Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Buy! Buy! Buy!

Yes, with money I was going to buy new shirts with, I had to go a buy more craft stuff! So, here's some of it. Of course, I needed more afghan books. All of these flower afghans are take-a-long projects. I always need a selection, you know. I also talked myself into the little bottle poodles. I think they are so cute. Dumb. But cute. Since I have a new teapot, I felt I needed a tea cozy. I thought these cable ones were cool, so got that. Also got a Log Cabin quilting book, several roll stitch crochet hooks (for squares in my Crochet Calender) and a future RAK gift during the next sign up. I've been working hard on my swap squares and have finished one swap up. Photos later!
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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Quilter's Night Out

Went to my Quilters Night Out at one of my LQS. Hardly anybody came either due to the holiday or the heat. In any case, I managed to get a lot done. Nothing finished. I affixed the solid triangles to the Halloween Hexes. I don't have enough Hexes yet, so will have to cut some and sew them up before I sew all the selections together. Also finished more pyramids for the 1000 Pyramids Charm Quilt. Lots more to cut!

Finally, last night, I worked most of the evening on the first set of swap blocks for the Churn Dash Swap. I was very pleased with the final result and will work on the rest during the weekend. Cut out all the background pieces for the Leaf Swap as well. It will be too hot to do anything outside tomorrow (I'm so wimpy), so more sewing will occur!
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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Shawl Progress

I've been hard at work on my shawl and have the painful hand to prove it. I don't know what it is about working with large needles, but they do give me a problem. As you may know, in a triangle shawl, you start with 4 stitches and increase 1 on each row. I'm up to 108 stitches on the needles now. Pattern indicates 138, but I'm sure I'll have to go a little further than that. My goal had been June 1, but I may have to give my hand a longer break. I also stopped by Hancock's and bought what was still available for the Flying Afghan. All but one of the colors was clearanced. They may get more in the Fall, but I'm just going to mail order the rest. Happily, this project isn't dependent on a specific dye lot.

I joined several quilting swaps and have all my fabric washed and dried and ready to cut. I can't help it. I love swaps. Swaps include:

  • Eye Spy 6.5 inch squares
  • Churn Dash blocks in 1930s repro fabrics
  • Leaf blocks on cream

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Next UFO - The Shawl

I don't know if I'm a shawl person or not. They are very popular among knitters and crocheters and some of the patterns are gorgeous. So, I decided to make an inexpensive shawl and try it before tackling more difficult projects (my family members prefer sweaters). I chose a traditional triangle pattern, which is very easy. It's just knit 1, yarn over, knit across. Repeat. Simple, huh?

I had been working on this at the time of the Great Flood and during the ensuing melee to prevent loss of stuff, the remaining skeins were mixed with other stuff. During my partial reorganization, I managed to get all the parts of the project into one bag, ready to work on. I'm more than halfway done now. Here's an in-progress photo of my Shawl. I'm making this out of Homespun (very cozy) in the color Andirondack. It's a cool brown, with grey, a touch of blue and purple. Since I'm a fluffy person, of course, I'm going to be making it larger than the pattern. For a photo of the finished one provided by LionBrand, look over on the sidebar for In Progress and click on the Shawl.
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Ah...the Great Flood. This happened 2 summers ago. We had a huge, huge rain and for some reason, the water didn't drain away from the house (houses settle over 25 years..gotta watch this!). Instead it came down through the basement chimney and started pouring into the basement right into my craft area. Due to quick thinking on my sister's part, I lost very little. However, it's never really been organized well since then. I am guilty of hobby stuff hoarding. Anyway, now that I'm able to get to the parts of these projects, hopefully they will get DONE, go to their proper places and the leftover yarn off to somewhere else. Oh, and the problems that created the unheard of downpour in the basement have all been resolved.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Another UFO Bites the Dust!

Yes, now that the biggie is done, I'm going right along. I had misplaced a skein of yarn and broke my Q hook. During the last reorganization, I found the missing skein and bought a new Q hook. I finished pretty quickly today. The pattern is Waterfall (crochet) by Lion Brands Yarn. I made it slightly wider and a lot longer using Homespun in Tudor (nice blends of red/blue/brown and yellow). Nice and warm and soft. This pattern is available for free at http://cache.lionbrand.com/patterns/chs-watr.html?noImages=. I have previously referred to this afghan as the One Stitch Afghan, because the pattern is merely a single crochet in the back of the loop using 2 strands.

