Sunday, September 15, 2019

Goals v. Charlie

It's September, and I'm 14 projects away from my goal of 50, and 5 projects away from my goal of 6 finished quilts, sweaters, or shawls.  And I have a new helper:

Believe it or not, I am making some progress on quilting the dragonfly quilt, partly because Charlie can sleep/play under the table I bought for the new machine,
and I can still actually quilt--unlike her version of helping me cut fabric:
I don't have a picture of her "helping" me knit because I'm diving to save the yarn too quickly.  She can hear me taking knitting out of the bag from across the house, so the only knitting I'm really doing is in my car or outside, which at least is getting easier now that it's no longer 100 degrees, but I'm still not that close to finishing a sweater right now.  

 To preserve my sanity speed things up, rather than using the quarter-inch channels I'm using on the squares, I did half-inch channels for one side of the blocks,
 
 and am thinking about just doing two lines of stitching on the remaining pink strips going the other direction.  There are 8 rows of blocks, and I've done the itty-bitty lines on two and a half, though it feels like I've been doing them forever.  Still, I'd like to get this thing finished so we can use it, though I might wait until Charlie is a bit less of a terror. 

I'll admit, I need regular breaks from wrestling with that quilt, so I'm cutting out the last of the fat quarter sets I bought for Spicy Spiral runners.  I had actually forgotten I bought this green set,
 though it's someone's new favorite,
 already have one set of strips ready to go, and am slowly getting two more sets ready to go,
and for these two, I'm cutting whatever is left into strips for fabric bowls, so it's taking just a bit longer but I won't have to re-iron later, which is always a bonus.  And if I can get all 3 runners done plus 2 bowls, that would only leave 9 more projects to finish by the end of the year.  It could happen, right......?


Saturday, September 14, 2019

FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back in 2007, I started a pair of flannel pajamas for Andy as a Christmas present out of what I thought was a fun coffee print,
only to discover after making the pants, that I was about a yard short for the top.  We searched Joann stores everywhere, friends searched--nothing.  Three years later, I gave up and bought some brown flannel.  Andy actually never wears brown because his mom insisted on dressing him in brown when he was a kid and he's never worn it since, but for the sake of a finished set of pajamas, he agreed to try.  However, when I started cutting, I found I hadn't bought enough of the ugly brown flannel either!  And it was probably around this time when I discovered I didn't know where the pajama-top-in-progress was, so mixing the two fabrics was out. 

When Andy and I were driving back from our trip to Ashton and Yellowstone, we stopped along the way for lunch in a town that just happened to have a Joanns, and by this time I'd acquired ANOTHER piece of flannel that was too short because now the regular Joanns flannel is a new we're-so-cheap-we've-invented-a-new-skinny-width and one must add about a yard and a half of extra material to compensate.........which I didn't know until after I bought it, and clearly after I walked out the door with my insufficient flannel, my local stores gathered up any remaining bolts of that particular print and set fire to them, as no less than 4 stores AND the online ordering no longer had it.  The store we visited DID still have some, and
they had a coffee print that was close enough to work, and the following weekend I immediately made a new pajama top before I could lose the pattern, the fabric, or Andy and just short of twelve years later, Andy has a finished pair of pajamas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just call me Speed...................

Monday, September 2, 2019

What ELSE We've Been Up To

Charlie has been so much of our last month,

 that several weeks just slipped away, but BEFORE Charlie:

*  I MADE A KNIT SHIRT!!!!  I've not really sewn much with knits in spite of the fact that I own a serger, and usually I would have talked myself out of doing this because I might ruin the fabric, but instead...
I made a shirt almost entirely on the serger!  I couldn't figure out how to do the hem on the serger, and it turns out I didn't do a great job on it with my old sewing machine either, but it's done and I'm pleased with my first attempt.  In fact,
while the things I would change were still fresh in my mind, I got two yards of another velour knit to make the same shirt again to make sure I was really learning how to do this--and getting some fun new shirts for fall.  I don't think I had any velour in my wardrobe, so these are fun additions.

*  I also finished another table runner for Christmas:
* We've also been spending a lot of time in the early mornings on the nature trail near our new house,  and this is one of my favorite parts:
some houses are right on the path, and guessing from the number of gates, no trespassing signs, and the obligatory signs admonishing bad dog owners to clean up after their dogs, I'm guessing "the public" make pretty bad neighbors in general, but this house has a row of rose bushes that can't be seen from the house--just from the nature path.  I think it's so lovely that someone would have a garden spot just to give a little beauty to strangers walking by that it gives me a lift every time I see it.

Luckily, this
was in a different direction.  As much as I loathe wasps, the nests are always amazing--especially on those rare occasions when I find one without getting stung by the wretched little monsters.

