Unfinished business

It’s a sad day when you are invited to raid another crafter’s home. I didn’t know this woman but friends did and her widower kindly offered to give away her fabric stash and library.  I’m not an opportunist, but got more involved in weaving after I acquired equipment, I couldn’t even name, at an auction of another local crafter’s home (raddle and bobbin winder).

In both instances, the saddest items to see were the unfinished works in process.   Were they abandoned earlier or still active projects? The family had already gone through everything and this is what they didn’t want.

A baby quilt, which only needs a few seams, with Dresden plates I would probably never make myself.
Dresden Plate baby quilt


Or a larger version.

Unfinished business 008With a separate patch  quilt.     Unfinished business 003

Some patches and more Dresden Plates.

Unfinished business 005


And, what I thought was a reasonable amount of fabric.

Unfinished business 010This made it imperative to organize my fabric, which had been stuffed into shelves.  I try to make it seem as if I don’t have a lot because, not only do I have a store of fabric,  there is raw fiber for spinning; spun and purchased yarn for knitting; weaving cotton for weaving; and fabric for quilting.  It will be much harder to find my entire stash because  it is literally tucked away all over the house.  In what appear to be empty suitcases, in an old trunk, in various baskets.  I read about one woman who stored her yarn in the  “boot” of her car.

All of this made me think  of organizing at least my fabric, craft library and weaving cotton.

First, all the fabric went into piles with similar prints or colors.

Unfinished business 011


Then it went back on the shelves with more  order.  Now if only Tim would straighten out his stuff.

Unfinished business 012


Almost finished projects were kept together and I will piece them in a pinch.  In the meantime, I went back to working on my blue and white quilt with a clear head.



Crazy quilting

Scrap quilting makes a lot of sense. Old pieces of fabric were reused to make a blanket. The method I use is quite different. I buy large quantities of beautiful fabric, cut it up into little pieces and then sew it into a large beautiful quilt. It seems like a crazy process when you think about it. Here’s what I’m talking about.

These little scraps


Get pieced together into bigger squares


And will one day soon become a large quilt with some optical illusions, my favorite type of quilt project.

My horse neighbor is wearing a very sporty coat. I’m not sure why he was wearing it when the temperature was in the high 40’s but he knew he looked handsome!


My little amaryllis, I was so happy with, has quadrupled! Four times the pleasure, four times the fun.


Crazy quilting

Scrap quilting makes a lot of sense.  Old pieces of fabric were reused to make a blanket. The method I use is quite different.  I buy large quantities of beautiful fabric, cut it up into little pieces and then sew it into a large beautiful quilt.  It seems like a crazy process when you think about it.  Here’s what I’m talking about.

These little scraps


Get pieced together into bigger squares


And will one day soon become a large quilt with some optical illusions, my favorite type of quilt project

My horse neighbor is wearing a very sporty coat.  I’m not sure why he was wearing it when the temperature was in the high 40’s but he knew he looked handsome!


My little amaryllis, I was so happy with, has quadrupled!  Four times the pleasure, four times the fun.


Roofing 101

I’ve been hijacked from my knitting, quilting and weaving. Tim got a big boost on the cabin last weekend when Andre and Doug visited and helped figure out and lay the roof.

Then they left and he was stuck with me to finish up. I’m not much help since I don’t enjoy teetering off the tops of ladders or hanging from the rooftop.

Yesterday we were racing the weather. Sparks were flying.


Thunderstorms moved in and I didn’t think it was such a good idea to be on a hill, the highest point on our property, standing on an aluminum ladder while holding onto a tin roof. So I quit.


I have to admit, it was very cozy standing in the cabin, dry, while the storm moved through.


Today we finished up one side of the roof (check out Tim’s blog for photos) and I finally had a chance to play with fiber.

I finished a wedding quilt,


built a copper loom and had a chance to try tablet weaving. I borrowed the idea for the loom from another weaver.


Tablet or card weaving is so simple but can produce wonderful results I even had an aha moment.


