Saturday, December 3, 2016

The saga of socks

Okay, so where have I been??? Have I been sick? On vacation?? Kidnapped by aliens???

None of the above... no excuse... I just haven't been posting... sorry...

With Thanksgiving behind me I've moved into full Christmas mode. I have my tree up... my outside lights on... bought a new 7.5 ft inflatable snowman for the side yard (I'll see if I can take a pic of him in the dark... his body is kaleidoscopic...oooooohhhh... pretty) ... and the majority of my inside decorating is complete.  A lot of the old stuff and a few new things... I'll show the new things in a day or two.

But the event I was waiting for with bated breath was the opening of the first door of my Opal Advent Calendar....




I had pre knit two cuffs (they are perched on the top of the box) to start some Frankensocks... some nice charcoal gray Fabel that I thought would be a good neutral... at the stroke of midnight on Thursday December 1 (and I'm not kidding it was 12:00) I opened door number 1... and I must be truthful... I was a bit disappointed. Oh it is a cute little 15 gram skein but my first door skein was brown... not on my list of favorite colors... oh it has its place in the world but in my world it is mostly banished to a small dark corner in the basement furnace room...sigh...I had feelings similar to those I had as a kid when I opened a beautifully wrapped present to find it contained... underwear...ugh!!!

But I persevered and started knitting the brown skein... it was really really brown...okay.. it is a nice mottled yarn but it doesn't make my heart sing. I could see that the interior of the skein had a section of black and white which was intriguing. I LOVE those faux fair isle patterns Opal is so good at, and I continued and this is how that section knitted up...



Okay, it is kinda handsome but it isn't what I wanted... insert stompy foot, frowny face, holding my breath temper tantrum behavior... oh I'm so adult...

Onto Day 2...now this is what I'm longing for ... I love this little pink/turquoise/blue/purple skein... a HAPPY skein of yarn...


And Day 3 has dawned colorful too... purple... I hardly ever buy yarn that is purple but I like it...



So what happened to the Day 1 yarn?  I unravelled it and put it in time out... I was going to show a pic but my son remarked that it now looks like something Big Dude left in the litter box... I'll leave you with that mental image and move on...


So 2 out of 3 days were happy little skeins of yarn... that's a pretty good percentage. I've been looking at what others have gotten in their Opal Advent Calendars on Instagram... you can check them out here... and here.... it turns out that the calendars don't have the same yarn in each day so I'm assuming that the pretties I'm seeing that others have found will show up in my calendar later in the month... I hope so!!!

The plan I started with was I was going to knit 5 rounds from each skein alternating from one sock to another. One sock would be the odd days and the other sock the even day... but 5 rounds isn't enough to show the pattern well... so I changed the plan to 10 rounds... and that wasn't enough for me either... so right now the plan is to knit till the skein tells me to stop... sensible, dontcha think??? ( Remember I am happy happy happy in my delusional little bubble fueled by yarn fumes and the click of my needles... my happy place...LOL!)

I'm a day late but I'll be linking up with Patchwork Times knitting post On the Needles... fun stuff over there too...

And before I forget...which I did... when I'm not posting here I sometimes do post on Instagram... you can click on this link anytime and see what I'm up to... if I got around to posting there... and I'm not always good about that either. I'm carolfun53 on Instagram if you want to follow me. Instagram is my new Pinterest... I can spend hours there looking at stuff... and when I find cool stuff I pin it to my boards on Pinterest which makes this activity a continuous loop of time wasting... I'm really really good at time wasting... almost as good as I am at starting new projects... God has given me many talents... LOL!!!

Hope you have a nice weekend ahead... I'm off to do some grocery shopping for dinner tomorrow. The weather has turned truly cold... may see some snow flurries next week... ugh... already planning my Spring gardening... my way of denying winter exists... another delusional little world I visit...

happy knitting -
carol fun



Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving...



