Sunday, January 31, 2010

Earth Rise

the beading on the surface is all done!


I sealed the edges of the stitching with Fray Check yesterday, so now I just have to find a piece of leather to do the backing and I can start cutting

still trying to decide if I'm going to try to fringe this as if the fringe were an extension of the picture --- I'll probably try it and we'll see how it goes

today I hope to get my valentine cards made (my daughter got all of hers done last Sunday while I was there, but I didn't have my ducks in order, so I wasn't ready to work on mine then!)

the visit from the computer doctor has been postponed by a day -- more time for me to drag files off to back them up!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

mostly beginnings

except this one

the big aspen trees are all finished and ready to be appliqued to the base of the quilt

(we CAN see the forest for the trees!)

so now it's on with the redwoods, which will take a while since there are all those rows and rows of stitching to create the channels for the bark

good work to do while watching a good TV show

can you see the turtle?

well, what we have here are the flippers of the sea turtle (he's swimming toward the bottom of the picture)

today he'll get a head and at least part of a body

there are four this size to do for the corners

then there's the big one for the center

still need to get some pictures of sea grass to use on this

this is the beginning of the scarf from Alison's book made out of the "free" yarn

the yarn is kind of odd -- sort of like knitting with embroidery floss in the way the strands of the fiber tend to come apart, unlike wool which hangs together so well

with this I need to be careful not to separate the strands as I knit into them

the pattern is awesome --- easy to do, nice repetition

lookin' good!

and this is progress on the first of the bi-color mittnz

I wasn't sure about putting these two yarns together, but I really like the look now that I have

I have just started the decreases at the top of the hand, so it is closer to the finish than the start

this arrived yesterday

ordered it last weekend for the annual sweater knitting

so you could say this is a sweater, raw on the half shell

so to speak

I'm not starting this until the scarf is finished

and this?

this is packing material

or was -- it protected the external hard drive on it's way to me

I see the beginnings of an afghan here


oh, and that geeking thing I was trying yesterday?

nope, no can do

have to wait for the computer doctor to make a house call --- which will happen tomorrow


Friday, January 29, 2010

A Redwood Tree!

or at least one side of one

check out the nifty "bark-y" looking ridges

a lot of the stitching of the channels got done yesterday at the quilt group I visited with, then I spent quite a while running the yarn into the channels last night

it is so amazing when what you think will work and have tested on a small scale actually works on the full size object!

so today I will start in on the partial tree that goes on the other side of the big center redwood

and while I was off working on the redwood tree, the DH was "painting" the aspen trees --- so now I need to do the shading on those


today I will be spending a bit of time trying to resuscitate the laptop computer -- the external hard drive, the "rescue" CD and the teeny, tiny thumb drive arrived late yesterday afternoon and I decided letting them all come to room temperature from the really frigid temperature outside was a good idea -- now I just hope I can get it to all come together

I'm now officially donning my "geek" hat

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Earth Rise progress

considerable time was spent yesterday working on this project while being fascinated by a History Channel program about archeology (they were talking about what a great thing for the science of archeology the Indiana Jones movies were -- and those are about my favorite action/adventure movies)

anyway, the beadwork has "crawled" all the way to the top (or back if you prefer) edge there on one side

as usual when I reach this stage of a piece where I can see that it is actually going to work (and maybe be even better than I thought it would be) I'm starting to get impatient to have it finished so I can start working on the next one!

(and of course, since I am the master at creating in my head a whole list of FUFO (future unfinished objects) I have at least half a dozen projects in the que to take this one's place)

yesterday, while the DH painted the rest of the big aspen trees, I pulled out the fabrics for the redwood trees in this project -- and last night I actually got 3 "ribs" of the bark on the smallest tree -- the redwoods are going to take a while

and the patterns are now ready for me to start working on the turtle quilt

this is FREE yarn

a while back Caron had a thing where you send in wrappers from 3 skeins of their yarn and they would send you a skein of their new stuff

since my daughter and I have both done yarn-y projects, coming up with the wrappers for each of us to send in was a no brainer

the new yarn is 75% microdenier acrylic and 25% merino wool

and of all the yarn I've ever used, it most resembles the bamboo tape yarn I knit up into a Christmas present last year

my daughter gave me her skein -- she doesn't do wool

what is amazing about this is that not only are they the same color -- they are the same dye lot! (my sister participated in this project too -- I need to have her check her dye lot!)

