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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's All about the Quilt

Happy Spring all you peeps!! So much is in bloom right now. The yellow dandelions& daffodils, the pink flowering Quince(above), the purple of hyacinths and the white of the dainty Snow Bells and the deep purple/red of the redbuds. If the wind wasn't blowing so freaking hard I might be able to get better pictures. But here in SW Oklahoma, spring means wind so I shoot with the fastest speed my camera will give me and hope for the best.

Although I have gotten my planned knitting done for the week I will not bore you with pics. OK OK, 1 more of Audry just cause I worked so hard to get the shot. I took her out to our local park to show her the prairie dogs. The huge red boulders just seemed like a nice place to show her off and document her current size. Again the wind was not our friend. Every time I would get her smoothed out and get in a good spot to snap the shutter, the wind would get her all riled up and I would miss my opportunity. But finally I managed to get in one or two that look great with the beautiful rocks as contrast. Problem is now Audry is demanding she get out even more and wants to go to the wildlife refuge next week to see if she can have her picture taken with some spring wildlife!!

As I intended, I got my sleeves going on my Aran Cardigan. Did some Googling, found a tutorial that made sense and got both sleeves going at once on magic loop. The best instructions I found were by a guy knitting his first pair of socks on ML. Boy Who Knits must speak my language cause I had no problem following his lead. But as soon as I had everything going on the needles I realized as soon as I started cabling I would have to shift stitches around cause my ml was dividing my cables right in half. So I had to take 1 sleeve back off for a bit. Redistribute the other a little and put the 1st one back on, again fixed to have the magic loop come out between the separate cables. Right now it is a little tight to knit but I think as soon as I start the increases it will be a bit easier. And this way there is no doubt that the sleeves will both be the same size with the decreases matching all the way. I just hope it is worth the extra effort it has taken to get it all set up. By next week I ought to be quite a bit further along and I will let you know then if I grow to like it or have ended up throwing it across the room.

But as my title promises......Knitting does not take center stage this week. On Thursday night, my birthday by the way, my BQF came down from OKC to eat dinner out with me and then go to Scrappies, our stitch group. She doesn't get to come down often cause of gas prices, health issues, weather, you know how it is. But it is not unheard of for her to come and I was just happy to get to see her. We went out to eat at our new Olive Garden and ended up with our meal being free. Of course that was because the food was almost inedible but Carol really tells that one better on her blog so I won't repeat. Then we went downtown to our stitch group meeting. Everyone acted surprised to see Carol and happy to see me there on time for once. We relaxed, compared projects since last meeting and did our usual very casual visiting. Then all of a sudden Carol hands me a bag with what I thought would be a birthday present, say a ball of sock yarn? But what I pulled out almost brought me to tears. The group had made me a quilt top as a farewell gift. Cause of course we were supposed to be moving right now. But it is such pretty piece with everybody signing their block and some posting lovely sentiments about friends and/or quilting. I plan on hand quilting it and even bought the backing fabric today. It is such a bright sunny, happy(as Carol Johnson would say) quilt that I am going to make sure it gets a focal spot in my new sewing room/studio so I can remember my awesome Lawton friends every time I look at it. And for once I don't mind posting a picture I am in. Look how skinny I am!!!! And it wasn't to bad of a hair day either.

