Saturday, January 14, 2017

I'm getting a little paranoid...

Well technology is conspiring against me again...this time my Wifi provider went on the fritz for about 12 hours...grrrr... I can live without TV...don't watch much besides the news but DON"T TAKE my Internet away!!!   I was just getting my butt in gear last night to post when it went poof!!! I'm beginning to think that maybe someone doesn't want me to post...arggh!!!

The absence o f Wifi made for a very quiet evening  which wasn't all bad... I did a bit of knitting...which was... you guessed it...MORE SOCKS!!!

I finished this pair... Zitron Trekking XXL 415... one of those skeins of yarn that I didn't know I owned till I saw it on someone else's blog and then I coveted it. Luckily I looked in my stash and found I had a ball of it ...yeah... the heels and toes are a dusty plum... I think a Fabel from my stash. Now these took a little while as these are "car socks"... socks I only knit when I'm in the car waiting and need to kill some time. Simple stockinette... I need to find another yarn for the car... maybe an Opal  or a Regia...something self striping.

And then there was another Frankensock...

bits and pieces of the little mini skeins from my Opal Advent Calendar and the cuffs, heels and toes are an older Opal . When I cast on this sock I thought I was going to find more greens in the little skeins but I didn't. But I think it is okay because the green plays nicely with the other colors adds a nice contrast...IMHO! Now normally I would cast on the mate right away... okay not normally, but well lately. I've been doing that... but this time something else shiny caught my eye.

this is another Frankensock but it is a lot less busy... almost calm... very quiet... OMG what has gotten into me???  Well this sock is done using only tonal yarns... some Opal and some Fabel and some I don't know where you came from since there isn't a ball band on you,  but you  sure are pretty!  I'm knitting larger swaths of the yarn which I think contributes to it being a quieter sock... I was influenced by these socks I found eons ago....

Now when I cast on my sock somehow I remembered the inspiration being darker... ah the tricks my memory plays on me!   They appeared on the blog Cozy Things which you can see here.   She has lots of lovely knitting. The socks were in this post in now looking at my inspiration I can see that I need to got through my stash and look for some lighter tonal yarns... for yet ANOTHER pair of Frankensocks... this shows all the markers of an addiction doesn't it??? Don't answer that ... ignorance is bliss.... blah blah blah... I'm not listening to you... I'm happy in my little yarn-y world with  all its squishy goodness!

And the weather makes me happy to be wearing hand knit socks... it gray and windy and cold outside...but the roller coaster continues and I saw two 60 degree days forecast for next week...which is going to be on of those weeks that has me wondering what day of the week it is all week since Monday is a holiday...and the day we are celebrating my older son's 32th birthday...OMG how did that happen...  I haven't gotten any older (and yes I am delusional here)... anyway spaghetti and meatballs is the requested menu and I'm happy to oblige.

It has been a mildly productive week for seasonal decorating ... all of the Christmas, except for the gingerbread men garland in the kitchen...have been taken down and put away. The snowmen have made a triumphant return and their beady little eyes are following me all over the living room. And I added a new piece to the decor...

Several of my friends had cute wooden boxes filled with mason jars and candles on their tables this season...I loved the look but needed something with a smaller scale for my home.  I found the wooden tray at Target... it is a bread bowl... the hobnail mason jars I got on Amazon and I filled the tray and the jars with Epsom salts and popped in some of those battery operated candles... the little trees were a dollar spot find at Christmas time... my own miniature shovel needed! It has a nice twinkling glow in the evening...

Well winter seems to be having its way with lots of us... hope it gets better soon!

happy knitting-
carol fun

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A bit of stitching and a bit of panic on Slow Sunday Stitching...

