Bamboo/Acrylic Yarn Socks

They look pretty – I like the colour combination and the pattern but I have to say I don’t enjoy working with this yarn (Perfect Pair Yarn by Loops & Threads). I purchased the yarn originally at Michael’s but the yarn has gone out of production and isn’t available there any longer. I managed to find a couple of balls online of which this is one. The yarn is somewhat stretchier and finer than the wool yarn I prefer to knit with. The only reason I made this pair of socks is the friend who loves them can’t wear wool! So another gift completed.

New Fabric and Lobster Pots

Cuts of Fabric

Yesterday my neighbourhood sewing/fabric shop was holding a 50% sale – how could I resist? I went in early to pick up a few notions I knew were there, but the shop was full of women buying fabric, so I left. I returned around 3:00 to see if there was anything left that might be interesting – not really thinking about buying fabric but the black “William Morris” like fabric caught my eye and I started looking for bolts to complement that fabric. This is the pallet I came up with. When I got home I pulled the beige with cranberry dots from my stash to add to the collection.

Now the question is – what do I do with this? Some kind of drunkard’s path assembly? Is seven fabrics enough to do that – I’ll have to see what I can come up with.

Saturday, the day before, I joined a couple of friends on their annual excursion up the eastern shore Christmas Craft excursion. We made a bunch of stops. We saw lots of well executed woodwork, pottery, sewing, quilting, jewellery, painting. The arts community is alive and well in that part of the province! I didn’t buy anything – I don’t bother with Christmas shopping, nobody needs anything.

Lobster Pots

It was tricky finding a reasonable location to get a photo of this row of old lobster pots without the cars, or the road, or the house. A bit of cropping and editing – this is the best I could come up with.

Socks

This was an interesting yarn to work with – no repeats – just two complete socks in the ball. The break was identified by a length of white yarn separating the two socks – which I missed at first and thought it was where the second sock started! I got several inches into the second sock before I realized I hadn’t found the “beginning” of the second. I unravelled what I’d done and started the second sock to match the first.

I have another ball of that yarn in another colour. I’ll use it after I’ve finished the pair I’m working on at the moment. These were fun to work on since I had no idea how they were going to turn out. My colour placement was quite different than the image on the yarn wrapper. The yarn – Lang Twin Soxx.

Convergence 4 – Completed

I finally finished the quilt yesterday. It’s taken days to decide what to do within the narrow turquoise border. It was just a tad too wide to leave unquilted but too narrow to mirror the quilt block embroidery. I finally set up a half block I thought would work and got it done. Adding the hidden binding took little time (including the mitred corners). I hand stitched it down last night.

With the two previous Convergence quilts in my collection I will have three possible quilts to show together next summer. I may not use all of them, that depends on what I manage to create between now and then.

I’m happy with the appliqué work – the edge stitching is barely noticeable, you have to look very closely to see it. I like how it extends the bright colours to the the bottom right of the quilt without hitting you in the face, leaving the upper right corner the unadorned turquoise.

Appliqué Detail

I’m also pleased that my extending the square into a rectangle worked. I might play with that again sometime.

Now onto a bunch of unfinished projects sitting in my studio needing attention. First the fleece pants for my friend Joan; next the Kantha jacket remodelling for my friend Marlene, third the stack of six unfinished zippered bags from nearly a year ago – I did two last week, I’ll finish the rest up in a few days. There’s an Heirloom sewing workshop on my calendar but I don’t think enough people have signed up for that – I still want to use the panel I made a month or so ago to complete a nightgown, so that’s also on my ToDo list.

When those projects are completed I want to move on to some new wall art – I’ve just lined up a second summer showing – this one in Truro – I’ll need six or so pieces to display. They won’t be hung, they have to be attached to something firm in order to “stand” on a wide shelf – either some foamcore board or thin plywood. I have no idea how I’ll do that yet, but I’ll figure something out.

Lots to get done. Better get moving.

