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.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Off to the Beach!!

I thought I would just pop in for a moment and visit before I hop on the plane and jet across the country. Bring you all up to date on the exciting life I live here in Oklahoma-yeah right!!

The flooring is all done thru out the entire house. It looks very very nice although I would hate to be the one living here with the light carpet. But they say that is what everybody wants so that is what we went with. The tile I do like. It does show dirt but it is easy to sweep and mop and keep looking nice. I have had to spend a bit on time down on my hands and knees sealing the grout but it should help keep it looking nicer in the long run. So far we have not had a lot of buyers come to look at the house which makes me sad. So I am asking everybody to send a few good vibes are way so the house will sell fast. Just remember all my crafty stuff is already in Tennessee and it is going to be hell if I have to be apart from it for too long. Oh-and it would be nice to actually have some furniture!!

I have gotten a little knitting done this week. Last week I took a day and did some yarn dyeing with the Jacquard dyes. I did 3 very nice little skeins for Audry II and for the first time I dyed an entire 100g skein to make a pair of socks. I hemmed and hawed about the colors and style I would use and in the end I just started throwing the color on that I had leftover from dyeing the mini skeins. I threw the skein into a disposable aluminum foil pan and visually divided the skein into thirds. I used a nice chocolate for one third, green for another and medium blue for the third. But I had never dyed a big thick skein before and underestimated how much dye it would take. So I ended up with lots of white still showing. And no more mixed up dye in those 3 colors. So what to do, what to do...So I started grabbing colors that were already mixed up and similar to those 3. On the white spots in the brown section I threw on some burgandy, on the green I threw on chartruese and on the blue I threw on some dark teal and some much lighter blue. And I squished, and I squished until it seemed like all the yarn was dyed. But I lifted the yarn out of the pan and saw a bit more white showing underneath. So I squished some more since I was really out of dye at that point. By this time I figured I was just going to have mud but what could I do? Eventually I got rid of all the white I could see, stuck it in a microwave steamer bag and stuck it in the microwave. I zapped it long enough to set the color and hoped for the best. After a rinse and dry session it really didn't look to bad. The 3 main color sections didn't overmix to badly and although there were still a few really almost naked spots they were very short sections and I figured they would blend in. I twisted it up into a nice skein and thought-pretty nice!! But of course I had to reskein and get a better pic. That made it even nicer. I was pretty excited and pleased. Well then I just was dying to know how it would knit up so I grabbed needles and set forth to find out. 3 days later I had a very nice sock that is quite pleasing to the eye. The main colors kind of spiral in stripes around the sock with the secondary colors giving it a little excitement. I really expected the sock to appear more brown or blue since that is what showed the most as it was being dyed and skeined. But knit up they are much more of a green to my eye which is fine. I have no real green socks in my drawer. And these are the first for me to be knitted toe-up with short row toes and heels. I thought what the heck-give it a try and guess what-I like!!! The fit is just perfect for my heel, much better than a gusset heel flap sock. This first sock I tried several different ways to do short rows and both could stand some improvement but they are wearable. I tried a third way to do short rows when I started sock #2 and that is going to be my method from now on. I found that Japanese short rows work best for me and is a very easy method in my opinion. I will post more about that in the future since this was supposed to be a short post today!!

Is it possible that Audry II has stopped talking to me?? I have not knit but 2 squares on her in the last week. She is packed to go to North Carolina tho so maybe I will be able to hear her better in the peace and quiet of the beach!! I am sure she will look awesome wrapped around the 2 most beautiful granddaughters in the entire world. And I plan on dragging her along to a few yarn shops to be showed off and admired.

I hope everyone who reads this(all 3 or so of you!!) has as great of a next 2 weeks as I will. You will get to see plenty of posts, plenty of pics and plenty of bragging as I journal this awesome adventure in grandma land. So as I leave to double check the luggage one last time, you all get back to your knitting and I will see you later..

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A few Projects

As you can see some of us are still getting alot of rest!! Next time I need surgery I want to convalesce for 6 weeks. Ken did see the doctor last week and everything is fine but he still didn't completely remove his lifting restrictions. He can lift anything under 10 lbs and apparently even his fingers are over 10lbs. Get it? He isn't lifting a finger around the house??? Actually that is not completely true but what good is a husband if a wife can't poke fun at him once in awhile.
This of course is the reason why I have not blogged much lately. Once this sign is in your yard you are obligated to keep the entire house clean enough to eat off every surface. And most of you know from your own experience of being a crafter that we are not very tidy people and usually don't give a flip what you think of our housekeeping skills. We would much rather you drool over our sweaters, socks and quilts then to admire how shiny our tile is, or how clean the rugs are today. But in order to sell a house that has a lot of built in downfalls such as paneling and ugly kitchen cabinets, you just have to keep it looking "first date" quality. So now every weekend we pick a big project and put our all into it. This last weekend Ken stripped the wall paper off the dining room walls and texturized and painted. I chose to spend my weekend in the kitchen with our horrible cabinets. I washed them, oh heck, I scrubbed them with wood cleaner, then used scratch cover on the entire surface of each one. I then went back and used a wood refurbisher to bring back some of the lost luster. That meant going up and down a ladder about 20 times an hour. By Sunday my legs and back were aching and would barely hold me up. So I finally had to say "Good Enough" and let it go. And I want to go on record as saying-If the guys who built are cabinets call themselves carpenters than may GOD strike them down!!!!

