Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

I know a lot of you have given up on this blog, since I haven't posted in forever.  I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, but the end of 2012 and a lot of 2013 were busy.  Before I knew it, it had been a year since my last post and I had kind of lost my blogging mojo.  I hope to be better this year, but I make no promises. :-)

I guess I'll start with some catching up.  I'm still in the same house, with the same job, and all of the cats are happy and healthy.  I've been doing a lot of crafting and some redecorating at home so it's probably a good idea to break this up into a few posts.

I'll start with finished knitting projects that were in progress last time.

My plain vanilla socks made with Destination Yarn in the Vancouver 2010 Five Rings colorway;

My Falling Leaves socks in Knit Picks Stroll Tonal yarn in the Foliage colorway.  I'm not a huge fan of these socks.  They're pretty but really stretchy and so they don't stay up very well.  Also, I'm pretty sure I biffed the pattern somewhere.

My Medallion Lace socks, designed by a friend of mine.  The yarn is String Theory Caper yarn in  Winterberry.

I finished the Multnomah Shawl  that I started at Multnomah Falls in 2012. (Destination Yarn, Yosemite)

The Color Affection shawl is done, too, but I don't have a good picture of it right now.

The grey beaded mystery shawl and the February Lady sweater have been ripped out. I cast on the sweater again, and the grey yarn is in progress in another project, but since this is all about finished projects, we'll save that for later.

Now for the knitting projects I started and finished since the last post.  It should be no surprise that most of them are socks. 

First up, a pair of Watching Hawks socks in Space Cadet Aurora yarn, Spiffy Iffy.  These were for a Knit Along (KAL) that started on October 1, 2012 and had to be finished by election day. I finished them with a couple of days to spare.  The yarn has cashmere and they're very soft and warm.  The only problem is I don't really wear those colors.  Also, it's hand-dyed  yarn, so they color isn't the same on both socks.

Next, some Groovy socks in String Theory Colorworks yarn. (not the same company as the yarn I used in the Medallion Lace socks). The yarn base is Entanglement and the color is called Kinetic.  I think they look like ribbon candy.  I LOVE these socks.

I loved the yarn and pattern so much, I made a pair of matching fingerless mitts.

On Christmas Eve 2012, I cast on these Sunrise Socks by Wendy D. Johnson. The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Supersocke Select yarn in the Very Scary colorway.

Since I have a couple of pairs of Christmas socks now, I decided I had to have some for Halloween.  So I present Charade socks in more String Theory Colorworks Entanglement in the Galactic Ghoul colorway.  I also made the matching project bag.  Actually, I made three project bags with that fabric.  One of them was for Create 2013, but more on that later, also.

I always have to have a pair of socks in my purse, in case I get stuck in a doctor's office, or if I get the chance to go knitting somewhere and don't have a bigger project with me.  This is the latest pair of finished plain socks.  The yarn is Berroco Sox in color number 1427. These aren't my favorite socks, but I'll probably get a lot of wear out of them.

In between the socks, I made a few little things.  A little Helix Striped Hat (designed by another friend of mine) for a preemie hat collection, and a gag gift for a guy at work. He was very fond of his mobile hotspot, so we named it Fred, and I knit a little "sleeping bag" for him.

Finally, my awesome knitting group has a Christmas party and stocking stuffer exchange every year.  Last year I lost my mind and made a few dozen knit ornament covers with beads.  Every one of them was unique.  These are some of them, but I made a few more that I didn't get pictures of.  They were a lot of fun to make. Even using 90 to 140 beads each, they didn't make a dent in my bead stash. I need to think of some other projects to use them up. Suggestions, anyone?

I think that covers all of the finished knitting projects.  I'll catch you up with the sewing and other crafty things in the next post(s).  I promise it will be this year.  Maybe even this month. :-)

I don't have a lot of cat pictures handy at the moment, but now that it's cold and snowy out, I'll be seeing a lot of this.


There's a heat vent under the kitchen table, so it's nice and toasty under there. Conveniently, there is a chair for every cat.

Friday, September 28, 2012

MIA part 2: vacation

Last post I pointed you to my friend Julie's blog and you might have figured out that a bunch of us went on vacation together.  These are my college friends, dubbed the Lunch Bunch because we all had lunch together several times a week back in our Kent State days.  The group has spread to both coasts, with one family in Massachusetts and one in Washington state.  The last time we all got together for a vacation we went to New England.

