Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Whoops!

Here it is, the last day of April, and I haven't finished anything else.  I have, however, done a lot of gardening, been to see "Wicked" with my mother and Andy, been for my longest walk yet, and entered Middle Age:
I actually wear contact lenses, but because mine are gas-permeable (rigid) rather than soft, I need time without them every day, and last week the ophthalmologist told me I would need to switch to bifocals by next year and my glasses were really in need of upgrading THIS year because they were 7 years old and the coating was peeling off and the lenses were in sad shape and no longer the right prescription, so I did it this year.  EEEEEK!

Since I wear them so little, my frames were still in great shape, so I just left them there to have the lenses changed, and have spent the week with blurry mornings and evenings.  Unfortunately, when I'm really busy, the blurry times and time available for crafting coincided, which explains why this
is still not finished.  I'm near-sighted in general, so this should have worked, but after wearing my contacts longer than I normally do, so my eyes were always pretty tired by the time I got around to this and trying to get a pin through a bead when tired is rather a challenge.  Maybe next month.....

While Theo kept an eye on the pajama pieces for me,
I stuffed the latest ornament,
and
dug out one of the long-neglected projects from the closet.  I think this was actually started sometime during the back saga, so it's one of the less well-aged projects, but when I pulled it out, only the light blue bits were finished.  I used to find this a slow--but rather relaxing--sort of thing to do, but now that I have the two regular cross stitch projects, I find this a downright SPEEDY--but relaxing--thing to do.  Thank heavens, as I have another set of these as well.  I can only guess they were closing them out at some point.  Ideally, I'd like to do a set for each of the nieces and nephews (and honoraries), so I'll need to have a place to store the finished ones for a few years--or next decade.....

Last night I had crafting time, but after picking up the bifocals (eek!), I managed to bonk my head on the metal flashing on the corner of the greenhouse, giving me a small cut, a big knot, and an overwhelming headache, so I spent the evening with an ice bag on my head and self-pity and pain pills racing through my veins.  So, no crafting.  Today, to round out this Week of Fun, I'm getting a mammogram.  Some of us just know how to live.............................





Friday, April 25, 2014

26!

I am getting closer!

Meet Finished Project #25:

and Finished Project #26:
 
which will actually be a lovely lace scarf once it has been blocked.  I've already been to the gym today, but will spend the afternoon with
pajamas!  It's cold and rainy and will be for the rest of the weekend, so there isn't anything I even could be doing out in the garden, so there will be some weekend crafting as well.  YAY! Especially since
the next ornament kit has arrived, and I haven't yet finished even one ornament from the first kit.  Oops.  This is fun, but I think they need a quarterly plan, or maybe I need to step up the pace.  There are 5 in this kit, and I'm quite excited about that cupcake, so maybe I'll get the sequined cross finished today as well so I can start on the cupcake....while wearing new snowflake pajamas, right?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Best Laid Plans of Cats and Women

Last night I ironed the red flannel to be ready for a morning of sewing.  As forecast, it is raining, which is a perfect time to make flannel pajamas.  It is also, however, the perfect time for a snooze on flannel. 
Undeterred, I decided to start the day with some icicle ornaments.
Though I've decided to not count any more of them for my 100 projects goal because the main goal this year is to clear up space and thread doesn't really take up any, I do love the icicles and love how they look on the tree.  Then it seemed a good idea to put away the ones I have just washed and dried,
which Theo thought was a terrific idea as well--3 seconds after this picture was taken, he was chewing on the black one.  I did save the ornament, and after some armpit scritches,
Theo had recovered from the shock of a screaming woman lunging at him. Some days it is awfully difficult to be a kitty.
While he was safely snoozing, I washed more lace ornaments,
including,
my least-favorite ornament.  Obviously, it's for the song "Christmas Shoes," which is one of the worst ear-worms of all time and which I am plagued with every time I even see this ornament, which would be enough to make my "worst songs" list all by itself, but I didn't care much for the song to begin with.  To me it's a silly premise and so over-the-top that it feels manipulative.  But I didn't want to not make any of the new ornaments, so I made one, and it will find a home with someone who likes that song and everyone will be happy.  In the meantime,
I did a few rounds on the latest colorwork ornament, which could actually be finished by the end of the month,
dug out the new Halloween bag that I cut out over the weekend, which Jeeves will be starting as soon as he finishes the icicles, and I have just finished one of my least-favorite parts of the jacket pattern,
though a little fusible webbing makes the job much, much easier.  I was all set to move on to the next step of the jacket when I realized.......I need the table to cut out the interfacing pieces, so I am right back to where I started. 
And now I'm being ignored completely.................Maybe another row or two on the ornament?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Definitely Silver

