small sample of my crazy quilt embroidery

About Me

I am a consumate crafter. I knit, quilt both sane and crazy, scrapbook, bead, mosaics and any other thing I can think of along the way. Someday I also hope to do real glass jewelery and stained glass but those have to wait until I have room and more time.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Has it been Forever?

It does seem like forever since I posted last. Life has been running around me like a whirlwind and I tend to stand in the middle, dazed and ineffective. But I am here today and I will try to catch up just a little on what is going on in my life. The above picture is from the ice storm we had 2 weeks ago. It was much more damaging to Oklahoma City than it was here in Lawton. There are still people without power due to downed trees. My apartment was without power for 3 days. I went and stayed at the hospital on the floor for 2 of those nights which made me appreciate heat, lights, a warm shower and my fluffy, warm, cozy, quilty bed that much more when I finally got back to it. Today the weather is awesome, cold but sunny. The birds are having a heyday at the feeders and both cats are enjoying watching them.

My knitting projects lately have been Christmas present related( who's weren't!!) I waited until the last minute of course and had to knit like a madwoman to get anything at all done. Part of the reason was lack of inspiration. But on a recent shopping trip to Yarn Gourmet in OKC I happened upon all the Barbara Walker Stitch Encyclopedias and I found a pattern for a lovely knit spider pattern. It was just the spider not the hat but I knew it had to be used for DGD Katie!! She is into unusual things and I know she will think this hat is too cool. First I knit just the spider to get the feel for the complexity. I tried it in DK weight yarn and the spider would have been a foot tall!! But I switched to sock weight yarn and I figured it was just small enough for this hat. So I cast on enough stitches for 4 spiders separated out by some twisted stitch cables and knit away. It honestly took me a week to carefully knit past the spiders but once I was past that the rest was just trying to figure out how to decrease in a eye pleasing head hugging way. I almost ran out of yarn and if I would have had just a bit more I would have made the hat just a little taller but it should still fit like a skull cap and where she lives is not that cold. I posted it on Ravelry and immediately got 6 favorites on this project!!

Of course I had to make something for the other DGD. She is much more girly and so I thought a headband earwarmer would be much more her style. I figured it would be the easy project-wrong!!! I had to start over 3 times. First time I tried a much to complex style and would have never gotten it done in time. Try 2 was too big and I will frog it soon. This was try 3 and I think it is quite pretty. It is out of KnitPicks Shine Sport and I will be buying and using more of this soon. I do hope it fits her but if not it will fit her mommy and I will make another for her. In fact when I talked to her mommy I was told that both girls saw earwarmers out at Old Navy and commented that they wanted one but the adult sizes were too big. Also mommy wants me to make her one with a hole for her pony tail?? I guess I will get creative after Christmas and see what I can do. I am not sure why you need the hole, just put the headband under the ponytail but she seems to think it is a cool idea so what the heck, I will try!!

Last weekend was a sad one for me. I received the news that my all time favorite singer-songwriter had passed at only age 56 of prostate cancer. I have always loved the music of Dan Fogelberg even when very few knew who he was. When I was alone in the house I would put on his CD's, turn them up, and sing from my heart. The few songs that he did that made it big on the radio were never my favorites. I find songs like Netherlands, Nexus, Only the Heart May Know, The Reach, Forefathers, ect. to be much more to my liking. I am not sure I could even list my one favorite song or album that he did. Even as I write this my heart aches for the unwritten and unsung songs that must have still been in his heart. May heaven's choir be that much richer for his passing.

Lexi the kitten is still very much a terror. She is now completely at ease in our house and the lives of her humans and fellow housecat Jack. I woke up night before last and found them cuddled together in the space between DH and I in bed. I have seen them play like they were both kittens although Jack gives up way sooner than Lexi and just watches her. She flys around the house in the morning like she was in training for the Olympics!! And she loves her toys and her crinkle tent. I have a hard time knitting because she wants to grab the knitting needles and yarn. I have to wait until her all too brief nap time in the afternoon to get anything done. I have tried to get more pictures of her but all I get is a blur and that is on sports mode and a very fast shutter speed!!

Work is almost over. Just 2 short weeks to go. In fact I am saying good bye to some of my co-workers already. My favorite anesthesiologist left this week for the holidays so I will not see him again along with several of the CRNA's. I also found out my 2 long time Radiologists may not be back while I am still there. That is sad because I did not get to even say goodbye to the one. I have also had to say goodbye to more patients and that has come with some heartbreaking results. My all time favorite patient came last week and on what should have been a good clean scan of his brain we found new disease. This is the 2nd time his cancer has returned and that is never a good thing. And to find out right before Christmas. We also got news that another one of our older kids with brain cancer has had a reoccurance with a scan at an outside facility. So as I leave I will have plenty of prayers to say for these boys and I will have to find a way to keep up with their progress. It has always been a sad part of my job but I was hoping to walk away with everyone doing well and that is not to be. I guess it is just a way for God to remind me how important what I did was and to consider returning to work at some point in the future.

