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.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Man and His Cat

As you can see, my Clemetis are in bloom this week. Taking a pic was a challenge because they just bounce around on their dainty stems with the slightest breeze tickling their petals. and of course this is Oklahoma so we have had gale force winds for days on end. But the other evening, just before sunset, the winds suddenly died down to nothing and I ran to get the camera and get outside. I had to climb on a lawnchair and balance with my elbows on the fence to get this shot but by gum, it is a lovely one and worth the athletics involved!!

It has been a quiet week here at the ranch. Ken is much better almost 2 weeks since his surgery. But man oh man, does he take this recuperating thing seriously. He gets up after 8 hrs of sound sleep, leisurely eats some breakfast, takes a nice walk and then comes back in the house and either gets on the computer or starts watching TV. Very little calories are burned by this man the whole entire rest of the day. The pic at the end of this post is one I just shot this evening. A man and his cat-doing what they do best!!

Audry II is still progressing although I am going to have to slow down on her a bit. It is getting just a bit too hot to have it all over me as I knit, so I stick to the cooler parts of the day. I am also starting to get just a tiny bit sick of knitting on her day in and day out, longing for other projects to occupy my mind. I also discovered that I am going to want her to be just a tad bit bigger than I originally thought. I was counting on 800 squares and now I am thinking more like 900. I am at 450 now and it just seems half way done to me. So my goal is to try and still knit about 4 to 5 sq's a day and work on other projects to give me back some variety in my knitting day.

The Aran cardigan is also coming along just fine. I have decreased at the raglan points for about 12 rows so far and it is looking like a real sweater finally. I am quickly coming up on the saddle shoulder shaping and that scares me just a wee bit. So far every time I try to read her directions they don't sink in. But I think it will make more sense when I am actually trying to do the step as I am reading it. I have noticed a few mistakes that I have made along the way. One is a wrong cable crossing on the center back cable. I did not notice it till I was 24 rows past it and just could not see trying to drop that many rows of stitches down to try and make the repair. And no way I was frogging it once those sleeves were attached. So I stepped back a few inches and with the yarn I am using, I decided it really isn't that noticable. Ain't dark yarn wonderful!! There is also at least on of the mini cables crossing the wrong way but I knew I was going to live with that. If I can put up with the main big cable having a mistake, no way was 2 stitches twisted wrong gonna cause me any lost sleep!!

I got a new book from Barnes & Noble today on dyeing yarns. It is "Yarns to Dye For" by Kathleen Taylor. So far I am not finding a lot that I have not already learned thru my friends on Ravelry. But given a little more time, there may a few hints that rock my world, just gotta find them. It is a pretty book and would be great for a truly beginning yarn dyer.
I finally have gotten my airline reservations made for my trip to see the DGD's at the end of May. I am so looking forward to seeing them, even if this trip slows our move down just a little bit. I need to start making plans of some of things we want to do while I am there. I have never had to entertain a 9 & 7 year old girls for 2 weeks before. I am sure that I will end up being glad that they are still in school for most of the time I am there. I can rest up for 6 hrs each day, knowing that as soon as they walk thru the door I will be on the run until bed time. And for 2 little girls who go to bed so well for their parents, they sure can try grandma's patience when I want them to go to bed!!

So now that I have decided to slow down on Audry, maybe I can get the aran done just a bit sooner. That means I need to be planning another knitting project. Of course I could also get started hand quilting my friendship quilt the Scrappies made for me. I just love the new found energy that comes with thinking and planning new things. If it would just carry thru the entire life of the project. But wait-I have done very very well with Audry II-450 squares in just about 10 weeks, for an average of over 6 a day. I bet not many others have blazed along much faster than that. So with that I am going to go retire to my knitting spot and get started on my daily dose of Aran Cardigan...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Body and Sleeves Wed in Holy Matrimony!!

It has been a long time coming but finally I have sleeves and body all on one circular needle. So now I have to carefully read the "pithy" directions that came from Elizabeth Zimmerman by way of SchoolHouse Press. And let me tell you they are clear as mud to me right now. Maybe I am just not "pithy" enough what ever that really means!! But I will press on and I am sure I will figure it out as I go. I had forgotten how many stitches end up on the needles right after joining body and sleeves on a raglan style sweater. It feels like it takes forever just to make one round. But don't you just enjoy eating away at that number as you make those wonderful decreases up to the shoulders? This sweater is saddle shouldered, similar but not exactly like a raglan so soon I will be entering totally new territory. According to the pattern along with the front body steek I will also be using a neckline steek-eeeekkkkkkk-steeks!! It shouldn't be to long before I have to take that plunge and make the cuts. Maybe 2 more weeks? Oh the agony of it all!!

I am also proud to announce that I officially made it to the half way point on Audry II. I hit 400 squares the other morning while waiting for hubby to be discharged from the hospital after his surgery(more about that later in the post). The day of his surgery I knit 13 squares and my arms and wrists just about rebelled when I picked it up to knit the next day. But the afghan got alot of attention from 1 lady in the waiting room and the doctor when he came out to talk to me after the procedure. I love it when people notice AudryII(blush, blush)!!

I did not get a chance to do alot of dyeing but I badly needed to whip out 2 small skeins for a sock yarn trade I am in to benefit Audry II. I had ideas in my head but of course what I produced was nothing like my ideas!! The self striping came close but the other-not at all. In fact the "other" was so ugly that I had to break out the dyes the next day and over dye it. But now I love it and have learned another in a long line of lessons in my dyeing voyage. The base yarn for this adventure was my long awaited "Trekking XXL" from Webs and I have to say that even tho it felt rough before dyeing it was wonderful after taking up the color. And the gauge was finer than the Knitpicks Bare so for now it will be my yarn of choice even if it is almost double the price.

