Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I've been fabric shopping -- or at least trying to -- twice so far this week, but the selection was pretty dismal. I was helping my friend pick out fabric for her next couple of quilts and since fat quarters are on sale again, I wanted to find some more light browns for the spool quilt, and some really dark browns for the Irish chain I'm suddenly planning, and some reds for the red scrap quilt... I didn't find much.

And the yarn selection was worse! Michael's has SWS on sale for $1.50 a skein. I was sure they'd be out of that, but they were out of EVERYTHING! Joann's was just as bad, and even Walmart, who didn't have anything on sale, was the most picked over I've ever seen it. Hopefully it means they'll be bringing in something new and wonderful, but I'm not holding my breath.

I did get some great backing fabric at Joann's for $1.50 a yard. One is a kind of odd blue and brown vine pattern, but I think it'll be perfect for that blue bargello quilt I just finished. Janet gave me a basting gun for Christmas, so I think I'll use some of that polyester batting my sister handed down to me and try doing another quilt on my machine. Translation -- I want an excuse to play with my new toy and I'm not giving up rare longarm time for that quilt!

Thanks for the feedback on it, which I really appreciated. It definitely helps to have another set of eyes.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Since I haven't picked up my knitting needles in I don't know how long, I guess it's safe to list my end-of-the-year project totals for 2008 -- my first successful adult sweater, three shawls, four cowls/scarves, four hats, four pairs of mittens, five pairs of adult socks (four in fingering weight one in worsted), five pairs of toddler socks, six bags, six sweaters for the kids, six bookmarks, two washrags, a lobster, a miniature knitting bag, a baby sweater, and a pair of slippers.

That adds up to fifty-one knitting projects, a much higher number than I expected since I spent so much of this year not knitting.

I also pieced eight quit tops, most within the past couple of months, and quilted four of them.

I'm not even ready to guess at what I'll knit next year. I'd have to cheat nad look at my sidebar or Ravelry page to list what's on my needles now. But I do have some definite plans for my quilts.

I'll get to them tomorrow.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wow, this thing went together fast! I thought I might be able to finish before the end of 2008 if I really worked at it, but the whole thing went together in two short early mornings.

Blue Bargello

Try to ignore the little boy in the background -- this is the only shot I managed where one wasn't running in front of the quilt!

All of the quilters around me have been wanting to try a bargello quilt -- everyone but me. Then I saw the Scrappy Bargello pattern at Quiltville and fell in love with the quilt at the top of the page and started pulling out fabric.

There was a lot of blue and a little bit of green in the first bag I grabbed, so I wound up with a blue quilt. Not much of this was planned out, except for the dark blue -- and that's the color I don't like in the finished quilt! If I was doing it again, I'd add more dark strips or leave them out entirely. One of the lighter fabrics has a cream background and those strips kept jumping out at me every time I got the dark blue positioned the way I wanted it.

I'm considering this quilt a near miss. It came out better than I expected considering my total lack of planning, but if it wasn't for those two or three dark and cream fabrics, I think I'd absolutely love it.

I definitely have to make a huge scrappy one like the one in the top picture!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

There will be lots more pictures here since I got TWO digital cameras for Christmas, one from my husband and one from my parents. Of course I'm only keeping the one Bill bought, because it's is the one he bought and I'd already opened it up and started figuring out how to use it before I got the second one.

It's itty-bitty. That was my biggest criteria for a camera, that it be small enough to carry around in my purse. And inexpensive enough that Bill won't divorce me if something happens to it. The old camera killed itself, but I was always too worried about it getting lost or stolen from the stroller to take it with us. And the new cameras he wants have price tags that make me cringe. Not that I don't want him to buy one, I just don't plan on ever touching it.

The weather did clear up enough for the family to drive down on Christmas day. Grandma brought this lovely gal, which was my real present.

The other present, which I'd asked her to slap a bow onto because I didn't want to hear Bill gripe about it, not that he's serious or that I pay much attention, was her latest thrift store find. By weight, I'm guessing that box has seventy five yards of quilting cotton in it, and most of it looks like quilt shop stuff. And it's all in colors that I would've picked out myself...and seventy-five yards of it?!

I'm going to have some serious fun figuring out what to do with that windfall.

For the past week I've been dying to quilt, but I had too much other stuff to get done and the family kept undoing it all faster than I could catch up. I didn't even have anything good on my knitting needles to distract myself with.

Friday night, I found a pattern online, dug some scraps out of the sewing room, and started cutting. A hundred and twenty eight strips sounded like a lot, but Saturday I cut a little more and by then I had all that I needed.

This morning, I got up at five-thirty and started sewing. Even taking time for a shower and breakfast and helping the kids get ready, I had half of the quilt pieced before it was time to leave for church. I got more done at nape time, and probably could've finished the whole top if I hadn't decided to take a break and play online.

I'm not sure I like the way the dark fabrics are falling, but maybe once I get the fourth panel done, I can shift them around and come up with something better. Or not. It's a quickie scrap quilt and I'm not going to stress about it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm so glad I got Grandma's scrappy log cabin quilt done before Christmas instead of making the sane choice and giving her the one I made for myself. It feels good that I made one just for her. Well that, and I'm a selfish brat who didn't want to give up my own quilt.

Hers is the one on the left, the one that's quilted and bound and ready to be wrapped in pretty paper. After wrestling to quilt it on my machine, I think I'll wait for a chance to do mine on the long arm. I don't have batting for it here at the house. If I did, I bet I'd suddenly feel up for another wrestling match.

Have I mentioned how pleased with these quilts I am? I love that there are two of them.

I had a moment of absolute panic this afternoon when I decided to throw in the towel and make a couple of chicken blocks instead of cleaning house for company that isn't going to come. The magazine with the pattern wasn't next to my sewing machine. It wasn't in the dining room, wasn't in the stacks of magazines and patterns I'd moved up to the real sewing room, didn't seem to be anywhere at all...

A couple of hours later, after the frantic search had resulted in a very tidy dining room, I found it in a basket in the kitchen. And I still haven't started a block because after digging out my stack of pretty red and black chickeny prints, I decided that I should probably pre-wash them instead of gambling that they won't run.

Quinn's mouse mittens went out to play in the snow and had a trip through the washing machine before I got a chance to take pictures. So they're a bit misshapen, but it's so adorable to watch the little guys play with them. Did you know that mouse mittens eat people?

Monday, December 22, 2008

"The tree has Christmas in it!"

Except for Leif, Christmas spirit is in short supply around this house. I had plans. We were going to see Santa....and to see the lights because I absolutely had to hear Leif's reaction to street after street of Christmas houses....and to bake cookies with Grandma...And the weather has been so uncooperative that I don't even think the grandparents and great-grandparents are going to make it down to see us on Christmas day.

