Wednesday, January 28, 2015

And On To Something--Anything--Else

All 5 table runners are now done,
and as much as I like them, I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO ready to work on something--anything--else!  I love how they turned out, and we'll keep one for ourselves, but as soon as they were finished, it was time for something different.  Like
a shirt for Andy for Valentine's day.   I haven't sewn very much clothing in recent years, so after making sure Andy liked the look,
I opted for a shirt pattern with fewer pieces than my usual.  The key piece missing is the dratted button band for the top button--the bane of my existence with shirts.  It's not as nice of a pattern, but as I've mostly made pajamas in the last few years, this is not the time to be tricky.  I might even finish the shirt today, as I'm trying to stay out of trouble with my back.  I was achy yesterday, which is unusual.  I walked in the pool for an hour on Monday and was actually a bit sore before I started, but the water helped and I felt better afterwards.  It's been really humid and foggy here, so it's possible that I worked the muscles/whatever enough to push them into reacting to weather, because the actual hip/back issues don't hurt like that.  And we are having icky weather:
and all that shiny stuff everywhere is ice, to be followed by snow later.  I woke up pain-free this morning, so I'm trying to not annoy anything today.  So, I'm going to try sewing.  And if that fails,
I am almost finished with the next pair of self-patterning socks.  As there are three whole days left in the month, I am completely delusional enough to think I can get both finished for January.  No problems!!!!!!!!!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday!!!!!!!!!!!

Crafting has lost out to exercise this week--I was able to walk in the pool both Monday and Wednesday, which is very exciting.  The pressure of the water definitely makes it harder than regular walking and helps build strength, but it does wear me out.  Tuesday I set out for a short walk and felt so good I went 3 miles.  Yesterday I was just worn out, so
there was some VERY simple knitting and rest.  The great thing is that I was just tired and a bit sore from exercising--NOT from the back pain. YAY!

I finished the Eleanor Cowl earlier this week,
and finally remembered to take a picture of it today.  It still needs to be blocked and have the ends woven in, but this brings me to 13 finished projects for the year already!  I'm scaring myself just a bit.....

Of course, being ahead is a nice change and if I get too worried, there's always this:
I don't even want to TRY to estimate how far behind I am with these.  I think this is the 11th kit I've received, but I cancelled my membership anyway.  I have loved getting them and they are fun to work on, but the final one might have been St. Patrick's Day, which I don't decorate for in any way, or back to Easter, which I also don't generally do and which I already have.  So, now I just need to finish all of them........

On the sewing front, I have already made two exceptions to my "not buying anything" rule.  The first is the Supreme Slider:
 which is a nonstick mat to help fabric slide when free motion quilting.  I had already finished quilting 4 of the runners by the time I got this, but it made the last one SOOOOOOOOOOOO much easier!  The second exception is on it's way--fusible fleece.  After wrestling with regular batting for two of the runners, I used fusible fleece on the final two.  I wouldn't use it for anything that couldn't end up pretty stiff, like an actual quilt, but it REALLY makes things easier for table runners.  I think I'm going to need all the help I can get on the next one....
I think I've finally got my eight fabrics ready to go...........

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I Wish I Was a Snoopy Neighbor...

Then I could have walked across the street to find out what the Sara Lee truck was delivering to my neighbor today:
I don't know if I've ever even tried Sara Lee, but obviously some of us love her more than others.......

On the crafting front, I'm still working on table runners, and I'm getting better, I think:
 It does help that the top is very busy and I'm not that stressed about anyone seeing my stitches.  We'll worry about that for another project.  And speaking of another project,
I've been digging through my pile of Christmas fabrics to find the eight coordinating fabrics I'll need for the Spicy Spiral table runner.  They are supposed to go from dark to light to dark, and I keep changing things out.  Oddly, the red side was easier than the green.  I'm still working on it.  Of course, I probably need to take a break from table runners and work on the shirt I've promised Andy for Valentine's Day.  Oh, and some knitting....................

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Two More!

Two more stippled table runners done!

