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, January 28, 2008

The Hussy Kitten

Well-This week, the kitten that was supposed to be too young to go into heat? Well-she's not to young after all. On Friday she started to get just a little more affectionate than usual. But she started doing this weird stretching out pose and then it progressed into-tail straight up, ass in the air and crying for hours. Jack our old neutered male just looked at her like she was crazy. Crazy I tell you!! Of course there is nothing you can do on Friday afternoon but wait til Monday. So as we speak, she is at the vet, in a lonely cage, probably crying her heart out, waiting to be cut on. Well at least she doesn't realize she is going to be cut on. She just thinks Mommy doesn't love her and sent her to kitty jail. Boy am I going to have to make this up to her. But it broke my heart to think that if I hadn't taken her in she probably would have gotten preggers and she is way way to tiny so I am doing what is best for her in the long run.

On to projects: As for knitting. I got the new Cat basket finished this week and lo and behold it is too small for even little Lexi. All the changes I made, made for a better shaped, better looking basket but just a bit too small. So now it is a very nice colorful yarn basket and I will make another one for the kitties. The Cascade 220 is just awesome in felted projects and I can not beleive I ever even stooped so low as to use that old Lion Brand Wool. I am also almost finished with the Cable/Rib socks. Tonight I got down to where the toe decreases start. But I am definitely going to run out of yarn too soon and the toe will be a hybrid. I kind of toyed with the idea of submitting this pattern somewhere but until I knit a pair with just one color that idea is out!! I also started knitting a sweater with some yarn I bought over a year ago. It is Autunno from Di.Ve' in Dragon Flower. I got about 11" knit of the body in the round and called it quits. God it fuzzes and pills even when knitting. I googled the yarn and came up with multiple blogs where knitters complained of the same thing. When you knit something small and it does not get handled much it holds up OK. But when it is really worked with alot it almost felts as you go. And it had some horrible thick and thin spots which just didn't do it for me. So I broke down and ordered some more Cascade 220, enough to do almost any sweater so I won't decide until it arrives. I ordered it from Angelika's yarn store which has the fastest service in the world. Meanwhile I will maybe work on another basket with the dreaded Di.Ve' and see how it goes.

I really got going on some serious sewing this week. I already had a few blocks done for the final round of the progressive round robin. You know the one for the girl I barely know who moved to N Carolina? Well for a girl I barely know-I sure went all out. I already had the N. Carolina Star done with all the "Y" seams, 4 sawtooth blocks and the Tree of Life made with about a gazillion half sq triangles. Then while going thru the bag that all the fabric came in I came across the note she wrote with her basic instructions for the the project. She thought the fabric looked kind of woodsey and maybe trees could be worked in. Well didn't I just strike it lucky with my Tree of Life Block? Then I went thru my orphan block stash and found some very old tree blocks that could be used to fill in around the larger blocks. I kind of thought about doing a few more small tree blocks over the weekend but instead I found a awesome 12" tree pattern in a old QNM and I just had to do it. So now I am done, will do no more, have called it quits, absolutely will not sew another stitch. I am going to package it up and get it back to the last girl in the rotation to put her blocks in and she can send it to Diane to enjoy. And enjoy it I know she will. This project is one I would love to have and I can not wait to see how she puts it all together and quilts it.
I guess I did not take a pic of the Tree of Life block so maybe next week on that one.
I did not get as much housework or packing done this week as I should so I guess I better make up for it this week. I should easily finish the crazy toes socks this week and maybe work on another basket, start a sweater and who knows what else. Did I mention getting 4 new knitting books this week? Well Debbie Bliss's Knitted Teddy Bears and Marianna Kinzel's 2 Lace knitting books have been great buys with lots of inspiration. The 4th book was a new copy of EZ's Knitter's Almanac that I seem to have lost my original. So if anyone finds her give her a good home and use her patterns-please!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Cat Tested-Cat Approved

It has been a cold and windy week here on the prarie. But I must be feeding the birds well because they stand in line to get to the feeders!! I have been having White Headed Sparrows, Red Winged Blackbirds, Meadowlarks and a few non discript finches. The cats love to sit at the back door and watch the birds, twitching with that special "bird" twitch that cats do. I have to go out no matter how cold it is and fill the feeders and add warm water to the birdbath, often more than once a day. Even tho I enjoy watching them come and go, I wish they would post just a little better for the camera. Or I could maybe spring for a better telephoto lens!!

