Monday, February 17, 2020

Plans For the Week

Here's my pile of stuff I'd like to be working on in the upcoming week. There are a bunch of other things that also have to happen, so I'm not expecting to be super productive when it comes to the stitching and knitting. 


The last two weeks have been full of big things and stupid little things and (because why not?) a week at the coast that I didn't see coming until the last possible minute. It was going to be another stitching retreat with my mom for four days or so, then she couldn't go and my husband was able to shift his vacation around so we went with our two youngest kids for the whole week because no one else was going to be able to use the room.

This week, we'll hopefully get the refrigerator fixed (the parts are here and the appointment is scheduled) and I'll be back to life without two full size fridges and a dorm fridge in my already cramped kitchen. I need to catch up on the things I would have done if I wasn't doing everything else. And I'll hopefully make some progress on the stuff in the picture.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Riolis SAL Update -- It's a Leaf!

That slightly blobby green thing to the upper left is a leaf. It's reassuring to know what I'm actually stitching and to be working in a  color that's different enough from its neighbors to help me keep track of where I'm stitching. 


I cant wait to stitch my way up to the orange and the grapes.  Please don't ask me why those sound exciting to stitch, because I have no earthly idea.


If you want to see everyone else's progress, check the posts over on Instagram at #riolissal. And use the hashtag yourself if you're working on a Riolis kit that you'd like to show off.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {2/14/20}


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.


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

{I've Been Reading} Black Friday



I didn't care for the first third or so of Black Friday by Michael Hodges. There are a lot of characters, all of them with fully fleshed out back stories that drowned out whatever it was that had just happened at the Bridgefield Mall. Something awful had gotten rid of all of the other shoppers and  the mall was suddenly surrounded by impossibly swirling fog, but I was still wading through everyone's histories and wondering if this was just a rip off of The Mist.

About halfway through, the pace picks up and it becomes a really good read that kept me turning pages. As soon as I stopped hearing about their lives before the Black Friday sale, I started to care what would happen to the characters.



The Splendor of Fear by Ambrose Ibsen


A couple plans a romantic camping trip in a remote state park on the anniversary of the last known witch trial in United States history. When they arrive, they learn that they have the entire campground to themselves. Even the park ranger is on his way out. 

The book begins with a huge infodump as Penny reads information about the abandoned town of Newsom's Landing and the events that took place there. It's all very Blair Witch. It's also pretty good. The language is poetic and some of the events are creepy. 



Disclosure -- This post contains affiliate links. 

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Peer Pressure and the Emerald City SAL

Some members of the PNW Stitchers recently decided to do the Emerald City SAL together and once I started seeing their pictures I remembered how much fun I was having with it before the end of the year. It was just the kick in the pants I needed to pull my own neglected piece out of its project bag. 

I've been worried about what would happen once I finished the towers. They only use three shades of floss and I knew that going back to sections with more color changes was going to be harder. Not hard because this thing is easy-peasy, but it would be harder than the towers....

So I gave myself permission to jump ahead to the next section and stitch the Wicked Witch. At the end of the evening, she was done. 


Now I need to decide whether to finish the towers (someone who's read the book recently enough, please remind me -- did the Great and Terrible Oz have a castle? What am I supposed to call this thing?) or stitch the flying monkey, which is super cute.


With only three parts left to go, I could actually finish this soon! 

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Enchanted Knits for Dolls

I don't have any eighteen-inch dolls in my life, which is a shame because Enchanted Knits for Dolls by Nicky Epstein is full of some really amazing projects. This is beautifully detailed, heirloom quality stuff. 


They're not all girly princess gowns. There's a pirate, a Peter Pan costume, a gnome, and a dragon. And they have awesome accessories.


And princess gowns, because....well, probably because princess gowns are wonderful. I love Rapunzel's hair, which is attached to her hat.


The genie is my absolute favorite of the bunch. You can see all of the projects on the book's Ravelry page.


It's almost enough to make me want to run out and find a doll of my own.  I can imagine that if this book has existed while my great-grandmother was alive, she absolutely would have knit these...if she knit. Maybe she just did crochet?

