Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hold My Hand and We’re Halfway There

I just finished my 50th square on the Tamarix Quilt, and so now I’m halfway done. Or nearly so – I keep leaving out the applied I-cord edging in my percentage calculations. So let’s leave that out of the equation for now. Counting it just throws everything off and makes the whole how-far-do-I-have-to-go issue messy.

Work on this is uneven. It was a busy week, so Monday through Friday I made one and a half squares, and this weekend I made eight. It’s been like that. As I go along, the temptation to put this aside and start something new and shiny grows, but so far I’ve managed to remain monogamous.

50 bottles of beer on the wall, 50 bottles of beer…

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Real Quilters of Austin

I’ve been working on this Tamarix Quilt fairly diligently, but progress is slow. I’ve finished the fourth row, and started square 41. I had to rip out the smaller brown portion upon realizing it was supposed to be green. Almost always, yellow and brown are paired in the squares of this quilt, and I got lazy. But I’m back on track.

Yesterday, I got to see some real quilting. I, along with Jeff, my sister, my niece and my Aunt June, attended the 2010 Austin Area Quilt Guild Show and Sale, “Changing Gears.” I thought while I was sitting by the phone waiting to hear whether I’d won a beautiful quilt in the show’s raffle, I’d go ahead and do a quick blog post. Get on the phone, people – fall’s a-comin’!

The show is held biannually and Aunt June tries to come up for it each time. We had a good time wandering around all the wonderful works. There was some true talent on display. There was one quilt made of 1440 blocks, each of which was composed of nine tiny squares! I’ll think of that the next time grumbling about 100 squares. There were so many beautiful colors and styles, and I really enjoyed reading the stories behind the quilts. I ran into friends and neighbors, including a colleague at work who, unbeknownst to me, has her own quilting business set up with her sisters. All in all it was a great show. Aunt June got a glint in her eye and asked me when I was going to start quilting. I don’t know that I will. But I did tell her that it looked interesting and that it looked like it would be fun to do, which were almost my exact words over five years ago when I saw my friend Janelle knitting…

I took one picture of a quilt. I just loved it. Among all the log cabins and double wedding rings, cathedral windows and pinwheels, there was this charming little piece called “Friends.” The creator wrote that she thought that all the possible quilting motifs had already been explored, and she wanted to go in a whole different direction. Boy, did she! She also wrote that this quilt was “simultaneously repulsive and cute, gross and comforting.” It was fun watching people see it and trying to figure out what it was. I thought it was innovative, humorous, and well done. I didn’t get the border in the picture but the quilting stitch pattern mirrored the fabric pattern used for the border. I just love this thing. But don’t expect an intarsia version anytime soon.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Third

I’m slowly making progress on the Tamarix Quilt, but not much since last week. I”ve finished thirty three squares, so technically, I’m 13 short rows short of a third of the way finished.

I did two squares today, which was a bit of a marathon in comparison with what I’ve managed to get done on the blanket lately. Much of the rest of the week has involved dealing with contractors, noise, dust and pouty dogs. With the torrential rains we got earlier in the week, and shifted chorus rehearsals around the Labor Day holiday, they didn’t get the walks they needed or deserved.

Again, I’m happy with the progress on the blanket. The colors are matching up every time now that I’ve figured out how to count backwards down the selvedge chain to figure out where to initially join the squares together. It makes total sense, but it would be maddening to try and explain this in a pattern. I’ll try and write up a good description and include it in my notes at Ravelry.

67 squares to go. And now, I have to go get dressed for my appearance on stage with Margaret Cho...

Update: A picture!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A Fifth

Not a whole lot to report on the knitting front this week. But I did just finish my 20th square on the Tamarix Quilt, which means I’m a fifth of the way there.

I didn’t do as much knitting this week as I’d like. I decided to get back to riding my bike to work more, which means I get home tired and sweaty and not inclined to touch yarn – even if it’s cotton. Also, we have minor chaos at our house these days with bathroom renovations afoot. Contractors in the house make me nervous as a cat. My fellow knitters at my knitting group this morning diagnosed it as a control issue. I think they’re entirely correct. Deep breaths, deep breaths. The dogs are handling this way better than I am.

Speaking of issues – and back to knitting: at times, using the seams-as-you-go method outlined the pattern, one has to cast on and then join both the sides, knitting toward a corner. This happened twice on the second row, at squares 17 and 20. Square 17 I seamed as I went. I wasn’t entirely happy, and at Square 20, which involved seaming unmatched colors during the process, I was really unhappy. So for Square 20, I knit it independently and then seamed it afterwards. I liked this better. I’ll do that from now on. Looking at the pattern, I can see that this will occur exactly at least 19 more times. You can totally geek out numerically on this pattern, that’s for sure.

So on we go. It’s nice to see the pattern developing, especially the nested squares that occur on the corners. The second row, just completed, contained six blocks that were combinations of the yellow (primrose) and brown (VanDyke brown), which got a bit old. It was nice to get back to the moss (green) and purple (heathered pansy) again. I’m enjoying how the decrease lines create a faux seaming affect, as if squares on a quilt have been cut on the bias. This definitely looks better from a distance than it does close up. I’m still finding strange joins and weird colors showing through at points, but I”m still intrigued by the overall effect.