I give up!

Right, that’s it – I give up on the damn ripple rug thingie from last post. I simply cannot get it. The first couple of rows I was one stitch out, and I fudged it at the end, but by about row 10 I was about half a pattern repeat out, and I have no idea how that happened. I am obviously not suited to this kind of thing, so will I persist until I get it right?? No, of course not, I haven’t got time – the baby is due on Saturday and I was getting RSI from wrangling with the damn thing.

So, I have resorted to good old granny squares instead. Seeing as how I am going to be a granny, I think that is quite appropriate. Also, they are quick to do, if I make a mistake it is immediately obvious, and they grow in a satisfying little pile with seemingly little effort, unlike the other thing, which I won’t mention again.
I unexpectedly spent the weekend at a workshop with the lovely Beth Miller. I signed up through Canberra Quilters at the beginning of the year, on a whim, then forgot about it. I heard that the class was full and there was a waiting list, and as I didn’t hear anything, I assumed that I had missed out and was on the wait list. Then I got a phone call at lunchtime on Saturday from the convener asking me where I was! The confirmation and class supply list went astray somewhere in the mail – good old Australia Post. Anyway, the class was being held in a hall not far from where I live, so I hopped in the car and went to see what was going on.

We were doing the landscape class which was great fun. Here is my little piece – it needs the shadow for the big tree plus stitching of course to integrate that grass in the foreground.

Beth is the most amazingly generous teacher. She let everyone handle and photograph her quilts and seeing some of her famous quilts close up was a delight – especially her famous image of the swagman – it is all done in quite heavy wools, and hand quilted – amazing!

She had a couple of pieces of wonderful rust dyed fabrics which she had heavily stitched

She also put me onto a wonderful fabric paint that doesn’t change the hand of the fabric – Hi Strike – I am going to give it a go.

We also had a discussion on the the health and safety risks involved in some textile work, in particular, the vexed question of how to neutralise bleached fabric. There are a number of sources which say to use vinegar to neutralise. However there are others – somewhat more authoratative in my view – which say absolutely not.

Even bleach alone is not as benign as many people think. Just because we all have it in our homes doesn’t mean it is safe or harmless. If you are going to bleach fabric, especially if you plan on spraying it about, please take the time to research the risks and the best way to mitigate those risks. And don’t think one of those white dust mask things from the hardware store will do when it says to use a mask. Those are only intended to stop particles of dust etc from entering, anything that produces fumes needs a far more serious mask with filters appropriate to the chemicals being used.

Okay, here endeth the lesson – just don’t take risks with your health for the sake of your art.

Catching up

It’s been a while since I posted, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy!

At the end of April we spent five days at the coast relaxing after a very busy time at work for me – long days and sometime nights – the worst was working until 2.00 am one night then having to be back in the office next (the same?) morning. Ridiculous – so when all that nonsense ended I had five lovely days relaxing at our soon too be new home town on the south coast. Big seas the day we arrived.
I spent many happy hours sitting in the autumn sun, protected from the wind on the verandah of our now demolished house, looking out at this view.

This house is now gone – and construction has started on our wonderful new home.
We are off down for a few days at the beginning of June, so hope to see some developments – probably just a big hole in the ground, but that’s okay!

While sitting on the verandah of the old house I whiled away some time on a crochet ripple blanket. They seem to be all the rage at the moment, and I got the bug from this wonderful website. Do spend some time browsing and checking it out – lovely, bright, colourful stuff!

Anyway, it didn’t look too hard, and I now know a double from a treble, thanks to getting a learn to crochet book so I could figure out what to do when I took a scrumbling class from Prudence Mapstone about five years ago.

However, I have to say this thing nearly had me stumped. I counted and counted and cast on and ripped out so many times over five days I nearly went crazy, I simply couldn’t get the pattern to work out – which, I hasten to add, was entirely due to my stupidity, absolutely nothing to do with the clarity of the instructions!

In the end I resorted to drawing my own diagram and counting it out to get it into my head how it worked and then had to use these little counter thingies. EVENTUALLY – I managed to get going – I do appear too be one stitch out at the very end of the row, but I am kind of fudging that.
And why am I making a ripple blanket? Well, my first grandchild is due in a couple of weeks, and it is winter here now. I have made him a quilt, but thought a warm wool blankie to bundle him up when he goes from the house into the car or whatever would be good. The only other wooly thing I had on the go was some scrumbling in pink and green, which would have been fine if he was a girl, but apparently he isn’t. So the colour scheme was inspired by this mobile, which his mother bought for his room.
At one point while I was tearing my hair out trying to figure out the ripples, I decided to take a break and have a go at the hexagons that are also on Attic 24’s website. Alas, this caused me even more griefr – again due to my complete stupidity and lack of understanding of how crochet patterns are written. This is what the pattern says:

So this is the pattern for round 2::
Chain 2, then 1 US dc/UK tr in same
stitch. Chain 1.
Work a bobble stitch into next stitch as described
then chain 1 to space.
Repeat 10 more times until you get back to
beginning and have 12 “bobbles” in total. Join round with a slip stitch
into the
2nd stitch of the initial chain 2.

I NOW know that in crochet, the two or three chains that you do at the start of
a row are instead of the treble/double or whatever, but I read “Repeat 10
more times” as meaning repeat everything from the start of the instructions,
not repeat the bobbling bit. Anyway, after more hair tearing I finally
figured that bit out – and I vaguely remember reading about that in my
how to crochet book, which I didn’t have with me. But eventually, I
produced this

Ta daaaa!! Clearly I need to get my head around this crochet stuff a bit better. My mother crocheted and it always seemed pretty straightforward to me, but I have been brought low by my hubris and now realise there is more to it than meets the eye. But, I am perservering with my ripples and will aim to get the blankie done before the darling boy makes his arrival.

I have also quilted one more bushfire quilt for a quilting group here in Canberra that did the top and needed someone to do the quilting. I took delivery of my wonderful new quilting set up last week, and this is the first quilt I did on it. More of that next post, I had better get to work. Click on the picture for a closer look at the quilting