Afternoon productivity – 1/16/16

I have been busy and now I have a completed pile of all the pieces for my Charlie’s Cardigan.  Just like with quilting, there is a part of knitting that is my least favorite.

In quilting – it’s the layering and pinbasting of a quilt.  I procrastinate forever doing that and once I get started, I always wonder why I procrastinate so much.  (Maybe it’s because my sewing table is usually a mess so I have to tidy all that up before I can start layering a quilt on it.)

The same sort of step in the process of knitting is my nemesis too.  It’s the blocking.  Once I get started it doesn’t take long so I don’t know why I procrastinate on that too.  However, I’m seeing a familiar thread (no pun intended) running through these tasks – I block on the sewing room table too.  I sometimes move the block boards to the floor once it’s all pinned down but I usually do the pinning on the table since my knees just don’t like crawling around on the floor or trying to reach things if I put the blocking mats on the bed.

Here’s what my sewing table looks like.  It’s been worse – the tub of yarn can go back it eh closet and my little step stool can get put away and the featherweight put in the closet – half the battle.  But I am going to deal with this mess soon and get my sweater laid out on the blocking mats tonight.

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The sweater is in the sink for a soak with some “Soak”- I love using Soak for my hand knits, makes them feel nice and you don’t need to rinse it out.  After I finish getting dinner started, I’ll get to pinbasting.

I’m the meantime, I just took the second pan of Mexican Wedding Cake cookies out of the oven – and after having a taste test, declared them delicious.  I stuck the rest of the dough in the fridge to bake at some other time since I needed to get my Chicken Chablis and baked potatoes into the oven.  Yum, one of my favorite dinners.

Tonight I need to sort through these containers…20160116_8

One of them should have my Stonington sweater in it (which I started for the CustomFit Deep Winter KAL last year so I want to see where I left off.  I think I was on the first sleeve.  Also need to see what else might be tucked away in the bottom of those baskets.

Oh and guess who came to visit the feeder this afternoon — Stumpy was back!  He brought along a friend who had a fully, regular length tail to eat with him so at least he’s not an outcast with that short stubby tail.

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And the more I look at those tree panels, the more they are growing on me.  I still would have liked them more like the image but they are still pretty cool.   Dang I wish I would have brought those other fabrics home last night that go with them….oh well….I have plenty to keep me busy without playing with that project yet.

The “tree” panels

Okay so remember I order one, a couple, several, multiples of this tree panel since I wanted to use a couple in a wedding quilt top and then maybe pillowcases and then maybe keep some to use for quickly gifts – just quilt and make a wall hanging out of them – or whatever else I can think of to do with them?

Well the first batch of 3 I ordered arrived yesterday.    They will work fine for what I want but I’m a little disappointed.

genesisLoneTreeThis is the image that was on the Nancy’s Notions website.  What I particularly liked about it was all those colors melding together at the bottom – the fuchsia, purples and aquas  and the brighter greens in the trees – sort of a springy/summery feel.

Here’s the panels  – that area clearly looks different – as a matter of fact all the colors are much darker.

20160116_1The panels are still pretty – they will work for what I want – but I think the image on the website is of the original artwork that this fabric is based on and not the actual yardage – which is very misleading to say the least.

We’ll see how it looks when I lay out all the other fabrics I bought to go with these next to them.  They’re still sitting at the office since last night I was off to “Broadway” and didn’t want to tote them along with me since I met a friend for dinner downtown first.

The Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast opened here last night at the Overture Center and my employer offers staff a “buy one get one free” ticket deal each year for any of the performances at the Overture.  A wonderful added perk.  One of the partner’s wives coordinates and she does an absolutely fantastic job.  I placed  my order with her for the tickets months and months ago and never really looked at where the seats were, tho I knew they would be pretty good seats.   When the usherette led us to third row from the stage just two or three seats off center stage – WHOA!  I’ve never been quite that up close and personal before.  Fantastic seats!  Plus we got to sit next to a princess who was about 5 or 6 years old – wearing her Tiara and yes, her princess costume.  When I told her I was jealous she had a tiara her mom said they were selling them in the lobby.  Dang!  I totally missed that or I might have had to buy one for me! But I didn’t wear my princess costume so it probably would have looked out of place. :-) Lots of kids as well as adults of all ages in the audience and the little princess next to us was very happy when we handed over the long tinselly streams that were shot out over the front rows of the audience at a certain point to her to keep.  It was a fun evening.

