Monday, March 31, 2008

March went out like a lion...

...I'm glad tomorrow's April.

Our niece and nephew did not visit this weekend after all, so I had more time for my crafts than I expected.

I spent most of my time working on the last piece of the secret birthday gift. It was frustrating because the instructions were not well-written. I had to redo several things after debugging what was wrong. I do like the way it's turning out, but I'd be done right now if it wasn't for the wonky directions.

I also worked on the bunny. The Vickie Howell Craft yarn is very soft and I love how it looks. Here's the bunny so far:

Bunny Love

The only thing left to knit are the insides of the ears. One interesting thing is that the pink version of this yarn is not as soft and has no fuzz factor. I'm trying to decide whether to swap out the yarn for something softer. If I stick with what I have, it should wash up well; not so sure about what will happen if I switch to another yarn.

Anyway, I want to finish the bunny so I can move on to one of the baby sweater projects. I don't have much left to finish on the secret project. I need to get this done so I can get it in the mail...somebody's birthday will be here before you know it!

Friday, March 28, 2008

ready for April...

...because March pretty much has s_cked rocks. I haven't mentioned much about what's been going on in the background because they are not my stories to tell. But between the dramas and health problems of some family members, it's been a month.

Oh, yeah, Eye Candy Friday. OK, this is the best I can do today:

Stormy weather

Moving on...the bunny is progressing. I now have two arms and a leg and a half. Still trying to figure out why the pattern has you knit the arms flat and then seam them instead of knitting them in the round. I followed the instructions this time, but if I make another one, I'm doing the arms in the round.

Up this weekend, one of the Husband's brothers is coming for a visit with his two kids (a boy and a girl). I've been helping our niece (10 yr) learn to knit, so I hope to spend some time with her on that. I'll continue to work on the bunny and hopefully finish up the secret birthday present.

What I really need is some "chill" time. Hmmm, Tahiti is sounding really good about now...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

OK, this will take a little imagination..., not that kind of imagination! This is a bunny arm:

Bunny Arm

Now, imagine the rest of the bunny attached to that arm. That's baby project #1. Not much to show, but what can I say? The pattern is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and I'm using the Vickie Howell Craft yarn from South West Trading Company. So far, I love this yarn—it's soft with a little "fuzz" factor that will work well for a stuffed animal. The fact that it is an organic cotton and milk fiber blend is a plus.

I've resisted casting on another pair of socks and I've put the leg warmers on hiatus as the Daughter doesn't need them right now. I really need to cast on for one of the baby sweaters in my queue, I just can't decide which one to start with:
(For fellow Ravelry peeps: they are all in my Ravelry queue)

They are all very cute, which is why I can't decide which one to do first. Decisions, decisions...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Finished the Lenore socks!

...Yay! I can't begin to tell you how good it feels to be done with them! Here are the pictures:

Lenore socks, done!

Keep in mind that I haven't blocked these yet and that colors are not true to life. (Someday, I'll be a better photographer)

Lenore Socks, side view
The Specs:
Finished 3/23/2008
Needle size: US 1 on cuff; US 2 (2.25mm) on the foot
Color and pattern: Lenore
Rockin' Socks Club 2007 from Blue Moon Fiber Arts

I also finished the Penngrove Purples yarn.

Penngrove Purples yarn

The Specs:
Finished 03/22/2008
Royale Hare superwash merino (4.0 oz) in Penngrove Purples

Spun and plied on Lendrum Folding wheel

2-ply, yield: 315 yds.

11 WPI average

So that was the crafty side of my weekend. We had a nice lunch out for Easter with the Husband's parents and the Daughter. Other than that, I was pretty obsessed with finishing the socks!

Next on the knitting agenda are some baby projects. I'm now knitting for three babies, so it's going to be fun picking different things for each.

Oh, and today the postal person brought my March installment for the Rockin' Sock Club! (click the image below to see the yarn...)

The pattern is intriguing...

OK deep breath: Must. Resist. Cannot. Cast. On.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Eye Candy Friday 3/21...

...well, that week went fast! Probably because I have a new work project and I've concentrating on that. Anyway, here are a few pictures in honor of Easter.

Some yellow freesias (seriously, we have a lot of freesias right now)...

Yellow Freesias

Crabapple blossoms (this tree is in the front yard)...

Crabapple blossoms

Flowering rosemary...


To end the week, WIP pictures of the Lenore socks. First. the two socks on the needles...

Lenore socks, as of 3/21

..and the artsy shot:

Lenore socks, closeup

I'm not sure what I'll get to work on this weekend. The Daughter is home for a few days and I know she wants to do something for Easter. If nothing else, I'm determined to work on these socks! I don't feel like I can cast on another project until I get to the toes. We'll see!

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

another no-WIP Wednesday...

