Wednesday, May 28, 2008


The pool quilt is DONE! Seriously, if anyone wants you to put 2 layers of batting in a quilt, think very hard before you say yes. This one has 2 layers of Warm & Natural in it. If I'd had time and access to a quilt shop, I might have been able to get away with the thickest version of Quilter's Dream, which would have been slightly thinner than this.

But it's done. Puckered, but done. Here are the front and back:

Here's the label (I love my embroidery machine!!):

John's been calling me "Little" for years (even before we were a couple), so "Big" became his nickname based on that. It has nothing to do with Sex and the City. The Pool Shark design is one I used on a denims shirt for him a few years ago.

And somewhere under here is a very happy recipient:

He was so excited that it was cool here yesterday so he could lay under it for a while. :)

Now I just have to make a second pillow case and embroider names (Big and Little, of course) on both of them. I have the names digitized and ready to go already. Just have to swap sewing machines around, and straighten up the sewing room a bit first. Maybe tonight.....

I started yet another knitting project. It's a little knit mouse for the cats - as if they need another toy! But these are cute, and they'll give me good practice on increases and decreases. The pattern is here. You might need a password to see that one, I'm not sure. I'm not using their yarn because I haven't found it locally yet. The pattern uses 2 strands of their superwash wool sock-weight (1) yarn. I'm using a single strand of acrylic sport weight (3) on the same size needles. I didn't check gauge, but I figure it's a cat toy, so who cares? So far the cats like it. Emma was batting around the tail of my cast-on last night. I'm only 3 rows in, so no picture yet. Maybe later this week when it looks more like something.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Better Week

This past week (May17-25) was a huge improvement over the previous two. My coworker came back from medical leave and on Tuesday we FINALLY turned over those 2-weeks-late servers to the DBA team. WooHoo!!

Wednesday night I finished quilting the Billiards quilt. Have I mentioned that John wanted 2 layers of batting in there? Have I mentioned that my Pfaff 2056, while a wonderful machine, did not like a quilt with 2 layers of batting? It was just too much to fit under the machine. I had to swap it out for my Janome 1600P, which I bought for my NewJoy Gold Standard quilting frame back in 2005. It has ~9" between the needle and the side of the machine (vs ~6.5" on the Pfaff). I had never used the Janome, but it worked great on the 2 layers of batting. I won't lie -- there are some puckers in there, on both sides. But if you think my anal-retentiveness will get the better of me, you can think again. Nope. It's staying the way it is. John won't care, and once I wash it, the batting will shrink up a bit and nobody will ever know the difference.

Thursday night I got to sew with the girls from work, and I worked on a stealth knitting project, which I was really happy with, till I realized I dropped a stitch about 1/3 of the way in. Since I had no idea how to correct that, I decided to start over. Not a big deal, really. I have some time to finish it, and I enjoy the knitting process. I think I'm a process knitter and a project quilter. Does that make any sense at all?? I didn't think so. Anyway, I'll start over on that once I get the pool quilt finished. Which will hopefully be today.

Friday was the day before the holiday weekend, so we were allowed to leave work at 3:00. The rib cook-off is across the street from my office (sort of) and it was free admission on Friday till 4, so we went there to get some food. I had a Johnson's BBQ pork sandwich with baked beans and coleslaw. Really yummy, and slightly less messy than ribs. Afterwards, we went on this:

That's the Jeep test track that we'd been watching them assemble since Wednesday from a window in our office. That hill is a *lot* steeper when you're in a car than it looks from 15+ stories up. That rectangular thing in front of the hill is bumpier than your worst set of railroad tracks. It might have been a good idea to take the test ride *before* we ate..... :)

Saturday I got the label done for the pool quilt, sewed the binding on the front, trimmed it and I've been doing the handwork as my poor wrists and hands will allow. I'm almost done. Hopefully today....

