Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Getting Ready for New Projects

It always looks prettier in the skein, doesn't it? But if I don't wind the yarn into balls, I'll never have socks, so it'll have to go through this awkward middle stage.

Two days after taking that picture, I'm thinking the awkward stage won't last long...

Looking at everyone else's pretty yarn pictures sometimes makes me suspect that I'm the only knitter out there who doesn't use a ball winder. I bought one years ago, when Knit Picks came out with their own line of knitting accessories. The swift gets used now and then, depending on what brands of yarn I'm knitting with and whether it even comes in skeins that need to be wound. I think I've used the ball winder twice.

I just don't get the love for center-pull cakes of yarn. There are probably some skills I'm missing that would have made mine turn out better, but wrapping it into balls works just fine and doesn't require making room in my sewing corner for another piece of equipment.

How about you -- do you use a ball winder?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Fort Rock Homestead Museum {Part 1}

Last week, the family took a road trip to the Fort Rock Homestead Museum in Central Oregon and I fell in love with every antique quilt in the place. 

I love reading about the era, and I definitely love reading about the quilts, but I never ever would have made it as a homesteader. Just listening to the wind whistle through the walls of these little houses was intimidating enough for me.

This kitchen confirmed my fears that I've messed up my children. One wanted to know why there was so much new stuff in a museum. I guess when Great Grandma owned an antique mall and Mom loves the thrift shops, the line between "new" and "old" gets really blurred.

Every one one of the five houses had embroidery and quilts to drool over. There wasn't a lot of information given about the houses and their contents so I'm guessing this was all donated to the historical society by different sources, and that a lot of  the quilts are, although old, newer than the houses themselves.

Can you imagine what that view must have been like in winter? The house has been moved to its current location, but I'm guessing the desert outside was pretty much the same.

I really wanted to see what was inside of that sewing machine case. The top seems way too short for any machine I've ever seen and the pedal is definitely different... Anyone know what one of these looks like inside?

Even the doctor's office had a frayed quilt on the bed.

I'm going to split this into two posts  because there are so many pictures.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Lack of Landmarks

The hardest thing about this project, other than the "large" chart that isn't large, is that there aren't landmarks to help me keep track of where I am. With the houses I used to stitch, there were windows and walls and spots that let me say "Yes, this is where I'm supposed to be." Even the landscapes had tree branches here and there.

So far this project has given me nothing but clouds and -- finally -- a bit of the horizon. I can't begin to tell you how much that blue line helped me out once I reached it.

On Monday, a reader commented about how I mark my cloth before stitching. Those are grid lines basted every ten stitches to match the lines on the printed chart. Before someone taught me how to do those lines, I messed up and abandoned more projects than I want to admit. Look at cross-stitching pictures on instagram and you'll find much prettier ways to do it.

The lines make it easier to match where I am on my fabric to where I am on the chart and even if they don't always keep me from making mistakes, they help me fix them. On this part of this project, I'm more likely to add an extra stitch of peach than to do a bunch of unstitching to make that spot yellow.

When I'm done, I'll just snip the grid lines and pull them loose. The fist few times I was terrified that they'd be stuck there forever, but I've never had a problem removing them.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sock Yarn Sampler #4

I couldn't narrow it down to six skeins this time, so I wound up with ten. That's after trimming my choices down...

Every three months or so, I've been going through my yarn stash and putting together a sampler of what I think I'll be knitting until it's time to do it again. For the previous samplers, I've tried to include a mix of long buried stash along with the new stuff, but when I was paring down my choices I wound up with mostly newer stuff. And that's okay. I used up some really old stash from the last samplers and it'll all balance out in the end. Or not.

Here's the before and after of sampler #3. Two more inches of ribbing and I'll have that seventh pair finished. For someone who wasn't trying to finish all of the yarn in the case, I sure came close to actually accomplishing it.

 Right now, my biggest problem is that I want to cast on with absolutely everything right this second.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Not as Soothing as Promised...

For a while now, I've been tempted by the pretty adult coloring books. The only thing holding me back was that I've already got so many other ways to keep my hands busy...and when I did have a day when coloring sounded more fun than the knitting or embroidery or quilting, I couldn't decide on a pattern.

Joanna Campbell Slan  has started a coloring club over on Facebook, so I printed out her first choice and borrowed the colored pencils I bought for Leif last Christmas and played around a bit.

It wold be more fun if I didn't have the voice of my middle school social studies teacher echoing in my head. We spent what seems like it was an entire year coloring world maps and were graded on whether all of the pencil strokes went in the same direction. Just WHY?  There must've also been some tests that involved putting the right names on the right countries, but its her lectures about neatness that stuck with me. Having those maps now would be interesting. I wonder how many borders and country names have changed since the early 80s.

I definitely prefer embroidery and knitting, but I'll keep the coloring books I bought at the discount store for days when I want something else to play with.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {8/11/17}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Looking Back

Five Years Ago...
soaked a quilt in sugar water in an attempt to coax the bees into landing on it. It didn't work. 

