To those of you who write, plan, edit and continually think about what goes into your blog, I apologize. I’m a pantser (one who writes by the seat of their pants, so to speak), as we call them at campnanowrimo (part of the National Writing Month expansion). I sit down sometime on Thursday afternoon or evening and write my blog according to what’s happened that week. It’s been a heck of a week for me. Life didn’t slow down when school finished. It may have sped up…as summer tends to fly by.

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Part of my container patio garden…I could have a lot of pumpkin growing soon, and I need to separate tomatoes…though they got a late start.

However, I tried the planning thing. I sat down and wrote a mini blog post, and most of my week does not belong in a blog about knitting now, so it was going to be short. But I’ve been reminded of things that matter this week, no matter how tough or expensive it’s getting. I’ve recommitted to decisions and started listening again for those voices that matter, the one’s that look out for you, provide you with a hug and know better than you do just what you need.

I’m working on a quilt block called Grandma’s Kitchen, where we’re asked to provide a childhood memory associated with the block we’re working on…I was started thinking. Last week’s block was Kitchen Table…I thought of Fried Egg sandwiches that need just a bit of mayo. I thought of Brussels sprouts my mother thought I was weird for liking. (Grandma cooked them with butter and sugar, I ate them up and still love them, even with less sugar now.)

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Kitchen Table on left, Sticky Buns(Pineapple Upside Down Cake version) on right…

This week’s block was sticky buns, a favorite treat (this one was her breakfast treat), but it made me think of pineapple upside down cake, my grandma’s favorite kind of cake. I still love this cake, but I don’t get it often enough. As I read through the memories and the stories, I cried. I haven’t cried in some time, I’ve been busy being tough and making things work and getting things done. But I haven’t sat and just felt in some time.

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One side of the sock…perhaps I’ll get some of the wonkiness I’m looking for soon.

In the meantime, I’ve been knitting the socks I’m not sure are wonky enough. I hope to put more time into the Terpander socks by Melissa Morgan Oakes next week(as I haven’t touched them this week). However, I have been knitting the Slip-n-Slide socks by Chrissy Gardiner to see if they get any wonkier…I want them to look a little less stately. Both sock patterns are available in the book Sock Knitting: Master Class by Ann Budd available through Interweave Press.

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The second side of the sock…Again, still looking for more wonkiness…but it’s a fun sock;-)

However, I’ve been compelled to work on these quilt blocks  and get some sewing done as well, since I’m not so busy with homework. I’m going on a six month journey to reconnect with the meaning my grandmother brought to my life. She was likely the adult I was closest to growing up though my parents still attempted to raise me.  It is my grandmother I miss most and sometimes need most. Join me on this journey…Grandma didn’t knit, she just didn’t see herself as “One of those ladies who sits and knits all day.”  She watched hockey for the fights, but she loved me like no other and signed all her letters with x’s and o’s.

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The rest of my patio garden…nothing impressive, but I love my Cosmos and Calla Lilies;-)…and Begonias…just need to get some Petunias in there(which require me remembering to water them).

I think we need more of sitting with Grandma and just being in our lives, regardless if the socks are wonky enough or perfect enough or perhaps just right in the end…I hope;-).

Credit where credit is due: Thank you Pat Sloan, for beginning this process…

*The Grandma’s Kitchen sew along is designed and hosted by Pat Sloan.

Download the blocks at http://www.ilovetomakequilts.com/grandmas-kitchen-sew-along.html

Sign up for the email notices https://madmimi.com/signups/354180/join

 

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Class ended. I got an A-, though I got an A on the research proposal. I’m quite pleased with that grade;-). I wish it had been an A, but I can’t be perfect all of the time.

However, when class ends, the social schedule opens up. I needed this and I needed the break…but I look back on this week, recall the floods that happened Thursday night into Friday morning in neighboring towns(thank goodness) that washed out roads and stalled out cars.

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The front of the Terpander Socks…I got two rows completed Monday before I gave up and napped…I hope they’re right…

It has been a crazy weather week, and us Michiganders who think nothing beats us…who think, it’s only 6-8” of snow…it’s still not a full foot, we can keep going…have learned a lesson about rain. En mass, in force, water is a force to be reckoned with, and some roads will take months to repair, no matter how much we need them. Some of them have spans that would make the Dukes of Hazard detour. It’s been a rough week. I drove my sister-in-law to work Friday and loaned her my car to get home providing that she pick me up after work. She managed to make it on her own Saturday and Sunday, thankfully.

