Friday, July 14, 2006

Catching up...again...

I'm really sorry about not posting the past couple of days like I promised. Blogger wouldn't upload posts. I have no idea what that was about but it was the same on all my accounts so must have been a Blogger issue. I'm not complaining, it's a free service and you get every penny's worth.
First the knitting update I promised on EZasPi. This is the Elann Pinwheel Sweater in the children's size. I used Sirdar Denim yarn in the sport weight in two different shades. I really love how it turned out and I think it will be darling on Miranda. I do need to find a good button. The only improvement I would make a second time would be a wider garter stitch border BUT! my concern became the length at the center back and the width of the collar. I suspect the answer is in some well placed short-rows in front of the sleeves. Fortunately the fabric has so much drape and give that I dont' think it will be a problem.

Well a big THANK YOU to everyone who voted in my poll! I didn't realize it would be so popular. Looks as though many who don't really care to leave a comment are just as happy to click a choice. That's fine with me. I'll use the poll feature a little more often then. So the results of the poll were interesting. Out of 42 votes, 60% favor the Rose Window block, 24% the Cathedral window block and only 17% the Jacobean block. I suppose that explains why finding books and patterns for the Jacobean designs is a bit challenging. :) BTW, if any of you 17% out there know of new books on that, do let me know. I suspect I'll have to start looking more to embroidery books for inspiration.

I did get a couple of the blocks finished but not exactly in the order of preference. In all fairness, I didn't give you all the background on why I have those particulars designs going at once. I'll explain a little more today. It's exactly like my knitting; I have pieces that are more brain bending (like lace knitting) , pieces that are small and easy to travel with that don't require special materials or technique (like sock knitting), and some in between that are not difficult but you can still hold a conversation while working. (like cables). One of the pieces also has special emotional ties to it too.
The first that I finished was the Jacobean. These blocks are my stay at home with no interuptions type applique. The placement of pieces, many shapes and angles and need for excellent stitching technique and the finest needles and silk thread, make it more challenging. Since I need to get my skills back up to par (and because there really wasn't all that much left to do and I like instant gratification) this was the first block I chose to finish. I absolutely love the juxtaposition of the brilliant flower colors to the more sedate leaf and stem fabrics used in these designs. The flowers are intended to just jump out of the photo. I also get a kick out of using the design of the fabric to mimic realism. Check out the veining on the lighter leaves and the bark of the branch. fun!
And at right is a new block that I put together this week. It takes everybit of a full day to compare fabrics, trace and cut the design, place it ever so carefully and baste it down...but WHAT fun! Looks like I was feeling a bit flamboyant wasn't I? LOL

Next in line was the Cathedral Window. Lest you think I am neglecting my poor sweaterless son, that would be the sleeve of his Aran getting longer. The cath blocks are like sock knitting. Almost mindless. But my particular Cath coverlet (Cathedral Windows are not truely 'quilts' but coverlets because they never get layered with batting and quilted together) has some real history. I can since my earliest memories remember my mom always having some project in her purse to work on when we had to wait. We were a Navy family...we did lots of waiting. I still have very clear memories of her working on Cathedral window blocks sitting in the waiting rooms of Portsmouth Naval and Boone Clinic (always for my doctor needs BTW). I still have 2 of the larger pieces she was working on. In the photo, you can see them in the background. These pieces are priceless to me. Not only did my mom make them, but those squares of dated funny fabric came from clothes she sewed for herself, for me, for my sister and brother, for my dad's famous necktie collection and from clothes passed down to us from other people. You might see that some of the muslin is different shades and some is even pinkish from the dye in the squares running. I also have almost always had a small block of Cathedral window going. Unfortunately, almost all of mine were burned in the fire ~7 years ago. Back then, I was part of a large quilting email group very reminiscent of the EZasPi knitting group today. We used to exchange 'squishies' which were envelopes of fabric squares including one square with a signature of the sender. I was putting these squares into Cathedral blocks of my own. When that group heard about our house fire, they set out to replace all my squishies, my quilting tools, my entire sewing box (which was the first thing replaced even before clothes!) and the even sent 'thank you' gifts to my mom and dad who took us in. See that box at right? there are over 1000 fabric squares in there! Actually, if you look in my quilt album, the pieces I worked on right after the fire are the Mariner's compass block (which was a challenge with my middle son - he made one too) and the Christmas Cube. Working on those pieces was what kept my emotions and shattered mind together. The Cathedral blocks I've made since always end up reflecting my mood at the time I pick out the squares. The toile fabrics? A very formal and conservative point in my life while preparing our gorgeous burned and restored victorian home for sale. Can we say 'detatchment'? the dark squares of browns and black and forrest green that haven't been sewn up yet? a low point in my life when that's just what I saw (we don't need to elaborate there do we?) They haven't been sewn in yet, but they will. They are a legitimate part of where I was at the moment. The newer blocks of blue and yellow and BRIGHT fabrics? those were put together about the time I went back to nursing and reaching out to the world again. Blue and yellow are the happiest colors I know. Some of those squares are actually fabrics from the scrubs I made to work in. So what will the next block be to represent today? Actually, today will be represented by sewing up and reflecting on the older blocks that I haven't sewn in yet. I think that's what I really need right now; to reflect on the past and consider the future.

OK, after all that, the first choice in the poll ...the Rose Window! this is my everyday, think a little, talk alot, ooh and ahh at the pretty colors block. Yes, I'm working on it currently and it's something I can pick up and put down and it inspires conversation and smiles. This is the current thread of my life. This is my own design and my own presentation of ME! This is what I like for people to see when they make a first impression of my as a person. Complex, colorful, connected, centered...alliteristic apparently. ROFL... I guess I'm really happy that it was first choice in the poll since it most represents my perception of "me". I want to be pleasing to people and I enjoy people enjoying my work.

1 comment:

Christine said...

Your pinwheel sweater turned out beautiful. I can't wait to see Miranda modelling it!
I'm relieved to see that at least JJ might have one arm warm this winter! BTW, what size does this young man wear?