Here's the finished afghan. It's approximately 60 inches wide by 75 inches long. I know now why professional photographers show afghans draped over chairs and things. It's impossible otherwise, to keep the edges from curling in. I don't have the gift of draping fabric well, so I guess this will have to suit for now. You are probably thinking...why is it all stretched out like that? The stitch makes a soft ribbing. Hanging from a line, it stretches all out due to the weight of the yarn, but it normally has nice little folds.

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I am recording Midsommer Murders for my Mom and Dad today (taking out commercials), so will likely work on the Homespun Shawl. This is another knitted project that is very simple (the traditional triangle shawl). I don't know if I like shawls, so wanted easy and warm. I have a little over a week to work hard on UFOs before the Sock-a-Long starts.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Glorious Finish To The Ladybug Afghan

I did it, I did it! I finished the Ladybug Afghan! It is so cool done. We had a dim, dark day today, so before it started to rain, my cousin's son, 7-year-old Sean was 'helping' me take a photo.

[edited to add] For a crocheted version of the ladybug, a designer copied the ladybug from my afghan and created a potholder which was included in Annie's Attic Ultimate Book of Potholders. I have permission from Family Circle to post this pattern, so as soon as I get it scanned in, it will be linked to this page.
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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Official Quilt Finished Photos

Today was a lovely day. Lawn all freshly mowed. Seemed like a good time to take the official completed photos of a couple of quilts, so I am sharing them with you.

First, the Bug Quilt. I made this twin sized quilt after several years of collecting bug fabrics. It was an adaptation of a baby quilt in Ursula Reikes' very first baby quilt book (no longer in print). Her methods are extremely easy. I finished the quilt December 2005. Quilting was mostly in the ditch, but I also added some freeform leaves in the inner border and meander quilting in the outer border. This block is often known as Lazy Star. I believe Ms. Reikes was the author who developed cheater corners as I've never seen a book prior to hers that had them (this one was published in late 1980s). I LOVE cheater corners!
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6 inch blocks with solid red stars and inner border.

The back is pieced together from different fabrics with green in them. Yes, I know, they don't go together, but it's the back, it's my quilt, so who cares? I had a lot of older fabrics that did not go with the colors of today, which made them pretty hard to use otherwise. Using stash is always a good move! I used Hobbs Heirloom for the batting (which I use most often).
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Individually, these don't go together, but I love them all.

My second finished quilt is the queen sized Diamond Scrap Quilt, which I've given to my Mom and Dad. In February 2005, I started a Scrap-A-Long at QATW (MSN Groups) just to keep going on it. When going through scraps, I almost never can do speed cutting and it took months to cut enough 3 7/8 inch squares to do the quilt. However, I did empty 2 scrap boxes. I finished the top on December 31, 2005. This is a rare quilt with the whole back the same fabric (a great deal at Mill End Textiles). I tied the quilt using Cascade 220 wool and after a wash and dry, it looks great! I used a Mountain Mist Fatt Batt, which is a thick, polyester batting. My Mom made us blankets when we were kids, so her idea of a quilt is a lot thicker than what I typically use for batting. She was very happy with this, so I made a good choice. The camera actually shows a starker contrast than the quilt actually has (your brain adjusts for it). Quilt was completed in January 2006.
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Quilt made entirely of 3 7/8 inch light/dark half square triangles.

I happen to love stripes on the back of a quilt, so this one has some interesting ones. Up close, they look like idealized foxes.
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[edited to add]. The instructions for the Diamond Scrap quilt can be found at Quilter's Cache. I vary from the instructions by putting a light square and a dark square together and then drawing a diagonal line on the light. Then I sew a scant 1/4 inch from the line in both directions. Then cut.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Sun Was Out!

The sun was out, the sun was out! I mowed...and mowed...and mowed. But it is done! I also did a big section of crochet on my Summer Sling bag from last year. My Dad is going to a lot of medical appointments just now in anticipation of surgery in July. So, I have to have lots of take-a-long stuff to keep me occupied. Works very well!

Last night, during commerical breaks during 24, I managed to finish the seams linking the two halves of the Ladybug afghan together. Ok.. it's not as bad as I thought. I'm just going to add on to the 3 panels to the left and everything should work. So, not too bad. I'll work on it tomorrow.
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For the Sock-a-Long, I have chosen Cascade 220 Heather in denim blue and a dark blue for the heel and toe. My gauge isn't quite right--I get 22 stitches over 4 inches instead of 24. I'll have to practice a couple of times to see if I can't tighten that stitch. I must admit that I've become somewhat sloppy in my knitting. I just need to tighten up a tad or learn to use smaller needles. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Fixing Stuff

We are still on board the Ark. I am starting to be concerned about how high that grass will grow before I can mow it. The mower and I are already at odds with each other. Tough to cut grass will not help relations.

