Friday, May 27, 2005

The Studio

Quilting is going slowly. Knitting is disappointing. I finished the hourglass sweater (after knitting the yoke twice) and it is too big. It is the hourglass sweatshirt. So I loaded up my pictures for a Mariah unveiling, but I've been sitting on that post for several days, just not ready to put the full frontal shot up on the internet, where I forgot to hold my stomach in, (or have liposuction).

Today was the kids' last day at preschool, and I am facing the dreaded three-week-gulf between the end of school and the beginning of summer activities. I am doing my best to have zen thoughts, to let everything go and sit by the pool with my knitting, but with the show opening in 3 weeks and the L.A. trip the week after that, I'm stressing.

I sit at my computer searching for inspiration, for motivation, and I see that Melody mentions my studio. That she finds it inspirational. Wait--is she mocking me? No! She's serious.

I look around. There are a lot of things I love in this room.

This is my studio wall. You can't really see it, but my desk with computer is right below this stuff. (You can see the tops of the piles of crap that sit on the desk). There is some good stuff there, despite the fact that it is being taken over with kid's drawings. (But I do seriously love the drawings, even the little pink post-it lower right with just a scribble.) The thread rack is the first thing most people comment on. Its a little bare now, because the reds and oranges are on my desk being used. The collage of photos under the thread rack is a mural in LA that my brother made for me, its no longer there. (See some more cool collaged photos at his blog.)

The thread rack actually inspired a visiting photographer, Eric Kohke, to use it for the cover of our Art Council magazine a few years ago. That was pretty cool.

Here's the other side of the room, above my ironing table/crap holder. Lots of room to grow over here. Love that butterfly image, thinking of doing more butterfly quilts. Photos of journal quilts I made of the kids, and a magazine clipping of the way I want our house to look "some day".

Ok, break over, time to get back to work. I feel better now.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Quilting Sunflowers

For lo, these many months, I have been a knitting maniac. I have been blessed with a lot of knitting time this spring, time in the car waiting to pick up kids, time at night when I have been too exhausted to do anything but collapse on the sofa and knit to the TV without moving for at least two hours. Especially since January, when my husband was traveling so much with his job that he went for something like 13 weeks (we lost count) without being home for more than three days at a time.

But I have a couple of things coming up with my real job (quilting) and I am getting my rear in gear and getting in the studio in the evenings to finish up some stuff.

Here is what my studio looks like today:

A completely un-edited look. I have an extra table pushed up to my sewing table to support the big quilt. I have the top fused, and am doing a tiny zig zag stitch around all the pieces. I hope to finish that step today and sandwich and baste it tomorrow morning while my husband does Saturday morning cartoons with Daddy.

Then it needs to be quilted and bound in three weeks to go with me to L.A. when I go with two friends to shoot two episodes of Uncommon Threads, a new needlework show for D.I.Y.

Here is a close up of the quilt in progress.

I'm also having a solo exhibit of my quilts at the Minnetrista Cultural Center in Muncie, Indiana (my hometown) all summer. The show opens June 18th, and I have all the quilts finished for that show, but I'm running around finishing the little details like postcard announcements, revising my mailing list, updating my website, and making an educational display.

E-mail me (emily at emilyquilts dot com) if you want a postcard!
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Monday, May 16, 2005

Hourglass Progress

What's a three hour Survivor marathon good for?

Major progress on the Hourglass Sweater. (From Last Minute Knitted Gifts.)

I finished the first sleeve, attached it to the body, and tried it on. As much as you can try on a body knitted only up to the armpit. It looks good! I think. I am somewhat stuck in the late 80's when you wore big baggy clothing to camoflage your pear shape; wearing something to accentuate my pear shape with a name like hourglass is a novel idea.

Anyway, to recap: Finished sleeve. Attached to body. Tried on. Full steam ahead.


The situation is, that to obtain the yarn needed to finish the sleeve, not to mention the yoke and neck, I need to start ripping out this:

The previous half-knitted sweater-to-be. Clockwise from top: sleeve, right front, back and miscellaneous swatches. I still like it, even thought I know it is not meant to be. The plan was that since Hourglass was an experiment, I'd use the pristine skeins first, then rip the knitted pieces if it worked out. But I've frogged a whole finished-and-worn sweater with less work in it than these pieces.

Close up of the basketweave cable. Here is the sweater that I was making--the Aran Family cardigan near the bottom of the page, from Knitting the New Classics, by Kristin Nicholas. I still love it, and plan to use a smooth wool.

Anyway, time to R.I.P. At least I'm going to reclaim a boatload of stitch markers.
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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Week in Review

Busy. Birthday. Week.

Last week I distractedly cast on a bunch of new projects. This week I buckled down and finshed up old ones.

I started out the week all fired up. Sewed this skirt from a pattern I picked up at Hancock's of Paducah this year, and fabric from Hancock's of Paducah, from last year, nicely aged in my stash. (It was originally for a maternity top--kinda missed that boat.)

Paired with a tee shirt courtesy of Old Navy and Koigu courtesy of LYS, I have the potential here for a cute, co-ordinated, outfit, whoo-hoo.

And here's a close-up of the skirt print and the Koigu. I intend to cast on a lacey scarf, I'm going to try one of the ones from Interweave Knits Spring '00, page 44, A Scarf of Your Very Own.

What else? How about a finished Sitcom Chic?! I ripped off the first front band after it rolled mercilessly, and just made a narrow garter stitch band, which looks fine. I had to shorten the sleeves by cutting, carefully unraveling a row, and adding new yarn and knitting the ribs down. I am now learning that Cotton-Ease (all cotton?) grows, as this sweater is now a couple inches longer than originally intended, and I might at some point do the same shortening process to the body.

