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 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:

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.............

Sunday, June 16, 2019



And I loved none of it.  Like this one:
I enjoy knitting cotton washcloths, but after purchasing this cone, I knit a few balls of this colorway, and as soon as this yarn gets wet, the colors bleed together, so it looks like some sad, half-melted Christmas mint found at the bottom of a purse somewhere.  I don't like how it turns out, so I was never going to knit with it.  Ditto this:
In December of 2007 when I was gearing up for my first year without buying yarn--I hadn't even come up with the term "cold-sheeping" yet--and I allowed myself one "last hurrah" purchase, and bought Knit Picks' Shine in both worsted weight and this sport weight.  The worsted was easily the worst yarn I've ever used--it sheds, every single ball (and they were less than 100 yards each) had terrible splices that look like they'd been done with an egg beater, and the sweater looked ratty and old within 2 months.  But I hung onto this yarn.  It's been almost 12 years.  There were a few times when I started to list it for sale on Ravelry, but my experience with selling yarn on Ravelry hasn't been good, so I didn't and it's just existed.  Enough is enough.  There are better yarns and my knitting time is too limited for horrible yarn.  

I'm also donating some quilting flannels,
and some fleece.  I have tried quilting with flannel and probably would never, ever attempt it again, but someone else can can it.  Ditto the fleece--that was going to be a baby gift, but again, I don't need as many baby gifts as I used to.

I also cleaned out a box of old jeans
that I was saving to make some hanging storage for the closets in the OLD house, and if I ever come up with a new project needing old denim, we'll have worn out some new jeans by then.

I did keep a few discoveries, like this:
which is an almost-finished, WAY too busy table-runner top.  That muddle in the middle is supposed to be a pinwheel.  This has to date back to my first house when I had just taken up sewing, because I hope I'm better at picking coordinating prints now.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it--we'll have to see if I can locate this particular fabric in the stash as only two sides have borders and there's only fabric with it for one more side. Maybe from a distance it will look better..........

The sewing room is still really cluttered, but I made a very visible dent yesterday.  I also did some weeding, a bit of tidying, did a few more rows in my quilting
then my hip was so tired that I had to rest.  First the sock got some attention,
 then the shawl, which has now been divided for the first side, so the rows move pretty quickly.
 even if it doesn't always feel like it.  I have to work some seriously long hours at our big event next week, so it's been nice to have a quiet weekend. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

There Is Cleaning Happening!

Sorry, should I have warned you?  I know it's such a rare occurrence that the shock might be too much here, so sit down for these next bits:

I am donating an entire (overflowing) box of yarn.

I have admitted that 3 old sewing WIPS are truly irreparable and have tossed them.

I am donating Christmas crafting books.  

I am even donating one of those huge Rubbermaid totes BECAUSE IT'S NOW EMPTY AND I DON'T NEED IT!

I know, right??????????????????????????????????????

This is even a visible dent in the craft room!  To be fair, none of the yarn was good stuff--I even found Fun Fur lurking in the bottom of the tote
(which might be breeding as I swear I purged all this stuff before moving), but I still struggled a bit to part with this,
which is crazy.  I believe I bought this for a sweater for my sister's first child, and he's now in high school.  In my defense, he did get something like 8 sweaters, but this has been in my possession for at least 15 years now and I have done nothing with it, my close friends are all too old to have children, and I have lots of yarn and lots of projects that I want to make.  Now I just have to stay strong until that box actually leaves the house........

I did run across these,
which helps to distract me.  Back in 2015, I ordered some yarn, then made up little project bags to "surprise" myself with new yarn when I was getting the must-buy-yarn shakes.  This worked well until we moved, and now all my yarn is basically a surprise when I find it, and frankly, knowing where something actually IS is enough of a surprise.  I'm going to cast on that little turquoise project later today when I need a break from cleaning/purging as a bit of a reward.  Andy has gone camping for the weekend, so I have the weekend to myself.  Who would have thought I would spend it cleaning?  Honestly, that wouldn't be anyone's top 10 guess.........

I did plant a few things and do some weeding last night AND I sorted through some unopened boxes of books we found in the garage (I'm under the 2-year mark, so WHEW!), and so far have refilled one of those boxes with books to be donated to the library!  I CAN DO THIS!!!!!  Honestly, if there's something even harder to give up than yarn, it's books--especially some of my more eclectic books that I know the library will never, EVER keep, but I'm admitting that I'm not going to reread any of them.  This is growth for me.  When we packed up the old house, we found boxes we'd never unpacked in the first place, so I swore we wouldn't do that in this house, and I did actually believe that we had unpacked all the books, so now that we know about them, it's unpack or donate.  We both read so we will always have a library, but we're just being selective.  If I'm going to dust them, they have to be worthy...........

 I don't know how long this de-cluttering mania is going to last, but I'm hoping long enough to take a spin through my sock drawer.................

Sunday, June 9, 2019

We Have Baby Quail!

Friday when I got home from work, I found a family of quail in our front yard, and as I was trying in my COMPLETELY unstealthy way to not frighten them,
I frightened them into the bushes.  Wildlife photographers everywhere remain completely unthreatened by my prowess.  I spent a fair bit of Friday afternoon out watching to see if they'd decide to come back out--doing some weeding as a cover, just in case my neighbors would worry about shrub-watching as a new hobby or something--but I haven't seen them again. But they were adorable.  

Yesterday was surprisingly chilly, so aside from some yardwork and a few chores, Venus and I worked on the quilt:
Thanks to a thread-cutting button, I'm sewing rows of stitching on the larger dragonfly print blocks in long rows, and I'm just over half done on the second row of blocks--there are a total of 8.  So it's a long process, but it's a good after-work project as it's just the same thing over and over.  Slow is better than never, right?