July 4, 2001

So this time we decided to meet on the left coast, specifically, Fort Stevens State Park, on the Oregon coast very near the Washington state line.  The Bunch has grown since then. The two oldest boys for some reason didn't want to go on a cross country train ride with their parents.  Teenagers - go figure. :-)  
July 11, 2012, photo stolen from JulieZ

It was great to have everyone together again and the Oregon coast is beautiful.  I didn't take a lot of pictures but here are a few of the ones I did take:

Our home away from home, one of the four, that is

Pelicans and sea gull at the beach in the park
There were lots of these footprints on the beach

It's really beautiful out there

You might remember this from The Goonies

All of those orange blocks?  Tillamook cheddar cheese, yum!

The Octopus Tree
These thistles were around the tree

Multnomah Falls - featured in a car commercial this summer

After we all separated, some of us headed southeast to Sisters, Oregon for the annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show - the world's largest outdoor quilt show.  The show was great, but a little overwhelming. Then later in the afternoon, it rained.  The quilt rescue crews took down all the quilts in record time, very impressive.

The Three Sisters mountain range

There were quilts hanging all over town

Seriously, every vertical surface had a quilt on it.

I had a layover in San Francisco and they changed the gate for my flight. It was a good thing, because they had a huge exhibit about the history of sewing machines.  I won't bore you with all the pictures, but here are a few of my favorite.

Lots of sewing-related toys
Toy machines

These sliding frames were used to draft clothing patterns

These old machines were really cool

A collection of antique irons and pressing tools

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

MIA part one - yarn and knitting

It has been pointed out that I am a total slacker lately, at least as far as the blog is concerned.  And it's totally true.  I keep thinking to myself - I really should post something on the blog, and then I end up doing something else.  Lately, that something else has been knitting.

I finished the socks I started for my mom at Christmas.
Pattern: Stepping-Stones by Clara Parkes, Yarn: Sensations Bamboo and Ewe, color 49372

Plain vanilla socks in Destination Yarn Postcard in Vancouver Five Rings

I've made progress on my Olympic socks. I'm past the heels and the gusset decreases, so now I just have to finish the feet and toes.  These go slowly, because I keep them in my purse as emergency knitting and only work on them occasionally.


Falling Leaves, by Antje Gillingham, Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Foliage

I've also been working on my Fall Foliage socks, which I started along with three of my friends on New Year's Eve.  These are toe-up, so I have the feet done and one of them has a heel.  I need to sit down and finish that heel, then I'll just have to knit the legs till they're long enough or I can't stand it anymore, whichever comes first.

Another knit along with the same three friends is my "Fashionably Late Lady" sweater, which I was supposed to start on Leap Day, but didn't actually start till March 1st.
February Lady, by Pamela Wynne, Berroco Vintage in Juniper

For our various progress on these two projects as of July 11th, see Julie's blog here I don't think my sweater is much farther along than it was then, but the socks are.
Sinuosity by Dawn Matkovic, Destination Yarn, Sea

I ripped out my Sinuosity by the Sea socks, because I decided they were going to be too tight. It would have been silly to keep going and finish a pair of socks that I love, but can't wear.  So they now look like this:

I will start them over at some point. 

Medallion Lace Socks, by Andrea Fox, String Theory Caper, Winterberry

I recently picked up my Berry Medallions socks, which have been hibernating for at least a year.  They're coming along nicely, and while they look a little wonky on the needles, they block out nicely.


 In addition to socks and the sweater, I've been working on several shawls.  

First up, Color Affection.  This pattern has been very popular lately, in part because it's been "Harlotized".  That's what happens when The Yarn Harlot posts a project on her blog and thousands of knitters scramble to do the same pattern.  Mine is made using the colors Harlot herself helped me pick out when she was here in May.  It's pretty close to done.  I only have an inch of the blue edging.  (The shawl is actually upside down in the picture.)
Color Affection by Veera Valimaki, Tosh Merino Light - Fragrant, Posy and Volga

Summer Solstice by Wendy D. Johnson, Destination Silk Road, Rainy Afternoon

In mid-June, I set that aside to start the 2012 Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl KAL from Wendy D. Johnson. This was given out one clue at a time over the course of about a month.  I was actually keeping up really well until the last clue.  

