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Monday, January 30, 2006

Another week has gone already?

Whew, and it sped by once again. I can't believe it's already Monday (late afternoon). Things at work haven't slowed down any yet, in fact, some additional things have been added to our plates, at least temporarily, so I'm just trying to keep up with that and melting when I get home. I did get a little bit of work complete on my Unicorn Mystique over the weekend - this time I stitched some of the sky and black background (hills) on the right side of the design.

I also got 5 blocks quilted on Gerrick's quilt Saturday (I was in a zone watching episodes back-to-back-to-back of Simply Quilts), so I'm down to 16 to go. Hope everyone has a great week, and I'll probably revisit again next weekend.

Monday, January 23, 2006

We have some pictures!

Okay, so here is the result of the Black Swan Designs SAL this weekend: not as much as I'd hoped, but pretty nonetheless. I worked on the bottom right corner, and now we have some sea urchins, coral, and another fish.

Finally, here are two pictures of the things I've been knitting: a ribbed hat for me, and a baby afghan that uses more than one color and a pattern with slipped stitches! I can feel my confidence beginning to climb somewhat. I'm still quite slow (the hat pattern is from Yarn Harlot's December 2005 archives, and she thinks she made it in about 4 hours - I'm sure that just the bit that I've done is already way over that), but at least I'm not having to continually rip out and start over again and again this time. When you are doing a cross stitch pattern, a little mistake can sometimes be fairly easy to cover up. Not so much with knitting unless you're using that fun fur! :D

I expect work to be very busy over the next couple of weeks, so I'm not sure how much energy I will have in the evenings. Hopefully things will calm back down in February. Otherwise, I may be forced to take another vacation! ;-)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

We're heading to Detroit!!!

Okay, so not me literally, but my Steelers - we are the AFC Champions and we're headed to the Super Bowl!!!!!

Patty in Pennsylvania (who was asking about the Steelers birdhouse): email me at lissylaine at yahoo dot com, and I can put you in touch with my uncle who makes the birdhouses.

I've working a little on Merrick this weekend, and I should have a new progress scan or photo for tomorrow's update. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday evening.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping...

... and things have been even busier than usual. I can't believe it's Friday already, and I that haven't posted since Monday. I have an update for Maidens of the Seasons - Summer Maiden is officially half-finished.

I have been working on a couple of knitting projects this week as well as my stitching, and I'm also officially half-finished with the quilting on Gerrick's Aquarium. I started to try to scan the knitting I've done, but the colors refused to show up correctly, so I will have to take photos of them (I finally did get batteries). My shoulder has been acting up a bit over the last couple nights, so I think I've been overdoing it. I made myself rest some last night while we were watching our tv shows (something VERY difficult for me - I just can't stand not to stitch or do something while watching television).

Happy Friday, the weekend is upon us! Oh, and this is our monthly Black Swan Designs Stitch-A-Long weekend, so give your Black Swan projects some love!!! Merrick gets to come out to play with me again. :)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Weekend catch-up

Wow, has it been almost a week since the last post already? Time has just flown by, as usual. I gotta say, yesterday's Steelers v. Colts game was intense at the end. My Bettis jersey has seen me through a ton of games, and I expect my new Roethlisberger jersey to take the torch and carry it further (it was a Christmas gift from C, via my uncle in Shippingport, PA - just came today).

Speaking of my uncle, he also created a Steelers birdhouse that my father gave me for Christmas. Never to be outdone, C was insistent on having a Cowboys birdhouse to hang alongside it (something about representing both sides of our house)... and my uncle was nice enough to oblige. I now proudly present Steelers v. Cowboys:

Thursday night I finally managed to make it to Sit n Stitch (wasn't feeling well the week before) and picked out a frame while I was there for Sweetheart Tree's By the Sea Sampler. Saturday night was the Main Library Stitchers' get together, and it was a lot of fun too! I took a cross stitch, a crochet, and a knitting project, and ended up knitting most of the evening. Everyone was so nice, and I even got a great tip for working with my new circular knitting needles (running under warm/hot water to help them relax) that should have been a no-brainer, but obviously I hadn't even thought about it.

