Monday, August 19, 2013

I'm Still Here!

     Wow, the time has really just whizzed past me!  In my last post I remarked how I couldn't believe the year was 6 weeks old, and now it's more than half over.  Where does it go, I wonder.

     I wish I could say I'd been busy finishing up UFOs all this time, but while I have finished some things, most of what's kept me from blogging has been the much more mundane, real life junk.

     When I was working on the two little bags in my last post, I also finished a cream silk clutch bag, which I'd started at a class one year (I don't recall which year!) at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo.  I finished it around the same time, except that I wanted to do something on the front, to cover where I'd sewn on the square of Velcro I used as a closure.  It took me a while to find what I wanted to use, but now at long last, here's what I ended up with:

Cream Bag

In January and February, I participated in a Knit Along (KAL) in one of the groups I belong to on Ravelry, and made this pair of socks:

April Showers Socks Finished

Today is going to be a day full of paperwork for me, so I suppose I'd better get started on it.  But I hope to get this blog all updated soon ;-)

Thanks for stopping by to play!  Come back again any time.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Making New Friends

I can't believe we're almost six weeks into the "new" year already!  It's just been whizzing  right past me.

I've been doing a bit of knitting, though I have yet to finish anything this year.  I've been making progress on several things.  I have also been doing some sewing and quilting, though I haven't got any finished quilts to show yet, either.  The other thing I've been doing is some "smaller" sewing projects.

I finished up this little caddy intended for carrying hand-sewing tools:

Flying Geese hand-sewing notions bag

Here's what it looks like on the inside:

Inside hand-sewing notions bag

This was probably started well over ten years ago, and all it needed was the button and the loop added so that it would close!  Yes, I may have a slight case of quilter's/knitter's/crafter's ADD.  The dark fabric in the picture is actually a pretty burgundy/barn red color. 

Then I also made this little zipper bag, which measures about 5.5" x 8.5":

Side 2 of crazy-patch zipper bag

And here's the other side:

Side 1 of crazy-patch zipper bag

The color's off in the photos of this bag, in reality they're pretty, somewhat darker than pastel colors.  This was a little kit I got somewhere, I don't even really remember where.  I'm thinking it was a door prize at a retreat or something, because while it's kinda cute, it isn't something I would have bought.  It was a fun little quick project, though.

Then, I was in the mood to make some stuffies.  First up is Frieda, the free-spirit.  She doesn't like it when I call her a Monster, so let's keep that part just between us, okay?

Frieda the Free-Spirit Monster

Frieda really likes to play hide & seek, but since her arms are permanently stitched to her torso, she can't cover her eyes.  So she ends up throwing herself onto the floor face-first so she can't see.  Then she has a hard time getting back up -- again, the arms attached to the torso make it tough for her to find a way to turn over or stand up.  So, she started dancing.  She discovered she really likes to dance, too.  She likes all kinds of dancing, but her favorite is line dancing.  She just has trouble with the clapping...

And finally, I'd love you to meet Owl-livia:


She's made from a panel.  I was at one of my LQSs in January for the Block-of-the-Month session, and they showed the panel, and they had one made up.  Well, I thought it was just too cute to not bring home with me.  And in contrast to my usual tendency, I started and got it finished in pretty short order.  The pattern didn't say to quilt her, except for her wings and feet, but hey, I'm a quilter, it's what I do.  I also thought she could use that extra touch, somehow.  I hadn't done any free-motion quilting on a regular sewing machine in quite a while, and she was a great project to "warm up" with, because I didn't really care if the quilting was wonky or less than "just so," and the uneven stitch length and the places where I lost track of where I was or where I was going just don't matter because, well, she's a stuffy.  It's nice to do those kinds of projects every once in a while, where you can just cut loose and have fun with it.

Frieda's been spending a fair bit of time keeping an eye on our DVD collection lately.  I think she wants to choose what we watch on our next "Movie Night."  Owlivia has settled down on the cutting table, and decided she likes having a front-row seat to my sewing area.  I hope you enjoyed meeting my two new friends.  I'm planning to make some more throughout this year, and I'll be sure to introduce them here, too.

