It was 30º F at 6:30 AM, and raining. I guess I should be happy it isn’t snowing. The rain must mean warmer air aloft, and I certainly hope the temperature will be rising soon, but hey! I am really tired of cold and precipitation. It’s been too long since our trip to Florida, I guess. Two definite signs that spring must be coming: It was light out and I woke up naturally at 6:30 AM. I must be part bear or something; I always sleep more in the winter.
I’ve also been more productive this past week. I have been using the #2018MakeNine list to focus my efforts, and here’s a quick report on my works in progress, or WIPs:
Knitting & Crochet
No progress on the Tealeaf Cardigan, as I have focused most of my efforts on the 30 Day Sweater Challenge Henley I’m making for Larry. The pattern is called “Emily“, but in my experience the henley style is pretty much gender neutral. Yes, I started this sweater (the first time) in October of 2017, which is more than 30 days in the past. I believe the fact that I’ve started this sweater more once explains most of the problem. I’m making progress, though. Hopefully you can detect the beginnings of a crew and henley neckline in the photo to the left. This is a top down, in the round knitting pattern. The strange pink lines are my “life lines” – if I drop a stitch, the fabric won’t ladder back any farther than the nearest life line. These are important. Don’t ask me how I know.
No progress on the crochet Filigree Leaf Tunic, though. I think this one would be finished if I didn’t try to start knitting two sweaters in the middle of this project. Hence the “Make Nine” list – I need to focus!
I’ve been practicing free motion quilting with a straight ruler, using my Modern Stars quilt, but I haven’t started quilting the Cat Cross quilt yet. I have designed the stitch pattern I want to use, though, and most of it can be done with a normal dual feed foot, rather than free motion quilting. If these terms mean nothing to you, you can find out a bit more on using rulers here, and on using dual feed feet here.
There are two main phases to sewing: the pattern altering & fabric cutting phase, and the sewing and finishing phase. In my sewing space, the cutting tables and the sewing tables are the same, so it helps to do the pattern altering and cutting for a couple of projects before launching into the sewing and finishing phase. I’ve been doing just that this past week, and have made some progress on both the cushion covers and the living room valance.
After making an initial version of the fireplace cushions, I made a slight modification to the cutting plan, and have cut out the pieces for the remaining two cushions. Below you can see the cording glue basted to the cushion covers. Yes, glue basted. If you are familiar with “school glue”, you will be aware that there are forms of liquid and stick glues that will wash out, even after drying. Sewists have learned to take advantage of this property for basting pieces of fabric together, especially when the fabrics may be tricky to handle, which this upholstery fabric truly is. The protective coating that makes this an easy clean fabric also makes the different pieces slide around as I try to sew them together. Glue basting pretty well eliminates that problem.
I’ve also spent considerable time designing the valances for my living room windows, including determining how to create the different pieces and sew them together so that the pattern will match across the panels, and all seams will be hidden in the pleats. In the first image, the brown rectangles are the wood frames for the window panes. The vertical lines between the valance panels indicate the locations of inverted box pleats. I chose this design to add a bit of textural interest to an otherwise tailored looking surface. The actual fabric looks like the image to the right. In the next image on the left, the orange boxes with the white X’s each represent a single pattern repeat on the fabric, and the various black boxes super-imposed on the fabric represent pattern pieces. Yep, I’m crazy enough and nervous enough to plan the fabric layout in advance. The design images come from my planning work using EazyDraw, a relatively inexpensive and easy to use graphics program. I’m not advertising the software, but for anyone interested in this sort of thing, it is an alternative to the Adobe suite that I find quite useful.
That’s about it for this past week. I’ll post another project update in a week if I actually make progress this week, or later if I somehow waste the week away.