My shopping was done in three mad dashes, one of them on icy roads I had no business driving on, but by the time I realized how bad it was I'd already driven fifty miles and was so close to my destination that I wasn't going home empty-handed. So I do have presents for my kids and husband, and a ton of candy and little goodies for the stockings. Hopefully I have enough paper.

The frustrating part (and the part I probably shouldn't complain too much about!) is that the roads here are absolutely fine. We had some snow this morning which didn't last for long, and a little dusting within the past hour or so, but nothing that would keep me from leaving the house. It's the places I want to go to that are all snowed and iced in. And we're the ones who live in the foothills.

I spent a couple of hours yesterday sorting through my little dining room sewing corner and hauling stuff out to the real sewing room. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't actually getting rid of anything, that it's all just a few feet further away and that I could bring it all back as soon as company has come and gone. That was when I still thought company was coming.

Hopefully I did a careful enough job that I'll be able to find what I put up there. I did finally stumble across the dinosaur quilt top which has been missing since Thanksgiving. For no reason I can imagine, it was folded up in my knitting basket, which I had to sort through after I got up to answer the phone and the little guys upended my full glass of diet Coke into it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Only 82 more strips to sew together and the blocks for the Christmas Log Cabin will be done! I can probably manage that tonight and get the blocks assembled tomorrow morning. Having that top together will be a huge relief. If the weather will warm up enough that I can pick up backing and batting later this week, I'll be even happier.

Mom's present is done. After changing my mind about the slippers, I couldn't get excited enough about the cowl, so I decided to do socks. The pattern for the Traveler socks I wanted to make wouldn't download, so I wound up doing a pair of worsted weight Horcrux socks. I really do like that pattern.

And I've still got at least two more bookmarks to knit. I just printed out a bunch of new patterns from Ravelry. At least a couple of them have to be exciting enough for me to cast on tonight.

After those log cabin blocks are done.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I don't think I have enough scraps

I found exactly what I needed to distract myself with today -- Quiltville! The link I originally followed was to the Leaders and Enders article, and then I wandered from there to the Scrap User's System.

I didn't even get to look at the free patterns on the sidebar, but I don't think I have enough scraps to make all of the quilts I fell in love with on that site!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

It's that time of year when something in my brain suddenly flips from "It's still too early to shop/knit for Christmas" to "Time is running out! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!"

I've spent a week or so in deep denial, but now it's time to make an actual list and get to work. Not that I'll stick to my list, but at least having one would be good. I think.

So here goes:

1) the log cabin quilt

I've decided that Grandma needs a log cabin quilt. I'm too selfish to give away the one I made for myself, which means piecing another top. So far I've got thirteen of the thirty-five blocks done.

2) something for mom

I was going to make her the Aran Isle Slippers from the Holiday IK. I bought yarn to make those slippers. Then I read the pattern. I'm not going to even think about picking up that many stitches, not after struggling with the cuffs of the Ribby Slipper Socks.

So I need a new plan. I've got lots of ideas and yarn, but I keep changing my mind.

3) bookmarks

I'd like to make bookmarks for the children's librarians, but I'm not positive how many of them there are. I think I need five.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

For a while there, it felt like I was doing nothing but quilting. Now the pendulum has swung the other direction and I'm knitting non-stop.

My Life is Uneven Cowl is done, but I can't find it right now to take a picture. There's really not much to take a picture of -- mine looks like the one in the pattern picture, except it's a spicy orange color and I don't look as cute wearing it. But it was a fun knit, once I got used to the big needles and yarn. I did the math -- there are less stitches in the whole cowl than in one of those bookmarks I've been knitting.


The Ribby Slipper Socks (Interweave Knits Holiday 2008) I made as a Christmas gift are done and completely underwhelming. The pictures in the magazine are cute, and the slippers look okay when they're on a human foot, but the heel and toe construction are just less refined than I'd expect from an IK pattern. I'd planned on making pairs for my kids, but I think I'm going to experiment with a short row heel and different toe.


And the Snowman Mittens are done -- these, I love! I used up the rest of the white acrylic I'd scounged for the bones of the turkey hat and, if a migraine hadn't derailed my progress, probably could have had the pair done in one long evening. For something that looks so neat, it's really just stockinette and seed stitch, with a couple of cable twists to shape the snowmen. The colors in the picture are weird, but my first try was orange. How does white yarn photograph as ORANGE? (I know, probably something to do with the background fabric and the fact that I really need a new camera.

The designer also has a free pattern for a toddler sweater called Waffles for Brunch. I want to dig up some yarn and swatch to see if I can make that one for Quinn or Leif.

The snowman mittens came out too big for Quinn, but fit Alex nicely. So now I'm halfway through a pair of Mouse Mittens for him. And I've got to take a serious look at my Christmas knitting to figure out what I actually plan to do and how long it's going to take.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I finished a pair of slippers last night that look fine on human feet but really stupid just lying there. Which makes me have second thoughts about using them as a gift. Can you just see me on Christmas Day -- "Put them on, they really look better than that!" or "Close you eyes and hold your feet still while I unwrap this and put it on you!"

Haven't tried it yet, but I hope that stuffing them with crumpled newspaper and give them some shape in the package.

Now that the slippers are done, I'm working on my Life is Uneven Cowl. That pattern calls for size 17 needles which I don't have, so I'm using 15s. It really is like knitting on broomsticks. But I'm loving the color of the yarn and the squooshy garter stitch and thinking maybe it would make a great vest. When I'm not fighting the broomsticks and glad I didn't get a skein in another color to make that other cowl pattern I found.

I'm fickle. I know it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A couple of days before Thanksgiving, Alex went through the newspaper and cut out every turkey she could find and made a HUGE collage to take to my parents for Thanksgiving dinner. I wish I could capture her enthusiasm in words. The girl was absolutely giddy about her project, which started out on three sheets of construction paper and then doubled in size again. I think she used every bit of glue and tape she could get her hands on.


And because I'm just as nuts as my eleven-year-old, I decided to knit her a turkey hat. I cast on at 5:00 Wednesday night when I dropped her off for karate and really tried to get it done in time for dinner Thanksgiving afternoon. I was one leg short. Alex worked on it in the back seat on the way to Mom and Dad's ("Mom, were you knitting really really tight? Is it going to make a difference that I don't knit that tight? Is this what you mean when you say something is fiddly....") but I still couldn't get that last bit of bone done in time for dinner.

Alex's enthusiasm for the newsprint turkeys? That's how I feel about cowls this week. Even though I still haven't worn the one I knit for myself last year, I'm printing out patterns and adding them to my Ravelry queue and dreaming of casting on.

There's the Life is Uneven Cowl. I didn't have any Thick and Quick left in my stash and didn't really want to go out and buy a skein, but it was three bucks at the Michael's Black Friday Sale and "spice" is an absolutely gorgeous color. I wish it came in Wool-Ease and I could make myself a sweater.