Now for some of the more personal stuff going on in my busy life right now. Nothing earth shattering but important none the less. First of all my husband finally got the surgery done on his neck to fix the pesky herniated disc he had been living with for months now. I knew the surgery was not going to be all that bad since I had exactly the same thing done almost 9 years ago. As expected he did very well during the surgery and his recovery is going great. He says the pain in his neck is much better although he still has numbness & tingling in his hand. The doc told him it could take weeks to months for that to resolve but DH wants it NOW of course. He is not supposed to drive for 3 weeks so he is going to work from home-I offered to drive him in each day but noooooooooo-he wants to be home and bugging me!! I bet he gets bored enough next week to want to get out of the house so I will just bide my time and he will eventually get back out of my hair.

Another kind of big thing has to do with my son who lives in the LA area and has struggled with the financial aspect of that for 7 years now. He has had a roommate, given up his car & driving, eats as cheaply as he can and still he can't really make ends meet. So what does he do? Quits his job!!! To finish writing a book that he has no promise of getting published. What is the boy thinking? So we have asked him to move back home and live with us until he gets his book finished and decides what to do next with his life. We have never supported him even thru college so we don't have a problem with helping him some now. We can actually use him to help with the back breaking task of moving from here to our new location and eventually getting our new place set up. And we would love to have a built in house sitter for a year or two so we can do some travelling even if we get some small farm animals like the chickens I so dearly want. But we will see if he wants to even do this since I know he will feel somehow like this means he is a failure, which he is not. So if everyone will say a little prayer that his heart leads him home and that we can make it all work. By the way-we are looking for a house in Tennessee or Alabama with separate living quarters on the property!!!! We are not that crazy to want him underfoot 24/7!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Same old-Same Old....

I feel guilty for not sticking to my weekly blogging schedule. I feel guilty for not having anything to blog about more. Face it, right now my life is boring. Even to me. But this stray from someones garden was blooming so brightly the other day that I just had to stop and snap it's picture. I am guessing it was from last year's radish or broccoli crop that went to seed. I love when life is so boring that I have time to stop and notice what I would not have seen otherwise. So boring is alright with me. As long as it does not go on for too much longer!!

Because I am devoted to 2 of the most time consuming knitting projects known to man, my knitting for the week is probably going to bore you also. Audry II is still coming along on schedule. I usually set my goal at 2 rows a week and usually I get a bit more done than that. I have also managed to get one dyeing session in a week. Any more than that just makes to much mess and I run out of good ideas. This week's dyeing was fairly good. I got the idea to make a base yarn of medium grey and then put little spots of bright colors randomly so they just show up as 2 or 3 stitches at a time against the grey. I kind of got what I wanted with the colors. The grey was fine and the brights were still bright enough to be seen after the overdyeing. I realized when I was almost done that somehow the blue I had mixed and used once got set aside and never used again. And it was such a pretty color in the end product-oh well. And the bits of color really needed to be placed closer together but again this is still a learning process. I also overdyed more of the beige/cream/grey On-Line yarn that I used before. I overdyed 1-8g skein with purple, 1 with yellow and then dyed a little bit bigger skein with a combo of 2 different dark oranges. First I mixed a very dilute sun yellow with a touch of dilute vermillion both leftover from dyeing the grey yarn. I soaked about 1/3 of the skein in that for about 15 minutes. I wasn't all that thrilled with the color but I decided to muck on. So I took and dyed the other 2/3 with the same mixture only with the rest of the leftover vermillion mixed in. I kept that in the dye for another 15 minutes. I still didn't think I liked the colors until after they dried and I fell in love with them. It is the prettiest bittersweet colorway. The grey & beige in the original yarn became lovely variegations over the 2 shades of burnt orange. My only regret is not making the skein long enough so the 2 orange shades could be actual stripes. I will be doing this yarn again for sure after I get in more of the On-Line next week. Some I will use for a trade and the rest I will keep. Of course I don't feel the pictures do this yarn justice. I am just going to have to invest in better lighting if I want these pictures to represent the real thing.

I am also progressing on the Aran Cardigan. I am finding that doing 2 sleeves at once on Magic Loop gets easier as you go along. I am above the elbow now with the sleeves and figure at this pace to be able to connect the sleeves to the body sometime during this next week. And then I might actually think to take current pictures. For some reason those sleeves have been camera shy and stay hidden in my knitting basket every time I get out the camera.

My DH has gotten completely over his vertigo issues and has progressed on to having a end of winter head cold. He doesn't seem to have caught a very bad case of it, having no real sore throat, head or body aches. But his runny nose is up to snuff!!!!OK bad pun but it fits. I am sure glad that he has plenty of time to get over this before his surgery in just 10 more days. And I am making him keep his distance cause I sure don't want to share even a mild cold with him.

DH also made a wild decision to at least look into moving to northern Alabama instead of southern Tennessee. The price of gas is so high that either he would pay a fortune for gas to drive to work or give up driving and retire(not my choice of options). The advantage of Tennessee was the retirement income tax breaks but Alabama is not that bad for taxes and the savings from not using so much gas should easily offset that. So now a whole new bunch of houses are available to look at and I am going to get started on that tonight. I think we are both getting antsy to make this move and now that the surgery looms so near, we can start gearing up again. And this makes a perfect place for me to make my exit for the week. So I will leave you with a pic of Lexi enjoying Audry II. Of course I was wanting to actually knit on her at that particular time. But you know is all about them!!