Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sheep and Wool and Stuff

In 1982 there were 22 sheep per person in New Zealand.  As of March 2016 the ratio went down to six sheep per person.  My brother-in-law, who lived in New Zealand for two years, brought me a couple of mondo skeins of baby weight grey wool yarn.  By the way, Danny is the best gift giver ever.  He knew I liked to knit and brought me yarn.  What a wonderful and thoughtful surprise!

Knowing that not-easy-to-care-for scratchy wool yarn would not be the best choice for a baby sweater, I made a baby sweater.  I guess I was ready to start a new project and the sample swatch I knit up with this yarn worked out perfectly for the bobbly sweater I had been wanting to make.  I love making bobbles and it's a good thing because there were plenty of them in the pattern.  At one point, I taught myself to knit backwards so that I wouldn't have to turn the knitting three times for each of the five thousand bobbles.  Anyway, here's the sweater.

I used a pattern from Classic Knits for Kids by Debbie Bliss.  At the time, she was my all-time favorite knit designer!  A picture of the sweater is on page 29 and the directions are on pages 65-67.

I saved the sweater forever and ever - for when Danny and his future wife would have a baby girl.  Danny eventually married and he and his wife had two boys, and it seemed that their family was complete.  Then, one day when their youngest was four or five, they surprised everyone by announcing they were having another baby - a girl this time.  I was excited to finally send the "yarn" back to Danny.  That was just a few years ago - probably at least 20 years after I had made the sweater.  Surprisingly, there were no moth holes in it.  Yeah, mission accomplished!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Remembering Bill

It's hard to believe that my stepdad passed away 13 years ago.  At the time, he and mom were living in San Diego and Howard and I were living in Needham, Massachusetts.  Bill stayed in a nursing home for nine months after having a debilitating stroke.  My mom had already retired and was able to be at his side constantly.  She would visit him twice a day for several hours to make sure that he was being taken care of properly.  I never saw him alive after his stroke because we lived so far away.

Bill always called me the human loom because I was always knitting something different every time he saw me.  In Needham, I continued to knit but also started to quilt.  After Bill passed away, I helped mom go through his clothes and discovered a bunch of blue flannel pajama bottoms and thought they would make a great quilt to remember him by.  He was obsessed with flying and airplanes so I backed the quilt with some airplane fabric that I found at the Franklin Mill Store in Franklin, Massachusetts.  I can't believe that I remember that! (Confession, I remembered the location of the shop, but had to look up its name.)

I created a plane template out of a manila folder and traced it with quilter's chalk in the non nine-patch squares.  I quilted each plane separately and back stitched the heck out of each starting and stopping point - hoping that it would hold through multiple washings.  Time will tell.

Here's the plane fabric that I used for the backing.  Also, I used my favorite technique of pieced binding.  I love the "scrappiness" of it.

PS  The interface here at blogspot has not changed one bit in my three-year absence, which is both a blessing and very disappointing.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Wisconsin Quilt

We lived in La Crosse, Wisconsin, for one year and we wish it could've been longer.  We loved everything about it, except for the winter that lasted for 6 months and the bazillions of mosquitoes that descended upon us during the muggy summers.

I started quilting in La Crosse and tried my first paper piecing project with this candy box heart pattern.

Don't you just love quilts with legs?!  Anyway, I usually avoid anything with hearts, but this was a special group project.  We wanted the young women at church to have an ongoing service experience.  Somehow we found out that the Renal Dialysis Unit at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital was drab and needed some holiday decor to cheer up patients who spent many hours at a time there.

We kicked off this partnership by taking a tour of the unit and learning about dialysis.  Then, after that, each month we would devote one of our weekly meetings to making decorations and one of them to decorating the unit.

We worked on the quilt together during a few of our weekly meetings.  I know we taught the girls how to applique and they made most of the star blocks.  I think some of them also helped sew the 4-patch blocks.  I can't remember if I made all the hearts or if we taught some of them to do that too. 

We gave this quilt to the unit to hang on the wall permanently.  I wonder if it's still there?  I hope the girls and other leaders cherish this experience as I much as I do.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Skinny Jeans

These are skinny jeans.  They were the jeans that I made and wore...when I was skinny.

This is what skinny jeans look like after you've been riding an elephant at the zoo.

Back then, I didn't know that I was skinny.  Over the years, I've discovered that skinny is relative.  These jeans stopped fitting about 25 pounds ago (30 years ago?).  The zipper is broken and the hems are faded and stitched together.  So, why do I still have them?

For many years I hoped that I could just put them on again, not wear them necessarily.  If I worked hard, I probably could do that.  I was just about ready to part with them - cut them up and incorporate them into a quilt.  Fortunately, before I grabbed the rotary cutter, I suddenly realized that they are the only Kathy-constructed article of clothing I still have in my possession.

In high school and college, I made almost all of my clothing - back when it was affordable and cool to make your own clothing.  People would say in genuine surprise, "You made that?!"  I made all of my pants, from super bell-bottomed 70s hiphuggers to high-waisted 80s pants.  I even made my brother some trousers.  That's why these jeans are so cool.  They are constructed like men's trousers, not like wimpily constructed girly pants.  Oh, I could go on about that.

Check out these details.  They have pleats...and darts.

They have waistband lining and SERIOUS pocket construction.  Check out the denim pocket insert on the front view - just like store-bought guy pants!

This is a hard-core zipper.  It's so hard-core that I can't even call it a zipper, it's a fly.  Usually there are no extra pieces when sewing a zipper in women's pants.  But with men's trousers, there are about 8 pieces to put that fly together.  Oh, I could go on about that too!

There's no way I can part with these pants now.  Ugh!  This excavation is going to be hopeless!

P.S. During my image searches, I came across this pattern that could very possibly be the exact pattern (the red ones) that I used for my white denim ├╝ber hip-huggy bell-bottomy 70s pants.  I used to wear them to school with a crop top, belly exposed.  Oh my, what was I thinking?!

Friday, June 19, 2015

I'm knitting again!

I thought my knitting days were over almost five years ago, but thanks to modern medicine I'm knitting again.  I'm still s...l...o...w...l...y working on the archeological dig that I started in December.  I rediscovered all my knitting supplies, books and yarn.  I purged some books and patterns and am trying to use up my yarn stash.  Of course, I made this sweater out of a new yarn purchase.  I'll never learn, will I?

The pattern came out of this old Debbie Bliss book that I just can't part with.  Lots of the patterns look outdated, but I didn't think this one did.  Or am I wrong?  I hope not.  I wouldn't want Baby Girl Harris to be bullied by her toddler friends in a few years!