Sunday, May 31, 2009

Taking a Look Back

There is a reason I'm posting an unflattering picture of what I see when I look down at myself behind the wheel of my Honda Pilot. This year my weight loss has stalled after 2 years on Weight Watchers. When I saw this view of myself, I remembered when we bought this car. My stomach touched the steering wheel! Look at all the room I have now!

Lesson Learned: Sometimes we're so busy looking forward that we forget to appreciate where we are at this very moment. It may be better than you think!
Not a lot of sewing going on. I went to the tote bag sale at my favorite LQS yesterday and thought I was picking out a few pieces of fabric that would go well with some reds I had at home. What I picked out was all wrong. Then I noticed that when I put the fabric up against the muslin I was going to also use, the muslin looked yellowish. So back to the drawing board with this one.
I guess this is one way to acquire stash, huh?!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lazy Weekend

Happy Memorial Day! No matter what country you live in, please thank your service men and women for their dedication!

I've had a weekend that didn't have much to do with stitches of any kind. G, J and I joined a gym on Saturday. I used the weight machines today and all I can say is that I believe I'm going to be moving a bit slow tomorrow. It actually feels good. Surprise! While it feels good, I'm quite tired after. My body simply isn't used to it! I'm not doing anything even close to extreme but when you've been a couch potato, the body rebels a bit. I haven't talked much about my Weight Watchers journey but my weight loss has hit the wall. I have not lost a pound this entire year! I'm now trying to shake it up a bit by joining the gym and hopefully get control of my weekend eating. If anyone has any remedy for sore muscles, please let me know, I think I'm going to need it!

In the last few weeks, I have had my last 2 Sweater Workshop classes. What great fun this has been! The most scary thing I've ever done with knitting is the afterthought pocket we did during this class. Cutting into your knitting (and this was just one stitch) is just plain scary!

First, you find where you're going to snip.
Then you unravel those stitches. I can honestly say I don't think I was breathing during these 2 steps.
Next up, you take 2 DPNs and pick the stitches up! WHEW! Thank goodness that part was over.
Then you start knitting the inside of your pocket.
Tuck it in and you have a pocket!
We also did a bit of intarsia, some faire isle, duplicate stitch, Icord, and made this drawstring. Lots of fun!
I've been working on my No Purl Monkeys (Ravelry link HERE). What a quick knit (and I'm a slow knitter)! I love the way the yarn I dyed looks in this pattern.
I've even turned the heel! The No Purl part comes into the pattern by doing a knit stitch anywhere the pattern calls for a purl stitch.
I also got the yarn for the ribbing for Alex's bolero (ravelry link). Unfortunately, I realized that once I separated for the sleeves that I failed to continue my decreases. So I'm ripping it back to the sleeves (which have already been knit) and hoping that I can somehow get back on track without pulling the sleeves out in their entirety. What a goober I am.

Not much playing with stitches of any kind this weekend. I did buy new hiking shoes for our upcoming trip to the mountains, did some errands and shopping, and had a major Costco run. J had 5 friends over yesterday, so I spent some time visiting with them. 3 visits to the gym. Today, I've had Quincy Jones' Ribs cooking all day. Everyone should be home for dinner. So while I haven't been playing with stitches, it's been a good weekend. Hope yours was good as well!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good Enough is Sometimes Good Enough

This morning I sat down in my dining room and cut out the pieces to sew the Turkey Tracks block over again. If you remember, my first attempt was horrible. My second attempt is slightly less wonky. The points still don't match (but they ARE better) and as you can see there is a spot up top that is way off. But you know what I decided? My second attempt is good enough. This is only my 3rd quilt and Y seams are not exactly a beginning lesson from what I've been told. So this block stays. I don't think my neice (who the quilt is for) will care. If I was a more experienced quilter it would probably bug me but I'm not. So it doesn't. What would you do? Keep at it or move on?
Lesson Learned: You don't have to be perfect. It's ok to be a little wonky!

I finally finished my Waving Ribbing Socks (Ravelry Link) from More Sensational Knitted Socks. I did these 2 at a time on one circular needle. I don't think I'll do that again. Why? I missed the high of completing the first sock and the high of casting on for a new one. This project also seemed to take FOREVER. I have yet to suffer from Second Sock Syndrome so there really isn't any point for doing them both at once. I've been trying out each method of making socks and DPN's still seem to be my thing.
The striping of the yarn is odd on the foot. They look more similar on the leg. Honestly, I don't worry about this at all as no one will really notice-it's just not worth fretting over IMO. Knitting is fun - not frustrating! I finished these up yesterday while hanging out at my LYS and even though I said they were going to have to sit in time out for a while (for taking so long), I'm wearing them now and they're quite comfy!
So with one project finished, what did I do? Of course, I cast on for another one. This time using my own hand dyed yarn! I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying these! They're going to be No Purl Monkey socks (Ravelry line) by the wonderful Cookie A. Here is how much I had done about 30 minutes after I got home. These are knitting up FAST! Whoot! A big change over the socks I just finished. Maybe I should always dye my own yarn!!!
I also cast on for the Obi Scarf (Ravelry Link) by Veronique Avery. I absolutely fell in love with this when I first started knitting. The yarn and the book have been quietly sitting in my bookcase since. This project is a challenge for me because the pattern is reversible. So it will be slow going.
What I found interesting is that the pattern starts out as above with 6 rows of garter stitch. Then the pattern starts and slowly the scalloped edge just appears. It was fun to watch!
Not a good picture of the scalloped edge but you get the general idea!

