Sunday, July 31, 2011

Think this is a bad hand?

Yep. I've hurt my paws. No blogging. No knitting. No quilting. Mostly exercise, ice, and whining. But let's pretend that I'm working as a supermodel in Rome and I just don't have time for those things.

I'll be back when this glamourous gig is over.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Santa's Back

Ooh, does this look like some kinda creepy shadow to you? It does to me. But behind the darkness... Santa Claus! Or rather, Avignon Santa. I glued the black felt on by spreading tacky glue over the cross-stitching on the back and setting it right on the felt. I let it dry overnight then carefully cut around it. Yeah, that's gotta be the most complicated instructions ever....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Finished... Well, almost

While going through my grandmother's possessions (some years back), I discovered a cross-stitch sampler I had sewn for her and given, unframed. There it was, exactly as I had given it to her, in a drawer. Not on the wall, like the pieces I had framed for her, not sewn into a pillow, just carefully put away. This was an important lesson to me. It's not finished until it's finished. A quilt top is just a piece of fabric. An ornament without a hanger is just a bobble looking for a place to be. With this in mind, I show you the latest progress on these pieces.For the longest time, the link to A Stitch in Time has gone to the "I got nothin'" page. Now I can show you. The embroidery is done and the photo has a minimum of fuzzy. It's tiny, so I intend to make this into a little Christmas tree ornament.Avignon Santa is nearly done. He's been cut out from the perforated paper he was stitched onto and just needs his felt backing. I plan to glue him to the felt, then carefully cut around it. A Bird of Love is holding my attention more than I thought. I purchased a pattern that claimed to be filet cross-stitch. I thought it was more complicated in the original pattern, but this one just said, stitch it normally but with only one thread. A little disappointing, that. But certainly do-able. Finally, In the Garden just needs to be framed. Looking at it just transports me! I very sneakily signed it inside the terracotta planter. If you look carefully, you may see "desi 11".
PS: I did frame the sampler from Grandma's house, and it's hanging in my studio.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Green Swan

It strikes me that I didn't show you the picture of the latest oopsy before I done fixed it. This is the danger of using the same symbol for different colors in the pattern. Twice in this pattern "x" is used, once for shell-grey, once for medium blue-green. I must assume that the original had it in blue for one of the colors. But I photocopied it in black and white. Dur.
Anyhoo, without careful reading, I stitched all, and I mean ALL, of the swan's detailing in green before I asked myself, "but what about the grey?" I had a choice then.

  1. Toss the whole project

  2. Pull out the green and sew it in the correct color.

  3. Toss the fabric and start over with something new.

So I slept on it. My brain works better that way. I chose option #2. And I'm glad.

Really? A Green Swan? How... modern.

Friday, June 10, 2011


What do you do if you can't think? Use a plan already in place. Works for emergency workers, for the military, for teachers... For a crafter, that means kits, whether these kits are store-bought (or catalog-bought) or put together yourself out of the vague hope that you'll get to it someday. Well, turns out Someday is today. Yup. Not thinking. Or, shall I say, not thinking of the craft. (Such an erudite term, don't you think? The Craft. Unless you're thinking of the movie.Not erudite. Not at all. But vaguely empowering. In a really bad girl kinda way.)
So if you think I've been swanning around, having all kinds of fun at the expense of my're kinda right. This is what I mean by Pre-Think: I put this kit together (xeroxed the pattern from a book I gave away years ago, got the floss and fabric from a store back in the olden days*: Willie's Needlework in Orange County, I think. The pattern is called "A Bird of Love" and google gave me nada about it. Also, it calls for "filet stitch"--something I can only guess at, as it's really a crochet term. Eh, I guess I can think a little.

And this is totally a kit that's been sitting in my bin: Avignon Santa Christmas ornament. Nice, huh? Came with everything but the scissors. You might notice that the beads are sewn on in two directions. I didn't originally start that way. But the red beads are 11/0 size and a litle wide around the belly for the perforated paper. So side by side they crowd each other, but stacking them hole-to-hole, they line up like French schoolgirls. (Like I'm the only one who read Madeline a hundred times.)I swear I took a picture of the unruly crowding, but it was blurry and I didn't want to burden you with that.

