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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Getting Things Finished

I've been working my way though older projects and I have been thinking about new ones, but I have not started any of them. I'm being good and deserve a gold star.

The table scarf is finished and it is on the table it was intended for. There was a reason for all of that red. The table cloth is red, but so are the drapes in that room. The drapes have touches of the green and even the pink in them, which is where the color scheme came from. It looks pretty good in the dining room.

I've never taken photos of the back of any of the quilting I've done, but the back of this piece looks pretty good to me, so here are a couple of them.

Both of the quilting patterns are from Leah Day's web site. I picked easy designs because I'm a beginner. I've gotten to the point where I can actually do some free motion quilting and not be disgusted with myself once I've finished the project. But I'm still at the point where I need to be careful.

There is a second project at the binding stage but no pictures as yet. Basically I've made a hanging sleeve and I've put the binding strips together, but that is all.

I'm still dealing with energy issues although I'm a lot better. I'm still dealing with using a cane even in the house as well. And that tires me out. So I am hoarding my energy, doing the jobs I need to do and doing the fun things as I can manage them.

The scarf is off the needles. The way the colors changed in this yarn was just weird. It is possible that some of the blue and some of the orange or red is similar, but they really were not exact. The last of the second ball is still attached to the scarf. I need to weave in the ends. And I think I will need to block the scarf. I've never done real blocking, so that ought to be interesting.

Take care all.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Moving Right Along

I'm beginning to feel better. I've started carrying the cane inside the house more than I am using it. I figured out a way to get into the driver's seat of the car without hurting my left knee or the hip area. Maybe if I don't wrench it several times a day it will all begin to heal faster? I hope so. The flu like illness that started it all is gone, and my energy levels are almost back to normal as well.

And I've gotten back to the sewing machine. I've got the binding sewn onto the table runner. I decided to finish it by hand. I've pretty much gotten the first round of sewing a binding on down pat.

Will you just look at that final join! Almost perfect and no one will be able to tell it from any of the other joins except that it goes the opposite way. But I know how to fix that the next time, or at least I think so.

Once again, the mini-class at The Quilt Show web site taught me a method that is so easy you could cry, and the result will be almost perfect every time. But mostly Easy, Easy, Easy.

I trimmed the Mug Rugs that I made out of the extra blocks too, and zig zagged around one of them. The others probably will get done later today or tomorrow.

I've got another finished project to bind, and some fabric to cut for the hexagons, and then I'm going to make a start on one of a couple of projects I've been thinking about.

I think I would like to make a bed sized quilt, but I've got no idea how I'd get it sandwiched. I can't stand up very long, even when I'm not using a cane. I really don't want to send it out to be quilted because what I think would work on one of the quilts I'm thinking about is straight line quilting, and I could easily do that myself. And I'd enjoy doing it.

I have ordered the fabric and the batting for that large quilt, and I'd like to actually make it. But I need to do some thinking through before I do.

Take care all.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Macungie Spring

We got hit with snow last night. It is sort of melting this morning. I say sort of because I think all of the two inches we got was still in the street and the driveway when I first got up. But it is beginning to get warmer and it is melting. There is some slush in the street right now. The driveway is still a sheet of ice. My intention is to stay inside and just let it melt. I'm not in any position to shovel it anyway. They aren't great pictures, because I took them through the window and the screen in my computer room. But you can see that the bulbs are trying very hard to come up. This time last year they were in full bloom and the tulips were too.

This year, not so much. I am so hungry for Spring, but they say that we have at least two more weeks of this stuff coming before it starts getting warmer.

Meanwhile I've been keeping myself busy. Google announced that it was closing down Reader in a couple of months. I'm trying Feedly out. Reader was very stark. Feedly, except in one of the views is rather pretty to look at. So far I haven't located one of the functions of Reader that I really liked. I would group blogs, but I could chose to read all of the blogs in a group together in date order, or I could choose to read them one at a time. So far, I haven't located that function. It doesn't mean that function doesn't exist. Just that I haven't found one that works that way for me, so far.

