Opal Bonanza

  I gathered all the Opal yarns from the stash in anticipation of the start of the Opal Socktoberfest Challenge.  Click on the button in the left sidebard for the challenge if you haven’t checked it out yet.  It’s just for fun but there’s some free yarn involved – can’t get better than that.

So now to decide which one of those I want to use first.  It won’t be the couple of solid colors because I bought those to have around for heels and toes on other yarns if I think I may be running short on yarn.    But there’s plenty to choose from.  If I meet my own personal challenge number of four pairs of socks – that means one a week — that means some speedy knitting to be sure so we’ll see  if I can really make it.


And here’s the Houses in the Woods blocks for CTS that I have finished so far.  A couple more to make yet.


  There was a bit of an earthquake on the design wall that holds the CTS blocks.  It was the second design wall I put up when the other  one was full and I had the window open because it was such a lovely day and there was a bit of a cross breeze going through the apartment.  Right past the buildings — which were on the wall but of course are now on the floor – not all of them but there was definitely a building collapse going on!


Stashsbusting report 9/30/12

Woo hooo — a whole whopping 4.5 yards used for some swap blocks, and backing for two wallhangings.  A piddling 65 yards used but it’s better than nothing.  My problem isn’t bringing huge amounts of yarn   FABRIC (I was thinking about the yarn I need to dig out when I was typing the original post LOL – clearly I DO have a proble m with bringing in huge amounts of yarn!) into the stash, it’s simply not having enough time to sew to get yardage out of it and get some projects finished.  I’m thinking I may need to take a day or two off work next week so I can stay home and play. 🙂  We shall see.

Here’s some of the Bloomin’ Basket Swap blocks I have. I haven’t decided yet if I want to make more blocks for a larger project or go with something smaller.  One of the ideas I was playing with is this.

Not with those fabrics but using some floral in the borders.  The floral in the border is actually a fabric we’re using for a charity quilt challenge project on TQP — making quilts for battered women’s shelters using that fabric which was donated by Hoffman California Fabrics.  I  need to decide what sort of quilt I want to make for that project too.

I did add a new photo earlier to the 12 in 2012 Challenge page .  The Ice Cube Sock pattern by Debbie O’Neill (available through Ravelry).      A bit of texture to it tho my choice of yarns doesn’t really show it off well. I’m going to have to make another pair in a more solid yarn.    This is my 14th pair completed!

I was sewing along…

and then there was a metallic clunk.  So now the featherweight has had a through cleaning, delinting (I had thread wound in around the back of the bobbin hooks so had to take some bits apart to get at it.  I had not planned for that interruption but I also hadn’t cleaned it in a while so it was needed.   But I’ve did get one more house in the woods done

  This one is a little different than the others since when I got the bottom section done, I discovered that somehow a stray rotary cutter had sliced into one fabric piece — something I didn’t notice when cutting out the patches.  So the lower window is smaller and there’s house frame on each side of the door.  Quick fix.    I may make another like that.

So I’ve got pieces cut for three more in various stages of assembly and now that the sewing machine is humming along again I can get busy on those.  Two of the houses are purple with red doors — I think the Red Hatters must live in those. 🙂

Belated On the Needles Friday

Yes I know it’s Saturday but I was too lazy last night to get the camera and take a photo!. 🙂

 Here’s a no real great photo of my second sock.  It’s getting there but then you can make a lot of progress if you stay up to oh say 4:30 a.m. knitting. LOL  That’s what I did last night.

Hopefully this one will be finished today and I can go back and take out the toe of the other sock since I made the first sock a bit shorter than I really wanted.

Check out what everyone else has on their needles over at Judy’s.

Friday nite happenings

Seriously not a lot is happening.  Did go out to dinner and picked up a few groceries but that was my exciting Friday nite.  But no where I have to be, nothing I have to do for anyone else, so I need to plan my attack and decide what I want to work on this weekend.  My clothes dryer is having issues – like getting too hot so I’ve got the maintenance people coming Monday to see what the problem is so I can’t possibly do any laundry (you know I’m really broken up about that!) LOL.