...still working on the Lenore socks and the secret birthday present. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of looking at Lenore sock pictures; I just want them done. I have another two inches before I can start the toes. And I won't be able to show you the present until after the recipient's birthday in April!

Instead, I'll show you a little thing I've been playing with online. I recently signed up for Picnik, an online photo editing site. I wanted editing software that I could use to quickly crop and make minor adjustments to photos before uploading them to Flickr. I've been very happy with Picnik—it does most of what I want and the interface is very nice. The biggest plus is that it is a web-based application, so I can access it from any computer. I signed up for the paid version because there were some cool photos effects that I want to use (and it had no ads).

So here is a photo I took yesterday morning
I love the look of the clouds and the moon (as with all my pictures, click to see it bigger).

Moon in morning sky 1

Using the HDR-ish camera effect on the picture results in this:

Moon in morning sky 2

Now you can really see how the clouds go across the sky and how many gray clouds there are.

Exploring the different effects has been fun, so you may see more of them in the future...

Monday, March 17, 2008

weekend o' crafts = sore wrists...

...but mentally I'm recharged!

Of course, as it is with many of these weekends, I felt like I had to do something useful around the house first. So I did all of the laundry (The Husband usually does this chore) and put everything away. I also took all of the books that were piled up in the bedroom to the loft and put them away in the bookshelves. (Because I read fast, there are always at least 10 books on the floor by my had gotten way beyond that.) And I cleaned up the kitchen.

Only then did I feel that I could get started on my crafty weekend. The first thing on my list was to visit Bobbin's Nest Studio. This is a relatively new shop and I had heard a lot of good things about it, plus they carry some fabric. I felt very welcome from the moment I walked in the door. Everyone was friendly and helpful. I was on a mission to buy a book of baby patterns and yarn to make some baby items—I found both. I got the Debbie Bliss "Essential Baby" book and bought yarn for one of her patterns, plus yarn for a baby item in "Last Minute Knitted Gifts," and yarn for a baby item in "One-Skein Wonders."

Merino 5 yarn, variegated

Sheep Number 3

Bamboo yarn

So what did I work on?
  • Worked on the secret birthday present for a good part of Saturday.
  • Finished spinning the Penngrove Purples fiber; I'm letting the singles sit for a day or so before I ply them.
  • Started spinning Copperhead 2, a Falkland top from Yarn Wench. I'm using the instructions in the "Stretch Your Color" article from the latest Knitty and modifying them slightly to see whether I can control the colors a bit better.

    Copperhead 2, first bobbin

  • Worked on the Lenore socks: finished the gusset decreases and I'm now working on the foot.
I didn't work on any sewing or quilting projects. I'll get back to that soon, but I really wanted to work on the other stuff for a while.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Eye Candy Friday, March 14... make up for the picture-less post on Wednesday, here are some garden pictures.

Fledgling blueberries...

Blueberries are starting

Freesias, pink...

Pink Freesias

...and white.

White Freesias

Blossoms on our little cherry tree...

First Cherry Blossoms

I love this time of the year! Everything is blooming and the blue skies outnumber the stormy skies.

On the crafty side of my world, I finished my Knit2 Bag pattern and sold my first copy! Yay! (and Phew! The State of California was threatening to take away my Seller's Permit if I didn't make any sales in the next 30 days...I guess they miss my sales tax contribution!)

The Husband left this morning for a weekend camping trip. This means It's just me and the cats, and my crafts! I predict: lots of spinning and knitting!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

no-WIP and no-Pic Wednesday...

...cuz I have nothing I can show you.

I can't show you the pattern that's almost finished or the birthday present I'm making. I've done nothing more on any of my projects.

About the only new thing around here is the book I received from Amazon this morning: Last-Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. I haven't had time to look at it yet, but if it's anything like her other book "Last-Minute Knitted Gifts," I know I'll find at least a couple of things that will beg to be made.

The time change has affected my sleep habits, so not only so I want to sleep in, but I'm also falling asleep early! I hope that things get back to normal's playing havoc on what I can accomplish in a day!

[Yawn] Back to work...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday Morning [picture-heavy post] ...

...Spring Forward style:

Spring Forward Sky

It was a busy weekend, most of it crafty. I did a little spinning, finishing the first bobbin of the Royale Hare roving and starting the second bobbin.

Penngrove Purples, bobbin 1

I did a little knitting. Worked on the decreases for the Lenore socks...

Lenore socks progress

...and finished off the copper wire necklace:

Beaded Copper Necklace

I finished "The Wright Stuff" quilt! Here's the quilt

The Wright Stuff quilt

....and its pillow cover (you can get a better look at some of the fabrics in this picture).

Pillow cover for The Wright Stuff quilt

I used the Yellow Brick Road quilt pattern (again) from Atkinson Designs. Many of the fabrics are take-offs on Frank Lloyd Wright designs; others are simply geometrics or Op-Art.

