Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Plugging Away

What on earth have I been doing?  Well, not a lot.  It seems like I am busy all the time but since I don't seem to get a lot done, that probably is not quite accurate.  You see I go to the studio almost every afternoon and sometime during that afternoon I fall asleep.  I do laugh about it now but I was really surprised when it began happening: I have NEVER been a napper.  But now it is happening almost every afternoon.  But when I am awake I knit and have been working on these:


This is block 3 of Esther Aliu's Sweet 16 BOM.  Mine is all fused and I have about 2/3's of it appliqued.  There will be domes over these sweets but I am going to do them all at once when we/I have all the blocks finished.


Here I am working on the applique and in front of the machine is some of the spools of thread that I set out to see what matched best.  I do seem to spend a lot of time setting threads under the machine's light and on top of the fused applique looking for the best match.




Fortunately I have a pretty good stash of threads.


The problem with having so many choices is that it sometimes is difficult to see the difference between shades of thread or it is frustrating when the shade you need is between two that you have but don't have that in-between one.

Once I start appliqueing one block I start work on the pieces for the next block, in this case Block 4.  One of the funny things that occurred while choosing fabric for this block was the discovery that I rarely purchase floral fabrics.  The block called for a flower to be placed next to the cake and I really had to hunt to find one.


My flower is a lot bigger than the one in the pattern but I really liked it so here it is.  This block is only fused and will not be stitched until the above one is completed.  Meanwhile I have drawn the units of the next block onto the fusible and all those parts are sitting on the ironing board, ready for me to choose fabric for them.  Unfortunately there are 5 very colorful "sweets" on that tray so it may take some time to prep the pieces and then put the jig-saw puzzle together.
  
Meanwhile I have a new toy, an Instant Pot pressure cooker.  Judy at Patchwork Times has talked a lot about her's and all that she can do with it.  I, on the other hand, have reveled in the fact that once I got sick my husband took over all the food preparation and I could see no reason to change that.  Then I somehow stumbled onto a Facebook community where people shared their IP experiences, good and bad, and helped each other.  And so many recipes that sounded so good.

The internal components are really simple but the problem is going to be that the "experts" keep sharing all the additional things you can use with this pot.  And everything you make is made faster and the moisture and flavor stays in the pot.

So I picked my first recipe,

Bought 3 large chicken breasts and put them in the pot with water, spices, and sauce.  And out came perfectly ready meat.  Due to unforeseen circumstances we didn't get to have the tacos but the chicken went into a couple of great salads and were wonderful.
I have made hard boiled eggs that peeled perfectly and a pasta dish last night that was great (and enough for two more dinners are safely stowed in the freezer).

Just in case anyone is wondering, I don't plan to take over the cooking.  My plan is to cook about once a week and then also try my hand at sweets. 

And, of course, last but not least, we have Stubby and Sherlock either commiserating or plotting.  It always impresses me at how well our animals get along

We have company coming this weekend and I am still trying to decide if I am going to cook for them.  It has been so long since I have done that and one of them is a vegetarian, something I have never had to consider.  So I guess this weekend is going to be a surprise for all of us. 

Have a great week and weekend: see ya next week.  Gari 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Humming Right Along

I guess one could say that I have been missing from the blog.  Usually that means that I haven't been doing anything of note and for the first week or so that was true.  I was tired most of the time and just rested.  But then I became rejuvenated and began working on a couple of projects.  The one I have focused on is the BOM Sweet 16 by Esther Aliu.  Block 1 is completed including the applique.

 This is Block 2.  For some reason it took me a while to place the "lady fingers" on the cake.  On they went and then off again, over and over.  This is the final result.  The cake is now placed on the fabric for the dome but I don't plan to finish that until we are ready to put the quilt together.  This block, however is ready for appliqueing.


 While I was positioning the pieces for Block 2, I drew the pieces for Block 3.  Working on both of them at the same time made me feel that I was really getting something done.  It is always fun for me to cut the fusible out, so much like cutting paper dolls (yes, I am old and used to cut out paper dolls and their clothes).  In this picture I am putting the pieces of each cake together.  Then each set went into a baggie, ready to move on to finding the fabrics for them.


 And here you can see my choices.  They are different from Esther's original.  My husband LOVES chocolate covered donuts so here you have one.  Esther had the chocolate on the longer piece but when I was younger I used to buy maple frosted "long johns" and had to put one on here.  I do have to say that making these makes me hungry.


