Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Last Wooly Winter Post of the Season

Many are surprised at just how cold a Jordanian winter can be. I've known Canadians, Minnesotans, and northern Europeans who declare Jordanian winters to be the coldest they've experienced. It is not that temperatures drop so low--though we sometimes receive snow and frost in the higher altitudes. Rather, it is that many houses and buildings are inefficiently insulated and heating fuel is expensive. Until a couple weeks ago, the warmer (read: heated) rooms in our apartment registered about 60 degrees Fahrenheit/16 degrees Celsius on the thermometer.

Here is proof of just how cool our house is:

I took this picture yesterday. My "Christmas" amaryllis, which I potted back in November, bloomed this week. It is in our south-facing sun porch. I guess it thought it was still being stored in the refrigerator! I had all but given up on it, but I'm glad I didn't. Even the narcissus, planted outside, bloomed before it did.

Thus, wool is my close friend from December through March and my wool turtlenecks and sweaters have been on permanent rotation--even at night. I don't even consider cotton during these months. One thing that made the cold more bearable this winter was cashmere. I made a few scarves from recycled sweaters and I wore these daily--even in the house. Especially in the house.

I ruffled the edges by zig-zagging them while pulling the fabric taught.

By making some stripy scarves I could stretch one short sleeved magenta sweater into three scarves, one for me, one for my mom, and similar one for Tatya. She choose an infinity scarf.

Inspired by a Pinterest pin which led me to Molly at Finish Something Already, I made my first felted wool baby quilt, a gift for a baby girl scheduled to make her appearance next month. I learned some things making this first quilt and on my next one I'll work a little more on color placement. This quilt was made by butting the edges of the felted wool up against each other and zig-zagging, though I think I need to loosen up my stitches a bit next time. This quilt turned out "ruffly" but it was for a girl, so that is okay. Instead of adding the intended boarder, I zig-zagged/ruffled the edges (Thanks for the idea, Tayta) and in the end it looked like I had planned those ruffly seams. I chose my softer wools, mostly lambswool with some angora, for this quilt. I enjoyed making it a lot and hope to make more quilts in the future.

In fact, I've already started my next one. Once I saw Chris of Resweater's fabulous quilt, I knew I had to make one with my scraps. I (obsessively) cut out 550 hexagons over the course of week--it is a good hand activity when watching a dvd or listening to a lecture. I've begun sewing them together, using the same butting/zig-zag technique. I've finished about 1/5 of the quilt, adding a row or two each day.

As much fun as I am having with this quilt, I have decided that I will set it aside at the end of the month as I really need to get going on Artist Son's college quilt; we will be leaving for the summer at the end of May.

I finished cutting the 450 pieces (25 colors) from recycled 100% cotton men's shirts over a month ago. How satisfying it was to stack them all when I finished cutting!

I tossed the pieces all together for the first step in this quilt, which is random pairing. I don't do very good at random but I am trying and Tayta kept me honest when she saw me start to choose colors I though should go together.

Today my turtleneck is cotton, which is just as much a sign of spring as are the budding forsythia bushes and wild almond trees.


MagistraCarminum said...

Beautiful! And I'll have to steal your sweater-scarf idea! Brilliant!

Woman of the House said...

Beautiful quilts! I'm sure the baby girl will be snuggly warm in hers. I love your jars of grains on the shelves. I always think about doing something like that but never have. I like it!

Molly said...

Thank you so much for the picture of your baby blanket. It made me extremely happy to see your pink confection. The ruffled edge does make it look like you meant for it all to be ruffled. :)
I can hardly wait to see the quilt coming along. I'm not good at random, either.

Pictoria said...

Wow--550 hexagons! Lovely sewing! Hard to believe spring is really coming!

Lori said...

Hahaha -"Tayta helped keep me honest. . .". :) I can picture it.

Anonymous said...

I live in Sweden (born and brought up here) and it is coold here!! But winter in Jordan, not so much heat indoors. Brr,,, cooold!! Just found your blog- love reading about Amman!! May I ask how long time you have lived in Jordan and how come you live in Amman?
S Susan

Quotidian Life said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quotidian Life said...

Welcome Susan! My husband (American, like me) is a pastor. We lived in Amman for 23 years and recently moved to northern Jordan, where he is serving with the church and assisting a small hospital which treats chest illnesses. In fact, one of the nurses is Swedish and she will attest to our cold winters!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I have just started to read your blog, have started from the beginning so I haven't read 2010-2012 yet!! My elder sister lives in Amman since 5-6 yrs. My father is Palestinan so I've spent may summers in Jordan! (My mother is from Scandinavia). /S Susan