That's just the latest in a growing list of the things. There's the smoke ring pattern I ordered from Elann a couple of years ago and never worked up the nerve to cast on...and I've still got the mohair and beads for Ice Queen...and yarn set aside for a Wavy Lace Wimple, and the Mobius Cowl, if I can ever manage to do that cast on again.

Elann has two new cowls in their free patterns section -- Bird's Nest Smoke Ring and Silken Smoke. And they've got a pattern for Drooping Elm Socks, which are toe up and have a ruffle and I must knit NOW.

And I also stumbled across the new issue of Knotions, which has an amazing pair of lace knee-highs and a an equally wonderful pair of cabled mittens. I think the socks are beyond me, but I've got perfect yarn for those Magic Mirror Mittens...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Yarn

For the first time in I don't know how long, I went Black Friday shopping with only one small child in tow! Quinn had a doctor's appointment at 11am, so I had to bring him along. He was a little trooper and happily accepted bribes of chips and a milkshake and his choice of a toy from the Dollar Tree. (That was after the poor little guy, who'd been begging for a firetruck all morning long, finally found a cheap Hot Wheels one and I found out that the line to pay for it was going to take at least an hour.)

I got the two biggest items I was hoping for, and a raincheck for the third. Oh, and a whole bunch of Paton's Stretch Sock and Paton's Kroy stripes for $2.62 a skein. My math was off, so I didn't realize that with the 25% off purchase coupon, the Wool-Ease was only $1.64 or I would've bought more of that.

There's a lot more I'd like to ramble on about, but I've been up since 3am and my body is threatening to shut down with or without my agreement.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I made more bookmarks!

Both are knitted with Brown Sheep Cotton Fine on size 2 needles, and both patterns are from the Monthly Bookmark KAL. The pink one is the Shetland Lace bookmark, and the green one is the Leaf on Leaf bookmark.

I love the way this yarn works up and wish I'd bought more single skeins while we were at the outlet store. But I did get enough for a shawl and three scarves, so I guess I shouldn't sulk because I want to make bookmarks in more pretty colors.

I also finished another quilt top – which is good, but I’m going to go broke buying batting and backing for all of these!


The dinosaur blocks are pages from a cloth book panel I found at Walmart two years ago. I bought it with the intention of making it into a quilt for Heath, bought some fabric to go with it, and set the whole thing aside until I had time to actually put it together.

I knew I wanted to mix pieced blocks with the pages and kept coming up with different ideas, but nothing clicked well enough for me to start cutting. Then I talked my friend through her log cabin quilt and saw how fast that went together. I decided to see if I had enough dino fabrics to make it work. But I was sure I didn’t, so I never looked.

I pulled out the fabric on Saturday afternoon and there were actually three lights and three darks. I pieced all of the blocks in one sitting, then added spacer strips to the pages and put the top together last night.

I’m shocked at the results – doesn’t it almost look like I knew what I was doing when I bought the fabric and put it together?! One of the corners is off by at least a half inch because I made a mistake when I was squaring up the blocks (which are rectangles, because I didn’t get the spacer strips quite right), but it’s a baby quilt. Even if I did have enough fabric to make another block, I’m not sure if I would.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, Bill ordered the fancy new mixer he's been wanting. The plan is to start baking most of our bread, and since the mixer got here, we've been baking more than we've bought. And grinding our own grain to make the whole wheat flour. It's all very fun and intimidating.

I handle the cleanup, not the baking, because the fancy new mixer scares me. I'm either going to break it or lose a hand. But I did finally work up the courage to mix a batch of play-dough for the little guys. It's by far the best batch I've made in my entire mommying career.

All four kids have been playing with it for the past two days. They've tried to spin pizzas. Alex made a long snake and used it to successfully jump rope. Quinn and Leif have made tacos and boats and a series of other sculptures that all look exactly the same.

I'm now the world's biggest fan of home-made play dough.

And after a lot of staring at yarn and needles and making up excuses to avoid starting the lace pattern on my new cardigan, I finally knit something --

It's the November 15 pattern from the Monthly Bookmark Yahoo group. There's supposed to be a tassel, but I want to use the rest of this yarn to make socks for the boys and if I didn't have enough because I'd embellished a bookmark, I'd kick myself.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

There's a stomach bug in the house, so I kept the kids home from church today and pulled out the quilt I didn't get to work on Saturday night. My tentative deadline for the show and tell quilts turned out to be two weeks off, so I only have three more days left to see how much I can get done.

Earlier this week, I spent a late night transforming the rail fence quilt from 225 loose blocks to an assembled quilt top. It took forever, but the results were worth it.


If I pushed myself over the next three days, I thought I could also have get the log cabin quilt done and ready to show off. Five blocks a day was do-able, even if it didn't sound fun.

So this morning I plugged in the sewing machine and the iron and lost myself in the whir of the sewing machine and the zip of the rotary cutter and the growing combinations of narrow scraps. By dinner time, I had finished all of the blocks I needed for the entire quilt. And a couple more, because I've decided to make another one just like it for a Christmas gift.


I wish I could do that every time I quilt, losing track of how many pieces I've put together already and how many more there are to go and how many more hours that's going to take.... It felt so good to just sew. Now and then I'd break to play with the kids, or fix a snack, or refill my diet Coke, and I'd realize I was well past my goal for the day. Then I'd decide to do a few more strips. It was fun. I may do more later, after the kids are in bed.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Earlier this afternoon, I finished piecing the last of the 225 rail fence blocks. Now I've just got to assemble them into an actual quilt top. That sounds more intimidating than making them all in the first place, but after laying most of them out yesterday to see how many more squares I needed and what colors I wanted them to be, I'm in love.

I saw a picture of an old scrappy rail fence quilt in one of my quilting magazines that made my heart go pitty pat, but there wasn't a pattern and I forgot about it until I found a similar quilt in a book Mom had loaned me. She needed the book back, so I wrote down the number and size of the rectangles that I needed. By the time I started cutting, I couldn't remember what the other two quilts had looked like. Not that it would've helped since I'm sure my fabric stash doesn't match what was in a hundred year old scrap bag.

This whole thing has been a leap of faith. The more pieces I cut and stitched, the more doubts kept creeping in. I didn't know if I was wasting perfectly decent fabric.

I'm almost as excited about the scrappy log cabin squares. Which is what I did with the rest of my afternoon.

And I got an email from Elann that the first two Barbara Walker Treasuries are back in stock. So I spent my $50 whatever their freuqent buyer thing is called and they're on their way. I've been checking them out from the library over and over and over -- I definitely need my own copies.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My house has been taken over by knitting and quilting this week.