I have made just a little time for the fiber in my life. That just has to happen or I lose all sense of reality. No really..I start to hallucinate and babble in tongues if I am away from yarn for too long. But I pick and choose my projects carefully in these lean times to get the most out of the time I have. So this week I decided I needed to finish up the socks I am knitting for a friend. These are my very first toe up socks so I am doubly proud of the finished project. I struggled a bit with the new techniques on my first sock and if you look close there are a few very tiny differences on the 2nd where I tried something a bit different. But now I need to make a new pair right away to reinforce the new skills I have picked up. But these will go out in the mail shortly to their new feet and I am sure she will love them and never notice my flaws. The pattern is Firestarters from Yarnissima made in Plymouth "Happy Feet". I am not so in love with the yarn and won't buy again. The red bled like crazy in the blocking wash and I can only hope they are done bleeding now or my friend will have some crazy red feet. But it is soft and lofty yarn so it knits up quickly when you are in a hurry.

Now usually if I have not blogged in 3 weeks I would have another 100 squares of Audry to show you. But this time I have only gotten about 2/3 of that amount. I have just had to slow down a bit to do other things. I am so close to being done that I would love to just push thru and be finished but it will happen and hopefully soon. Just not at this time. But I have gotten some yarn dyeing in. Just bits here and there but what I have done has been exciting and ground breaking for me. Because you ask?? Cause I did the dyeing with natural dyes right out of my own backyard. I kept reading on Ravelry about others who did their dyeing with the natural materials and I thought what the heck. 2 of the most mentioned dyes came from marigolds and Hollyhocks both of which were blooming nicely in my garden. And black hollyhocks seemed to be a favorite of many a dyer which I just happen to have. So I read up a bit, went and picked my materials and got started. My first attempt ended up being the marigolds. I ended up using a "sun tea" kind of method where I stuffed a quart canning jar with the marigolds, poured boiling water over and put it in the back window of my car for a few days. Several sources said I should need about 1/4 lb of flowers to dye the amount of wool I had and I was a bit short of that. So finally out of impatience I went ahead and strained the liquour off and set out to dye the wool I had. I had to pre-mordant the fiber with Alum & Cream of Tartar which took about an hour. Then I let the fiber cool just a little and threw it in to the pot of warming dye liquid. It immediately turned a brilliant yellow!! It seems I had way more than enough dye to do the job. So I grabbed another 100g of mordanted fiber and threw it in. It came out just a tad bit less yellow but even more gorgeous. I actually still had some dye in the pot but chose to throw it out since there was no more fiber ready to dye!! After washing, rinsing and drying it is just beautiful. All 150g of sock weight of it!! Next was the black hollyhock. I put it through the same process but only dyed about 25g. With a premordant of Alum/Cream of Tartar and a post wash with ammonia it came out a gorgeous sagey green. I am going to try the black hollyhock again in the next day or so with a premordant of only the alum to see the difference. Black HH is supposed to be one that has many varieties of dye depending on the mordant and post wash process. I have had some failures tho. I read that dandelion roots gave a great magenta-well not mine!! There was no color at all. Maybe cause I stole the dandelions from the neighbors yard? Or I have cursed them so much over the years that the dandelion fairies wou;dn't smile on me? I don't know but I have moved on. Petunias were funny things. When I first put them into the boiling water I got the most lovely teal-from pink petunias!! But later the liquour was pink and when dyed it was just a pale yellow. Such much work and I could have gotten that from the leftover marigold dye!! Tomato leaves were supposed to do blue according to one website-not.. But oh well-my tomatoes do need their leaves afterall!! And if it really had done a blue I probably would have had naked tomato plants!! I am not sure what I will do with what I have dyed but the 100g of marigold will be going to a good friend of mine to whom I am paying a visit next week in OKC-so you know who you are!!

In just a little over a week I will be in North Carolina and hugging some beautiful granddaughters to peices. So I am sure my next post will be from there as long as the internet access thing works out to my advantage. There will be lots of knitting time, long walks on the beach and after school time with the girls. Over the weekend we will be going to the Outer Banks area, exact spot to be determined once I am there. And I am sure to get in some good shopping. There are 2 good quilt stores in the town they live in and at least one yarn store about 60 miles away. So everyone take care until I see you again and go get some knitting done-ya hear!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Audry II @ 500!!

