Sunday, February 28, 2010

And the winner of the Gold Medal is


ok, I've feeling very good about my knitting prowess --- this adorable baby hoodie all finished in less than the time it takes the world to do Winter Olympics

I finished the last little loop for the buttons as the final ski event was being played on our "prime time" coverage last night

honestly I feel a bit bereft -- what do I start on next?

it was so early in the evening that I worked the entire cuff of the first mitten in a new pair --

now I just have to figure out how to get to that medal stand to collect my gold medal!

this was actually fun --- do we get to do this again for the summer games in two years?

this morning I went through my stash and found the necessary yarn to knit a turtle toy -- since I'm now in the quilting phase of the sea turtle quilt it's time to think about the toy that will go with it (a sort of tradition I started a couple of years ago, and I kind of like) -- cast on coming soon
these have been on the bead project board for the last week

each of these is an 8 mm diameter glass pearl that has been "belted" with size 11 delicas and size 15 seed beads (those are the light ones that look like the prongs in a setting)

I need to find the bottle of Fray Check and seal off all of those threads, and then it's on to setting all of these together

like a lot of things when you teach yourself a new technique, the first two or three involved a lot of time and some considerable mumbling, but the last few went quite quickly

this is going to be a very nice necklace I think

I've started on the last (and yes, I really mean it this time) Heart Song block yesterday -- got most of the center of it finished

who knows what I'll work on today!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wild About Flowers

as I said yesterday, I didn't have enough of the "fence" fabric for this project

but because I keep track of where I get things, I knew where I got that fabric and made a trip there yesterday

and I just love it when the stuff I need is on sale too!

so here is a good start on the design for the fair

these are all flipping around in the dryer as I write this -- except for the tulle

(I know, I know, did I really need another project right now? I guess so)

Knitting Olympics update!

97% complete --

all of the knitting is finished -- in fact (under the category of cue the Twilight Zone music) I had just finished binding off and showing the DH that I was now ready to start sewing it together when my phone rang and my sister was crowing about having just finished her knitting too


so, I'm pretty sure I'm going to get this thing done before the flame goes out tomorrow evening!

I finished this too

the very first block for the new box of afghan squares

and I cast on a new mitten

and worked on various other projects too

it was a busy day

spring is coming

these are the daffodils just outside my front door, poking their little heads up through the dirt

and yesterday I saw a robin in the front yard


Friday, February 26, 2010

water lilies

this falls under the category of "did I do that?"

block 3 for the Hoffman Challenge design, and these came out unbelievably well -- or at least I think so

now it's on to the next block for the challenge -- another one with water lilies -- similar but not exactly the same as this one

I've started to collect the fabrics to work on the "Wild About Flowers" piece for the State Fair

I have this very cool fabric which definitely looks like fencing -- trouble is it was only a quarter of a yard which means it's too short to be the fence boards in this piece --- grrrr

have to find some other fabric that will do the job

Knitting Olympics piece is 81% complete!

today a few quick errands then back to work on projects!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Still testing

one or two?

the new photo was taken with a mode on the new camera that the old camera didn't have and I'm experimenting with

it was also taken in natural (though not really bright) light without a flash (that sort of yellow cast over the right hand photo is from the flash)

and check out the amazing difference in these two photos

(and yes, that far left one is the best of the batch and it's not all that great except for the reflection part)

the difference in the detail is amazing

another afghan square complete, the box is now full

I'll be shipping it off in the next couple of days

and the hood of the Knitting Olympics project has proven to be the biggest challenge of all -- for one thing, it begins with almost twice as many stitches -- even so, I'm chugging along (77% complete!)

applique group this morning -- time to fly

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

gifts of the yarn fairy

lookie what appeared at my doorstep!

evidently the yarn fairy heard that I've been knitting up mittens out of little bits and pieces out of my stash box and felt compelled to make sure I had enough wool yarn to keep on knittin' mittnz!

heh heh

ok, so there are 4 skeins of a sort of camel hair/carmal-ly color and two that are a sort of mauve-y flecked color and two that are lilac and two that run from brick red to pink and a deep purple and that back one on the right that is brown and teal

I selected the red to pink variegated to start the next pair of mittens --- perhaps they'll get cast on tonight

Knitting Olympics News

in the race for the gold, I've completed the 2 sleeves for the baby sweater and have cast on the hood and knit 4 rows on it too

