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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The rest of the Story

I decided to leave the knitting out of my last post. So you get treated to 2 posts today!! Yeah-I bet you are excited.

The Duck Soup sweater is completely knit. But the closures are still an issue so it is a bit in hibernation-still. And the little one I was going to give it to's birthday has come and gone. So it may be given to the goodwill or some other organization who can put it to good use.

New on the needles is the February Ladies Sweater. It is one of the most active projects now on Ravelry. It is knit neck down in worsted. I chose Nashua Creative Focus in a soft lilac color. Right now I am finished with the garter stitch yoke and well into the lace section of the body. The yarn, although nice, is not that great in this project. The loosely plied wool and alpaca is just too soft for the design. But the further I get into the sweater, the more I know it will still be a nice garment and will gets lots of wear.

I do have to start thinking a bit about my next project. I probably should start a new pair of socks out of the indigo dyed wool I already have on hand. Trouble is, the other day I found a pair of hand knit socks that I made 2 short years ago are wearing out at the heels. This is my first pair ever to show that kind of wear. And it is the only pair I ever made that did not have the 25% nylon in the mix. And the indigo dyed yarn falls under the 100% wool catagory. I guess I should just go ahead and knit it up and treat them as my really good wool socks that only get worn on special occasions so they will last longer. I will certainly rethink my choice of base yarns from now on and probably always go with a blend.

Gone to the Dogs

Fall is still in it's glory around here. This is a distant picture of the wildlife preserve that I get to walk in Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The other days are open to hunters so if you want to walk back there those days-be my guest!! But I am not taking my chances. This amazing place is adjacent to the property my DSIL & BIL own so it is a constant source of beauty, seen every day out their big dining room windows. This last week they re-cut some more trails thru the meadow section making the forested area more accessible. Now I can walk thru open meadow, shady forest and down to a crystal clear creek. Each and every walk affords me something new to wonder over. Yesterday I was wandering down this shady path and looked up to see this display of bracket fungi hanging on a tree above my reach. These puppies were huge!!
I am fortunate to get to share my walks with a wonderful dog by the name of Daisy. Daisy Duke I call her. And now I get to call her "My Dog"!! I had seriously told my DSIL/BIL that I would take Daisy off their hands at any opportunity. She is perfect for me. Medium sized, used to spending her days outside, fairly well behaved, smart as all get out and loves to walk!! And I believe if she needed to she would defend me with her life but still gentle and loving if she feels no threat. After making this comment several times I was surprised to have DBIL say I could have her. Thinking it was a joke, I said "no-really". And he came back and said-REALLY!! You have more time for her and she is lonely. So as soon as we get a house and make sure there is a safe outdoor place for her she will come to live with us. So now you get to see some pics of my new pup. The first few are how I usually get to see her-in motion!! And then finally after a very long walk-a few of her somewhat still. And for those of you who are very observant, Daisies eyes are 2 different sizes. But the vets say it is completely normal for her and it is made a bit more obvious by the difference in her eye spots. The larger eye is completely surrounded by a big black eye spot and the smaller eye has no eye spot at all.
On to my other baby with eye issues. Ever since our kitty Jack showed up 5 years ago he had an eye that was way to large. No one could give us a reason, and it seemed to stay stable until just recently when it became obvious that it was increasing in size even more and causing constant irritation. It was also endangering the vision in his other eye so it had to come out. What a struggle for me to accept this and decide to put him thru it. But after a few weeks for Jack to adjust to his new surroundings I made a vet appointment and got a second opinion. Of course it was the same so we trusted them to do the surgery. Jack made it thru and is now back at home. He looks pretty awful at this point. He had to be shaved and have some whiskers clipped. Then of course there is swelling and big ole stitches. The collar he has to wear is too large cause he has a big thick neck. We got brave last night and took it off, trimmed it and put it back on so now he can better get to his food and water. He is still on pain meds but we may quit that today since he seems comfortable and calm. The stitches come out in another week and once the fur grows back in I think he will look beautiful. Beautiful to me and that is all that matters.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Our Time so Far

