New Turquoise Socks

This turned out to be a subtle, but interestingly detailed pattern when the socks were finished. The hint of white separating the blue from the turquoise created a clear colour boundary.

The yarn was one of the remaining balls from the yarn I’d bought last year from Hobbii in Denmark. I didn’t plan the layout – I just started with the interior end that presented itself (I almost always work from the inside of a ball to the outside – that way the ball doesn’t roll around). It was just luck that I was able to begin and end with the blue leaving the turquoise element in a nice location on the leg and foot! I did have to match up the yarn for the second sock – but that’s usually how it goes. Because of the way the pattern worked out, I decided to keep knitting the toe in the blue, rather than change to the solid I used for cuff and heels.

I just might put this pair in my sock drawer.

New Clothes

The Escher Quilt finished last week, I started on some summer clothes. I’ve gained weight since I moved into the apartment, particularly this past year, and none of my summer pants fit me! None of them. The waists are waaaay too tight, but also across my belly the zipper has a hard time closing. So rather than trying to remake them, I decided to start from scratch.

Linen Pull-on Pants

A couple of months ago I bought one metre each of three different colour linen fabrics from Blackbird Fabrics (online) – nice weight, and I thought the fabric width would be wide enough that I’d be able to scrape out a pair of pants – well almost – I would normally buy 1 1/4″ metres for a pair of pants why I didn’t call and ask them to sell me the correct amount, I don’t know!. As it worked out, I was just able to fit in the fronts and backs and the front and back pockets but all facings and had to be cut from something else. With the red pair I had to create hem facings because the legs weren’t long enough to turn up; the mauve pair ended up somewhat cropped; the navy pair were OK in length. Because I intend to wear them with loose tops (I haven’t worn “tucked in” in a long time) I can get away with an elastic waist, pull-on pants.

I want to make one more pair but that will have to wait until the fabric stores here in town reopen – Wednesday, this week, I think – to buy some khaki/beige linen blend fabric.

In the meantime, I’ve turned to tops and dresses.

Top Recut From Dress

This top is a dress remake of the dress I made in 2014 for Benjamin’s Bar Mitzvah. 2014 – that’s a while back – the dress was just too small. I put it in the give-away pile and then decided to use the fabric as a “muslin” to recut the dress as a top to see how it would look in a larger size. Not bad. I can certainly wear it with white or red pants and a bit of jewelry and look decent.

I was using this garment as a mock-up for a longer casual summer dress. Working from a pattern I’ve had forever

I retraced the size 14 I now needed, carefully drafted neck “yoke” pieces (the pattern uses a neckline facing, but the neckline is a bit too large so I decided to add an insert (“yoke”) to make it higher, rather than change the neckline on the pattern) and I also lengthened the sleeves to close to elbow-length.

I had bought some viscose/cotton/flax/ print fabric a few weeks back with this dress in mind. Yesterday, I cut it out and assembled it.

Floral Viscose/Cotton/Flax Casual Summer Dress

I’m not going to be glamorous in this dress, but it’s going to be loose and cool and comfortable on a hot summer day (OK we don’t get a lot of those here in NS but we do get an occasional warm one).

I’m just about to make a second dress using some batik rayon I stamped myself in Bali in 2014.

Bali Rayon Batik

I purposely used two tjaps (stamps used to apply hot wax to the fabric) to create my design intending to use the “rectangles” as a border at the hem of whatever I eventually made. We stamped two “border” sections so I’d have enough. I came home with 5 metres of this batik rayon fabric – the dress will take about 1/3 of what I have – I’m going to try to border the sleeves a wee bit, as well, if I can.

That’s today’s project. I have more linen and linen blend, as well as rayon, fabrics in my stash to make several more garments but I really don’t need more than two dresses – we don’t get that many hot days here. So that fabric will stay put for another summer.

iPhone Photography

Crab Apple Blossoms, Just Out

I’ve been taking an online iPhone Photography Course for the past couple of months. I always have my phone/camera with me so I’m making a point of taking some photos every day.

