Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Knit, InterNet-woes, & Missy hanging out. . .

Hello Friends. . . The center of the shawl is complete and now I'm "binding off" by knitting-off the 576 stitches into a lace edging:
This Icelandic Unspun yarn is so very warm that I knit while keeping the whole thing in a plastic bag on my lap! lol. It helps a little bit and it does keep my kitty off of it. . . Missy loves to 'knead' her paws in this soft stuff.
Look closely to see the bamboo needle sticking out of the shawl near the upper right corner [in the pic below]; that's the center! OMGoodness, but this is going to be one large shawl! LOL. I was planning on blocking it on my queen size bed, but as you can see, that plan will have to be revised!
Here's Missy hanging out in her fave chair by the front window. She sure knows how to stretch out and REEEE-LAAAAX! lol. She's a lot of fun to watch.
Internet update: Still no U-Verse Line! *big dissapointing sigh!* . . . Not sure how long it will take. Originally it was only supposed to be a couple of weeks! Oh my. Not being able to get OnLine everyday with my friends has given me a horrible case of "Internet-Putter-Withdrawal"! LOL
I remember something my dear Mother used to tell me. . . that if one looks hard enough, there is good in everything. So, while not being on the putter has been awful, it has provided me with a ton of knitting time. LOL. The knitted shawl is almost done. Only about 200 more stitches to 'knit off' to complete the lace edging.
Well, that's it for now. Thank you for stopping by & leave a comment if you like. . . I enjoy reading them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Quickie: Where am I? Updates & So forth. . .

Hello Everyone!
"HI!". . . No, I didn't abandon Bloggerland, I've just had computer problems out the wazz-zoo! [might be a technical term...lol]. Still don't have it all sorted out yet, but there is now light at the end of the computer-tunnel! lol.
So, here's what I've been up to:
Knitting update:
First, thank to you everyone who has written me about the shawl I'm knitting. I didn't know there would be such interest, but now that I do, I'll post my progress.
Mistake! Watching a movie on TV while knitting a new-to-me lace pattern was probably not very smart. hehehe. I made too many mistakes to easily correct, so just yanked the circular needle out of all 288 stitches, pulled the knitting back about 10 rows or so and put them back on needle to resume knitting. Oh yeah, that was a lot of fun. lol. Not! All's well that ends well, though, and I'm clicking right along. Have almost finished the main lace pattern in the central third of the shawl -- a more recent picture to follow soon.
Friends, Vacations & Play Time:
Last Wednesday I met a friend and her family at Disneyland. They are visiting from Alberta, Canada. We've known each other through emails, photos, & a couple of phone calls for several years, but never met until now. Over time we have become good buddettes. It was so much fun to finally met! We spent the afternoon strolling through the Park, taking a few rides, and visiting the Blue Bayou Restaurant in the New Orleans Quarter for an early but sumptuous dinner. Their little boy got a real delight watching the boats from the Pirate's of the Caribbean ride floating through the water that runs through the restaurant. What fun! I love that place. They brought me a box of special Canadian cookies -- YUMMO! Wow, do I love these cookies, or biscuits as they are called on the box. I am sad to say the cookies didn't last long as DD and I ravaged the box! lol. It was hard to save ONE for the picture, but I plan on snacking it off this afternoon... wouldn't want it to get lonely just sitting in the box all by itself. You believe that. . . ya?! lol

A couple of weeks ago we began exploring some dyeing possibilities at my Tuesday afternoon quilt class. First we did scribbles with markers and the following week we did 'direct dyeing' using Procion Dyes. The pic above and below are two of my efforts. The assignment was to make something in USA patriotic colors to be later incorporated into a wall-hanging appropriate for July.
I still have a bit more piecing of bits and blocks, plus borders to add, but these are the two pieces of dyed fabric that I'm starting with. I'll post a pic of this quilt later when it is complete. I'm still fine-tuning my design and will probably add a silhouette as well.
Well, that's it for now. I sincerely hope that your summer [or winter for our Southern Hemi friends] is wonderful and that you've found some time to stitch or knit. . . thank you for stopping by,

Monday, July 6, 2009

PROJECTS: New & Ongoing... Knitted Shawl & Road Less Traveled quilt

This is the latest block for the Road Less Traveled quilt I've been working on. I'm still deciding on the final corner squares. . . I may just leave what I have and not change them [u/left corner]. . . not every block can be a star. . . ya?!