*Yes, 1989 is too olden days.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Great Galumphing Grasshoppers!

I really don't like it when bloggers or podcasters apologize for "being gone so long." I rarely notice it myself unless they point it out. So I'm not pointing it out. And you're not noticing. Are we clear on that?
As I am a working woman (I'm afraid to say working girl these days--my duties are extensive, but not that extensive), my time and energies are more limited. I find myself working mostly on projects that are

  1. well-directed and don't involve much modification. For instance, I finished my Smoke Flowers Socks. The chart--pattern is Hearts & Flowers" by Wendy D. Johnson--is very easy to read. Not to mention that I'd already started these socks before THE JOB and was well under way. I think they're so pretty!

  2. automatic. These purple-on-black Vanilla socks are always with me. The perfect thing to knit in the dark. (Not to fix in the dark--I need a really bright light for that!)ooh, Purple Vanilla... or Violet Vanilla, or Black Vanilla... what do you think? I need a name for this project. I'll hold off calling it something until I get some input (That's your cue, Dude... Dudette... Dude-Being: click the respond button and tell me what you think I should call it.

  3. with friends. This is my Knit-in-Public evidence. The project is Callsign Required socks.Even though I miss a lot of meetings these days. I'd like to schedule a different time of the week for an alternate knit meeting. If I can figure out a regular time...

  4. Fun & easy. More about that later. If you're good.

And no, there aren't any grasshoppers in the blog. But feel free to make yourself one.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Knittin Kitten

So the only thing I've finished this month is really easy slippers. The pattern is Amy March Slippers: a freebie from Tiny Owl Knits. And they used up some of the stranger balls in my stash. I'm counting 'em as socks on my 2011: the Madness list. I know they don't have cuffs and some people would say they're not socks but I made the list. I make the rules. So there.

Comfy, cozy, smooshy, whooshy slippers! Yup, it's the perfect thing for a working woman to slip on at the end of the day. And who's that working woman? Yup. Me! I've actually had a paycheck. Seems unbelievable. I had kind of a ceremonial opening of the pay envelope. It was awesome. And my boss has used these words about me: wonderful
He's been trying to figure me out: why I work so hard and I'm so cheerful. Dur. I'm happy!
  1. I like working with the public.
  2. I like games.
  3. I like being appreciated.

Friday, February 4, 2011

How Many Socks Make a Pair?

Guess who got a job! A real-life, paying job! With a pay check! And a schedule! And a boss! You got it right--Me! After being the lady of the manor for almost two decades, I've returned to the work place. (And loving it!)
Which is why I haven't been blogging that much or knitting that much or quilting that much or really, much of anything besides learning, absorbing, thinking, counting, redisplaying, cleaning and then when I get home: zombie. Not the brain-eating rotting-right-before-your-eyes kinda zombie, more the sit down and stare blankly kinda zombie.
But since you've been so patient and read so far, let me show you the Rockin' Pixie socks in progress. Notice anything strange? Does one look a little smaller than the other? Yeah, it turns out that when knitting, there's this thing called guage.
Guage (n) the number of stitches per inch in a sample of knitting with one type
of yarn, a particular needle, and a particular knitter. Note that the knitter's
guage can change with experience, mood, temperature, chocolate, and massage. It
is recommended for almost any pattern that the knitter "get guage" before
beginning. But most of us just skip it.
Sideways socks do not respond well to "skipping it". Instead of just stretching a bit around the leg (if knit too small) or being slightly fluffy (if knit too big), the sock is just too long. And not, oh-I-can-fudge-it too long, like 2-3 inches too long.
So I'm having to make three socks. So the answer to our question is three. Three socks make a pair. sigh

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Glue Diva with Sticky Fingers

