Olympics: Day Two

I made a bit of progress yesterday, but didn’t actually start knitting until well after dinner. Instead, I made progress on two projects so that I could get them folded up and out of the way before my job starts tomorrow. First, I finished redoing the sleeves of my purple cable sweater and wet-blocked it:

I know a lot of people don’t like wet-blocking wool, but I needed to widen the cable sections, so it seemed like the best option. In general, I find wet-blocking much more effective than spritzing or steaming.

Then, I finished up the sky squares of the quilt:

I’m pleased with the way they came out, but I’m not completely sewing it up yet. I think I may end up adding another row of sky squares underneath the two pure blue ones. It would be a mix of the light blues used in the blue and yellow squares plus two or three of the medium blues. I think it may make the transition work better. I’m waiting until I have more of the quilt done, though, to decide if it would work proportionally.

And finally, here’s the scarf progress:

Right now it looks a little bit Vegas, but I think that once I’m past the beads it will look more subtle. I’m pretty sure it’s just having *all* beads that’s making it so gaudy/brilliant. It looks better in daylight than it did last night.

Today’s progress

A quick post before I head off to knitting… I spent most of the afternoon working on my quilt. The strips have been decorating the bedroom since the summer (which, if you consider it, was actually quite a while ago — how time flies, especially for interrupted craft projects). For those who no longer recall, here are links back to my inspiration and fabric, my self-designed pattern, and some early progress. I’ve spent the day listening to NPR and working on quilt squares. I’ve made it completely through the yellow — my first color to cross off! These “squares” are actually longer than they are wide, because I’ll be cutting them in half to seam to blue squares. I just have to make four long blue squares and then I’ll be done with the sky.

I happened to finish just as the light outside was turning pink, so I took the camera up the hill for a quick sunset photo. It’s not going down until 5:30! Progress!

Quilt Progress

I’m done with the all-blue squares for the sky! 🙂

I was talking to some people from knitting, and realized that they were under the impression that the squares were large. Not at all! Each stripe of the fabric is 1/2 an inch wide, and the entire square is only 5″x5″ (or at least, that was the intention… very few of the “squares” actually fit the moniker). So here’s a picture with my hand for perspective:

And finally, since it’s always fun to see the messy side, here it is (it looks surprisingly similar to the front, since each strip starts as an inch wide, so the two 1/4 inch seams fold back to present the same right-side color):

The first quintet

I finally got all of the fabric ironed and cut into strips a few nights ago. All of that color sitting just inside the door to the bedroom makes me happy.

Then I got on a square making kick last night, and so here’s the progress:

Aren’t they pretty? I still have yet to make a perfect 5″ square, but someday it will happen. I also noticed that sometimes I log-cabin around clockwise and sometimes it’s counter-clockwise. However, since the point of the squares is to blend the colors, not to create a pattern, I don’t think it matters so much, and I can keep quilting as the spirit moves me.

First time!

Here’s the first log cabin “square”, yay quilting:

The colors rock, yet I think something went awry on the assembling, as the end result is 4 3/4″ x 5″ instead of a solid 5-by-5. Obviously more practice is needed. 🙂 I’m in luck though, as the final square count is over 80 so by the end of this I should be an expert. I’m figuring to aim for a square a night, and hoping the assembling will move faster as I get in the groove. Meanwhile, I’m loving the 1/4″ foot that came with my sewing machine (thanks again, Mom and Dad!! — the machine was my endlessly appreciated and already highly used birthday present from last year.)

I’ll try not to post pictures of every new square. 🙂 Though: Kevin was actually amazed at the result. Mad cool. I’m used to a delay and a “huh” when it comes to crafting… 😛

My kind of workday

After a great weekend replete with movie, beach and deck time, I settled down to “work” on Monday with the washed and ironed quilt fabrics and the mat and cutter. The circular cutter took a while to get used to. I finally figured out that I had much better control when I stopped holding it like an x-acto (hand over the top, cutter at a 45 degree angle), and starting holding it vertically with my hand on the side (rather the way you would if you were stabbing with a knife – sorry for the graphic analogy :-P). I also didn’t realize until I was 8 colors in that cutting one way is much stretchier than the other way. I get confused if it’s with the selvage or against (I don’t have my lingo down yet), but things went much quicker when I started cutting parallel to the woven edge. My fabric was pretty neatly divided between fat quarters and 1/8 of a yard cuts, and so some of the cuts won’t be long enough for the 10″ strips that I’ll need for the outer edges of the squares, but I should be able to fake something together for those.

