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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

We actually got a white Christmas here in Nashville, Tennessee - the first one in 17 years. What's really nice about it is that the ground was covered, as were the trees, but the streets were just wet, so we were able to get over to my brother's house and back (he lives about 45 minutes away) without any trouble.

I made purses for my nieces this year:


My nephew had requested some more yarn and a hook to replace the one he had lost, so I came up with some various types of yarn for him. He also liked making granny squares, so I found a book that had patterns for 50 different types of squares. He seemed really excited about trying several.

I decided to give my mother the socks I finally finished (2 years in the making - I've got to get a little faster!), since they are really her colors:


I'm going to put some new socks on the needles really soon. I want to try the toe-up method this time.

And finally, here is my latest progress on Arabian Woman. She's really coming along, and I might be able to finish her next year if I just work on her a bit more!


I hope that everyone has had a very merry Christmas and we're looking forward to a happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Knit lace scarf


I found this pattern online, and decided I'd like to try making it. I've had little success in the past with lacy patterns (any pattern with intentional holes), but I'm forging ahead anyway. Found some pretty Patons yarn at Joann's, can't wait to see how it works up.

I spent today listening to a Harry Potter audiobook, and managed to finish the first and second clues in three two colorways and two sizes. Sadly, I have to return to work for a couple of days so that others can take their Christmas vacations now. It would be really nice if things were REALLY slow before and between the holidays.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I'm still here

I've just been working on Christmas presents and the new mystery quilt I've designed for the quilt guild for 2011. I'll be back to share some pictures after the prezzies have been gifted. :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bernat Mystery Afghan finished!


Hooray, it is finished! I changed the colors in the border slightly. The pattern called for te dark mauve to be used in two places, the outer row (where I did use it) and the other color change row, where I decided the grass would better bring the whole thing together. I am certain I made the right choice, seeing it here.

Now on to other projects, including a couple of last minute Christmas presents.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Avatar

My wizard has seen a little needle action in the past couple of weeks, and so has nearly a complete head and beard.


I've been working a lot on the mystery quilt for my guild, making sure that I have measurements down correctly, instructions written out for the first clue, and I've made a couple of colorways and sizes of the January clue (and one colorway of July's clue, which is the most complicated of them all). I am so excited about this quilt! I'll be sharing more with you about it as the clues are released. I just hope that everyone else likes it as well.

Clue #9 (Bernat Mystery Afghan)

I finally finished all squares for Clues 1-8, and the 9th clue is the assembly. When I laid mine out on the floor to see how it was going to look, I didn't like how the colors fell, so I took a page from a fellow Ravelry member, and here is how I'm going to assemble my afghan. I have to admit, this is my LEAST favorite part, just a little less fun than weaving in ends...


It may take a while, but I'm hoping to finish it in December so I can enter it in Bernat's contest.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mystery Quilt shopping

There are just a couple of fabrics in this photo from my stash, the rest are what I chose while shopping today. I may still throw in more fabrics from my stash, but this is the general theme for one of the colorways I designed for the mystery quilt for my guild in 2011. I want to dive in!!!

But first, I'll be heading out to Moonlight Stitch tonight. Oh, and I have 4 more squares to crochet, then I can begin to put my afghan together.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Clue #8 (Bernat Mystery Afghan)

There are supposed to be 8 of these, and I've finished two so far.

I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but I have some exciting news. My quilt guild is going to have 3 co-vice-presidents next year (to help distribute the responsibilities), and I am going to be one of those co-VPs! We (the officers) had our first meeting Friday afternoon, and I am really excited about our plans for 2011. I am looking forward to a really fun year of quilting, so I'm sure to be sharing some of it here on my blog.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My crewel project

It has been sitting there on my table, patiently waiting for me to return to it, and so I put a few more stitches into my crewel project this weekend. I have one round of chain stitch around the outside done, and started working on the other round. I also put a couple of lazy daisies in the center of the flower.

Today, another clue comes out in our mystery afghan project, gotta go see what this one is - I still have 5 more squares to finish on clue 5, because I spent all of last night playing Ratchet & Clank!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Clue #7 (Bernat Mystery Afghan)

Just one block this time, but it's the equivalent size of 4 regular squares.

I'm still working on the rest of Clue #5, have 10 of 16 finished now - only 6 more to go on that one.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Dance #12 of 16

Which means that my Waterlily Pond Quilt stitching is 75% complete! Here is square #12.

In honor of Halloween, I'm going to work on Spooky House the rest of today. Happy Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Productive Saturday

Every once in a while, things just get so out of control (i.e., messy) that I have to set everything else aside and clean up a bit and reorganize. I spent the morning doing that with my closet. But then I got to go in my craft room this afternoon, and I finished up the quilt top for my other Beth Ferrier class earlier this month - Sneaky Piecing Tips and Tricks.