This weekend I found out that there is still alot about medicine and illness that I do not know. Very early Sunday morning DH turned over in his sleep and practically laid on me. It woke me up and I asked him what in the heck did he think he was doing. He commented that he was not feeling very well at all. Well tell momma what is bothering you dear.. "I am dizzy, the room is spinning and I'm clammy and feel like throwing up." I assured him that he better get his behind back over on his side of the bed and he was probably coming down with a virus. He did move over and go back to sleep until morning. But when he got up his symptoms were worse and he started to get a little worried. I still thought virus but what do I know? So he goes and googles his symptoms and ends up thinking he has had a stroke. Not likely I state, but who am I anyway compared to the God of all knowledge-Google. But a few seconds later he stumbles and falls which does start to worry me. So he says maybe we should really go to the ER. I throw on some clothes but not fast enough. He starts heaving uncontrollably and he hasn't even had any breakfast. Finally we are both able to get out of the house and on the way to the ER. He doesn't think I am taking him serious enough cause after all-he is having a stroke.... Now don't get me wrong, I was worried but not about a stroke. I was thinking more like brain tumor.....much worse in my mind. When he gets there he manages to continue to show them how sick he is by non-stop dry heaving til they take him back to an exam room.. The very nice and very good doctor examined him, got labs drawn, IV started and CT ordered in no time at all. They dosed him up good with anti-nausea meds and he just went right off to sleep. When the doctor came back and told him that he had Benign Postural Vertigo and what that meant I could see the relief come over him instantly. Then he did look over at me and say-"OK you were right-no stroke!!"
So he ended up taking a lot of anti motion sickness medicine, doing some strange exercises and taking an extra day off work. But he is slowly recovering and hopefully it will be just a one time thing. But at least if it ever happens again he will know what it is and not fall victim to "Google" disorder!!

Hopefully this week will be calmer and I can get a few more things done. I got some more yarn skeined up to dye today and hopefully it can go in the dyepot tomorrow. I bought the backing for the friendship quilt and would like to get it peiced and maybe basted. I aim to have my aran sleeves up to the elbow and of course AudryII is still singing her siren's song every day. I hope all you readers who live a bit further north will start seeing some of the color I bragged about today, if not outside then maybe in some gorgeous new yarn... Maybe I should try to dye yarn that matches all the pretty spring colors that are in my backyard, hmmmmmm do I have enough base colors to make that happen? We will see and maybe show you next week...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You Dye Easter Eggs-I'm Dyeing Yarn!!

One of my favorite signs of spring is the Bradford Pear in bloom. But somehow I never noticed that the smell from the flowers is not the nicest smell in the world. The other day I was out in front where our tree is in it's full glory and I kept smelling a slightly rotten meat smell. I thought maybe something had gotten into the garbage that was really rank. I stuck my head in all my garbage cans and they didn't have any odor to speak of. But on my way back inside I noticed the smell was worst right by the front door. Looking around the only thing different than usual was the tree in full bloom. So I turned my nose that way and sho-nuff, that was it. But the smell only lasts a few days and I still wouldn't trade the sight of Bradford Pear's in bloom. I just won't keep sticking my nose right up the tree. Well unless I decide I have to take close-ups of the flowers!!

The weather was all over the map this week. Everything from 17 degrees one morning last week to a high of the mid 80's a few days later. Luckily we finally got some rain, 1.5" to be exact. It was a nice steady soaking rain that will really start to green things up nicely. Of course the weeds are already greening up and taunting me from the back lawn. I've pulled a few but not much else has been done in the way of gardening.

Knitting is another story tho. I have done my share and then some. Audry II is growing by leaps and bounds. She is up to 211 squares when I took her picture 2 days ago. She is finally as wide as she is going to get so now I just need to keep doing straight rows across til she is tall enough. Which is going to take some time yet-maybe another 4-6 months?

I also have gotten the Aran Cardigan almost to the point where I have to do the sleeves. Maybe another 1/2" of knitting is all I need. I am dragging my feet a bit because before I can do the sleeves I will have to do more math and more spreadsheeting, more planning and probably more cursing to get the sleeves started. But it must be done or I will just have an Aran tube to look at next winter.

