Sunday, January 30, 2011

All work and no play...

I've worked all weekend, and will continue to do so tomorrow too.  I love my job, but it does keep me away from Green Greta and my knitting needles.

It's strange how close we get to our patients.  We don't really know them, just met them a couple times before, but we know all about their lives in this moment.  All about their fears and worries.  Probably more than they know about their future.

I work as a palliative nurse in end-of-life care.  I work on the palliative floor in the hospital and I work in home care.  Today I got an insight into my patients life that I really didn't want.  I don't want to know how horrible they have been to their loved ones.  I don't want to know how much they wish they could live their lives over again and do it lovingly.  I don't want to hear how their spouses tell me how they want to care for them at home despite all them mean things they are told.  But I hear, and I see, and I comfort and help.  I will stand by them till the end and treat them with dignity and respect and hold their hand in the end.  Because everyone should be treated such.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A new beginning

I must be crazy... 

Last night we started moving furniture around so now the place is a gigantic mess, if we ever manage to get everything to where it is intended the results will be a smaller bedroom, and a much larger sewing room that will fit both hubby's and my projects.  Of course once the idea materialized itself it was all action.

Then, late at night and in need of sleep, I started a new project.  A pair of mittens with the red sock yarn I showed you in one of my first posts and a 2-ply wool yarn bought at a garage sale this summer.  The last thing I need right now is another project...  Like I said: crazy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A day off

Today's been a day off, to be honest I haven't been outside the door...  But I have started quilting the pinwheel quilt and I've been having a great time! 

Unfortunately unexpected things happen...

What you are looking at is a broken drive belt...  Luckily my sweetheart is on his way home and I do have an extra belt around here somewhere so Green Greta will be whirring away again soon.

So, what's a girl to do when her sewing machine is broken...?

This girl started spinning a yarn to make mittens to match the hat I told you about yesterday.  This yarn will have a tighter twist to it compared to the hat yarn, so the mittens will last longer and fit the pattern better.

This day off has certainly been filled with some of my favorite things, a good day off!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New winter hat

I've always had a hard time with hats.  I just think I look ugly in them... this being a cold, nasty winter I thought the answer might be to wear a pretty hat, so no one will look at me just the hat.

The yarn is spun on my Ashford Traveller spinning wheel, fairly loosly spun to make it nice and soft.  It's made from a naturally brown and white lambs wool.

Then I spent a couple of nights knitting the hat, I love stranded knitting so it was pure joy!  The pattern comes from the book Hats: a knitters dozen.

It's now tried and found true.  Warm, comfy and pocketable.  Just perfect!

Work, work, work - the hard job of dying

I'm always amazed at how brave, wise and humble my patients and their families are in the face of oncoming death.  They ask, with hope in their eyes, about the prognosis and are brazenly told that there is no point in further treatment because their bodies are too fragile.  Almost without exeption they bravely comment: "ok, that's what we thought, we'll just take one day at a time."

Then they handle every hardship, every sorrow, every goodbye on the long road to death.  Usually with a beautiful grace.  They are my heroes as I watch their wandering and do what I can to help them walk as easily as it is possible on their short or long road to the end.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why are they called brainless??

Today I finished the "brainless" socks, very very comfy socks, I've worn them all day.  I'm very happy with them!  I just wonder why they are called brainless, the pattern wasn't hard, but a certain amount of braincells were needed to make them.  On the other hand the socks themselves certainly are brainless.

I really recommend the pattern from ravelry's brainless socks, and I also recommend the cast on technique Judy's magic cast on and the very strechy cast off  jssbo

There is always a certain amount of sadness involved in casting off, even a simple project like this one.  Somehow it's like saying goodbye to a friend. 

Luckily there are new projects waiting, the piecing of the pinwheel quilt is almost done and I am very much looking forward to quilting it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A day of everything and nothing

Today has been a strange day.  I've done some knitting on the second brainless sock, and done quite a bit on the pinwheel quilt, but mostly my mind has been caught up with a house we looked at Sunday... if we actually get to buy it we will have everything we've dreamed of:  a heated garage, a woodworking/metalworking shop, a sauna, a big kitchen and great living room, and (and this is what gets me drooling...) a large sewing room with it's own balcony with a view of the woods.  Aaaah, dare I dream?