Thanks for stopping by to play.  Come back again soon.

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Is Winding Down...

Well, I never seem to have gotten the big block of quilting time I was expecting and hoping for.  I have gotten some knitting done, and I may yet get a bit of quilting done before the end of the year.  It all depends on how much life decides to cooperate, or not.

Here are the socks I've finished recently and haven't yet shared here:

I Love Watermelon






I have the next few days pretty much free, so I'm planning to spend it getting "lost" in some sewing.  And maybe some knitting as well. 

I hope that 2012 winds down in a good way for you, and that 2013 will bring you health, happiness, and lots of good things -- and the grace to appreciate them all.

Thanks for stopping by to play.  Come back again soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Let the Crazy Times Begin

The weekend before Thanksgiving, I was at our Toastmasters Fall District Conference.  We were at Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center, in Grafton, Illinois.  As always, it was great to see some of the Toastmasters from around the District, that I don't see except at District events.  I always learn something, and this time was no exception.  And I always have fun, too, and this conference was definitely fun, as well.

I always think of the Holiday Season as beginning with the Fall Conference, because it's almost always the weekend before Thanksgiving.  So it really does lead right into the craziest six weeks of the year.  Well, for most people it's a crazy time of year, anyhow.  For me, it's usually a time I can slow down a bit, and get some quilting stuff done.  I absolutely don't leave home at all on Black Friday.  I have get-togethers with a few groups during December, but I don't have nearly as much craziness as many folks I know do.  So, while everyone else is hustling and bustling, I can nest and quilt.  I always get in the mood to work on quilting at this time of year, too.  I think it may go back to my days in school, when I did a lot of crafting and sewing during Christmas break, that I didn't necessarily have time for during the school year.

For the rest of this year, I'm going to try to get a number of my completed quilt tops layered up, quilted, and ready to be bound.  Then in the early part of the new year, I'll have a binding marathon, and all of a sudden, I'll have a whole bunch of newly-finished quilts ;-)

For today,  I can show you a pair of socks I finished recently.  This was a pair I test-knitted for a designer who is new to me.  I stumbled upon her Ravelry group, and happened to be on the site right after she'd posted a request for test knitters, and was able to be the first volunteer.  They may look like they're from two different yarns, but they're not.  I was working from both ends of the skein, and apparently, the hand-dyed yarn was not dyed consistently throughout.  I really like the effect of slightly mismatched socks, though I know there are folks out there who would be bothered by it.  Anyhow, here they are:

Take a Peek

Last week, I finished up this cowl, and blocked it over the weekend:

It's not really crooked or lopsided, I was just apparently standing at a funny angle -- when I fold it in half again, the top edges and the bottom edges are nicely in line all the way along.

I also finally got around to blocking several other things that have been waiting a while for that.  First, here's my Color Affection shawl:

Color Affection
 This is supposed to be striped in three colors, but unfortunately, the colors in my yarns were closer to each other than I thought they'd be, so I lost quite a bit of the stripe effect.  Here are the yarns I used for this:

Yarn for Color Affection
Looking at this, it seems obvious that these yarns would be somewhat "blendy," but in person I really thought they'd be more distinct from each other.  No matter, I still like this and will wear it.

Then a fun little cowl I made during a knit-along (KAL) with the designer's group on Ravelry:


Then two basic long cowls/infinity scarves, one for DH:


and one for me:


The color is horrible on those last two pictures.  Here's the yarn that I used for DH's cowl:

Yarn for Blue Cowl

and here's the yarn I used for mine:

Yarn for Green Cowl

I'm glad to have gotten all this blocking done, and to be able to use these items now. 

I've got a couple other pairs of socks I'm making good progress on, so I hope to show those here very soon.  And maybe some more quilty pictures, before too long.  For now, I'm off to do some sewing!

