Sunday, February 28, 2010

NEORQC Getaway 2010

This weekend was the annual NEORQC Getaway. I came home and counted my pins - I've been to twelve of these weekends away so far. Time sure flies....

This year I took the Glorious Beading class, taught by one of my fellow guild members, Jean Bailey. The idea was to learn how to embellish your projects with beads. Here are a couple of her samples.

An example of a quilted piece with beads

A close-up of the lizard which isn't attached, completely covered with beads

Jean did a lot of prep work for the class. She made us all matching nametags. Here's a blurry picture of mine:

She also probably spent days making up little packages of various beads in all different colors for us to use. There were only four students in the class and we were probably the quietest group of all. But we were just too busy concentrating on our projects to make a lot of noise. Wanna see them?

Deb's, made with a bunch of bridal fabrics. The rectangles at the top are a couple of artist trading cards Jean made for us to practice on. The one on the bottom was her sample/practice piece.

Cheryl's, with fish and lizards. I love the bubble-looking beads with the fish. She had another quilted piece that she was working on, but I forgot to get a picture of it.

Bonnie made hers like a traditional crazy quilt, with velvets, silks, satins and other fancy fabrics. I think she got the most done on her quilt blocks.

And finally, here's mine:

I'm going to add more beading along the seam lines of the top block. Also, I'm going to do more with the dragonflies and add more beads and/or dragonflies in the background. When it's done, I'll mount it on stretcher bars, possibly frame it, and hang it somewhere.

I came home with more stuff than I left with, as usual. Clockwise from the top left, a bag kit with a big button that I plan to add some beady goodness to, the beads that I got from Jean and other stuff from class, a black and white panel that I thought was cool, some beads and floss I got from Sue Spargo, one of the other teachers. and another piece of fabric that I liked.

No, I don't have any immediate plans for any of this

And here we have a pattern and handles for a bag designed by Jean, some overdyed purl cotton and, um, some sock yarn from the Knit Shop in Aurora. Well, I had to go there since it was only a mile or so down the road. I see new sock kits in my future.

The purpley-blue yarn is a blend of wool, nylon, silk and cashmere - YUMMY!

Last weekend, John put some kitty treats in an empty (and clean) pill bottle to see if the cats could get them out:

"Hey, we smell treats!!"

Emma pretty quickly lost interest.

Sock update later this week.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My hero

This is my hero:

Early this morning, Ripley woke us up meowing her fool head off. Just as we were ready to throttle her, we smelled something like singed electronics. Our first thought was that the heated kitty bed had shorted out. We jumped out of bed and got her out of there. That wasn't it, which was both good and bad. After calling 911 and getting (count 'em) 3 fire trucks over here, we decided there was no fire in the walls and that something in the furnace had shorted out.

We turned off the furnace, went back to bed and called an HVAC company first thing this morning. They came right out and determined that the control module was bad. He cleaned the furnace, replaced the part and now we have heat again. I don't think we were actually in any danger, but I'm really thankful she woke us up anyway. Not sure the neighbors would say the same.

Why, you might be wondering, does my hero appear to be in a cage? Well, I'll tell you. Sometime on Tuesday while I was as work, my 17.5 year old cat (that would be about 86 to you and me) jumped or fell off something and tore the ligaments in her right back knee. I took her to vet yesterday and they did blood work. It looks like her kidney numbers are good enough to handle surgery. Now I have to decide whether or not to have it done. I need to talk to the vet again in the morning and weigh the options. I just want to do what's best for her. In the meantime, I borrowed a couple of dog crates from a friend and have one in the bedroom and one in the living room so we can keep her from jumping on anything else. She's not really happy with this arrangement.

Runt was not amused by all the cages and commotion, either. She hid behind the chair all morning and refused to eat her breakfast.

"I got over it."

Knitting olympics update: dismal. With all the excitement, I haven't felt like doing much knitting. I also have missed one lunchtime knitting session, and 2 knit nights. The sock is a little longer than the last picture, but not much. Also, that 4 hour car maintenance session might be put on on hold for a while, given the expenses of the last couple of days and the expense of the surgery, if we decide to go that route. I'm starting to get a little worried now.....

