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Friday, August 20, 2021

Let's try this again

 Ahhhh, another Friday off.  The extra hour during my work day does sometimes seem unending (I work 8 9-hour days, one 8-hour day and have every other Friday off) but having a 3-day weekend every other week is so nice.  Today, in my craft rotation, is a sewing day so once I get this all written and posted, I'll be sewing/making something with fabric (probably storage or project bags - either knitting or stitching).

I've missed a lot of check-ins but am only late for  this month.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  This is a wonderful SAL that gives us a chance to thank people that have gifted us stitchy goodness, to show things we're making for someone else or whatever else we can make fit.  It's a wonderful no pressure SAL that only requires you to post and link-up on the 15th of each month (or there abouts, Jo leaves the check-in open through the end of the month).  This has been an easy SAL for me the last few years as just about everything I've stitched has been for someone else.  The last month, I finished Winter Hearts by Shepherd's Bush:


and started Baby Bug Ball also by Shepherd's Bush:


These are both gifts for the new littles.  I need to finish the satin stitch border and add an alphabet and lots of do-dads on this.  There are also some beads and small buttons.  I'm optimistic that I'll have a finish this weekend.  I think I'll use the alphabet - it's very quirky, but fun -  and put the baby's name and birthdate under the satin stitch border and make this into a pillow.  My other thought was to finish it as a drum and put the baby's name on the "back" - his name on one side of the seam and birthdate on the other, with some sort of decorative stitch over the seam.  

I've mentioned my new rotation the last couple of posts.  In order to give myself time to get a few of the other WIPs I have finished and to just take some of the pressure off myself (in the past I've scrambled the last minute to get things done or finish things up and it's just not fun), I came up with a crafting rotation.  Saturday, Sunday and Monday are stitching days, Tuesday is papercrafting, Wednesday is knitting, Thursday is crochet and Friday is sewing.  These are general and I don't get too upset if I feel like doing something on the "wrong" day - as long as I'm seeing progress on things.

Monday, I cut and stamped and now have a stack of cards to put together.  Tuesday, I finished Elli's hat:


This is the Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure in Licorice by SplashofColorYarnsUS on Etsy.  I had enough yarn left that I decided to give baby socks a try.


This is the first pair of socks I've made using double pointed needles (and yes it is a bit like how wrestling a hedgehog would be).  It's getting a bit easier as there's more fabric, but these are VERY fiddly. I think I started them three times. I'm using the Cozy Little Toes pattern by Judy Kaethler - it's a free download on Ravelry and making the 3 months size.

Last night I crocheted:


This is the baby blanket for the new great-nephew.  The pattern is Tiny Basketweave Baby Blanket in Bernat Baby Blanket Tiny "Pebble Path".  The pattern was free on the Bernat website (I think).  This is that wonderfully soft, chenille-style yarn but in a worsted weight.  It's a really simple pattern and once past the first couple rows is only front- and back-post double crochet.  I like this so much that I'm going to rip out what I have on The Hubs' blanket and restart it in this pattern.  So easy but very dramatic.

As I mentioned, sewing today. 

And before I forget again


This was our sunflower patch a few weeks ago.  These are all volunteers and grew from seeds the birds scattered from the feeders. The flowers are all gone now and the seed heads have been stripped by the gold finches but it was very pretty while it lasted.  The house is actually grey - it's been so humid this summer that we're having an awful algae/mildew problem on the siding - definitely need to wash it this fall.

I'm off to sew.  Hope you're all well and safe.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

My solution wasn't great...

 In my last post, I said I wasn't sure if I would be posting my next scheduled day.  I didn't and my solution was to just not post at all for two!! months.  We are well into summer and zooming to autumn.  We have trees starting to drop their leaves, but I think it's more stress from lack of water (although today should help a lot, it's been raining since early this morning) rather than seasonal change, but one can hope (I am not a lover of summer).  

So, grab a cuppa and hang on, this one's going to be long...

I mentioned I was planning to go to Michigan the end of June for Cassie's birthday.  I made it!!  I had a wonderful time and it was so good to see everyone again.  Here's the "card" I made for her and a picture of a one year old eating cake:

To save space, I made up collages, some things were cropped a bit but think you can see everything.