Happy happy Thanksgiving!!!  Hope you have the day ahead of you that you WANT...we are eating at my older son's and daughter-in-law's home at 3pm... such a trek for me... 2 whole blocks!!! I could walk but I have a ton of stuff to haul over there so I will load up my car and drive the 32.5 seconds to get  there.

I want to thank all of you who keep wandering in to read about what is going on in my world... not really exciting stuff, but I am very grateful for my quiet little life and for all of you!!!  Along with cooking and eating I hope to have some time today to stitch a bit... and maybe knit a bit... I still have some Christmas stitching I want to do and yesterday I got an idea for how to approach the socks I want to make with my Opal sock yarn Advent calendar...only 6 more days and I can open my first little door...yippee.... I need to cast on and knit two cuffs... good thing I have plenty of needles...that's another thing to be thankful for!

Blessings are many
when you look
within your heart!


happy stitching...
carol fun




Sunday, November 20, 2016

Fly away Funky Bird and Elfus Interruptus...

EDITED to add photo of elf/santa which makes the paragraph where I ramble on about them a bit more coherent... sorry... and if you ever notice I forgot a pic please feel free to let me know... I need all the help I can get!!!



Well there's been a little activity in the cross stitch department... and I'm in the mood for some holiday stitching so here's where things stand today... oh please excuse all the wrinklyness... I just walked my 10,000 steps for the day and my feet hurt and I'm too lazy to go downstairs and iron these...

First off... almost finished... Funky Bird by Barbara Ana...


 all I have left to do is the beak and the rear end/tail. Remember how I dithered over one ply or two and went with two because I wanted good coverage ??? Well, it became a moot point when I decided to go with DMC 3046 instead of DMC 3371 for filling in the body.  DMC 3371 is just sooooooo dark... and while the polka dots would have stood out I was afraid the stars would disappear. Now DMC 3046 is close in color to the linen but since it is outlined in DMC 501 it worked out fine.  I think I can finish this tonight while I watch my PBS shows... The Durrells in Corfu and Indian Summers.

Last year I ran hot and cold over Indian Summers... this season I love it... but tonight is the last episode and I'm not sure if the series will return. There have been some stunning plot twists and right now none of the main characters are happy... perhaps they can eke out one happy ending tonight.




And last week I was pulling out some holiday charts to show to a friend and it got me in the mood too. I re-discovered this conundrum... Christmas Joy by Barbara Ana Designs... and the elf problem. Well first I'm not sure if he's an elf or Santa but I'm going to Santa at this moment. I started him on larger count darker linen on the left.... don't know why I stopped. Started a new version on smaller count lighter linen on the right... like the elf ...wasn't sure the snowflake border will show up enough. Both are in a state of interruptus... last time these saw the light of day I thought of doing the elf as an ornament... and I'm leaning that way again with the idea of doing the entire sampler on a piece of blue or turquoise linen... that would make the snowflake border pop... I see an order of linen in the near future for me... like when I get finished with this post...LOL!!!

Dinner is in the crockpot... stroganoff beef... kids are coming at 6pm and it will be DARK... remember when I said I was okay with the time change? I LIED... and you knew it... I hate it being dark so darn early... I know you people who are up with the birds like that it is lighter  earlier but I am a night owl... if I ever saw sunrise it would be because I hadn't gone to bed yet... and those kinds of nights are definitely in my past... LOL... oh well...along with the time change Mother Nature slammed the door on the glorious Fall weather and the cold has arrived.  I am so happy I put my Christmas lights up on Friday... I look like a genius... okay, not quite... but I'm quite pleased with myself.  I will put out an inflatable or two... I have a little gingerbread man but I'd really love a GIGANTIC inflatable for my side yard. A couple of years ago I saw this awesome ENORMOUS reindeer at Walmart... it was $100... and I didn't get it... I have since seen it online on ebay and it is going for 2 to 3 to 4 times that price... darn... I always say it isn't the things you buy that you regret it is the stuff that got away and I certainly regret this one getting away.