On the Needles – 1-16-16

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Here’s the pile of my Charlie’s Cardigan pieces.  That piece in front is the second sleeve and I’m working on the sleeve cap so it won’t be long (hopefully later this morning since my current plan for today is to go snuggle under a quilt in my chair, coffee cup full of my favorite coffee, movie on tv and knit.   The temps have taken a dive again for the weekend so snuggle inside is where I plan to stay.  Hopefully I can get this on the blocking boards this weekend and get back to working on my Loopy January Mixer sweater.

I might have ordered some yarn yesterday…. I happened up on this pattern, Jewel Dragon, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  I find it very intriguing, love the “scales” look, and tho it may be a bit fiddly, it doesn’t look too difficult and here are great photos of the process in the pattern to help.

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The photo is taken from my printed pattern so does not do it justice and has a glare – go to the pattern on Ravelry and check out the gorgeous photos of it.    Well by the end of the day, after looking through my Ravelry stash (Did you know The Loopy Ewe now has a way to click a link on your order confirmations in your TLE account and automatically add photos of your yarn to your stash page on Ravelry – very cool and easy.  It’s not entire stash, just TLE yarns and a couple others that came in recently that I remembered to take the photo of, and I don’t know if I’ll ever take photos of all the yarn I’ve bought elsewhere stashed in the closet and upload them into the stash, but when looking to see if I might have yarn for a particular project it makes it so much easier – and I can see a yarn and it gives me ideas of what I might want to make with it .)  Here’s the mini (literally) peek at my stash page.  You can sort of all kinds of key words to filter what you’re looking at – love this.stash But I digress — the long and the short of it is I didn’t have the right kind of yarn to create that all over blend of various colors in the arches of the scarf. So these two have been ordered for the scarf.   mechitaI’m hoping the “solid” one is dark enough to have enough contrast from the multicolored one.   Can’t wait to give Jewel Dragon a try.

I’ve also had my eye on a cowl pattern (that I’m thinking of making as a gift) that has a bit of beading on it so ordered this Madelinetosh yarn resinand found matching beads. The yarn color is called Resin  and the pattern for the cowl is Twilight.

 

 

Another wedding quilt

No I haven’t gotten lost – I’ve just been out of town and then busy with things other than being on the computer.  Mostly busy knitting – although I don’t have any photos for you today.  I did get the back of one sweater knit this week and have started on the front.  New needles have come in (I broke a cable -it was the hard plastic kind and it didn’t like the cold weather) so I can get back to working on the sleeves of my other cardigan.   Well no photos of finished projects but yes, I did actually order some yarn ;-)

Before the end of the year I had ordered some Yowza from Miss Babs gratitude sale which arrived.  I love those big oversized hanks of yarn.  I had ordered Obsidian obsidianA nice black with a bit of shading in it but it didn’t go as well as I liked with the other yarn I had wanted to use it with.   But then earlier this week I saw this

sealifeSea Life Yowza – I had nearly ordered this once before and I thought how nice the Obsidian would look with it.  On my list of sweaters I want to make is Seguin or something similar. I don’t think I want striped sleeves – maybe just a strip or two at the cuff – but yes I had to order the Sea Life because it’s just so pretty.  Whether in that pattern or something else – I plan to use them together in a sweater.

