Thanks George

Now that I am officially into the last third of my LAST semester, I have finished the first project. (except for the hanging sleeve. Dammit, I just wanted to go to bed before midnight ONCE this week... ok?)

(sorry for the not so great picture)

Two weekends ago, I started quilting the X's. I straight stitched along the diagonal in one direction. Then I laid it out on the living room floor and layed the backing over the front. Pinned it really well, and then marked the top of the quilt so I could cut a long strip in the backing along the top. I used my seam ripper to cut a somewhat straight line thru JUST the backing fabric. Then I sewed around all four edges of the quilt and used the hole to turn it inside out, iron it and wunder under the hole closed. Then, as usual, I folded it up and left it for two weeks. Yesterday I decided was the day it gets finished. This week (although no different from all the weeks before it) has been extremely boring at work. There is just not enough here for me to do for 8 hours, plus, I am only here from about 11:30 till 5 on the two days I have school in the morning and there is still not enough to keep me busy for 8 hours. It is so frustrating to be stuck here with nothing to do but screw around on the internet, just for a pay check (for those of you who think I'm crazy for this last statement, just try it for a month or two, or 3 years, it gets boring fast). So that boringness is what motivated me to get the quilt done last night. So when I got home, I ate dinner and knitted on my sock for a bit until Good Eats was over, then went to the sewing room. I was in a mellow mood so I put George Harrison, All Things Must Pass into the stereo. So it was just me and George, finishing up the quilt. He is my favorite Beatle, definitely the cutest.

Here is one finished sock and a start on the 2nd of the pair. I really like the way it turned out. I'm glad I didn't do the regular ribbing pattern for this yarn, I think it would have striped funny and pooled. I haven't succumbed to S3 yet (second sock syndrome) because I get so excited to actually wear the socks I am making that I want to finish both so I can!

Progress on the skirt is nearly immeasurable. I think I've done one or two rounds this week. The stitches keep increasing every 3 inches, so now the rounds are over 400 stitches probably and it just takes forever to get around to the marker again. It's hard to stay interested.

This weekend is going to be SO FUN! I am going to the psychic on Saturday and then from there on to Grand Rapids to stay with Leah! We are going to knit and watch RENT and go to the yarn shops there and I am going to teach her to knit in the round and it will be just me and her and her two dogs, Billie and Jada. Girl time!!! fun! We have been looking forward to this for weeks! She signs online to talk to me while I'm at work and we just keep saying that we want it to be the weekend already! "Let's fast-forward this week so it can be Saturday FASTER"

It's funny, I always think I never have enough to blog about, but it always ends up being a long post. Maybe because I just sit here and ramble on and on, like a free-writing excercise... but not.


not much to report

Not much of anything exciting has been going on, so here is a random bulletted list

  • I got an 89% on my second physics test

  • I have a desperate NEED to buy yarn online today

  • I got the RENT DVD for Christmas/birthday from my friend Rachel last weekend!

  • I finished the Ugg booties and started a second pair. Second PAIR syndrome is MUCH worse than second sock syndrome

  • I am now realizing how close the end of the semester is. Which is also the LAST SEMESTER EVER!

  • I have somehow built my bank account back up to where it was 3 years ago. I have not even tried, other than the not so successful "no new yarn in February" law. I just have been too busy with school and work and homework and family stuff that I haven't had time to go shopping. I got my tax refund, and I get paid 3 times in March! wahooo! All of these things make me think I can buy LOTS of yarn online, RIGHT NOW!

  • I get to spend time with Leah for 3 weekends in a row! That hasn't happened since at least 1998

  • I am going to go see a psychic and talk to my Spirit Guides on April 1st (never done anything like that before)

  • Starting my third and final textiles project for school tonight. It started out as an idea for a city skyline with all kinds of fabrics dyed with different processes, but now I am thinking a more abstract/geometric not quite foresty scene... just a row of trees. We'll see.

