Eye Candy Friday for the end of April...

...everything is Royal Wedding today, except here. Here you get flowers.

White and pink trumpet flower:

Inside a white trumpet flower

Chive flower:

Chive flower

Orange Icelandic poppy:

Orange Icelandic poppy


Up this weekend: Spin-In on Saturday (yay!). Then I need to insert the stabilizer piece for Jane's wall hanging and get that ready to mail. The rest of the time will be devoted to finishing the back of my commissioned quilt. Then I need to either pin-baste it or get it ready to pin-baste, depending on when I finish the back. Really need to speed this up if I want to get it done before our short vacation in Baltimore (in 24 days!).

I have Comcast coming on Sunday to see if they can figure out why our internet connection is cutting out so much. It's a little hard for the Husband to work at home if he can't get connected. The Daughter is also home at odd hours during the day and gets really annoyed when she can't get connected to do her stuff...she's been camping out at Peets. Guess it's good I don't work from home anymore!

I'm still loving the Seaweed sweater I'm knitting. I have a ways to go before I get to work the sleeve portion. I'm working the back first with the plan of knitting the two front pieces two at a time after that. The back needs to be 18.5 inches long before I work the sleeves...I've knit about 8 inches of that. So far, so good!
.

well, hello, WIP-it Wednesday...

...still trying to figure out what happened on Monday and Tuesday. I totally spaced out and didn't even think of blogging. That hasn't happened in a while!

Let's play a little catch-up:
  • I finished Jane's wall hanging. I have a technical issue to resolve before I can send it out. because it is wider that it is high, the ribbon hanger makes it fold in on itself. I need to insert something at the top edge to keep that from happening. I think I know what to use, it's just a matter of a little stash diving for it.
  • My commissioned quilt is going a little slower than expected. It took me several hours of planning and trying alternate layouts to get the back ready to sew. I'm still not 100% sure that the current layout is the correct one, but I need to get this back sewn soon!
  • The Blue Whale shawl is progressing. I'm still working on section 2. One thing I don't like about knitting to a specific length rather than a specific number of rows or pattern repeats: it's hard to tell how many more rows you have until "done." I keep measuring and no matter how many rows I add, it's still only 10-10.5 inches long and I need 12...
  • No spinning or weaving yet.
  • I made our reservations for the Daughter's graduation in May. It will be a quick trip as neither the Husband or I want to spend a lot of money right now.

I don't know if you remember the February Lady sweater that I put in the IDJ (It's Dead, Jim) pile. Nice yarn (Cascade Heathers 220), nice looking sweater, not a fun knit for me. At that time I swore I wouldn't try another adult-sized sweater. So, I saw the report of the Seaweed Cardigan knit-along in a Knitting Daily blog post. Between the pictures in the post and the pictures in the KD gallery, this sweater looked nice on a variety of women. I already owned the magazine the pattern came in and looked it up.After reading it, I though that it was totally doable.

One thing I didn't want to do was buy more yarn. I did a little research on Ravelry and found a couple of people who used Cascade 220 to make the cardigan. Bingo! I could use the yarn from the failed February Lady sweater. Needless to say, I cast on and started the sweater! Here's where I am so far:

Seaweed Cardigan, in progress

This is the back piece that I started on Friday. So far, it's going really well. I like how the yarn shows off the stitch pattern and it's an easy knit. So far, so good!
.

Eye Candy Friday...

...and let's hear it for spring flowers! Love, love, love all of the colors.

One more tulip picture:

Tulip ridges

The azaleas in the courtyard at the office:

Azaleas

And a camellia also in the courtyard at the office:

Camellia, another angle

My Club Loopy package arrived. Since it's available on the website, I don't have to hide it:

April 2011 Club Loopy Package

I love the color of this yarn and both patterns look great. I'm leaning toward the shawl pattern only because the sock pattern in toe-up. We all know how well I do with those!

Up this weekend: I need to get serious about both of my commissioned pieces. First, I will finish Jane's wall hanging so I can get that mailed to her. And then I can work on the commissioned quilt. I have all the things I need now and can finish the back to get it ready to pin-baste.

The other thing I simply must do is get the trip to Baltimore finalized. May is just around the corner and I don't want to hold off too much longer!
.

IDJ Wednesday...

