29 October 2009

Holy smokes, part the second

So as everyone who knows me (and loves me) is aware, I'm the world's worst procrastinator, particularly if I'm scared of doing something. And the worst part is that while I'm procrastinating, I beat myself up for doing it. Why am I so afraid of jumping in? What do I think will happen? I think that's what's been going on with this quilt back. Scott has done his part and spent plenty of time with his Xbox buddies lately so I've had ample time to finish this thing. But I lay everything out, get all mentally prepped to do it, and then get sucked in by reading blogs or etsy. For those of you that aren't familiar - www.etsy.com. Let me apologize in advance. . .

Anyway, I hatched the plot for this one with some help from my very crafty Friend/stand-in-east-coast-mom Suzan. Figuring out the actual execution details took me a bit longer. See that fab strip on the left hand side? That is one of each of the fabrics in the quilt. And my first real attempt at applique -
And you must sign and date your quilts.
After I got this all assembled, I thought of better names. Like Electric Bunnyland. Or Project Bunway (since the fabric was designed by Project Runway Season 1 winner Jay McCarroll). Oh well. The tulips are cute next to my name. Still love those crazy little bugs. And the little bit of fabric above the tag was a scrap that an etsy seller (I apologize again, but seriously, go check it out) sent me. It was only large enough for that small strip on the back. Thanks anonymous fabric lady!!

So now I just have to pull it together to assemble everything and start quilting. When I was at my local quilt shop last week buying the batting, I asked an older, more experienced quilter there for some advice about thread and things. She asked me how I was planning on doing the actual quilting. I told her my idea and she just shook her head at me. She said that I was taking on a process that was way too ambitious for a first quilt. I disagree. And if I used the crosshatching process that she suggested, I'd never be happy with it because it wouldn't be my vision of how this was all supposed to be. The shop owner who had been listening in threw her hands up and explained to this other woman that there was just no talking sense into me. That I was going to do what I was going to do. Maybe she's right. Maybe I'm crazy. But it just may be a lunatic that makes this quilt. (Blatant Billy Joel ripoff.)

And here's my current TV knitting project. It's a Christmas present for someone (tease!) but you won't get the name out of me since this person may or may not be someone who drops by. . . Anyway, this was the whole reason I learned cabling. And it's the first thing I've attempted to do from a chart. It's going to need a major amount of blocking to stop the roll but I'm pleased with how it has turned out. (P.S. Using tiny sock yarn for knitting a scarf maybe isn't the best idea, especially if you need it to come together quickly. But OH how I adore those baby little rosewood needles.)

And as always, I'll end with two of the sweetest faces I'll see all day. Be still my heart.


20 October 2009

Holy smokes, ya'll

Yesterday I got an email from the woman who taught my quilting class about a potluck show-n-tell that she's hosting in December. (I got the impression that she mainly wants to show off her house all tarted up for Christmas, but hey! I'm all about that. I get it. I love Christmas decorations. Maybe this year I'll gather up the courage and some unbreakable ornaments and try the same thing.) So it got me thinking - if I went, what would I show? Little unfinished scraplets of projects? As much as I love to think about quilting and look at books about quilting and shop for quilting, it seems that knitting has been taking up most of my crafty time. I know I've explained this before but I like to spend my time with my boy & my puppies in the evening. Knitting lets me settle in on the couch and do that. Time with my sewing machine does not. Fortunately, a new crop of video games is being released this week just in time for holiday shopping. The boy loves to play video games (thanks Xbox360!) and the puppies like to snuggle up with him while he does so this is my time to head off to the studio to work.

When I planned this quilt, I decided to assemble nine squares that would be five blocks by five blocks. I've struggled a bit along the way (and in the process learned a lot) but I was down to my last square last night. I thought I'd make the last square and then put them all together another day. I think the email from Sandy must have lit a little fire because once I finished the last block I wondered what two blocks would look like together. And then four. And then at that point, a girl might as well just do it. I can't believe I really finished the top last night. I made Scott come in and inspect it. We clipped it to hangers and put it on the wall so we could see it in all its glory. I keep walking into the bedroom this morning just to look at it.

I don't know that I'd change much about it. There is one fabric in there that I'm not crazy about and if I had to do it all again, I think I'd dump that one and add more of that crazy zig-zag. I love those squares!! And I worried along the way that it was a bit much to look at but now that I see it all together, I'm as pleased as I could possibly be. Now for the back. I have a brilliant plan that I'm going to start working on tonight to see if I can pull it off. I don't want to be too clever about it and cause myself more frustration, but I don't it to be boring either. I'll reveal more as it comes together.

And as always, can't resist these two. We've had lots of problems in this house keeping puppy beds for very long. I hate to do a commercial but these Kong beds have been great. They appear to be chewproof, which we need for these two toothy little monkeys. And they're big enough for them to snuggle comfortably, which is nice as the weather gets chillier.

p.s. More knitting pics soon. I've got a few projects clicking along on those needles.

12 October 2009

Cables! Now if only the weather would cooperate. . .