  • I have turned the heel and starting on the foot (after gusset decreases) on my sock

  • Shannon's birthday skirt has been neglected terribly since the end of the olympics. The end of May will come quickly and I will wonder where March and April went and why the hell I am rushing to finish a small and short skirt that I had 3 months to work on.

  • No pictures in this post because Ryan has my camera. He wanted to take pictures of his car engine before he started taking it apart so he would know where all the pieces go later.

I'll write more later when I have pictures and something interesting to say.


New cure for Migraines

Anyone who has known me for more than a week knows that I get headaches... a lot of headaches. Eye strain, stress, not eating well or often, sleeping in an awkward position, wearing my hair too tight, wearing a tight hat... all these things will give me headaches, but not consistently of course. So yesterday, I felt one coming and took two advil at about 5:00 on my way to school. I got home around 8:00 and ate some dinner and the thumping in my head was slowly getting worse. I took two more Advil and went to bed at around 11. I woke up this morning with a POUNDING head, it was probably about 5:45, but I didn't look at the clock. I laid there for a while with the song "Captain Vegetable" from Sesame Street stuck in my head. (Yes, I have the kind of memory that can't remember the formula for the Force of Gravity, but I can remember a song from a show I watched 20 years ago; which is why I am an artist, not a physicist, doctor, or rocket scientist... I'm getting off topic.) So, I laid there for about 15 minutes and kept thinking, "the alarm will go off any second... I... am captain vegetable... eating crunchy vegetables is good for me... and it's good for you so eat them too, eat celery and carrots by the bunch! 3 cheers for me, captain vegetable!!!! CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH! ok, any second now my alarm will go off." So after the alarm didn't go off, I got up to take something for my head. It was 6:00 or so. I took two excedrin migraine and got back in bed. Usually the strong stuff takes at least 20 minutes to work, so I laid down thinking I'd fall asleep, sleep for 40 minutes till the alarm goes off at 7 and have no headache.... 20 minutes later I just got up. I couldn't fall back asleep with the pounding, my eyes were wide open, and I was daydreaming of a knitting pattern to draw up. So I sat on the couch, watched the news and finished one of these Ugg booties for Matteson. The other one just needs the trim sewn on and the seam sewn up. By 7:30 when I was uploading these pics (when I should have been getting ready for school and work), my headache was gone. So there you go, Excedrin Migraine + Ugg Booties = Miracle headache cure.

Last night was the critique for my remazol whole-cloth quilt, it went very well. No one had any suggestions or things they had issues with or wanted changed. Which is good, because there is probably nothing I could do about it if there were. Most of the people that had been watching me work on it the past two weeks hadn't seen it finished yet, and when they saw it hanging, their mouths dropped open and they gasped... so that's a good sign! I am quite pleased. Here is a detail shot of the hand stitching that I've started. I told the teacher there is no way I'll have it done by mid-April for the last day of class, but I told her my final goal is to send it to Quilt National in September, so I will definitely finish it by then. And I'll bring it in at the end of the semester in-progress. (please excuse the chalk lines in the photo)

One of the many things on the needles now, a new sock. 100% wool, hand-dyed with plants and stuff from Natural Dye Studio . Using a pattern from my sock-shaped sock book.


Where did the color go?

Here it is, in all it's painstaking "glory"... my not so colorful wholecloth quilt top.

Three weeks ago when I applied the black undercoat, I made way too much dye, so I prepared two 45" square pieces. I decided one would be left black, except for my signature,to use for the backing; and the other I would do the quilt design on. So here is a shot of my signature on the backing fabric.

THAT is what the colors should look like. Bright and happy, showing no black thru the colors. I have no idea what happened. I did everything exactly the same. The problem was in the actual application of the dye, I know that for sure, but even that isn't giving me any consistant evidence of what to do next time.