I don't have pictures of that, but here are the Dear Jane blocks and triangles from 3 weeks ago:

I haven't done any DJ blocks since then, but hopefully this week I'll get back to them. When I'm not knitting, that is. :)

I hear a binding calling me.....

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Last Week

Last week wasn't much better than the week before. I wasn't sick, but it was another busy week at work. A project I'm working on was already a week behind, and the powers that be were getting antsy. Then we had a bunch of server problems on Thursday because of some changes the storage guys were making at our Disaster Recovery site. I ended up working till midnight on Thursday, which made me miss the sewing get-together I was supposed to have with my friends from work. The worst part was that the tech support people should have been able to solve my problem in less than an hour, but they ended up making the situation worse, and never did solve it for me. One of my co-workers diagnosed the problem early Friday morning. It would have been nice if he'd thought of that when he looked at those servers the first time (Thursday afternoon), but it's fixed now, and that's what matters, right?

Oh and by the end of the week, that project I mentioned was 2 weeks behind. :-(

The bright spot in last week was taking Wednesday off to take the Simple Surfaces workshop with Melody Crust. We learned to use foil on fabric, and played with PaintStiks. I had used the PaintStiks before, but the foil was new to me. Since it was a technique class, we didn't really make a project. Here are my better samples from class:

The muslin has the foil on it. I used the orange sheet for practice because I couldn't think of where I'd use orange foil later on. I kept having issues with the glue -- I either had too much or not enough, and I seemed to be impatient about letting it dry long enough. It got stuck to the foil and made a mess when I moved it. Oh well, you live and learn, I guess. The black fabric has the PaintStiks stenciled on with a brush, which I like that much better. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but a medallion-style wall hanging seems appropriate. I have no idea if I currently own any fabrics to go with it, though.

While I'm here, I'll tell you about a "stealth project" I finished a month or so ago. I'd purchased 1/2 yd of pre-quilted fabric ages ago to make an envelope purse. That never happened, and to be honest, I don't think I'd have used an envelope purse anyway. When I took up knitting, I decided I needed something to put my needles in, and remembered that fabric. I found some instructions on the internet, made some adjustments and voila:

My very own knitting needle organizer (I have more needles than that now, btw). It's not fancy and I didn't bother hand stitching the binding on or anything. I also have to stay that the curved edges make for a tighter fit for the longer needles. I haven't decided if that's good or bad. I had enough to make 2 of these, so I gave one of them to my friend Beth for her birthday. I still had a little piece left over, and I didn't want to stash it, nor did I want to throw it out. So:

A matching crochet hook organizer! If you look closely, you might notice that I put the ties on the opposite end of the hook organizer from where I put them on the needle organizers. This was not intentional, and even now, a month+ later, I'm considering fixing that. Those of you who know me personally will not be surprised by this in the least. Here's a picture of the two of them all rolled up:

Last week I also finished the first dishcloth and made a second one. I wasn't very scientific on the yardage. I probably should have weighed the first one, and the yarn that was left, so see if I had enough to make another one. I didn't. One of them is a few rows shorter than the other, and I had tie on a piece of plain cream yard to finish binding it off. But they're dishcloths, not sweaters, so who cares?

I have more stuff to post, but it will have to wait till later in the weekend. Right now, I need to go design a label for the pool quilt.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

NOT a Good Week

This is not a good week. I work with computers and as much as they seem logical, they really, really are not. They are emotional and vindictive. They *know* when their "person" is gone and that's when they misbehave. One of the guys at work had surgery on Monday. Sometime while he was under the knife, one of the servers he takes care of decided to lose some memory. I am his secondary, but I don't know anywhere near as much as he does about this system because he tends to take care of anything that goes wrong.

The system is still running, thank goodness. But they're still running the month-end cycle because of problems they had over the weekend (when the servers knew D. was getting ready to leave them), so I get to swap out the memory at 9pm Saturday night. It's a good thing I'm a homebody who rarely has weekend plans.

