Sunday, April 26, 2009

Not Ready For Prime Time

We hate each other...Y Seams and I. I need a do over! And I just might take one - but not today! The U Tube video Candace at Squash House Quilts sent helped. I had the best results using the technique she found here. I clearly need remedial training. It's my third quilt and I don't feel bad that I need improvement. That's what improving your skills is all about.
We have one more class left in the Sweater Workshop class I'm taking. There are 4 of us in the weekend class and it's been a lot of fun. Here's where we are so far:
Here's a close up of the top part of the Sampler. Increases, decreases, some raised rows, and some fair isle. Lots of skills covered!
I've spent several hours preparing for my trip to Charlotte. The most time has been spent on figuring out what books and knitting to take. I'm taking my socks and a new project. Frankly the socks are boring me right now; maybe it's because they've been on the needles so long. I might cast on for a new pair though!

I'm taking my personal laptop so I can still continue to read all those wonderful blogs I love to read! And of course, check Ravelry!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dyeing and Good News!

Last week I decided to dye a skein of yarn. Just one skein. By the time it was over, I'd somehow managed to dye my fingers, my shirt, and the counter tops along with the yarn! Fun! I need to keep the dye in the pot and on the yarn!

I mentioned last week that I'd had a stressful week at work. What I didn't mention at the time is that is was stressful due to testing for an interview for a promotion. One hour written testing and a 2 hour gruelling role playing test. I hope I never have to do that again. I passed both tests so I was granted an interview and I found out this week the job is mine! My official start date is the 1st but I've already taken over some duties. I also fly out to Charlotte on Monday to spend the week which should be fun! I hoping to get some time at the sewing machine this weekend figuring out those Y seams. Thank you Candace for sending me a video link. I hope that will get it through my head. Also, big thanks to YarnJourney for solving my blogger photo issues!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Getting Back into the Groove Slowly

This is my department at work - or more accurately the people at my location. Yes, that is Easter Baskets you see in our hand. We had a team building activity which happened to be an Easter Egg Hunt. We're all over 40 and even though it was corny we had a good time. Hopefully, I'll have a different position on this team in a few weeks. Keep your fingers crossed!
It's been slow going getting back into the sewing groove after coming home from vacation. No day of sewing like I planned in the last post. This morning I finished machine stitching binding on a table runner. There wasn't much left to do and I have not started the hand stitching. I also added the stems on the Peony block and sewed part of the block to the right (Blogger, why are you cutting my pic off at the right side?). I have to figure out Y seams (is that the right term?) to finish it up. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I didn't sew before starting to quilt in October so my experience is pretty much limited to straight seams. I still haven't trimmed up my blocks - for some reason that freaks me out a bit!
Last week on the way to mom and dad's for Easter I cast on for Alex's Bolero. I rarely get so much time to knit so this has moved along pretty quickly. When I took the picture below, I saw the pooling on the sleeve. I may decide to take it out and reknit but I'm going to finish the other sleeve first. If it looks similar, I'll eave it. The fabric of this sweater is turning out darker than I expected. The yarn should be in soon for the collar and ribbing and I'm hoping that will brighten things up a bit.
I'm feeling a bit stuck with quilting right now. I don't have any classes scheduled and I'm stuck with those y seams. I'm hoping to get some time (and be in the mental spot to deal with it) in the next couple of weeks to figure it out and move forward and be inspired. I started quilting in October and have not completely finished one project. Part of it is because I want to FMQ my own quilts - I'm not sure how realistic that is though. I do have 2 finished tops that can be quilted. I don't want to be the type that never finishes everything. First of all, it's expensive and not finishing just seems wasteful. Secondly, while I'm not a production quilter (or knitter), I do want to be able to have the full experience of cuddling up under a quilt I made or being able to give a quilt away to family or a friend. Hopefully things will slow down in other areas of my life and I'll have the energy to be more inspired! On that note....I think I'll pull out that table runner and see if I can work towards my first completed quilting project!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Visitng the Parents

