Monday, June 30, 2014

Curved log cabin

Here's what's on my design floor, couch, pressing board.  A new curved log cabin.  White strips are Kona, the gorgeous reds/pinks/oranges are Kaffe and company.

The block will get another set of white and another set of colored blocks.

Here is one possibility.

You get the picture.
So now I'm playing with layouts.  Every time I do a couple of blocks, I have to play with them.  I swear this is my favorite part of the process.  Well that and picking out the fabrics and deciding where to put them.

And all the colored strips were cut by my new Shape-cut ruler.  Yay!  Look, Ma, evenly-cut strips!  The whites are from a Kona honey bun.

Tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company, of course.  Jenny's approach is clearly the one for me.

Friday, June 27, 2014

What's on my needles Fri, June 27

Socks in progress.  I'm almost at the back or the heel moment.  My very favorite part of sock knitting, other than the leg, is that little short row turn of the heel.  I just love doing this.  Not there yet, but will be shortly.

The short row scarf is progressing nicely.  This is such a delight to do.

Almost at the end of the 2nd ball.  This is not going to be very long, but it will be wide and squooshy, so very comfy to cuddle up around my neck.  I can't wait to see how it blocks out.  All those garter raised portions will smooth out, I hope.

My charity scarf for Chabad House is getting there.  I'm using the same technique on both this and the mitered scarf above, but look how different they look.  This one is all garter stitch; the one above has a stockinette and garter pattern.

And a sweater that I didn't show last week.  It's just mindless stockinette at this point.  Yawn.  The sleeves will be worked up in stockinette also, and then joined to work the yoke.  The yoke will have stranded color work on it.  I haven't knitted an Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater (other than the Baby Surprise Jacket) in a very long time.  It does look small, but it's the right size (36" in circumference) for me.

And that's it.  Well there are a couple more WIPs, but I'm not working on any of them, and may frog them. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What's in my frame Wednesday

Pretty piece.  Not the greatest instructions, however.

Yep, I can read that chart.  I've done this stitching a gazillion times.  OK, the last time was about 15 years ago, but it's in my blood, my memory and my fingers.

So what's the problem? 

First row is OK, I think.  Second row is my mistake.  The instructions clearly state that there is one thread between each of the ladybugs.  But take a look at the 5th row.  It doesn't end where it should, and if I do another repeat, it will then be too long.  If you look at the cover, which is hard to see here, you will notice one thread between each of the repeats in that 5th row.  But that is only visible in the bright colorway, not in the pastel one, and I'm doing pastel colors.  Nowhere does it say to do this. 

Now I'm on the 6th row, but I just discovered that single thread.  Sigh.  I'm not ripping it out.   So, I shall have to put a little charm (it came with 2 charms) to the right of the 5th row to make it come out somewhat even.  The sixth row I'll do also from the right and then compensate with the middle repeat.  Piffle.  Not that it's such a big deal, only that I wish the instructions had mentioned the single thread.  Sigh.

I did skip the row with Bug Collector on it because I didn't like it, and will probably skip the ant row, too.  Or not.  I really haven't done any stitching in many years, and have to get my head around it again.  Plus, and it's a big plus, I now need extra light and magnification, which I didn't need way back when.  Still, I am enjoying the motion and the slowness of the embroidery.  So I'll finish this and just chalk it up to general wonkiness.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The not-so inept quiltarian

You have to know who you are.  I'm a wannabe quilter, and not particularly great at it.  As you know, I cannot cut a straight line, let alone sew one, so I'm constantly searching for hints, gizmos, etc to accomplish these elemental tasks.

 Ta Da!  Look at this!  Perfect 2 1/2 inch strips (yep the curve is the couch cushion curve), perfect 5" squares.  Me!  I did it.  How?  Look what I bought:  The June Tailor Shape-cut Plus ruler!

I've been looking at this thing for ages but it's pricey ($45) and I'm frugal (cheap).  And then I saw it demonstrated on Chrissie's blog. I looked at a gazillion videos on it, and decided to buy it.  Joanne's was offering 1.98 shipping and it was half off, so I bought it.  Arrived last Thurs night, and Fri, before we set out for grandkid doting in MA, I cut a bunch of strips and squares.  I'm in love!  It works, and my wonky cutting may be a thing of the past.

Not so inept after all!  Hah!  Take that, all you doubters (mostly me)

Elder grand turned 14, younger grand performed beautifully in her dance recital, and we got to hang with our kids, and have a family reunion lunch in Vernon, CT. 

The Hubz wanted to scope out the restaurant on the way up to MA, so we found it, and, yet another Ta Da!, in the same little shopping mall were a yarn and a quilt shop.  Does it get better than this?

No yarn buying, because I have it all, and what I don't have, I buy at The Stitching Bee, but that quilt shop called me.  Loudly.  Not my fault.  I was forced to.


