Wednesday, June 30, 2010

the rake's progress

I'm sure you're all dying for an update on the great race! Al should reach the halfway mark tomorrow morning, which means he'll probably get to Kauai about one day before I come home!

He's done well so far, and is almost caught up to the last 3 boats in the fleet, even though he started 4-1/2 days late. He does have a slightly faster boat, but he's also a good sailor... and he's been sounding happy and well-rested when I talk to him in the mornings.

I'm planning to take the featherweight with me and have my own private retreat under the ceiling fan -- sounds like it's pretty steamy there. We usually go to Hawaii in September after Labor Day, and this will be my first time in the summer with heat and lots of tourists!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The roller coaster...

Well -- new developments on the racing front! Al came home and moped around the boat for a couple of days and cleaned up a few things and fiddled with the radio and talked to people about how to make it work ... and decided to go back out and re-start the race! There was one other guy who had started and come back twice because of leaks in his boat (yikes!) and he was planning to go again after making more repairs. It turned out that his boat was still leaking the third time, so he's now officially withdrawn. But Al has been out since yesterday afternoon and is doing well -- and he is SO much happier for having made the decision to do it. A couple of sailing friends have suggested that he might be able to catch up at least a couple of the days that he missed. I'm hoping -- otherwise I'll be hanging out on Kauai largely by myself!

Still haven't done any sewing but here's the knitting I promised. It's a Multnomah Scarf, from a pattern on ravelry. My friend Dianne suggested it as a way to get into knitting lace, and it's a very easy pattern. I used some sock yarn from Knitpicks in a color called "gingerbread house" -- sorry the photos are a little fuzzy. Don't look too closely because there is a mistake in the middle...
It's the perfect size to wrap around your neck with a jacket when the fog season starts here -- like right around now! Here's some detail:

I promise some sewing will happen this weekend!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

race update...

Well, good news and bad news... the good news is that Al is fine. The bad news is that his radio crapped out, and you can't do an ocean race without a radio. So, I had a call from the race chair to let me know he was scrapping it and heading home --

To answer a couple of other questions: it was supposed to have taken about 2 weeks, give or take a couple of days. They run the race every two years, so I expect he'll make another try in 2012!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

and they're off!

The Single-handed TransPac race started this morning, and Al is off and running... or sailing, that is. It's a sailboat race from San Francisco to Hanalei, Hawaii, a distance of about 2,120 miles. Single-handed means just that -- each of the 15 boats has one person on board!

Here's a brief moment of relaxation before his boat got towed out to the starting area. (He can use his engine for electrical power, but they seal the drive-shaft so that he can prove he only used sail-power for the duration of the race)
Milling around before the start of the race... Angel Island is in the background.
And, he crosses the starting line, with San Francisco, Alcatraz, and the Bay Bridge as a backdrop!
My sister arrived from Tasmania for a visit last weekend so I haven't been doing much sewing, but I did manage to finish up last month's UFO project. This was a row robin from 2007, I think, and it's all variations on log cabin blocks.

Next up, I'll have some knitting to show off.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

long-term robin project comes home!

Look what arrived in the mail today -- a round robin project that started more than a year ago and has been to Israel and the UK as well as all over the US. My original block was the lantern in the upper left corner --and then each participant added a little something in accordance with the rules of the game. This one has some bling in the form of rhinestones and metallic thread -- there's a dragon applique which (unintentionally) goes along with my being born in the year of the Dragon.

*edited to add: Tomodachi means "Friend"!

I've done two of these projects and the group has decided to disband now. I don't think I'm in the mood to do another in the near future, but Kate is working on plans for a stay-at-home round robin in this vein, if you're interested. And if you want to organize your own group I'd be happy to provide the guidelines we used -- it requires 14 people who are willing to keep it all secret for quite a while! Most of the steps are fairly quick -- and everyone ends up with a unique quilt.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Monday's design wall, basketry, and a small rant

First things first -- I haven't shown my design wall for a while, so here's something new. I bought a "Bali Pop" about a year and a half ago and I've been trying to figure out what to do with it. I stumbled across Kaffe Fassett's "S Block" pattern in a library book recently and it just fit the bill!This is the color scheme called "spumoni"... I always hated spumoni ice cream -- all those weird little hard chunks of something unidentifiable -- but I'm loving these rich colors. They're very similar to the last quilt I posted, as a matter of fact. I have a few more blocks to make and I think this one will get done pretty quickly!

We interrupt this post for a brief rant: Bali Pops. They're supposed to be 2.5" strips, and you'd think that they would measure 2.5". You would be mistaken! Most of them measure a very scant 2.5" in some places and as much as 1/8" less in others. That means that if you're cookin' along with scant 1/4" seams, the finished block is going to measure something significantly less than you expect it to. That's why MY blocks are going to finish at 9.5" instead of 10". It's not tragic with this pattern, but I'd be ticked if I was doing something with a lot of points to think about.

I've taken up basket-weaving in my spare time -- well not really. Wonky baskets are this month's block lotto project, and here is my collection. These were surprisingly fun and easy to make -- even the bias handles:

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

a solid question

I have never ever sewn with solid fabrics*. Tone-on-tones, watercolor batiks, hand-dyes... but never solids. Since reading Cherri House's new "City Quilts" book, I've been thinking a lot about solids and I have a few questions for you, my faithful and informed readers!

- what is your favorite brand / line of solids?
- how on earth do you choose colors from all that are available?
- favorite place to shop for them?
- anything else you want to say?

* except for the occasional Kona black or snow background for swap blocks

p.s. photo "borrowed" from; I want a stack like that!