Friday, March 30, 2012


About ten years ago I participated in a Block of the Month quilt program based on the Yikes pattern from Maple Island Quilts.  Every month I got a lot of fabric to make four blocks in a variety of large size basic block patterns.  Even if you don't quilt you have probably heard of Log Cabin or Courthouse steps blocks.

Here's how it turned out:

Pink, turquoise, black and white batiks made for a dramatic quilt and the construction allowed for any inaccuracies to be hidden by offsetting the rows.  I worked for hours on where to place each block but, in the end, Lady Jane (my Italian Greyhound then) mixed up the blocks so the placement ended up more random and less pleasingly placed.  I still love it for its energy and cheerful vibe.

I was about an hour from finishing up the quilt top when Paul saw it and asked for it for his bed.  He moved out a couple of months later and I haven't really seen it in many years.

Fast forward about eight years...

I was at his place the other day and saw it in a heap in the laundry room.  Thinking I would do him a favor, I decided to bring it home and wash it for him.  I dumped it in a heap on MY laundry room floor and went to let the dogs out.

THEY WENT NUTS!  Sniffing it, pawing it, rolling on it and exploring under it all the while wagging their tales and making general happy puppy sounds before they would go outside.  Good smells mean that Paul has been using it a lot or that someone doused in  'essence of beef'.

Imagine my surprise when Kelis, while trying to get out from under it, got stuck trying to crawl through a hole in it.


Not just one hole BUT THREE HOLES!

I should not be surprised as the dearly departed Kimora chewed on everything she could when she was a puppy and I am sure these holes are her handiwork.

I am not distressed by the holes, they only show that the quilt has been well used over the years and, as I always say, I make utility quilts not heirlooms to be preserved for future generations.

But really... three holes seem a bit much.

So this weekend I will be trying to decided what to do about this quilt.

Here are the options as I see them:

  1. Toss it out.  Not really an option a I still love it.
  2. Carefully patch it to invisibly hide the holes.  This could take a very long time to find the exact matching fabrics and may never look as it did when brand new and, with my luck, Alex will chew a new hole in it just to show he can do it.
  3. Patch it without concern for how it looks.  A black patch covering all three holes would make the quilt usable again but will not be very aesthetically pleasing.  Then again, a patch is a patch is a patch.
  4. Cut out one big hole, bind the edges and make it a doggy door.  I am intrigued by this solution as it would give Alex and Kelis a new game.  Then again, with my luck, I would get my foot stuck in it  and rip a bigger hole. 

So, while I am getting some work done this weekend (cleaning, planting and de-cluttering) I will be puzzling over what to do with this holes.

And Bill, I will not use red to fix it!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Last UFO

The Last KNITTED UFO (UnFinished Object) to be precise.

Why is this such a milestone for me?

In general, I tend to have about three knitting/crocheting projects going at anyone time.  Usually there is a pair of socks, a hat or scarf project and one bigger project (think sweater or complex lace) on my needles at any one time.  My theory is that socks are great for when I am being a couch potato, hats and scarves are great for knitting group gatherings and bigger projects are good for long movies or car trips.

There really is a method to my madness.

BUT, I must confess that the larger projects sometimes get hidden away because they become boring to work and I lose interest in them.

My last UFO was from a kit I purchased in Canada about six years ago.  Called the Sweater Bitz Kit it contained an ultra suede vest without sides and lots of various yarns so that I could knit up sleeves and side panels to make the vest into a jacket.

Seemed like a good idea at the time.  All the different yarns were cut into three yard lengths and the knitter was assured that there was enough yarn in the kit to make even the largest size provided.

After reading the instructions, I divided the yarns into two equal piles so that each sleeve/side combination would have similar yarns in them.  In a hotel room, with lousy lighting, I began this soon to be UFO.

What changed my enthusiasm from 'wow, I need to wear this next week' to 'let's just hide it away'?


When I used up half the yarn in knitting one sleeve with side extensions I found that I needed about another 200 yards or so of yarn to finish it up.  I put aside the first sleeve/side and started on the second...just to see if I was wrong.  I wasn't.  Second side needed just as much extra yarn.

Into a bag the whole thing went and once in a while I would pick up additional skeins to finish it up.

A couple of weeks ago I committed to finishing it up and this is how it looks today:

The color correction is a little off as the pre-made vest portion is black, not dark grey.

I still have a little hand sewing to finish it up.  In the end I added a lining to the knitted portion to stabilize the stretch as the knitted part is quite heavy and would 'grow' over time.

The textures of the different yarns are wonderful but I don't know if I will ever finish up the hand sewing needed to finalize the sleeve and side side hems on the right side of the photo because I am not in love with this project any more.

To add insult to injury, the size I chose is a little small and I should have made the side panels a little larger for an attractive drape.

The company that packaged the kit no longer carries this item and the retailer I bought it from seems to have disappeared from the web soon after I bought this kit.  That should have been a clue!

I am now UFO free and intend to set up another set of three projects to meet every eventuality.  I already have one of the three dedicated to making hats for kids at the local Head Start facility for their Christmas Party later this year.  Three hats done already!  The other two will probably be a great sweater with a kangaroo pouch in the front, that I have been itching to start, and an interesting pair of cabled socks to round out the 'in process' pile.

No knitting/crocheting UFO's ...YEAH!

Zillions of sewing UFOs to go.  :-)

Saturday, March 10, 2012


NO, this post is not about Alex...even though his behavior sometimes defines the word.

This post is how I get myself in trouble.

Let me elucidate.

Several months ago, the bricks and mortar location of Sun Flower Quilts  closed and it has become a virtual store.

That's all well and good except that the store had a three day sale to reduce the inventory.  Since Sun Flower was my favorite store, I had to go to the sale.  While there, I picked up some pricey notions for cheap as well as some baskets and other little bits and pieces.

Here's where I got myself in trouble.

Abandoned on a bookshelf  was a kit for a little change purse with a frame closure.  (if you are unfamiliar with frame closures, see here.)  It was only a few dollars and included hard to find interfacing.

I have never tried this type of construction before so it was a no brainer to pick up the kit and fiddle with it.

I am now hooked on this type of purse making.

Yes, it is a little finicky and requires significant patience but the product is very satisfying...or at least it would be if I didn't get glue all over the fabric body of what I made....

The white haze is glue while the yellowish stain is something I can't identify (can!t blame Alex for this one!).  I had to add the beads as there was a perfect spot on the handle for them.  The whole thing is only three inches wide and the Japanese fabric I used is a discard from a another member of the American Sewing Guild (Thanks Carol!)

So now I am in trouble.

I want to buy a bunch of different metal frames and make a lot of these little containers of deep mysteries or a few coins.  The fact that I have many little bags to hold deep mysteries does not not seem to deter my fascination with this construction technique.

Heck, there is still room on the credit card.


PS - In my defense, here is an example of something I will never make again as the product is totally useless -

Made from 1" covered button parts, it is supposed to look like a macaroon cookie but is definitely not good enough to eat.  Instructions are on the web someplace but I can't find them again...and I don't want to!