And then I finally pieced together the backing for my Figgy Pudding Quilt top (which has been finished for months). I'm going to take it with me to the quilt guild next month so I can get it quilted by my favorite long-arm machine quilter, Pam Thorne.

I've also finished 8 of the 16 blocks for clue #5, so I'm getting there on my afghan! Tonight, I think I'll stitch a bit. I've been working on square #12 of the Waterlily Pond quilt, and that square should be finished this weekend. I love a productive Saturday!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Clue #6 (Bernat Mystery Afghan)

I finished 3 of these one night and the fourth the next night, and now I have to get back to clue #5. I liked how these worked up, and they're nice and square! :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A lot of grey

But I'm not tiring of it yet! Here is my latest progress on In the Garden.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Clue #5 (Bernat Mystery Afghan) aka One of these things is not like the other...

Clue #5 has given me the most fits of all the clues so far. No matter what I try, no matter how I loosen my tension, it just doesn't come out square. Even starting with one size hook and going up a hook mid-block didn't help. And I'm definitely going to have to re-do a block that looks to be about an inch smaller than the rest. There are 16 blocks total, so I have 13 left to go (counting that do-over block).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hand appliqué by machine

I finally got the chance (and had the energy) to finish the appliqué from one of my Beth Ferrier classes earlier this month. I still have to quilt it, but here is the top, done!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Clue #4 (Bernat Mystery Afghan)

This one makes me think of Halloween because of the colors - the lime (grass), purple (dark mauve), and light orange (bronze). I like it!

The thing I hated about this block was all of the ends weaving in - it is my absolute least favorite part of crochet.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Because I can

I received my new chart in the mail over the weekend, and had a good look at it. There are some confetti stitches, but not too many, so I decided to go ahead, cut my fabric, pull my floss, and start stitching on my new project. Even though I have a lot of other projects already started. Because I can. :)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Clue #3 (Bernat Mystery Afghan)

Here is my clue #3 in Pumpkin. I started out with a K hook, thought it was going to be an inch too small, so changed over to a different brand K hook, which was turning out an inch too big. I changed back to the original K hook, altered my tension a bit, and lo and behold, squares that were the correct size (yay!).

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Random musings

I just looked through the new Herrschner's catalog last night, and yet another fantasy design jumped out at me and made me buy it. In the Garden, a Kustom Krafts design adapted to cross-stitch by Natalya Romanova from the artwork of Susan McKivergan. I opted for just the chart, since I would be swapping out the medium blue aida for some evenweave anyway, and I have plenty of floss stash.

Has anyone stitched a Kustom Krafts chart? I'm just wondering how they are - I don't have any of their kits or charts in my stash, and I'm hoping this one isn't a ton of confetti stitching. I guess I'll see in the next week or so, but I'd love to hear from anyone who has stitched one of their designs.

Playing in the crochet-along, I've been following a lot of the discussions on both the Bernat blog and Ravelry, and I discovered that Bernat did a knit-along that ended earlier this year. The charts are still up, so I've downloaded them and decided to try them out to get some more practice on my knitting. Unlike some of my friends, who can knit anything and everything (and the projects always turn out beautiful), knitting does not come naturally to me. Or at least not as naturally as crochet.

It may be that I've been crocheting for a much longer time, but I'm not 100% convinced of that. You see, I can pick up a crochet pattern, and work it up, and rarely have to rip it out unless my gauge is really off. Knitting, not so much. I can tell the difference between a knit stitch and a purl stitch, and I can do those, but if I drop a stitch, it's really difficult for me to pick it back up. If I do manage to pick it back up, it may not have been put back on the needle correctly.

The other thing I struggle with is charts. I have no trouble reading charts for crochet, and in fact, I prefer them. I have some issues of crochet magazines from several years ago that use charts, and I love those. For knitting, I can read a pattern generally correctly. A chart? Not so much. Actually, not even close. So I plan to use these patterns to understand charts better, since they give both the pattern instructions and chart for each of the designs.

If you're interested in the knit-along patterns, even though the KAL already over, you can find them on Bernat's blog using the category Mystery Afghan Knit-Along. They're in reverse order, so you'll have to go to the end of page 2 to get the first clue. I'm using Caron's Simply Soft, since I have enough stash of that. I plan to use a bunch of different colors (and that way it doesn't cost me any extra, though I'd like to try the Bernat Satin sometime). Hopefully I'll gain some confidence (believe it or not knitting a couple of socks and scarves hasn't gotten me there yet - it's still not yet as natural as crocheting), because I WANT to get there. I think that knitting and crochet are both beautiful and it shouldn't have to be 'one or the other' for me. :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Clue #2 (Bernat Mystery Afghan)

I had to move up to a K hook (Clue one was completed with a J) to get the right size for this block, and this is my Contrast D - Grass.

