Thursday, April 29, 2010

quite contrary

this is how the garden grows

here in the picture you can see 3 little acorn squash plants had emerged

that picture was taken yesterday afternoon

by this morning there is a second seedling in the middle acorn pot, a baby blue hubbard is breaking the soil, and we have a cucumber and a pumpkin up


with any luck by the time the weather clears up in mid week we should be able to put many of these into the ground under hot caps
the backing is on! it's looking good

now on to the challenge of the stringing up

Christmas Sweater project is 16.829% complete

and that was about the extent of my completed work yesterday as I spent a considerable amount of time on the phone with the artistic director of the opera company that I will be chairing the fund raising auction for again this year -- work begins!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NOW we have progress

it's amazing just how quickly you can get something done when you stop fighting with the way things are and go with them instead

took less than an hour to do the bezel around the stone with this method


and I've already found the materials to do the backing (a lovely dove gray leather) and the beads to do the attaching (two shades of silver)

the whole thing will go nicely with those beaded beads

I hope to get the back on this today so I can start stringing this thing together!

the apron is done!

yesterday afternoon I got the final detail finished

at the waist on the left side (right side on the picture) there is a little lace rosette with a silk ribbon rose and a silver charm in a hand shape that says "made by hand"

after I finished all of the stitching I pressed this -- with STARCH!

talk about further stirring the memories --- my grandmother's pattern, the vintage fabric, the smell of warm starch --- enough to put me right back onto the back porch of my grandmother's house in the summer

and here we have yet another afghan strip

this one was smaller -- using up the very last of this yarn (ok, I had about a foot and a half left when I finished binding off -- definitely not enough to do another row!)

the afghan is now 63.333% knit

oh yeah, and the Christmas sweater is 15.854% complete!

Quilting continues on the Hoffman challenge quilt, and I'm closing in on completing another sunflower on the Wild About Flowers piece -- pictures of the sunflower soon
and after a hard day of chasing around in the yard and fretting over "why won't mom let me play in the front yard when she's out there" it's time to sleep

(notice the favorite toy de jour there with her -- a duck that I've replaced the squeaker in 3 times now)

just too funny

time to get busy -- lots of things to do today

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

working with nothing to show for it

I've decided I've officially lost it

my mind that is

for four days I've tried to get this red stone into a net bezel so I can get on with making the necklace with those lovely beads that I finished last week

nope, this stone is having no part of it -- I've tried every combination of netting stitches I've ever used and none of them work

in all honesty, this is the biggest -- and most irregular -- stone I've ever tried this with, and I'm thinking there may be some super secret technique that I don't know about in dealing with this, but at this point I have officially given up

I'm beginning to wonder if either of the projects I've started with these cool beaded beads will ever be finished

just saying

meantime, there are other projects

like the Christmas sweater that is 14.878% complete

yeah, and now that it's no longer winter -- although you couldn't tell that by the 29 degree temperature when I went out for the paper this morning -- there are lawns to be mowed and other such things

work calls

Monday, April 26, 2010

an actual finished object!

here it is in all its glory

a bucket hat

nice blue color

nice stripe on the brim lining

wait -- look at that neatly matched stripe pattern -- how did that happen?

I can tell you it was just a happy accident, because if I had wanted to make that happen I would have spent hours making myself crazy!!

anyway, I like the way this one came out

work continues on the apron -- I hope to get the machine work all finished today -- between loads of laundry

another piece of the afghan is complete!

nice texture, don't you think?

the Christmas sweater is 13.902% complete - heh!