We have been here now 2 whole weeks. And still no house. Oh well-our time will come. At least we have a comfortable roof over our heads, thanks to Ken's sister and husband. And our kitties are adjusting to life on the somewhat confined side. Now that DSIL & BIL have gone back to work we can let our babies out of the bedroom during the day to roam and stretch their legs. Lexi has gotten confident enough to do that a bit, but Jack still won't come any further than the hall door. We have managed to make friends with most of their animals. We walked Daisy the outdoor dog almost everyday and she looks forward to her time with us. The kitties, both upstairs and down, want pets from us at every opportunity. CoCo the large Cockatoo will walk up our arm and sit on our shoulder at dinner but we still aren't brave enough to try and feed her. Most of the little white mop dogs(Maltese, for those who want to think of them as something other than mops) think we are a poor substitute for their masters but put up with us. Except for Rosebud who I think would love to take my arm off if I get it too close!!

Arriving here in Tennessee smack dab in the middle of a beautiful fall has been truely a gift to us. We have only gotten out on the roads a few times since we have been here but what we are seeing locally has been amazing. The colors of the foliage and the semi-mountainous scenery has been breathtaking at every turn. Even here on their acreage, and adjoining nature preserve has been a showstopper. Many of my walks so far have been out into the preserve, although I do have to watch for hunters who can only be out there on certain days. There is quite a bit of open grass land, some dense forrest and even a nice sized creek with beaver dams every so often. And of course there is plenty of opportunity for gathering materials for natural dyeing purposes. So far I have gathered a basket full of green walnut hulls, a ton of lichen, some mushrooms both ground and bracket, and a good deal of goldenrod. All these will be dried and saved for when I have the time, space and materials to dye with.

There is no shortage of manmade local attractions and we have only begun to see some of those. Here is a picture of the Chattanooga Museum of Art. The building is a combo of an old Mansion and a large, very modern addition. Each section features items appropriate for the building. The mansion side has art and artifacts representative of the age when it housed some of Chatty's founding family. And the modern side houses much more recent artistic endeavors. We enjoyed an exhibit where they gave artists, whose style tended to be realistic, 5 unrelated items to incorporate into peices of art. Most artists submitted more than 1 peice. It was amazing to see the diversity of their work and how they envisioned these items and incorporated them into the work. Reminded me of some of the quilting challenges our guild had done, in none of them were remotely alike except for the 5 items they had to use.
On the needles-The Duck Soup jacket I was working on is done for the most part. Still no pictures. The I-cord frogs that I was supposed to make for the closures are not working out. The pattern suggests using any yarn to make them, from fingering on up to worsted. I used worsted first and the frogs were way to large in scale and hard to work with. I used a heavy fingering and they were way to small. I have no Sport or DK right now so I will have to rethink the closure area. It is too late to add buttonholes but it is possible to use buttons and maybe do I cord loops for the buttonholes. I shelved the project for a day or 2 to think about it. I still like the pattern and just need to work out the kinks.
I just today started my February Ladies Sweater from Ravelry. I am using Nashua Creative Focus yarn and I hope that I like the slight fuzzyness that comes with it. It should prove to be a fast knit and a useful wardrobe staple. I love that it is knit from the top down. The underarm join seems to work out much better for me when I knit top down, rather than bottom up. I promise in progress pictures on this one folks. And don't say-Yeah Right!!
Tomorrow we travel back to middle Tennessee to meet with a new realtor and to see some more promising houses that have come up in the last week. So cross your fingers. We sure would like a house before we wear out our welcome here. Although I think the fact that I cook dinner every night and the animals love us so much may make the honeymoon last a bit longer!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Great Escape