But I love it and have already worn it twice!

Continuing the finishing frenzy, I put the zipper in my Mariah, and finished fusing a big new quilt top. (No pictures, bear with me, I thought those deserved their own entries.)

On Tuesday, my mom and sister came to visit in honor of the big event, my birthday. They helped ease me over the hump of the mid-late-thirties (37) into the full-fledged-late-thirties (38). Honestly, having been 38 for a few days now, it is really good. So good in fact, that I think I might just stay 38 for a few more years.

Allison, my mom, and me.

Wednesday (the birthday day) my fellow May lambs came over for our annual birthday celebration. Here we have Ann, Laura, sister Allison, Melody, and Frieda. (Kindly ignore children in background creating havoc throughout.)

We ate, laughed, exchanged presents, and of course, showed art. Here is Frieda admiring Melody's wonderful gift to all of us, a beautiful piece of hand-dyed silk, dyed by her wonderful self.

Here is Ann showing her newest quilt. Ooh, Ahh!

Then, Thursday, it was the inevitable pilgrimage to as many yarn/fabric/craft stores as a car-full of small children would allow. With me in the driver's seat, Allison acting as navigator, and ever patient mom in the back of the van with the wild indians, we set sail in the western suburbs, land of fabric and yarn, in search of the elusive discontinued Cotton Ease #144, Sugar Plum.

Many miles from home, it was the third big box fabric and craft store we had found. Even pacified with sticker books and bagels, the natives were getting restless. I decided to sit this one out, and let my sister go in to scout. She took in 3yo Molly, to investigate some fabric and glance by the yarn. When she came out the door, she didn't wave me in, so I assumed it was a bust. But as she neared the car, she leaned down to Molly and I heard her say "go tell Mommy: We hit the jackpot! They have the Sugar Plum!"

And its a good thing I overheard that, because Molly opened the door and proclaimed "its crackerjack Mommy, and (insert unintelligble 3yo speak here) sugar plum" and I would have had a heart attack waiting while trying to translate that, knowing it had something to do with sugar plum.

Anyway, I scored enough pristine Sugar Plum Cotton Ease to make this sweater, that I've wanted to make for a long time.

Sophie is fascinated with the elusive Sugar Plum.

See what I mean about being 38? It's all good.
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Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day

Sophie says "Happy Mother's Day! Can I take my hat off now?"

Miss Dashwood hat, from Knitty. Cotton-Ease Strawberry Creme, less than one skein.
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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Blankie 9-1-1

Is there a (knitting) doctor in the house?! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Cast-On City

As I may have mentioned, I've had the blahs. For instance, last weekend I had a little mommy-time, and I raced to three stores in just over an hour.

First up, the local quilting store. I rarely go there, because (the fabric wing is full) I dye most of the fabric for my quilts, and any print fabric I usually buy at Paducah or the Chicago Quilt Festival. Anyway, I was was trying to make a skirt from a Kaffe Fasset print that I bought at Paducah, and I was about 1/4 yard short. So, the trip to the quilt store. They didn't have it, but they did have--get this--YARN in a little alcove in the back. Nothing that I couldn't get at the LYS I frequent, but nevertheless I thought it was quite interesting that a quilting store was getting into yarn. Smart people.

Next up, Joann's superstore. Looked over the Cotton-Ease, but the Cotton-Ease wing of the house is also getting full. It would take the elusive Sugar Plum, or Ice Blue (which I have never seen at Joann's but that doesn't stop me from looking every time I'm there) to excite me at this point. I did get a $1.47 notion to finish my new bag (hold your horses, that'll be elaborated on later.)

Finally, my LYS. I was on the hunt of some Rowan Cash Cotton DK for the picot-edged bolero in the new Vogue Knitting. Not there, just the Cash Soft. Picked up and put down a lonely skein of Koigu about fifteen times. Left it there. Three fabulous stores and all I got was a stinkin' yard of cotton upholstery cording? Sacre Bleu!!

So, I went home to shop at Emily's Closet. Found some great things there, fancy that! That yarn store owner has some fantastic taste, I must say.

I present to you: New Projects.

Jazzy new scarf, from the Colinette something-or-other that I bought in New York.

This purchase was made just after the Apprentice episode when Tana (go Tana!) wore that cool pink scarf. Although, either she has two pink scarves, or the second time I saw it I think it was eyelash yarn, and I didn't like it. But I liked the color, and decided I could use a flippy, summery, pink scarf. I should have captioned this "Attempt at jazzy new scarf", because I think it is blech. Any suggestions for a pattern for flippy, summery, pink scarf would be appreciated, as this is headin' for the frog pond.

Next up: new sweater for moi, from the free Rebecca online pattern here and GGH Goa. This may look Blech in the pictures, but I have high hopes for this to be quite fabulous. As fabulous as I could possibly be in BULKY WHITE YARN. Maybe I shouldn't get those hopes up too high.

Finally, my mindless knitting. Belated baby blankie for Sophie, from a yarn called "Baby Cover". This stuff is light as air and even softer. I figured this yarn must have been made of 100% chemicals to be this soft, and I looked at the label and its 100% merino. Incredible.

Last but not least, I also made myself a new bag. Sorry to blind you with the flash there. The pattern is by Amy Butler. So is the fabric. I got both at Hancock's in Paducah. What am I going to use it for?

Do you really need to ask?
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