Thursday, October 30, 2008

Has it really been two weeks?!

I knew I was behind, but really now - two weeks since my last post? Time flies when you're less than productive, I guess. I get these headaches now and then, and when I have them I don't feel like doing much except vegging on the couch, trying to avoid political ads. Is it November 5 YET??!?

Anyway, I did manage to get a few things done. For example, I finished the last two washcloths for my mom's card club gifts:

And I put together a couple of knitting project bags out of some pre-quilted fabric I got at Joann's last time it was on sale:

I just kind of cobbled them together, with no real pattern. I've seen the smaller ones made up at craft shows, etc. and it was really easy to make. The bigger one is (very) loosely based on a bag I saw here, but hers is a lot nicer. If I make another one, I might try to more closely replicate that one. Handles would be nice, but I can always add them to these somehow. I can be creative when I have to be. :-)

I realize now that I meant to use the other side of the quilted fabric on the smaller bag. I made it out of the separate pieces I'd originally cut for the bigger bag. It's hard to tell from the picture, but there are 3 rectangles of fabric sewn long sides together. You can see the seam on the left edge, below the zipper. The other side of the fabric is a smaller, all-over print and I thought the seaming would be less obvious with that. I like the black zipper better, but I didn't have any short black ones in my stash, so I used a cream one instead. I'm not taking it apart because:

A) It's Done!!
B) It's usable.
C) It doesn't look that bad the way it is.
D) It's a royal pain to rip the black thread out of these babies.

I did one more thing since I've been MIA - a commissioned quilt block for one of my co-workers, for her father-in-law's quilt. Actually, I only got part of it done. There's a paper-pieced Scottish thistle flower on a black background in the center, which is what I did over the weekend. Then it will have borders with the family's names embroidered on it and plaid cornerstones with all the colors in it. Unfortunately, the sister-in-law who is organizing the project wanted everything done on a white. So I'm going to make another center with a white background. We think it will look better on the black, especially given the borders and cornerstones we plan(ned) to use, but we want to keep peace in family, too. I'll take pictures of both when I get the other one done.

The only question I have now is: What do I charge for this?? It's one ~12" block (maybe two by the time I'm done). I purchased the paper piecing pattern, plus about half a yard of fabric, for a total of about $4. I won't use all of the fabric I bought and the rest of the fabric is coming from my stash. It took a couple of hours to put the center together. Or it would have if I hadn't screwed up and had to rip out three pieces of the one sections (add a seam allowance, stupid!). I haven't done the embroidery yet, but I guess I'll base that price on the number of stitches. I know a professional embroiderer, and can ask what the going rate is per thousand stitches. But overall, I have no idea. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! I think I'll go check e-bay for quilt blocks.....

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mr. Stinky

For most of the summer, we have been aware of a certain odiferous resident in the neighborhood. There's nothing quite like "Eau de Pepe Le Pew" to clear your sinuses on a summer evening. :-(

It was warm tonight, so I opened the front door and heard some rustling outside. There was Mr. Stinky himself, digging for something (worms? grubs?) in my front yard. He is an odd-looking skunk - no stripes. Instead, he's nearly all black, with white only on his head and the tip of his tail. It was dark out, so I didn't get a picture. I've heard it's bad luck to startle a skunk....

In crafty news, I got the binding sewn on the last two baby blankets, finally:

And remember this scarf?

It now looks like this:

So does the second ball of that yarn. They are destined for a charity somewhere. I just haven't figured out which one.

Speaking of charities, I embroidered names on some more pillowcases for the local children's home over the weekend. And I'm pretty sure these are going to Providence House, if I can actually talk to someone there soon. I tried sending email, but it bounced.

My primary sewing machine is in the shop, so not much sewing will be done over the next week or so. A woman at work just commissioned me to make a block for her father-in-law's quilt, so depending on when she needs the block, I might have to pull out the traveling machine and use it.

Finally, I have been (wrongly) accused of playing favorites among my cats. Can I help it if Emma, Max and Blue are around more often doing odd things? To quell these awful rumors, here's a picture of Runt, Blanket Tester Extraordinaire:

"Mama, I think there's a pea under here."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Flora and fauna

No fiber content here at all today, but I thought I'd share some other pictures with you.

I am notoriously bad at keeping plants alive. So when I saw this, I mentioned it to a co-worker of mine who promptly ordered three of them.

A plant I can't kill!!! Awesome! The contents of the box:

Everything rinsed and assembled:

After one hour:

After two hours:

When I left for the day Monday:

Yesterday morning when I got to work:

It looks more or less the same today. Pretty cool, huh? We'll see how long it lasts. The worst I can do is maybe over water it? Who knows

And now for the fauna. This little guy has been waiting for me on my garage the last two nights when I've come home.

