May Flowers

Knockouts in bloomThe weather must be perfect for the Knockout Roses as they have been blooming beautifully over the last week or so as the rain has nourished the earth here in Middle Georgia. They must have heard us discussing removing them as we have been disappointed with their blooming over the last several years. As weather continues to improve after so much rain, almost 3 inches this week, work progressed on closets. Two were completed, the pantry and laundry room. Subsequently, I finished putting those two closets back to work reorganizing both. This opportunity gave me a chance to re-purpose a shelf for our English Springer Spaniel, Maggie’s gear. This is an effort on my part to clear the kitchen counters for a more organized workspace. Today DH and I re-hung the doors after we put up some hooks to add storage spaces in unused wall spaces in both areas.Knockout Roses in bloom!

During this chaotic time, I have continued with my knitting mostly during Monday knitting circle. I have almost completed a second Hannah Jacket in the opposite color-way of the first. The knitting looks better with this sweater than the first. Two Hannah Jackets

I do not care for the look of the crocheted loops on the first therefore I am contemplating another way of making the loops so they have more substance. In the time of contemplation, I started a striped sweater and have ripped it out several times over the last two days. The seed stitch is not coming out as I expect it to. I have gone on several websites to see where my error is in knitting this stitch. I will have to get help from the Monday knitting circle.

When I last saw my friend J, she asked how I was doing with our challenge, making one garment for ourselves by 1 June. My answer is that I have been thinking of it. It will be a skirt. I have the fabric from a Craftsy Sew-Along last summer. When I got into the sew along I found out that there was an elastic waistband, not a favorite for me. So I am going to make a pattern from a favorite and make it for myself for this summer. It is a denim colored lined. I am dreaming of a time that I can spend in my sewing studio. I remind myself this time of chaos will only result in better use of space and a place for me to sew. Additionally, J completed piecing the baby quilt I originally designed using EQ7 posted in this blog several weeks ago and has sent it to a quilter for completion. I am looking forward to the end result. When she pieced the blocks, we used the camera and moved the blocks around until we liked the combination, the space the camera gives allows us to better see possibilities or anything that jars the picture.

Until next time, Needle on!

Hope

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Chaos Reigns

This week on concurrent with DH’s continuing recovery from surgery, a visit from a brother-in-law, some gardening and knitting projects, I did some de-construction in the bonus room in preparation for work from the custom storage installations. The reciprocating saw works great!

The weather has been rainy and gray for the last two weeks, not conducive to patient recovery, the aches seem to intensify with the gloomy weather and Maggie feels cooped. I have knitted several projects and have them close to finishing. The lace blocking wires have arrived so Wendy Johnson’s 2011 mystery shawlette should be blocked in the next week, I also have finished the bunny hat mentioned in the last post.

Rowan Yarns Bunny Hat in Be Sweet Mohair with Angora ears.

Rowan Yarns Bunny Hat in Be Sweet Mohair with Angora ears.

and the Hannah Coat from the book, What to Knit When You are Expecting by Nikki Van de Carr.

Hannah Jacket with I-cord bind off in Spud and Chloe Sweater Yarn.

Hannah Jacket with I-cord bind off in Spud and Chloe Sweater Yarn.

The last two items are in conjunction with a Great Expectations knitting circle at LYS, not really so local as it takes an hour to go there weekly, I am learning a lot and enjoy the people. For the above item I just have to make two loops for two buttons. I will look for something tomorrow. Because I have enough of the accent color for the  Hannah coat I picked up another ball of yarn and am currently knitting another Hannah coat in the reverse colorway.

I also started Laura Nelkin’s mystery Knit Along , an introduction to using beads in knitting. I have clue one completed and have started clue two. This after frogging, (rip-it, rip-it) the clue one three times. There is a rhythm to adding in the beads, I almost gave up as it was too fiddly, but have since gone back to working on it.

Laura Nelkin's Mystery Knit-Along using Space Cadet superwash fingering  weight merino wool, dark moana colorway and glass beads found on Ravelry.

Laura Nelkin’s Mystery Knit-Along using Space Cadet superwash fingering weight merino wool, dark moana colorway and glass beads found on Ravelry.

This afternoon, I planted three clematis around the pergola during an intermission from the rain. The red Georgia clay softened by the rain mad for easier digging and I was able to get them in the ground.

Tomorrow, I and a friend will go to some of the shops for the second annual Quilt Shop Hop in Middle Georgia. I am looking forward to the camaraderie and adventure of exploring new needling items!

Until next time, needle on!

Hope

 

 

 

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Wow! Two Weeks Already Gone!

