Monday, October 2, 2017

October Already

 This is Block 2 of the I Love Home BOM (4 parts).  For those who have read my other recent blog posts, you may remember that I am doing both a hand embroidery block and a raw edge applique block.

This is the applique version.  I still have not decided how I want to frame these blocks so they are still rough.  And I just love my door and windows: I am somewhat obsessed with owls, just ask my family.  ☺

Fortunately I have the hard work done on these because today Block 3 arrived which means I now have two more blocks to make.  They are not hard, just take time and a lot of that time is figuring out what fabrics to use.

While taking the dogs outside I looked back and saw this.  This is my studio (3 very full rooms) under bright blue skies and surrounded by bright green trees.  I realized, again, how lucky I am and how grateful I am for all I have: a man who loves me even after almost 57 years, a wonderful family, and God's grace for whatever comes. 

 And this is where I was when I took the above picture.  It was just too pretty a day to be inside and the hammock was calling me. Usually I bring a quilt out to put on it but I forgot so the dogs couldn't get up and join me.  Maybe today, after I get some knitting and quilting done.  I only have an inch to do on my green sleeves and, after I do some ripping out, I should be shortly done with the gauge swatch/pocket liners for the new sweater. 

Have a great week, see you next time.  Gari

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Little of This and a Little of That

This is the first of Esther Aliu's Vases BOM.  It took me quite a while to put this together but now I need to put it into a block.  This one is called Thursday's Vase.  I also have the pattern for Monday's Vase.  And, yes, she is not going in order so I probably will be totally confused by the time they all get here.

These are the outlines for a Morning Glory applique.  The bottom one is appliqued on top of the top one and I am going to try needle turn, by machine, applique using pieces of as many batiks as I can.  But I probably won't start this until after the first of the year as I have so many other things to do.

I did start a new sweater today.  I know, I know, I haven't finished the one I am currently working on but this one is a Craftsy KAL and I am already two lessons behind.  So I decided to do the gauge swatch, which also is the lining for a pocket.  And, of course, I am doing the lining for both pockets, at the same time.  This yarn is so soft that it will be hard to go back to any other knitting project. 

Oh, and don't pay any attention to the sweater picture, my printer is going through an identity crisis.   The yarn is mostly white with flecks of many other colors.  This will be a beautiful sweater, whenever I get it done. 

Hi there.

This is how I look when I am leaving the studio with a sense of accomplishment.  Have a great week!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Little of What is Going On

I have gotten some further on this sweater.  I have the body done up to where the sleeves go and I have 13" done on the two sleeves (I am knitting them like two at a time socks).  The sleeves are supposed to be 18" so it will be a little while before they are ready to be attached to the body.  I have read and reread the pattern for attaching and it really doesn't make any sense to me.  But I will follow it, word for word, and see what happens. 

Thursday I had a 9:30 appointment with my cardiologist and a 1:00 appointment with my oncologist (with lunch in-between).  And because I HATE waiting for my turn, I took my knitting with me.  I was the only one in the waiting room that was occupied.    

The The above are blocks 1 & 2 in the I Love Home BOM (only 4 blocks).  There is supposed to be fabric around the houses but I haven't really decided on what fabric I want to use so this is as far as I have gotten.  Also, I seem to have misplaced Block 1 so I am kind of at a standstill on that one.

I am also doing the same blocks in hand embroidery.  I have not done hand embroidery since I was a child so that is going slowly.  I have block 1 done and am started on block 2: they are my TV watching thing to do in the evening.

                        Sadie                                        Abby


The above are our three doxies.  They are the sweetest puppies, except when it is time to come in from the outside.  And this morning the bottom one, Sherlock, caught a rat on our deck.  Hubby said that he had a hard time getting it out of his mouth and by the time he got it the rat was good and dead.  I've never seen a rat here but I am really glad the dog got him. 

