WIP-ing along...

...which is better than limping along, right?

It's been a while since I've worked on my needlepoint project. I took it to Craft Night last night and made good progress:

Turquoise Trail, as of 3/30/11

I stitched all of the cotton threads for sections 7 and 7a (left side above the shiny blue ribbon divider. I am so not working this in the order that the designer specified!  See that empty area below what I just stitched...that's section 6.  I haven't touched it! I've  stopped trying to manage the color distribution and I'm just letting things fall where they may. However, if it starts getting too pink, I will try to balance it with more blues and teals. This picture doesn't do it justice. It's so much prettier in person.

I've narrowed down my food ideas for Saturday's party. The simple one is to do "Queen of Hearts" tarts. I've made mini-tarts many times and they are quick to assemble. The other is Little Mermaid cupcakes...I think I've been watching too many Cupcake Wars episodes because this really appeals to me. At least I don't have the time constraints that they have!

I better decide soon!

blue skies, nothin but blue skies...

....from now on. (If I wish it, it will happen, right?)

The weekend was somewhat productive. I got a few chores done and went to the grocery store. Mostly, I just hung out on the couch either spinning or knitting.

I spun two bobbins of singles for the Freestone Fireworks merino-tencel top I bought at Stitches West from Royale Hare.

Freestone Fireworks yarn., singles

The Blue Whale shawl took another step back as I was not happy with the way the second section was shaping up. I pulled back to the lifeline and started section two again. It's looking much better this time. I swear I'm doing the same thing I did before...why it's looking better thing tine, I had no idea.

I spent a little time looking through my fabric stash and found a couple of fabrics that might work for the wall hanging. The problem is, one of the fabrics is not really in my stash...it's one of the fabrics for the other commissioned piece. Since The Granary was open for the last Sunday of the month, I went in to see if I could find the same fabric plus one that would work with the other piece from my stash. I found a couple of things, but I really need to spend some time sketching this out. I'm having trouble visualizing the finished piece. If I can't see it in my mind, it's going to be hard to sew it!

I was looking forward to received my Rockin' Sock club installment this month. The January installment patterns didn't appeal to me and I was really hoping this one would have patterns I liked. The package arrived today....love the patterns! However, the yarn is way too bright and 60's... I like half of the colors in the skein, but the other half...Aiee! Anyway, the picture is behind the spoiler:

BMFA: We Will SOCK You

Our company party is Saturday and I need to settle on what I am making. I signed up for dessert, but may make an appetizer, too, if it looks like we need more food.  The theme this year is Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes in honor of Hans Christian Andersen's birthday (4/2). I have a couple of ideas that will work. I just need to pick one!
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raindrops, so many raindrops...

...falling from the sky, aye! I'm tired of being cold and wet. My space heater is working its little heart out. I'm wearing so many layers, I feel like Danny Kaye in "White Christmas"...although I wouldn't mid the electric blanket right now.

There was a break in the rain this morning and I managed to get some pictures before it started again.

Cloudy March morning

The freesias are starting to go crazy, see:

Yellow Freesias

Golden Freesias

Golden Freesias looking skyward

Purple Freesia

Lots of raindrops everywhere...

Raindrops

Up this weekend: Oh, I don't know...sleep, maybe? A little housework? A little crafting...

I do need to raid my fabric stash and see what I can do about my second commissioned project. I'm making a wall hanging for Jane and we finally had a chance to chat about the specs. I think I might have almost everything I need, but I want to double-check.

Truly, all I really want to do this weekend, is stay warm...
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cold and wet WIP-it Wednesday...

...cold enough that I have to run the space heater in my office all day!

The only active WIP I have is the Blue Whale Shawl. Once I finally got the increase problem resolved, it's been moving right along. I have finished section 1 of the pattern and started section 2.

Blue Whale Shawl, as of 3/22/11

The longer the shawl gets the more evident the color changes become. When I spun it, the yarn simply looked like variations of blue. As I'm knitting the shawl, I'm noticing some gray, greenish-gray, and darker blue sections. It's really kind of cool to see these colors emerge!

Blue Whale Shawl, close up

When I finished section 1, I did the smart thing and put in a lifeline before I started the next section. I hope this will guarantee that I don't make mistakes in the next section because I took precautions. (But I'm also smart enough not to hold my breath...LOL!)
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rainy days...

