Friday, April 27, 2018

Eye Candy Friday...

...hooray for the weekend!

As is typical this time of the year, there are tons of things blooming in the garden.

We have Alkanet:

More Alkanet

irises:

Purple irises

Lavender:

Spanish lavender

Strawberries:

Blossom and baby strawberry

and Scorpionweed:

California scorpionweed

The berry bushes are getting ready to set blossoms, so you'll probably see photos of that soon.

Up this weekend: There are the usual chores and errands on the docket. In addition, I need to start researching yoga classes again. Our yoga teacher decided to take a full-time job and can no longer teach our twice-a-week classes. Sigh. It's so hard to find the right type of yoga class in the early morning. There are plenty in the middle of the day. However, most yoga studios don't have showers...no one at work would appreciate a sweaty co-worker.

The Mirabel handspun [Ravelry] should be plenty dry by now. I need to re-skein it and double check the yardage and WPI. Then it's photo time!

At the same time, I take photos of the Phat Fiber box I just received. It's called Purple Haze. Yeah, it's purple and I couldn't resist!
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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

WIP-it Wednesday...

...and it's the Husband's birthday!

We'll probably do something over the weekend to celebrate. Celebrating a birthday in the middle of the week is hard because there's so much going on. At least he lets us celebrate it now. In the early years of our relationship, he preferred not to do anything about it.  We've been together for over 37 years and we've both mellowed a bit.



Anyway, that's where my attention is today, so no new WIP photos.

WIPs Roll Call

Worked On:
  • Charred Teal Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
    Back on track. Knitting section 3 with contrasting color #2
  • Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
    Beading the midsection.
Works In Progress, Did Not Work On This Week:
  1. 4-shaft sampler (weaving) [Ravelry]
  2. Attic Windows quilt for me (quilting)
  3. Finishing work (Shepherd's Bush Christmas ornament.)
  4. Mother of Dragons shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  5. Rosewood Wrap (weaving) [Ravelry]
  6. St. Charles (needlepoint)
  7. Valley of the Heart's Delight sampler design (cross stitch)
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. Be My Baby for My Baby (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Bear Paw pottery (needlepoint)
  3. Canto de Sirena shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Well, hello...

...how is it Tuesday?  The last week has been a blur.

I had two doctor appointments last week and Spin-In on the weekend. That plus being motivated to finish spinning Mirabel meant that blogging just fell off the edge. Oops.
  • Saturday morning I baked some mini pineapple upside-down cakes to take to Spin-In. Pineapple upside-down cake was my mother's go-to dessert when I was growing up. It's still one of my favorites. I like the mini version because it's easier to serve - cutting into an upside-down cake is always messy because of the pineapple rings.
  • At Spin-In, I finished chain-plying Mirabel [Ravelry]. I transferred it off the bobbin and washed it on Sunday. It's taken a couple of days to dry, so no photos yet.
  • Now that Mirabel is done, I can concentrate on the Mermaid again. I spent several hours on Sunday beading the middle portion of the design.
  • I also got the Charred Teal shawl [Ravelry] back to a point where the stitch counts are correct. I'm still having an issue with the pattern, but all the eyelets are lining up so I'm not going to over-think it. At this point, I just want it done.
The garden is blooming! I took a lot of flower photos, but I have not had a chance to process most of them yet. Here's one that I did process: orange watsonia in our front yard.

Orange Watsonia
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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

WIP-it Wednesday...

...in which there are no new photos of WIPs. Instead, here's a photo of my Abundant Earth Fiber dye kit:

Abundant Earth Fiber Dye Kit

I bought this after Stitches West, knowing that it was going to take some time to get it because they had to rebuild their stock. (This was the vendor that had all of their stuff stolen before SW.) It arrived earlier this month, a lot sooner than I expected. I can't wait to try this!

WIPs Roll Call

Worked On:

  • Bead inventory
    Transferred all Mill Hill beads into new storage containers
  • Charred Teal Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
    Ripping out rows to fix stitch count.
  • Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
    Almost done beading the tail.
  • Mirabel handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Started plying.
Works In Progress, Did Not Work On This Week:
  1. 4-shaft sampler (weaving) [Ravelry]
  2. Attic Windows quilt for me (quilting)
  3. Finishing work (Shepherd's Bush Christmas ornament.)
  4. Mother of Dragons shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  5. Rosewood Wrap (weaving) [Ravelry]
  6. St. Charles (needlepoint)
  7. Valley of the Heart's Delight sampler design (cross stitch)
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. Be My Baby for My Baby (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Bear Paw pottery (needlepoint)
  3. Canto de Sirena shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Top-of-the-Waves Tuesday...

