Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Finding my center

I'm feeling a bit erratic and split-personality about the crafting lately. I haven't knit in a long while. I've been crocheting, but only those silly blocks. And now that I've taken up sewing, the patchwork and quilting have come into play along with my dreams of making clothes that actually fit me right. Well, I was thrown back into the world of yarn a few weeks ago. I went to the TNNA Trade Show in Columbus, Ohio.

It was a grand 'ol time and I have NEVER seen so much yarn. So many different fibers, so many different dye-jobs and techniques used. And, I met some knitting/crafting celebrities... well celebrities in my book - Nicky Epstein, Lily Chin, Melanie Falick, Jenny Hart, Candi Jensen, Teva Durham, Jane Sowerby, Annie Modesitt, Takako from Habu and more. The best part - I got some free loot!

Autographed books by some of the above names:

Free yarn (not too much of that going around - understandable):

Yarn Place's lace weight yarn at the top, Malabrigo lace weight yarn in the middle and then some samples from O-Wool and Punta del Este (thanks Sharyn!)

Other goodies from embroiderers (Jenny Hart is SOOO sweet):

And lots of other random stuff... new Clover Takumi Velvet straights, some very strange teeny tiny needles from Unicorn books, a ton of totes. Great fun.

So all of this came at an incredibly pivotal point in my life. I've had to make some very hard decisions over the past months, regarding my future, and my future with yarn in particular. And all of this exposure to an incredibly welcoming industry and positive energy has reinvigorated me. And, I was at the TNNA show because I've been blessed to have crossed paths with Pearl Chin, the owner of Knitty City. She has been more than kind enough to have given me a weekend gig at Knitty City and to have let me tag along to the TNNA Show. I couldn't feel more blessed than I do now.

The only downer was that both flights, to and fro, were very much delayed. The bright side? I got some more crochet blocks for my afghan out of the way. I've got around 42 now.

Running low on the yarn, so I've got to get more. I've also got to start thinking about the color I'm going to use to attach and connect them all. I'm thinking of an additional color - totally separate from the blocks. But thank the heavens for the crochet I brought along. The 3 hour delay there and 2 hour delay back would have driven me mad if I didn't have that to do.

As I arrived home - dragging my 2-ton bag behind me - I had some packages waiting for me. "Oh crap, what the hell did I order now?!" My Yesasia.com order arrived:

The obvious stand-out item is the Setsuko Torii, Habu's designer, pattern book. It's absolutely riveting. I think my first piece from the book will be the Chinese Pullover:

Fortunately, a few days ago - I received an email from Takako at Habu regarding some workshops they're planning for the Fall. One is on japanese pattern reading. So, I signed up for it right away. I think you can figure it out, but with all the different numbers, I figured I'd play it safe and learn from the pros. The class is in September and it seems like years away!!

And... how could I have forgotten... my package from eBay had arrived too. I "bought it now" some 4" squares of Liberty's Tana Lawn fabric. Ha... some. I bought around 300 of them.

I want to do something REAL nice with them. For now, they're stored away in my ziploc's.

So now officially drowning in not only yarn, but in fabric and sewing notions, I decided I had GOT TO finish my baby quilt for my friend. I'm kind of sad about it all. I love everything about this quilt except the quilting. Love the fabric, love the patchwork, love the binding, love the size and shape... HATE what I did with the quilting. I decided to use fuchsia thread to quilt with. I thought it would bring out more of the pink since the brown and oranges really dominated the fabric colors. I tried out the alphabet setting on my sewing machine. Super-goofy:

And then, I basically made straight lines following the diagonal blocks. I ended up with three diamonds. I think it looks so stupid. I tried some other quilting motifs - I even tried a dog pawprint in the middle and figured I could do smaller dog pawprints around the rest of the quilt. After completing the big dog pawprint in the middle. I realized it barely looked like a pawprint, but instead like five random puddles. So, I ripped that out. And figured I would just stop there.

Then, when it came to the binding - I was excited to try a new binder attachment I bought for my Bernina. The Bias Binding Attachment is for "easy " application of a strip of fabric onto your piece as binding. Not so easy. I realized that my quilt edges, not being basted down right to the edge, were a bit too thick for this attachment. I tried it about 5 times all the while cursing, sweating and seam ripping. I gave up. I put on the binding the old-fashioned way.

And here it is:

I'll probably just rip the embroidered signage out too. *deep sigh* Maybe I'll make a different one for my friend. I think I'm a little embarrassed to give this to her as her baby shower gift. I'm starting on a baby sweater that I've been eyeing, so that'll be my backup gift. The sweater is from Jimmy Beans Wool - the April 2007 Pattern Contest Winner. It's the Presto Chango Baby Sweater. It is the cutest darn thing I've seen in awhile. And very practical too!

I'm using Lion Brand's Organic Cotton instead. We'll see how it turns out as it doesn't have as much oomph as Blue Sky Alpaca's Organic Cotton.

It feels good to be knitting.


Liz said...

Oh, you really do sound like you're in a confused place at the moment! I love the baby quilt and I think you're right to do the embroidery pink, it does complement the fabric. The liberty squares are gorgeous. I have some liberty fat quarters that I am waiting to do something special with, every now and then I get them out and love them with my hands and eyes and then put them away again. I don't have 300 though!!!!That's funny! Good luck with your knitting...baby things always make you feel all warm and woolley about yourself when you give them to their intended.

Reckless Glue said...

I love that baby quilt...it has a great seventies feel to it! And that's a serious new haul of stuff you've got there---no wonder you're feeling overwhemed :)