Sunday, November 30, 2014

And this weekend.

No doubt, this will be in the last post in the weekend series.

Thanksgiving went fantastically.  It all came together, leftovers are nearly gone, we made people take the desserts back with them, etc.

Friday was a slow day of everyone doing what they enjoy, around dishes, kitchen duty and laundry.  It was also the day the first clue of the Bonnie Hunter Quiltville Grand Illusion mystery.  I dutifully completed clue 1 on Friday.  My schedule for the upcoming week had me out nearly every night.

Saturday I awoke to news on Facebook that Grandma Mary's older sister Flora had suffered a massive stroke.  Turns out Gma Mary had been calling Flora all day on Friday and wasn't getting an answer.  So Gma calls Flora's son who lives close by, and they find her.  (This does beg the question why that son's family was not in touch with Flora daily like my MIL is in touch with her mother daily.  Don't get us started.)

Last night, again via Facebook, we received word that Aunt Flora, aged 95.5, had passed.  2 of her kids live in the west, so we await arrangements.  So an already crammed week for me, and Renee, and Ted, is completely up in the air.  Travel is about 3 hours each way, as they are farther north in the Chicago suburbs than my family or my MIL.

In other good news, I ordered my last project's yarn at The Loopy Ewe.  In annoying news, the sock I started was one size too small, so as ye knit, so shall ye rip.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

And the next weekend...

Last weekend went fine.  Lessons were learned and life moved along.  It was a small implementation and it revealed many things, which was the point.  Now, I have more things to do, but that's OK.  I can only do what I can do.

Occasionally my employer rents out a movie theater for a new release movie.  Usually it's a family movie (Mr. Peabody) but this time it was the third Hunger Games movie: Mockingjay Part 1.  I let my girl have a sleepover with 2 friends.  We watched the first movie last night, the second movie this morning and the third movie was at 1 at the theater.  A co-worker of mine sat next to my girls and said they were wonderful.

I myself have to sit in the exactly middle of the theater because currently I have benign positional vertigo.  Those little crystals in my ears have decided not to stay put.  Ugh.  Annoying, really.

We have achieved some house cleaning this week as we prepare for Thanksgiving.  While we are not done by any means, I will be good enough by the day.  I need to go to bed on Wednesday night all done.  Thursday is meant for cooking and cooking only.

On the knitting front, I have started some mitts for Renee as a gift to match the hat I made her from Loopy Academy.  I have also cast on a pair of socks to work on in the living room.  As for crocheting, all parts for gifts are done and now need to be assembled.  I continue to bind the very large YBR.  I finished an Advent calendar.

Yes it's sideways.  All the little pockets are fully lined.  The numbers are all appliqued on.  I need Ted to hang it this week.

The new Bonnie mystery Grand Illusion starts this week on Friday.  I'm not even sure what my goals are, but I do know that by year end, I want all of Celtic Solstice done and I want to be current on clues.  I also would love to bust 100 yards.  That is distinctly possible....

Saturday, November 15, 2014

This Weekend

I don’t know what it is about this weekend, the second one in November, that causes my life so much drama / stuff / whatever.  Here’s the rundown:

2010 – Overnight implementation of a project.  This was the type of thing where the team really bonded as a group; the best type of team one can ever hope for.  This was loads of fun, even if it went on until 4 in the morning.  We had a food night, pizza, treats, cookies, etc.  Programmers even came in because it was the place to be.  Good times, people, good times.

2011 – Nothing that I remember.

2012 – I was to do a Girl Scout training and I fell ill.  Whoops.

2013 – I was to do the SAME Girl Scout training and this time Ted was ill.  He actually fell ill the Tuesday of that week, into the ER he went, surgery that same day and home that Friday night.  Diabetes came home with us, along with staph.  (Once staph gets in your house, it is evil. Trust me.)   On that Sunday were the Washington, IL tornadoes.  We went to the basement and Ted was clutching his insulin pen.  That was quite the wild week.