...and a weekend report from our kitties:


Lazy Sunday morning

Yup, that's what they looked like all weekend. They did mix up where they slept and whether they slept in the same place, but this sums up their weekend.

My weekend, on the other hand, was very productive.
  • The vacuum monster and I took care of the rugs on Saturday. That was one time that the cats weren't sleeping on the bed!
  • I started plying Mirabel. This is going to take a long time! Usually, I can chain-ply a single in half a day, but this single is very thin. I've put about 5 hours into it, and it doesn't look like I've made much of a dent in it.  I'll need to step up the ace if I want to spin anything else this month!
  • I put about the same amount of time into beading the mermaid and the progress is evident there. I had to stop beading the foam to go back to the beading on the mermaid's body. I was getting very tired of the white and crystal beads. The tail and fins use the red and green beads, so it's a nice change. I'm almost to the torso, so I'll need to decide soon whether I want to redo the back-stitching on her arm.  
  • I spent some time frogging a couple of rows in the Charred Teal Shawl [Ravelry]. I found a place where I missed a stitch and I had to frog 5 rows to find the mistake. I need to frog one more row because the stitch count is off by one. I think I missed a KFB in the previous row. I hope this is the last row I have to pull out!
  • My order of an 82-piece and a 45-piece Elizabeth Ward Bead Storage containers arrived Saturday afternoon. I spent Saturday evening transferring my Mill Hill Beads into the mini-containers and labeling them. I also transferred the Mill Hill Treasures into the larger container. The plastic box that I replaced was very full. There was no room for anything else. The new system still has plenty of space for more beads. When I get a chance, I'll go through some of jewelry beads to see whether they'll fit in the new system.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Eye Candy Friday...

...and I'm ready for a weekend!

One of the few nice things about Daylight Savings Time is that I get to see some wonderful sunrises. Here's the one from Tuesday:

Sunrise 4/10/18

Our sweet pea bush has had flowers all year round and is looking particularly lush right now:

Sweet Pea Bush

The double hibiscus are starting to bloom. They are in a container by our front door:

Double hibiscus

and the watsonia are starting to come up:

White watsonia

Up this weekend: Originally, I planned on finishing our taxes and getting them filed on Saturday. However, we finished them last night and everything's been accepted already. Score one for us!

I want to start plying the Mirabel handspun. I also plan on doing more beading on the mermaid. There's always more finishing work to do.

I'm expecting an Amazon order of two Elizabeth Ward Bead Storage containers: one 82-piece and one 45-piece. If they arrive on Saturday like they're supposed to, I'll start transferring some of my Mill Hill bead stash to them. I'm tired of the fiddly Mill Hill packaging and this container line looks like a good solution. (Yes, Organization is my middle name!)

Somewhere along the way, I need to clean up the studio as things are getting out of hand.

Anyway, lots of good intentions...we'll see how far I get!
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

WIP-it Wednesday...

...and a couple of photo updates.

Here is the bobbin full of Mirabel [Ravelry] singles:

Mirabel handspun, as of 4/8/18

And the current state of Mermaid of the Pearls. Beading is complete on the lower half of the design (except for the Mill Hill Treasures).

Mermaid of the Pearls, as of 4/8/18

I've returned the Charred Teal shawl [Ravelry] to the rotation list. I'm in section 3, which gives the instructions and stitch counts for Contrasting Color (CC) #1. The next instruction says to repeat those rows with the remaining 5 contrasting colors, with no stitch counts. Every time I pick up this project, I can't figure out where I left off (even with notes) - there is always something off. If I had stitch counts, I could easily figure it out.  Aside from being very bad at reading my knitting (and obviously not taking good notes), it doesn't help that I don't work on it for several weeks.

So after pulling out the last section of CC#2 for the nth time, I sat down and figured out the stitch counts for each of the 5 remaining CC sections. I printed out a little chart and will tape it to the pattern. Maybe this time it will work!