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Back side of the latest “Two rounds at a time” socks…or Terpander

Then I dutifully got sick Monday. I even called in to work. I made it in through two days of flooding. I wasn’t going to keep going in not feeling well. I felt most guilty about not getting knitting or quilting done. I tried…but I could not concentrate. So I read and slept the day away. Tuesday, I felt just well enough to make a potluck treat and make it to a Quilt Guild Pot Luck meeting. I had fun, saw some lovely quilts and received feedback on a charity quilt I made. It needs more ties…but that stories on the Quilting Journeys page.

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Putzer is enjoying the high-life as he’s hi-jacked my knitting photo pillow…He thinks I owe him a two-handed full-body massage as well…

Wednesday…Tie-dye party. I wish I’d pulled out my camera, but I was trying not to get the dye all over me…trust me, this is a specialty I have to work around…but I had more quilting to do.  So, I didn’t want to play remove dye all night…though lotion, followed by rubbing alcohol, followed by lotion helped a lot. (I’m boycotting dishes right now…it’s my week off). So, what’s this got to do with knitting…apparently, it’s what I was thinking I’d get to, while I did other plans.

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I really wanted to be further along…

Tonight, I was going to knit, and I got to it…but first I had to take my dad his father’s day gift…(my nephew held a graduation party on Father’s day, so we decided he would wait till this week, due to our schedules). Then my niece demanded I and/ or invited me to join her at a carnival at work…right away. I made her wait, but she was not partaking in the tie-dye party last night, so I went to spend some time with her. I took the knitting, but it’s hard to knit these patterns at a carnival (and it was getting dark out). I know, excuses, excuses…

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But, it’s knitting up nice…I just hope the yarns start inter-playing more as I knit on…they should, or I will have to re-think this sock…

So, I came home to make food and knit. And I completed one more round of rows, which I began Tuesday, I think. I have such high hopes for this yarn…I’m hoping the next round will take this sock to the more fun place I think it will go. In the meantime, here it is…check them out.

…lack of knitting, that’s what! (It’s hard to not complain when you are not knitting!)…

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Current progress on the sock (that I hadn’t knit all week).

Allow me to explain…Friday and Saturday I work…little knitting happens on workdays, unless I knit in the wee hours of the morning. I try not to knit tired. Sunday, I packed for a quilt retreat, got the laundry done and planted plants with my Little, Mariah, and coached her on painting  the second coat….and studied…I was trying to be a good girl. Monday, I drove two hours north to one of the prettiest bridges in the world, the Mighty Mac…also known as the Mackinac (pronounced Mack-in-aw) Bridge, set up my sewing space, and proceeded to pull out my niece’s quilt–because it just needed to get done. I also put in time to finish the current chapter I was reading for homework. Go Me, so I thought.016

The view from our Hotel Window…it doesn’t get much better than this…(For the record, Missing puppies and kitties and Dear James or not; NO, I didn’t want to come home!)

Tuesday, I sewed and sew-cialized(socialized for those who need help with sewing puns), and cooked dinner in a new way. Dinner came out good. I even made enough progress to finally show the quilt at show and tell on Tuesday night. June(the leader of the group) told us to get our machines smokin’ for the remainder of the night. My machine then took exception(it had been working on puttering through embroidery stitches much of the day), and required a few clean outs….I think I managed not to swear out loud. I also took the time to buy a pattern and some fabric to make it(and enough for leftovers as there was a sale).

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(I missed these big guys…who are waiting patiently for a Kong(tm) treat.)

Wednesday, I got up too early after staying up late on Tuesday(our last night together) to sew on the charmed twister bag and got through the second side panel. Then I needed to play with “DecorBond” (brand name for really stiff interfacing). Then I remembered my inability to follow patterns, directions and rules in general. So I packed it up, and toured Mackinaw city for a bit, failed to find another fabric shop(which may have saved my budget, but I found puppy stuff–so maybe not). I came home wanting a nap, and to play with the new computer…except the new block of the month and chapter were out for my Murder Mystery Quilt 2017 hosted by Deborah Christy Moebes.  So, tried to install my printer…it didn’t go well. After attempt number two, I gave up and went to my sister-in-law’s for a bonfire with herself and my nieces. I probably should have gone to bed for a nap(but naps throw off my schedule and are tougher to pull off than they sound). I had a beer and took a breather.