anyway, I've decided to make this into one of the scarves that is in Alison's book and give it to a friend that is having knee replacement surgery today -- pictures will follow!

and another afghan square is complete -- just 6 more needed to fill the current box

time to get rollin' -- I'm heading out to an informal quilter's group this morning just to check out the folks

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

another Heart Song block

and the corners of this one do NOT look wonky!

on closer examination, the fabric appears to be printed slightly off grain, and because it is such a linear print, it really showed

I like this one much better --- truth be told, I like the red fabric in this better too

if I were to choose another black and white print, it would be one that was more "random"

so this one will go to the quilt group and I'll have to figure out what I'm doing with the first one

and I may do one more (or even more than that) before the end of the quarter when these go in for the drawing

in an update on my computer issues

as I posted yesterday my laptop computer has been infected with a virus -- one so severe that I can't even pull up the Task Manager -- so it will be a while before I can use it to do anything -- including downloading pictures from my new camera

yesterday I went to the local camera shop hoping for some help on figuring out why my desk top machine doesn't want to play nice with the new camera

the guy there suggested this handy little gadget -- it takes your camera's SD card and plugs it into a USB connector so you can use any computer to download pictures, music, etc

uh, except the desktop computer doesn't "see" this either, so I tried to download a driver for it (which my version of windows shouldn't need, but hey, it is windows), and I can't unzip and install the file

hmmmm, things are not happy here in computerland

so the work arounds are in place -- my family computer doctor is mailing me a CD with the necessary "scrubbie" to clean up the laptop, I'll be backing up all the files from my desktop to an external hard drive so we can reconfigure it, and I'm back to using my old camera until one or the other computer is fully functional again

after last week's cell phone failure, I'm about ready to gather up all of the technology in the house to a large bag and toss it out the window


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

One World One Heart

I had originally planned to participate in this activity

prizes had been decided on

the introductory post had been written

I was all ready to load it up yesterday

so I decided to go check out some of what was already involved in the drawing

and as soon as I clicked on one of the links, my laptop was flooded with porn sites and will now require some serious de-bugging as I can't even run my clean up program because of the virus load that got instantly dumped on me even though I have an antivirus program always running

because I do not wish to be part of anything that might possibly do that to anyone else, I will not be participating in this event this year

I think it is a great idea at it's core, but the more something grows on the internet now days the more likely it is that some one with evil intent will invade it and hurt the people with good ideas

I will be hosting a drawing here a bit later in the year, so do keep watching

NOW it's done

a couple of weeks ago I posted this picture all sure that I was done with the sleeves of the sashiko project

uh -- no

seems in the excitement of finishing all of the horizontal embroidery I forgot the little detail of the VERTICAL

ok, NOW they are done

and yesterday the box arrived with the embroidery floss in it for the rest of this project, so I now need to get serious about finishing the marking

finished another afghan square and started another pair of mittnz last night

and over the weekend I ordered the yarn for this year's sweater for my daughter

so today I'm doing the laundry and working on taxes and the writing of bills for February (ALREADY?!)

just another day in paradise

Monday, January 25, 2010

weekend projects

this is the block I wasn't going to do

the one for the quilt group, and I wasn't going to spend any money to make anything for the group that I wouldn't otherwise do

except all of these fabrics were in my stash

it looks pretty good

the one thing I see is that the print corners look a little wonky to me

they aren't -- I measured them

but it is hard to cut this print fabric and have it look straight --- perhaps I'll do another block and put that print deliberately at an angle (like maybe a 45 degree angle)

we'll see

I do like the look of the block in general, and I may actually play with the idea in some other colors for a whole other project

now what did I say about not getting involved in this?

