blog and run Random Wednesday...

...I have nothing new to share and work is keeping me hopping. I haven't even had a chance to try out the new camera yet!
  • I am within 5 rows of the end of the Reflection Shawl. I probably could add more to the length, but I think I'm ready to be done with it. I'll have leftover yarn, which I'll use for something where the color is not crucial.
  • I'm ready to start another pair of socks! While I enjoyed the shawl pattern once I got a rhythm going, I much prefer socks...the rows are not nearly as long!
  • I'm looking forward to my 2 sock classes on Saturday, so maybe I won't start a new pair until then.
  • Tour de Fleece starts this weekend, too! I have chosen 4 fibers that I want to spin and I really want to finish the Merino-Silk that I started 2 (3?) Tours ago!
  • The Daughter comes home tonight. Yay!
  • I'm working on Monday so I can take Friday the 9th off and visit my mother for her 80th birthday. (I should probably start getting serious about a birthday gift for her...better get cracking!)
That's it for now. Maybe I'll have a finished object for Friday!
 

another quick weekend...

...it was over before I knew it!  And it's going to be a busy week around here, too.

I did manage to clear get some of the Daughter's room picked up and vacuumed. There are still a few things to remove, but that will take all of 5 minutes to do. One thing that I've been wanting to do is replace the TV and DVD player in her room, mostly because they were totally useless. The Husband and I went to Fry's and got an inexpensive TV that can double as a monitor, and antenna (no cable in that room), and a $27 DVD player. Nothing fancy, but it's way better that what was in there!

Because the weekend was so hot, I didn't get to do much quilting. On Saturday, I did the stitch-in-the-ditch sewing between the blocks. n Sunday it was too hot to wrestle a quilt, do that's as far as I got. I still haven't pinned the other quilt...

I did finish spinning the second bobbin of Blue Hosta yarn. It's resting for a day or so, and then I'll make a two-ply yarn out of it.

I knit a few more rows on the Reflection Shawl. The longer it gets, the less I like the yellow. It would be so pretty if it was more blue! I'm on row 33 of the patterned section. Only 9 more to go!

The garden is doing very well. I've showed a few pictures of squash and tomatoes, but we also have cucumbers, basil, strawberries, oranges, and garlic. Here is yet-another squash:

Papaya Squash

The cherry tree is big enough now that it provides some shade in our sunny yard. It's nice to sit under the tree and be out of the unrelenting heat! (It's weekends like this one that I wish for air conditioning in the house...)

The Husband is getting ready for his trip to Seattle in a couple of weeks. I had to laugh...the other day he asked me if I had been looking at cameras lately. This was husband-speak for: my camera is broken...if you get a new one, I can have your old one, right? LOL! We've given up buying him new cameras because he can be kind of hard on them. I mean, he goes backpacking, cycling, and mountain biking. You know, outdoors things where cameras can get dropped. 

Well, I had been looking for a new camera, but not seriously. He really does need a camera for his trip to Seattle, so...


My new camera arrived today. I've had good luck with Canon cameras, so I stuck with that brand.  Hope I have time to play with it soon!
   

a funny thing happened on the way to Wednesday...

...work (you know, that thing that pays for the fiber and yarn). Here it is Friday already and I never did get the WIP-It Wednesday posting done. What can I say...

Here's the picture that I intended to post on Wednesday:

Reflection Shawl. as of 6/25/10

The shawl is coming along. The issue I reported earlier about the knit row that seemed like it should be a purl row? Totally a user error. Each of the pattern sections are separated with this knit row. Since I purled the last separation row, I went ahead and purled this second separation row to be consistent. It's a design variation, not an error. LOL!

For Eye Candy Friday, we have garden pictures. (Big surprise) First up is the last little plum on our plum tree:

Plum

We got at least a dozen this year. (At least that's how many I've seen. Who knows how many the Husband has eaten!)