Speaking of dreams, let me introduce you to my second sewing machine, a Husquarna treadle.  She only sews a straight stitch but she does it wonderfully.  And there is no denying she is a beauty. 

I've been piecing the pinwheel quilt on her, very happy with the results.  The stitches somehow feel tighter than on my electric machine.  I'm going to try quilting on her, hopefully tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Beginners pinwheel tutorial

Since I am a beginner quilter myself, I've been quilting for a little more than a year with 8 completed quilts behind me, I have decided to try my hand at a tutorial made for beginners. 

This is what is on my design wall right now:

This time I'm working from a (actually I've got three...) five and a half inch jelly roll, so either cut your fabric into the desired width or use a jelly roll.  Take one strip of each fabric and place them right side together. Be very picky about matching the sides to each other, to ensure a good result in your pinwheel.  This fabric has been cut (from the factory) with a sawtooth pattern.  Either cut the sawtooth off, or match the bottom of the Vs in the sawtooth with the clean cut side of the fabric.  I'm lazy, so I'll leave the sawtooth where it is..

Now cut your strips into squares.  Take a ruler and a washable fabric marker and mark the diagonal on each square, keeping the two fabrics together.

Use your quarter inch foot, and sew a seam on one side of the mark, keeping the two fabrics together.

Then sew a second seam on the other side of the mark.  You can buy a special quarter inch seam ruler than helps you mark the center diagonal and the side seams.  Personally I'm perfectly happy with only the center mark.

Now cut the triangles apart on the marked diagonal.

Time to set the seams with an iron, I use a small amount of steam.  Some quilters do and some don't, if you are using sensitive fabrics... don't!

With the darker side turned up, flip the fabric open and set the seam turning the seam allowance towards the darker side of the square.

Now cut of the "dog ears" to get rid of some of the bulk in the center of the pinwheel.

Make the block by placing the squares in the pinwheel pattern making sure they are turned the right way.  It might help to squint your eyes when looking at it.

Take the left side square and turn it over on top of the right side square.

Place them exactly on top of each other making sure the seams match up.

Sew a quarter inch seam.  To speed things up sew all the squares at once, one after another.  Just keep feeding the next square under your foot. 

If you're wondering, I've got a Husqvarna sewing machine from the 50's.  Her name is Green Greta and she is just lovely.  She free hand quilts like a star.

Set the seams and iron them open just like before, seam allowance towars the dark side. You have now made half the blocks.  Place one half-block on top of the other, right sides together.  To make sure that the center seams of the block match up nicely take a pin and, from the wrong side on the top block, pierce the place where the seams come together.

Now pierce the bottom block where the seams come together.  This ensures that the blocks are placed exactly so the seams match up.

( I could encourage you to actually put the pin where the seams come together, but why tell you to do something that, obviously, I don't...)  Seriously, try to do it right.

Now place a pin on either side of the center pin, and remove the center pin.

Sew the seam, making sure you place the seam on the spot where the seams match up.  Set it and iron it open.

Your first pinwheel block is done!

Good luck with you pinwheels, now I'm moving back into the sewing room to finish mine.  I'll let you know how it turns out!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pinwheels galore

I really need to get into the groove again with the quilting, so I got the Thimbleberrie's jelly rolls out that I bought in Alaska last summer out and started cutting.

Since I've got a special love for pinwheels,  that's what I'm doing.... all pinwheels!  No borders, only binding.  At least that is the plan for now, we'll see what happens. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One brainless sock

Finished the first of the "Brainless" socks (pattern free on www.  It's been a blast to knit, working toe up with a sweet braid and a purl gusset. So now theres just one more to go!

Spinning the reds

I bought some colored mixed wool in reds, pinks and oranges a while back that I'm now spinning into a thin 2-ply yarn.  I started on the spindle and then moved on to my Ashford Traveller spinning wheel to hurry things up a bit.  The plan is to eventually knit some socks out of it, if I could just finish the socks I'm working on now...