A few weeks ago I was feeling pretty good and we decided it was time to visit our son in NC.  They have three children and we hadn't seen the last one or the others in two years.  It was fun to watch those children running around: such energy. 

(Our daughter, who lives near here, came to stay with the doxies.  I really appreciate her for taking care of them and keeping me from worrying about them.) 

Also Eric's sister and brother in law came down from NH so there was fun all around.  Our son is Provost at the local college so we got a great tour of the campus.  It was fun to hear how proud he is of the school and students.  Our daughter in law teaches an online class and fills the rest of her time with 3 rambunctious children and a lot of country cooking.

And finally, a small look at our yard decorations.  We live on 5 acres that is mostly covered with trees.  A few months ago I had a group of trees taken down so there would be some clearing around the house.  But that left a bunch of very short tree stumps that I was afraid Eric would run over with the riding lawn mower.  About that time I saw a really cute Gnome and decided putting one on each of the stumps would attract Eric's attention and he would avoid the stumps.  They have become a "thing" here and we now have 9 Gnomes.  We still have a few unadorned stumps but the filled ones alert Eric to watch for them.

This Gnome sits on our deck railing, looking over the "flock" of Gnomes in the yard.  I see him as the head man, kind of like Poppa Smurf.

I really enjoy seeing our "flock" of Gnomes, they make me smile.

I am going to try to write a little more often.  It take me longer to get things done so frequently I don't have anything to say.  I currently am pretty healthy, still get weak occasionally, so there isn't anything to report on the health side. I am getting ready to work on some other projects and will share them when there is something to see.

Love to all,  Gari

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Green Sweater on the Needles

This was the start of my newest sweater.  If you remember I had to start it three times because I got the circular needles screwed up.  I have used circular needles ever since I started knitting, 3-4 years ago with socks, and never got the beginning twisted.  But I sure did in starting this project.

And this is how far along I have gotten: I am a little over half way up the body.  It is really easy since it is just the knit stitch, over and over again.  But it is going slowly because I have been dropping off while knitting.  It is really funny that I wake up, still holding my needles, and just start knitting again.  And I haven't dropped a stitch. 

While I continue with this sweater I am working on two applique quilt blocks and I am hoping to start a pair of socks.  It takes all my strength to wind yarn but if I can do it I will have a pair of orange socks soon.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Missing and Inaction

I have been missing in action for the last 3 months.  Missing, yes, with almost no action during all that time.  I did a one week medication mistake that threw me for a loop (really dumb mistake on my part) but then for the next 2 1/2 months I just sat, doing nothing, and being quite comfortable that way.  I even stopped going to the studio or going out to eat.  Slowly I started to regain strength and do a little.  I surprised DH one day when I suggested we go out to eat: he was so excited.  So I am still kind of weak but seem to be getting back to doing some things.

The first thing I worked on was this scarf.  I had started it months ago with the leftover yarn from the sweater I have knitted but still not sewn together (it is 95 outside so I don't need a heavy sweater yet).  Anyway, I started with small needles but then decided I liked the bulky better so knit with size 10.  Then I decided to take out the beginning part done on size 7 needles.  Did you know that it is really hard to rip out backwards?  Well, it really is.  I had to pull the yard through each stitch which took a really long time.  I finally got it all out and then reknit the first part to match the rest.  I toyed with the idea of this being a cowl but bound the ends off anyway.

Then yesterday I decided to sew a fabric bowl.  11 years ago I bound the cloths cord with fabric but kind of fell out of interest in sewing this thing together.  When I moved back to AL I brought the cord with me and hid it under the sewing table.  I could still kind of see it but just ignored it.  So I crawled under the table and pulled this covered cord out and began stitching.  Of course I made a mistake right off the bat.

I set my stitching up so that the "bowl" was building up inside the machine's throat.  You probably can't tell but I did round up the edges and decided that this was going to be a "plate".  I have started another one, going in the right direction, but ran out of time so I will get back to you with my progress.