And because you knew you couldn't get by without apricot pictures:

Blenheim Apricots, 2010

This year the tree developed these sap growths all over. I'm sure it's not a good thing for the tree, but they make for some very interesting pictures. Here's the end of one that hangs down about 10 inches:

Apricot Sap

Up this weekend: Some sleep would be nice! Also, the Daughter is coming home on Wednesday, so I need to get her room ready. She'll be home about 6 weeks and I need to make sure she has room to store her clothes! Out goes the loom stand, the loom, and the stitchery stand. There's a quilt top on her bed that's ready to be basted, so I better finish that, too!

I'd like to finish the Blue Hosta yarn I started last weekend, I need to clear the decks for Tour de Fleece 2010, which starts on the 3rd.

We'll see how much I actually get done...
 

Happy Summer...

...can you believe how fast June has gone? The weekends are just whipping by!

Saturday was Spin-In and I finally decided what I was going to make. Scones seemed like a good idea at the time. What I'd neglected to consider was that I had never made them with the new oven. Hmmm, can you spell FAIL? [sigh] They were way done on the outside and not done enough on the inside. And of course, I didn't have enough time to try another batch. Arg!

Plan B: I quickly searched through the refrigerator to see what I had on hand. Score! Cream cheese, goat cheese, a blue brie, and some shredded Parmesan. A pinch of garlic powder, some heavy whipping cream, a dash of dry basil, and couple of minutes in the blender = a very nice cheese spread. And I had some whole grain crackers and some rice crackers to go with it. Whew!

Spin-In was great. I decided to start something new instead of continuing with the batts I had in progress (still trying to figure the best way to spin those.) I started the Blue Hosta Merino-Bamboo-Silk top from Miss Babs that I bought at Stitches West. I spun about 3 ounces of the 4 while at Spin-In. I'm spinning it a little thick than I normally do because I want it to be a two-ply to weave with.

Here's the first bobbin:

Blue Hosta yarn, bobbin #1

My hand was bugging me after this much spinning, so I haven't finish the last ounce yet.

The Husband was a little under the weather all weekend, so we didn't go out for Father's Day. Instead, he requested my Mustard-Chicken Waldorf Salad for dinner. It turned out yummy and it was nice to have something different for dinner.

I thought about working on my quilt, but he was napping on and off all day. My sewing room is right across the hall from our bedroom and I decided to keep things quiet so he could rest. Instead, I worked on the Reflection Shawl while I did the laundry.  (WIP picture on Wednesday.)

The shawl is coming along nicely, but I had to stop when I hit a row that didn't seem written correctly. The pattern has the right-side stitches as knit-based stitches and the wrong-side stitches are mostly purls. The row that I stopped at is a wrong-side row that tells me to knit every stitch between the border stitches, but the chart shows to purl every stitch. Now I could be mistaken, given that I read that row at 10pm last night. LOL! So I'm going to check it again and then look online and see whether there are any corrections for the pattern.

All in all, it was a subdued weekend, but enjoyable.
 

Eye Candy Friday from the garden...

...yes, it's that time of the year. And, no, it's not pictures of apricots. (Well, not yet, anyway!)

Remember the pictures of the squash blossoms I showed 2 weeks ago? Here is the first harvest:

Little squash harvest


They are small—2 or 3 bites each—but they should be tasty!

The poppies are all gone, but they left behind some huge seed pods:

Poppy pods and seeds


When you pick one of these up, the seeds pour out! (I should really make a Flickr set for garden things that look like they're from outer space...)

I think I mentioned that I've been weeding through my needlework stash and trying to find somewhere to donate magazines, etc. Well, today I met with a president of the Santa Clara Valley chapter of the EGA. The chapter accepted my donation of cross stitch magazines (read: 5 large magazine holders full), plus some charts, and all of my small kits.  They will use them to earn money for their chapter and donate some to other charitable organizations. Hooray! I get a tax donation and my [former] things will be used by someone instead of being ignored in storage! Win-win!

