Thursday, April 28, 2011

Working away.

3 projects that I'm currently working on.  We are not going to discuss the ones that are hiding in bags all over the house.

My granny afghan that younger DD wants.  My kids never want anything I make, so when one of them says she'd like something, I practically wag my tail in excitement.  So here's the latest on the granny for Em.  There are 3 more squares that I forgot to lay out.  I'm thinking a total of 80 squares:  8 across and 10 down.  And I have more than a quarter of it done.  I might actually finish this before the fall.

I try to do a square/day. This way I'll have a lot done when I reach the boredom stage.

Here's a sock I'm doing in my all-time favorite pattern, basketweave. I've done socks in all sorts of patterns, but this is by far my fave. It always looks good no matter the yarn, it works well with variegateds, and looks good stretched on the leg as well as off the leg. I know, you've seen this pattern all over the web, but it really is a great auto-pilot sock.

And my fun new lace project:  a scarf in an easy-peasy ground that will have nice borders added to it.  This ground is so stretchy, looks good on both sides of the scarf, and is pretty quick to work up.  You do have to pay attention on the right side rows, and I found that a bamboo needle solved the "falling off the slippery needle" problem.  Wait until you see this stretched out!  The Hubs finds it fascinating!

Safety pin is so I know how much I've knitted since Saturday.  I like to do this sort of stuff when I'm repeating row after row.  Makes me feel that I've accomplished a lot.

I'm trying to decide on yarn for the Square a Day project for May.  I don't want worsted because the extra motion working with a larger hook bothers my hands, and I generally don't like crocheted afghans made of worsted weight.    I have enough SW merino DK in the house to dye up the colors.  But it would be nice to be lazy on this.  Another decision: I'm not fond of afghans with every block being different.  But if I don't make a blankie, then what do I do with 31 different blocks?  Lots of choices here, and my knitting/crocheting time is limited.  Maybe, I'll make it into a 31 blocks over the course of 3 months kind of thing.  At any rate, it does intrigue me, so I have to make some sort of yarn decision pretty soon.

And then there's the color choice.  Something pastel, I think, so that I can really see the patterns.  I even briefly thought of fingering wt yarn, which could be lots of fun.  Then it would be a lap blankie.  OK, very possibly baby yarn in a sport or skinny DK weight, but not baby colors.  Ack!  I'm driving myself crazy over this.  Says the bad Hubbo:  I don't have far to go.  Bad Hubbo!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A square a day in May

Did you click on the link over to the right about A square a day in May?  This is such a neat idea.  I really want to do it, but I'm not sure if I have the time.  I'm about to go into big KAL yarn dyeing, and I must finish 3 projects on hook and needles.  But still...

You know what I think will happen with me?  I'll fall so in love with one of the blocks and will then focus on it and say Piffle to the rest.  But on the other hand, wouldn't it be fun to do a different block each day?  I need a longer day, that's all.

I might have to force myself to go to my LYS and buy yet more DK yarn.  Or, I could dye up almost solids in sock yarn and use that.  That would make a very light-weight blankie, but it could be neat to dye up the colors.  Decisions, decisions, decisions! 

No pics again today.  The tripod flatly refuses to leave the photography corner. We had words, and it won.  Besides I was way too busy with the gym, and the dyeing, and the supper making, and the computing.  I never did get around to baking bread, but we have about 1/2 box of matzohs left, so we're OK. 

And one more gym note:  No tush pain today, but I might have shin splints or some such pain on the outside of both legs.  I did go to the gym, and today I used the weight machines instead of free weights, just for a change and also to work different muscles. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The bottom

No pics because of the delicate nature of the topic:  my posterior.

Yesterday at the gym, I started a teensy bit of interval training, and in between my walking, I did some running.  I think the last time I ran at all was about 20 years ago.  Holey moley am I out of shape.  End (ahem, notice that pun) result is that my bottom is achy today from all the muscle use.  And I'm not showing you pics of my tush, so no pics.

BTW, if you want to get a kid to giggle, use the word "butt" around that kid.  They just howl with laughter.  At least our grands do, and each grand is totally different from the others.  The only one who doesn't find it funny (yet) is Little Lili, who is 2, and doesn't know yet that butt is a very funny word.

