Thursday, September 22, 2011

Finally! A Quilt!

This quilt has been over three years in the making. And, it's finally finished. It was originally intended to be an anniversary present for my husband - our fifth anniversary. We just celebrated our seventh anniversary a couple of weeks ago. Well, it took longer than I had anticipated, but I'm so happy with the results. I still have to wash it - I'm crossing my fingers that that goes well (I'm open to tips on the best way of doing that, if you've got any). In the two years that it took me to hand-quilt this epic project, my cat took every opportunity she found to curl up in it. I have a little bit of de-furring to do, too. The finished size is 82 inches by 83 inches. That's over 6800 square inches...hand-quilted! My only previous quilting experience, when I started this project, was a baby quilt that I tie-quilted.
I chose to create a quilting motif of concentric circles radiating out from a center of two inter-locked ripples on the surface of water. Some of the water-soluble ink is still visible on the back (needs a wash). Our bedroom has a West Indies theme, so I chose fabrics that reminded me of our Jamaican honeymoon - the rich colors of the tropical forests and flowers, the blues and greens of the ocean, the brightness of the sun and sand. This quilt is a little better than the honeymoon in one regard, though - no hurricane Ivan!
It wouldn't have been complete without a little love note!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another Seraphina Shawl

I made another Seraphina shawl! I really love this pattern. Not only does it look good, but, after the first few rows, it's the same four rows over and over and over. It's a great couch potato project. I used two balls of Cascade Heritage Silk (have I mentioned that I really like this yarn?) to get a blocked width of 59 inches and depth of about 28 inches. This is going to be a belated birthday present for a friend. I wanted to make her something special for her 18th birthday. And, I think this qualifies. It's the type of accessory that dresses up a t-shirt and still compliments a cocktail dress.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Silk = Love

My niece turned 18 last month, so I wanted to make her something special. I also wanted to avoid anything that might be less-than-cool. Fingerless gloves seemed an obvious choice...not too difficult or time-consuming, but still very chic. To make them even more special, I went to my local, slightly over-priced yarn shop to get nice yarn. I picked up a skein of Cascade Heritage Silk in a deep purple color. I also bought some in silvery gray for another project. This is a truly lovely yarn - the blend of superwash wool and silk is so soft with a beautiful sheen. I was very pleased with how the gloves turned out - soft, with just enough stretch. My niece liked them and I hope they'll keep her little hands warm during those harsh UP winters. This yarn is also great for teenagers because you can basically just rinse it off, press the water out in a towel, and lay flat to dry. Easy peasy. The pattern for the gloves is free, and can be found here. (You have to sign into Lion Brand Yarn's site, but it's free.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Day of Productivity

I sat down at my desk today, plugged in an audio book, and finished up those journals. It felt so good to get something done! They're all sketchbooks; one that is 5.25 inches by 3.75 inches, the other two are 7.25 inches by 5.5 inches. All have 100 sheets of mixed-media paper and are stitched with waxed linen thread (black, yellow or purple). Little leather belts - with brass buckles - keep the books closed. I carry one of the 5.25x3.75 sketchbooks with me everywhere to doodle in.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Crazy Life

I know I've been absent for a while. I just didn't feel like writing. Nor did I feel like sharing. I can't even begin to explain how my life has been turned up-side-down this last month. I'll probably share some details after a while, though. Some things will still be off-limits for this blog. Suffice it to say, life can get ugly, or, it can be beautiful. Don't mix those two things if you can help it. Love the good and forget the rest. I've still managed to get some work done. I'm in the middle of a Doctor Who-inspired dress for myself and a wool/silk shawl for a friend. There are three journals sitting, half-completed, on my desk. I made a pair of fingerless mitts for my niece who is headed off to college in the upper peninsula of Michigan (read: cold). I wanted to make a cute toy for my newest nephew, but, his parents will be bringing him home (all the way from China!) at the end of this month - I'm not sure I'll be able to start and finish anything before then. My husband was clever and kind enough to get my computer up and running after the hard drive took a nose dive. I went to turn it on one morning and it wouldn't even boot-up. Boo! Amazingly, he was able to save all of my important files before replacing the faulty drive. Even without his fabulous techy-skills, he's the best husband a woman could ask for, but, when you figure in all that...Superman! Oh, computer is faster now, too!