I've been knitting. The scarf is getting longer. It is a bit darker than this photo shows. One thing that I've found very odd about the yarn (Amazing by Lion Brand) is that so far none of the colors in the first ball showed up in the second ball. The bright pink was almost the same, but not quite. And I'm pretty sure that the dark blue color that I've finally come to is going to be more teal than purple. The two balls were bought in the same store on the same day. They are the same colorway number and the same dye lot.

I did manage to get out of the house on Sunday and I went to Dollar Tree. I like that dollar store the best of all the ones I've ever gone to. I had purchased one plastic basket to use as a project basket for small knitting and sewing projects and liked it so much I wanted more of them. They still had some in three different colors and I bought two of each. I also got two baskets that are bigger. I can see myself needing something bigger.

I have also finally gotten to the sewing machine. It needed to have the free motion foot put away and a regular foot put on. It needed a new needle BADLY. I did all of that. Yesterday I went to The Quilt Show and watched a binding video from their classroom area. Today I sewed the binding strips for the table runner I've been making.

The method taught by Margo Clabo was so easy I could not believe it. Getting those 45 degree seams has always been a problem for me, and I get jogs in the joins. Not today. I have never seen anything that easy. I'm going to be trying some of the other tricks she taught. I don't know if a free membership will get you into the Classroom area or not. But I've found the paid membership worth every penny. They tend to give away a bunch of stuff over the year, physical give aways but also access to shows you don't "own" as well, they do two excellent TV style shows a month, and there are always at least one, and sometimes two short classroom series going. A paid membership gives you access to the current shows and to the entire classroom area. I think it is worth the money.

 Take care all.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Discovering RSS Readers

Google announced earlier this week that they would be discontinuing Google Reader. I'm not sure how long I've been using it to control the blogs I wanted to follow. One year? Two? Even longer? I'm not sure, but it has been part of my daily life. I read blogs, and do my commenting, on my desktop. I read them on my Kindle Fire too, through a web page. I didn't know what I was going to do.

I found several suggestions on the Web. I'm obviously not the only one looking. I decided on two possibilities: Netvibes and Feedly. Feedly is a much easier transition. I downloaded the app that belongs to Firefox and when I opened it, it went to Google and I got asked if I was willing for it to use my Google settings. I said yes, and all of my blogs and "folders" were there. I decided I liked what I saw. I also downloaded the app for the Fire. It will work independently from the Fire's browser. I did have to log in with my Google log in, but once again, there it was. And for the very first time I also could comment using the Fire. The green icon is the one for my Fire App.

Netvibes is somewhat different. Feedly has some push capability, but mostly it is pull. I have not tried to subscribe to a new blog using it yet, but I'll get to it. I didn't actually set Netvibes up, but I did attempt to look at Quilting as what they call a Dashboard. And I kind of liked what I saw there too. I might try that one out one new blog at a time. It might be time to reorganize blogs anyway.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What Is Going On?

I haven't done anything with quilting for days and days. I've done some knitting and that has been interesting. The second ball of yarn looks like it might be a totally different set of colors. Same dye lot, but so far what I've gotten is a group of greens that don't look anything like anything that was on the first ball. No new pictures but it is interesting.

Every day I've picked out two things that had been put off and put off while I was sick. Yesterday that included getting gas (I was down to a quarter of a tank) and getting a hair cut, but I had to wait until it stopped raining to do it. Today it was getting the car washed and dealing with a whole house humidifier that was screaming for a new filter.

The car looks beautiful! All the salt is gone. And they put all this neat shiny stuff on it. I forgot about the shiny stuff for the tires.

The humidifier is now getting bone dry so it can be put into plastic bags. It takes two of them. And put upstairs for next Winter.

My house gets cleaned tomorrow. My cleaning service comes around 10:30 and it will be another thing I'll be glad to check off my list. The local contractor should also be visiting. I have a little list for him too.

And then maybe, on Friday or Saturday, I'll get back to quilting. If I'm lucky. Maybe.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Free Motion is Finished

I've finished the free motion on the table scarf I've been making. Around here things go in slow motion, or at least it seems that way. I've got at least a couple of additional projects in my mind, but I've decided I need to get some things finished first.

