Happy Halloween!

...no, I did not wear a costume to work. I did wear some skeleton earrings...that's about all I can handle these days.

The more important thing was to open the bags of candy and get them ready for tonight.  I don't get home until 7pm, so it's up to the Husband to hand out the candy until then. Out decorations are minimal--a skeleton on the door, a metal luminaria (with ghost silhouettes) to light the top of the driveway, and we're good. We didn't even get around to buying a pumpkin this year, much less carving one!

Today's eye candy is the sunrise. When I got back from the gym this morning, the sky was just lightening up:

Sunrise 10/31/14 at 7:10am

A few minutes later, everything had an orange glow:

Sunrise 10/31/14 at 7:23

By the time I was ready to leave for work, it had started raining. Hooray! Our plants have been doing pretty well between the drip irrigation and using the water that we catch while the showers warm up. However, there are some plants that just haven't gotten enough water, and of course the reservoirs need a ton of water.

Up this weekend: I'm hoping for a bit more rain! And then there's the time change on Sunday. And as always, as many crafts as I can cram into a weekend! I do have a quilt that I need to finish...

With tomorrow being the start of November (November!), I have one month before Cookie Time. I haven't seen as many magazines about cookie recipes as last year or the year before. I did finally find my favorite magazine, Christmas Cookies from BHG, but it was a disappointment. BHG has been recycling a lot of their cookie recipes and even some of the photos, so I didn't see anything that was a fresh take on Christmas cookies. I know there are only so many cookie recipes, but there are lots of ways to decorate or present them. I'm just not seeing anything that catches my eye.

So, I might not have any new cookies this year, unless I find something in the next 30 days--I'll start looking this weekend. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know. The cookies must not require refrigeration because I don't have any room for that. They also must be able to hold up well in the mail. I leave the chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies to the Daughter as she makes awesome versions of each. I'm not fond of snickerdoodles, so I don't make those either.

Here's what I made last year:
  1. Biscotti, 8 kinds: chocolate, coconut, Espresso, Grand Marnier, gingerbread, fruitcake, pistachio-cranberry, peppermint
  2. Cherry kisses
  3. Chocolate Coffee ribbons
  4. Christmas Spritz
  5. Cut-out sugar cookies
  6. Cut-out chocolate sugar cookies
  7. Gingerbread cookies
  8. Mexican Weddings cookies (I think I made a chocolate version, too, but I need to check)
  9. Pistachio pinwheels
  10. Polvorones
  11. Spumoni slices
The items in bold are either cookies that are family tradition or cookies that I plan to make again this year. As for the rest, I think it might be time to cycle out some of them out. I hope I find some substitutes!
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Random Thursday...

...because Wednesday just zipped on by!
  1. I'll be glad when we change the clocks because it's d@mn dark when I leave work at 6:30pm.

    And maybe I'll manage to stay awake long enough to watch a 9pm show...
     
  2. I'm thankful that I have a good job and that my small company offers medical insurance, because it's really ugly out there. I'm responsible for the open enrollment process here at work, and the premium increases and reduction in benefits is appalling. I can see why some people go without it.
     
  3. I managed to snag a Phat Fiber box this month! It's been 2 years since I was able to get one. I decided that which ever one dropped first, I'd try to get it and be happy about it instead of waiting for the fiber-only box to drop. My mixed box arrived yesterday and has quite a bit of fiber in it. I'm very pleased.  Pictures when I get a chance to take them.
     
  4. The Wurm Hat [Ravelry] is progressing nicely. I'm on repeat #7 of 10 and almost to the end of the skein. It's a good thing I bought two skeins for the project.
     
  5. I can't believe it's almost November!
     
  6. And, I'm craving all things pumpkin, so it shouldn't be a total surprise.
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Finished Object for Tuesday...

...and a short weekend report.