Then yesterday I started to not feel so hot. I came home from work and in the process of cleaning the kitty fountains (yes, I have 2 automatic fountains for my cats), slipped on some spilled water and whacked my head on the kitchen counter. If I hadn't put my hand out to cushion the impact, I'd have some really nice stitches over my left eye right now. Still hurts, but at least it's not bruised. Yet. I might have avoided the blue and purple, but with the way this week is going, I'll get the green and yellow later on.

This morning, my throat and head were both killing me, but since D. is out and I'm the secondary, I drag myself to work, hoping to leave early. But no. The Evil Servers have other ideas. One of my servers crashed mid-morning and refused to come back up. I'll spare you the boring details of the service call and endless reboots. I got home from work around 7:30 pm. My server is up and I didn't have to rebuild the OS or anything, so I'm thankful for small miracles.

I still haven't scanned my Dear Jane blocks and triangles, so I'm posting pictures of other peoples' projects from UFO Camp. I didn't get pictures of everything everyone was working on, but here are a few:

Since my last post, I finished the scarf and got a few more rows done on my dishcloth:

I've noticed that I need to pay close attention to the cotton yarn. I have a tendency to catch the stitches below the one I want, so there are some holes in the dishcloth. You might not notice in the picture, but I know they're there.


P.S. I had to upload that last picture THREE TIMES before it showed up the right orientation. See? Not a good week.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

UFO Camp, Saturday Night

Well the sun did make a brief appearance at camp this afternoon, so I took a few outdoor shots during a stitching break.

Here's a view similar to the one earlier, but sunny:

Plus some vegetation:

And this is the gazebo and the retreat center where we're actually staying:

I finished the 3 Big Blue blocks I brought with me. Here's a representative:

I now have 11 of the 20 blocks done. Since I'm past the halfway mark, maybe I'll get motivated to finish the darned thing when I get home. Yeah, right. When it finally gets done, it will look like this.

I finished 3 more Dear Jane blocks tonight, too, bringing my totals to 63 blocks, 20 triangles, 1 corner and 1946 pieces. I'll post those tomorrow or Monday when I get home and scan them in.

I also learned a long tail knitting cast-on and started a dish cloth today. No pictures of that, since I only have 3 rows knit and there's really not much to see.

Tomorrow I'll work on more Dear Jane blocks and triangles, and take pictures of some of the projects other people are working on. But now it's bedtime!!

UFO Camp

No, not aliens, UnFinished Objects. Once or twice a year I go with a group of ladies from my quilt guild down to a Christian camp in Holmes County, OH, to work on our quilt projects. The weather in Cleveland was nasty when we left, but it was sunny and warm when we got here yesterday afternoon. Today, it's not so warm, and not so sunny:

It's a really good day to stay in and sew!! As of bedtime last night, I'd made a pillowcase to go with the billiards quilt:

I have fabric to make the reverse of this (dark blue for the main body and the print on the edge), but I just bought the blue, so I have to wash it first. I'd do it here, but the water is a bit on the rusty side, so it'll have to wait. I also finished a Dear Jane triangle that was mostly done when I got here, and two new Dear Jane blocks. I'll post those when I get home and can scan them like the others.

Right now I'm working on the 3 "Big Blue" blocks I brought with me. That quilt will go wonderfully in my living room when it's done, but it's taking me forever to finish it because I hate set-in seams. I'll post pictures when I get them done today.

Here are a couple of pictures of previous projects that I couldn't post till I gave them to my mom. Reversible placemats:

And fabric napkins from the stash that mostly go with the placemats:

The print on the napkins is kind of hard to see, but they're tiny little red and purple fruits (pears and cherries in shape, if not color) with green leaves on a beige background.

Once of the ladies in my "first of the month" Dear Jane group made one of the grocery bags from the link I posted a week or two ago. It was very nice, and I should have taken a picture, but I didn't have my camera at meeting.

Okay, the first of the two shopping groups just came back, so I have to see what they all bought. more later on....