This is the beginning of a new shawl. It will be circular in shape -- I've always made them square before. Even though the shawl is knitted, it begins with a crochet hook. This is often called "Emily Ocker's" beginning: make a loop & put desired number of single crochets into the center of loop -- I'm using 9 stitches. Transfer to double point needles & begin to knit. It may feel a bit fidly in the beginning, but after a row or two everything will settle down. Later, the little 'tail' can be given a tug and the beginning circle will close -- no one will be the wiser as to how you began! Isn't that neat?!

This shawl will be made from unspun Icelandic wool that I get from here . Unspun Icelandic comes in several nice natural shades and a couple of 'dyed' ones, like this rose color. It comes on a "wheel" rather than a hank or skein. It is a delightful yarn to knit with. I'm using only one strand so the shawl will be very light, but this yarn will also make it quite warm!

Pic to the right is the beginning, which is now on four double point needles. I've decided to use size 10.5 US size. This will make the stitches large enough to be 'lacy'.

And to the left, it is moving to a 16" circular needle. I don't bother to 'transfer' the stitches, but simply begin knitting with the new needle. Soon it will be on a 24" circular which should see me clear through to completion. I'll post updates as the knitting progresses.
Oh, in case anyone's interested, I'm using the geometry of Pythagorus: the relationship of a circle's circumference to its radius will double in progressively doubling rows. What this means to us knitters is. . . begin with nine stitches and knit one row; next row double the stitches by YO, K1, repeat all around [18 stchs]; now knit 3 rows plain; double the stitches again [36 stchs] and knit SIX rounds plain; repeat same doubling & also double the number of plain rows of knitting in between the stitch increases... now knit 12 rows [72 stchs]... etcetera. I was reminded of this theory of Pi from high school days, by Elizabeth Zimmerman when her "Knitting Workshop" program aired on PBS back in the 1980's. BTW, if you never purchase any other knitting book, get her "Knitting Workshop" book as it will take you from a beginner to a master knitter in 12 lessons. In my view, EZ has been the most influential person in the knitting world. Her daughter Meg now carries on EZ's business, publishing & teaching.
This pi shawl is a good carry around project as the shawl creates its own 'knitting bag' once it's on the 24" circular needle... I just tuck it into my purse along with one wheel of yarn and I'm all set to knit anywhere, anytime. . . like today where I will be spending at least one hour waiting to have new tires put on my car.
Have you noticed the cost of new tires lately? OMGosh, the amount of yarn and fabric I could buy for what these tires are gonna cost just staggers the mind! lol.
All for now. . . thank you for stopping by,
Note: As always, just click on any picture to enlarge it. Also, the little blue 'pin' is used to mark the very first stitch. It's a good idea to place a marker at the beginning of the round and slip it on each successive round. . . use a coiless pin or yarn in another color, that way you always know where you are. *g*.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Purse: Knitted w/Cables & Bamboo Handles....