I love Dutch Iris. Or as some call it, The Florist Iris. It grows from a bulb instead of a tuber, blooms only once each year and does much better in cut flower bouquets. The bulbs usually only make it a couple of years here in Oklahoma before needing to be replaced. I have not done that in the last few years so I am down to only a few blooming this year. But these beauties surprised me. I looked out one morning and saw them blooming out of the grass, where we had removed a flower bed last fall. I just had to run out and cut them all to bring into the house. At first they were all the gorgeous deep royal blue you see in the background with just the bright yellow just on the falls. The 2nd flower out of the buds a few days later looked completely different!! All the yellow tiger striping appeared out of nowhere!! I don't remember these doing this last year but then again I was working all the time and could have just missed it. I will absolutely be planting alot more of these mysterious Dutch Iris in the future and watching for the magical transformation to happen again.

This was another week with DH home again and stifling my creativity!! He is completely better after the surgery although he still can't completely rotate his neck fully yet. But he is going back to work tomorrow-Yippee!!!! Cartwheels!! Victory Dance!!! I would love to say I am going to get back to yarn dyeing, maximum knitting and lots of good long walks. But alas if we ever hope to get moved the packing must get done. And now we have a deadline to meet. We have a shipper coming on the 12th to take away almost all of the remaining stuff in the house. We will be left with just what we absolutely need to exist for however long it takes to sell the house. So for the next week I have to be a packing fool and the fun stuff will have to be done in wee amounts as I can steal the time during the day. As soon as the movers get the stuff out of here then I have to deal with all the floors in the house being replaced. I guess I just take my lonely wing chair and move it from spot to spot as they work and just stay out of their way!! The real estate agent that we plan on using gave us a list of things that need done to help sell the house. And a lot of it is cosmetic stuff that I also have to do cause DH swears he still can't lift a paint brush!! I have to strip the dining room wallpaper, pull all the ivy that is attached to the outside of the house off, trim the honeysuckle, rub scratch cover over all our woodwork(there is lots) and then use a varnish/sealer, and a few things I am probably forgetting. But does it sound like fun? NO Does it sound like I will get much knitting done? NO Does it sound like we will finally be actually moving? YES YES YES!!

Now for the little bit of knitting I did get done this week. I managed to get both shoulders knit on the aran cardigan but they are going to be ripped back out this week so I can tweak the very start of the saddle just a bit. It is just too wide across the saddle and the angle is too pointy. I spent one evening on each saddle so it is not a huge investment in time to get it right. I have had it on and the body fits amazing, so I want the rest to look as good as possible. I will also have to shorten the sleeves a bit but I have read several tutorials and am confident I can do it easily. Then just prepping the steaks, cutting them and knitting on the buttonband!!

I did start a pair of toe-up socks with some Plymouth "Happy Feet". It is a fuller yarn than I usually knit with so I can work with 60 stitches on size 2's and it is going pretty fast. No pics yet but maybe next week when I am past the first heel.

Now I did manage to keep up pretty well with Audry II. She has now passed the 500 mark. Which means I have used 1000grams of yarn or over 10 pairs of socks worth!!! Oh my-and I am just a tad over half way done!!! But she got to go out visiting again this weekend and got her 500 picture taken in several different locations. By the time she gets to 600 we ought to be in North Carolina, visiting the DGD's and she will get that picture taken there. Maybe at the beach, draped around the beautiful granddaughters, keeping them warm from the chilly ocean breezes!! And last but not least-I got my progressive round robin challenge blocks back. Oh my, they are just lovely. I may not have mentioned that the fabric I sent around was all Civil War repos but I gave everyone freedom to do whatever type of blocks they chose. And they all did choose very well indeed!! I love the way other people can look at your fabric and use it in a way you would have not thought of, or maybe were not brave enought to. There are several blocks where the maker used fabric for the background that I would not have imagined. But now it is going to make this project sing!! I am so sorry I do not have the time to put these blocks together until after we are moved but they are going to the top of my priority list. These pics are ones I have stolen from my DQF's blog. She got to go to the retreat where they officially unveiled everybody's projects and got these pictures there. I have been lazy and have not gotten my blocks back out to take a pic so hopefully she will not be mad that I slurped from her!!! I am pretty sure that I will not be getting back to blogging on a regular schedule any time soon. It is just to crazy with the move and I am not getting alot of anything done that you guys would be interested in. But I will try not to go too long so you all forget me!! Until next time-keep up the knitting. Remember-we must stimulate the economy by buying yarn!!