Tuesday, February 17, 2015

UGH! Why, oh Why?

Nearly 2 YEARS since my last post?!  And I was SO sure I was going to become a model blogger at that time. I'm so bummed!

Remember that "On the Needles" post?  Well, yeah - still looks the same as it did in that photo. I HAVE done a few things since then, though. I'll have to (aka: I HOPE to) write a post solely about the things I've made since my last quilty post. Oh, sure!

Ok, so here is the deal - I'm going on a big trip to Sweden this year and I want to make sure I write about everything while I'm there. My hope is to put it all here!  Maybe if I start blogging again now, I'll be "in the groove" by the time the trip rolls around! 

Cheers to big goals!  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Design Wall Monday

Well, this isn't actually a design wall photo anymore...  I went to an amazingly fun quilt retreat this past weekend, and I have a FINISH to show off!!!  Ok, so it's not finished-finished, but the top is done. 

Here it is before the blocks were sewn together:

 Linking up with Judy L over at the Patchwork Times!  Go check out the other posts & her blog.  :)


Thursday, February 28, 2013

On the Needles

I had finished about ten rows, then realized I somehow had  three extra stitches on my scarf. Grrrrr!  In order to get back to the correct count, I had to "frog" four rows. At least I was able to do that without ruining the whole thing. I have now completed three rows  where every other stitch is a knit/purl, and I still have the correct number of stitches cast on. Phew!!

I think I would have to say that the yarn color is actually closer to what it looks like in the lower/cat photo ~ it's kind of a wine/plum color with some bits of butter yellow mixed in.  

(I'm writing this with a new app on my phone called "BlogGo."  The layout (font) seems to be a little quirky so far...)

When I decided I was done for the evening, Willow the cat thought he would test the edibility of the needle. :)

I'm happy with the way my first knitting project is coming along so far!

Linking up with Judy L @ Patchwork Times. Go check out her blog!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

FINALLY! "On the Needles"

I finally got my yarn, needles & "learn to knit" book out late last evening!!!  I had to also add my computer to the mix so that I could watch some YouTube videos.

This YouTube video is the one I watched to learn to "cast on" to the needles.
This YouTube video is the one I watched to learn to do the knit stitch.

I cast on 29 stitches for an approximately 7" wide scarf.  I'm going by a pattern on the "My Hand Made Stuff" blog by Moje Rukodelky.

I do hope to finish this scarf during my lifetime...  So far, I'm liking the "knit" stitch, and casting on was a  cinch once I finally "got it."  I had to start over three times to get my tension right, but that wasn't bad since there were only 29 stitches cast on.  I imagine I would have been a bit more annoyed if I had like 60 stitches on there.

Here is what I have so far:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Design Wall Monday

Linking up with Judy over at the Patchwork Times.

I took a class at Fiddlesticks last Thursday with my cousin, Jackie.  The pattern is called "Boston Logs," and it is by "Little Miss Sloppy."  Apparently, her REAL last name IS "Sloppy!"  That's awesome.  There are more blocks in process, but they're not ready to be on the design wall - YET.

This first photo is just after I had all of the fabric (for the entire quilt) cut - this was just to get an idea of how the block would look when complete.  No fabrics are in any of the blocks more than one time.:

The second photo was of the first block that was complete and squared up to the correct size:

The third photo is of the first 6 blocks on my design wall.  Notice that 5 of the blocks have not been trimmed/squared down yet, and they are "wonky."  This is the way it works with the process used to sew the blocks together and is not an error.  All of the wonky gets cut off - no worries!  At least the top/middle block IS squared up.    :)     :

Just 30 more blocks to go!!  I will be bringing this project to a quilt retreat the 2nd weekend in March if I don't get a chance to work on it a lot between now & then.  I want this one DONE - and fast!  I'll be quilting it myself on my longarm and will use some sort of red thread (I stick with King Tut thread for the longarm work).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Knit Knitty Knit!

If you know my quilty/crafty side, you probably know that I'm itching to learn how to knit.  I have no good explanation for why I haven't started stitching yet, but I've been shopping a lot prepping well for the day I start!

I believe I have plenty of crap knitting supplies to work with and want to keep shopping do NOT need anything else!  I've got enough yarn for at least 1 large scarf (2 100g skeins), and 5 pair of socks!  Some of the yarn meant for socks may go for a hat, fingerless gloves, or something else.  I'll get to that later.