I've almost finished the second corner of the quilting on the Hoffman Challenge, and the petals on the second sunflower are almost done on the flowers quilt

looking good

in the race to be the first plant up out of the pot, the little acorn squash is the winner

and a couple more of those are coming too

this means there should be more little plants springing up soon

now if the weather will cooperate and the snow will stop we might actually get these into the ground around Mother's Day

we have English Peas and red potatoes already planted in the ground out in our garden area, but it's too soon to expect to see much happening out there

I may not like the snow, but the last one was really wet which is good for our grass and our garden
and the beginning of the "fix" for the garden shed is shown hear

we've had a hard time getting the grass to grow out there right where you step when you go in or out and where the lawn mower rests when it is taken in our put back

we found the red stones in the back corner of the garage, left by the previous owner from some walk way work that was done in the front yard

we couldn't see any reason not to use them for this purpose

and the DH put dirt around them sloping up to the bottom edge of the shed so it looks nice

sometime in the next couple of weeks we'll plant grass out there on the new "hill" and do the usual "patching" of the areas that winter killed

can mowing be far behind?

time to get to that laundry

Sunday, April 25, 2010

fruit of the unknown tree

we got our monthly "Shares" box yesterday

and this is the first time there has been something in the box that looks familiar but I don't know what it is

I think it's some kind of tropical fruit, but it's not something I've ever purchased or have any idea what to do with

I'm hoping my daughter will

it might end up being fruit for the parrot

meantime, however, I just love the color of this thing -- shading from green through yellow to a soft pink-ish peachy color -- what a great colorway that would be for either yarn or fabric (hmmm, and how would one create that ---)

lots of time spent yesterday on the phone (before I was bright enough to get out my headset -- DUH!) meant I didn't get as much work done as I could of, but that's ok sometimes

I'm working on the hand work on the edges of the apron before I attach the waist band/ties. My "secret sources" (thanks, Sis!) tell me that the pattern is from 1953 -- wow, my "mid 1900s" guess was pretty accurate
finished the last afghan square for the box I've been filling -- cool

that means when we get paid on Wednesday I can take it and mail it (not much of anything happens with money between now and then! -- unless I win the lottery)

the Christmas Sweater is 12.683% complete

a few weeks ago I saw a sweater pattern that I thought was the coolest thing ever --

this is part of a book titled "Color by Kristen", written by Kristen Nichols (you can read her musings about sheep and other things by using this link to her blog)

I'd like to knit something like this for ME!

I think it would be fun to learn this multi-color patterned print technique

guess I'm adding this book to my "wish list"!

time to get some breakfast!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

the better to see you with

I found the glass eyes!

I was looking through a box to find a clasp for the red necklace and there they were!


so now I can start working on a design for the bead embroidery part that will be the center piece of the blue and gold necklace
and the better NOT to hear you with

for the past couple of months whenever I walked into the family room and the TV wasn't on I could hear a persistent high pitched hum

the DH was no help, it was a high enough pitch that he simply didn't hear it

my daughter and son-in-law had been here, they could hear it, so I knew it wasn't just me loosing what's left of my mind

I tried unplugging every electric thing in the room -- no luck, I could still hear it

yesterday afternoon I was picking up a pile of wet towels from the clean up of the spill of an entire glass of Coke (a whole other issue, best left not discussed) and the sound seemed a lot louder

what?! there was no electric anything there ---- I moved a few more things around and discovered that these three hand held electronic games had been stacked together --- then something else had been piled on top of that, pressing on enough buttons to send one of them (I'm not sure which one) into SHRIEK mode

mystery solved!! wow, and my ears get a rest!!
last year I had entered this very cool necklace in a competition, only to have the center glass focal bead broken by the post office during the shipping process (at least that's the story from the folks that received it though it could have been dropped at their end)

when I made my bead order back in January, I ordered some more of the faceted pieces that I had used in this in hopes of creating something else from the remains

yesterday, as I was thinking about taking it apart I started to toss the broken pieces into the trash when I though -- wait! beach glass!

so, sometime in the near future I will be setting up the tumbler again with these pieces inside -- but I also want to try "cutting" some bigger pieces of glass to tumble too, so that I'm doing a full "load" when I set it up

we'll see how that all goes

progress on Christmas sweater -- 11.22%

other knitting and quilting projects are moving right along too, and I've started working on the apron


Friday, April 23, 2010

snow again!

