I knit these socks for my niece’s stepdaughter who’s studying biomedical engineering at university. She wears a size 9 shoe – people always think it odd when I ask their shoe size – but that’s how I know how long to make the foot of a sock. I checked my sock stash and I did have a couple of pairs of socks that would have fit her, but they were rather dull, more suitable for a man (men generally prefer sedate socks rather than bright ones – except for one of my brothers-in-law who has a collection of quite wild socks – two drawers worth, I understand, although I’ve never seen them except when he’s wearing a pair). So I looked through my sock yarn, chose what looked like a bright yarn and started knitting.
I finished the socks three days ago. Put them in the mail straight away. They should arrive by the middle of next week.
Is it a week ago? Two weeks? I can’t remember, exactly. I took a drive on a sunny Sunday toward “the valley” with a friend. We moseyed our way along until we reached Wolfville. We browsed in some shops, Marie bought some summer tops in one. I came across a Talbot’s embroidered white shirt (size M) in a second hand shop that shouted “heritage nightgown” so I bought it (hoping size M would actually fit across my chest – holding it against my body it looked as if it would).
Without trying the shirt on first, (how silly was that) I cut off the ruffled neck and replaced it with a binding, cut the sleeves shorter and hemmed them, then trimmed away the bottom of the shirt intending to add a long “skirt” to complete the nightgown.
I finished the nightgown yesterday. My reconstruction was focused on salvaging the entire embroidery. A mistake. The shirt had bust darts which pointed toward the flower in the middle of the embroidery. In my attempt to keep the embroidery intact I cut below the darts. I should have bitten the bullet, cut above the darts and across the embroidery – the finished garment would have fit better.
As it is, I wore the nightgown last night and it’s reasonably comfortable even though the embroidered “yoke” comes too low and hits the fullness of my bosom rather than sitting at underarm depth. Given the density of the embroidery I’m not sure how I would actually have cut it – no easy way to fussy cut across it and have it make any sense.
The gown is not a write-off. I’ve added it to my collection and will wear it in rotation with the others in the drawer. And it cost me $28 rather than the $120 at one of the clothing stores we visited which had some April Cornell nightgowns for sale.
Do the photos ever show up the imperfections! You can see the back strip isn’t perfectly horizontal; there are wobbles in the layout of the quilt top. None of this is obvious when you’re looking at the quilt draped on the bed, however. I know nobody looking at it will notice any of what I see.
The quilting I set up as an edge-to-edge design, working in the width of the strips – the embroidery for the animals was one width, the embroidery for the blocks was narrower – again, that something I can see but nobody else will notice.
I finally “mastered” precise positioning while I was working on the quilting. After all this time, I discovered how to set the opening (pivot) stitch and how to rotate the design a smidgeon so the embroidery would end up in the right spot for me to begin the next. This is the best edge-to-edge work I’ve done. I managed to align the start needle position with the finish needle position of the previous stitch out each time. What made this quilting relatively easy is that I didn’t have to worry about nesting the embroideries – I’ve done that a couple of times in the past – a lot of math and measuring to make that work. Here, all I had to do was centre the embroidery in each strip.
I completed the quilt with a folded French binding using 2 1/2″ strips. What I learned (having never bound a quilt like this before) is that if I wanted a 5/8″ binding front and back, I’d need to cut my strips 3 3/4″ wide. Here, I attached the binding with a 1/4″ seam, folded it over so I would end up with close to 5/8″on the front. I stitched the binding in place with a decorative stitch at the very edge of the binding. Because the binding was attached on the back with a 1/4″ seam allowance, the binding in the back ends up at just under 3/8″ wide and the decorative stitching is inside and separate from the narrow binding. I probably won’t finish a quilt like this again – I’ll go back to using the binding open rather than folded and finish both front and back at 5/8″.
I learn something with each new project.
Sunday, March 12 2023
Bernie had questions about the decorative stitch I used to bind the quilt. Here’s what it looks like on the top of the quilt (binding a smidgeon less than 5/8″); and on the quilt back (binding 3/8″ wide). [To have a 5/8″ folded binding top and back would need a binding of 3 3/4″!] The stitch is an edited version of one of the standard quilting stitches on my Pfaff Creative Icon 2.
From start to finish the quilt took me 10 days. I just finished hand sewing on a label on the quilt back.
I bought this crazy animal fabric before Christmas on sale. I figured I’d be able to do something with it, whether I cut the strips into blocks or used them intact in some way. I had two layer cakes of mottled background fabrics, I chose the colours from the animal strips, cut the 10″ squares into 5″ squares and assembled them somewhat randomly.
I was going to cut the remaining 5″ blocks into 2 1/2″ rectangles for a border, but the top is definitely large enough as it is. I wasn’t going to do anything on the back side but I still have one strip of the animals left along with two stacks of the 5″ squares so I will assemble them and incorporate them into the second side. I’ll never use this fabric for anything else so I might as well use up as much of it as I can.
I’m planning a dark grey backing fabric. I’ll bind the quilt with it as well which will give definition to the quilt top which it doesn’t have at the moment.
It’s a lovely sunny day today. Time to get showered and dressed. Going for a drive in the countryside to enjoy the rest of the day!
I started working on this quilt around Jan 22. It’s gone more slowly than some quilts because there were decisions along the way I found difficult to make – but I completed it last night. Yesterday I finished quilting the wide outer border, added the facing/hidden binding and hand sewed it on the back. Label added last.
I’ve tentatively called the quilt “Planets with Moons”. The finished dimensions: 49 1/2″ wide by 68″ long – a rather large throw, a bit too long to hang on a wall unless you have rather high ceilings. It certainly is a good length if you’re a tall person!
I’m particularly pleased with the back strip. In fact, I’m thinking I might do an entire quilt based on that idea – a 6″ drunkard’s path block attached to two 3″ drunkard’s path blocks. The resulting oval shape is interesting. I wonder what it would look like if I limited my colour palette to two colours (blending various shades). Something to think about.
Quilting the project was somewhat complicated. I started by setting up a circular embroidery to fill the individual large circles and quilted them all. Next I had to design an embroidery to fill half the background square (I could only embroider two sections at a time (either left two or right two) because of the hoops I have. Filling the background took three days – a total of 35 embroidery repeats. Then I decided to adapt the circular embroidery into a long narrow element for the border. That left a small corner embroidery which I added to finish each corner.
The challenge with quitting in the hoop is getting the embroideries to line up and join. Lots of math involved in trying to position and adjust the size of each embroidery so the stitching is precisely where you want it (my Pfaff Creative Icon 2 has a “precise positioning” capability which makes quilting in the hoop possible). I did “touch” the large circles in a few spots but for the most part I managed to avoid crossing the circle/square boundary. I stitched both sides of the narrow batik sashing in the ditch but chose not to add a quilting to that element, it was narrow enough that it didn’t require quilting.
With this quilt now done, I can put it in the pile for the Art Labs showing in the summer. I will hang it with several other quilts I’ve made using Drunkard’s Path, showcasing the technique as an artistic choice. The other grouping I have ready includes three “Convergence” quilts. So far, then, I have seven quilts set aside for that show. I will now turn to working on smaller wall art pieces, including a set of 6″ x 6″ which I’ll show at Art Labs, but they’ll really be for next December in Tatamagouche!
It’s being able to show my art that keeps me working at it. There’s always some time pressure – keeping in mind how much I need to actually produce for a show to work. Fortunately, I don’t need all new pieces for each show, I’m able to show older pieces along with a few newer ones which creates a new context for each piece.