When I got home, I did a lot of sewing and knitting.

I saw a YouTube video on these bags and decided to give it a try.  I love them! The size is perfect for large gifts (I used the animal one for a baby shower (more on that later) gift), and storage (the other two have sweater quantities of yarn).  I have fabric ready for a few more that I will use for general yarn storage. The nice thing about this bag is that it takes minimal supplies - 2 fat-quarters for the outside, some interfacing, a zipper and lining fabric.

I enjoyed sewing so much that I did some rearranging in the guest room and brought my sewing desk up from the basement, so my machine is now out  all the time and my sewing things are all in one place again.  When I decide to work on papercrafts, I just move my sewing machine to the floor and have the desk for my work surface - it's so much better than the dining room table.

The majority of my knitting was on the blanket for my niece's baby (my other niece texted that she was going to host a baby sprinkle the same weekend as the family reunion so I needed to get it finished).

Here's the finished piece and a close up of the bubbles:

I needed a card and made this:


So July 23rd, I bundled the blanket into the animal bag and took the card and headed back to Michigan for the family (my dad's side) reunion, a baby sprinkle and to see everyone again.  I had a wonderful time and it was so good to see the extended family again.

The baby sprinkle was not a minute too soon as on July 31st, Miss Ellidae (Elli) Louise was born.  


She was 10 days early, but she seems pretty happy to be here:


She's named after a maternal great-great-grandmother (her nonno's grandmother) and shares her oma's middle name (which is my dad's mother's name).  Everyone is doing well and settling into being a family of four.

I am hoping to get to Michigan over Labor Day weekend to meet her.

With the arrival of Elli, my focus changed to her birth piece.  Here is the finished Winter Hearts by Shepherd's Bush


and a close-up of the hearts:


There is hardanger (lower left), pulled thread (upper right), and cut work (upper left) in the piece.  It is stitched from the kit on white Belfast using Au ver a Soie and white #12 perle cotton.  I'm going to finish as a wallhanging, but need to get a few more specifics from my niece before starting.  

So after getting things finished up for Elli (well, except for the hat I'm knitting for her for Christmas), I started on things for the next baby (my nephew and his wife are expecting a boy the end of October).  I started a blanket (crochet this time, I'm not sure I'll knit a blanket with a time limit again), but there's not enough for the pattern to appear, so will show it next time.  I also started:


This is Baby Bug Ball by Shepherd's Bush.  It's stitched on Light Sand Belfast with the silks and beads from the kit.  I'm waiting for the fabric so I can get started on his Christmas stocking.

In the few minutes between sewing or working on baby things, I've been knitting.


This is the Neutra shawl by SweaterFreak.  I started the make-along, but I'm rubbish at them so didn't keep up, so am just doing a bit when I can - this is all of part 1 and a bit of 2 (the slanted ribbing).  This is not as dark as it's showing up here.  It's also hard to tell, but the blues are a gradient set, I think they will show up better in later parts.  While I do have to pay attention to what I'm doing, this one is only knits and purls.  I'm very tempted to do another one with a light gray main color and a burgandy gradient.

With all the different knitting projects I have started and planned, I have a small but growing needle collection.  To keep them all separated, I made this:


This is the Flip Pocket Portfolio by comfortstitching.  When you open it, there are six zippered pockets:




I had some difficulty with the binding as the directions were very different from what I'm used to.  I'd never stitched with vinyl before, so I'm sure that didn't help the process any.  This wasn't a complicated sew but it did take good chunk of an afternoon and evening.

We were notified that we won't be called back to the office until at least October 1st, most of us are thinking it will be closer to the end of the year, and that my boss is pushing for either remote or maximum telework for her staff, so I finally felt comfortable enough to start a craft rotation.  While I'll be crocheting and stitching to finish up baby things, I'm making time for other crafts.  I don't know how long I'll keep it up but it's nice to be able to get some other things started and finished.  That announcement also helped me realize that I don't have to save up all my housework for the weekend, so I've finally started spreading it out during the week so that my weekends are usually fairly chore free and truely relaxing.

