Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Holiday Crafting Weekend

Originally, we had planned to have no one over at all during the weekend and just rest/relax/work on hobbies.  I had been exercising quite a bit last week and my back was fairly sore, so it was a good plan--though, of course, like all good plans, it didn't really work out.  The friend we play music with the most was in town, so we ended up having him over for dinner and music Saturday, which meant much of Saturday was spent cleaning.  The house needed it, but a far cry from the original plan.

We had a marvelous time, but it pushed my back over-the-edge, and the planned sewing became crafts-one-can-do-while-laying-on-a-heating pad.  So,
I finished the latest color work ornament, and even got it stuffed
and I think it is one of my favorites so far.  I think I've been over-stuffing these, so I tried a little less stuffing in this one and after a little poking and prodding, it's more of an actual sphere than most.  This is project 31 for the year, which sounds great until one realizes that I should be at 41 by the end of May to be on target.   Oops....

The pillowcases got quite a bit of attention,
and depending on how you look at it, might be more than half finished.  It's a bit harder to estimate while working on two at a time, but I think they could be one of the finished projects for the year.  That would be rather exciting as they were such deep stash that I had actually forgotten about them.  I would guess I bought them 8-10 years ago, so they're certainly well-seasoned.  Very, VERY little of my stash is more than 11 years old because I didn't take up sewing until after I bought my first house, and since I was living in a one-bedroom apartment, my yarn stash until that point was limited to one container--mostly of leftovers from projects--and I didn't really start buying yarn for more than one project until my first nephew was born.  So it's always exciting to use up things that are from the early stash.  It's easy to make things with new fabric or yarn--it's the stuff that has been with me for a while that can lack excitement. 

Ideally, I'd have gone straight on after finishing Lace Dream,
which looks awful because it hasn't yet been blocked, but you can see the finished edges here, and I probably won't block it for a while because it is a gift for a friend for when she hits a big career milestone, and that will be a couple years.  I thought it would take me a bit longer to finish this, in all honesty, but I think all your wonderful encouragement got me through it--even the grafting!  Thank you!!!!!  As I've never really had to come up with a plan for a gift finished EARLY, I had to find a container where it will be safe from snags and moths, and as a shrine to the ONE TIME I made something ahead of time....Call it my own personal "Ripley's Believe it or Not" display.............

But because I would like to get the wedding scarves done before our friends celebrate their first anniversary,
the first beaded scarf is in progress!  It's an 8-row repeat and I'm beading two rows of the 8, which is the same as when I've added beads to the Ostrich Plume scarf, but this is going MUCH faster than the Ostrich Plume usually does.  I have no idea why, but boy am I glad it is!

I did get to be up and around a little bit during the weekend, so I finished up the wreath for this weekend's game party:
 and I'm quite pleased with the results.  I even made a few more decorations:
and will make some centerpieces today.  For our wedding, I found fishbowls on sale at a craft store, and managed to make $10 centerpieces involving candles, a rose wreath, beads, and fishbowls, and have been using the fishbowls for decorations ever since.  Our colors were red and black, so I use them for both Christmas and summer, and then can just take everything out of them and change them around for seasons or different occasions.  Who knew that a bunch of fishbowls would be one of the most helpful things ever?

Yesterday I tried a bit of sewing, and did get two gift bags done before I had to stop.
Sitting is always the hardest thing.  I wanted to get more done on the trick-or-treat bag, but I had really been dragging my feet because the design had puckered the fabric quite badly and I was rather miffed.  I had set it aside for a bit, but when I pulled it off the machine yesterday, I noticed the design had jumped for the "eat" of "treat,"
so I am just going to start over.  They're both small things, but I like to be happy with gifts when I give them, and this one is just too disappointing.

And since it's May
the new ornament kit arrived.  While I am just thrilled that they are all music-themed, I am still working on ornament number 1.  I'm not discouraged just yet, though, because these will be perfect for canning season.  There's a lot of time when I have 10-30 minutes to wait while things are cooking or processing, and canning is a rather warm endeavor, and handling wool for a break really isn't a very appealing option.  Beads are very cool to the touch, and perfect for something to pick up and put down. I'm not sure if my optimism runs to the "get all caught up" level, but a few is certainly possible..........

Friday, May 23, 2014

It's Done! It's Done!!! It's DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The mohair shawl is done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It's done!!!!!!!  And running through the house waving a big knitted shawl over my head doesn't, oddly enough, hurt my hip.....