Or-The Tale of Briar Rabbit and how she rescued the 2 Hairy Houdini's!!
We had planned this move for months. And especially any details that were involving our kitties, Jack and Lexi. I researched on-line and found the best harnesses and made them start wearing them months in advance. I got tags made to put on them with our cell phone #, just in case. I even took them out in the yard with the leashes on to get them acclimated to being on a lead. Right before we were due to leave I took them to the vet to have a healthy check up and get sedatives to give them for the road.
So on the morning we were leaving we got up very early and right away gave them their "sleepy" pills. A bit later we stuck them in their kennels and secured them into the car. I was not impressed at how well the sleepy medicine had worked but I figured maybe it just needed more time to kick in.
They seemed to settle in fairly well for the first 45 minutes or so. But a bit of rowdyness kicked in right about Oklahoma City. I thought it was doubtful that they had used the litter box since the night before, so I wondered if they just needed to be able to "potty" before they finally quieted down.
So I let Ken know we needed to stop for the cats. He picked the only rest stop in Oklahoma with bathrooms-Thank Goodness. It was about 15 miles east of Shawnee on Interstate 40.
We stopped and since Lexi was closest to the car door she was chosen to be let out first. I reached into her carrier, snapped on the leash and put her out on the ground next to her travelling box. She freaked, ignored the box and headed for the grass. But even then she wild and showed no interest in her bladder at all. So I handed her to Ken and went back for Jack. This is where things start to go down hill........
First of all I could not get the lease snapped on Jack's harness easily like I had for Lexi. But finally I got it on and tried to pull him out of his carrier. He absolutely spazzed and on the way out managing to scratch me across the outer eyebrow on the left and also my left thumb. But as soon as we got him out he laid on the ground and seemed fairly calm. Meanwhile I am pouring blood out of the eyebrow wound. So Ken tells me to go wash up and he will hold the cats. So I hand over the leash and head up to the restrooms. I didn't take long but when I got back to Ken, he was in possession of fairly calm Jack and just a harness and lead that used to be worn by Lexi. The little Houdini had slipped out and had headed for the woods at the back of the rest area. Ken throws Jack back in his carrier in the car and runs to help me catch Lexi. At first she acts like she will come to us easily but at the last second she runs again into the wooded area. Now at this point it is barely light outside and we could not see the chainlink fence separating the woods from the rest stop. When we realized it was there we thought-wonderful-she would have to be somewhere along the fence. But the little skinny thing slipped right thru into the thicket. Meanwhile Ken sees a streak out the corner of his eye and yells-There she is!! I look way to my right and the streak I see does not seem black enough. It takes about a second for it to click that it is not Lexi-but JACK!! Ken had not zipped up Jack's soft sided carrier nearly well enough. AND left the car door open!! So now Jack is also on the loose and has slipped thru the fence as well. The fence that is 7 foot high, with barbed wire along the top and many NO Tresspassing signs along the top.
Well-For about 45 minutes we walk up and down the fence line calling for our missing furbabies. We took their jar of evening treats and shook them which normally would have brought them running. We started talking about how long we could keep this up before we would have to give up and go on. Our hearts were breaking and it was all we both could do to keep from breaking down and bawling. But we kept up the fence vigil hoping they would both finally give up and come back to us.
We both kept thinking, if we could just get thru the fence we might have more success. I finally spyed a place where the barbed wire didn't stick up above the chain link. And the fence post seemed good and strong. So in flip-flops I climbed the fence. Remember I told you it was a good 6-7 feet high. I got to the top and swung my first leg over. I quickly got stabbed in the thigh by the barbed wire. I dug the barb out of my thigh and put that leg back. Then tried going the other way with the other leg. Same thing-stuck. I ripped a big hole in my brand new pants. But eventually I got both legs over and had to just jump to the ground. My 54 year old body didn't care for that much at all. But I was over, better get to the search and not focus on my booboos.
I was at the Jack end of the fence so I called and called for him to no avail. He was the one still wearing his lease and harness so I looked for flashes of red in the underbrush. Nothing. I kept carefully working my way back, futher and further from the fence. Then I ended up crossing a dry stream bed, then another, then another. I kept calling and then listening for anything that sounded like kitty. It seemed like forever and by this time I was more at the Lexi end of the woods. I called out and miraculously I heard her crying. She was above me on a rock outcropping and with just a little bit of coaxing, she ran to me. I stuffed her into my hoodie jacket and ran back to the fence. She never budged or tried to jump free. At this point Ken does not know I am behind the fence. He is still out front calling for the kitties. With the kennels. So I called for him to quick bring me a cage. He follows my voice, throws the cage over, I scoop her up and throw her in. I hand her back over the fence and Ken takes her to the car and this time makes sure the car door is shut. He comes back to the fence and tells me that he found a place to get thru, under the fence.
So now we both are in the woods, calling for Jack. It was a long while before I finally think I hear a tiny kitty voice. But a darned noisy crow kept making a similar sound so I had my doubts that I had really heard Jack. Ken headed my way and I told him to keep quiet cause I might have heard our boy. Again we did hear him and between the 2 of us we triangulated and closed in on our little houdini. Ken found him first and kept him til I could get there and scoop him up. But just when I was trying to put him in the kennel he got away again. But by then he must have been getting tired out and I was able to get ahold of him by stepping on his trailing leash. We just stuffed him in the kennel and headed for the place in the fence where we could get back out. Now my husband spent 20 years in the army and had to negotiate many obstacle courses, and simulated battles. So this place he found didn't seem skinny to him but beleive me he had to suck in his breath to skim under this fence. I just held my breath, closed my eyes and went under. It was then and only then that I looked down at my legs and saw all the damage I had suffered from the briars, osage orange trees and prickly underbrush. Plus I was covered with mud and sweat. I could only clean up a bit in the restroom before we hit the road. We of course had no antiseptic with us so hopefully my strong immune system will help me heal up in no time. It is a bit painful and my clothes keep sticking to some of the worst scratches. The gouges on my upper thighs are pretty deep and those came from the fence, so I am glad my tetenus shot is up to date.
The rest of the trip the kitties stayed pretty quiet. Until about 30 miles outside of Chattanooga when Lexi came back to life big time. As long as she was in her kennel I could live with the noise. Since arriving they have been closed into our bedroom and have mostly stayed under the bed. They did get up and sleep with us last night. I know they are still spooked by the smell of all the other animals in the house, the dogs barking, the birds talking and there many kitties moving about. But slowly they are coming back to life and I am sure they will be fine. Well until the other relatives show up on Tuesday!!