Friday, January 16, 2015

One!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I walked 4 miles this afternoon.  Doing math again--which is really not working out for me lately--I would have to walk almost 4 miles every day to walk my stash in a month.  Heavens!!!!!! 

Surprisingly, I didn't grab the first project with big needles that I could think of after THAT horrible realization.  Instead,
I dug out the Eleanor Cowl, which I started in December of 2013.  It got sidetracked quickly because I couldn't read the charts while doped on pain pills, and has been languishing in my pile of WIPs ever since.  It is going pretty quickly, so I might be under 20 WIPs soon.  Have I mentioned that I used to be a single project knitter with NO stash? 

And speaking of uncontrollable and insanely large stashes, I have been doing some sewing!  In fact,
the first stippled table runner was finished just minutes ago!  So far, I stink at stippling, and this one even had tension issues, but
it is REALLY difficult to see the stitching with all the prints, so it's a perfect project for my first attempt.  Of course,
the back looks awful, but one nice thing about getting older is that none of my friends have perfect vision now either, and unless they have their reading glasses on near this thing, it will look GREAT.  And I have not lost heart--I'm already almost done stippling the second one. 

In a desperate grab for another finished project Because I was so excited to see how the new fabric looked,
I also started 4 kimono ornaments with the peacock fabric.  I still need to add the metallic thread closure and hanger, but I'm hoping to finish them up tonight. I could be starting off this month AHEAD on projects!!!!!!!!!!! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

114

I did the math, which is NEVER a good idea when talking about one's stash. 

I have 114 miles of yarn in my stash

 

I think I need to lay down now...................

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

And I'm Back On the Sheep.

I had debated about this, and had originally planned to place one yarn order before climbing back on, but that STILL adds yarn to my sewing room, so instead I have just decided that for the next SIX MONTHS, I'm not buying anything.  Yarn, fabric, patterns--nothing.   I decided on 6 months because on my Joann's excursion on the 5th, I only bought 5 yards of muslin because it seemed quite different than what I'd been getting before, and I wasn't sure it was good enough to use for much.  I'm trying it out on the table runners, and I'm very unimpressed, so I'll need to find something different by then.  UNTIL THEN, time to use what I have!

I used up all of the Patons Metallic yarn on two keyhole scarves,
and ended up having to make one shorter than the other.  It will be fine once blocked, and I hated this yarn so much that I was not ABOUT to go buy more of it.  It's lovely and soft, but snags on everything--even dry skin, which is sort of hard to avoid in winter.  These will be lovely for a while, but I am guessing they'll have a very short life.  Oh well.  Finished projects 7 and 8 at any rate. 

I was going to sew the binding on the first stippled table runner,
 but Theo is just faster than me.  Since I was probably doing that to avoid more stippling, I decided to let him have that one and work on number two.  I'm not sure I'm getting better, and there might still be one or two that are tied rather than stippled--or maybe decorative stitching?  I had hoped this would match,
but it's the wrong shades of red.  So I'm going to use white thread for everything and just not give any of them to anyone who quilts. Or who still has 20/20 vision........

We met my parents on Tuesday to do a very late Christmas, and they gave me this,
 which I thought sounded interesting, and a 10-degree wedge ruler which will allow me to make this:
which I have been wanting to make since I first saw it on Pinterest.  Of course, I have to finish the red table runners first, and perhaps the long-languishing green jacket that will be REALLY nice to have in about two months.  While quilting is fun and IS lining up some early Christmas and birthday presents, sewing clothing would A) give me a few more options since my hip STILL can't stand anything but soft pants with elastic waistbands, and B) clear out space in the sewing room faster.  And I want to make sure to use the fabric I have before it fades or something.  So, maybe this weekend there will be some pattern cutting..........Or I'll forget all my resolutions and dive right in to the spicy spiral table runner.........

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Thank Heavens I'm Starting Early.......

