Archive for the 'Quilts' Category

Bog-Body Knitting

This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but as a former child-dreaming-of-a-career-in-archaeology I am fascinated by this pattern: the Gunnister Purse Replica by Chris Laning. (The pattern itself is posted at the Island of Misfit Patterns—a welcome new find for me.)

This bag is a replica of one found in 1951 (1953?) with the Gunnister bog burial (c. late 17th C).

Interestingly enough, a bit of searching reveals that one can also find patterns for Gunnister gloves ($5) and Gunnister Stockings (no picture with these, but the pattern is free).

To me, there’s something simultaneously magic and deeply human about choosing to knit a replica of a knitted piece originally used over 300 years ago. I feel the same way as a quilter and prefer working with reproduction fabrics, particularly those reflecting styles from the mid-1800s and the 1930s. (I’ve got lots of sources for these on my links page, if you’re interested.) If you know of other replica patterns you’ve knit (or hope to knit) I’d love to hear about them.

P.S. Full details on the Blogiversary Raffle coming up on Monday. My friend Chris has generously donated two skeins of Socks that Rock from Blue Moon Fiber Arts as an additional prize!

February 01 2008 | Quilts | 3 Comments »

Tuesday Mewsday: Penny’s Favorite Quilt (and Memories of Eloise)

For some reason, Penny is particularly fond of this quilt.
The first quilt

Not that she would be at all interested in dressing up in crinolines and pinafores.
The first quilt, detail
But she most certainly could come up with good uses for marbles or a butterfly net.

I made this quilt after the death of a beloved cat, Eloise. She was old (only 13, actually, but with an air of Methuselah about her) and suffered from almost every ailment known to felines: food allergies and mast cell tumors in particular. The allergies left her with an over-grooming habit, which left her mostly bald and the tumors—well, you don’t even want to know the details. Suffice it to say, she was not anything particularly lovely to behold.

She was quite generous with her criticism, but somehow I always knew the complaints were proof of her love. After all—she wouldn’t have bothered me with them if she didn’t trust me to generate results. In her last few months, I put my foot down, stopped forcing the anti-cancer meds down her throat and fed her whatever she wanted, which was mostly babyfood and bacon fat. She may have died a bit more quickly as a result, but she was as happy a camper as a life-long crab could be.

January 08 2008 | Cats and Quilts and Tuesday Mewsday | 3 Comments »

Way Too Festive

Melissa throws a holiday party every year. I help out a bit, but really it’s her show. She bakes cookies for days beforehand, plans and prepares savories, compiles holiday music CDs, and cleans like a woman possessed. I show up the day before and alternate getting distracted by work/knitting on-line and following Melissa’s instructions and completing discrete tasks. This year I was feeling particularly unfestive and burdened by work, so I am afraid I wasn’t the help-meet I should have been.

On Saturday afternoon, Melissa sent me to the grocery store for cilantro, tangerines, and extra chocolate. While I was there, I got the inspired idea of picking up a bottle of Chandon Blanc de Noirs. I got back home, popped the cork, and within a few sips, I was full of the holiday spirit: slicing cucumber for little bits of salmon to perch atop, wrapping itty-bittty pigs in itty-bitty blankets, filling bowls with bourbon balls, and gyrating along as we listened to Elvis singing “Blue Christmas.”
The finished tree

Look a little closer…. This year, we had the brilliant idea of making a tree-topper out of a Melita no. 5 coffee filter.
No coffee fanatics here...

We spread out my Christmas cat quilt.
Christmas cat quilt

Christmas cat quilt, detail
(There is a cat fabric for every holiday out there, and I have them all.)

On Sunday, after we’d recovered from the festivities, Melissa photographed my Shell Stitch Shawl. She had lots of help from the cats.

Maggie approved of the stitch pattern.
The cats love the malabrigo shawl

And Damian found it a nice, soft spot to settle down on for a grooming session.
Let's stop and wash!

As I said earlier, now that I’m adjusting to the contrast border, I’m liking it just fine.
I expect I’ll be knitting another one—also in Malabrigo—soon.

December 17 2007 | Cats and Quilts | 3 Comments »

Tuesday Mewsday: Kittens… Kittens Everywhere

So back in the day (as my students put it), before I got bit by the knitting bug and still had time for sewing quilts, I pieced this vivid number.
The second quilt
Can you spot the square that features a cat doing a handstand on an elephant’s back?

I purchased a kit for the star blocks on ebay. Most of the other fabrics came from Blythe Designs, an on-line fabric store that specialized in cat prints, which unfortunately has gone out of business. Blythe Designs started up before the internet boom and was originally a mail-order company. You could send them seven dollars and they’d send you swatches of the newest cat fabrics, after which you could, of course, order larger cuts. Many of my swatches made it into this quilt, along with slices from various fat quarters I’d amassed.

The second quilt, detail
In the upper left, you can see one of my favorite prints—wild-eyed black kittens bouncing on pillows.

December 11 2007 | Quilts and Tuesday Mewsday | 2 Comments »

Cats and Bats

Before knitting took over my life, I was a quilter. I still am a quilter, though it’s more in theory than in practice. I have a nice little pile of seasonal quilts that I pull out at the appropriate times. For the past two weeks, I’ve had my Cats and Bats quilt on the bed.
The Halloween quilt

The blocks feature assorted black cat fabrics.
The Halloween quilt, fabric close-up

The border features bats.
The Halloween quilt, batty fabric
The black cats require no explaining, as I’ve had several special ones in my life, including Archy and Beatrice.

I also love me some bats. I find them infinitely graceful. Our first Christmas together, Melissa gave me a painting of a bat. I’ll see about posting a picture of it in the next week or so. She (we named her Hermione) is soaring across the top of the tall, narrow piece with a swirling black sky behind her. Every time I look at it, I see beauty and courage in her little face.

November 03 2007 | Cats and Quilts | 5 Comments »