I am in the car driving quite a bit. Some of my driving is on the highway, other times it is in town, stop and go. I generally like to keep a simple wash cloth knitting project as my companion on the road. Stop lights are great opportunities to get a little knitting done and I've also found myself stopped in the mountains as they are working on the roads. Might as well accomplish something.
While knitting a vanilla sock is easy I've found it not conducive to knitting on the road. It's not as easy to put down and pick up as a wash cloth is as a wash cloth is knitted on larger needles.
This year the yarn of choice has been Bernat Handicrafter Holidays in red. It's a cotton yarn with a metallic filament. Yes, that means it sparkles!
I make these wash cloths to give as gifts. They are great stocking stuffers for my children who like them and use them.
I knit the basic wash cloth pattern starting with 4 stitches and increasing to 60 stitches and then start the decreases.
I can knit without looking at my work and keep my eyes on the road ready to move.
You will notice the bottom wash cloth is orange. That was some cotton yarn I picked up at Tuesday Morning. My son goes to the University of Texas in Austin. Need I say more.
This week I am packing up the Christmas packages to be mailed and will be including these sparkly cloths.
And just an FYI: I do not knit while my vehicle is moving. That would be akin to talking or texting.
As a former owner of a small business I understand that your day has been a long one but please don't greet me at the door and say "We are closing in 15 minutes."
I do know what your hours are and was just popping in to buy a gift certificate, a $100 gift certificate.
Needless to say I did not buy that gift certificate and will be going elsewhere with my money.
As a store owner please realize that customers are how you make a living. How you treat them is how you create repeat customers.
I recently was at a shop knowing it was probably close to closing time and ask " How late are you open?" The reply "Until we don't have customers." This is a shop I will gladly return to and spend my money. Kudos to Adina at Cloth Carousel in Winters, California. I just wish her shop was a little closer to home.
I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not but the company I work for was bought out in July by a new company.
For those of you that don't know I am a fabric sales representative and have the honor of visiting quilt shops encouraging them to buy the fabric for the company I represent.
Before the sale I represented one line of fabric and now I have three.
Along with the buyout came a President that is very much present and involved and there are now weekly conference calls. Our main headquarters are in New York so these conference calls are rather early.
7:00 a.m. for me on the west coast.
I am not a morning person.
Especially at 7:00 a.m. but I am a team player plus Jim gets up at 6:30 and can I also say naps are GOOD.
Last week Scott, our president, shared the idea we should bring a little something at each appointment. He liked the idea of coffee or doughnuts.
One of the reps mentioned she embellished tea towels for her shops.
I do make mug rugs and leave at shops I don't have appointments at as a way to introduce myself which have my business card attached.
And I also have made a few shop samples of bags for some of my stores but I don't normally leave a little something at every shop I visit.
While the design surface is smaller than my other design wall, only 54" x 60", I was able to hang it in my sewing room. And if I so desire I can roll it up like a blind and it will all disappear.
I happen to like looking at my work.
Currently I have some of the blocks from my Dear Jane quilt, two of the center blocks from the Garden Medallion by Kim Diehl which I am making with Dru Ann (I'm doing the applique, she's doing the piecing) and basket quilt blocks of my own design I am making for my Jo Morton Basket Parade on display.
There are two schools of thought about whether to wash your quilt fabric before you start piecing your next quilt top masterpiece.
A really compelling reason for prewashing was pointed out to me recently by a vendor at a quilt show.
Most quilt fabric is printed in foreign factories which don't have the same levels of sanitation that we do in the United States. This fabric is then shipped in containers on boats with rat, mice and bugs and then sprayed with pesticides before being released to be trucked to warehouses in the US and then shipped to your local quilt shops.
This really does give me the creeps so I have decided to put my head in the sand and am not going to think about it.
Another reason for prewashing is to prevent the possibility of the dyes bleeding when a quilt is washed.
The introduction of color catchers used in the laundry has helped to prevent this from happening.
Fabric also does shrink when washed and can distort the finished quilt.
And sizing and chemicals used when the fabric is being printed is also removed when your fabric is prewashed.
Then you those of us, that would include me, that do not prewash.
Remember I am keeping my head in the sand.
I make my quilts to be used and like how the quilt looks after it has been washed and draws up.
I also like to work with unwashed fabric that still has it's sizing.
Today not prewashing came back to bit me.
Fortunately it's just a block.
Last year when I attended the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California I bought some hand dyed fabric to use in my Dear Jane quilt.
I am using purple batiks and batik looking purples which is the category these hand dyed fabrics fell into.
Didn't think about the fact they are hand dyed and purple.
There are lots of stories out there about people washing a red garment with their other clothes and turning all their whites pink accidentally.
Purple is the other color notorious for bleeding.
I sprayed this block with a water bottle today.
The fabric is now sitting on the washing machine along with three other pieces of hand dyed fabric.
I'm also going to wash the block but I think I will be doing this one over.
Years ago when I was growing up my mother taught my two sisters and myself how to embroider.
We would iron the designs from transfer patterns to pillowcases and the tops of bed sheets and then we would follow the lines and embroider.
I found this example of a transfer pattern online.
Recently I found myself in Benicia, California in between appointments and needing to walk to feed my fitbit habit. Benicia is on the water and considered part of the San Francisco bay area. It has that small-town historic charm and their main street is a wonderful enclave of small antique and boutique shops which I wandered through.
In one of the antique shops I found these lovely hand towels.
They are all done by different individuals from some past time.
I couldn't resist their beauty.
I am not a saver of handwork.
I believe it is meant to be seen and used and enjoyed so I now have some lovely "new" hand towels in our guest bathroom.
Carmen was a customer of our former yarn shop and she makes me feel happy that we were a small part in creating a knitter. Listening to her makes me miss Texas.
She recently had a KAL called the Summer of Socks where she encouraged her listeners to knit from their stash, socks or other projects using sock yarn which ran from May 26 through midnight September 1.
This is my stack of socks. Two pairs are birthday socks, one pair is for Christmas and the top pair I just finished for me.
Just under the wire.
My sock drawer has been missing a pair of red socks.
I have been working on a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt for 20+ years.
Two of my children were born after I started this quilt.
Yes this makes me feel VERY old.
I finally decided to say UNCLE.
This quilt is done using the English paper piecing method.
I started this quilt before precut paper piecing templates were on the market and so I found the cardstock flyers you receive in the mail to be a great resource and the perfect weight to use for paper piecing.
My finished hexagons are 3/4".
Currently the quilt measures 76 x 95.
I would like to use it on the guest bed which is a queen so I need to add a border.
My plan is to applique the sides down to muslin because I don't want to lose the shape of the hexagons.
And just to prolong the project I think I need to hand quilt this one.
I do hope I live long enough to finish and enjoy this quilt.