I'm going to link up with Kathy's Quilts today for Slow Stitching Sunday and on Monday I'll link up with Super Mom - No Cape.  I know it will be a busy week for a lot of us... I think I have everything I need and won't have to go back to the grocery store before Thursday... but I'm probably delusional and I'll be there at least once in the next few days.

Hope you have a great week...
happy stitching...

carol fun

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sockiness Shenanigans While Showing Superior Self-Control....

Another week blew right past me... but it has been a week of glorious weather. As I type this I have the windows open enjoying what is probably the last beautiful weather of 2016. Today it is 75 degrees ... tomorrow the high will barely reach 40 and there may be snow flurries... shorts today... a parka tomorrow... ahh... typical Ohio weather. Not much I can do about it ...other than complain... and I do that A LOT...LOL!!

I've made the most of the week... on Wednesday I planted 190 bulbs... 100 daffodils...60 Japanese irises... 15 allium... and 15 tulips which I put in a pot instead of the ground.  My plan is to let the pot sit outside this winter and when they start to bloom in the Spring I'll let them sit out during the day, but I'll drag the pot into the garage at night and hopefully avoid having them be a midnight snack for the deer. Hope springs eternal in every gardener's heart...

Today I cleaned out my window boxes of deceased mums and frosted sweet potato vine. I chucked the ferns on the front porch and put the porch furniture in the garage. Then I put out my Christmas lights....LOL... I'm not going to plug them in yet... I'll wait till next Friday for that. But I figured it would be a much more enjoyable task today than when it is 30 and sleeting.  I am very proud of myself ... I feel like I got the jump on Mother Nature... and somehow I'm sure she'll get me back!

There has been some activity on the knitting front... some sockiness shenanigans... first I finished  one of my Sunday Swing socks....you can find the free pattern here.


I'm happy with this sock... the Regia Colormania yarn is very pretty. I've already cast on its mate and it is sitting right next to me now waiting for some attention.

And the Zitron Trekking XXL 415 sock is just a toe away from being complete...


It is turning out BE-YOUUU-TI- FUL.... so happy happy happy I remembered I owned this yarn. I will finish the toe tonight and cast on its mate too. I added some dusty purple heels and toes so that I have a nice bit of this yarn leftover. I know I'm going to want to use it in other Frankensocks in the future.

And somehow this lovely skein of Madelinetosh appeared in my home...


the colorway is called Night Hawk and I love the bits of purple and teal and pops of lime green. My friend Cathy... who is also my personal yarn shopper... she works in a great LYS called Lambikins Hideaway in Hamilton Ohio... brought it with her to dinner last night. She said it had just arrived at the shop yesterday... well I was immediately smitten and asked if I could buy it... she graciously let me pay her for it, even though she had selected it for herself. She said the shop had 9 other skeins and she would get another for her... isn't she sweet?  I'm envisioning this as a shawl... or a scarf... need to peruse Ravelry and find some inspiration... and ask Cathy what plans she had for it... she always knits the most gorgeous stuff.

And drum roll please... this is the biggest sockiness shenanigans where I have shown SUPERIOR self control... an Opal Sock yarn Advent Box!!!!


this box is a 1 foot cube stuffed with 24 mini skeins of Opal sockiness goodness... each skein is 15 grams and I should be able make 4 pairs of Frankensocks from  it... I have had this box in my house for almost 2 weeks and I have not opened one single door... SUPERIOR self-control... something I am NOT known for... LOL!   I became aware of this delightful box last December when it was too late to obtain one. I was on the prowl for it starting this summer and found an Etsy shop in the UK that was selling them. I know I visited her Etsy shop at least a dozen times before I convinced myself that I was worth the box and the shipping... and I am glad I did!  I can't wait to open the first door on December 1 ... TWELVE more days... the suspense is killing me.