I had meant to curl up in bed a bit early last night, but someone else had the same idea.
I guess it really was THAT sort of evening.  He doesn't believe in sharing when he's the one who will be doing the sharing, but he does believe in getting up when cat treats are being offered in the laundry room.....

Sunday, June 2, 2019

I'm Still Here

So my new job is with a radio station/advertising agency, and we have live events and radio remotes and I've worked the last 2 Saturdays, so I haven't been keeping up with the blog, laundry, the garden, and pretty much everything else.  But let's catch up, shall we?

Several weeks ago now, I went to a sewing expo, which was rather disappointing.  I'd gone two summers ago and there were SO many things I would have purchased had we not been packing and moving.  This year it was about half as big and there weren't that many things I was even interested in, but I did find this lovely little clock for the sewing room:
I love it!  I've been looking for a clock for the sewing room, and this was just too adorable to pass up.  Don't you love the little scissors as a pendulum?

My three-day weekend was unfortunately only a 2-day weekend, but there was some serious craft time.  While I set up the new machine to embroider some towels,
I set up my other machine to do some free motion quilting,
One of the reasons I'm making so many checkerboard-style runners  is to help me learn new free motion quilting techniques, 
The grids help, and I find it easier to try new things if there's not just ONE project that I'll worry about messing up.  I have several of these,
so if one went really badly, there's still more to try new things with, though I did stippling on a couple of them
 to "loosen up" as it were.  This one just needed binding this morning, so with my trusty sidekick:
 we finished a runner, two embroidered towels, 
 and a new pair of flannel pajamas for Andy:
 which is kind of a weird summer project, but I was trying to tidy up the sewing room and it was easier just to make the pajamas than to find a place to store the fabric.  Because Joann's flannel is now something ridiculous like 40 inches wide, it takes 7.5 yards of the new flannel to make what 6 yards used to do, but I didn't know that until I'd bought some and had to go back for more. I'm still trying to find 2 more yards of a flannel I bought for me--otherwise I'm going to have to do some pattern editing. 

We've had some unusually wet and cold weather, but this weekend turned out mostly nice, so last night we spent part of the evening enjoying the pond after a day full of chores,
Image may contain: tree, grass, outdoor and nature
and socks are the perfect pond-knitting project:
and are extraordinarily aerodynamic when one discovers a spider has joined one for a closer look.  I'm better at some parts of nature than others.....

This evening I've gone back to the dragonfly quilt,
 having decided that I didn't feel confident enough to try free-motion quilting on this, didn't know how free-motion quilting would look after I'd already started quilting with lines, and wanted to get back to finishing this before I was so overwhelmed by trying to find the "right" way forward that it never got finished at all, so I have decided to continue with the lines of quilting for the blocks.  I love the fabric, so I just need quilting to not detract from the design, and I want to finish it so we can be using it.  The rows of stitching are about 1/4-inch apart, and then I'll need to go back and quilt the pink patches as well, so it's going to be quite a while before this is finished, but I'm DOING IT!  Do you ever get that "perfection paralysis?"

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  Can you believe it's June already?

Friday, May 24, 2019

We Have Ducklings on the Pond Tonight!

Image may contain: bird, grass, outdoor and nature
That's a nice way to start a weekend, isn't it?

Saturday, May 4, 2019

And Now It's May...

And I haven't finished a single sweater.  I am indeed working on a sweater, and I think it's probably more than half-finished, but for the sake of my sanity, I'm thinking I should update my goal to 6 sweaters, quilts, or shawls.  They're still all large projects, right?

And that brings me to ONE finished large project for the year, since I can count the quilt for my friends.  Now only 5 more to go.......

Monday, April 22, 2019

I Would be Knitting....

...but there's a cat on my project.  It's rather astounding how he can cover it so completely.

Easter dinner was great fun, but it was a really busy weekend, so tonight I came home from work, crawled into pajamas, and thought I'd get a little knitting done.  But Valentino says there was too much cleaning and not enough kitty this weekend, so there's some petting to be made up.  And who am I to argue?

Friday, April 19, 2019

They Got Eaten!

 There I was, all excited about the new tulips coming up to make up for the THOUSANDS in extra taxes we're paying this year, when I came home one night to find these:
Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor
 reduced to this:
 The survivors were brought inside for their own protection,

 and Andy and I spent an evening spraying deer repellent on everything else.  If the deer finds it even half as repellent as we did while spraying it, our flowers are safe. 

 Luckily, I bought mid- and late-blooming flowers as well, so now that they stink, the next wave have been allowed to bloom:

 as well as the ones that were already planted,
so we're looking pretty festive.  We have 12 people coming for Easter, so it's nice to have some color in the yard.  Of course, it means no sewing this weekend, but maybe the weekend after....

I think we've decided to keep the latest bowl,
as it so nicely matches a table runner we just happen to have, so one less gift made for the year, but it is only April.

I finally got pictures of the socks (a gift) I finished earlier this month. 
I think I've almost used up as much yarn already this year as I have in either of the last 2 years, so maybe there will be some visible stash-reduction soon. If one looks closely....

I swear I am working on a sweater, but I did start another gift as soon as the socks were done.  This:
will be a shawl for a friend, which will take as much yarn as a sweater, so maybe I'll count it as one.  There is, however, that brand new sewing machine to play with, and it is my year to make gifts, so I've been playing with some prints with black,
I'm doing long stratas of 2.5" strips sewn together,
 sometimes more successfully than at other times..........
For the red and black checkered projects, I'm going to play with some quilting options--maybe learn some new free motion patterns.  When I'm doing several similar projects it helps give me the courage to try new things--plus I'll end up with several gifts.  Win-win.