Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Finishing Up A Swap

I'm working like mad to finish squares for my crochet swap. Yes, I'm going to be late, but I want the squares right! I didn't realize until I put the squares together to mail (1 each of 2 different designs) that I had used 'soft white' on some and 'bright white' on others. So, I've been speedily recrocheting the soft white ones (since the instructions were to use a pure white). I've done many, many swaps and this is only the second time I've ever been late. I hate that.

Several reasons why I am not on the computer as often lately is that I hate to keep waking up sleeping cats. They all love to sleep in the computer chair including Cleo-Claudine (Mamacat). If I put them down, at least one hops on the back of the chair waiting for me to stand up to turn the computer on (so they can quickly take over the chair again). That's what Bart here did. He gets his photo taken for doing that.
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Here's what I usually find. One or more cats sleeping on the rug on the chair. By the way, Allison (the little calico you see pictured here) hates getting her photo taken. When she hears me turning on the digital camera, she runs. I guess I flashy-flashed her too many times, ya think? Pictured here are Cuddles and Allison. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wreath Wallhanging Done!

Yes, another project done! I completed this Wreath Wallhanging as a gift for my brother. It's about 28 inches square. The greens were purchased new, while the rest is from stash. The pattern is from a Mystery in Quiltmaker Magazine (2001?). I have actually made a 2nd top of the same pattern for me, but will have to quilt it after I've finished the crochet swap which I have to mail on Monday. What is nice about this small project is that it gave me an opportunity to try out some quilting motifs that I would like to use on larger bed quilts. Both were surprisingly easy to do by machine, although I may change the ribbons just a little bit. I have to check with my brother as to how he wants to hang this--I think he actually has decorative clips so no sleeve or tabs may be necessary.

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The center motif came from a Helen Squire in Helen's Copy and Use Quilting Patterns
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The ribbon motif comes from Quiltmaker Motifs volume 3.
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[edited to add] This pattern is now separately published by Quiltmaker and is available at their website. The title of the pattern is Yuletide Wreath.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Baby Afghan Completed!

Even despite illness, I managed to finish the baby afghan! I need a better photo. No matter where I try to take a photo, I can see dirt from the potted plants (all due to the Potsticker who insists on sleeping in plant pots). I haven't washed this afghan yet, so it's not a problem.
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Here's the details. The afghan is 32 x 32 inches. I knit loosely, so used a size 7 circular needles. The finished product used 2 skeins of Bernat Sweet Stripes in Candy. While the pattern is not new and unique, it's easier to print it off from the Bernat site, so I'm providing a link for the pattern details. It's free to join.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's Getting Bigger!

Hi all! I'm still sick, but actually accomplishing a litte. Visited the doc and have drugs. Hopefully improvement will occur soon. I've been working on the baby afghan and that's coming along nicely. The edging comes out so nice! I have to take my brother to his medical appointment, so will get another 2 or 3 hours on it tomorrow. Nice, brainless knitting. I needed that. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Knitting notion organization can be a challenge. One of my current problems is that my storage solution for my circulars isn't working for me any longer. I have too much stuff and the container (a 4 inch ring binder with plastic see-through pencil cases) takes up too much room for what is stored inside (circulars). At the time, there were not really storage solutions for circulars, but a recent visit with the Patternworks catalog has brought up a few options for me to consider so that I can leave my bookshelf space up for books.

Here's what I'm considering that is premade. The least expensive is $18 and is this square, floppy holder. This is exactly what I do with the binder already. The problem is, I don't think it holds enough 'pages' to contain my variety of needles. My 32 inch circulars would have to be turned twice to fit. Patternworks does sell empty pages allowing you to use you own 'container.' Maybe I should adapt the cross-stitch zipper bag I bought that didn't work for me into something like this? Hmm. Still doesn't really help my 32 inchers.
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This one has some cool design features I really like despite the expense ($39). There's no zippers to deal with, easy open/close, cool fabric covering. Will easily hold multiple needles (you know, 16, 22 and 32 inch). The quilting gives some stability to the 'pages' so they aren't flopping around. It's also something I could potentially make myself using some fabulous quilting fabric on the outside and being sure that I have enough space for the 32 inchers. It appears to take up a lot less space than my current storage system. Still has the problem of curling every time you take it out.
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The final option ($20) that I'm considering is this one that hangs in the closet. Closet space I have. I don't have to have needles immediately at the ready; my closet is certainly close enough. I also like the fact that by not recurling the circulars into a pouch, I don't have to restraighten them for every project, thus they would last longer. However, I can help but think that it potentially could be easy to pull more than the needles I want out. Anybody ever try this? This is one that I can also make myself.
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Ok..more kitty photos! Here's what I have to contend with while computing. We are forever cleaning up dirt as a result of visitors in the plants. This one prefers it as her personal sleeping space. She does however, prove that she will make an excellent computer cat. Also, she has shown a definite preference for afghans over quilts. It's that fluffy Homespun, I'm sure.
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Finally, the naming issues. Look at this adorable kitten. My Mom named her Mittens. It took me a while to warm up to Mittens and now I like it. Now my sister wants to name her Julia. So, cast your comments folks! Should she be a Mittens or a Julia?
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Monday, February 12, 2007

No Progress This Week

I haven't been working on anything since my last post. I've been fighting off a bug that everybody has been getting and yesterday finally gave up the ghost and went to bed. Still in bed most of today as well. Teaching kittens to nap is lots harder than I remembered. They want to keep bouncing and I can't keep them out of the darn closet. Anyway, I expect to be better later this week. Tonight is 24, so I have 2 hours of either knitting or crocheting. After that, most of the remainder of the week will be devoted to finishing a crochet swap. I'm halfway done, but didn't want to work on it when feeling out of sorts.