Funnily enough, I had thought of the 6 gold/6 silver idea because I was more confident of my gold thread than of the silver, but after seeing the first one, I really like the silver, and thank to everyone's unanimous input, I went with all in silver and finished the last one just a few minutes ago, making Finished Project number 24.  YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Which leaves me..............behind.  Am I ever anything else?  To reach 100 projects, I should be at 33-34 at the end of April.  I am, by nature, completely delusional an optimist, but finishing 9 projects in 9 days sounds a wee bit daunting, even to me.  Tomorrow it's supposed to rain, so I won't be gardening and can spend the morning sewing, but in the afternoon I have an eye appointment, and after the dilate my eyes, I'm guessing all crafting will be over for the day because I'm never able to focus on anything after they do that.  You know, I really loathe the "women's annual wellness exam," but at least that one doesn't leave me unable to knit for the rest of the day.  At least it's in the afternoon so it won't ruin the whole day, and if it rains again on Friday, I can have a full crafting day then.............at least another 2 projects? Three?  Five.........?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Not All Projects Are Created Equal

Meet Finished Project #23:
Underneath the stabilizer is a towel for some friends of ours who host a Kentucky Derby party every year.  It's a terrific party, and after last year's party, I laid this all out in the embroidery software
so I'd be sure to have it ready for this year's party.  This morning I did a bit of gardening--including my latest experiment:
strawberry plants in the holes of cinder blocks.  I saw the idea on Pinterest, but there is only one cinder block because, as most of us have found out the hard way, people post a lot of things on Pinterest that don't actually work.  So, we got one block and two strawberry plants.  Wish them luck. 

Guessing that shoveling probably counts as "a thing one should rest after doing," I thought it was the perfect time to embroider the towel as the party is in two weeks.  Double-checking the spelling of their last name, I hooped the towel, picked out the colors, and
had gotten to the lettering before I noticed that I had the apostrophe in the wrong place.  DOH!  Would this be a good time to mention that my degree is IN English and that people actually pay me to proofread and edit things for them?  Yeah...I thought not.  There is just no way to correct things like this on the fly, or even to edit the design at this point, and I didn't pick up any more towels this year, so
I decided they could take turns being the host, which makes the towel technically correct.  If you didn't think I'd grasp at that really lame straw, you've obviously been reading someone else's blog.  Maybe I can  give this to them after the mint juleps have been flowing for a bit........

After such a level of brilliance, I thought it safest to move on to something involving only one letter and no punctuation:
 the monogrammed napkins.  I found a silver that I'm happy with,
and four are already done.  I like these so much that now I'm not sure if I should stick with the original plan of 6 silver and 6 gold or just make all 12 in silver.  In their registry, they have white bath towels with a silver H embroidered on them, but in all honesty--while it is entirely possible that I just run with the wrong sort of crowd--I don't know anyone who coordinates their bathroom with their table linen.  What do you think--12 silver or 6 silver and 6 gold? 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ta-Da!

The penguin pajamas are done!  And, while I might be getting a wee bit tired of flannel, it's supposed to be rainy today, so I've decided to go ahead and cut out the next set
while I know how to work the pattern.  It will also finish off the 22 yards of flannel I bought after the spending ban ended in November, which will make me feel good.  Buying fabric that was used up quickly is much different than buying fabric that expanded the stash. And part of me is just a wee bit superstitious.  I've spent a LOT of the last 3 years in pajamas, and part of me sort of feels like if I were prepared to spend a lot of time in pajamas, then maybe I won't actually spend all that time in pajamas.  It's a very nonsensical theory, but the size of my stash doesn't exactly make a lot of sense either, so it works for me. 