 

Clearly yarn and fabric stash busting is not going as well as could be since I also ordered fabric. :-)

I seriously need to finish the wedding quilt which has now made the 1 year anniversary mark.  My goal is to get it finished off before the end of February – I just haven’t had time to spend a day machine quilting in a while so it’s lingered.  But I just found out I need to get started on another wedding quilt – in the hopes of actually having it timely done this fall.

I had a new fabric line I recently saw in mind but I had no clue what I would do with it.  It’s the Robert Kaufmann Enchanted Pines line available at The Loopy Ewe and the colors/prints look gorgeous.  But, I needed to come up with a plan before ordering any.

Then yesterday I found this

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Isn’t that gorgeous!  It’s a fabric panel and the colors and trees go perfectly with the Enchanted Pines line of fabrics so these have been ordered.

projectplannerIt’s going to be a simple design – I have a vague plan.  I have three of the panels coming and I want to sort of stagger them across the quilt top and then just use simple strips or rectangles or ….well I don’t know yet but when it’s done hopefully it will showcase the panels and just be lots of lovely colors around them.    I also have another plan brewing to use just one of the panels in the quilt and use the other two turned sideways to make into pillowcases.  If you cock your head to the left to look at the panel sideways – to me the darkest tree trunk looks like land with trees and sky above and the reflection of the trees in water below so they may work well as pillowcases too.

Going to have to wait until I can spread all these fabrics out to decide what I really want to do with them but they will be lovely to work with.  And I may need to order another panel or two for me to keep – it would be so pretty just machine quilted and binding added to use as a wall hanging  and make quicky gifts too.  But I need to get that other quilt finished so I can play with these fabrics.

 

Stashbusting (Yarn and Fabric) – January 3, 2016

Friend Judy has combined the stashbusting report link ups on her blog, so I will be putting both in one blog post, too.  Clikc on over to Judy’s to see how everyone else is progressing.

I thought I had nothing to report but then — those snowflakes!  They used fabric from my stash.  So I’m off to a great start just three days into the year year.

Fabric used:  5.0 yards    Fabric Purchased:  zero    Net Used Year to Date:  5.0 yards

On the knitting front – nothing finished so nothing used yet but heck we are three days into the new year and I haven’t purchased any yarn.

You will see some changes to the sidebar of my blog:

fabric  This image in the sidebar is the button to click where I will post images of my finished fabric projects and keep a running tally of yardage used.  My goal is mainly to get some of those more than I want to count quilt tops of all sizes in tubs and hanging in the closet turned from tops to finished quilts.  And, I have quilt tops in various states of completion that are all Christmas quilts for the extended family.  I really would like to start finishing those off.  As I go through the tops, the ones I no longer like (or in some cases didn’t like as soon as they were pieced) will be donated to new homes so they no longer take up space here.  I will buy fabrics as needed but I hope to find things I can use in the stash too but stash busting fabric will not be my main goal — finished quilts will be and hopefully the two will go hand in hand.

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This image in the side bar is the page where all my finished knitting and weaving projects will be located.  I am going to try to work mostly from the stash.  I have several sweaters in process and a couple more planned that I have the yarn for already so my focus will be to finish things that are currently on the needles.

I even have some free yarn headed my way since I joined in the Laura Aylor KAL for some of her bulky yarn patterns.  The random number generator drew my post as a winner so Laura is sending a hank of K2 (Miss Babbs bulky yarn) in a lovely Moss green which will be perfect for another of her patterns I want to make.

 

My first new fabric and knitting projects for 2016 are in the works – I cast on my Loopy Ewe January Mixer project last night – Turks & Caicos CF sweater in Wollmeise Pesto from the stash.  The fabric January Mixer will use this Front Porch Layer Cake purchased from TLE in 2014

DSCN4885and I needed some additional fabric for the pattern I want to make so I got some additional yardage of the fabric in this same fabric line (on clearance in the Last Call page at TLE even) so these are what I ordered.

plutoprojectsThe pinkish one is a slightly mottled one and the other three are all the same prints but in different colors – sort of a dot and dash running vertical but it doesn’t show up clearly in the image.