Monday, February 15, 2010

A weak start

I seem to have cheated on the Knitting Olympics. It turns out I'm an idiot who can't figure out time differences, even though I have friends on the left coast and know that they are 3 hours *behind* not 3 hours *ahead* of us. So I cast on that second sock at least 6 hours earlier than I should have. But I didn't work on it much on Saturday and not at all on Sunday, so it's not like it gave me an advantage or anything. Here's it's current state:

Pathetic, isn't is?

I could say I'm pacing myself, but the truth is I'm lazy and have a touch of Second Sock Syndrome on this pair. There are 8 more lunch hours, three knit nights, a women's club meeting, a few weekend days, and at least 4 hours of car maintenance between now and closing ceremonies. I'm not worried yet. For a little extra drama, my mystery sock class is on Sunday, though, so that could tempt me away from the Mermaid.

I wasn't a complete slug over the weekend, though. I cleaned up the fabric explosion in my sewing room and made this:

That's the quilt top for my NEORQC Getaway class. It's not really a quilt top, since it's not going to be quilted. This is the base for a boatload of beading and it will be mounted on stretcher bars and put in a frame when it's done. I used fabrics from 3 other quilts so it will coordinate when I use them. I'm looking forward to the class. I just hope my hand holds out. I'll take one of my support gloves with me and if it starts bothering me, I'll take a break. I might also take some preemptive ibuprofen therapy beforehand.

Emma keeps trying to tell us that she hates the "kittens" (who are now 2 years old). It's really hard to believe her when she does this:

"Why does Princess CrabbyPants have her head in my belly??"

PS. Sock kit count now stands at 23. There are too many nice patterns out there! I'll be taking one "kit" out for class on Sunday. I wonder how many will take it's place??

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let the games begin.....

I finally finished the first Mermaid sock!!

The lifeline around the toe was in case I ran out of yarn and had to go with Plan B, which would have given the sock a navy toe. The stitch marker marks the start of the heel gusset. Probably not necesary, but I'm leaving it there for now.

As you can see I had enough yarn, but it was closer than I would have liked. Here's all I had left over:

That's not much yarn, folks

Of course I had to try it on:

It's a little bunchy around the top of my foot (opposite the heel). I think it's the cotton in the yarn.

Cat not to scale

The Olympics start tonight and I joined the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics. My project will be to finish the second sock before the closing ceremonies so I can move on to some of those sock kits [Note: there are 20 of them now. I think they're multiplying when I'm not looking. Might have to separate them]. Given that I started the first Mermaid sock in July, it will definitely be a challenge to finish the second one in 17 days. In my defense, I finished two other pairs of socks, a really long scarf, a shawl and some fingerless mitts during that time, not to mention starting two other shawls and doing other quilty and crafty stuff.

I did start the second sock today.

I have 3 rows done. Better get a move on....

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Houston, we have a problem

Actually, a couple of problems.

First, I really need to stop with the sock kits. I'm up to 18 now, plus a kit for some fingerless mitts. Actually, maybe 3 of those. I still have enough yarn left from the mitts I made for Angie for Christmas to make another pair, and I really liked them. And there should be enough of the Road to China yarn I got a couple of weeks ago for two pairs of something.

I went to Jeanne's trunk show at Soft N Sassy today. I had seen her post last week about her new Olympics-inspired colorways, and I've been obsessing about Five Rings since then. I was going see if I could meet Jeanne to pick up a hank of it (because I hate spending good yarn money on shipping), then I saw she was having a trunk show.

Which brings us to the latest four sock kits:

The top right kit is the Five Rings yarn with Jeanne's basic sock pattern. While I was there, I saw the sample sock for the kit on the top left. It was absolutely gorgeous, laying there in the sunlight, begging me to go home and re-create it. I didn't want to disappoint it, so that yarn ended up in my hand.

