Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Knitting and Maybe Cleaning

And I had to share this little owl.  I ran into it in Walmart in the children's department: it is the perfect size for a socks project bag.  Just shows that you have to keep your eyes open no matter where you are.

I think it has been years since I won anything but recently I hit the jackpot.  I won these items from Julie at The Crafty Quilter.  My winnings included a quilt pattern, a Moda charm pack and a beautiful fabric necklace made by Julie.  I was excited when she told me I had won but way more excited when I opened the package.  Thank you, Julie.

People who have been reading my blog for some time know that I became quite ill last summer.  But really it started several month before, we just didn't realize what was happening.  This picture really shows how long it has been since I was up and going: this quilt was put on the frame in September, 2014.  I was whizzing right along and then two things happened: The machine started snapping the thread and I was unable to stand long enough to deal with it.  So this is where the quilt is now and I have quilted about 3 rows and have 2 to go.  I should have it done this month but the next two pictures will show why that may not happen.

This is my ironing board.  Both ends are piled with fabrics from three or four different projects.  With just that little space I have not been able to do much and am easily frustrated when I try.  My goal this week is to clear this off so I can begin to be quilting productive again.

However there is one other problem.  Under all of this, accumulated over the last several months, is my 3' x 5' cutting table.  My current plan is to put everything here into a laundry basket so I can work on the table and then work from the basket to put things away.  During my illness I would come to work, get things out and then be overwhelmed either by the mess or my lack of energy and just leave the area.  My husband offered to clean it up but I was afraid I would never find anything so I am going to work at it a little at a time.

My studio is a 3 room mobile office divided into a quilting room, a sewing room, and a prep/knitting room.  All of the rooms need work but I think that if I can get these areas up and running I can deal with whatever else needs to be done.  At least that is my plan.

I am very fortunate.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer that has moved into my entire skeletal system.  We thought it was a death sentence but with medication I appear to be MUCH better than I was and am able to do most of what I was doing before I knew I was sick.  God has been so very good to me and I hope to be able to use the time given to me wisely.  Gari

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

On The Needles 5/4/16

This is on the needles right now.  It is Gentle Rain from the Love of Knitting magazine.  I have both the front and back done and they are seamed together.  I don't know if you can see but I have started picking up stitches around the neckline so I can start garter stitching it. 

It was really funny last week when I started picking up stitches.   I got a little way around and then I decided I didn't know if I was doing it right.  So I took a little time to watch 3 different YouTube videos and discovered that I was doing it the same as all three.  So this week I will be picking up the rest of the stitches and knitting the neckline in the round.

I wanted to show the lace panel again: it shows so much better when it is hugging "her" hips.  This was my first attempt at anything lace and also the first time I have knit with a "slub" yarn.  And, it is cotton and something, again something new to me. 

I have started a new pair of socks but there is nothing to look at when all I have is a little tip of the toes.  But it was all my two at a time sock knitting that allowed me to knit the front and back of the above sweater at the same time.  I guess it is all coming together.

Now I better get busy and get that sweater/shell done so I have a finish this month that is not a mug rug.  And I have lots of BOM blocks to complete/start, most leftover from last year.  Anyone want to come over and clean up my studio so I can work in there?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April Finish

Here is the finished "rug."  I didn't do a lot of quilting on it, just enough to hold the three pieces together.

The edge is only 1/8" and for the first time I was concerned that I was going to stitch right onto my finger.  The little area wanted to bunch up, especially at the corners, and not move.  So I had my fingers there to help it.  I had to keep reminding myself to take my foot off the pedal so I wouldn't accidently sew me onto the rug.  OUCH!! 

Lastly is the backing.  This was a fat quarter that came in a bundle years ago.  I really didn't like it but it seemed perfect for this application and shouldn't show much dirt:  this little rug is going to reside on my craft table which gets quite messy.

Later today I will be taking pictures of my knitted shell.  It is not finished but the front and back are all done and seamed.  I think I will try to put it on a mannequin for pictures.  That post will probably show up tomorrow.