74% complete -- with 5 days to go

(I think I can, I think I can)

oh yes, the yarn fairy also sent along buttons that will be perfect on this

so a big shout out and a thank you to my sister for being the yarn fairy!!

remember I said I had an idea for another quilted piece perking in my head?

it involves these two things

just so I could get the little image demons to SHUT UP! I did some picture research and created a file on my desktop so I have a record to go back to when I finish the 6 projects that are in the que ahead of it

today is pay day, so we'll be heading off to do our big monthly Costco trip (canned goods, toilet paper, soap) then a stop at a friend's house to check up

hopefully some actual work in the studio too

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

merrily we roll along

a visit to the only (large) fabric store here in our little village yielded this bit of fabric that I think is absolutely perfect for a quilt that is appliqued sea turtles

the figures look like chalk drawings on a blackboard and there are the fish and the sand dollars and the shells and the sea turtles!

the fabric has been through the washer already and now I can do the pinning of the quilt "sandwich" and get ready to go

while I was in the fabric store I also found a fat quarter packet that had some perfect fabrics to do the corner blocks in the Hoffman design and a black and white print that I couldn't resist, so there will be one more Heart Song block too (that thing is proving to be like potato chips -- can't stop at one!)
here is the latest pair of mittnz -- number 6! so the pile to be sent off is growing while the little balls of scrap in the stash box is shrinking -- it's a wonderful thing

work on the Knitting Olympics sweater is now 68% complete -- closing in on the finishing line!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Trial and Error

as you may recall my saying, I got myself a new photo "brag book" last week, so the DH wants to use my old one

I also got a new camera for Christmas, and I'm still learning all of it's little ins and outs

this morning I took the pieces of silver that he wanted photographed and went to the photo booth to shoot new pictures

and after I downloaded them to the computer I started cropping and tweeking to try and get the best possible shots

so this is starting to sound like what the eye doctor says to you when you have your eye exam

"one or two?"

"one or two?"

(yellow or blue?!)

ok then, I've got some fiddling still to do then the DH will have to pick his favorite picture of each and every piece and we'll have to write something up for each one so I can make up the "postcards" to fill up his book

yesterday I worked on projects -- quilting on the fish, appliqueing lily pads on the Hoffman piece, starting the sleeves on the Knitting Olympics piece (see, I'm 60% done!), working my way up to the decrease rows on the second mitten of this pair -- and I watched a movie from 1965 that I had never seen -- Doctor Zhivago -- while the snow fell outside my windows

and so now, under the category of "where does your inspiration come from", there is a new mixed media piece perking in my brain

but for now, the laundry is calling

Sunday, February 21, 2010

third time's the charm

I was feeling all smug about having this block finished after two tries yesterday morning, all ready to post this picture and blog about how I had managed to get it done even though it is only a 5 inch square, and how I don't usually do detailed piecing at that size

yada, yada, yada

but wait --- there is a serious problem with this block

look there at the bottom row

that's supposed to be a mirror image of the top row

ok, so I picked it out and redid the bottom row and while I was at it I went ahead and signed the center

(being that this is an album block)

NOW it's done

and I still don't get how anyone does blocks this size on the sewing machine

I can barely manage to make all the corners meet when I do it by hand!

at least it's all finished WAY before the June deadline and it's off my list

this is the last of the redwood trees -- all 7 foot (or so) of it

the little blue lumps around the edges are the ends of the yarn that I used to fill all of those many (about 15) channels that give it that whole textured bark-y look

so now I can start thinking about the next step of this process -- which means I must clean off the biggest table in the house and lay the background out to start placing all 7 of the trees

in the past I did all of the pinning of projects in process with straight pins as I worked, but since I want to lay all of these down at once, I'll be breaking into the box of quilt safety pins so everything will be nice and secure through the long process of stitching them all down

two blocks for the Hoffman Challenge complete

these are mirror images -- sort of -- each one has it's own slight individual character

so last night I started on the next block for this -- water lilies -- which will include lots of little point-y petals

work on the fish block continues -- I was able to get a piece of kelly green tulle at the fabric store yesterday -- I worked around the side fin and the mouth -- working from the center out -- this is going to be very cool

and I'm working on drawings for the Wild About Flowers piece, thinking about using several techniques that I've been playing with
and the fronts of the baby sweater that I'm doing for the Knitting Olympics are complete -- 52% folks!!

this was accomplished while I was actually watching a part of the Olympics! BOBSLED! (feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme.....)

mittnz are progressing -- I'm doing the increases for the thumbs on mitten 2 in this pair

started on the final afghan square for the box last night

a new piece of jewelry is in the works too -- one thing about winter weather -- I'm getting a lot of stuff done in the studio!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Twirly Blue Necklace complete

finished this all up on Thursday afternoon

I really like the chunky look of this one and because the materials were relatively inexpensive, I'll be able to keep the price really reasonable on it too

before I dug through the bead boxes I was thinking about using an odd assortment of different silver beads --- oops! I forgot I used them in a necklace that I did for a magazine competition and then gave it to my daughter

that's ok, I had other miscellany in the box to use!