Off to prep yarn.

Kitten With a Whiplash   - My endses is letting me know that there is a muscle or two in that area.  It's pretty funny.

Wall-to-wall books - I felt like such a clod on that treadmill.  Couldn't find my rhythm.  But I'm going to do it again.  Always glad to oblige you with no pics.  tee hee.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What's the worst that can happen?

I'm terrified of sewing and the sewing machine.  There.  I said it.  I do know how to sew, but it causes me terror and heart palpitations and shaking in the limbs and nightmares.  My mom used to be an ace sewer.  She sewed everything for us except for our bras.  She made all our clothing from undies to coats.  Needless to say, I was a brat and wanted a dress that I could just walk in and buy and wear.  I did get one as a present from an aunt, and knew instantly what a treasure it was to have a mom who clothed me.  I got to pick out the patterns, the fabrics, everything.  In fact, she did it so well that I never really bothered to learn as long as I was living home. For one thing, she wouldn't let us touch her sewing machine.  For another, why do it when your mom is a pro?  (Maybe that's why my kids don't like to knit?)

Skip to when my eldest was into Barbie dolls and I decided I wanted to learn how.  Bought a spiffy little portable Elna, and proceeded to sew clothing for the doll.  Took a class at Stretch & Sew, bought a big Elna, and proceeded to sew tons of stuff for us.

Skip to now.  The Elna is long gone; the big Elna gave up the ghost a few years ago and I never fixed it and eventually got rid of it.  The Hubbo found a Bernina 900 at a house sale for pennies, and now I own it.

So I started to look at quilting blogs and such and began a mania of fabric admiration and drool.  Oh, do I ever want to be able to do this!   Big time!  And I'm scared down to my little toes.  Where do I begin?  At the beginning.  But I wanna be able to do this and skip the beginner phase.  Much whining and whinging.

Then I remembered my retirement mantra:  what's the worst that can happen?  I mean, really, what's the very worst that can happen?  I don't like it.  I've wasted a bit of money.  It's ugly.  I'm lousy at it.  So?  If this is the worst that can happen, then why not do it?

Saturday's purchases.

I can do this, right?  It would be nice to take classes.  The bloody Bernina weighs a ton.  So much for my taking the train to the quilt shop.  OK, I can drive.  Schlep the machine.  Learn.  I can do this.  Break it down into little steps, just do it, ruth, and stop whinging already.

And if I fail?  Wait a minute here.  What failure?  The worst that can happen is that I'm lousy at it.  So?

Signing up for classes the next time I can get to the quilt shop.  If nothing else, the classes will break down the process for me, and just give me the necessary push.

In the meantime, I'm bookmarking gorgeous quilt blogs and online shops.  And suddenly I'm knitting and crocheting a lot too.

Off to the gym.  Gotta lose 4-5 lbs so that I can fit into my spring and summer clothing without a huge tummy bulge.  I can do that too.

Scrabblequeen - I think the worst part is trying to decide what to do first.  I'm going to take a group of classes on a log cabin quilt, and I'm looking into buying a 12 lb Janome machine.  Much lighter than my Bernina.  But there is so much I'd like to try.  I swear it's worse than going into a yarn shop.  Too many choices.  Arrgh.

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Blossom Colorways.

I didn't have jury duty yesterday, so I treated myself to a bit of a Blossom dye-in.  This batch runs the gamut from very pale to bright, something for everyone.  Hey, I just dye them, I have no control over the process.  You know perfectly well that the dyes do what they want; I'm just the hands being controlled.

Pale yarns.  Not white, or even off white, but soft and very pretty and with a touch of white in them.  Melon, Dream, Lady and Sweet Blossoms.

A bit more zip:   Garden, and Bahama Blossoms.

And even brighter:  Pansy, Foliage, and Carnival Blossoms.

Actually, the only real bright one is Carnival Blossoms.  Cheery and fun!

All going to be listed on Etsy in a little while. The specs:  Penny Yarn (75/25 SW merino/nylon; 100g, over 450 yards)  On the skinny side of fingering yarn.