As so often happens, one of my DDs saw a picture of something and wanted one for herself. I saw a version of this purse on the Vogue Knitting website and showed it to DD#2 [first mistake]. She said, "ooooo, I'd LOVE one, but I really want it to be BLACK" . I said OK... [2nd mistake]. Then she cooed that she'd prefer not to have knitted handles; could I attach something else?! Oh, sure [3rd mistake]. I took her with me to the store to pick out her handles {major mistake!}.
So. . . now we are going to knit up a purse just like the pattern, only "different," with oval bamboo handles connected to top of a rectangular shape, and it will be black! Black is always harder for me to knit with... I don't see the stitches as clearly... oh well, black it is! lol.
Oh, and 'we' need it lined with pockets inside... I said I'd try [another mistake]. The yarn was purchased Mar2008; I knitted the 'body' over the weekend at the DJ Retreat in Shipshe in April2008, and finished adding the lining, crochet, & bamboo handles the evening of July 1st, 2009.... as things go, I guess that's not too bad! lol... at least it is no longer a UFO. DD loves it... I'm glad. ;-)
So, here it is... the completed purse. The pic is pretty bad and the scissors are just stuck in to show there are pockets inside. It looks grey in this pic, but trust me, it's b-l-a-c-k! The lining is grey, though.

That's all for now... thank you for stopping by,
PS: If the top edge looks a little different it's because I added two rows of single crochet [to firm up the edge] before I crocheted a 'gusset tube' [I don't know what else to call it] to secure the handles. Until I got the hang of what I was trying to 'invent,' I felt all thumbs holding the purse, handles, yarn and crochet hook. lol. Well, all's well that ends well... I guess...eh?!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dyeing With Markers. . .

A week ago last Tuesday the lecture in quilt class was "What Now?" An interesting title. The instructor demonstrated using permanent markers -- such as 'Sharpies' -- on clean dry muslin, let dry [or not, artist's choice] and then apply Isopropyl [70% or higher] alcohol using a mister, sponge brush, or pouring.

After some alcohol. . . this will change the surface based on the application method. I used a combination of brushing and pouring. Let dry & 'cure' for several days; heat set with dry hot iron; rinse, dry, and iron again.

This flower reacted quite a bit differently than I expected, but then that's part of the fun of this technique.

The outside edge of the fushia color was applied using another 'permanent' marker I found at Michael's craft store. . . don't remember the brand name. This color really ran!

I think I may do some heavy free-motion thread painting over the top of this flower, cut it out and apply to one of the canvas tote bags I use when grocery shopping. I figure I can use this 'dye-goof' to increase my free-motion experience. I have nothing to lose but some thread. . . eh?! *g*

Later, I'll post some pictures of what these 'experiements' look like after putting them through a bath of Synthrapol -- it took almost ALL the red markers out and caused the blues n greens to migrate over the whole surface. Now that was unexpected! I learned NOT to put marker-dyed fabric in synthrapol-- just rinse & heat set. Well, live and learn! LOL

Last Tuesday we shared the results of our 'direct' dyeing experiments using soda ash & Procion dyes. These turned out somewhat better... pictures to follow...

That's all for now... thank you for stopping by,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Heart2Heart - Special goodies from SUSAN!

SUSAN sent a very special Heart2Heart block to me for my heart quilt. Isn't it gorgeous?! She does amazingly beautiful stitchery:

We decided that we would also swap special H2H siggies, and this is what Susan designed and made -- isn't the embroidery wonderful? Susan has a lot of talent!
She also included THREE extra gifties! First, this beautiful patchwork and embellished heart. I love the little flower at the 'inney' of the heart. I plan to attach a silk ribbon behind this flower and hang the heart in my bedroom. Won't that be neat? I told Susan what I was going to do with my heart and she said she was doing the same thing! Kindred hearts, indeed! *vbg*
A lovely hand towel embroidered with Australian flowers:
And this precious heart that she hand crocheted! Perfect!

Everything came wrapped in pastel tissue papers and tied with pretty colored embroidery floss! How clever is that?!

Thank you so much, Susan. I feel lucky to be included in your friendship circle!