This morning I  replanted my grandma's Christmas cactus.  My grandma died when I was 12 years old.  She was a hand quilter who frequently quilted other people's quilts to earn an income.  I was told that this cactus is a cutting from her's.  When I got it it only had 3 ribs but look at it now.  It has been a house plant so I figure it will have to have some adjustment time out on the deck. 

It has joined my other  plants and is enjoying the warm soft breeze.  When I decided to take this picture I included the little pot it is has been living in.  I imagine she is experiencing culture shock.

I don't do a lot every day.  I seem to wear out after only a short time and frequently it takes a day or two to recuperate.  But it really is nice to be at least a little productive again.  Please come back and check on me. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Leftover Yarn

What do you do with leftover yarn?  I have some from other projects, not enough for any project I am looking at but still filling my stash bins.  So, when I finished knitting the pieces for my sweater (still not sewn together) I decided I needed a hat to go with it.

But I still had yarn left over.  So this is the beginning of a scarf.  I am making up the pattern but it is pretty much mindless knitting. That will give me time to figure out what I want to start next.  I know I want to knit a pair of socks (bright orange) but I need to go through a couple of books and web sites to find something challenging as my second project.

We have been dog sitting our daughter's 6 month old doxie puppy: she has been here for 10 days.  I am exhausted.  Our three doxies were not thrilled with her but she finally won them over and got two of them to play with her.  Anyway, our daughter just got back from her vacation and both she and her puppy, Dallas, were very happy to see each other.  They have now gone home and all is quiet in our little home.  But I have to say it was fun playing with a puppy again. 

Happy knitting, Gari

Linking with Patchwork Times

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Blocks To Put Together

 It sometimes seems that I am only knitting. But in-between knitting times, I sew.  I have these four blocks completed and at least two more to cut up and resew.  I do have to confess that I have not really planned how this quilt will layout but I do like the blocks and am looking forward to whatever I decide to do with them.

Additionally I have these 5 machine embroidery blocks with 5 more still on the machine, waiting to be sewn.  I think I may be putting the two sets of blocks together as a baby quilt.

Of course before I can put this top together I will need to finish quilting the baby quilt that is currently on the quilting frame.  I hope to finish it this week: what a joy that will be.

During the time I was really sick a lot of my quilting supplies were piled up in front of my design wall.  I am trying to figure out what is in that really big pile and where I can put that stuff so I an use my design wall.  I will need it when I get all these blocks done and ready to go.

So, now I have a plan, I think, and I just need to figure out how to make it work.  Wish me luck.... Gari

Linking to Patchwork Times

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Almost Finish and Start

 I have finished all the parts for my sweater.  Because this sweater is so long I am pretty sure it will take some time before it is completed.  However it is a pretty heavy sweater so I won't need it until next winter which is a long ways away.

 This is a shot of the sleeve pinned on the armhole: it is not sewn together so it may look funny but you get the idea of how it will look once I stitch it together.  And you can see the back piece up there, too.  My plan was to clear off the dining table last Tuesday, when hubby was off teaching, and begin the stitching process.  I, however, fell into procrastinating mode, and found other things to do.  Maybe I will get to it this Tuesday.  And then again, as I said, winter is a long way away.

I did start a new project, one that will take me, again, until next winter.  This is the start of a Tunisian Crochet/Knit baby afghan.  I was going to start a pair of socks and got some yarn out but since I always knit two at a time I have to also get the stuff out to rewind the yarn into two equal balls: what a pain.  And it hasn't happened yet.

I guess that is my hint to me to get off the computer and get busy.  Oh, speaking of the computer, Microsoft did a secret update to my computer and messed it up royally.  I tried to go back but it refused to undo the update.  So I did something else which wiped out all my programs.  I still had my files but not the programs to see them.  So I contacted the Microsoft help desk and she was able to at least restore my Word.  Now I just need to hunt up all the disks for the other programs I use all the time.  Not a happy time but at least it is keeping me occupied.  HA! HA!

