Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sapphire diamonds

This pillow top is one of my favorite projects I've done recently. This was another project I started back in October in anticipation of moving to Sacramento so I could have something handmade in the new digs. The blues were my first new fabric purchases in a while and I really love the combination of navy and ice blue. 

At this point, the top got folded up and set aside for a bit. I wasn't sure how I wanted to quilt it, and didn't end up bringing all the 'stuff' up with me I needed to finish the pillow, anyway. The same weekend this April that I finished my other pillow, I mustered the effort to quilt this one. 

I used a big piece of an old flat sheet that I've been using in projects here and there to back the quilted pillow top. The quilting is simple, just outlining the diamonds inside the background stars. This way the nested diamonds pop visually and dimensionally. 

All that's left now is to put a back on, and stuff it with a pillow. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to do an envelope closure or a zipper. I'm leaning towards zipper now that I've improvised my way through the process on the last pillow. It seems like it will be more 'finished' if I do, too. So close!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

in the middle of it all

Quite literally in the middle of April, the ides so to speak, and in the midst of the legislative season, this got done.

I started this a hilariously long time ago, 6 months or so. Much to my surprise I haven't had the luxury of time to sew during this fellowship. (I can't decide if that's sarcastic or not.) I will admit, part of the reason was that I hadn't brought my iron up with me and I just couldn't see finger pressing all the seams I needed to get this done. I have since bought a lovely NEW iron and finished this in an afternoon. 

I was originally thinking of hand quilting to outline each of the navy stars, but settled on quilting a grid in orange thread instead. I'm glad I did because it ended up adding a bit of a 3D optical illusion to the stars that I like very much. I set my machine on the longest stitch it would let me do, so it ends up looking like unusually tidy hand quilting, anyway. 

I even conquered my reticence to install zippers! This orange zipper simply pops on the back, and much to Dave's relief means the pillow is actually DONE. (I may or may not have had other pillows to sew closed that stayed that way for …. a while.) It's living happily on my bed/couch now. Score one for Sacramento sewing!

Thursday, April 3, 2014


I have to say, now that the office is all nice and pretty/organized/awesome I'm super jealous that Dave gets to work in it whenever he wants and not me! Alas. Still, it was pretty neat to walk into it last weekend. The kitty has of course managed to make a habit of hanging out on the windowsill above my desk. But I expected that. Predictable kitty. At least I know he's keeping an eye on my desk for me.

I took the train down last weekend, which meant lots of time for knitting! Sometime in the last couple weeks I made it through the ribbed yoke section of Split Rotation, managed to bend my mind through splitting off the front sections and the arms, and am now on the much breezier stockinette part of the body. I should have written down how I dealt with sectioning the stitches at the arm holes, but oops. I'm sure it will come out fine, but don't know if I could do it again the same way!

Two and a half hours on the train gave me a few inches of stockinette. This sweater is knit so the purl side is the 'right side' and there is a single knit stitch centered under the arms each row that makes a faux side seam. I kept forgetting that little guy when I was working the wrong side -- the purl is buried in the fabric while the knit on the other side is much easier to read going across. Luckily, I've become quite adept at fixing stitches in the row below my active row without too much trouble. It's harder on a bumpy train, but nonetheless I've got my little faux seams all neat and tidy.

It's looking a little funky on the needles, as half-finished projects do. Blocking will do wonders, I hope. But before that I've got quite a few stripes ahead of me! There's a little bit of shaping in the body section but mostly it's a sea of stockinette from here on out. After that I have to edge the armholes and add button bands to the front. That's a lot of stitches to pick up. Let's focus on step one for now.