hold, please...

...a little busy at work today. I'll try and post later, but might not make it until tomorrow.

sunny and hot, with a chance of crafts...

...as weekend forecasts go, it was pretty much spot on.

When it's hot, I either get focused on one thing and work on it to the exclusion of everything else, or  I have the attention span of a gnat. I experienced both of these reactions over the weekend.

Rather than do a blow-by-blow of each day (which would really show my attention span problems!), here's a list of what I did over the weekend:
  • Paint it Red quilt
    Replaced a small section of the border
    Measured and cut a piece of batting for the back
    Pieced the backing fabric together
  • Weaving:
    Wove one of the six coasters originally planned for this warping. I learned that I don't like weaving this small an object (5" x 5"), but I'll finish up at least four coasters so I don't waste the warp.
  • Spinning:
    Finished a spindle-full of the Wisteria Angora and Merino top I have in progress and wound it off to a bobbin.
    I may move this over to the wheel to see if I can speed up the process.
  • Knitting:
    Worked on the Sea Foam Wrap that I haven't touched in weeks.
  • Prepped the fabric for another small cross stitch project.
  • Queen Mermaid cross stitch project:
    Worked several hours on her tail and made good progress. It's slow-going, though.  Unlike her body, her tail has large areas of a single color and it gets a bit boring after an hour of stitching one color.
  • Researched weaving techniques using two heddles.
  • Read about 150 pages of the new Diana Gabaldon book, "An Echo in the Bone."
There were also a few chores interspersed throughout. Anyway, my recap list of "Worked On" will be a bit longer this month!

And look what arrived today...the September 2009 installment of the Rockin' Sock Club (behind the spoiler alert)!


Yet another color that is pretty, but not quite my style, and an intriguing pattern.  I'll have to think on this one. So far I've only made two club  patterns, and only one in the intended yarn. I might just bite the bullet and do this one as specified.

last Eye Candy Friday for the month...

...cuz the next one is in October! I know, that month went by too fast! Today's Eye Candy Friday is brought to you by the letters P and T.

Peppers—just two of the many we have on various plants...

Red chile peppers

Pomegranates—we have several ripening on the tree...

Ripening Pomegranate

Tomatillos—we still have some on the vine...

Ripening purple tomatillos

Tica—just because she's cute (and she knows it)...

Tica, up close and personal

Up this weekend, your guess is as good as mine! Aside from the normal weekend chores, I really haven't planned anything for the weekend. Spinning is calling me, as it the weaving, but I've got the quilt to finish, too. And I'm on a roll with the cross stitch piece...too many projects to choose from! We'll see what catches my fancy!

say good night to the peacocks...

...because Peacock Majesty is going back into hibernation. I'm just not into samplers right now. I still think this is a beautiful piece and I will eventually finish it, just not right now.

The mermaid's tail continues to take shape. I'm still trying to decide what's worse...hundreds of singleton stitches or large sections of the same color. The singletons are challenging and take a great deal of concentration, but the large areas are BOR-ING!


I still don't feel like knitting and now that Peacock Majesty is sleeping, I need a new travel project. Presenting "Spooky Wrap" by Pine Mountain.

Spooky Wrap, in progress

This will be a quick (and fun) stitch. I love Halloween...I think it's time to work through the small Halloween cross stitch projects I have in the stash. Witches and zombies and bats...oh, my!


I made progress over the weekend...

...on multiple fronts. Before I go into that, here is today's picture:

Purple salsa, before

When I first took pictures of the tomatillos, I didn't realize that they were going to turn purple. They are ripe now and in different shades of purple. The Husband plans on making purple salsa...that should look interesting!

This weekend, my highest priority was to clean the floors. Between the dirt tracking in from gardening and the normal wear-and-tear, they were looking pretty bad. The Husband took a long bike ride on Saturday, so I was able to mop (steam) them and let them dry. Did the vacuuming and a couple of other chores before the heat got too intense.

Because it was hot on both days of the weekend, I put aside any thoughts of quilting or knitting. I did check out my quilt bating stash and found that I already have plenty of batting for the Paint It Red quilt (and probably for another quilt, too). I also took another look at the borders of the quilt and decided that there was one small section that needed to be replaced. I ripped it out and located another strip that will provide a better contrast. It was too hot to do the actual sewing, but it will be a simple thing to finish before sandwiching the quilt.

I warped the loom on Sunday for some mug mats. I used the 4/2 Cotton Weaving Yarn as the warp and I'm using Patons Classic Wool and Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool for the weft. I'm trying a couple of new techniques on the first one and so far, I'm not liking it. I've put it aside for the moment while I think about what to try next.  I might stick to horizontal stripes for the first batch and leave the "fancier" stuff for larger pieces.