Have a wonderful weekend,  Gari   

Linking with Patchwork Times 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Start of Design Wall

Saturday I started some machine embroidery for the first time in several months.  I had found that I was having trouble using the hoops that came with my machine so I ordered the Snap Hoops, magnetic hoops that fit my Babylock machine.  According to the advertisement these hoops are supposed to be easier than the ones that come with the machine.  However, I looked them up on the Designs in Machine Embroidery web page and the cover says they are 4X stronger than the original magnetic hoops.  Do you know what 4X stronger means?  It means that it is almost impossible to pull them apart.  And no instructions came with the hoops and no videos to show how to work with them.  I did see a video on the magazine's web page but she is demoing the original 1X strength hoops, which would be no sweat to use.  But the 4X stronger takes everything I've got to pull the two parts apart.  I have searched YouTube for videos of the 4X hoops but so far have not found one that does a real demo of how to place and unplace the two parts with ease.  I guess I will just have to work at figuring out how to make this work.

I also started a pieced block to go with the embroidery but I stitched one of the rows upside down and had to unstitch so I didn't take a picture of that.  I am stitching and embroidering all at the same time (I sit between the two machines) and it gets a little confusing.  The problem is that even with the mistake, I am having so much fun.

Meanwhile I have finished all the parts for my sweater.  This is a shot of the sleeve pinned on the armhole: it is not sewn together so it may look funny but you get the idea of how it will look once I stitch it together.  And you can see the back piece up there, too.  My plan is to clear off the dining table Tuesday, when hubby is off teaching, and begin the stitching process. 

Because this sweater is so long I am pretty sure it will take some time before it is completed.  However it is a pretty heavy sweater so I won't need it until next winter which is a long ways away.

I have been so focused on this sweater that I haven't been doing any other knitting.  I got some yarn out yesterday but since I always knit two at a time I have to also get the stuff out to rewind the yarn into two equal balls: what a pain. 

And, for some couple relief, hubby and I went to see Beauty and the Beast yesterday.  What a beautiful movie.  We saw it in 3D and we did have to laugh when something got thrown or shot at us and we both jumped.

So, now I am off to the studio to cut some fabric for two more embroidered blocks, rescue the botched block and cut up another for re-sewing into the shape I want.  Then, if I still have the strength, I will wind yarn and start a new pair of socks.  And maybe an organizing fairy will come in and straighten up the cutting table, ironing board, and one of the sewing machine tables.  That would be such a help.  😏 

I hope everyone has a great week:   Gari

Linking with Patchwork Times

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Mini Quilt-Mug Rug

I want so badly to get back into quilting but every time I start to cut fabric I quickly tire and return to knitting.  Well, I saw this on Quilting Digest ( and knew I could make that in no time and feel that I was at least quilting something.  There it was shown as a pot holder but because of it's size, I saw a mug rug.

I keep my batik scraps separate from my other fabric scraps so I got to dive into the batiks and play.  Of course I had to iron the wrong window piece onto the wrong fabric and then HUNT for a replacement, but it wouldn't be a Gari project without at least one wrong ironing attempt.  But then, after that it was smooth sailing and I quickly completed my new mug rug and have a finish for March.  I may just have to specialize in mug rugs to have finishes from now on.  😄

And I am very happy to share my newest acquisition, a conduction "hot plate."  I have covered my stove with a large cutting board surface and needed something to cook on.  I have wanted to try this type of cooking and now was a great time.  It is really fun to learn to have specific temperatures rather than "low-med-high" with no real idea of what they really mean.  Anyway, yesterday we had company for brunch (oldest son and daughter-in-law) and I made scrambled eggs.  I remembered Bobby Flay, one of my favorite chefs, saying to cook them on a low heat (which I always have) but now I had to decide what actual temp was considered low.  I must have guessed right as the eggs turned out great. I only have two pans that work on this (and a whole oven full of what won't) so I guess I will be looking for some new pans as well as the knives I need.  Being a new cook is getting expensive.

