It’s been a busy day

Well – many coffee breaks, several bite size pumpkin chocolate chip muffin breaks – but I accomplished a lot.  After deciding I did want a skinnier Christmas tree, got that ordered so it should arrive next week.   Now does that mean that that really huge Christmas tree plastic storage tub should  be used to store yarn instead?????  No…definitely not.  Hopefully the smaller tree and most of the ornament containers will be able to fit in side it instead of only the tree – that’s my hope anyway. (But ….then again….. that tree tub would hold a whole lot of yarn!)

Speaking of yarn – I have managed to get two items finished for the Indie Designer Gift Along on Ravelry.  Both are from the Just Enough Ruffles pattern but one I made longer than the pattern required — that was a whole lot of stitches to bind off on the ruffle let me tell you! LOL  This is the longer of the two.

Here’s the first one which just came off the blocking boards.

DSCN3945  The yarn is Freia – an ombre yarn and the colorway is Flare.  The other one is still drying along with a cowl I blocked.

And further speaking of yarn…. there was a Wollmeise update this week — well actually there were two but I totally missed one of them which is just as well.   And for a change, by the time realized it there were actually more colors left than just greens  (there are always a lot of different shades of greens but it seems like that’s all that ever is left by the time I look at them).  Anyway, I wanted some gray or black so some such neutral DK to mix with some other DKs I have for a striped sweater.  So did not go crazy and order a lot – just a few.  It’s so hard to get a sweater quantity of a specific color that I decided to go the color block or striped route and have been collecting colors for that.   I thought about ordering more but decided no. Such willpower, huh?   Actually I think it’s that all this cleaning out of closets the past few days has me thinking I have too much crap   stuff. :-)  Anyway – I shall maintain this resolve and totally ignore the fact that both TLE’s and ESK’s Black Friday sales are tomorrow.

Time to check out my bus schedule for tomorrow since my normal bus doesn’t run (since the Capitol Square will be sort of a ghost town with not many people working) and figure out what time I need to get up to catch the other route to work.  Then there’s a knit baby blanket I need to bury ends on and I hope to finish off the last couple rows of a cowl.

Happy Thanksgiving

tureys  There are many things to be thankful for on Thanksgiving (which I am thankful for every day of the year) — wonderful family, good friends, health,  activities, creative outlets and job I enjoy, as well as the fact that the part of the tooth I broke off yesterday eating a raw carrot did not also take the filling out with it so it doesn’t hurt and hopefully won’t start hurting before I can get something done with it (heck with that healthy food – I may switch to only eating donuts – they don’t break teeth).

I’m also thankful for the delicious smelling (and tasting) pumpkin chocolatey goodness I just took out of the oven.   I wasn’t in the mood for pumpkin pie (and really didn’t need a whole pie here to eat myself even if it wouldn’t break teeth like crunchy carrots) and decided to make some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for my breakfast — a large batch since I’ll be taking the leftovers into the office tomorrow to feed some of the skeleton crew that will be there. I used this recipe .  And since I didn’t want to wait for the first pan to be done – I made then in various sizes.  I ended up with a dozen (minus the taste testing one) regular sized muffins, one and a half dozen mini muffins, and two jumbo muffins (made in two individual silicone bundt cake type pans – they turn out about the size of those jumbo muffins in the stores).  And it smells like cinnamon and pumpkin in here now – as it should on Thanks giving.

Since I forgot to pick up the ingredients to make homemade stuffing, I’ve decided to save my little Cornish hen (which I wanted the stuffing to go with) for another day – maybe the weekend – and I’ll be dining on another favorite I love since I remembered there’s a bunch of fresh mushrooms in the fridge – Chicken Chablis.  Yum, my mouth waters just thinking of it.