2014 – Another overnight implementation of a project.  This one is being done a few states at a time, so a year from now, it is very possible I will be doing another one of these.  Seriously it’s already scheduled that way.  Again it will all be good.  Many of the same folks from the 2010 effort; I joke it’s like getting the band back together.  They know me, I know them, it’s effortless.  Now, if only everything will balance tomorrow, life will be good. (It's now tomorrow as I post this and they are running 4 hours behind.)

2015 – Already scheduled as an implementation.

I find it very interesting that it’s a weekend with a lot going on every year.  I also realized this year that October is way more busy than I thought.  I do know that for next year’s October, there will be a Girl Scout overnight that I will no longer be doing, and that will help.  That just really leaves the shop hop and frankly, quilting is where it’s at.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Yesterday I turned 44.  At a conference.  Away from my family.  The whole conference sang me Happy Birthday, which was a lovely touch.  I can safely say everyone will remember me, which is good, because in 2 years I have to actually plan the conference.

I did some crochet during the sessions.  I made some Christmas presents.  I sat in the back and made an effort to not disturb people.  No negative comments and actually some great conversations.   I wore the 2 sweaters that I made, and a  few folks figured out that I made them.  It was a good day for crafting.

Quilting is moving along slowly.  I am working on a YBR that is huge.  I have to make the back for section 10, sandwich it, quilt it and then work on assembling the quilt.  I hope to have it done by the end of this weekend so that I can sleep under it ASAP.  Tonight was seriously the last night I could wear shorts to go get Henry.

Time to unpack...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Enlarging the Font

Oh my, my eyes have aged.  Everything needs to go to a larger font.  Such is life.

Last week, Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville fame was at our guild.  I had hesitated at joining the guild, and I'm glad I did.  One of my Girl Scout friends is a former president of the guild, plus there are a few more interconnections in my life that led me to the guild.

Bonnie was wonderful.  Take the time to see her if you can.  While I have been following Bonnie for a while, there was still so much to learn and observe.  I got a lot from it.  Plus I went to Biaggi's with her for dinner, and I got to meet a few more guild people.  Totally worth the PTO.

Of course I now have 2 more UFOs!  Actually I will make lap sizes for both and donate to Relay for Life.  But first I need to finish my swap blocks for the Lady of the Lake swap.  Almost there.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Camp Loopy!!!

Yep, I am a proud camper this year!  Last year I tried and it didn't work out, but this year I was committed. 

All 3 projects are for me.  So there!

The first one is the Skoosh Shawl.  The criteria was to be inspired by a favorite book, movie, etc.  Using the line ‘never before have we clothed strangers in the garb of our people’ from Lord of the Rings, I made this shawl.  And in orange not green, because I could.  It lives at work in my cube for days when the A/C is going too strong in one building or room or another.

The second one is the Lincoln Cardi.  This one was to be about a vacation.  I was going to start it on vacation, so I was thinking something to do with either Laura Ingalls Wilder or Mount Rushmore, but oh no.  My family stepped in and said Washington DC, pandas and cherry blossoms.  OK, then.  So I hunted and found this pattern in a book called Capitol Knits and thankfully you can buy just the one pattern.  I made it in pink from a yarn by Lorna’s Laces that is named Galena, which is where General Grant is from.  Did I tell you I’m from Illinois?

The third one is Leaf Top.  This one was to be in your favorite colors, but I already did that with the Lincoln Cardi.  So this time, I took a cue from the Preppy Handbook, and went with useful (‘Useful” is used as often as “cute” in a girl’s wardrobe.).  A cream colored short sleeve sweater.   The first 30 rows were the design, so I took that one row at a time.  The rest was plain TV or car knitting and that went fast enough.

So it was a successful Camp Loopy.

And I finish just to find out about Loopy Academy.  ZOMG!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Far Too Long

Oh my it has been far too long.  Here’s where I stand:

The Lost Year, as I have called it, is over.  The grief year is not; but the Lost Year is.  When the beginning of August rolled around, things just felt better.  Things that had been frustrating me have now started to provide enjoyment again.  Decisions I had made during the Lost Year about my time commitments to other things and such now came to light and under the scrutiny of the light, still make sense as wise decisions.  I am pleased. 