All for now... thank you for stopping by and sharing my joy,
PS: I wonder if this post 'reads correctly'... I mean, afterall, it is after 3:30 in the morning!!! -- sheesh, what am I still doing up??? Nite Nite, everyone! lol
PPSS: Ok... the news flash has been received --lol-- no more posting in the middle of the night when my brain is even less effective than usual! LOL. One of the pictures and some text "evaporated" from my post -- so, look above; I put it back in! I better get a better handle on using the "preview" button! *g* Sometimes I just think that I have no idea what I'm doing in blog-land! But, I'll keep trying. *vbg*. It's all a learning process....ya?!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

CONTEST - Free gift at Ranette's blog... hurry, hurry

Hello Everyone...
Ranette is having a drawing for a special Moda gift on her blog in honor of her darling girls... go have a visit and put your name in the hat!
While you're there check out her postings and pics -- Ranette has a fun blog!
Good luck in the drawing. . .
More later... thank you for stopping by,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Siggy Time - Happy Mail from Kristine!

Last week I received this fun Siggy from Kristine who lives in Germany. Isn't the bovine fabric fun? I love it! She also wrote a wonderful and newsy letter about her locale with some history of her area, including ancient trade routes! Kristine's note even included a map of where she is in Germany - what a teriffic idea!

Kristine sounds like a lovely person and even invited me to coffee if I ever get to her part of the world -- now that's Hospitality!

Thank you, Kristine, for your fun Siggy and your lovely, newsy letter!

All for now - thank you for stopping by . . .


Monday, June 8, 2009

HUGE Thank You's!

Hello Everyone,
Huge thank you's and hugs all around for the many lovely, encouraging emails I've received lately. I really appreciate it -- Thank You!
It really feels good to "feel good" again! LOL. I'm finally over the 'flu bug' and am just resting a bit and trying to get the wind back into my sails... life is good! I have some nifty pics that I'll be posting and sharing soon.
All for now... thank you for stopping by,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Surprise from ROSA!... Happy Mail...

It's been raining pink fabric at my house lately! A HUGE surprise turned up on my doorstep on Monday - a big package of Pink fabrics from ROSA! And she included the cutest card, too!

Aren't these gorgeous? I haven't seen any of these before. I love the CW repro fabrics, but these pinks are amazing! The two projects I'm working on: CWD and the Road Less Traveled, will be extra special because friends' fabrics will be in it!

Thank you so much, dear Rosa, your generosity overwhelms me!
All for now... thank you for visiting,
Note: I haven't posted in several days because I've been sick in bed with the "bug," but other than weak and a bit of a sore throat, I am much better. I'll be back in a day or so when I'm feeling stronger. ;-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Mail . . . A surprise from Elaine!

Tuesday's mail brought a complete surprise -- Happy Mail from Elaine!

I've been struggling to find CW repro pinks and Elaine came to my rescue. I'm all set now -- that's for sure! She sent SIX pieces of fabric!!! And a sweet darling card, too.
Oh, and guess what other little surprise she tucked inside? A cute little bag of Mulling Spices for Wine! Wowzer... I've always wanted to try this. BTW, if I turn up "off line" for awhile, you'll know I'm sampling the wine! LOL
I don't know how Elaine does it, but she always seems to know her friends' heart's desires, and then she finds a way to make it F-U-N! Thank you, Elaine, you are a keeper!
All for now. . . thank you for stopping by and sharing in my joy,

Monday, May 25, 2009

REMEMBER. . . & Thank You!

Some nice flag pictures . . .

To all Military Service Men and Women - both past and present - who have so selflessly served their country:

Remember, always remember . . .

Fly your FLAG today!


Sunday, May 24, 2009

DearJane Progress & A Nifty "Chart" Idea...

