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Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Weekly Update

I've been seeing a lot of monthly and end of year updates and I began to realize that I needed to do some of that too. I tend to underestimate what I actually do some of the time.

I got moving on my free motion quilting. I choose Bamboo for the large rectangles in the table scarf I am making. I tried it out on a practice sandwich, and then on two extra blocks which will become mug rugs because they came out pretty well. And I've done all but one of the blocks on the table scarf.

The next step is to choose something for the square in square blocks, try that out on both a practice sandwich and the two extra blocks and then put them on the table scarf. Then all it will need is binding.

I didn't do anything on the Bloom art quilt this week. But I'll be picking that one up again soon as well.

The big focus has been on my hexagons and learning to knit socks. Both of them are hand projects that so far can be done, at least in part, while watching TV. I always had a hand project when I watched TV. And always means from the age of 11 or 12 to quite recently. A good 55 to 60 years. But when my husband was sick, I didn't manage much of that. Even during the last year I sometimes could knit a simple project and some of the time I just needed to sit and do nothing but watch mindlessly.

Part of it is that the programs on TV are now my programs. I'm not watching, at least some of the time, programs other people chose. My mother owned the TV set in the evenings. My husband owned the living room TV set most of the time as well. Once there were DVRs I recorded what I wanted to watch on the smaller TV in the computer room, and watched after he went to bed. I'm not trying to keep busy while I keep whoever else is watching company. I used to read with the TV on too, but that is long gone.

But, as I kept telling myself, in part, this too is grief. And it needs to be respected so you can do the grief, feel the grief and move on when the time is right.

Now I NEED something to keep my hands busy at least some of the time. The result, at first, was hexagons.

Over the last two weeks or so, I've gone from a few hexagons, to a lot of hexagons, to laying out what I've got. I'm doing a value project. I'm ignoring the colors and just going from light in the center to dark on the edges. I've cut a bunch more dark hexagons and I'll be filling in and probably adding one more row, or maybe even two, all around. I'm not sure how I will put this together, but I think from the center out.

And then there were the socks. It all started on someone else's blog. She was knitting socks. I asked WHY does someone knit socks. She wrote a blog post. And the comments came in.  You can read Judy Laquidara's post here:

(Sorry for the long link, but I haven't figured out how to just have a one word link yet.) Baby Steps around here.

Next thing I knew I was at the local yarn store buying a book, one ball of very expensive yarn and a very nice, very long circular needle. It turned out to be a book that I wasn't anywhere near ready for. I hit the Internet and my own supplies and this is what happened, sort of.

I also bought a Craftsy course. The "thing" on the circular needles was from that class. I've asked Craftsy for an exchange to an easier class and that is in process. When I took the "thing" which was supposed to be a toe off the too small circular needle it was a pretty good looking beginning toe.

But from that and another attempt from the book, I recognized that toe up socks were not something I was going to be able to do at this point. As you can tell from the double pointed needles, I've used them before. I was just rusty. I found a small sample sock pattern on the Internet and that is what is on the white needles.

I finished it last night. Not too bad. The same site had a free pattern for real socks using the same heel and toe and that is what I'm going to start today. On double pointed needles in the red yarn. There is a possibility that because of my big, and rather swollen feet, that I won't actually be able to wear these socks, so I'm using a fingering weight baby yarn I already owned. If I can wear them OK, if not I learned something and I didn't continue to buy yarn and/or needles without actually doing something with them. One thing from that Craftsy course I am not yet ready for that stuck was that, if you are knitting from the cuff down, the swatch you need to make should be circular and about the size of what you would be knitting as the beginning of the sock. So the best way is to make a guess about needles and yarn and just begin. If you guessed right, you just keep making the sock. If you guessed wrong, you haven't lost anything because what you have knit is the first swatch. So I'm guessing.

This kind of spinning is the way I learn. But there comes a point where you have to settle down and actually DO SOMETHING. You need to sew the blocks together. You need to machine quilt something. You need to put something on the needles and knit an actual object. And when I was in school, you need to settle down and write that paper.

Take care all.


  1. I like to learn new things. Some of them are things I want to keep trying or do again. Some I'm glad to be done with. I have the knitting bug again. It might be time for me to dig out the needles and yarn!

  2. I love all hexie quilts, one of the items on my 'I want to make this' list!

  3. Hexagons are on my "to do List" also I am getting the urge to do some crocheting or knitting. Even if I am not particularly interested on the current project on Leah's blog I still watch and learn and put it in the brain file "something I might need".

    I follow "block of the month" and Leah's video on Craftsy also several others (forgot the names)

  4. You are very busy and do beautiful work! Kudos to you for doing new things. I also have the tv on while I do handwork or computer work (like this) - the tv is just company for me. I think it's good to keep busy while working through loss - otherwise it takes over. I've always wanted to do something with hexagons - not just the traditional grandmother's flower garden - your choice of a value piece is great. I'm assuming you hand sewed the hexies? I have done very little handpiecing but I remember it's very relaxing.

  5. Hand work soothes the soul for sure. And hexies are the perfect hand work...enjoy. Thanks for linking up!

  6. Those hexagons are gorgeous. I totally believe that creative hand work is good for the mind and the soul. Your foray into sock knitting is looking good. I didn't learn to knit socks till a couple of years and I'm glad I stuck with it. I LOVE knitting socks - the perfect portable project in my estimation. I like doing socks on the long circular needle -Magic Loop method - and from the cuff down. I've found socks are pretty forgiving as far as gauge so keep on knitting.

  7. Lovely pieces of work all of them. My dad passed away 3 months before my nearly 10 year was born. My mum keeps busy with active retirement groups where they knit, sew, garden etc. I still cannot talk about my dad without crying but I keep myself busy with family, work and patchwork. I think it's very important to have a skill that when you are ready you can pick up and keep your mind busy. XX

  8. I'll be doing a few hexies myself today. I can't knit on straight needles. I would hate to see what I got on curved needles....grin.

  9. Your hexies are really looking good. That is one pattern that I haven't tried yet (on my to do list). Keep up with your sock learning and then maybe you can encourage me! I've tried several times and haven't found the magic combination yet, but will keep trying. Your baby one is so cute!!

  10. I used to knit, but I have never done heroes before. They are looking very nice! I especially like the contrast in the light area, very Nicky done.

  11. Oh my goodness look at all those hexies, awesome job!
    I used to knit when I was younger and would love to pick it up again, cute sock!

  12. I also cannot just sit and watch TV without something to do. I think us quilters are such multi taskers we all do the same thing.

  13. The bamboo design FMQ works very well on the blocks you have done. I will be interested in seeing what you decide for the square in a square blocks.

    I always like to do my test quilting on an extra block with the same batting and backing fabric to see how it will all work together. I have ended up with many pillows, pot holders, mug rugs and mini table quilts that way.

    Your hexes look great. I am always sew impressed when I see a big beautiful display of them like yours. Have fun playing with different layout possiblilities.

    Thanks for sharing ... thanks also for stopping by my blog and leaving a kind comment ... :) Pat

  14. Beautiful work!

    Reading your blog, my heart goes out to you. We too are dealing with dementia with a family member and I empathize with what you went through. I am glad you have found a creative outlet :)

    ali @ Forty before 40

  15. I think it is good that you are able to recognize how your life is evolving... you write so well and make me think about my life a little differently. I appreciate that Stella.