Sooooo... I meant to post this way earlier today but several events have conspired against me. First thing that happened was my laptop decided it no longer wanted to talk to my camera. Grrr.... I googled what do do when your computer doesn't recognize a device... "hey I'm a camera... the camera you've talked to for the last 3 years... why don't you recognize me? I'm still the same old lovable Nikon I've always been."  The Google results were more  succinct and it told me to "Uninstall the drivers" and then "Restart" and the drivers would re-install themselves. Now if it sounds like I know what I'm talking about, I have a bridge to sell you. I know just enough about my laptop to get me into trouble... and that is just what I did.

I  did have a momentary thought about taking my laptop to Best Buy for them to fix but then decided that..."I'm a late middle aged confident woman and I can do this myself". I really shouldn't listen to the voices in my head... but I did ... and I found the correct sub-menu and hit the key to "Uninstall" the driver"... and it whirred and a little blue circle went round and round and round and round ...and I was getting dizzy watching it as this continued for a very very very very long time. I deduced that the laptop was stuck in some action that wasn't going well ( \remember I really have no idea what I'm talking about where computers are concerned) but I wanted to stop it... and hitting every button I knew did NOTHING... so I moved the the action of last resort for computers and I took the battery out of the laptop. Big sigh...

I let it sit for a bit and put the battery back in and turned it back on... and I got a big, blank blue screen...arghhhh!!! I killed my laptop!!! And then while simultaneously berating myself for my stupidity and calculating how much a new laptop is going to cost me, the blue screen disappeared and my laptop worked... a bit slower but it worked. Thank you God!!!

I tried again to get it to recognize the camera and finally gave up. My younger son showed me how to move pictures from my cell phone to my laptop and I did it this time but I have a feeling he'll have to repeat the process a couple of times before it sticks in my brain. 

And I composed a lovely post... and then hit something and the whole thing disappeared...poof!!!! ARGHHHH!!!!!  Big sigh...deep breath...start again....okay 4 letter words were also uttered... a lot of them!

So here's what I've been stitching... I have 2 new starts for the New Year!

First is the Blackbird Designs Garden Club Series Chart  #1... I've already did Chart # 2 but I'm going to try and do them in order from this point on. 

Of course this piece has had its ups and downs too. I gathered all the flosses for this chart...found the center of my linen and discovered that the I was missing one skein...the skein I need for the center.!  I thought for sure I had ordered some GA Burlap but I can't lay my hands on it... so I substituted DMC 830 or 831... I don't remember which one. And I moved on to the cherries but my GA Mulberry and GA Ruby Slipper were exceedingly close in color... grrr... back to the DMC for a few skeins to get some variety. My love/hate relationship with hand dyed floss continues...

And then there is this start.... the Jeanette Douglas Designs ABC Sampler... here's a pic of the whole piece....

and here is the little bit I've stitched....

I've shown this sampler at least twice before whining that I wanted to stitch this so on New Year's Day I did. Now I had to put it aside because I bought a silk thread and embellishment pack to do this one and didn't realize that the silks would come bundled in a skein of many colors that you need to identify and separate. At $70 for this package of silk I knew I had to place them in individual floss bags with their names on them... and I had no floss bags on hand and by the time I could go shopping the stores were closed. I did get there the next day and I stocked up on floss bags... I bought 3 package... 118 little bags... I won't run out anytime soon. 

So I have plenty to keep me busy on the stitching front... and plenty to do on lots of other fronts too!
I know it is cold just about everywhere in the US and I can't wait for it to warm up.  Tomorrow we should break freezing and by Thursday  the forecast is for 60... with rain... but 60 none the less... I'll take it!   In the meantime I'll sit and stitch ...

Hope you have a productive week ahead... I have high hopes for mine!

I'm going to link up with Kathy's Quilts today and Super Mom - No Cape tomorrow.

happy stitching-
carol fun 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

I have a new appreciation for plastic bags...

What is there about the first of the year that makes you want to straighten stuff up and organize?  I have a couple of closets and my desk that needs to be sorted out and things purged but instead I spent a day organizing my cross stitch stash. First I dumped everything on the floor and on my desk.

