Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Wrap, continued...

I don't have a picture to share today, sorry. But I have learned that football Sundays are great for crocheting. I have managed to get the wrap to 27 inches. Only 53 more to go! So, if I keep on at the same rate, this should take me roughly 6 weeks to make. Plenty of time to get it done before Christmas - and a nice surprise for my sister :) I told her this one was for her, and she responded with something smart like "well, my bad circulation from age will need it by the time you get it finished." hmph.

I'm having trouble moving to another quilt right now, after getting Summer Days finished. I've got the Circle Quilt on the design wall, just waiting for me to baste those circles down on a couple of blocks....but it's still waiting. The fabric for dear nephew's quilt still isn't washed....I haven't even been able to decide on the contrast fabric yet. Well, it's only been a week, I guess I'll be drawn to something sooner or later. Meanwhile, the crocheting is filling the evenings well enough.

Oh yeah! I signed up for a knitting class the local library is offering! I've been able to make those knitted dishclothes since high school, but I've never been able to move onto the next stage. So, when I saw this free class being offered, I figured it was worth a shot. I've got a lot of goals that I hope to get from this class, we'll see. I want to be able to recognize different stitches, how to rip something and reload the needles without ripping the entire thing, learn how to read a pattern, learn what increase and decrease are exactly, how to purl. Yeah, I'm such a beginner.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why My Hands Were Shaking

What is this, you ask? Well, it's a stack of magazines. Cross stitch magazines to be exact. And I got them all for 10 cents a piece!

The company I am temping for asked for book donations to sell as a fundraiser, and someone brought in a big box of cross-stitch magazines! I found them at lunch-time and immediately found 4 or 5 that had to come home with me. That was before I found out what the price was. That stack grew to 17 very quickly! I was having a VERY hard time not comandeering the entire table until I had looked through all of them - but I controlled myself and played nice.

After I started looking through a couple of them on last break, and realized what else was in them, I went down after work and bought the rest of the booty!! I came home with 60 of these puppies! :)

Here are the 29 The Cross-Stitcher's I found:
....the 3 Stitcher's World...
...2 Christmas ones...

...9 Cross Stitch & Needlework's....

...and the real haul - 17 Just Cross Stitcher's - including one of the ornament issues I was missing!...

I'm just so thrilled with this, it's made my entire week!

And just in case you've missed your updates of DH - here is his response to my question, "What have you done for me lately?"

He wasn't impressed :D

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Less for More

Ok, this is a rant, I admit it. But have any of the rest of you noticed how we're now getting less but still paying the same prices? Manufacturers are packaging things in smaller bags/containers, but keeping their prices the same. I have a lot of examples, but the latest is our toilet paper.

We have been buying this particular brand of toilet paper since I was young enough to remember particular brands of toilet paper. When I was married and started my own home, I continued to buy it, because I like it. So, when we did our weekly grocery shopping Friday night, and toilet paper was on the list, I naturally picked up the package of Quilted Northern that I've bought for the last 14 years. Yes, I admit, it has changed some things over the years. No longer offering anything but double or 2 1/2 times size rolls was something to get used to, but we managed. Having 3 layers as a choice was looked at, but passed over for the tried and true. But when I pulled a new roll out this afternoon, I do believe it was enough to make me start looking for a new brand. The roll is a complete 1/2" narrower than the roll I had just tossed out!!! What the heck? Now we're getting less toilet paper and still paying the same old prices....well, not the same "old" prices, but it certainly wasn't any cheaper than the package we bought 2 weeks earlier! I'm really ticked off about this.

Who has other brands they can suggest??

Summer Days Top Finished!

My eyes were blurry, but I put the last stitch in last night at 11:20 PM.

I had to ask the Insane Gardener to come out and help me hold it up while DH took a picture for me. I was hoping to get truer colors by taking the pic outside, but I don't think that happened. It seems more neon in this picture than the actual quilt is. Oh well. Now it's time to start thinking about the quilt designs I want to use :)

Now it's back to football!!

Circle Quilt Update

First of all, I want to apologize for the quality of the following pictures. I don't know what happened, but everything is slightly out of focus.

I decided to pin some circles to a block to see how they would look. To see if I like the scrappy idea I started with. Here is the result:

I'm not 100% certain I like the scrappy look. I'm really leaning toward a controlled color scheme right now. So, I decided to put up another block with some borders I had finished earlier...

It's looking a little better......sorta...well, anyway, you can see how the whole quilt layout will be in the next picture...I'm just short a block - it should be 4 blocks by 4 blocks when done (my design wall isn't big enough to lay out the entire quilt)...

I think I'll leave it this way for now and start on the Candied Hexagon quilt I've been holding off on in my controlled colorway idea. Maybe doing that will get it out of my system and I will decide I really like the scrappy look of my Circle Quilt.