the other three of the aspen trees for the Trees project are now ready for painting --- it took quite a bit of time to install the batting and lining layer on each of these, but I really like the look, and I know they will look a lot better after they are attached and stuffed too -- now it's on to the redwood trees (bigger, and the bark is a lot more complex)

and another pair of mittnz (number 3!) is now complete too

these are made of Woolese that was left from yet another sweater project

the nice thing about this pair is that there are no splices in the yarn as I knit -- so the weaving in took no time at all (unlike the two pair of gold ones that required quite a bit of weaving in because that was recycled yarn)

these were knit on size 2 (for the ribbing) and size 3 needles -- I have just located my size 1 needles, so the next pair will be smaller still (now, which yarn shall I use for those?)

time to get busy!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

the first of the Trees

we "painted" the first of the aspen yesterday

we used the Copic markers --- great alcohol based inks that work well on a lot of surfaces (I still need to iron it to "set" the color)

looking at the photo one would think this was actually a piece of aspen wood that we had hauled into the house and taken a picture of

I'm delighted by how it looks

so now it's on to working on the other 3 big aspens (this one is the little one!)

meantime (under the catagory "no, I don't have enough projects going all at once") we got a couple of quilt supply catalogs in the mail, one of which included the announcement of the Hoffman Fabric Challenge, and this year's fabric just "spoke" to us

the DH is working on drawings, and sometime next week we'll make a trip to the local quilt store that carries the fabric to better judge which fabrics we will actually use -- this piece needs to be done by July 15 so I can get it mailed -- nothing like a deadline to get us to move our tails!

and since I want him to do the drawings for the Hoffman project, I have taken on the sea turtles -- hopefully by mid-week I'll be ready to start working on the first block


Friday, January 22, 2010

we interrupt this project news

for a short rant

this is a DEAD phone

yesterday morning I discovered that it's speaker had gone out

it's not 2 years old yet, but I guess I shouldn't whine too much since this is the phone that somehow got wet about a year ago and was miraculously resurrected

so I went to the local verizon store -- and was given 3 unacceptable choices: pay to have it repaired (about $50); buy a new phone at retail (about $400 for the one I really want); or add another line to get a new phone (which would cost me $9.99 a month for 2 years before I could cancel it -- about $240)

that last one was the real kicker -- GET REAL!!

because we keep an old phone in house for "just in case a phone dies", I could select option "E", none of the above -- I'm now back on a phone that doesn't do pictures (bummer), but at least my headset works on it (sort of) and I can still text

we have a line on our family plan that is eligible for an upgrade on April 6 when I can get the phone I really want for a price I'm willing to pay (I'll be counting the days!)

after all the phone chaos died down I actually did get some work done

here is the progress on the beading work

I printed out an extra sheet of this scan so I can do some drawings of what I'm thinking about doing for fringe -- just to see if I even like the look of it on paper at least

the first of the aspen trees for the Trees project is now ready to be painted -- my idea of lining it and using some quilt batting inside to give it depth worked pretty well --- this was the tree furthest away, so it has the least thickness --- I'll be working on tree number 2 today

the sashiko work is coming along --- I ordered 24 skeins of white embroidery floss today (at 8.8 yards per skein from which I actually get 26.4 yards since I split it into 2 threads to do the stitching) I've already used 2 skeins (that I had on hand) and have 2 more here that should keep me busy until the order arrives toward the end of next week --- if I actually use all of it there will be 739 yards of thread in this project (WOW)

started another pair of mittnz last night --- these are a dark brown/green --- the ribbing of the first one is done and a few rows up after that -- looking good

finished another afghan square too --nice colors -- only 8 more to fill the box

busy, busy!

time to get to it

Thursday, January 21, 2010

apron & mittnz and a new project (!)

and here is the apron I made for myself

the original pattern was shorter, but I decided a bit longer was better

this print is so busy that you can't even tell it has a pocket, much less that said pocket runs all the way across the front and even wraps around the sides a bit

and its divided into three sections so there's definitely a place for me the stash the cell phone with its headset in one corner and other important items in the other two sections

and I made this big enough that it even works over a heavy sweatshirt -- which is standard "in the house" wear at this time of the year

now let's see how much "dirty work" I can do in this before you can even tell anything is on it!