Sunday, one friend was calling me about a too-good-to-be-true yarn clearance sale and another was calling me about the quilt she was working on. Between the two of them, the phone rang at least every half hour. Sometimes they both called at the same time. The clearance markdowns turned out to be a false rumor, but I send that friend off with a Knitpicks catalog so she'll be able to get wool almost as inexpensive as the sale yarn would have been, with a much better range of colors. The other friend got her quilt finished. And I'm sure I must've accomplished something.

Yesterday, I got up hours before the kids and managed to play with three of my scrap quilts. And knit. Alex found the pieces for a quilt we'd cut out well over a year ago and, in a flurry of 12 year old activity, she got the top pieced. It needs borders.

So today we went to Joann's to buy her some fabric. I'd planned on staying home, but the diaper supply was critical and Joann's is sorta almost next to Costco. We now have everything except for bread. They moved the bread and the diapers and after looping through the entire store three times I decided that we can do without bread. The new mixer came yesterday and Bill is going to bake some anyway.

I looked for fabric to back the Dot to Dot quilt, but if they had anything perfect, I missed it. The little guys weren't as fascinated by the choice of red or yellow or blue as Alex and I were, so by the time we got that decided, it was time to pay for our goodies and bolt for the door. I did buy myself the IK Holiday issue and the new Vogue Knitting, which saves me the stop I was going to make tomorrow. Unless I manage to find the sewing bag pattern I'm looking for. Then I'll be back to buy the novelty print I fell in love with.

I've challenged myself to see how many new quilt tops I can have finished before Mom gets back from Arizona and we get together to play show and tell. Dot to Dot was the first one. The cat quilt will not be done by then. Don't ask when the cat quilt will be done, or if I've been working on it.

Scrappy Squares

15 of 25 or 42 blocks finished

Try to picture white sashing between the blocks. This is the one that calls for two thousand and some two inch squares. I've only got three hundred or so more to cut and I'm thinking of making the quilt smaller than the 80 1/2 x 92 1/2 the pattern calls for. So I've got fifteen blocks done out of either twenty-five or forty-two or something in between.

Sparkling Gems

16 of 42 blocks finished

After I finished and laid out the first eight blocks, I was ready to ditch the whole project. Now I'm at sixteen blocks (out of forty-two) and back in love.

Rail Fence

40 of 225 blocks finished

Log Cabin

1 of 35 blocks finished

And there's the dinosaur quilt (maybe another 20 blocks)... and the spool quilt (147 blocks)...and the cats...

I've got 26 days to go. Maybe a few more or less.

And Christmas knitting.

This is fun!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Lately, I've felt more like knitting and quilting than I've felt like writing about knitting and quilting. Which isn't a bad thing -- I'm getting things actually done! -- but when I finally do sit down to try and type, I've got too many things going on to cram into one post. The camera situation doesn't help. I've been fighting the thing for months until finally, on the last trip, it thew its worst tantrum to date. I turned around in my seat to see if Leif was sleeping and saw something red flashing in the depths of my tote bag. There weren't any toys or tennis shoes or anything else that should've been lighting up in there, so I reached back to investigate and the stupid camera (which was turned off) was HOT.

I still take pictures, but I put in the batteries, take the pictures fast, and immediately pull them back out. Which is a huge pain.

Eventually we'll get a camera that actually works, but for now pictures are going to come in spurts and only when I've got something that excites me enough to fight with the batteries.

I've been knitting. The lobster is done and he's not as cute as the one in the pattern photos, but I like him better than I thought I would. I'll take some pictures of him later.

I finally got around to starting the shark hat again, this time knitting from the teeth up to the tail because I was sick of redoing the tail and fin and hoping that the rest would somehow work out once I got that far. It's actually working this time!

And I'm plodding away on Alex's tank top. It should fit this time. If the kid doesn't grow too much between now and spring.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Cat Patterns

Someone found my blog by searching for "scrappy cat quilts" and that seemed like such a good idea I had to go take a look myself and see what the rest of the results were.

I didn't realize how many patterns for cat quilts there are out there -- and how many of them are free online! There's a list at Cats and People Who Quilt and a different one at Free Quilt Patterns. Some of the links are dead, because that's the way the world works, but there are some really cute ones still available.

I adore "Cat and Her Favorites" and "Dress" at Kitten's Mitten.They're both way beyond my technical skills, but I've got both patterns downloaded for someday.

Monday, October 27, 2008



I absolutely can't wait until April to quilt this on the longarm. I'm not sure I have the nerve to try freemotion quilting it on my machine, but I've got such a perfect image of the quilting design I want to use, and I know the perfect backing is out there somewhere. I've just got to do some shopping.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Felting this bag was way too stressful.


The base and handles lost all stitch definition before the body even started to felt. The stupid Whirlpool Cabrio throws in spin cycles whenever it feels like it (I think it's trying to balance the load) and I wound up with those permanent creases I'd read so many warnings about. Then the hot water ran out along with the last of my patience.

I threw it in the washer again the next day and it came out better than I'd hoped for. The sides are a little lopsided, but I think that's probably a blocking problem that I can fix if I ever find anything the right size to block it around.

I'm going to take a break from felting for a while. After the double dumpling disaster, I don't have the nerves for it.

The yarn I used for the embroidery felted more than the yarn I used for the bag itself, so it pulled in the middle and left it shaped more like a peanut than a dumpling.

I wound up taking a seam ripper to the embroidery and prying it loose from the rest of the bag. It took two hours to pick every bit of green fluff out, but after felting it a bit more, I did wind up with the pretty bag I would've had if I'd gone with my first instinct and left off the vine.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I don't know when to stop.

I’ve been working on the scrappy cat quilt off and on for months. At first, I hoped I might be able to scrounge up enough similar but different dark florals for sixteen blocks. Then it looked like I’d be able to get twenty, maybe twenty four…


I kept digging through my stash and finding more fabrics, then Mom contributed a few of her scraps, then I found a great estate sale. Whoever that woman was, she’d stashed exactly the fabric I need for my cats and it’s no longer a question of whether I’ll be able to find enough different fabrics, it’s a matter of when to stop.

Yesterday, I laid out the blocks I had finished and compared them to the big bag of fabric scraps that might be cats in hiding. The plan was to pick enough fabrics to make a total of 36 blocks (would make the quilt 66x81). But I kept finding great ones I don’t want to leave out and now I’m thinking maybe I should make 42 blocks (which would make the quilt 77x81)…

I thought I was making a little throw for the couch, not something to fit a bed! The crazy part is that I don’t particularly enjoy making these blocks, but I’m in love with the idea of them.

I’d be perfectly happy with a bed-sized quilt – I’m just not sure I want to piece all of those cats. And I’m afraid that the second I call it done and quilt it, I’ll wish I’d made it bigger. It doesn’t help that somewhere in my sewing room are another six cats I cut and then misplaced. I was keeping the pieces separate between the pages of a notebook, so the odds are high that the kids took off with the book and they’re gone forever. I’ve finally given up on those.