Moving is coming along I guess as well as can be expected. We had a shipment taken on to Tennessee already and the house barely looks different. Of course DH sent things I think we need here and left other stuff we could have done without. But we will make due and hopefully this transition with be short lived.

So with all of that I will finish up and get back to business here at home. Just remember to live your lives like it will end tomorrow. Because Dan did and he left the world with few regrets.

Once in a vision I came on some woods
And stood at a fork in the road
My choices were clear yet I froze with the fear
Of not knowing which way to go
Oh, one road was simple acceptance of life
The other road offered sweet peace
When I made my decision
My vision became my release
Dan Fogelberg,Netherlands from High Country Snows 1985

Has it been Forever?

Monday, December 3, 2007

New Love of my Life

Well our world has been turned upside down by a new little ball of fur. Meet Lexi, short for Lexus. She is about 3 months old and very very playful. After taking her to the vet today I bought her a few new toys to keep her occupied. Her favorite is this crinkle tent. She has 3 openings to dash thru and funny string things hanging inside to bat at. She jumps in the tent and waits until someone walks by and then jumps out and attacks them like we can't see her in there!! Our old cat Jack has taken to her so amazingly well. He watches her play and lets her come right up to him like she is going to attack him. But she stops short of full out attack. I wish I could understand cat dynamics because I would have bet that these two would have never gotten along. Jack has even started doing some playing himself which I could never never get him to do. I just hope we can keep both of them healthy and that Jack does not pass on his FeLv and FIV status. The vet seems optimistic that we can get her vaccinated fast enough to offer her protection against the Leukemia but possibly not the Aids.

This week was devoted to work, packing and just a little knitting. I did the practice spider last week and with those numbers more or less made a hat pattern. Or at least a plan. Today I finally finished up the actual spiders and now am trying to do the decreases at the top of the hat. Here is where I will have to play it by ear to keep it symmetrical and attractive. I do think she will like it although when I told her about it all she had to say was "YUCK"!! The yuck was for spiders not the hat. But she said she thought it would be cool to have a hat everyone runs from. This week I plan on starting a couple of earwarmers for Maddy also from sock yarn on hand. I will probably use cables from the new Barbara Walker I plan on buying this weekend!!

Well I am down to the very last month of my employment at Children's Hospital. Boy the emotions are changing almost daily. For 6 years I loved my job and it was only my husbands desire to move that made me set an end date. But as this year has progressed, policies at the hospital has made me ready to throw in the towel. But of course, as I have had to say goodbye to my favorite patients, I have had a harder time. I have had hugs, compliments, tears and joyous farewells all tugging at my heartstrings. This next couple of weeks there are more kids that I will be seeing for the last time and I think it will keep getting harder. Still seeing healthy kids when before they were not, makes it all worthwhile. I know that last day will be so difficult to walk away, from the kids, my co-workers, the docs and of course the thrill I get just scanning. But with new chapters come new adventures so we will be waiting for that next step in our lives. Hopefully it will not be a step off into the deep end!!!! Till next week, keep those needles busy and live well.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Let the Snow Fly!!

As you can see-The Adult Tomten is done!!! I struggled to put the finishing touches on over the Thanksgiving Holiday. In between re-doing all the buttonholes, getting called in and having to wait for the blocking to get dry, it finally was ready to wear on Saturday. Just in time to wear to lunch with DKF Carol. After a nice lunch I strongarmed her into going to the park with me to take pictures of my cozy garter stitch wonder. I didn't plan to find the ducks or even to feed them but boy a spare bagel comes in handy when you need a photo-op!! Of course, if you know me very well you will not be suprised to find that I have several things I wished I'd have done differently. I bought the vintage buttons in Houston without the project there with me. So I think the buttons are a bit too big. But there would not have been any smaller vintage buttons in that green to be bought at any cost. So I live with the buttons. I also wish I had made the bind off just a little looser. There are several ways I could have done that and I won't bore you with the possiblilites. I also would have put the first buttonhole about 5 stitches higher but I just couldn't tell when I was knitting on the buttonband. I had almost 300 stitches crowded on a 60" needle so they were bunched up and I was not able to try it on to see my progress. But really, I love this jacket. It is warm, cozy, soft, fits very well and should last forever if I succeed in keeping it away from the moths.

I felt so good when I got to the LYS on Saturday. I was feuled by the Tomten success and was ready to tackle anything. I had an idea of making a colorwork skull hat for Katie for Christmas. It called for black & white fingering weight yarn and that was not to be found. So while I was regrouping I picked up one of Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns. In book #3 I found a gorgeous spider motif. It is a one color motif using twisted knits and purls. She used to love spiders so I thought "Make a hat with spider's all the way around" So I bought the book and some DK weight black yarn. When I got home I started a swatch and found the DK to large. I quick pulled out some navy sock yarn and whipped up my wonderful spider. She turned out lovely although just a touch tall for a hat. But I think I can adapt it just a little and shorten in enough to make a nice hat. I decided to make the hat in a light grey Jawoll sock yarn since it will show the pattern better. It will not be the warmest hat but it will be cool. I did decide I must have all the other Barbara Walker books and the sooner the better.

