Friday, August 31, 2012

Dumb and Dumber

Daddio isn't the only one with quilts to finish. I have this one waiting for it's batting and backing also.

I didn't have enough of one color for a back so I made a plan to piece together some leftovers.

I had been cutting out the 10 1/2 inch squares whenever I had a free minute.

 After one particular cutting session, I realized something was wrong-very wrong.

The batch I had just cut were way too small. How did that happen? Simpleton that I am. I had been reading the cutting board marks backwards. I had cut them at 10 1/2 but I had been measuring from the wrong side of the board. You don't get dumber than this. It gets even worse because now I have no more of the material and neither does Connecting Threads. So it is back to the drawing board with some new material-once it gets here. It's always something.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Practice is Still Not Making Perfect

Daddio likes to make sample blocks now and again and they are perfect for practicing machine quilting on.

I used the background for stippling and used his hexie flowers to try out some circles.

The loopy circles were fun to do. Here and there I could actually see myself starting to get some right.

This purple guy is a really big mess but I'm happy to say that because of doing stuff like this, I can now rip ugly stitches like this out like a pro.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Instrument of Torture Part 3

The same night I threw a giant hissy fit over my lack of good loom sense, I was crazy enough to warp it again.

I removed the double heddle contraption and put on a 12.5 reed so I could warp some 8/4 carpet yarn.

I am going to use the scratchy Romney X I have been spinning as weft for a rug. At least that was my plan.

 It is fun to weave with my own wonky handspun and see the color and textures change but this thing is too thin to be a rug and too itchy to be anything else. It remains to be seen what it will be. For now I am just going to ignore the fact that this may be yet another giant fail because I am happy to just be weaving again.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Instrument of Torture Part 2

The next day I wound on my shuttle and began to weave. Now the problem was that the chunky yarn made the shuttles too fat to fit through the narrow sheds the pick up stick produce.

I struggled on, actually getting down on the floor and climbing underneath the loom to make sure I was not making any errors with the weft. No matter because all too soon it became clear I had a bigger problem than a missed thread. I had holes. Giant holes. The baby yarn was too fine for the heddles I was using. Even if I had wanted to redo it all with smaller heddles I couldn't as this was the only size I have two of.

 There was only one thing left to do. Throw a fit. I decided to remove the yarn I had already wove in hopes of saving all the warp but my tugging became more and more violent the madder and madder I got. Two whole days gone. The entire weekend wasted. I was major ticked off at myself. As a result of my temper tantrum the loom collapsed off the stand and crashed on to the floor.

On the way down it decided to take its revenge. It got me good on the ankle. I can't say I didn't deserve it. I certainly did.

I cleaned up the mess and was left with a giant pile of cut up baby yarn. I did not have the patience to save it. I cut it off the loom in my last pique of anger. It felt good. I give up. My dreams of double weaving a blanket are finished. For now anyway.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Instrument of Torture Part 1

Still high from my smashing double weave success, I began warping the loom for my blanket.

Eight excruciating hours later, I had it all tied off and was ready to start weaving. I thought.

None of the sheds were working. I had somehow twisted the warp in between the double heddles. They all had to be untied, untwisted, rethreaded  and retied. It took hours to fix.

As if that wasn't bad enough, I began to suspect that the warp was too wide for the pick up sticks. They were having trouble staying put which could mean serious trouble down the road.

In spite of my misgivings, I optimistically put it away for the night. Little did I know that this was the beginning of the end.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Surprise, Surprise

I didn't give up on my doubleweave quest. In fact, I made another ridiculously large sample. I couldn't help it. I really, really like the whole 2 heddle-pick up stick thing. This time I used a more forgiving weft and for weeks now I have sat happily at the loom and just hoped for the best.

I could have gone on forever but when I ran out of warp, I had to cut the thing off. At this point I almost didn't care anymore if it worked. I was just enjoying the process.

Low and behold, much to my surprise-it worked.

Here is the center line and the only thing you can see is the fold which I am pretty sure will block out. There are some silly boo boos sprinkled throughout but they have nothing to do with the while doubleweaving thing. I just missed a warp here and there and I am pretty sure I read somewhere that you can fix those after the fact. At least I hope so.