I have decided to step down my activities for some of the volunteering I do.  I lead a lot when I volunteer and I am just tired.  I need to either be a worker bee or not even be a bee.  Someone asked me to volunteer for something in a few weeks and they seriously want is 2 hours of my time (3 with commute).  I can do that.  But meetings and planning and wrangling events and people?  I’m done.  I am succession planning many of those things so I don’t leave people high and dry.  For one effort, I am the past president, so I rotate off.  For another, I am in my third year of a three year term that ends basically in October.  For the other 2 volunteering things I do, they are both through work and for both I do some sort of committee / leadership work, but it’s not so bad. 

I am glad to be stepping down; my girl is in 8th grade and next year will bring all sorts of things.  Heck, 8th grade is bringing all sorts of things.

Knitting continues.  Look for a post all about knitting and what I did this summer.  I am through all my Camp Loopy projects.  Yay!  I am on my 9th project for this year, which puts me about 2 weeks ahead of the pace.  I have projects 10, 11, 12 and even 13 bagged up and ready to go.  I feel so accomplished!

Quilting remains stalled.  It took a full 2+ months to get my machine back.  It’s hard when your dealer is far away.  However she is a fantastic dealer.  I have done some finishes this summer, mostly on new projects.  So the UFO number remains stalled as well.  I am OK with that.  Look for a post on all the finishes. 

The bigger question I am asking myself as we are in this lovely 3 day weekend (and 4 days for my kid – isn’t she lucky?) is how to enjoy and quilt away the last third of the year.  I have redone my 4 Fab 4’s, as I was done with 7 of the projects in the last 4 Fab 4’s.  I have decided that to start, this is how I will proceed.  Remember I break time into 2 weeks per calendar week, Monday through Thursday for 1 week and Friday through Sunday as the other week.  Trust me, it makes sense.  I also do stuff my pay period – that’s a longer list that gets allocated into the little weeks I set up for myself.

Week of August 29 – September 1 (Labor Day falls into this week):

Cut and sew at least 3 sets of 12 blocks for LOTL swap.
Prepare  / cut fabric for Bonnie Hunter Workshops next weekend.

By the 09/11 paycheck.  This gets me moving on at least one quilt in each of the Fab 4’s.

Finish one section of the YBR.
Join 2 sections of the YBR.
Finish LOTL swap blocks.
Make sense of Christmas fabs and cut for both Christmas quilts.
Dig out Advent Calendar and finish making date pockets.

Stay tuned for more…

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Plugging Along

It's summer.  Finally.  I judge it not by the weather but by when I no longer need to wake Renee up for school.  For us, that first day was last Tuesday.  Amen.

I am nearing the end of my year of being on hold.  It all started with Erick's wedding party last July and it will end August 1, when a chapter in a different part of my life will close.  Literally it will be one year and about 4 days or so.  As a disclaimer, Dad died in January and I have all of 2014 to handle grief, so I don't declare it all done and over with but I feel like I can move forward.  Kim is feeling the same way too.

So for this week I made a list of things to get done.  Not all of them will be and that is OK but I am now ready and garnering the energy to tend to my house.  It's bad.  Clutter and paperwork everywhere.  I need to deep clean and purge and we seriously need to paint and decorate.  This is the longest we've stayed in a house and we have no desire to move.  So we need to get on this.

I have also committed to my health and I am starting with a chiropractor.  I know some people are suspicious of their work, but I just view them as another type of specialist.  As I figured, I ache all the time because things are out of whack.  So now that's taking up 3 days per week after work.

OK back to crafty things.  I am working on my Camp Loopy project.  I am halfway through by row count and I just joined the second ball.  I'm supposed to use 4.  However, each RS row has increases by 4 stitches so the rows I'm doing now are using a ton more yarn.  I may also make it a bit bigger because I am a larger person.  I finished the red socks.  I made the mandala.  Yarn projects are going well.  (Finishing and blocks, not so well.)                  