I also had to bring home some more Cascade 220. I bought some to make Fuzzy Feet for me and then just a random color to have on hand when I start to work on my felted rug. I thought I might start the Fuzzy Feet this week but when I printed out the pattern it calls for needles I do not have on hand so those I will order this week.

We have finally really started moving furniture for the pending move. We got rid of our couch at home and brought the apartment couch down to replace it. I sure like it better, makes the living room look bigger. But that is not the only thing I brought home this week. It seems one of my ex neighbors decided it was alright to abandon a little kitten when she moved. When I came home Friday night from work all the usual cats came running for me to pet and feed them. But there was one new suspect. She is a tiny all black, skinny little thing and I could not help but want to rescue her. I figure she may have been hanging out in the garage for at least a week and just eating when and what she could. She was cold and scared but came upstairs willingly and ate like a pig for 2 days. She was fairly skitterish at first but when DKF and then DH came up she didn't freak at all. So then I brought her home thinking that Jack Cat would have her for lunch. He has never liked other pets in the house. But to our amazement, he was the perfect gentleman. He has hardly hissed at her at all and actually will sit near her for quite some time. They have even eaten from the same bowl at the same time. So I guess she is ours for good. I wasn't ready for another pet but sometimes God sends them to you and you just need to be ready to love.

It is another regular work week for me. Plus in the evenings I need to be packing up my apartment so the knitting will probably be slow this week. But I will keep trudging along with the rest of you. Just a few more weeks to finish up Christmas projects then on to something much more exciting. So until next week......knit till you wilt!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Strike Up the Band

Well, here it is almost Thanksgiving and I still have butterflies. This Wood Nymph was keeping company with lots of Sulphers and a few American Beauties. They were all feasting on my basil that is still blooming along with about a million bees. I am still picking tomatos, peppers and herbs but that is all about to come to an abrupt end on Wednesday when we are supposed to have a good hard freeze.The 2nd pic is one to prove that fall is really here. The leaves and berries are all in glorious color.

My knitting week was just full of Adult Tomten. I picked up the hood stitches for the 1st time on Tuesday night, ripped it out on Wednesday, picked them up again Wednesday night, ripped again on Thursday.....on infinitum!! I finally made myself do the whole hood getting it done on Saturday night, ripped it all back out on Sunday morning. But finally Sunday I reknit a version that I liked with many modifications on both EZ's and BT's designs. My hood does not have a point in anyway, shudders and apologies to EZ. I made the gusset style hood that I used last year on my DGD's Wonderful Wallabies. I just like the way it lies on the back of the jacket better. I did make decreases on the back of the neck like Brooklyn Tweed and kept the hood fairly fitted to the head. So finally today I picked up the buttonband stitches, hence Strike Up the Band(buttonband). I have 284 stitches on a size 6, 60 cm Addi Turbo and so far have 2 ridges knit. I have made a practice buttonhole peice so I have the buttonholes exactly how I want them. I still have to work up the numbers of where the buttonholes go but that is no big deal for me. I was hoping to have all the knitting done so I could block it starting tomorrow and maybe wear it Saturday when DKF and I go galavanting Saturday. I want to stop in at the yarn store that I bought the yarn at so I can hopefully get some ooh's and aahs. No pictures of the Tomten at this point as it is all squished up on the cable needle and not looking like anything you would recognize.

I also did get some knitting done on the Boring Socks but nothing worth posting a picture of. I am sure I can get them alot more done this week with all the free time I will have over the holiday. I am on call and hanging out alone so except for a good walk and cooking some sort of meal I can knit to my heart's content. It is too bad I do not have the yarn to start Katie's Christmas hat but that is one of the things I plan on buying on our yarn cavort Saturday.

Things are progressing on our move. We get more boxes packed every weekend and more organizing every day. I am looking forward to not working and having more time for all my pursuits but for now I must get going and get my less than exciting housework done and things ready to leave for work in the morning. So my friends, next week...same Bat time...same Bat channel

Monday, November 12, 2007

Into the Hood

Well here I am again. And this week nothing in nature was picture worthy so you get to see one of my favorite quilts that was in the Houston Quilt show. This was by a Japanese quiltmaker and it was phenomenal to look at. This is the kind of quilt maker I want to be when I grow up.

So now you get to see my efforts in the quilting arena. I just finished up with the blocks that go with DQF's Progressive Round Robin project. I am pretty happy with all my efforts. My applique is passable, the little flower blocks are cute and the brown in the 9 patches helps with the colors of the quilt. The flower blocks were made with partial seaming and when your blocks are as small as these that is quite a feat. Then I paper peiced the stem/leaves blocks. I had to draw these out, each one is different so that makes them kind of cool. Then the 9 patches are only 3" finished size so you have to be very careful with your peicing to be accurate. I am sure she will like them and hopefully everything else that the other girls do will go with them for an interesting and beautiful finished quilt.

