Saturday, October 20, 2018

The First Frankensocks

I don't understand how this pair can possibly have taken as long as it did (I was definitely in a knitting black hole for days and days) but here they are -- 

These are made from the leftovers from three other pairs. They're a little more coordinated than I thought I was going for, but they're a respectable pair of socks.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {10/19/18}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

{Thrift Shop Temptations} Not Saving the Stitches

I've never seen unframed needlework at this store, but last week there were three pieces hanging with the linens. Now that I know where to look, I'll check back.

The stitching on this unpriced piece was meticulous.

I loved the colors of this one and thought about picking it up to incorporate into a tote bag or something useful, but the stitching just didn't look right.

 These three were just perfect, except for the cutesy captions. I love the roots and the shading on the leaves of the carrots. But I'm stubborn and would rather stitch my own carrots than buy someone else's.

I didn't save the stitches this time, but I hope someone else came along and gave them a good home. Based on the color of the tags and the stitching on the geese and the veggies, I'm guessing these came from the same stitcher. And I did check carefully for supplies, but there were none to be found.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Decision Free Quilting

On Saturday, I drove up to the quilting group and turned in the blue and white quilt. I didn't know until the last minute that I was going to make it because we hadn't had time to pick up the new tire before our trip to the coast, but I've got a wonderful husband who's willing to put a tire on the van in the dark so that I can go do my thing. 

With the blue and white quilt finished, I didn't have a new plan (except for the one involving the duck fabric which is probably going to be complicated) so I sewed together pieces from one of the group's pre-cut kits and pretty much let the fabric fall how it wanted to.

I'm happy with this. And I think I can quilt it with the walking foot without making myself too crazy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

{I've Been Reading} The Family at No. 13

The Family at No. 13 by S. D. Monaghan

The book's description makes it sound like this is Mary's story. She lives with her husband and her violent teenage nephew in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. Once I'd read enough to figure out which character was which, I  thought it was Connor's story. He's the therapist who moves in next door and rapidly realizes what a mistake that was. There's no way he can see patients in his home, not with Mary's nephew screaming next door. It's a confusing book. I was probably about two-thirds of the way through before I had a good grasp of how the relationships between the characters twined together. By that time I was curious about how it all would end. From the first pages, you know it's going to be with a body in the driveway. It's not an awful book, but there are plenty of other domestic thrillers out there that I'd recommend spending your time with. 

Trapped in Room 217 by Thomas Kingsley Troupe

When Jayla Walters and her younger brother Dion accompany their father to Estes Park, Colorado, they find themselves staying in an amazing historic hotel. Until they see the ghost, neither of them knows that they're staying in room 217 of the Stanley Hotel, the most haunted place in Colorado. I picked this one up because our family has visited the Stanley and I thought my younger boys might enjoy reading it. The book focuses on the actual history of the hotel (or at least the version we heard when we took the guided tour) and except for one brief mention of a horror writer who stayed there it completely ignores the whole Stephen King connection. The ghost story is very tame and aimed at younger readers. I'd say it's less scary than the Goosebumps books, but I hesitate to guess at what will and won't scare little kids. I was scared of everything at that age. My own boys definitely weren't.  For a young reader who likes ghost stories that aren't too scary, this would be perfect.

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. 

Monday, October 15, 2018

I Should Make a To Do List for This Week...

This was our view last week. Except for the little alphabet cat and the heel on the Frankensocks, I didn't get much stitching done...and I'm not complaining about that.  

I did complain about the possum slobber on my neck. We took the boys to the wildlife park to celebrate Quinn's birthday a bit early and they've changed policies so that kids (who were able to hold a possum two years ago) can't hold them now. So once again I found myself holding a possum. Here it is in my husband's arms...

If its mouth was close enough to get slobber in the hollow of my neck, that means its teeth were way closer than I'm comfortable with. At least that didn't occur to me while its mouth was up against my skin. The possum from two years ago was much cuter and much snugglier.

Now that we're home, I do have plans. But it's October and there's a whole lot going on over the next couple of weeks. It might make more sense to stitch and knit what I can in the time that's left over than to make a list I'll worry about finishing.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Rising Cost of Embroidery Floss (and Everything Else)

I heard last month, from a couple of different sources, that DMC is raising the suggested retail price of their floss to ninety-one cents a skein. OUCH!  Back in 2001, when I first took up cross-stitching, there were still a lot of sales where you could get five or six skeins for a dollar. These days, three for a dollar is the best I ever hear about...although I'm not buying a whole lot of floss because I bought so much when I was a new stitcher and kitting up everything I thought I might ever want to stitch. Do I even need to tell you how glad I am that I overbought back then?