Mostly I worked on the Queen Mermaid cross stitch piece. I spent a good deal of time comparing what I've completed to the chart. I have a working copy of the chart that I marked up. This working copy is multiple photocopy pages of various sections, taped together—the chart is huge and won't fit on one or two pieces of paper. In the process of comparing, I found a few places where I'd missed some stitches, so I fixed those. Like most Mirabilia designs, there are lots of areas where it's one stitch of this color, two stitches of that color, another stitch of a third color two stitches of a fourth color...you get the idea. It's easy to over look a few!

My goal is to get her tail and the surrounding areas stitched so I can move on to her upper body. Once I finish the stitching, I can wash and block the piece in preparation for the beading. And this piece has a ton of beading. It will be a while before I can call this piece done!

ready for another Eye Candy Friday?

...or just ready for Friday, period? Yeah, me too!  As promised, here is another sky picture:
September clouds, take 2
This one has been run through Picnik.com's Lomo-ish filter. The original photo is in my Flickr photostream.

For my birthday, I received an anthurium plant that has lots of flowers. This one is just now opening:

Anthurium, in progress
This flower was already open, but its color is deepening as it gets older:

Anthurium spathe
This plant is a nice addition to my office and I hope I can keep it alive...I have really bad luck with plants!

Up this weekend: I really need to catch up on the housework that had been sadly neglected during my craft binges! I'd like to warp the loom and try out my new stand, too. I need to check my quilt batting stash and see if I have a piece big enough for the Paint It Red quilt. If not, I'll have to buy more batting. (Oh, no...I'd have to go to a quilt store. That could be dangerous!) It's supposed to be hot this weekend, so we'll see how much I get done...

WIP-it Wednesday, mermaid style...

...of course, she doesn't look much like a mermaid right now. I haven't added the tail fins and she doesn't have an upper body yet.

Queen Mermaid, in progress

At least there is progress since the last picture, which is more than I can say for the other cross stitch project!

Peacock Majesty is going
very slowly. I think it has to do with the fact that it is on dark teal linen. Stitching on dark fabric required really good lighting and magnification. On top of that, it's a sampler with rows and rows of fussy stitches—the fussier they are, the longer it takes to complete them. Now I remember why I put Peacock Majesty into hibernation for so long! I'm finding that I'm just not into samplers right now. I'm going to keep at it for another couple of days, but if I don't feel the love soon, it going back on hiatus!

Still no knitting, spinning, or weaving, but I may get the loom warped soon. I am anxiously awaiting my birthday present, which is a stand for my Knitters Loom and a cone of 4/2 cotton weaving yarn (1680 yards!). The stand will make it easier for me to use a shuttle for the wider pieces and will let me move the loom to different locations (right now I can only weave at the dining room table or at the coffee table). I'm going to use the cotton for a variety of things (mug mats... placemats... table runner).

it was a good weekend...

...a little quilting...a little cross stitch...thunder, lightening and rain...the Mountain View Art & Wine Festival on Sunday... and a True Blood marathon. What more could you ask for?

The thunder and lightening at 4 am was cool...the lightening flashes lit up our bedroom and the thunder drove the cats under the bed! In the morning, the sky was gorgeous. You could see several types of clouds in one direction:

Morning sky after a thunderstorm

I took other pictures, but I'm saving them for Eye Candy Friday.

I spent a good deal of time finishing my quilt top. I ripped out a few blocks and reset them in new locations. I also sewed strips together to make the quilt borders. Because I was recording the True Blood marathon on HBO on my craft room TV, I was forced to watch it while I worked. LOL!

By Sunday evening, I had finished sewing the top together, just in time to watch the season finale of True Blood. Here's what the top looks like:

Paint It Red Quilt

I had been calling it "Paint It Black" only because every time I look at it, I hear the Rolling Stones sing, "I see a red door and I want it painted black..." However, now that the top is finished and the block progression is black to red, its official name is "Paint It Red." It's very different from any other quilt I've completed. It certainly took a lot longer to get to this point than any other quilt! Now I just need to find a big enough space to lay it out and baste the quilt.

I continue to make progress on the cross stitch mermaid; it's just slow. I haven't worked on this large a piece in a few years, and it's taken a bit to get back into any sort of rhythm. It's kind of like working on a 2,000+ piece jigsaw puzzle—each stitch (which represents an area of 0.14x0.14 inch for this project) is a small piece of the puzzle and you have to step back to see how the last 2 hours of work affected the entire design. It's time-consuming, but well worth it when you see the finished piece.