I also got a decent amount of knitting done over the week. Work was not to crazy and I got to knit on my "really boring sock" not only at lunch but during breaks also. Which meant I was able to get sock #1 done. And I was also able to cast on for sock 2. I will be so ready to knit on something more exciting when these are done. I am thinking-Skull hat for Katie for Christmas and then on to something for Maddie.

So now on to the Tomten. I finished the 2nd sleeve to match the 1st. I messed up somewhere in the counting and the sleeves do not match to the letter but it is not noticable to me when I put it on. It is now time to start the hood. This is where the guidance from above falls short. EZ did hers so much different and Brooklyn Tweed only gives some general information. So here I go, jumping in to the deepend without my floaties!!

So now I must go and try to make a decision on picking up the hood stitches. Hopefully I will get the hood done by the end of next weekend. I have to wait until my new 60" size 6 circular needle gets here before I can work on the buttonband anyway. I also ordered another skein of the green trim Cascade 220 because I was afraid what I have might not be quite enough-CHICKEN!! But I can always use extra Cascade 220 up so no harm done if it ends up not being needed for the Tomten. But for now my fingers are itching to get started and when I am done I have 2 episodes of Dexter to catch up on. See ya'll next week

Monday, November 5, 2007

Life's A Beach

Well-I am back home but not recovered. I am just too old to be away from home for 6 days, overeating, not sleeping well and generally out of my routine. But don't get me wrong-we had a blast and I enjoyed every minute of the trip. My travelling companions were the best, the quilt show and vendors were top notch and the side trip to Galveston went off without a hitch. Tomorrow I head back to work and I am sure by the end of the week I will be back to normal and all will be fine.

We headed out Tuesday morning for Houston and immediately I got lost trying to pick up Melissa out where she lives in the Boonies!! But we hooked up and hit the road bright and early. We stopped for lunch outside of Dallas and managed to do some real damage at a great quilt store near by. We stopped for dinner on the north side of the Houston area at a Mexican place that we had also stopped at 2 years ago. The meal was just as awesome as last time so we were pleased.

After a good night's sleep in our hotel, Wednesday morning brought early classes at the show to most of us. I did not have a class at all that day but I played chauffeur to several other of the ladies. I MapQuested yarn shops and picked one out that seemed fairly close to where we were situated. I dragged one of my non-knitting pals with me and she was a great sport. The shop I chose was Yarn 2 Ewe near downtown Houston. The store front was nothing to look at, in fact it did not even look open. But I was determined and went in. Boy am I glad I did. It was the largest, best stocked shop I have ever been in. I was overwhelmed but I managed to buy some great lace yarn and of course, my staple purchase, sock yarn. I did not spend a ton of money but I would definitely be dangerous if that was my own personal LYS!!

Wednesday night was preview night at the quilt show and we managed to run thru and shop like crazy women. Thursday we had more classes on slate. I took a silk screen class in the afternoon which was just an OK experience. I am not sure I will do alot with her method but it was fun to learn. I managed to do most of the rest of my shopping before my class but I still had not really gone in and seen the show. I figured to save that for Saturday.

So Friday I had my side trip to Galveston all planned. I could not convince anyone to go with me but that did not deter me a bit. A while back I Googled "Visit Galveston" and they talked about events coming up in the Bay area. One of those was something that I was not sure I wanted to be around for but I did not remember exactly what that was. Well when I got there it did not take long to figure it out. It was the Texas Biker's rally!! So there were bikes and biker's everywhere and they even had alot of the seawall section closed off. But I headed out to the beaches to the SW of the city and they were clean, wide and quiet. I got to walk for hours in complete peace(Ok, an occasional Harley revving in the distance!!). The weather was to die for, warm, sunny and calm winds. That is the best for beach walking but not for beach combing. They had not had a storm in quite a while so there was very little good shelling to be done. So I just took alot of pics and enjoyed getting my feet wet and sandy. I wish I could have stayed longer but maybe it will be enough to last me till I can go see the dear grandkids and walk the beaches of N Carolina.

Saturday I hit the show with a vengence. I had all the quilts to see and a few odd things to pick up in the vendor area. I was sure I was not going to have enough time to do it all. But the show itself only took a few hours and that was going slow and looking at everything. This year they split the show floor up into vendors on the east and quilts on the west. It flowed so much better and made things easier for the public. The folks who only got to come on Saturday hit the vendors early and the show itself was not all that crowded. As usual there were a few great quilts but I never agree with the judges on who should win the big prizes. My favorite quilts this year were almost all from Japanese artists. None of them looked particularly oriental but instead tended to be fairly traditional in block design but modern in the fabrics and interpretation. There was only one crazy quilt in the show and it was done by Judith Baker Montano with her new fabric and ribbon lines. I was not all that impressed with it at all but then again my history with her probably flavors my reaction. All in all the show was good and the company could not be beat. Since it will probably end up as my last Houston show I was more than happy with our group excursion.