I had several boxes with stuff thrown in willy-nilly... charts and fabrics and works in progress and thread and linen... what a mess. I decided that the large WIP's should be stored in one box... threads in another... linen got it's own box... Blackbird Designs got a box...a miscellaneous box...and two boxes of alphabetized!!!

It took quite a while to get the charts alphabetized... seems like I have as much trouble with the alphabet as I do with wouldn't think that was a problem with as many samplers as I've stitched, but those 26 letters can be tricky...LOL!!

Now this isn't a slick professional filing system but it is going to save me lots of time when I go looking for something...

Charts from each designer are in a ziploc bag ... I used a LOT of plastic bags... but now it is easy to just grab the right bag and see what I own.   I sorted all the linen by count and even figured out what counts the unlabeled piece were.  Turns out I have a lot of 30 count linen I didn't know I had! I still need to do some sorting of the thread but this such a better arrangement of my stash! I've been wanting to get this straightened out for years... and I have such a new appreciation for plastic bags... they are going to save me a lot of time in the future.

The boxes on the top shelf is stamping stuff... I need to find my label maker and make labels for the big boxes of cross stitch stuff like I did for the stamping stuff.  I think the label maker is hiding in one of the desk drawers I need to clean out... maybe tomorrow I'll find it.

On the sewing side I made a few more of the blocks for the Bonnie and Camille swap and I finished the first two blocks for the Three Dandelions Shop QAL of the Tula Pink's 100 Modern Quilt blocks... here is the Instagram link.

Block 1 I'm calling " Oh Deer!"

and Block 2 I'm calling "What a cut up!"

It took forever to pick out the fabrics for these blocks... and there was a lot of cutting ... 20 pieces for each 6" finished block.... but I think it was worth it in the end! This pace of 2 blocks a week is very nice... I think it will work for me.

Sooooo more organizing, cleaning out, purging is on the agenda for the next week... along with more sewing!

Hope your week is going  well... we got our first snow here today... I think there is about 2" in my neighborhood but most of it fell after dark so I won't know for sure till the morning. We do have some frigid temps for the weekend but that's doesn't seem as bad as the snow that the South is expected to get hit with.  I'm  looking forward to the warm up to above freezing on Monday. How many days till Spring?? Darn... I just looked it up... 72 days... that's a long time away! Big sigh!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, January 2, 2017

1st Design Wall of 2107...

So 2017 is starting out on a productive note... I meant to post yesterday as I did start a new cross stitch piece and I cast on another sock. But after doing lunch with my sons, daughter in law and her mom, a trip to the Cincinnati Art Museum to see the Van Gogh exhibit, and making a prime rib dinner  I was too pooped to post. I'll catch up with the cross stitch and the knitting later this week but for now...

I haven't posted a Design Wall Monday for a while... but I have been sewing ... and here is some of what I've been working on...

These are for a swap I'm doing on Instagram... Bonnie and Camille Log Cabin blocks...

You do these by making a big block... squaring it up.. and cutting it into quarters... I've made some that way and others I'm doing a quarter at a time. The important part is that each quarter measures 10.25" square and the last round of logs are 2.5" strips. This is fun... but messy messy messy... I have piles of fabric strewn here there and everywhere.

This is a great project for me because I've been hoarding my Bonnie and Camille fabrics for quite a while.  I have various different cuts of the fabrics. I have a FQ bundle of Ruby that I won from Fat Quarter Shop eons ago... I have a charm pack of Scrumptious... and a layer cake of Hello Darling ... and jelly rolls of Handmade and the newest Basics line... so it is quite a nice collection and I think this block will show them off. You can check out what is going on with this swap plan is to make more blocks as I want a quilt big enough for my bed.  Should be a very pretty summer quilt... and it may even get done by then...but don't hold your isn't a good color for skin... just saying.

And I put these on my design wall for a group shot... my blocks from Tula Pink's City Sampler book...

