Friday, June 30, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {6/30/17}

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, June 29, 2017

Unseasonal Stitching

It's been a long time since I did any cross-stitching. I used  to do a ton of it, back before I learned to knit and quilt. After I broke my knee for the first time, there was some negative crap that took the joy out of it for me and every time I've thought about starting up again those memories have popped back up. 

Last week, when the boys and I were going through the thrift shop looking at things we don't need, I found this ninety-nine center cross stitch kit. It was factory sealed and has only a few colors and it's kind of cute. 

Even with the grid lines, I'm making mistakes left and right. I think I've  caught them all. If I haven't, it's just a cheap little kit and the world won't end.

But I'm hoping I can get back  into the swing of cross stitching and tackle some of the more ambitious projects that I've still got up in my stash.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Souvenir Socks

I only spent about twenty minutes knitting (if that) while we were on Kauai, but these are the ones I'm going to remember as my Hawaii socks. When I was putting together the yarn for my Summer yarn sampler, I had this skein of Mary Maxim Tropical Breeze set aside for the trip. It seemed appropriately beachy. 

Yarn: Mary Maxim Tropical Breeze, Walk on By
Pattern:  Lace Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks 

I wound up using that same lace rib pattern that I used for the pink Esprit socks a couple of months ago. It's easy to do from memory and just by looking at the needles I can tell where I left off, as long as I don't put them down in the middle of a round.

I'm surprised at how nice this yarn was to work with.  I bought it on clearance at Craft Warehouse for three dollars a skein and didn't have high expectations. It was really nice to knit with and had an almost cottony feel, except there's no cotton actually in it. 75% wool, 25% nylon, according to the label. Not a single knot or splice or weird spot and the gradient played nicely all the way through both socks.

Hand knit socks make a great souvenir, even if I don't spend much of the trip actually knitting on them. Last summer, I worked on the haunted hotel socks with their mysteriously appearing rabbits.  The summer before that, I had my hayride socks which had nothing to do with the trip as far as colors or name, but the resort had convenient hay bales placed around the pool with decorative lanterns so I'm not going to argue with that.

I'm kind of giddy that we got to see the waterfall from the opening credits of Fantasy Island. (And the one from Jurassic Park, but that's not quite as exciting.)

I wondered about using this stitch pattern again so soon, but then I decided if it's okay to use k2p2 ribbing on a dozen pairs in a row it should be just as acceptable to use an easy variation. Do you reuse the same yarn and/or pattern more than once?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

{Antique Mall Tempations} Is Antique Bug Spray an Appropriate Father's Day Gift?

After much debate, the boys and I decided that it is and luckily my husband agreed. He's always looking at the bug sprayers at estate sales and this one was more affordable than what we've seen before and has neater graphics. 

I'm fascinated by this very expensive little desk with the broken chair. The carving in the middle center is an angel, which didn't show up in the other pictures I took. There are drawers down one side and false drawers down the other to make it symmetrical. And the whole thing is sized for a child... so it this something that someone pieced together? Or was that little chair added later? They don't seem to match well.

I love love love old radios like these. Can't you just imagine sitting next to one and listening to Suspense or Lights Out? 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Trying Something New

Have I ever mentioned that I'm intimidated by applique? But I'm also completely enchanted by the gorgeous quilts I saw in Hawaii....and it looks like enchantment is stronger than intimidation...

The smart thing might've been to pick the simplest design in the book. But if I'm going to spend as many hours as I imagine this will take, I'm going to spend it on something I love. If I'm going to abandon the project it makes just as much sense to abandon something hard as it does to abandon something easy. The investment in materials will be the same either way.

And I'm being just cautious enough not to start with one of the big patterns I bought on the trip!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Summer Yarn

My Summer Yarn Sale order from Knit Picks arrived on Friday. I knew that I was excited about this new addition to my stash, but I didn't realize how excited  until I opened the box...

Can I just cast on with all of it right now?

It's so pretty! The pictures on the website were of swatches, so I didn't realize how it would look in the skein. Based on Socks on a Plane and Rose and Thorn Socks, I know I love Hawthorne, so I ordered every color that was on sale and looked appealing and wasn't already in my stash. I did the same with the Stroll tonal and handpaints, looking for the colorways on sale at the lowest price and deciding from there which ones I wanted.

It's a great way to replenish my stash without breaking the bank.

Stash Report

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric used year to date: 2 yards
Fabric added this week: 0 yards
Fabric added year to date: 13 yards
Net added for 2017: 11 yards

Yarn used this Week: yards
Yarn used year to Date: 5200 yards
Yarn added this Week: 7359 yards
Yarn added Year to Date: 16709 yards
Net added for 2017: 11509 yards

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Glass Beach, Kauai

I'd read that there's a glass beach on Kauai and, inspired by the posts Dainty Squid and The Only Living Girl in New York have written about a different glass beach that I know I'll never see, I was determined to find it. My husband was less enthused, but we were already close (and Kauai isn't that big to begin with) so we followed the directions in my travel guide. 