On the knitting front I managed to start a new pair of socks while I was gone. The argyle experience is done for now and maybe forever. Instead I just took some self striping yarn with me and planned on doing a plain jane magic loop sock. I knitted alot in the evening while chatting with the other girls in the room. The magic loop method is now my favorite way to knit socks and I will not hesitate to make more complicated designs this way. But that said...these socks are the most boring ever made. The stripes are large and chunky and the pattern I used for the socks don't have alot of excitement either. But they will be warm and comfortable and will be worn plenty. I didn't take the Tomten with me due to it's large size and bulk but did manage to get some knitting done on the sleeve tonight. I am almost done with the 2nd sleeve and still have to fix the 1st one but maybe by next weekend I can get the hood started. Then I will feel like the end is in sight and I can start to plan a new project.

I guess I better get the rest of my weekend chores squared away. I don't much feel like going back to work tomorrow but maybe that is just what I need to get back into my routine. So while I work on that, the rest of you keep up the creative energy and I will see you next week.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Off to Houston

We are having the most beautiful fall weather ever. The last 3 days(days off for me) have been in the lower 70's with the slightest of breezes and not a cloud in the sky. I have enjoyed getting a little yard work done even if I know it may some of the last I ever do on this particular yard. Hopefully this time next year we will be enjoying a beautiful fall on our own few acres in Tennessee. There was not a lot to take pictures of this week. But at the last minute this lovely Praying Mantis popped out of the impatients I was watering. He didn't much enjoy the unexpected bath and just kept trying to get away from me and my camera. The monarchs that were so plentiful disappeared for the year when it was a lot colder last week. This week the butterfly activity was mostly Sulphers and a few stray skippers here and there.

I am still plodding away on the Adult Tomten. I finished sleeve 1 and picked up the stitches around the armhole for sleeve 2. I quickly decided I was not completely happy with sleeve 1 so I made some changes to sleeve 2. Sleeve 1 was just too loose from the elbow down so on sleeve 2 I continued the decreases a little further. Now that I am at the elbow I will slow the decreases down by doing more rows in between. Once I am done with sleeve 2 I will take sleeve 1 back out and redo it to match. The body now fits perfectly. It was quite loose when trying it on with no sleeves, then with 1 but now with 2 it fits like a glove. I hope the hood and/or buttonband does not change it any further but I don't think they will. Sometimes I feel like I am slogging along with all the garter stitch but then I stand back and see how far I have come and how little I actually have to go and I feel so motivated to get it done and ready to wear.

My 2nd attempt with making argyle socks is going down as a failure. I went with the traditional flat construction technique and I actually did a decent job of working with the bobbins and working the intarsia but when I was at the 4" mark I looked at the work and just said "BLAH" So it will be lying there waiting for me to return from Houston and it will be ripped and the yarn reassigned. At least I tried. So I grabbed a ball of self striping yarn and a sized 0 circular and will do some generic magic loop socks while I am on the road.

I did get 2 blocks done for my progressive round robin. This is the project of my best friend Carol and I want it to be extra special. Trouble is I am 3rd to get this project and I expected the 2 ladies before me to hand on their work for inspiration. No...all I got was Carol's original fabric although she gave a very well thought out set of instructions, color chips from the paint store(ingenious idea by the way) and some fabric we had the option to use. She mentioned flowers as a theme although she did not say we had to do that. But without the others work I had to start fresh and go in my own direction. And I saw Butterflies in the fabric and colors provided. Now doing applique for Carol is like taking "coals to Newcastle" or "selling ice to an eskimo" but I did my best. I chose simple shapes and let the fabric do the work. I did it by needle turn which is quite a challenge for this old soul but I perservered and these 2 blocks are the result. I did some small peiced blocks to forfill the size requirement of the exchange but I am not happy with them and will probably do some more once I get back from the quilt show. I am hoping something will strike me there and I will know exactly what blocks to do.

I am so excited about this trip to Houston. I need this vacation in so many ways. It will be the last trip I make with friends from this part of the country. Not all my best friends could go this time but the ladies that are coming are a fun bunch and we all seem like we need to let our hair down while we are there. Marilyn said she would need a designated driver just to get to dinner. Now who will that be because I guarantee it should not be me. I am also going on at least one side trip. I hope to get to Galveston and one day in Houston I would like to get to one yarn shop and maybe to Ikea. All that and see the show too. At least next week I should have some good pics, some great tales and not a whole lot of knitting or quilting done. And I hope to come back rested and ready to tackle those last 2 months of work before the big quitting day January 4th 2008!! Till next week crafty ones....keep on creating.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Up in Arms

Not much going on in my outdoor world this week. The weather was all over the map and that kept all the butterflies confused. On good days I could identify 5 or 6 species in the yard at one time, on bad days not a one was to be seen. Today was a cold blustery day reminding us that it really is fall and winter is only around the corner.