Sometimes all you read about is the success folks are having with their projects. Don't worry. That's not what you will see in this post. It is clear that I did miscounts on the white areas. Lots of extra rows. Look at this wonderful edging that I typed about yesterday.
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Ok, so my fix was to knit the additional red to even it up. Looked very nice when I finished.
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Then, I discovered something when I put the 2 halves of the afghan together. Yes. They are two different lengths. It's one of those days when you just want to lay your head on a ledge and bash it with something heavy. I decided to put it away for the night.

Thankfully, I already have worked out a solution. Since it involves cutting off some length, I want to think about it after a night's sleep. Having cut knitting before, it's not that hard for me to do, but it's not something to do when you are tired. I thought for certain I would be done today (wahh, sniff, sniff). Alas.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Knit A Long Socks

Just to get me going on finishing a pair of socks, I decided to join a Sock Knit-a-Long group. The group is using the book Knit Socks by Betsy Lee McCarthy (book is shaped like a sock). What I like about these patterns is that they include instructions for women's large size. Should be fun. Bought my book and need to check my needle sizes and then select yarn. The first pattern we will be doing features Cascade 220, but I want to be sure to use a superwash wool. If you are interested in joining, the book is quite inexpensive at Amazon. Here's the link to the group: http://knitsocksalong.blogspot.com/2006/05/guidelines.html
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Once more, we have boarded the Ark. Rain, rain, rain for days. I am hard at work on sewing the ladybug afghan. I made an Oops. There was an error in the instructions and instead of 26 rows above and below first and last ladybugs in a panel, I did 35 rows (as done between ladybugs). So, I have had to tease out the ribbing and add a few extra inches of knitting to the red panels. Well, these things happen. At least I was consistent so the problem is easily repairable.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Links To Interesting Items

A poster asked if I could do the ladybug afghan in crochet. Yes, but the chart needs to be converted. However, Maggies Crochet does have a crocheted ladybug afghan. I am posting a link to the page here:

I have ordered directly from Maggies Crochet twice and been very happy with my service.

There are always new knitters, so I'm taking this opportunity to point out the 5 Hour Baby Sweater. There are several versions of this pattern all adapted from the original provided by Anne Stoddard, who was given the pattern by two ladies who ran a yarn shop back in the 50s. When she posted the pattern, she asked that if you made a sweater, make a second and donate it. I donated all of mine to local hospitals.
I've made Lorraine's version a couple of times also.
Includes booties, bonnet and attached hood patterns.

Since I'm posting links, here's one of my favorite quilting scrap patterns links:

Oh, and not to leave out the cross stitchers, here's a link to calculators and converters
Oh, and my recommendation for very cute.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Continuing Operations

I finished the weaving for the Ladybug Afghan the other day and am now sewing the panels together. There is hope I will be done in a day or two! We have a cloudy day today, so working on quilting is out, anyway.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Here Comes The Sun

We saw the sun again!! It's still there! Happy dance, happy dance. Of course, the clouds then rolled in and we are expecting thunderstorms tonight. The Crab Apple flowers finally opened today. I hope the rain isn't too heavy so we can have these flowers for awhile.
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Here's Brandy, my sister's dog, who absolutely detests the rain. She was very happy to be outside today.
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On the craft side, I finished the weaving on the second panel of ladybugs. Tomorrow, I plan to do the pinning of the Floral Triple Irish Chain, so not much weaving will get done.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Ark

Yes, well, it is still raining, just like the weatherpeople said. We are still afloat. So, we'll continue our Ark theme, at least until we are underwater, anyway. First, here's the cute cross-stitch pattern I bought last year in Texas. This is the Ark, Texas style. It includes tortoises, hares, armadillos, coyotes, roadrunners and some bird I don't know. Complete with Noah in a cowboy hat!
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Here's something appropriate from my craft library: Ark Animals! I bought this book for $1 last year. These toys are so cute and the lucky individuals who will be getting them are children getting surgery at our local hospital. They often give toys to tots during pre-op to distract them. Later, they take them home. This was originally an Australian book, republished in CA. If you didn't already know about the book, I'm sorry to torment you. It's no longer available.

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Here are a bunch of the toys that will be made. What's nice is that they all start off as squares or rectangles. Includes such unusual items as a kangaroo, mermaid, polar bear and camel and Humpty Dumpty . I may have to adapt something to make a cow.
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