18 September 2020

Friday Funny

17 September 2020

Perpl-hexed

Spending 14 days in the hospital with Lizard following his back surgery gave me some time to catch up on hand-sewing I hadn't touched since... well, probably at least 2015.

When I first started this project, using leftovers from two favorite dresses I made for work, I think I intended to make a quilted vest, or perhaps even a crochet bag to haul my snowflake projects on the bus each weekday, to coordinate with the two dresses.

My, my, my, how things change!

Both of the dresses are now in the scrap pile. I literally wore them out. The hexie batik dress was ripped down the back of the skirt when I went through one of the rotted stairs in our rotted but now removed patio. (Our house is a fixer-upper. The patio, which appeared to have never been maintained, came with it.) I patched the dress using some of the leftovers in the hexie project and continued wearing it for several more years until the fabric in high-contact areas (primarily the seat and under the arms) wore so thin, it was nearly transparent.

I don't have to ride the bus now for who knows how long, and I get to dress down every day because I'm working from home for the foreseeable future. So I don't really need fancy clothing, fancy bags or commute distractions. I must confess: I am very tired of T-shirts, shorts and jeans. I'm ready to dress up again. I dress up each Sunday for home church. But we aren't going anywhere else where fancy clothing would be in order.

Even though I am thoroughly enjoying this project, I have no idea what do do with it when I'm done. I don't even know how big to keep going. Sometimes I think I could just keep going and add in all my leftover batiks and hand-paints and one day have a full-sized quilt. But I also would like to finish this because it's been on my WIP challenge list for at least six years, and perhaps longer than that. (I just looked it up, and I made the dress in 2012. I don't know when I made the first little hexies from the leftovers, but I suspect around 2014.)

When I first decided to take along this project to work on while Lizard was in the hospital, I dug out another batik scrap I thought might make a great background for the hexie flowers. The turquoise gradient is leftover from another dress, this one barely getting any wear at all because it was a lot cooler in my head than it looked on me when finished. I'm not even sure I wore it once, longer than to see how tenty it looks on me. Ugh!!!

While working on the hexagons in the hospital, I ran out of the gradient leftovers. I briefly entertained the idea of cutting up the dress because I probably won't ever wear it, but then I decided the dress might be a nice gift for one of my granddaughters when they get older because they all like snowflakes. And they aren't pear-shaped like me, thank heavens! I think they'd like it because it's different and because it's handmade.

And while I was working on the hexagons in the hospital, I ran out of templates. I had started the first flower with paper templates. That really was no fun at all. I read somewhere that templates could be made from plastic milk or juice cartons, and I read somewhere else that punching a hole in the middle of the plastic templates gives you something to grab onto when it's time to removed them from the project.

I made seven plastic templates from a used but clean milk bottle, and I guess I never imagined needing more than that. I replaced the paper templates, and the project got buried away for too many years.

After learning our three- to five-day stay in the hospital would actually be 14 days (the therapists wanted 21 days, but we were able to talk them down!), I picked up a few groceries from a store within walking distance (back when the sky was nearly black with smoke), and I recycled the hot chocolate and popcorn boxes into more hexagon templates! When I ran out of the gradient fabric, I decided to cut and pin as many hexagons as I could with the scraps I had with me to keep the project alive until I can decide what to do next.

I have tons of batik scraps in all kinds of colors, so I'm thinking it might be fun to work the background motifs into a rainbow gradient of leftovers and just keep going until I'm bored with the project. Then make it into something that would be suitable in that size. I'm thinking of using the checkerboard blocks for the backing, and I could make that sort of gradient in scheme, too, because I have plenty of 2.5 strips left over from all kinds of projects over the years.

No plan yet and sometimes frustrated by the absense of direction, but perhaps inspiration will hit me as I sew one snowy night, after all the heat and forest fire smoke are gone and Lizard is getting around more independently. (He's making really good progress, tiny little improvements each day!)

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

15 September 2020

Live Loop Cables

Sue Perez has been updating me on the progress her "innovative crochet technique" book for at least three years now. When she finally reached the publishing finish line, I think I was first to order a copy!!!

Lizard was still in acute rehab at that point, so I ordered Live Loop Cables in Crochet via my phone. The print-on-demand book was waiting in our mailbox when we finally got to go home. I could not wait to try Sue's crochet cables.

I absolutely love to crochet, but I am a knitter, too. I've never really cared for one-hook ribs or cables because I can do them beautifully and efficiently with two sharp needles. But Sue always comes up with awesome stuff, and her drawings make me green with envy. So, of course, I HAD to try my hands at a live loop snowflake hexagon.

Now I know why all Sue's samples are squares. I probably will give this a try again sometime, but I'm not sure it will be this year.

