Saturday, June 25, 2016

Packing it in

We've been really busy lately helping the oldest daughter pack up her apartment and move.  While that was going on the boy/man came home briefly from university ( in between regular and summer classes) and we cleaned out his bedroom and packed away his childhood. But before that could happen, I had to tidy up the garage to make space for sports equipment, video games and high school yearbooks. I've dropped off so much at the Goodwill lately, they must see me coming and think my house is a never ending bottomless pit of All the Stuff.
I tell you what, my 50 something body can't take too much more of this moving and packing, especially since the weather is hovering around 100 degrees or higher for the next 5 days.
Ah summer, how I want to love you here in Northern California, but I want to experience you in Alaska, or Maine, where I imagine a light sweater is needed when the sun goes down,  people eat supper outside, and you can still wear long pants and shirts with sleeves in them.
There have been beautiful sunsets here though, and the grasses have dried to that rich California gold color.  I get to pick wild blackberries on my morning walks, make fresh lemonade from the lemons off my tree and float on a raft in the pool looking up at a sky so blue it makes you ache inside.
All that kind of makes up for the upper lip and boob sweat, the constant hum of the AC, and the inability to do anything outside between lunch time and 9:00pm without melting your face off.

 Enough complaining about the weather. Guess what? I finally joined the Instagram crowd (I resisted for a long time).  I still prefer blogging because I love the written word, the stories, the connection.  It's quicker to post something on Instagram, a nice picture, two sentences punctuated by a dozen emoji's and you're done. But man you can really get sucked into the looking and spend hours of time on there! I'm just figuring out how to navigate around and so far it's been fun.  I don't have too many posts up yet, but if you want to visit, I'm at  lifeofreilly58.
In between the packing I'm grateful this week for some quiet moments to practice my knitting, and  continue sewing more of my drunkards path blocks.  I've been able to build up a nice little pile so far.  However this is looking to be a 3 year quilt, as I started these blocks last year and it doesn't appear I'll be finishing any time this year.
Anyone got a summer project started?  Besides my white crocheted blanket, I've been itching to try some embroidery and I have 2 new books to read.  I'm down for anything really, as long as it doesn't  involve packing tape and a truck :) 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Changing directions

I changed my mind on two of my projects.  I was dragging my feet about finishing them, so I took a good hard look at why the feet were dragging.  Something wasn't right and I figured they needed to be tweaked just a little in order to regain my interest.  So out came the seam ripper for the quilt, and frogging commenced on the cotton blanket. 
I originally set the quilt blocks in my usual standby, Kona snow.  You can see them here. The white background was bugging me so I remade them with a tan and cream shirting fabric which softens the blocks somehow and gives them a little more interest.  The quilt is now almost done!
The cotton blanket from my last post was a simple sc, ch1, sc pattern, that was soothing to work, but a bit boring.  The plan was to make a solid cream colored organic cotton blanket, but I was constantly fighting with myself so I wouldn't add a colored stripe somewhere.  Maybe what I really craved was more texture.  When I spied this blanket, and this one,  I ripped out my boring one and started the new squares immediately.  BAM!   Instant crochet fun!  I love working on this pattern.
daughter doing the creepy eyeball picture
There are just enough popcorn stitches to keep this fun.  Also the Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted has exactly the amount of yarn per skein to make one 10 round block (H hook).
My daughter pointed out that both the crocheted block and the quilt block share similar shapes. Hmm.  Even weirder they both measure out at 13 1/2 inches.
I think I'm heading in the right direction.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Catching Up

Gosh what a crazy couple of weeks it's been. I'm mentally pooped out.  No blogging, no making, (well a little bit on the cotton blanket up there but that's it), no fun.  I spent 2 separate days with 2 different family members at the Emergency room.  One of them was on Memorial Day weekend, so you can just imagine.  Both my Dad and my daughter are now fine, but there's 12 hours of my life I'd rather not repeat.
I hadn't mentioned this before, but my Mom had surgery back in March to remove a pancreatic tumor.  Looks like they got everything, but she started chemotherapy treatment on Tuesday.  I  will be taking her once a week for 3 weeks, then a week off.  This will go on for about 6 months.
She's such a trooper.  So far she's tolerating the chemo pretty well and is in great spirits, still walking 2 miles a day.  I hope I can say the same when I'm 79 years old.

I did get some new yarn in the mail which is always a treat.  Last week was Crochet Week at Quince and Co., and they released 5 crochet patterns to drool over. I ended up ordering 3 skeins of Piper which is a light fingering weight in the color Sweetwater, and 2 shawl patterns.
Two new magazines came as well, Taproot, and the first edition of Making.  In Taproot, they have tutorials for things like arm knitting, or how to season your cast iron skillet.  This issue (18) included recipes for Moroccan chicken with preserved lemons, cheesemaking and and herbal remedies like bug balm. I really enjoy their short stories/essays.
Making is full of beautiful photography, knitting patterns, embroidery, cross stitching, sewing, even recipes. 
 So, relaxing with a good magazine, a little crochet and iced tea is working wonders. Cooking always helps recharge my battery somehow too, and I made some pasta yesterday and added chard and basil from the garden (so much chard!. you pick it and by the time you carry it into the house, it has grown 20 new leaves.). Things are slowly drifting back to normal. Soon I will feel  less like this....

substitute yarn ball instead of rubber ball 

and more like getting back to the sewing room. 105 degrees predicted for tomorrow.  Anybody want to come over for a swim?