I played with Crayolas and made Lobster Sue

I'd started a spool pattern that I absolutely loved.... at least until I saw Bonnie Hunter's leaders and enders version. I don't know when I'll get all of those little 3 1/2" spools done, but I'll definitely enjoy the finished quilt more. 

And I made a ton of little Halloween hats for the NICU.

Ten Years Ago...

I was knitting at the river and the boys almost startled a snake. I got lucky and it went under my knitting bag instead of straight inside. Thank goodness! These days I'd be able to deal with it, but back then I might've abandoned the whole thing. 

I joined Ravelry. 

I was still knitting lots of shawls and had room on the sewing room bed to block them. These days, it's buried under a mountain of fabric scraps. 

I paper pieced for the first and last time. I've tried since then, but never with any success. 

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Compass Socks

These may be my favorite socks ever. 

Compass Socks - KnitPicks Hawthorne

After spending way too much time trying to find the perfect pattern to use with this yarn, I decided to just wing it a bit. They're almost the same as the lace rib socks I've done twice already, but I added an extra line of knit stitches between the purls and that was just enough to make them a bit fancier and a bit prettier...

And did I mention that I could still knit the pattern from memory, so I didn't need to haul around a chart or written notes? I want to find more stitch patterns like that.

The lace pattern flows happily into the k1p1 ribbing. I'm not a fan of  k1p1, but it's going to make things this pretty and symmetrical I'll struggle through a couple of inches of it.

And I got the lace pattern centered across the top of the foot without having to jog it one stitch to the left or right. That would have worked, but having it centered it better. (Not being able to figure out how to center a 9 stitch lace pattern is why I decided against the pattern I'd planned on using.)

Did I mention that I love this yarn?

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

{I've Been Reading} and Bowling...and Swimming...

My boys and I have been embracing the fact that it's summer and the weather is...well, the weather is hotter than I'd like, but we're making the best of it. As many days as we can pull it off, we visit the bowling alley (which offers kids two free games a day including the shoe rental) and then head down to the swimming hole. August is ticking away quicker than I'd like and the free bowling offer will end soon. And it doesn't seem fair to make them choose one or the other (never mind getting everyone to agree on the same option!)

I bring my books and my knitting and enjoy watching the kids do their thing. And I get incredibly mushy about using the ball my husband bought me back when we were still dating almost thirty years ago. I'd get even mushier about using the bowling shoes Grandma passed on to me at the same time, but those seem to have vanished. So I stole my husband's. It's not like he's used them since then!

The Walls by Hollie Overton

As soon as I saw that the author of Baby Doll had another thriller out, I wanted to read it. After her blissful new marriage turns into a waking nightmare, Kristy Tucker begins to look differently at the death row inmates she works with. What if murder is sometimes the only option? What if some of the inmates are as innocent as they claim to be? I stayed up way too late to find out how it would  end, because wondering would have kept me awake anyway. The Walls didn't disappoint.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Another Lizzie Borden book...and still this one somehow kept me turning pages to find out what was coming next. The story alternates between several seemingly unreliable first person narrators and even if you're pretty sure what happened in the Borden house on that fateful day, it's an interesting read. The story opens with Lizzie and it did take me some time to get into the rhythm of her muddled thoughts, but once I was comfortable with the language, I was hooked.

All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco

I snatched this one up even though I had mixed feelings about the first book in this series. (The mystery element in that one was great, but the heroine rubbed me the wrong way.) I really warmed up to Julia in this second book. When her friend's wedding ends in murder, Julia is anxious to help. The mystery is complicated and fills most of the book, but I was intrigued by Julia's past and definitely want to find out more about it. I'm never going to be a believer in astrology, but it's sure intriguing to read about.

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copies by the publishers. All opinions are my own.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Summery Cross Stitch

I'm positive that I wrote about this project a few days ago, with a different picture that showed less progress. That picture is over on Instagram, but I know that I wrote about all of the trouble I was having with the chart...and now I can't find any trace of that post. Not scheduled, or published, or hidden somewhere under the wrong date...

After another night of stitching, I'm getting better at this and feeling considerably less annoyed with the chart. Now I'm just annoyed that I lost, or maybe imagined, the other post. (Not the one where I complained about sorting floss, the one where I complained about the large chart that's too small to read even after blowing it up to 200%)

Sunday, August 06, 2017

{The Row By Row Experience} One More Shop

Finally Together Quilt Shop, Lebanon Oregon

I hate to say it, but I'm losing my enthusiasm for the row by row road trip. It's too dang hot and my car is on its fifth summer with no air conditioning and I'm not about to drive the truck to new shops in towns I'm not familiar with and I've got a ton of other things going on right now. The Row by Row Experience is still great, it's just not working into my life as well as I'd hoped this year.