While I was waiting for the second clue, I decided to start a new summer scarf. This time, I'm using the Mosaic pattern with Berroco Comfort Sock yarn.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Okay, wow

I have been crocheting for ... we'll just say many years, and I have never seen this. As Christine says, it's just brilliant. Instead of the usual chain-3 to start a double-crochet row, it's a double-crochet!

Read and watch Because this is brilliant... on Christine's blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clue #1 released and completed

Yesterday Bernat released the first clue, so I downloaded and crocheted it right up. I'm sure that they gave us a really easy block to start (alternating rows of single and double crochet), to ease us into it. The first two blocks are the same - using Contrast A (for me, soft taupe).

I'm already waiting for Clue #2!

I've seen Cathy's yarn, and love her chosen colors too - can't wait to see her blocks made up. And I'm hoping that others in the CAL will post pictures on their blogs, facebook, or photo-sharing sites, so we can see all the pretties. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Crewel and reading instructions

Last Monday, my crewel kit came in the mail, so I had to start it immediately, of course! wink

I got out the instructions, separated my colors of yarn and floss, mounted my fabric on stretcher bars (I had some that fit perfectly from one of my needlepoint projects), and sat down to start. I read the instructions. I swear I did. But apparently, I missed the part where it said to separate the yarn into 3 strands and recombine into the number of strands required in the key.

When I was close to running out of the pale green yarn, I thought at first that I was just making the satin stitches too close. I adjusted my stitch and moved on.

When I realized that I would be close to running out of the light green yarn (buttonhole stitch), I adjusted my stitch again (I had also realized that I couldn't stitch it as close together as the marks on the fabric, which should have clued me in, but somehow didn't...) Again, I moved on.

Then I ran out of the purple yarn. I had finished the satin and stem stitches, and just barely had enough to make the three french knots. But I didn't have enough to make the six lazy daisies. And that's when I went back and read the instructions.

doh!

As it's way too late (in my opinion, for me) to rip out and restitch, I've decided to accept the lesson learned and move forward using the appropriate number of strands of floss and yarn. My project will just be a little more dimensional in some areas. It's not bad, it's not perfect, but I've learned something, and that's part of it. I'll use this lesson in the future, I'm sure. And the good news is that I'm really enjoying it so far! Here are a couple of views of the project so far and the dimensional aspect. :)



Oh, and I'll just dive into my stash and find some floss that I'll use for the missing lazy daisies. The project uses a combination of floss and yarn, so it shouldn't look too out of place, and it's just more personalization, right?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

He's going to be a Magnificent Wizard


I've just started stitching the wizard now - I've finally gotten the fireball almost completed stitching, and I've also stitched more of the dragon's wing and body. Black is such a challenge to stitch on - partly because it's so dark, but partly because it seems to attract much more cat fur than any other color. :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Like I need another craft

I was catching up on some of my blog reading the other day and ran across an older post of Teresa Wentzler's on Crewel. The design she did is really beautiful, and of course, it made me look around at other crewel designs (since hers is not available for sale, it was just a class piece)...

I've never tried crewel. It never really caught my eye before. But I found this design online and thought it was really pretty too. And it's available as a kit (Dimensions). So I decided to try it - it's called Textured Floral.


We'll see - it's large enough to give me some experience but not so large or dense that I shouldn't be able to finish it (unless I just hate doing it).

I am anxiously awaiting my yarn from Bernat and the start of the Mystery Crochet-along with my friend Cathy. She has picked out her colors too, so I can't wait to see how we both progress as the clues are given.

And I've been reading a lot lately. When I got my new Kindle 3 (LOVE it!) and gave my nephew a Kindle also (linked to my account), I bought the three books in The Hunger Games trilogy. I have finished the first two books and am 33% into the third. Wow, are they good. Compelling. I haven't been able to put them down. I expect to finish Mockinjay this weekend. Of course, my nephew's already read them all, and he highly recommends them also. :)

When I haven't been reading, I've been stitching on Magnificent Wizard, and I've made some good progress, so I should be able to update with a new picture this weekend.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

"The Redder, The Better"

Finished, and presented to my friend Ariel today, drumroll please... the finished quilt along with a closeup pic of the blocks becoming raveled (and soft, yay!)