...lots of them lately. (10 points if you started humming Rainy Days and Mondays!) When I went home on Friday, there was a little break in the rain, but it didn't last long.

Friday night sky


Except for a trip to the grocery store, I stayed inside most of the weekend. I did a little of this and a little of that.

I did make progress on the commissioned quilt. I'm working on an element for the backing and it will take some time to complete.

I finished the Sebastopol Raspberry Farm yarn [Ravelry]:

Sebastopol Raspberry Farm yarn skein

and the close-up:

Sebastopol Raspberry Farm yarn, close up

Specs:
Sebastopol Raspberry Farm yarn
Started 3/13/11
Finished 3/20/11
Merino Bamboo top (4 oz) from Royale Hare
Spun and plied on Lendrum DT folding wheel
208.4 yds 2-ply
12 WPI

It has long runs of pink and green, with some barber pole sections in between. I don't think the Husband was too impressed by the colors as they are a little bright. In a woven scarf with the right warp though, I think the colors will mellow out.

I worked on the Blue Whale shawl for several hours. After unraveling it several more times, I finally figured out which left/right increase stitches were going to work for me. Then I had to unravel it one more time because I made an error. (Doh!) I'm finally making forward progress! Now that I have about 4 inches knitted, I love the color of this yarn even more.
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another rainy Eye Candy Friday...

...I'd like a few more sunny days, thank you very much. Tired of cold and/or wet weather. So ready for warmer weather! At least the garden is not looking so drab any more. Things are starting to bloom all over.

Our two nectarine trees have set a lot of blossoms.

Nectarine blossoms

Knowing I love nectarines, the Husband planted a nectarine tree for me...a white nectarine tree.

Arctic Jay nectarine blossom

When I told him that I really preferred the yellow nectarines, he went out and got another nectarine tree!

Double Delight nectarine blossoms

In keeping with his tradition of planting something and not indicating what it is, here's a look at some unknown bulb growing in one of the containers. We won't know what it is until the flower opens!

Unknown bulb

The fig tree is starting to set leaves. For a little tree, it produces quite a few figs. Yummy!

New fig leaf

A new flower to the yard is this red mask flower, very pretty little flowers.

Red Mask Flower

Up this weekend: continue to work on the commissioned quilt. I want to cut and prep the binding so it's one more task off of the to-do list.

I'd like to make a little more progress on the Blue Whale shawl. I've restarted it again and am trying a different type of increase. No holes with this method, but they cause some stray purl bumps in the knit side and vice versa. I was smart this time and put in a lifeline, so I need to go back to that point and try again. I'm using handspun for this shawl and I was a bit concerned about how the knitting and unknitting would affect the yarn. So far, it's holding up very well and I'm very pleased with it!

The other thing I'd like to do is finish bobbin #2 of the Sebastopol Raspberry Fields top and ply it. I want to see how strong a 2-ply yarn it is. I'd love to use it as a warp and really hope it can handle the abuse.

Since it's supposed to rain all weekend, I'll have a good excuse to stay indoors. (Let's get real, I stay indoors most of time anyway...so many projects I want to do! )
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...and I have two previously-unseen WIPs!

First is the Sebastopol Raspberry Fields spinning. This is the first bobbin:

Sebastopol Raspberry Farm, bobbin #1


Because of the way it's dyed, it's spinning up with very few blended pink-green sections. I think this will make a great two-ply yarn.

Next is the Blue Whale Shawl:

Blue Whale Shawl, in progress


I'm not happy with this project yet. It's totally my fault, not the pattern's or the yarn's...I am just not great at M1L and M1R. I always have huge holes at the increases. (I'm much better with KFB.) Anyway, I've started this 3 times because I didn't like how it looked. I've improved the lighting where I knit so I can better see the "bar" to pick up...and while it's better this time around, I'm still not thrilled. [sigh] I need to look at the how-to videos some more. The only problem with that is that they clearly show where the bar is, but I'm knitting with much thinner yarn and it's harder to see which strand to pick up. What I thought was going to be a nice knit is turning out to be not so nice...