Below are the blocks I have so far for my Holiday Jane [working title]. This quilt will alternate blocks of Red & Green.
The blocks are in no particular order in this pic. I just stuck 'em up on the design wall to get a picture. As you can see there are a couple of goldish colored blocks included - most of these are from the DJ Holiday Block Swap of 2007. These blocks will not be a part of Holiday Jane, but moved to another quilt project. Sorry for the lousy picture! [BTW, not all blocks have been trimmed, as you can tell...lol]

The CHART IDEA: A couple of like-minded DearJane enthusiasts met at the Temecula Quilt Company last Friday. An idea was shared to paste up 'snippets' of our focus fabrics into a chart. I thought, "This is neat! and could be a useful tool."
Isn't this is a great idea? It really shows how fabrics, values, and colors will [or won't] work together. One person cut apart their Bennington Poster [ouch!] and pasted the pieces to a sheet of cardboard. Laura cut squares of her focus fabric and glued it to a larger piece of plain fabric.. . I will do the later version, using all the various Reds and Greens that I have collected.Later, I could even raw-edge-stitch this little "chart," sandwich it up, quilt it, and voila! A cute little wall hanging.
Well, that's all for now. . . more later and thank you for stopping by,

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mystery Gift or DJSP??? . . .Happy Mail is always fun!

Friday's mail brought a Mystery Package to my front door. . . . .

"Happy Mail" is always so much fun!

The package had a Kansas return address, but an Illinois postal meter stamp. . . a puzzle! No note, message, or card inside—just some nifty goodies all tied up in pretty ribbon. I think it’s from my DJ Secret Pal – she is a very clever and fun person who has come up with some unique ideas and gifts so far this year. Gotta love her, and I do!

This Journal has lines, which is very helpful to me! She also sent a tube of Blistex, always welcome; and one-half yard of gorgeous pink CW repro fabric!! Nice, very nice.

Whoever you are out there . . . thank you so very much!

*huge grins*

All for now… I hope to put up some more pics later of my Holiday Jane DJ blocks that I worked on yesterday.



PS: this is the first time I've tried posting by emailing directly to my blog and attaching pics... wow, I still have so much to learn! lol. But at least I tried it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy Mail: Giftie from FRUMMIE!

When I arrived home Saturday from class, late and tired, waiting for me was a "Happy Mail" package from Frummie! She sent QuiltMania - what a super magazine! Page after page of glorious color photos and tons of great ideas! Especially Basket Blocks! These peaked my interest because I am a member of "Basket Case Quilters". LOL. No explanation necessary...eh?! Frummie enclosed a set of Perfect Circle templates, too. I've never used these before, but am looking forward to trying out the technique. Then, more goodies: stacks and stacks of little strips of very pretty fabric AND Frummie printed them in 1/2" hexagon shapes using Inklingo*. Thank you, Frummie!

I couldn't wait to try out these cute little hexes, so below are a few pics of my stitching process -- 6 hex petals, to one hex center, to make a little flower:

First, cut out shapes and arrange for sewing; begin sewing 2 'petals' together, then add hexes one at a time; close the final seam [1st & 6th hex edges to complete circle]. You can click on an image to enlarge it. The 2nd pic is a macro shot and that's a size 11 needle! It looks so big in the photo.

Press, twirling the s.a. to distribute bulk. See how the intersections form little "flowers" on the backside after pressing? Cute! Here is the completed miniature GFG block. I placed my thimble next to it to show its size.

Thank you very much, Frummie, for the opportunity to sew some of these darling little Hexes. . . it was a lot of fun. Thank you, too, for the great magazine & Perfect Circle template set. Your generosity overwhelms me!
That's 'show n tell' for tonight, friends . . . *vbg* . . . thank you for stopping by,
*Inklingo is a fabulous program that prints the shape of choice with both cutting and sewing lines on the wrongside of fabric using an ordinary inkjet printer! Amazing. For supreme accuracy, "cross hairs" at all seam intersections are also printed. Look for them in the photos in this post. If you haven't tried Inklingo yet, go to Linda's website and try the LeMoyne Star collection for FREE!

