Monday, February 28, 2011

A long, strange weekend.

If you don't live in northeast Ohio, you might not know just how weird our weather has been the last couple of weeks. The week before last, it was close to 50 degrees most of the week. Then we got a winter storm that Sunday night. This past Friday, I had a foot-high snowdrift in my driveway. I opted to work from home instead of driving in to work. This was the view from my lap most of the day:

"Thanks for keeping my lap here today, Mama."

Last night, we had massive thunderstorms and I woke up to a soggy basement. Not cool. I burned a personal day to mop and set up fans to dry stuff out. It's mostly dry now and nothing was damaged. I learned several years ago to put anything in the basement on plastic shelves and/or in plastic bins.

But the weekend wasn't all bad. On Friday I got a call from a local TV station saying I'd won 4 tickets to opening night of Shrek the Musical at Playhouse Square! They had a Shrek trivia contest last week and I mostly entered for the fun of taking the quiz. It was a very nice surprise to win, though.

I signed up last week for my first ever knitting retreat. A couple of my friends from my Thursday night knitting group said they were going and the woman who wrote one of my favorite sock books is teaching there. It sounded like a lot of fun, so I decided to go for it. As it stands now, I'll probably be rooming with someone I don't know, but that's okay. I usually don't spend a lot of time in the room when I go to crafting retreats anyway.

I'm using that book to knit my Christmas socks. I think I'm done with the increases and will start the foot next. They are only about a row or two off of being identical. Pretty good for me, since the first two pairs of self-patterning/striping socks were definitely fraternal twins.

Women's Basic Toe-up Socks, in shiny Christmas yarn

On Saturday, I cleaned up the snow that my plow guy left in my driveway (not very happy about that, but at least it wasn't the whole driveway), then I went to the farm to knit. I did enough rounds to finish the next pattern repeat on these:

Sinuosity sock pattern, Destination Yarn in Sea colorway

These have been snoozing for quite a while and I'm happy to be working on them again. I think I'm doing better with the cables now than a year ago when I started them.

On Sunday, I spent a lot of time in my sewing room, but don't have anything to show for it, except a cleaner sewing room. I cleaned stuff out, and reorganized what I have in there. I had lots of help, of course.

Emma, you're snoozing with "kittens"

"Mama, I think I feel a pea under here"

Today, after I mopped the basement and took a nap to make up for the sleep I missed due to the thunderstorms, I stitched out the label for Big Blue. I had typed it up in my embroidery software Saturday night.

Yeah, it was well-aged fabric....

Now I just have to finish stitching it down and get the binding finished before my guild's quilt show at the beginning of April.

In other news, Blue likes to put his favorite toys in his bed.

Yes, two of his favorite toys are pink fuzzy things, what of it?
And yes, I think I need to wash that bed cover again.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Talk to the hand

I FINALLY finished my socks-turned-mitts!

That's the Karira sock pattern done with Destination Yarn in the Tuscany, Italy colorway. I posted my mods to convert the pattern from sock to mitts here (Ravelry link). I got this cool hand mannequin (handequin?) at the craft store to help show off my mitt. Without "Thing", you'd just get pictures like this:



They look better on Thing, don't they?
And this shows how far I had done as a sock, and how much I had to rip back.

It was painful to rip it all back but I'm much happier with them as mitts than I was with them as socks. This way I can see all the work I did on them. And as a bonus, I have enough yarn to make a pair of (probably short) socks with contrasting heels and toes. Yay!

After I finished the mitts, I started some new socks (sorry for the crappy picture):

Toe up, two at a time, on two circular needles with sparkly Christmas yarn

It's a self-patterning yarn in red, white and green with a gold metallic strand running through it. I'm hoping they'll be nearly identical when they're done. It'll be fun to see how that goes.

I've been having lots of fun with the kitties lately. Did you know cats can have high blood pressure? They can, and Ripley does.

Look at that tiny little BP cuff!
"Mama, I can't believe you're going to post this picture."

She's on blood pressure medicine and it seems to be working. I had to get the prescription filled at my local CVS. They asked if I had insurance for it, and they didn't even look at me funny when I told them it was for my cat. Makes me wonder how often that happens.

Over the weekend, I was trying to do the hand stitching on Big Blue. The crabby girls had a different idea.

"This is pretty comfy. We approve."

I had to change the water in my aquarium, too. I left the linen cabinet door open so I could grab more towels when I needed them.

"Max was right, it's cozy in here!"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quilt Camp, special edition

Those of you who've been reading this blog for a while know that I usually go to the NEORQC Getaway in February. Unfortunately, this year the Getaway was canceled, so we went to quilt camp instead.

The trip started with some shopping:

My friend Beth and I stopped at the Fabric Peddler quilt shop in Wadsworth on the way to camp. If you recall, I've had a skunk in my yard for the last couple of years. So when I saw a sample bag made with skunk fabric, I had to have it. The bag wasn't for sale, so I had to buy the pattern and fabric. The other fabrics just jumped in my bag. I have no idea how that happened.

We stayed in a different building than we're usually in. The sleeping rooms are a little smaller, but bonus of this building is that we didn't have to go outside for meals. When it's February in Ohio, that is a very big bonus.

I love quilt camp. Three days of sewing with my friends:

Another view:

Note overflowing snack table

Friday night I put the binding on.....

Big Blue!!

I got it back from the quilter on Tuesday and I achieved my goal of getting the binding on the front of the quilt this weekend. As a bonus I was able to sleep under it. I just have to make a label and get the binding stitched to the back before the quilt show in April.

The rest of the weekend I spend working on these little beauties:

The pink and black one on the left isn't done. I have to applique the pieces in the center and corners. The one next to it has 49 pieces in it. I sewed a total of 181 pieces on my Dear Jane blocks this weekend. I was a very productive, if I do say so myself.

Before I left, I had some help with my packing.

"I'll hold this down for you, Mama!"