...because my WIPs don't look that much different. There are a couple of straggling projects that need to be put out of their misery.

Newly IDJ (It's Dead, Jim)
  • Remember the Dogosaurus Rex sweater [Ravelry] I was going to make for Papi (the dog at my gym)? Cute sweater for a cute dog. Never going to finish it.
  • The hexagon socks [Ravelry]  class I took was great and the sock construction is very cool. However, after seeing how they look in the yarn I selected, I'm never going to finish the socks in this yarn. 
On the fence for IDJ: spinning the rest of Wisteria Angora-Merino top from Tactile [Ravelry]. I like the fiber, the colors are great, but because it sate around for so long in one of my project bags, the bump has partially felted. It is very difficult to separate pieces from the main bump. I haven't had the patience to deal with it yet, but I haven't totally given up. It requires more thought.

So far, I'm ignoring the attack of start-itis that is threatening to infect me. Both Sirena (my wheel) and Circe (my loom) have been idle for too long...
.

Mondays and I are having "issues"...

...I'm having a heck of a time writing a post on Mondays. Heck, who am I kidding...I'm having a heck of a time doing any blog posts. It's 4:15pm and I just started this one!

My weekend was somewhat productive.

My main goal was to take pictures of the tulips at the high school and I did that on Saturday. I wanted to take the photos before the sun burned through the clouds so the light would be more diffuse. My timing was good and the sun didn't come though until the end of my photo shoot. Here's a couple of samples:

Light pink variegated tulip at FHS

Tulip reaching skyward

There are more in my Flickr set.  It was a little sad to see that the tulips needed some TLC. Many were infested with aphids and there weren't quite as many as I remembered. But at least they are still there!  As I went around taking pictures, I kept being drawn to the pink ones. Pink was Savannah's favorite color and I think she wanted to make sure that I took lots of pictures of the pink tulips!

My other big project was Jane's wall hanging. I got a lot accomplished, to the point that I'm now ready to sew the front and back together It took a little longer than I estimated to get it to this point...that's what happens when you don't have a pattern and you're flying blind. LOL!

I knit about an inch on the Blue Whale shawl, I'm still working on section two..each row is taking longer and longer to finish as I do the increases.  I'm make slow progress and managing to keep the rice stitch area correct.

I received the next installment of the Pro-Verbial club. I love the shawl pattern, but I not overly in love with the color of the fiber. The fiber itself is very nice, a camel-silk blend. I may end up spinning a different fiber for the pattern (picture is behind the spoiler below).

Pro-Verbial Spoiler pic

.

Eye-think-it's-finally-Spring Candy Friday...

...flowers are blooming and things are greening up.

The clouds have been interesting the last few days, ranging from fluffy (Wednesday) to wispy (today). Here's what yesterday's cloud cover looked like:

Thursday morning clouds 3

I took several pictures of these clouds from different directions because they looked so cool. (I uploaded two more to Flickr).

The tulips continue to bloom in the back yard.

Yellow tulip, close up

White and pink tulip 2

I think these are from the bulbs that the Daughter brought back from Amsterdam at Christmastime. Whether or not they are, I really love the ruffled variation.

The Husband planted some new flowers in the front and back yard.

Blue Honeywort 2

These are Blue Honeywort flowers, AKA Blue Wax Flower and Blue Shrimp Flower. Their official name is Cerinthe major purpurascens. I love the color and shape of these flowers, but they were a challenge to photograph. If you look at them straight on, they didn't look like much. From below, they just look like circles. I got this picture by shooting from a slightly upward angle.

Up this weekend: Finish the wall hanging (if I say it, it will get done, right?). The other must-do is to go to the high school and take pictures of the tulips. You might remember that we made a donation to the Fremont HS Tulip Fund in Savannah's memory. I want to take pictures to send to her parents. They plan on visiting in June, but the tulips will be gone by then.

Aside from that, I need to do a few chores and run a couple of errands. I'll fit knitting in there somewhere!
.

whoops! That Wednesday snuck by me...

...all day I kept thinking that I was forgetting something. Um, WIP-it Wednesday, perhaps? I finally remembered this morning.