Time to trim off the extras around the scarf, and bind it. There are also two large and two small Mug Rugs (or candle mats?) to finish as well. I'll do a traditional all machine binding on the scarf, but the smaller projects will probably just get a zig zag finish in the same thread as the quilting. It is a kind of gold beige cotton thread.

It was an interesting thread to work with. When I was looking at quilting threads I found this pack of 6 large spools of cotton thread on Amazon. It is not from one of the better known thread manufacturers, but it is a brand name. The company is Threadart. I had also bought bobbin thread, the kind you use in embroidery machines from them through Amazon and it was of reasonable quality, and was very inexpensive.

I liked the thread and I will almost certainly buy another of the groupings in one of the colorways. It was almost as easy to use as the Isacord I buy from Leah Day's online store. I'm not sure how bad the linting is going to be. I'm going to go and look when I do a bit of maintenance (replace the needle and the bobbin, etc.) when I get ready to do the binding.

I also need to bind the Class Project quilt I did for Ann Petersen's free motion quilting class on Craftsy. I want to do that and get a sleeve on it. I don't know if it will ever be displayed, but I just might.

And then I get to dream. I'm thinking about a bed sized Wonky Modern Log Cabin. I've actually bought at least some of the fabric for it. But if I made it, I have no idea how I would get it quilted. I could probably do straight line quilting or gentle curve quilting on it without too much trouble. It is getting it sandwiched which would almost certainly be beyond my physical limitations. There literally is no local quilt community here that could help me with this. But I might still make the top. Just because!

I'm thinking about a Stacked quilt (or a Coin quilt) in a larger wall size. I've certainly got the fabric for that in my stash. And I know I could get this one together using spray basting.

Take care all.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Cane is Everywhere

Normally the can lives next to my bed. It has sat there, just in case, for the last two years. I might have used it once or twice, especially in the middle of the night.

Until yesterday. I've been having leg problems for a few weeks. The left leg has felt weak, but the last couple of days has been worse. I think it is weather related, at least in part. I think the fact that I have not been able to do my physical therapy exercises is also part of the problem. Still now I don't go anywhere without the cane.

It is everywhere...

On My Needles - 3/10/13

The scarf is what is on my needles today.

Another color has shown up. I expected some kind of green, but it turned out to look purple. I'm going to start the second ball from the outside in because I think it will work out better that way. The colors might go in reverse order and end up the darker blue, but I truly don't know.

This was an inexpensive wool blend yarn from Walmart. It is not the cheapest yarn they carry, but I don't really expect that they were careful about color changes. They were from the same dye lot, but I'm not sure how much that will matter.

The pattern is a simple lace pattern. It looks more textured in the photo than anything else. Even though every other row is a pattern row, it is very easy to do because you can read the pattern more than you are counting it, although I am doing both. An almost perfect watching TV project.

The scarf is beginning to grow on me. Who knows. I might even keep it.

I have never had two knitting projects going at the same time. I do that with quilting projects because they are always at different stages. But I know that the first sock will not be a TV watching project. So I just might start one again since I am trying, yet again, a new process.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Project Roundup

I've been staying home and taking care of myself since Monday. I had a bit of a crash on Monday evening and decided to just let myself heal. But this morning I wanted to get back to the sewing machine. I did a small sample of what I plan on doing on the table scarf that has been sitting around for a month. And I did the two Mug Rug blocks. Not too bad considering.

 It is a very simple pattern, which was the whole idea. Next stop is the table scarf itself.

I have been knitting. It is easy enough to do that while sitting in a chair just resting. The yarn is interesting, but not anything I expected. And I'm not sure how I feel about it.

The colorway is already turning a kind of green, and it will be a teal, more or less, when the ball ends. I'll add in the second ball and work from the outside of the ball in. It should be an acceptable size for a scarf. Not too big. More an inside the coat scarf than an outside the coat scarf. The yarn is extremely soft. I won't be buying any more of this. It has just too many wisps. And frogging is a misery. There are multiple errors in the knitting, but you just can't rip back to them to fix them, so I've made adjustments and just kept going. I'm pretty sure this is going to be given away.

I expect the very small (00 and 000) circular needles to arrive some time today. I've taken a break from sock knitting and I think I could go back to it now. It will be strange to have two projects on the needles at the same time. I quilt that way, but I've never knit that way.