This whole project has me feeling weirdly compelled. I never look at my quilts as future heirlooms, but I see grandbabies snuggled under this one. And in that silly daydream, it’s a bed quilt…

For now, I’ve set aside enough dark florals to bring my total up to 42 blocks and I’ll cut out the pieces before putting them back in with the rest of my stash. Then I’ll see how many I actually feel like piecing. I won’t be able to use Mom’s longarm until April anyway, so I’ve got time to wait and see.

And now that I’ve figured out how much to set aside for the cats, I can use the rest of my wonderful darks to start a scrappy spool quilt. Which is what I really really want to make right now. I also want to start another cat quilt.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yesterday afternoon Bill took a nap, the kids wanted to play outside while it was still sunny, and in that short stretch of time, I got more done than I would've imagined possible.

The last muslin squares for the dot to dot quilt are cut and the dots are fused in place. Now I've got to do the buttonhole stitch, which I can work on while the kids are doing schoolwork or we're watching tv in the evenings.

I finished the top stitching on the candy skull bag I started with Alex and a friend a couple of weeks ago --

It wasn't the best project for the two girls to start on, and my own bag didn't come as nicely as I'd hoped it would. I bought this fabric a while back and always meant to use it for a bag, but now that it's done I'm wishing I'd saved it for a better project.

I also got the pieces of the lobster together, except for the claws. Having him look more like a lobster makes me feel a little more inspired to cast on for those.

After the kids were in bed, I finished Alex's new cardigan.


Pattern: Fresh Picked Color 3/4 Sleeve Cardigan (a Lion Brand freebie)
Yarn: Vanna's Choice Solid (3 skeins)
Needles: Denise 10

I read the pattern and reread the pattern and was sure I knew what I was doing -- and totally forgot the shaping at the tops of the sleeves until I'd joined them to the body and knit ten or fifteen more rows. It took an entire evening to frog back to the point where the pieces joined and get them separated and then get them back on the needles and ladder up the stitches that had dropped too far down and I came within an inch of tossing the whole thing.

A disaster at a time I'm getting better at fixing these things.

Next project to tackle is the French Market Bag. I'm almost ready to start dividing it for the handles.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What's on my needles

I didn't realize I had so many WIPs going, then I got a good look at my sidebar and my Ravelry page. Yikes! There's been so much going on lately that I completely lost track of what I had set aside.

Then I started looking for needles to cast on a few new projects and had to figure out why there weren't any. Weird thing is that most of these aren't using the needles I'm looking for. They must be in the bottom of an abandoned knitting bag somewhere.

So, in an effort to actually figure out what I was knitting before the rest of my life got in the way, here's a current list of WIPs with progress reports --

Fresh Picked Color Cardigan

I thought this one was in an endless black hole, but as of last night the bottom section is finally long enough and I've only got ten more rows on the second sleeve. Then it's on to the yoke and I'll finally have a Denise cable free to start my own cardigan -- hooray!

French Market Bag

After the instant gratification of the Dumpling Bags, this thing is taking forever and ever and ever...


Mine is nowhere near as cute as the one in the pattern pictures. But he's done except for his claws, so I might as well finish him.

Alex's Tank

I've already almost finished this project once, but it was too small so I started over and then I cut my hand and had to put it aside and now it's too cold for tank tops even if I do finish the thing.

Shark Bite Hat

I've got an idea for starting over from the teeth up, but not the time or enthusiasm.

Noviembre Socks

Were going just fine until I cut my hand. I really should finish them.

Casablanca KAL

I was doing great until the clues started to get really long and I didn't think I could keep up, so I didn't try too hard. I should get it out and try to figure out what clue I left off on.

Mystic Waters

Got set aside before a trip and forgotten after we got home.

B&B Pullover

I'm sure it's around here someplace.

Alterknits Wrap

Got shuffled up to the sewing room. I think the pattern is actually with it this time.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dot to Dot

Have I mentioned that I love the new quilt?


The pattern is Dot to Dot (Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting, January/February 2007). I don't remember seeing it when I first got the magazine, but it leaped out at me when I was flipping through some back issues a couple of months ago. I've become just a little obsessed with finding patterns that will use up the scrap bags but won't leave me with a dozen quilts that all look the same.

The big dots really show off some gorgeous prints I like but wouldn't want to base an entire quilt on. I decided to do the blanket stitch by hand instead of machine, expecting it to take forever, but the whole thing is going together fast.

I didn't have enough muslin to cut all of the dot blocks at once, so I've got sixteen or so of those to go, then it's ready to be assembled.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I finally got a big chunk of time to myself. Translation -- I was up until 2am, first playing with the new quilt and then adding a few rows to a cardigan for Alex. When I did finally make myself go to bed, my mind was still racing so I didn't actually fall asleep until several hours later. Leif, who fell asleep really early last night, crawled up onto me at about seven to tell me he loved me.

I'm running on maybe three hours of sleep and not much caffeine -- yet -- and can't wait to pull out the sewing machine and piece more blocks.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I'm happily drowning in yarn and fabric and ideas, which I haven't had time to blog about. I've got a couple dozen different projects I want to be working on and it seems like every time I turn around, I find more things to add to the list. Which is fine with me. Some will get done and some will never get started, and I'll have a lot of fun planning them in my head.

Oh, and I'm no longer sulking about the Simply Soft.

Last Friday I went up to Salem to help a friend with a quilting project. Which means I spent the evening telling her "I'd go ahead and leave it, but every other quilter in the world would probably tell you to rip it out." At least when I tell her she should redo something, she takes me seriously. Despite my hopeless attitude toward quilting accuracy, her log cabin came out gorgeous.

And since I was up there anyway, we stopped at the one Walmart I didn't have time to hit when I was looking for Simply Soft. That store had plenty of it marked down, but not the colors I was pining for. They called the store in Dallas (hey, it's only another fifteen miles each way) and they had six skeins of one of the colors and would hold them for me.

They didn't actually hold the yarn, but when I got there, they had plenty -- including the colors they said they were out of. I'm not going to complain about that. If they have to get rid of my favorite yarn, at least I got to pick up a bunch of it on clearance. I have enough Simply Soft to last a long, long time.

Grandma found me two more huge bags of quilting scraps at the thrift store and this afternoon I went through them both and pulled out everything that didn't fit even my loose definition of quilting cotton. I saved the solid colors and some wool and the rest is in a huge bag that I need to find a home for. Tomorrow I think I'm going to try to tackle the rest of the scrap bags.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I think I lost a monkey or two.