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I think they got more treats than we did(well, kind of….Zeus-y finally gets to catch a squirrel;-)…

And still, no knitting. I have little excuse too. I had it with me. When I was talking to my sewing friends, I could have pulled out my knitting at any time and added a row or two(the worst that would happen is I’d put the cables in the wrong places–nothing I haven’t done before.

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Briannag loves her Kong(tm) treat!

So, my excuseless self came home Wednesday night to finish the studying I should have done on Tuesday, and attempt the practice exam I had scheduled for today at 3:00PM. I did terrible on the practice exam, so I decided I’d better review some more, as I worked and hoped to sort out the financial aid to keep this stress loop going. (Mainly because I want to finish sooner than later). So far, the school cash flow looks only rocky for the next two years instead of like tough or insurmountable mountains I haven’t yet learned how to climb.

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Zeus-y loves his Kong(tm) treat too…

Alas, I got though the exam today (with an “A”), did not get to bring home the other computer as planned and decided that part of the problem this week was not enough knitting. So, I sat down tonight, and said studying can wait a bit(it was going to anyways), and decided to knit a few rows. Here’s to the end of The first foot repeat and moving on to the second…we’re getting there…just not as quickly as I’d like;-). In the meantime, I even remembered the lifeline…see;-)…

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I even learned how to use “Backlighting” on my camera…we’ll call that productive enough for today.

200 Posts

P.S. How exciting! Apparently this is post 200!

 

Trying Too Hard…

April 13, 2017

It dawned on me this week, after completing a quilt top and beginning another, and printing off directions for the next block of the 2017 Murder Mystery Quilt (come look over here,) that I had considerably neglected my knitting.

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This sock says…”Get back to reality…”

What’s a poor girl (who should be studying her Abnormal Psych book) to do? Why, knit, of course! I started out knitting my knot socks this morning–only three more rows until the heel. I can make this! After 2 rows, reality set in…(after all, I only complete 1-2 rows a day at school), and I realized I may not wish to set up a heel row as my instructor is handing out language tasks at the beginning of class. I decided to set it aside.

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This sock said, “Go ahead, it’s still ‘sweater weather.”

Then I remembered some darning I needed to complete. So, I got out the socks to darn and the matching yarn, and began darning. This patch was a bit bigger than the last one. I’d waited too long and worn a hole in the ball of the foot. (sorry, no pictures of the hole I covered, but it wasn’t as big as the patch. But I finished it this morning, even if I only had bigger needles to work with and I made these socks wearable until I manage to finish a hole in the second foot. Part of me is certain it’s only a matter of time. It’s still cool enough to wear knit socks. I’m taking full advantage of this pretty “sweater weather.”

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This sock said, “Books, what books…I’m too pretty to be ignored over books.”

Once I finished the darning, I should have set the knitting aside and begun reading Chapter 15 of Abnormal Psychology. How many of you want to bet I did just that? …Any takers? None, not one…. Good, keep your money for yarn then. I picked up my Smooshy Dream yarn in charged cherry. I decided to knit the next row where I got to cable five times over 36 stitches. This is a beautiful pattern, I can’t not knit it. I finished the cable row in time to pack up, comb my hair, check my mail, and go to class….

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This side of the sock said, “See, see what I mean?”

Did I do that? What do you think? Hint–I usually knit two rows of this pattern when I knit it, whether I should be studying or not. The second row is all knit and purl with no cables. So this should knit right up, correct? But this takes a minute or three(or more than the ten you have to finish when you are knitting two socks at a time on circular needles.Of course, I continued knitting, right up to the time I had to leave. Then I had to hurry up and put  away the knitting, the book I never opened and get my lunch…it goes on…but now I have no tea…and no knitting; with 38 full minutes between classes to eat lunch, and perhaps, study.

Update: I did actually study…now I just need to finish the photos to share with you. Perhaps I’ll behave better tomorrow…. Who’s starting the pool? (Not that I encourage gambling much, but once in a while, there needs to be a pool of something started).  Sorry, forgot about the bunny shelf photo…perhaps I’ll get it for next week…If I remember in the midst of tests and papers… Alas, Happy Easter!(or however you celebrate your holidays;-).

