Monday, July 31, 2006

Tumbler

I may have suffered a bit of quilt fever after Quilt Odyssey on Friday. A rather large stack of vintage fabrics leaped into my arms as I was innocently strolling through Martin's.
Mrs. Martin, bless her heart, just smiled and said ok when I asked for 1/2 yard of each of the 18 or so fabrics.

The heat is oppressive in my sewing room (the thermometer showed 94 when I got home today!) But we are keeping the a/c on downstairs to make life bearable. So on Sunday I set up my cutting mat on the dining room table and before long had this box full of patches.
It's kind of hard to see, but up there near the top is the tumbler template dad cut for me from some Plexiglas he had laying around. I looked online for a template, but didn't really want to spend $6 plus shipping for a little piece of plastic and I was too impatient to wait the week or 2 it would take to arrive. I asked dad if he had anything to improve on the cardboard template I was using. Sure enough he did. I love having a handyman in the family.

I then set my sewing machine up in the kitchen and spent the rest of Sunday afternoon watching QNN on the computer and sewing. Pretty cool.
I haven't figured out how big I'm making this yet, just kind of sewing patches together until it looks right. So far, my strips are 15 patches across which only finishes to about 37 inches. Think I'll go 19 to make it a little more afghan sized.

Meanwhile, the bathroom is not much improved. The whole wall is out now. The plumber is coming tomorrow to replace the pipes.
The next picture will hopefully be of a new wall!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Speed

After years (and years) of slogging away in dial-up land, we've taken the big leap to HIGH SPEED INTERNET! Woo hoo. I can't even begin to tell you how excited and happy I am. I can now get this radio , and watch this quilt station, and even wait till the last few seconds and have a chance at winning here. Life is good.

As I mentioned before, today mom and I went to Quilt Odyssey in Hershey. Once again, a great show. The antique quilts this year were fantastic. Unfortunately, they didn't allow photos of most of the quilts this year. I did see one pattern I simply must knit. It's a traditional pattern called Tumblers. You can see a pattern for it here. I'm a scrap quilter through and through, so this is a perfect quilt for me.

I was didn't find much to tempt me at the vendor mall, here's a look at my loot for the day...

Fat quarters in vintage prints. Knitting magazines (the publisher of Knit Style had a stand with all the different craft magazines they publish). Another Jim Shore cat to add to my collection. Yardage from a cute little shop in Annville called Hershey's Quilt Shop (sorry, no webpage). And too my surprise, my Knit Picks order was waiting for me when I got home. They Main Line yarn feels really nice. I'm going to machine knit a sweater with it once my craft room isn't 1000 degrees. The Options needle looks terrific. The cable is so slim and flexible. Right out of the packet it uncurled and stayed staight. And the lovely ticking surrounding it all is the inside of a very nice basket to hold my yarn cones while I knit my rug. Right now they are in a rather inelegant cardboard box. This should be much more attractive and sturdy. I even came home with money left over. Yes, life is good.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Drip, drip, drip

Our shower sprung a leak recently. Don't know exactly when, since the leak is inside the wall, but it made its presence known on Monday. I looked up after finishing the dinner dishes and noticed a rather large bubble in the ceiling. It didn't take long to figure out it was coming from the bathroom overhead. Stuart stood guard over the bucket the whole time it dripped.Here's what our bathroom wall looks like now.
Thankfully my dad is a very skilled handyman and should be able to fix the leak and the gaping hole required to get to the leak. The biggest downside to the whole thing is the mildew smell from the inside of the wall being wet. The extremely hot muggy weather this week has only compounded the problem. However, we are very lucky to have access to the inside of that wall through a closet. Just enough room to stick a little fan in there and dry it out. I've been reaching my arm in as far as I can to spray Lysol too. These things combined seem to be taking care of the problem.