Now my dilemma is what to do today.  In my cleaning out of the bedroom closet last weekend, I came up with a new plan for the sewing room closet organization.  I worked on it a little last night but am debating if I want to work on that, knit, sew, go put up the outside holiday lights, etc.  But I just looked at the temp outside (19) and think I’ll wait to do lights till the weekend since it’s supposed to be mid to upper 30s.  I also, when cleaning the closet, pulled out the Christmas tree tub but I’m debating if I want to put up my white one – it’s big and that means trying to rearrange furniture to find a place for it and there’s only so many places I can move things around to.  I didn’t put it up last year because I was just too busy but I do miss seeing all my ornament collection.  I’m thinking of getting a new tree I saw – it only takes up about a 30″ diameter footprint – tall and skinny.

I do have two scarfs to block – finished those off last night; fringe to add to another scarf; about 3 rows left to finish a cowl — I need to finish some items to improve my “knit from the stash” numbers.

And there’s a quilt to work on — check out this fabric that arrived yesterday

DSCN3943 I’m also thankful for my friend Sandy at Hoffman California Fabrics  – and not just because she sends me fabric when I ask — she found me several years ago and enabled me to get my quilt designs out into the wider world on their website.

I needed a border fabric for my Asian quilt I’m making, found this on Hoffman’s website, emailed Sandy, and a couple days later it arrive.  It is absolutely perfect for borders on this quilt.

Okay – enough dilly dallying on the computer – I’ve got things to do – haven’t decided exactly what but there’s plenty to choose from!

DSCN3935

 

Cleaning cleaning cleaning – well mostly cleaning

It was a busy day yesterday.  Winter sweaters located, summer stuff packed away, bag of clothes to get rid of…. space bags all resealed and stored back in the closet which was rearranged.  A job well done – not quite finished but nearly.  If only the space  bags didn’t crease everything so bad that you have to rewash perfectly clean items just to get the creases out. LOL But several loads  of laundry later, I have a couple stacks of sweaters ready to wear and  nearly all the regular laundry done.

As usual I would get sidetracked from time to time — wanted to make some gingerbread cake and went looking for the recipe and that one page was missing from my cook book (okay it’s an old loose-left version of Betty Crocker and there are probably more pages missing than just that one) but this led to having to clean out the cabinet above the fridge where all the cook books  and a large stack of Taste of Home magazines were out of control.  There really are only about 3 cookbooks I use — all the rest have been piled I a bag to get rid of.  No reason they need to take up storage space when I never use them so won’t miss them.

Never did find the missing cook book page, but a little search on line and I found this gingerbread cake recipe.    It is delicious – I highly recommend it.

Hopefully today the wet on the sidewalk is really just wet and not ice so I can make it to the dumpsters and mailbox.  Oh good grief – I just looked at the weather on my homepage and it says it’s 49 degrees outside – heat wave and not ice out here.  Gray and foggy and gloomy but I don’t mind that.  Maybe just maybe I’ll get the outside holiday lights up.  But now that I know it’s warm out – time to get dressed and load up my garbage/recycling bags and head out.

I’ve received inquiries about the pattern I’m using for the Asian print fabrics I’m stitching on.  My fabrics are just from the stash but that pattern was design for a new collection of fabrics from Hoffman California Fabrics called Kotori.   You’ll have to check Hoffman’s website – the pattern isn’t listed among their free patterns yet but it will be once the fabric line it is designed for starts shipping out to shops.  The actual pattern has a bit of applique on it which I didn’t include on mine due to the fabrics I was using.  Here’s what Kotori Fans looks like.  My friends know I’m not fond of pinkish colors but this first colorway – Petal Silver, I just love the best of the three colorways.

9-21 HI RES PETAL SILVER

 

9-21 HI RES ORCHID GOLD

 

9-21 HI RES ANTIQUE GOLD

What’s on the Needles?

What ISN”T on the needles?   I definitely have a bad case of SOS — no, I am not stranded on an island, in this case it would be ” Shiny Object Syndrome”!   And the objects don’t necessarily even have to be shiny.  Yarn for instance can distract me in a second to casting on a new project.

DSCN3939This the group of projects I gathered up from various locations around my usual knitting chair.  All scarfs of one type or another.

The “Oh Helen” scarf in the back.