Up this weekend: Spin-In! Yay!  I've missed the last two and am really looking forward to this. I haven't quite figured out what to take as a munchie...I guess if  I can't think of anything else, I can always  make biscotti!

I'm not sure whether we're doing anything for Father's Day. The Husband and I haven't talked about it yet. His father lives in the area so we might go visit.  We'll see...
   

another random Wednesday...

...because my knitting has no significant progress to show,  (In fact, I'm on negative rows right now. Negative 3 to be exact, with a couple more to go.)

I think this leans more towards a rant than just being random, though
  1. I used to wear perfume. I loved a good scent..Poison and Tatiana were my favorites. However, as I've gotten older, I developed an allergy to all scents that are chemical-based or have chemical propellants. I can't wear perfume anymore and most scents give me headaches or give me sinus problems. Not just perfume and men's cologne, either...scented deodorant, hair gel and other hair products, detergent, fabric softener, candles...anything with a scent.

    What this means is that I wear and use a lot of lightly / naturally scented or unscented products. Love unscented dryer sheets!

  2. Strangely enough, I can handle essential oils and natural scents. That's one of the reasons I started making melt-and-pour soaps. I can control how much and the type of scent to add.
     
  3. I work with several people who also have scent allergies. They totally understand when I say to stay out of the ladies room because the hairspray lady has been at it again.

    Really? You have long, straight blond hair. Do you really need to spray it twice a day and leave a toxic cloud for the rest of us to breathe?

  4. OK, so is that the rant? Not quite.
     
  5. People: You are wearing too much perfume / cologne / hair spray if the scent leaves a trail that I can follow.
    Outside.
     
    This morning I could smell someone's baby-powder-like perfume when I when I walked past the ladies room door to get to our office door, which faces an outside, open-to-the-sky courtyard.  The scent went past my office door, and kept on going...outside...the person was no where to be seen.
     
    45 minutes later, my boss smelled it when she arrived...it was still lingering outside!

  6. Just because you can't smell it, doesn't mean that the rest of us can't. You are, after all, used to the scent.
     
  7. Clothes retain scent, people. Even if you didn't put on perfume this morning, did you put it on the last time you wore that sweater / coat / ... ?
     
  8. Do we really need to scent everything?
     

getting reacquainted with my sewing machine...

...and, of course, I picked a hot weekend to quilt! At least my sewing room is one of the cooler rooms in the house.

I spent most of Saturday sewing blocks for the teal quilt. The pattern uses 12 different fat quarters from which you cut a series of strips, some 6.5 x21" and and some  3.5x21". You cut and sew the strips into various units from which you create 3 styles of blocks. Then you arrange the blocks, trying not to let any of the same fabric touch and keeping a good balance of light and dark.

The first quilt layout is always wrong in one way or another, but you have to start somewhere! Here is my first attempt:

New quilt, first look

I really need to work on the balance of light and dark! One nice thing is that this layout does not use all of the quilt blocks. I have 5 left over. I'll cycle these in as necessary until I get a good balance. Yes, I could use them to make the quilt longer, but that would make it too long and once I add the 4-inch borders, it's a good size quilt. When I have a layout I like, I'll use 4 of the extra squares to make a cover for the quilt. (You can see a sample cover on my website,)

Speaking of quilt covers, I did manage to quilt the one for Flower Power. However, that's as far as I got with that quilt. It was just too hot to wrestle the quilt through the sewing machine!

I did work a little on the Reflection Shawl, but I have to frog back a couple of rows because something is off on the center lace panel. I'm having a lot pf trouble with this section because the are yarn-overs right before a marker and right after the next marker. These yarn overs keep slipping...some where back about 3 rows, I accidentally included one in the center panel and through the lace off by one stitch. Rats!

(Also, I really shouldn't knit this project while watching True Blood. It's too exciting and too easy to lose my place!)
 

just because it's June...