I'm auditioning the hexagons against the black fabric. It is actually a black on black pattern. I really do not much care for solids. I think that is a generational thing. I've decided not to put another row on. I think I'm going to need to take all of the "papers" out. My plans are to applique the hexagons onto the black fabric.

I watched the lectures from QuiltCon on Craftsy. They are providing them free. It was interesting to do that. I'm going to be starting another quilt project. I want to make wonky log cabin blocks and made a modern quilt. I don't care for solid fabrics, but I do like fabrics that read solid. I've got white fabric on its way. Two different white on white patterns. My plans are to use both of them in the project, along with some yardage I recently bought and a bunch of scraps. Since it is for my bedroom the colors will be blues, purples, maybe some green and something from the opposite side of the color wheel for punch, on a white background made from several white on white fabrics, and possibly at least one lighter beige on white or beige on beige.

This would be a lot easier to do if I had a design wall, but I don't. And no place to put one either.

Take care all.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

It is time to make some decisions about the Hexagons.

I do have some more very dark hexagons. I could put one more row on the right side where the colors are a bit less dark. I might even have enough for one more row top and bottom. And I could always make more.

Or, I could start taking the heavy paper/light card forms out and then applique what I've got on the black on black fabric I bought for the project.

I haven't been feeling too well, so I've got a good excuse for not making up my mind.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

On The Needles - March 3, 2013

I'm feeling better than I did yesterday. I've got some energy, although not a lot. Trying yet another sock method was looking too much like work, but I wanted to knit.

As part of the endless sock experience I'd gone to Walmart and found these balls of wool blend yarn. They obviously aren't sock yarn. The gauge is too big for one thing. But I loved what the colors are going to do. I found a free scarf pattern on Ravelry that didn't look too intense, and started to cast on stitches.

Of course, even this easy project had to have issues. I have a lot of knitting needles. Some of them inherited from my mother's stash. Some I bought decades ago. I went through them and got rid of the obviously bad ones a year or two ago. I went through them again and got rid of another 4 pair last week. So the ones that are left are probably OK.

I had bought a set of interchangeable needles last year but had never used them. The first thing I did was cast on with those. I HATE that set of interchangeable needles. I'm not giving the brand because frankly it is more me than anything they did wrong. The pieces went together exactly as described in the instructions, for example. But I didn't care for the buttons on the end. They kept hitting the table I was working on and I know they will hit me when I'm sitting on the couch. And the tips are only 4 inches long. I don't know if that is what all of these are like, or if it is only this brand. I found that annoying. But most of all, I like a pointer needle. They were just too blunt for me. The needle in the picture has a 3/4 inch tip, and is actually a larger size than the one I was using from the set. The tip on the needles on the set were only half an inch long and ended with a blunter tip.

In the end I cast on 4 separate times on 4 different needles until I ended up with these. They are only 2 sizes smaller than the one called for on the ball. I'm not sure if I'm making gauge or not. It doesn't really matter with a scarf. I will be checking it out later when I'm doing stockinette, just out of curiosity.  I knit Continental and we Continental knitters usually knit loose, and I knit very loose.

Which is another reason why I'm not starting the socks. I own #0 and #1 40 inch long circular needles and I can't make gauge on those. I found #00 and #000 on line in the same brand I currently have in the larger sizes. I'm going to order both of those first. No use even starting if I don't have the right needles.

Take care all.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Not feeling too well

I don't know what I have. On Monday there was a fever and some stomach upset. I went to the doctor and the only thing we know is that I do not have a urinary infection, because they checked. On Tuesday they called me to check up on me. The fever was mostly gone and there were no additional symptoms.

On Wednesday the fever was gone the entire day. No additional symptoms. Stomach upset totally gone. Appetite coming back.I continued to improve and on Friday I had a mostly normal day. A trip to the podiatrist. Lunch out. Massage therapy in the afternoon.

This morning the TIRED was back in force along with the stomach upset. No pain this time, just a not feeling quite right feeling. No fever. Just too tired for words. I NAPPED for over an hour in the recliner. I never nap in the morning.

I have all of these projects I want to work on, and no energy to work on any of them.


I hate being old!