Spin-In was cancelled for this month. I still felt like doing some spinning so I pulled a small bump of fiber that the Husband gave me for my birthday last year.  This is Stormy Waters [Ravelry]:

Stormy Waters handspun

and the close up :

Stormy Waters handspun, close up

Specs:
Started 10/25/14
Finished 10/26/14
Camel-Silk top (2.0 oz) from Schafenfreude Fibers
120.9 yd chain-ply, 13 WPI

The fiber label did not list a color name. It reminded me of a stormy sea, so I named it Stormy Waters. I love love LOVE camel-silk. It feels so good to spin and it is so soft when plied.

As for the rest of the weekend, I caught up on a couple of chores and did a little household shopping. Nothing exciting there.

I just didn't feel like working on the quilt, so I ended up knitting when I wasn't spinning. The Wurm hat is coming along nicely. I love the yarn and the pattern is easy. I might actually keep this hat for myself.

The Alcea Cowl [Ravelry] continues to bug me. I'm not happy with that seam and every time I look at it. I'm reminded of it. I may end up pulling out the seam and re-doing it, especially if I decide to give it to someone.
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Eye Candy Friday...

...in which I don't have anything from our garden. It's looking bare out there!

Instead, here's are more photos from PIQF.

This tapestry was interesting (Stonecrop Tapestry by Susan Bianchi). Look at all of those buttons:

Stonecrop Tapestry

I loved this quilt (It's About Time by Robbi Eklow):

It's About Time quilt

the center detail:

It's About Time quilt, detail 1

and the quilting on the back of the quilt

It's About Time quilt, back

I also loved this one (Forever and Never Again by Joan McWilliams:

Forever and Never Again quilt

One more. The detail view of Color Challenge: Aqua Green by Gail Wax

Color Challenge: Aqua Green quilt, detail

Up this weekend: Spin In on Sunday!  It will feel good to do some spinning.  I've been consumed by knitting lately, to the detriment of everything else.  I need to come up with something to take, though. Not feeling particularly inspired at the moment. We'll see how I feel about it tomorrow.

Other than that, we have a few errands to run, some laundry to do. Maybe I'll actually work on the quilt this weekend!
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...and I have a couple of finished objects!

First up, some spinning. I've been incorrectly calling this Iris when it's really Rose of Sharon [Ravelry]:

Rose of Sharon handspun

Specs:
Started 9/20/14;
Finished 10/12/14;
Merino-Bamboo-Silk (4 oz) from Miss Babs;
318.25 2-ply, WPI TBD
I finished the Alcea Cowl [Ravelry] last night. Here it is, modeled by Borg the Moose:

Alcea Cowl

Another view:

Alcea Cowl, another view

Specs:
Started 9/13/14;
Finished 10/21/14;
Pattern: Alcea Cowl by Hannah Maier;
Yarn: La Jolla by Baah! in Brazilian Emerald
Loopy Academy project

I'm not completely happy with the seam, though. If I ever do another project like this, I am doing a provisional cast-on and then grafting the ends using the Kitchener method. What a pain in the neck it was trying to seam this after blocking!



WIP Roll Call

WIPs in Rotation:
  1. Wurm Hat (knitting) [Ravelry]
    Cuff is done; working on first pattern repeat
  2. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)
    Starting the third of 8 medallions.
WIPs, no play this week:
  1. Ghouls, ghosts, and witches...oh, my! (cross stitch)
  2. I'm Just Mad About Citron Quilt (quilting)
  3. Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
  4. Stealth project
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. Beyond Antares, aka Equatorial Nights (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
  4. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry
  5. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
WIPs To Be:
  • Raspberry Mittens [Ravelry]
  • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.

Top-of-the-Waves Tuesday...

...the weekend report.

PIQF
I had a great time at PIQF. There were a lot of interesting art quilts and a lot of traditional quilts. I pretty much blew past the traditional quilts. I appreciate the effort and skill that goes into them, but my eye will always be drawn to the unusual, colorful, or down-right odd quilt.

I'm still processing my pictures, but here are a couple that caught my eye.

I love the colors in Firmament by Brigitte Morgenroth of Germany:

Firmament quilt, detail

And I loved the bees in Coreopsis by Bernadine Hine of Australia.