Friday, February 07, 2020

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {2/7/20}


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.


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Museum of Things Found With Metal Detectors

My youngest son got a metal detector for Christmas. Luckily, the Museum of Things Found With Metal Detectors isn't very far from home. Honestly, I'm not sure it would be worth a lengthy drive unless you're also planning to check out the covered bridges in the area or the Linn County Historical Museum, which is totally worth a road trip. But to get a kid excited about his new metal detector, it was fun to visit. 


The museum is at White's Electronics and they have a huge display of the metal detectors and geiger counters they've been making since the 1950s, along with things found with metal detectors...and things not found with metal detectors.

The teapots found in sunken ships were some of my favorites, along with a coral encrusted sword and a few old rifles that were barely recognizable as guns.


Now we have to research artificial reefs and whether coral can be removed from metal artifacts...

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

{I've Been Reading} Little Darlings



Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

This has got to be one of the creepiest domestic thrillers I've ever read. The first pages perfectly capture how vulnerable and uncertain a new mother can feel, especially one without enough support. That's even before a strange woman appears in Lauren's hospital room, wanting to trade Lauren's newborn identical twin sons for the two miserable things in the stranger's basket. Lauren manages to lock herself and the twins in the bathroom and call for help, but when the authorities do arrive the hospital staff blames Lauren's fragile mental state.

A month later, after the twins are abducted but quickly returned, Lauren is unconvinced that the babies in the stroller are her own. They look like Morgan and Riley, but something is different. She  can no longer tell the two apart or recognize their cries. They behave differently. Their eyes have changed. Even her husband can see that, but it's explained away as the normal change in eye color that all newborns have.

Once Harper, a police officer looking into the incident at the hospital, was introduced my interest started to wane a bit. Lauren and her fears are fascinating, but Harper's presence pulled me away from what I loved most about the book. I wasn't interested in the detective's back story or personal life, but  I guess she was a necessary part of the plot.

Overall, I loved this one and highly recommend it if you're in the mood for a domestic thriller with the possibility of a supernatural element.

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links. 

Monday, February 03, 2020

2010 - 2019 -- A Decade of Finishes



When I was putting together my Year End Totals post at the end of December, it occurred to me that I could do a Decade End Post. I had to think for a while about how I'd do it, and if I wanted to do it. In the end, curiosity won out. 

This isn't everything, but it's probably most things. Some weren't in collages that worked with this format and I'm not going back through blog posts to try to count it all because that way lies madness. 

I knew I knit a lot of socks, but oh my gosh! Those are all adult size and all knit with fingering weight yarn. I apparently cope with stress by knitting and there was a lot of both over the past decade. 


I thought I'd switch to shawls for a while and there were a lot of those in various sizes and yarn weights.
I conquered my fear of zippers and made lots of bags.

Most of the quilting was in the first half of the decade before the sock knitting big bit and took over my life.
And then, two years ago, the cross stitch bug bit harder than the sock knitting bug and that took over my free time.

Lots and lots of WIPs don't appear here because they  aren't finished. Apparently I abandoned a lot of quilts along the way.

111 pairs of socks
24 shawls
114 baby quilts
14 big quilts
10 little quilts
34 bags
27 cross stitched pieces.

Like I said, those totals aren't completely accurate. Not everything is in the pictures, but it gave me a fun glimpse of what I've been doing for the past ten years.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Mystery Stitching

I have absolutely no idea what this is...


My best guess would be that it's a detail of the tablecloth. I could be completely wrong and I'm not going to spend any time worrying about it. It's completely possible to follow a chart and have no idea what that thing you're stitching actually is. I did that with the crochet hook and doily on Crocuses in the Windowsill. It's clear if you look at the picture on the packaging, but once I start to stitch I get focused on the chart itself. 

Whatever this mystery blob actually is supposed to represent in the finished piece, it's the beginning of my project for the Riolis SAL. As worried as I was about how it would be to stitch on black fabric, the contrast of those colors makes it totally worth the extra concentration!