Not that I had much to report or show for my WIPs.
  • I have not worked on Turquoise Trail in a week.
  • I had to rip out 5 rows of the Blue Whale shawl because my rice stitch area magically transformed itself to a ribbing area. Rats! That's what happens when you knit a  project at night with poor lighting and you fall asleep in the middle of a row!
  • I have decided that I need to frog the Beets Go On socks because I just don't like the way the cuffs look where I had to join the yarn for those mysterious yarn breaks. (I still think one of the cats decided the color looked yummy and chewed through both strands. Um, Tica, you are the prime suspect!) I'm going to start these over again with the longer yardage. If I need to, I'll used the shorter yardage for the toes...joining won't be as evident there.
  • The commission quilt is on hold while I finalize the design for the back. I want to get this done before we leave for the Daughter's graduation at the end of May.
  • The wall hanging is progressing, but I can't show you any pictures yet. I want Jane to see it first!
One thing I have been neglecting is updating my project book. In March 1999, I started writing down the projects I worked on during the month...this was before my Filemaker Pro project database, website, blog, and Ravelry. The first year or so, I only tracked the months where I had something in progress or I finished something. There's a gap between Dec 1999 and Jun 2000 when I was working on two large quilts simultaneously.

When I started posting recaps on the blog, it occurred to me that I could print that info and paste it into the journal so I wouldn't have to do double work. Yes, I did consider not keeping the journal anymore, but it's nice to be able flip through the pages and see how much I've accomplished and see how my interests have progressed. It's also nice to have it in an easier-to-read form, because my handwriting is terrible!



Anyway, I'm behind several months. So yesterday I grabbed all the information, put it into a FrameMaker template I created for them, and printed them out. At lunchtime, I used scrapbooking adhesive to paste them in. That finished one WIP...yay!
.

it was a taxing weekend...

...yup, spent most of the weekend doing tax-related things.

No matter how hard we try, we always seems to manage to misplace one or more pieces of vital information. In 1020, I has set aside one entire drawer for nothing but tax information. Most everything was in there, but I was missing one of the DMV pieces and the property tax paperwork. I knew I could look up the DMV thing online and get the information that way and I had the check copies for the property tax. But it was drving me nuts not knowing what happened to the "real" paperwork. Ask me about Virgos who can't find things where they belong...

After several hours of obsessively sorting through all of last years papers (and generating a huge bag of paper recycling and another of shredded paper), I found the missing information. I need to check with the Husband about one thing and then I can file our taxes online. That was Saturday.

On Sunday, I did a few chores and went to the grocery story. After a late lunch, I attacked the Daughter's taxes. That took pretty much the rest of the day. Lots of sorting through medical receipts, and expanding the spreadsheet she had already created...it was a long process. Her stuff is complicated anyway and it didn't help that a lot of her stuff is still in boxes. She managed to find 90% of it and we're putting out inquiries for the rest.  Thank goodness this is the last full year of dealing with her grad school fellowship!

I did manage to spend about an hour and a half on Jane's birthday present. I have the design set now and I'm in sewing mode. I hope to finish it soon, as her birthday was Saturday.

Hope you had a great birthday, Jane!
.

It's still Friday...

...yet another day that got away from me!  It's been that kind of a week. I was easily side-tracked all week, most by work projects and sometimes by just being abnormally spacey.

Today's eye candy is from the garden. The lavender that's going nutso in the front yard:

Lavender

The lone iris blooming in the front yard:
Iris


...and a close up of its petals, dotted with rain drops.

Raindrops on iris petals


Up this weekend: The dreaded taxes. Ugh!  Ours are not too bad to do mostly because, other than charitable contributions, we don't have a lot of things that we have to compile for it. The Daughter's, on the other hand, can be challenging due to her school and business expenses.

Other than that, I need to spend some serious time on someone's birthday present. It's going to be late again, Jane. [sigh] One of these years, I'll get it there on time!
.

March 2011 Recap...