But the most fun of the week came when I was finally able to start dyeing yarn. My KnitPicks order came in last Friday but I knew I had to wait until Tuesday to do a thing with it. About the only thing I could do ahead of time was wind the yarn from the skein in came in to a ball. Then I could re-skein it into workable portions for the dyeing process. Finally on Tuesday I got out all my supplies, queued up the best of the dyeing tutorials, drapped the kitchen with plastic and got started. So far I have used 5 totally different methods and have gotten 5 different results with lots and lots of learning as I went. All came out usable and 1 even came out great. But each time I know I can do better on the next batch I try using that method. By the time I am done with this 200g of yarn I ought to be pretty settled in my methods and have it all down to a science. Of course it would be better if I was making notes along the way, but that would be so not me!! And I will pay for it I am sure. But Audry II will eat all my yarn samples and be happy for them. In fact all my hand dyes are knitted into Audry at least once. BTW-I was very impressed with the KnitPicks Bare sock weight yarn. Very inexpensive and held up well to the abuse of dyeing and knitted into my project like a dream

I finally got to the doc this week and he feels a lot of my current symptoms are menopausal related(I could have seen that one coming). So I got put back on HRT, stonger than what I used to take. But he is also very concerned about my thyroid. Says I have every symptom in the book, even ones I did not notice or attibute to anything. So he is doing a more thorough work-up on that than any of the other docs have. I have had the basics run many times and have even had them come back off the charts low and then a month later be normal when they re-run them. So if my thyroid in low then please let it show this time and if not-great. But it would be great to have a few things explained and fixed and thyroid would be a better explanation than alot of other things would be.

Well aside from having a birthday tomorrow and it being the first day of spring to boot, this next week will probably be the same as usual. I am trying to bump my walking up a notch since it is only a little over a month til the marathon(pretty much decided to do) and of course my knitting projects will be what they have been for awhile. I still have over 100g of yarn to dye, lots more ideas of how to dye it and Audry II whispering from the living room, "Feed me....Feed me....."

Monday, March 10, 2008

No Pictures Please!

I thought I would pop in and do a quick blog update for the week. But alas if you were expecting any pics you will be disappointed. I have just not found anything great outdoors to snap, the cats have not been the least bit photogenic and none of my projects have changed enough to warrant being showcased on film. But it has been a good productive week. I got lots of knitting done, watched a few movies, got some great walking time in and last but not least, did a little more packing up.

I have not sat down and watched much on the tube for quite some time. I just get too bored and restless to sit there long enough to get thru anything with any substance. But DH has been downloading movies that have not even left the theater yet. I don't want to know how so that when he gets arrested and hauled off to prison I can claim complete innocence!! It is all on his computer after all-my laptop is completely legal!! But none the less, I did get to watch a great movie, a decent movie and one I did not care for at all. First the didn't care for-Atonement. The cinematography was excellent but it just moved to freaking probably would be a much better book but now that I have seen the movie why bother. Next would be the decent movie-Enchanted. It starts out as an animated fairy tale but quickly changes to real life characters that are completely out of place in modern New York City. It was not a deep life changing movie but light hearted and great family entertainment. But the movie I really liked was Juno. It is the story of a quirky teen who gets pregnant and has to handle the situation in her own unique way. It does not glorify teen pregnancy in any way but a younger less mature teen might not see that so it probably should be watched with adults in tow. But it was a great movie with eclectic music, lesser known actors and a heartwarming story. Highly recommended by me.

I really did have a good knitting week. I finally got the Aran sweater back on the needles with hopefully enough stitches to go around me comfortably. When I frogged it I was at about row 65(?) and now am back at row 43 so no need to take pics. It really looks just like it did when I took pictures before only a couple of inches more in diameter!! The afghan is still coming along nicely. But at this point another 40 sq's won't show up much in a picture so I won't keep boring everyone with them. I got some great new yarns this last week from a swap partner I matched up with on Ravelry. She sent 15 10g balls of yarn and none of them were things I had here at home. So I have been busy working those into the blankie. The blankie has had a name change tho. The other day while I was out walking I kept thinking I really would rather be home knitting on the afghan. And then a mental picture of the man eating plant in "Little Shop of Horrors" came to mind. And I could hear my afghan saying "FEED ME" "FEED ME". So I immediately had to go home and google the movie to find the name of that plant. So now my afghan has a new name "Audry II" So right now Audry II is on a strict diet of 5 squares a day. Then I knit on the sweater in the evening and if I get enough done I can go back and do 1 or 2 more sq's for Audry. Am I the only person who's knitting speaks to them?