 

Happy New Year

2016 – my that came quickly but the birds at the top of the blog must have been out partying until the week hours since they are a day late in showing up at the top of the block and the confetti is still falling on them and they are still wearing their party hats. ;-)

More snowflakes were made by my Mom and Auntie Theresa and I yesterday while visiting.  No one was injured in the wielding of their hot glue gun and I had to take photos to show my sister that Mom and Auntie T were making their own and I didn’t make them for them.  I prepped things for them but they had to do their own gluing.

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Here’s Mom busy working on hers.

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Auntie T working at the other end of the table.  I totally forgot to take a photo of all 10 of the snowflakes together that we finished.  But here’s photos  of the three of the ones I made that came home with me.

The black and bright colored batik one is a favorite of mine – it looks even better in person.  They all turned out really neat and of course being the good sister I am, I sent some along with Mom to give to my sister because I know she’ll love them too.  Everyone needs  snowflake or two or three. ;-)

I got a good bit of knitting done over the last couple days two, my Charlie’s Cardigan has both fronts and back finished and I’m working on the first sleeve.  But of course, it’s time for the Loopy Ewe to tempt me with new knitting projects.

They are doing a Loopy Monthly Mixer.  You can find all the info on it at the link but it’s much more relaxed than Loopy Academy.  I like that I can use stash yarn I’ve gotten from TLE or buy new yarn.  The first project, which is for planet Pluto (which is explained in the link above) will be Turks and Caicos which I have been wanted to make and the yarn I had swatched to figure out my gauge for  it is Wollmeise DK and the color is “Pesto” so it satisfies the “P” requirement for the January Monthly Mixer.   My pattern is printed, I just caked a hank of yarn, and after my dinner is delivered (hurry up pizza guy I’m hungry since I never had lunch), I hope to get a bit of knitting done this weekend on it.

Another snowflake ….

back to the fabric kind this time.

I got all my pieces fused and the cuts made so they are all ready for my Mom, Aunt and I to put the glue guns to work.

Here’s the fabric combinations I put together

20151229_7 - CopySo here’s one side of each group of fabrics.  There’s 10 different snowflakes there.

and then the opposite side is

20151229_4they match up in order left to right in the top and bottom photo. Some of the silver and gold glitzes on some fabrics aren’t showing up in the photos.

So for instance the first fabric in the top left (which is actually a pale gray with silvery glitzy swirls on it) will go with the first left fabric in the bottom photo – a blue and gray snowflake print with silver glitz in it.

 

 

I couldn’t resist – after I got done getting all these ready I took the one set that I wasn’t sure I’d really like when it was done and decided to glue it up and see how it looked.

20151229_10  I love it!. The only reason I thought it wouldn’t look as good was the yellow side was really bright yellow batik but because of the black print batik it’s fused to, it really dulled down the yellow.  But it still looks great.

I had to make myself “step away from the glue gun!”  – it’s one of those things where you want to see what the next combination will look like and then the next… but I’ve packed it all up.

 

I managed to get all the laundry caught up, I baked a pan of really horrific bars (I don’t know what happened to them, I’ve made them before, but I think wasn’t exactly paying attention and added too much butter).    But I did make a totally delicious crock pot of split pea, ham and carrot soup.  A couple containers are doing their final cool down in the frig before I stick them in the freezer and there’s a bowl full waiting for me to reheat for dinner.  Yum.

 

I also just updated the final tally for yarn knit for this year since I won’t get anything else finished before the end of the year – 22,597 yards knit this year.  Click on the button in the sidebar for Knitting the Stash and you can see all the projects finished.  AND (and this is a big AND) I did it this year – I knit more yarn that I purchased.  It’s a miracle — over 8,000 yards more than I purchased.   I’ve knit more than that but I’m only counting it when the project is complete.  So my two sweaters awaiting seaming – well maybe they’ll get me off to a good start next year.

It’s Many Snowflakes….