WIPs Roll Call

Worked On:
  • Attic Windows quilt for me (quilting)
    Ordered backing fabric; ready to start sewing the squares
  • Charred Teal Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
    Trying to get back to regularly knitting this; working on Section 3, contrasting color #2.
  • Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
    Bead order arrived before the weekend; beading the top half of the design.
  • Mirabel handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Finished the singles and transferred them all to a spinning wheel bobbin; ready to ply.
Works In Progress, Did Not Work On This Week:
  1. 4-shaft sampler (weaving) [Ravelry]
  2. Finishing work (Shepherd's Bush Christmas ornament.)
  3. Mother of Dragons shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Rosewood Wrap (weaving) [Ravelry]
  5. St. Charles (needlepoint)
  6. Valley of the Heart's Delight sampler design (cross stitch)
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. Be My Baby for My Baby (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Bear Paw pottery (needlepoint)
  3. Canto de Sirena shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Top-of-the-Waves Tuesday...

...and I'm happy with the progress that I made over the weekend.

I finished the Christmas 9-Patch pillow as planned.

Christmas 9-Patch Pillow

Specs:
Started 9/24/17
Finished 4/8/18
Pillow kit by Pine Mountain Designs

I've made several of these 9-patch pillows from Pine Mountain. Each kit contains only two charms for the 3 plain squares in the design.  I have yet to understand the thinking behind leaving one patch essentially blank (the green square). The finished pillow always looks like there's something missing.

I finished spinning the singles for Mirabel handspun [Ravelry]. Then I transferred the singles to a bobbin in preparation for plying. (Photo tomorrow.)

I spent a few hours beading the mermaid. I have finally come up with a better way to hold the beads closer to my stitching area. It's a combination of the top of a mini sliding-top tin, two craft magnets, and a small square of a sticky bead mat. It's kludgy, but it works!
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March 2018 recap...

...such as it is. Being sick severely limited my craft time, but I got a lot of reading done!

Finished:
  • 3/3 Finishing work: Seaside Pin Poke
  • 3/18 Finishing work: 2 Pine Mountain pillow tops and 7 needlepoint flats
  • Books:
    1. Origin of Magic Magic, Linsey Hall
    2. Enemy of Magic, Linsey Hall
    3. Forged in Magic, Linsey Hall
    4. Undercover Magic, Linsey Hall
    5. Academy of Magic, Linsey Hall
    6. Pursuit of Magic, Linsey Hall
    7. Attack by Magic, Linsey Hall 
    8. Master of Magic, Linsey Hall
    9. The Fire Queen, Emily King
    10. A Glimmer of Hope, Steve McHugh
    11. The Rogue Queen. Emily King 
    12. Sweet Vengeance, Fern Michaels
Started:
  • Nothing
Works In Progress:
  1. 4-shaft sampler (weaving) [Ravelry]
  2. Attic Windows quilt for me (quilting)
  3. Charred Teal Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry
  4. Finishing work (Shepherd's Bush Christmas ornament)
  5. Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
  6. Mirabel handspun (spinning) [Ravelry
  7. Mother of Dragons shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  8. Rosewood Wrap (weaving) [Ravelry]
  9. St. Charles (needlepoint)
  10. Valley of the Heart's Delight sampler design (cross stitch)
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. Be My Baby for My Baby (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Bear Paw pottery (needlepoint)
  3. Canto de Sirena shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)

Friday, April 06, 2018

Eye Candy Friday...

...and it's raining again.

Don't get me wrong. I'd rather have the rain than a drought. I'll happily put up with people who don't know how to drive in the rain and wet clothes and shoes if we don't have to go through water rationing.

I took a few photos this morning when the rain lightened up. Our neighbor's orange roses are going nuts:

Orange Roses

This is the Spanish lavender in our front yard:

Spanish Lavender

This is our Schwarzkopf Black Rose plant with lots of raindrops:

Schwarzkopf Black Rose in the rain

And our woodland hyacinth is blooming:

Woodland hyacinth

Up this weekend: I'm feeling closer to normal, so I think it's time to catch up on a few chores.