But my knitting world was quite busy and productive. I have gotten almost finished with the 1st sleeve of my Tomten. I love the green at the inset in the shoulder. I was not convinced the green would look good with the blue until I got past the inset and now I feel very good about it. I ended up working the sleeve pretty much just like EZ wrote the pattern. At least the version she gives where she incorporates the stitches on the holder as you knit along instead of her first version which had you sewing the short underarm seam and the long sleeve seam. I knitted the sleeve in the round using the magic loop method which was new to me and quite easy to learn. It is going to be a useful tool in my sock knitting later one. I kind of wished that I had done at least a few short rows ala Brooklyn Tweed at the top of the shoulder but I am still happy with my work. I only did decreases until about the elbow but now about 3" above the wrist I think I will throw in a few more decreases to tighten up the fit. I should be able to finish off this sleeve during the week and get the 2nd one started. I am anxious to be able to wear my soft squishy sea of garter stitch as the weather gets chillier.

I also started a pair of argyle socks this week. I found a pattern that was supposed to be a seamless version that involved alot of wraps, floats and turning. I worked my way thru the first few steps and decided that although I understood the process and could preform the steps well enough I just did not like the process. So I ripped it all the way back and will be making them by the old fashioned flat method. In fact I plan on using a very old pattern book that I bought on eBay awhile back. Sometimes it is just better to go with the proven method.

Work will be a bear this week. We are going live with our new filmless PACS system throughout the entire hospital. I am afraid the learning curve will be painful all the way around but it will certainly be alot more work for the techs. Especially in MRI where I work where we will have a ton more stuff to do on each case we do during the day. I will really feel the pain when I am working by myself in the evening. I already don't have enough time to get it all done in the one hour they allow me to do a exam and now I have another 10 minutes or so of work to cram in. Oh well...Just one week and I am on vacation.. To Houston for the quilt show!!!!! I am also going to try to go down to Galveston if the weather cooperates. So hopefully I will get some great photos of the beach and maybe of some great historical houses. And I have the addresses of several great sounding yarn shops to find when I am tired of quilt shopping. So until next week...keep those needles clicking

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Across the Great Divide

Finally-The monarchs arrived this week!! Tuesday morning on my walk they floated in by the hundreds. Once I got home and got out my camera I was able to get many great pictures as they were much more interested on tanking up on necter than on one silly woman wanting their picture. This is a great back lit shot that will probably soon be my screen saver replacing a picture of my kids feet at the beach which I love but this one is so much more visual.

On the knitting front I managed to crank out quite a bit this week. I did not get called in at the hospital over the weekend so basically I had nothing better to do than knit. I completely finished my Jaywalkers and actually got to wear them on a cool day this week. Then I worked on the Tomten till my arms ached and finally got to the armhole divide right before heading out to go home Sunday. I was so busy at home during the day Monday but managed to get a little past the armholes that evening. I am knitting all 3 sections at once to make sure I get them even but it also means I have 3 strings hanging off to 3 balls of yarn. Alot to get twisted when turning from right side to wrong and back again. But I do not have much more to do before the shoulder seam and then on to the first sleeve. I have faithfully checked and rechecked Brooklyn Tweeds Tomten posts and so far I think I am getting his version copied fairly well but I am not convinced how well I will do with the shoulders of his jacket but I will try. And if I have to frog-I have to frog. He had to unstitch more than once while knitting his and he is a knitting GOD!!

I also started a new pair of socks at lunch today. I am making argyles knit in the round from a pattern I found on Ravelry. It was actually in a pattern generator format so I had to put in all my measurements and gauge and got out a detailed pattern to my specifications. The diamonds are knit one at a time which makes sense at times and at other times I say "What?" So we will see. I am just using generic solid Jawoll that can certainly be frogged and used for other designs if this does not work out well.

I am trying to think ahead and plan my next larger knitting project since the Tomten is well on its way.....hmmmmmm........sweater for me?......We kind of need a new nice afgan........Christmas sweaters for the girls?.......of course, I never do anything for hubby, maybe something for him?..... Lots to ponder but no matter what I choose, I get to buy yarn and that's a win-win for me!!! See ya next week knitting buddies..

Monday, October 8, 2007


The Queen has arrived!! But still no Monarchs to be seen in the garden. But these beauties are close relatives and every bit as awesome to see. At one time I had 5 or 6 swarming on this Ageratum but this one was the only one who would stick around for some pictures and be famous. It is almost the end of the season for butterflies and I for one will miss them once the snow starts to fly.

