I know I’ve been atrocious about keeping up with my blogging (which I seem to do in fits and starts anyway, so it’s really no surprise there), so I thought I’d catch you up a bit!
In September, I made another faux chenille baby blanket (this time, without burning the ever living daylights out of myself on the iron, thankfully!). This blanket was for my supervisor, who had a baby girl earlier this month. It finished in at about 39 inches square, and went a bit smoother than the last two. In addition to spray-basting the living daylights out of all four layers of flannel and the layer of cotton, I also basted it with thread in about thirds (with my machine, trying to hand stitch all that would have been insane!) Even though my sewing machine has a built in walking foot, the layers crept and shifted a bit last time, so I also reduced the presser foot pressure by about a quarter of a turn of the dial, and that seemed to work out very well. I really love how well these blankets snuggle and drape!
I don’t recall if this blanket got washed and dried three times or four before I gifted it – not only to get the flannel to fuzz and crinkle good and wash out all of that spray-baste, but I also wanted to get it to the point of de-linting that the lint trap of the dryer didn’t have to be cleaned out every 10 minutes or less. I used my Olfa Chenille Cutter tool again, but the blade is dulling a bit, and it’s designed to drag (similar to a letter opener) rather than roll like a rotary cutter, it was getting a bit frustrating by the time I finished this blanket. I know there are chenille cutters that are designed to work more like a rotary cutter, so I’d like to try one of those next time.
I also – FINALLY – knit a “lowbrow cowl” for myself, like I made for Mom and for Karen two years ago with the intention of promptly making one for myself. I’m actually about a third of the way into a second one for myself, in another colorway. Both cowls are one “repeat” (16 stitches) bigger around than the ones I made before – I wanted a looser fit around my neck. I got some Madeline Tosh yarn that’s just heavenly – my finished cowl is in “Autumn Trinket”, in 100% superwash merino wool, and the cowl-in-progress is in “Tannehill”, which is a lovely variegated dark green, in a 50/50 silk/superwash merino wool blend. I like using natural fibers for scarves, because they’re less likely to create static in my hair than synthetic fibers, and the room that my desk is in at work is chilly enough that I’ll be wearing my scarves indoors all day!
One of the three geometric sewing machine blocks from the quilting retreat has been turned into a finished project! All three blocks are intended to each be turned into a “Pouch With a View“, and I’ve got two left to go. I gifted this first pouch this week at our quilt meeting to Christine, as a thank you for doing all of the driving when we were shop hopping in 100 degree heat in Portland dealing with their insane traffic. Another quilty friend, Roxanne, was amazing and not only did the machine embroidery on all three blocks for me, but brought them to me at work the very next day after I’d given them to her! The second pouch will be gifted next month at the reveal for our “secret sister” swap, and the third pouch is for ME! Not only is the “extra large” pouch size just right for holding an unfinished 12.5″ square quilt block, but I’ve discovered they’ll also hold an 11″ Q-Snap embroidery frame beautifully… and as I’ll be attending an embroidery class at QuiltCon taught by Alison Glass, the designer of the fabric in the sewing machine, I’ll totally be fangirling it up at QuiltCon.
I learned my lesson on the first pouch that I made, to put too pretty of a fabric on the inside of the pouch – once you put in your quilt block or embroidery, you can no longer see the lining fabric! (oops!) The glare is terrible in the photo, and the color is slightly off, but I loved the fabric colors for the lining of this pouch. I’m glad that the tension on my sewing machine behaved itself and I was able to use green thread in the bobbin and gray on top, without either color showing on the wrong side for the 1/2 inch crosshatch quilting! I think I’ll do the other pouches like this, too.
I’ve been working on a bit of “secret sewing” lately – both for the secret sisters swap in my quilt guild, as well as a “Stitch Kit Swap” that I signed up for. I’m keeping the photos I share in black and white for now, because we were supposed to buy a skein of sock yarn and make a matching knitting project bag in colors of our partner’s choice – and I don’t want my partner to figure it out based on the colors! I really love this pattern – it’s the Luxie Lunch Bag from Emmaline Bags, but it looked perfect for a knitting/sewing project bag, and went together much easier than I’d expected! This is the first time I’ve sewn with piping, and I think that went pretty well, too.
This pattern calls for a wire frame to be inserted in the top once the bag is complete. Combined with the layer of ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable foam, the bag stands up and open beautifully, which I think makes it a perfect place to keep your ball of yarn as you work on your project! I think that when I make more of these bags, though, that I’ll use the “short handle” option where the handles attach between the body of the bag and the top contrast piece, so that they don’t flop onto the ground/table… especially for one that will actually be used as a lunch bag instead of a project bag!
Tonight, I pulled out a few scraps of fabric from the bag and made a double-pointed needle (DPN) keeper to go with the bag. I used the basics from The Nome Knitter’s tutorial, but I changed the order of assembly a bit to make the side seams lay flatter. 7 inch long DPNs will fit in the keeper above the snaps – which keep your project (usually a sock) centered on the needles so you don’t lose stitches, and the sock hangs down out of the keeper in between the snaps.
And for a Happy Halloween photo… I took a 5 session photography class through Pierce College, that had some good information on how to use the various settings and features on my DSLR, and we got taught how to create this effect while taking a photo. I used my tripod and a four second shutter, and while the shutter was open, I zoomed the lens all the way out, after starting zoomed all the way in, which gives the double-image effect. I think it turned out pretty cool 🙂
Mia is quite happy that I finally replaced the bulb in my halogen desk lamp, so she can get her fake-and-bake in. We’re off to the vet in the morning, since somebody has a bladder infection again. Monkey’s been indoors more with the weather turning wet and cold, but she keeps wanting outside and then being grumpy when she’s all wet coming back inside. Considering she does this every year… I’m not sure she’ll learn. The chickens are also unimpressed with our rainy weather, since between the rain and sunset being just barely after 6pm when I’m off work at 5pm, they haven’t gotten to free range in over a week now. Hopefully I can give them a little outside time this weekend. I’ve been getting about three eggs a day… they’re getting a little bigger than they were, and I’m getting enough eggs that I’ve been able to sell a couple dozen. Time to earn your keep, girls! 😉