Busy Week!

It’s been a busy week here in the studio.  Lots of custom quilting going on.  Here’s the backside of what’s been on the frame this week:

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This one is finally finished and the next quilt is loaded up.  Another custom, this time an applique quilt.  It’s going to be another busy week in the studio here.

 

In the meantime, my flying geese quilt now has all the sashings pieced, and my hexie quilt is progressing nicely with the hand stitching.

 

 

On the needles (and longarm)

Although I may not get a chance until late tonight to link this to the Patchwork Times “On the Needles” post for the day, I thought I’d take a few minutes and share with you what I’m working on currently.  I’m not even sure all of these are in the “projects” listing in the sidebar that really needs to be completed; but they’re my current knitting projects.

 

First up, the never ending socks!  Why am I calling them that?  Because I decided to knit each skein to the end (or close to it) and they’re much longer than I normally make my socks and seem to be taking forever.  Perhaps because, while I know they’ll wear like iron, I’m not particularly keen on the color combination.  Yes, these are the SAME socks I attempted to finish for the pooling challenge way back when.  But I’m almost done now:

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I’m also currently working on a shawl for my mom (photos are okay since there’s no surprise there, she got to pick the yarn).  This pic doesn’t do justice to the color, but I needed to use the flash so the pattern could be seen.  I’m using the Zephyr Shawl pattern (one of my favorites) and the yarn is actually a deep denim blue, very dark, almost a black blue from a distance:

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My last project “on the needles” are swatches!  Simple little swatches.  LOL  I’ll be taking a finishing class later this month on seaming knitted projects together and our homework before the class is to knit several swatches.  Makes sense, you can’t learn to seam knitted pieces without having knitted pieces to seam in class!  So it’s a boring little mindless take with me project:

DSCN1253So are you asking why a person who learned to knit as a teenager and has been knitting steadily since the late 1980’s would be taking a finishing class?  Well, it’s because I truly believe a person can always learn a tip or trick or another way to do something that might result in a nicer end product.  And since I rarely do sweaters, in part due to seaming the pieces together and in part due to getting gauge, I thought this might be a good class to improve my skills.

 

On the longarm this week is a large, really large, Christmas quilt for a customer.  The customer requested a freehand holly meander for the background, then custom work in the piecing.  I’m on my 3rd day now of holly fill and getting better at it with every new holly leaf.  It’s not a feather, but there is a rhythm to it, or would be if certain things didn’t interrupt me, but then again, life here is never boring so disruptions exist!  😉

 

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That’s what’s on the needles at my house (and on the longarm too).  What’s on the needles at your house today?

 

The felted wool project, stage 2

Or should I call this post reclaiming blazers, the do’s and don’ts ?    Yesterday I posted that I had found some wool blazers to reclaim the material in for wool applique for my 1847 Bride’s Quilt.  And even posted a picture of where I was at in the reclamation.  Last night I finished tearing apart deconstructing the wool blazers and got the last of them started on the washing machine felting process.  I ended up with way more reds than I’ll use for a long time to come, and only a bit of blue and green.

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The green was a very loosely woven wool and will need at least one, if not two more washes before it will be in useable condition.  The blue only needs one more wash.
While I ended up with a LOT of reds and pinks from the blazers I had (6 in total ranging from size 6 to size 16), and while it’s more red than I can use for quite a while, it’s overwhelming to me to look at.  It’s that whole visual overload thing, when something is that messy and disorganized my mind goes into a frantic “what, where, how” mode and ends up being very paralyzing.  I am much better with a stack of wool like this to work from:

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All of these, with the exception of the charcoal piece at the bottom are 9×12 pieces.  They all came from Vickie at Annie’s Keepsakes at a reasonable price and I’ve collected them a few at a time over the years with no concerns about major storage being required.

 

So while I’ve done the reclaimed wool project, I don’t think I’ll be traveling that road again given the time involved in the process and the overwhelming pile of bits and pieces that I now have to determine how to store in an orderly manner.

 

Although it may be less expensive (on the surface) to reclaim blazers, once I factor in time, electricity cost for processing and storage space  the best decision for me will be to continue to purchase from a vendor whose product I love for my wool applique quilts.

 

As for the don’ts of the project, well……   If you have dogs (specifically young dogs or pups), don’t let any pieces fall to the floor as you work unless you want to play a game of chase the puppy.   And have your broom very close by the washer and dryer to repeatedly sweep the floor as you transfer each load of wool from the washer to the dryer.  Oh and you may want to have an extra bag near the dryer for the lint that will come off the filter (and out of everywhere) as you remove the wool from the dryer.

 

As for the do’s of the project.  DO have a sharp pair of dressmaker shears as well as  a sharp pair of small pointed tipped snip scissors handy.  DO take the blazer apart at the major seams first so you’re working in only pieces. I found it easiest to take the dressmaker shears right along the seam to separate the pieces.  DO just cut away the hemmed or top-stitched edges (removing those stitches is insane and won’t result in that much more wool.  Think hard about how small of a piece you want to reclaim, the collars from the blazers ended up small enough to cut 3 or 4 one inch wool circles from, but not much more and took a lot of time to open the seams from.

 

And if you happen to get a blazer that is lined with fusible interfacing my recommendation is to just give up on the ones that the interfacing doesn’t come off easily in.  I spent over an hour on one blazer removing the interfacing in bits and pieces.  While that doesn’t seem like a big deal, I can hear people already saying “tv time”, for my life and my schedule that’s an hour that could have been spent much more productively.  And the next one that had that situation went to the garbage bin instead of fussing with it.  Most of the interfacing (and you will find it in there under the lining) came away nicely, so I decided not to mess with the ones that were stuck clinging for their life and coming away in 1″ or less bits.

 

That’s my take on reclaiming wool from blazers, I’d love to hear about your experiments with it.  And in the meantime, I’m off to contact Vickie with the list of greens I will need to work on my quilt.