Movin' On

Finally-A real Sold Sign!!
This the truck once we got there
Sister & Brother-in-law's House where we will be staying awhile
Gorgeous Morning Sky!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

So They Loaded up the Truck, and moved to Tennessee

Hills-That is. Swimmin Pools, Movie Stars....... Yes, I am hearing the theme song to the Beverly Hillbillies in my head. I am imagining us as the Beverly Hillbillies in reverse. It has alot to do with the picture in my mind of our truck once it gets loaded tonight for the trip. We have 6 of these huge wardrobe boxes packed full that will sit in the bed of the truck. They will tower way over the top of the little tiny cab of our Ford Ranger pick-up. Once the boxes are all on Ken is going to use a ton of strapping tape to anchor it all together. Then he is going to throw a tarp over all of that and strap it down. To bad we will be doing all this tonight and leaving well before dawn tomorrow morning or I could get a picture of this amazing feat of crazyness. I have to tell you that I am glad to be driving my own vehicle cause I am just sure that that tarp will flap somewhere and the noise will drive him crazy. The 2 cats in their carriers will be a peice of cake compared to that. Of course I went and got good drugs for them at the vet!!

Speaking of kitties. Got some kind of bad news from the vet this week about Jack, our older, positive for Feline Aids and Leukemia, born with bad eye but the most sweet and loving cat ever, kitty. His bad eye has to go. And it has to go soon or it will start affecting his vision in his good eye. Seems he can't close his eyelid completely anymore and he is getting bad corneal abrasions. And the fact that the globe is enlarging proves increased orbital pressure is present. So as soon as we get to Chattanooga we have to find a vet specialist and get his eye taken care of. Well at least he will look a little less spooky to the rest of the world.

On the Needles-

Mismatched Stripes is done being knit. Now on to seaming and weaving in ends. Many many ends. Millions of ends. Higher than the national debt number of ends to weave in. But I did mention that it was knit, right??

Duck Soup-quick and simple gift for a sweet little girl turning 1, who is allergic to everything. So it is being knit in cheap acrylic. But it is turning out cute and I hope it will suit her well. I already have plans on how to make it easier next time I knit this pattern. I will start the top of the hood just like toe up socks. I will do Turkish cast on and knit around to the starting point once. But instead of going around and around in a circle I will knit back so I have a closed end at one end but not at the other. Hard to explain but ingenious to execute. So much easier than having to graft the stitches together when done.

So for now I will take my leave and next posting should be from Tennessee. With pictures hopefully!! Love me