What do you all think?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Wrap

Remember that yarn I bought at the yard sale Labor Day weekend? The one I talked about here. Well, I finally managed to get it wound into a ball last weekend...and it's huge! This thing rivals my head! It took me most of a day to get it wound, and here it is:

I've surfed the net for shawl or scarf patterns that I might enjoy both working on and using when the item was finished. I wasn't finding much. That is, until I found this wrap. It's just gorgeous! It's both a simple pattern (which I need, as my crochet skills aren't very great), and a great finished item. I can so see myself using this at football games this fall (if I get it done that quickly, that is).

So, I decided, before breaking into the "good yarn," I'd stitch up a sample piece and see how the pattern fits together. Especially since it's been 10 years or more since I've crocheted anything. I found some Red Heart yarn in the closet and started in. I re-discovered my problems with the beginnings and endings of rows, so I stopped by my Mom's place for a quick tutorial. She assured me I was on the right track and immediately asked for a copy of the pattern so she could make one for herself! LOL

After this much red was done, I realized I really didn't like the feel of the yarn. It was labelled Holiday yarn, and it just had no softness to it at all. So, I remember this Wool Ease I had hiding in the closet and thought, "if I have enough, maybe I'll make one for my sister." After digging it out of the closet, I found I had more than enough and started in on it. This is how far I've gotten:

The good news is my sister loves the color and the softness of this yarn :) So, I'm going gang-busters on it at work. I lengthened the pattern (added 6 stitches to each end), so it's taking a bit longer than the red piece did, but I think she'll like the finished item much better this way.

I'm not sure I'm stitching loose enough for my piece to end up looking like the one on the pattern, but it's still looking nice, so it's full steam ahead for now.

Now, do I wait to finish sister's piece before starting mine? Decisions, decisions....

Old Souls

As I was making my breakfast yesterday morning, the radio played a clip they had of Reba McIntyre talking about Taylor Swift and mentioning how Taylor was an old soul.

This triggered a memory of my own - someone in my past had once told me I was an old soul. And it's driving me crazy that I can't remember who! I've asked both DH and my mom if they recall anyone saying that to me and they're both coming up blank. So, until I can remember - let's move on.

What makes a person an old soul? Maturity? A certain sense of self? A particular way of putting things in context? Being able to see the big picture?

When that mystery person told me I was an old soul, I immediately had this mental image of a bent old lady masquerading inside my body. All of her experience and wisdom was hidden inside me, just waiting for the right opportunities to make themselves known. I think I still feel that way about it. There are times I will surprise myself with the things that come out of my mouth - with no forethought. It sometimes feels like there is another consciousness inside me. But I don't think that is what this mystery person was referring to.

I think most people are referring to maturity when they say someone is an old soul. Especially since it seems to be told to younger adults most often. I'm not sure it would be taken in any other way but confrontational if told to an older person. Ok, so you have a mature young adult. What differentiates this mature person from being "old for her age" (something I was told a LOT growing up) and being an old soul? It has to be more than maturity.

Maybe it's maturity combined with a high level of self-confidence. You know the type - those people that feel at ease in every situation they find themselves in - almost like they've experienced these things already. Those people that never go home and spend the evening wishing they had handled a situation differently. Let me assure you, I am NOT one of those people. So was that mystery person wrong for labelling me in this way? Maybe, maybe not.

Maybe it has something to do with being able to always see the big picture - how things fit in context to everything else. Someone that doesn't waste time worrying about all those little things they have no control over. Heck, just being able to identify those things could be a qualifier. Again, not me.

So, maybe this mystery person in my past was wrong. Maybe what they really meant to say was that I was old for my age. I don't know. If they are wrong though, I don't have to spend any more time trying to remember who said it to me!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Have you seen this?

Amazing Sand Drawing

It's just amazing. At first I didn't know what the medium was, but after a couple of minutes, it becomes clear. And the talent she has!

The blurp says the artist is Kseniya Simonova. She's a Ukranian artist that just won Ukraine's version of "America's Got Talent." And even though I didn't recognize the music or the language, it still brough tears to my eyes - as well as the judges and audience.

Watch it and tell me what you think.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Flowers and a Summer Days update

Just look at what DH got me last week :) He bought these for me Labor Day weekend and they are just tonight starting to look a little withered. I can't believe they lasted so long! And they look great in my sewing room! :)

I spent most of my long weekend trying to get the borders on Summer Days. I don't know how some of you people get so many things done every day, because you need to share your secret! I had a 4 day weekend and I still didn't manage to get all the borders sewn on! Of course, I had to spend some time pressing and snipping stray threads...

And more snipping....