There have been a LOT of table runners on this blog in the last year, but if you think that means I have this great stockpile of gifts all set and ready to go, you would be wrong. A lot of them have already been given away and only a few--if any--will still be around when Christmas 2015 rolls around.  And while there are 5 red and white runners in progress,
they aren't exactly whipping right along.  Three have all the sashing, and I have stippled my first project.  I used white thread, so I haven't been able to get a good picture of it, but you can take my word for it.  I had a few tension issues, I had to rip out a bit because I got the backing muslin folded over on itself at one point, and I can only hope a real quilter never sees the thing, but I'm good with all of that.  Free-motion quilting has been on my list to try for some time, and I finally got the courage up to do it!!!!!  There's still the binding and the other 4, but I tried free-motion quilting and I am NOT curled up in the corner sobbing! YAY!!!!!!!!!!  Let's just ignore that there are 4 more to go, shall we?

And speaking of projects that make me want to cry,
I finally got the newest colorwork ornament past the really horrible long-floats beginning and am into the fussy-but-bearable stages.  This is number 18.  Of 55.  Nobody gets these babies as gifts.  I am still optimistic about finishing all 55 at some point in my life, and in fact:
tracked down some metallic thread to use on them--as well as the kimono and felt ornaments.  It's size 10 crochet thread, so basically a lace-weight, but I think I'll be able to fudge things a bit to use them on the ornaments, and this will make it easier to use on other ornaments.  I ordered red metallic thread as well, but it is back-ordered and will arrive around the end of the month. More yarn deliveries!  YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Miracles CAN Happen

So I finally got all the blocks put together,
and it turns out that I am making FIVE table runners.  This is fine, as I do need quite a few gifts this year, but it would have been easier had I guessed this before trying to lay them out and running out of flat surfaces.  They're pretty random, which I'm proud of myself for doing.  One of the prints is just slightly the wrong color in certain light but works in others, so I'm hoping stippling will help with that, though with FIVE table runners there might be some experimentation with decorative stitch "ties" as well.  Five is more than I had anticipated.

The next step is a white sashing around the runners, and at this point I realized that I'd used all my heavier white cotton on kimono ornaments.  I have a lighter one, but the seams would show through.  Steeling myself, I went to Joanns after lunch, and the store was almost empty!  There wasn't even a line at the cutting counter IN SPITE of their best efforts with only having one person staff it.  I can't even tell you what a relief it was!  I had taken a book with me to read as I had no portable knitting, but didn't need it.  At Joanns!!!!!  A miracle indeed!  And almost everything I needed was on sale except muslin, and I had a 50% off coupon for that.

I was also excited to find,
a metallic peacock print that will work REALLY well for kimono ornaments.  They look best with busy, metallic prints with a lot of activity, and while I would normally not care much for this print, as you can see I was so excited about it that I already have sliced it up for 20 kimono ornaments!  I think it might be becoming an obsession....but at least it didn't go into stash!

Speaking of stash, I still haven't committed to going for the 2 and 3 year badges yet.  To do that, I would actually need to buy a fair bit of yarn to fill in the gaps in my stash, which seems REALLY counter-productive.  But I wanted a new Bowknot Scarf because I wear mine all the time, but it has to be soft enough yarn to be on my neck.  I found this yesterday,
 and of course immediately cast on.  It's Patons metallic, and while it was REALLY soft in the skein, I'm not sure how soft the scarf will be, but I guess I'll find out.  I'll have enough yarn for two, which works perfectly.  I get so many compliments on my first one that I know all my friends would love one as well.

I also grabbed this,
 to make a similar-type of scarf but with fingering weight yarn.  I found a metallic crochet cotton at Herrschners that I think will work for the colorwork ornament and ordered some after Christmas, so I think that takes care of any immediate gaps in the stash.  Maybe I'll just savor the feeling of being ABLE to buy yarn for a while but being in control enough to not do so.  Heaven knows it's certainly a first............

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sure Thing

Yesterday I received an email from Nancy's Notions touting 7 ways to get my sewing room organized in 2015.  Unless she was actually advocating large donations to charities, I don't think any 7 things would make a bit of difference in my sewing room--but I do admire her optimism...................

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Really?

Last night I went to bed excited in the knowledge that I was 200+ stitches in to the final row before the armhole on the marathon sweater. 

