Monday, April 30, 2018

Carrying Items Over From Last Week Again

It looks like moving things forward from the previous week's list is going to be a thing for me. I don't mind too much since it's not like those things would have gotten done if I wasn't keeping the list.

I did pull floss for the Grady twins and  there's a surprising lot of it considering how small the project is. Some of the lightest colors didn't work with the fabric I planned on using, so I put that stitching on hold while I figure out where I put my 18 count white aida.

So the plan for this week is to

-- start stitching the Grady twins
-- pin baste blue and white charity quilt
-- choose sock yarn for summer sock yarn sampler
-- pull together shawl yarn and patterns now that the needles are here
-- sew a new book bag for library runs

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Because Big Shawls Call for Long Needles

Large triangular shawls take really long needles and, although I've got a 60" interchangeable cable,  the tips of my plastic Denise set have never seemed sharp enough for anything but the most basic lace. So I used the last of my birthday money and placed a Knitpicks order.

The tips and cables are sold separately and screw together (for sizes 4 and up -- smaller sizes are available as fixed needles.) That may be a good thing. I know I use lighter or darker wooden sock needles depending on the color of the yarn I'm working with. 

Not knowing for sure what I'll be making, I guessed at the tip sizes but I think I'm set for anything!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

{Museum a Month} Lan Su Chinese Garden

The month was coming to an end and we still hadn't made time for a museum visit. This month's participating attraction for the Portland Attractions Marketing Alliance is the Lan Su Chinese Garden. So we went.

The garden takes up an entire city block and was designed to replicate the garden of a sixteenth century bureaucrat scholar. (It's also considered to be the most authentic Suzhou-style Chinese garden outside of China, built in 2000 as part of a partnership between Portland and its sister city.)

I knew the garden was in the middle of town, but I still expected it to feel more separate. Tall buildings are visible above the garden's architecture and the sound of traffic was always there in the background. At one point the bass from someone's car stereo was almost as loud as the tour guide's voice. 

Definitely take the guided tour if you happen to visit. There's symbolism in everything, and so much history about the garden and why it's the way it is. You could thoroughly enjoy the beauty of the place without knowing the details, but the tour adds a lot. 

The garden would have been the daytime dwelling of a scholar and his wives.

Another tip -- the brochure is worth reading. I'm always so busy keeping track of kids that I just put the brochure or map or whatever into my purse, but this one is really interesting. Even if it did take me a bit too long to figure out the interactive window feature.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {4/27/18}

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, April 26, 2018

{Estate Sale Temptations} All the Memories

Last Thursday, Hubby and I stopped at an estate sale. We bought a hand truck for our daughter (because what twenty-one year old doesn't have that item her wish list?) and a Better Homes and Garden cookbook from the 1950s and that was it. 

There was an entire bedroom full of yarn. It was (relatively) clean and well organized and all of it was priced above Joanns or Michaels sale prices.  There was also a sign saying that stuff would be three dollars a bag full starting at noon on Saturday. 

We got there at 11:52.  Maybe the yarn had been picked over, or maybe I was being more discriminating...or maybe the other woman in the room had grabbed the best stuff quickly... I picked up a couple of skeins that I'd spotted on our previous visit and headed for were the knitting notions. All of the stitch holders and stitch markers and crochet hooks went into my bag...along with the four zippers because the by-the-bag pricing made them pretty much free.   

I have knitting notions, but they're never in the bag I'm using at the time. I've been to Walmart and Joanns and the Knitpicks website and they add up quickly. A couple of bucks for the markers, a couple of bucks for the cable needles... I wind up going back home to dig for what I've already got. These are going into that stash of sewing notions that I bought a few months ago and hopefully the next time I need one I'll remember that it's there.

I did get some yarn, and an armload of cross stitch magazines. They're old, but they slid neatly into the bag beside the yarn. The embroidery has a definite estate sale smell that I'm hoping will wash out.

Then we went out into the front of the house. When my husband and I were first married, we had these ginormous lamps that I absolutely loved. Like this one, only blood red and rounder. They got broken during a move and I've missed them ever since.

My middle son fell in love with the lamp and, for four bucks, he can have it in his room. Mostly because I love it even more than he does.