And then I had to trim the borders down to size. Can you see what happened to the border in the picture below? This is why my rotary cutter and I don't get along. After measuring, re-measuring, checking, double-checking, and finally cutting - I still managed to snip off the tip of this flower! And it's supposed to be 1/2" in from the edge!!! Thankfully, the other 3 borders turned out fine. But I think I need to come up with a different method for doing my borders....this is just too much work to risk ruining it once it's all done.

I finally got everything sewn together last night. I pinned it to the design wall so I could snap a quick photo. I've still got to get the stems sewn to the corner flower units, and about 7 leaves sewn on where seam lines hit in the corners. But, when that's done, I'll have a complete quilt top! It's my first large applique quilt and I'm very happy with it (snipped flowers and all!)

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Amazing Find!

Today, on my way to the Amish fabric shop, I must have passed 15 yard sales - it is Labor Day weekend, afterall. One I noticed, has a large pile of yarn on a tarp laying in the yard. Well, I decided on my way back from the fabric shop, I would stop there and see what I could find. Maybe I could get a large bag of yarns for my Mom to work on this winter. You see, she's quite the crocheter.

Well, when I got there, the yarn wasn't really much of a deal. So I didn't spend much time looking at it. But on the other end of the tarp, I noticed this huge hank of something. When I went over to investigate, the lady in charge of it all told me she'd take $10 for the hank. Ok...I still didn't know what I was looking at. So, I picked it up and immediately could tell this was something special. First of all, it was heavy! (It ended up being 1 1/2 pounds) I noticed there was a tag on it, and it said it was 60% wool/40% silk. Whoa....and it was 1635 yards!!! Whoa!!! On the other side of the tag was a price tag saying $220 a bag (how many of these could fit in a bag??)

As you can see, it's really a gorgeous hank of yarn. It's got a sheen to it that I think shows up in the picture pretty well. It's even decent colors. The color on the second picture is much truer.

So, I originally thought I'd put it on ebay and try to make a little money off it. But the more I look at it and stroke it, I realized I just can't part with it! It's soooooo soft. So, I'm trying to figure out what I can do with it.

My first thought is this is a lot of yarn. I don't know how to knit very much at all (I can knit a dishclothe that has knit and yarn over stitches - everything else is beyond me). I can crochet very well, but I'm not a big fan of the look of crochet. So, I was thinking, a scarf would be nice. To have something that soft next to my face is a nice thought. But, I'm thinking with this much yarn, I'd have enough for 3 scarves!!! Unless I could find a pattern that is a real yarn-eater, that is. I don't think there's enough for something like a sweater, and I couldn't knit one of those, anyway....

Oh! Maybe a shawl! Hmmm....I think I'm going to have to surf for scarf and shawl patterns. If anyone has a good pattern they know of online, let me know. Thanks!

I Finished!

the bulk of the applique on Summer Days, that is :) I put the last stitch in on Wednesday night. Sorry, I don't have any pictures yet, but I have a 4-day weekend ahead of me, and the camera is going upstairs into my sewing room with me, so there should be lots of goodies to look at in the next few days.

Today I'm heading up the road to an Amish fabric shop I discovered a couple of years ago and promptly forgot about (bad Erin!). Then it's grocery shopping and getting DN's fabric washed and ironed. Tomorrow night we're off to a baseball game. Our first one of the year - but the Famous Chicken is going to be there and DH has unfortunately become a huge fan of the Chicken *rolling eyes*. So, we'll go enjoy greasy food, a Chicken and fireworks. Oh, and supposedly they have a 5/3 pound hamburger (discussed here) which I don't expect to encounter, but it would be interesting to see one.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend and hopefully you'll see some more pictures here soon!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Half-Square Triangles

I am hoping to have the applique to Summer Days done by this weekend, which means I will get to start my nephew's quilt. I am planning to use a pinwheel pattern for it, and am debating which method is best.

I love the method of tracing templates and cutting them out with scissors, then sewing them on the machine - I have a line to follow, always a good thing! But, that method takes a lot of time, and I'm not sure if I want to put that much time into a toddler's quilt, you know?

So, I'm debating other options....there's Thangles, but I've never used them before and I don't want to buy some just for this project. I could do a square template, mark around that and mark the center line to sew on either side of....but again, that's a time-eating process...

I don't know. I mean, it is for my nephew, so putting some time into it isn't necessarily a bad thing - I do love him immensely. But I know it's going to get the love beat out of it, too, so I hesitate to put too much time into it. Of course, the quilt I made for my niece a couple of years ago (hand pieced, hand quilted) has now disappeared and I don't lament over that (too much). So, maybe I'll just go with the method I enjoy and put that love into this quilt, too. I mean, he certainly deserves it :D

Thanks for following along on this foray into my thinking process. I promise to not do this kind of thing too often ;)