Now comes the scary part. I am going to try and do this again, only this time it will be for real and it will also be bigger-the entire loom width bigger which I hope will give me a 40 by 40 inch baby blanket.

The new yarn has a lot going on so I am hoping no one will be paying too much attention to the quality of the weave. I really should start out by making a sample first but I'm afraid once I get started I won't stop again and I would really like this done by Christmas.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

In a Pickle

Mother Nature handed me some really weird stuff to work with this year. My pickling cucumbers and pretty much everything else edible shriveled up on the vine so when I got the pickling bug I had to use my imagination.

First up was the jalapenos. What do you do with a bumper crop of hot peppers?

You make Cowboy Candy. I had read nothing but raves for this spicy jelly so I decided to give it a try.

You cook down sugar, vinegar, celery seed, garlic and turmeric and then add the peppers for a short 4 minutes of cooking time. You spoon them into a jar and then crazy cook the syrup for 6 more minutes before topping off the peppers with it. I only ended up with enough peppers for one jar so I went looking for something else to fill up the other jar.

It was the green tomatoes. The red ones weren't worth doodly squat this year but I have a ton of little green ones that were too small for frying.

They turned into green tomato relish based loosely on some recipes I found all over the internet. I only had some red peppers and some onions to add to the pickling mix but it all turned out quite pretty.

While I was at it I made another small jar of fig preserves with yesterday's pickings. Goodness gracious. I made a giant mess in the kitchen all morning and this is all I had to show for it.

Except for 7 more jars of wool. While everything was in total disarray, I decided I might as well go ahead and wash and dye some more Romney X. In case you are wondering, I do NOT use the same canning materials for the wool as I do for the foodstuff. It only looks that way. Honestly.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Oh No I Didn't

After a long search, I finally found a simple reversible baby blanket pattern in all places, the library. Last weekend, while out shopping for other things, I ran into JoAnne's and snatched up what I thought was the right amount of yarn for it. Of course it wasn't. I needed one more ball. The whole time I was in line to pay, a little voice was in my head telling me to go get another one but I was too sure of myself to walk back and get it. As stupid as I felt when I got home and actually checked the pattern (the yarn is held double), the real problem was that this particular JoAnne's, the one with the correct dye lot number, was far away. Very far away. That trip back the next day felt like the longest drive I have ever made. Even worse, I spent $30 on gas for a $6 ball of yarn.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Daddio Update Part 2

This is the latest project Daddio has been working on. My mother loved lighthouses so when we saw this nautical themed collection at Connecting Threads we knew we had to have it.

Daddio may be in fine form when it comes to this sewing thing, but I am pretty worn out so when we went looking for a new pattern, I wanted something simple. Sewing the charm squares together is a as simple as you can get.

Then you cut the block down the middle....

 ...and then you turn it and cut each half down the middle again.

When you sew the block together it looks like you pieced lots of little squares-only you didn't. This is another brilliant pattern from The Missouri Star Quilting Company. 
In no time at all, Daddio is going to have yet another quilt top that needs to be dealt with. I keep telling him that quilting is winter work and so far he's been buying it but I am running out of time. Sooner or later cooler weather will be here and I'm going to have some serious work to do.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Daddio Update Part 1

So what's the old man been up to these days? If you thought he might be taking the summer off, think again. He has been as busy as ever.

He's been turning Batik charm squares into Double Wedding Rings-all paper pieced by hand.

We finished his version of the Serendipity quilt a few weeks ago.

He has filled a bucket with paper pieced Christmas themed shapes that will be made into table runners.

He has cut a box full of jelly roll sized scrap strips and we have been sewing them together.

 We were hoping for 1600 inches of strips. Today we measured them and we have 2200 inches. Now we start sewing the giant roll in half and then in half again and so on until you get a quilt top-or something like that. This is a bit of an experiment.

Another experiment was to use up his scraps in these blocks that were also made by sewing strips together and then cutting them. He just loves cutting strips so I am always looking for new ways to put them together for him. This adds two more to the ever growing pile of quilt tops that need quilting. I am tempted to haul him and them down to the senior center to see if we get any takers-for him and/or the quilts.