I'm still don't feel like knitting, but Sirena is beginning to call me...time to start spinning again!

out of Eye Candy Friday ideas again...

...so you get another cat picture. Here is Miss Sombra, getting up close and personal with with the camera, again.

Sombra, up close and personal...

See all the dirt on her fur...she's been outside, rolling around on the cement patio!

Quilting and needlework take a lot longer to complete so there are fewer progress pictures. In the case of cross stitch, I work on linen that is 28 or 32 threads per inch—after two hours of stitching, it doesn't look like I've done a lot. We tracked how long it took me to complete the baby afghan that I made for my niece (hardanger, another type of needlework; finished size about 25x40 inches)...about 100 hours. I have no idea how long it takes me to stitch one of the mermaids.


Up this weekend: do the housework that I ignored last weekend (oops). Rip out 3 stray squares from the quilt, put them in a better location, and call this quilt top "done." Work on my cross stitch mermaid. And maybe warp the loom to test a new technique. Knitting is still on hold until something calls my name!

WIP-it Wednesday, quilting style...

...here is the quilt top I've been working on:

Paint It Black quilt top, take 2


It's interesting—I couldn't see that one of the dark red squares was not in the right location until I saw the photo. Maybe it's the light in my craft room? Anyway, there's a little ripping out and swapping to do for a couple of squares to get them in a better spot. But, this top is close to being done!

Next I am working on the borders, which will use up some of the red and black strips left-over from the blocks. Let's just say that I have more than enough...when I first envisioned this quilt, it was going to be much bigger!

I have decided to take a short break from knitting and work on some cross stitch. I told you about the mermaid WIP last time. She's too big to travel, so I'm also resurrecting another cross stitch WIP that I can work on at lunch time. This is Peacock Majesty by Just Nan:

WIP: Peacock Majesty

This design was retired in 2004 and I've had it a lot longer than that! I'd love to take this off my UFO list!

let's hear it for 3-day weekends...

...and the extra time to craft! So far, it's been very productive.

Presenting...Under the Sea socks [Ravelry]:

Under the Sea socks, on the feet

Specs:
Finished 9/5/09

Loopy Ewe Sock Club March 2009
Yarn: Handmaiden Fine Yarn, Casbah Sock in Ocean Current
Pattern: Under the Sea pattern
Needles: 2 US/2.75mm

Things I learned with these socks:
  • I confirmed that toe-up socks are not an enjoyable knit for me. However, I now know that I can complete a pair if I have to.
  • I do not like wrap-and-turn short row heels; I'd rather do an unwrapped short row heel.
  • I love Casbah yarn!
So I am now down to one pair of socks on the needles, but look what arrived Saturday (picture behind Loopy):

Spoiler--Loopy Ewe Sock Club

The Loopy Ewe September installment!! And it's a yarn I never thought I'd own...Wollmeise! The colors are gorgeous! I am tempted to start these socks, but I may just wait so I can enjoy petting the yarn a bit more.

I've been working on my quilt, too. I've settled on a block layout, and while it might not be the optimal layout, it is pleasing. I've started sewing the blocks together, so I'm now committed to this layout. And if anyone tells me I should have done it another way, they can go fly a kite! 2+ years on deciding a layout, is long enough!

And in a shocking craft development, I did not cast on for a new knitting project or warp the loom for a new weaving. Instead, I picked up a cross stitch WIP and worked on it! (I know...monumental!) I am working on the Queen Mermaid, which looks like this right now:


Queen Mermaid WIP


This poor thing has been on stretcher bars forever. I think it's time to make some progress on her. To see what she's supposed to look like, go to Miribilia's site to see her picture. I am using a different color fabric than the pattern lists because I want it to match the fabric of the other two mermaids I stitched.

That's it for now...off to work on my quilt!

it's been another strange little week...

...things are not quite normal and I'm feeling a little off-center. Virgos just aren't happy when things deviate from the routine!

I'm still working on the Under the Sea socks, so no pictures of those yet. I have another 2.5 inches to go on the cuff and then I'm done. I have a weaving project in mind using some cotton yarn, but I think I might have to do some samples first before I warp for the main project.

Today's Eye Candy Friday is brought to you by the letters C and T.

C is for Chiles:
Hot chile peppers

Ripening Red Chiles

Of course, I have no idea what varieties these are...

T is for Tomatillos:
Tomatillos

They look like little paper lanterns, don't they? Here's a more mature tomatillo:

Tomatillo...almost ready!