Finished:
  • 3/6 Mochaberry Brambles socks(knitting) [Ravelry]
    Pattern: Blackberry Brambles by Irishgirlieknits
  • 3/20 Sebastopol Raspberry Farm yarn [Ravelry]
    Merino Bamboo top (4 oz) from Royale Hare
    Spun and plied on Lendrum DT folding wheel
    208.4 yds 2-ply, 12 WPI 
  • 3/31 Freestone Fireworks (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Merino-tencel top (4 oz) from Royale Hare
    Spun and Navajo-plied on Lendrum DT Folding Wheel
    154.5 yds, 13 WPI
  • Books:
    River Marked, - Patricia Briggs
    Mercy Thompson, Homecoming - Patricia Briggs
    Pale Demon, Kim Harrison
    How to Knit a Love Song, Rachel Herron
    plus a couple of re-reads: Immortal in Death and Rapture in Death - JD Robb

Started:
  • 3/13 Blue Whale Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • 3/13 Sebastopol Raspberry Farm yarn [Ravelry]
  • 3/26 Freestone Fireworks (spinning) [Ravelry]

Worked on:
  • Commission quilt using the rail fence block, currently unnamed
  • Tealing Groovy quilt top (quilting)
  • The Beets Go On (renamed, was My Heart Beets 4U) socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Turquoise Trail by Laura J Perin (needlepoint)

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]
  • Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry
  • Wisteria Angora-Merino top from Tactile (spinning) [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)

WIP-it Wednesday...

...and not a lot to show for it. I have lost a bit of knitting mojo lately. I knit a few rows and then move on to something else.

The Blue Whale shawl is the only thing I've worked on consistently:

Blue Whale shawl, as of 3/6/11


I'm getting close to the end of section 2. When I'm done with section 2, the shawl will be about 12-inches long.  Section 3 adds another 6 inches. I might want to make this a bit longer than the pattern calls for...I just don't know the best place to do this.

Work is using up most of my brain cells this week, so I might not make any progress on my projects until the weekend.  And then there are those nasty taxes that must be finished...  :(
.

so that Monday just slipped on by...

...I managed to get my photos uploaded to Facebook and Flickr, but never made it to Blogger to post.

Our company party was fun and, as usual, we had some very creative cooks and bakers.Here's what my Little Mermaid dessert looked like:

The Little Mermaid - dessert division

The full set of pictures is on Flickr...make sure to check out the Little Mermaid appetizer than another person made. It's fabulous!

I also made a platter of lemon curd tarts (Queen of Hearts Tarts), but did not get a picture of them. They were OK...the lemon curd turned out very well, but I was disappointed in the cream cheese crust recipe I used. Back to Martha's crust recipe next time!

I didn't get a lot accomplished on Sunday: grocery shopping, a little laundry, and not much elset. I did spend some time looking at the design of the wall hanging, but I was exhausted from the Saturday baking and party. I just knew if I tried to cut fabric and sew, I was going to mess it up. Much better to work on this project when I have more brain cells!

I knit a few rows on The Whale's Tale shawl, made a nice pesto chicken for dinner, and that was about it. I know...really exciting stuff!
.

Finished Object/Eye Candy Friday...

...and Happy April!

First the eye candy. Some freesias...

Red and gold fressias

Some blue flowers that the Husband planted in one of the hanging baskets...

Hanging basket with blue flowers

the mystery bulb finally bloomed—what it is is still a mystery to me...

Mystery bulb finally opened

...and a white Icelandic poppy.

Icelandic Poppy, view from below

Last night I plied the Freestone Fireworks yarn while I watched TV.

Freestone Fireworks yarn

Here's the close up.

Freestone Fireworks yarn, close up

Specs:
Started 3/26/11
Finished 3/31/11
Freestone Fireworks Merino-tencel top (4 oz) from Royale Hare
Spun and Navajo-plied on Lendrum DT Folding Wheel
154.5 yds, 13 WPI

Now that it's done, it reminds me more of Halloween than fireworks!

Up this weekend: Tonight and tomorrow will be spent on prepping for and attending the company party. I've settled on using the cupcake idea and got some really cool things to use as decorations. (Gotta love gummy candy!) There are a couple of new-to-me techniques that I want to try tonight while I wait for some of the chocolate decorations to set up.  It should be fun.

On Sunday, I'll plot out the design for Jane's wall hanging. I think I've settled on an idea there, too.  Now I just need to draw the template and go for it. I think it's will be slightly different than she might have imagined. [(You'll like it, Jane...trust me!)
.

And I'm back...

...it was a great vacation in Arizona! We visited the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, the Sunset Crater area, Walnut Canyon, and several pueb...