Have a great weekend everybody!  Gari 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

This Weeks Projects

 I am getting really excited about this shell.  I have been knitting both the front and back but I will shortly have to work just on the back while I knit in the arm holes and then the neckline.  I decided to do the back first as it seems to be easier and will prepare me for the front.
I have been doing a little on these socks but because I won't be wearing socks for the next 6 months my interest has flagged. 

I also need to knit a new hat as my last one was stolen and my head got cold this past winter.

I did make the top of the second Pat Sloan mug rug.  It is all appliqued but still needs to be sandwiched, quilted and bound.  I can't tell you how much fun it is to be working with fabric again.
 So much fun that I have started working on Esther Aliu's mystery quilt, Sweet 16.  Here I am with pieces of the block #1.  They are supposed to be something like éclairs but right now they look more like hamburgers.
But now we have three sets of three red velvet éclairs, chocolate éclairs, and vanilla éclairs.  They will eventually be piled up on a plate and kept under a glass dome.  Mine are a little mundane but I just couldn't make multicolored cakes like Esther's original ones. 
I will try to make up for it with the lace I found to attach to the bottom of the cake platter.  This is the leftover lace from a quilt I made several years ago called Baskets & Lace.

The only thing that has been hindering my sewing time is that we are having such wonderful Spring weather.  And I frequently find myself sitting on the deck, knitting.  The puppies love it that I am out there as they can play in the fenced in area and bark at every car that passes.

That being said, I'll close and knit a few rows before I turn in.
Night ....... Gari

PS: Linking with Patchwork Times: On The Needles.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Gone and Back`

This was Spring Break week for my hubby.  So what did I plan for us?  To take a trip to Lakeland, FL to visit my mother.

When I got sick last year I requested no visitors.  I was too weak to entertain and I didn't want people to come just to stare at the hollow shell I had become (some exaggeration there).  My mother, who is now 93, really wanted to come but with Eric being my primary care giver, as well as teaching 2 days a week, and everyone else working, and no guest room, I didn't have anyone available to provide transportation or to help with any problems she might have.  So with Eric available to travel with me I suggested that we go to see her so she could see how well I have become.

We had a very nice visit and lunch at Longhorn but by the end of the day all were tired so it was a good time for a night's rest and a day's travel home.

Over the years we have traveled several times to Lakeland, Kissimmee, and Orlando so we know I 10 and I 75 quite well.  And our primary travel interests have been antique malls.  We have seen several come and go but two have remained constant and we time our travels to be able to visit them both.  This year Eric was concerned that I wouldn't be able to walk long enough to really enjoy the experience so he rented a wheelchair that he could push me around in.  It folded up and fix nicely in the car so off we went to renew our enjoyment of travel.

When we got to the first mall there was a sign on the door that stated that we could bring a dog inside so it wouldn't be left in a hot car.  Well, we just happened to have a dog with us, our 17 year old, blind Shih Tzu that Eric knew no one could care for except him (probably right, I can't).  So we bundled her up and brought her with us.  
This is Buffy and me at Webbs.  As you can see in this blurry picture, we used the wheelchair to push the dog around.  But I found it so easy to push that I used it more as a walker than a wheelchair and I was very grateful to have it.  Walking or standing makes my back hurt and having this to balance me and to take some of the pressure off was wonderful.  We didn't buy much but as soon as I am fully unpacked I will show the one thing I got.

 Here is the finished mug rug I completed prior to our trip.  I gifted it to my sister-in-law for her birthday, today.  She is quite crafty herself so it took me a long time to be willing to share what I make but for the last several years we have become a mutual admiration society, of two.

 And today I started working on making another one for myself.  Please note that I wrote "petal" on each of the petal pieces so I wouldn't think they were leaves this time.  Although I really like the first one and would have kept it and used it if Cera hadn't had a birthday right as I was finishing it.  Oh well, I guess I will just have a boring regular flower. 

Have a great weekend everyone........ Gari

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Oh, The Productive Life

 I have been sewing in the studio!!  Pat Sloan offered this little flower in a pot pattern and I decided it would make a great mug rug for the craft table I have recently set up in the great room.  I drew out all the pieces on my fusible and then spent some time picking out fabrics.  I even ironed them all on the wrong side of the fabric, something that does not always happen even though that is the right thing to do.  Just as I finished with the iron I realized that the six little pieces were not supposed to be leaves but petals.  The original plan was for a yellow flower.  Opps!!  Anyway, I now am calling this an art piece.