Last week I mentioned that I was making a Kitty Pi bed for the above kitties. I was using Lion Brand Wool yarn in 2 colors, a blue and a strange green. I followed the directions to the "T" although I chose to make it in the 33 stitch size to allow for fat Jack to have room to climb in. I thought that I had a winner going when Lexi decided to lie on it before I had it anywhere done. But once I finished the knitting and felted it I was so disappointed. The Lion Brand Wool was not the softest yarn while knitting and felted-IT SUCKED!! It was not nearly as soft as my Cascade 220 felted samples, it was a weird fuzzy texture and picked up some sort of white lint that stuck like glue. Then the shape of the basket looked good coming out of the washer and I stuffed it tight with plastic grocery sacks to dry, but it quickly collapsed to almost flat and has stayed there ever since. But Lexi still sleeps in it every night if I put it on her chair so all is not lost. After all kitties aren't too fussy about perfection, are they? But I decided the overall idea was worth giving it another try. So this time I am working in Cascade 220, using up all my scraps. And I am altering the design just a little bit and hoping for a better outcome. Again Lexi is not letting me finish without giving it a test drive, or sleep would be more accurate. I should be able to finish the knitting tomorrow and get it into the washer for felting tomorrow evening. I just need to be able to keep Lexi out of it long enough to put the last bit of knitting into it. By the way-I learned another new skill. I can do an iCord bind-off now and love it. But on the cat basket it is lost in the felting so I will not finish off basket #2 with it. Just a normal bind-off for this one.

I also managed to get Cable/Rib Sock #1 completely done. I am half way down the leg of sock #2. They have turned out really nice although I would change a few little things if I make them again. My only worry is that I will run out of yarn before I am done with the last sock. Oh well, if I do, I will finish with a little bit of some wild crazy Jitterbug yarn leftover from a different project. It would sure make them unique would it!!

I also did some sewing this week, working on blocks for the final stage of the progressive round robin. The blocks I am working on now belong to Diane, Stevenson who is living all the way in N. Carolina. She sent quite a bit of fabric with one peice designated as "focus" fabric and another as "background". Other than that we could do what we wanted. I had blocks from 2 other participants to lend me inspiration so it didn't take me long to get started. I have done 1 fairly complicated block and 4 easy ones so far. I am now working on another very difficult block but should be able to finish up with that tomorrow. So I think I will save the pics to post next week. Meanwhile I will try to stay warm with toasty socks and cozy quilts. It pays to enjoy the fruits of your labors!! Everybody else hang in there-Spring is just around the corner in this part of the country at least!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The New Me!!

It has been a whole week now since I have been unemployed and the routine is setting in. I am trying so very hard to be better at the mundane housekeeping chores and being a good cat momma. I am working at being a more productive knitter and of course trying to do at least some quilting. I am enjoying the ability to get 8 hours of sleep every night and I feel my health is really improving because of it. A lot of my time is still being taken up by the packing for our move. So I guess you could say I have transitioned quite well to my new lifestyle.

I do have to say there is one downside to being retired. I don't get to see alot of other human beings during the day. And when DH gets home he is not the most interactive person on the planet. But luckily this week I got to go back up to the city to see Carol, my dearest quilting/knitting friend and go to the OKC quilt show. Now the last few shows I felt like I had to run thru to get to work on time. I would shop and see the quilts in about 1 hr. So I felt pretty good about having all the time in the world, and guess what? We saw the show and shopped in a whopping 1 and 1/2 hr!! This show may just be put on to often to have alot to see and neither of us needed to shop much so why linger. There were a few great quilts to see but most were ordinary and most were machine quilted. We both still love the beauty of hand quilting and appreciate anyone who still makes the effort. My favorite quilt in the show was the Kimono Crazy Quilt although I never got back to vote for it as "Best of Show". I also loved the quilts by former Lawtonian, Cindy Squyres. She had several show stoppers entered and I think they both won ribbons. Yeah Cindy!!