Up this weekend: today is my birthday, so we'll probably do something over the weekend to celebrate it. I want to finish the layout of my black and red quilt top and get that sewn together. I also want to finish the Under the Sea socks because the next Loopy Ewe sock club installment is on its way and I haven't even started the last one yet! A little weaving, a little housework...we'll see what else I can cram into 3 days.

As a birthday present, I'm asking people to go to Care2's Click to Donate page and click on at least the Global Warming and Breast Cancer donation buttons (clicking on all of the buttons would be great!). They are free clicks for good causes. I don't click them as often as I'd like, but I try!

August 2009 recap...

Finished:

  • 8/31 Fraggled Socks [Ravelry]
  • 8/30 Deep Sea Flower Shawl (weaving) [Ravelry]
  • 8/30 Nocturne yarn (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Falkland top from Yarn Wench
    Yield: 195.4 yards, Navajo-ply
    WPI: 13
  • 8/20 Eleanor de Plume socks [Ravelry]
  • 8/9 Tropical Fish yarn (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Falkland top from Yarn Wench
    Yield: 260 yds Navajo-ply
    WPI: 14
  • 8/8 Apricot Cinder Merino-Silk yarn (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Merino-silk top from Yarn Wench
    Yield: 223 yds Navajo-ply
    WPI: 13
Started:
  • 8/8 Nocturne yarn (spinning)
  • 8/16 Deep Sea Flower Shawl (weaving)
  • 8/28 Apricot Cinder Merino-Silk yarn (spinning)

Worked on:

  • Under the Sea socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Wisteria Angora-Merino top from Tactile (spinning)
  • Paint it Black quilt (quilting)
Works In Progress, did not work on:
  1. Stranded Hearts socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. February Lady Sweater (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Corrugator scarf (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Morning Surf Scarf (knitting) [Ravelry]
  5. Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry]

UFOs:
  1. Black leg warmers in Caron Simply Soft yarn (knitting)
  2. Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk 4 oz.roving in purple [Ravelry]
  3. Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
  4. Central Air socks (knitting)
  5. Chasing Rainbows Heather--one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz) (spinning)
  6. Dogosaurus Rex sweater (knitting) [Ravelry}
  7. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  8. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  9. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  10. Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue (knitting)
  11. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  12. Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch)
  13. Sangria shawl (knitting)
  14. Twinkletoes slippers; just need to make one (knitting)
  15. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)

today is a little less crazed...

...than yesterday. I had to take the Daughter to the airport (my least favorite place to drive...it wouldn't be so bad if they didn't change the route around SJC every week).

One of our cars decided that 3rd gear was the only gear to be in, rendering it pretty much useless. That meant that we had 3 people and one functioning car...not good! We rented a car for a few days to tide us over until the Daughter left yesterday. So now we are two people with one car until we decide what to do. I'd like transported technology now, please!

Because of the transportation situation, I had plenty of time to work on projects. I finished the Deep Sea Flower Shawl [Ravelry]:

Deep Sea Flower Shawl

At each end, I wove a little tighter for 5 or 6 inches and added a couple of pattern rows. Over all, it's a looser weave than my previous projects because the yarn is so stretchy, but it drapes beautifully.

Specs:
Started: 8/16/09

Finished: 8/30/09

Warp: Dream in Color; Baby in Deep Sea Flower; 10 epi

Weft: Dream in Color; Classy in Deep Sea Flower; 6-7 ppi

75"L x 17.25"W;

Loom: Ashford 20" Knitters Loom


I plied the Nocturne Falkland yarn [Ravelry]:

Nocturne Falkland yarn

(the blue strands are the ties I used) And the close-up:

Nocturne Falkland yarn, close up

Specs:
Started: 8/8/09

Finished: 8/30/09

Nocturne Falkland top from Yarn Wench
Yield: 195.4 yards, Navajo-plied
13 WPI


And I finished the Fraggled Socks [Ravelry] yesterday at lunchtime:

Fraggled Socks, finished

Specs:
Started: 5/24/09

Finished: 8/31/09

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Socks That Rock Lightweight in Turquoise

Pattern: Fraggle-Squiggle Socks, Rockin' Sock Club pattern

Needles: US 1.5/2.5 mm

Size: Medium

Modifications: reduced the cuff length to 5 inches


Next I need to finish the Under the Sea socks. Once I finish those, I can decide whether to finish another knitting WIP or start something new!

An August recap will follow when I get a chance...

Eye Candy Friday...

...and I'm almost ready to call it a week. Today's eye candy is brought to you by the colors orange and pink. The Lion's Tail ...