My Grey and Black Period

Over the past few months I’ve made a few small things, and now that I’ve pulled them together I see they all have grey or black or both.

Boot cuffs, 3 inches high

Boot cuffs, 3 inches high

First I made these grey boot cuffs. They are a double strand of Cascade 220 wool in 2×2 ribbing.

In winter I wear a few different styles of boots depending on how cold, snowy, or slushy it is. For those milder days (no colder than -15°C or 5°F), I bought the pair below. The handles didn’t faze me because I have taller boots for big snowfalls and would only go back to wearing these once the streets and sidewalks were cleared. What I didn’t realise was that when we have light dustings of snow (a couple of centimetres or an inch) , the act of walking kicks the snow up inside my pant legs and onto my ankles. My solution was boot cuffs.

The relative height of the boot, left; my foot in the boot “au naturel”, centre; foot, boot, and cuff, all together, right.

It’s been a cold winter, so I’ve only worn these a few times, and then, not in fresh snow. The cuffs migrate a bit and when I take off the boots the cuffs stick to my legs. With more wear I hope to figure out whether these are good as is or need tweaking.

Man About Town flannel by Deborah Edwards

Man About Town flannel by Deborah Edwards

Next on the fashion front is this grey and black (and beige) flannel scarf. Skyler at Awaiting Ada posted an excellent tutorial on making a scarf from fat quarters, which is what I used on both the front and back of the scarf.

The finished scarf

The finished scarf

The fabric is Man About Town flannel by Deborah Edwards. (I wish it had a different name so I wouldn’t feel so masculine wearing it.) The flannel still has all of its sizing because I didn’t want it to shrink and therefore didn’t prewash it.

My preference is for soft, lightweight, draping scarves that wrap around the neck and rest on the tops of the shoulders. Between the style and the stiffness  I can’t say I’m loving this, but I will wash it ─ and put it in the dryer ─ to see if that helps.

IMG_1973 croppedLastly, I made some coasters with Essex yarn-dyed linen in black, with orange and white (how did that get in there?!) quilting cotton. The back is a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton. Initially the coasters had more quilting but I felt that made the surface less stable, so I picked out the stitches and steamed the coasters to eliminate the marks.  There is still a hint of the sewing lines that I hope will disappear with time.

8 new coasters

8 new coasters

All in all, I think I’m getting good at accepting imperfections. Is that a bad thing?

My next small project will be a pin cushion and I guarantee it won’t be grey or black.

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A Finished Top: the Triangle Quilt

A few posts back I wrote that it should take two weeks to finish my Indian Blanket quilt top: make the last two rows of triangles and sew the 12 rows together. That was more than two months ago!

Making the last rows didn’t take long, but stitching the top together was another story. The instructions had us trim the right end of each row, then sew the rows together from right to left. Because I didn’t want the quilt to bow (from sewing all of the rows in the same direction), I developed the following strategy: (1) sew the rows into pairs as instructed, (2) align the right edges and machine baste all subsequent sets from right to left, (3) restitch from left to right using a regular-length stitch and, (4) rip out the basting. Lots of stitching and lots of ripping.

A completed top

A completed top

The other thing that slowed me down was fixing the places where the stitching bit into the triangle points. More stitching and ripping!

An unattached row of triangles. The yellow/orange line shows the raw edge of the row and the red line shows where I initially basted my 1/4" seam.

An unattached row of triangles. The green line shows the raw edge of the row and the red line shows where I initially basted my 1/4″ seam.

In the picture above, the red line shows where the initial basting cut off the tip of the far-right triangle. (If you click on the picture a larger version will open in a new window.) So I opened the seam at that spot, realigned the fabrics, and resewed the seam. I must have gone through that process in about four places per row. While four may seem like a big number in this context, and at 4 x 11 seams I guess it was, when you consider that most rows have 20 tips or more counting the points from the north and south strips, I was really pleased that the remaining 16 tips were good in a single pass.

The down side to keeping sharp triangle points is that I undoubtedly ended up with wavy seams. Hopefully the quilt won’t be too wonky once it’s quilted. And that’s the next step.

I’ve pin-basted the quilt sandwich and am now mulling over quilting designs. I have no expectation of finishing the quilting anytime soon, and wonder if the end of March might be achievable. But no promises!