My week in knitting was a productive one. I got my 2nd Jaywalker cast on and down almost to the ankle. I only got to knit on it 3 evenings but it has gone pretty fast. Hopefully at this speed I will be done in just 2 more weeks of evening knitting. And I was able to get quite a bit done on my Adult Tomten. I made it up to where I needed to put in the pockets in just a couple of days of hard knitting. I kind of followed EZ's pocket directions with just a slight CrazyAnn mod. I used a provisional cast-on, knit the pocket in stockinette until the last 5 rows which I did in garter to match the body. I undid the stockinette edge and put it on a dp needle. Then I matched it up with where I wanted in on the body. I did a 3 needle bind off binding off the pocket & sweater edge at once. Then I flipped up the pocket and slipped the stitches off the other needle onto the circular to take the place of the stitches I cast off. I made sure the stockinette went to the inside of the pocket to give a nice feel. I used an uneven # of rows so that there was a loose end of yarn at each pocket side and I used that to strengthen and neaten each pocket edge and then sew the pockets together on the inside. To finish off I very loosely connected the pocket to the body with the yarn still in the needle and wove it in to finish.

Another thing I discovered during this project was a great way to do short rows in garter stitch. First knit to where you are going to turn. Just turn and go back to the next turn. Turn and knit to the last stitch before the gap. Pull the stitch past the gap thru the last stitch before the gap and then knit them one at a time like usual. This is fairly easy to do and the only thing to watch is that when you knit the stitches to make sure you catch the entire strand both in that row and the next until the stitches are back to normal. This is almost invisible as the swapped stitches pull the gap shut and blend right into the garter stitch. I will try this with stockinette someday but I bet it works better in the garter stitch.

Now all I have to do for the next 2 weeks or so is mindless garter stitch until it is time to divide for the fronts and back. Boring but so worth it in the end. I can only hope all my other challenges with this project go as well as these first two have.

I have been spending alot of time on Ravelry but it has been such a good use of my time. I joined a group called Yarnographers whose main focus is learning to better use your camera for photographing yarn and knits. Several members there have a vast array of knowledge and are willingly and gladly passing it on to use amateurs. First thing I learned was how to rig up a quick light box situation and what lighting works the best. Then I learned alot more about F stops and depth of field. Lastly I learned how to manually set my white balance. This has allowed me to make my yarn and knitting "float" to really accentuate the fibers and stitches. So this week all my photos have this affect!! I do want to work with other surfaces but that will come with some more practice. So far the manual setting of white balance seems the most helpful and it is so easy to do. It makes me want to go out and buy the most beautiful fibers just to take great shots of it. And by the way, a foggy morning makes for the best fiber shots!! And that is why the neighbors got to see me in my PJ's dragging out white fabric, camera & tripod, yarn and my camera manual at 8 am the other morning!!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Time to Start the Tomten

Here it is the 1st of October and the temperatures are still 90!! And I have yet to see many Monarchs flying thru on their annual migration. Usually they stop over in my garden and they are easy to catch on camera. But today I spent quite a bit of time chasing one Common Swallowtail and never got a picture at all. Then I found the small weaver spider deep in my flower bed and she posed willingly. The sunset tonight was brilliant but not that colorful but still worthy of a shot.

I was on call this last weekend and got to knit quite a bit. And buy yarn!! I decided to tear out the Tidal Wave socks using Jitterbug because they were just too bright. So I moved on to a beautiful Jawoll Color in soft heathered colors and decided to try the JayWalker socks once again. The first time I tried on 0's and they were just too small to go over my heel. So I cast on on 2's, knit the recommended amount of ribbing and started the patterning. Tuesday at work was kind of slow and I got alot of knitting in. Almost down to the ankle before I decided to try them on. And guess what-too big!! So I ripped them all out, recast on onto 0's for the ribbing. I did more ribbing this time to keep from having the patterning from pulling the top of the sock down into a funny edge. 20 rows were just enough but I could have done a couple more and made it an even 2". Even tho I ended up with Tuesday as a wasted knitting day I still finished up with the sock on Monday morning. I love this sock, the color, the design, the feel of the yarn, the tapered toes I decided to do. I will be starting sock #2 tomorrow night but I doubt it will get done as fast as the first one.
So now for the start of my Tomten Jacket. I am a bit nervous but I am going to jump in with both feet. I bought 10 skeins of Cascade 220 in the new handpaint version. A little more pricey but a very pretty yarn. Mine is deep shades of navy. A very subtle variegation that will appear solid from a distance. I also bought a skein of a deep green heather to edge mine in. I plan on using as much of Brooklyn Tweeds modifications as I can gleen from his blog. Although I am not sure I can tell some of the things he did so I may have to adapt as I go along. I swatched on size 8 circulars and got 4.5 stitches per inch but decided to go ahead and make this project on 7's instead. It will give me a little denser fabric and keep me warmer. So for this week there are no pictures but by next week I hope to have something to post. In fact I am in the middle of casting on as I am writing this post. So I will go and get the remaining 40 stitches cast on and get started with my labor of love.....