We got to what was supposed to be the right spot and I was immediately distracted by the cemetery on the other side of the narrow gravel road. The stones were shaped differently than I've seen before and I almost forgot what I'd talked my husband into looking for in the first place. 

McBryde Sugar Plantation Cemetery, Kauai

It was hard to make out much from the right side of the barbed wire fence, but the writing was Japanese and it all looked old. Later we looked it up and found out that it's the McBryde Sugar Plantation Cemetery and a local woman has been working to uncover the gravestones, which were almost completely buried in weeds until she stumbled across them. This is why I love our smartphones! We learn so much more about the places we visit than we could have in the days when our only resource was a AAA guide.

McBryde Sugar Plantation Cemetery, Kauai

We took a few pictures through the fence and  then walked down the hill to find the beach, which is a very narrow strip that had at least a dozen people beach combing while we were there.  I didn't see any recognizable pieces of bottles, just amazing little grains of tumbled glass.

Amazing that a garbage dump can turn into something this beautiful. (And I'm sure a lot of what was swept out to sea wasn't as pretty or as inert.)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {6/23/17}

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, June 22, 2017

{The Row by Row Experience} It's started!

Someone please tell me that I'm not the only one who's been counting down the days for the Row by Row Experience to begin for 2017! I think we visited something like forty shops last year, but I didn't manage to sew a single row. And I don't feel guilty about that.  

Things kicked off yesterday and there are two quilt shops (sort of) on the way to to the park where the boys like to ride their bikes. I didn't detour to the other three that are close to home. I'll be out that direction soon enough. 

 With everything that's going on at home right now, I'm not sure if I'll have time to visit as many shops as I did last year. I'm trying not to make ambitious plans I won't be able to carry out. Maybe instead of travelling I should try to actually make some rows and put together a quilt?

I definitely want to include both of these!
Seamingly Together (Sweet Home, Oregon)
Yankee Dutch Quilting (Brownsville, Oregon)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

{Books and Yarn} The Breakdown

You know those projects you cast on and then absolutely can't put down? This is one of those. 

Look at how pretty the blues and green are! Look at the pretty stitch pattern and what it does to the blues and greens!

Would you believe that this is a different colorway of the same yarn I used for those purple socks? The colors are doing exactly what they should. There wasn't a knot to be found in either skein. I've got my fingers crossed that the color pattern continues to behave now that I'm past  the heel. And once I start the second sock.

The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

I almost gave up on The Breakdown after the first few chapters because I couldn't wrap my head around what the protagonist was doing. Cass had promised her husband that she wouldn't take the shortcut home through the woods, but she did and along the way she drove past a woman alone in a parked car.  I don't get why she didn't call the police after learning that the woman had been murdered and that she was probably the last woman to see her alive.  Unrelated to the murder in the woods, Cass is suddenly suffering from lapses in memory and fears that she's showing the first signs of the early-onset dementia that her mother had. But she won't tell her husband about that, either. When I picked this book to read, I thought there would be a compelling reason why Cass couldn't tell anyone that she'd taken the shortcut. But there wasn't. She just refuses to be a grown up and do the right thing. Farther into the book, things do get more interesting and I'm glad I kept reading until the end. But I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as I enjoyed Behind Closed Doors, the author's first novel.

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much might be my favorite of the Madison Night mystery series. Like the other books, it really captures the madcap feel of an old Doris Day movie. When Madison's tasseled straw hat falls into the river and she bends over to retrieve it, she spots a face floating just below the water's surface. When the police arrive a few minutes later, the body is gone. Madison expected her working vacation with Hunter to be a romantic getaway,  but staying with his sister and her husband becomes more and more awkward. Jimmy resents Madison because the police investigation triggered by her report of the body is delaying his development project and costing him money. There's a little less emphasis on the mid-century stuff in this book, but the details that the author does include create a wonderful atmosphere. I'm also warming up to Madison more than I did when reading the other books.

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copies by the publishers. All opinions are my own. This post is linked to iknead2knit, and  Frontier Dreams  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

{Thrift Shop Tempations} I Do Not Need That

Have I told you how much I miss Advil? Last week I had one of those stupid headaches that wouldn't give up and the boys and I left the house in search of fresh air. Apparently the fresh air can be found at St. Vinnie's and we spent an hour or so wandering every last aisle looking at every last thing... which led to way too much "Mom? Mom look at this! Mom I really need this..."  but I did leave the store feeling better. 