Close-up of beaded edge

It turns out the shape is more like a capelet and it's not something I will ever wear. I love the yarn and beads too much to leave it as something I will never use.  One of my fellow knitters skipped the last clue and put some garter stitch a the top, which I like.  And someone else ripped hers all the way out and started something completely different.  I'm not sure what I want to do with mine, so it's going to hibernate for a while.


THEN, while I was on vacation (more about that in another post) my friend Ann and I cast on the Multnomah shawl while at Multnomah Falls.  Pretty nifty, huh?
Multnomah, by Kate Ray, Destination Yarn Postcard, Yosemite

Leaf Lace Shawl by Evelyn Clark,Cherry Tree Hill Supersock DK
And finally, as part of the Ravellenic Games (formerly the Ravelympics, till the US IOC made them change the name), I entered the WIP wrestling event.  A WIP is a Work In Progress and to be eligible for the event, you can't have worked on the project since before May 15.  No problem.  My Leaf Lace Shawl has been sitting my sewing room for at least a year and half. It kicked my butt every time I tried to work on it, because I just wasn't getting the "move your stitch markers around every other row" thing.  I kept thinking I was doing it wrong.  Once I figured out the problem and got going, I finished it in less than a week.

I used big beads on this one since there aren't many

I'm looking over my list of projects and I have to say I'm very happy to have found my knitting group.  Destination Yarn is one of them and I admit I have her sock yarn in about half of her colorways.  I've only actually finished one project with it, but the colors are amazing.   The Silk Road is half silk and incredibly soft.  The designers of the Sinosity and Medallion Lace socks are part of our group and there are a few other gals who design patterns, too.  It's a very talented collection of knitters.  They're the reason Thursday has become my favorite night of the week.

Max has been very helpful with my projects and is a great multi-tasker. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Bag lady 2012

I've been on a bit of a bag kick lately.  In addition to the 30-odd feed bag totes, I've made just a few others.  It started with this little project bag with the cupcake fabric.

Just right for a pair of socks

Then I moved on to this.


It's the Key West Plus tote, made from the Florida version of the Trace 'n Create Template from Clover.


The pattern didn't call for an inside pocket, but I thought it needed one.  I used fusible fleece on the outer fabric and some kind of lightweight interfacing (whatever I had lying around) on the lining fabric.  It's a nice size and I like fabrics. 

It's a little floppy, though, and I wanted something a little more sturdy.

I had some fabric in the stash that makes me happy, so I made another one.

So happy
I added an inner zipper pocket
This time I found some thin quilt batting and used some fusible web to attach it to the outer fabric.  It has a little more body and it's Very Bright.  I think I love it. :-)

 I made these to use when I go on vacation this summer.  There's a whole group of us going to the Oregon coast, and we decided that all of the ladies should have one.  Two of the local gals made their own.  I made these to send to the other two.

The color isn't really great in the pictures, but I love both of these, too.

Once I got those out of my system (for now). I moved on to something silly, a little purse made of duct tape. Sure, it's dorky, but it was too hot to wear the duct tape bustier...

For the Duct Tape Festival, of course

But my favorite one from my latest bag bender is the Professional Tote.  There are a lot of pieces to cut out and fuse interfacing to, but the pattern is well written and totally worth effort.

It has a double front pocket - there's an open pocket behind the zippered one. The pockets on the sides are gathered with leather ties and I added some gold bead caps.  The ties are a little long, so I need to shorten them.


On the back there's a big pocket and above that is a strap that you can slide over the handle of your rolling suitcase to keep it in place. You have to look kind of close to see it.

The inside used to have a zipper pocket in the middle, but I decided I didn't want the the inside to be divided like that.  If I were actually planning to put a laptop in it, the pocket would be great, but since I'm not, it had to go.  

Unfortunately, I didn't decide that till after it was finished, so I had to take it apart, remove the divider pocket and put it back together.  I like it better now.

I didn't waste the zipper or the little business card holder that were on the pocket.  The zipper went on an inside zipper pocket the back above the patch pocket with the key clasp.

The business card holder went above the pocket on the front with the velcro flap closure.  Inside the front is an odd place for it, but what the heck.

I didn't realize when I was picking out the fabrics for this project that they'd match Blue so well

"I like this one, Mama"

And of course I had help with the other ones as well.  My quality control team tends to sleep on the job.