Colleen - Thanks!  That might be my favorite too.

Scrabblequeen - You can NEVER have too much sock yarn.  Ever!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Checking in

Just letting you know that I'm still here.  The company arrived, we did the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island yesterday, in the rain and the unbelievable wind.  Got soaked, and laughed an awful lot.

Passover is on my head today, the company is going off to visit the ex, and the Hubbo and I have a day to sort things out here.

Tomorrow is the first seder, and I'm sort of ready.  Miss P and I will make the matzo balls tomorrow, and I'm doing some cooking also today.  Good thing we had Chicken Soup Sunday a few weeks ago; I don't have to worry about that.

If I haven't answered all your comments (& I haven't), it's because I'm out of time.  But I'm reading them and enjoying them very much.

Off to do the dishes.  Again and again and again.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hold me to it!

Here's what I have to do today:

1. Pay those bills.  I hate doing this with a passion.  I have the money, but the job is boring beyond belief.

2.  Fold the laundry.  Not quite as boring.

3.  Straighten up the dining room table.  Totally dependent on #1, and it has to be done.  They're coming tomorrow and Mr and Ms Slobbo need to get our acts together.  yep.  right.  Except that the table will be used for the seder on Monday night.  So there is no choice here.

4.  Go to the library and bring back the books and get new ones.  OK, this is fun.

5.  Go to Judy's and pick up more yarn for the crochet blankie.  Also fun.

6.  Bake bread.  This is it before Passover.  Then it's strictly Matzo Land.

7.  Do my banking. 

8.  Figure out a cool ground pattern for a new scarf/shawl.

9.  Decide if it is going to be a scarf or a shawl.

10.  Start a new shawl!  Reward time for me.

11.  Work on my new shawl.

12.  Probably frog my new shawl.

13.  Start new shawl all over again.

Now you all hold me to this.  You are responsible if I fail to get 1-7 done.  Notice how I place blame squarely on your shoulders.

Grace -I want the assistant to do the bills and the cleaning.  I'll happily do the knitting.  Maybe we could share.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ma Nishtanah This Week Ha Zeh Mikol Other Weeks?

Why is this week different from all other weeks?  Passover Cleaning.

Take a look at this; it's beyond hilarious!

Scrabblequeen - As much as I hate it, I have to admit that seeing the living room mess reduced by 3/4 is wonderful.  Enjoy (?) the guests. 

Wall-to-wall books - isn't it hilarious?  And the creativity involved!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Books and Hooks

 The Hubbo and I have to clean up this house before the super-neat kids arrive.  Not that our form of cleaning will impress them, but hey, at least I can say that we did OK for the two of us.  Besides, they know how messy we are.  But this is our chance to toss and straighten, and we have to do it.  And then we'll feel so virtuous that we'll keep it neat forever.  If you believe that, I know a bridge I can sell you.

So one of my problems is that I cannot stop buying crafty books.  I am pretty picky these days, but if it looks interesting, I buy it.  The result is a huge pile of books next to the coffee table, and on the coffee table, and on the couch and in the TV room.  Books everywhere, and all precious.  Well, I'm not going to toss the existing books in their book cases.  So, what's a girl to do?  Tubs!  Life's answer to everything.  When in doubt,  tubify it.  So, down into the basement I went, 2 tubs in tow, and schlepped 2 shelves of very heavy books downstairs and tubified them.  Away, gorgeous embroidery books.  Knitting and Crochet rule at the moment.  And the end result is no more piles of books everywhere.  Here are some very blurry pics.  The tripod refused to leave the living room.

And that, boys and girls, is just the tip of the iceberg.  What you can't see is that in the last 2 pics, there are shelves below with doors on them.  We are not going to talk about the books and magazines in them, either.  In my dream house, I would have a beautiful, sun-lit library with couches, tables and chairs, and all my books and projects.


I had a lovely hooky day on Saturday.  We did our usual field trip, this time to Wycoff, had a lovely lunch, wandered about for a bit and I happily crocheted along the way.  And came home, and hooked some more.