And now we are off to a Museum Exhibition of Quilts.  I am excited to see if this will ramp up my energy for quilting.  I sure hope so, I've got a lot of fabric to use up.  Gari

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Progress & Spring

My blue sweater is coming along nicely.  Pictured are the two fronts.  I also have the sleeves done, I think.  I still have the last row to do but I want to check the length before I bind them off.  I am working on the back but after all of these stitches, it seems like it is taking forever.  Every other row is k1, p1, k1, p1, and my hand gets really tired.  I only have about 8" of the back completed so it's a good thing winter is a long way off.

I took this picture last week.  I thought it was funny that there were a couple of fully finished leaves on the bare branches.  I decided that the tree put these out kind of like scouts to test to see if it was going to be warm enough to leaf out.  It must have worked because now all of those branches have little leaves and are spewing pollen all over the place.  I am not allergic to the pollen but many of the people around here are and are really suffering.

And then there is this Christmas cactus.  It seems to be really confused.  But I congratulated it on the beautiful flower, which I am willing to enjoy any time of the year.

Last week we celebrated DH's birthday.  I had given him a Lone Ranger Lionel train set for Christmas so for his birthday I took him to a "train store" and let him pick what he would like as an addition to his set-up.  Then later in the week our daughter took us for a post-birthday dinner and then back to the train store to get a little more.  After he gets these parts set in place I will try to get a picture of his new toys.

DH is on Spring Break this week.  It will be nice to have him home every day.  We will be doing some furniture moving and then rewarding ourselves by going to see Beauty and the Beast.  I'm sure we will come up with other things to do but knitting and sewing will still be in my daily plans.

Linking to Patchwork Times 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Catching Up

 Since last we met I had my back surgery to have a stimulator implanted which has greatly decreased the pain I feel in my back.  The only post-op thing I was told was to not pick up anything over 10# for four weeks.  When I went back for the post-op appointment I found I am in a "study" regarding the implant and need to be seen every 3 months, I don't know for how long.  I asked if they would be paying me to come in but was told "no" because it would be seen as collusion.  I better not be charged for those appointments.

Last week I had a total bone scan to see what progression of the cancer in my bones had occurred.  I also had an organ scan to see if there was any cancer impact there. 

Then on Friday I started having abdominal pain.  I didn't feel sick but did hurt and couldn't eat.  I also was very restless and figured I must have the flu.  By Sunday I was not getting better, was very weak, and shaky.  I decided I was dehydrated and needed help so off to the ER we went, along with our daughter (the nurse) and her husband.  Five hours later I was rehydrated, was told I didn't have the flu, was given anti-nausea medication (I didn't have nausea), and was given the results of my two scans.

I was told that almost all of my skeletal system did not appear worse than the scan that was done in 7/2015.  There is, however, one area where significant deterioration was noted.  The ER doc said he thought the pain I was experiencing from this bone deterioration and suggested pain medication.  I decided that I will use Advil and that seems to be taking care of that pain.   And, nothing was noted in my organs.  

Meanwhile Abby has taken up Mahjong.

And Stubby has taken up protecting the baby Christmas cactus from the cold.

I have been knitting and just a very little quilting.  I keep thinking I will feel that I can get back into quilting but even thinking about it makes me tired.  Gotta build my strength.   Gari

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

This Is The Week

This is the week of my surgery.  Even though I was upset because the surgery didn't happen a couple of weeks ago, now I am nervous.  Today is Tuesday (night) and the surgery is Thursday (afternoon).  I know this going to be good for me but I am nervous anyway.  Over the last two weeks I have had an EKG, CT, and Blood Work.

Meanwhile, I am breaking the rule I made, "not starting anything new."  I am going to participate in the National Quilting Circle quilt block challenge.  It is a block pattern every week for 9 weeks.  The blocks don't look very difficult so I think I will be able to do one a week and have a nice little quilt top in a little over 2 months.

