Sunday, March 31, 2013

weekly stash report

I got fabric for my birthday. And yarn. And fat quarters were on sale for a dollar each... It's been a very fun week.  
 

So far, I'm successfully resisting the lure of that Sasquatch sock yarn from Knitpicks. I'm trying not hard to look at the rest of  their website because they've got some neat colorways on sale. If I did order, it wouldn't get here in time for me to knit it up for the challenge. And by the time the challenge is over, I'm sure I'll be burnt out on sock knitting again... Right?

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 30 1/4 yards
Added this Week: 40 yards
Added Year to Date: 80 1/2 yards
Net Added for 2012: 50 1/4 yards

I got a box of fabric for the baby quilts this week and my darling children seem to have hidden my scale so I guessed wildly. Since I did some wild guessing last year and the year before that, I'm sure it all works out.

I also read a post about figuring out how much fabric you use in a quilt. By her method, I've underestimated my fabric used by a LOT for the past few years. I think I'll keep my own method though, since that way I can compare this year to last year and I'm not comparing apples and oranges.

Yarn Used this Week: 120 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 350 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 300 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 4300 yards
Net Added for 2013: 3950 yards

To see more weekly stash reports, click over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hobo Quilt update

I get giddy over sampler quilts. Not the kind with a dozen twelve inch blocks -- the kind that represent an insane long term committment. If there's a sampler quilt book, I've either got it or I want it.  Not that I've started any of them yet.

Except for the Hobo Quilt.


This may be the messiest, fiddliest project I've got going. It's a mix of applique and piecing and all of the little pieces are odd sizes and different colors so  I wind up cutting each one individually. I'm working from my stash of thrift store shirts and obsessing over every last fabric choice.

And, as crazy as it makes me, I do love it. I want to make the big version of the quilt, which calls for sixty blocks. I didn't realize until I pulled it out today that I've got almost half of them done. Maybe it's time to make some more.



Judy is planning a UFO Parade on April 15, and I'm pulling my UFOs together for my entry.





yarn for the challenge

Here's the proof that my socks are brand new for the challenge. I still think it feels like a ransom demand -- or maybe I'm just watching too much Perry Mason while I'm knitting away on my socks.
 
Knitpicks Dancing, unknown color, knitting 72 stitches on size 0 Clover bamboo dpns.
 
 
To see everyone else's yarn selections, head over to Patchwork Times.

more yarn for the challenge

Knitpicks Sock Garden, Zinnia, knitting 60 stitches on size 2 (maybe) Harmony dpns.
 

To see everyone else's yarn selections, head over to Patchwork Times.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Free Kindle Titles

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about Secondhand Shoes by Shelly Arkon.  I'm still trying to decide whether or not I'll be buying the sequels, but this one definitely kept me reading late into the night. And right now it's free for your Kindle.

Here's the book's description from Amazon --

The shoes didn’t fit. It was an omen.
Eighteen year old psychic-medium-germ-a-phobe Lila should have listened to her ghostly Gram’s advice the morning of her wedding, “Take off that dress and those shoes. And run.”


What We Saw by Ryan Casey, also a free download for the moment, sounds interesting. Here's its description from the Amazon page --

Liam and Adam arrive at their grandparents' caravan site like any pair of young cousins: mischievous and fascinated by mystery and adventure.

But when the disappearance of their dog leads to a terrifying discovery deep in the nearby woods, Liam and Adam are plunged into a very adult world of secrecy and suspicion. As the story twists and turns towards a shocking conclusion, the dark secrets of the seemingly sleepy community begin to unravel...




As always, confirm that the books are still free before you click the yellow button. Prices on Kindle titles change without warning.

pooling sock yarn update

The pooling sock yarn challenge may be a problem for me -- there are about half a dozen other quilty things I intended to be working on today, but sitting in my comfy recliner and knitting endless round of stockinette while watching Perry Mason reruns and waiting to see how the colors will fall is awfully tempting.

Attempt #1 has been a bit of a failure. Or not. Depends on how you look at it. I was SO sure this yarn would pool and flash and do all of the same antics as the other pair I knit from that line. But it behaved just the way I hoped it would when I originally bought the yarn six or seven years ago.

That'd be a good thing if I wasn't trying to knit socks for Judy's challenge.