Last night I showed the box to my friends and they decided that they wanted to peek inside and see the yarn. I left the room and they opened the top of the box...the suspense was mounting... only to find out that the way this box is assembled you can't see a darn thing by just opening the top... each day is enclosed in a cardboard partition... we all laughed and laughed because we figure we weren't the first ones who thought we could sneak a peek.  If you have time check out this Instagram tag... #opaladventcalendar   and you can see all the ways people have used the yarn from the Advent Box.

The days are certainly speeding by... next week is Thanksgiving... and then in a blink of an eye it will be Christmas..aaaaayyyyy... I have a little shopping done and a couple of hand made gifts completed... or close to complete. Last year I got my tree up and all my decorations out early. I'm going to try and do that again.

Hope you have a great weekend... don't know what the plans are yet for dinner on Sunday... I'm thinking if my son and daughter in law come over I'll make beef stroganoff in the crock pot... some comfort food that sticks to your ribs... LOL... listen to me... I make it sound like it will be Artic cold... oh well ... I shall survive!

happy knitting -
carol fun





















Monday, November 14, 2016

Something I didn't think I'd ever say....

I'm glad the weekend is over... I know who says that?  Well if you'd been barking like a seal and feeling like a truck ran over you, you would say that. I was looking forward to the weekend all week (I know who doesn't ? ... I'm full of obvious observations today... I think it is the cold medicine talking). But on Friday afternoon I started to feel puny and it continued all weekend. I think I overdosed myself on Saturday... that was the worse day... Sunday I felt a bit better... good enough to do dinner, carry out from Carraba's. Today I started out slow but I'm getting there. My voice is still gone, but I always lose my voice when I get sick... and I could do without the cough  but at least I don't feel like a truck is parked on my chest.

On the bright side I do have some sewing stuff to share... stuff obviously NOT completed this weekend... but stuff that finally got photographed. First a new table runner for my dining room table...


It measures about 65" long and drapes down the sides of the table.


I did my best to not duplicate a single square... they are all Sandy Gervais prints from different  Fall collections...and the background is my FAVORITE Basic Grey Grunge... Yellow Chiffon... I have about 5 yds of this stashed in my basement as they don't seem to be making this colorway anymore...boo hoo... I know I've used it in about 5 different quilted pieces and I never get tired of it! I quilted it in a variegated Sulky thread in a swoopy random fashion.




I also love that pumpkin bowl in the center of the table...


I don't know if you can make it out, but it says Thankful... perfect for this season!

And because starting a new project always makes me happy, I want to show you my newest adventure...



These are 6" finished blocks from Tula Pink's City Sampler 100 Modern Quilting Blocks... you can see the book here.

Now this book has been around since 2013 so I'm late to the party... there have been a couple of QAL with groups working together on these blocks and I stumbled across one on Instagram which you can check out here. I've been intrigued but could not come up with a fabric/color plan for the blocks. If you are going to make 100 blocks you'd better have a plan. I didn't want to do brights with blacks and whites... and I didn't want to do Kaffe's... and I didn't want to do anything sweet ... and then it hit me Momo... I LOVE MOMO... and I have a nice stash of several collections of Momo... and it was off to the races.

I've started posting my blocks on Instagram here... you can check back every day or so and see what I've done. Now I didn't start at the beginning... I mean really, anyone can start at the beginning. Since I'm late I started with Block No. 77, and what I have so far is Blocks 77, 78, 79, 80 and 81... I have Blocks 82, 83, 85 and 86 cut out...I think I'm going to skip 84. I only plan on doing 70 blocks as that is all I need for a double bed sized quilt... at least that is all I think I need. And the great part about deciding at the start that I only need 70 instead of 100 blocks is I already feel a sense of accomplishment... I know that makes NO sense at all but it makes me feel good so I'm going with it.

Here are close ups of two blocks I like a lot...

Block 78


I inked the little face on the flower...

Block 81


This one puts me in the mind of looking out a window and that is the view from my front window most evenings... they don't call it Deer Park for nothing...LOL

I'm having great fun with these blocks. Lots of opportunities to fussy cut images and so far it has taken me longer to select fabrics and cut the pieces than it takes to sew them together. Makes it nice to sit down for a couple of minutes and knock out a block. Stay tuned ... I'll have more to show...

