Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Hand-Knitted Sweater

While Eileen and I were in Scotland last year, I actually considered learning to knit just to make myself a sweater as beautiful as the ones I was seeing on the Shetland Islands, the Orkney Islands, and some islands that were so small and remote, I'm not certain who was doing the knitting. But Eileen, God bless her, saved me from all that aggravation and offered to knit me one herself. I chose a Rowan pattern and yarn, part cotton and part cashmere that is so yummy that people keep wanting to feel me when I tell them Eileen knitted it for me. Here is the sweater:

Here is the back:

Here is a close up of the knitting. I don't know enough about knitting to tell you what kind of knitting pattern this is:

And here is the front with the buttons I picked out from my local yarn shop:
I got the pattern and the buttons (and decision to use this yarn) from The Yarn Lounge here in Carytown. Melanie who runs The Yarn Lounge was amazingly helpful to me in choosing everything, given that I know absolutely nothing about knitting. She took my photo wearing the sweater and put it up on her blog here. I want to thank her very much. Also, she seemed very interested in the fact that I made my own skirt. Even though she doesn't sew, I sense a sewing convert in the making! I urge everyone who loves to knit to check out this shop.

While at the shop last week on a visit from Boston, Eileen bought even more yarn, in a really yummy red. She wants to make this sweater for me again. She is not well. She isn't happy with this one because now that she has made it, she knows everything that she would do differently. I don't see anything wrong with this wonderful cobalt blue sweater, but like the rest of us, she only sees the small (very small) imperfections in what she makes. But I love it. And if she wants to make me another sweater for next year, who am I to argue? Plus, I have a feeling I'll be piecing another quilt for her at some point. (It's that learning by doing thing . . .)

Parting Shot: Photo of me and Miss Eileen while I am wearing the sweater. Thank you, Eileen! I love it!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Guest Post

Dawn Eden of The Dawn Patrol graciously allowed me to post on her Catholic blog as a guest writer. I thank her for the opportunity and for her enormous generosity!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Going Away Quilt

This started as the "Asian Strip Gift Quilt", then it became "Tammy's Quilt", and now it has become "The Going Away Quilt". My friend, Tammy, is at this very moment driving across the country with her sister-in-law Susie (0ne of the funniest women inside AND outside of West Texas) on her way to Chicago where she will live forever. Or until retirement. Whichever comes first.

Tammy and Susie are driving Tammy's truck, along with all the stuff the movers wouldn't pack, like the liquor and the guns. And somewhere in all that is "The Going Away Quilt":

Tammy and I picked all Asian themed fabrics, for a rich looking quilt. We got most of them at the Quilt Man in Ashland, Virginia. My instructions for this easy, fast quilt from 30 fat quarters is here.

The quilting was done, again, by Susan Caldwell at Quilting Around the Block, and the design is called "Oriental". Here are some close ups, although they don't show how beautiful this pantograph is:

The quilting was done in gold thread, which blends with the golds in the fabrics, but I am happy with it. I love the quilt, and I love the friend I gave it to.
When we bought the fabrics for the quilt, Tammy also bought some pillowcase kits to go with the quilt. So last Sunday, Tammy had her first sewing lesson and made her very first pillowcase:

She was pleased as punch how it turned out and I was even more so. She ended up making two pillowcases, and we had a great time.

Parting Shot: Tammy will want to kill me for posting this because she is sans makeup, but here is Tammy lying on her new quilt with her newly made pillowcases. She will have to forgive me because I miss her so much already:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spring Shopping!

It's spring here in Virginia; the daffodils are up. If I wasn't so busy with work, I'd have a photo of my flowers that have emerged from last week's 10 inches of snow into the 80 degree temps we enjoyed this past week!

So Spring clothes are on my mind. On Sunday I went to a CAbi show, which is a clothing line sold sort of like Tupperware. I love my CAbi representative because she makes me try on things I would never consider. Sometime I take her point; sometimes I just know the garment isn't "me". But she has a great point of view and she knows her clothing line.

Which got me to thinking about my "rules" when I buy or make clothes. Here are the highlights:

1. I don't wear tunics. Tunics are poor, unfortunate garments with an identity problem. They are too short to be dresses; they are too long to be a blouse. I've got no use for a tunic. And I don't understand why anyone would wear one. If you wear a tunic because you are worried about how your assets look in pants, might I suggest wearing a skirt or dress instead? Skirts and dresses hide all sorts of figure issues, including stomachs and heavy thighs.

