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T-Quilt Progress

Most of my time at the virtual retreat was spent on the HSTs for the T-for-Terry quilt last worked on in May ( )

T-for Terry

Making and trimming HSTs is boring, so it is a good task for working while chatting. You can see the numbers weren’t right for the top and bottom. I tried to solve that with the center square. Looks kinda clunky. Then I got an idea.

A 1 x 2 flying-goose block to the rescue. (Once I’d thought of it, I wondered why it took so long—it seemed so obvious!)

For the remainder, Plan A was two more 4-inch borders, but the challenge is the measurements don’t divide by 4 evenly. Normally a 1-inch spacer would do the trick, but that is not the look I want. Pondering possibilities.


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Turkey in the Straw

Continue reading


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Back to Hats and Books

I followed up on Maribeth’s comment in the last post and ordered The Complete Surprise.

While I waited for it to arrive I turned the failed baby sweater into a hat.

And I finished reading Marc Lamont Hill’s Nobody, an important introductory survey of systemic harm done to black people. Hill covers mostly the criminal justice system but also includes the lead in Flint,MI, water. (Longer review here).

The knitting book finally arrived.

I think I learned the problem. I’d placed markers before the three stitches to be decreased, causing one side to decrease the sleeve and the other side the body. The marker needed to go in the middle stitch, which would decrease more evenly. When I have used up more yarn scraps, I’ll buy the right size yarn and try again. It actually sounds like worsted would work, just making a sweater for a bigger baby, as I had hoped.

Meanwhile, the book starts with a scarf that uses all the same stitches as the baby surprise jacket. Why not play?

Even with markers placed correctly, it took a while to find the right spot for decreases and increases. I really hate counting stitches, so I worked on “reading” my knitting, just counting as a quick double check. I got pretty accurate on the decreases, not so trustworthy on the increases. I may have to make another scarf because it is easier to count 18 stitches than 130 or so.


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The Skeptics Win the First Round

So the Baby Surprise Jacket (begun here) didn’t turn out to be a pleasant surprise. But the “blob” is completed.

And though it doesn’t end up a usable jacket, the jacket potential is there.

I knew knitting when I couldn’t make gauge was risky. The pattern hadn’t indicated a row gauge, so I didn’t know if it would turn out proportionally larger. One way to see is to try.

And I was not surprised to see the sleeves end up different lengths. Early on I could see a possible problem: I was decreasing stitches in the left sleeve but the second decrease came in the area before the right sleeve. I looked for errata, but didn’t find any. I looked at posts on Ravelry but that issue wasn’t mentioned.

I reread the directions but couldn’t see any way to read it other than the way I had.

Pictures of finished jackets show short sleeves, so the left one is closer to correct. But it is too small at the shoulder. And the left front corner was nowhere near correct. So simply changing where I did the right decrease wasn’t going to solve it.

EZ’s directions are cryptic. Meg Swenson’s elaborations are also cryptic. There may be another book where they get clarified.

So next move is to buy the right size yarn and to explore other EZ books. But that won’t be this summer because the goal for this year is using up yarn scraps, not buying new yarn. So don’t hold your breath.


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A Hat and a New Plan

I tried another approach to hat design. This time I tried one stripe pattern that would go with two colors.

The blue yarn determined the distance before stripes began and size of stripes because it was in several small balls.

And the hat versions.

While I was knitting this one I remembered Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket. It has always fascinated me, and I saw one finished once in a knitting group. I found the book.

And it seemed I had enough yarn.

Well maybe not enough. I am almost halfway and have used more than half. Directions said 3 oz. Shetland wool. I assumed it was worsted, and I have 5oz. I went down to size 6 needles and still was one stitch short of gauge. There is no way I could knit any denser. I decided to give it a try.

The surprise is that after knitting a one piece blob, with a few folds and two seams it turns into a sweater. Like I said, I have seen a finished one that indeed looked like a sweater. I did not get to see the the folding process. We’ll see.


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Another Hat and a Little Lite Reading

Are you tired of hats yet? They are so mindless that they are good to work on while listening to podcasts, my new obsession. Unlike many of my friends, I cannot listen while piecing or machine quilting, so sewing is on pause. Lots of time before the new Stretching Art is due. The woman being honored by the T quilts has died, so a push to finish for her to see it is gone, and the anniversary it commemorates is September. Leaves me free to dawdle.

So, the hat.

Here it is open. And I got the reversible cuffs right. I had to frog the first one though because I had waited too long to start it.

And here are the two options.

And I still have oodles of leftover yarn.

ETA: To get back to the Scrap Happy blogs, visit Tall Tales from Chiconia.

For lite reading I turned to mysteries. I’d read many Comissario Brunetti mysteries in the past, but decided to read them in order. So reread the first.

It had been long enough that I had forgotten all details except one, which made it an interesting read. I’ll have to wait for the second to be available.