yes, it is snowing again this morning

I have to say that I am really ready to be done with snow and have some warmer (but not too hot, please) weather

the big black dog at our house agrees

I caught this picture of her last night -- when I went for the camera she had her head resting on that dog toy like a pillow

awwwww! very cute

the previous lab at our house would never have put up with having anything draped over her -- this one could care less

funny how they all have their own little quirks
the red beads are complete!

today I'll start creating the net bezel for the center stone

if that goes well I might even start stringing the whole piece together

I need to scrounge through the stash and find a closure -- either a toggle clasp or a magnetic one -- I'm thinking a toggle will be best as this will end up being a fairly heavy piece and I'm not sure the magnetic clasps I have are substantial enough

I didn't get to the sewing machine for the apron project yesterday because I went to a meeting of the applique group I belong to -- this is always a great "energizer" as there are about 30 of us (although we're never all there at once -- heh, right -- some of us are just not all there!) and each of us brings our own ideas, techniques and projects to share -- it's a great place to get feedback and design ideas

more petals got stitched on the sunflower and more quilting got done on the Hoffman piece yesterday afternoon
and there was knitting

this is the latest strip for the afghan I'm working on

so far I've knit about 32 inches of this project -- I'm really surprised there is this much of it, I guess when you're working in little strips it doesn't seem like much, but it is adding up

the Christmas sweater is 10% complete, and I've just started into the second skein of yarn

so today seems like a good time to settle in at the sewing machine and do some stitching

guess I'll go get busy!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Apron project

there was a big article in the feature section of our local paper in the past week about aprons

if you've been reading this blog for a while, you may recall that I made myself an apron a while back

who knew that for once I was on the cutting edge of fashion!?
so I decided yesterday that it might be worth while to make a couple of these for my Etsy store

(after all, the last sale I made from there was for an apron - DUH!)

I decided, however, not to use the pattern I used for my own apron which is very much the "keeping clean while doing messing projects" version

no, I think an apron that is also a fashion statement would be a better seller

and this pattern is the one I'm using -- just the skirt covering version there on the bottom right hand side

and this pattern was my grandmother's -- old enough that the address of the pattern company doesn't have a zip code, which puts it in the mid 1900's (don't you love how OLD that sounds - well, heck, I'm from the mid 1900's -- how old does that make me -- oh, never mind!)

anyway, I went surfing through my fabric stash of things suitable for making clothing (ie: bigger than a 2 x 3 inch scrap) where I discovered this lovely piece of fabric that I'm guessing is from the same era

(I'm not positive about the date as it is from a group of fabrics my sister gave me a while back that had been given to her)

this is the coolest fabric for a print -- I had forgotten what these things from back then were like

for one, it's definitely a printed fabric, but the color and the definition of the item printed is clear -- if muted -- on the BACK of the fabric too

and the subtle shadings of color are amazing

yesterday I did all of the prep work --- pressing, cutting, cutting the bias strips, selecting the lace trim --- and I'm really looking forward to putting this together

(oh, and while I was in that box, I also found some other fabric and trim to do at least one more)
a few more beads got done

yes, I know, they aren't all the same color

they are all red, but some of them are a deep red, some of them are a red with an AB finish and one of them is a red with a AB matte finish

I have only 3 more to make before I will start doing the "net" to encircle the stone that will be the focal bead

looking good!

(see, a good thing came out of those extra hours sitting in the chair with the ice on my back)

the last aspen tree has been attached to the Trees piece -- it is amazing! so now it's on to the redwoods -- and I've been thinking about the "leaves" for the redwood -- I'll be experimenting with the sewing machine and a couple of techniques that I think will create the effect I want

quilting of one corner of the Hoffman Challenge has been completed, and I started the second corner last night

and the second sunflower is coming right along too
finished another afghan square last night --- only one more needed to complete this box!

another strip for the afghan would be complete except the cables I had joined together came apart and dropped a bunch of stitches which required some careful "tinking" and re knitting -- at least I didn't have to rip it back to the beginning!

