Good news (finally) on this front: I had a hunch that my “Hideous dress of wrong” might actually be a “tolerable dress of ok” on a different body shape than mine. Someone taller, for starters, and better endowed so that the fabric would be stretched by positive ease. Mulling it over I wondered if one of my Swords Knitting group, @MaryEnthuses, might have the winning combination. Last Thursday was the first time in ages that we were both at knit-night at the same time. Good sport that she is, Mary tried on the dress and not only does it fit, she actually says she likes it! The added bonus is that Mary works in a yarn-shop that sells Killcarra / Studio Donegal and a lot of what she makes to wear in the shop is to showcase yarn they sell there.
Not only does this happy event save me from having to rip several kilometers of yarn – for a second time! – I have a reason to finish GlenvArgh!! and send it to a happy home. Yay for Cinderella-esque happy endings.
StashDown / Lacealong2012 / 12in12
My cake of Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace currently weighs 32g, which means I have knit 124m in the past week. I have finally started the edging and would love to be finished this in time to wear it to London next Thursday. Considering that could involve up to 283m of yarn, and given my track record meters-per-day to date, this would not seem likely!
Gems from the Web
Speaking of London (I was, wasn’t I?) DH and I are going over next weekend ostensibly to see the Golden Spider Silk Cape in the V&A museum. This was a gem from the web that DH came across and knew I would be interested in. It’s a treat for my 41st birthday on Thursday. The kids are going on a mini-holiday to their Granny’s house so we are really getting a weekend away. Can’t wait!
Today was the last day of my quilting course. We had an exhibition of all the work that each student has been beavering away on. I made a piece which has been dubbed “a self-portrait in fabric”. I had two starting points. The first was this piece of fabric that I had got at the Knitting and Stitching show two years ago.
The second was this image from The Irish Times Travel supplement, “Go”, which became my colour inspiration. I also love the twisting movement the image suggests and, in particular, the boy on the right who is out of synch with the rest of his class.
I started with the concept of a Bento box:
bento; bento box
A thin metal or lacquered wooden box divided into compartments. The bento box is used in Japan for storing separate small dishes that comprise an individual meal (most often lunch).
In the same way a bento box provides a whole meal made up of smaller dishes in separate compartments, a person is the combination of several elements determined by their interests and experiences. Being a technique-freak, I knew I wanted to try my hand at a variety of piecing techniques. I used the compartment structure of the bento box as a way of tying together the five diverse blocks that I made. Here are the blocks, in the order that I made them.
Block 1: “Wabi-sabi” based on an improvisation technique used by Weeks Ringle & Bill Kerr in their book “Quiltmaker’s Colour Workshop: A Practical Guide to Understanding Colour and Choosing Fabrics”. This block is about the particular place that Japan holds in my heart. I’ve long been fascinated by Japanese Art and culture. DH worked there for 18 months in the 1990s and still has friends living there. When DH and I got married our Honeymoon seemed like the best excuse yet for me to visit Japan. We spent three weeks there, relaxed in many ryokan, visited several temples and had many adventures. I hope that I get a chance to go back there again.
Block 2: “Rush Runner” is the most formal and precise of all the blocks that I made. I followed the directions given by Elizabeth Hartman in her book “The Practical Guide to Patchwork” for a quilt called Rain or Shine. It’s about being a runner and how I love moving through the local landscape, often running in all weather. Running has helped me appreciate my locality for its richness of landscape. It has also taught me new back-roads and short-cuts. I selected the material for this block very carefully, to represent the colours that I see as I run in the local landscape: grey clouds, ploughed fields, crops of winter vegetables, sandy beaches.
Block 3: “Mo Thinteán Féin” is an adaptation of the classic log-cabin block using an improvised technique that @MaryLD demonstrated to us one week. I read somewhere that the traditional log-cabin blocks were built around an orange or red square at the centre, which represented the fire or hearth. I started with a trapezoid of orange and built out from it with five sides, representing the five people that make up our home. I used lots of strips and was careful about how the colours changed in value/tone/saturation as I worked outwards.
Block 4: “Blow-in” I was struggling with what aspect to focus on for one of the compartments until I came across a string-pieced pinwheel in my trusty “Ultimate Quilting Bible: A Complete Reference with Step-by-step Techniques” by Marie Clayton. Only days before I had been describing myself to an old acquaintance as being a blow-in my whole life. I really like being a blow-in. It means I am taken for what I am and not for what my parents, grand-parents, siblings, relations did or didn’t do. You can also contribute a fresh view of their world to locals that will listen. So this block is about variety and combining and helping to order chaos.
Block 5: “Library” represents my paid job as an Architect. Using a *piecing technique I learned about from my “Compendium of Quiltmaking Techniques” by Susan Briscoe I built the block to represent an abstraction of this photograph of a Library that I designed.
When I finally get around to assembling the sandwich of pieced-top, wadding and backing and quilting the three layer together I will finish with a thin black binding and make it into a wall-hanging. I don’t have a name for it yet. In celebration of my birthday next week I’ll have a little give-away (haven’t done one in a while). If you suggest a name in the comments below I will put your name into a draw. I’ll give a bonus prize to you if I decide to use the name you suggest.