Fiber monkey on my back

My love of all things fiber continues to grow and expand. It began with knitting an Aran sweater in 2005 and, today, includes knitting, spinning, dyeing, weaving, quilting and sewing. In addition, I’ve always had a love of linen table fibers, as evidenced by the dining room drawers jammed with lace, damask, tatting, linen and hand crocheted doilies, tablecloths and runners, a few even hand made by yours truly.


My true addiction was revealed
yesterday. I couldn’t pass up a yard sale I saw on my way home from the recycling center. There were hand crocheted tablecloths, linen-hemstitched napkins, and embroidered table linens, all meticulously clean. They sparkled in the sun and smelled so fresh. I decided upon a crocheted tablecloth and set of linen napkins.


I got home and decided to organize the linens. Unlike my other fiber stashes, which are sequestered and scattered throughout the house waiting for inspiration, table linens have to be accessible. So they are. Stuffed in drawers.

Lo and behold, I already have a set of hem-stitched, linen napkins. But you can never have too many. I hung up the tablecloths, which were wrinkled because they had been jammed in the drawers, and, since it was a sunny, breezy day, washed a few of them and hung them on the line to dry. My domestic goddess is happy.


Back to homework

Our farm share now includes cream cheese and we decided to make cheese blintzes for breakfast. I found a low(er) calorie recipe online at MyRecipes.com. They were a smashing success. I’m pretty proud of the presentation as well.

I finished this lovely Na Craga sweater after we got home from sailing. I knit both sleeves while on the boat. It’s been assembled, blocked and the collar was modified a little bit. Instead of a rolled funnel collar, I made a crew neck. I fear it may be too big. So I will hand deliver it and figure out what alterations need to be made. My gauge was correct but my son wanted it longer and now I could wear it as a dress (and I don’t like showing my knees). It’s also the first time I made a drop shoulder sweater and didn’t really account for the part of the sweater that was part of the sleeve, so the sleeves double as hand warmers for me. We’ll see. At least I know I have the means to alter it and make it smaller if I have to. Much better than having to make it bigger. It took 21(!) skeins of Knitpicks Wool of the Andes.

I’m working on a pair of socks for a Friend’s birthday. I am using the embossed leaves pattern from Favorite socks. I made a pair for myself in the summer of 2008, while at Seguin Lighthouse, and I still wear them at least weekly. They are one of my nicest pairs and I thought the pattern goes really well with this yarn, Melody by Jojoland.

Since the sweater is complete I am ready to tackle a quilt for my daughter. I’m using beautiful batik blues and greens from Hoffman fabrics. It seems one of the good things about batiks are you can’t tell the front from the back. I think this will piece together pretty quickly and may even try to bring the top to her next week so we can pick out a border and backing. I may be too ambitious but it’s supposed to rain and/or snow all next week.

Piecing a life

The past week has been filled with personal growth.  Hopefully not literally (although maybe literally) but it has been a good week. My leg is getting stronger with physical therapy and I am almost walking normally. Still not dancing the tango. I attended a writing workshop and spent a lot of time reflecting on where I live, the people I know and how much I love it. Then to top it off, this morning, I attended a quilting class and by this afternoon, my quilt was pinned to batting and backing and ready for the next step. Six blocks with 3 seams per block. I bought precut fabric, which was a splurge, and didn’t have to cut anything! Pretty amazing even though I always end up with a few wonky seams. I am planning to give it away as a baby gift. Tomorrow night I learn new methods in machine quilting and will work on this quilt. All the pieces are coming together.

Works in process

I am a work in process.  I have started physical therapy, actually put a sneaker on my foot and used an exercise machine!  Yeah.  I was given permission to throw my crutches in the Lake and am walking about on my own two feet, with the aid of a walking cast.  This goes in the Lake in three weeks.  My mobility has enabled me to tackle and almost complete a myriad of projects and now I can cook and bake in the kitchen without the aid of a chair in the middle of the kitchen.  I am still not getting out too much due to the layer of ice over everything so all my recent adventures have taken place at home on the range.