Another Busy Week…

March 24, 2017

I feel as if I need an acronym for that phrase….ABW doesn’t suit though….and WTF is over-used. Alas, there is not enough time for knitting especially when one holds two study sessions at the library rather than staying home and using the gab time(as there was gabbing) to knit. However, I helped a classmate deliver a recitation better, after a rousing rendition of “My Husband Discovers Poetry,” by Diane Lockward; we actually settled down to study…speaking of which–let’s see how I did on the test I was supposed to be studying for. I’ll be right back…here’s a photo of a project I’m not yet finished with…

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Lovely Owl Hat with Lovely Caspian Knitting Needles from Knitpicks.com (Just needs the eyes sewn on and the top finished)

Isn’t it cute. I love this Owl hat and I’m close to the goal of half done. I can get to half-done in the morning, right? I can already just knit away for these twenty-one rows, then I can start decreasing. I hope to finish this, so that winter seems to fade into Spring quicker. Spring is supposed to be here, but it can’t decide whether to be cold or warm now….I just want real Spring, not some weird mix of “What is this crap?” However, I live in MIchigan, Michigan loves to mix up weather patterns. I’d probably give Michigan a “C” in weather, some years, I’d just fail it.  Alas, said grade for the English class isn’t in yet. I’ll just have to wait to find out. In the meantime, let’s talk about knitting…shall we?

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Over the halfway hill, one and a half repeats of the (48 row) pattern to go…then 1×1 rib (unless I change the rib)

The Owl hat(above), has slightly cut into the circular sock knitting time for these lovely “Terpander” socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class book. I love the pattern, but they are not the easiest to knit. Though I am coming up to the easiest section to work on. There will be some tough choices made tomorrow morning, when I’ll be telling myself “I should be studying.” I still have a Psych Statistics test Monday, an Abnormal Psych test Tuesday…and a paper due Tuesday or next Tuesday, depending on my motivation for extra credit. I could use the points, sort of.

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The back of these socks…(Horrid photo, forgive me. I’ll work to get a better one next week).

However, in the midst of knitting the “Knot” Socks by Nancy Bush also in the aforementioned book, I found my knitting time interrupted by extra credit for the Abnormal Psych class–which test will be a plethora of personality disorders that aren’t well covered by the book or the instructor. Come next Thursday, there will be much knitting and some quilting…and homework or studying, as I’ll have to get ahead on homework for the quilt retreat in early April.

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Ah, Progress….kind of…One and a half (or so) repeats until I start the heel.

I’m thinking of sneaking in a second retreat this spring. I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, I have to brace for Poker Tournaments and lots of hours with my beloved books. Next week, ask me about the mysteries I picked up this week. (And remind me of that other paper that will come due soon, please? And gently, because I’m not sure I truly want to be reminded). Until I can get back to some solid knitting, prepare yourself for more two or three rows a week photos…except the owl hat, I just need to get the owl hat done.

….There will be sewing/quilting….and yes….(There will be (some) studying).

But the focus does not have to be on the studying for the next week. So long as I read ahead in    the classes that allow for it. I shall have time to knit and sew quilts….and research and write papers.

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And sometimes, I’m a pen and paper girl, too…though I prefer the prettier journal, this is what I had with me today.

A week off of classes should mean progress on many other fronts, as well as the keeping up with the homework front…I hope. In addition, I, too, had to go pen and paper today…explanation to come. I am imagining a nice warm mug of Bigelow Vanilla Chai tea(or some blend with English Black tea or China black tea to warm me) as I sit and knit for the next week with no-thoughts of up-coming tests. Today’s was good, but I must check that it wasn’t better (it wasn’t perfect, and there was extra credit, as well as smudges).

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My youngest niece in Middle School band uniform (without her trumpet)….

Now, for this week…of course I have big plans. I plan to finish at least one repeat of the Knot Socks by Nancy Bush that I’ve been working on. I asl plan to make progress on the legs of the Terpander socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, both patterns presented in Ann Budd’s Sock-Knitting: Master Class: Innovative Techniques + Patterns from Top Designers.

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Nancy Bush’s Knot Socks….poor pic of that too….darned camera…or is it the operator?

Sewing wise, I hope to get a good many circles ripped out, and others sewn on (This is part of the process). I hope to get the Mystery Quilt re-sewn  and I need to get a horse neck and mane (as well as the foal) sewn to the background fabric…and a Murder Mystery Quilt block finished (by next week).