I'm really loving this.  I keep finding long lost skeins of acrylic DK, and adding them to the mixture.  At the moment, the plan is to make a blankie, lap cover, whatever, 5 squares by 8.  I have to pick out a color to edge them and then put on a border, but I'm a long way from that.  Maybe white?  Who knows, but I have lots of time to decide.

Did a bunch of knitting, too.  I'm working on a mystery project, and I'm at the point of 382 sts.  I worked about an inch of the border, and don't like it, so frog I go.  Lately I design right on the needles, and I'm quite used to tinking and frogging.  It's just part of the design process for me.

And now here's my problem yarn.  I dyed this maybe last summer, and totally fell in love with the colorway and decided to keep it.  But here's the thing:  I don't like it worked up in anything other than socks.  And I don't feel like knitting socks at all or wristers or mitts.  Growl.   Any ideas?

And on that note I'm off to continue the never-ending process of putting my house in order.  Gah!

Kitten With a Whiplash - What a great idea.  Imagine the size of the thing, and how many project bags I'd have to use and how much yarn and all those orts.  Boggles the mind.  My giggle for the day!

PandaBearofDoom - DD and SIL are super neat.  Miss P understands our general slovenliness.  It's pretty funny. 

Henya - Pain in the neck, isn't it?  I have 5 more tubs to fill, too.  All those project bags will be tubified! 

Scrabblequeen - The answer is to use clear plastic tubs. You are totally doooooomed if you use boxes or solid color tubs.  Totally.  I'm still not happy about that yarn and motif. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

More Blossoms

Here's what's coming Sun or Mon:   Ran out of steam to post on Etsy today, so I thought I'd give you a heads up.

Azalea Blossoms, Baby Blossoms and Sunny Blossoms.

Next are Cheery Blossoms, Early Blossoms, and Pretty Blossoms.

Followed by Sea Blossoms and Light Meadow Blossoms.

And Tender Blossoms and Bright Blossoms

Have a good weekend, everybody.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Blossoms are flying away!

Boy did those Blossom yarns fly outta here.  I'll dye some more tomorrow, and photograph them on Fri.  I think I'll play with some yellow notes here too.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Pastel Queen is back, at least temporarily.


 I was in such a mood to do pastel variegateds on Sunday.  This time of year, I eat, breathe and sleep soft pretty colors.

Three have already been sold.  What's left are the 4 above.  In order:  Golden Blossoms, Green Blossoms, Lilac Blossoms, and Pink Blossoms.  As you can see, they are all gently variegated yarns, and would look especially lovely in scarves and shawlettes.  Of course, given that they are Penny Sock Yarn, they would also make charming socks. They would look great in both knit and crochet, and would make lovely wefts if you are into weaving.

Penny Yarn:  100g, approx 450 yards, 75/25 SW merino/nylon.  Soft and strong and is my all-time favorite fingering wt yarn.  You can work anything in this yarn, it's that good.

Where?  here:

Any crochet yesterday?  Nope; I have to finish a secret shawl design, and devoted what time I had left to it after running all over the joint on errands.

Mommie News:  The Mommie seems to have taken a turn for the BETTER!  Yep, better!  Her aide is now with her through lunch and then cones back and gets her ready for dinner and then for bed.  She's eating much more, mostly because the staff wanders by her table and cuts up her food.  And she's lively and for a very confused lady, pretty with it.  She forgets that I have kids, but marches into the dining room and announces to the group that "The queen is here!"  Her Hebrew name is Esther, so of course, she's Queen Esther.  And she's back to quipping with the staff and the residents.  Go, Mommie, go!

All of this is due to her amazing aide and the staff at Charles Bierman!  They are the most caring, responsible people in the world of geriatrics.  If you need a home for a parent who can no longer live at home, but isn't ready for a nursing home, this is THE place to send her/him.  Nothing fancy.  You won't walk into the Bierman section and pass out with the glory of the place.  But substance is what you get here. 

More pretty yarns later this week, but not the pastels.  I had some darks that happened mostly because i didn't dilute the dye solution nearly enough.  So I kept the yarns because they are so pretty.  I can't be the Pastel Queen all the time, you know.