So the plans for the weekend? Well as I look at the table around the computer (which is sitting on my sewing table) there’s various piles of things that need to be put away.  Plus there’s my pile of House in the Woods blocks for CTS that need to be finished.  The printer to put away since I’ve run it dry of ink anyway.  Does one really need two water bottles and two pop cans sitting on that table?  So yes,  some straightening up of the sewing table and then I’ll be able to do some sewing.

I’ve got the sock I’m working on to finish, I want to gather all the Opal yarn together so I can decide which ones I want to use for my Socktoberfest socks.  And while I’m digging through yarn, I bought the Petiole pattern (because I do not have enough projects in the works already) but I need to find two different yarns in the stash to use for that.  It’s just sock weight yarn so I have plenty to choose from and I love the stripes and that leaf design — so pretty.

Oh there’s the flower pots outside containing a nice array of dead plants — those probably should get cleaned out  too.  It’s more fun to clean them out after we get the first snowfall or two — I’d hate to rush into anything! VBG    Yes – I can see a self-indulgent weekend of knitting and sewing coming up!

Bloomin Basket Swap Packages

All swap packages — except for the overseas ones that I need to personally take to the post office — went into the mail today.  I’m going to try to get the overseas ones to the post office sometime this week on my lunch hour.

Well I thought I took a photo of the sock I finished – the one I posted in the last post – but perhaps deleted it when clearing off the camera.  I’ll have to take a new one.  That sock is done – with it’s brown toe  and I have about 3 inches of the second sock done .  I think when I get the second one done I’ll go back and rip back the toe of the first one.  I should have made it a bit longer — it would be okay but it would be much better if I lengthen the foot just a bit and I have plenty of brown yarn to do that — the brown ended up matching perfectly.  I was right tho — I could have gone down a size in that pattern and the bit thicker yarn I was using.  I did decrease after the heel so that the foot/sole section is the smaller size but I could have made it smaller on the top too.  But hey – it’s not like they’re going to really bag or anything.

Swappin and Socks

Ahh…. blocks are swapped, envelopes sealed, everything packed into a tote bag.  Swapping is a lot of work — it took at least 2 hrs not counting the time to lay everything out so with as many blocks as came in this time it was a good 4 hours at least I spent in swap land.  Course  part of it is cause I didn’t come up with the right block count.  So went back and recounted (one of the reasons the swap rules say to write number of blocks on the plastic baggie you enclose them in – double check system.  But I think someone mistakenly wrote down two more than they sent or I included extra in someone’s envelope (though I checked them all twice).  In any event, I just used two of mine to even things out since I was tried of looking at those swap blocks. 🙂

I did make my raspberry muffins — yum, one of my favorite kinds especially warm from the oven.  Did one load of laundry (enough work for one day) and think I’ll go sit and knit for a while.

  I think I’m going to be close on yarn on this pair of socks since I probably made them a size larger than I needed to, but I knew here was a brown yarn in the stash that just might be a close shade to the browns in the main yarn.  I was right.

When I originally got the brown yarn I was so disappointed since the photo on the website was NOT brown – it was a pretty shade of green.  After receiving the yarn, and having to email the dyer several times without response, I finally got an answer that I did in fact receive the yarn I ordered.  NOT an acceptable answer.  I looked  at that yarn on four different computer monitors in four different places – it did not look the least bit brown.  It was not a usual place I order from and will never be a place I order from again.  BUT the mucky brown goes really well with this  light aqua and brown yarn so I will make the toes brown just to make sure I don’t run out of yarn.

So hopefully I’ll get this sock finished off tonight and get the second one cast on.     In looking for the brown yarn, I found the separate container that I had put the Opal yarns in that I had bought at a prior Simply Socks sale (not the most recent one).  Hmmmm…. there was more in there than I thought and some really pretty ones.  I was thinking I only had darker more murkier looking colors but no… there’s some lively ones in there.  Okay – I’ve got enough Opal to last me a good long time. 🙂

Bloomin’ Basket Swap

Yes – I finally started swapping these blocks — well, it took over an hour and half to pull them all out of the envelopes and get them laid out so I can begin to swap — more on exactly why it took so long below.