* I am loving the new sewing machine, and lashed out last month during a big foot sale to buy 3 new feet (buy 2, get 1 free), and yesterday I got to play with the first one:
 which is a button foot.  I've always sewn buttons on by hand, and sometimes have done such a lousy job that they came off within short order, and I always struggle with leaving enough slack for them to lay properly, so after all the button-down shirts, lately, I decided it was worth a try, and
 tried it out yesterday on the latest shirt.  It took me a little while to get the hang of it, but it really is an improvement and will be MUCH faster.

* Last weekend Andy ran a marathon and we visited Yellowstone Park.  We made it a 5-day weekend, and I'm glad we did as it was enough of a drive to be a bit hard on my hip.  We stopped for scenic attractions, and let me just say that when the scenic attraction is sage brush,
you're in one of the less-lovely parts of our state.

The marathon takes place in a tiny town called Ashton and is one of the most beautiful marathons you'll probably find around here--if you can check out scenery while running 26.2 miles.

We stayed at this adorable motel built in the 1930s,
and while our shower head with its NINE working holes was probably installed shortly thereafter, the rest of it was quite charming.   The runners boarded the bus to take them to the top of Mesa Falls at a spot quite close to our hotel, so early in the morning Andy walked over and I spent my morning knitting
and exploring the town. 
I was at the finish line in plenty of time to cheer on lots of the runners, including Andy, who finished third in his age group and was pleased just to have done it at all.  There was more knitting while Andy napped, rested, recovered, and then the next day we visited lower and upper Mesa Falls, went for a quick hike, then decided to drive into Yellowstone which was only an hour away, and we made MY day by stopping for lunch in West Yellowstone, Montana, right across from a quilt and yarn shop.   I didn't buy any yarn, but we did purchase some fabric for a souvenir shirt for Andy, a pair of souvenir earrings for me, and some dragonfly prints which are in the dryer right now.  :)

Here's a little tip if you're going to Yellowstone:  It's REALLY crowded and there's a lot of walking, so starting your day with a hike that was a bit hard on your bad hip anyway isn't probably your most brilliant idea.   By the time we hiked up to see this,
I was about done.  Rather than turning around, there was a dirt road just outside of the southern border of the park on the map that would take us back to Ashton, and we thought that would be faster AND give us a view of the Tetons.  There are a LOT of gravel roads in Idaho that really aren't too bad if you're used to them and the note saying the road was closed in winter isn't unusual at all for roads in the mountains, so I really wasn't at all worried--it was only 47 miles...........

WHICH TOOK US THREE FULL HOURS.  

And while we are now intimately familiar with the foothills NEAR the Tetons, as the old saying almost goes, we couldn't see the mountains for the trees.  Luckily, we had a full tank of gas, fun audio books, enough humor to make it an adventure/bonding experience/bad road trip story, and managed to NOT leave any of my car's undercarriage in the many craters and ruts on the "road." 

The next day we drove home using ONLY major roads, to find some kitties very happy to see us:


and Venus would like to go with us on the next adventure:
 *  We got back to work in time for my work's last big event of the year--the balloon classic.  In general, I don't really like crowds so I don't go to things with too many people, but as long as one has to go, the balloons are really fun.  I went to the first day kick-off morning, then took Andy with me on Friday morning.
 
 

It really was fun, and on Friday the winds were such that most of the balloons were able to return to the park.  I think it's called Box Winds, but don't quote me.  We're surrounded on 3 sides by mountains, so sometimes that creates the right conditions for that to happen.  So we got to see balloons launch and land, and it was just a great end to the week altogether.

And THAT, my friends, is what I did with August.......... :)

Friday, August 30, 2019

But FIRST, Why I Haven't Posted In So Long

Almost a month ago now, Andy and I set our for a walk bright and early on a Sunday morning, only to find
a frightened little kitten hiding behind a garbage can on the greenbelt.  It was amazing that we even found her as there is a hawk family right in that area, and they'd eat a kitten in a flash.  We caught her and started knocking doors along the houses closest to where she was, but while we met some really great people--including one lovely woman who let us borrow her cat carrier to save on being scratched--NO one was missing a kitten.  We finally brought her home and took some pictures for posters for the neighborhood, but she had other ideaS--
like staying.  "BUT WE ALREADY HAVE 3 CATS," we told her.  She responded with even more cuteness:
Not to be deterred, we put up posters, posted on Facebook, and took her to a vet to check for a microchip (and receive her first shots).  Nothing.  She continued her campaign to stay, taking up an interest in knitting,
computers, 
 and even showing me some great new features on my computer...
...some of which I still can't turn off.  And that is how Charlie will be celebrating her one-month anniversary with us this weekend.................

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Over 60!