Coreopsis quilt, bee detail

I have a 2014 PIQF album on Flickr with a few more photos; I'll add to it as I get a chance.

(And, yes, I bought a little fabric...it's in the Flickr photo album.)

Alcea Cowl [Ravelry]
I finished knitting the cowl. I washed and blocked it. I'm waiting for it to dry so I can sew the ends together and call it done. So my first project for Loopy Academy is almost done!

Wurm Hat [Ravelry]
I started my second project for Loopy Academy: A hat by a designer that's new to me; the yarn must be sport or DK weight.   I love the yarn and the color Lepidoptera is a lovely rose color. This is a definitely a feminine-looking hat.

Other Weekend Activities
Or should I say, things that I didn't do on the weekend. I did not work on the quilt, the mermaid, or the stealth project. I did not mop the floors like I wanted to. (Not totally my fault...it's easier to do this when the Husband isn't home. We were gone at the same time, so it didn't happen.)

I did make some lovely potato and bacon soup for dinner on Sunday. It's been at least 10 years since I've made it and I had to call Mom to get a reminder of what she put in it.  I combined her instructions with a recipe I found for Slow Cooker Potato Soup. It is quite yummy! I'll have to write up the complete recipe so I can make it again in the winter.
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Eye Candy Friday...

...and not a moment too soon!

Today's eye candy is brought to you by the color red.

Red habaneros:

Habanero chile peppers

Red in today's sunrise:

Sunrise 10/17/14

and a red rose:

Red rose

Up this weekend: It's Pacific International Quilt Festival time! My original plan was to go on Saturday, but I might hold off until Sunday. It really depends on how much I feel like fighting the Saturday crowds. If I go first thing on Sunday, I avoid some of the crowds, but then I upset my entire Sunday routine.  I'm still thinking about it. I'll see how I feel in the morning.

I typically don't spend a lot of money at the show, but I would like to get some variegated thread to use for quilting. They usually have at least one thread vendor there. I don't plan on buying a lot of fabric, but if I see something that might be useful (read: it's pretty), you know it will come home with me!

I'm in the home stretch of the Alcea Cowl. I have about 4 inches left to knit! Once I get to the right length, I can work the drop stitches row and bind off. The instructions say to block it before joining the ends, so I guess that's what I'll do. I would have rather joined it and then blocked it, but I'm impatient that way.

I'd like to make a bit more progress on the I'm Just Mad About Citron quilt. I'd really like to finish this quilt this year, which means I have about 6 weeks. As you know December is all about the cookie...yup, it's coming up fast!
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Well, Wednesday snuck up on me...

 ...and I can't believe I totally missed Tuesday. And it's after 8pm on Wednesday!

Here's a quick roll call. I hope to get back on the blogging track soon!

WIPs in Rotation:

  1. Alcea Cowl (knitting) [Ravelry]
    I've knit about 33 inches--past the halfway-point! 16 more inches to go.
  2. I'm Just Mad About Citron Quilt (quilting)
    Machine quilted some of the 1-patch squares; still need to find a pattern for the border.
  3. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)
    Stitching one of the medallions.
WIPs, no play this week:
  1. Ghouls, ghosts, and witches...oh, my! (cross stitch)
  2. Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
  3. Stealth project
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. Beyond Antares, aka Equatorial Nights (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
  4. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry
  5. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
WIPs To Be:
  • Wurm hat [Ravelry
  • Raspberry Mittens [Ravelry]
  • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.

Eye Candy Friday...

...and the pickings were slim. Even my fallback photo of the sunrise was a fail because it was so foggy.

As I reported earlier, we have a lot of pomegranates this year. Several of them are starting to split open:

Split Pomegranate

We're trying to pick them as soon as we see a split, but we missed this one.

The habanero chile peppers are about ready to pick:

Habaneros

The Husband plans on making some chile sauce with some of them. Just as long as he makes it when I'm not home...these chiles are hot and the scent hangs in the air for a long time! It's no fun inhaling hotness.