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I'm On the Edge!!!!

Er...the edging.  For now, at least.

It's still a peach fuzzy blob looking spectacularly like it did in this picture,
but tonight I completed the very last repeat EVERRRRRRR and am now onto the 18 rows of edging.  I'm on row 3 and we're just not thinking about the upcoming grafting of mohair episode coming up........................

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

No!!! Nothing Fuzzy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am down to the last repeat on the mohair shawl, and it's possible I could even be on the border by now, but I just can't take any more fuzz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Setting aside the wonderful idea of a big, 1100-yard monster lace project being finished, I just could face the mohair today.  So, in my moments available for crafting, I worked on the pillowcases,
which, while sporting a wee bit of cat hair by now, are really mostly fuzz-free.  Because I found these in a bag a few years ago and don't actually remember when I bought them (two sets of them, by the way), there's a great feeling of satisfaction in working on these.  Stash is something one has and doesn't use, but when one does make things one has, one has just planned ahead.  Way, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead.....

In two weeks we are hosting a game night, and since we have been on SUCH a party-hosting hiatus, I decided to do a bit of decorating for this one, and today braved the glue gun for
which turned out better than I thought.  I thought about using these as coasters for the party, but who uses coasters for plastic glasses on card tables?  We're not playing poker--I know it's popular, but I've never been much of a fan and as the hostess, I get to set the rules.  Cards are, however, great for decorations, so
I've also made some card garlands, and
am working on a wreath.  I don't really want to mess up the frame, so I'm tying the cards on instead of gluing them, but it's working pretty well--and considering my luck with the glue gun, it might be faster this way--not to mention safer.  :)  Though if anything could send me BACK to mohair, it would be the glue gun..............

Sunday, May 18, 2014

59 Rows To Go!!!

Only 59 more rows--and a mohair grafting episode that is just NOT going to be pretty--and the peachy mohair abyss Lace Dream shawl will be done!!!!!!  In just under 2 years.  Hope no one has been scorched by the burning crafting speed over here..................

Friday, May 16, 2014


And it's Friday.  I'm hoping for a bit of crafting, but I'm braving Costco this morning, and it is HIGH GARDENING time here but without my ordinary strength or stamina, so I've made a goal to transfer 5 plants every day, so crafting will have to be after all of that.  The good news is, of course, that after all that, I'll need some crafting time to rest.  :) 

Wednesday I walked down to our gym, lifted weights, then walked home--a little over a 3 mile walk.  Yesterday I walked for 3 1/2 miles.  Today I am taking it a bit easier as this is the first time I've managed two long walks in 2 days and the best way to take the fun right out of a new milestone is to spend the next 3 days in bed.  I'm getting my old energy level back but not always with the energy or strength to match.  Yesterday I would have napped all afternoon if I could take naps.  Instead, I finished the 15th rep on Lace Dream, though this
is really the only way I am tracking progress now.  It's already long.  It's getting longer, but it's still furry and lacy and looks pretty much the same.  But my little chart of pattern repeats--look at all THAT progress!!!!!

I'm rather proud of myself over this.  Last weekend I finally figured out what to give two friends of ours who got married in Washington state last year.  Beaded lace scarves!
One is a professional musician, and we saw her perform last week and it occurred to me how often she wears scarves.  Actually, they both do, but I think the black with gold beads would look good on stage.  And I haven't cast on either of them because I'm not yet finished with Lace Dream!  I'm going to pass this off as a sign of maturity, rather than admitting I'm currently using the needles I want to use.  We cling to what we can.............

Not that there hasn't been a little flirtation with other projects, like a new ornament
 or the pillowcases,
 but there hasn't been a new lace project.  For me, this is restraint........ 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Just a Little More Than Three Repeats Left!!!!

While I might be a bit distracted by spring and getting more active, the Lace Dream shawl
has been getting attention when I have time, and I have just over three 32-row repeats and a 40-row edging to finish and this baby is done!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh, and grafting 115 stitches in mohair, but I'm trying not to think about that part.........