The pattern for Alex's quilt called for five little applique monkeys, but I got sick of them and didn't make that many. I'm sure I made at least three... but when I unfolded the top on Tuesday afternoon to get it ready for quilting, there were only two little monkeys.

Oh well. I'm not doing more of them. I just want this quilt to be done. It has issues. I made spectacular mistakes with the cutting. I used the wrong presser foot so my seams weren't 1/4 inch and the blocks didn't go together right. I quilted it yesterday when all I really wanted was to finish fast so we could go get some lunch and the thread kept breaking, so I'd lose track of where I was and which way I was looping, and Leif would grab onto my leg...

I hate it less now that it's quilted, but I'm never going to love this quilt. I do need to stay motivated enough to find the fabric I bought for the binding, because Alex wants it done NOW. She's only been waiting, um, eighteen months for me to finally finish it.

After the quilt was off the machine and we'd had lunch, we headed to Walmart so I could buy four skeins of Caron Simply Soft to cast on for a February Ladies Sweater. I've got some in my stash, but I really wanted to use one of those wonderful dark colors I fell in love with a few months ago -- and there wasn't more than a skein or two of each color. They're phasing it out.

I dragged the kids to three different stores, complaining about it the whole way, and never did find one of the colors I had my heart set on. I got a few other skeins to use for sweaters for the baby boys because one store had it marked down to $1.50 a skein, but I'm really annoyed about this.

Simply Soft is my favorite box store yarn, especially for sweaters for the kids. I could fall in love with a pattern and have the yarn in my hands fifteen minutes later -- if it was grocery shopping day.

The next closest place I know of that carries it is Michaels, fifty miles from home. If they still have it. I haven't had the heart to call and check.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm giddy.

I've been this way for two days now, all excited about the opportunity to play with yarn and fabric, which hasn't actually happened yet, but it's going to. Soon. Maybe within the next hour, if I'm not so totally wiped out by nap time that I crawl into bed myself.

We're back from our trip, the one that got cancelled and rescheduled so many times I spent my summer not knowing if I was coming or going or leaving tomorrow. The trip was great -- in ten days we drove through parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho...oh, yeah, and back into Oregon.

Brown Sheep is in Nebraska. I've been suggesting a detour in that direction for a couple of years now and my wonderful husband, the same one who usually won't stop at Joann's so I can pick up a skein of yarn, drove through three states so I could shop for yarn. And didn't bat at eye at the two huge bags Alex and I walked out of there with -- although he did ask which kid I was going to leave behind to make room for them.

So now in addition to all of the stuff I was excited about casting on when we got back, I've got enough Cotton Fleece for three tops, wool for a French Market Bag, and a bunch of Cotton Fine and some sock yarn. And I'm not sure what else -- it was hard to shop and keep Leif from running off and helping Alex pick out her own yarn at the same time. Not everything I meant to buy made it into my bag, and since I haven't had a chance to go through it yet, I don't know what all came home with me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lately I'm finding more and more new patterns I want to buy. The trick is going to be walking that fine line between "I'll wait to order until I'm ready to start knitting the project" and "I'll die if this becomes unavailable before I order it." I'm not sure which category that alligator scarf fell into, but I've bought the pattern and knit the project, so I don't need to worry about that one anymore.

Today I found a pattern for a knit jackalope. We spend a lot of time traveling in the southwest, so my kiddos know all about jackalopes and would probably love to have one. Not that I plan on sharing.

I love the Kelso Lace Cardigan and Spring Vines is just plain gorgeous. I'm not sure what yarn would do that pattern justice and is within my budget. But I'm keeping my eyes open.

Flora is such a pretty little wisp of lace, and the pattern is only four bucks and calls for one skein of Shadow. I could handle that -- especially since I already have the yarn.

Cat Mittens and Fisherman's Friend both make my heart go pitty pat, but I'm not going to let myself buy more patterns for colorwork mittens until I finish some of the ones I've already got planned.

Monday, September 08, 2008

This really is an illness

I spent the past two afternoons fighting the layered squares quilt, which was an absolute bear to assemble. After lots of struggling and whining and grabbing for the seam ripper, I've finally got the top together.


The pattern calls for a wide border, but this quilt needs to hide for a while before I decide whether I've got the necessary enthusiasm to buy it pretty fabric. Right now, I don't like it enough to spend extra money on it. I'm tempted to just quilt the thing and bind it and call it done the way it is.

My biggest problem was that the squares are laid out in horizontal rows. The piecing is done in diagonal rows and I couldn't wrap my head around the whole thing. Towards the end, the layout was getting easier and I started to think that this quilt might look really nice in some bright florals and that if I used post-its and note paper and numbered the blocks...

I'm trying to talk myself out of it.


And, speaking of illness, I felted the second Dumpling Bag yesterday after putting away the quilt for the day. This one is in Paton's SWS, which is prettier than the yarn I used for the first one, but that pink stripe is too bright for me to love. I think the Paint Box will be better, but I can't remember which safe place I hid it in.

So I cast on for a double dumpling with some purple wool that spent its previous life as a thrift store sweater.

There would be pictures, but the camera is throwing its worst tantrum to date. I'm afraid the blog may be photoless for a while. (edited to add the pictures I took after more camera-fighting)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

How much fabric?!

Earlier this week, I saw something in one of my quilt magazines about how many yards of fabric and spools of thread the members of their editorial staff had stashed. They estimated that three yards of fabric weighs a pound so, with an actual formula for figuring out how what that mountain of oddly shaped scraps in the sewing room adds up to, I called my mom and double-dog-dared her to take an inventory of her own stash while I was doing mine.

She wasn't nearly as excited as I was. I think her tentative agreement was mostly to shut me up for the moment. But that's okay. We both know she's got a whole lot of fabric.

What I didn't realize was how much fabric I've accumulated. I'm not done weighing and adding yet and the total is already more than triple what I thought was a high guess.

This is kind of exciting. I keep finding patterns for neat scrap quilts, and it looks like I've enough fabric to keep making them. This is exciting!

After the kid were in bed last night, I started cutting fabric for the new quilt. I really wanted to make this one, even though the construction scares me to death.

It's not assembled in blocks. You're supposed to lay the whole thing out on a design wall and sew it together a piece at a time.

I'm sure that works just fine for people who have design walls that aren't part of a sloping ceiling and can keep their sewing machine next to those design walls. I don't fit that criteria.

But I want this quilt, so I laid out the fabric on the flannel side of an old table cloth and as soon as the kiddos are in bed, I'm going to start piecing. Hopefully I can get it all together before something scary happens.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I pulled out fabric for the new quilt this morning and while I've got more than enough pinks and blues, I'd really like a few more yellow prints. And maybe another green or two. I like the yellows I did come up with, I'm just not sure there's enough of them to balance out the blues and pinks. And I'm not willing to give up any of those.