But here’s a sneak peak at just some of the lovely blocks that were sent in.

  The photos are taken at sort of a wierd angle so not the greatest shots but they are laid out on the breakfast bar so I had the camera held above my head to get the photos.  That’s just a sampling of the pretty blocks that were sent in.


And thank you to the swappers who sent in fat quarter goodies, little books, postcards from where they live.  I haven’t had time to check them all out thoroughly but will enjoy doing that later.  Again thank you.

Not pictured is another stack of swap envelopes sitting on another table that will be returned to the swappers with their blocks unswapped.  I’m always sad when I have to do that, and I’m sure the recipients who get their blocks back unswapped will not be happy, but I stick to the swap rules when swapping blocks and the TQP gals and return swappers who join in most of my swaps know this and expect me to.   If you participated in this swap and end up getting a couple or all of your blocks back unswapped — these are the things to look for that may be wrong.  Everyone gets swap blocks back from time to time due to a problem — my very first swap – yes indeed I misread the rules and got several blocks back because the fabrics weren’t right.  It wasn’t the swap hostesses fault; I did something contrary to the rules.  So what’s listed below are some of the reasons blocks are coming back and may help you or others, seasoned swappers and newbies alike, to recognize the types of things to double check and make sure they are doing correctly for future swaps no matter who the swap hostess is.  So this is NOT a rant — it will hopefully help people to realize the types of mistakes that are made and avoid them when they are swapping.

Did you use the specificed fabrics? This is a common one. If it says tone on tone (which the background and basket fabric was supposed to be with the exception that the basket fabric could be a wicker/basket weave print fabric) – did you use only tone on tone or basket weave/wicker.    Fabrics with more than just shades of the same color are not tone on tone.  Green and white polka dots are not tone on tone.  A large plaid print of multiple colors is not tone on tone or a wicker/basket weave print.  You get the idea — always follow fabric requirements and if you’re unsure, ask the swap hostess for clarification.

Incorrect block size — right on the pattern page it said to measure the pattern to make sure it printed correctly.  Settings on your personal computer/printer can alter the pdf so it does not print its full size. You need to always check it even if you think you have all the settings correct.  The paper pieced pattern  was 7.5″ unfinished.  So blocks that I received that measured 7.5 x 7.25 — well they won’t fit together with everyone else’s blocks since  there’s a whole seam allowance missing.  Did I measure every block – no.  But when pulling out that many blocks it’s easy to see when they look smaller.  With the paper on the back it’s also easy to see if they printed smaller but then were squared to 7.5″ anyway — the baskets themselves will not the same as everyone elses.

When paper piecing you trim all excess fabric away leaving a 1/4″ or scant 1/4″ seam allowance.  Not trimming away the layers of fabric makes for a bulkier block and the darker fabrics underneath shadow through.

The paper was to be left on — if you took it off and that was the only thing not according to the rules I did swap them.  If your stitching did not extend all the way to the edges of the blocks — several blocks had 1/2″ or more that was not stitched down or the stitches had come loose when trimming threads  even tho paper was still attached – they get returned.   And of course if you didn’t use the right fabrics in the right spots (used handle fabric where it should have been background, etc) those blocks should never have been sent in.

So the thing to take away from this — no one else who receives the blocks you make should have to do anything to your block in order to be able to use it (other than in this case, take the paper off the back) — not trim away many excess layers of fabric, not be unhappy because the correct fabrics weren’t used,  not have to restitch seams because they aren’t stitched tight — not have blocks that aren’t the correct size.

One other thing — postage.  If you are from out of the country – you always need to contact the swap hostess.  Never ever expect her to simply pay your return postage.  Also regarding postage – swap rules specify  return postage needs to be “in stamps” for a reason.  Postal stickers that the postage office uses when you go there in person, as well as postage labels with postage on them purchased on line have DATES on them.  The post office will not accept postage that has a date a week or two ago on them.    I do put those back in the mail but be aware they may simply return it to me and if that happens, I will be contacting you to send me stamps in order to return it.