Well I hope you had a nice weekend and will have a nice week. This one is a little less busy than last week and that is good... more time to sew!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Garden chores and bird watching...

It is a glorious day... sun is shining and the temperature is mid- 60's... is this November??? In Ohio??? I am certainly enjoying it but I'm getting a little nervous about how long it will last and how much time do I have left to clean out my garden and plant Spring bulbs. Last week I had some hyacinths planted around the base of my trees, mulch was added and it was topped off by some new to me,   Cool Wave pansies... you can read about them here.  I think they will come back in the Spring... wouldn't that be nice?  Anyway with the forecast of continued nice weather they should be pretty  for a while.

And speaking of pansies look at this little patch of volunteer pansies...



I did not plant these... I've never planted pansies in the ground before last week... I did have some pansies in pots about a year ago, but I pitched them in the garbage when they were bloomed out... I have no idea how these arrived here but I sure do like them. Such pretty yellow faces!!

As for gardening chores the pyramid of petunias has been put out to pasture....


I took the pyramid apart and hosed it off... emptied all the pots and washed them out... I emptied out the planters on the front porch too. Everything was pretty spent. I got to thinking that I planted up all these pots in May... that was SIX months ago... wow... it seems like it was a long time ago and yet it seems like yesterday too!   I still have perennials and annuals that are blooming... some coneflowers... some lantana... the marigolds and the rose bushes... are still blooming. It is hard for me to pull up plants that are still blooming... so I'll give them another couple of weeks.

With the forecast next week to be in the upper 60's I should have time to get more daffodils in the ground. I bought another 100 bulbs... damn you Costco... those big bags of bulbs are irresistible... and I bought 60 Japanese iris bulbs... and some tulips. I am not putting the tulips in the yard... I'm going to plant them in pots that I can bring into the garage at night when Spring comes and hopefully keep the deer from dining on them. I'd like to think I'm smarter than the deer but that is probably delusional thinking on my part.

As with any gardener, I'm already dreaming about what I can plant next year... I know what I want to duplicate from this year... marigolds and petunias... and I know I'll be tempted by pretty perennials too. I'd love to plant more trees but I think I've run out of yard... so sad... but I have high hopes for the 5 I have planted.

As for the bird watching ... this is what I've spotted.. a dotty breasted sap sucker... at least that's what I'm calling him...



This is by Barbara Ana Design and is called Funky Bird... a very apropos title dontcha think?  LOL
Go read the copy for this piece here...  it is great! I LOVE the look of this guy and I was happy that he was stitched just in DMC... since my last two forays with hand dyed flosses I needed something without the surprise dynamic of, " why does my skein not look like the picture???"

But with that said I've had some little hiccups with this piece. I started by stitching the alphabet ... I'm using a 36 count Edinburgh linen called Sand... the pattern calls for a 36 count linen so I thought I'm good there.  I had the top two lines of the alphabet done and it just didn't look like the picture... grrrrr... mine was much darker.... Oh carp... I didn't read the  teeny tiny print that said one ply of floss over two threads. Sooooo I picked it out and restitched it ... looks more like the picture.

And then I got to the bird... there is A LOT of DMC 3371... dark chocolate brown ... and I just don't like the skimpy coverage of one ply over two threads with solid areas of stitching. What to do...what to do???  Do I go back and re-stitch the alphabet in two ply???  NOPE... I'm leaving the letters one ply and I'm doing the bird in two ply.  I realize it is not going to have that vintage-y look in the picture but I don't think I'd be happy with the linen showing through ... we shall have to see if I still am happy when I get the body stitched... there is always something, isn't there??

Time changed last night...I shall forgo my normal rant as the Fall back isn't as hard as the Spring forward... and I haven't experienced the pitch dark by 5pm yet.... okay for old time's sake... JUST LEAVE THE TIME ALONE!!!!  Boy I'm getting to be a cranky old lady...LOL!