Quilting is at a standstill.  I took the machine to the doctor today and it will be at least a week and the doctor is 2 hours each way.  I am not sure how quickly get it picked up.  That's OK.  Nothing is urgent.  I am thinking of cleaning up the area thoroughly.  I am cutting up the scraps that are out (why put them away?) into 1.75" thimbles (the tiniest little ruler thing OMG), 1.5" x 2.5" mini bricks and 2.5" squares.  I want to cut with abandon with my Baby Go cutter!

I need to rethink my 4 Fab 4's.  (Yes, I have 4 going.  Do not judge.)  7 or 8 are done, leaving half of them to go.  I want to see what I am eager to sew and I will let myself go in that direction.  I am looking forward to that time, whenever it happens.  It might not be until August.  I have only 1 deadline item between now and then.

Meanwhile, I have a few really old machines, including a Singer 99, to get into working order.  I'm scared to plug them into my electrical despite everything looking fine.  I have decided to use a power strip until I can have the plugs redone to 3 prong ones.  If I can get these old machines working that would be wonderful.  All 3 old machines are in cabinets.

So that's how it's going.  Plugging along.  And life is good.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Still. Cannot. Stop. Knitting.

Yes it's true, I cannot stop knitting.  I am enjoying it so!

Today is the start of the first challenge for Camp Loopy.  I am making a shawl that is very simple and very bright.  I want it to stay at work for those times that the building folks cannot regulate the building temp correctly.  This happens more than you know.  And if I got back to the ITS building, that place is a meat locker year-round.

I have also set a yarn challenge for myself for this year.  I want to finish 12 items this year, so about 1 per month.  I have a manageable stash right now and I'd actually like it to reduce by half, if not more.

So here are the first 3 finishes.  I'm very excited!

These are handmitts for a girlfriend on her birthday.  Renee is modeling them.  Yarn is The Loopy Ewe's solid series in barn red.  Pattern is Kujeillen.

These are my handmitts, which are larger in diameter because I'm a larger person.  Yarn is The Loopy Ewe's Loopy Legends series in Tamra's Day Brightener.  How can you go wrong with a yarn called Tamra's Day Brightener?!?!?!  Same pattern, but I put a braided cable in my pattern section.

And here are some socks. Same yarn.  Pattern is Basic Ribbed Socks.

In the queue for June:

More socks in that red yarn up there.  I finished them today but the sock blockers are in use.
A mandala for Attic24.
Camp Loopy June project.

That would get me to 6 projects completed in the first 6 months of the year, which makes me right on track.  So yay!

(And yes, there has been some quilting going on too...)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Cannot. Stop. Knitting.

I just can't stop.  It's like there's 20+ years of pent up knitting going on.  I'm not going to argue with it; I am making things that come in pairs, so if this makes sure both items get made, I'm good with that.

Anyway I've made one pair of fingerless mitts from the Tamra's Day Brightener yarn and now I am on the second sock.  Something that small and portable is so easy to knit on during lost / found time.  For example while waiting for pasta water to boil, I can get 5 needles knit - not quite 2 rounds.  Today we are heading north to celebrate a birthday and Mother's Day, so I will refrain from knitting until I am in the car.  And since the pattern, which is free on Ravelry, is a PDF, I was able to download it to my phone and open it with my Kindle app, which means it's with me all the time and I didn't have to print it.  Technology is amazing.

I've decided to buy another set of size 1 dpns, so I can cast on both socks (or mitts) at once and work the same section on both.  I like that idea better.  With a Hobby Lobby coupon, it's a cheap investment.

I also did a lot (whoo boy a lot) of online shopping this weekend.  I went ahead and ordered yarn and a needle for Camp Loopy's first project, which is June.  The second project is July and I hope I can make that while on the vacation I have yet to plan.  The third is August and that month is hard but I am determined to find a way.  My goal was to make 12 yarn projects this year.  I have 2 done.  #3 is in progress and #4 is queued up. the Camp Loopy order had yarn for 3 projects in it, so that will get me to 7.  I have a worsted weight acrylic afghan started (actually 2 of them - different patterns) and I hope to knock at least one out this year.