So, here is the loot I've collected over the past few weeks, as well as some stuff I already had.  Some may be crappity crap crap, and some is really nice quality stuff (most of the yarn, especially!).

I'll start with the stuff I got today at a yarn shop in Portland, Oregon, called Twisted.  I always feel embarrassed walking into a shop because I'm basically saying "I don't know what the heck I'm doing, but here is what I think I may be looking for," then proceed to ask a bunch of questions...  However, the two women working in the shop were really nice and I didn't feel like they were annoyed with my questions, which was good.

The green yarn is "Piquant Lite" by Hazel Knits, and the color is called Euphorbia.  It is 90% superwash merino/10%nylon.
The orange yarn is "Entice," also by Hazel Knits, and the color is called Carnelian.  It is 70% superwash merino/10%nylon/20%cashmere.
The little bee stitch & butterfly markers, and the Queen Bee measure tape are by Lantern Moon, and the shawl pin was made by a Portland company called Plover Designs.

Aren't those stitch markers which I have NO CLUE how to use adorable!!!???

And the Queen Bee measure tape (black tab on the side is where you pull the tape from)!!
I have a small addiction for "bee" stuff - my family nickname is "Bea," but I still associate it with "bee," although I know that is absurd.  Oh well, I still like fun bee stuff (not "junk")!

This just shows different lighting on the yarn.  I will save these to make socks!

On 2/14/2013, I went to Seattle with DH to shop while he had a work luncheon and meeting.  I had to check out Bad Woman Yarn, solely for the name!  It just sounds sassy - in a fun way, and I love that.  

This next photo shows the two skeins of yarn (same color, although they look different) and the needles I bought at this shop.  The owner of the shop let me know that I would NOT be making socks as my first knitting project, but that I would be making a scarf.  Oh really?!?!??  haha!  Talk about sassy!  However, she's the expert, so I agreed and bought two 100g skeins so that I could make a larger project.

The yarn is Rios, by Malabrigo, and the color is "archangel."  It's "pure" merino superwash.  Just gorgeous!  I hope it's not going to be itchy, but it feels really soft to the fingers.

I love the description found on the tag: "Rio means "river" in Spanish.  Malabrigo Rios is named after the four major rivers in Uruguay: Rio Cuareim, Rio Uraguay, Rio del la Plata, and Rio Negro.  Each river is represented by one ply. These plies twist together like winding rivers.  Rios also signifies the yarn's washability; for millennia, rivers have provided water for washing garments."

Oh, and those are "Ka" bamboo knitting needles.  I know next to nothing about knitting, but I can still say these needles feel good in the hands.

I went to Creative Beginnings on 2/16/2013.  They're located in Seaside, Oregon and have a variety of crafty goods - beads & yarn seem to be the main themes, though.  I bought these two gorgeous Noro yarns there.    

This is Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn in color #304.  It is 40% lambs wool/25% silk/25%nylon/10%kid mohair.  The second photo shows some more of the colors that you see in the middle of the skein.  You can also see little tiny bits of white wire-y "hairs" sticking out of the yarn.  I have no idea what this is - the silk?  The mohair?  

 This Noro is "Kureyon" sock yarn in color #S95.  It is 70% wool/30%nylon.  This one is much "itchier" than the silk garden yarn.  I will probably not make socks from this yarn.  Maybe I'll make a small scarf instead.  I only got one skein, so it can't be very big/long.  Again, the second photo shows more of the yellow color(s).  This color way reminds me of the wine country!

This is just some random needle stuff that I already had (sans the 2 packets of short & tiny bamboo needles.  Those are new).  This is my knitting needle "stash."  I've had most of this stuff for many many years.  Maybe I'll finally be using it.  

My friend Melissa gave me this book, Stitch 'N Bitch - by Debbie Stoller about a month ago.  I haven't used it quite yet, but it looks to be very nicely written and easy to follow.  I will definitely be using it in the near future!

This is just some cheap inexpensive Heart & Sole yarn by Red Heart.  The color, #3965, is Razzle Dazzle.  It is another that is 70% super wash and 30% nylon.  I love the color and each 50g skein will make one sock.  I know I have a lot to learn, but I wonder what the difference is between this "cheap" 70:30 blend yarn, and the 70:30 Noro that is 2x as expensive (per 100g)?

I don't have a photo, but I ordered a All-n-One loom to try. I think it will be much easier to learn the basics of knitting on a loom, vs. on needles.  That should arrive probably later this week.  I can't wait!  