Once I got the hang of the basic method, I did finally get into a groove. Once my sample got big enough to really look at, I mean, without a microscope, I realized my six-spoked 3D was embedded on a five-sided pentagon instead of a six-sided hexagon. I have a pretty clear idea how that happened, but it's not something I want to frog and do over. I'll just do over one day, fresh from scratch.

Nevertheless, this is one cool book, and there are designs in here I think would make lovely socks and sweaters. An afghan with each of the blocks would be beautiful, too.

And perhaps therein lies the key... don't try this technique the first time with a tiny hook and thread. And probably wise not to try a hexagon right out the gate. Use yarn, and make a nice, thick project you can see without straining your eyes!

Sue, I really do love your book!!!

14 September 2020

Snowflake Monday

The prototype of today's snowflake is my 80th completed snowflake this year. I am tickled white because I've finished my goal of 80 snowflakes for my mother-in-law's 80th birthday in November. I've been afraid to count my snowflakes all summer because with my turtle shell slow-down, I wasn't sure I'd be able to finish that many snowflakes. I'm shocked to have met my goal... and early to boot!

Alas, I still have to string them…

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Finished Size: 5 inches from point to point Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Octogenarian Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 11 dc in ring; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: (Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in same ch as sl st, [1 dc in each of next 3 dc, 5 dc in next dc] 3 times, omitting last 3 dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 3: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in same ch as sl st, [1 fptr and 1 fpdtr around Round 1 ch 2 directly below (or next Round 1 dc in repeats), sk next 2 Round 1 dc, 1 fpdtr and 1 fptr around next Round 1 dc, 3 dc in next Round 2 middle dc of 5/dc group, * ch 3, 3 dc in same dc] 3 times, ending * on final repeat; ch 1, 1 dc in 3rd ch of starting ch 3 to form 3rd ch 3 tip of Round.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of dc directly below, [3 dc in next gap between fp groups, ch 3, 3 dc in same sp, 3 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, 3 dc in same tip] 3 times, omitting last ch 2 and last 3 dc of final repeat; 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round. NOTE: Working Round 3 in a different color and binding off here makes a super cute little snowflake!

Round 5: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of dc directly below, [2 fptr around next Round 3 fptr, 2 fpdtr around next Round 3 fpdtr, 3 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, 3 dc in same tip, 2 fpdtr around next Round 3 fpdtr, 2 fptr around next Round 3 fptr, 3 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, 3 dc in same tip] 3 times, omitting last ch 2 and last 3 dc of final repeat; 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 6: Ch 12 (counts as 1 dc and [ch 10), 1 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, 1 dc in same tip] 6 times, omitting last ch 2 and 1 dc of final repeat; 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 12 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 7: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of dc directly below, [2 fptr around next Round 3 fptr, 2 fpdtr around next Round 3 fptr, 2 fptrtr around next Round 3 fpdtr, 2 fpqtr around next Round 3 fpdtr, 3 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, 3 dc in same tip, 2 fpqtr around next Round 3 fpdtr, 2 fptrtr around next Round 3 fpdtr, 2 fpdtr around next Round 3 fptr, 2 fptr around next Round 3 fptr, 3 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, 3 dc in same ch 3 tip] 3 times, omitting last 3 dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

10 September 2020

Pumpkin Spice

Bump, bump, bump, another one bites the dust!

Still practicing my longarm skills, and this top was layered and ready to go, so it was next up on my Simply Sixteen, nicknamed Ringo.

I initially had very different plans for this quilt. I'd purchased individual Grunge fat quarters in autumn hues to make my own bundle, and I'd planned to piece various leaves using just the Grunge. But then I found this adorable panel on sale somewhere. I still planned to do leaves around the edges with the grunge, but then I found an old stack of fall fabrics from about a couple of decades or so ago. I had cut them into 7-inch blocks to make a disappearing nine-patch a couple of years ago or so. I decided I needed to use them up before cutting into something new.

Initially, I thought I'd put a row of on-point blocks on each side of the panel, but I really liked the off-balance look with blocks on just one side. Then I used almost all the rest of the blocks in a disappearing nine-patch backing, using up the leftovers of one of the orange solids in my stash left over from another project in about 2015 that I never thought I'd use up. While piecing the backing, I ran out of that orange, so the final row of nine-patch blocks was not a nine-piece but precisely pieced from the small remnants from the rest of the blocks. I thought I was going to have to use a different color to finish the last block, but I eeked out just enough of that Kona Mango. I think I have one two-inch strip left now!

The binding is the leftovers of the only autumn print I had enough of to cut the 2.5-inch strips.

I did simple chevron lines with the longarm just to practice doing straight lines. My lines aren't perfect, but each time I use Ringo, I gain a little tiny bit more confidence. I keep hoping one day I won't be so nervous about quilting with the longarm!

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

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