I don't know why the shoe polisher caught my attention. For all I know, it's not even old...and it was definitely overpriced. But about two seconds after I walked away from it, one of the boys pronounced it "cool." I'm sure we'll stumble across a cheaper one at an estate sale someday.

I adore this green furniture. The boys love this green furniture. Even if I had a good place to put it, four hundred bucks was way too much.

Someone please remind me I've got enough Pryex casserole dishes. I don't need more, not even if they have pretty blue houses on them or whatever that nifty pattern on the bottom right is.

I share a bathroom with my three sons, but I will never ever  understand the signs like this one. On the day when I finally snap and make a sign, I won't take the time to cross-stitch it, or spend the money to nicely frame it, and it won't be cute or polite.

Browsing was fun and I came home with an inexpensive Halloween cross-stitch kit. The really neat stuff stayed at the store to wait for the person who can fully appreciate it.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Matching the Zippers to the Fabric

Does picking out the perfect zipper to go with each fabric count as progress? 

I'm fairly sure it doesn't, but that's as close to sewing as I got last night. I had a plan, I had the time set aside to execute that plan...and then I wound up spending that time with one of my kids instead. I was having second thoughts about my plan for the apron fabric anyway, so maybe taking another night to think about it before I cut into the novelty print isn't a bad thing.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Vicky's Fabrics

This quilt shop was two blocks away from the resort we were staying at. I didn't make it there until almost the end of  the trip because I knew all I had to do was grab my key card and head out while Hubby and the boys were occupied with something else. 

Vicky's Fabrics is full of ocean-themed novelty prints and my daughter and I had a blast narrowing down our choices. Somehow, though, I wound up buying more fabric for her than for myself. Or does it all count as mine since I spent the money and will be doing the sewing?

This was a neat idea...and a completely baffling one. Unless you came to Hawaii specifically for a quilt retreat, just why?! I could barely manage to pick up my knitting because there was so much to take in and do.

Like I said, lots and lots and lots of tempting fabrics...

Here's what we limited ourselves to...

The cutesy narwhals are for a bag for my daughter, the fabric next to that is the panel from the center of the mermaid quilt pictured above, the octopuses are for bags for both of us, and the rice bag prints are for my new purse or tote bag or whatever I wind up making once I work up the nerve to cut into it.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Express Lane, Again

Sometimes, like with the Candy Socks I posted earlier this week you pick up your yarn and pattern and everything goes so smoothly that there isn't much to do besides post a picture and say that you made a pair of socks. Most of time time, it isn't quite that easy.

And then there are socks like these. It's my second try at making Express Lane socks. 

Let's start with the positive. The fit like a dream. The stitch pattern shows up well against the yarn. Working with a gradient for the first time was fun, except for one long splice that meant I couldn't tell there was a problem until I wound up with this:

Gradient yarn may not be for me. I don't have the patience or inclination to spend much time reknitting half a sock to fix something like that. I kind of suspect that I'd have better luck (maybe) with higher-end yarn. This stuff is Drops Delight  and it's dirt cheap even before it goes on sale.

I expected it to be about the same quality at the Drops Fabel I've been knitting with lately, but it's definitely different. I didn't find any knots, but there was that sneaky long splice. And there are bits of lighter fiber mixed in with the darker colors, which left me with odd  splotches of color here and there. Some sections of yarn are very loosely spun and it tends to be splitty.

I've got another two skeins of the stuff, so I'll let you know if those are any better.

The next mishap was entirely my own fault. I was tired of fighting the splitty yarn and just wanted to be I forgot that I was supposed to be knitting the pattern on the back of the leg. Three repeats are plain stockinette because by the time I found my mistake I wasn't going back to fix it.

Pattern: Express Lane
Yarn: Drops Delight, Raspberry Cake

Friday, June 16, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {6/16/17}

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, June 15, 2017

Thirteen Spools

Not bad progress for a night that I had to force myself to plug in the sewing machine... 

It wasn't progress on the quilt that I intended to make progress on last night, but it was sewing that didn't require any decision making and after about an hour of piecing spools I gave myself permission to get back to the knitting project that's kicking my butt.

Remember those Express Lane socks? The first pair didn't turn out because although the yarn and pattern are both great, they're not great together. (The new owner of the socks disagrees with me and I'm happy that she's happy with them.) The second pair is a better combination of pattern and yarn, but the yarn is splitty and there's a  spot where the gradient didn't do its thing (and I didn't catch on soon enough because of a weird long splice) and yesterday afternoon I made a HUGE mistake with the pattern on the cuff. As in, I didn't knit the first two repeats so that part is plain stockinette. Now I'm just trying to get them done so I can play with something else.

