I’m declaring winter over

April 17 – the second day in a row where I got up and opened the door and opened a window or two a bit to let in the fresh air and it’s not making me cold.  The sun is shining – I am declaring my winter over and hopefully Mother Nature won’t be arguing with them.

See…..There is green stuff growing on that hillside – okay they are weeds but at least it’s still growing stuff.  The photo was taking thru my screen door so it’s got a bit of a grid over lay effect.:-)20160417_8

There’s one or two trees out there that I can just barely see a tuft of green leaves starting to sprout out on and the tulips on the Capitol grounds across from the office  are up – not blooming yet but it’s nice to see growing things again.

It’s Stash reporting day over at Judy’s Patchwork Times.   As for both the yarn and stash reports – I seem to be enhancing both lately since got yarn for a sweater (Wollmeise DK in color 82Pb – which is black so not really exciting to photograph)  – okay really yarn for two sweaters because I got another great deal on a discontinued color that couldn’t be passed up  in the same type yarn as the green cardi I’m working on now – Classic Elite Soft Linen which is a linen/alpaca/wool blend which I am loving)

I finished the back of the green cardi last night – love that lace

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and also recently got yarn for a KAL – On the Spice Market shawl which I hope to get started on today.

And yes some fabric actually arrived this week also.  I’d really like to finish my Christmas Town Sampler  quilt before next Christmas.  One of the things (other than just general procrastination) that was holding me up is I was not happy with the fabric I had gotten for border/sashing use (actually more than one fabric and they just were not quite right).  I wanted snowy looking fabric but the colors were never right since I used short of a more of a bright pastel sort of color scheme in my blocks.20160417_9 This green snowflake print which I found on sale I think will be perfect – at least it picks up the shades of the greens I used in the blocks.

But – there is hope to add to the finished numbers soon – if I ever get the three sweaters waiting or seaming done (two are winter ones so I’m not in a rush to finish those right now) and I’ve got two quilts partially quilted that I need to finish and nearly all my Barn Dance blocks are completed.   I think I need to take a week’s vacation to hang out at home and work on some of these things.

 

Lots accomplished today

It’s been a busy baking, cooking, laundry, sewing, knitting day.  After cleaning up my salsa- making mess, a large loaf of banana bread and three mini loaves of banana chocolate chip bread were made (the gals at the office will be glad I made banana bread as it’s a favorite in our corner of the office).   I haven’t taste tested it yet but soon …. as soon as the coffee is ready.

Dinner – scalloped potatoes and ham (or actually smoked pork chop which tastes the same).   I just remembered I wanted to mix up some vinegar and sugar cucumbers but I’ve now cleaned up the kitchen three times so I think it will wait until tomorrow morning.  I’m terrible about brown bagging my lunch so I’m making an effort to make some things that I will actually pack up and take for lunch so have a few things to finish making tomorrow.

Got the last of the lace panel done on my sweater and even got my second of the large Barn Dance blocks finished.

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Only two more blocks like this to make so I need to go stare at my design wall for a while tomorrow to decide what colors I want to use in those last two blocks.

It was a lovely day here today – probably mid 70s so just maybe the trees will start thinking about getting some leaves.  It was the first day I could open the windows and door a bit to let some fresh air in which was nice.

Now where is that chocolate chip banana bread………….

Hot pepper flakes and honey?

One of my coworkers had brought in some black bean and corn salsa to share at the office which was so delicious.   I normally don’t eat black beans (kidney beans, pinto beans, etc.) but the salsa is very addicting.  I got to thinking about it one day last week and have been craving it ever since.  Last week I thought I had bought everything to make it and when I went to pull out everything to mix it up, I had no black beans.  Dang!

So I have now procured black beans and set to chopping.  Actually I didn’t work too had at the chopping because I have one of these choppers, which I love.

20160416_5It’s one of those where you just close the lid ad push on it to send foods through the chopping grid.  I used the smaller one (which is in place) for the salsa but to the right you can see the larger grid that can be swapped in.

You can find a similar chopper in Walgreen’s in the “as seen on tv” section but I got this one at Aldi’s and it was much cheaper and the exact same thing.

So far it’s been good for everything I wanted to chop.  Last time I made applesauce I peeled and quartered the apples and used the large chopper grid to put them thru so it wouldn’t take as long to cook.  Worked great.

Anyway – it helped make quick work of this stuff

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I had looked at several recipes on line and pretty much they have the same major ingredients so I decided to just wing it.   Red pepper, , green pepper, red onion, the bottom are tomatoes put thru the chopper – I used sweet red grape tomatoes and golden sunburst tomatoes.  Those little tomatoes are great to use – don’t have to worry about seeding them and you can see there’s some juice in the bottom of the container but I drained that out so my salsa wouldn’t be too wet.  I used frozen supersweet corn (which I of course thawed) and black beans.    Lemon juice, red pepper flakes, black pepper  and honey.

 

I had to have a taste test and it is going to be great tho I might have added a few too many pepper flakes — or it could have been the tortilla chips since they are from a fantastic local restaurant that sells their chips in the local stores and they have some seasoning on them that is just delicious.  Best tortilla chips ever.

20160416_7I may have to have a little bit of it to hold me over to dinner since I never ate lunch.

But now there are those bananas I took out of the freezer to defrost.  Banana bread, banana chocolate chip muffins  – not sure what I’ll make them into but they were taking up too much room in the freezer and I had other stuff I needed to get in there.

One more photo – I didn’t get all the way through the lace at the top of my sweater back last night but made good process nonetheless.  Only one or two more repeats to go but I really like this lace pattern.