If I get them done this weekend, I'll have used up 22.5 yards of fabric this month, which DOES free up space in the sewing room and brings me much closer to being on track for 100 yards.  Then I can go back to the green jacket and the soon-to-be jackets, which take a lot of sewing for not much yardage.  I also have some embroidery projects to start working on, including
napkins to monogram.  Andy is making wooden napkin rings for our niece who is getting married this summer, and I thought monogrammed napkins would be a nice addition.  I bought these from Amazon rather than trying to find material to make them.  I wanted something that didn't have to be ironed, but wasn't so fussy that it would need special washing, like our really nice napkins.  They're young, just starting out, and don't have space for things they can't use or are too much trouble to use.  We don't know what colors they're using, but Andy is experimenting with a silver band between the wood, so I thought either monograms in just silver or half in silver and half in gold.  Which leads to a potential problem:  silver embroidery thread.  They make metallic embroidery threads, but they do NOT make metallic embroidery threads that do not break or snarl the machine, and I find it best to use them for slow, straight stitching, not machine embroidery.  I have a gold colored embroidery thread,
but the light grey colors I have are in small quantities and might not make it through a stack of napkins.  I also considered white-on-white, but I associate that with really nice napkins, and I'm not sure it would look as elegant on polyester.  I am NOT going to the store on a weekend, so I'm hoping to figure this out in another way.  I did also consider doing all 12 napkins in different colors--probably lighter shades--but maybe I'll save that trick for the next ones I do for us.  It could either be really cute or really dreadful, and I think we'd best try that one out on ourselves first.  Our house is largely decorated in Crafting Project Rejects--a very coveted look, really..............

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Plan B

So my idea for getting the pajama sleeves cut out didn't work, so
 after Theo gave the project and I some well-needed time apart, I ended up sewing the selvedge edges together on the side that hadn't been cut, 
and the sleeves have a great big seam down the center.  This is not a trick for an OCD person, because the dot to line up with the shoulder sleeve is slightly to the front, so the seams can't match.  I'm not even OCD, but that almost killed me.  However, the pajamas are done, I'm currently wearing them, and another 5.5 yards of fabric, which takes up this
 amount of space, is used up from the fabric stash.  Of course, the snowflake and penguin prints were purchased at the same time as the others, so it was all stash acquired this fall and not deep stash, but at least it isn't on it's way to BEING deep stash. 

I washed the snowflake and penguin prints, and decided to try the version of these pajamas with the shorter shirt with the penguin, and amazingly,
 I figured out how I did it the first time!  Step one:  chuck the directions in the trash where they belong.  Step 2: cut out the sleeves first, and just as the fabric is normally folded for cutting out.  If the fabric has shrunk too much for this to work, then one will know BEFORE cutting out anything else.  But this just works, and a second pair of pajamas WITHOUT additional sleeve seams, is in progress!  I'm toying with the idea of cutting out the snowflake fabric as well while I know how to make it work.  Making a quick, easy project that I'll use AND that uses up a large chunk of fabric in one shot is pretty tempting.......

Speaking of finishing projects,
 the second sleeve for the toddler jacket is now done, and the shoulder seams have been sewn.  I have a sleeve pinned in place, but got sidetracked by
the ornament kit.  The front is now done, and the I've started on the pink on the back. When both sides look like this, then I'll cover the sides with green sequins.  I need to move a wee bit faster on this as this is one of FOUR ornaments in the March kit, and it's now April.  Oops......

I'm hopefully taking today as a crafting day.  Monday I lifted weights and walked in the pool for an hour, and my back started hurting at 50 minutes.  This is when I wish I weren't a Type A, because instead of stopping, I just slowed down a bit in order to get my 60 minutes.  Which I did, but then spent the next 2 days resting.  I am a slow, slow learner.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Couldn't You Just Cry?