 And true to the plan, these are the pieces for Block 4.  And, although I didn't get a picture of it, I have chosen the fabrics and will soon be working on this block, and drawing the pieces of Block 5. Esther has released Block 7 so I am really trying to play catch up.  Not easy but I am enjoying the chase


The above is a Christmas cactus.  I am told that the little piece came from one of my most beloved relatives.  I have been nurturing it along and we now have two new "leaves."  One is at the end of one shoot and the other is coming from the base.  The pot is only 1 1/2" tall so I am really working with a baby and I am loving it.

 And last but certainly not least, here is Abby, "sleeping" above me.  I have decided that she likes the down pillows as much or maybe more than I do.  She starts sleeping at the foot of the bed and then when I am asleep, she sneaks up on the pillows behind me.  I love my dogs, they make me laugh all of the time.

I hope everyone has a great week.  For me it is going to be quiet and slow work (quilt work, knit, quilt work, knit) oh, and the arrival of my new Instant Pot pressure cooker.  Never used one before so that may take some time out of my craft/art time.  Gari

Linking with Patchwork Times.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Stages of Knitting

I have returned to sock knitting.  These are really "leftover" socks but because the yarns are so beautiful, they are making beautiful socks.  I think I am at the point of heels, or just about, and that part always slows me down.

Last week I had to take a few steps backward.  I discovered that the bind-off I had done on the button band was too tight and it kept the band from hanging right.  And it is to be remembered that the band went from the bottom of one front panel, all the way around the neckline to the bottom of the other front panel.  I have no idea how many stitches there were but I got to take them all out and here you see me redoing the bind-off.  I searched through several loose bind-offs and chose the Latvian one.

This mess is a sleeve.  You may remember that I forgot to knit the sleeves on this "all knit at one time" sweater.  So I knit them after the body was done and now I am readying them to be put on the shoulders. 


I had thought to just knit the sleeves onto the body but couldn't figure out how to do it without having a "bump".  So I am currently binding them off, same as the button band, and then I will attach them.

I decided that once I begin sewing the seams of this sweater together it will be time to start on the cowl below.  I am only planning to do the smaller cowl, not the larger one below, but it will look much the same.  I bought the yarn above but have left it in the bag until the sweater is almost completed.  Next week I will put this yarn on the swift and wind it into two balls and begin.  Of course I am going to watch the Very Pink video tutorial one more time, just to familiarize myself with how to do the pattern.  I am really excited as this will be the first fairisle I have done with hand knitting.  Someday I will show some of the things I machine knit several years ago.


Last weekend we had a bunch of family in our house:  two of our children, and their spouses, two grandchildren and their spouses, a granddaughter-in-law, 3 great grandchildren, and 6 dogs (4 are ours).  We had a wonderful time with lots of laughs and quite often 2 and 3 different conversations going on at the same time.  This went on both Saturday and Sunday morning.  Both Eric and I were energized all the way until Monday morning when the energy started to ebb.  It took until Thursday before I got any energy back:  I was really a slug Tuesday and Wednesday. 

One of the things I did work on while I was "just sitting" was to sort through lots of embroidery designs, thinking about what I want to do for Christmas.  Last year, while I was bed bound, I knit washcloths for family members.  This year I want to do something different.  So I have put my thinking cap on and am searching for ideas.  Anyone want to help?
Gari


Friday, August 5, 2016

Quilt Fiinish

Only 2 years in the making but this one is finally finished.  I got the quilting done last week but I didn't get the binding on until today.


The quilt is a jelly roll adaptation.  I would sew the 2 1/2" strips together and then every 3 or 4 strips would get a batik piece.  I love the splotches of color amidst all that black and white. 

The quilting came from someone online.  I knew who showed it when I first had it on the frame in September 2014.  But all the time that as gone on in-between has driven that information right out of my brain.  Anyway it is all free motion quilting and fun to do.

While I was quilting I was looking for the binding I remembered preparing.  I hunted and hunted in all the wrong places but after the quilting was done I had an idea and went right to where the strip of binding was resting.  Yesterday I pressed it and wound it into this nifty roll.

Then today I put it in this basket that I bought at a quilt show a couple of years ago.  I love how it rolls off of the spindle and right on to the quilt. The basket is also great for holding those little bits of binding that are leftovers.  Someday they will join together for a fun quilt.

Not only did I have the binding done for two years but also the label.  It is now sewn into the binding and the quilt is done.  It is going to our great granddaughter, Scarlett, who will be 2 in January.  Fortunately this quilt is a full crib size so she will be able to use it well into a twin bed.

Tomorrow we are having a family get together.  There will be at least 14 adults, 3 children, and 6 dogs (4 are ours).  Our son-in-law is doing the cooking and he and our daughter are in charge of the food.  Eric and I have decided we will contribute fresh fruit and a green salad.  This will be the third time this kind of gathering has happened at our house in the last year.  It is always lots of fun: we are all fun people.