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Big Blocks

I’ve made my tester block for the Barn Dance quilts largest hole in the barn door block.  The finished block will measure 24″ and has three smaller complete blocks set within it.

The picture was taken at a bit of an angle but here’s my first completed one.

20160416_1  Instructions will be coming soon to start making the three smaller blocks that make up part of the larger  block.  Once those 12 smaller blocks are completed, it takes no time to get the rest of these big blocks set together.

Here’s that block on the design wall with all the others I have finished.  No way will all these blocks fit up on the design wall for this project.

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On the Needles – 4/15/16

There are way too many things on the needles – although that doesn’t seem to stop me from adding more things on needles.

I love the On The Spice Market shawl and there’s a KAL and after looking at all the lovely color combinations people are using in their shawls, I couldn’t resist.

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This is the yarn I will be using – a Miss Babs yummy 2-ply toes gradient set – this color grouping is called Gemstones.  The yarn at the top is my background – same type of Miss Babs yarn but this color is Fleur de sel.  I am showing some self-control tho – I’m not winding yarn and casting on this very minute.  Maybe tomorrow night….

Tonight I’m hoping to get the back of my CF Cardipalooza sweater done.  I was knitting along merrily and realized oh no – I forgot I was adding a lace pattern to the upper back of this sweater.  But I think it will still work out and actually be easier since all the armhole shaping is already done so I was spared the math of figuring out how many stitches were going to be decreased and getting the center of the lace pattern centered in the sweater.

20160415_2I’ve just started on a couple of the rows of the lace on the top in the photo.  There won’t be as wide a swath of it as originally planned but that’s okay. It’s an easy lace pattern so should go pretty quickly.

I also finally got back on track with the lace wrap after many false starts.  Here’s how far I got – it has gotten set aside for a bit because I really want to concentrate on my sweater (and that shawl I’ll undoubtedly start tomorrow):-)

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Exciting News – Purple is coming……

Vol13-blog-tour-coming-socialmediaYes purple is the color of the next issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks magazine and I’m so pleased that one of my blocks will be included in this issue!

If you’ve been around for the blog tours before, you know that means a week of sneak peeks and information on the various blocks in the issue and a tour to visit some of the designer’s blogs/websites.  There will of course prizes and giveaways on the Quiltmaker blog, Quilty Pleasures, as well as giveaways on the other blogs as well as my own where you could win your own issue of the magazine.   My day on the blog tour is Wednesday, May 4, so don’t miss out on the fun!

 

 

This set done

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6″, 12″ and 18″blocks all finished.  And one extra block in there which I didn’t realize until I stuck them all up on the design wall. I forgot I had made a test block of the 18″ block before cutting the rest so have one extra one.  I’ll just wait until all the blocks are done and then decide which one to pull out.

As for  that knitting project I was having issues with – well they continue –  I think I was a bit to sleepy as I was knitting the last pattern row of the first repeat.  Knit the 5 stockinette rows after that pattern row and then realized my yarn overs were not in the right place.   Drat I ripped it back again.  But it was also a chance to change one other thing that was sort of bugging me.  When I changed the side border garter stitches from 3 to 10, I also knit 10 rows garter as the end edging.  But 10 rows don’t end up to be as wide in inches as 10 stitches do.  So now I’ll widen the starting edging a bit more and see if I can actually knit more than two repeats of the pattern without running amok!   This pattern isn’t difficult but clearly things are conspiring against me – or I’m conspiring against myself – but this time it is going to be perfect. (or else!)

Barn Dance 18″ finished blocks

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The instructions for the 18″ blocks are now available on the Barn Dance project page.    I’ve got all my HSTs and side “rails” pieced.   The hardest part was figuring out what 6″ block I previously made will go in the center of the block.   But the decision is made so hopefully I’ll have finished blocks by the end of the day.

20160409_7  One done – seven more to go.

Progress

I cut out and finished off the last three Barn Dance blocks that were 6″ and even got my tester block made for the next size block that needs to be done.

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The fabric in the outer round of this block is one of my favorite batiks with the mix of colors in it.

Here’s all my blocks finished so far.

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Saturday, April 9, 2016

I shan’t talk about the cold winds and snow flurries flying about the past couple days – it’s April in Wisconsin – that’s what it does.  One day you don’t need a coat – the next it snows.

This week I have stopped and started and restarted and changed patterns, changed needle sizes, switched to double stranded — yes a knitting project that is just not cooperating but I think I have finally tamed it today.  I wanted a long rectangular scarf in lace weight yarn to go with a sweater.  I didn’t like the first two patterns I tried, needle size was too large.  Decided maybe I didn’t really like lace weight yarn so tried it doubled.  Didn’t care for that or the pattern I tried.   Finally went back to single strand, smaller needle and a different pattern.  Restarted that three times – once thinking I had messed up, second time when I got to the same spot I realized the pattern has several things amiss in it.  I figured out what was wrong and restarted again only to decided I didn’t like the little three stitch border on it and really liked the look of someone else’s project in Ravelry that had a wider edging.  What the heck – ripped it back again.  If I’m going to be knitting 90 or so inches of this I want to love it when it’s done.  Here it is before I ripped it back the last time to make the edging wider.20160409_2

I’ve cast on again and have the first chevron repeat section finished so on to the second one.  One good thing with all this restarting – I now have the pattern memorized so can just read my knitting as I go and not have to follow the written instructions.

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This evening I finished off another pile of Hole in the Barn Door blocks.   Here’s all my 6″ blocks so far — I’ve tallied them up and I need to make just three more and then I can move on to the next size.  So if you are stitching along on this one, look for a new block size instruction to be posted soon.