I quilted the piece using a quilting stitch on my domestic machine: I think it really looks more like chicken tracks than anything else.

 I used a small blanket stitch for the applique and I think it turned out pretty good.  I did fill in between the petals: I will show that in the next post as I still need to put a binding on it.  Anyway, I now think this is going to be a gift so I am going to start another one for me. 

I made one other thing this week, well really 6 other things.  It was DH's 75th birthday Tuesday.  He has always loved apricot pies, something it is difficult to find.  And he married a woman who is not a pie baker.  But for the last few months I have become obsessed with cooking shows.  I stopped cooking when I got sick and haven't even tried to pick it up again but Tuesday I made apricot turnovers.  Eric had to teach that morning so I pulled out my packaged pie rounds, rolled them out and cut pretty large circles in them.  I cooked the apricots (canned) with artificial sweetener, water, and a little cinnamon.  After I folded the rounds over the apricots and crimped the edges I coated them with some butter (no eggs in the house for an egg wash) an baked them in a 350 oven for 11 minutes.  I'm told they are very good and they must be OK as they are disappearing.  I wanted to make something that was easy to handle and/or even to eat on the way to work.  And they made a real surprise for a man who has really been a rock for me as I attempted to work my way back to a somewhat normal life.

I got an early start to my day today as we had an electrician come to fix the outlets that were not conducting electricity.  We have a modular home and I had suggested that the electric plug between the two modules had come unplugged (this had happened before).  My sweet hubby disagreed with me but he was not here when the electrician came so I sent him under the house to see if that was it.  AND I WAS RIGHT, again.  The electrician was here for only 13 minutes.  I texted sweet hubby to tell him the outcome: he texted back "don't you get tired of always being right?"  Never.    Gari  

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Busy But Not Overly Productive

This is how far I have gotten on Gentle Rain.  I have the bottom band (32 rows, a garter stitch band (8 rows) and the beginning of the body of the shell (maybe 2”) of SS knitting.  I will be doing this for about 9” before I get to the beginning of the arm holes.  I am doing  some decreasing to make a fitted waist area (4 rows per decrease).  Anyway, I am on my way up, when I get a chance to work on it.

Monday we took my HQ 16 to be serviced, first time in the 10 years I have had it.  Just prior to my getting sick last Spring it started cutting the thread about every 20 – 30 stitches.  I was 3/4 of the way through a small lap quilt and got pretty frustrated.  About that same time I found that I couldn’t stand for very long so even taking the bobbin out and cleaning the area was difficult.  Then I just found myself spending my days sitting in the living room and eventually in the hospital and bedridden.

Over the past couple of months my strength has begun to come back, I can walk better and I think my standing strength will eventually return.  So I decided I better get that quilting machine up and running as I have some tops that need quilting, some blocks that need putting together and some ideas than need to be showing up in fabric.  And, of course, I have a studio that really needs to be cleaned up, especially the cutting table and ironing board.

Oh, and I forgot that Wednesday I got a call that the HQ was cleaned and oiled and stitching so she was ready to come home.  It is a 180 mile round trip each time but well worth it.  My machine is now back on the rails and all I have to do is plug in the stitch regulator and reattach the bottom of the quilt and I think I will be ready to finish that little quilt.  I do need to thank our son in law who came over both times to help carry the machine from studio to car and then from car to studio.  

In addition to quilting, I hope, I need to find something I can make and finish before the end of the month.  I didn’t finish anything last month and nothing looks like it will be finished this month unless I get to it.  I think I am going to get back to doing some machine embroidery.  I have several shirts that need embellishing, maybe even with applique.  Oh, the ideas that are buzzing around in my head. 

Our weekend will again be graced by our oldest son and his wife.  They have been coming to see us monthly ever since I got sick.  Initially they came to see how I was doing but now I think they come just because they like us.  They arrive on Friday night and leave on Saturday afternoon: they have major responsibilities at their church so they have to be there every Sunday.  And they drive 500+ miles monthly for these visits.  You know that makes us very grateful.  So we will be having a wonderful weekend, how about you?  Gari

Linking with Patchwork Times.