Friday, April 29, 2016

Heating up slowly

geranium in "watermelon"

repairing the binding on an old quilt
American Robin
new quilt pattern
We've had the nicest rain showers this last week, with thunder rumbling in the distance for dramatic effect.  I haven't had to water the garden as often, which is nice, but the weeds love the rain too, so the battle continues. We are slowly moving out of our nice Enjoy It While You Can spring weather phase and will soon be entering into the blistering hot, Kill All the Plants summer phase, which I endure for about one month, then by July I'm in the house with the air conditioner on drinking buckets of iced tea.  I really want to try and embrace summer this year (I say this every year), take part in more outdoor/summer activities, but it's hard for me.  I inevitably melt into a sweaty limp puddle at backyard barbecues and theme parks, clutching a cold drink in a death grip, crazed eyes darting about for a seat in the shade, my hair plastered around my head like a wet dish cloth.
So attractive.  Meanwhile everyone else continues to party on, seemingly unfazed by the heat. Sigh.
Must buy more pool floaty toys. And cold beer.  And a short haircut.

On the sewing front, I haven't been very diligent lately.  I made a few scrap improv blocks and will probably make some kind of quilt with them, but for now they're just hanging out on the design wall patiently waiting their turn.  Instead of sewing I've been obsessed with listening to knitting pod casts and really learning a lot.  However the patterns I'm drawn to are made with fingering weight yarn and toothpicks, and I'm struggling. Maybe for now I'm better off learning with worsted or dk weight and bigger needles?  I'm both impressed and intimidated by people who jump right in there and whip up a pair of socks a week after they learn to cast on. Knitting feels painfully slow to me, and you have to really pay attention.  Example : K2, yo, knit to marker, yo, sm, k1, sm, knit to last 2 stitches, yo, k2 stitches, touch your nose with your tongue, and scratch your belly with your big toe.  Repeat rows two through nineteen, 175,678 times or until your eyes cross, the phone rings or the dog jumps in your lap in which case you're basically screwed. If your lucky the damn markers will stay where you put them and you can find your place and start over.
 Possibly I have some kind of knitting attention deficit disorder. Or knitting commitment disorder. Whatever it is, it makes me doubt myself.  I run back to the comfort of my crochet hook and think "do I really need another craft, maybe I will just stick with crochet and quilting?"
Again, must buy more cold beer.
Anyway last week I had a give away for a quilt pattern and a stack of 5" squares from my stash.  Pam at CreativeCrazyGirl won, and I hope she can use the extra scraps in her stash, and maybe try out that pattern!  Thanks to everyone who took time to leave a comment.  It's nice to have so many lovely blogging friends out there. Hope you all have time to make something fun this weekend :)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pretty little thing

A second South Bay Shawlette, this time in an ombre merino fingering yarn from Two Black Sheep on Etsy.  I used an H hook and could not put this down.  Each row slowly bled into that darker berry color and I enjoyed it right to the end.  I added a final row of picot stitches because I wanted to tease out as much of the darker color possible before I ran out of yarn.  Early on I was worried about the colors pooling or looking lopsided like I had spilled my Kool-Aid on it, but it played out beautifully.  I gave it a brief soak before blocking, more like a quick dip really, and it bled a little (yikes!)  When I rolled it in a towel there was no color transfer so all was right in the universe.
Oh and Meredith finished hers (she's fast!), so go take a look at her gorgeous shawl!
Now that that's done, I can get back to some quilting.  I made this top a few weeks ago but haven't got a backing for it yet.

I had this collection of fat quarters (Bari J. for Art Gallery Fabrics I think) sitting around forever, and finally stumbled on a pattern that would suit it. It's basic strip piecing, cutting, then sewing rows.  So easy it almost makes itself.  Finished size is 54 x 70.
Somehow I ended up with 2 of these patterns.  If you would like the extra one (and I will throw in a small stack of 5 inch squares from my stash) leave a comment and I will pick a winner.  If you're a no-reply blogger please add your e-mail address. Thanks for visiting! 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dessert Yarn

So I started another South Bay Shawlette.  Meredith is making one too, and when I told her I was thinking of making a second one, she said why don't you join me?  And just like that I did.
You see I'd just received a ball of yarn from Two Black Sheep.  It's a fingering weight, hand dyed ombre merino in the color You Had Me at Hello.  The name alone was enough reason for me to order some.  It comes all nicely wound up for you, just like in the picture.  You can pull it from the middle or from the outside, your choice.  Strangely enough, that little ball of yarn with it's dark berry colored center makes me hungry for two childhood desserts.

Dessert number 1
When I was a kid my mom often made us tapioca pudding.  She'd serve it in a little glass dish with a teaspoon of strawberry or raspberry jam plopped into the middle.  I remember pulling a little of that jam onto my spoon along with the pudding as I ate towards the center.  I'm quickly crocheting my way to the jam blob in the middle of that skein.  It's quite motivating.

Dessert number 2
When was the last time you made a jellyroll?  My mom and grandma made them often and they were always a treat filled with the same aforementioned jam.  However, no one could make a jellyroll like Olga's mom.
Years ago, when I was a young single mom living in the San Francisco Bay Area at the foot of the San Mateo bridge in a very windy town called Foster City (it was always a challenge to try and light the barbecue there let me tell you) there was a family from Czechoslovakia that lived in the apartment next door.  The kids, Olga and Thomas, were about the same age as my girls and they would play together after school. To this day I can't remember their mom's name.  Heck I don't think I ever got it right back then either, because it was difficult to pronounce and it often embarrassed me that I couldn't grasp it.  My kids just called her Olga's mom and it stuck.  When Olga's mom realized I had no husband, was raising two kids on my own and working full time, she went into complete mother hen mode.  The jellyrolls began to arrive at my door almost weekly.  Here was a woman who barely spoke any English, was alone in an apartment all day in a strange country, taking care of her own husband and kids, and she wanted to take care of me too.
 No wonder those jellyrolls tasted so damn good,  They were full of kindness!
I made one the other day, from the beat up pages of my old Betty Crocker cookbook and thought of her.  Hey Olga's mom?  If you're out there somewhere - this shawl is for you.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hugs and Kisses Baby Quilt

I finished the Hugs and Kisses baby quilt for the newest member of our clan, squeezing it in just before his due date.  This week my husband and I thought it would be a good idea to take turns getting the flu and I dragged along, hand sewing the binding down, which seemed to require way more effort than usual.  Funny how even the smallest task can feel monumental when you're sick.
So I washed all the germs off it, took some pictures, wrapped it up and sent it on it's way to Canada.  Happy Birth-Day little boy.  It measures 33x41, made entirely from scraps.  You can find a link to the X block in my previous post Happy Place.
I  also just finished another quilt top NOT made with my scraps(shocking), but from a fat quarter stack that's been hanging around for a while.  I have a few of these hoarded piles of fabric from the same fabric ranges, and they need to come out of the cupboard and become something. Anything.

So. Onward. To the next quilt. There may even be a give-away involved.
Also just downloaded The Glassblower onto my kindle.  I love starting a new book as much as starting a new quilt!