2. I don't wear anything that shows cleavage. Six days a week I am either at work or church. Neither my co-workers nor my priest need to look at that. So it really annoys me that Boden keeps making low cut dresses. They are cute as all get out, but I'm not wearing one to a staff meeting. Or to Mass.

3. I don't wear green. No kelly green, no lime green, no green at all. I look sickly in it.

4. I don't wear wedges. I'll wear heels or flats, but like tunics, wedges are just shoes that don't know what they want to be. Plus, I think they make your feet look clunky.

Those are my issues about clothes. This is my biggest issue about other people's clothes:

Everyone assumes that everyone looks good in black. They are incorrect. (If you have red hair and freckles, I suggest wearing bright sunny yellow once in a while instead of black.) I even get tired of seeing people wear black who look good in black. I actually staged an intervention at work several years ago for a poor girl who wore black every day. For years. I browbeat some of the other women in the office to invade her cubicle and tell her, seriously, that her complexion was crying out for some color. She took it pretty well. She didn't give up the black, but a few times a week she started wearing a few brightly colored tops with her black skirts and pants, which she pointedly and proudly showed me each morning she wore them. Mission accomplished.

Next time someone says "That color looks great on you", pay attention. (It will probably be me.) If it is turquoise, buy more of that color. If it is bright pink, buy a LOT more of that color. Life is too short to dress like a widow this soon.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I Got An Award!

Summerset nominated me for the Sisterhood Award! I've never gotten a blog award before. I sincerely thank her for her kind words. I have learned so much from her blog - it is obvious that she is a born teacher!

And I nominate those who I know, as well as those who have supporting my blogging with their very appreciated comments. Their blogs have meant so much to me, and without their insight, talent, and humor, my life would be so much less fun:

Vicki W.
Claire S.
Sew Kalico

The rules of this award are:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitdue!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

Thanks to everyone! My Parting Shot:

Coasters from Anne (for Christmas). I'm sensing a vintage theme here.

Monday, March 2, 2009


We go all winter with no snow, and then we get ten inches in March! This is what my deck looked like yesterday afternoon:

And this is what it looked like this morning:

A really great snow day; unfortunately, I still had to go to work. Instead of sewing, I spent the morning shoveling (and part of this afternoon):

I'm reduced to entering and leaving my house through the garage door because this is what my doorway looks like:

It's a beautiful snow; very powdery but clingy at the same time. Here is a tree in the neighborhood:
Some streets are less plowed than others!

Hope everyone had a great snow day and everyone is safe!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

It was a good sewing weekend; I got most of Saturday and a couple of hours today working in the sewing studio, i.e. the dining room/living room. It was particularly fun using some of the haul from the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show. First up, I was able to complete two more blocks on the DWRQ:

What was kind of fun was that I got to meet John Flynn at the Quilt Show and I told him about the black/white/red version I was doing and that it was my first. He was very encouraging and told me to keep at it and it would all come together. I'm hoping he is right. One of the things I bought at the Quilt Show was this rotating cutting mat which has made cutting the fabrics with John's templates much easier. I had resisted buying the rotating mat at my LQS, but it was so much on sale at the Quilt Show, I couldn't resist:

One thing I finally "got" about the DWRQ blocks is that there are two blocks, a block "A" and a block "B". The difference is whether you put the black corner block on top as you begin, or whether you use the red. It has taken me a few tries to get this, but I now have 8 blocks, 5 are "A"s and 3 are "B". Next weekend I'll make two more "B"s and I'll be all caught up.

The other thing I bought at the Quilt Show was this great cotton canvas whose design was inspired by antique Japanese fabrics. Vicki and Anne bought the entire fat quarter collection, but I bought a few yards of this fabric only:

And I made a skirt, from my TNT (tried-and-true) skirt pattern, McCall's 3341, view D:

I decided to made the seam allowance 1/2 inch instead of 5/8 inch to see if it would fit better, but the 1/2 inch seam allowances have made it a bit big (thank God!), but this isn't a problem - it just sits lower down on the hips, and the extra looseness will probably be appreciated come about July when it is 95 degrees. Which is hard to imagine now since it is snowing and the wind is blowing at about 25 mph.
And finally, I got the binding done for Tammy's Asian Strip Gift Quilt - hope to get that sewn on this week!
I'm hoping for lots of snow tonight so maybe work will have a delayed opening! A snow day/sewing day would be great:
And here is the Parting Shot: the beginning of the snow. There is about 3 inches out there now!