Two weeks since last post and it has been tumultuous roller coaster ride. DH had surgery three weeks ago, and was released from the hospital two days later. At the same time our vet informed us that Maggie, our English Springer was having issues with her liver. This week it is a son with a blown engine. Sometimes I wish for a little eventfulness in life. Because of the chaos in the house waiting for custom closets to be installed knitting has been the solace of choice. I completed a Mystery Shawlette Knit Along (KAL) from Wendy Johnson that she had on her blog in 2011 and now sells on her ravelry site,  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/summer-mystery-shawlette. I used a Madeline Tosh Sock Yarn in White Wash. I had tried to knit it in 2011 when it was originally released and ended up ripping it out. The knitting is complete. I had to order some lace blocking wires so that I can block it. I was frustrated by the yarn because it kept breaking, maybe because it is a single ply yarn, maybe because I ripped it out numerous times previously, I persevered and now it is knit.

Mystery Shawlette knit but unblocked

Mystery Shawlette knit but unblocked

The next thing I started is a baby knitting junket that my local knitting shop Creative Yarns is holding. This is a weekly event where we use two books on baby items and knit. Even though I have no specific baby to knit for I started the knit along so that I might gain confidence to make garments, something I have only just started to do. I have made one pair of top-down socks gifted to my youngest sister, and one shrug for a niece. I knit most of a baby bunny hat using a Rowan Yarns freebie here: http://www.knitrowan.com/designs-and-patterns/patterns/rabbit-beanie. This is out of baby mohair Be Sweet Boucle in natural and Plymouth Angora. Just knitting it made me giddy it is so cute. I knit the hat in the round on double-pointed needles. I have two ears to complete, I seem to have lost the one I knit this week, probably at the doctor’s office and then sew them both on.

Rowan Yarns freebie, knit up in Sew Bee Boucle and Plymouth Yarns Angora.

Rowan’s Rabbit Beanie

I did do some sewing, after chancing life and limb to retrieve sewing machine and serger from chaos, I repaired a pair of sweat pants as they are the only comfortable clothing DH can wear at this time while healing.

In addition, I worked on designing a baby quilt for a friend, J. J sent me pictures of her fabrics and I used EQ7 to design the quilt through several iterations, basically coming up with a disappearing 9-patch as it is easy for a new quilter to execute. The beauty of this design is that once the basic block is sewn  and cut into four blocks the quilter just rotates and flips blocks until the arrangement is pleasing to them. We added white to the mix of colors so that the quilt would pop and flow better. EQ is such an easy program to use and provides a way to test out ideas out easily before cutting fabric. It was fun to do for J. I am looking forward to seeing the completed project. J's Baby Quilt

Time is marching on, the beauty of Spring is all around in the flowers, the rains, and best of all the coolness of temperatures. This has been the best spring since our arrival to Middle Georgia 15 years ago. Walks have been so enjoyable and enable me to really take in the beauty of the season.

Until next time,

Needle on,

Hope

 

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Changes keep a coming, I keep trying to roll with them

More changes are in the air, just as the brisk winds blow away the dreariness of winter here in middle Georgia. My husband is undergoing surgery and the attendant stress ratchets up the anxiety. The anti-dote is needlework. Anything busy and engaging. So what am I taking with me to face the challenge; a bag full of knitting and cross-stitch. I have down-loaded another DMC pattern and have everything to start a simple pattern with one color of DMC variable colored cotton.

In addition, I have several knitting projects. A Wendy Johnson Mystery Lace Knit Along from a couple of years ago that I started and have since frogged to try it another day. Maybe this will be the time. I have been waiting for some yarn cozies to hold the yarn for a Fair Isle cowl from the last Vogue Knitting magazine. I think I will just put them in some sandwich bags instead, the pattern is so beautiful I want to start it. And then there are the ubiquitous dishcloths to knit to while away the hours of  waiting.

This week we have been busy preparing for the long recovery period necessitated by the surgery by prepping for some work to our house in the weeks following DH’s surgery as he will not be able to help me. We are going to make some major changes in where the sewing studio and the guest room are. I came home Friday from running errands and the bonus room was emptied, the closets were painted, and all the living spaces were filled with boxes from the bonus room.

Chaos reigns! Current Sewing Studio buried in boxes.

Chaos reigns! Current Sewing Studio buried in boxes.

I am excited about the new storage possibilities but not the ensuing chaos as we wait for the end product.  It isn’t  easy to walk around in some areas currently.

I wanted to keep up with my blog even during this challenging time, needle on.

 

Hope

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Spring is in the Air

Spring is dancing around the edges here. The pear trees are blooming beautifully, daffodils are popping up in the most surprising places piercing the gloom of rainy overcast days of late, foreshadowing the coming sunny days ahead.

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Life has become a little more complicated. DH is scheduled for surgery, we are moving the sewing studio to the bonus room and there are some home improvements being worked to improve storage solutions. The physical labor to move the studio and preparing the rooms for work taxes me and I really do not have an area for my sewing machine set-up yet. In the next few days I will be moving furniture upstairs and painting. I would like to complete this before the weekend.

I am working on some knitting and some cross stitch but not at a stage to share a whole project. The one really neat knitting step I learned in the last two weeks was about swatching in the round. In preparing to knit the Fair Isle Cowl, knit in the round, I learned that the more accurate way to swatch was to knit it in the round on double pointed needles carrying the yarn across the back to again knit it across. Below, see both sides of the knitting. A really neat step and more accurate reflection of your knitting in the round.