WHEW !  Swapping can be great fun but it can also be alot of work.  So double check and triple check those swap rules to make sure you won’t be disappointed by missing out on getting blocks from the other swappers.  AND if you have to drop out of a swap (okay this part is a little bit of a rant since it’s such a pet peeve with me) please have the courtesy to email the swap hostess and let her know you will not be able to participate after all.  Be warned that if you are seen as a “chronic signer upper but not a follow througher” you may not be allowed to participate in future swaps.

Okay – I have promised myself fresh from the oven raspberry muffins when I get the swapping done so I need to get back at it now that I have been fortified with several cups of coffee.

Swap packages that are not over the weight restriction (16 oz maybe – i have to look it up) that I can just toss in our outgoing mail at the office should go out in tomorrow’s mail (unless it’s raining cause I don’t want packages getting wet on my way to the bus).  Packages over the weight restriction will be mailed later in the week when I’ve had a chance to run to the post office on my lunch hour to take them in.

Let the swapping commence……..

One person is lucky I have a good postman – the wrong apartment number was written on the envelope but it made it to me anyway. 🙂


Fall Quilting Projects

Looking for a new fall quilting project — here the weather has switched decidedly to Fall in the last week with temps in the mid 50s for highs, windy a bit drizzly, and I keep tracking wet leaves into the house.

EQ Boutique is having a sale on the designs that honor the Fall / Halloween season but it ends on the 24th so be sure to check them out and use the code listed above to take advantage of the sale on those items.

Remember – you do not need to have any version of Electric Quilt in order to use these patterns!  And if you just want to see what it’s all about and how it works – you can take advantage of the free block collections that are available.

As luck would have it — I have two patterns that fall (no pun intended) under the Fall category — Thankful Bounty, my own personal most favorite fall design I’ve made — turkey, pumpkins, leaves and lots of all colors throughout — I’m going to have to pull that one out of the closet and put it back up on the wall now that it’s seasonal once again.

The other design is Harvest Time — apples, pumpkins, cattails, sunflowers, a black crow and flying geese border.  I haven’t actually made this one yet myself so that may be the new fall project I work on this fall.

Click here to see the Fall items on sale at EQ Boutique.

On the Needles Friday – 9/21/12

  There are lots of things on the needles here — too many things in fact but here’s a couple of what I am “currently” actively working on.    The socks — I’m thinking I probably could have gotten by with making that pattern one size smaller so will wait until I get to the toe and weigh sock and remaining yarn to see if I need to add a brown toe rather than using the yarn the rest of the sock is in.

On the right – a scarf I started last night  in String Theory DK weight yarn.  The pattern (tho it doesn’t show up well and won’t until it’s blocked) is Punch and Judy (Ravelry).




Then there’s this which will be coming back off the needles


I decided I don’t like the pattern.  I’ve started several different projects with this yarn – some on too small a needle so that it would take years to finish, some to open and lacey, some patterns I didn’t like, etc.  So will put this yarn aside for a while till I decide what I really want to do with it.  It’s lace weight – the Dream Club color for September.


And last but not least — a box from the Loopy Ewe came. In it were my free yarn earned for completing all three Camp Loopy yarns this year – Dream Smooshy –  cashmere blend.  It’s the yarn on the right – the color is The Watering Hole.  It was one of three colors we could choose from.  And the other two — well I didn’t want to just order the free yarn – what kind of customer would I be.  And I had a $25 gift certificate.  But then I didn’t want to just get free yarn from Camp Loopy and free yarn from my gift certificate so I had to order one more.  The other two are Everlasting  – I love the rich colors of that line of yarn.

So there you have it — on the needles, off the needles, and waiting in line for the needles!

You can see what others have on their needles over at Judy’s — patchworktimes.com.

Now to get my weekend planned.  I’ve got a new pattern to write up for Hoffman Fabrics, I’ve got Bloomin Basket blocks to swap — hopefully this weekend and if not I’ll be doing it early next week one night.  I’ve got another project I need to get finished too so I’d better plan my attack to see what gets done first — course I do my best planning while knitting and I’ve gotten kind of hooked on that Punch and Judy scarf…………….so I’ll go plan and knit a while.