I got up early yesterday and finished the jacket from last weekend,
 and to add the buttons to the flannel shirt,
 so now my fabric tally is just over 60 yards of fabric for the year.  The thing I love about using up fabric--besides generally getting clothing out of it--is that it makes a faster dent in the sewing room.  Had I not been on a few fabric benders since we moved, I might well have decreased the overall stash by now....Ahem.  I believe both of these are from fabrics I bought since we moved here, which would be surprising to someone who didn't know me after heaving box after box of fabric up and down stairs in the move, but there was a fabric store close to my old office that I could visit on my lunch break.  That is NOT a recommended practice, and besides just being a dreadful job, I've saved myself some money by changing jobs.  :)

This morning, I'll be cutting out the next project.  I started to cut it out yesterday, but derailed myself AGAIN by debating whether I should make the pattern I picked or maybe look for a different pattern...  Honestly, you'd think I of all people would know there will be more fabric....like on the next lunch break, even.......


 I also cast on the new socks,
and I am still not sure how I feel about the yarn. It's Austermann Step, and the yarn has been coated with jojoba and aloe, which makes if feel very...unusual.  Not bad, just very, very odd.  I have really dry skin that can snag yarn in the worst of winter, so I can see the point, and might save the other two balls in my stash for winter knitting, because the TRUE yarn addict doesn't just buy one skein of a new yarn to "try it out,"  She buys three.........

Monday, July 8, 2019

They Knit the Queen

So I was feeling pretty good about finishing a pair of socks over the weekend--having taken just under 2 months--when I saw this today:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7210117/Grandmothers-Caston-Norfolk-knit-life-sized-woollen-model-Queen-60-others.html

They knit the Queen of England as she appeared on her coronation day in 1953.  PLUS 60 villagers to recreate scenes of the times.  I truly hope a museum snaps these up and they go on display forever.  AND that they include how much knitting time it took, because that's my first question.  Do you think they started the day after?

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Last Day of a Long Weekend

I've had a 5-day weekend, which would be more impressive had my boss not bothered the sales staff repeatedly with unimportant emails to remind us we needed to sell things and if we hadn't worked insane hours the weekend before last and STILL had to show up on the following Monday at 8--which not even the stupidest charity in the world would expect.  And the extra days were NOT charity--we won them in a sales contest.  Next time we'll know to request a break from the sales manager as well....

I've spent much of my mini-vacation crafting.  Wednesday I made Andy's birthday gift,
finishing it even a bit early, which is kind of amazing.  I debated about the next project, then remembering that the sewing room is still pretty much a crazy mess, and decided that the next project would be something I could find.  So, flannel in July:
Sure, it's crazy-hot now, but this will be a lovely shirt for winter--as soon as I figure out which buttons.
I thought the black ones would be the right choice, but I'm not sure when I look at them.  The top button is a nice grey, which I think is my favorite.  This is why there's a button stash.  I've tried buying buttons for each project as I go, but I rarely like the ones I pick out once the project is finished. 

I've also finished the current socks,
and have the next ones ready to cast on,
Sometimes one just needs to work on a sock, don't you think?

This morning, Venus and I are cutting out a new jacket.
I stiffened the fabric quite a while ago, but even though I bought the fabric specifically to make yet another draped jacket, I started debating whether I should do something else with it, so it's been in Project Paralysis for several months.  So, I'm cutting it out, and have decided my newest resolution is to use things for the project for which they were purchased.  I don't know about you, but I have fabric and yarn I've purchased specifically for a project, but then I start second-guessing myself:  should I do something different with it?  Is this really the right thing?  Should I find a different project?  How many of one pattern can one really use?  And then I don't do anything.  So, I have hundreds of yards of fabric and thousands of yarn, and I'm going to use them. As soon as I find them....

In other events, I got braces two weeks ago.  I had them in junior high, but my orthodontist didn't really understand how much teeth move in a lifetime, so when my bottom retainer broke off, he didn't think it needed to be replaced.  Well, it did.  So, now I'm going through my second round, and I can't believe how much they hurt.  I do remember them hurting when I first got them and after each appointment, but two and a half weeks later, I am STILL eating mostly soft food and blended things, and one tooth is so sore that even flossing it hurts.  Eighteen months of this. I can barely manage pasta.  The one saving grace is now I'm old enough for alcohol, which mercifully doesn't have to be chewed, and now there are more dairy substitutes.  I've been allergic to milk my entire life (true allergy, not an intolerance, which is kind of rare), so things I could be eating like cottage cheese, creamy soups, etc. are not options for me, though we have found some dairy-free yogurt that isn't terrible.  And, thank heavens, there are some outstanding dairy-free ice cream substitutes, which can be eaten for lunch when one is whiny enough.  I do need to lose some weight, and being unable to eat hardly anything does seem like a good start, though I was hoping for something like eating sensibly and exercising more.  17 months, one and a half weeks to go.............