Friday, June 24, 2016

Flying Needles

 Isn't this impressive?  Yes it is.  Every day I have knit on this, a little at a time, and I am beginning to see the end of the body of this sweater.  There are so many mistakes in this sweater but between the color variations of the yarn and the movement created by the pattern, those mistakes do not show (unless, of course, you are a real knitter and look very, very closely).

 Here I have folded the front over the back to show how far I still need to knit for the body.  Then I will knit the sleeves I forgot and lastly I will be knitting the button band.  I won't have this done this month but maybe July.

 Does everyone remember the large number of UFOs I talked about last week?  Well, you can now add one more, a hat.  I saw a picture of one of these hats on Gramma's Quilting Room.  I had decided I needed a hat to wear when I had to be out in the summer sun: I tend to quickly become weak if my head is uncovered.  And I especially liked that Peaches and Cream cotton yarn is recommended and I still have a lot of it from the washcloths I made at Christmas.  So here is how far I have gotten.  I am almost to the part where we decrease to the top.  And then I am to return to the beginning, pick up stitches and knit the brim.  I think this will be a fun hat to wear.\

This is an easy pattern and fun to do.  I am going to try to get it done next week.  Gari

Linking with Patchwork Times.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Dragon on the Wall

 I am calling this my "design table" and on it is a very special  UFO.
I started The Dragon in 2012 and worked on him for several months.  Then I was completely stymied when I couldn't figure out how to do the applique. 

 At  first I tried to do hand applique but I found that it was VERY difficult to get a needle and thread through three layers of batiks.  Then I decided to do machine applique.  It went OK except that the pieces crept around the background.  You can see the thread I put in to try to hold them in place.

 Now this is my new attempt to "pin" down Mr. Dragon.  I am adding pins to every tip and join.  It takes forever to put all those pins in but I really want to finish this quilt.  Everything is on the background except the additional fire; you know, "fire breathing dragon."  If I can get this top done it will push me to finish quilting the quilt that has been on the frame forever.  And maybe I will finally get on a quilting roll.

As you can see I have two helpers who are overseeing this work.  They are really taskmasters and make a lot of noise when I slack off.  With their help I should be ready to return to the machine applique and heading to the quilting frame.  Yay!!    Gari

Linking with Patchwork Times.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Knitting Progress, Needles, and UFOs

 I am really excited about this sweater, Spring Bloom.  What we are looking at is
 the back and I am currently going over the shoulders.  The pattern says to stop one side and knit the other side down to the bottom.  Well, I have never been good at following directions so I am doing both sides at the same time.  Additionally, I was following the chart and missed when I was supposed to add stitches to knit the sleeves.  So I will be adding them at the end. 

This is a close-up of when I changed to the second skein of yarn.  Can you see the difference?  I changed on the row when I bound off for the neckline.  I had written to the yarn manufacture about the differences between the skeins but the response was that they are careful.  Knowing the differences I have planned for where the differences will show up and I think it will be terrific.

Over a year ago I bought this little chest to house my ever growing knitting needles.  I have only been knitting for 3 years and have collected a lot of needles.

I bought acrylic boxes that fit the drawers, 5 to a drawer.  And the reason that there is an empty one is that I have several unfinished projects lying around. 

This is just a small number of the projects in bags.  Additionally I have at least two completed sweaters that haven't been stitched together, at least four sets of socks in various stages of completion.  How did this happen? 

So I guess I need to set some finishing goals and then get on them.  Meanwhile, the week is almost over so have a great weekend and Father's Day.  Gari 

I and others are linking with Patchwork Times.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A New Start

My swift arrived and it was so easy to set up.  I have to say that all I had to do was remember watching Louise, late of Pale Moon Yarns, and do what I saw her do.

 I remembered watching her untwist the yarn so round and round I went until it was as straight as I could get it.  Then I started rotating the ball winder and we went faster and faster and .......
then I had three perfect balls of yarn.  I am pretty sure this is hand dyed yarn because each ball is somewhat different.  The first one is soft colors, the second has a very strong yellow section and the third has a bright orange section. 