When I saw this yarn, my first thought was that it would make a great scarf. (To be fair, that's probably my first thought when I see most yarn.) Then I started thinking about what kind of scarf I wanted. I just purged a few scarves that I made but never wore to my friend's new etsy shop. This yarn was so gorgeous that it needed to be something special. And then I knew exactly what I wanted - a scarf with one big fat cable running down the middle. After several not so successful starts, I got rolling on this baby yesterday and all I want to do now is knit, knit, knit.

I'm probably going to have to end up buying another skein (Karin, please don't say I told you so) unless I want this scarf to be just over three feet. I'm the kind of person that likes to wrap every tiny bit of neck in a scarf so I'm not sure three feet is going to be enough. But it is heavy worsted weight wool so the other part of me says that I do live in South Carolina and there might only be two days where I could wear layers and layers of wool around my neck. Dilemmas, dilemmas.

And yes, it is currently 75 degrees here. October, what happened???


P.S. I'm not sure what happens to my pictures in blogger. This yarn is so much more vibrant than this picture. And oddly, much more red than I initially thought.

10 October 2009

Home again

I've finally returned from all of my travels and glad to be in one place for a while (I hope). North Carolina was great. Odd how much that state is starting to feel like home since it seems I spend most of my out-of-town time there. It's an absolutely beautiful state and this week did not disappoint.
Fall has arrived there. I know it's not visible in this picture but leaves are turning all over the place. The mountains were washed in yellows, oranges and reds.
We visited the neighbourhood where my employers (who might as well be family) are building a new home. It's simply gorgeous there. This is the view from their lot looking down the mountain at the lake. Lots of trees, dead quiet, lovely. I'd love to spend a week with nothing to do but knit and read and nap. I often dream of vacations like that but they never come to fruition. This place that would force those sorts of days on you though.

It's about a twenty minute drive to the closest town. The company I work for was planning a development there until the market crashed. The idea was to have a retail area with artists cabins and eateries and little mountain bungalows behind. At this point, the retail has been built out but the bungalow idea has been shelved for now. Brookings is a fishing and outdoor lifestyle shop that has moved to our property. A local artist traded us four of these fantastic, hand carved fish for a fly rod and a pair of pants.
I've not met him so I don't know if the "hand did" is an affectation or not, but I love it anyway. Lets you know you're in the South.
And outside the shop was this vibrant bush -
All who know me know that I have a black thumb. I can kill a plant just by looking at it for too long. I'm always impressed with myself when I can identify a plant by name. This one escapes me but the red was stunning against the grey skies and drizzle. And speaking of grey skies and drizzle, I finally got to wear a jacket! and scarf!! Which leads me to these bits of scrumminess -
Don't they just make you want to weep? We found them in a little shop in Brevard called Charlotte's Fibers. That shop was an unexpected gem. I'm not sure what will become of the one on top but that autumnal bit of fiery orange on the bottom is going to be my very first cable knit scarf. I finally gathered up the strength and courage to try cables this week and it's not that hard. HOORAH! This tiny bit of knowledge opens up so many possibilities. . .

So I'm back home where the high is supposed to be 90 degrees today. Which makes me feel like crazy times for wanting to knit an orange wool cable scarf, but oh well. Maybe South Carolina will catch up to North Carolina soon. . .

Happy weekend!

P.S. As usual, I can't resist a cute puppy face. Meet The Lady Ling Ling, my dog niece from the wilds of Montana. I miss her (and her mom - even with those shoes. . .) terribly already!!

01 October 2009


I told Scott yesterday that I'd like my life to snap back to some degree of normalcy, although I'm not really sure what that is anymore. It seems like I've been running non-stop since July and I'm ready to slow down and start cocooning in. I had to go to Atlanta last week for a last minute packup of my employers' house. It was frustrating and tiring and I was glad to be done. I had a few bright spots of seeing old friends - one I hadn't seen in 12 years! - but most of it was spent with packers. Packing up your own house is frustrating and tear-inducing. Moving someone else's very large house is another matter altogether. But new people were moving in (actually at the same time our movers were still loading the truck) so we had to be out. I'm glad it's over and behind me but I was a little sad to leave the city where I was born. The city that will always be home.

And, to further delay the beginning of the cocoon, my oldest, dearest friend is arriving tomorrow for a week's visit. On Monday, we'll drive up to North Carolina so that she can visit with my boss and his wife. Don't misunderstand - I'm very glad to have her come for a visit but I'd like to pack her up and keep her here with me instead of spending the better portion of two days driving. But the mountains will be beautiful. And most likely cold. At least colder than here at the beach. I might even get to wear my new jacket!!

Hopefully next week I'll have more major progress on the blanket which is still coming along - I'm on skein 9 of 24. . . And I've completed 5 of the 9 squares for my quilt top. WOOHOO!!!

HELLO OCTOBER! I've sure missed you. . .

P.S. The picture at the top is my favourite piece of graffiti in Atlanta. I called him the oogly man. He always made me smile.