My yarn stash is about 2 laundry baskets and I'd like it down to one, so that is the goal.

Other online shopping included Market Day (last order that has to last me through the summer), Essential Bodywear (they had a sale), (stupid Oxford comma) and Penzey's Spices.  And an order and Amazon for coffee.  It was a lot of money spent in a really short period of time but I'm good for a while.

No sewing.  Haven't had the strong urge to go back, but hopefully this week.  Gotta get 2 girl quilts done in as many weeks.  Plus I have to finish up my YBR, which I have stalled out on.  Not big deal; it will all get done.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Just Like Cycle 3...

...I'm stalling out.  It's not a problem; just a bit of of a break on the YBR.  The machine started to skip stitches so I stopped one night.  Then I started knitting a sock and became obsessed with that.  So I haven't gone back to sewing.

Tonight I had to pick up my plant starts from the local farming family.  So we planted some of them tonight and will plant more tomorrow and the rest of this week.  Sewing can keep for a bit.

I decided on the sisters quilts I need to make for friends who have just welcomed their second daughter.  Someone on Stashbusters mentioned Irish Chains and a double Irish Chain will be the right size for the baby and a triple will be fine for the big sister.  The big sister's will have purple running through the chain and the baby will have pink.  Purple will work for the older girl, as it is the same color I made her baby quilt.  That her parents absconded with and hang in their bedroom.

It was good to plant.  It is the week of Mother's Day so the exposure is lower for loss.  I don't have any tomatoes that overwintered, so I guess I will have to buy some.  Damn.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Blitzing, Still Blitzing

I got a little wrapped ion making the goal that I forgot to have fun.  So I took a step back and decided that if I still didn't get it done by May 3, it will be OK.  So I started having fun.

So I came home today after working choicetime and started quilting section 1.  I am kind of all over the map with what is done, but as of this morning, 4 sections were quilted, 3 more were at the flimsy stage and 3 more needed to be sewn together.

I watched Episode III of Star Wars and quilted the 5th piece, which was #1, the upper left hand corner.  I then started to piece #3, the upper right hand corner.  And the movie was done.

Tonight I hope to finish #3 during Episode IV, all the way to the quilting.

The plan is to finish up the sections this weekend and starting on Tuesday I will start trimming the sections and getting the quilt together.  Hopefully by this time next week, I will be hand sewing binding.  I've decided that the Reign eps in my tivo will be my hand binding entertainment.

I also started a pair of socks.  And Ted comes home soon.  Amen.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blitzing Days 3, 4 and 5

So yeah, on Wednesday, which was Day 3 of the Blitz, I had an industry dinner.  I did take about 30 minutes before going and quilted on section 6.  I was so proud of myself.  I made progress, even on a busy day.

Pride goeth before a fall.

I left the dinner feeling horrible.  I tried to throw up when I got home, not once but twice and couldn't because a horrible cough was choking off my windpipe.  I had a fever.  It was bad.

And it was bad on Thursday.  I worked a total of 1 hour from home from my bed.  ("Kathleen has joined the call.  No, I am not sharing my PC, as I am not near one."  Dude, I'm lying in bed on my cell phone.)

On Friday, it was worse.  My temp kept rising and the congestion was progressing.  Each day, I had emailed work very early in the morning with my meeting schedule, my thoughts and how I thought things could play out.  I have 2 primary backups and in a pinch my boss can fill in.  On Thursday, one backup got it done.  She ROCKED.  On Friday, due to serious problems on the project, I was asked to join various meetings via conference call.

Forget it.  I got dressed and went in for 4 hours.  It took every ounce of energy I had, but it was a judicious use of time.  One of the meetings was with my VP.  How can you say no?  Anyway, the project remains stalled and so we made plans to work the weekend.

Yeah, we need a file to review and the file hasn't been generated.  Yup, still at home.