Then, just after I decided to finish this sock and cast on another pair with one of my other yarn choices, I started to get the results I'd expected --  
 

This is the first pair I knit with that brand of yarn. (It's also the reason I switched to lace socks knit with solid yarn.) The pooling in the picture above is pretty. This one makes my eyes hurt. The yarn is Knitpicks Dancing, no color names on the ball bands, and I'm using size 0 Clover bamboo needles.
 
 
 This morning I cast on with one of the other yarns I pulled from my stash. It's Knitpicks Sock Garden in  Zinnia and yes, it really is that bright. I'm knitting on size 2 (I think) Harmony needles.  The last pair I knit with a different colorway of this yarn, it pooled a bit.  

 
I figure I've got time to knit a pair or two, and I've definitely got yarn in my stash that I think will do something interesting. Either I'll have a pair of socks to enter in the  challenge, or I'll have the pair I was hoping for when I bought the yarn seven years ago.  

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {week 13}

I don't know what went wrong last week!  I set up the linky party the same way I always do, but something went wrong and the links didn't show. When I tried to fix it, I couldn't find the problem. Somewhere, I must have checked the wrong box. - sigh - I tested this week's linky party by adding the two posts that didn't show up last week. It works!

Did you see KaHolly's post about Operation Homefront of Texas and their baby showers? It's from February, but I just found it last week through a link on someone else's blog.  I checked with Operation Homefront, and the baby showers are an ongoing thing.

No baby quilt for me this week. I'm busy working on something I can't show you yet. But I'd love to see what you're all working on!

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules:

Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned, but it's got to be about baby quilts. While we're still gathering steam, you're welcome to link to baby quilt related posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.





Thursday, March 28, 2013

my gargoyle

Finishing is not one of my knitting strengths. I can seam a sweater, more or less, and block a shawl. But stuffies push my skills to their absolue limit. Honestly, I don't think I'm enough of a perfectionist to hone the skills I'd need to do a great job of them.

But I am happy with this little gargoyle.


His face and elbows and knees are shaped with short rows, and his feet are actual little sock heels with gussets and everything.
 

And those fingers and toes -- they're a picot bind-off!
 
 
The pattern, which I found on Ravelry, is a free download. This post is linked to to Finish it Up Friday, FO Friday at Tami's AmisFiber Arts Friday, Do Something Crafty Friday, and Freedom Fridays.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

{yarn along} Murder Buys a T-shirt

I halfway expected this --


The last time I made socks with yarn from this line, the yarn flashed and pooled and made perfectly garish stripes within the pools...which seemed to make it the perfect choice for Judy's Pooling Sock Yarn Challenge. This time?  I've got perfectly mottled colors, just like the picture in the yarn catalog that made my buy the yarn in the first place. Of course the yarn wouldn't pool when I wanted it to!

It's not the worst thing that could have happened. I've got a good start on a cute sock and I've used up some yarn that's been sitting in my stash for years. And I've got a decision to make. Do I finish this pair before doing anything else? Or do I finish the cuff and then cast on with another yarn that I think is likely to pool?

Because there is a deadline here.

 
My read for right now is Murder Buys a T-Shirt, first in the Haunted Souvenir Shop series. A hundred pages in, I'm really enjoying it. And I'm thinking of making a book cover so Teenage Daughter will stop giving me a hard time about the titles of the books I've been reading...

For more fun knitting projects to drool over, check out On the Needles at Patchwork Times and Work in Progress Wednesdays at Tami's Amis.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Life is Good

Today is my day for working on this week's baby quilt, but I spent yesterday at the pool with the kids and I'm still wiped out. I think I'm going to snuggle up under a quilt and work on my sock this afternoon. I'd forgotten how much fun sock yarn is. I'm trying so hard to resist temptation, but Knitpicks has a Sasquatch sock yarn. If anything is going to make me give in and place an order, it's that.

Did you see what's brewing over at Sew We Quilt!?  Go look at that raven quilt. I can't tell you how badly I want one of those.
Of course I signed up as soon as I saw it. I don't know what my birds will be, but I'm sure they'll be black.

And a little more ominous looking than these guys.




Or Emily


This could be as much fun as Nancy Drew!

Weekly Stash Report

A friend surprised me by sending a gorgeous fat quarter bundle for my birthday, and I bought a skein of black yarn for a hat that Teenage Son wants. (I suddenly have two teenagers? How did that happen?)

Fabric Used this Week: 2 1/4 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 30 1/4 yards
Added this Week: 3 yards
Added Year to Date: 40 1/2 yards
Net Added for 2012: 10 1/4 yards


Yarn Used this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 230 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 350 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 4000 yards
Net Added for 2013: 3770 yards

To see more weekly stash reports, click over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Is it going to do something exciting?