The Road Less Traveled: Row 7 - Block # 2

It still seems strange to be making such 'big' blocks. The six blocks in Row 7 finish at 8 3/4" square and 9 1/4" unfinished... lucky for me, my blocks are these measurements. Whew! That's a relief. lol. Here is block # 2 of Row 7:Time to switch gears for a day or two. The weekly meeting of our CWD quilt class is tomorrow, so I better get a block or two finished and then pack the car for Monday's trip.
More later. . . thank you for stopping by,
PS: Do you think the 4 little blue-lavender squares look out of place in this block?? I was trying to repeat some of the blue from the fussy-cut red square in the center, but maybe the final Red HSTs [in the corners] should have been a print with a mix of Red & Blue???

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Road Less Traveled: 1st Block - Row 7

This is a 'quickie' post to share the pic of my first block in Row 7 [above]. Would you believe that this block actually began its life in Lavender? lol... the fabrics sure did change as the block progressed. But that's how it mostly is with quilting...eh?! Auditioning various fabrics in multi-fabric blocks is one of my favorite things to do. Didn't use to be, but is now. Hey, I like Red/Purple/Lavender combos, so I'm happy with this block. It's a keeper.
So far: Rows 2 & 6 are complete, with ten blocks in each row, and Rows 5 and 7 each have one finished block. This quilt has been fun to work on.
All for now... thank you for stopping by,

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Road Less Traveled... Row 5

About a dozen like-minded quilters meet at the Temecula Quilt Company every Monday to work on The Road Less Traveled quilt - a Lori Smith design. It is a *row* quilt of seven rows of various sized blocks from 5 1/4 to 8 3/4 inches square, with horizontal sashing separating the rows. This is my first block in Row 5. The center didn't meet up as well as I'd like, so a little un-stitch and re-do will be necessary. lol.
Civil War repro fabrics from several different lines seem to be playing well together, so I will continue mixing them. I'm loving these colors and fabrics!
All for now... back to sewing;-)... thank you for stopping by,
PS: The blocks in this row finish at 7.5 inches. It feels really strange to make such big blocks!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Mail - H2H Siggie from Rosa!

Isn't this a darling siggy? I love it! Love the pink fabric, the appliqued heart. . . everything!

Wowzer, I am a happy camper - happy mail from friends is always a special treat! THANK YOU, Rosa!

All for now... thank you for stopping by,

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Grandma's Apron - 30's Fat 8th Swap. . .

Twenty-four of us on the DJAlt Yahoo list decided to swap some 30's fabrics. These are the photos of the beautiful fabrics that arrived on my doorstep April 22nd! All the fabrics are different - not one repeat in the bunch! Thank you, everyone! I am tickled to add these gorgeous fabrics to my stash, and can't wait to put them into a nifty project. . . I'm thinking of a Strippy Quilt of scrolling vines with flowers and leaves using all these fabulous 30's prints. Can you picture that, too? Pretty.

Maybe some easy pieced blocks in the alternat-ing 'strips'. . . nothing too hard or fancy, as I want the appliqued 30's fabrics to be the "star"! What do you think??? I wonder which pieced blocks were popular during the 30's? Sounds like some *research* will be involved. lol
A very large and grateful "thank you" to our Swap Nana, Elaine! She organized the whole thing - huge job - and kept us all in line! LOL. Thank you, Elaine, for a superior job!
More later. . . thank you for stopping by,

Friday, May 1, 2009

The 1st LEMON!!! - I'm so excited. . .

WOWZER! Our lemon tree has given us a lemon! We planted this tree only a few months ago. I am so excited that I just had to share a picture with blogland! Snoopy Dancing! *vbg*.
The little tree is about 8ft tall now. The tree's branches are to small to support much weight, so the lemon dropped to the ground. Undaunted, my DD Laura rescues the poor thing and this pic is her holding the lemon for its picture. LOL. Not enough to make a pie, but I'm thinking a squeeze and drizzle over some fresh shrimp sitting atop a pile of greens - - sounds yummy!
All for now. . . thank you for stopping by,