I know, these look just like the last pair I posted here

trust me, they are not

these, in fact, are the next size up -- same yarn though

so now I have two pair done -- only eight to go!

there is probably enough of this yarn left to make one more of the smaller size, but right now I'm sort of tired of looking at this color, so the next pair will be something different

and under the category "like I need another new project"

at our quilt guild meeting the other night, the Block of the Quarter pattern was introduced

I wasn't going to go there

after all, I have lots of projects in the que

but it kept calling out to me

how could I resist something called "Heart Song"

especially when I had all of the necessary fabric (black, red and a black and white print) in my stash

and the print is music -- like it was just MADE for this block

and it isn't like I have to do a whole quilt's worth of blocks -- just one or two (and I might end up with a bunch of them if I win the drawing)

ok, I washed them, now I have to see if I can actually DO the block and have it come out the size that is required -- if so, great -- if not, well I'll have a start on another piece to donate to the Alzheimer Project!

just a couple of quick errands to run today then it's back to the projects!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A gift for the "Laundry lady"

the DH does a lot of "messy" crafting out there in the garage ---

working with glues and stains and paints and sealer

all just the sort of stuff that won't come out of the shirt or pants de jour if he doesn't have a rag handy and he needs to wipe his hands or just the stuff splatters

before Christmas he found a very cool shop apron in a catalog, and I thought about just buying it for him, but $38 for an apron just seemed excessive (I mean for that it should do some sanding or painting or something on it's own!)

so, right after we got back from our Christmas trip, I picked up some heavy denim and a pattern (as a starting point) to make him a custom designed shop apron

and here it is in all its glory --- each and every hem and seam double (or triple) stitched

and that top pocket -- the one that was just supposed to be a "pocket" -- uh, that's all stitched in rows (much like the pencil cases I did before Christmas) so he can stick a pencil and a number of drill bits in there

he pronounced it "good!" and wore it for most of the afternoon

nice to get another project done!

so now I'm working on finishing my apron -- it is basically all stitched together, the pocket is attached and partitioned but now there is the binding (all the way around!) to be done, and because I hate store bought bias tape, I'm of course cutting my own from the same fabric, and it has to be stitched together before I can continue with the applying part -- I'm hoping to have it all finished today

this is the button I fished out of the button box -- one that has no matching ones in the box, so its a good one to use on something that only needs one button!

yesterday afternoon I cut the fabric for all of the aspen tress in the tree project --- I still need to cut the quilt batting for the first two --- so I should be able to start working on these either today or tomorrow

and I have come up with some very cool patterning for the sashiko project too

rollin' along!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

now this ROCKS!

ok, I FINALLY rearranged things in the family room so I have easy access to the laptop so I'll actually remember to download the pictures I'm taking with my new (and very spiffy) camera

this is the base of the Trees project (being ever so helpfully held up by the DH!)

these are the rocks (all hand painted, cut, appliqued and stuffed

today I will start putting together the "kits" to do the aspen trees (they go there on the left side where there are the most rocks)

all of this possible because Christmas has now been cleared out of the living room and I have taken over the dining room table again for projects {grin}
the quilt group posted the pictures of show and tell from our meeting last week

and here I am at the microphone, talking about this multi media wall hanging thing

not bad for a first show and tell

and under the category of "you are an idiot" comes this little exercise

the pencil drawing was the original drawing for this quilt block that was part of the Angel of Music quilt we did for our daughter

you will note that the quilt block there HAS THE WRONG DATE ON IT!!

not only is it the wrong date, but I didn't notice it --- my daughter did


ok, I have done a "patch" --- notice, the proper date!

next time we go up to visit, I'll be installing the patch


one more afghan square complete --- I really like the sort of raspberry color with the variegated in this one

one mitten of the second pair is all knit, and I'm half way up the hand of the second one --- nice

so today, after a trip to the grocery store, I'm hoping to finish the shop apron I've been working on for the DH (denim is a bit more challenging for doing detail work on pockets) --- and maybe even get my apron finished --- or not (I definitely want to work on those trees!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

tax stuff

most people know about this kind of tax stuff

I'm working on it right now -- sorting out all the business receipts (which for last year are few) and the medical receipts (which for last year are many)