Monday, September 24, 2007

Beauty on the Wing

Well this week nature did cooperate. The other evening I just happened to glance out the back door and I saw a fluttering in the garden. At first I thought it would be a Monarch since it is very close to the migration season. But I was happily suprised to see a beautiful unblemished Swallowtail. This one even posed a little for some pictures even tho the light was low and the evening air was cool. I have been watching for him to stop back by but so far no luck. So at least I have these snaps to remind me of his glory.

I did finish up my Tidal Wave socks this week and they are as gorgeous as I hoped they would be. I washed and blocked them and they are so soft and cushy. I can't wait until cooler weather so I can slip them on and enjoy them for real. I started a 2nd pair using Colinette Jitterbug in the Popsicle colorway on Wednesday. I got the ribbing and 3 pattern repeats done easily by the end of the workweek. I knew they would be shockingly bright out of this yarn but I thought what the heck-if nothing else I can wear them to bed. But when I switched to smaller needles further down the leg I did not like how the colors pooled out so I did something I do way to often-frogged them. I will use the yarn for something else, probably for the DGD's who love bright colors.

In just a little while I am going to swatch some yarn I bought late this spring and try to make a final decision which project I will make from it. It is the Autunno yarn from de Ve' in a very nice rich tomato red. I am sure it will be a EZ pattern as I can not get away from her yummy organic designs. Hopefully by next week I will have some progress photos of what ever project it decides to be.

I did get productive in the sewing room. I whipped up a cute skirt out of the same pattern I bought at the Paducah quilt show. I made this one out of 2 contrasting fabrics, 1 for the body of the skirt and the other for the flounce. It turned out so well but it was a little hard to get a picture to show here so you will just have to imagine.

I finally got my invitation to Ravelry and have spent way to much time organizing my finished projects, stash and books. It is a lot of fun and does not replace blogging in any way. I love the way you can cross reference patterns, yarn, books, people, ect. How anyone could have imagined this web site, design it and execute it as well as they have, I can not fathom but thank goodness they have. Now that I have gotten most of my recently current projects in it will not eat up quite as much time as it did this weekend. From now on, any time I put into the website should be entertaining, not work.

I am on call this next weekend so hopefully I will get some real knitting done on whatever my project ends up being. I am also hoping to get in at least one really long walk if the weather cooperates. Also I hope to get to see my good friend Carol since we have not gotten together for some time now. I will not get to many more chances to see her since our move out of state is looming pretty close. So until next week, keep those needles clicking and the brains ticking...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Quiet Week on the Prarie

Usually I like to start my weekly blog with a nature shot. But this week nature did not cooperate. Several times the birds were playing joyfully in the sprinkler and the bird bath but even if I snuck out the front door and quietly tried to get pics, the birds scattered as soon as I got even a little close. There were not a lot of butterfly sightings or anything else interesting. The cat wouldn't put on a show and the flowers are tired and saggy. So maybe next week I can get a decent shot of something to show you.

This week was a decent one for my knitting. I managed to get the 1st Tidal Wave sock done with just a few inches of yarn left over. I had to peice together every last bit of yarn I had to make it to the end but they fit and that is all that matters. Loose ends can always be woven in no matter how many there are!! I also got the 2nd sock done just about to the same point that sock 1 was at last week so I am not going to bore you with another picture. By this time next week I should easily have sock 2 done and then I will show you a picture of them together maybe on my feet. I am going to immediately start a new pair in the same pattern, I just have to decide which colorway of Jitterbug I am going to use. 1 colorway is very bright and bold and the other is kind of pink and girly. Decisions, decisions, decisions!!

I did manage to get the Progressive round robin blocks finished!! I already had 2 pinwheel blocks done last week. It was a block I made years ago in a 5" size and I remember it being quite easy. Trouble is I needed it to be a 6" block and that was not so easy. But I finally found a solution that wasted a little fabric but it worked perfectly and I whipped up another 2. Then I was stumped on what else to do. I still had a requirement to do one more 12" block worth. I cruised the website Quilters Cache and found a paper peiced Chicken block. The description of the block size was "around 8"!! I am not used to that kind of description and did not know what to expect. But I printed out the patterns and got started. It had been awhile since I paper peiced and it took some re-learning needed to be done. But finally I managed to get the block peiced and indeed the block was an odd size. Mine turned out 7.75" X 8.25 Now that is not an easy size to do anything with. I was already to start another one and adjust the size as I went. But I finally decided to put some wide borders on and make it a 12.5" block. So each side ended up a different fabric/color and then I trimmed it down slightly assymetrically on purpose. When I put all the blocks up (mine and Colleen's) they seemed less busy than I expected-Thank goodness!! Hopefully the other people in my rotation can look at all the blocks and come up with something even more to bring them all together even more.

I think I will cut it short tonight and get some last minute housework done. I am not even going to try to predict what I am going to get done this week. That way I will not disappoint myself when I fall slightly short. Sometimes I need to focus on what I do get done instead of what I didn't!! See you all next week....