Yes, I'm still here...

...it's been a busy week!

We had our company holiday party on Saturday. That pretty much sucked up my Friday evening and my entire Saturday. But, it was worth it!

I might have mentioned before that our company holds its holiday (insert your favorite winter holiday here) party in March or April because many of our clients need things completed by the end of the year and many employees take vacation in December. As a result, if we want staff to attend a party, we have it at off-times.

We also pick a theme every year. This year's theme was an homage to the president's comment about the Jedi mind meld. Our theme: When Universes Collide...Trek Wars! People were invited to bring food that reflected universes of any kind colliding.  You can see pictures of some dishes in my Flickr set...some were quite creative!

My entry? I made chocolate cookies decorated as Star Trek redshirts (if you are not into Star Trek: Starfleet security personnel wear red shirts and frequently die during episodes). Some cookies were decorated as zombies.

Zombie Trek cookies

This zombie redshirt lost his head (we could go for a triple whammy by naming him Ned Stark from Game of Thrones...Game of Zombie Trek?)

Zombie Trek 2

and some were vampires:

Vampire Trek cookie

Here's the entire army of darkness:

Red Shirts!

It was both a blast and a pain to decorate these cookies. (Let's not even talk about how red and black gel food colors don't actually turn royal icing into those colors...Betty Crocker Cookie Frosting to the rescue!) They were well appreciated!

On Sunday, I was too exhausted to do my normal walk, so I caught up on the laundry while I blocked my shawl. Here is the completed shawl:

Lacy in the Sky with Diamonds Shawl and me

and the edging detail:

Lacy in the Sky with Diamonds Shawl, edging

I declared the shawl done on Monday 4/29, when I took it off of the blocking pads. Love this shawl so much!!

While the shawl was drying, I finished burying all of the threads for the Caterwauling quilt. No new picture as it still looks like the last picture, just neater on the back.  It's done!

Now I need to go through my WIPs and find two to bring into rotation. I think they'll probably be spinning WIPs as I haven't done much of that lately.

Happy dance!
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skipped right over that WIP-it Wednesday...

...oops!

Technically, it's still a WIP because it's not blocked yet, but I finished knitting the Celstarium shawl! Yay!  Here is a first look:

Lacy in the Sky with Diamonds, first look

This is unblocked. I have woven in the ends but I won't trim them until after blocking.

I ended up grafting the edging three times because I was not happy with how it looked.  The first to times were using the standard Kitchener grafting. It was just too wide for this edging. It was very obvious where the grafting occurred.  The third time I used the Russian graft with a crochet hook. It looks much better with this method!  This grafting method may become my go-to method from now on. It was easy to keep track of and easy to do.

Now that I've finished knitting the shawl, I'm doing the finishing work for the Caterwauling quilt. I still need to make a label for it, or just write on the back.

It's time to pull another WIP out of the stack and add it to the rotation. I love finishing stuff!
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Top-of-the-waves Tuesday...

...in which we rejoice that the Celestarium shawl is in the home stretch!  I have 3 more edging units to do and then I can graft the edging together.  Yay!

I can also rejoice that the Caterwauling quilt is nearly done, too!  Here's a first look:

Caterwauling Quilt: first look

I need to bury all the hanging threads on the back and add a label. So this project is nearly done!

I did a little spinning, too. I plied the Leicester sample fiber that I spun at Spin-In and I finished the first bobbin of the Camel-Silk WIP and started the second bobbin.

Yes, it was a very productive weekend!
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Eye (am so ready for) Candy Friday...

...the end of the day can't get here too soon!

Even the garden is a little exhausted today. All of the daffodils and tulips are shriveling up and many of the trees are starting to set fruit.

This nectarine tree is having some success with fruit:

Nectarines-to-be

The lemon tree not only has fruit, but blossoms:

Lemon blossoms

The snow peas are starting up again:

Snowpea flower

And there are a few apple blossoms left:

Apple blossoms

We do have a few roses to bring in some color:

Rosebud 2

Up this weekend: Would sleep be too much to ask? Our cats seem to think so—they get up at 6am every morning!

I'd like to finish up the cat quilt and get that off my list of WIPs. And I'd like to continue my progress on the Celestarium edging. I've completed 53 of the 72 repeats and hit the 93.99% mark. I'm getting closer!!