Hope everyone is well.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Summer has started

 We haven't officially started summer, but the last few days have certainly felt like it.  It's been hot and humid and just not nice to be outside.  It's also been raining - enough that most of central Virginia seems to be under flood or flash flood warnings.  So glad I don't have to go anywhere this weekend.

No new species of birds at the feeders but there are new birds.


The one on the right is baby woodpecker (these are downy woodpeckers).  I haven't been able to get a picture of the baby cardinals (there's one sitting in the bushes looking in the window keeping the cats attention) or house finches.  Honestly there could be lots of babies out there but if they come in alone it's hard to tell.  If they come in with a parent, they sit in the bushes or on the feeder and flap their wings and beg for food.  We've also had a doe with twin fawns come through the yard.  I don't like living so far away from things, but all the wildlife (I've seen a red fox, a grey fox and a coyote the last couple of weeks) is fun to watch.

Along with the heat and humidity and young animals a sure sign of summer is my stitching slump.  I am having a hard time getting myself going with my stitching (but not knitting, all I want to do it seems is knit - which doesn't seem right with all the heat).

Despite the slump, I have been stitching almost every night the last couple of weeks - I try to put a length of any color in each evening.  All I've worked on is Winter Hearts.  It went from here:

to here

Lots of little filler bits in those gaps over the flowers to put in but it's getting there. The picture is really distorted - I had to unroll the fabric from the scroll rods so it's sagging there in the middle.  Hopefully, the next time you see this, the border will be done and I'll have started on the hearts.  Speaking of next time, I may (leaning more towards will) be gone my next scheduled posting day.  I am hoping to be in Michigan that day. Hard to believe, but Cassie will have completed her first trip around the sun the end of the month and there's going to be a party.  Looking forward to the party, but more looking forward to seeing everyone.

Other crafting, mostly knitting but a little crochet has happened but not enough of either to really speak of (and besides, I forgot to take pictures).

This is the shortest post I've done in a while but one-at-a-time and slumps don't make for newsy posts.  

Hope everyone is well.

  

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Even less this week

 Once again, not my usual posting day.  I went to the optometrist and ran errands Friday morning (and a good chunk of the afternoon - I forgot how long it takes to do the grocery shopping when you actually go into the store) and then cut out things and sewed the rest of the day and well into the night.  I made two sock project bags   and two  shawl/sweater sized bags.  If I make the larger bags again I will need to get a stiffer interfacing (maybe the fusible fleece) as they are a little droopy.  I also forgot to write down the final dimensions (I was making it up as I was cutting and sewing) so another thing on my "don't forget to do list."  

Saturday I got started on the housework that didn't get done on Friday and did some more sewing.  I finished DSon's pillow .  The photo does not capture how vibrant the stitching fabric is.  Rather than the comic strip style/color backing fabric I used this:  .  This fabric and the blue scales in the shawl bag came from Spoonflower.  I could easily go crazy on their website, but I have enough fabric in my "quilting" stash to make many, many more bags.

Today is the May   check-in.  WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings.  No sign-up, just post about your WIPs and link up (either on her blog or the Facebook group) on the last Sunday of the month. Since I changed my stitching plan, I have stitched nothing from my original WIPocalyse list. I hadn't even factored in there would be baby stitching this year when I made my list.  Fortunately the rules allow for new starts and additions and subtractions from your original list, so I added  Winter Hearts by Shepherd's Bush:

This is done with all the kit materials - white Belfast linen, Au ver a Soie and white 12 perle cotton. I did stitch a bit more after this picture was taken and have finished to the center of the border.  It is taking a lot longer than expected (story of my stitching life) as while the leaves are all one color, they aren't large so lots of starting and stopping (that and I've been watching FlossTube while stitching and everytime someone shows a project or chart, I have to go look for it - fortunately I haven't been buying just looking).  The flowers and leaves will be connected by a vine.  As I am all caught up on everything, I plan to spend the rest of today and a good chunk of tomorrow (Memorial Day) working on this.  In addition to posting our progress, Melissa gives us questions each month.  This month's is:  What was the first project you ever stitched? (whether you finished or not).   My first cross stitch project was a Santa face.  It was a kit and came with everything - hoop, fabric, thread and needle.  The hoop became the frame for the finished piece.  I remember finishing it, but I'm not sure what happened to it.  I seldom get rid of Christmas decorations, so I imagine it's in a box somewhere in the basement.  