Moving forward the next two are both Just Enough Ruffles  – I’m starting the ruffle part on both.  The multicolored orange/purple is half as wide again as the blue one (blue one was made to pattern instructions).  Increasing all those ruffle stitches can take a while and it can take even longer when you made the scarf longer AND only increased the stitches on a one on one ration rather than the two to one the pattern calls for.  So after doing the first increase row with not enough stitches, I did a second increase row which I just finished — it should all work out pretty much the same.

DSCN3940

Isn’t the light aqua/gray yarn knitting up pretty?  I love the look of it.  The Just Enough Ruffles are part of the Indie Gift Along – if I get them done.

 

and then this  DSCN3941yarn arrived this week — both for Indie Gift Along projects (for me).

I couldn’t resist the Malabrigo Rios Purpuras — that color is so pretty  and it’s for Andalusian Cowl.   Shaker Rib makes such a fun squishy fabric–  it doesn’t feel heavy but it feels thicker and I think the way it’s knit helps trap heat between the layers – that’s my theory any way  In any event, with the bitter cold of last week – I’m wanting this done soon so I can wear it over my winter coat to help cut the wind.

 

The blue yarn is Malabrigo Finito – superfine merino and that’s what I think of it — it’s “super fine!”  It feels so good.  I have one cowl made from some and it’s so cozy – light, but warm and oh so soft.

 

I did venture out earlier this morning – it’s much warmer than it has been but that has just meant that instead of snow, we got freezing rain over night.  I could see someone had put salt down (sparingly) and it felt so warm I figured it was mostly just a wet sidewalk so decided to take the garbage out and get my mail.  Hmm… my sidewalk was “mostly” just wet and not icy — but when I stepped into the parking lot it was a sheet of ice.  At that point I was halfway to the dumpsters but it was just too hazardous — but it’s early and should warm up a bit more so I can try again later. LOL  I am hoping that the ice melts on my patio so I can haul my little step stool out there sometime this weekend and maybe get the outdoor icicle lights put up since it actually feels quite balmy out there at the current 34 degree temp, tho it’s quite foggy.

So… a good day to sit and kit or sew don’t ya think? or maybe bake something…… anything to avoid the task I NEED to do — I pulled all the space bags with sweaters, etc shrunk into them out of the closet this week to try to find something warm to wear — they are tossed all about the bedroom so I need to pull out what I want, de-wrinkle them, and reorganize the closet a bit (okay a lot) – but that does not sound like much fun!

 

100 Blocks Blog Tour Magazine Winners!!!

blogwinnersThank you for all the comments left during the blog tour.  I hope you had the chance to visit many new blogs and see lots of great blocks.

The winners of the free issues of Issue 10 of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks are the lucky ladies who left the comments shown.  Please email privately (you’ll find my email under my picture on the blog) your full names and mailing addresses.

Congratulations!

 

 

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Blog Tour

Welcome –  I’m so excited to be a part of another Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Blog Tour  especially since this is the 10th issue which means 1,000 quilt blocks have been shared to date!

DSCN3917 When I previously posted the sneak peek at the front cover and said I just might have been lucky enough to have my block appearing on the front cover, many of you who are regular blog readers knew of my love obsession with bird blocks.  Not realistic birds with every feather in place — no, my birds find themselves in a bit more unusual circumstances or……. wearing clothing. 

The weather seems quite appropriate for my block in this issue.  The cold snap came in last week here, as it did in many parts of the country, bringing low temperatures and snow and if this bird were out there, it would indeed be “Skating On Thin Ice ” which is the title of my block for Issue 10.

You could use any applique method of your choice to make this block.  My favorite method is hand appliqued and you can find a short tutorial here on how I use the freezer paper on the bottom method when I hand applique.  Having the edge of the freezer paper underneath your pieces to needle turn against helps give nice smooth edges.

skatingonthinice

For the fabrics for this block I went stash diving.  I was trying to figure out how to show snow and ice so they didn’t blend together too much and remembered my favorite snowy fabric – it may be hard to tell in the photo but the snow fabric is white with flakes printed on it and it has little flecks of blue.  The flecks of blue sort of looked like the sky was reflecting on icy snowflakes.  Then I remembered the light gray fabric in the stash that had silver metallic swirls — just what I wanted for the ice — it looks like the skate blades have been cutting patterns in the ice on the pond.