 These are the fabrics I have chosen for this quilt.  All of them are from stash so I am keeping with my "no buying new fabric" plan.  I am terrible at buying neutrals so I know I will have to purchase some of those as time goes by. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Weekender Sweater/Jacket

 This is one of the two sweater fronts that I have almost completed: knitting both at the same time.  I am currently working on the front bands and then they will be done.  I have to say that I was very confused when I looked at the picture and the band stripes ran up and down but mine were going horizontally.  Then I reread the pattern and early on it said that the fronts were knit from front to back rather than top to bottom or bottom to top.  Now it is making sense and the individual pieces are making sense.

So, once I was on the bands I brought them into the house to finish and began the sleeves in the studio.  And these start at the cuffs with 6" of garter stitch.  I am very close to finishing the cuffs and then will begin the pattern and increasing (and having to pay attention to the pattern).  The pattern is not hard but in the studio I watch TV and sometimes nod off, not good for following a pattern.  But I will try hard to get it right.

And now a not a dog picture.  This is Stubby sitting in my Auburn chair.  She sits and/or sleeps all over the deck and yard but I liked this because it gives me a chance to show one of the gifts my daughter-in-law (Sue) and son (Scott) brought to me a couple of months ago.  I had been looking for a webbed chair to have in the yard when I take the dogs out but I hadn't been able to find one.  Then when they came to visit one weekend they arrived with this chair and one for DH (purple for Northwestern).  It is so nice to have thoughtful children (in their 50s) and a cat that appreciates the finer things.

I am kind of resting for the next few days but hope to get busy after the first of the month.  Have fun,   Gari

Friday, February 10, 2017

Disappointment and Bounce Back

I really try to have a positive attitude but this past week it was somewhat difficult.  I went to my appointment with the surgeon who will be implanting the stimulator in my spine.  I believed I was going to have it done that day but rather it was a further consult (6th in this process) to set up the surgery date.  I was ready, nervous, and to be put off was really hard.  The surgery date is scheduled for 2/23 and, of course, I have pre-admission stuff to do first.  They really expected me to make the 220 mile drive to do this but I finally got them to let me get all that done locally.  I think I was not as "nice" as usual and I regret that but I also think I had been misled and I am quite tired of all of this stuff.  And there is one other thing.  Once the trial stimulator was removed the back pain came back with a vengeance.  No wonder I was ready for the next step. 

 I have a wonderful husband who, sitting in the dr's waiting room, knew I was going to need some comfort food.  He did some online research and found a really hole in the wall place that was highly rated.  The Fishing Hole is located in a small rundown strip mall but once you walk in the doors it is clean and classy.  And the food was wonderful.  Above you see Gumbo, a field greens salad and a light as air croissant.  Everything was wonderful and only a few bites in and my mood was significantly elevated. 

Since coming home I haven't done much sewing.  I did, however, finish my pillowcases and have them on the bed.  I also have pressed the fabric for my charity quilt but can't stand for long so haven't cut fabric, yet.  I have it all set up so that I can cut a couple of sets a day and maybe even sew the first part of the block.  Meanwhile I will be knitting and maybe even get back to working on my Sweet 16 project.

I don't know how everyone else sees it but at the beginning of the year there are so many new BOMs that appear online.  In the past I would start at least 3 and usually at least finished the blocks.  Now I have several I tried to do in the last 2 years so I have some (3-6) blocks done on each but nothing finished.  So this year I am not starting anything new and it is so very HARD.  I am saving several but I have not printed out anything new.  I think if I stay on this computer, I will have an ulcer by March.  😛

We are expecting company about every other week for the next month.  Fortunately no one expects me/us to cook for them so all we have to do is socialize.  It is funny that we hardly ever had visitors for the first 54 years of our marriage, but the last 2 years there has almost been a steady stream.  And we love it.

The weekend is almost here, so plan to have fun.  Gari