I think that's about it.  I have done some knitting on the baby blanket but as that's just rows of baubles that look like all the other rows of baubles, there's not too much to show.

Hope you are all well.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Not a lot this time.

  It's been two weeks already?  I had a couple hours off last Friday afternoon and that's thrown my sense of time off a bit (not that that is difficult right now).  

No new birds to report this time.  Sadly, the migratory ones have moved on.  We do have at least three pairs of cardinals that are sharing tolerating each other around the yard and woodline this year, but I haven't seen the grosbeak in a week and we're down to one blue jay so other than the cardinals and the male Goldfinches some of the brightness has gone from the feeders.  

Some littles news:  

She's going to be running with her brother and cousin in no time.  What's the saying, "moving out of the way for the next one?"  

In my last post I said I was going to have a new rotation by this one.  I did a lot of thinking and it looks like the best option is to go one-at-a-time on each project.  It worked well last year (I was even done early) so hoping it will this year too.

I also mentioned that I had two pieces picked out for Grady's sister and was all set to start one of them, but was missing fabric or thread for both of them.  An order was placed and the waiting commenced.  I could have picked up Goldie but knitting was calling louder so I spent a week working on my Knights Who Say Knit MAL.

This is part 1 and a bit of part 2 finished.  Lots of artistic license happening (especially in the very top part. I have pulled it back and started 3 times but can't seem to get it to work, so I am doing a "variation").  The puffs towards the top are areas between some lacework and should block out when it's done.  I did do a quick steam block to straighten out the bottom and get it more in shape.  As expected, I am not keeping up with this any better than I do a SAL as part the last will be released on Monday.

My order came in (EARLIER then the tracker said!!!) and I started Winter Hearts by Shepherd's Bush.  It's done on white Belfast with Soie d'Alger and perle cotton.

The boxes are done with four-sided stitch and are taking me forever to do (it's good tv stitching).  It's in muted greens, pinks and purples.  The baby's room is being done in greys and pinks so I thought this would go well (and it's not babyish so could stay up for a while).  There will be a heart in each block with different specialty stitches.  The border is leaves and that flower in the corner that you really can't see.  This is an old kit (the chart is hand drawn) and I don't think it's available (the Shepherd's Bush website says if you'd like to purchase to contact them).  

I just realized that tomorrow is the official check-in for   and even though I'm off my normal rotation I still have projects that fit.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by the every wonderful Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  She started this in 2015 as a way to show our appreciation for stitching gifts that we may have received.  It expanded to include gifts we are making for others or anything else we can shoehorn into the theme.  My MAL fits as I bought the yarn with birthday money.  Winter Hearts definitely fits as it's a gift for my great-niece-to-be as does this (my secret project from a bit ago):

Raccoon Rabble from Plum Street Samplers.  It's done on 36-count 'Shroom Juice (my tag doesn't say which company) with the called for threads.  Here's the back: 

The chenille trim is from Lady Dot Creates (and it looks like I forgot to tie the bow in the corner). This was a Mother's Day gift for my mom.

I've liked all the Plum Street stacks but have you seen the newest?  It's hedgehogs and sooooo darn cute.

So, I could have sworn I worked on more, but for the life of me, if I did, I can't remember what it was.

Today was my compressed day off and all the housework and grocery shopping is done, so I have the weekend to work on the hearts.  Maybe I'll finish those boxes!

Hope you're all safe and well.



 

Not a lot this time.

 It's been two weeks already?  I had a couple hours off last Friday afternoon and that's thrown my sense of time off a bit (not that that is difficult right now).  

No new birds to report this time.  Sadly, the migratory ones have moved on.  We do have at least three pairs of cardinals that are sharing tolerating each other around the yard and woodline this year, but I haven't seen the grosbeak in a week and we're down to one blue jay so other than the cardinals and the male Goldfinches some of the brightness has gone from the feeders.  

Some littles news:  

She's going to be running with her brother and cousin in no time.  What's the saying, "moving out of the way for the next one?"  