Knit Picks is having their Summer Yarn Sale and after sitting out the Big Yarn Sale at the end of last year, I've got a whole bunch of pretty new fingering weight headed my way. Along with two new pairs of dpns because even if no one does anything stupid, they don't last forever.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

{Antique Shop Temptations} Waimea

I didn't realize at first that we were walking into an antique shop. We'd been making our way down the sidewalk, looking at t-shirts and bamboo wind chimes and this was the next place on the street. The horse toy buried in the bushes caught my attention, but I still wasn't thinking "neat antiques!"

Not until we stepped through the door and Teenage Son pointed out this book. Peter Pan from before Disney got involved.

It's easy not to be tempted when your purchases have to fit into the same suitcase as the rest of your belongings. Furniture was completely off limits...but I brought home ideas. Remember those sewing stools I've been so tempted by? What if  I found one in poor condition (or made one) and did some quilting to upholster it with?

Another pretty crib for my imaginary collection of unsafe baby furniture...

I wish I'd had more time to look at the old pictures. A couple of those would've fit in my suitcase. And collecting old wedding pictures would be just as fun as my small collection of baby pictures.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Candy Socks

Look, new socks! 

Toe Up Socks in Drops Fabel Candy
Yarn: Drops Fabel, Candy 

I read two of these last week and the rest either a few weeks or months back. When publishers are nice enough to provide me with advance review copies, I can't post the review until the book's actual publication date. Sometimes that means a bunch of reviews ready to post on the same day. And honestly, how helpful would it be for me to tell you about this great book I just read that won't be out for another six months?

Just Add Water by Hunter Shea

David and Patrick's parents warned them not to waste their money on the Amazing Sea Serpents they saw advertised in the back of a Wonder Woman comic. The boys should have listened. They follow the directions exactly, and wait...and nothing happens. So they dump the smelly contents of the little tank down a sewer grate, and then the Sea Serpents grow. Just Add Water is like a Goosebumps book for grownups-- and there's another book about X-ray glasses coming out later this year. I can't wait to get my hands on that one!  There is some gore, but it's the fun horror movie kind, not the kind that makes me wish I hadn't read it.

Adrift by Micki Browning

Mer is a scientist. She understands how the paranormal is supposed to work -- her mother was born in Sedona and reads palms. But Mer lives a life based on facts and research. She refuses to believe that the diver she rescued from the wreck of the  Spiegel Grove saw a ghost. And she's not impressed by the ghost hunters who hired her as dive master on their late night expedition. When things go wrong and the leader of the group disappears during the dive, Mer is devastated...and skeptical. There's no such thing as ghosts, so how can the glowing apparition they encounter on their next trip down to the wreck be Ishmael?

I couldn't have chosen to read the first Mer Cavallo mystery at a better time. After a couple of days of snorkeling and a scuba demonstration in the resort's pool earlier that day, it was way to easy to imagine swallowing salty water and drowning below the surface. Especially when I was reading late at night with only the glow of my phone's screen to keep me company. More than once, I found myself literally holding my breath.  Of all the cozies I've read, I think this is the one where the character's involvement in the mystery made the most sense. Mer lost a client and is determined to find out exactly what happened to him.

The Halloween Children by Brian James Freeman and Norman Prentiss

For the safety of the residents, the annual Halloween party at the Stillbrook apartment complex has been cancelled. The manager is worried about what could happen, about injuries and accidents and liability claims, but she has no idea how bad things could get. I really enjoyed the beginning of the book when the maintenance man and his wife were watching a horror movie, comparing the sounds that frighten the characters to the sounds of their daily life. (Like them, I'd never hear a ghost over the rest of the everyday racket.) Their relationship is strained and the problems growing between them seem more believable than the disagreements I usually see in books. When the real horror did begin, I found it kind of disappointing. The characters were unique, but what happened to them and their neighbors wasn't.

It's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, despite being as different as three women can be. Kate was beautiful, wild, wealthy, and damaged. Aubrey, on financial aid, came from a broken home, and wanted more than anything to distance herself from her past. And Jenny was a striver—brilliant, ambitious, and determined to succeed. As an unlikely friendship formed, the three of them swore they would always be there for each other.

But twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge, and someone is urging her to jump.

There's  a complicated web of relationships in this book and it gets more complicated as the story progresses. The story jumps from their college years to the present day and between characters and was interesting enough to keep me reading

A Margin of Lust by Greta Boris

Her newest listing is just what Realtor Gwen Bishop needs to advance her career to the next level. The view and location are fantastic and she's sure that selling it will lead to bigger and better things. Then a body is discovered in an upstairs bedroom. Someone wants the house, but they don't plan to get it through the usual channels. I enjoyed this one. The killer is appropriately creepy and the characters are believable. Gwen and her husband are growing apart, but both are sympathetic characters. I enjoyed this one and I'm looking forward to the second book in the series, which will feature two of the more interesting secondary characters.


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