I have been somewhat productive in my knitting this week. I did an awful lot of knitting and ripping while trying to work on my scrap rug out of Cascade. I think I am just going to let it lie for awhile and use the Cascade for other projects. But I was determined to make something felted and so I am making the Kitty Pi basket for my babies to sleep in during the day. I did not have enough Cascade 220(hard to imagine) so I ran to Hobby Lobby and bought cheap(NOT) Lion Brand Wool in 2 colors to hold together instead of using bulky yarn. I only bought 5 balls because it seemed so expensive but already I need to go buy at least 2 more skeins to finish the project. But I think it is turning out great and it is a cool project to work on. It is based on EZ's Pi shawl pattern where you knit contiguous wedges to form the bottom circle. It made me want to see her pattern for the shawl but for some reason I can not find my copy of Knitter's Almanac but I am sure it is here somewhere under all the mess and packing boxes. I should be able to finish up with the bed and get it felted by this weekend and I am sure the kitties will be fighting over it in no time so I am sure another one will be in the works by next week.

I also made it past the heel on my Cable/Rib socks and managed to get the pattern written down on the computer. I know I can understand what I have written and making the 2nd sock will be no problem for me but it is not something I can put out for others to use until I go back over it and standardize the dialog to what other pattern writers put out. But the sock is pretty and I need to get going on it because my stash of other sock yarn is calling out to me as is some of my sweater stash. It is saying...Central Park Hoodie....Central Park Hoodie........!!
Well other than looking on line for a new house and researching our summer trip to Disney World, all is quiet and calm. The weather is supposed to be back to winter starting tomorrow so I will have plenty of good cozy knitting time over the next few days. So until next week, keep crankin out the woolies!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Unemployed and Loving it??

The title says it all. My last day at OU Medical Center,specifically Children's Hospital was this last Friday. Of course I was sad to say goodbye to the day to day operations of the department and all my wonderful friends/co-workers but I was honestly so busy that last week that it did not hit me until I was ready to walk out the door for the last time. I had to make it thru 2 holidays and moving out of my apartment in just a few short weeks. And those last few days of work were filled with lots of good food and friends stopping by to say their farewells. But now I am home and mostly unpacked and it has hit. The sadness goes all the way down to my toes. I ache knowing that my co-workers will still be there taking care of my patients that I bonded with. I long to push the buttons on the scanner and see wonderful images of someone's insides. I miss talking with my fellow professionals and being treated like I really do know something. But all of this aside, I will enter this new phase of my life with joy and expectation. Knowing I have time to do all of the projects in my head. Ok, OK, maybe not all of the projects!! Having the time to sleep when I want and wake when I am ready. Not dreading the phone ringing in the middle of the night to call me in. Not knowing that another child has presented with a horrible brain tumor. So I am sure in a few days all will be well and my mourning mentality will fade into oblivion. And then "watch out world" Here I come!!

I have been busy packing and cleaning the house which is long overdue. I have found a little time to look on line at houses in Tennessee and have found several worth looking into. We thought we had this house sold but the deal has temporarily fallen thru due to DH's future neck surgery. We thought once he got thru to see the specialist things would move faster but now he has to wait until the end of Feb to even see him. So we will wait and we took back the offer we had on the table. So everybody wish DH God speed on seeing the neurosurgeon and healing from the surgery that I know he will be getting.

We did get some great pics of the DGD's over the holidays wearing their knitted Christmas presents from me!! Katie's hat is a little shy of being long enough but she seems happy to wear it. Maddie of course looks ravishing in her earwarmer/headband. I need to get busy and make some more for her mom and sister.

My last weekend of call was slated to get my apartment packed up and the car loaded. I did get that done but also managed to get to all 4 of the LYS's in OKC. Several were having sales for the New Year's holiday. I bought enough sock yarn to make 1 pair of socks from each shop. I also bought some random colors of Cascade 220 to work on the felted rug I am making. I picked up some variegated yarn to make a new pair of fuzzy feet. But probably best of all is my very first Elizabeth Zimmerman DVD. I bought the Knittering Glossary and have watched about half of it so far. Both she and Meg Swanson(her daughter) knit by picking the yarn which does make it harder to imagine the techniques they are demonstrating but I think I will be fine once I am actually trying them. I also bought the first Barbara Walker Stitch Encylopedia which almost completes my set. All in all I had a great time blowing my mad money stash and have lots of raw materials to fill up my next few months.

I did not get any nature shots this week. Not much is going on out in the world to photograph even tho our weather has been awesome. But I have been out with Lexi on the leash enjoying the peace and quiet of the back yard. I have been getting nice walks in each morning armed with my iPod and some knitting podcasts. So I plan on getting back on a regular schedule with blogging and hope to have some projects to post for next week. But for now I need to get some knitting done before it is time to go to bed. See ya all next week...