Somewhere during the weekend I need to do some dusting and my other chores. However, if I get on a roll with either the quilt or the shawl, dusting will have to wait.

A little dust never killed anyone, right?
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WIP-it Wednesday and the weekend report...

...it's been insane since last Friday.

The only weekend plans that went as scheduled were Spin-In and getting our taxes completed. We found out on Saturday that our niece Amanda was coming in for a visit and spending Monday night with us. Long story short: her business trip to SF was cancelled and she couldn't get a refund on her ticket, so she came anyway.

The rest of the weekend was a flurry of getting the house ready. That meant unearthing the extra bed and getting things cleaned up an put away in the Husband's office.  We did have a plan B in case we couldn't get that done (put the air bed in my studio), but it was good to get the office cleaned up. Basically, our weekend was spent cleaning, doing laundry, and getting things ready for our visitors.

Yup, that was plural: visitors.

Because Amanda was going to be in town, my mother, brother, and nephew drove up from Santa Maria to see her. And of course the Daughter came by to see them all. It was a seriously full house!  I worked part of Monday morning while I waited for my niece to arrive and then took the rest of Monday off. My mother had already arrived at my house by the time we go there.

We had a good visit...it had been too long since I'd seen my niece and way too long since my mother had seen her.  Yesterday, the Daughter picked up Amanda to spend time with her and get her to the airport for her flight home.

We're all exhausted from our whirlwind visit, but it was worth seeing how happy my mother was.

For today's WIP, here's proof that I actually do something else besides knit the Celstarium shawl. Here's bobbin #1 of the camel silk I started at March's Spin-In.

Tribe handspun, bobbin #1

I did a bit more on Saturday, but I really can't concentrate on it until I finish the shawl. I have finished 47 of the 72 repeats for the edging and have passed the 90% point. Only 25 more to go!
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It's Eye Candy Friday already...

....that week went by fast!  Today's eye candy is brought to you by the color white.

Grapefruit blossoms:

Grapefruit blossoms

Berry blossoms:

Berry blossom

And white watsonia:

White watsonia

Up this weekend: Spin-In tomorrow! I haven't spun anything since last month's Spin-In. The shawl has completely consumed all of my crafting time.

The other thing I need to finish is the taxes. I'm still waiting on the info from the Husband, who has been completely buried under classwork and real work.

In between my normal chores and these two events, I'll be knitting away on the shawl. I just completed repeat #30 of 72 for the edging. I am getting close to the halfway point...because I used two 40-inch circulars to knit the shawl, I'll know I'm halfway when I get to the end of the first circular....can't wait!
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...in which I am still working on the Celestarium shawl.

As I mentioned in a previous post. I'm using the edging from the Jared Flood "Leaves of Grass" pattern. When I auditioned edgings for the shawl, my goal was to find one that looked good and didn't require an inordinate number of repeats.  Well, the Leaves of Grass edging requires 72 repeats...I'll be at it for a while!

I have finished 18 of the 72. Here's what the shawl looks like now (ignore the pink lifeline):

Lacy in the Sky with Diamonds shawl, as of 4/10/13

I love it! When it's blocked, the pattern will really pop!

Now if I only knit faster...
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Top of the Waves Tuesday...

...because there's not much new to report.
  1. Taxes: Everything is entered into TurboTax except the stuff from the Husband.  I had minor heart failure when I couldn't find two receipts of our charitable donations...the ones where I donated about 150 books, 40 yards of fabrics and a bunch of hand knit scarves!  I finally found them, but the search chewed up several hours of valuable crafting time!
     
  2. Caterwauling quilt: Zero progress over the weekend. See item #1 above.
      
  3. Spinning: Zero progress.
      
  4. Lacy in the Sky with Diamonds (Celestarium) shawl: I have completed 16 of the 72 repeats for the lace edging. I love the way it's turning out!  If I get a chance, I'll upload a picture for WIP-it Wednesday.
..and that's it.  The shawl is still the main focus, especially now that I can how cool the edging looks. I need to finish this so I can get back to my other WIPs!

(Famous last words...)
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Eye Candy Friday...

...hooray for the weekend!