Stitchers keep comparing the cost to hand painted needlepoint canvases and other hobbies that I'm unlikely to ever participate in because the prices are so high and claiming that close to a dollar a skein is still affordable.  For a small project, it's not bad. But when it's time to kit up a full coverage piece that uses a hundred different colors....that's not going to happen at that price.

Suddenly, I'm much more motivated to organize the skeins I already have in my stash. I've already wound a master set onto bobbins. The next step is to put the other skeins into something closer to actual order so I can find the colors I need when I need them. I need a floss inventory and I need a system to keep it current.

What happens when my selection gets too picked over? I'm seriously considering trying one of the other brands of floss. I've been reading the reviews of CXC brand floss, which is supposed to have colors that match up with DMC, and I really think I'm going to wind up giving it a try. There's a facebook group called Cross Stitch Unlimited that has lots of files advising who to order from and how to go about it. There are also some sellers offering it on Amazon, although it looks like if you want to be sure what you're getting you'll have to read the listings carefully. Personally, I think I'm willing to gamble twenty bucks for two hundred and fifty skeins of floss.

It might not be the same quality as DMC, but I've been happily stitching away on old thrift store kits that came packaged with super cheap floss. If the price is right, I'm not too picky.

Have you worked with these off brand flosses? Do they work for you? Most of the blocks in my vintage embroidery quilt were stitched with floss from those multi-packs that the craft stores sell and it's worked just fine for me. I'll let you know if I try the CXC and how it works out.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

{Museum a Month} The North Lincoln County Historical Museum

If you're spending some time on the Oregon Coast, I definitely recommend  stop at the North Lincoln County Historical Museum in Lincoln City. Admission is free, there's a lot to look at, and it gives visitors a wonderful glimpse of how the coast used to be.

Can you imagine a time when little kids could scramble around on what was left of wrecked ships? I've got to admit that I'm jealous of Mrs. Carmichael's mother, who told that story. There are lots of stories from local residents included in the displays and I wound up wanting to buy every locally published book in the gift shop so that I could read even more of them.

There's a video about early tourism on the coast that is definitely worth watching (and this is from someone who never wants to sit through those things.)

Can you imagine camping on the coast in the 1920s? Exhibits like this one make it a lot easier to picture. As much as I don't like camping, that looks like fun!

The Pixie Kitchen and Pixie Land were before my time, but from everything I've heard about them, I would have absolutely loved them.

I wish the miniature version hadn't been so far back from the railing so that I could've gotten a better look. And yes, the whole reason I put this museum on our to-visit list was so that I could see this display. It was a bonus that the rest of the museum was so fantastic. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {10/12/18}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Black Cat Alphabet

Except my cat is white because I had this pretty grey fabric buried in my stash that seemed like the perfect option for this project. I don't know what it is and it's got an oddly rubbery texture that I've never run into with aida...but once it's finished I won't be touching it anyway. 

The pattern is Black Cat Alphabet by Judy Whitman of JBW Designs, from the 2012 Just Cross Stitch Halloween issue. There's more than enough fun stuff in here to keep me happily stitching until the end of October.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Violas Socks

Why didn't I knit this yarn up into socks sooner?! 

Yarn: Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Weight, Violas 

It's Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Weight, which I bought dirt cheap at a Joann's sale years ago and thought I'd knit up on road trip. If I'd known how gorgeous it was going to be when it was knit up, I wouldn't have waited.

Too bad the local stores don't have this in more colors -- Ravelry lists more than thirty options.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

{I've Been Reading} The Lacemaker's Secret

I've seen lace making demonstrated and  tried my hand at it once and there's absolutely no way that my brain can handle tracking which way to twist which bobbin. I decided years ago to stick with knitted lace, but The Lace Maker's Secret by Kathleen Ernst has me reconsidering.

I've absolutely loved every book that I've read in the Chloe Ellefson mystery series and this one is no exception. While visiting Door County to consult on the restoration of a Belgium-American farmhouse, Chloe pulls over to the side of the road to take pictures of an old bake oven. The author is so good at what she does that I actually jumped when Chloe found a corpse in the oven and I cried more than once as the historical portion of the book unfolded.  The books in this series beg to be read from cover to cover with as few breaks as possible.

The present day portion of the book is set in the early 80s. It's a fun reminder of how life used to be (without hitting the reader over the head with how different things were) and the fact that Chloe can't just hop online to find all of the available information about the people she's researching adds a lot to the mystery.