Up this weekend: I need to play catch up with some housework. I ignored it last weekend, but need to get serious about it.

Since the photo subjects in our garden are few and far between, I think my Sunday walk will have to be a photo walk. I hope to stockpile some photos for the coming week.

As always,  crafts will be a big part of the weekend.  If I ever find a decent quilting pattern, I could finished machine quilting my I'm Just Mad About Citron quilt.
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WIP-it Wednesday...

...with some progress pictures.

This is Tucson Twilight as of today:

Tucson Twilight, as of 10/8/14

Sorry, it's not a great picture, but you can see all of the completed borders and separators. Now I can start the more interesting stitching.

Here's the Lilac Rose of Sharon handspun:

Lilac handspun, in progress

I bought this at Stitches West 2011 from the Miss Babs booth. I haven't decided yet whether to chain-ply it or make it a 2-ply. I spun this a bit thicker than my last handspun adn I think it will make a nice 2-ply

I won't show a picture of the Alcea Cowl [Ravelry] because it looks basically the same as the last picture, just longer.

WIP Roll Call
WIPs in Rotation:
  1. Alcea Cowl (knitting) [Ravelry]
    I've knit about 25 inches--past the halfway-point! 24 more inches to go. (unless I decide to make it longer...)
  2. I'm Just Mad About Citron Quilt (quilting)
    Machine quilted the 4-patch squares; still trying to find a good motif for the 1-patch squares and the border.
  3. Lilac Rose of Sharon handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    About 75% done with the singles
  4. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)
    Finished stitching the borders and separators. Ready to stitch the rest.
WIPs, no play this week:
  1. Ghouls, ghosts, and witches...oh, my! (cross stitch)
  2. Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
  3. Stealth project
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. Beyond Antares, aka Equatorial Nights (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
  4. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry
  5. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
WIPs To Be:
  • Wurm hat [Ravelry
  • Raspberry Mittens [Ravelry]
  • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.

Top-of-the-Waves Tuesday...

...sorry, no photos.

  1. I probably could have taken some photos on my Sunday walk. However, if I do a photo walk, I don't get as much exercise.  And I need the exercise!
     
  2. Maybe if I exercise more, I'll get more sleep. I didn't catch up this weekend. I was too tired to set up a sleeping pallet in the studio.
     
  3. I made a small decision about the quilt in progress. I still don't know how I'm going to quilt the one-patch (flower)  squares, but I decided to do stitch-in-the-ditch on the four-patch squares. I finished that portion of the quilt on Saturday. I still haven't found a design that I like (and that is not too complicated) for quilting the one-patch squares and the border.
     
  4. Spinning is progressing on Lilac [Ravelry], the merino-bamboo-Tussah silk on my wheel. I've spun about 75% of the singles.
     
  5. I'm stitching the last separator for Tucson Twilight (needlepoint). I have a sneaky feeling that I'm off one thread on one of the separators, but I'm not going back to redo it. I'm just going to compensate with the filling stitches.

    I'm not fond of the way the instructions are written for this design. I've done other pieces by this designer that were not nearly this convoluted complex. First you stitch the borders and the separators, then the large motifs, and finally the filling stitches. I much prefer working on one section of the canvas at a time. We'll see how long I last doing it the way it's written...
     
  6. I did not touch the mermaid or any of the other stitching projects in my WIPs list.
     
  7. I'm almost to the halfway point of the Alcea Cowl [Ravelry]. It's a nice, easy knit that is a great portable project. The colors are so bright and cheery!
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Eye Candy Friday...

...and we're approaching that time of the year when the garden starts winding down. Dead plants are not that appealing in photos.

Today, I found the last blooms on the bougainvillea:

Bougainvillea

this purple salvia:

Purple salvia in the morning sun

and the plumbago vines, which show no signs of slowing down yet:

Plumbago

Up this weekend: The number one items on my list is sleep.

