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Archive for March, 2009

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard

Not much to post about today since there was no needlework done over the weekend.  Still recovering from nursing a very sick kitty for the past few days.  He scratched his chin until it was bleeding, so we made an appointment with the vet who prescribed an antibiotic and some shampoo.  Long story short, Toby had a very bad reaction to the antibiotic.
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Lately I’ve noticed several french knot tutorials around the web.  Basically they are all pretty much alike and do a good job of illustrating the making of french knots.  There are different schools of thought about the number of times the thread is wrapped around the needle, but that can be left up to personal taste.  The one glaring omission, at least to me, is that none of the tutorials I viewed mentioned the type of needle to use.  For a nice and tight easily executed french knot, a milliners/straw needle is the best choice because they are the same width along the length of the needle shaft, so the needle pulls easily through the knot.  If using an embroidery or similar type needle, it bows out at the eye of the needle making it difficult to pull through the threads wrapped around it without a lot of work to keep from messing up the wraps.  So if you are having difficulty making nice looking knots and aren’t already using one, try a milliners or straw needle.  I think you will like the results.

Okay.  Speaking of knots.  The jungle motif is finally finished.  I am very pleased with the way it turned out and as much as I like it, I think the next motif I stitch will have a lot fewer knots.  Some of you have asked about the size, so I took a pic with a ruler below the motif for reference.

 Jungle Motif - size

The picture below shows the motif in reference to the surrounding areas in the block. 
Click on images for larger view.

Finished Jungle Motif

 

There are only a few more inches of sleeve to knit before finishing the February Lady Sweater.  I do most of my knitting in the evenings while watching television and lately it’s been all I can do to follow the tv programs, much less knit at the same time.  Hope to finish the sweater in the next week.

I’ve also been working on two other projects, but they are Super Secret Skrappy Stuff and therefore I can’t post about them.  This year the Skrappie’s group project is a fabric panel round robin mystery challenge ,and for once in our group’s history, we are trying to keep the progress on the panel’s a secret.  So the work I do on these will have to wait for posting until after the unveiling in October.

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where the pollen wind comes sweeping down the plains.  Yes folks, it’s that time of year.  The beginnings of an early spring and the tree pollen levels are through the roof.  Seems like this year is worse than usual and everyone you meet is sneezing, coughing, has red swollen eyes and look like they should be home in bed.

I’m always on the lookout for a good marking pencil, especially one that works well on the fancier fabrics used in crazy quilting.  So far my favorite had been General’s chalk pencil because it showed up well and the marks were easy to remove.  The downside was that the marks rubbed off while I was stitching.  Then on one of the applique groups they were raving about the new .09 mm mechanical marking pencils.  There are several different brands and are probably basically the same.  While I was at the quilt show a few weeks ago I bought Bohin’s chalk pencil along with white and green refills.  So far I am very pleased and like the fact that I don’t have to keep sharpening a pencil to get a consistent mark, which will be great for my regular quilting projects.

Bohin mechanical pencil with green and white refills

Bohin mechanical pencil with green and white refills

This past weekend while I was stitching on the jungle scene and making the bazillionth french knot, I had an A-ha! moment. So I ventured out to the garage and stole borrowed a couple of Bill’s small adjustable bar clamps. Then with my scroll frame extended out over the edge of the work table and the top of the frame resting on top of the OTT light base I clamped the frame to the table.   This frees up both hands for stitching, instead of trying to balance the frame, wrap the thread and hold the knot while pulling the needle through.  Wish I’d thought of this idea sooner.

Frame with clamp on each side

Frame with clamp on each side

 

Clamp on one side of frame
Clamp on one side of frame

The last picture is a little dark but gives you the idea of how it’s clamped.  Click on images for larger versions.

In response to a comment left by Judy.  Toby’s idea of computer help is to lay on the keyboard.  I also highly recommend the February Lady Sweater.  It’s not a difficult pattern, the lace stitch pattern is easily memorized and the best part, there are no seams.

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