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Darned terrible pic of Terpander socks….better one next week….

I’m playing with the goal of having the top (of the horse quilt) done by the next quilt retreat (in early April). It sounds daunting, but it can be done. I just have to plan for it….as well as a Spring school play(that hopefully does not get cancelled–someone remind me to invite my Dad)….

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Another terrible pic of the heels….onward and upward, right (besides, I think I’m over half done).

So, what’s going on in the present? I’m working on my socks, which I hope to come back to, but I (*LOUD GASPS) forgot my knitting today as I was preparing for my test. Ugh…facepalm! (I do not normally give in to millennial hysterics, but today was the day for it). So, once I’d consumed my lunch, I opened my battered copy of The Country Register of Mount Pleasant, MI  to somewhere near the middle and found a Knitting column, called The Dropped Stitch by Sharon Greve. The article title read: “The Empowerment of Knitting.”

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My oldest nephew(Principal percussionist who noticed not everyone was on the same second song) in band uniform(after he’s started helping put stuff away)….

I enjoyed this fun article about how knitting began with men and became a woman’s task with the invention of the knitting machine in 1589. Ms. Greves went on to discuss the International Day of the Woman(one of my favorite holidays) on March 8th with some of it’s history as well. I was quite charmed by this article as I sought to fill my time between classes and later surprise plans to see Lego Batman once my Spring Break had officially begun. The movie may have began a new era for my eldest niece and I…”I hate you more,” Instead of “I love you more,” as the movie is all about ‘ships, and how Batman, he works alone….Go see it, you’ll see what I mean;-). P.S. If it helps, said niece is 15.

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15, in Ohio state colors(yes that’s an Ohio state shirt, and a crime in Michigan), holding her sister’s trumpet….That it pisses off both Michigan State (and that other school at the same time) is simply a bonus for her….see what I mean;-).

Arrrgggghhh! Ladders!

February 10, 2017

That’s right, you heard me, ladders have formed in this sock….and I’m at a loss. I’m working on the “Terpander” pattern in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class book and I began the first heel this weekend. As I finished it, I realized the weight of the socks had caused ladders to form. I was warned, but not told how to correct them. I even went to Silver’s Sock Knitting tutorial and looked them up. Nothing about ladders there either. I thought I’d mostly gotten beyond ladders. But since you are only knitting on one side at a time, it’s difficult to prevent the ladders.

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Not that I wish to show you my ladders, but I’ll get a better pic of them later, so you can see that I’m certainly not perfect. Luckily, these are for my feet, but this Smooshy yarn deserves better.

So, Now I’m left wondering one of two things: Should I try to re-knit the heel or should I simply forge on and hope for the best when I join the two rounds? Choices, choices. Perhaps I’ll ask at knitting paradise. There are many sock knitters there. Someone may have some good ideas.

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1 heel finished, forgive the terrible photos…I’ll try to re-take and edit, once I finish some studying tonight.

In addition, I’m working to keep off the naughty bench this week. My youngest niece’s birthday is this upcoming Thursday and her gift isn’t done. I thought I had two more rounds left, but it turns out I have three. So I knit like a madwoman before classes today–then I committed a cardinal sin. I put the knitting down mid-row. (Gasp). More wine, anyone?

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These are the re-knit item…with two full more rounds and six rows of knit 5, purl 5…because some rules are really meant to be broken….I really am getting there…just hope I get there in time;-).

I messed up and I think it’s best to rip out this row and re-knit it. Plus, class was starting and I needed to pay attention and write. It gets rather difficult to write notes and knit at the same time…. I probably shouldn’t admit how I know that… but you guys can imagine with me, right.

Well, I should get back to studying for my exams. It feels as if that’s all I’ve been doing this week and Putzer seconds, but I have attempted progress on a quilt…after studying…in which I should know better. Those darned rules about knitting or sewing(even on a machine) while tired, are rules for a reason, and this time it wasn’t to break them (in which I thought I performed far better than last time). Alas, my latest dilemma is recorded on a new blog(when I should have been studying, but really needed a break). It’s called Quilting Journeys and is over here at Quilting Journeys..

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Can you believe this is backwards…and technically sideways as well…the purple goes inside on the triangles and the green print goes outside and down the middle…(never sew tired is not a rule that’s meant to be broken).