The tulips from last week opened up with the warmer weather we had for a few days.  Here's an orange tulip:

Inside an orange tulip

a white tulip:

Inside a white tulip

and a yellow tulip:

Inside a yellow tulip

One thing about taking macro photographs is that you can't always predict what will show up in the picture. The world is full of tiny bugs that you can easily miss. Like in this tulip:

Invasion of the Pollen Snatchers

There are a bunch of little guys feasting on the flower, including the one in the upper left that has pollen all over his legs.

Up this weekend: Taxes need to be finished, so I have some work ahead of me. I always say that I'm going to log the Goodwill donations immediately into ItsDeductible.com, but I never do. I need to get those figures and have the Husband do his piece. Thankfully, for tax purposes anyway, my business did not make a lot of money last year--that should be a simple thing to finish.

When I'm not working on that, I'll be knitting the edging on my shawl! I finished the set up rows and started the edging last night. I finished one repeat, but I'm not happy with the bead placement. I need to pull it out and place the beads in a less linear configuration.

I'd also like to work on the cats' quilt, but that might not happen this weekend of the taxes take up too much time.
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WIP-it Wednesday round-up...

...in which we have a little progress. By far, the shawl has gotten the most attention.

Active WIPs in the rotation:
  1. Lacy in the Sky with Diamonds (Celestarium) shawl [Ravelry]: 75% done
    If I was doing the edging that the pattern specifies, I'd be 90% done. However, I picked an edging that requires more stitches per row. :-p

    I have finished 157 rounds as indicated in the chart (yay!) and have now knitting 4 extra rounds (k1tog yo/knit all with bead placement/yo k2tog/knit all no beads) to set up for the edging. Here's what the bead row looks like:

    Lacy in the Sky with Diamonds shawl, as of 4/3/13

    On the plus side, I finally picked an edging! I saw an edging on a free shawl in Ravelry that has since disappeared, which is not a big deal as the pattern was no longer available for download. I found the same edging on a Jared Flood pattern (Leaves of Grass) that I ended up buying just for the edging. The shawl itself is beautiful and might get placed in my queue in the future!
     
  2. Caterwauling quilt: machine quilting 75% done
    I might be able to finish this over the weekend.
     
  3. Pilgrim handspun [Ravelry]: On hold
     
  4. Spin-In Fiber sampler: continuing; waiting for next Spin-In.
Waiting to be rotated in: 
  1. Anasazi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  2. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Happy Pumpkin Scissor Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
  4. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry]
  5. Mediterranean Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch)
  6. Royale top, 2 oz (Merino-Yak-Silk) top from A Verb for Keeping Warm (spinning) [Ravelry
  7. Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry]
Candidate for IDJ (It's Dead, Jim)
  • Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)
Hibernating
  1. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
  2. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  4. Seaweed Cardigan (knitting)  [Ravelry]

March 2013 recap...

...in which the Celestarium Shawl dominated the month, so much so that it even impacted my reading time!

Finished:

  • 3/3 Log Cabin Scarf--finishing work for Stitches West project (weaving) [Ravelry]
  • 3/3 Navajo Turquoise handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Merino top from the Yarn Wench;
    210.3 yds Chain ply, 14 WPI
  • Books:
    1. Deadly Sting, Jennifer Estep
    2. Frost Burned, Patricia Briggs
    3. Mercy Burns, Keri Arthur
    4. Destiny Kills, Keri Arthur
    5. Calculated in Death, JD Robb
Started:
  • 3/16 Tribe handspun, Camel-Silk top from Greenwood Fiberworks (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • 3/10 Caterwauling quilt for the cats (quilting)

Worked on:
  • Celestarium shawl (knitting)  [Ravelry]
  • Pilgrim top, 2 oz (Merino-Tussah Silk) top from A Verb for Keeping Warm (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • Spin-In Fiber Sampler (This will take several months to complete as we are working on it together)

Works In Progress, did not work on:
  1. Anasazi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  2. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Happy Pumpkin Scissor Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
  4. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry]
  5. Mediterranean Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch)
  6. Royale top, 2 oz (Merino-Yak-Silk) top from A Verb for Keeping Warm (spinning) [Ravelry
  7. Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry

Candidate for IDJ (It's Dead, Jim):
  • Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)
 
UFOs/Hibernation:

  1. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
  2. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  4. Seaweed Cardigan (knitting)  [Ravelry]

Eye Candy Friday...

...and I'm so ready for the weekend! As I mentioned in an earlier post, my camera and I took a walk last Sunday to test out its featur...