I also get to do sales tax reports in four states at this time of year and I'm happy to say that all of those are DONE! (also with mixed feelings about having nothing to pay on any of them)

ah well

we have finished taking down all of the Christmas trees --- we decided yesterday that we should sort through all of the boxes (three of them!) that are labeled "outside lights" and get rid of the ones that we realistically will not use again, so we still have that to do -- oh, and I still need to pack the box of candles --- but basically, we're done!

yesterday afternoon I stitched the last of the rocks on the Trees project --- I took a picture, but I've yet to develop the NEW routine of downloading to the laptop then to the click disc then to the desktop so I could actually show it to you --- go figure --- I'll try to do better

meantime, I've settled on which of the shawls from the new book I'm going to knit and for whom --- after payday I'll be able to order the yarn

time to get back to the taxes!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

the moon is NOT green cheese

in this case it is glass beads!

finished stitching all the little whorls and twirls of beads last night

so now it's on to doing the sky -- pouring many, many different black beads into the work tray to figure out what that pattern will look like

the kitting for projects of the newly arrived beads is done

one project involves making a collar type necklace with bright gold seed beads and cobalt blue cubes that look like lapis -- which made me think of this design motif and using those glass "eye" cabs and some real lapis stones -- just need to dig about in the box of stones and see what lapis I have on hand (because you know I'm going to be very unhappy if I discover that I should have ordered just one more thing!!)

this arrived yesterday

I read the author's blog almost every day, and if you are a knitter or just a human being with a good heart and a sense of humor, you should too

you can find her here

I sat down right away and went through the whole book!

the only word I can use is AMAZING

her patterns are awesome and there are a lot of them packed into such a few pages

she's kind to those of us that are new at this lace thing by giving guidance on how to start out as well as "grading" each and every pattern from "beginner" to "experienced" (and I already know you can trust her advice on these things -- she's the one that told me that knitting of lace weight silk was a bad idea with metal needles)

but the thing that will get you are the stories about each pattern --- I laughed and cried --- so sweet, so - human

now the only question is which one do I knit (and for whom?)

Friday, January 15, 2010

knittin' mittnz

ta da

the first completed pair of mittens for the (expected) Mittnz 2010 challenge

I made these up using some of the left over yarn from the sweater I made the DH for Christmas

they are a sort of antique gold with darker flecks of coffee brown

and I have enough yarn to knit one more pair this color

I went to the local quilt guild meeting last night, and while I was sitting and listening to the business meeting and watching the presentation I finished another afghan square

this is part of what I love about doing these squares --- they keep my hands busy so I stay away from the banana bread and the brownies and the cookies and (well you get the picture) and once I've cast on the stitches, I can do them without looking --- even in the dark!

ok, so I'm now down to needing only 10 more to fill the current box

and the Guild meeting? -- very interesting -- a nice group of ladies -- once again I seem to be the only art quilter in the group {sigh}, but at least its fun to be with women who share my love of fiber, color and workmanship

yesterday the bead order arrived!

this is always a momentous occasion --- better than a brand new box of crayons!! we spent about an hour doing the check in -- making sure everything we got we had actually ordered (we had -- yeah!) and making sure we got everything we ordered (we didn't -- BOOOOOO! -- three things on back order) then there is the calculating of the per gram or per each price for each one and the assigning of inventory numbers (and if this all sounds like business, it's because it IS a business --- every now and then I have to put on my accountant hat and do this part --- and the taxes!)

so today I'll be working on kitting up the projects that I ordered things for --- oh YEAH!! --- new projects are comin', new projects are comin'

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Knitters Without Borders is a group of knitters that support Doctors Without Borders by donating what we can and encouraging others to do likewise.

You can read more about Knitters Without Borders by clicking HERE.