Enjoy the view while you can. We’ll see where these journeys take us. In the meantime, let’s hope my studying journeys take me to an A on the exams (All three of them, over two days–my instructors have found the key to true evil).

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Murder Mystery Quilt January Block 1 done: From Tiny Seeds.

However, evil instructors aside…I managed to finish my Murder Mystery Block #1 for a Mystery quilt combined with a murder mystery I signed up for.  I wish I would have gone a little darker on the center portion ( did have a darker green), but I’m working with it and hoping it comes out well. Now, to get back to studying…and work on the February blocks when I’m not exhausted from the books I have to explore.

Too Many Rules…

January 19, 2017

…or too many patterns. Nah, there’s no such thing as too many patterns.

I may have broken my own rule. After all, rules were made to be broken, right? Fortunately, I haven’t broken the rule irreparably…or have I? I have two supposed “adult” rules, and I’ve broken both of them in the past few weeks. I blame James for one. I only have myself and clever marketing for the second…I believe. Besides, blame doesn’t un-break the rules, or get things done. Please allow me to explain.

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Cabled Headband…which is the inspiration for only half of these weeks works in progress…

Rule #1: Do not begin three more projects before finishing the first project. This usually translates to one project on the needles and one project on the sewing table at a time…usually. Lately, the socks I’ve been knitting have been complicated. I only knit them on Sunday mornings when I have spare time. I’m making good progress, but I decided to knit some mittens as a travel project and a gift. They didn’t work out so well, so I ended up frogging them. Then dear James bought me a “project” for Christmas. Once I replaced the hat/mitten/scarf yarn with yarn I could and would knit with, I went in search of patterns.

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(The finished cabled headband…really, I meant to smile, but I hate taking selfies…;-).)

Yes, you heard me right, I spent a few hours on ravelry.com…who doesnt’. I finally found a cabled headband http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cabled-headband-26 pattern I liked and was hoping to find a matching cowl. I didn’t. I found similar ones, but I found none that work with me, so I’m left to making it up as I go along.

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The current cowl I’m currently working on…I’m hoping it will work with me…but only two more repeats.)

I was scared of the making of it. I really was, but it can’t be that hard, right? You heard me…and yes, we all know I should know better. Thankfully(so far), I do not know better. Instead, I came across that knitting journal I bought sometime last year and told you I’d tell you what I thought of it. What did I think? I didn’t think much of it until I started trying to work out this beast. This cowl shall remain nick-named the beast until it is finished. This week, I have two attempts and almost a graph/chart or pattern worked out. I want to leave options semi-open to make it your own. I like making something my own when possible.

Not near as easy as I thought it would be to write the pattern, I hope it’s more fun to knit…it shouldn’t be as hard as it looks. It was harder figuring out how to set it up…I think.

So, what did I do? It’s pretty simple, in theory, and hopefully in knitting. Explaining it visually or on paper is another matter. Part of me wants to say just do it, and you may have to, if you wish to make this cowl. I don’t think I’m doing the impossible, but we all know knitting can become mind-boggling at times. *If you do try to knit up this pattern as shown here, please give me credit for it…If you find any mistakes you cannot work through, or we cannot work through together, please message me. We’ll work something out. (It is knit in the round, please take that into consideration as you knit the cowl).

So, how does creating a new cowl break my rules….I already have another cowl on the needles, with a pair of socks and one sock beginning to think it’s suffering from second sock syndrome. Something needs to get knit, but I wish to test this pattern. In addition, I’m thinking about a shawl and I can’t find my size 8 dpns to knit the cowl up with, so I may end up doing this pattern on size 7s. Choices, choices…. Patterns, patterns….(And don’t ask me about the quilts).

Waiting on instructions on the quilt on the right, and may need to scale back projects some soon…or at least make a rule to do my homework first….

Yes, that is plural. I have Jessica’s No-longer Secret fantasy quilt to finish tweaking, I have just subscribed to a murder mystery quilt… a charity quilt waiting for Sunday afternoon(my morning), and  I have begun a mystery quilt for my quilt guild that will become a chair warmer/quilt for my nieces to sleep under at my home, it may be time for a second blog. In the meantime, I have to go clarify questions about the fabric and get the photos of my current works…since I have broken my own rules about the number of projects I can juggle.