One thing I forgot to report, I got a present in the mail over the weekend! My Blogiversary contest winner sent me a beautiful necklace:

Clayworks Necklace


The necklace is by Lisa Boucher from Clayworks of New Hampshire. Isn't it pretty?! I need to find a top that will show it off. Thanks, Michele! Love it!


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Happy pi day...

...wish I had the other kind of pie!

The weekend went by too quickly. I did a few things around the house on Saturday morning and the afternoon was spent at Savannah's Celebration of Life.

It was a lovely celebration, filled with laughter, tears, and many hugs, It was nice reconnecting with some of the Daughter's HS classmates and their parents, and meeting some new people. They showed a couple of slide shows with Savannah's favorite songs playing in the background. The one that really tore us up was "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry.. Her mom said that she loved to sing that song and her brothers would sing it with her. In fact, the boys sang along while it played for the slide show. [sigh] So sad...

Sunday, I decided to keep chores to a minimum and concentrate on crafts. I spent a few minutes with my commissioned quite, but really was not feeling like sewing. Since I know that I make too many mistakes when I'm not "into" a project, I decided to hold off on the quilte for now.  Instead, I went through the Stitches West stash and picked this to spin [Ravelry]:

Sebastopol Raspberry Farm top


Although the name is Sebastopol Raspberry Farm, it really reminds me of watermelons! I spun about 2 ounces of it before my knees complained about the treadling.

I've been wanting to start my Blue Whale shawl, but didn't want to cast on until I'd finished the Mochaberry Brambles socks. I started it last night and got about one inch knit before I had to go to bed. This time change thing is going to take some getting used to!
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it's Eye Candy Friday...

...and spring is coming! The poppies have started to bloom.

California Poppy #3

California Poppy #1

Sorry, I don't have much else to take pictures of right now. Soon, though. The Husband has tomato seedlings started, and there are a few buds on the hibiscus and rose bushes.

Up this weekend: We are attending  Celebration of Life for Savannah on Saturday. It will be the first time we've seen her parents and family since it happened. I'm looking forward to hugging them in person instead of sending hugs through the Ethernet.

I need to work on the backing for the commissioned quilt. I don't have a hard and fast deadline for this yet, but I want to keep making progress so I'll be ready when I do get a date.

I'd love to start spinning some of the fiber I got at Stitches West...since I'm missing Spin-In on Saturday, maybe I'll just have my own private Spin-In on Sunday!  Sounds like a plan to me!
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...in which all of my WIPs still look pretty much the same as the last time.
  • The Beets Go On socks are still in cuff form. I started to work on them Monday night and remembered why I had put them aside. There were some weak areas of the yarn that resulted in breakage in a couple of places. If I didn't know better, I'd accuse one of the cats of chewing on the yarn! One ball had weak places in a couple of spots and the other just in one. I've cut out the bad areas and used the Russian join for the ends. I'm not too worried about using this kind of join in the cuffs. I hope this is the last issue I have with this yarn!
  • I've started working on the Turquoise Trail again needlepoint. I took it to craft night last night and made some progress. I really want to get this done as I have a Susan Portra needlepoint that's calling my name!
  • My spindle spinning is frustrating right now. While I love the feel and the color of the Wisteria angora-merino top I'm spinning [Ravelry], I am not in love with the fact that the angora makes it hard to keep a sustained spin going. Lots of dropping the spindle involved.
  • The Tealing Groovy quilt is still on hold until I can get the commissioned pieces done.
Speaking of commissioned pieces, here's a quick look at the current one:

Sneak Peak

No name yet and I can't share much more than this right now. But it's really pretty!
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weekend report...

...in a word: productive!

We got a few things organized, some stored things packed more compactly, and cleaned up some of Kayla's things. I still look for her when I go out into the Husband's office...it will take a while to stop doing that. We do miss her little face in the window.

I finished the top of my commissioned quilt. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. I'm going to have a hard time giving this one up as it's all in my colors!

I finally took pictures of the yarn I finished at the end of February.

Plum Creative yarn

...and the close up.