It took a little while for the boys to catch on to the fact that all of the bric a brac was fair game. I thought I'd explained the concept, but apparently not. Another man there was urging his kids to grab up anything they wanted and I was trying to be a little more tactful than that... but this was the sale where I was willing to buy a dusty metal model of  the Santa Maria and a cannon. And a folding metal camping toaster because my son was so baffled by the concept. (Wish me luck with that one because now I've got to demonstrate it!)

We knew that the game boy wouldn't work but might be useful for parts, and the games aren't the best but they fit into the same bag with the yarn, which made them almost free.

There are some things that should have made it into my bag but didn't, like the pair of what looked like decent sewing scissors. I had them in my hand...why did I put them back down?

I've been wanting a shadow box to keep miniatures in and I think this little house will clean up well. Most of the contents will wind up going back to the thrift shop. I'll keep the elephant and little tea cup and the boys have already claimed the Wade Rose Tea raccoon and owl and a little padlock.

As we were walking out to the car, I spotted the busted up ceramic squirrels on a table in the carport. They would have easily fit into one of my three bags because I was trying not to be obnoxious and overstuff them, but I'd already paid for everything. I went back in, hoping they'd let me have them for a buck or two, but the nice lady wound up giving them to me. (And seriously, what's the market value for squirrels that have had their tales snapped off and badly glued back on?)

I love, love, love these little guys! I saw one in an Instagram picture the day before  -- look at the squirrel on the doorframe -- that got me feeling all nostalgic. Grandma had a set in her yard for years and I'm pretty sure I've got them in a box of stuff we brought home from her place, but I'd be afraid to put them out in the yard because I'd be crushed if something happened to them. Our place has critters and boys crawling around in the trees.

These are where I can enjoy them from my kitchen window. If something happens to them, they were already far past their prime. (Although if someone steals my squirrels, I'm going to be seriously ticked off!)

The entire haul only cost me seventeen bucks. Not everything made it into the pictures. I also got a potato masher that's nicer than the one I already had and a set of reproduction Civil War newspapers and a big stack of felt that might be good for all of those Christmas ornaments I've been pinning and a kit for making plastic canvas gingerbread houses.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Scrunched up Lace Knitting

The rows are getting longer and the lace pattern is getting more complex....although it's still very simple lace. At this point, I can't stretch out the whole shawl to show it off because the project is longer than the needles.

Yarn: Knitpicks Hawthorne, Forest Park
Pattern: Wailea Shawl 

Before it's finished and blocked, lace has a habit of scrunching up into a completely unsightly lump. It will come of the needles and stretch into shape and look the way it should...but I'm not there yet.
That yellow yarn running through the stitches? It's a lifeline. I'm trying to learn from my mistakes.

Socks start looking like socks as soon as you've got a toe or a cuff.

Yarn: Patons Kroy, Turquoise Stripes 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Horror Movie Stitching

I finished a thing and I'm getting ready to start a new thing. 

Sunday night one of the cross stitch designers I follow on Instagram posted a snipped of a chart. The first person who guessed what house it was part of would win a free copy of the pattern when it was released. It was late and I was tired and I guessed that it was the Bates place because that was the only horror movie house I could think of....

And now I've got a new pattern that I can't wait to start stitching, Home Is Where the Horror Is from WitchyStitchArt on etsy.  Thanks to that master set of DMC floss I've spent so many hours winding, I've got all of the colors pulled and I could start stitching if I hadn't promised myself I wasn't going to start anything else until I stitched the Grady Twins. And then it was going to be another I've got some priorities to adjust.

While I was thinking it over, I made myself a grime guard. If you don't know (and I didn't myself until very recently) that's an elasticized cover that goes around the edge of your Q-snaps and keeps the edges of your project clean. I've been wanting one for months and since I've got fabric and elastic and I sew, obviously I was going to make it myself.

I didn't want to risk an expensive novelty print and my oldest son had outgrown a pair of horror movie themed pajama pants so I used a leg from those. I should have made my strip of fabric an inch wider, but this will work. And I'll know to make the next one wider when I use fabric that isn't salvaged from old clothes....because if I've decided that I need a grime guard I've also decided that I need a cute one which coordinates with my project.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Plans for the Week

I'm rolling over a couple of things from last week's list, which were also rolled over from the week before that.