...and it's Eye Candy Friday!

First up, a tomato:

Little green tomato

The tomatoes are starting to form. This little one is about 1/2 inch in diameter. We have some larger ones as well. I'm really looking forward to fresh tomato salads!

Our next door neighbor has a rose bush in his front yard that has beautiful orange blooms. I finally got a few pictures this morning. Here's one:

Orange rose

I love the deep color of these roses.

Up this weekend: work on my quilts, keep knitting on the Reflection Shawl and get some time at the spinning wheel. I plan on just doing stuff for me because next week things escalate for work and I will be too wiped out to do much after work.

I'll be working at my client's office about half-time and then coming back to my own office to finish out the day. It will be a lot of driving around, a lot more than the 14-mile round trip I have right now. It's always a challenge working on-site because things are in different or strange places, I don't know where the coffee is, etc. And in my case, there are a lot more people than I'm used to. (There are only 6 of us who work in this office. Everyone else works from home.) I've been working with this client for a couple of years, so I already know the people; it will just be an environment change ( and a tight time frame to complete the project).

Anyway, it's what pays the bills and let's me buy fiber, right?! LOL!
 

WIP-it Wednesday, no-sock edition...

...can I say again what a relief it is to have those socks done?!

As promised, here is a picture of the Yarn Wench batts that I am spinning:

Natural Dyes Wild Card #4968

This is a combination of naturally colored alpaca, soysilk, merino, mohair, carbonized bamboo, and other wool dyed naturally in logwood and pomegranate. Very different colors for me! I'm still trying to figure out the best way to spin this. So far, "thin" is not working well.

Also as promised, here is the fabric for the next quilt:

Teal fabrics ready to sew

The fabric on the far right (with the swirls) is the border fabric; the rest are the strips ready to be sewn into blocks. It more teal in natural light. I am trying to come up with a name for this quilt. So far, "Run and Teal That", "Teal Me Why", and "Teal Me" are possibilities.

I continue to make slow progress with the Reflection Shawl. It's my first knitted lace shawl so I'm trying not to make too many mistakes!

And finally, this is not a WIP yet, but take a look at the latest installment of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club (behind the spoiler picture):


The color of the yarn has generated lots of comments, pro and con, in the Ravelry forums. Personally, I like it, but not for a knitted item. I think it will make a perfect warp for a woven creation! Neither of the patterns appeal to me, mostly because they are anklets. I learned with the IDJ Cascade Anklets that I just don't like knitting them!

short attention span much?

...yeah, I had a few issues with sticking to one project this weekend! However, I did manage to stay with the quilt long enough to get it pin-basted. Here is Flower Power already to machine quilt:

Flower Power, ready to quilt


(Excuse the floor picture. It was too hot to try and hand it in my normal quilt picture location.)

This is another Yellow Brick Road (Atkinson Designs) quilt. I love this pattern because it is easy to cut and assemble.

So, I needed more safety pins to pin this quilt together. Off I went to my local quilt store, The Granary, to get some. And you know what happened, right? I saw some fabric that I couldn't resist. Yeah, I bought it and a few of its friends.

Here comes that attention problem...not only did I get Flower Power ready for quilting, I cut the new fabric for another Yellow Brick Road quilt! I'll show you that on Wednesday.

But wait, there's more...I started spinning a new fiber from The Yarn Wench. While I was stash diving for fabrics that matched the new ones, I found some batts that I recently bought. The colors and the different wools called my name...you know the rest. (I'll show you this on Wednesday, too.)

In keeping with my attention span of a 2 -year-old, I also knit on the Reflection Shawl that I  started a week ago. I frogged back to the mistake I made, fixed it, and kept knitting up to the point where I can start the "wings." I'm still not thrilled with the colors, so I think it is destined for the dye vat when I'm done.

Yes, I was a busy little bee!
 

Finally Finished Friday (AKA Finished Object Friday)...