As you can see, I had a stress free weekend. Today the guys laid sod in the backyard. I got the better end of that deal! But they weren't complaining. I actually could hear them laughing and talking while I was inside sitting at the sewing machine even though the windows were closed. Sometimes what you're doing does not have to be fun to enjoy yourself and to enjoy the people around you. I hope each of you find a bit of fun in your day!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Can Someone Move Texas Closer to Florida?!

My brother finally sent me pictures of my nieces in the sweaters I knit them for Christmas. They live in Texas so I don't get to see them as often as I'd like. This is Ava, she turned 3 last week. Each year my brother and his daughters release lady bugs - several thousand. He is a big organic gardener and lady bugs eat the bad stuff. The color of the sweater in this picture is off but it's my favorite. I love Ava gently holding the lady bug. I had just started this sweater when Ava crawled up in my lap and I helped her knit a few stitches. I think she may be a knitter!
This is Alex, she is 6. When I was last in Texas visiting she lost her first tooth. I guilted my brother into having the tooth fairy leave $10. The first tooth after all is special. It deserves more! I'm not sure she'll be able to sit still long enough to learn to knit or quilt but I'd love to spend some time teaching her!
Here is another picture of Ava just covered in lady bugs. You really can't see it here but she also has on a pair of pink cowboy boots. Girl has her own sense of fashion!
Texas is just too darn far away!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Family Time!

Happy Mothers Day! I hope each of you are being celebrated! G arranged for the 4 of us to have a nice lunch on the Intercoastal Waterway at a local restaurant. The service was very slow (not only is it Mothers Day but TPC is nearby) but that was ok. It's hard for the 4 of us to get together all at the same time so we had a nice long time to chat. Here's a picture of my boys.from today (no pics on the water as too many hot girls around). C is moving out this fall so it's going to be even harder for the 4 of us to get together at once. I'm enjoying it while I can! They're both neat people (though very different) and it's fun to spend time with them. Even though they're not babies or little boys any longer, hearing them laugh is still my favorite thing to hear!
I had a bit of time so I worked on my paper piecing project. The borders look wonkier than they actually are. This is only my second border experience. You can see where I used scissors (instead of measuring and using the rotary cutter) on the top right. I'll even it up when I put on the binding. This is a fun project. I should have, however, reread the instructions as I didn't shorten the stitch length last weekend when I worked on the last 3 paper pieced hearts. It makes a difference when it comes time to take the paper off the back of the block!

Lesson Learned: When you've put a project away for a time; pull out the instructions and read them as if you were just starting. Don't rely on your memory!
Last year when I first started knitting, I came across a blog post with a scarf made out of a beautiful yarn. The scarf was way too hard for me but I went ahead and ordered the yarn and purchased the book that had the scarf in it. I had the yarn with me last weekend and just had to take another picture of it. This gorgeousness just can't sit in my yarn cabinet any longer! It's time to become that scarf!
I hope that you all get to do exactly what you want to do today! Happy Mothers Day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

One Block at a Time and a BIG First!

I'm never going to be the type of quilter that puts out a quilt a week. It's one block at a time for me! This weekend I got a bit of time to sit at the sewing machine and I worked on another block with Y Seams. This one was easier so progress has been made!
I also worked a bit on my beginner paper piecing project from a class I took in February. I have no idea where the pics of the front of these small blocks went but here is a picture of the back (or is this really the front?). I had no idea what paper piecing was when I started so maybe this will interest someone. You actually sew your seams on the side that is shown - the fabric is underneath. Weird, huh? But it works. Here are some of the finished blocks in a prior post.
The highlight of our weekend was G and I attending our first grown up play - WICKED!!! The raves I've heard about this show were totally accurate. and it was worth every single penny! Three hours of pure bliss. I had not expected the humor or the things that were revealed that make me look at the movie in a totally different light. Amazing! If you get a chance to go, GO! Even G enjoyed himself - even though he was in a suit and tie! We'll definitely go to this type of event again but I doubt I'll get G in a suit again....none of the men were dressed up. We saw one guy in a jacket without a tie and everyone else was pretty business casual. I like how he looks in a suit though!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Complete First and Glad to be Home!

Late last Sunday, I finished the binding on my table runner made from scraps from my first quilt top. As a result, this is my very first completely finished quilting project! WHOOT! I free motion quilted it myself! It's not perfect but it's 100% me! I'm hoping to send this off to my mom in the next week. She'll not mind the imperfections!

Last week I was in Charlotte for business. When I checked into my hotel, I found the perfect knitting chair in my room (how did they know I was a knitter?). Unfortunately, I didn't spend enough time here at the end of the work day.
Instead, I spent too many hours here.
One of the best parts of the trip was when my plane landed in Charlotte, I had the cab driver take me directly to Charlotte Yarn. What a wonderful bunch of people who work there! Remi, the owner, remembered my name from the call I made that morning to make sure it would be ok to come in and knit for a bit. She also made sure I was included in the order out for a very late lunch. Sandy and I sat and talked while eating. She has faced a lot in the past year and she has made it through - she is so inspiring! Harriet drove me to my hotel so I didn't have to take a cab (which would have been perfectly ok) and told me all about her visit to Stitches South. Not only were the people so nice, it's a really nice store with loads of yarny yumminess! The only bad thing was that as I went to take a picture of the store, my battery died. Charlotte Yarn will be the first place I go to the next time I'm in Charlotte!

While traveling is fun, it's always great to be home!