I have not been sleeping well the last few weeks. According to my Fitbit, I'm sleeping a little over 5 hours a night and I'm very restless. It's starting to catch up with me. I might have to camp in my studio to avoid all noises in the middle of the night. It's tough to sleep in: either the Husband is up making noise or the cats are yelling at me for breakfast.

As for the rest of the weekend, it's chores, errands, and crafts. I'd like to get back to the quilt, but I still haven't decided how to quilt the border and the remaining squares. I also need to get back to the mermaid. I've been ignoring her far too long.

I've been obsessed with spinning lately, so I'm not sure how successful I will be to ignore it and work on something else.
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September 2014 recap...

...such as it is.

Finished:
  • 9/27 Seaglass handspun (spinning)  [Ravelry]
    4.0 oz. Camel-Silk top from Greenwood Fiberworks;
    230.7 yds. chain-ply, 14 WPI
  • 9/7 Holly Berries handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Merino-silk top (4.6 oz) from Wonderland Dyeworks;
    219.6 yds chain-ply, 11 WPI
  • Books:
    1. Forged, Jacquelyn Frank
    2. Private London, James Patterson
    3. Festive in Death, JD Robb
    4. The Witch With No Name, Kim Harrison
    5. NYPD Red 2, James Patterson
    6. Private #1 Suspect, James Patterson
    7. The Winter Long, Seanan McGuire
    8. Magic Breaks, Ilona Andrews
    9. Countdown, Fern Michaels
    10. Upside Down, Fern Michaels
    11. Take Down, Fern Michaels
Started:
  • 9/1 Seaglass handspun (spinning)  [Ravelry]
  • 9/20 Lilac handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • 9/13 Alcea Cowl (knitting) [Ravelry]
Worked on:
  • Beyond Antares, aka Equatorial Nights (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • I'm Just Mad About Citron Quilt (quilting)
  • Stealth project
  • Tuscon Twilight (needlepoint)
Works In Progress, did not work on:
  • Ghouls, ghosts, and witches...oh, my! (cross stitch)
  • Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
IDJ (It's Dead, Jim):
  • Stormy Affection (knitting) [Ravelry]
    UFOs/Hibernation:
    1. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
    2. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
    3. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry
    4. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
    5. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
    WIPs To Be:
    • Wurm hat [Ravelry
    • Raspberry Mittens [Ravelry]
    • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.

    WIP-It Wednesday, October 1st...

    ....yeah, October. When did that happen?  Time is just speeding along!

    No new WIP pictures as I haven't had a spare moment when then light was good. It seems that by the time I'm ready to take pictures, it's dark. I really need to invest in some spot lights.

    Most of my WIPs are not calling my name at the moment. The cowl is probably getting the most play. I've also moved Beyond Antares (Equatorial Nights) to the UFO pile...I just can't seem to get into it.

    WIP Roll Call
    WIPs in Rotation:

    1. Alcea Cowl [Ravelry]
      I've knit a little over 14 inches....at least 35 more inches to go!
    2. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)
      75% done with the outside border; moved onto the purple.
    WIPs, no play this week:
    1. Ghouls, ghosts, and witches...oh, my! (cross stitch)
    2. I'm Just Mad About Citron Quilt (quilting)
    3. Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
    4. Stealth project
    UFOs/Hibernation:
    1. Beyond Antares, aka Equatorial Nights (knitting) [Ravelry]
    2. Celaeno Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
    3. Going Snow Global quilt (quilting)
    4. Halloween Phat Fiber samples (spinning) [Ravelry
    5. Peacock Pomatomus socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
    6. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
    IDJ (It's Dead, Jim):
    • Stormy Affection (knitting) [Ravelry]
    WIPs To Be:

    • Wurm hat [Ravelry
    • Raspberry Mittens [Ravelry]
    • A peacock or mermaid quilt for me.

    WIP-it Wednesday...

    ...and a photo of my new toy. A year or so ago, my Mom mentioned that she had an old Singer sewing machine. She said it wasn't very bi...