Kids are coming for dinner tonight... got something new at Costco ... chicken breasts stuffed with mozzarella cheese... looks tasty but doesn't feel like real cooking. I will make some pasta to go with them and some dessert.  I wonder if I could  just offer them the left over Halloween candy. We gave out a ton but there is still a bowl in the kitchen... I've eaten all the carmel-y ones ... and there may be a York peppermint patty or two left... I don't need to eat any more... need to hide it from me!

It's going to be a busy busy week... got something going every single day... hope to find time to sew and knit and cross stitch a bit...hope you find time to do something fun too!

happy stitching-
carol fun

PS:  I'm linking up with Kathy's Quilts today for Slow Stitching Sunday and on Monday with Super Mom - No Cape... go check them out!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Lots of sockiness... I know it is a made up word... but I like it...

So we just finished out Socktober, I mean October and that gave me lots of knitting time for socks... although that is pretty true of every month... but lets not dwell on that, since I LOVE LOVE LOVE to knit socks!!   Let's begin a show of sockiness  with a finished pair of socks...



another pair of Frankensocks which I tried to bend toward the purple range.  Lots of bits and bobs of Opal and Regia and assorted other sock yarns that I have no ball band for. There is also some sparkly bits  which you can see if you make the picture bigger. I don't know why I bought that sparkly skein and I don't think I want a pair of  entirely sparkly socks but little pieces of it here and there are a nice distraction...oooooohhhh something shiny!!!

And then there are the unfinished socks....I know I said that from now on I was only going to do Frankensocks... but it was a lie... I really like doing the Frankensocks but somehow I needed a change... a palate cleanser... so I cast on this sock...



It is a bit hard to see the pattern but it is there... it is called Sunday Swing and it is a free pattern which you can see here.  The yarn is Regia Colormania and it has been in my stash for a while. I've got 2 other colorways too.

Here's another picture where it is on my leg  and you can see how the pattern swings back and forth...



I've knit this pattern before and it is easy... one patterned row you have to count ... one knit row you don't have to count... and back and forth, back and forth.  I know you are surprised.... it isn't a plain vanilla sock... I'm surprised too!  

And then there is more sockiness with this sock that just jumped onto a pair of empty needles... honestly... it wasn't my fault... it was Socktober magic...


I was searching cruising wasting time on Ravelry and saw this BE-YOOOO-TI- FUL yarn. Zitron Trekking XL 415.  A wonderful wash of color that reminds me of a tub of rainbow sherbet... lots of things remind me of food...do you have this problem too ??  Anyway as I was wiping the drool off my laptop it hit me that "YOU OWN THIS YARN CAROL"... OMG... I DO!!!  It has been maturing in a plastic bin in the basement for quite a while, so I freed it and in appreciation it jumped onto the empty pair of 2.75mm circular needles that were minding their own business next to my comfy chair. In my world sock yarn does have a life of its own... it is a crazy little world but they know me there and all is good...LOL

Now these are plain vanilla socks but really not so plain... I love how the colors are pooling but there is also a clear delineation of 2 different color swaths... above is one side of the sock...


and here is the other side... isn't that cool??? Kinda psychedelic. The colors changes are definitely keeping my interest and this is a great car knitting sock... a sock that will primarily be knit while I'm waiting in the car for my son, or in a drive through window line or wherever I find myself with time to kill and I'm stuck in the car.   It is a good thing that I knit because otherwise I'd probably hurt people. I think I show remarkable restraint at times, as I am armed with  sharp pointy things and I don't poke people's eyes out... although I do have those thoughts??? Its not bad unless I act upon it .... right???

So Socktober was a productive... overall I finished 2 pairs of socks and started 2 more pairs... my needles are never empty.

Hope you have a nice weekend ahead... the unseasonably warm weather has given way to seasonably cooler temperatures so I'm wearing long pants and  socks and I'm quite comfy and happy!

happy knitting -
carol fun