When I said that I’d be posting updates on Marigold in a couple days, I really did mean it… But then some other things happened.
I finished layering the blocks on Monday (although I’ve decided I need to unlayer some of them and do some trimming; more on that later), then went to visit a friend in Jersey City on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning my husband pointed out that I should really be on vacation. After all, I do have a new job starting soon (teaching one class at a nearby community college) and doesn’t one need a break before the semester starts? I blew off this advice because I couldn’t afford a break. I have my novel and my quilting that I have to work on before the semester starts and my schedule gets cramped. I was walking through downtown Princeton on my way to meet a friend for lunch, feeling stressed and tired and seeing my husband’s point and remembering that I couldn’t afford a break right now, and going round and round that tight little circle in my head, and I suddenly stopped and looked at myself and thought, “Oh God. I really do need a break.”
I went on vacation about ten minutes later.
So for the last few days I’ve been sleeping a lot, and doing only what I feel like (lots of Netflix and cross-stitch and reading, and watching “The Last Unicorn” with my husband). The angel has made excellent progress.
I completely finished the right wing before moving on to the rest of the skirt. That curvy channel that remains open at the top left of the wing is where some of the beads for the halo will go.
I also unraveled an unsuccessful attempt at a Fair Isle sweater for one of my nephews (the four-year-old; he has a brother who’s eighteen months, and a cousin who’s ten).
What’s wrong with it, you might ask? Well, it’s not as apparent in this picture, but I realized a couple inches from the bottom that it was going to be too small. Instead of being a sensible knitter and unraveling and starting again, I just did an increase for several rows and said to myself, “I’ll do an increase toward the bottom on the other side to match it.” *Facepalm* Of course the longer I worked on it, and the more complicated patterns I worked into it, the less willing I was to unravel. But then I came back from a five-week trip to Europe and pulled this piece-in-progress out of its bag, and nothing was more obvious than that it needed to be unraveled and re-attempted in a larger size.
So that’s what I did. And from this I learned that there is one thing more difficult and painful than doing complicated knitting: unraveling it. But it will be a good thing to work on with my local knitting group when it starts up again in a few weeks.
And yesterday I started a new project! (I know; like I don’t already have too many. Overcommitting is a way of life with me.) Ten days ago I was killing time in downtown Princeton before my interview with the college that has just hired me, and I went into Pins and Needles to fondle the yarn and help myself relax, telling myself it was okay because I wasn’t going to buy anything.
Who can argue with lovely Donegal tweeds in the half-off section? Actually made in Ireland? I got five colors and have now embarked on a stripey triangular shawl, using a beautifully simple pattern I found on West Knits. I’ve only got a few inches done, but I’m really enjoying it.
I’m switching colors as the impulse strikes. I know it looks kind of rectangular in the picture, but it is coming out as a triangle. For this pattern you start knitting in the center of one side of the triangle, the part that will rest against the back of your neck, and then expand the triangle outward along the other sides. So when you’re knitting it, the two sides that are on the knitting needles tend to seem like one big curvy side, and the side that’s not on the knitting needles gets pulled up at the corners into a curve as well, which is sort of confidence-shattering. But if you let it bend at the corner and straighten out the long hypotenuse side, it really is a big triangle.
Now, as to the problem I’m having with Marigold…
This is something I should have taken care of before I layered the blocks, but it wasn’t that apparent until the batting was in place: there’s some very marked shadowing around the colored diamonds, in some of the blocks.
What’s happened is that the person who made the blocks (not me, an unknown member of the glorious and honored Courthouse Quilters Guild) pressed the seams on the back of the blocks toward the white fabric instead of the red. The red fabric is quite opaque, but the white fabric is almost translucent, so it was inevitable that some of the red would show through. Moreover, the red seam allowance is a tiny bit wider than the white seam allowance, which is what makes that that thin red line at the edge of the shadow.
Only a couple of the blocks have red diamonds, but the same thing has happened with some of the other colors.
I suppose I should also mention that these blocks, as you can see in these close-up pictures, are not made of quilting cottons. They’re made, as far as I can tell, of clothing fabrics, pieces cut from somebody’s shirts and skirts, collected over months or years. They’re definitely vintage colors and designs. Who knows how long this stack of blocks was languishing in someone’s attic before they came my way in the UFO auction?
So, what I’ll have to do is un-layer several of the blocks, and trim the extra seam allowance that’s creating that shadow. I thought about trying to hide the shadows with decorative stitching, or just treating it as part of the design, but as I’ve learned from the Fair Isle sweater, it’s better to backtrack a little now than struggle with the problem through the rest of the process, and wish I’d fixed it when I had the chance. I’m making this quilt for someone to buy and take home and love, and I should put in the work to make it a thing of beauty that can be cherished for years to come.
No promises about when my next post will be, since I’m only going to break them. 🙂 I’ll write when I have something new to report!