Saturday, June 23, 2007

A little over a week and quite a few hours of computer shopping later, and I'm still stuck with the ergonomic keyboard and Windows98. There are signs of a new computer on the horizon, I'm just not sure when.

So it's time for another round of knitting in isolation -- hopefully not as long as the last one. I can't look at blogs, can't print patterns, haven't tried reserving library books online, but I'm guessing that'll go about as well as looking at blogs...and it's been a loooong time since I could type faster than the computer displayed the letters.

I did get out to the Black Sheep Gathering this morning and met up with a friend from one of my knittings lists. Had a lot of fun, found some Addi lace needles, bought 3 skeins of yarn -- which does technically break the rules of knitting from my stash and knitting up 5000 grams before buying more yarn, but it's the first time I've cheated in almost two months, ir was only ten bucks and it's prety golden laceweight that isn't anything like the colors available in Knitpicks or Elann's laceweight. And Ranee said I deserved it!

I bought it thinking of the Icarus Shawl, but then I got to thinking about Gerda and I think I've changed my mind. That's one of the things I love about laceweight. It isn't quite as interchangable as sock yarn, but there are an awful lot of things any given amount can be.

I hadn't planned on going this year, but I'm very glad I did.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My computer broke. Literally -- there's a crack in the top of the tower. Nobody will admit that anything at all happened, but when I turn it on, only the fan comes on. So, for the moment, I'm typing this on an old computer that my dad passed onto the kids. I can't print or do anything with pictures, because this thing is too old to have a USB port, but it did let me get online and explain why I've fallen off the edge of the earth...

With all the other garbage I'm dealing with, I did not need this right now.

At least I'd already printed the patterns I want ot make from the new Knitty.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

This time, the swatch didn't lie, which has me totally confused. I tried this thing on just before dividing the front and back and it seemed HUGE. Now that it's done, it fits just right. It measures what the schematic says it should. I like the neckline. I thought it would choke me, but it's even loose enough to easily pull on over my ponytail and glasses.

I think I'll try this pattern again with different stitch patterns for the panels.

Pattern: Icy Blue Shell from Creative Knitting July 2007
Yarn: 2 1/2 skeins Lion Brand Cotton-Ease
Needles: Denise 10 1/2 circulars

I didn't feel like knitting at all last night, but wound up ordering a couple of scary movies on pay-per-view and working until all of the ends were woven in. Then I really didn't feel like knitting anything else ever. Not a comfortable feeling, even though I knew it was just temporary.

I was still feeling that way tonight, but I should finish more of the summer tops I have planned so I went up to the sewing room to look for that Elann Sonata I ordered last summer, then googled so I could print out another copy of the pattern I bought it for -- Sonata Crest of the Wave Tank Top.

What was I thinking?! Why didn't I cast on for this months ago?! I want it now!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Utility quilts intrigue me. I want one of my very own. There actually should be a couple hidden away around here someplace, but they're not the kind I'm currently fantasizing about.

I want a quilt that'll use up a ton of ugly scraps and turn them into something that looks neat. I want one that I can spread out on the grass at the park because that's much more comfortable than trying to sit and knit on one of the concrete benches. I want one that won't require a whole lot of accuracy while I'm working on it.

I think I've got a good start --

I've been going through the bags of auction and thrift store fabric, pulling out oddly shaped pieces that I'm never going to use in a regular quilt, and cutting them into strips. There was a little plastic bag that turned out to be full of fabric already cut into strips, and I just hauled down one of the plastic tubs of Mom's scraps (which, for some reason live in my sewing room instead of hers) and found a bunch more strips.

And I figured out what was wrong with my rotary cutter, which hasn't worked right in ages. I had changed the blade a while back, but that didn't help matters at all. Then yesterday I read on one of the quilting lists that it works to take the blade out and flip it, so I decided to give that a try.

There were TWO blades in the dumb thing. They must've stuck together when I was being so careful to take the new one out of the package.

It works much better now. And my 10 year old still hasn't stopped laughing at me.

Friday, June 08, 2007

In the comment she left yesterday, Rachel said I was trying to put the best light on a down situation. I'm glad she saw it that way, because I felt awful whiney. Today's been better.

Alex did send her brother in screaming that she got bitten by a spider while she was collecting eggs this morning, but it doesn't seem to have been a

During some brief stretches while the little ones were napping or playing happily with the big kids, I got the chance to play with my fabric a little more. I'm trying to find online directions for curved piecing, but there don't seem to be any out there.

I did find some other good stuff --'s quilting site has some neat looking patterns.

Quilter's Cache has patterns for a zillion blocks -- I'm drooling over Blazing Arrows.

And, come Hell or high water (or sick kids), I'm going to make a string quilt. I found an article about them in one of the magazines I was leafing through, then found a great tutorial here. Now I know what to do with those ugly novelty prints -- bury them under the strips instead of wasting my good muslin!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Yesterday, my babies were sick again and both insisted that the only place they could be content was in Mommy's lap. Alone. It didn't work out well at all.

I'm sure it's nothing serious, just watery eyes and sniffly noses and feeling miserable, but we're not having any fun here. They got a little friskier later in the day, so I tried to wash and iron the fat quarters.

