Thursday, August 21, 2014

Simply Summer

I made a quilt for my niece who's expecting her first child.

I had almost all the fabric in my collection, and it went together in a couple of evenings. While I enjoy challenging quilt patterns, there's something to be said for easy-to-complete quilts too.

Irish Linen

I was at the local thrift store, shopping for summer shorts actually, when I found myself browsing the sweater aisle. I let my hands tell me if a sweater is worth reclaiming. The texture of this deep pink one was unlike anything I've come across up till now.

The label said it was made in Ireland and was 50/50 linen and cotton. I've always heard about Irish Linen, but I never knew what was so special about it. It has an unexpected sheen that is just lovely.

I estimated how many yards I have and then searched Ravelry's shawl patterns, using the yarn weight and yardage filters. This is Shoreline, so far an easy pattern with an applied lace border.

I just added the shawl to my project page on Ravelry and it told me it's my 50th project. (!) That's kinda fun...

Evening Breeze

After all that wool knitting, it was time for something lighter. I got a lovely soft cotton, linen, silk blend called Amalfi, at the LYS's summer sale.

Just off the needles.

It blocked to just the right dimensions. Don't cha just love it when that happens?

Nongarment Knitting

I've knit sweaters, mitts and hats, but not a softie, until now.

This pattern is from Little Cotton Rabbits. Her patterns are wonderful! So well written and easy to follow.

Meet Dashwood, Dash for short. He's got the sweetest personality, and he always has a smile.

People just love his little cotton tail.

What's not to love?

Autumn Stripe Finished

The weather might be 90+ outside but I finished my Autumn striped pullover. When it turns cold, I'll be ready.


Miniature Pineapple Blocks

I got the pineapple mini out again and took another stab at the method. Originally I thought this would make a great little leader-and-ender project and I'm trying to figure it out without buying the pineapple ruler. But so far the technique has eluded me.

Round two.
Round three.
Round four, etc.

The one on the far right looks pretty good, but the red and green are triangles and I want trapezoids.

Here is all my trial and error, LOTS of trial and error. Night after night, long hours in the sewing room. I'd think I had it figured out, and then the next cut would be wrong. Sometimes I wondered why I was knocking myself out so much.

But it's true... I like a challenge. Challenging quilt patterns are more rewarding than the easy ones.

Home Improvement

As first-time home owners we are enjoying the freedom to make changes to the house; little by little making it our own.

The living room has had track lighting installed. This means we can remove the two pole lamps at either end of the couch, which opens up the space. And we added a dimmer switch. Nice!

Patching the electrical into the existing ceiling fan.
Installing the lamps.

Not much later, we added cabinet handles to all the drawers and cabinets throughout the house; 52, all together.

It's so much nicer than trying to open the cabinet or drawer from the edge, especially with wet hands!

My Summer

Dear Blog,
I haven't forgotten. You know I write to you all the time in my head. And I continue to take pictures of projects, progress and life; so the process of blogging is still going on, just not online. Here at last I will share some of what's been happening. But simply put - knit, garden, quilt, hike, eat, sleep, repeat. Not a bad way to spend the summer!

My mother used to have one of these in her sewing basket. I remember asking her what it was; a darning egg. Fast forward to today and I've been trying to find one to add to my own sewing basket, without paying $20.00 or more for a vintage one on e-bay or etsy. I was tickled to recently find it in a small, local craft store in town. And the price was reasonable - $7.00. Knitters darn their socks. I wonder if the economy will encourage others to learn to darn theirs.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Lengthening a Sweater

My grandson is long and thin. The cardigan I made for him last Christmas turned out wide and short waisted. What to do. I borrowed it back and lengthened it 3".

Close up of extension
I picked out the cast on edge, put the live stitches on the needle and knit down. Then I picked up stitches along the front edge and knit the button band. I sewed the bottom edge of the existing button band to the button band extension. The added length made it a five button sweater instead of four, but I had a set of yellow buttons in my collection. I know where the addition starts, but at least it doesn't jump out at you.

Social Media

Lately I've been seeing a lot of articles and YouTube videos on the downside of all the social media technology. Some of them are pretty smart and point out good truth; that maybe social media is anything but. We're so busy chatting on our phones, or taking and sending photos, we don't talk to friends and family sitting in the same room and miss the moments we're in right now.

One of the observations that struck me is how emotionless the sharing on blogs and Facebook often is; the information is sort of homogenized. Well there might be a good reason for that, we all share different versions of the same life situation or scenario depending on who we're talking to.

Take my blog for instance. I'd like to think it's a nice place to visit, the quilting and sewing are fun and the day trips to the coast or the redwood paths near our home add beauty and interest.

But what it doesn't share is the full-view-of-life. Work is a total bear, family members suffer one illness after another, there's worry about finances, possible loss of a job, and on-going health issues. Generally you won't hear much about these things here. I figure we all struggle with these situations and more.

One day, completely by chance, I met one of my readers. She told me she'd found my blog by accident while Goggling a quilt pattern. She said she kept coming back because the posts were full of creativity, beauty and nature, like a mini-vacation.

Wow. I'd fulfilled a goal I hadn't realized I'd set. Thank you reader.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April Sewing

I've been plunking along on the blocks for the Quilt of Valor. 48/48 finished last night. Finally.

And I made some Nursery Intensive Care Unit (NICU) isolette covers. The nurses at the hospital like to put these over the isolettes to block the bright lights.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Inlet Trail

It rained HARD last night. I couldn't wait to walk the Inlet trail by my house. The sound of rushing water was everywhere. And so were the wildflowers.

I spied little pink flowers, that from behind looked like Shooting Stars. I came home and looked them up in a wildflower handbook - Calypso orchids - no bigger than a thumbnail.

Horsetail was sprouting all along the creek banks.

The ferns are starting to come back, they're loving all this water.