Saturday, January 10, 2009

Working by hand

I just finished about five days of heavy machine quilting, and boy, am I ready for some hand work! So I am working to finish up my knitted “Booga Bag,” which will be felted and probably given to my daughter, and on hand quilting “Bohemian Bouquet.”

Here are a few photos of the hand quilting in progress. I’d already quilted “in the ditch” around the motifs in several blocks, using black thread that barely shows up at all, but does make the appliquéd pieces puff out nicely. I was eager to start the background quilting, which will either be diagonal lines every 1/2" in one direction (if I’m lazy), or a grid of diagonal lines in both directions. I decided to use red thread, because I’d like the quilting to actually show here! What do you think about how it looks?

Next, about the Booga Bag: This is a knitted bag by Julie Anderson, and you can find her pattern at

My friend DeLane Rosenau, who is an excellent quilter, helped some of the Pandoras and friends who were not knitters get started on this project. DeLane posted about her Booga Bag on her blog and included before and after photos. I have finished the main part of the bag, and am casting off. I've started on the i-cord that will be the straps. I can't wait to felt it! It will go in the washing machine, perhaps through several cycles, and will come out much smaller and thicker. I may make a fabric lining with pockets for the inside.

I used Ironstone “Colorchanges” yarn that is 53% wool and 47% acrylic, but still felts beautifully. It has gorgeous blue/green/teal/purple variations.

My 8-year-old daughter has been watching me knit this and has gotten interested in knitting! I am thrilled. I got her started on some scrap yarn and she is doing beautifully with the basic knit stitch, and hardly dropping any stitches at all. So I bought her some pretty yarn and circular bamboo needles for Christmas. My mother’s mother, my “Nanny,” taught me to knit when I was in sixth grade and had broken my leg and had a cast from my toes to my thigh. I didn’t come back to it until I was spending my junior year of college at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and was surrounded by more beautiful wool than I had ever seen in my life, and more knitters!

I bought some local wool and a pattern for an Aran sweater and started out, with the help of several helpful Scottish hallmates! I have not done much knitting since I started quilting, but I still love it. And today, there are more tempting yarns than ever.

My mom, Ellie Brubaker, made the Booga Bag below in 2007. Isn’t it darling? I hope mine comes out as cute.