The last time I made socks with yarn from this line, it flashed and pooled and striped and did everything but blink. So I've got high hopes, but it's too soon for me to tell if this yarn is going to pool or flash or anything else worthy of Judy's challenge. It gets one chance.  If it settles into a nice mottled pattern like picture in the yarn catalog that motivated me to buy the yarn in the first place, I'll happily knit it up that way. I'm not going to play with needle sizes and stitch counts.
.
 

I've got to admit that I was confused when I first read Judy's posts. I always thought pooling was a bad thing... and then this morning when I was flipping through a book of sock yarn projects from the library I found this section on avoiding pooling.  I've never been able to get quite motivated enough to trying alternating two skeins. That's why this yarn is still sitting in my stash after seven years.

Oh, and I remembered to take a picture of my yarn on the calendar before casting on... makes it feel like a ransom demand or something!

 
 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Le's Make Baby Quilts! {week 12}

It's Friday again?! I swear, the weeks have started to go by more quickly since I started this latest baby quilt project. I blink, and it's time to have another quilt done.

I did meet my deadline for the week and finish Sachiko --


 
 
I also wrote up the tutorial for Colleena. Did you see the one Norece made one with a border and polka-dot background fabric? It's absolutely adorable!
 
And Deanna at Wedding Dress Blue made a multicolored version of Priscilla that I absolutely love.

 
Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules:

Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned, but it's got to be about baby quilts. While we're still gathering steam, you're welcome to link to baby quilt related posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.




Thursday, March 21, 2013

Meet Sachiko

Nann called this one a Bento Baby  after I showed the first bit of it in my Design Wall Monday post, so I checked an international baby names site to find a Japanese name for her. I could spend far too much time looking at baby names and dreaming up names for future quilts, especially since the next two are already named.
 
But back to Sachiko --
 
 
She's just a Bento Box with the dark strips pieced from 2 1/2" squares.  Quick and easy and pretty cute -- all of the things I love in a baby quilt!

This post is linked to to Finish it Up Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop?Link a Finish Friday, and Freedom Fridays.

Free Kindle Title -- Alex by Adam J. Nicolai

I just saw that Alex by Adam J. Nicolai, which I blogged about back in January, is currently available as a free Kindle download from Amazon.  Since it wasn't free when I originally wrote about it, I thought I'd give you a heads up.

Here's what I had to say about it in that post --

If you read horror novels, I hugely recommend Alex by Adam J Nicolai. It's a ninety-nine cent download for Kindle and it's one of the best horror novels I've read in ages. Ian Colmes can't manage to get to work on time because he can't drag himself away from the sounds of his happily playing son. His son, who had been kidnapped and left dead in a ditch six months earlier.

There are things that his little boy desperately needs to tell him, but he can only communicate by repeating conversations from his past. The scene where Ian comes home with a ouija board and the ghost of his five year old stands there tearfully telling him that it is NOT a toy (replaying an incident when he'd gotten in trouble for playing with an eletrical socket) is seriously creepy.




hoping for pools and flashes, the wilder the better!

I've gotten totally sucked in by Judy's Pooling Sock Yarn Challenge. Yesterday I was up before dawn, waiting for the sky to lighten up enough for me to head out to the sewing room and grab this --
 
 
As much of a chaotic mess as that room is right now, I knew exactly where to find my stash of Knitpicks fingering-weight yarns. A few skeins have escaped the main stash, but most of it is in here, including the stuff that I know will pool and flash and the stuff that I'm pretty sure will do it.


Those skeins in the center? They're the ones I'm most optimistic about, because they're  from the same line that gave me these results a few years back --
 
 
At the time I wasn't happy with it, because I wanted the gorgeous mottled sort of striping that the yarn did in the catalog pictures. I love the texture and colors of the others yarns from this line and I already own it....and if I've actually bought something that's in my stash, I'm bound and determined to use it for something sooner or later. Now the question is whether or not this stuff will pool when I actually want it to!
 
I figure it's a win/win situation. Either it'll pool and I can use it for Judy's challenge, or it won't and I might like the results better. No matter how the colors decide to fall, I wind up with a pair of socks. And when I was taking the pictures, Teenage Daughter walked through and asked if I'd use them to make socks for her. Her feet are two sizes smaller than mine, so that means a little less knitting to finish the pair.
 
Did I mention that I'm excited about this?