When Tiny came into the bathroom, this is what she saw. What can I say? Occasionally, mah jongg tiles need a good wash. Especially if you've played on a table in public use. It didn't take much, just a soak, once-over with the sponge, and drying. The real work came with glue and clothespins. Rubber bands, too. The inserts in my case had come a little loose. Not horrifying or anything, but the heat in the car probably cooked the glue a little more than needed.I'm kind of a glue diva. I have Krazy Glue, Elmer's Glue, hot glue, Gorilla Glue, School Glue, Paper Glue, Watch Cement, Epoxy--I've even made glue out of rice flour. So, when something gets broken, I go to town! Not a perfect record by any means, but sticky fingers are not uncommon around here.

I broke into Tiny's sock drawer and finally got pix of the Slayer Sox I finished, what? Four months ago? (She loves 'em, by the way, and wants more. Nice to be appreciated.)

I thought about putting this pic up for her socks, but her feet are just a little too big for booties now. The pattern is Elegant Snowballs Booties from the 2010 Knitting Pattern Calendar. (Hey, got another project down from my 2011: the Madness over on the right there.)Speaking of which, one charity project down: I'm calling the her the Sugar Plum Bear-ie. I'll be sending her off to The Mother Bear Project in February. It's a really cool organization and... CogKNITive and The Manic Purl are both randomly giving away prizes for Mother Bear Knitters! One entry per bear. Deadline: Feb 20. Look into it!
Oh, yeah, this bear is modeling on top of a new apron I made. Pretty basic apron, but the fabric is groovalicious, in my not-so-humble opinion.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Setting Cornerstones

Q: What is a cornerstone?
A: Well, aside from architectural definitions--which won't be helpful since we're talking about a quilt, here--a cornerstone is that little blob of fabric that goes in borders and in sashing where two strips of fabric meet. Or don't really meet, because the cornerstone is there instead. Dur.
In this quilt, the cornerstone is the little square with the lightening bolt on it.
Q: Why do you use cornerstones?
A: 1. it looks cool, 2. sometimes fabric won't look nice butted up against itself, like the stripe in our example, 3. you don't have quite enough fabric (2" short is still 2" short).
Q: Enough with the Qs & As already. Show me how it's done!
  1. Measure the width of your unfinished quilt. (We'll call it the medallion to cut down on confusion.) Measure the height. Cut your border fabric strips. Mine were 2.5". Cut the strips to the exact width and height of your medallion. Pin and sew the width strips to your medallion.
  2. Cut 4 cornerstones, the same as the width of the border strips. (2.5" here.) Pin and sew them to the ends of your height border strips.
  3. Pin and sew the height border strips to the medallion, being careful to match up the cornerstone seams to the seams between the width strip and the medallion.
  4. Add another border if you like. Hey! You've got quilt!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Prayer quilt for Tim. I was working on the houglass components and ran into a little trouble.

Tip of the day: when trimming, BE CAREFUL. I'm really not sure how I managed this, but I think it wouldn't have happened if I had followed that advice. Probably.There was enough fabric to make up for my little gaff. The medallion is now completed and I've got the borders started. Tomrrow should see progress.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Any Guesses?

What would you guess this project is? The yarn is fingering weight, and the needle size is 2. And yes, it looks this weird in person.
It's... socks. Okay, it's a sock. It's knitted not from the cuff down, not from the toe up, but sideways around the leg and foot. The pattern is called "Pixie" from The Enchanted Sole by Janel Laidman. As far as I can tell, the pattern is written perfectly. I haven't run into any problems yet. It's just... weird. Nice and all, but weird. Kinda like a blogger you might know...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011, Here I Come!