-- clear off my sewing machine table
-- start stitching the Grady Twins
-- ziz zag fabric for Girl With Cosmos
-- pin baste blue and white quilt
-- sew a grime guard

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Stitching

This is going to be like two separate projects. The little girl on the left side of the picture is full coverage. That might make her the perfect project to take along to our first Thursday stitching group. It's definitely going to make her take longer to stitch than the flowers and basket. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

{Thrift Shop Temptations} The Paintings

Just because I have a serious lack of wall space doesn't meant that I can't drool over the paintings and prints. 

There are lots of them that I'd like to bring home, but the reality is that I already have plenty of framed pieces and not a lot of big stretches of wall to hang them on. And there will always be more of them for me to fall in love with.

This one is going to haunt me. I love the idea of girls on a couch huddling around a book...and the potted plants on the windowsill behind them... But what are they looking at that's got those expressions on their faces? 

This centerpiece is filled with tons of possibilities but whoever priced it has obviously been on Pinterest and knows what they are...and knows that the rest of us know...

I've been on the lookout for vintage needlework books and found a few. This one left me speechless. I have no doubt that someone is going to want it, but that someone sure isn't me!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {4/20/18}

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, April 19, 2018

Coffee Antique Tin (and why that name sounds so, so wrong)

Remember all of  those vintage needlework kits I've been buying over the past year or so? I stitched one up! 

This isn't my favorite of the kits I've bought, but I wanted to start with something that wouldn't break my heart if I completely messed it up. The package was labeled "a beginning stitchery kit," which helped me make my choice I did learn from this project, and modified my techniques a bit as I stitched my way through it. I think I'm improving.

Overall, I'm happy with the results and it's steadily grown on me. My mother had a harvest gold kitchen when I was growing up and something about it makes my heart go pitty pat a little faster than it might without those gold accents.

There's a bigger kit with flour canisters, which was in the first crewel haul, and there are also four smaller kits. This is one, and I've got the cocoa tin. I'd love to find the tobacco tin and syrup tin and (if I ever got all five of them stitched up) make them into a quilted wall hanging.

The name of the design is "Coffee Antique Tin." Doesn't that sound wrong? Do you know why you want to rename it to "Antique Coffee Tin?"

In the English language, adjectives go in a certain order opinion, size, age, shape, color, origin, material, purpose. We all do it...but we don't know that we're following a rule. And that's the kind of weird thing that you learn when you're homeschooling a pack of curious kids.

Did you learn this at some point in your education? With all of the writing classes I took over the years and all of the books and articles I've read, I never knew there was rule telling you which order to put the words in. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Almost Back to Where I Was

The pictures look a lot like the shawl I showed you last week, but trust me. This version is completely different and whole lot prettier. And I'm going to make myself put in a lifeline before the lace pattern changes, so I hopefully won't be knitting this skein of yarn a third time. 

The pattern is Wailea Shawl, a free download from Crystal Palace Yarns.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

This Week's List

Last week I made a to do list to link up with Christine over at Stitch All the Things. I didn't get every last thing done, but it really did help. What's going on the list aren't the things I know I'll  be working on this week, or the behind-the-scenes blogging details. It's the stuff that I'm going to do as soon as I get a few minutes....but then when I get a few minutes I do something else entirely. 


-- add last floss to master set
-- finish coffee tin crewel
-- clear off my sewing machine table
-- start stitching the Grady Twins

Monday, April 16, 2018

Blue and White

As soon as I typed that I'd been avoiding this little blue and white quilt for no good reason, I remembered the reason. My Janome and I are still mad at each other. I need to make time to take it in to see if it can be forced to behave, but I keep putting it off. That's what I'm avoiding. 

The straight stitch works, and so does the zig zag, so I spent Saturday morning adding the circles and then putting the top together. If I'd brought just a couple more inches of fusible web along with me, I could've had the top completely finished. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Girl With Cosmos

This portion of the project is going quickly, especially compared to my other current cross stitch project. Not many colors, no partial stitches...and doesn't it look pretty? 

My progress will slow down as soon as I start on the little girl herself, but for now I'm enjoying watching the flowers stitch up as quickly as they are. The quality of the fabric and thread that came with the kit aren't great, but I love the design itself and once its finished, no one will ever know how crunchy the aida  that came with the kit was.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {4/13/18}

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, April 12, 2018

{Thrift Shop Temptations} I Hope Someone Does Something With This Quilt Top

As an unfinished quilt top, it's not much. But those big squares of fabric have potential... 