I test-drove my pattern for the Knit2 bag (and, boy am I glad I did!). The test resulted in a new bag and a better pattern:

Another Knit2 bag

I did get outside to enjoy the sun. The cats also had a good time in the nice weather, too. Here's Tica enjoying one of her favorite pastimes: eating grass!

Yum...wheat grass!

Munch, munch...

Somewhere in the middle of all of this madness were trips to the quilt store (fabric for testing the Knit2 pattern), Orchard Supply (one of the light bulbs went out in my sewing room), and the grocery store (need. food. now.) I got a lot done, but my house is a disaster...guess that's the next thing to attack!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Eye Candy Friday already?

...hmmmm, nothing new to show craft-wise, so let's look at some nasturtiums.


These flowers are climbing up a small trellis that we have in the herb garden. Our entire backyard garden looks pretty spare right now. We have the nasturtiums and some pansies for color, but the blossoms are already dropping on the plum and apricot trees and everything else is either just leaves or dormant.

The Lenore socks are coming along. I have turned the heel, picked up the heel flaps, and started the gusset decreases.

If I wasn't such a Virgo, I'd be done with the Knit2 bag pattern, but I want to QA the instructions this weekend.

Anyway, that's it for this week...have a good one!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

oh, yeah, it's Wednesday...

...time for a WIP. I don't want to show another picture of the Lenore socks until I've turned the heel, so here's a picture of The Wright Stuff quilt.

The Wright Stuff quilt - WIP

The colors are not quite right, but it is bright!

I am using a variegated thread on the top and a cream-colored cotton thread on the back. Here's what the thread looks like:

Quilting thread for The Wright Stuff

The thread contains a lot of the colors used in the quilt. The quilt is hanging on my quilt wall until I get time to add the binding.

That's all I have to show right now. I've been working on the Knit2 bag pattern a lot and can't really show any pictures of that!

Monday, March 03, 2008

crafty little weekend...

...a little of this and a little of that.

  • Finished the knitting on my wire necklace. I need to attach a clasp and then it's completely done.

  • Finished the machine quilting on "The Wright Stuff" quilt. I need to attach the binding and take care of all the loose threads and then it's done.

  • Worked on the heel flap for the Lenore socks.

  • Worked on the pattern for the Knit2 bag. I think I'll have to make another bag to test the pattern when I've finished it.

  • Spun a bit on the Chasing Rainbows Heather rovings (one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz)). I'm finding this to be difficult as there are a lot of slubby bits in the Merino and it doesn't draft smoothly. My hands get tired of it very quickly.

  • Started spinning the Royale Hare Superwash Merino in Penngrove Purples. You can see a picture of the roving here. I am trying to get a two-ply worsted weight yarn out of this, so it's a bit challenging trying to keep the single even. However, it's much smoother than the Merino-Bombyx!

    Penngrove Purples single

    The single is much more purple that this picture shows, with touches of blue.
Housework-wise, I concentrated on the kitchen. Besides cleaning, I did a little rearranging. We decided to swap from bottled drinking water to a Brita filter system, so the water cooler was no longer needed in the kitchen. I moved the cooler out, turned my freestanding chopping block 90 degrees, and moved it a bit to take advantage of the extra room. Now the chopping block is an island instead of a peninsula, giving us more room to walk around. Now two people can be in the kitchen without running into each other! It's a "Good Thing!"

Sunday, March 02, 2008

February 2008 recap...

...took two things off of the WIP list and only started one thing. Yay for me!

  • 2/27 Seahorses needlepoint pillow
  • 2/17 Knit2 bag in “Knitmare on Elm Street”
  • 2/6 Josie yarn
    Yarn Wench Falkland Wool roving (4.1 oz) in Josie
    Spun half by spindle and half by wheel; plied on Lendrum Folding wheel
    Navajo-ply, yield: 337 yds.
    Weight: 17 WPI average, Fingering
Worked on:
  • Black leg warmers in Caron Simply Soft yarn (knitting)
  • Lenore Socks from BMFA Rockin' Sock Club (knitting)
  • Wright Stuff quilt; started machine quilting
  • Knitted wire necklace (started in a Stitches West class)
  • A pattern for the Knit2 bag
Works In Progress (did not work on):
  • Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue (knitting)
  • Spinning 4 oz of Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk roving in purple
  • Spinning 2 Chasing Rainbows rovings together in the Heather colorway: one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz)
  • Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)
  1. Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
  2. Central Air socks (knitting)
  3. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Paint it Black quilt
  6. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  7. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  8. Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch; still languishing in its stretcher bars)
  9. Sangria shawl (knitting)
  10. Twinkletoes slippers; just need to make one (knitting)
OK, I'm going to go spin now...need to get some time in with Sirena before the weekend is over.

WIP-it Wednesday...

...and another week where I don't have a true WIP photo to show. However, here's a photo of the Apricot Orchid [ Ravelry ] fiber f...