Kantha to Jacket

I’m getting organized to do a day long workshop in February on taking a Kantha bedspread and turning it into a jacket. I’ve probably explained what a Kantha is before but I’ll do it here again:

Kantha (meaning: “patched cloth”) refers both to the tradition of producing unique, quilted blankets (making something useful and beautiful out of discarded items), as well as the craft and stitch itself (a small, straight running stitch in Bengali embroidery). Here’s a link describing the work: https://www.shopdignify.com/pages/what-is-kantha

I got my inspiration from Meiko Mintz’s wonderful Kantha garments!

Here is my latest Kantha – a heavily embroidered pieced silk bedspread (with beading I’m going to have to watch carefully as I cut and sew the fabric):

A Silk Embroidered Kantha

The Meiko Mintz jackets are large and flowing

I’d love to wear something like that but I look better in a more tailored shape. In any case, I have pulled a bunch of jacket patterns from my pattern collection to share with the gals enrolled in the workshop.

I wouldn’t make any of these jackets as they are, but they provide ideas (and sizes) for necklines, front openings, pocket placement, sleeve shape and fit that give us a place to start. I’ll be suggesting the gals check out the Peppermint “West End Jacket”– it doesn’t look like anything but the pattern has lots of potential. It’s actually free but you can make a donation to Peppermint (which I did). You can download an A0 version as well as the tape-together PDF download. I was able to have the A0 version printed on large paper. Much easier to work from.

Now I have to modify and trace the Peppermint pattern pieces. I intend making the collar wider and pointed, I will keep the front drop shoulder but delete the back yoke (keeping the placement of the shoulder seam), change the patch pockets to welt pockets, make the jacket a bit longer and compensate by adding a couple of extra inches to the front so the jacket hangs straight, add a bit of flare to the front (not the back – I want the back to hang straight). Next I will trace the modified pattern pieces in my size, cut them out and start to play with placement on the Kantha – I want to showcase as much of the elaborate embroidery as possible, avoiding beading where I can (removing beads if I can’t miss cutting or sewing into them).

I’ve sent the gals a blurb about supplies and other information they need so they’re prepared for our Feb 25th day. I’m looking forward to seeing what they end up creating!

Success?

Middle of September I wrote about putting 20 Phalaenopsis out on my balcony to experience cooler nights. With the exception of the night I brought them inside to avoid damage from Hurricane Fiona, they were out a total of 15 nights where temperates were below 15°C – my hope was this would encourage these dormant plants to sent up shoots.

Looks like I may have succeeded. I was watering the plants yesterday, looking closely to see if there was any sign of spikes, although not expecting results yet, only to discover four plants have started a flower spike. Fingers crossed more will show signs of flowering over the next months or so.

There are several with new leaves and there are new aerial roots beginning on some, but definitely four have the start of a flower spike. I’m quite delighted. I have no idea what colour these blooms will be but I’m happy with whatever shows up. This is a slow process – there won’t be flowers for at least a couple of months as the spikes develop. It’s fun watching the new growth come along.

Border Done

Just finished the borders (with mitred corners) and I’m happy with the colour flow they provide. The hexagons bring out the hexagon blocks / the dropping dots showcase the dots within the panel – and the many fabric joins don’t show and when the borders are quilted they won’t catch the eye.

Next step: edge stitch the appliqué – I’m going to use a pale grey Invisifil thread which should disappear into the fabric. I wish I had a golden shade but I don’t and it doesn’t make sense to order one online (even on Amazon.ca the cost is prohibitive!). So, the pale grey it is with a 60 universal needle – very fine (which I have in my needle collection).

I’ll start working on that tomorrow.

Borders – Underway

Yesterday, I added the gold and turquoise borders to the panel. Today, I spent a lot of time avoiding the next step because if I wanted the dots fabric to go in the right direction I was going to have to waste a lot of it and I didn’t have a whole lot to work with. I really wanted to border the whole panel with the dots – but I barely had enough to complete two sides and even then I had to do a lot of piecing to get enough length! That fabric is now attached with the mitred corner in the bottom left.

