Beginnings and Endings

At last the Double Wedding Ring is finished and on our bed! This has probably been at least 10 years in the making, but there were periods of a year or more when I didn’t work on it. Here’s hoping the next project won’t take so long.

Next up on the quilting hoop is the long marinating quilt with no name.

This was made in the very first round of my Round Robin group – probably about 15 years ago. The group still meets, although the membership has changed slightly over the years. There are three of us who have been in from the beginning and one lady who just joined a couple of years ago. A small, but select group! We no longer do Round Robins, but get together every month or so for tea, dessert (the more decadent, the better) and to share our quilting projects.

I ordered some wool batting from Connecting Threads during their sale and am anxious to try it out. It gets rave reviews from everyone who uses it. Lots of other obligations on my calendar, so it will probably be a couple of weeks before this makes it into the hoop.

In another kind of ending, Rose Window has been frogged. I just wasn’t feeling the love and this yarn is way too gorgeous to be wasted on something I don’t love. I think part of it was the beads. Fire Dance kind of did me in on beads for a while. I knew I wanted to start right in on a circular shawl with this yarn and chose White Snows of Winter. I had been wanting to do this pattern in a white, sparkling yarn, but I’m on a yarn diet and the more I thought about it, this yarn would be perfect. I’m calling my version Aurora Borealis.

This is my first time using the “belly button” cast on. This is a really neat way of starting a circular shawl and you must give it a try! First, you cast on the required number of stitches with a waste yarn – I used fingering for this lace weight project. Knit flat for about an inch, then join into a circle and knit for about another inch. Then you just start knitting with your working yarn. By now you have some stability and that circular start with the lace is a piece of cake! Here is my belly button before surgery.

To remove the belly button, thread the tail of your working yarn through the first row of loops attached to the waste yarn. Then unravel the waste yarn and snug up your circle. Voila! It was my intention to post a photo of the completed surgery, but I am way too tired to attempt this delicate procedure right now. I’ll keep you posted. I’ve read that some knitters tempt fate and wait until they’re almost finished with the project before attempting surgery. That’s just crazy pants in my opinion. What if you goof up and everything unravels? I’d rather do it sooner than later so that if I do blow it, not much work is lost.

Another more successful ending is my Watership Down shawl. The knitting is done; it just needs to be blocked. I’m having second thoughts on doing more Mystery Knit-a-longs. They can be fun, but the end results can be, well, a mystery! You never know if you’re going to like the end result. If I’m going to spend that much money (and the Unique Sheep MKAL’s do tend to be a little pricey), I guess I want a little more of a guarantee that I’m going to love it. The jury is out on this one – I’ll let you know when I block it. In case you followed the link for White Snows, it does say that it’s a mystery knit, but enough people have posted progress pics on Ravelry that I know I love it.

Tomorrow hubby and I celebrate our 41st wedding anniversary. Man, the time has gone by so quickly! Who could have imagined back then where these cute little kids would end up? Thanks hubby for a great 41 years – here’s to 41 more!



Dorothy Waite, Washington State, U.S.A.

First of all, welcome to quilters coming here for the Hand Quilting Blog Hop. Since returning to hand quilting, I’ve found a wonderful community out there. I think most of us hand quilters operate in a bit of a vacuum. We don’t know anyone else who hand quilts and we feel all alone. It’s nice to know there are other like minded quilters out there!

Returning to hand quilting has really brought me a new sense of contentment. For years I’ve coveted a newer, bigger, better machine, thinking that would make me a better machine quilter. But it would still take lots and lots of practice and I just don’t enjoy it. The past few weeks of sitting and quietly hand quilting have really filled me with a sense of joy and accomplishment. To celebrate I am rewarding myself with some quality tools that are still only a fraction of what a new machine would cost.

The first is a Barnett quilting hoop. These are made by an artisan on the East Coast – a family business handed down from father to son. I had to wait patiently as he has a waiting list, but the wait is over – my hoop was delivered today!

The picture’s not great, but I’d rather spend my time quilting today than fiddling with photos! I also treated myself to a cute little thread/thimble/scissors caddy to match:

I am so pleased by the quality of these. The workmanship is excellent and the hoop works like a dream. In case you can’t tell from the photo, I got the 16″ hoop with a sit on base and I had Harry finish them with a golden oak stain.

I also ordered a Roxanne thimble.

This one will be returned and exchanged because it is too small, but the people at Colonial Needle have been just wonderful to work with.

In other quilting news, I finished a quilt top begun in a class with Judy Irish. Judy is the exact opposite of me quilting-wise! She is a fantastic machine quilter, very contemporary and works in bright, bold colors. I am a very traditional hand quilter who loves working in pastels. When Judy came to speak to our quilting group, I had the pleasure of having her stay in my home. She did me the great favor of choosing my fabrics for the Lone Star quilt class she taught the next day. I certainly had my doubts when she started pulling fabrics out of my stash (which she said was “sedate”). However, I am more than thrilled with the finished product!

I will also say that Judy was so very gracious in her admiration of my hand quilting. It was so encouraging and really made me feel I was on the right path.

Never fear that knitting has been abandoned. I finally finished Fire Dance. This was a true marathon – at least 5,000 beads. I love, love, love it and it feels like heaven draped around my shoulders. I love the weight of it – with all those beads it’s not going to slide off!

We’ve had a beautiful summer, but fall has begun dramatically. It’s almost as if Mother Nature flipped a switch! I can’t say that I mind. Sitting quietly and quilting or knitting while the wind blows and the rain patters against the window has got to be one of life’s greatest pleasures.