The first lessons had to do with learning about the iPhone camera features – and there are a lot of them. Next, the lessons moved onto to general photography principles – how to establish a focal element, leading lines, balance in the image…. Followed by, editing.

I took the photo above early last week (nearly two weeks ago) on my walk to the neighbourhood high school. The crab apple blooms were just out. I liked the light and shadow on the flowers as well as the texture of the bark. I cropped the original image and strengthened the contrast between sun and shadow but I did little else with the image.

Here’s another shot from the same tree. In this one you can see the dark red colour of the pistil at the centre of the flowers. I took this photo in “portrait” mode which sharpened the foreground and blurred the background. That let me consider some dramatic editing:

Portrait Mode, Stage lighting

Editing with the iPhone provides an amazing array of options, with the Photos app itself as well as any number of photo editing apps. Because I took the photo in “portrait” mode, using the Photos app on the phone, I was able to darken out the background while brightening the foreground to create quite a striking image.

I’ve been having lots of fun exploring with the camera. Not every photo is outstanding, but the iPhone is capable of taking good photos. I’m working at getting better at it. It all takes time, however, what with sewing and knitting, and a bit of house cleaning, grocery shopping. While we’ve been locked down, I’ve had no shortage of interests to occupy me – there’re just aren’t enough hours in the day to get to everything I want to do.

Escher Quilt – Finished

Escher Quilt – Finished size: 53″ x 67″

Just finished. I wasn’t sure it was all going to work but it has.

If you click on the image above you will see the quilting detail. I thought about some kind of detailed quilting design but there were two problems. First, I didn’t have a hoop large enough to manage any kind of large block and there isn’t a really clear hexagonal shape to work with, even if I did. I defaulted to a diamond shape which is all I could accommodate. Second, any kind of detailed quilting, like I used on the previous diamond quilts, was going to detract from the effect of the rising, interconnected, vertical elements of the quilt design.

In the end I quilted the “diamonds” using a straight line design alternating the direction of the diamonds to fit into the overall array of interconnected elements.

Quilting Detail

Then what to do with the borders? I decided to use a rather dense floral quilt design; I set up a modified version which I used to fill in the half-diamond elements top and bottom. That decision turned out well.

Quilt Back

I assembled a double strip of pieced strips to allow me to widen the backing enough to fit the quilt top. I bordered the insert strip with unequal strips of a light batik which blended nicely.

I finished the quilt with a narrow 1/4″ conventional quilt binding using 1 1/2″ strips from some Skyline fabric still in my stash which let me get away without having to piece a gazillion tiny leftovers from the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. The binding finishes the quilt hinting at the colours in the main panel.

So, the quilt is done. I started playing with the idea on May 6 – so 2 1/2 weeks is the time it took me to construct, quilt, and complete the project. I’ve had a lot of uninterrupted time to sew since we’ve been on COVID-19 lockdown here in NS since April 25 (we expect to remain locked down until at least the middle of June – maybe longer because while new case counts aren’t going up to any degree, they’re not going down, either!).

Now it’s time to turn my attention to sewing some summer clothes – a couple of dresses, maybe a jean jacket, some linen pull-on pants. I have the fabric on hand. I’ll start by washing it all tomorrow.

Escher Quilt – 7

Redone – I removed the side border, extended the top and bottom borders, and added the 8th column.

Escher Quilt Top – Redone

I’m much happier with the balance. I understand why most people who make this quilt top choose to straighten the top and bottom edges but I find the zigzag edge an interesting detail.

So the top is now complete.

Next, the quilt back. I have to pull out the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabric leftovers and see what I can do with them. I have lots of the backing fabric (Ruby Star Society Speckled Metallic Navy 2021). I was able to pick up 3m on Wednesday at my local fabric store.

So now full steam ahead….

Escher Quilt – 6

I thought I had the top finished – I’d added the 7th column, finished off the ends with border fabric, and sewed a border all around.

Escher Quilt Top – Almost Completed

I liked how the border accented the flow of the colour in the panel, I was fine with the finished size (~48″ x 66″). EXCEPT I was NOT happy with the partial points on the bottom left and top right!