On the knitting front, I am working on two Santa Cruz hoodies as an overdue gift for two young boys.  One is taking up a ton of yarn and I ran out of one color on the sleeve so did a sleeve-sleeve transfusion.  I used the yarn from the long sleeve as I ripped it out, to knit the short sleeve.  So while one shrunk, the other grew until they were even, then I had to add a stripe.  As soon as I finish them, I have given myself permission to begin work on a Aran sweater for my son.  He has approved the pattern and yarn and if I can stick to the pattern and knit the gauge, all should go well. (ha ha ha)

Circle of Loki






On the quilting front, I finished the cat quilt and Loki spends a lot of time sleeping on it curled into a tight ball.  Once that was finished, I tackled the machine quilting of my kaleidoscope quilt.  I had to   wrestle the queen size quilt through my sewing machine but now have only the borders left.  I devised a quilting pattern that avoids dragging the whole thing through the machine again.  I am having mild panic that the marker I am using – now like an artist’s paintbrush all over the quilt- won’t come out as easily as the manufacturer says it will.  Why do I always ignore the suggestion to try a test patch first?




Weaving has had mixed results.  I was able to use my walking cast to work the treadles of the floor loom but felt a bit like Herman Munster.  So my twill scarves remain on it.  I have been weaving with my rigid heddle loom and am trying to master a table runner for my daughter.  The first was a disaster.  I used rayon, which looked so pretty and shiny, but didn’t stretch – at all – and wasn’t able to hide my weaving errors.  Now I am using recycled cotton and applying the lessons learned from the rayon disaster.

Weaving in progress



Baking is going well.  I used my new crumpet rings with great success, make sandwich rolls regularly, have found a source of rennet to continue making mozzarella cheese and think I may have perfected the art of bagels.  More about that later because it involves broiling, boiling and baking.




It’s about time

Light green trees

Jay Mountain is snow capped but not the rest of the terrain. We’ve had a warm spell, which turned anything wet to ice, and more rain and sleet is expected tonight. I think the good snow will come when I am ready to ski again this season. Today’s outing was a trip to Lake Placid, where I had to make sure the road surfaces were fairly clean so I wouldn’t go flying –  crutches, walking cast and all. I had to go out because I needed more material to finish a quilt I started two days ago. That’s right, two days ago! And I think it will be done by tomorrow. This could be very bad. If I can make quilts faster, I will finish them sooner and will have to buy more fabric. Oh these addictions.

This is the first time I made a quilt with a “jelly roll” and it was amazing. Jelly roll strips are pieces of material which are precut. I sewed a few together, cut them into triangles and sewed them together again. I never knew! My last quilt, which isn’t finished yet, took five months to piece together. This one will be done tomorrow. It’s going to cover the back of the couch to protect it from the cats. I sewed it together as it was below, but then decided it needed to be long and narrow, so took away one row and made it longer – 2 x 6 blocks. I combined it with the backing and batting when I got home, did a “quick turn” and am almost done machine quilting it. The cats are very happy with it.

One day quilt

Almost finished

On my way to town, I was reminded of the stellar athletes who come from this area and give me a sense of pride. I pass the Olympic cross country ski trails, the luge and bobcat runs, the ski jumps and the Olympic Training Center. I would like to say I contributed to the American Luge team winning a silver medal in Germany this January. I would like to say it but it’s not exactly true. I had to reschedule my follow up visit with my surgeon who traveled with them as the team doctor.

I will have to climb this peak again when I recover. The first time, I made it almost to the top – but not quite. Next time.

Snow Cascade


Shirley's quilt

The temperature dropped to minus 11°F this morning, and in anticipation of the cold, I finally resumed work on my kaleidoscope quilt. It’s perfect for cold weather because most of it sits in my lap while I quilt.

 I ran into many obstacles yesterday.  I hate to give my sewing machine human qualities (too lazy to figure out how to spell anthro…morphise), but I think when it is left alone for an extended time she gets angry. And takes it out on me.  

When you start playing around with bobbin tension, you know you are in trouble.  I couldn’t get the needle in right, kept misthreading it and after a full day, had quilted one long seam.  But with all the attention and adjustments yesterday, today she’s purring like a kitten.

Shirley decided she didn’t want to wait for the finished quilt.