 This is the fabric that made me buy it all.

 What am I going to make?  I have no idea, but I'm going to cut it all up with my new ruler/gizmo.  Yay, new ruler.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday What's on my needles

Lots of projects, of course.

The usual sock.

A mitered scarf knitted for my Chabad knitting group for a charity donation. 

A new scarf/shawl whatever for me.  I found this pattern on Ravelry.  Frankie is the author of the 10 Stitch Blanket, which I also have in progress (for at least 3 years now).  The yarn is Boboli Lace ( a fingering wt yarn) that I bought on the Cape.  

A growing wide scarf for me, using a pattern in this book, but adapted to how I like to make mitered scarves.  The yarn is some Jojoland that I've owned forever.  I only have 3 skeins, so it won't be very long, but it will be squooshy and comfy, I hope.  Needless to say, it's messy, and will look just fine when blocked.

And what's off the needles?  Ta Da!  Yet another Baby Surprise Jacket, this one knit in Encore DK and for a brand-new baby boy.  It will fit him in a year, I think.

What am I not showing you?  The vest for the Hubz that just needs neck and armhole borders, a sweater for me that is in process and is, at the moment, totally boring stockinette, a pair of socks for elder DD's friend.  Ya think I have enough knitting projects?  Hah!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What's in my frame Wednesday

After many years of not embroidering, I'm back doing it.  Alas the eyes are not what the eyes were.  Now I need magnification and light.  I'm due for an eye exam in a couple of months so I'll ask the eye doc about new glasses just for stitching. 

28 count linen, which is now as fine as I can go, but it's fine.

I started this maybe 8-9 years ago?  I'm retired over 7 years, and I know I started this well before I retired.

What got me started again was my rummaging through a closet.  i was cleaning out that closet and there at the bottom, each in its own pillow case, were about 8 stitching projects.  So last week I hauled them out and decided to work on this one.

Second row:  Yes, it is not even, but I've got a ladybug charm to go there.

I skipped a row because I didn't like it. But since you don't know the row, it doesn't matter.

Last row:  There is some back stitching going on in the flowers.  I just haven't gotten to it yet.

I forgot just how much I loved embroidery, especially anything counted.  I love anything that involves graph paper (knitting charts and I love each other), and counted thread is all charted.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Quilt and Cheese

Quilts and Cheese!  A strange combination, but it is what it is.

Inspired by Jenny Doan's Half-square triangle quilt.

 Ignore the wrinklies, please.  This is the flimsy on top of my bed, and it is not smoothed out.  Any real wonkiness will be quilted and crinkled out.  Yay, washing and drying quilts and getting quilty crinklies!

I liked doing this very much, but had trouble with my seams not nesting in certain spots.  Some of them were going in the same direction.  I have to work on my pressing. 

That's the quilt part of this post.  Here is the cheese part.

Home made ricotta cheese.  A soft, spreadable, creamy white cheese.  (Ignore the parts that look yellow.  It's my photography.  The real cheese is creamy white color).

I've been making paneer, a simple Indian cheese for decades.  Mindlessly easy to make.  Milk with lemon juice as a coagulant.  The other day I found  One-Hour Cheese: Ricotta, Mozzarella, Chèvre, Paneer--Even Burrata. Fresh and Simple Cheeses You Can Make in an Hour or Less! at the library and checked it out.  Holey Moley!  What a book.  Incredible photographs describing every step of making simple cheeses at home.  Not the kind that need to ripen, just the stuff you make and eat within an hour.  

So yesterday I tried a ricotta.  It looks crumbly, but isn't, even after being refrigerated for 18 hours.  It is creamy, spreads well, and is so delicious, I don't have the words to describe it.  The best soft cheese going.

I used lemon juice as my coagulant, but the process is different from making paneer, and I think that changes how the cheese comes out.

In paneer, you bring your milk to a boil.  Shut off the heat, and add in lemon juice.  You can substitute vinegar or lime juice, or even yogurt (which gives a lot of milk solids).  Strain it and let the whey drain off.  And there you have it:  a lovely crumbly cheese which you can then press to make nice firm shapes.

In the ricotta, you add the lemon juice to the milk before cooking it, and then you have a slow cook until it hits 190 degrees.  The curds form much slower than in paneer.  Drain, etc, etc.  It's an awesome cheese.  

I used 2 % milk.  Didn't want all the butterfat of whole milk, but wanted a certain creaminess that skim milk doesn't give.  A total of 6 cups of milk produced about 2 oz of cheese.  

I can see me experimenting with this cheese.  How about putting in a cheesecloth bag of rosemary, simmering it along in the cooking process, then removing it, this giving the cheese that gorgeous rosemary flavor.  Mmmm.  Yummy.

So that's it:  a quilt and a cheese.  Not half bad.


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