Monday, June 18, 2012


Some days milestones in our life become millstones dragging us down.

I celebrated my sixtieth birthday a couple of weeks ago which is a great milestone in my life.  I think it can now officially say that I have fewer years ahead of me than behind me.  I still get up every morning feeling that everything that happens after I wake up is a bonus.  I still can't sing in tune, dance to any known rhythm or cook like a gourmet.

My birthday has lifted a great weight off my shoulders because now I feel like I don't have the time necessary to learn to sing in tune, dance to a rhythm or cook like Julia Child before the big blackout.  Huge relief!

In other ways, being sixty has set a couple of millstones on my back.  I think I should be wiser, less impulsive and more dignified in my demeanor. I realized that it just isn't going to happen when I came across a great project to mark my birthday.

In a recent issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine I came across an article on making Prayer Flags.  The article is full of inspirational flags and I decided to mark my birthday with my own version of prayer flags...not so much that the prayers would go to God for her help but that they would remind me of things that are important to me.

There are traditionally ten flags in two sets of five colors.  My interpretation went something like this:

  1. Blue = space.. >the final frontier> rocket ship > seek > imagine
  2. White = air....wind > explosion > breathe
  3. Red = fire..  burn > cleanse > discard
  4. Green = water ..  flow > wave > sooth > dance
  5. Yellow = earth.... dirt > grow > bloom
Starting  with the ideas above, a base of marbled fabric that I had experimented with many years ago and thread that matched the prayer flag colors, this is what I came up with:

(Oops! Blogger is telling me i have run out of space event hough I am at only 52% of usge..  check out my facebook wall for an image  )

Yes, I only did five, but I can see them from my living room window and every time I glance that way, I think of the concepts shown, smile and another millstone falls off my back.  Who cares if I am not wise, less impulsive or dignified when I am sixty.  After all, I still have a few more years left, and they may come in time...or not!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons....

In this case, I could not find a suitable border fabric for my latest 1600" quilt.  In case you have forgotten, a couple of weeks ago I posted about the 1600'" Quilt I had created during a session of Saturday Strippers.  Here is the link if you have forgotten.

My problem was that I wanted a patterned fabric for a border and couldn't seem to find one that would work.  Of the three solutions I suggested then, I finally decided to go ahead and try to make my own fabric.

With that in mind I cut samples of three different black fabrics I had in the house and applied a little sprayed bleach to each of them.  Friends convinced me that one of them looked pretty good and I went off to make more.

I laid out the black fabric on the driveway and laid old clothesline, a dog tie out and some pine needles on it.  I then sprayed it with a 50% solution of bleach and water.

One hour later this is what it looked like.  I sprayed it a little more and proceeded to wait for more magic to occur.
 After two hours, this is how it turned out, with the ropes and pine needles removed.
After a quick bath in 1 teaspoon of sodium bisulfate (Pro Anti-chlor from Pro Chemical and Dye) and 2 1/2 gallons of warm water, to neutralize the bleach, I dried it on the clothesline 
I had used to make the patterns and strung up among the trees in the back yard.  Once dry, I applied it to the quilt top and this how it turned out:

I think it turned out well.  I am now looking for an opportunity to lay it out on a large surface for basting because I have lots of ideas on how to quilt it.

This bleaching technique is definitely something you should add to your skill inventory as it it is so useful when confronted with dull, solid color fabric.  The plain cotton curtain over the window of my back door is now covered in various loopy designs after I used a bleach pen on it and some wonderful bright pink rayon yardage ended up with a bunch of lemon yellow speckles after bleaching using a spray bottle.  And check out this wonderful little quilt where the leaves seem to be floating on air.

BTW Paul says this quilt is a little girly because there is some peach in one of the fabrics.  I guess I can keep this one for the dogs and me to use because we don't care if it's a little girly.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lace KAL

Sometimes a random thought just takes over your life.

Nothing too loud or strenuous, just a little tickle that says...this is a good idea, you should try this, be a rock star.

Okay, maybe not a rock star, but I know you know what I am talking about.

The little idea was presented to me during a telephone call from another member of Knitting in Kingwood (KIK).  It had been suggested to her that the two of us work on a Lace Knit-a-Long (KAL) for KIK.  A KAL is when several individuals commit to knitting the same project at the same time.  It is a great way to stretch your knitting skills, learn a new technique and discover any potential problems with the pattern.  Our KAL would last all summer so it needed to be a little complex but not impossible for the average lace beginner.

My Long Sweater Jacket was a KAL.  Most people finished it in a couple of months.  It took me much longer but the comments from the other knitters really helped me to make something that fit me rather than too small like most of the other sweaters I saw.

Teresa and I looked for a pattern to use.  At first I thought we would use the Nancy Bush sampler scarf as the pattern but I found one in Love of Knitting that clearly would make a great KAL.  The pattern is called the Lacey Green Scarf by Ginger Smith and this is how mine came out:

Okay so it's not green but it is certainly lacy and it is a scarf.  The yarn is Shadow from Knit Picks. The Lilac color was a closeout and cost me less than $5.00.  I love the drape and I must admit that I am learning how to count these lacy patterns most of the time.  This pattern is well written though complex and you do need to pay attention to what you are doing.  Mine came out to about five feet long and eight inches wide at the ends to about six inches in the middle...and that taper was part of the pattern!

I did not notice any huge problems until I was blocking it out.  I discovered that I reversed a couple of rows which made one of the patterns a little wonky.  I probably should have re-knit that portion but my lazy side took over and now I just point it out to people.

Hey, this is a learning experience not a contest...right?
Why do I keep torturing myself like this?  Well, there is this little voice that keeps telling me to try something new, it's a good idea, you could be a rock least in my little bit of the world where all things are possible, even wonky knitting passing itself off as lace.