I look forward to making socks in the future - both for DH and myself!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Crazy, Crazy, Crazy Cats!

So, my husband has been playing this video game, and I'd have to say... The man is hooked! Ok, that may sound bad - he will go a year without playing, but when it's a new game... I'll just leave it at that. This evening was really no different. He was wanting to play, but I was watching the news & wasn't ready to be done. So, Mr. Bossypants (not really, actually) says to me "don't you have some sewing to do?" Dang it! LOL.

Here's the thing, though - I DID want to be sewing. I had been thinking all day about how I'm going to be pretty busy until Monday evening and won't have any sewing time, probably until Tuesday, actually. I ended up having a fairly productive few hours! I took a class last Saturday at Fiddlesticks - my favorite lqs. It was the Crazy Cats pattern, by the Buggy Barn. I finished one full cat in class, and parts of two more cats. Well, tonight I managed to finish the other two cats started in class, so now I've got three! They're so super cute! I will try to get photos up soon.

I recommend this pattern. It's a different way of thinking for your typical anal-retentive quilter, but I think that's why I enjoy it so much. I feel a little "free" while working on these blocks.

Nine more to go, plus the flowers. It's officially been added to my UFO list (not because I'm no longer working on it, but because I add ALL unfinished projects to that list).

Happy Valentine's Day!

My husband ("DH" = 'dear husband') isn't "into" Valentine's Day (commercialism, etc...), but that's OK because he does so many things throughout the year that are special that the one day, Valentine's Day, really isn't important.

My DH is the best!  He's SO incredibly supportive...  No matter what is going on with me, I know I've got his support.  I know he's got my back.  I was working a lot.  I mean seriously - A LOT!  Finally, it came down to "do I really need/want to keep working 50-55 hours per week, EVERY week?"  Who helped me figure that out?  Who supported my decision to quit my job - or TRY to, and end up just drastically reducing my hours & accepting a different position at the same company?   Yep - my DH!  I love him more than words could ever say...

How did you meet your sweetheart?

At a Seattle Mariner's game - September 3, 2012

DH and I met in kind of a fun way.  I had recently moved to the area (Tulsa, OK...  Not where I live now).  DH's sister worked for my Dad.  Ok, those are two totally separate facts.  But, after a few months, my Dad called me at work one day and said "you need to get a hobby.  Carol (this is DH's sister) teaches quilting classes and something called a colors-class.  You should do it." Well, that's not word-for-word, but it's pretty darn close!  So, I reluctantly took a class (I was seriously poor and didn't tell Dad that I really shouldn't be spending $35 on a quilting class...).  Actually, I signed up for both the "colors" class and a beginning quilting class.  Who would've known that Carol and I would totally hit it off the first night.  It was as if we'd been friends for years!  At some point during the class, Carol says "my brother's coming into town for a few months.  You should meet him."  Well, the deal was that I had just moved up to Tulsa because I left a relationship in Louisiana that had not worked out.  I wasn't into the idea of meeting this guy, especially if he wasn't staying in Tulsa for long (he lived in Seattle)!!!

Dad & Carol, who I'd started having lunches with sometimes, both were determined that DH and I should meet.  I was becoming more willing to meet him (my willingness didn't take long, "but I'm not even going to hold his hand if he's not staying here - I've already moved for a guy and it didn't work out, so I'm not doing it again - unless I'm married!"), but Carol had already tried to play matchmaker (she ROCKS!) for him before, and it hadn't worked out, so DH was basically - "NO WAY!"

Cannon Beach, Oregon - Spring 2012

About three to four weeks after first taking the colors class, I was over at Carol's house looking through magazines so I could find a pattern to make a quilt.  She told me she had family coming for dinner that night (Mom & step-dad, Sister P, and..... DH was also going to be there!).  Later in the afternoon, she called and invited me to join them.  She was not going to tell DH, because he wouldn't show up if he knew....!!!!

So, DH and I met for the first time that night at a dinner with much of his family present!  The date was Sunday, September 17, 2000.  A couple days later, DH asked his sister to ask me if it was OK if he could call me.  I still didn't think I'd "date" him in the real sense because he was only in town temporarily.  Again, I wasn't moving for a man again - unless I was married!!  I don't remember specifically, but I believe our first date was the following Sunday.  The weekend after that, we went to the horse races with his Mom, Step-Dad, and I think Carol was there, too.  It was SO fun!  We continued to date "as friends" and finally held hands for the first time after about five weeks.  Ha!