I started these as part of a QAL on Instagram... they began  at Block 1 and I didn't jump in until Block 78... a bit behind... the goal was to do a block a day... and as you can see I didn't last too long...oh well... I do LOVE what I got done but I was feeling a bit blue that I couldn't keep up... but then I saw that another QAL was starting on Instagram by Three Dandelions and the pace is much better... 2 blocks a week... I think I can do that!!

They are logically starting with Blocks 1 and 2... and I have till this coming Saturday to have them done...yeah!!! You can check out this QAL here. I think the hardest part of these blocks is first deciding on a theme which for me is Momo fabrics... and then picking out the fabrics for each block... decisions decisions... sewing them together is a piece of cake...and very satisfying... like eating a piece of cake.... I wonder if there is any cake left in the kitchen...hmmmm...

Anyway heere are  two blocks I like a lot...

This is how I imagine Big Dude would look in a tree... if he could get up that high...LOL!

And I like this parrot... the Momo collections have a nice selection of animals which worked out well for this group of blocks that had larger squares and rectangles that could be fussy cut. Unfortunately there are no polka dot chickens so I shall have to settle for parrots and other birds... hey they are fowl and that is close enough.

I'm developing a love/hate relationship with Instagram... so much inspiration...but I spend waaay too much time looking at the pretty pictures. And I keep stumbling upon QALs that I want to do ... along with the Bonnie and Camille swap I found a Swoon QAL that I want to do ... you can check it out here... it runs from Jan 8 to Apr 9... and I think this could be the kick in the butt for me to finish the Swoon blocks which I haven't touched since. OH MY GOODNESS... Jan of 2012!!! I have 7 blocks completed so I only need 2 more. It would be nice to finish that project.  And to me fair to me... and I am always fair to me...LOL... I did do an complete Swoon quilt back in 2011... a Halloween version of 16" blocks which you can see here.    So I'm not a total slacker... well I'm a little bit a slacker where some stuff is concerned. Hey we all have flaws...right?

So I want to sew today and I should go outside and take my Christmas lights down as it is 52 degrees... quite warm for Ohio in January...and it is going back to the "seasonal" temps by Wednesday...but I just am not feeling it right now. I'm not turning them on anymore this season so really no one but me is going to notice...right?   Can you tell I'm talking myself out of it and justifying my actions at the same time... a slacker but a crafty slacker...LOL!!

I hope your 2017 is getting off to a great start... right now I'm full of anticipation of getting lots of stuff done... I'm just not sure exactly which stuff ... but that is ok.

If you have a minute check out this video... an adorable 4 year old explains why New Year's resolutions are so hard to keep... my resolution is to keep doing what I've been doing and stay awesome... we'll see how that turns out...LOL!

happy stitching -
carol fun

Saturday, December 31, 2016

And that's a wrap....

So what DID I do in 2016? Well I did more than I thought!!!  My friends always tell me I get a lot done... but it never seems that way to me. I think because no matter how much I do there is always more I want to do. And while I do knit, cross stitch and sew a lot, I also goof off too. I am hooked on a couple of games I have on my Kindle and I play them every day. I feel a bit guilty that I spend time playing a useless game when I could be accomplishing something... but I do it anyway. Perhaps the problem isn't that I spend time on the games... perhaps I can lay the blame at the feet of the Benedictine nuns who instilled in me a deep sense of guilt and responsibility!  Yep, this is all the fault of Sister Esther and Sister Joanita and Sister Ida (ohhh she was a real psychopath) and Sister Caritas and Sister Lawrence. I won't blame Sister Dorothy as she was the sweetest nun I ever had... loved that woman!!! Yep, my guilt isn't my fault... it is the fault of 12 years of Catholic education...LOL!!!

Now I really don't hold any animus toward the nuns... guilt and responsibility aren't bad things... the world could use a bit more guilt and responsibility IMHO.