Saturday, February 01, 2020

Mini Masterpieces by Alyce Blyth

I wish that Mini Masterpieces by Alyce Blyth had been available when I first started to quilt. It's by far my favorite of the "quilting class" style books that I've read. 


The book is divided into twelve sections, each one explaining a different technique. It starts with a nine patch block, then strip piecing, then triangles. In later chapters it moves on to curves, English paper piecing, and foundation paper piecing.


I'm going to jump in with the later chapters and a few technques that I haven't been able to figure out, even after years of quilting.

Doesn't this amazing little quilt make it seem like I need to learn to foundation paper piece? Each chapter has a demonstration block, followed by a pattern for a small quilt using the technique. For the most part, they're unique quilts, using that particular block to do something more complex.


I also love that the author quilted all but two quilts on her own domestic machine and includes lots of close up pictures of the actual quilting.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {1/31/20}


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.


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, January 30, 2020

{Thrift Shop Temptations} Translucent Crashing Waves

This one was hard to resist. I love those little villages of resin houses and this is all one piece, with lots of little detailed houses and an inlet with the remains of a sunken boat....and just look at that translucent crashing wave the wraps around the side!


I talked myself out of it because it was expensive and heavy and I don't need a seaside village, no matter how many amazing little details it has.

Most of the clocks we see at the thrift store are new. I guess the one shaped like a clock radio must have been new-ish, because it was battery operated. But how much neater would it have been if it had been an actual radio instead of just telling the time? The gold and jeweled clock makes me wonder where it belonged originally. It's just so pretty and distinctive....


This little pillow we found in the bins was obviously once part of a very old quilt. I wonder what happened to the rest of it and what will happen to this bit and whether someone was dividing an heirloom into keepsakes. (In case you can't tell, I've got really mixed feelings about "cutter quilts.)



Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Finally Casting On

A year ago, or maybe it was two years ago, I bought yarn to knit a striped shawl. A couple of days ago, I finally picked a pattern and cast on. 


If all goes well, this will become Jette, a free download from DROPS designs.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

{I've been Reading} The Argument



The Argument by Victoria Jenkins

After sneaking out to a party and getting caught, fifteen-year-old Olivia vows that she'll never speak to her mother again. As the silent treatment drags on, it becomes obvious that Olivia is hiding things from her mother. Hannah is hiding things from her daughter. The author is also hiding a lot of things from the reader. Sometimes it's through misdirection and sometimes it's by leaving out a huge important detail of what was happening in a scene. When things finally did become clear, I felt cheated. This book honestly left me wondering what the "rules" of writing a psychological thriller are and how far the author is allowed to stray from them in order to create that shocking twist.



The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam all had unbreakable  plans for the weekend, but their employer summons them for a mandatory team building  exercise. Locked in the express elevator, the four investment bankers try to solve the clues of this unexpected escape room so that they can get on with their lives, but as the hours tick by, their situation steadily worsens.

The book opens with a prologue that didn't grab me at all (and a lot of time spent on a character you'll never see again), but a few chapters in I started to figure out how the two stories might be connected and enjoy the read. I'd expected the escape room to be a bigger part of the plot. Instead the book is really about what these four did in the past and alternates between the elevator and previous events involving other characters. The writing kept me entertained and it was different from any of the other thrillers I've read lately. 


Disclosure -- The publishes sent me advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

{This Week's Plans} Waiting for Appliance Parts, Casting on a New Shawl, and Gridding Aida

It's amazing how much time can get gobbled up while you're dealing with stupid little things. The compressor in the fridge went out and it was eleven days before the first available service appointment. Now that they've been here and determined what's wrong it will be almost four weeks until they come back to fix it. Oh, and while we're waiting I get to watch the porch like a hawk for the UPS guy because the parts come straight to the house in multiple shipments. And I still wouldn't have a fridge except yesterday the boys and I went out and bought a cheap one that we found Craigslist. At least I didn't have big plans for the week, except for a shopping trip with my daughter that will take place before I have to start watching for the parts. 

While we're waiting, I have things to do. 



To Do This Week:

Grid fabric for Riolis SAL
Cast on new Shawl
Make some progress on the Emerald City SAL
Sew reusable shopping bags

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Back Stitching As I Go

I'm ridiculously in love with European Bistro and the more I stitch the harder it is to put down. 


There are going to be miles and miles of back stitching, but if I work on it as I go, it shouldn't be too bad. Just look at that fancy lettering and how much it adds to the piece!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

3-D Cross Stitch

I almost tried to talk myself out of 3-D Cross Stitch by Meg Evershed. As charmed as I am by the idea of little three dimensional stitched houses, I've got a few patterns for them already. 


Then I flipped through the pages and saw that these aren't like anything I had in my stash. There's a shop with a separate awning and a church with a tower and two difference houses with timbered walls...these are so much better than what I was planning to make!


And there's a section of cross stitched dollhouse furniture. It's only a living room set and a bedroom and nursery, so you couldn't do a full house but I'm in love with the idea. And I've already got a chunk of red aida that should work for the couch...


You can see my full flip through and review by clicking the video below.



Friday, January 24, 2020

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {1/24/20}


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.


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, January 23, 2020

{Antique Shop Temptations} The Calendar Tea Towels

Maybe this explains why I so rarely find old linen tea towels at the local thrift shops and estate sales. It's a whole booth full of them, all prettily displayed...and priced for the antique mall. 


If I'd found one I couldn't live without I absolutely could have taken it home to make a pretty project bag, but I resisted the temptation.

Remember that little toy stove I didn't buy because it wasn't the one I couldn't live without? I have a feeling I'm getting closer to discovering what "the one" might look like. This adorable little thing is actually electric?! I'm so fascinated by that idea (not to mention a little bit terrified) Maybe what I want is a little stove like this one....


I get the feeling that there's a whole rabbit hole of vintage toy ovens just waiting for me to fall down it.

The only other thing that really called our to me was this...


I spent so many hours of my childhood tethered to the kitchen wall by a bright yellow phone just like that one. The color is off, but I'm guessing that's because it faded over the years.

I never fails to amaze me how you can completely forget something existed, then see one in an antique mall and instantly be flooded with memories.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

I Should Probably Frog These Socks


I've known a few knitters who did drastic things, like unravelling whatever was still on their needles at the end of the year. I'm not that kind of knitter....but I'm starting to wonder if I should be.

Currently on my needles are the three slowest pairs of socks in the history of ever. The green cabled paid is okay because the cables are fiddly and take forever, but they're gorgeous. The smocked pair has dark yarn that makes it hard  to keep track of my knits and purls. And this pair, which I've been working on since OCTOBER, is just awful.

Let's call the yarn "rustic" for want of a better word. Those gradient stripes look good in the right light, but the texture leaves a lot to be desired. It's either so tightly spun it winds back on itself, or it's so loosely spun that it wants to shred.

And that's all I've got on my needles right now. Three pairs of socks that are all relatively unpleasant to knit on. It almost makes me wish I'd had a drastic and unreasonable rule to force me to get rid of them.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

{I've Been Reading} Off the Grid



Off the Grid by John Hunt

When a book isn't at all what I was expecting, it tends to be because I  either didn't read the cover copy closely enough, or I managed to forget part of it between adding the book to my Kindle and actually starting to read it. In this case, it's because the book veers wildly away from its description.

In the prologue, Graham Richards visits and outlet mall with his wife and son and all three are victims of a senseless mass shooting that only Graham survives. He moves to a cabin in the woods, shunning society, and of course when the man with the horribly scarred face purchases rope, a chain, and a padlock just before a local girl disappears, he becomes their only suspect.

The book shifts to the investigation of the girl's disappearance, then to the perpetrators and victims of another crime entirely. There are SO many characters here, all with more back story than we ever got about Graham. There's also a lot of graphic violence.

When the book gets where it's going things get interesting, but I didn't love this one.

Disclosure -- The publisher sent me an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links.


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