I'm hoping to get this out onto Etsy in the next couple of days

here is the last of the heart song blocks that I plan to do

this makes three (not counting the first trial one that got cut up and put into Valentines!)

my plan for this was to do one a month for the quarter

can't believe I'm done already and it's not even March yet!

I'm definitely saving this pattern -- I can think of a lot of other color combinations with different things appliqued in the center

(and I might actually get brave and try piecing it on the machine!)

this would be the reason there was no blog posting yesterday

I had not been to a meeting of this group for over a year, between surgeries and being out of town on meeting days and weather, I just hadn't managed to get myself there

yesterday when I got up it had snowed overnight, but I decided I was going anyway

and I'm glad I did

this is a first for me -- there is no sewing in this yet, it is all just cut and spot glued just enough to hold it together so it can be moved

we did the fishes first, then created the backgrounds

so now it gets layered with batting and a backing and a piece of tulle goes over the top and it all gets quilted -- the tulle holds all the little pieces down and you can embellish, stitch, etc., over the top

I just need to make a stop in the fabric store today to get the tulle

and I'm starting to think about using this technique to do a piece for the Wild About Flowers challenge that will be entered in the State Fair --- hmmmmm

finished another afghan square -- now only one more needed to fill the box

my Knitting Olympics piece is now 41% complete (wow, I'm even impressing myself!) -- I'm nearly done with the fronts (ok, I took a slight short cut here -- I'm knitting both of them at the same time)

and I've finished knitting the first of another pair of scrap yarn striped mittnz and cast on the next one

yesterday I did something (shoveling snow? sitting in the same position in a chair for too long? breathing?!) that caused my lower back to go into muscle spasms -- I took the RX last night (ok, I took a quarter of one!) so this morning I'm sort of spacey still -- even so, the back hurts less and I hope to get some things done today!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

showing off

when you walk into a new group and want them to see what it is you do it is handy to have a little "brag book" of photos

I was using a much thinner book, but with the explosion of pieces I've done in the last two years (and we're just talking quilts here), I outgrew the book I was using

enter one of the things I actually like about Walmart

I picked up this photo album for $3

it has space inside for 100 4x6 inch items -- either photos or cards

so now I've got pictures of my quilts and a brief explanation for each one in the book with lots of room to add (which is good -- I've got about 5 more in process right now)

meantime, the DH has expressed an interest in having the book I outgrew as a place to show off his silver work

a good idea!

I'll be printing pictures of his stuff and getting him set up too

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ready to string up

the last of the planned twirly beads is now complete

today the plan is to dump out all the cool odd beads that can possibly go with it and lay out about 24 inches worth to create a necklace

I consider this is great opportunity to use up those beads that are left over from other projects and have just languished in the tub, waiting for me to rescue them

while I was stitching up that last bead it occurred to me that that very narrow twirly technique might lend itself to becoming a bangle bracelet if I worked up a long enough piece and figured out a way to either zip the ends together or bury a magnetic clasp in the ends

this idea deserves some further consideration after I finish up the necklace

the turtle quilt top is all stitched together

I need to spray it with cold water to make sure all of the "spit pen" marks come out before I can press it

yesterday I was in Walmart and I checked to see if they had any suitable fabric --- no luck

after payday I'll hit my local Hancocks -- they've had what I needed for the last two baby quilts, so I'm hoping they'll come through again

this is the first block for the Hoffman Challenge piece I'm doing

it is only the second time I've attempted to do something that actually stands away from the block (the first was a rose on the quilt I made my daughter for Christmas)

practice improves technique

what you can't see very well in the photo are two other "texture" things about this block

1. the stem for the cat tail is trapunto work -- I used some knitting worsted weight yarn inside it

2. the cat tail itself has two layers of warm and natural batting (cut in two different sizes so they stacked and stitched down nicely) inside to make it "puff up"