So here's a run down of what I accomplished in 2016. I went back and looked at all my posts for 2016 ... there were only 87... but there was a bunch of stuff there I didn't remember...  oh the mind isn't what it use to be... and it probably isn't what its going to be in the future... scary thought for the day!

I've ended 2016 with another sock finish... ta dah!!!!  This is the 2nd pair from my Opal Advent Calendar and astoundingly I knit the entire pair in less than a week!! Never happened before ... and will probably never happen again. A combination of having a nice chunk of holiday free time  and yarn that was egging me on to see what it would knit up like made these socks fly off the needles!!

Overall on the  knitting front I produced 33 or 34 know math isn't my friend...  about 16 pairs and 2 single socks waiting for their solemate...which is on the needles.  Only 1 sock was a patterned sock... this pair... Sunday Swing done in Regia Colormania.

All the rest were the plain vanilla stockinette kind except they weren't that  plain and vanilla as they were all some variation of scrappy or Frankensock. I knew that this kind of knitting was something I would like but I didn't realize I would become addicted to it. It is a good thing I don't drink, smoke or do drugs... I'd be a goner!!  An addiction to scrappy colorful socks isn't illegal or immoral...LOL... gosh I feel almost virtuous!! Here are a couple of my favorite pairs...

On the cross stitch front I completed 12 different projects... some big.... some small... a couple framed and a bunch that still need framing or finishing.  My favorite pieces this year were Sampler Hill from With Thy Needle and Thread (which needs framing)...

and  Fragments by Summer House Stitche Works...

I saw last week that there is going to be another Fragments this year... the sneak peek showed a really pretty bird in yellow and blue... you can check is out here... as I'm sure it will turn up on this blog in 2017.

And onto the quilting front...  a bit of a mixed bag ...  I consider a quilt finished when it has the binding on it and with that requirement met I finished 13 pieces of various sizes from this little square piece that is hanging on my back door...

ain't he cute? I saw him on IG and found the pattern here on Craftsy.

On the other extreme I did  a very large quilt... 104" square... that I gifted to my son and daughter in law and forgot to photograph. You can see it here before I sent it off to the long arm gal.

And here is my latest finish that is hanging on the back of my couch this Christmas season. The pattern is Diamond Dash from Missouri Star which you can see here....

the fabrics are Christmas Tole by Gina Martin. I really love the ornaments and that white poinsettia in the border.

But my favorite quilt this year is this one... Avant Garden Vintage Stars...

I LOVE EVERYTHING about this quilt...the colors, the quirky prints, all the yummy butterscotch Grunge background. It is on my bed right now as it goes so well with the butterscotch buffalo check drapes and the blue walls. I'm really having quite an affair with Momo fabrics... and it is going to continue into 2017 as I'm doing a QAL where I'm going to use my stash of Momo to do Tula Pink's City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. I started another QAL on Instagram with this book and these fabrics back in November but I jumped  in around Block 77 but fell off the wagon around Block 99. Doing a block at day was a bit too fast a pace for me... this QAL is doing 2 blocks a week. I think I can handle that.

That was the positive side of my quilting ... and on the dark side I started at least 12 projects... maybe more... that are UFOs... now I'm not totally bummed by the 12 or more UFO's  as I believe that UFO's are a vitally important part of quilting. When I return to these projects I will already have a nice start... in some cases almost a finish... and that can motivate me ... we shall see what 2017 brings! I have confidence in me... that I will finish some stuff ...and I will start more than I finish... that ain't gonna change.. LOL!

Oh,  the count of 12  UFO's is only what I "created" this year... there are many more than that from previous years languishing in plastic bins waiting oh so patiently for me to pop the lid on them... they are such good little UFO's... its a good thing fabric doesn't spoil!!

And as 2106 comes to a close,  I want to take a moment and thank all of you who read this crazy blog... you have hung in there through dithering about ... petunias and marigolds....  window boxes and shutters... decorating and deer and many many many rantings about the weather... Mother Nature provides me with a lot  of material, doesn't she? This little blog is a diary of my I said yesterday it ain't Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, but it is my life and I'm happy with it!