I think I'm just ready to jump on any excuse to go fabric shopping.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Forget the five inch squares for now, because this pattern is screaming to me louder --

I know I've got the right fabrics up in the sewing room, but dh has the shop keys in the pants he wore to work, which means I've been locked away from my fabric all day. I could've spent those hours getting the house absolutely spotless so I'd have nothing to do tomorrow but sort through my stash for the perfect blue and pink and yellow and green prints, but that's not how my life works.

I did tackle the housework, but I also spent some time finishing this guy --


I desperately wanted to knit an alligator scarf, but was worried about those ridges down his back. How did they do that? I was picturing complex short rows or something equally stressful. And then there were those wonderful eyes. How could those possibly work?

The little ridges and eyes are easy. I had to redo the nostrils a couple of times, which was a problem with the knitter, not the pattern.

After my struggles with the shark hat, I need a couple of projects where I can just follow the pattern as written and not fight with it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I can't go quilting at church without wanting to buy fabric on the way home. Today, it was a yard and a half of black cotton I suddenly had to have. But Joann's would have been a 60 mile detour and I forgot about the itty-bitty quilt shop between the church and the house so, although it was less about self control and more about not having the time to drive that far, I didn't actually buy any fabric.

After seeing someone else's finished quilt, I'm dying to make my own version of the scrap quilt the group is working on. It's a pattern I've seen before -- I think it's called "Exquisite," but I'm having no luck with a Google search to verify that. Too many people are using the word to describe their quilts. And while I'm sure they're all absolutely lovely, it's keeping me from finding what I want!

Now I'm going to go finish the dishes and start cutting five inch squares. Because if I have the squares done, I'll really need to go buy the black fabric.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The bead store didn't have lucite rings. I'm not convinced that the lady there even listened to my question, because she steered me toward jump rings and said that was the only thing they had. So I went to the craft store and found some little metal rings that I hoped would do the same job. Then I went home and got to work felting the bag and dying it with Black Cherry Kool Aid.


I love this little bag! It's the perfect size for my wallet, phone, and keys, and doesn't gape completely open to spill everything out. Keep in mind that I've been carrying diapers for most of the past 11 years and cute little purses are a totally unrealistic fantasy at this point in my life. But I do plan to knit another one as soon as I figure out what yarn to use.

StandsWSicks has one on Ravelry that's done in Knit One Crochet Too Paint Box. I've got some single balls of that in my stash...maybe I could stripe them?

And llamalady has made a "double dumpling" that's more of a shoulder bag. That would even hold diapers!


This shark hat has been driving me nuts. There's an error at the very beginning of the patter nthat brought me to a screeching halt about five minutes after casting on. I got that figured out, but once I got about halfway through the dorsal fin my shark's tail didn't look right so I ripped out the whole thing and started over. This time, I got almost to the teeth before deciding that the body is still too short and fat. He needs more plain rows between the tail increases and before the dorsal fin and between the last fin decreases and the ribbing...knitting this pattern as written definitely won't give you a shark shaped like the one in the pattern pictures.

I looked at the other shark hats on Ravelry -- should've done that before casting on! It's not just me. All of the shark hats there have modifications.

So do I start over a third time, or do I just move on to the teeth? Because I'm not sure how that part is going to work out, either.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Show and Tell Friday

Show and Tell

It's been a long time since I've played Show and Tell Friday, but I'm so excited about today's new treasure that I've got to share.


Mom has this book that Great Grandma passed down to her. It's an absolutely massive thing, about a thousand pages divided into sections about medicine, and homemaking, and how to take care of the cows and chickens and the most obscure, fascinating stuff you could imagine, published in 1916. The spine was gone and the poor thing was falling apart until Mom took it and had it rebound.

I was always fascinated by that book but even though I could have looked carefully through it, it always felt too fragile to touch. So I didn't. I've never seen another book like it, not that I've been on a great quest for one. There could be dozens of them sitting on shelves in every antique store around.

I found this one at a garage sale today, sitting on someone's driveway beside a table of Danielle Steel paperbacks. As soon as I saw what it was, I scooped it up and started to figure out how much I could justify spending on it. I got it for a quarter. The sign said that books were twenty-five cents each, and that's what the lady charged me.


Considering its age and the fact that apparently no-one wanted it, it's in great shape. I can't wait to curl up with it and read how to treat hydrophobia and properly store fresh eggs!

The garage sales were good today. I found a huge bunch of black floral fabric (hopefully enough to finish and back the kitty cat quilt), an old blue Nancy Drew book I don't think I already have, and some decent yarn.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

If I had two 3 centimeter Lucite rings and a packet of cherry Kool Aid, I'd finish my Dumpling Bag tonight. But we live in the middle of nowhere, so I have to wait until I'm up in town tomorrow to buy the little rings and the grocery store near the house is out of red drink mix. I really want to get this thing assembled and felted and dyed a different color!


When I cast on the night before last, I didn't expect to have it knit up before I left the house again, but it's a fast project. I'm using the same mystery wool I used for the Firefighter Hat, since it felted so well and came out such a nice shade of red.

These little projects are piling up quickly. I finished two more dishcloths, got the I-cord for the little froggy bag's mouth done and in place (he wasn't feeling photogenic today, so you'll have to imagine how he came out), and made a hat for Alex with yarn and a pattern that have been drifting around my sewing corner for at least a month now.

The Knit Dishcloth Dress is a pattern I'd printed out and completely forgotten about. I used short rows to shape the neckline in an effort to avoid rejoining yarn and weaving in extra ends.

The Pinwheel Dishcloth was easier than it first looked, if I don't admit that I couldn't figure out how to knit the fourth triangle to the first one. Mine is seamed.


Alex saw a picture of Pretty in Pink Ribbons over my shoulder when I found the pattern on Ravelry and liked it. She's up with Grandma and Grandpa for a couple of days and hasn't seen it yet -- hopefully she'll agree that it came out cute!

My hand is feeling a lot better. It seems like knitting (as long as it's not seed stitch with dishcloth cotton) loosens it up, and I can go for longer stretches each day. So I'm a much happier knitter this week!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

There's a radio ad playing lately that says something about making lemonade with free lemon slices and sugar packets. In my case, I'm using leftover bits of acrylic and suddenly feeling better about my knitting than I've felt in weeks. These little fiddly projects are distracting me from the fact that I can't knit for long stretches. So now I'm going through my Ravelry queue and looking for more of them.

The Sideways Short Row Watch Cap has been hovering near the top of my Ravelry queue for a couple of months. I thought it would be a good way to use up the leftover Bernat Camouflage from Heath's ugly raglan, but never got quite motivated enough to cast on.


Quinn promptly decided it was for him and insisted on wearing it to the grocery store because if he didn't, the wind would get in his hair. It was a fun little project and left me with a couple of ideas I want to try on my next short row hat.