I want to know what the story behind this fabric is. A lot of pieces were still folded in neat little squares with the ends tucked in, exactly the way they left the quilt shop. Those gave me a sad feeling -- why didn't our mystery quilter do anything with them? Others were cut at the strangest angle, but had been folded back to the size of fat quarters. Those made me feel better, because I'm imagining the weird cut was for a specific project.

That was the stuff in the top half of the bag. At the bottom were scraps of solid colors and ugliest novelty prints ever. I'm positive that the stuff on the top and the stuff on the bottom came from two different sources and was put together at the thrift store. The ugly stuff is back in the bag, waiting for its fate to be determined.

The good fabric tried to whisper to me while I was ironing it, but Alex was hanging over my shoulder and making too much noise for me to hear exactly what it wants to be. I know what she thinks it should be, and which pieces she wants for herself, and I've got a blister on the side of my hand where I brushed it against the iron because I was too busy keeping everyone else away from it to watch out for myself.

Despite all of that, I found exactly the right colors to make a little wall quilt from one of the magazines. It's one of the rare days when we stay home and I should be able to get some stuff done, but I spent the entire night cuddling Leif in exactly the right position so he could sleep and the day's gotten off to a rotten start.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


It's been an absolutely wild day here. We went up to Mom's to pick up the first hundred of the quilt magazines (she's keeping half to read and then we're going to trade, and eventually they'll all wind up in my sewing room.) I haven't even sat down to look at them yet, and I've already found half a dozen things I've gotta make.

Grandma stopped by to see the kids and while we were talking about quilt magazines and my bedraggled monkey quilt and the fantastic one Mom just finished, I told her that if she finds any more cheap bags of cotton fabric at the auction we can definitely find something to use it for. That probably sounds tacky, but she doesn't get the whole "stash building" thing and might just decide we've got enough.

She took off, Mom and the kids and I went out to lunch and ran some errands, and a couple of hours later Grandma pulled into the parking space beside us at Joann's. With a bag of fabric she'd just picked up at the thrift store for $4 -- a bag that had seventy-five fat quarters and a bunch of scraps in it. I don't know how she found it, or even found us, since no one knew where we were headed. I swear that woman has a magic wand!

Then we went to Michaels to look at the new giant skeins of Sugar N Cream, and they've also got Simply Soft in the perfect shade of red. But I stuck to the stash knitting plan and didn't bring any home with me.

Oh, and the library has a copy of Unexpected Knitting, which is in my living room with all of the rest of the good stuff...and I picked up the copy of More Sensational Knitted Socks that I ordered along with the kids' schoolbooks...and I would probably have been able to finish that new summer top tonight if I wasn't in such a happy fabric induced daze.

Life is good.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The plan for June seems to be for me to knit cute little summer tops. Like most of my knitting plans, this one formed without much participation on my part.

I've already got the raglan portion of Picovoli done and, since a friend pointed out that it was an endless stretch of mostly plain stockinette, I decided to save the next few inches for late night and park knitting.

So now I'm working on the Icy Blue Shell from the July 2007 issue of Creative Knitting. If I didn't know better, I'd say someone else was working on it while my back is turned, because this thing is going to be done and ready to wear before I know it.

The only thing I've got doubts about at this point is the neckline, but since it's knit in the round from the bottom up, I'm telling myself I can always change it to something more scooped if it bugs me. I like the dragon skin panels -- there are narrower strips down the sides which don't show up in the magazine photo.

Quinn seems to like the dragon scales as much as I do.

There's been a lot of happy squealing at my house this week.

First, it was the sock patterns. I've mentioned how sock patterns make my heart go pitty pat and how I'm trying to resist the temption to order all of Cookie A's sock patterns right this second?

I found more sock patterns to love. It started with the cables here. I've never seen cables like these. You might not want to read down too far, because something bad -- worse than anything in those horror movies I've been staying up too late to watch -- happened to those cables.

The pattern is from the Socken-Kreativ-Liste. I was so head over heels in lust with those cables that not even the thought of trying to knit them from a German pattern was enough to scare me off. But no matter how much I Googled, I couldn't find the list.

Took me two days find the link on Grumperina's site, right in the post that led me to the gorgeous cables. I managed to get myself signed up and figure out which links to click on to get to the patterns -- and they've got English translations!

Alex and I spent most of the afternoon dancing through the house squealing about pretty lace socks.

Then I got the email about the quilt magazines. I'd responded to a Freecycle post last week, but someone else had beaten me to the fifty quilting magazines that the lady was offering. That someone didn't show up to get them, so she emailed me and asked me to call her that night.

I didn't get the message until the next day, and at that point both babies had just gotten over fevers -- they're fine now, but it probably wouldn't have been right to drag them out in the car, even if there were free quilting magazines involved. So I called Mom and Dad and begged. Then crossed my fingers and called the lady to see if she still had them or if she'd gone to the next name on her list.

Called Mom back with the address and had to hang up abruptly because Bill got bit by the snake he'd just found under the wading pool, which isn't a happy thing at all, but it did illustrate to the children why we keep telling them not to pick up snakes in the yard of the new house. Supposedly, there are rattlesnakes down here.

It was a few hours before I finally heard from her. There weren't fifty quilting magazines. There were TWO HUNDRED quilting magazines, all of them in pristine condition.

Eeek! I should get to pick them up tomorrow, if no one gets sick or snake bit.


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