To make a longer story short....  DH and I really clicked, and I think we each clicked with each other's family, too.  Now remember - we met on September 17th...  We became engaged January 16th of the following year (1 day short of 4 months), and were married April 21st (7 months & 4 days after meeting).  Not long after that, we were both back in Seattle!  HA!  He had intended on returning at the beginning of the year, and one of the sweetest things he's ever said to me was that he wanted me to go with him, but he knew how I felt and was not going to ask me to move before we were married.

We have now known each other three days shy of twelve years & five months, and we've been married 7 days shy of eleven years & ten months!!!

I still wonder how it was that DH wanted to marry ME....?  I feel like the most fortunate woman on Earth!  I LOVE my DH, and things are amazing!

Happy Valentine's day to you & yours, whether you "celebrate" or not!

At a RUSH concert - Summer 2011

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fancy Blog Fonts - is it Rockin'?

Ok, just requesting opinions here......  I LOVE this font!!!!  It looks like really nice, easy to read, handwriting.  Well, it looks that way to me, anyway.

What do ya'll think?  Is the font OK?  Is it easy to read?  Is it annoying? Attractive? Distracting?  Does it make you want to avoid my blog?  

Please feel free to comment.  I appreciate the input!  :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Whatcha' Readin'?

I'll be linking up with Judy L. over at Patchwork Times...  :)

I'm currently reading the book Ten Years Later, by Hoda Kotb. It is a non-fiction collection of stories regarding six different people "who faced adversity and transformed their lives" (book cover description). As an example, one story is about a woman who lost well over 300 pounds and was nearly killed in an abusive relationship, and how she is doing after ten years (I struggle to not say how she is doing in my blog post - you'll have to read it to find out). I've read through the first story so far (the one of the woman above), and look forward to reading more!

Amazon's description includes the following: "Ten Years Later is a firsthand testament to the enduring power of the human spirit. Through inspirational life stories, Hoda shows how adversity can unleash our best qualities: resilience, perseverance, gratitude, empathy, and creativity. This book will inspire you to believe in the future, no matter how dark the present, and tap into the ability to reach your highest potential."

UPDATE: This book is great for people who can't, or don't want to, sit and read an entire book in one or two sittings.  Each person's story is basically it's own "chapter," so you can read a story at a time.  Also, the stories vary in length, too, so you can choose to read longer or shorter stories depending on how much time you have.  Example - the first story is 35 pages, the second story is 63 pages, and the third story is just 22 pages long.  Nice.

UPDATE #2 (2/19/2013)
Ok, I'm still reading this book!  I've only been able to read a little bit at a time.  I do hope to finish in the next week.  :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Design Wall Monday

Linking up with Judy L over at the Patchwork Times!

I'm thrilled to have a NEW project up on the design wall today!  I took a class on Saturday.  The pattern is "Crazy Cats" by the Buggy Barn, which is in the book "Undeniably Crazy."  I finished one entire cat, and the "bodies" of two others.  (the nose does show up better "in real life")

Yesterday afternoon, I finished the faces (whiskers included) of the other two cats and am happy to say that I remembered the proper technique!  Yes - I learned in class that reading directions really helps - a LOT!  :)

I really love these cats, and I love the Buggy Barn technique even more!  It would be similar to paper piecing (the final results, anyway), if I had to give an explanation.  However, there is no paper to sew through!  You do use wax paper to copy the master design, then iron that onto the top of a stack of fat quarters.  But, after that, no more paper.  PHEW, because I don't think I am particularly great at paper piecing.  I sew the "sections" nicely, but when it's time to sew the sections together, they come out warped.  Ok, not always, but sometimes.  In my opinion, "sometimes" is not OK.  So I've been avoiding that process altogether!  So, with this process, the block sections turn out "wonky," as you can see in the photo above.  Each time you sew on a new piece, you straighten ONLY the edge you're sewing.  So, when I go to add the kitty ears, the top of the faces will be straightened out.  Simple as that.  And when the entire block is complete, you then square it up to a certain size.  It's not really close, either - there is plenty to cut off & not much chance you'll mess it up!  

I would recommend this pattern to a very comfortable beginner or experienced quilter.  You'll have a lot of fun!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Choosing Fabric = FUN!