I do have a question. I already have no sense of smell. How can a cold make food taste worse? I can't even taste the chocolate in my chocolate chip ice cream cone.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

More Kittens

OK.. more kitten photos. Monochromatic kitties (and black ones) are very difficult to photograph. Add to that is cooperation! Sylvester (right colors, but I don't think he has the same temperment as the TV cat), is very relaxed for this photo session. Look at those pretty eyes! He's the largest of the kittens.
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On the other hand, Cuddles is the smallest of the kitties. She is named for her constant need for cuddles as well as providing lots of purring action. She also has pretty green eyes. She has been talking since birth. The only time she's quiet is when she's out cold for a nap or about to attack a sibling.
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New Knitting Book

Hey, I bought a knitting book! Don't get too many of those since most of my knitting is sweaters. But this is handy no matter what you make. Now, many of you probably have the original Knitter's Companion. This is the new and revised edition and, for me, a big improvement. I particularly like the section on weaving/sewing finished sections. Anyway, it was certainly worth my cash this time around. Although it looks like it's been around since last year, it just showed up at our Borders today and I bought it! At this point, I think I have plenty of knitting reference books. No reference book has everything you need, alas.
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I am still working on the baby afghan and I'm more than halfway done. When I have managed to decrease enough that my work stays on the needles better, I will provide a photo. It's going along slower, but I do try to do two rows daily as well as take it along to work on during dead time.

Some Kitty Photos

Somehow, I just can't get good photos of all 5, so I will give you what I've taken in the last week or so.

First, we have Bart. Yes, as in Black Bart. He has no white at all. Nice fuzzy fur. Very sturdy little guy but has too much adventure in him for his own good. He generally prefers to come up for pets, not be held, but I'm teaching him (Aquari-Yum treats help).
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This is dark calico girl. My Mom has suggested the name Mittens. I kindof like that. Suggestions are welcome. Likes me to hold her. Purrs a lot. Is afraid of my mirror.
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This is the pale calico (the black color is all broken up). She has a shy personality. Cute. Doesn't want to be held unless SHE wants to be held. My sister suggested Alice. My Dad suggested Mitzi (not a chance, I say).
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I've Been Tagged (a few times)

I've been tagged by 3 others so far, so I thought I'd finally post something. I don't know who to tag, so I'm just a leak in the game. The question is....6 weird things about me.

Six Weird Things About Me
  1. I talk to cats and my computer. Most of the time, it's polite.
  2. I talk to myself too. Just have to remember not to do it in public ("Now, how did I miss that stitch?" or "What have we here?")
  3. I am a neurotic map looker upper. Mapquest and I are buddies. If someone indicates they are from some hole-in-the-wall place, I gotta look it up. I just can't help myself.
  4. I tend to spend money on fabric and yarn before buying needed clothing or footwear. There is 6 inches of snow and I still have no boots.
  5. I hate shopping but I like errands. I avoid clothing shopping until I have nothing left in wearable condition. And then I still avoid it! I can do errands all day. Food shopping I tolerate.
  6. The word "utilize" makes me totally crazy. The correct form is use, used, using or usage. People have enough trouble understanding each other without popularizing useless government speak. Family members say it to torment me.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Quilting Books

Given my large collection of quilting books (130 plus), you would probably guess that I'm not that selective. No, it's really because there is a quilt or two in each book that I really want to do! Except for applique, there are no reference books here because I use the internet for that. Everybody's list would vary, of course. For instance, some folks pay others to quilt their quilts, so may not want something that helps you quilt on your machine. If I had to cut back to only 20 quilting books, these are the ones I would keep. Most are chosen either for a technique or for a multitude of traditional patterns. Most of these books are currently in print or easily available via online used sources. I have not found an online source for Delightful Applique. In no particular order:

400 Quilt Blocks by Linda Causee (cutting directions for 6, 9 and 12 inch blocks)
Reversible Quilts by Sharon Pederson
101 Nine Patch Quilts by Judy Martin
The Border Workbook by Janet Kime (really, any good border book, there are several)
Fat Quarter Friendly by Mariann Fons
Thimbleberries Book of Quilts by Lynette Jensen
Divide and Conquer by Nancy Smith
Applique 12 Easy Ways by Elly Sienkiewicz
Show Me How To Machine Quilt by Kathy Sandbach
Quick and Easy Scrap Quilts by Leisure Arts
Our Best Seasonal Quilts by Fons and Porter
Quick Quilts from Your Scrap Bag by Leisure Arts
Hawaiian Applique by Vicki Fleming
Rotary Roundup by Judy Martin
Block Magic by Nancy Johnson-Srebro
505 Quilt Blocks by Better Homes & Gardens (resizable blocks, both pieced and applique)
Quick Rotary Cutter Quilts by Pam Bono
Wild Goose Chase Quilts by Eleanor Burns
Log Cabin Quilts by Eleanor Burns (her method is now widely demonstrated on the internet).
Delightful Applique (and I don't know author offhand - resizeable applique motifs).

For other crafts, I don't actually have all that many books.