I found a black fabric with silver specks on it for the skate blades – the silver is of course bits of ice stuck to the skate blades from all his fancy footwork.  Here’s a close up of the skate and ice fabric.

closeup laced skates

So how did this idea come about — well, I’m not really sure.  He started out as a very small cardinal sitting in a tree in a drawing for a different project.

 

tree I use EQ 7 to draw my projects so it’s easy to steal him out of that tree and use him elsewhere. There are many EQ7 projects that just have to sit for a while and when I go back to them later, I come up with a new or better (in my opinion) way to use the project or make changes to it.   But doesn’t he look bored in that tree (0kay he’s very tiny but trust me, there is a very bored expression on his face)  just sitting there, no hat or scarf to keep him warm, nobody to talk to….

arm

Then he got moved to hang out with a different snowman friend on another potential wall hanging – they look like they’re having an interesting conversation but then I got the idea for a bird bath with icicles hanging down ….

show off That’s when I decided he needed skates.  But in order to use the 12″ block format, I plucked him off the bird bath and put him on the pond.  Besides it was safer getting him away from that bird bath since I’m not sure whether the cat is thinking “should I eat him with his skates on” or “who put this stupid cap and shawl on me anyway!?”   

 

 

So we end up back at “Skating on Thin Ice”.

ska

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Now if you’ve read this far, be sure to leave a comment on this blog post – one comment per person only please – to be entered for the drawings for copies of Issue 10.   Your comment will go into moderation if you haven’t left comments that were approved before so do not worry if your comment doesn’t show up immediately – please don’t leave a second comment since it won’t show up either. :-).  All comments in moderation will be approved before winners are chosen. 

ETA – Winners chosen – names posted on next blog post.  Thanks for stopping by!

Looking ahead in the quilty future….

It’s about this time of year I start thinking ahead for projects for the blog – like a new BOM, etc.    And it’s at this time of year I plan more things for next year than a sane person should and I never seem to get my own versions of the BOMs made (yep – I’m behind on both the Dog Pound Pals and the Knitter’s Gifts projects but I have high hopes of catching up in the next month or so.)  I’ve gotten quite a few emails recently asking about designs I’ve shown on past blog posts — not all of them can be made available — I simply don’t have time to write them all up.  While other projects may be added in next year, my immediate plan is this.
The turkey table topper which I have gotten lots of requests for –
turkeytracks  I will make this pattern available sometime next year — but don’t have a plan as to when yet. 
There will be a mystery quilt project – again, haven’t decided when it will be presented. 
But the project I’m most excited to present is the new Block of the Month project for next year.
Before the deluge of questions starts — I haven’t figured out yardage, I don’t know when it will start yet, and yes, it is a BIG quilt.  I think the final measurements are 98 x 118.  There are ways you can make a smaller project but we’ll worry about that later.  To say this design has been  in the works for years is an understatement.  Like many design I draw in EQ, some have to sit awhile, get tweaked on now and then, discard borders, change up blocks, sit for another indeterminate amount of time, and then the tweaking starts anew.  Some designs never make it beyond the tweaking point.   But some actually get to the point where I say – finished – that’s exactly what I want! :-)
PatchKatsThis design also has special meaning because it’s named PatchKat — after dear friend Susan who passed away earlier this year, who was known as PatchKat to many of us.  She saw the earlier versions and loved it and always told me I needed to finish the design.  And so I have and will be presenting it as next year’s BOM in her honor and memory.   (A do have to share that a friend’s little girl saw a print out of this quilt image and  wondered why I drew tattoos on the kittens) :-)  So I hope you’ll join me in making PatchKat’s patched kats.  
 