Scrabblequeen - Wasn't that nice news?  Usually I get the other kind of news, so this was a major happy surprise.  And you know my yarn mantra:  there's always more yarn.  tee hee.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Yarnarian Crochets.

Oh, boy!  Am I ever sucked into my annual crochet binge.  In addition to the 3 blankies in progress, I decided to start another one.

This was a trial run in a variegated yarn.  I like it, but an entire blankie out of it would be way, way too busy.  I think that knitting handles variegated yarns better than crochet most of the time.  Here's another motif that is also too busy.

Pretty, maybe as a scarf, but not as a blanket.  Actually, now that I'm looking at it here, I think I'll make more of these and really do a scarf.  But maybe not in this yarn.  Who knows?  Whatever.

So then I went off to the Stitching Bee, and bought a bunch of DK yarns, all machine washable and mostly acrylic, 'cause you know that is what I like to do blankies in.  Decided to use the pattern for the first pic, More V's, please.  I found it on Ravelry, it's free (always delightful), and beyond fun to hook.

I changed the pattern only in that I did 2 rows instead of 3 on the v-stitch area. 

I also did a bunch of dyeing yesterday, but I'll post that later, just so you can enjoy all this hooky goodness.

Susie - The squares are actually about 7", so they are not teensy, and they will get another row or two with my outline color, maybe off-white.  I'm not sure yet of what I want to use, so I'll do some more and then decide.  Once I pick the border color, then I'll start joining them as I go along.  Otherwise I'll yell and scream if I have to do these all at the same time.

PandaBearofDoom - I like the first one as a stand-alone piece.  Maybe If I did a few row border in a solid, I'd like it more for a blankie, but I only have one skein of the yarn, dyed it a long time ago, and have no idea what I did, so I can't duplicate it.

katiemckinna - Thanks.

myhookandyarnadventure - It is very tricky using variegateds on crochet, especially on these granny squares.  I have had great luck using them in scarves, particularly in a ziazag pattern.  Those yarns work if you are looking for a sort of Monet look to your scarf.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Aspirations! Day 6

A quickie post because I want to climb into bed and read my book.

What do I aspire to?  I want to learn how to weave, and then make scarves from my yarns.  I want to go back to sewing and make some project bags or pillows or something.  No garments; just patchwork and stuff.  I'm a crummy sewer, but there is an awesome quilt shop not too far from me, and I can even take the train there.  I wandered into it a couple of weeks ago and was flabbergasted at all the gorgeous fabrics.  Color on top of color!  I want to finish the dopey fingering wt yan sweater I started in time to actually wear the thing this spring.

I aspire to clue into reality.  Hah!

Friday, April 1, 2011

And now for something completely different Day 5 2KCBWDAY5

There's nothing different today.  Any inspiration I might have had has vanished.  Hm.  That could be my topic:  Inspiration and perspiration.

My world is about 100% inspiration, 50% confusion, and 50% perspiration.  Yep, that adds up to 200%.  I get inspired all the time.  I see color and I want to dye it or knit or crochet in it.  That goes on 24/7.  I look, I want to dye.  I see a lovely little demitasse cup, and I want those colors in my life.  Please excuse the blurry pics; my tripod was on vacation.

How about paper napkins?

Or Elvis the Rooster?

Or the quilt the kids got me for a significant birthday?

Or a couple of very blurry kaleidoscope pics?

Or a pretty silk flower arrangement?

That';s a teensy bit of inspiration; believe me, it goes on all day.  I live, eat and breathe color.  I can almost taste it.

The other 100%:

Perspiration:  Well you have to work at getting those colors right.  some colors that look wonderful together in the real world, look pretty darn awful together in a skein of yarn or a garment.  And designing is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration, at least it is for me.

Confusion:  Sometimes I get so carried away with color, that I can't decide what to do with it?  This is especially true when I crochet.  I get these ideas in my head, buy the yarn, come home, and then can't figure out where I want to begin.

I'll tell you one thing:  I'm rarely bored!  Because, if I get bored, I just start something new.  And that, boys and girls, is why I have a gazillion project bags and yarns all over the joint!

Moonie - I hate being bored.

Scrabblequeen - Bordom!  Why do you think I have so many projects?  Sigh.


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