Knitting continues on more dishrags...
the kitchen rug (very little progress here)...
and the Fixation footieI ended up ripping the whole thing out last Sunday after discovering it was just too big. My first attempt was knit exactly for my foot size, this time I'm trying about an inch negative ease. Appears to fit much better this way. Yesterday I decide to try switching to Magic Loop instead of the dpns. It seemed no matter how tightly I pulled the first stitch at the start of each needle, I was still getting ladders. The last sock I made (or should say am making since it's only half done) was on two circs. I like this method, but found the extra needle flopping around to be annoying. Magic Loop seems the perfect solution. No ladders, the work seems faster than dpns because you don't have to switch needles so often, no dropped needles, no floppy needle tips. I'm using a 40" Inox US 3. The cable seems just a bit long and I'm going to try one of the new KnitPick circs in 32" length. They are having a big 40% off sale on selected yarns so I ordered enough Main Line to make a sweater and the needle. According to the site, needles are delaying shipping by about 2 weeks, but everyone is raving about them so I figured it would be worth the wait.

This Friday mom and I are off to Quilt Odyssey in Hershey. It's always a great show and a fun day. If you're a quilter and in the area, be sure to check it out.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

The cotton love continues

It's been a busy two weeks. When I last posted I had just procured a lovely batch of Sugar n Cream. Viola, more lovely dishrags
The one on the left was made with some blue that I dyed myself. Gorgeous rich denim color. I made a matching potholder for the brown and pink one (doesn't it remind you of licorice all-sorts?)A funky orange and purple (again, the purple was hand dyed by me) and the orange sherbet one which is going to my MIL.
The washrag knitting has slowed down. This last one has barely grown since last weekend when I cast it on. I have been spending a good bit of time reworking the kitchen rug. I'm much happier with it's new incarnation.I really didn't like the way the ecru was washing out the overall color. So, back to the dye pot (the lovely thing about ecru is you can make it nearly ANY color you want.) I was aiming for a rusty brown color and got just about exactly what I wanted. Dying has never been an exact science for me. I like to experiment and see how it comes out. I did two huge hanks of yarn in a bucket with some Dharma Procion dyes in Maroon Brown and a dash of Bright Yellow. The result is a mottled brown with a vintage feel to it. Looks great with the teal and denim blues.

The old sock itch came back this week. But with the heat and humidity being what it they are, I couldn't even bear to think of picking up wool. I remembered hearing mention of a cotton/elastic yarn called Fixation and thought I'd give it a try to make some footies. I placed an order w
ith Angelica (do shop with her if you have the opportunity. She's delightful, has great prices and terrific service). Here's footie number one in a colorway called English Garden. I'm just using my general sock pattern without only 5 rows of ribbing and 3 rows of stockinette before starting the heel, but can find ankle sock patterns here and here. This yarn takes some getting used to. It's very stretchy. I'm generally a pretty tight knitter so I've really had to learn to loosen up. But it seems to be worth it. The fabric has a very nice cushiony feel to it. These socks should be very comfortable. Plus, the yarn is a little heavier than standard sock yarn and is knitting up very well on US 3 needles. And, one ball is supposed to make a pair of ankle socks. Sweet.

Lastly, remember those itty bitty cucumber plants from Memorial Day? How just a few weeks ago I should you how rapidly they had grown? Look at them now...
Yum! Refrigerator Pickles!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sweet temptation

Stopped by the local quilt store this morning while out shopping with mom. While she looked at the fabrics, I ducked upstairs and discovered they now carry what looks like the FULL line of Sugar 'n Cream yarns! I picked all the colors I was looking for plus a couple extra. Alas, I can't sit out and knit today as we are having company over soon and I have to prepare for the cookout. But tomorrow...

This will be my spot and these will be my entertainments.














For anyone interested, a look at how the kitchen rug is starting out. I went with Teal, Ecru and
Shaded Denim on size 11 needles. It's about 55-60 stitches in plain garter stitch. May do the next one in log cabin, but decided to keep the first simple.













Gotta dash for now. More soon.