I'd printed out a pattern for a Frog Bag ages ago because it's so silly and cute and I've got little kids to knit for. One of those projects I thought I might knit someday but wasn't actually planning to start because of those fiddly little arms and legs and eyes.

I love those little froggie legs and the way that a couple of "knit 3 togethers" make them bend just right!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My camera is having fits today and this is the only picture I could manage, but it proves I managed something last night --

(edited to add a better picture)

Pattern: Miniature Kniting Bag Ornaments

I used some Vanna's Choice left over from Leif's cabled sweater, and made the skeins with some old needlepoint wool that I had in my stash. It was quick and fun and left me feeling a lot better about my knitting.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I've got too much yarn to quit knitting, but I may have to learn a new way to hold my fingers around the needle. It still hurts when I bend my fingers. Not nearly as badly as it hurt the last time I posted, but I still can't knit for any decent length of time without feeling it.

Which probably explains why I'm getting so antsy in the evenings. I don't know what to do with myself if I can't knit!

I've managed a few more rounds on the Noviembre socks and got to within an hour or so of finishing Alex's new tank top before trying it on her and realizing that it's just a little too tight and a little too short. I was tempted to finish it just for the sake of finally finishing SOMETHING other than the fluffy red scarf, but I ripped the whole thing out this afternoon.

It was cute. I liked the texture of the yarn and the shaping and I had a whole skein of the yarn left over, more than enough to reknit it with a couple more inches of ease and make it longer.

I'd feel better about this if I was going to be able to actually get the knitting done anytime soon.

Maybe if I cast on something little and fiddly, I won't notice that I have to put it down and rest my hand every few minutes. I just went through my Ravelry queue and found some possibilities. The Miniature Knitting Bag Ornament pattern looks pretty cute!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The break will be good for my hands -- that's what I tell myself when life keeps me from knitting for a while.

Well, this last break was not good for my hands. On the second day of dh's vacation, I was doing dishes and the big glass mixing bowl slipped out of my hands. I closed my fingers around it at the same time as it hit the edge of the sink, with the exact result you'd expect from grabbing at a big shard of broken glass.

The doctor says I didn't cut anything vital and that any bits of glass still in there are so tiny they'll work themselves out. I was due for a tetanus booster anyway.

Another person who shall remain nameless (the who can expose a vein in his finger and still finish gutting a deer in the driveway before doing anything about it) tells me I'm a sniveler and that my little cut wasn't nearly bad enough to require medical attention, but it hurt a lot more than it seemed like it should, the throbbing was getting steadily worse, and we were were up in town and I was becoming more convinced by the second that I'd done real damage to my hand. I can handle natural childbirth. I can handle migraines. I cannot handle icky squeamish stuff.

When I did finally pick up my knitting a week later, it was bad. I could manage two eleven stitch rows before my stupid finger (which isn't even doing anything, it's just bending along with the rest of my fingers) forced me to stop. It's gotten better, but I don't know when I'm going to be able to knit normally again. And my arm is still throbbing where they gave me the tetanus shot, although that might be from sleeping on it wrong or hauling around toddlers or one of the other stupid things that frequently make me hurt.

Did I mention how not happy I am about this whole thing?

I am happy that the Alligator Scarf from Morehouse Merino is available as a pattern now. I think I waited a whole three minutes between finding that out and placing my order.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Alex has a new treasure and I've got a new challenge.


We went to an estate sale this afternoon and while I was trying to figure out why anyone would have boxes and boxes of Young Miss from 1983, Alex came running up to tell me "Daddy said to tell you there's fabric back there!" I got distracted by a box with knitting magazines in it and she dashed back to beat me to whatever good fabric there might be.

By that time, I'd found two old copies of Burda and a couple of Japanese knitting magazines for a dime each and wasn't thinking about fabric.

I probably wouldn't have picked up Alex's find because I don't look for finished knitting at estate sales. I want to knit my things myself. She came running up with a round shawl, totally in love and wanting to know if she could buy it.

I know a hand knit shawl is worth a whole lot more than $3.50. But I wasn't paying attention to the shawl itself, Alex didn't have that much money, and my first impression was that it had big holes in it. I told her she could ask if they'd take less money since it was damaged and she bought it for fifty cents.

She wants me to fix it. And, now that I've taken a good look, I realize it's worth fixing, if I can pull it off. I'm sure I can at least stabilize it and keep the holes from getting any bigger, but I'd like to do a better job than that.

Someone had odd taste in magazines and incredible lace knitting skills.

Monday, July 14, 2008

This afternoon, I got my second batch of quilted postcards for the Quilters Knitting Group over on Ravelry done and drove them down to the post office. Now my fingers are crossed that they get safely where they're supposed to go.

I'm seriously loving these quilted postcard swaps!

They cost next to nothing -- the only thing I've spent money on for these two swaps is stamps. It looks like I'll need to buy fabric to do what I've got in mind for the Fall swap, but that's only because I want the exact right colors.

Making the cards doesn't take a whole lot of time. I haven't actually timed myself and done the math, but it's taken less (a lot less) than an hour to finish each card. And the couple of evenings I did spend were divided between a bunch of different people, so even though I didn't get cards from a couple of the quilters I sent to last time, I don't feel like I got cheated. Maybe their cards got eaten by the post office, or maybe they were never sent. Since I didn't hear from either after letting them know I didn't get their cards, I've got my suspicions, but life happens.

And the cards that I did receive are fantastic.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I sunburned the backs of my knees today. How the heck did I manage that?! I burn easily. But I don't think I've managed that particular trick before.

The kids don't have sunburns. Which makes me feel better about my own.

We spent most of the day roaming the Sisters Quilt Show with my mom and a couple of friends. It didn't seem as hot as last year. There were a lot less people than usual. And there didn't seem to be as many quilts.

I did get a bunch of new ideas, but I'm too tired to remember any of them right now...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I feel like a bit of an imposter being so excited about this KAL, since I've never seen the movie. It's on the DVR, though, waiting for me to have some time. I wasn't sure about the first two clues, but the third one hooked me and now I'm dying to see what comes next.


Monday, June 30, 2008

Fancy Fulness

Yup, I'm still giddy about my pink lace. I absolutely love this shawl! The pattern, the yarn, the needles -- it all worked together just right.


The pattern was relatively easy to keep track of. With the wide edging and whatever that pretty pattern in the middle is (at first I thought the chart looked like hearts, but now I don't see those at all), it was quickly obvious if my stitches weren't lining up the way they should.

The wide border is gorgeous and I have a feeling I may use it again on something else.


Knitpicks Shadow is my absolute favorite lace weight yarn. I'm sure I spent more on the diet Coke I drank while knitting this than on the yarn. It took just a couple of yards from the second skein to finish the last rows.

I definitely need more Harmony circulars.


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