And one more afghan related item. I have decided to buy some Knitpicks Bare yarn in the wool/nylon blend sock weight and a crazy amount of Acid dyes. I am going to play with dying some of my own colorways to use in Audry and trade with fellow blankie maniacs. And if I can handle the smaller amounts of yarn for that I may try and dye enough for some socks. Whats the worst that can happen? Some butt ugly socks I guess!! Well enought for one night and back to the knitting for me........

Monday, March 3, 2008

It's Official-I really have 2 left feet!!

You would not know it from today's weather but spring has roared into Oklahoma. Last week I had one entire plot of daffodils bloom. After snapping a pic I brought them all indoors and they are still blooming despite the temps plunging into the low 30's and the wind blowing in the 40's (mph) that is!! Another few warm days and the Bradford Pear's should all be in billowing white robes. The other day I sat out on the back porch in bare feet and a tank top and came close to having a sunburn, now I need heavy sweaters and thick socks. I guess that's good being that I am a knitter!!

I am now able to reveal pics of the 4 day socks I knit for a dear friend on Weight Watchers. I am still blown away by the fact that I knit them that fast. I do believe I had a little speed boost from above. God knew Gail needed some warm fuzzy soft socks to wear this week while going thru more tests to see if her cancer is hiding any where else in her body.

I have long waited for a great way to take sock pics. First buying a set of sock blockers from a knitting store(not cheap I may add), trying to take pics while the socks are on my own feet(need a gymnastics background for that one) and trying to con someone else into being my model. Who knew that I could buy 2 left feet on ebay for less than 20$? Well they came in after I sent the above socks off to Gail but I threw my most recent handknit pair on and real quick snapped a pic and here is the result. This is exactly what I needed and maybe by the time I get my next pair finished I can have a better background set up and really shoot some quasi-professional shots.

And now for an update on my all consuming project-The Million Square Afghan. I am still totally in love with this piece of knitting. I knit on it everyday, sometimes to the point of insanity. At first I could only do about 4 sq's a day, now I do 6, 8 or even one day, 10!!!! I keep thinking that I will burn out at some point but so far the fire just burns more intensely. And even better? Someone on Ravelry started a group just for this afghan. In just one day there were over 150 members and it has grown alot since then. I set up threads for American swappers and International swappers so maybe we could all add to our variety in our stash. But so far no takers although some have talked about really wanting to do it. But it is a very active group even for Ravelry and so sooner or later I bet I will have some willing to participate. Meanwhile I keep buying yarn like it was going to go away tomorrow!! And I keep knitting like I will need this afghan to ward off this winter's cold!!!

I also got my new photo-editing software (Nikon Capture NX)this week and spent a fair bit of time messing with the options available on it. This is true editing software and not photo manipulation software. I know I have just barely scratched the surface of the learning curve but so far I really like it. There is a book out there that can be purchased to help walk you thru and understand the program in more depth than you can get from the pre-packaged user's manual. So next discount coupon I get on Barnes & Noble will be used for that bit of knowledge. And sometime down the road I will probably still want to get Photoshop Elements but with the rate I buy yarn it will be quite a wait!!

The Saddle Shouldered Aran is currently off the needles and the yarn back in balls. I just need to go in and make some minor adjustments to the spreadsheet and recast on with about 2 more inches of stitches in the body. Plus I want to change the plain knit 2's I used to separate the cable's into 2 stitch cables just to dress it up. Hopefully I will have this back as a current project by next week.

This next week should be a great one. Scrappies meet on thursday night plus this week I get a bonus!! BBF Carol is coming down from the city and we are going to go eat before the meeting. We haven't been face to face for awhile and since we are both homebodies most of the time, this will be a major event for both of us!! I get to pick the restaurant and I have been racking my brain for a few days. Lawton is so well known for it's choice of gourmet places to eat(not) but I have finally come up with an option and just need to let Carol know. Otherwise I will do the usual, knit, walk, clean, pack, ect, ect, and I will be back same time next week to bore you all with the details!!