I have one more of these blocks to do -- in reverse -- so I'll be marking up the next one today
you might note over there on the side bar that my Knitting Olympics challenge piece is 20% complete

and here is the picture of the back of the sweater

this pattern uses a four row repeat pattern to create an all over seed stitch texture which is pretty cool

(and which forms a knitting rhythm in my head -- forward, forward, forward, back, repeat)

I cast on both fronts last night and did about 4 rows on them too

yup, I think I can, I think I can

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

twirling and swimming

ok, it sounds like symptoms for an inner ear problem

not what I meant at all

I finished the first of the next smaller twirly bead yesterday afternoon

what is most interesting is that even though it is made of smaller beads, it isn't any shorter, but it is slimmer and has a less defined twist


one more of these to make then I'll be pulling out the design board and working out what will go between these to create the necklace

the middle block of the turtle quilt is now complete

so now it's on to stitching the blocks together (since there are only 9 of them that shouldn't take that long)

then I'll be looking for a suitable fabric to use for a backing --- something that can be defined as a "juvenile" print but it must have turtles -- and I'll need a batting too

this will also give me a chance to think about how it should be quilted

the washed swatch for my Knitting Olympics project came out of the washer and dryer much softer than it was when it went in

it's almost like a piece of fabric with too much sizing -- sort of stiff and scratchy when it goes in and nice and soft when it comes out

I decided that my work count should take into consideration the fact that I will have to stitch this sweater together too, so even though I knit enough to be within a inch of the underarms last night, the percentage count over there on the side bar is lower than yesterday's

I hope to "catch up" by tomorrow's count
Mittnz #5 complete

I really like these, especially the cool rusty colored tip on the thumbs

and stitching up a pair that is striped is actually easier than plain ones at least in terms of having the rows line up properly -- after all, there is that whole color change to guide you -- it does take a bit longer to weave in all of the ends, but I'm ok with that


Monday, February 15, 2010

Three Twirly Beads

the third one went pretty well until I got to where I was closing up the ends

then it got dicey

the issue of working with beads and thread is that beads are glass and threads are fiber

it's the beader's version of rock, paper, scissors

glass wins every time

especially when just one little bead has a sharp edge

I picked back about 6 rows of peyote stitch and tied on a new thread then carefully examined each and every size 15 bead before it went on the needle

ah ha! there's the culprit!! just one little bead that had a "bite" out of the edge was causing all the trouble

so now I'm thinking I'll make two more twirly beads, smaller still

(ok, I know, I'm nuts!)

this is the quilt top I sewed together yesterday

it was the kit for a charity quilt that I picked up at my guild meeting on Thursday evening, and I wanted to get it done before I got too far away from the meeting and forgot that I had made this commitment

it took me about an hour and a half


yesterday I also worked on the turtle quilt (only 3 more pieces to applique before the last block is done)

and the Hoffman challenge (only 1 more piece to applique to finish the first block)

and the DH helped me with pulling the yarn through the first two channels on the redwood tree -- it may not seem like a big deal, but after I did the last one of these, my wrist was very sore for a couple of days, and since this tree is much bigger, I ask him to help me out -- and we're doing it in sections

finished knitting the pair of mittnz I was working on last night, so today I can stitch them up and take a picture (hopefully I'll remember) and then move on to the next pair which will also be striped because I have some pink/purple/blue yarn pieces that need to get used up

and I've added a new counter over there on the right side of the blog -- as of this morning my Knitting Olympics project is 17% complete (I think I can, I think I can)

laundry is callin'

Sunday, February 14, 2010

the ghost of weaving past

this is the ghost of weaving past

and a confirmation that even good wool doesn't last forever in adverse conditions

quite a while back I ordered (and received) the replacement parts to repair my loom

on Friday I finally got around to actually doing it

the yarn in the picture was what was left around the boom from a long ago weaving project -- like about 20 years ago

it had to come off because it had weakened to the point that I could tug on it and it would break

considering it had been moved from state to state, been hot, been cold, etc., etc., it was not a real surprise

so now I can think about what I want to put on this for a "first time back" project, and I'm seriously thinking rag rug -- I think my daughter might be a willing recipient of one for the doorway in from the patio where the dogs track in all the mud

we'll see
the experimentation with the smaller sized beads was a big success

or perhaps I should say a "smaller" success, since the whole idea was to get a smaller bead

I like it!