It's not so bad... it's not what I expected or hoped for, but it does have some redeeming qualities. The design is very successful, symmetrical, and even. It shows off my squeeze bottle skills. And at least all of the colors are dull, instead of having all the rust orange color be bright (and correct) and the other three colors not turning out, then it would be really bad. I think it is successful enough to continue with my plan to hand quilt it. I'll buy batting this weekend, layer it and baste it. Probably will start quilting it so I can have an example to show at the critique on Tuesday.


big yellow ball

You'll never guess what I saw this morning! The SUN!!! The sun is out in Michigan, there are no clouds and I actually heard birds... BIRDS!!!!! Ahhh... there is life in this cold dreary state. I still had to scrape my windshield this morning, but it was so sunny that I didn't have to wear my mittens and hat, and I didn't say a bad word when I stepped outside.

I started fixing the skirt last night. I decided to use a darning needle and a contrasting color yarn to thread thru all the stitches on the last correct row, then remove the needle and pull the stitches out. The lighter yarn is helping to keep all the stitches from just running all the way down to the cast-on edge, though it's still kind of a mess and a pain in the ass. it was hard to tell which row to pick up all the way around when I was switching between picking up purls and picking up knit stitches.

Back to school tonight to work on my latest project. I am using remazol dyes along with reactive dyes to create a variation on this weaving.

So far, I've painted the 45-inch piece of fabric with black remazol dye, and it has taken me about 5 hours to draw the design onto the fabric with a chalk pencil. I drew it free-hand and then made stencils from the drawing. I am going to use an avocado green, rusty orange, some kind of purple and a yellow for the design. Most of the background will stay black, unlike the drawing. The reactive dyes on top of the remazol will discharge the black and put the color in it's place. After it is dyed and steamed/washed, I plan to layer it with a black backing and echo quilt it, by hand. My goal is to enter it in one of the big quilt shows as a whole-cloth quilt. Which it is, since it's one big piece.


Spring break!

I am back in Michigan and I am so glad I took the whole week off work. It's like going on vacation and then coming home and having another one where you get to sleep in your own bed and take advantage of your free time and get some stuff done. It's great. Even though I pretty much wasted yesterday. I don't know what I did, but the day is gone and I don't have much to show for it. Anyway... Here are pictures from Pisgah National Forest.

It was beautiful, it was a little chilly, especially so close to the big waterfall, but the sun felt great and we were just so excited to be outside and not thinking (or saying to each other) things like, "ahhh, I am sooooo c-c-cold" or "F*** it's FREEEEZING". See, we're outside AND smiling!

I got to go to a lot of yarn stores and I spent A LOT of money. $60 of it was my christmas gift from Ryan though, so that doesn't count. Isn't Ryan just the best for tolerating so many yarn stores in only 3 days! On our way home we had to drive through his hometown where his family lives, so we stopped in for a visit. When they asked him what he did on his vacation he said, "whatever Candice and Shannon wanted to do". What a guy.

Shown here (clockwise from upper left) is 3 skeins of pima/tencel (probably for socks), 2 balls of soy silk (maybe for socks), 1 skein of laceweight merino that I will be dying, maybe for a shawl or something, 1 lonely ball of a mix of fibers just to have, 4 balls of variegated chunky wool that I will weave for a scarf, 2 balls karaoke wool that might be a scarf, or something to felt, and the most exciting of them all, one ball of Trekking XXL sock yarn! I have been searching online to buy this but just haven't bought any and now I have some!!! I can't wait to start these socks, but they are in line after a couple other pair.

The solid fabric is 100% silk noil, the printed tree fabric is cotton.

I was leisurely knitting on the olympic skirt when I came to a section of knits that had one extra. I was about an inch past the last increase round. At first I thought maybe I had just accidentally been knitting instead of purling on that one stitch for the last 5 rounds, so I laddered down. The stitches came out and then stopped. I must have increased one extra stitch in that panel, so I have to frog about an inch of the skirt. I haven't touched it since Monday, I need some mental recouperation before I attempt to frog. So instead last night, I finished my first pair of socks! This entry is already chock full of pictures, I'll save the socks for another time.