Changing colors

Autumn comes in third in my choice of seasons, but I do love the changing leaves.


Despite the wind storms of the last few days, most of the trees have retained the majority of their leaves.  But the colors are really beginning to appear!


This vivid part of the season is so short lived, before we start in with the dreary bare and gray months, so we enjoy it as much as we can while it lasts.


Maybe I need to knit something more in keeping with the colors of fall?  My current project is feeling more like the end of winter.


Piecing backs

Another wet and windy weekend – though nothing like the poor East Coast people are dealing with. Definitely sewing weather as we can’t be outside in all this wind, so I pulled out a couple quilt tops and started stash rummaging for suitable fabric for backings.

I like pieced backs for scrappy quilts and this first top is definitely scrappy.


The scrappy stars quilt is really bright and busy, so I chose calmer, lighter fabrics for the back, in much bigger cuts than the little 2 1/2″ squares of the front.

I pinned the quilt up on the wall, and then pinned various panels until I’d covered it completely.


Then it was just a matter of slicing and sewing and it was very quickly finished.


I used some of my favorite little houses fabric.  Makes me smile every time I look at it.


Next up was a floral diamonds quilt top I made quite a while ago.


I go back and forth on this one.  I think I like the pattern better than I like my fabric choices.  But it will be perfect for someone out there.

I didn’t have enough of any of the florals for the backing, and it would have really loud if I’d pieced all those florals together, so I ran out to the nearby fabric store and got enough yardage for the back in a single fabric.

Aside – wow, it is blustery out there!  I watched a tree hit by one gust crack in half and fall across the railroad tracks.  I didn’t have my phone but when I got to the store a minute later, I had the cashier call 911 to warn the police.  On my way home, there was a stopped Amtrak train and cops all over the place clearing the fallen branches.  I had to detour to get home because the train was stopped across several of the roads I would normally take.

Back to sewing – to get a wide enough cloth, I ironed one selvage under an inch and a half and then matched the edge to the other piece’s pattern, opening the fold and pinning it and then using the fold line as my sewing line.

Hampered only by my inability to sew a really straight line, it still came out pretty well. You can see the line in the picture below, but it will pretty much disappear in the quilting.


That’s as far as I’m going to go today.  The spinning wheel is calling, and my niece and my mom are here for a visit.  But now I’ve got at least three quilts to take to the school’s wide tiled floors for pinning.  The WIPs are slowly moving along.

It takes a village

Or at least a determined friend and a deadline.

In March of 2009 (!) I started knitting a shawl pattern called Aeolian.  It is a popular pattern – Ravelry currently has 4385 projects linked to the pattern.  And I was deep in the throes of my lace knitting addiction.  The thinner the yarn, the more complicated the charts, the more I loved it.

And boy, Aeolian had 6-7 charts, it had beads, it had nupps (soon to become my nemesis), it called for size 2 needles, and I knit it from a cone of the finest yarn I’d ever cast on, a 50/50 linen and cashmere cobweb weight thread-like yarn.

It went so well for quite a while.


Then, at some point, I wandered off.  Squirrel!  And I didn’t pick it up again for two years. By then it was taking 30 minutes a row, but progress was happening and I could see it grow, and I worked through more of the charts and though I still detested doing nupps, I got better at them so I didn’t dread those rows.

But something shiny must have caught my eye again because back it went into the dark hole of hibernating projects for two more years until I had a brief burst of working that got me to the last chart and the beading.  It took nearly an hour a row by then, but I got to the last chart, and then it went back into the drawer.

2013 was the last time I pulled it out.  My Ravelry project page reminded me of my neglect occasionally, but it stayed shoved in the back of my fiber dresser.  Lurking.

Then this summer my friend talked about how she needed to start a wedding shawl for a niece whose wedding was relatively soon – close enough to make it a bit of a speed knitting slog – and I had a eureka moment that would solve her deadline issues and get me out from under the Aeolian forever.

So I sent off the pages of pattern printouts, the vials of beads, the needles, and that 90% finished Aeolian to Leslie and sat back, relieved.

She finished it!


And it is so beautiful!


It is going to make a wonderful bridal shawl.



Rainy Sundays are the best

I love everything about fall Sundays – the sound of the rain, the gray light, sipping tea, curling up on the couch reading.

I interspersed a few accomplishments among the cups of tea and books.

My kitchen shelves are stained and up on the wall.


I made the first fall crockpot stew.


And I helped my niece start her second ever quilt – the help consisting of supplying all the fabric, cutting tools, and sewing machine.  She wanted scrappy, bright, and triangles, and she got all three.


I’m not in love with all her color combination choices, but she is, and that’s the important thing.