and the Christmas sweater is 8.537% complete

time to get moving --- off to an applique group meeting this morning!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

sunflower's growing

stitched in the center and attached the free floating leaf last night


I think I'll do little stippling quilting over the center to give it more texture -- when I quilt the whole piece

now it's on to another sunflower -- all flat this time

I'm working my way up the last aspen tree -- stitching about 3 inches then stuffing, then pinning another 3 inches -- tedious, but it is looking quite "tree like" -- it's always satisfying when something actually works the way you think it will

finished quilting all of the details around the center fish of the Hoffman piece -- now I'm doing the all over quilting -- echoing part of the background pattern in the challenge fabric

the Christmas sweater is 6.341% complete --- the bottom ribbing done and into the pattern

movin' along

Sunday, April 18, 2010

one bead, two bead, red bead, blue bead

actually it's SIX beads

and they are red

got two done yesterday -- yeah!

along with attaching about 1/4 of another tree

and quilting the fish fins and tail

and starting leaves on the sunflower

its all moving right along

finished another afghan square

looks like about the time I get paid and have money to ship this box it will be ready to go

the Christmas sweater is 3.902% complete -- still working on the ribbing at the bottom edge


Saturday, April 17, 2010

not much to show

this is the 7th strip for the afghan -- and yes, it's only about 2 inches wide

the deal here is that I'm using up odds and ends of yarn, and it might actually be easier if I just knit it in one continuous piece, but I decided to do it this way because I keep finding little pieces of yarn and I want to be able to make the final color layout decisions when I'm done

and that is the only thing I have to show for all that I did yesterday -

things like planting about 16 feet of English peas along the back fence

and knitting enough more rows that the Christmas sweater is now 2.439% complete (heh)

and going to the fabric store with the Hoffman Challenge quilt top in hand to pick out the thread for the quilting, getting to show off the top (that was fun!) and then coming home and starting in on the quilting

and finishing the stem on the big sunflower and starting a big 3 dimensional leaf for it

just stuff -- and I made a pizza for dinner that was really good

this morning it is once again really cool with the added grayness of fog -- the newly planted grass and the peas love it -- me? not so much

ok, I'm going off to work on projects

Friday, April 16, 2010

daffodils and quilt tops

"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;"

I can hear in my head my grandmother reciting this poem by Wordsworth

she recited a lot of poetry to me and in the process helped me love to play with words and enjoy the lyrics of music as well

my host of golden daffodils is in full glory -- its still cold here in the mornings, but seeing this every morning helps chase away the chill
the top is done!

I finished stitching on the last border yesterday afternoon then squirted the whole thing with cold water to take out all of the markings from the construction

today there will be pressing and the pinning of the backing/batting/top sandwich

I'm trying to figure out what sort of pattern I should use to quilt it, and I'm leaning toward an all over ripple like water in a pond

I'll be taking it over to the store so I can decide what color quilting thread I'm going to use -- I like the light blue spool I've done a lot of the applique work with (especially on the center fish), but there isn't enough of it left, so a new spool is required

work on trees and sunflowers continues as well -- there are now 3 of the 7 trees attached, and the sunflower is getting a stem

the Christmas sweater if now 1.463% complete (hehe -- I love throwing in those statistics, it makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something!)


Thursday, April 15, 2010

more project updates

four of these lovely red and pewter beads complete

at this point these things move along quite quickly --

we'll be working on the rest of the necklace in no time!

at quilt guild meeting last week I picked up another charity quilt kit to work on

I have found that I can make one of these things in about 3 or 4 days

breaking up the time at the sewing machine is kinder to my back and shoulder and knee

and that seems like a reasonable time to make a quilt in

we've been using a heavy fleece for both back and batting on these, doing the quilting through the top and the fleece then rolling the fleece over the edge to make a "binding"

pretty easy considering I've never tried to machine quilt anything bigger than a place mat!