I swear, the only thing I don't like about this series is that all of the places Chloe visits are too far away for me to visit!

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an ARC. 

Monday, October 08, 2018

A Blue and White Quilt for the Church Group

Back in January I fell in love with this fabric that looks like it's trying to be a Baltimore album quilt. Just look at the willows and the pineapple!

I didn't want anyone else cutting it up, so I planned a quilt that would make use of the entire piece. Because I'm slightly crazy that way....but if you read the block you already knew  that.

Now it's quilted and bound and ready to drop off at the October meeting, assuming I've got functional tires on the van by then.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

It's October!

I know, it's been October for a week but I'm not jumping into it as quickly as I'd hoped. We went to the pumpkin patch (while it was still September) and I've stitched three Halloween projects start to finish (while it was September) and as soon as the clock struck Midnight on October first I got a bit bogged down. 

A couple of days ago, I went up to the sewing room with the hopes of finding my older Just Cross Stitch Halloween issues and they were sort of almost close to where I thought they'd be. I know this week is going to be full of other things that aren't stitching or knitting or quilting, but just in  case there is some down time I wanted to kit up a couple of little options.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Build-a-Bowl: 77 Satisfying & Nutritious Combos: Whole Grain + Vegetable + Protein + Sauce = Meal

I was really intrigued by the concept behind Build-a-Bowl: 77 Satisfying & Nutritious Combos: Whole Grain + Vegetable + Protein + Sauce = Meal by Nicki Sizemore. I'm always looking for new dinner ideas and some of the recipes here sound really good.

The photography is gorgeous and each recipe comes with an introduction that makes it sound good even if I'm not fond of all of the ingredients. The cooking instructions are detailed and would be easy to follow.  The book also includes extensive information about cooking the different grains recommended and that's where this system might not appeal to my family. I've tried feeding them quinoa already. They weren't fans and I don't see them embracing many of the other options included here.

I think we'll try the vegetables and proteins and sauces over pasta or rice.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an ARC. 

Friday, October 05, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {10/5/18}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Come Play With Us...

More Halloween stitching! 

Someone in one of the cross stitch groups I belong to on Facebook posted a picture of the Grady twins and I knew I wanted to stitch them.

They're supposed to have the elevator doors behind them, but I decided to stitch just the girls. My plan is to find a fancy little frame for them and if I ever get that gallery wall I daydream about I'm going to tuck them in between the samplers and cross stitched houses and landscapes.

I don't see a current listing for the pattern on etsy, but here's a link to the seller's shop in case she puts it back up. I changed the color of their faces and arms because the designer had it charted in yellow beige and dark yellow beige, which didn't look right to me. Gotta have the blood-stained little girls look healthy!

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Scary Sock Plans

I'm getting absolutely nowhere with my Finding the Yellow Brick Road socks, not because there's anything wrong with the pattern or the yarn or anything else, but because I'm busy working on everything else.

That's fine, but the Super Sock Scarefest patterns this year include some really neat ones. I either need to hurry up and finish Finding the Yellow Brick Road, or I need to cast on something else to work on while I'm avoiding that pair. 

The Cronos Device Socks look great. I can't remember if we watched the entire movie or half of it...but I guess that doesn't matter. Iron Gates is gorgeous and cabled and inspired by the Addams Family.

And we've still got at least three more patterns coming!

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

{I've Been Reading} After the Fire

After the Fire by Will Hill

If there's a documentary or a novel about a religious cult, I'm probably going to pick it up and read it. This one had me immediately hooked and I was surprised by how emotionally involved with the characters I got. Chapters alternate between Moonbeam's life before the fire, when she was forbidden to leave the compound or interact with the outside world, and her new life after the fire, when she's confined to an institution and being interviewed as part of a government investigation.

The Holy Church of the Lord's Legion is a fictional group, but when you compare it to real world religious cults it's all too realistic. People like Father John's followers are out there.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. 

Monday, October 01, 2018

The End Is Near

I doubt that there are more than fifty cross-stitches left to fill in. That's not at all bad for a full coverage piece I never thought I'd finish! But figuring out what colors go into those isolated spaces is going to be hard

That bush at the far right hand corner of  the house may be why I abandoned this project in the first place. 

There's also a fair amount of back stitching to do (and it's not the kind that I could get away with leaving off) but I'm working on that while I avoid filling in those last few spots.

This project could be the perfect candidate for the "fifteen minutes a day until it's done" method of slogging through to the end. 


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