Yesterday for Easter we all drove for a quick trip to the Orlando area to spend Easter with my parents. My mom hates to cook these days so they generally come to our house. Here is a picture of C and my Dad. It's a joy to see my kids interact with my parents. My kids are very different. C is more open and obviously loving. J is more reserved and quiet but it does not mean his feelings are any less intense. He just does not show as much. I can remember C as a baby just crawling up into my dad's lap on this very back porch and just stealing my dad's heart.
Not much knitting or quilting going on here and what is going on is without pictures. Hopefully more will be going on soon! Hope you and your family had a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Eating Cactus, Visiting Sedona & Quilting Frustrations

While on vacation last week, G and I ordered Cactus Fries from a local restaurant in Sedona called The Cowboy Club. The food was delicious. Including the Cactus Fries.
And yes, they're actually made from cactus. Actually prickly pear cactus from what I understand. I found some on the side of the road. I can't imagine the pain of preparing such a dish.
If you've never been to Sedona, it's stunningly beautiful and like nothing you've ever seen. We were fortunate enough that my knitty friend Andrea (no blog) offered up her husband, Michael, as a tour guide for us. We didn't get to see her as she was here in Florida for a bridal shower. Michael visited Sedona for a couple of hours while attending a national championship football game in Arizona in the 90's (he's a Gator but so nice we can forgive him for that). He said that he knew then that he had to come back. 12 years later, they've moved there and are full time residents. His knowledge of the area is amazing and having him as a tour guide made our short visit there so much more than we expected. Thank you Michael and Andrea!

G & I in front of some of the red rocks.
I actually brought some small red rocks home with me to put in a glass jar as a reminder of our trip. Corny, I know but whatever! These pictures do not even begin to do justice to the views that you see wherever you are throughout Sedona. You can see parts of these views even from the grocery store parking lot!

We also saw a Sedona Sunset. Just beautiful.
I'm sorry to say that we didn't get a chance to do any hiking. We were simply too busy. Next trip, we're going to change that. And there will be a next time!

Not much going on in quilting and knitting news. I'm really frustrated by not having a dedicated sewing space and having to pack and unpack my quilting stuff. It's been a quilting and sewing downer. With Easter this weekend, I'm not sure how much time I'll have to quilt. I have a knitting class on Saturday. I'm feeling the need to take a vacation day so I can be home alone with my sewing machine. And you know what? I don't feel strange at all for saying that. I know you'll understand!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Knitting Projects Visit the Grand Canyon

One day while we were on vacation, we visited the Grand Canyon. I've never been "out west" at all (rarely have been west of the Mississippi River) so this was all new to me. Here is my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon as we were walking up to the South Rim. I was not prepared for just how big it really is.
G & I - right after the picture above.
G is waaay to close to the edge in the picture below. He's about 1 step from a quick trip to the bottom of the canyon. There really aren't any barriers in most places. I wonder how many vistors they have "lost".

See that backpack? Guess what's in it? Yes, G hauled 2 knitting WIPs so I could take pics of them there! Who doesn't love a man who supports fiber habits? And who wasn't embarrassed at all when people were staring at me taking photos of knitting? He even visited 4 shops with me this trip (2 yarn, 2 quilting) and chatted with the shop owners or sat in the man chair as I shopped. Not one complaint out of him. I think I'll keep him!
We talked to a teacher who was taking a picture of her Flat Stanley. She is a 5th grade teacher and a 2nd grade teacher gave her a Flat Stanley to take on her travels with her. The kids make them and then send them to relatives who take pictures of where Flat Stanley has been/visited. The kids then learn all about geography by tracking where Stanley has gone What a fantastic idea! I almost asked her to have her friend send me one. I love stuff like that!
Here's Ava's sweater at the Grand Canyon.
And here is my current sock project.
I'll leave you with a few landscape pics. One thing about visiting here is that every time you walk a bit you see an entirely different scene even though you think you've seen it all. It's truly wonderful and I feel very fortunate to have been able to visit.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

We're Back!

We're back from our trip to Arizona. We had a great time. One thing I can say is that I'll never take a red-eye again. SO not fun!

We're happy that we were able to spend a lot of time with these two:
Not much knitting and absolutely no quilting going on but I do have pictures to post later in the week. In the meantime, we have to get ready to go back to work!