This morning,
with a whole lot LESS excitement I am undoing those 200+ stitches because the instructions include the horrible phrase: Do not knit the final row of the gusset, which I am sure I read at some point but since I started this monster in September of 2012, I am obviously a bit fuzzy on the details--like why I thought this was a brilliant idea in the first place.  At least it didn't say "at the same time."  I have lost a lot of my knitterly goodwill to that phrase over the years--especially because the place one is most likely to find those words on any written knitting pattern is after a great deal of text explaining the previous step and most often on the next page to catch unwary knitters who have not learned to read ahead, which I believe is about 99% of us at one point or another.  It's moments like this that make me certain that the people who refer to knitting as "the new yoga" have never actually tried knitting or I am very, very wrong about my ideas of yoga.  Is swearing really involved in it?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

I Felt My First Earthquake Today

Wow!  A 4.9 earthquake hit Challis, Idaho this morning, and I actually felt it in my sewing room.  It was my first earthquake ever, and as I was upstairs it was a pretty big jolt, but it didn't even occur to me that it was an earthquake.  Challis had a smaller one two weeks ago, but the last big quake was in 1983 and measured 6.9.  My hometown did feel the tremors of that one, but we were in a car on the way to school and missed it--it wasn't until we pulled up to the school and found the entire school in buses parked on the football field that we knew anything had happened.  An earthquake!!!!!!!!!

It shouldn't be all that surprising in geological terms--Idaho is very close to Yellowstone which is a monster volcano, and we have natural hot springs everywhere, and we even have Craters of the Moon and even further north where I grew up, there is so much lava rock that there's one large chunk of land on the ranch dubbed "the Rock Pasture."  And the presence of the Rocky Mountains means two tectonic plates are meeting here.  But that's all pretty academic when something has just given your house a good, hard shake.

Anyway, before the EARTHQUAKE, my big excitement was going to be this:
After two years with fingering yarn and size TWO needles, in one more round I will finally be at the point to divide for the armholes.  Alice Starmore must either be a very patient woman or a very, very VERY fast knitter because she's designed a whole bunch of sweaters involving small yarn and small needles.  Of course, I'm neither and here I am making one of her sweaters and with about 10 in my queue, so maybe she's just as nutty as the rest of us. 

Yesterday was a pretty big crafting day, as I got my next table runner experiments started:
 They're just starting to go together, but this:
is going to be the general layout, and the plan--at least until I chicken out--is to try stippling with white thread over at least the main parts.  I'm hoping I can find the courage, especially since
I might have overestimated how many squares I might need.  I wanted a pretty random look, which is why I'm doing squares instead of sewing the strips together, THEN cutting.  I have six prints to work with.  I thought I had 7, but the last one didn't really work when I tried them in natural light. 

Can you tell that everyone is getting table runners for Christmas next year?

Friday, January 2, 2015

1, 1, 100, and 6

The new year is off to a strong crafting start!  20
new kimono ornaments are done, which uses up 1 yard of fabric from my stash and which I'm counting as 5 projects because 2 cuts of 45-inch wide fabric makes 4 ornaments.  To be fair, I've been working on them for several days now.  They're cute, but they aren't that quick.  We usually give most of our family and friends a new homemade ornament every year, but even with Andy making all the wooden ornaments and what looked like a pretty big stack of kimono ornaments, we still ran out and I ended up giving away more ornaments from last year.  (Note to self:  Math would be a good idea).  Obviously, having made 365+ ornaments, I did have some to spare, but it might have been easier to keep track of who got what 2014 could have been kimono ornament year or wooden ornament year.  I've kept 9 of these guys for us and put the rest in the gift bin.  Not a bad start for Christmas 2015.......

And with THAT little bit of smugness, meet project number 6:
which I did totally hold over until January 1.  I could have finished it New Year's Eve, but switched to working on one of my long-standing WIPs instead.  The spin I'm putting on this is that I'm hoping to finish some big items this year and giving myself a wee bit of breathing room will help make that happen.  The truth, of course, is that I totally cheated.  But it does give me 1 ball and 100 yards of yarn used up to start off the year. 

1 yard of fabric
1 ball of yarn
100 yards of yarn
6 finished projects....

Whew, can't you just feel the stash shrinking away already??????????