Colleena {a baby quilt tutorial}

This quilt is made up of alternating snowball and nine patch blocks and is a great way to use up a handful of leftover 2 1/2" squares, or a brightly colored charm pack.



For a 30" square quilt, you'll need:
12 - 6 1/2" white squares
65 - 2 1/2" white squares
100 - 2 1/2" print squares

Make twelve snowball blocks and thirteen nine patch blocks as shown.


To make the snowball blocks, place a 2 1/2" print square on each corner of a 6 1/2" background square. Sew diagonally as shown, then press open.  To reduce bulk, you can trim off the extra fabric a quarter inch outside the seam line.  


Lay out alternating blocks in five rows of five as shown, with nine patch blocks in the outside corners.

Quilt and bind. As always, if you make this quilt I'd love for you to send me a picture or link up to my weekly Let's Make Baby Quilts! linky party. There's a list of my free baby quilt tutorials over in the sidebar and you  can find out when new ones are added by either following my blog or liking the Let's Make Baby Quilts Facebook page.




Wednesday, March 20, 2013

time to finish something?

I got brave after finishing Treads and cast on the Rose Ribbons Shawl. Then I needed something a little less intense to work on, so I cast on the green socks.... then I cast on the gargoyle because I wanted something appropriate for the Nancy Drew blog hop (which had nothing to do with knitting at all, but was a perfect excuse to knit a gargoyle.)



I've been telling myself that I need to buckle down and finish one of these projects, even if it's just to make the yarn portion of my weekly stash reports look a bit better. That shawl is kind of calling to me again. And the gargoyle only needs arms. The socks are such a new project they don't count.

Then Judy came along with her pooling sock yarn challenge and the only reason I'm not out in the sewing room right now is that the sun hasn't come up yet and it's still pitch black out there. I know I've got a ton of sock yarn that will pool and this is the first decent motivation I've had to use some of it up.  Now the question is whether or not I can get yarn to pool when I want it to...

While I wait for the sun to come up, I guess I can keep reading Cold Fear. I've only read the first few chapters, but so far it's got me hooked.

From the book's Amazon description:

In the remote, rugged corner of Montana’s Glacier National Park known as the Devil’s Grasp, little Paige Baker of San Francisco disappears with her dog, Kobee, while on a camping trip with her family; or so her mother and father have told authorities.

A multi-agency task force launches a massive search as Paige fights to survive in the wilderness. Time hammers against her and soon the nation is gripped by the life-and-death drama.

Secretly, behind the scenes, the FBI grows suspicious of Paige’s parents. Their recent history and disturbing evidence links them to a horrible secret from the past.






Tuesday, March 19, 2013

{Whatcha Reading?} The Death of Bees

I'm not sure I can explain The Death of Bees. It was face out on the library's Grab & Go shelves, and the title and cover image caught my eye. Because if people are standing in a garden next to a shovel, there's got to be something interesting going on, right?



From the cover --

Marnie and her little sister Nelly are on their own now. Only they know what happened to their parents, Izzy and Gene, and they aren’t telling. While life in Glasgow’s Hazlehurst housing estate isn’t grand, they do have each other. Besides, it’s only one year until Marnie will be considered an adult and can legally take care of them both.

As the new year comes and goes, Lennie, the old man next door, realizes that his young neighbors are alone and need his help. Or does he need theirs? But he’s not the only one who suspects something isn’t right. Soon, the sisters’ friends, their other neighbors, the authorities, and even Gene’s nosy drug dealer begin to ask questions. As one lie leads to another, dark secrets about the girls’ family surface, creating complications that threaten to tear them apart.


The girls are trying to hold things together until they're old enough to legally take care of themselves and it really does feel like there's nowhere for them to turn for help. And their situation wasn't any better when their parents were alive. It's a dark, entertaining read, definitely not a "feel good" sort of book...  Like I said at the beginning of the post, I'm not sure I can explain it.

This post is linked to Whatcha Reading? at Patchwork Times.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I can do that before Friday!

I've got a good start on this week's baby quilt --  
 

There are more blocks finished, but who wants to look at a quilt top full of gaping holes where the alternate blocks should be?  Nine more blocks to piece, the top to assemble, backing and binding to find....I should be able to do that before Friday.

This new schedule of trying to have a quilt done every week for the blog hop is making me a little bit nuts. It means looking at my week and trying to predict when I'll have some time to quilt, then making sure I actually get the quilting done in that chunk of time. It doesn't help that there have been fewer chunks of time and I'm making bigger baby quilts lately. Or that I've given myself permission to "not quilt" on days when I really, truly would rather be doing something else.

