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.

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.....