Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sewing with Charlie and the Lunatic

Charlie sits on Luna like this all the time.  He has clearly made her his bitch bench.
Sometimes these two dogs make me think I'm raising toddlers again.  As I write this out on the back porch, drinking tea, soaking up some sun, watching blossoms falling lazily from the pear tree, Charlie prances by with a branch from one of the bushes by the pool, proudly waving it around like a banner.  I'm thinking that bush won't make it through the spring.  The Lunatic, fresh from a dip in the pool (never mind that the water is about 45 degrees. I can hardly stand to put my arm in there when cleaning the baskets), shakes her wet self all over my laptop and proceeds to push her big plastic water bowl noisily across the patio (running into my feet several times) trying to turn it right side up.  Note to self, get rid of that bowl.

We are having a birthday party barbecue on Saturday. Tri-tip roast, rosemary potatoes, salad, green beans and garlic bread.  My oven is working /not working, and I'm waiting for a new part to be installed, which won't be until next week, so my husband will be busy at the grill. I bought a huge sheet cake at Costco the size of my kitchen table, and had to take it over to my parents house because it wouldn't fit in my refrigerator.  Several Canadian relatives are flying in, including an Uncle I haven't seen for over 30 years, and his wife and son whom I've never met.  Part of the preparations include tidying the porch and backyard, and I can't believe just how much these dogs have trashed the place this winter.  Thank goodness the puppy stage is almost over.  For a Lab, I think this must go well into their second year.

The baby quilt is almost done, but will have to be hidden away in the cupboard during the party, so my niece doesn't see it.  I also ordered a quilt pattern, Sweet William, that I have been drooling over for some time.  I plan on using some of my hoarded reproduction fabrics for this one.  The bottom half of each block is pieced, and the top half is applique and embroidery, so a bit of everything.  I made a sample block, and will be machine sewing the basket half, even though her instructions call for sewing by hand.  I know how I operate, and I want to get this done before I'm too old to thread a needle, and not let it become one of those half finished projects you find in a bag at the Goodwill.

I love it when the kids go down for their nap.

Friday, February 20, 2015

About a girl

Seems like everything I'm putting my hands on lately has some kind of pink/red color in it.  I just finished my second Haiku shawl (the first one in grey).  It only needed a few rows to complete, about an hours worth of work really, and yet it sat ignored for months.

Here's a smallish quilt in the works that reminds me of the Bonne Maman jam jars.

 I'm also sewing the binding on my goose tracks quilt and waiting for a sunny day to take a decent picture.

More crochet, this time in red, for a shawl requested by my daughter.

And finally, I'm cutting out a baby quilt for my niece who is going to have a girl in April. When my niece was little she wanted to be a Unicorn when she grew up, so her baby shower is all about pink and unicorns.  I immediately ordered some of the Heather Ross "Far, Far Away" fabric line. 
All the women in my family are pretty excited about the new little baby girl.  My Dad came from a family of 7 (!!!) boys, (Bless my grandma. What a zoo that must have been.) He in turn had 3 girls, and we gave him 4 grand daughters. Yep, 7 girls in a row.  We were all starting to think there was a serious boy drought, and years went by with no new little babies. Then I broke the curse and had my son when I was 36 years old.  Better late than never.  Several years later my other niece had two kids, both boys.
It was starting to look like the boys would repeat the 7.
Come April, it's time for some pink.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Seeing red

We don't usually go overboard on Valentines Day around here, but it's always a great excuse to have some good chocolate and a glass of champagne (really, like I need an excuse).  Yesterday I made a batch of Snickerdoodles and put red sprinkles on top just for fun. And since they may not last the weekend when my son comes home for a visit, I might make some cupcakes today.

The mini quilt was inspired from here, although I wasn't in the mood for cutting tiny 1.25 inch pieces of fabric, so I went with 2.5 instead and just made one block with corner triangles for a finish of 17.5 inches square.  All the organizing and cutting of my scraps is giving me lots of little squares to play with, and it looks as though they will come in handy when I want to whip up a quick project like this.

The book got some great reviews, and I thought it would fit right into the Valentines Day theme.
Hope you all have a great weekend!  Eat chocolate.  The end.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The hat

Okay it's done.  This little unassuming grey wool hat which could have been completed in a few hours, but was actually dragged across a few weeks, is finally done. It's the first piece of anything that I have knitted from start to finish so I guess I'm officially a knitter now.  The reason it took so long is because I was scared of it.  No it doesn't have sharp teeth or a loaded pistol under the rim, it's just knitted.  I approached this warily, knitting two or three rows at a time. I would tell myself, yes, those  three rows look great. Step away for a moment. Don't jinx it. Come back later.  Then I would sneak up on it again, do a few more rows.  All the while looking out for dropped stitches, snags, holes, bumps or anything thing else that might cause me to pitch a fit and run back toward the comforting, familiar arms of my crochet hook.
Yeah, so much drama over a little hat.  There's a relief of sorts, as now I have the confidence to move on towards something more complicated.  I'm not saying socks on DPNs here, maybe more like a pillow cover with a nice stitch pattern and color changes.
The most important thing I discovered..... I like it.  I get it now. Knitting is fun.  By the time I was half way through, I got into the zone, or rhythm that I hear knitters talk about.  I felt comfortable in the way I held the yarn (there was lots of practicing between Continental and English.  I am an English knitter, like my mother and grandmother, although I think Continental looks like it's faster), and picked up the pace. Yep, more knitting will be happening.  Less caution, more knitting.

Pattern: Simple slouch hat by Robyn Devine

In the meantime, There is some quilting that needs my attention......