My favorite flannel pajama pattern is wrong on the yardage and layout. 

I discovered this the first time I used the pattern--even getting out a tape measure and doing the math to prove that their proposed layout doesn't work for anything except the extra-small and is wildly off for a medium--but had extra fabric so I was able to make it work.  So, when I bought the music and roses flannel, I planned for the error and bought extra yardage.  Five and a half yards, which is theoretically the amount I was able to make work last time.  And,
even breaking every sewing rule by flipping the back of the pattern, I can't figure out how I got it to work.  I double-checked this blog in case I'd left myself any helpful notes, but I didn't.  I am guessing that this fabric shrunk more than the other one did, because this did work somehow with the other fabric.  I have now made a note to always buy SIX yards of flannel for these blasted pajamas, but that doesn't help now.  

I felt it best to walk away, and now have an idea.  The extra 1/2 yard will allow me to cut out one sleeve easily.  For the second, I'm going to cut out the front and the back, dipping slightly into the seam allowance for the back.  That will leave me free to cut out the second sleeve with shortages only in the seam allowances, and after the first cut, I'll patch the fabric, then trim the patches into the right size for the blasted seam allowance in the first place.  Not perfect, but it will be a finished object.  I haven't tried this out or anything, but they are just pajamas and won't generally be seen in public.  Theo is on-hand for moral support,
which always helps, though I notice that the more frustrated I am, the closer he sleeps to the door.  There seem to be limits to kitty devotion.

The last two days have been harder on my back than anticipated, so I've been doing a fair bit of knitting on my WIPs, including the Alice Starmore sweater on size two needles, so I don't have anything to show for my efforts, but last night I started colorwork ornament number 16:

I am still pretty slow at these, so a few rows of colorwork make the size 2 needles look pretty good.  I am close to finishing the baby sweater, so I've set it aside for just a bit to work on some of the bigger WIPs.  The baby sweater is on big needles, I don't have to watch the chart, and it goes pretty quickly.  Not so much the case for any of the others, so I've set that aside as a bit of a carrot.  The Alice Starmore sweater is reaching the slowest point--I'm increasing for the sleeve gussets, so I'm adding stitches and every round takes longer and longer, so I might need a little incentive on this one.  Instead of steeks, she divides for the front and back in a few rows, and I think that one will start moving quicker.  Counting WIP rows is really helping move the projects forward, though I may need to alternate them with slightly faster projects, and ones that don't involve charts.  Unfortunately, none of the existing WIPs are simple or mindless knitting, which is sometimes necessary.  But tracking my rows lets me make a little progress every day--even when I have little to really show for it. 

And now that I've stalled long enough, it's time to cut out those blasted pajamas!  Wish me luck!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Moderation Friday

I am a slow, slow learner with the back thing, but even I have realized that I probably can't seven days of a sewing vacation in a row.  Channeling common sense I don't normally possess in these matters, I'm also thinking that walking in the pool 2 days this week was a stretch for me, so walking in the pool today might fall into the "too much" category, so I'm going to walk over to the gym, lift weights (lots of reps, lowest weight) and walk back.  That will be about 3 miles, so a decent walk but not as hard as walking in the pool.  After that, we'll see.  We have a birthday party to attend tonight, so I won't do any gardening today as I haven't found "moderation" in gardening yet, so I'm not sure what else I'll be doing today.  Maybe working in the greenhouse.  I might be able to finish cutting out the new pajamas, as that falls in the "relatively safe activity" category, and would prepare me for a second sewing day tomorrow.  :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sewing Day #1

So, last night going to bed at 5:00 won out because I was really tired, but this morning I was up bright and early and
by 9:00 AM, Andy's pajama top was finished!  I'd almost forgotten what a finished object looked like, hadn't you?