Tuesday's errands put me within a couple of blocks of Finally Together, so I stopped to pick up the pattern for their row. This is the third location I've visited this shop at over the years and it's by far the best. They've got a ton of sample quilts to look at and a great selection of fabrics and patterns.

I resisted temptation, but just barely and only because I still have new fabric from a couple of other  shops that I haven't touched yet. And it's close enough to home that I can always go back if that panel with the owls won't get out of my imagination. 

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Crawdads and My New Chair

Today's summer fun PSA -- if a crawdad clamps onto the skin between your fingers and you leap around with it dangling from your hand, it's not going to let go. What it may do is reach up and grab your hand with its other claw. Repeatedly. And if you mom, who is smart enough not to pick up the crawdads herself, had hermit crabs as pets when she was your age, she might not be too sympathetic, but will help you pry the poor creature off. 

A few weeks back, I splurged on a new toy...

This has been the best purchase. (It was more than I wanted to spend, but after looking it up online the price I paid at Costco was less than half what they're asking on Amazon.) After four trips down to the river, I'm convinced it's going to its keep.

Once the weather cools down, I'll be taking it to the park so I can find a shady spot to read my book while the boys ride their bikes. Those park benches by the playground aren't at all comfortable.

I didn't realize until we set it up that it has a cup holder and a little pocket that's perfectly sized for my phone. And two zipper pockets on the back. I can keep it packed with our smaller beach stuff and not worry about forgetting anything.

This is like the jog stroller, a purchase that I put off for way too long because I was making do just fine with what I had.  Now my sons  can spend more time looking for crawdads and I can spend more time happily knitting under the trees.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {8/4/17}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Potluck Project Bag

Quilted Project Bag - Moda Potluck

I struggled with the placement of these fabrics. Some I adore and others are just fillers. It wouldn't be the best use of my precuts to only pull out the ones I love, not when I'm just working with 2 1/2" squares to begin with. So I fussed and fussed some more and got them all pieced into two panels.

That was the hard part. Sewing a zippered project bag is easy, even if I succumb the influence of Lier over at Ikat Bag and line it properly. And quilt the outside because if I'm playing with the fabric that's too good to cut, I should do things right. I'll like the finished bag more if it has some substance and holds its shape.

Zippered Project Bag - Moda Potluck

After all of that careful fabric placement and choosing the best thrifted zipper to match the yellows, can you see what I did? (Hint -- look at where the zipper is and which direction the prints are facing.) I didn't see the problem until I had the entire bag assembled and I wasn't about to rip out every seam to redo it. I keep hearing that we're not supposed to point out our mistakes, but if I can save one of you from sewing directional prints the wrong direction, I'm happy to share my embarrassment.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

These Socks Aren't Exciting, but They've Been Places!

I've taken this pair in progress bowling three times and down to the river twice and I'm sure they'll have lots more adventures by the time they're done. Either they'll be filled with happy memories or I'll pull them out of the drawer years from now and have no clue where they came from or what yarn I used.

Optical Delusion by Hunter Shea

What if those X-Ray glasses that they advertised in the back of comic books were real? Martin's son got a pair, but they just make his eyes hurt. When Martin tries them on, though, they work exactly as advertised. He can actually see through clothes, and walls, and furniture. The thrill is worth a little headache, until he starts to see far more than he wanted to. Hunter Shea's Mail Order Massacres are all kinds of fun. He started with instant Sea Serpents in Just Add Water, now we've got the X-Ray Glasses and, coming in a few months, we get a nuclear submarine. I'm really enjoying this series.

The Way It Hurts by Patty Blount

What drew me to this book was the social media aspect of it, how something can suddenly go viral and spin completely out of control. And that's what I wound up liking most about the story, but it took a long time for it to get there. Elijah is putting everything he has into his band, sure that when they make it big it will solve the problems in his life. When he sees Kristen sing in her school musical, he decides that her voice is just what they're missing. The problem is that Kristen isn't into metal and doesn't want to scream for him, no matter how much he posts about it online. While the two of them are bantering back and forth with the "KrisVsEli" hashtag, each in pursuit of their own goals, they're stirring up their online fans until things become dangerous. And that's when the book really pulled me in.  For a book with absolutely no sex, there are way too many references to Eli's erections and Kristen's chest. It's a young adult novel, and it reads like one, but it was a fun read once things got interesting.

Guilty By Laura Elliot

Based on the book's description, I really thought I'd like this one.  Karl Lawson becomes the prime suspect in the disappearance of his niece, mostly due to the work of an overzealous reporter. Six years later, he has lost everything that was important to him and the reporter who did it to him is thriving. I was interested for the first third of the book, but after that it dragged on and on and I was never sure which of the two main characters I was supposed to sympathize with. (After a while, it wound up being neither.)

Disclosure -- I was provided with advance review copies by the publishers. All opinions are my own. This post is linked to iknead2knit, and  Frontier Dreams  


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