She dedicated the whole day to the project, cutting all the triangles and starting in on sewing the rows together.  I already see a big improvement in her sewing accuracy over the first quilt she made.


I just don’t get him

My husband called me into the office tonight to show me a picture on his phone – a newborn baby boy.

“Oh, he’s so cute, whose is he?”


“Wait, your Amir?”


“Your best friend Amir?!”

“Well, yeah.”


Here’s what I don’t get.  Amir is, see above, my husband’s best friend.  Granted, they don’t see each other that often, because Amir lives nine time zones and nearly 7000 miles from us, but they are close, talk all the time, and when they see each other it is like they just hung out the day before.

And I didn’t even know he and his wife were pregnant.  I mean, this husband of mine, who knows I quilt and knit and am dying to have excuses to make adorable little baby things – and that I think Amir and Libby are terrific and definitely craft worthy – and he never mentioned this huge imminent event that I could have been sewing or knitting for all this time.

“Didn’t I mention it?” he said to me.

I know it is an unfair stereotype, but still I want to shake my fist at him and shout that he’s such a guy.

But I don’t have time because I have a baby quilt to make.

I think one of these will be involved.

Back to OFFF

Each year a couple of my friends and I get together and go to a fiber festival.  It used to be Blacksheep, in Eugene, but the spring pollen combined with the straw dust made it impossible for one of my more allergic friends to survive happily.  So now we go to OFFF each September in Canby.


I actually prefer Blacksheep, because the arrangements for viewing sheep judging and other displays are better for knitting/spinning while watching.  OFFF doesn’t seem to think that people might want to sit in stands for a while to watch the events – maybe they believe only the people showing animals will sit there for long periods?  There are little to no seating arrangements most of the time.  But I always liked learning what made a Romney or BFL a really good example of its breed, or why one bunny was top over another that looks equally fluffy to me.  The announcers were good at filling in the info gaps for those of us who could probably tell a sheep from a goat, but not always.  At OFFF, even the llama obstacle course was moved to the opposite end of the barn this year, away from the stands we used to be able to sit in to watch.  And the judges aren’t wired for sound, so it isn’t possible to hear much of what they are saying.


Also, I miss the evening parade of fiber fashions that Blacksheep had each year.  And the Shetland sheep costume parade.  And the wood fired pizza at the restaurant nearby.

Those complaints aside, OFFF is a good time.  We bring our camp chairs to the lawn under the giant shade trees, wander the booths and barns for two days, and always go for Thai food for lunch.  We knit and spin and shop and catch up, and then go back to one friend’s house on the river to talk and craft some more.

Last Saturday, my sister and niece came along to check out the animals, and later in the afternoon my husband and kids showed up to do the same.  The animals cover the range of fiber creatures, including angora and cashmere goats, tiny Shetlands and massive Romney sheep, alpacas and llamas, and the bundles of fluff angora rabbits.

The weather was also perfect – blue skies but not too hot, and nothing like the windstorm that blew vendors canopies away a couple years ago.  Speckle dyed yarn and yarn felting seemed to be the new crazes with a lot more booths devoted to them, and I spent a lot of time wandering looking at wheels, because despite the fact that I have a perfectly good wheel, I can’t help lusting after the beautiful alternatives I don’t need but still want.  I definitely have wooley winder envy!

There is also always a fiber craft project display.  My favorites this year were both felted octopuses (octopi?)

I was VERY restrained in my shopping this year.  That 27 pounds of fiber already in the stash stayed in the forefront of my mind, and I bought just two luxury spinning tops, one of yak and silk and one a combo of angora, silk and cormo wool.  I got only one skein of sock yarn, because those bins at home are also rather full and a pottery soap dish to replace the plexiglass one in my bathroom I’ve always hated.  For me, it was the equivalent of coming home empty handed.  I just kept reminding myself that I’d bought most of it before, it would be there again, and I have a very busy life and way too many hobbies.  It kept the credit card in my wallet.


Now there is nothing to do but rest up for next year.


Blue and black finish


A bit of binding . . .

and the quilt is done!



This was a Scrapitude mystery quilt, the second I’ve participated in.  I’m so pleased with the colors and the stash-busting.  And just as pleased to have one quilting project to check off the WIP list. The

I kept the binding  scrappy to match the rest of the quilt, and sewed it down by machine. I’m not a purest when it comes to binding, and since the quilting isn’t done by hand, I always figure it doesn’t matter if the binding is either.  And I think it is sturdier this way.  Not as polished on the back, but around here, hard wearing is more important than perfect.

I modified the pattern slightly, leaving out the sashing because I didn’t want the quilt to turn out as big as it would have.  I’m not sure of this one’s destination, but someone will come along who it will be perfect for.

It is in the dryer now, getting its crinkle.  I love a quilt just out of the dryer!