IMG_0091IMG_0090

I took a carload to Atlanta to the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo. We had a delightful time together working our way through the vendor area. In the midst of this one of my friends and I worked out a challenge for ourselves. We will work and complete a garment for ourselves by 1 June 2014. This should be doable. I am thinking that my project will be a skirt.

Enjoy the magic of spring, needle on!

Hope

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Life Happens then you …

Machine and embroidery unit packed and ready for trip to Atlanta.

Machine and embroidery unit packed and ready for trip to Atlanta.

This past week I continued to research with the help of a trusty yahoo group the issue with my sewing machine/computer to no avail, I lugged it to Atlanta and was able to sit with a machine pro who watched what I was doing and we eventually figured out that I had the incorrect foot on to perform the hoop calibration, ( it was not specified in the procedure). And since I was there, we went over several items that I needed a refresher course on including the software that I am using to digitize a quilt design. Therefore the trip was not wasted and I even received complimentary tickets for the carload of people I am driving to Atlanta’s sewing and quilt expo next week. We reviewed how to calibrate and make buttonholes, oiling the machine and some other items that I had forgotten in the two years since I brought the machine home.  It ended up being educational, I then zipped home to take Maggie for a long walk as she is no longer used to being alone for such a long period of time.

Fair Isle knitting with color changes

Fair Isle knitting with color changes

Fair Isle Knitting, wrong side showing the carrying of yarn across the back.

Fair Isle Knitting, wrong side showing the carrying of yarn across the back.

I also, took the Fair Isle knitting class which was a great intro, and started today making the gauge swatch. I learned a great way to swatch when you are knitting in the round from Craftsy, reminiscent of the fair isle class in that using double-pointed needles you bring the yarn to the other end, looping without catching it, as you do in the above picture and just knit from both ends not catching it for big loops and better tension. This gives a better gauge swatch when you are knitting in the round as the knitting tension is more closely related than purling back in a stockinette stitch. A neat idea, and one I was trying to figure out this morning when I decided to check the Craftsy classes I am enrolled in. The Knitting in the Round Lab had the answer.

I am excited because we have a finish carpenter visiting tomorrow to help us figure out better space utilization. I would love to have my sewing studio in a useable state. This has not been the case for a while and only more complicated with the water issue over the summer. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we can come up with some workable solutions.

As this is tax time, I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to tame paperwork of which I ignored too long. So my nose has been to the grindstone over this past week trying to establish some semblance of order. Taxes have to be done and paperwork has to be in the correct files to more easily do it. Today, I actually saw my cutting table’s surface for the first time since August.  This consumes my needling time and I want it done! Therefore, I have not completed anything just done some minor steps each day to move forward. Slow steps, but forward progress, nevertheless.

Almond trees are budding, our neighbor’s apple trees are as well so the balmy weather of spring approaches. Until next week, sew on!

Hope

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Meeting Challenges

This week has been starting, re-starting, stops, challenges. Nothing went very smoothly.

I have been working on the Veteran’s Quilt this week and finished stitching-in-the-ditch all the blocks. I searched for all the items needed to quilt the blocks in the hoop, but my sewing machine refused to calibrate the hoop. I have searched the internet, yahoo groups and called the dealer, there does not appear to be an easy fix, so we have an appointment in Atlanta. A weekday drive means six hours driving. That is not quite how I want to spend my time but is necessary to finish this quilt. I am happy that I was able to keep the blocks smooth, there are no pleats to have to frog (needlework term: rip-it, rip-it) any of the sewing for this issue. I worked on the quilt design for the blocks, one of which I bought specifically for these types of quilts. I am disappointed that I was unable to quilt it this week. I am still working on the design as I have to enlarge it to the block size and then ensure that the design works with the layers and thread I am using. I am trying to have everything ready for my return from Atlanta on Tuesday.

I did complete the cabled afghan I worked this week, I just need to gift it in the next week.  I decided it was more appropriate for someone in a wheelchair and will give it to a friend whose mother is in a long term care facility.

I also, finished the lace project started in class, I used up all the yarn and made it long enough for a cowl. Lace Cowl Completed

I am signed up for a class in stranded knitting. The cover of Winter 2013/2104 Vogue Knitting magazine has a Fair-Isle Cowl I am looking forward to working on, go here http://www.vogueknitting.com/contests/win_a_cover_kit.aspx to win a kit to make one.

Next knitting project.

Next knitting project.

I enjoy knitting because it is portable, but especially it focuses my brain on something positive and does not leave any room for stressing. When I work a complex pattern it so engages my brain that I have no way of thinking of anything else. When I lose focus, I end up in another frog situation, today at one time I knit the same row seven times, each time rip-it, rip-it was the activity of the moment.

These activities have me stay in the moment and leave me feeling content. Maggie and I have been walking at dawn this week. The weather is starting to warm up. The two almond trees in our front yard are starting to blossom. It is great to start your day and appreciate the beauty all around. Sew on, until next week.

Hope

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