I have been looking at different quilts, looking for something that I think I would like to make.  I want something that is not too difficult and doesn't involve a lot of fabric cutting.  I still am having difficulty standing unless I am holding on to something.  I saw a quilt in the new Love of Quilting magazine that may be just the thing.  I would only have to buy one focus fabric and then use a bunch of leftover strips and other stash fabrics.  I feel the quilting juices flowing.   Gari





Sunday, July 24, 2016

2014 to 2016

  I put this quilt on the frame in September 2014 and then became sick eventually being diagnosed with cancer (breast and bone). I put in 19 days in the hospital and 6 months of bed rest before I was able to be up. Even with that I have only been able to stand at the frame twice. But today, the second time, I was able to finish the quilting. I started this quilt for our great granddaughter who will be 2 at Christmas. She will be visiting here in two weeks so I am going to try to get her quilt bound and the label on it so she can finally have a quilt from her Nana.
 I still have to put the binding on.  The current problem is that I sewed the binding together, lots of black and white strips, but that was over 18 months ago and I am not quite sure where I put it but I am about to make a concentrated effort to uncover it.
 The quilt is made from a black and white jelly roll and batik scraps.  It was a lot of fun putting it together.  The quilting is free motion and I think it was a pattern that Leah Day showed but I am not really sure.

 I designed the label, obviously in 2014.  I was really surprised to find it last month and have held on to it, carefully, so it would be ready for the finished quilt.  I have been so offended by black and white thinking that this quilt says "there are shades of gray and lots of colors in life" so don't box yourself in.  I still need to add the quilt info into the middle of the circle but it will get done this week.


Please note that this is my cat, sleeping on the deck.  The interesting part is that she is sleeping right outside the studio door.  I took this picture right after I jumped over the cat to get into the studio: I am right inside the door, looking down.  And please note that she is still there and didn't even know that I had been there.  Eric has been taking pictures for Facebook of the "37 places Stubby sleeps on the deck," but this is one that has become a favorite.

I am trying to put in a little more time on the quilting/sewing front.  I have a couple of sewing/embroidery projects I want to do and a few quilt UFOs I would like to finish.  And, of course, I have a couple of BOMs I am WAY behind on.  I don't move as fast as I used to but I seem to have as much piled up to do as always.  I guess I will either keep busy or be frustrated a lot.  We'll just have to wait and see which one takes over.  Gari

Linking to Patchwork Times

Friday, July 22, 2016

Close to Finish

 I am so excited, I am very close to being done with this sweater.  I only have 19 rows left to knit on the back.   


 These are the sleeves and as you can probably tell I have a lot of rows to knit before they are done.  I have been knitting the sleeves in the house and the body in the studio and nothing on a UFO.  I really want to get this done: I did send for yarn for the cowl I want to start so I have to get this project done and done.


No, I am not knitting this sweet child.  He is our youngest grandchild, Gus, and yesterday was his birthday.  He doesn't live close to us and doesn't know us but every time I see that sweet smile I feel kissed.

Our weekend is planned: some knitting, some quilting, some yard work, and some house cleaning.  A little work and a little fun and then the weekend will be over and back we go to knitting, quilting, teaching, cleaning, and a little fun.  We live quite an exciting life.  Gari

Linking with Patchwork Times.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Completed, Progressing, Next


I got the white hat finished yesterday.  I made it one size smaller but it still is a little big.  The only reason I have been knitting hats is to have something on my head with the hot summer sun beating down on me so size does not really matter.  
It is hard for me to finally believe but the front of this sweater is done.  Now I have to extend the back to match, knit the sleeves, knit the button band, and seam the sides and it will be done.  And I will need to block it.  (Do I block it before or after I seam the sides?)  Of course this means this sweater will not be done this summer (I am a VERY slow knitter) but I will either wear it with a long sleeved pullover or display it on a mannequin.

Now that the hat is finished I am going to start a knitting UFO project.  I have been knitting the sweater in the studio where there are no animals to walk all over me and very few interruptions so I can count the repeats.  In the house I will be knitting socks and probably finishing up sweaters.  I haven't pulled out any of the UFO bags so they will be a surprise to me but I do need to finish things so I can use the project bags for new projects.

And I do have a new project I want to start.
This is called a Tesserino Cowl offered by Louet.  I watched a tutorial video on Very Pink and think I can do it.  I love cowls to keep my neck warm in the winter and this one looks like it will do the job.  But I can't start it until I get at least 2 UFOs finished.

We are expecting to have a quiet weekend so maybe I will be able to get a lot of knitting (and quilting?) done.  Have a great weekend everybody,   GARI

Linking with Patchwork Times.