May 2107 bring all of us the best life has to offer!

Happy New Years!!

carol fun

Friday, December 30, 2016

I LOVE hand knit socks!!!

So the end of 2016 is in sight... and on the knitting front I will end this year just like last year... with hand knit socks on my needles.  Socks are my most FAVORITE thing to knit ... and in looking back over the last year they were pretty much the ONLY thing I knit.

I was curious how many socks I knit last year and by my count (and remember math is not my friend) I knit 32 socks... 16 pairs, but really 15 pairs and 2 single socks. The good thing is both of the single socks have their mates on the needles... I am amazed at me...LOL!!

Here are the first complete pair of socks made from my Opal Advent Calendar...

I did these in the Frankensocks style so there were lots of joins and ends to deal with but I do like the little bits and bobs of different stripes and colors. I wanted the Advent calendar so I'd get some different colors than I usually buy and I did. That purple and pink  were no where in my stash. This pair reads very "cool" and subdued to me... nice but different.  I finished these up on Christmas Eve...

So on Christmas Day I cast on the second pair of socks from the Opal Advent Calendar... and these are much brighter...

I picked out the skeins that were showing some yellow and orange... not many with yellow. The cuffs, heels and toes are a variety of yarns from my stash. Now these are even brighter in real life!  And did they knit up fast!! Like I said I cast on the first sock Sunday and I was finished with it on Tuesday. I don't remember the last time I knit a sock that fast.

Using 3 different skeins of yarn, in much bigger chunks sped up the process as there was less decision making.  And I'm always super motivated when starting a new skein of yarn to see what the repeat is going to look like...multiple that 3 times over and you get very speedy knitting!!!

The second sock is moving along nicely too. I took what was left of each skein and wound in into a ball so the sequence of the striping pattern is reversed.  It makes for scrappier looking socks in my opinion and then I'm again motivated to see what the repeat is going to look like... I know I could just turn the first sock upside down and see what is coming but hey....I'm easily amused here... and it keeps me off the streets at night!!! LOL

With a bit of luck I may have this pair finished before the end of 2016!!  My plans for New Years Eve are to stay home, probably eat pizza and knit or cross stitch. I'll be up at midnight because I'm a night owl, not because I need to see the ball drop.  As for the New Year I will usher it in with more knitting, cross stitch and quilting. My philosophy is that you should do the things you love on the first day of the year to set the tone for the next 365 days!!

Tomorrow I'll have a little recap of what I've accomplished this year. I never think I get much done but reviewing my blog showed I was more productive than I thought. I haven't been too conscientious in posting the last couple of months but I have been working on stuff. I've considered not updating the blog and moving solely to Instagram, but looking back over 2016 shows me why a blog is a good thing. It is a pictorial diary of what is going on in my life. It certainly isn't the lifestyles of the rich and famous (remember that show with Robin Leach? Whatever happened to Robin Leach?)... but I am certainly happy with the life I have!

I'm going to link up with Patchwork Times to see what others are knitting this week. So much yarn...not enough time!

happy knitting -
carol fun

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas to you!!!

Merry Christmas dear blog readers!!!  I hope that you received the gifts you wanted and that tasty food was eaten and wonderful memories were made!! I did brunch this morning with my family and now the rest of the day should  be a quiet one spent knitting and cross stitching and probably napping...naps are soooo GOOD!!!

As you can see from these two pics my Christmas decor has gone to the deer this year... I'm particularly fond of the glittery sparkly kinds of deer, as opposed to the smelly ravenous ones who eat my roses... just saying... I'm more of a Bambi kinda gal... I like my animals well behaved!!

Okay,  I'm off to stuff my face with ginger cookies (thanks for the recipe Laurey!!) and then I might take a nap....nooooo... I'll definitely take a nap!!

Merry Christmas!!

carol fun