In my last post I said I was going to have a new rotation by this one.  I did a lot of thinking and it looks like the best option is to go one-at-a-time on each project.  It worked well last year (I was even done early) so hoping it will this year too.

I also mentioned that I had two pieces picked out for Grady's sister and was all set to start one of them, but was missing fabric or thread for both of them.  An order was placed and the waiting commenced.  I could have picked up Goldie but knitting was calling louder so I spent a week working on my Knights Who Say Knit MAL.

This is part 1 and a bit of part 2 finished.  Lots of artistic license happening (especially in the very top part. I have pulled it back and started 3 times but can't seem to get it to work, so I am doing a "variation").  The puffs towards the top are areas between some lacework and should block out when it's done.  I did do a quick steam block to straighten out the bottom and get it more in shape.  As expected, I am not keeping up with this any better than I do a SAL as part the last will be released on Monday.

My order came in (EARLIER then the tracker said!!!) and I started Winter Hearts by Shepherd's Bush.  It's done on white Belfast with Soie d'Alger and perle cotton.

The boxes are done with four-sided stitch and are taking me forever to do (it's good tv stitching).  It's in muted greens, pinks and purples.  The baby's room is being done in greys and pinks so I thought this would go well (and it's not babyish so could stay up for a while).  There will be a heart in each block with different specialty stitches.  The border is leaves and that flower in the corner that you really can't see.  This is an old kit (the chart is hand drawn) and I don't think it's available (the Shepherd's Bush website says if you'd like to purchase to contact them).  

I just realized that tomorrow is the official check-in for   and even though I'm off my normal rotation I still have projects that fit.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by the every wonderful Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  She started this in 2015 as a way to show our appreciation for stitching gifts that we may have received.  It expanded to include gifts we are making for others or anything else we can shoehorn into the theme.  My MAL fits as I bought the yarn with birthday money.  Winter Hearts definitely fits as it's a gift for my great-niece-to-be as does this (my secret project from a bit ago):

Raccoon Rabble from Plum Street Samplers.  It's done on 36-count 'Shroom Juice (my tag doesn't say which company) with the called for threads.  Here's the back: 

The chenille trim is from Lady Dot Creates (and it looks like I forgot to tie the bow in the corner). This was a Mother's Day gift for my mom.

I've liked all the Plum Street stacks but have you seen the newest?  It's hedgehogs and sooooo darn cute.

So, I could have sworn I worked on more, but for the life of me, if I did, I can't remember what it was.

Today was my compressed day off and all the housework and grocery shopping is done, so I have the weekend to work on the hearts.  Maybe I'll finish those boxes!

Hope you're all safe and well.



 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

A little behind my time

Rather than a leisurely lie-in on Friday (my day off), I had to get up earlier than I normally do for work, take my car to the garage and wait while they repaired the windshielf wiper motor.  To be fair, the motor worked just fine it just turned itself on and off at inappropriate times.  After getting that all sorted, I made a quick trip (if there is such a thing) to Trader Joe's and then home.  By then, my weekend schedule was thrown completely off kilter and here I am blogging on a Sunday.  Not just a Sunday, but the first Sunday in May!!!  

I think this one's going to be long, so grab a cuppa your favorite:

The bird sightings for this blog are very colorful.  A pair of rose-breasted grosbeak.  Here's a picture of a male and female from the Birds & Blooms website:


We are in their migratory area so they'll only be around for a few days to maybe a week but always nice to have them stop by.

We also had a brief stop by of four or five ruby-throated hummingbirds last week.  Here's a picture of  a male from The Spokesman-Review: (not my local paper, but a very good picture)


As best as I could tell, there were three males and two females.  We usually have two or three pairs that stay through the summer, butI haven't seen any that look like they're settling in yet.

And while I was typing, a male indigo bunting  joined the group at the feeders.  We're in their breeding area, but I only see them occasionally.  The photo is from The Cornell Lab.

But you're not here for birds are you?  How about:


No, that's not the latest picture of Baby W, that is a picture of the newest Baby L!  Jack and Cassie will have a sibling come October!  Another new one to meet!  And aren't the holidays going to be fun with five littles?