Oh, and before I forget - I got the new Castlevania gamepack for my Gameboy (that is composed of two GBA titles - Harmony of Dissonance and Aria of Sorrow), and I have been SO thoroughly enjoying it. If one should be well-rounded, then I do my part by taking a break from stitching every once in a while to play video games or read. ;-)

I've had the holiday off today, and I've taken advantage of it by working on Gerrick's quilt. I've also been working on Maidens of the Seasons some, since we decided that the Black Swan Designs SALs will again be the 3rd full weekend of each month (next weekend). Tivo has been great - once I stopped it from recording everything in its Suggestions list. My network adapter finally arrived, so now the updates are downloaded from broadband, and I have some additional options (which I have yet to check out). Mom came over and visited a bit today after she got off of work, and Candy even let Mom brush her. It has been a really nice holiday, and I am sad to see it almost over. I may need to schedule another vacation day soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Catnip Tea update

Here it is through band 9:

Yesterday I drove up to the Quilter's Attic in Goodlettsville and met the new [to me - they've actually been there a few years now] owner / staff. It's a really nice shop, even nicer than I remember, although the resident kitty left with the former owner.

I bought some flannel fabrics and a pattern (though not necessarily for the flannels), and I learned that the majority of the quilt models in the shop (if not all of them) are created by the employees (and they are gorgeous - both the piecing, color choices, fabric choices, and machine quilting!). They also offer those machine quilting services (generally the all-over quilting designs) for a fee, and the cost did not seem terribly outrageous to me. Now, don't get me wrong. I will continue to hand-quilt a lot of quilts, especially most I create as gifts. But all of a sudden, this opened up a whole other world to me - such as quilts I would like to do for myself but don't really have the time to take to hand-quilt because I have a "schedule" of gifts I want to make for the next several years. I have a few quilt designs in mind that I want to make for CC and myself, and I keep pushing them to the side (or back, wherever), and this could free me up to create those AND the ones I want to do for friends and family. Just thinking about the possibilities, I am a VERY happy camper this evening.

Oh, and the Fantasy Sampler pattern is still available - in a manner of speaking. It's no longer available as a chart, but it's a part of the book, The Best of Teresa Wentzler Sampler Collection

Monday, January 09, 2006

Fantasy Sampler progress

Thanks to everyone for your comments! Virginia, thanks for reminding me - I should have posted a link for the Catnip Mouse pattern - it's at Wendy Knits. She's also got a gallery of ones that people have made - it's so nice to see all the kitties (and even a few doggies) enjoying them. Okay, between working on that and a few crocheted coasters for C, I finally got to work on Fantasy Sampler a bit, and here is the result!

I worked on some of the dragon in the middle this time, and will probably do that again next month.

So now it is on to... maybe Catnip Tea. I plan to work on Merrick next weekend. It is getting so close, but I don't expect to finish it this month. Perhaps in the next couple of months!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I'm so excited!

So, I took off work yesterday to paint my new bi-fold doors.

I had some extra paint in the bin, so I finally painted that second coat on the kitchen windowsill and I repainted the jambs between the dining room and kitchen (which I had previously painted the same yellow as the kitchen and regretted from the moment it was done). So all the trim is now a now a nice glossy white, and I'm really happy about it.

But I'm also excited about a first - my first cable! It took about 4 or 5 tries, but I was following Wendy's pattern for a Catnip Mouse (which I didn't realize at first had a cable - and I had to go out and get a cable needle), and here is the result!

Of course, it hasn't been sewn up yet, and I haven't stuffed it with catnip, but I hope to be able to do it this afternoon. Maybe I can find some more batteries for my camera too...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

First finish of 2006

Lizzie*Kate's Friendship

This was part of the package of Lizzie*Kate charts (some of which were fully kitted) I stole at the Christmas party's Dirty Santa game.

Hobby Lobby at Rivergate yesterday was a bust - after being told that the 2nd checkout was closed and being directed to checkout #1, I stood in line and stood in line and waited and watched other people being directed as I was, to stand in line behind me. Then I watched the same person decide after about 10 or 15 minutes to call a couple of other employees to open their checkouts. And instead of saying something fair, like "I'll take the next person in line over here," they said nothing and let a bunch of people at the end of our line run over and start getting checked out. I was perturbed, and frankly, didn't NEED to spend the money. So I put down my little basket of Delicas and left the store, after telling that employee (in a very nice, but obviously disappointed tone) that I didn't think it was fair for them to let people jump lines like that.