I’ve cut two strips of the hexagon fabric for the other two sides – I need one more to finish the corner. I have plenty of that fabric – not a problem.

I still have to decide at what point to edge stitch (and embellish) the appliqué – I could do it as soon as the borders are complete; I could do it after assembling the quilt sandwich – when I do it depends on how I think about quilting the whole project. The previous convergence quilts I’ve done were quilted overall in the hoop on the embroidery machine. I’m not sure how that will look with the appliqué, however. Stitching-in-the-ditch won’t do it, though because that leaves the larger blocks unquilted space. So I will probably choose to quilt in the hoop which means I should edge stitch the appliqué before assembling the back with what leftover bits of fabric I have.

Convergence – Ongoing

First thing I did today was to recreate the dots/turquoise pairing strips setting them up so when interleaved with the flowers/hexagons the dark fabrics would be opposite one another, not adjacent. My goal was to end up with a rectangular rather than a square panel. I accomplished that by adding a final 9″ row of the dots/turquoise pairing to one end to make the block longer.

I have just finished assembling the panel – 35 x 44 – not quite large enough for a lap quilt. I want to end up with something closer to 48 x 60. I can can obviously add borders – 7″ all around would give me a finished size of 49 x 58. If the borders were a bit asymmetrical I could fudge the final size closer to 60″ in length.

However, first I need to sort out a narrow framing border around the panel to set it off from the borders which I can then assemble by piecing the original four fabrics. So back to the stash to see what I have that might close off the panel in an interesting way.

I’m also going to appliqué some flowers from the yellow fabric over the turquoise blocks at the bottom to bring that colour to that bottom right corner (in the photo on the left – I must have stood on the opposite side of the panel when I took the second photo!).

Afternoon Update

Panel With Fused Appliqué

I couldn’t leave the panel as it was – I applied some fusible web to the back of floral fabric, fussy cut a bunch of elements, then fused them in place. Now I need to edge-stitch and embellish them before I can go further. I’m definitely happier with those turquoise segments at the bottom partially covered – the appliqués extend the bright colours beyond their quadrant.

Convergence

OK, I’ve played with Ricky Tims’ convergence quilt idea before. There are a bunch of subtleties to consider and I don’t always see them until I’ve sewn the strips together.

In Convergence #1, I didn’t realize how small the constructed block would be, so to make a decent size lap quilt, I used it on-point, filling the corners with the corresponding fabrics and bordering with something compatible but different. While constructing Convergence #2, I misjudged how the two light colours would go together, cut them the wrong way; but fortunately, I had enough of both fabrics to redo the panel and salvage the quilt. I used the miscut strips from Convergence #2 to construct Convergence #3 by interspersing them with a multi-fabric panel, cut in strips and interleaved with the greys. I lengthened the panel in one dimension to make the resulting quilt a rectangle.

In thinking about another convergence quilt panel I chose four fabrics I thought worked well together (two batiks/two prints):

I thought the convergence array would make a bright panel.

A Square Convergence – Laid Out

A square block works as you’d expect it to. However, I wanted a rectangular panel so I had added another dark 9″ strip to the contrasting end of each pairing:

Extended Panel – Laid Out

Here’s where I didn’t anticipate the fabric placement – instead of cutting the blue dots/turquoise grunge as I did, I should have reverse the fabrics. I’m going to redo that fabric pairing to see whether the overall panel doesn’t work better. Fortunately I have enough fabric to do that and I’ll set aside the strips I currently have and use them in another quilt top (as I did with Convergence #2 and #3).

I suspect this arrangement could be salvaged were I to choose a good contrasting narrow sashing fabric. I’d intended using the dark hexagonal batik for the outer border but I’m not sure that will work well with this array.

Next task – redo the blue dots/turquoise grunge strips and see what that looks like. Tomorrow!