My cousin, Jackie, and I are taking a quilting class together in.... 11 days, and I sat down a few days ago to gather my fabrics together.  The pattern we will be doing is Boston Logs, by Little Miss Sloppy. Love this pattern!  I was having a really hard time deciding what colors to use in my quilt.  I thought about doing something similar to the quilt on the pattern's photo - beige/cream and one other color.  But, what other color?  I was looking at all of my piles (and piles & piles & piles) of fabric and came across the stack of black/white/red fabrics.  That's when a lightbulb went off!  I decided on the following fabrics:  

Red, black and white!!!!  This is a color combination that I've been wanting to use for YEARS!  I imagine it won't be my only quilt with this combo, but I'm really excited to be starting my first on 2/21/2013.  

The top/left "musical notes" fabric is probably my favorite b/w/r, and I think I'm going to need to buy more of it because I just can't stop loving on it!  I'm not a musician, I don't sing (well, I DO, but I shouldn't...).  However, this fabric just really touches me.  It's like I don't WANT to use it, because then I won't have it for/in my stash anymore!  Am I the only one who ever has this problem?  

Another thing I'm doing here is mixing batiks with non-batiks.  So far, I think the fabrics are all going to work really well together!  

We will be taking the class at my favorite LQS - Fiddlesticks.  Love that store!  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cleanin' Up

Ever since I started blogging, I've blogged & stopped a number of times.  Things always interrupt my creative process - furthering my education, new jobs, etc..  Whatever the reason, "lulls happen."  Well, I've been "back" for a few weeks now, and I think it's time to clean things up!  I had clicked on a link and found it not to be working, so I went through all of the "blogs I browse" and the boxy-links on the right and got rid of a bunch of stuff.  I hope it's more user friendly now!  I guess this opens up some space for me to browse some new blogs ~ maybe even some knitting stuff!

I am still wanting to create a linky box (aka: "linky thingy") for my blog.  I have NO idea where to start, but I do know I want something with owls.  I'm thinking of creating an appliqué quilt block, then photographing it.  I'll use that for my artwork.  Does that sound about right?  I really don't want to pay for someone else to do this... Any ideas/thoughts are more than welcome!  

Design Wall Monday

I finally finished all of my Buck-a-Block blocks (actually Buck-for-TWO-Blocks) this past week.  Now I need to do the frames for all of the blocks, sashing & corner squares, and borders.  I hope to do much or all of that this next week.  All of the half-square triangles were done with Thangles, which I absolutely LOVE!  

I really love the colors in this quilt.  The pink is a pomegranate color, which I think is actually part of the name of some of the batiks.  It's pretty girly, so I will just "have" to claim it as my own when it's done.  Poor me!  ;)

I am guessing that I will be using a form of beige thread for quilting, but I haven't decided on the quilting pattern yet.  Probably something simple for this one.  I'm totally OK with simple & this isn't a quilt that demands something complicated.

I did the 2011-2012 BOM through The Quilting Loft in Seattle and I will be linking up with Judy L's Design Wall Monday blog post at the Patchwork Times.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Product Review ~ Bobbin Keeper Thingy

Ok, so I know a couple of people I've talked to have said they LOVE this product, Clover's "Stack 'n Store" ("S-n-S"), but not many. Still, I just HAD to buy it - for $15.99!!! Yikes! So I get the S-n-S home and am excited to put it to use (this was probably two years ago), not having a clue how much I'd grow to hate it!

Turns out that I really do not like the S-n-S - at all. The individual little holders do not "firmly" hold bobbins that don't have a lot of thread on them, the threads come loose & it's a pain. But the thing that is more annoying is that the levels of the S-n-S come apart way too easily. Every time I pick it up from a layer other than the bottom, the lower layers fall apart. It's not a major big deal and I've just been living with it.

Today I bought a pack of "Bobbin Buddies," which are little pink holders, and they are fabulous (no photo here)! They hold bobbins with any amount of thread, large or small, securely, and the bobbins don't unwind. The Bobbin Buddies made me decide the Clover S-n-S product wasn't worth keeping. I decided to throw it away. But then, I had a lightbulb moment - I cut the little holders off of the stems of the Clover S-n-S and ended up with a bunch (30, to be exact) of Bobbin Buddy-like pieces!  Yay - because a pack of 12 Bobbin Buddies cost nearly $7.00!  I'm a happy camper again, and am glad to put the pieces of the S-n-S back to use, even if I only use them for fully-wound bobbins in the future.