Tag Archives: plaid

Old blue quilt

oldbluequilt-full

Many years ago, I found this old narrow reversible quilt at my old favorite thrift store.  I loved that it was made from scraps, improvisational, hand and machine-sewn, and the fact that it was just plain old, and I like old sh*t.

I sewed a sleeve on the opposite of what I considered the more public side and hung it in my bedroom to ward off the cold seeping through the walls in my old apartment – I loved that place too because it was old – but damn, it was also cold.

oldbluequilt-ties

It’s tufted with knots of white, blue, and reddish-pink (perhaps formerly red?) wool yarn.  The interior might be filled with wool as well as it’s just a mass of somewhat disgusting clumpy lumps now, but I’d need to perform a little surgery to find out.

(And I don’t think I really want to see what’s in it in case it’s nasty).

oldbluequilt-pinwheel

The reverse has a pinwheel and some nice fabrics not seen on the front.  This pinwheel got into my deep brain and caused me to make many half-demented pinwheels last summer, or maybe the summer before…  I think I probably have enough to make something from them… I should find them.

oldbluequilt-squiggle

I like this squiggly block.

The back has a few stained blocks, but were stained in their former life perhaps as clothing, as the stains were sewn over.

A few faint splotches look suspiciously like blood, or a really robust coffee mixed with a hearty and delicious red wine.

(That is also part of the reason I chose the other side to display).

oldbluequilt-plaid

And there are some lovely hand stitches too.

I also love that delicate blue pattern on the left side.

I can’t date it – there are definitely some old fabrics in it, perhaps from the 1910s, and the red, white, and blue color scheme could place it in WWII times, but some of the other fabrics have a 1950s and ’60s vibe?  Though the shape is also older – long and narrow – somewhat too big for a crib and too small for a twin bed.  It would probably best fit one of those narrow cot-like beds (don’t they have a name???).

But it seems that it could have been made from old clothes from a number of members of a family perhaps for a notable baby or a soldier – as a memento, or a comfort for someone leaving home.

But things are rarely as they seem, right?

When I was trying to pare down my things after I moved to N’s house, I gave it to him to give to one of his family members who was having babies at the time – I thought it would be nice for a wall in a kid’s room.  But he wanted to keep it, though we didn’t get around to hanging it up then.

Or in that apartment of late of which I’d rather not speak or remember.

And we still haven’t put it up in the new house (or anything else yet until the painting is done…

rather, all of the repairs that need to be done to the walls before I can even begin to paint them).

But I rescued it from storage a few months ago, and I’m  really glad I still have it.

And I love hate love hate love hate love that he enables me in the keeping of old sh*t.

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Filed under collecting, home decor, quilts, sewing, thrifting

Yell-eew

I’ve never had an all-time favorite color.  I went through a shameful lavender and pink phase as a young tween which sharply questioned my tomboyhood.  Then I chose all colors at once, or no color at all, in my punk/grunge/post-hippie  “alternative” years.  These days if asked my preferred color, I usually say greens, or browns, or oranges, or greys since I like nearly all of the varieties of these colors, whereas I’ve established that I’m finicky over others.

yellowish honey

But all along, I’ve generally preferred the secondary colors over the primary – maybe it’s the underdog name or their need to be blended to exist.

I’ve been reading Alexander Theroux’s The Primary Colors over the last decade or more.  I can only read a few lines, or maybe half of a page, in one sitting.  I’ve also misplaced the book in a few moves (including now – I’ve no idea of its whereabouts) and go a few months or years without opening it.  I’m occasionally irritated that the book tries to sneak in secondary colors at times, but I also feel relief to see my old friends green and orange when it happens.  Unfortunately, I also just read that there’s some controversy with the book due to some bits of plagiarism, yet with the fact-listing style of writing, I can almost accept the author’s excuse of sloppy note-taking, but bad editor, bad publisher!  Theroux next wrote a book on the secondary colors, but I don’t have it yet, nor am I sure I want to commit to another decade-long read.

But after reading about yellow, I found myself considering the color more often, and a specific nasty bilious yellow has been tugging on my sleeve lately.

My main thoughts on the color are quite negative – it reminds me of pus, snot, stomach bile, infection, illness, sulfur, poisoned water, smoggy air, insanity, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, tarnished things, slimy things, pissy snow, stench.

yell-eww slug

But it also makes me think of wheat fields, green-golden light during magic hour in the late afternoon, summer turning to autumn, gilded things, tarnished things, slimy things, mosses, eyes, and old flannel shirts.

yell-eww portland

So with my mind in a mildly insane yellowish haze, I whipped up a Honey Cowl out of Dream in Color Classy Strange Harvest (my dye lot is more green) and Cascade 220 Birch Heather (my dye lot is more gold).

Yell-eww long

This was one of those projects I felt like I had already made, and more than once actually looked for it to wear – especially with my plaid jacket.

yell-eew covered face - cropped

But now I actually have it.