I got my second disappointment of the day when I drove to shOpry Mills to check out the selection of slacks in the Casual Corner Annex Petite. Everything in the store was 60% off, and I found out they are closing, for good. Just when I find a decent store that sells pants that fit me, they close the store. Oh, and it's not just that location - it's all 500+ locations.

At least the day ended with a delicious dinner at Mikado, shared with good friends, and then my little happy dance. I should probably mention that I also started a new knitting project - a baby afghan. This should give me more practice with changing from knit to purl and back, changing colors, tension, and casting on and binding off. Right now I have two rows of seed stitch complete, and I can tell that this time I cast on a little better than before. I have been using the slingshot method to cast on, and if anyone has any tips for the newbie, I'd love to hear them. I re-watched one of my knitting videos, and got a better visual demonstration which may have helped. Right now, I'm working it on a set of straight needles (because the pattern said to), so I'll probably wait until the next big project to try circulars. I also found a cute hat pattern on Yarn Harlot's site that I think I'll probably try for my knitted hat (one of my goals carried over from last year...)

I've also been invited to a new stitch group that meets once a month, made up of mostly librarians / library staff. I'm looking forward to seeing some old friends and meeting some new. That will be a week from Saturday night. Tonight, however is Sit n Stitch at my LNS, and I'm looking forward to sharing my happy dance. I'm trying to decide what I will take to stitch on, because I'm really feeling in a cross-stitchy mood. Probably either Catnip Tea or Merrick, although Fantasy Sampler is starting to call...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The deed is done

What is up with me not being able to withstand peer pressure these days??? I used to be so good at it, and now, well, just look at me...

I just bought us a TIVO. My co-workers are saying, "FINALLY, mwuahahahaha!!!" Hey, what can I say? I'm a silly girl. It should be here sometime next week.

I think I forgot to show off the fuzzy scarf I made for Melanie.

I'm actually doing the modeling, since I forgot to take the camera over when I gave it to her - the colors are SO her.

Last night I started reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It is most excellent so far (as expected). I also picked up another book that looked interesting - kids' books ain't just for kids, you know. This one is Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure by Philip B. Kerr. It's about a pair of 12-year-old twins who find out they're descended from a long line of djinn. The summary on the book jacket sounded too good to pass up.

I've got about 4 more rows to go on Elegant Lace Stole #2 (navy), and I'm heading over to Hobby Lobby today to pick up some Delicas beads - they're on sale for half price. I know their cross-stitch kits are also half price this week, but I'm going to try to be a good girl and not buy any more right now. But maybe some yarn...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy 2006!

We went to see The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe yesterday - I expected it to be good, but I was blown away by how good it was! We both thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think I'm going to run by the library and check out a copy of the book. I read it years ago, but I couldn't remember ANY of it as we were watching the movie!

Dad came by yesterday and installed the bi-fold doors we've been wanting to separate the utility area from the kitchen (see the photo at the bottom of the page). It already looks ten times better. I'm planning to take off Friday to paint them (white, like the rest of our trim).

I can now show off the Elegant Lace Stole I made for my sister-in-law.

Elegant Lace Stole, pattern from Patterns By Dot

We exchanged gifts with my brother and his family Saturday evening, and everyone (including us) was very happy with their gifts. Unfortunately, I have no photos of the kids modeling their hats or Scott and Teresa snuggling under Scott's new quilt. Maybe the next time I go over to visit them...

I've been working a little on Gerrick's quilt and some on another stole (navy, for my mother). I've also been working on a little Lizzie Kate project, but haven't finished it yet because the medicine I've been taking (for whatever it is that seems to keep hanging on in my sinuses) causes blurry vision! I can sort-of feel my way through crocheting or knitting, but there's no way I can do it with cross stitch. Fortunately, I was taking it at night, the blurriness was gone by the time I woke up the next day, and I took my last dose last night.

I've been going through some of the knitting patterns I collected several years ago, trying to decide which afghan I might attempt (baby- or lap-size). I knitted a couple of practice swatches Sunday, and I think I'd like to try something a little bigger, with a pattern of some sort.

Practice pieces

I still need to work on binding on and tension, especially at the end of rows.