Thanks for stopping by to play!  Come back again soon.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Bit More Knitting

Most of what I knit is socks.  You've seen what I've gotten finished recently.  I have another 8 pairs that I'm actually working on at the moment, as well as a number of pairs that I've started that are in hibernation for one reason or another.  In my last post, you saw a hat I knitted for my DH.  Using the same pattern, I also made myself a hat.  In fact, I finished mine first, then made DH's.

This yarn is in a colorway called "Mallard," so (because I like to think I'm clever sometimes) I called the project "Excuse me, is that a duck on your head?"  It turns out, that's a quote from one of the DiscWorld books, so I'm informed.  I hadn't even heard of the books, so the reference wasn't intentional.  The yarn is 80% Merino wool, 10% nylon, and 10% cashmere, and it feels wonderful.  It hasn't really been cold enough for me to wear it yet (though DH has worn his, but he's out in the early morning hours, and I haven't been), but I really like it.  Here it is on DH's head, so I could take the picture:

Sockhead with ribbing folded back

I have some other things that I've knitted that I still need to take pictures of -- a shawl and three cowls.  But they need to be blocked first, and I haven't gotten that done yet.  I'm hoping to do it over the holiday weekend, and post pictures very soon of the finished and blocked items.

Thanks for stopping by to play!  Come back again soon.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rest Easy, Sweet Spirit

My very dear friend Sue died somewhat unexpectedly in early September.  She lived in Florida, and in the last couple of years I hadn't seen her much.  We did talk on the phone, but it had gotten more infrequent because I was busy and distracted, and she had been busy helping her mother quite a bit, until she finally put her foot down and told her mother she could not continue to be at her house all day, every day, that she just didn't have the strength or stamina for it.  Sue was quite a bit older than me, only 15 months younger than my mother.  We met in the early 1990s when we both worked at the same hospital on night shift.  She was a nurse in the cardiac Critical Care unit, and I worked in the laboratory as a Medical Technologist.  We didn't have a phlebotomist at night, so I had to go to the floors and collect blood samples myself.  That was how we first met, and we eventually got talking, and hit it off.  I don't know if I've ever had a best friend as an adult, but if I have, Sue was it.  Even though we had been in contact less frequently recently, we could always just pick up right where we left off, and it was always comfortable.  She was the one person I could always be completely myself with, and know that it was okay.  And she could do the same with me.

About a week before Sue died, I had started knitting this hat for my DH.  It's in a lovely bright turquoise.


Sue loved cool colors, and was especially fond of turquoise, teal-y greens, and purples.  So after I learned of Sue's death, I renamed my project of this hat "Sue would have loved this color."  Does that seem a bit macabre?  Well, she was friends with my DH too, though more my friend -- still, he feels her loss also.  He didn't mind me naming it that, so I did.  As I worked on the hat, after I knew of her death, I was thinking a lot about her and all she'd meant to me.  So it was a healing project, to some extent.  So many times in the last few weeks, there have been things I've wanted to tell Sue, and I'll catch myself saying "oh, I've gotta call and tell her..."  And then I remember.  And I miss her all the more.

~~~Susan Jane Becker, 9 January 1946 - 8 September 2012.  Rest Easy, Sweet Spirit.  You are loved and missed.~~~

Thanks for letting me share a little (mostly "non-crafty") piece of life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More Knitting Stuff

I've finally got some space where I can leave my sewing stuff out, and have room to work on it.  But, I'm always working on knitting stuff in the background.  It's more portable, I can do it when I want to watch television or a movie, and it's very meditative in a way that sewing on a machine isn't.

I've previously shown you the first six pairs of socks I made for the 26 Pair Plunge, which runs from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013.  I'm ahead of schedule a bit, as I just finished Pair #13 last Thursday.  Here are pairs 7-13:

Gingered Peaches done


Stealth Monsters

Changing into Vanilla

Colorful Socks for Marty
This pair is for my DH, the only pair in this Plunge so far that is.

Can You Really Taste Colors

I Love Watermelon

Thanks for coming by to play!  Come back again soon.