The pattern designer, Dawn, was there, too. She made me feel less self-conscious about my sock yarn stash (it's *way* less than her 200). They pointed me to the pattern on the bottom left, which is a free download on Ravelry (you can buy the Sinuosity pattern here). The yarn for that kit was in the stash, and I thought the cotton yarn in that muted colorway would work well for a patern call Summer Lovin'. The last kit is one I found in the stash while I was looking for the cotton yarn. I bought it (as a kit) when I was in Orlando last year.

If you want to buy some of Jeanne's yarn for yourself, her Etsy shop is here. If you're an OSU fan, the London colorway would be a good choice, btw.

Problem number two is this:

I'm making progress on the mermaid sock, but I'm starting to get very nervous about running out of yarn. Naturally, I only have 2 balls in that color, and it seems to be a seasonal colorway, because it's not on KnitPicks website right now. If I can get to the toe, I guess I could do that in a different color. The balls on the side are my options. Opinions? If I can't get to the toe, I guess I'll start emailing random people on Ravelry who have it in their stash and see if anyone's willing to part with it. Maybe I'll get lucky and find someone who has the same dye lot, too.

This is no longer a problem, thankfully. The view out my side door yesterday morning:

Note that you can see grass in the neighbor's yard, but there's a ~2 foot drift/ridge in the middle of my driveway. Thank goodness for the snow blower man!

I've made a little progress on the shawl, too.

I got those beads to go on the points on edge. I'm not 100% sure I like them, since I had something more blue/turquoise in mind. These will do if I can't find anything else,though. And maybe they'll grow on me between now and the time I actually need them. Which will surely be a while.

Thursday was Dear Jane night, and I did this:

J-ll, Twin Sisters

I updated my totals on the right. I'm only 4 blocks away from the Diamond Achievement level, so I'm kind of anxious to get those 4 blocks done. Not anxious enough for me to actually have done any work on Dear Jane this weekend, of course. I do have about half a dozen blocks re-prepped for hand work, though.

In addition to all that, I'm considering doing the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics. I haven't completely decided on my project yet. If I get the first Mermaid sock done, I might make my project the second sock. It would give me some incentive to get it done. I admit I'm feeling a touch of second sock syndrome on these. I'm not sure why. It's either that A) it looks a little wide to me (even though it seems to fit) B) the worry about running out of yarn is starting to paralyze me (which is stupid) or C) I have 18 shiny new sock kits calling out to me. My money's on C). If I don't get sock #1 done, my project will be a pair of fingerless mitts. Probably Fetching in that Road to China yarn. Of course, that will put me that much farther behind on the socks.

Max was my helper when I was digging through and counting my sock kits today.

"You don't really want put those kits back in here, do you, Mama?"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Something finished, something started

I finally finished that charcoal scarf that I've been working on but not taking pictures of.

That's a mistake rib pattern over I don't remember how many stitches. I used two balls of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky in the Charcoal colorway. It's very thick and pretty long. I didn't bother blocking or measuring it, since between the pattern and all the acrylic in the yarn, it wouldn't matter. John seems to like it, except for the fact that it catches on all the velcro on his coat and gloves. :(

So since I finished something, I started something else. I was going to make a scarf for myself (and I still might), but then my friend asked me to wind some yarn for her so she can start a shawl. When I asked what pattern she was going to make, she said it was the Fiber Trends Leaf Lace Shawl. Since I already have the pattern and yarn for it, I figured I'd go ahead and start one too. We each got about 10 rows done at lunch time today. Here's mine:

That's Cherry Tree Hill Supersock DK in color #907, which I think was one of their potluck colors. It looks like it's kind of close to Misty Moor. The shawl doesn't look like much yet but I'm sure it'll get there. I like how the stitch markers go with the yarn. No, I didn't plan it that way. The knit and purl markers are placed so I know when I'm on an even (purl) row. Pretty clever, huh? Every little bit of idiot-proofing helps when it comes to knitting lace. I have a ball of yarn ready for adding lifelines, too.

Blue had so much fun helping me with breakfast Sunday morning that his little sister decided to help me later in the day while I was organizing my knitting and quilting patterns. Thanks, Runt....

"Helping Mama is FUN!"