Finally – I’ve gotten numerous emails inquiring about the leaf quilt I showed a few posts ago that I need to finish and the quilt in the header image of the blog.  Both are from the same design – the header is just an EQ7 generated version of it.  My smaller quilt is just a portion of the larger design shown below.  You can find the pattern for the leaf quilt at hoffmanfabrics.com on their Free Pattern page.  The pattern also includes a table runner.  Look for “Maple Lane”.
Now – be sure to come back tomorrow – it’s my day on the Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Blog Tour!  The blog tour started today so be sure to check out the quiltypleasuresblog.com to get the list of blogs on the tour each day this week and enter to win some prizes.
Maple Lane Black quilt -
Maple Lane Black quilt -

Snowy Sunday

DSCN3936  A light covering of snow fell overnight making the woods look all pretty. The deer hunters in the area are probably glad — they’ll be able to see tracks.

It is a very light and fluffy snow — remind me four months ago that I thought snow was “pretty”. LOL  Actually I don’t really mind snow (unless it comes in foot increments all at one time).  

DSCN3937And check out that new sturdy looking retaining wall that was finished  just in the nick of time.  Hopefully there will not be ice dams flowing over the top of it.  Between the retaining wall and the fence is about three feet of rock to provide drainage of what melts on the hill before it gets to my sidewalk.

And even better, the retaining wall is actually straight up and down and not leaning in over the sidewalk ready to collapse like the old one was.

Here’s the yarn I found in the stash to use for  Just Enough Ruffles.  It’s Three Irish Girls Wexford Merino Silk (60 silk/40 merino) so you know it’s squeezably soft and silky feeling.  The color is Globe Trekker with a great mix of blue/gray so I’ll be interested to see how it looks when I’m farther along knitting it up. DSCN3938 :-)

 

 

Knitting projects

How many projects are too many projects??   I forgot to do my On the Needles Friday post and I’m too lazy to go take and photos of stuff in progress. :-)  But back to that how many projects are too many…..Earlier this week I was checking out the Indie Gift Along 2014 on Ravelry.  Lots of designers, with lots of patterns discounted 25%.   The idea is you can get great discounts on patterns and check out lots of designers you may not have come across before, get a jump start on your holiday gifts you may be knitting or crocheting, and there’s also all kinds of challenges and giveaways of patterns and other items throughout the duration of the Gift Along.

Since I really only probably have four people I will need gifts for, and only one of those four I might actually consider knitting  something knit for, I really don’t need to join a Gift Along …. but there were several designers whose patterns I liked and had been thinking of buying so I took advantage of the discounts.  If you want to join and see how it works – you can find all the info in the group on Ravelry.

While I won’t be playing along to win the  daily/weekly/etc prizes — and there are many of them but if I get sucked into all the goodies and contests and chat groups, those things seriously take away from actual knitting time — I do hope to get one or two projects done before the end of the year  although they are pretty much gifts for me. :-)

Here’s a couple of the projects I’d like to make:

Macoun Apple - is a sweet little sweater.  I bought the pattern a few weeks ago and also got some  light green yarn for it so I cast it on Thursday (the start date for the GAL) and  but I need to get a longer circular needle before I can continue.  It has a very neat saddle shoulder beginning which I like.  This item I don’t need for a while so not a rush to get it done.

With the current dip in temperatures and very windy days we’ve been having, I came across Andalusian Cowl.  Now that looks warm — either to toss over my shoulders as I’m sitting and knitting or sitting and quilting in my sewing room where it tends to be a bit drafty during the winter, but more importantly, I think it would be great to wear over my winter coat on those really cold windy days waiting at the bus stop.

The other pattern, which I bought two years ago so I think it’s high time I actually made it is Just Enough Ruffles.   I know friend Judy had that one on her list of what she plans to make also.

And the other pattern  that caught my eye was Purls and Seaweed.   It just so happens I’ve had some pretty blue Finito (a wonderfully soft yarn that you just want to pet) sitting in my TLE cart but I hadn’t ordered it since I didn’t have a plan of what I would use it for (yes, I know you’re amazed but I do sometimes have great self-control – it must have been sitting there a couple weeks) — it is now ordered and will be this cowl.

So out of all those items are any of them Christmas gifts — no — but that doesn’t stop me from working on a few Gift Along Projects.Are you knitting or crocheting any holiday gifts?

Time to go do some stash diving to see what I might have to make Just Enough Ruffles.