I am going to use them in that order so the back will be the softer colors with the yellow coming next and, I hope, the bright orange will complete the bottom of the front and the button band.  I am adding about 8" to the front and back. This picture is of the first 4.5".   The yarn color is truer in the picture of the balls, it is really not this intense.  Anyway, I am on my way with this pattern and should have a new cardigan before the end of the summer.
We spent a wonderful Memorial Sunday with this charming child and his really fun mother, Michelle.  He, Ryder, is our great grandson and she is the wife of our grandson, who had to work that day.  We had thought to go to the beach but it was so crowded that we spent the day at their house and Ryder played in his new blow-up pool.  Later we met his father, Chris, for dinner (no pictures because I was too busy eating baby back ribs) before heading home.  I usually don't like traveling on holidays but there was very little traffic on Sunday so we had a very nice drive.

I have been building a list of things I would like to do but so far all I seem to do is knit.  And I used to be so well rounded.  I guess I need to get back to using my time more wisely.  Till next time ...Gari

Linking with Patchwork Times.   

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Me and My Crafts

 This has been a week of transition.  With the completion of the Gentle Rain shell I had to find other outlets for my "creative" talent.  I have focused on sock knitting because I already had two pair in process but they had been abandoned as the shell got closer to completion.  There is something about finishing that compels me to focus on the goal.  Anyway, these striped socks are now up to the heel and I am half way through one.  I really like doing the FLK heel but always have to watch the videos and cannot do them without the written directions. 
Once I have seen the videos I wonder why I couldn't remember and it is really easy to knit away.  My only problem this week has been that Eric is still on vacation and every time I go to the studio he arrives within 20 minuets saying "break time" or "lets go to lunch somewhere" and I find it hard to get things done.  But according to the calendar summer classes begin next week and I will have 4 mornings a week .... Yay!
 Almost as soon as I got my shell done this sweater was demoed on Very Pink Knits YouTube.  Well, not really demoed, more like talked about.  Anyway, it is a lace pattern and done differently, all one piece.  The pattern is free so I printed it out and practiced and practiced until I felt I could follow the chart: no written pattern which is the only way I have knit until now.  Then I sent for the yarn.

Isn't it pretty?  And it is so soft.  And it isn't in a ball, ready to knit.  It has to be wound into a ball.  I have a skein that I tried to wind without a swift, that thing below, and it isn't pretty what happened to it.  It is still a terrible mess that I need to work on. 

 Anyway, I moaned and whined and complained until hubby, who really loves me, ordered the above swift.  So now I need to get the older yarn off of the ball winder so I can use it with the swift to wind that beautiful yarn into balls, ready to knit into that beautiful cardigan.  I bought enough yarn to make it longer as I don't like things that cut me off at the waiste.
While working on applique I spend quite a lot of time auditioning thread.  With each thread change I will have several spools of thread lying on the piece while trying to find just the right shade to either match or compliment the fabric.  I am very lucky, over the almost 20 years of quilting and machine embroidery I have collected a plethora of thread.  However it does take some time to go through it all to find just the right one.  Poor me!

 I did finish the machine applique on Block 1 of Esther Aliu's Sweet 16 Mystery Quilt.  It really isn't as bumpty as it looks.  It is lying on what will be the background fabric but all 10 blocks will be appliqued onto just one large piece of fabric so that has to wait.  There is a stand foot and a knob on the top but I am going to wait until I have all the blocks before adding those adjoining pieces.

I am really looking forward to this weekend.  We will be going to the beach to spend time with our great grandson and his mother (to bad our grandson has to work).  We always have a fun time with this section of our family and as they will be moving back to Colorado next winter we want to spend as much time with them as we can.  I hope you all have as good a time as we plan to.  Gari

I am linking with Patchwork Times for more knitting inspiration.

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?