This time, not the fabric kind — tho here’s my stack of some of the fabrics I still need to fuse to each other in order to make more fabric snowflakes

20151229_5 No they are mostly not what you would think of as creamy or bluish snowflake colors — not many of those in the stash and I can’t wait to see some of the more dramatic colored ones.

What I’m talking about this morning is this kind of snowflakes

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20151229_2  Winter finally arrived yesterday – with sleet, then inches of snow, and when I walked out of the office yesterday about 4:30 p.m. it was sleet – not the really rainy kind that builds up on things (thank goodness  because that could have really caused some damage) but the pelt you in the head and face stinging kind since it was pretty large and the winds were very strong.

 

All the way home it sounded like a sandblaster pelting the bus.  Luckily, many people are still on vacation or left work early so other than the semi that had slid into the middle of a road and got stuck and backed up traffic a huge distance, the rest of the ride proceeded at a slower, but steady pace with the bus only getting stuck once and having to back up to get a run at a little hill.    The timing was just right tho – the guys who clear the snow around the apartment building had just cleared the steps I need to take and were just finishing the sidewalk and in front of my door.   I haven’t heard yet how much snow we got- it was blowing so much that it was sort of drifting away from my door so I didn’t have as much right outside.

I sent some time last night doing the final bind off on my Olethea but I think I will probably be ripping it back and restarting.

I made it larger than the pattern so it would fit nicely around my shoulders.  I also added a few repeats from the beginning which with the weight of this yarn makes it feel like the neck edge is too large – should have left it about what it was.    When I added my extra increase row around the shoulder area, I increased in every section.  After I did that I thought it might be to much but decided to carry on.  It was too much.  I probably should have increased in every other section.

20151229_3The yarn is pretty, it’s comfy and warm to toss over my shoulders while sitting and knitting, but I think I’ll wear it more if I do a remake on it.    Good thing it’s a quick and easy knit.

Now to get to the rest of the things I need to do around here today.  I’m off work until after the New Year.  Hopefully the weather wont’ throw a wrench into some plans for visiting with family part of the time I’m off.

This morning – laundry has been going – last load nearly done.   I’ve started a big crock pot of split pea and ham soup with the ham bone from my Christmas dinner.  So I’ll have soup for the freezer and I think soup and corn muffins for dinner which sounds like comfort food to me.  I may even bake some cookies.     But time to fill my coffee cup and first on my agenda is to finish fusing all the fabrics for the snowflakes so I can clear all that mess away since I decided to work in the living room and then on to the rest of the cleaning.

It’s a Snowflake!!!

No – not the kind outside – we have a decided lack of those.  But as I mentioned in my last blog post, I was going to get fabrics fused to make 3D Fabric Snowflakes with my Mom and Aunt when I see them in a few days.   The video is great and goes thru every step.  So I plugged in a movie and started cutting all my HeatnBond Ultra into squares.     Several people have emailed me and commented on various posts where I talked about these saying  that they were planning to make some.  I’ll share my tips, which worked for me, to make things a bit easier and less messy. ;-0

In the video it says to cut your fabric squares 7″ and also cut your HNBU (Heat N Bond Ultra) 7″ also.  After you’ve added the HNBU to each of the fabric squares, you then fuse them to each other to get two-sided fabric squares.  The video warns that you should use a pressing cloth because some of the adhesive may ooze out a bit as it bonds to itself.

20151227_8These are the two fabrics I used for my first test run and I have two main tips after making it.

TIP #1:   I’m not fond of oozing stuff getting on my iron or ironing board so I changed the cutting sizes slightly to void that.  I cut the fabric squares 7″, I cut the HNBU 6-3/4″.    I centered the HNBU on each fabric square and fused.  I did put a pressing cloth under where I was pressing just in case but I never had anything adhere/ooze to my iron or the pressing cloth.

TIP#2:  Be sure after pressing the HNBU to each individual fabric square you let it cool completely before trying to adhere a pair of squares together.    If you don’t, even if it’s only slightly warm, it wants to stick together.  So after cooled, I carefully aligned the top edge of my fabrics wrong side together and then sort of rolled the top layer down so they lined up nicely and then pressed.