I've named him George. Why George? Because that's what my late grandfather (aka Pappy) used to call his grandchildren. All of us. Even the girls. No one in the family, that I know of, is actually named George. :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

What a pathetic showing....

It's Monday again. I just had a whole week off, and next to nothing to show for it. I had such great intentions, too.

Since my last post, I got my hair colored and cut (gotta cover the gray, dontcha know), and went to my Dear Jane Meeting, where I looked through knitting books and worked on the pink washcloth (aka Pinkie)instead of working on Dear Jane blocks. Again.

Friday I realized I'd screwed up and had to rip back a few rows. I'm sure they were the rows I was working on while I was talking to the ladies at the meeting. I kept working on it off and on over the weekend and here's the current state of Pinkie (about half done):

I had plans to work on my felted clogs, but someone-who-shall-remain-nameless was pouting a bit that I hadn't used my fancy new knitting needles. Since the size 8s weren't available when he ordered, I got sizes 13 and 15. Therefore, I had to find a project that could be knit on those. So I made this 15-stitch mistake rib scarf on the 15s, using a ball of Wool Ease Thick and Quick that came in a Learn-to-Knit kit I bought months ago.

I knit till I ran out of yarn on that ball. I'd thought about sending it to the Red Scarf Project, but it's not long enough. I have another ball of that yarn, and I suppose I could try to add on to it, but I'm not going to. I'll probably just make a narrower garter stitch scarf out of 2nd ball and see if it's long enough. If not, I'll save both of them for some other charity purpose.

So that was my Friday. I can't tell you what I did on Saturday, aside from running errands and working on Pinkie. Saturday night I got as far as casting on the felted clogs, but that's it. There's no picture, since there's no point in showing you 51 stitches of double-stranded worsted weight purple yarn.

Yesterday was spent helping John scrape the foundation of my house. He'd scraped the back and started painting on Tuesday, but then it rained. So yesterday he finished painting the back, then I went out and helped him scrape one side. While he painted that, I scraped the other side and the little bit of the front that you can actually see. I'm not sure we'll bother with the area behind the ginormous rhododendron. It would next to impossible to get to and you can't see it anyway. He finished the one side and the front bits before it started getting cold and dark. I just hope the weather holds for a little while so he has time to finish the last side. No picture, but imagine a concrete block foundation with glass block windows. Now picture it with a fresh coat of light grey paint. Good enough.

Oh, the exciting news today? I won a book from Crazy Aunt Purl!! Last week she was giving away copies of The Green Beauty Guide, and I was one of them! In honor Crazy Aunt Purl, I give you these cat pictures:

Those are my boys in their favorite positions/locations. Yes, Max actually sits like that on a regular basis. He is not in the middle of a bath, as you'd expect. It doesn't look comfortable at all, but he enjoys it. All he needs is a remote and beer..... ;-) Blue just loves to be in the same room I'm in, and the tall bookcases are one of his favorite places when I'm on the computer. Emma likes it up there too, when she's not on my lap or laying on the mouse pad.

Finally, a cautionary note. If you are a knitter with cats, you might want make sure you close the sewing room door and/or keep your yarn in cat-resistant containers:

Just sayin'....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Vacation, Day 3

This week is just flying by. Precious few new accomplishments here. I finished the green washcloth and started the next-to-last one I'll be making for a while. I'm thinking of casting on my felted clogs, too, since the weather is so nasty and gloomy here.

Yesterday I was working on the green washcloth, and running errands. Today we went to see John's mom and 99-year-old great aunt, then we went out to dinner. I've been catching up on some blogs, etc. Tomorrow I have to get my hair done, and tomorrow evening is my Dear Jane group. Not that I've done anything at all with Dear Jane since May. Well, I might have done a little hand work at the August DJ meeting. Nothing major, though.

The only other exciting thing that happened today was that I got the yarn I ordered last week:

That's two balls (2 pairs) of Bernat Sox in Hippi Hot and Wooded Denim; three hanks of Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light in Prune Mix (I'll say it again -- pretty color, AWFUL name); and six balls (3 pairs) of Red Heart Heart and sole in Toasted Almond, Rustica, and Spring Stripe. I didn't realize that the Bernat sock yarn is acrylic and nylon. The Red Heart is superwash wool and nylon. Ultra Alpaca is and alpaca/wool blend. That will be something lacey. The sock yarn will be, well, socks. I sure hope I like knitting socks! I should probably try knitting some one of these days. I'd like to get the washcloths done first, though. So many projects, so little time.

Max just liked the box the yarn came in.