I've now started a second small one and an idea for creating a necklace is forming (I pulled out a bunch of big silver and glass beads to play with to see if I will need to make a couple more of the twirly beads or not)

the final channels have been stitched in the big redwood tree

after having done the first two trees by hand, I decided there was no sin in using a perfectly good sewing machine to do this part!

so, the 13 channels in this one got finished in just two days and now I'm ready to start stringing in the fat scratchy yarn to "stuff" each channel

the head and flippers of the big sea turtle are all stitched and yesterday I got half of the shell done on him too -- can't wait to get him finished up so I can put the whole top together

and I'm making progress on the Hoffman challenge blocks too

as I mentioned the other day, I'm participating in the Knitting Olympics

this was my swatch (which is going through the washer when I do laundry tomorrow)

I have cast on my project, and I'm 6% through it

will I make it before the flame goes out?

we'll see

yesterday we went to Canon City for an Art Clay Guild meeting, so I did some knitting on the way

so here we are with another afghan square complete

only two more to fill the box!!

my plan was to get a lot more knitting done during the meeting since I had not planned to participate in the actual guild -- the metal clay work is the purview of the DH -- I'm the fiber/glass piece of the design crew

uh, yeah -- right

shall we say I'll be doing a class on design for them, and putting together a basic website too

a good time was had by all, and at the next meeting the DH actually gets to work with the new copper clay that has just come out and he has been curious about -- it should be lots of fun!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Knitting Olympics (and other things)

Ok, I probably won't even watch much of the Olympics (except the bobsled -- I love the bobsled ever since I saw the movie Cool Runnings), but I have decided to give a try at being part of the Knitting Olympics.

If you are a knitter and want to get more details about this event, use this link and check out what the Yarn Harlot has to say about signing up.

I'm going to attempt a hooded baby sweater for my event -- I have 17 days from this evening to get 'er done -- since this is a project that otherwise has no deadline because I'm just using yarn that is on hand to build a little stash of baby gifts in case I'm invited to a baby shower for someone, there is little stress, and it should be fun

I did my swatching last night during the business part of my quilt guild meeting and made gauge right off -- that's a good sign!

Guild meeting was a blast -- where have these ladies been the last 7 years? -- oh, yeah, probably here (at least some of them) -- where was I?

I turned in the two blocks of the Heart Song pattern that I had finished (I hope to do at least one more before next meeting), brought home a kit for a quilt top to me stitched before the next meeting (where we will be finishing up a batch of small quilts for charity), and have an album block to do for one of the officers who will end her term this year. Fun

Yesterday I started another twirly bead using the smaller beads -- it's doing exactly what I thought it would, and I hope to get it finished today (pictures to follow!)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

twirly beads and knitted things

I decided it would be fun to play with some of the new supplies that arrived a while back and with some new techniques too

this was the result of the first experiment

it is worked in three different sizes of beads (11s, 8s and 6s) and it is done in peyote stitch

once I got the hang of working with the different sizes of beads in the same spiral it went pretty quickly

the end is closed off with peyote decreases so that it is flat across and I left a hole so it could be strung onto a necklace

I'm thinking about doing a couple more of these in these size beads then have a try at doing some that begin with a size 15 (smaller) then stringing up the whole thing with some random silver and other big blue glass for a big chunky look necklace

we'll see how that all works up -- it's definitely a change of pace from the bead embroidery piece that I just finished
the coral scarf is complete -- all 59 inches worth

and I love it!

now it needs to go into a gentle wash cycle and an equally gentle tumble dry and it will be ready to be gifted

there is enough of the yarn left to knit a pair of mittens -- or two, so that may be where the rest of it goes

because this knitting project is complete I will now be doing the swatching for the annual Christmas sweater

I've knit the pattern before, but in a different yarn, so it's still a good idea to make sure we're on gauge before we just set off into the project! (nothing like getting a big hunk done then having to "tink" the whole thing to make a knitter cranky!)

finished another afghan square

only need 3 more to fill the box

and I have a good shot and getting a lot of another one done tonight while I'm sitting in the business meeting of the quilt guild

two of the three flippers and the head of the big turtle are done, so that is moving right along

after a trip to the local store to pick up a marking pencil in something other than blue or white I was able to get the first block of the Hoffman Challenge project marked and ready to start stitching (marking a blue to white marble-y looking fabric with either a blue or a white pencil just wasn't doing it for me! I picked up 3 different pencils -- pink, yellow and silver -- that should take care of just about everything I'm working on)

time to get back to it!