Plum Creative yarn, close up

Specs:
Plum Creative yarn [Ravelry]
Started: 2/13/11
Finished 2/27/11
20% Milk Protein, 20% Seacell, 60% Wool Top from Creatively Dyed
143.3 yards Navajo-plied; 12WPI

This yarn did not have a name, so I named it (color RMS6 didn't do it for me). It's very energized in some places...the stuff I spun at Spin-In is a lot more relaxed than the stuff I spun at home!

And I finally finished a pair of socks! Yay! Here are the Mochaberry Bramble socks:

Mochaberry Brambles Socks, perfect fit

Specs:
Mochaberry Brambles Socks [Ravelry]
Started: 7/31/10;
Finished: 3/6/11;
Pattern: Blackberry Brambles by Irishgirlieknits;
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in Mocha Berry

They fit perfectly and I love them! I don't have enough yarn to make the matching hat, but I want to. Love this stitch pattern!

My next goal is to finish The Beets Go On socks [Ravelry] I started on the same day as these socks. That will keep me busy as I only have a couple of inches done on the cuff!  So many socks, so little time...
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Eye'm-so-glad-this-week's-over Candy Friday...

...it's been a week! Today, it's all about the flowers.

The Husband planted more pansies...

Pansies in the morning sun

and some white primroses.

Primrose - Supernova white

A friend brought me this begonia plant in sympathy for our loss of Kayla. I'm thinking we should plant this in her cat grass planter...

Kayla's flowers

Up this weekend: finally take some pictures of the yarn I finished a week ago. Finish the top on my commissioned quilt—totally doable and still have time to do something else! The important thing to do is help the Husband with Kayls's things. There are extra cat dishes, etc. and we need to decide what to keep and what to give away.
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February 2011 recap...

Finished:

  • 2/27 Plum Creative yarn; RMS6 (4oz) top from Creatively Dyed Yarn [Ravelry]
    143.3 yards, Navajo-plied; WPI 12
  • 2/18 Scarf, in Rigid Heddle Weaving class [Ravelry]
  • 2/5 Agate Merino-Silk yarn; top from the Yarn Wench
    223.3 yards, 2 ply ; WPI 11
  • Books:
    Captive Heart, Anna Winsor
    Holiday Grind, Cleo Coyle
    Treachery in Death, JD Robb
    How to Knit a Love Song, Rachel Herron
    plus a couple of re-reads

Started:
  • 2/13 Plum Creative top from Creatively Dyed Yarn [Ravelry]
  • 2/18 Scarf, in Rigid Heddle Weaving class
  • 2/26 Commission quilt using the rail fence block, currently unnamed

Worked on:
  • Mochaberry Brambles (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Tealing Groovy quilt top (quilting)
  • Turquoise Trail by Laura J Perin (needlepoint)
  • Wisteria Angora-Merino top from Tactile (spinning) [Ravelry]

Works In Progress, did not work on:
  • Happy Pumpkin Scissor Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
  • Hexagon socks (knitting) [Ravelry
  • Jungle Songs quilt
  • Natural Dyes batts from Yarn Wench (spinning)  [Ravelry]
  • The Beets Go On (renamed, was My Heart Beets 4U) socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • 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. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Stranded Hearts socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)

over the Rainbow Bridge...

...Miss Kayla passed over last night.

Miss Kayla

Poor little kitty's kidneys were failing...that happens when you are an almost 16 year old cat. She was the Husband's cat and spend part of everyday in his lap. Naturally, he took it particularly hard. He couldn't stay with Kayla as she crossed over so I did. I wanted her to have someone telling her she was loved and that she was a good girl. sigh...


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Happy March...

...and yes, I missed yesterday's blog. [sigh] It seems that once I get to work, it's go go go until I leave. And then I'm too tired to do anything when I get home except eat dinner. So I totally missed blogging yesterday and this post going to be random and picture-less because I have a ton to do before the day is over.
  1. Made excellent progress on the commission quilt. All of the block units are sewn and I'm putting the rows together.
    Note to self: Rail Fence quilt...totally fast (and pretty) to make.
  2. Almost ready to do the toes on the Mochaberry Bramble socks. I tried very hard to finish them in February, but I kept falling asleep while knitting them.
  3. Finished spinning the February Spin-In yarn while watching the Oscars on Sunday. Haven't had time to take pictures or measure WPI yet.
That's it for now...
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WIP-it Wednesday...

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