Then I moved on to cutting out the problematic pajama bottoms, and after being really careful to cut them out right side up and to get the pieces correct,
I sewed them together wrong.  I don't know why, exactly, but I somehow just assumed that if I cut the music print pieces out with the pattern right-side up, they would end up on alternating legs. Why I assumed this is anyone's guess, but that wasn't the high point.  After ripping out both seams, I got the music prints put together correctly, but put the black ones together on the wrong side, ending up with two of the same legs.  So, after making a HUGE chalk "x" on the right sides of the black, I finally got them put together correctly, and
they are now awaiting the elastic in the waist, which I thought could wait until Andy got off work.  If these weren't pajamas, I might have been tempted to try cutting out another piece to get the harlequin effect, but I'm the only person who is ever likely to see Andy in these, and sometimes "close enough" is just fine.

By this point, my back needed some stretching, so
it was the perfect time to layout pajamas for me!  This used to be the part of sewing I really hated, but it makes a nice break from the sitting-and-sewing part, and gave me enough standing time to allow me to sit down and sew up the pajama bottoms--bringing me to 8.5 yards of fabric used so far today.  I was hoping to finish getting the front cut out tonight,
but I need to lay down and rest for a bit.  I'll go back to the gym tomorrow, so it really needed rest today so I didn't go for a walk or anything that would work it too much, and I'll just do a little stretching and the heating pad tonight.  And maybe, if I feel very ambitious, I'll finish cutting out the pajamas before going to bed.

And not to be left out,
I powered up Jeeves and made a gold poinsettia ornament today as well.  Not bad for one day, I think.........

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ta-Da!

Both sets of taxes are finished and mailed!

I walked a full hour in the pool today AND lifted weights.

Our big solid wood front door has been oiled.

The front of the lawn has been given weed & feed AND iron.

And it's now 5:00 pm.  I'll admit, I'm equally torn between "start sewing NOW" and "go straight to bed." 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Later This Week

Yesterday I went to the gym and lifted weights (lowest weights, long reps) and walked in the pool for 40 minutes.  I'd have liked to do an hour, but my muscles were done.  I'll go back tomorrow for another 40 minutes, and then build my way back up.  Then I came home and worked on our taxes--getting as far as I could without the instructions which I managed to misplace.

This morning I'm off to get new instructions, get groceries, and finish our Federal taxes.  I'll tackle state tomorrow, then I don't have anything that has to be done, so I am hoping to take a few days to sew as much as I can.  Because of the sitting problem, I can't just sew the entire day, but I could do it in little bits.  I'm hoping to finish Andy's pajamas and maybe the green jacket, which has been started
but has a long way to go.  Maybe I could even make a pair of pajamas for me since I've already washed the fabric.  Just those 3 projects would use up over 13 yards of fabric, which could free up some space AND get 3 finished projects AND a jacket I could be wearing now.  This is what is getting me to finish our taxes a week before they are due......

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Not the Strongest First Quarter.......

In different circumstances, I might be upset that I ended the first quarter of the year with only 3 yards of fabric used and 19 projects finished.  However, how I really ended the first quarter was with a fever and the stomach flu, so being a bit behind was not the biggest problem.  I wasn't feeling really better until Friday, and still wouldn't be up for Mexican food or tuna fish just yet, but I'm definitely better.  Yesterday I even started sewing Andy's Valentine pajamas,
and discovered that a mannequin of even the wrong sex makes pinning facings like this
almost easy.  Luckily Andy is a very secure man and won't be troubled that I'm using a female dummy for his clothing.  And he's not likely to complain about finally getting his gift almost two months late and
when it's almost warm enough to not need flannel pajamas. There is always next year.....

I also made some lace ornaments yesterday.
 The French horn is part of the ornament set I bought to celebrate the end of my spending ban, so they're still pretty new to me and still quite exciting.  And the free-standing lace ornaments are REALLY easy to store, which is quite important when one has 100+ new ornaments in a year.  If I'd have gotten all 55 color-work balls done in one year--THAT might have been a problem. 

Luckily, the thing that is likely to be finished next,
will not be needing storage space as it will go out as a gift this year.  The back, both fronts, and one sleeve are now done, and I've made a bit of progress on the second sleeve.  I think it's going to be QUITE adorable.  AND a Finished Object.I just need 81 more...............