I liked the pattern and might make another eventually.  However, for the first time ever, I twisted the round when I joined and accidentally turned it into a mobius (maybe it’s not technically, but I don’t know).  I left it that way because I don’t have a twisted cowl yet and thought I’d like to play with the different draping possibilities.  But it’s a little disconcerting that I’m making a lot of rookie mistakes lately that I never made in the beginning…

But back to yellow.  I had this awesome mustardy-saffron merino sweater for a year or two (you can see just a peak on the left).

yellasweater

Before I shrank the hell out of it.  And how could I possibly make the mistake of shrinking a sweater?  I really don’t know how it happened.  And I also don’t know where it is now, but I know I saved it to turn it into something else.  The scarf is a Drop Stitch Scarf – I really love it, though I don’t wear it as often these days, but it has a bit of gold in it too.

My favorite yellow project was the shawlette from last winter.  I wear it often, and still think about making it bigger.

Pears bandana

And people are calling grey and yellow “grellow” these days.  I hate color fads, but I like grey and yellow.  This is an opportunity to fess up to another UFO – a sweater I cut up, re-sewed and I’m knitting the cuffs and trim in grey.  Or rather I started to, didn’t like the gauge, re-started and still didn’t like the gauge, and then put it aside for the last year or so.

cardi3 - Copy

Maybe grellow is also green and yellow.  This has been a favorite color combination of mine for vintage-inspired kitchens like this one:

kit-yel-vintagedeco1-435

(Pic from here).

And influenced my purchase in New Mexico last Spring:

New Mexico yarn

And some spinning from a year ago that I need to finish.

(Also one of my favorite color combos in Fiestaware).

yella&greenyarn

And an early natural dying attempt with saffron, turmeric, coffee, and god knows what else on bulky yarn frogged from a hand-knit thrift store scarf.

z dye

I’m still not sure if I can wear yellow though, sometimes I think I can pull it off due to my own semi-sallow complexion, sometimes it gives me a surprise ill-like pallor.

I remember my beloved high school teacher discussing The Yellow Wallpaper and vehemently denouncing the color as sickly and maddening; at the time she was wearing a beautiful buttery colored pair of paints and coordinating sweater.  When someone pointed this out, she was mildly shocked to discover it was true that even she liked some of the yellow family members.

Such is the sneaky dual nature of yellow – I’ll continue to let it tease me a bit.

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Winter hoarding, Spring sewing, a change of the light…

Thrifting over the last few months has provided some bright weekday moments in my otherwise bleak and depressing winter of vast underemployment.  I obviously have a thing for wool, but especially for tweeds and plaids.  I once had a crush on someone because of his worsted houndstooth pants – take away the pants and he was just an ordinary, rather boring, man – with the pants, he might as well have been Adonis.  Luckily, N appreciates a good piece of wool clothing, so he is practically turning into a man-sheep with my woolen finds in his size (and the occasional score on his own)…

But back to the new additions to my stash.  Most of these fabrics will be re-used, re-purposed, recycled into other things for other lives; some for sale, and some for me.

I love the yarn in these two pieces.  Some tweed yards have primary colored neps [those little color balls] and I hate those – primary colors = 1980s or preschool, ’nuff said.  I love these secondary colors, and you gotta love orange and turquoise – 1970s tube socks!  But with the beige and black yarns they are reined in.  The black is a vest that doesn’t fit me right – I may try to alter it as-is, but I’ll likely frog and re-knit it.  The beige is another unfortunate cropped sweater that also has some shrinkage, definitely a frogger or a fuller.

tweed sweaters

And some various woolens.  One (I won’t tell you which) I cheated on – it’s got a lot less wool than what I usually require, but I liked the colors and pattern too much to walk away from it.  Two of these will probably become bags.  And I was excited to find the brown herringbone Harris Tweed jacket and had plans to sell it, but I sadly discovered many little holes – perhaps too many to keep it as-is, but we’ll see.

three plaids two plaids

But let’s be honest, eh?

studio wooly pile   studio cotton pile

This is how matters really stand – piles of sh*t and blurry images.

studio corner

My shooting gallery (say hi to the dummy) is also my sewing corner and is also the only spot in the room that gets any natural light from its one dirty window.

studio window

A dirty window that will soon be even further blocked by leaves.  Don’t get me wrong, I love leaves and love them even more for blocking the parking lot that attracts unsupervised juveniles who like throwing rocks at cars and the adolescent ne’re-do-wells who lurk about drinking and sucking at skateboard tricks.  I just won’t be able to take many pictures indoors soon.

studio label

I hope to have my new and improved Etsy or other online shop up and running in another month or two and possibly do one booth at a small fair this year.  I’m discouraged though, the crafting biz ain’t what it used to be… And you know, I’ve never felt like such a stereotype more in my life.  Educated urban/suburban white female in early middle-age, gone through job crisis, deludes herself thinking she can turn to craft for substantive* income.  In an attempt to be slightly more competitive,  I bought some “professional” labels since my hand-printed ones looked well, too handmade (which is how they should look dammit) but I didn’t calculate the size very well in the order.  They are too long and unwieldy, but I don’t want to waste them, so on they will go.

*At least enough to cover health insurance – do you realize how breathtakingly expensive private plans are, or how much most of them suck?  And forget about the fact that I’ve spent my entire career in non-profits and have precious little saved for retirement, but what is that anyway?  Do enough diners still exist to hire crusty old cantankerous broads?  Can you still get a trailer in Florida cheap?  Are there any knitter-friendly flophouses?

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Filed under knitting, recycling, sewing, thrifting