I was looking for a gadget that I could use to keep track of my progress on my 2011 goals. TickerFactory seemed great, but I could only get it to configure one ticker. Boo. So I guess I'll have to just do it by hand. (Until genius strikes... and that could be a while.) I'll just put the text into my sidebar. But first, I'll run it by you:

Socks: Make 12 pairs (1 down as of yesterday!) That means there should be one pair/month. I can probably do that, seeing as I have four pairs already started.
Baby Booties: Make 6 pairs (They keep getting born!)
Sweater: Make 1 for me (I know, I should have made a sweater for myself long ago. Wipe that smug look off your face, you experienced sweater-knitters and send me some good mojo!)
Gloves: Make 3 pairs (I just want more gloves!)
Hats: Make 1 (I figure I will anyway, so if I put it in the list, it looks like I planned it.)
Charity: Make 2 projects (Bears, hats, whatever...)
New First Cousin, Once Removed, on the Way: make something. (Consult with first cousin)

Non-charity quilts: Complete 6 (Somehow it's just easier to make them for someone else.)
Charity tops: Make 12 (Tops are what they want.)

Morsbags: Make 30 (and give them out--Earth Day is April 22)
Zipper bags: Make 30 (sci-fi/fantasy theme will be fun!)

Cross-stitch projects
: Complete 6 (any size)

"Involved" projects: Complete 1
Earrings: Make 20 pairs for sale

Reading (Actual books, audio doesn't count.)
S&SF/Asimov mags: read 12 (That's only one/month and the backlog of unread 'zines is embarrassing.)
Non-fiction Books: read 4 (What? Only four? Yeah. Probably the ones on last year's book list.)
Classic Literature: read 4 (So here's the funny bit: the Bible is composed of 66 books. Some of them are really short. And they count as Classic Literature. Heh.)
Other Books: read 12 (That's right. Any old trash I want! Or if I decide to read 16 works of classic literature, they can count here. What? It could happen.)

Phew! So, you think I can do it? Of course, I'll probably wind up adding to the list...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Which is Which?

The Wicked Traveler Socks are done! Hurrah! The weirdest part was finding the right buttons for 'em. But somehow in my stash of items there was a sample card from a button company. Look in the top left corner. See the date? Probably not. It's really small in the photo, Desi. Well, it says "July 1954." That means these buttons have been out of circulation for over 50 years! Well, welcome back. I'm not sure how you fell into my hot little hands, but my socks are the better for it. And nope. There's only one button of each style so they don't exactly match, but I think they're close enough. And durned purty, if I do say so myself! Can you guess which one's from the card and which one came out of my sewing box?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wha Happa?

That's "What happened?" as heard by most dentists. Go ahead. Open your mouth wide, stick at least four fingers in, and try to say it. If you can understand it, you're probably in the dental profession. (Free-Range, I'm talking to you!)
Anyway, my thoughts were that I would probably put down the knitting needles and pick up something else once I had completed the long, long shrug for Tiny. Nope! I yanked this ball of yummyness (That's a word. Look it up.) out of the stash and started on Wendy D. Johnson's Hearts and Flowers Toe-Up Sock. I could barely stop myself to eat. It's wonderful! Perhaps it's because I don't have to do it. There's no assignment, no deadline, nobody but me waiting for 'em. But that's not like me. I do well with assignments, deadlines, people waiting... Hmm, maybe I'm possessed. That'd be cool. Possessed by a ghost that knits socks. So I've been working on this for just three days and I've already completed the heel!
Or perhaps.... somebody else has been working on this for just three days and already completed the heel.... Ooooweeeooooohhhh...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What I Did for My Christmas Vacation

This. Mostly. On Christmas Eve, I finally gave up and wrapped the unfinished project, needles and all. I think most people would be perplexed if they opened a gift with knitting needles still in it. But when Tiny opened it up, she totally got it. Her eyes lit up: she was excited! Now that kid is soooo knitworthy!
After Christmas, I went nuts getting ready for our annual New Year's Eve Game Night, cooking and cleaning. Mostly cleaning. Here's how I made it work: I made these lists based on each room and taped 'em down on my desk. Lists tend to get lost... especially if it's stuff I don't really enjoy. Tape keeps it findable.
It worked! The house was tidy by the time 2011 came roaring--and honking and shouting--in.
And New Year's Day saw that shrug finished: