Tuesday, July 31, 2018

{I've Been Reading} A Merciful Death

I think most of my stitching friends are anxiously counting down to Halloween, but I'm just starting to get into our usual rhythm of summer days and we won't give it up our afternoons at the river until I absolutely have to. Not until mid-September at the very earliest. 

I can't remember where I first saw A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot mentioned. It's set in Oregon, in the small town where the protagonist grew up in a family of survivalists and preppers. Now an FBI agent, Merci has returned her her childhood home to assist local law enforcement as they investigate a string of local murders. Someone is targeting preppers and making off with their caches of weapons and although she knows that her background will make her an asset to the investigation, she isn't entirely thrilled about seeing her estranged family again.

I really, really got caught up in Merci's story. The murder investigation took a background to the details of her past and current life and I'm impatiently waiting for whoever has the second book in the series checked out to finish it and return it to the local library so I can find out where she goes from here. (If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, all of the books in the series are available for free.)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Striped Socks that Aren't for Boys

Look, more new socks! This was one of those single skeins I bought when it still seemed like a good idea to knit cute socks for toddler sized feet. When there were toddler sized feet in the house...

I tossed the ballband before copying down the information but the colorway didn't have a neat name, just something about multi stripes. (Edited to add -- it's Sensations Soles & More, TP/GRN/BLU) The heels and toes are Drops Fabel, left over from Convoluted Clues.

I like the way the stripes wrap fall around the short row heels. It's always a gamble to see how that's going to work out, but these are close to perfect.

These could totally be socks for my younger two sons, but I've seen how they take care of their socks.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Stitching at The Starlight Stitchery

I spent Saturday afternoon stitching with friends at The Starlight Stitchery, a new needlework shop in Corvallis. The shop, which was originally Friendship Crossing, was bought by the current owners after the original owner's death. It looks like they've got some great plans for updating their inventory and scheduling more events.

How could anyone resist an invitation like this one? (Also, is that a sign that I should've started The Grady Twins and brought them with me instead of Little Girl With Cosmos?)

My plan was to do some more stitching after dinner and make sure that my little girl's leg lines up with the hem of her dress properly, but between the LNS trip and a couple of garage sales, I'm lucky to get this post scheduled before I head to bed for the night.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

This Week's Plans

It's going to be a full week! I've got two stitchy get-togethers I hope to attend. That's going to mean a lot of hours on the road in a minivan without a/c, but it's more than worth it to spend a few hours with my stitching buddies.  

There's stupid stuff, like trying to schedule our water usage around an annual music festival. Over the next couple of days, I've got to decide whether to get the storage tank filled early or wait until after the festival. Worst case scenario we go a day or two without water, which compared to the well issues of the last few years is nothing. If I'm right about how much water is in the tank as of this morning, we'll be fine and the only think I need to stress about is staying off the roads next weekend.

I'm also looking at my planner, trying to decide which projects will carry over into August. A Little Girl's Fancy and Girl With Cosmos definitely will. The striped socks and the barn and Gramma's Hug will probably get finished over the next few days. I don't know about Campside. The shawl is almost finished, but that yarn is getting harder and harder on my fingers.

I will work up the nerve to uncap that tube of glue, thanks to last week's comments. And there's another project I want to take a closer look at. It's hard to decide which plans I want to post about and which I'll keep to myself for now.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {7/27/18}

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, July 26, 2018

{Thrift Shop Temptations} But it's Only Ninety-Nine Cents!

I fell complete and irrationally in love with this couch, even though I don't buy upholstered furniture at thrift shops and even though it's probably as ugly as sin. 

Look at the wooden rail along the back...and there's another one along the base in the front...and I don't know why I'm so excited about the plaid, but I am. It would go with my wood paneling and my big brick fireplace and I'm really hoping it's gone by now so it doesn't continue to tempt me.

And then look at the price tag...

Is that the "Please get this out of our store" price?  I showed my husband the picture and he wanted to know if it came with cats.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Shawl Knitting Bug

I currently have four hundred and some shawl patterns in my Ravelry queue and at least a dozen books of shawl patterns and I couldn't even guess how many magazines with shawl patterns in them. When that bug bit me, it bit hard

A new project generally starts with something along the lines of "Oh, that's cute and I've got some halfway suitable yarn and an empty circular needle...." 

This time I found the pattern, Gramma's Hug, and wasn't sure I had four hundred yards of bulky. I've got larger amounts of bulky, stealing a couple of skeins would sabotage future projects. (This  whole shawl knitting challenge is an extremely elaborate game of yarn chicken.)  Then there was the Hobby Lobby yarn clearance and I picked up four skeins of I Love This Chunky and it could not be more perfect for this shawl. There should be just enough yardage.

I knit my way through an entire skein on Monday night while watching stupid old horror movies. The increases are making the point of the shawl extra pointy and I tried a Russian join for the first time.

That little narrow band of lace that you can barely see in the picture? We'll talk about that later...

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Girl With Cosmos Update

I've spent a few evenings stitching on her hair. Some of  these shades are so close that I managed to convince myself I'd made a horrible mistake, but it's all working out. 

No fractional stitches, no back stitching. Just lots of similar shades of brown to be immediately followed by lots of similar shades of white and off-white.

But isn't she adorable? I have a feeling I'll be stitching the girl on the beach and the girl on the dock before too long.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Plans for the Week

I didn't get through every item on last week's list, but I made a lot of progress on a lot of things. It looks like I'll finish Midwest Barn this week and probably start the new shawl. I could maybe start thinking about the next new cross stitch project...or see how much I can get done on the other two cross stitch projects.

Most of all, I need to  figure out how much ventilation this glue actually requires. Anyone used E6000?

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Thrifted Fabric

Would you believe these batiks came from the Goodwill outlet bins -- and that there was a lot more of it? 

Sometimes thrift store fabric can be absolutely amazing. (Most of the time it's not.) I've been wanting to do a video about how we pick thrift store scrap bags, but it took me more than a year to find a bag that looked promising and also fit my budget. When you only make it to the thrift shop once a week at the absolute most, your odds are slim. I wound up finding the perfect bag in a store I've never seen fabric in before...and then there were the batiks and five yard lengths of Moda in the Goodwill bins.

Sometimes the unexpected happens.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

{Thrift Shop Temptations} The Furniture!

I am absolutely hooked on this 1970s reproduction Colonial stuff. And yes, I know the actual colonists didn't have end tables, let alone anything like this.  The top is hinged so that you can store stuff in the bucket. Just try to tell me that wasn't designed to hold a knitting project!

I did not bring it home, but the more I look around my house with the wood paneling and huge brick fireplace, the more I begin to convince myself that this stuff would really work in our front room.

These chairs wouldn't fit anywhere in my life and they look anything but comfortable, but they've got tufted upholstery and fringe and nail heads and they're a lot more reasonably priced than the end  table was and I kind of adore them and definitely want to know what the house they came from looked like.

It was a good day for entertaining furniture and there were also vintage needlework kits. I was a little tempted by the one with the sewing notions but I'm sure I've got something similar in my pattern stash already.

This Clover knitting set is going to be a great deal for someone who enjoys knitting with straights.

I left the store empty handed, but browsing is always fun. And that FURNITURE!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {7/20/18}

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, July 19, 2018

Licorice Allsorts Shawl

No Pattern
Yarn: Yarn Bee First Love, Too Cute 

In the skein, I absolutely loved this color combination. The more I knit the more I started to question it...then I decided that it reminded me of that pink and black candy. I don't know if I've ever eaten licorice allsorts, but that somehow doesn't stop them from being a childhood memory.

I used three skein of Yarn Bee First Love (from the Hobby Lobby incident) and did my own thing. I knew that I wanted to experiment with a center cable and slightly wider than usual borders. That part worked out and I'll definitely play with it again.

Where I ran into trouble was with the bottom edge. I knew going in that I was going to be playing yarn chicken and didn't start the garter stitch row as soon as I should have. It curls far too much and because the yarn is acrylic I'm probably going to have to live with it.

The yarn itself is very fluffy and fragile. Think Lion Brand Homespun but it's smoother and not as forgiving. Every little fingernail snag shows in the finished shawl. I also learned a valuable lesson about self striping yarns and triangular shawls. The longer the rows get, the less the stripes work. At one edge I wasn't getting any black it all.

I have three more skeins of First Love in a different colorway and I think I'll use those for a rectangular shawl.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

{I've Been Reading} Strangers

Time by the river means more time to read books. I must've made it through three or four last week. 

Strangers by Ursula Archer and Arno Strobel

I picked up this one at the library while waiting for the kids to do their thing and after reading the first few chapters I thought I was going to love this book. A woman is alone in her house when a man appears, claiming to be her fiance. She's never seen him before in her life. Then we switch to Erik's point of view and he's  trying to figure out how every trace of his life is missing from the house he shares with Joanna. Both of them are right and trying to work together to figure out what's happened to them. It's a compelling read until the book takes a sudden twist and goes from a domestic thriller to something else and the authors lost me entirely.  It was like I'd been watching a movie on television and suddenly changed channels to a different one.

The Night Child by Anna Quinn

After seeing a young girl who isn't there, Nora Brown seeks help from a neurologist and a psychologist. I read through this one quickly and didn't love it because the dark secrets Nora finally uncovers weren't the impossible stuff I'm used to seeing in suspense fiction. And that makes sense -- this novel started out as a memoir. If I'd known that up front, I probably would've gone into the book with a different set of expectations.

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copy of The Night Child. Strangers came from the library. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Plans for the Week

Can my plan be to just keep on doing what I've been doing? Because what I am working on is a lot of fun and I'm making great progress even if I haven't posted about it much...

It's been hot. Our internet was out for the better part of three days and of course those were the days that I was supposed to be getting stuff done online. The boys and I learned what to do when the heat (apparently) cracks the truck battery and there's acid all over the gravel driveway. New ways to have fun....

Goals for the Week:

-- cast on Gramma's Hug
-- weave in ends for the pink and black shawl and take pictures
-- find the glue
-- reorganize notions bin

Sunday, July 15, 2018

It's Hot and Trees Don't Grow Like That

Today is supposed to be even hotter than yesterday...and it's the weekend so cooling off at the river isn't the best option. (On Thursday night I got splattered by the three beer cans that a woman opened and threw in my direction because she'd decided her husband had had enough. The way I look at it, I've got the option of heading home and avoiding the low level domestic disputes and colorful language. Before we moved down here, I got to listen to it all outside my living room windows.)

Since it's not a weekday, I'm sitting insider under the ceiling fans and stitching on my barn. 

I'd been avoiding the tree because the branches twist in so many different directions I thought the pattern would be hard to follow. The more of it I stitched, the more I kept realizing that trees do not grow that way. So I stitched the main branches and filled in the rest of it the way I think a real tree would look.

Did I mention that this project has miles of back-stitching? And that I love it?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Reyna Shawl

The pattern for Reyna describes it as the perfect answer to that single skein of variegated sock yarn that's been sitting in your stash for months.  In my case it was two damaged skeins that had been improperly stored for a decade and this pattern really was the solution I'd been waiting for. 

Isn't it pretty? 

 Pattern: Reyna
Yarn: Knitpicks Stroll 

I came so close to throwing away this yarn so many times. It was dusty and had breaks in it and even I thought it was beyond salvaging, but this light little piece of lace makes me glad I didn't give in and do what was reasonable.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {7/13/18}

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, July 12, 2018

{I've Been Reading} Baby Teeth

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

This domestic thriller seriously creeped me out. Something is wrong with seven-year-old Hannah and her mother, Suzette, is the only one who realizes how bad it really is. The little girl wants things her own way and will do anything to make that happen. She refuses to speak, unless her mother is the only one there to hear her, and is amazingly gifted when it comes to manipulating the adults around her.  I expected this one to twist in a different direction than it ultimately did, but wasn't at all disappointed.

Deja Moo by Kirsten Weiss

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum is a fun mystery series and this third book doesn't disappoint. Maddie has completely embraced her role as the owner of the paranormal museum but she can't work up any enthusiasm for the thirty foot tall straw Christmas cow. It competes with her own business and the thing is burned down almost every year...and this time arson isn't the only thing to go wrong.  One of the committee members who was out that night to guard the cow is murdered and her mother is a suspect.  There's also the panic growing around Maddie's newest display of cursed cowbells. She can't tell people that they aren't cursed, which would be bad for the museum, but everyone in town is hearing bells and fearing that death is near. There's a fourth book coming out next spring and I'll definitely be watching for that one.

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Knitting With a Pattern

Last week, I showed you a shawl that I was knitting without a pattern because I wanted to let the yarn do its thing. I'm still knitting on that one, but it doesn't require much concentration so I wanted to start a second one to work on when I have time to actually focus on what I'm knitting.

This time I got excited by a pattern, Campside by Alicia Plummer, and knew exactly which yarn would be perfect for it. The pattern is easier to follow than I thought it would be, so I think a third shawl may be in the immediate works. Because sometimes I do have time to think about elaborate lace...

Monday, July 09, 2018

American Barns

You know how sometimes you start a project that's so much fun you don't want to put it down? This is one of those -- 

Pattern: Midwest Barn Cross Stitch & Country Crafts Sept/Oct 1992

There's an insane amount of back stitching, but the effect that it creates is absolutely worth it and with all of of the open space it's going quickly. 

Saturday, July 07, 2018

{Thrift Shop Temptations} We've Seen Him Before

There wasn't much to drool over at the thrift shops last week. We found someone's Raggedy Ann collection and a neat looking vintage ice crusher.

And this guy was propped against the wall in a corner...

We've seen him before. In fact, I think we've seen exactly this same painting of him before, at that estate sale with all of the vintage needlepoint I should've scooped up but didn't.  Or maybe not. It turns out he's The Red Boy by Sir Thomas Lawrence and there are a ton of images of him on Pinterest. But how many of those are here in town in the exact same frame?

It doesn't matter. I still wouldn't hang him in my house.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {7/6/18}

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.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Knitting Without a Pattern

All of these shawls are helping me build my knitting skills. I knew these techniques already, but using them in so many projects in a row is helping to burn them into my brain, hopefully for good this time. I'm remembering that I want to slip the first stitch of every row, and that I want to start with a garter stitch tab, whether the designer told me to or not. With the lasts pattern I used, I finally figured out that there are ways to increase that won't leave the symmetrical line of holes that I usually love. For this one, I don't want holes.

This yarn, First Love, is from the Hobby Lobby Incident last month (otherwise known as their 75% off clearance sale) and I knew I wanted a fairly plain shawl so that the  yarn could do its thing without distraction, but I also wanted something interesting about the knitting. That's where the center cable comes in. Instead of one or two plain stitches between rows of yarn overs, there's a cable.  I'd seen other shawls with center cables and as soon as this one is done, I want to go through my books of stitch patterns and see what else I can run down that center spine.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Buckman Socks

Look! I knit another pair of socks! 

Yarn: Knitpicks Hawthorne, Buckman

It seems like every time I finish a pair I gush about how much I love Knitpicks Hawthorne, but this is one of my favorite yarns. The feel of it, the texture, and the great sale prices I found when I picked it up a couple of years back...there's nothing not to love about this stuff.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Goals for the Week

It sounds like my main goal for the week is taking the boys swimming and bowling. Happily, a lot of my projects are portable and knitting by the river is just as nice as knitting on the couch. 

My own plans include:

-- pull together stuff for the Halloween project
-- start a new shawl
-- finish the fireplace mantel
-- new quilt block
-- new project bag for knitting

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Mid Year Totals 2018

I started the year with a list of goals and I'm ahead on some, behind on others. I could catch up over the next six months...or not. With the progress I've already made, I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't mange the rest of it. 

The big goal was to knit a dozen shawls and I've already finished eight. Nine, if you count the one that isn't pictured here because it still needs to be blocked and have a bunch of ends woven in.  

I just assumed there would be pairs of socks. So far I'm at eight, all of them plain stockinette because I'm using them as mindless not-shawl knitting.

Cross-stitch is where I may have severely miscalculated. The goal, based on what I did last year, was to finish six moderately sized projects. I've spent most of the past six months stitching on A Little Girl's Fancy which it turns out is anything but moderate. And then I started Girl With Cosmos, which is considerably less involved.

I guess the littler projects will balance it out. And who knows...maybe I'll speed up my technique and finish the huge ones sooner than I expect to.

The museum a month plan is still in effect. We've only missed one month (and one of the boys had an entry at an art gallery, so maybe that exhibit sort of almost counts?) and slightly cheated another month with the zoo. Other than those two, it's all been real museums.


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