Is it working?  Are you using another feed service that you really like?

I've discovered that Feedly is arbitrarily "dropping" some of the blogs I subscribe to -- for instance, it never fed me my post from last night!  A spot check found several other blogs I subscribe to where recent posts hadn't been included in my feed. 

Pretty annoying -- since the purpose of using Feedly is to NOT have to go and look at each blog individually to see if there's something new!  I've sent them an email to ask about it... although I have to say I'm not expecting much.

Friday, January 30, 2015

I'm still here...

It's been a while --   I suppose I could blame my long silence on the cotton robin, but that would be disingenuous... so -- no excuses!

Here's a random sampling of things I've been messing with in the last month or so:

 First up -- the first sweater I've made in ages that I really like! The basic pattern, "Humboldt", came from an issue of KnitScene magazine, but then I translated it into a "Custom Fit" pattern using my own measurements.  If you haven't checked out Amy Herzog's Custom Fit program, it's well worth it in my opinion! The yarn on this is Cascade 200 Sport.
 This is a top I've been working on for quite a while -- the pattern came from an issue of Quilty magazine.  I'm not happy with my sewing... if you look at the bottom you'll see that the columns all skew to the right.  Not sure how my seam allowances got far enough "off" to make this happen, but one of these days I will do a bit of ripping and see if I can get things to straighten out.  Since it's the kind of design that will probably hang on a wall at least some of the time, I think it needs to be better.
This was a stash-buster, using a bunch of cherry-print fabrics I had collected for some reason.  The pattern was, again, from an issue of Quilty magazine, which seems to be full of great ideas for quick but effective projects.

I don't think I showed these next two since they were finished -- apologies if I did already!

This was made for the scrappy rainbow challenge a couple of years ago, and I call it "Knot a Rainbow".  It was beautifully quilted by Tami Levin at The Quilted Lemon, using a modern serpentine design.

The next quilt is Elephant Parade. The blocks came from a birthday block swap several years ago.  This one was also quilted by Tami Levin, this time with a beautiful paisley pattern that you can see in the detail photo.

Next time -- the birthday sweaters for the twins (niece and nephew), who will be 3 in a couple of weeks; and maybe a couple of fabric-y finishes.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Cotton Robin: start your engines!

Here's last call for the Cotton Robin. It's not too late to join in, so shoot me an email if you want to participate. I won't do my spreadsheet until sometime towards the end of the month, possibly with assistance from some eggnog.

Here are the basic instructions; relevant dates can be found at the Cotton Robin blog:

  • You will make a center block, which may be square or rectangular. It may have maximum dimensions of 9.5" x 9.5" or 8.5" x 10.5" (unfinished dimensions) 
  • The challenge this year is to use color in a way that you haven't tried before or which is out of your comfort zone -- for instance, "low volume", monochromatic, new combination of colors, all solids, etc. 
  • You will send the block to me with $2 in cash or stamps or chocolate to defray my postage costs for the next mailing.  (I'll be sending you my mailing address)
  • You may include a very small amount of extra fabric (no more than 1/4 yard), a quilt label, and/or some words about your likes and dislikes -- all of these are optional.
  • I will then send you someone else's center block,to which you will add a pieced border, following the color clues from the center block and any notes the maker may have provided.
  • You'll then mail that block-plus-border to someone else.
  • You will receive another project in the mail;  to this you will add a second border. 
  • Then you will mail the block-plus-two-borders to another person.
  • You will receive a final project in the mail.  You will add batting and backing and quilt this and bind it.  It’s nice to include a hanging sleeve as well.  You will mail the finished quilt along with the label (if there was one) to its original maker.
  • Please keep in mind that the finished quilt shouldn’t be bigger than (approximately) 20” x 20”, so size your borders accordingly, and remember to leave enough “space” for a second border when you are constructing the first border.  You can include plain strips if needed or desired for sizing or decoration, but the main borders should not be plain strips!   
  • Please do not add any embellishments (beads, etc) to the borders – you may add them when you’re doing the quilting, if you wish.  
  • Please do not use any fabrics in the borders that cannot be washed and ironed or that are especially prone to ravelling ... we've had issues!
  • You will not post any photos of your center block or borders here or elsewhere -- but you may post "teaser" photos of the borders without the center block showing, or with color changes, etc.  Please email me a photo of the finished quilt before you send it "home".
  • You will email me or post to the blog when you send something and when you receive something, so that I can keep track!