To see more design walls, head over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

{what's cooking?} baked zucchini

This week's ingredient was squash. I had a ridiculous time just getting my hands on the zucchini.
 
There was none to be had at the farmer's market. What they had at Grocery Store #1 was overpriced and sad looking. I settled on some from Grocery Store #2, but it wasn't all that great looking.  Then I got home and started putting away the groceries and my squash wasn't in the bags...
 
I wasted half an hour searching the house and yard and the back of the minivan and interrogating my kids before I decided to call the store and see if we'd left them behind. The new cashier, the one who spends an eternity talking to the groceries  while she's bagging them... She didn't put my zucchini or my celery in the bags.
 
It baffles me that my kids can -- and frequently do -- do a better job of bagging groceries than someone who's paid to do it. I've got a limited choice of grocery stores close to home, so if I don't do a good enough job of planning ahead, I'm stuck with either awful prices or awful customer service. Sometimes both.
 
 

Once I finally got my hands on some squash, I baked it.

Cut the zucchini into sticks, coat with egg and seasoned bread crumbs, and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes or so.  Super easy, and the kids enjoy it, especially if there's marinara sauce for dipping.

We also tried some pumpkin baked oatmeal, which was a huge disaster. I'm not linking to the site where I found it because I'm not sure if the blame rests with me or the recipe.

This post is linked to What's Cooking? over at Patchwork Times.

I need a new list

Last week, I read this post by Heidi from Fabric Mutt, where she suggested getting a pen and paper and making a list of the things that inspire your sewing. It was actually the picture, a sheet of paper headed "Right Now I'm Loving...." that caught my attention.

I should make a  list of the projects I want fabric for -- my red quilt, Teenage Daughter's low volume quilt, Little Trips, the bow ties....  That way, when I find some time up in the sewing room, I might actually have a better idea what I'm looking for. It's a great idea. Now I just need to grab a pen and my planner and make the list.  (Not that I don't have plenty of lists of what I'm working on and what I want to be working on, but what I need right now is a current one.)

Five days later, I still haven't pulled out my planner. But I have made twenty-seven blocks for this week's baby quilt, so at least I've done something quilty!

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric Used this Week: 2 1/4 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 28 yards
Added this Week: 2 yards
Added Year to Date: 37 1/2 yards
Net Added for 2012: 9 1/2 yards


Yarn Used this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 230 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 3650 yards
Net Added for 2013: 3420 yards

To see more weekly stash reports, click over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Peter {a baby quilt tutorial}

Got a lot of scraps in the same color family? This one will help you use them up. (Don't blame me if it wants you to shop for more fabric so you can try it in a different color scheme!)

 
 
 
For a 36" square quilt, you'll need:

36 - print half square triangles (4 per block) (cut them from 2 1/2" strips with an Easy Angle ruler, or use your own favorite method)
36 - white half square triangles (4 per block)
288 - 2 1/2" print squares (32 per block)
 

Sew a white half square triangle to each print half square triangle. Press. Assemble half square triangles into nine pinwheels, one for each block.
 
Assemble 2 1/2" print squares into four square units. Press.
 
For each block, assemble one pinwheel unit and eight four patch units as shown -- the block is just a big nine-patch with a pinwheel in the center.
 

 
Make nine blocks and assemble into three rows of three. Quilt and bind. As always, if you make this quilt I'd love for you to send me a picture or link up to my weekly Let's Make Baby Quilts! linky party. There's a list of my free baby quilt tutorials over in the sidebar and you  can find out when new ones are added by either following my blog or liking the Let's Make Baby Quilts Facebook page.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Kindle Freebie -- Kiki Lowenstein and the Lucky Charm

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, Kiki Lowenstein and the Lucky Charm by Joanna Campbell Slan is available as a free Kindle download.


From the book's Amazon page --

Hoping to top her own success with holiday crops, Kiki dreams up a St. Patrick’s Day event that’s a real charmer. Except that between a visit from her Aunt Penney and a series of local thefts, things don’t go exactly as planned. It’s going to take more than a rabbit’s foot to get Kiki out of this tense situation! 

The Kiki Lowenstein short stories are fun reads that take place between the novels of the series. And if you aren't already reading the series, they'd be a fun introduction to Kiki and her friends. It was one of the short stories, Ink Red Dead, that got me hooked on the books.

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