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Squib, helping me with my homework…so much for planning;-)

As for rule #2…I no longer feel like discussing it. Actually, it’s “Nothing comes into my home that doesn’t have a home, but that requires some more shelves. I’m not sure how the projects fit…but the sewing table feels crowded right now. Can I have some more wine, please?

There is knitting, too, I promise….

Allow me to pour us a beverage and explain. I’m having wine, what will you have?

After my nap, I sewed and then sewed some more, then I ripped out some stitches of misplaced hexies, and went back to sewing them in the right place…darned hexies. I was also sent home disgustingly early on Christmas Eve which left my bank account weeping a bit more than expected this year. The snow arrived early this year, which is better than late, when you are not driving home in it too early on Friday night as well….Alas, let’s get back to the sewing I went right back to with the extra time I now had on my hands. I still had tweaks to sew, hexies to place and part of a border to attach….as well as a letter to type and print which would be delivered explaining the quilt top.

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Jamie…wondering what he might do with a planetarium (it’s science, he’ll be fine…).

Where’s the super-secret quilt top? What a great question, I’ll get right on that. About 4AM Christmas morning, I put the quilt top in a huge box with some batting choices, the letter and a small, wrapped package of chocolate and popcorn. The child shouldn’t walk away empty handed,after all. As my dear niece, Jessica, worked to undo all my pretty 4AM wrapping, she guessed there was a dress in the box. Unless it was a ball gown replica (one I’d shown her back in October), it wouldn’t have needed such a large box. It was a good guess on her part, and perhaps success on my part. (I have sewn her dresses before, mostly when she was younger). Once she got the box opened and began to lift the quilt out, I had my sister in law step in and assist with the unveiling and handed Jessica my camera. Forgive the photo, I often forget to direct when I’m not behind the camera. Besides, most of my subjects are cats, dogs, and yarn…they have ears only for food, and the yarn, doesn’t listen at all, much like the cats.

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The reveal….there’s more to go….but here’s what I’ve been working on forever….or the last three years…if that isn’t loving someone more, I don’t know what is;-).

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That being said, the quilt top is still a wee bit unfinished and my dear Dad was the first to point out the holes left in the quilt top. (I wanted to shout, “You should have seen them yesterday!” I didn’t, I was good.) He suggested the holes were arm-holes…you see them…clever, but not quite. I’m quite aware I have more work to do. But once it was unveiled, and I returned to work Monday to double my normal hours this week, including an extra Tuesday, I decided it was now okay to take a slight break from the quilt top. Besides, there is still more to update.

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Said quilt top…Spindly legs, and all…spindly term courtesy of Jessica…

I also presented the cable socks to Lizzie(the younger niece), that I’d been working on for much of fall semester. I promised feet photos and forgot them. I’m torn between you have to wait until my pair is done or I’ll have her pose her feet next time…then we have to figure out the best way to photograph someone else’s feet….

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Future footwork…(it’s not as if I have three or more of these irons in the fire;-))…

I also meant to unveil mittens to my dad. They did not get finished, not even the first one. Hence why I was on the naughty bench all week, in addition to the quilt top–’When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.” –Mae West.

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Where the mitts are this week….(they didn’t fit…). I’m glad I got the “alternate” gift…perhaps one day, I or Lizzie will love them;-)….

Luckily, I’d received a generous surprise gift card and snuck off the the J-store (Jo-Ann Fabrics) to purchase some last minute gifts….(yes, I know better). While dear James’ journal came in before the big day, he still appreciated the simple hard-cover journal of a similar size I procured for him which may travel better.

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The journals….his is much better–the leather one on the right, but mine travels easier….

Then I presented my dad with his “alternative” gift, a simple Star Wars calendar. I proceeded to test his reaction to the wool I was using by thrusting the entire skein into his hand. If it made him itch, I’d have a positive and he could wash the itch off quickly. I showed him the right mitt and had him try it on. Turns out, it’s better suited for my hand than his, which I feared. He was not fully aware of the mittens, so this gift was not an entire bust, thankfully. I might be able to get off the naughty bench for this year. I’ll be sure to join you ladies (and perhaps some gentlemen) right back there next year!

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Bubble gum filled Naughty socks….the Nice sock was hidden in the bottom of the snowman….