Doctors Without Borders staff members are already on the ground in Haiti

Things are bad there --- as someone who lived through the 1989 Loma Prieta Quake in the San Francisco Bay Area, I know what it feels like when the ground below you feels like jello

I was blessed to live in that area because we were prepared -- by building codes, by being in an area that had financial means -- and by being lucky in the location of the fault line and the depth of the quake

the people of Haiti have none of those things

I just donated --

you should too

even a single dollar from each of us can make an enormous difference to the suffering there

go and do it --- you'll feel good about yourself for making a difference


this is the first completed sleeve for the robe project

(or at least a part of it)

as I've been working on it I see every little imperfection, but now that the whole sleeve is done it looks a lot better than I thought it would

on to sleeve 2!

meantime, I'm thinking about design work to do the rest of the back around the dragon, and I've decided that there will likely be several different stitches worked there -- and those will need to be drawn out on the fusible interfacing

rock stitching continues, the moon beading continues, knitting for charity progresses and we have one more tree to take down

yup -- it's all moving along

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

turtles and trees

I made a trip to the fabric store yesterday

I was only going to get a roll of tear away stabilizer


ok, I'll admit it -- a trip to the fabric store, especially when we are in the planning stages of a quilt or two is not a safe thing

I did manage to keep the cost down, and come away with some very cool fabric to use in both the Trees project and the Turtle quilt

now they all get to go into the washer

I've been stitching rocks onto the Trees project for the past few days -- I've attached 9 of them and have 6 more to do before I start adding trees (and there will probably be more rocks added after the trees are all on too)

the beading of the moon is coming along nicely -- I hope to have it complete today

the charity mittens are working up nicely too --- one mitten is complete (except for sewing it up the side) and the second one is almost to the decreases for the top of the hand (still needs a thumb too)

meantime, I finished another afghan square!

we are still in "de-tree" mode ---- 5 trees totally down, one has had all of the ornaments removed and is waiting for dis-assembly, and there is one more (in the family room) to go

time to get to it

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Pictures as promised

the first portion of the sashiko work is complete

the dragon took an amazingly short period of time to stitch, and the whole look is pretty neat

yesterday I started on the sleeves -- the will be covered in an all over interlocked geometric pattern and because it is something that I could easily create a cardboard template for, I am not using the interfacing on them -- they will still be lined, but the extra layer just doesn't seem necessary

I had originally thought about using a bamboo motif along side the dragon on the back, but I have decided that would take away from the awesomeness of the dragon itself, so I will use those on the front

so I still will need to figure out what I will use to "frame" the dragon and what the lower part of the back will be, but it's moving right along!

beading is progressing

I've finished the "craters" on the moon and I'm now doing the fill stitches to cover the rest of that surface

then it will be on to the sky -- a whole assortment of blacks in matte, AB, transparent and opaque beads with a few that will look like stars in the sky

I'm testing some painting techniques for the Trees project

on the right hand side is the first test --- I mixed airbrush ink with ordinary laundry starch (the liquid kind) and applied it with a piece of wadded up newspaper

the left hand side was test number two --- I mixed a different color airbrush ink with textile medium and applied it with both a toothpick (the little pine branch looking area) and with some crumpled small size bubble wrap

the idea was to find out which "carrier" was better to work with in terms of having the ink "stay put" as well as finding out if either one would fade out when washed or change the whole "feel" (hand) of the fabric in such a way that made it hard to work with (paint does that which is why I wanted to use something else)

so, here are my conclusions:

neither the starch or the textile medium changes the feel of the finished, washed fabric, but the starch does feel stiffer before it is washed.

neither the starch or the textile medium faded or "bled" when washed

I like the look of the bubble wrap stamping better than the newspaper, and the textile medium did a better job of adding body to the paint in the working stages so it would stay where I put it

looks like I'll be using bubble wrap and textile medium and getting started on painting the background of the Trees project sometime in the next week

I have finished knitting one wool mitten body and I'm ready to start on the thumb -- no pictures on this project until I get a finished pair!

this is the newest afghan square all finished though

we're working on taking down Christmas a little each day (much like we put it up!) I'm getting antsy to have it done so I can get back to projects --- yesterday I came up with an idea for a couple of birds for the Out of Africa series, which means more cutting of stamps, printing of stamps, etc., etc.

wishing for the packing chant! (hockety, pockety, wockety, wack, odds and ends and brick a brack, shrink in size, very small, we've got to make enough room for all)