That news changes my crafting plans for the rest of the year.  As I need to do another blanket, birth notice/sampler and stocking, so April was probably the last month for my regular rotation.  I'll need to work out a new one as I don't want to lose the momentum I've built up on Goldie and Zen.

With that, here's a broad recap for April - I stitched for some amount of time on 27 days, I knit on 29 and took one day off from both.  

I'll start with the knitting.  The majority of my knitting time has been for Baby W's blanket.  


The pattern is Puffed Baby Blanket from Plymouth Yarn in Lion Brand Baby Soft in the Twinkle Print colorway.  I am well into the second ball of yarn.  This is a "knit until you're happy with the length" pattern so not sure how much more I have to do.  

On the 19th, the first clue for the Knights Who Say Knit mystery MAL dropped.  Clue 2 has dropped and Clue 3 will come out tomorrow, I still have two sections of Clue 1 to finish but I am very pleased with how it's coming along.  I have done a LOT of unknitting, ripping back and have even learned to ladder down but I'm counting those as gains as they are all things I will need to know in future projects.  There are still lots of mistakes but they are ones that I can live with.  Here's where I was through section 5 of part 1:

Knights Who Say Knit by Lyrical Knits.  Yarn from Miss Babs in Hamster and Elderberries 

And yes, that is an oldie but goodie Knights is sitting on - will get to that in a minute.

But, I just remembered   was last Sunday and my next project falls under it.  WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings.  It's an encouraging SAL to remind us to give a little love to the pieces we've already started even though that or that or that new start is calling.  When I posted last I had four days left on my Japanese Zen Moss Garden by Chatelaine.  You can see previous progress pictures from April here.  In the days that were remaining in its rotation it went from here:   to here:   Here's a closer look:  

You can also see my progress on Goldie in the previous post.  She's the other project on my WIPocalypse list this year.  Melissa gives us prompts each month and April's was:  Have you found yourself to be more or less productive in your stitching during the Covid-19 pandemic?  This is an easy one for me - MUCH more productive.  As I've mentioned, I used to get up at 3:45 AM, leave my house by 4:45AM, return about 7:45 PM and was in bed by 9:00 PM so not a lot of time for much of anything.  My stitching/crafting time was limited to a few hours on the weekends and whatever I could manage on the train (although the train had become so crowded that it was difficult to do any stitching).  Since I've been working from home, I've not only gained the commuting time but several additioal hours as I don't have to go to bed with the sun (well that saying only works in the summer but...).  My biggest issue was getting myself out of the mindset of "I don't want to get settled as I don't know when this will end".  I still feel that way, but we have been told we will be given at least 30 days notice before we have to come back into the office and once back in the office, we'll still be on, as best as I can tell, a very telework heavy schedule.  I believe I'll be teleworking four days a week.  They haven't given any guidance on our schedule if we're on an alternate work schedule like I am.  It is possible, I may only have to go in one day every other week.

Once I finished my 10 days on Zen, I pulled out Temperature Tree and added the rest of March's and through April 22nd's leaves.  
It is still a much cooler tree than last year, although there are a few warm days in there.  At some point I will post a comparison with last year's.

Once Temperature Tree was caught up, the Wheel of What's Next? was consulted and decided that Elegant Doily deserved some time.  The best I can tell, the last time this piece was on the frame was for a week in August of 2015.  This is one of my oldest WIPs.  I started it during my son's senior year in high school. His 20-year reunion is this year.  Here's where it was when I started   and when I finished up on Friday     and here's a closer look   Not a lot done. I finished cutting the diamond on the left and the squares in the diamond and started wrapping. This one takes me forever to get going on.  I will find anything to do but work on it.  Once I get started, it is enjoyable, but it takes SO much to get me started.  Hopefully, the Wheel of What's Next? will pick it again soon and I'll remember how relaxing it is to wrap those bars and sit down and start right away.

Phew! I think that's it.  Next time I hope to have my new rotation figured out.  

As I still haven't decided between two pieces for Baby W's announcement, I'm going to start one today to see if it sparks anything.  If not, maybe it will work for Baby L.  If not, I had it in my stash so I must have liked it and will have it done.