...YES! I finally finished the socks!

Rusty Dahlia Socks:

Rusty Dahlia socks

...foot shot:

Rusty Dahlia Socks #2

...design highlight:

Rusty Dahlia socks, detail

Specs:
Started: 10/4/2009
Finished:  6/3/2010
Pattern: Dahlia socks by Sundara
Yarn: Rusty Willow Sawfly by The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga!
Needles: US 2 (2.75mm) and US 3 (3.0mm)
Modifications:
  • used US 3 needles for the heel flap and gusset
  • shortened the cuff to 5 inches;
  • on the last pattern repeat, knit all stitches before and after the yarn-overs (instead of *ktbl p1*)
Even though they were a pain to knit and they took forever, I have to say that they look good and they fit perfectly! It's a shame that Sundara is not doing sock patterns because she puts interesting elements in the pattern and they always fit!

And I didn't forget the eye candy, either.

The Husband planted some squash for me and it is doing very well. This picture shows some of the squash life cycle:

Squash

This one shows the interior of the squash blossom (now with ants!):

Squash Blossom, with ants

Our Hydrangea bush is blooming again. This year, the lower flowers are purple:

Purple hydrangea

and the upper flowers are pink:

Pink hydrangea

Up this weekend: (besides the standard chores  and errands) pin-baste the quilt. I know, I know...I've been saying that for at least 3 weeks now. Maybe I'll actually do it now that the socks are done!  Other than that, who knows. I'll just see what catches my fancy...
   

May 2010 recap

I suppose it could have been worse...

Finished:
  • 5/29, Iris yarn (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Merino-Bamboo top (4 oz.) from  Miss Babs Hand Dyed Fiber Goods;
    284.8 yards Navajo ply, 14 WPI  
  • 5/1, It's Easy Being green yarn (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Green Crazy Batt (2 oz) from Faerie Mountain Fibers;
    78.2 yards Navajo ply, 12 WPI
Started:
  • 5/30 Reflection Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • 5/14 Iris yarn (spinning) [Ravelry]

Worked on:
  • Rusty Dahlia socks (knitting) [Ravelry]

Works In Progress, did not work on:
  1. Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk 4 oz.roving in purple [Ravelry]
  2. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  3. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  4. Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry]

UFOs:
  1. Chasing Rainbows Heather--one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz) (spinning)
  2. Dogosaurus Rex sweater (knitting) [Ravelry}
  3. Happy Pumpkin Scissor Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
  4. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  5. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  6. Stranded Hearts socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  7. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)
  8. Wisteria Angora-Merino top from Tactile (spinning) [Ravelry]

WIP-to-be Wednesday...

...because the socks are nearly done (let's hear a YAY for that).

I almost had them done last night, but ran into a glitch in the toes. I had to frog the toes and start again. If they had a standard toe with decreases on either side of the foot, I probably could have fudged it. However, these have star toes, where some of the decreases are visible on the top of the foot. I  messed up somewhere near the beginning and decided it would bug me too much to leave it that way. Oh, well...

I mentioned that I went to Purlescence Yarns over the weekend to sign up for classes. Well, you know I can never get out of the store without buying something!   I have been admiring  the Mini Mochi yarn, but never saw any colors that I liked until I saw this (The color is a lot more purple and red in real life):

Mini Mochi yarn, variegated

And then I found the perfect solid color companion skeins:

Mini Mochi yarn, purple

These are all destined to be a woven scarf. I'll use the variegated as the warp and the solid color as the weft. I wanted to do it the other way around, but there were only two skeins of the solid color. I think it will make an interesting scarf.

I have not works on the Reflection Shawl since Monday, concentrating on those darn socks. (Hmmm, maybe I should rename them...naw, that would screw up too many links...)
 

WIP-it Wednesday...

...pretend I'm posting this on a break during my cooking marathon. ;-) WIPs Roll Call Worked On: Charred Teal Shawl (knitting) [ ...