Blue Murder

Posted by on Thursday, September 22nd, 2011


That’s a sneak peek of a project that’s coming. I developed a bit of an obsession working on the squares for my string quilt top, so I decided to just keep going and try to make a noticeable dent in the scrap baskets. I’ve been wanting to make larger knitting bags for a while, and the combined pressures of Rhinebeck and KR Retreat plans are creeping up on me.


I finished the silk sort—one of the more trying things I’ve had to do lately—and got out the dye pot. I really love working with the pre-cut silk, because the 10″ squares are such a great size for crock pot dyeing. So far I’m working with the dyes I have on hand, but I’ll probably order several more colors in the next week or so. I can keep myself very happy with greens and blues, but I know some of you knitters go for other colors. Any requests? I’ll definitely get some orange and red, and I have no shortage of gold and brown squares on hand, so I can add them to the mix.


My first attempt at making bags with the hand-dyed silk squares is . . . not terrible. You can see that this bag is significantly bigger than one of my normal sock bags. It’s lined in the same black dupioni edging the blue in the straps, and I added a pocket and snap closure and some interfacing to make the base firm. I like the simple quilting on the straps (also interfaced) but I feel like the body of the bag is too flimsy, and I don’t trust the closure to be kind to the silk, even though I interlined that spot. I think I want the bodies to be quilted, which is going to make these much, much slower to produce. But, well, once I have a vision in mind . . . you know how that goes.

I mentioned a while back that I started a new tradition while we were camping. For years, Preachain’s fighters have worn handmade red and black checkered colors. The first ones were painted, and then someone started patching the checks. For years they were one-sided, which made me worry about wear, and then Bodwin made some double sided sets. It was all exactly the sort of development you’d expect from longstanding friends slowly improving and riffing on a concept. The variety of techniques and slight differences in color is great, and each fighter has a story of where theirs came from and who they’ve given colors to over the years. I managed to stay out of the production of the colors for a good long time, but I was finally convinced to make a few linen ones last fall. I decided to do a black side and a red side, because who doesn’t want reversible handmade patchwork, right?


I made two, gave them away, and then got all itchy over the idea of making so few and of not getting the patchwork quite as precise as I wanted. How many times have I mentioned that linen is a bitch to use for patchwork over the years? Is it time to retitle the blog yet? “Crazy(from linen patchwork)Lanea”

So, of course, I accidentally made a whole lot more. Folks came over for a sewing weekend, and Keegan and Bodwin offered to help cut, so I handed over fabric and rotary cutters and mats, and came back to a to-sew pile so, so huge. I finished 13 of these in time for camp, and handed them out to folks who really stood out to me.

But, of course, we’re more than a war band. While we were surveying my piles of red and black linen and Keegan’s piles of red and black cotton that weekend, we got to talking about wanting to reward the people who make our encampment so wonderful year in and year out. A lot of people work really hard to make Preachain what it is, and that includes running events, cooking meals, water-bearing, teaching . . . I can’t even count all of the things Preachainees do to make our camp what it is. Cotton is much easier to sew into patchwork than linen, and so we decided to make something both smaller and bigger. I made some little checky favors to give to people who were bending over backwards to help out, and I gave a couple away and waited to see what would happen next. They Ruadhan took one of the finished ones and made me accept it as a gift from her and Veruchka. We formed a Murder. A Murder of crows. It’s like a service fraternity, but different. It’s still small, and I’m daunted by the amount of patchwork I’m facing, because I think in time every single member of the tribe should be wearing one of these little sigils if we’re really doing this tribe thing right. I’ve only gotten to maybe 5 percent of the crow-folk so far, so there’s a lot of tiny-little patchwork in my future. Well, our future. I can’t do it alone.


Filed in Celtic,knitting,sewing | 3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Blue Murder”

  1. gayleon 25 Sep 2011 at 7:45 am 1

    Love the bags. Silk sounds lovely and decadent for a knitting bag!

    Curious about the colors – how does one wear them?

  2. bullwinkleon 25 Sep 2011 at 2:19 pm 2

    I am also curious about the colors – how are they worn?

    Tiny patchwork is lovely and solid and durable. (Also, uhm, tedious – like too much stockinette if you don’t take a break to do something else.)

    re: Silk knitting bags 🙂

  3. anjon 25 Sep 2011 at 2:44 pm 3

    so what if they sides and the bottom were interfaced? would that strengthen them? I’ve been noodling in my head about it since we talked. perhaps not interfacing. plain cotton between the silks?

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