I finished all of the blues and purples, which felt like major progress. I only have greens left to cut at this point, though I think I’m going to need more fabric – more greens, some yellow for the sky where it meets the mountains, and a different color purple – one of the colors is too yellow, and needs to be redder or else it won’t progress properly (see the half line in the picture below). I was worried about it when I bought it, but after cutting it became too clear that it was a completely different color family.

On again, …

I planned to wait to post these until I made enough progress for them to look like something, but somehow this has been one of those months where the projects get started but never really wrap up. So, in the name of procrastination and a large enough apartment to get away with it, here’s the new circulation system for the tank (thanks to silicone & pvc master, Kevin):

(and somehow, those looong pvc pipes fit in the mustang. allegedly with the windows closed. wow.)

and here’s the design for the quilt-to-be:

The mountains were giving me problems (I want them to look like the view of the Olympics from my street), until I decided to turn their grid 45 degrees. It won’t be a traditional log cabin anymore, but I’ve decided I’m completely fine with that. Upon further consideration, I decided that this actually has multiple upsides. Not only are they now recognizable, but I think they really have the potential to “pop” now. I haven’t been able to figure out how to make them command the attention they should (for example, it’s dangerous to drive when the real ones are out, they’re so exceptionally mesmerizing.) The grid shift won’t completely solve this, but will certainly help draw the eye. Perhaps a good stitching pattern for quilting would solve the rest?

For the Color Addicts out there…

My books on quilting all came in at the library, and while I was picking them up, I came across one called A New Look at Log Cabin Quilts by Flavin Glover. It’s amazing. Basically, she uses a mix of log cabin blocks and techniques to make these amazing landscape quilts. I took pictures of some of the finished quilts — go find this book, it’s so fun to read:

Isn’t that awesome?? She said that you should work on a scene that inspires you and that’s meaningful. Living in Washington, I’m surrounded by them, but it wasn’t hard to choose the view across Lake Washington overlooking the Olympics and Seattle.

I don’t have any confidence that I’ll be able to even approximate her results, but I got all inspired and went to the fabric store and came home with this:

Isn’t it beautiful?? Best of all, it was all 50% off, so each color only cost $.45 for a quarter yard. My hat goes off to the Joann fabrics woman who did all the cutting — she didn’t seem put out by it at all. So now I have blue for the sky and water, purple for the mountains, green for the hill and trees in the foreground and the opposite shore’s near hills, and pinks and greys for the sun setting behind Seattle.

The picture part of the quilt is going to be about five feet square, and then I took my mother’s excellent advice and bought (cheap and nice-feeling) flat sheets to sew up for the rest of the front and the backing. I bought a light blue king size for the back and a deep blue queen size to frame the front, and here are both of them with the trim: Oooh. 🙂

Crafting Along Nicely

I finally got a nice daylight shot of Tie One On without the flash. I’m nearly at the 8-inch decrease, so it feels like great progress. The colors are much more true here, though I still think you see the purple in the tape more than in real life and the gold less.

It’s posing on top of the new, lovely comforter that we got from Ikea this afternoon. This was my first Ikea experience, and it was god-awful. Saturday crowds, more expensive than I was expecting, and too much birch. However, Kevin got an ottoman for his office for $20 (a longtime want), and we decided to buy this comforter interior, which was $50 for the king size. It was the second cheapest of the ten they had, but we liked it the best (don’t you love it when that happens?). We spent some time trying to figure out what we were missing in the pricing, but finally gave up and felt like we’d earned it. I’m all excited about making a cover for it… Kevin’s slightly more skeptical, but I think it will work out brilliantly. The only sad part of the deal is that it will replace the quilt that my grandmother made me as a going-to-college present. The switch is slightly overdue, since the quilt doesn’t quite fit my queensized bed and I’m worried about tearing it, and the bedroom is so bright that it’s really starting to fade. Kevin suggested that we could maybe hang it in the dimmer bedroom downstairs, though, which made me more cheerful.

Now all that’s left is choosing fabric… 🙂 Something along this idea is what I have in my mind’s eye, but I haven’t run it by kevin yet. I don’t think I’m quite up for a whole quilt (anyone have a sense of how long one takes??), but I’d love to quilt pieces of it and use a uniform color for the rest.