work continues on the Wild About Flowers piece

the first of the sunflowers is now ready for it's stem and leaves and center

I did end up top stitching around each of the petals that are 3 dimensional, so it took a while to get all of them pinned down in their proper places

the Hoffman Challenge piece is being set together and the outside "frame" strips are being added

and I've nearly finished another aspen tree on the trees piece

another strip for the Christmas afghan finished

these are a variety of colors and widths depending on how much of the yarn I have for each one

this was a small ball left over from another project

ok, I know this looks just like yesterday's swatch

trust me, it is not

this one, for instance, is on gauge for stitches

rows - eh, not so much, but as I long ago learned, row gauge is not nearly so important for the kind of projects I make because usually you work until you reach the proper measurement -- it just means I work a few less rows to get there

so the sweater has been cast on and is at 0.244% complete

uh, that doesn't sound like much

stay tuned

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


in the beginning there was the swatch

and the swatch was pretty

but it was not on gauge

nope, this thing on these needles is supposed to be 17 stitches = 4 inches and 24 rows = 4 inches

what I got is 15 stitches and 20 rows


there will be knitting of a second swatch -- a size down

then there will be decisions to make I'm sure -- and the possibility of pattern tweeking

and I didn't have to tweek this pattern the last time -- always a new adventure!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

bits and pieces

this is mittnz #10

the yarn did indeed work up differently in the smaller version, bigger pools of color (especially that intense sapphire blue)

the completion of this pair means I will be putting the mitten pattern aside for a while and start working on that Christmas afghan and a sweater

these are the 10 pair of mittens I have knit since the first of the year

an interesting assortment of colors

stripes and pools

large and small

pretty cool I think

the weather here has been the usual spring mix of warm then cool

cloudy then sunny

with occasional downright COLD wind

the daffodils don't seem to mind

those two smaller, lighter colored ones on the far left are all of the older ones that remain

the rest are the result of the "buy the bag of bulbs on half price sale" that saw me planting about 30 new daffodil bulbs in this area last fall

this rather cloudy picture was taken through the dining room window at an angle

I didn't want to risk spooking the wren

for the past few years there have been house wrens using this bird house that hangs on the corner of the house

yesterday morning as I was working on a project I heard the unmistakable sound of wrens outside the window

so it looks like there is nest building going on -- they were coming and going for a while

last year I could even seen the tiny little baby birds -- I hope I get that privilege again -- and I'll keep the camera close at hand

Monday, April 12, 2010

wherein we encounter a "design opportunity"

I've been moving right along, blissfully working on the individual blocks, secure in the idea that I would soon be able to cut the 2 inch stripping and set the whole thing together and getting on with the quilting

eh, hmmmm --- not quite

note the width of the big fish block

note the width of the water lily block that is supposed to fit right there under the big fish block

uh, not quite

there was mumbling and wailing and multiple examinations of both the drawings and the stitched blocks

how did this happen?

well, easy --- I messed up when I cut the long rectangles -- instead of cutting two of the each of the sizes we were supposed to have, I cut four of the smaller one

what to do?

well, I spent some time fiddling with the blocks in every possible permutation

and came up with this (do-able) asymmetrical layout

and I like it

in fact, I like it better than the original layout although it will be a bit more difficult to stitch together than the original "formally balanced" version would have been

hey, who said we had to do anything the easy way?

so the next step is to cut some strips (and yes I have the measurements all figured out) and start setting it together

meantime, work was done on the sunflower yesterday -- I have only four more of the "background" petals to applique down before I start in on attaching the three dimensional ones -- I still haven't decided if I actually want to top stitch each of those three dimensional ones yet, but I'm going to have to decide that soon

and I worked on the trees -- one entire side of aspen tree number three is now attached -- and I had to add an extra 3 inches of fabric at the top of it -- fortunately not a problem as I still have the fabric to add "branches" on those trees
and no, I didn't just work on quilts

this is the fifth of the strips for the afghan I'm making for a Christmas gift

and mitten number 20 is ready for the thumb stitches to go to a stitch holder so I can knit the rest of the hand

I'm reviewing the ins and outs of the sweater pattern that I will be tackling next

and afghan square number 26 is complete

today there is laundry and some yard work to do, then it's on to the projects!