She was well and truly surprised, and I do believe she loves it! :) It was such a thrill to give it to her today - I swear, I think sometimes that's even more fun than the creating.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

A-binding we will go

I made the binding for the Red and Black Bullseye quilt and started attaching it yesterday. Today I finished it, and I am so pleased with how it looks. Now it's in the washing machine, getting the final touches (raveling the edges of the bullseyes). Here are closeups of the binding from the front and back so that you can see the decorative stitch I used - about 6 weeks ago my mother gave me a new-to-me Elna cam (pattern disc) that has a loopy design, and I realized that it would be the perfect finishing touch for this quilt.

Binding -- back of quilt


Binding -- front of quilt

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

I've joined a new mystery crochet-along

Thanks to my friend and enabler Cathy, I have joined a new mystery crochet-along, sponsored by Bernat.

I haven't crocheted anything in a while, and this sounded interesting and fun!

Here are the 5 colors I chose - I ordered them online, so I'm really hoping they are close to the screen colors...




The pumpkin will be the main color (7 skeins), with taupe being the contrasting color (6 skeins). The accent colors are the dark mauve, grass, and bronze at 2 skeins apiece. The dark mauve looks purple, so I'm crossing my fingers it really is that color.

Thanks Cathy for being a wonderful friend and enabler! I am really looking forward to starting a new project... :) September 22 is when the first clue is announced, and then weekly clues after that. Hoping I'll be able to keep up so I can enter the contest when it's complete.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Full moon rising

But not there yet... Here's the latest progress on Spooky House - filling in more of the moon and adding some of the tree.


I've come down with some sort of bug so I haven't had the chance to work anymore on the quilt. Hopefully I'll get over it soon so I can get to binding it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bullseye quilt nearly finished...

I was able to quilt the rest of the inner part of the quilt today, along with the borders, so all that's left is the binding to make and attach!

Here are pics showing the borders' quilting and then the quilting on the back.



I think I'll go stitch a little now. I should have a nice new progress pic of Spooky House in a day or so. I do SO love vacation days! Shame I didn't take any more off this week... :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bullseye quilting

Last week I picked up the backing and binding fabrics and the batting, and one night I sandwiched the layers while we were watching television. Today (staycation, yay!!!) I started quilting spirals in the bullseye blocks and in the negative spaces. I have the inner part of the quilt about halfway quilted now. I plan to quilt the borders similarly when I've finished the inner portion.


My husband remarked how quickly this one was going, and I have to agree - this seems one of the quickest start-to-finishes in my quiltmaking history. I hope to finish up the quilting by the end of my mini-vacation (tomorrow), and then prepare the binding by the weekend.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bullseye quilt top finished

They were just small borders, so it didn't take long to put them together. Here's the completed quilt top:


I went shopping and picked up the backing and binding fabrics plus some thread. I'm looking forward to quilting spirals all over this thing! :)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Juice glasses

I just had to share this - I am now the proud owner of a set of the juice glasses we've been searching for for years!

Quick backstory - my grandmother had a set of cute little juice glasses. Over the years, they either got broken or lost until there was only one left, which ended up being my mother's. I used it growing up, and loved the little multi-colored flower pattern. She then gave it to me, and we (mostly she) began searching for additional glasses.

My mom found a matching pitcher several years ago, but the search for additional juice glasses yielded no results. I put a picture of the little glass on my web site, just on the off-chance that someone who happened across it might have additional information or point us in the right direction to help find more. After 7 years, that picture paid off! Katrina contacted me in July to tell me that she thought she located some online, and they were for sale! When I saw that they were the glasses, I called my mom - we couldn't believe it! She presented me with the package on Friday, and here they all are together. You can tell which one is the original (I think it had been run through the dishwasher a few times over the years - something I know not to do now...), 3rd from the left, along with the pitcher. I LOVE them! Of course, they're perfect for someone who loves bright colors (and they go nicely with my set of multi-colored Fiestaware dishes).


Thank you to Katrina and Mom!!!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Quilt top nearly finished

I just need to add the two borders (red inner, black outer), and this quilt top will be finished!


And I finally hung a few of my cross stitch pictures back on the living room walls today, in the "Kitty Corner"

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Bullseye blocks finished

Here is what I accomplished the rest of yesterday and this morning (I'm taking a break to do some chores, etc.)

I finished piecing all of the circles on top of each other.


Then I quartered the blocks


And this morning I jumbled them up and pieced those quarters back together


Now I need to piece the blocks together, throw a couple of borders on, and then it will be ready to quilt. Too bad I have to go back to work tomorrow, I could probably get this quilt top pieced in another full day or so.