My library is reopening slowly. Holds are now being processed with pick up by appointment. However, at the start of shut down, all due dates were pushed to July 15, so books on hold are not moving as quickly as usual.

No danger of running out of books though. I still have that stack I own that keep being put off so I can read those with due dates.

Due dates will be less of an issue in the future. The library has moved to a no fine system! The will automatically renew books up to 10 times–that so as not to disadvantage readers without internet access. Books with holds are, of course, an exception.


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Another Hat

My spacing is improving with this third attempt.

I aimed for two equal halves. The white yarn was bulkier than the rock red, and I didn’t compensate enough, so the white doesn’t tuck as neatly as it could.

I also got more of a peak at the finish. I should have stopped decreasing sooner. I was experimenting with using double point needles instead of discontinuing knitting in the round and stitching the resulting gap.

The dark side looks closer to the expected shape. It looks a little small, so I tried it on. And it fits me well with no turn up.

The stripes look better this way too. I would have liked it better with wide at top and narrow at edge of the cuff. I still haven’t caught on to designing upside down as well as alternating cuffs.

I’m starting another to try to work that out. Meanwhile this will keep someone’s ears warm.

Previous attempt here.


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Way back I was working on hats for the homeless (here). I set one aside when sock yarn arrived in the mail.

I had only the decrease rows left. It has gotten warm out and so there was no rush, but today I pulled it out and finished it. The oops is in the spacing.

The blue and white stripes were supposed to be one look and the silk the other. If I don’t tell maybe I can pretend it was designed to have one fancy side and one plain.

Ya think?

Most of my time has been spent reading Almanac of the Dead, all 763 pages.

It is a very complex novel. The first time I read it, around 20 years ago, I got lost among the characters as it moved among them. There are at least 5 groups of main characters and many minors. This time I jotted down name and page of first appearance for each. Between that and maybe having learned more about how to read novels over the years, I had no trouble seeing how the groups related as the plot progressed. Fifty pages to go.

ETA a link to my Goodreads review showing my brief reflections on the whole.


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Week 12

  • I started out to write a weekly post about coronavirus, social distancing, and my experience of it all. It now seems that will become boring as my experience has not changed all that much. Being retired I don’t have work related issues, living alone I don’t have constant-together issues, being an introvert I don’t have cabin fever. So I am undecided whether to continue my weekly coronavirus journal, to continue weekly with a new focus, or to return to random, mostly quilt and art thoughts with an occasional social issue thrown in.
  • This week I want to return to the sidewalk meme from last week and Zippyquilt’s question about it.
  • Her question was, Why after all these years hasn’t racism gotten better?
  • Answer it we must if there is any hope of cure. And answering is only the beginning of treatment.
  • When I first read the comment, I thought I had the beginning of an answer in the article I linked to in reply; I had been startled by reading that white police violence would stop when enough white people wanted it to. After getting the point I had extended it to white privilege (racism) will stop when enough white people want it to.
  • Looking at that thought more closely, I knew it was off target. That extension creates an us/them and gives me a place to stand among the white people who want to end racism and blame those who don’t. I can’t escape responsibility that easily. The article about police, about a tangible situation, made sense for a government making rules for an organization and for enough people to pressure that change. The extension didn’t hold for an abstraction.

    My past years of learning won’t let me accept an us/them way out. It took several films, discussions, and books for me to accept my place among white people well socialized into systemic racism, into white privilege, into seeing “white” and “normal” as one and the same.

    Perhaps that equation is one reason for racism not having gotten better in all these years. I invite readers to ponder the question and share what you discover.


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    Eleventh Week

    One event dominates this week, and it only tangentially relates to the novel coronavirus, George Floyd’s death as a policeman was filmed with his knee to Floyd’s neck. It was surreal to hear again that the plea,”I can’t breathe!” was ignored. Apparently Milwaukee ( edited to Minneapolis)police have learned nothing from the death of Eric Garner, nothing except that police can be acquitted.

    The only possible reaction was to gather in vigil and protest. Milwaukee (edited to Minneapolis) did. And Louisville where grief doubled with grief and anger for the killing of Breonna Taylor. And other cities. And Portland.

    I had felt safe going because of the announcement’s emphasis on space and masks. (Organizers walked among the people handing out masks to those without. ) And the bus ride was short. And it was outside on a windy day.

    It started out socially distanced, though by the time they marched people looked more clustered. One paper estimated about 1000 attended and several hundred marched. By staying on the fringes to lessen contact, I didn’t hear many of the speeches. What I did hear included both somber tone and anger.

    Portland has reason to be angry beyond solidarity with Milwaukee (edited to Minneapolis). We also have too many shootings (usually fatal) of unarmed people (usually black). Grief piles on grief.

    I stayed about an hour then headed home. (I move too slowly to do the march portion.) On the way out I saw names of other victims chalked along the sidewalk and this observation.


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