My best guess is that the more interesting prints were cut from Bicentennial tea towels and the rest might be a polyester/cotton blend. In the middle, one square says Rocky Mountain Feed Company. I'd love to take these squares apart and put them back together into something else. But not for thirty bucks.

There were a few needlework kits buried in with the scrapbooking supplies, but after my recent splurges I decided it was best to pass on the apples and cats.

It's hard to get a picture of something far above my head, but I think I captured what you needed to see.

Four four bucks, I really was tempted to buy her for the living room wall, just to see how my family would react. I could have always reused the frame for some cross-stitch later. And now I'm wishing I'd bought her...

There are no words to describe this end table...

Just....why? And where would you put it? And what would the other furniture in the room look like? I could maybe understand a water baby swimming with the dolphins if I tried hard enough, but that's a cupid with wings. Do enough people want tables like this to justify mass producing them?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

It's Hard to Know When to Quit

Four hundred yards in, it's become extremely obvious that this shawl is not working. I'm not going to name the pattern I was using because it's got 10,000 projects on Ravelry and that makes it pretty obvious that I'm the one who can't follow the instructions to increase in the feather and fan section. 

I thought it would be okay if the eyelets didn't line up after the increases, but they lined up on one half of the shawl and not the other.... That made it pretty much impossible to think of it at a "design element." So I pulled the entire thing off of the needles and unravelled it to the end of the first lace section, sure that I could finish it off in garter stitch.

Guys, I had close to 300 live stitches just sitting there with no needle and picked them all back up without disaster! I don't even try to mess with things like that.

This is a lot of hours of knitting and I could finish it off in garter stitch but I love this yarn and want it to be something better and the past few months have been all about making better knitting decisions. So I'm starting over with a completely different pattern.

(Putting in a lifeline between the stockinette section and the feather and fan would have meant I could save the shawl and finished it as originally planned, but as much as I appreciate the concept of lifelines, I'm rarely motivated enough to thread one in when I should.)

I've picked out another pattern that I think will be absolutely gorgeous, so I'm not feeling too bad about the lost hours.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

To-Do Tuesday

Stitch ALL The Things

This week, I'm finally making a list for To-Do Tuesday with Christine over at Stitch All the Things.There are plenty of things that I plan on doing just as soon as I get a minute...then when a minute comes I wind up doing plenty of other things.

Maybe this will help me get some of it done. The complete list is a whole lot longer, but it includes things that are beind-the-scenes stuff and things that I know I'm not going to get done before next Tuesday.

-- get the circles started for the blue quilt
-- clear off my sewing machine table
-- finish gridding the fabric for Girl With Cosmos
-- start stitching the Grady Twins
-- order longer circular needles for shawl knitting
(updated 4/16)

How about you -- do you make lists? Do they help?

Monday, April 09, 2018

April at Acorns and Threads

On the first Thursday of the month, the Pacific Northwest Stitchers get together at Acorns and Threads and we have an absolute blast. 

I'm not at a point on either of my current cross stitch projects where I can stitch and follow the conversation at the same time, so I brought one of my vintage crewel kits and made a surprising amount of progress over the three hours or so that I was there.

This thing is almost done -- I've just got to remind myself how to do French knots.

It looks like there is a series of at least five of these harvest gold kitchen kits. I've found three in separate thrift shops and would love to find the other two small kits (the tobacco tin and maple syrup tin) Wouldn't these make a fun wall quilt if I ever got all of them stitched up?

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Hobby Lobby is Now Officially Off Limits

I've heard  that they'll be restocking their needlework section later this month, but I don't think I should even set foot into the store for a peek. All of my birthday money is spent -- and at seventy-percent off, it went a long way! Now its time to settle in and play with what I've got. 

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Sweet Stripe Socks

This pair of socks are cute, but they gave me a ridiculous amount of trouble. 

Yarn: Patons Kroy, Sweet Stripes 

I'd knit half a sock in plain stockinette before I decided that the stripes felt kind of blah and might look better in simple lace. So I started over. The stitch pattern made me happier, but the second skein had three knots. (It's the only skein of Patons Kroy I've ever had this problem with.)

They're definitely spring-y socks, probably the most pastel pair I've made so far.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {4/6/18}

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.


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