Now that the big reveals are done and my nephew enjoyed his bubblegum filled socks… presented naughty one first (because the kids really are a chip off the old aunt block….don’t tell them I admitted to anything near old, but the block is old!), I’ve considered reflecting on the past year, but with all the deaths of legends, whether the returned home as the K theory in Men In Black suggests or they are simply gone, we’re begging for a kindler, gentler 2017, and thinking of sending 2016 off with a big bang…or one heck of a salute. It won’t matter to me, unless the big bang is in the gaming hell where I will hopefully be dealing a Carnival game rather than Black Jack.

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My happy break from work(except when I’m talking knitting with a Georgian(U.S.) knitter working on a Detroit Lions cowl before a tournament she attends once a year;-). (Squee moment from work).

Enough about work…there’s a reason Londoners, or Englishmen, in historical novels call it a gaming hell, and I’m not really done being naughty, and therefore am absolutely not prepared for reflection…February will be cold enough for that…. Plus, I’ve picked up some “shelved” projects and had others thrust upon me or requested.

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The other side of the socks….I still love this color.

Dear James had to fill my stocking after all, and when he got home from his last minute traditional shopping trip to my local yarn store, he reminded me that I’m expensive and told me he got me a new project…well, the yarn for it anyways….

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Dear James told me I didn’t have a matching scarf, hat and mittens…half acrylic…Now I’m left searching for a matching pattern….any suggestions?

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Reveal of the second sock for the kid willing to wear my Naughty or Nice stocking hat…;-)

No, I didn’t throw a huge fit on the naughty bench, not yet anyway. I actually enjoyed my knitting/quilting time there… Allow me to explain.

There is this beast of a quilt…it’s semi-secret and only twin size, but it’s an original design that’s mostly hand-sewn and three years in the works. Since three years is long enough and there will be a great reveal next week, I haven’t knit but two rows this week, and I had to rip one of them out…two steps forward, one step back, right?

So, I’ve spent all of my spare time sewing this quilt and creating the border and getting the quilt top in place…And I need more hexies! And I need another hexy! And I need another inch or two here. I’ve discovered I’m a creative designer with tons of love and a boyfriend who scales back my eye for color, thank goodness. I must give him credit in the letter I’m yet to write and print off…because I’m also all about tough quilt love. I promise. If it is to become a dog bed, it will be returned. If it is found on the floor, it gets one opportunity to be picked up or it will be returned. I can find another tweak it needs(as it still needs some tweaking) and store it in my closet or hang it on a wall.

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Lizzie’s “Masterpiece” #1…Yes, she worked on two of them…

Don’t get me wrong. It’s meant to be used and loved, but with respect–and more than one would give a blanket. It’s also under contract, as I have to show it at shows and retreats. But the top is nearly done and my fingers might be a touch sore, though I sewed my own leather thimble and discovered I love this thing. I decided I’m gifting it as is for Christmas and allowing the recipient some say in the batting and backing, as well as the quilting. I’m certain  (and hopeful) that she will be quite surprised.

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If you look closely, you can make out Stars…the top row says “made of”

I also plan to finish the damn mittens that I’m still halfway through the one hand of…(I really expected to achieve full Wonder Woman status this week and get to halfway through the second mitten). But I only received a $25.00 gift card to the J-store  (Jo-ann Fabrics, for those not in the know)….that helped obtain some Christmas gifts at the last minute(both on sale as well).

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The finished gingerbread square created by Jessica and myself…such a cute courtyard for the love kisses(they were the last two, and I left them for my niece).

But I also had to test my wonder woman status this week and work on Gingerbread houses with my sister-in-law, nieces, and Little: Mariah. It was a good night, and I kept my youngest niece overnight and then made Magic Bars and No-bake cookies with Lizzie–which leads to nap time.

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The other side of the mittens that did not knit themselves this week…

My brain hasn’t registered my schedule much of this week, I was up at 8AM on Wednesday and 6:45 AM on Thursday. AGGHHHH! I’m normally not up before noon, and noon is early. I still work overnights. I’ve worked through most of it, but I needed a nap (which I don’t normally do) mid-day to work around getting up over five hours early, perhaps six full hours early. I don’t even have class this week. Alas, it’s not helping the knitting and I’m not going to knit as much when I’m ready to fall asleep…. I can sew better tired, so long as I’m not on the machine, and double checking my work.

There may be some more knitting tonight…I’ve accomplished two more rows for a total of three this week, however…I still have hexies to create and stitch in, as well as a border to assemble…and now real life must intervene and call me back to work for the weekend….alas….wish me luck. Next week, there will be a reveal…