Since my HNBU was cut slightly smaller than the fabric squares I didn’t get any ooze and since you then trim the squares down it doesn’t matter than my HNBU square was smaller than the fabric one.  Per the video you trim the squares down to 6″ but I only trimmed mine down to 6.5″  I didn’t see the need to trim more off and  I happen to have a 6.5″ square ruler so that was perfect for centering on my fabric square and trimming away the edges.   The fabrics still felt a bit flimsy after pressing together so I wondered if they would really have the body needed to stand out nicely but after they cooled again, it was perfect.

Cutting the slits and then gluing it up — so easy and fun.  Here’s the finished snowflake which was made in no time.

20151227_4  At the moment it’s hanging on the inside of my front door against the blinds and it just looks so cool.

Too bad I have to work tomorrow – I could see spending a day working on these.

As it is, I think I have the HNBU pieces cut for 11 more snowflakes or stars or whatever you want to call them. So I need to get busy figuring out what fabrics to use for the others and get the fusing done.  Hmmm.. 11 stars times 12 squares per star for the first fusing — yep that’s a whole lot of pressing. :-)  Some of them will be New Year’s gifts for co-workers.  I plan to make them in all kinds of color combinations – not just wintery blues and creams etc.  They’ll look more like psychedelic snowflakes or flowers I think.

 

 

Stashbusting 2015

I can’t believe it’s nearly the end of the year.   2015 will be over before we know it.

So my stash /quilting efforts for the year can be found on this page.

I used more than I purchased – that’s probably a good thing. ;-)

Although in looking at the list of things finished – most of them were for Fabric Camp Loopy or Loopy Academy so I had to purchase fabric in order to participate.  I’m going to wait until the second semester fabric Academy requirements come out to see if I want to participate.  I have many quilts that need quilting, many projects I want to work on in progress, and a couple new ones I want to make so 2016 may just be the year I concentrate on projects already in my sewing room awaiting their turn.  There are always more plans rolling around in my brain than the time to do them. ;-)

As for today – doing a few chores I’ve been putting off — like the washing of the socks.  I’ve gotten lazy over time and used to hand wash them all and hang them to dry.  Now they all go in the washer on a gentle cycle and now that I have my super duper new clothes dryer, the all go in there for a while on very low heat and then if not dry, hang on the rack for a while.   There’s one or two pairs that are gradually felting down a bit – those will be worn more like slippers.   It’s also made me look at the stash a bit differently — while some of those super soft yarns feel lovely as socks – the work horse yarns make  socks that stand up to the washer and dryer time and time again and come out looking just the same and are some of  my favorite socks.

….and the stockings were hung by the….. well mine are hanging by the Christmas tree at the moment. I should have put them all out for Santa to fill!

20151227_1Now the real question – does fabric you’ve ordered (or it could pertain to yarn too) that arrives after the last stashbusting / yarn busting post of the year count towards 2015 numbers or 2016.    Well, I think it doesn’t count at all!!  Yes I took advantage of a batik sale and also Miss Babbs gratitude sale so a few yarn and fabric goodies will be heading my way.  Oh let’s not forget TLE’s 40% off Christmas fabric sale either. LOL    Well you wouldn’t expect be to change my ways too much!

Remember the 3D fabric snowflake link I posted earlier – back on Dec. 12 – well I’m going to be visiting with my parents and Aunt soon so I’m going to put my Aunt and Mom to work – Dad too if he wants to wield a hot glue gun.    I’m going to get all the fabrics for a bunch of snowflakes fused and the cuts made and then we can put them together while visiting.  I told my Mom I was going to bring a little crafty project for us to do and she laughed but I told her it was geared toward the “crafting impaired”.  ;-)   The hardest part is going to be deciding what fabrics to use for each one.

Look out stash …. here I come……