I want to finish spinning the singles for Mirabel handspun [Ravelry]. Then I can transfer all of the singles to a bobbin and let it rest before plying.

 The other thing I'd like to finish is the Christmas 9-patch Pillow...I'm so close!

My beads arrived today, so I can get right back to where I left off on the mermaid. Yay!
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Thursday, April 05, 2018

How is it already Thursday?

...I completely missed WIP-it Wednesday! I'll be glad when I can get back to a normal schedule, including a regular blogging schedule.

This second cold has been a bear and has done a number on my brain. Plus I never realized the impact that going to the gym had on my general attitude. Moving my body and burning calories also burns out some of the stress. I haven't been to the gym in 2 weeks and I missed 3 yoga classes during that time.Now that the horrible cough is subsiding, I hope to get back to the gym next week.

Speaking of the blog, I was getting tired of the blog template. I backed it up and I'm auditioning some alternatives. I sort of like the current one, but the image on the featured post is too blurry because the template's image size is larger than the original. And the picture-less posts look a bit forlorn in the block layout. So here's an obligatory photo so this post doesn't look forlorn (wisteria in our backyard).

Wisteria

I'll be playing around with other templates until I settle on one I like. Who knows? I could go back to the original one if I can't find one I truly like!

WIPs Roll Call

Worked On:
  • Christmas 9-patch Pillow (cross stitch)
    50% done on row 3, square 1.
  • Mermaid of the Pearls (cross stitch)
    Finished beading the lower part of the design, except for the Mill Hill Treasures. Started beading the top half of the design, with the green beads on hold until my order arrives.
  • Mirabel handspun (spinning) [Ravelry]
    Finished the 13th and 14th cop and transferred them to a temporary spindle; 90% into cop #15, with one more cop to go after that.
Works In Progress, Did Not Work On This Week:
  1. 4-shaft sampler (weaving) [Ravelry]
  2. Attic Windows quilt for me (quilting)
  3. Charred Teal Shawl (knitting) [Ravelry
  4. Finishing work (Shepherd's Bush Christmas ornament.)
  5. Mother of Dragons shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Rosewood Wrap (weaving) [Ravelry]
  7. St. Charles (needlepoint)
  8. Valley of the Heart's Delight sampler design (cross stitch)
UFOs/Hibernation:
  1. Be My Baby for My Baby (knitting) [Ravelry]
  2. Bear Paw pottery (needlepoint)
  3. Canto de Sirena shawl (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Tucson Twilight (needlepoint)

Monday, April 02, 2018

Happy April!

...I'm still on the mend, but I'm very tired of this whole cold-thing.

To keep this from being a picture-less post, here is another flower that is blooming in our garden. This is a Bill Wallis geranium:

Bill Wallis geranium

The weekend was uneventful. We really don't celebrate Easter, and the Daughter was otherwise occupied. The Husband visited his parents in the morning and I went to the grocery store. I decided that we needed a real meal - protein, starch, vegetable, and dessert - which hasn't happened the last two weeks. 

As far as the weekend's crafts, I did OK. I still have about half an ounce to spin on Mirabel [Ravelry]. And I'm working on the last square of the Christmas 9-patch cross stitch piece.

As for the mermaid, I finished all of the seed beads on the bottom half of the chart. I won't place the treasures on this half until I'm closer to the end. The treasures are too bulky and will distort the fabric when I roll it on the stretcher bars.

I hit a minor glitch in the project when I realized that I only had about 10 green beads left and way more places for the beads to go. The supply list requires only one package of Mill Hill Antique seed beads 03055 and that's all I had in the kitted supplies. It was an unopened package, so I don't know why I ran out. Anyway, I had to order another package of beads. It will take at least a week to get them. I can work on the white and crystal beads until then, but it kind of took the wind out of my beading sails. Boo!

I'm still trying to figure out how to take an in-progress photo of the mermaid without taking it out of the frame. So far, no brilliant ideas for that.

I decided to try my yoga class today. Except for having to blow my nose a few times, I managed to make it through. My energy level is still lower than normal, so some poses were harder to do. But I really needed it! I'm going to try to do the treadmill tomorrow and see how well that goes.
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Top-of-the-Waves Tuesday...

...it's been a week. The Husband continues to deal with his father's estate and taking care of his mother's situation. Any one...