That’s solvable one of two ways: either by cutting off the top and bottom point elements; or by adding the 8th column on the right:

Escher Quilt Top With 8th Column To Be Added On Right

I’m leaning toward the second option – I’d like the quilt top to be larger rather than smaller; I also like the top/bottom points – even if they don’t match they are complementary.

So my plan is to add the 8th column tomorrow – it means redoing the top and bottom borders because they will need to be wider to accommodate the extra column width (the length of the side border remains the same).

I didn’t want to add the 8th column – it makes the overall panel close to square (remember I don’t have enough fabric scraps to add a row (or two) to the bottom). I will do that, though, because the unattached points top and bottom are just too jarring – the top and bottom need to be symmetrical (if different).

It also means I have to come up with some kind of idea for a strip for the back – if I’d not used the 8th column on the top, I would’ve inserted it into the back. Now I need to go through the Kaffe Fassett Collective leftover fabric and come up with something that complements the quilt top.

Escher Quilt – 5

Four Columns Assembled

Just finished assembling two more columns and attaching them to the previous two. This represents half of the quilt top. The top and the bottom need to be trimmed. I’d love to be able to add half blocks to the top and bottom edges but I just don’t have enough scraps of all of the fabrics to make 16 more triangles.

I’m understanding the design better now – all of the light (L) pieces have ended up on the left of the verticals, the dark (D) pieces are on the right; and the medium (M) have become the horizontal elements. Very interesting; I didn’t understand that when I started. With that information in hand I’d think about the order in which I laid out the fabrics so related fabrics would form both the light and dark portions of the verticals. That’s if I ever consider repeating this design!

My niece went “Wow!” when she saw a picture of the Escher Quilt and said she’d love to have one. I might just consider buying a kit to simplify choosing fabrics and laying them out so they create the colour flow which the original quilt displays. I’m just not sure I’m up for tackling this project again!

New Socks

Colourful. Cheerful. I’ve stuck them in the stash for now. I don’t really need another pair of socks although I love the colours. For no explicable reason I decided to continue the pattern into the toe instead of changing to the contrast colour I used for the cuff and heel.

Escher Quilt – 4

I just finished the first column pair using all 16 triangles (twice):

I will end up with an almost square quilt top – 48 wide x ~ 52 long. I can’t add more elements to lengthen each column because I’ve run out of some of the fabrics. So this is it. I could change the width/length ratio by assembling just 7 columns instead of 8; that’s a possibility – and then add a dark 3 1/2″ border to extend the size. I’ll make that decision after I have the 128 triangles sewn together.

I’m more pleased than I thought I would be – the Escher illusion works better than I expected it to, given I wasn’t completely lucky with my fabric colour placement – but the interwoven branching columns stand out clearly.

So, just carry on.

Escher Quilt – 3

I just finished the last set of the 16 triangles for this quilt top. The connections now all work – after taking apart four block sets yesterday and rebuilding them clockwise this morning!

IMG_ 0764
16 Sets of Completed Triangles

It’s hard to tell from the photo how the connections flow (I just realized looking at the photo closely, that I will have to redo that final set on the top left – it’s going counterclockwise! #$^%!)

I was expecting the triangles to align in a single long strip, but instead the connections form a double set of four pairs which will repeat twice to form the strip – the fabrics at the top matching the ones at the bottom.

I’m now seeing some significant differences with what I was trying to do and what I now have. The original Escher Quilt by Chris Weinhold, uses Kaffe Fassett small prints – my fabrics are mostly large scale prints – makes a difference – the small scale prints show the matching better. Also, while I’ve figured out the blocks and how they go together, I didn’t take into account the actual colour flow well enough. We’ll see how this all looks once I’ve sewn the top together but the illusion may not work as well as I expected it to.

Now it’s just a matter of sewing triangles together in columns, then sewing the columns together.

I’ll start that tomorrow – AFTER I take apart the last triangle and remake it!