Monday, May 12, 2014

Crafting Monday

It's been a really busy week, so there has been little time for crafting and even less time for blogging, but I am taking today off and Theo and I are embroidering napkins:
 though in all honesty, things go faster the less "help" I receive.  Still,
we progress.  I had previously embroidered blue roses on a stack of purchased white napkins for us to use, but they wrinkle like crazy and a few now have stains.  These are not great napkins, but they are 100% polyester, will stand up to washing, and the designs make these reversible.  And, they're a finished project.  Nope, not getting at all desperate......

The pajamas did get finished,
and I think I'm just a wee bit tired of flannel right now.  I have a few more embroidery projects in mind for the day,

though my optimism while loading the embroidery card might be a bit excessive for one day of crafting.  Especially since,

I found some poplin in the stash that will make a great gardening dress (the floral view).  I have this dress in two different cotton prints, but the poplin is just a bit sturdier and will hold up a bit better.  Because it's loose and has pockets, it's just the perfect summer gardening ensemble.  Or would be if I could figure out a way to get the dirt out of the pockets before washing it.  We've added sand into our soil to balance the heavy clay soil of the area, and grains of sand hold up remarkably well to the washer and dryer. 

Admittedly, I had forgotten about this fabric's existence, which is one of the problems of having a large stash, though I did know I had the sort of poplin I wanted in some color.  And the cool thing about having a large stash is that I really LIKE this fabric, so it was a fun surprise.  It's left over from this:
 which is the crafting jacket I keep in the sewing room.  I don't know why the picture is this large, but the jacket is a wee bit bigger than anticipated as well, so perhaps it's a theme.  One really needs pockets when crafting--which my clothes rarely have--so I wear this a lot.  It must just be the perfect pocket fabric, and BONUS!  It's pretty deep stash.  The flannel was all fabric I bought in November, so while it was wonderful to not have to figure out where to put it, this is using up the fabric stash!!!!!  Now WHY does that make me want to run out and get more..................................?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Spring vs. Crafting

Not that it's normal by any stretch of the imagination, but we've had two days over 80 in the past week, and it's awfully hard to stay inside on days like that--even when I'm tired.  Theo still manages to find crafting time,
though he seems a bit disgusted by my lack of dedication:
I have managed to finish the pajama pants, and
 the top is getting sleeves today. 

It's been a busy week.  I've been exercising a lot, we went to a party Saturday and hosted the New Recipe Dinner club on Sunday, and by yesterday my hip was worn out.  Part of the day was spent drugged and sleeping, but I did manage a little work on the pillowcase:
which feels like it's moving along quickly as long as I don't think about the fact that there are TWO pillowcases in a set. 

The big WIP-winner is:
 the Lace Dream shawl.  There are 19 32-row pattern repeats for this shawl, and yesterday I completed one entire set, leaving me with only 6 left to finish.  Lace mohair on size 4 needles isn't a fast project by any stretch of the imagination, but I think this could be finished by the end of the month.  Of course, I actually thought I might run out of yarn during my first year of Cold Sheeping, so I am, by nature, and idiot about crafting expectations, but this time I think it could happen. 

Of course,
it would help if my morning crafting break had been the lace shawl and not a color-work ornament.  Oops.  BUT, this little ornament is more than half finished and could be a finished project this week, and since May 10 is the traditional last frost day for our area, finishing a couple this week BEFORE getting side-tracked by the garden would be nice....

Thursday, May 1, 2014

1 Year, 6 Months!

As of today, I haven't bought yarn in 18 months!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I wish I could say there was a noticeable difference, but during those 18 months I've only used up 41 balls of yarn, but at least they didn't get replaced.  That's the big thing.  All that progress could have easily been wiped out with only one rather moderate purchase.  Scary!

April finished sort of weakly, but I still ended with:

17 yards of fabric used
637 yards of yarn used
2 balls of yarn used
7 projects finished

And........(drum roll please)..........yesterday I tried the breast stroke at the gym and I am not sore today!!!!!  Several months ago, I was told I probably wouldn't be able to do it, but I talked with the physical therapist last week and she gave me permission to try this month--no more than two laps--to see how I did.  I waited until this week because we went to see "Wicked" with my mother on Sunday and I wanted to be mobile for that, so yesterday was the big day.  I lifted weights, swam two laps, and walked for an hour in the pool.  And I don't hurt today!!!!!!!  I'll stick with just two laps for the rest of the month--I haven't been able to do that for two years, and those two laps were rather exhausting.  I had forgotten what a workout swimming is.  I'll try again tomorrow, and maybe by June I'll be strong enough for 3 laps.  :)