So the point is, no sewing has happened the last 3 days.  If I can sew, I should be at work.  I couldn't do either.

Today is Day 6.  The fever has broken and I am off to the Walgreens for the Rxs that the doctor assures me will make me human again.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blitz Day 2

Here we are - Day 2.  I might as well make some progress here, since the work project is STUCK.  Like we can't do a darned thing.  It's rather comical at this point.  I can say that because I am not under the gun.  The ones that are do fantastic work.  I just wish they wouldn't hit every bump in the road.  I digress.

Anyway, sections 5 and 6.  Yesterday I spent an hour.  Today I gave 2 hours to the cause.  The first hour, I finished piecing section 5 and all of section 6.  The second hour, I worked on the backing.  My red piece is woefully too small to use for the back at all, so I am winging it.

Anyway, I got the backing prepared and started to sandwich.  I got section 6 sandwiched and realized the that backing that I had prepared for section 5 was a bit short on one side.  So I chose to start quilting section 6 with the remainder of the hour.  I couldn't help myself.

Tomorrow's goals (I have an industry dinner at 6):

Sandwich section 5

Bonus:  Quilt anything

I am happy to report that Thursday and Friday have no after-work commitments, but if the project picks up, then I'm working.  It happens.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Blitz Blitz Blitz - Day 1

My life right now is all about the word blitz.  If one project has a blitz, then 2 more must also have them.  At some point we numbered the blitzes, but then they overlapped and it got all messy.

Anyway, I have blitz on the brain.  And a desperate need for a new quilt on my bed for the spring.  So I have decided to blitz one of my king-sized WIPs.

Here are my stashbuster winnings from earlier this year.

So I decided that I would use all of these FQs in one project.  I am making a YBR for my bed.  A king YBR requires 48 FQs and I got about 30 in the winnings.  So I went through my stash and pulled from every milk crate and added.

If possible, I cut one yard.  Half a yard was placed aside to help piece a back.  The remaining half yard was cut into 2 FWs.  One FQ was added to the pile.  The other FQ was cut into 2 9.5 strips and one remaining 2.5 strip.

The YBR will be an oversized king.  A king has 12 blocks per row and 12 rows, so 144 blocks.  However, you make 160 blocks and have leftovers.  So I decided to make the rows 13 blocks long.  OK, that leaves me with 4 blocks left and I'll use those in the corners.

I then found a red fabric for the inner border, binding and backing.  I'll make the rows and columns to piece the top, add a 3.5 border all the way around, and then make the outer border the 9.5 strips from above.  The 4 leftover blocks will be the 4 corners.

The quilt is going to be huge - 141 by 132.  Yes it's wider than it is long; that's what I need.

So I had 48 FQs.  I sorted them on the color spectrum.  And then grouped them into groups of 4.  Each group made 40 blocks (lap sized on the pattern).

I then copied the pattern, spliced in an additional column and made a copy.

And that leads us to today.  Today I broke the quilt into 10 pieces.

Then I cut it apart.

Next up is starting the sections.  The first goal is the center: sections 5 and 6.  These 2 sections have no borders.  I can use leftover backing fabric to start cutting borders for other sections.

I went through the blocks and made a pile for section 5 and another pile for section 6.  I was able to start sewing section 5 together.

Tomorrow's goals:

Finish sewing sections 5 and 6
Prep backings for 5 and 6
Sandwich backings for 5 and 6

Bonus:  Start quilting

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Finish...and how MQIS works for me

OK, the last post was my fail.  A rather epic fail, I think.  It was the idea that I could hopefully post this finish, except it decided to break my washing machine.

Well folks, here is the finish.

It's 58 inches square.  And it's done.  I donated it to my Relay for Life team for a relaxation basket.  Hopefully it will fetch our team some serious cash.  Yes, I do my own quilting.

Now on to the MQIS part.  Machine Quilting in Sections is a book by Marti Michell and it illustrates the technique of quilting quilts in sections so that more of us home sewists can use the machines we have.  I have decided that I just need to get on board with this and learn this technique.  I have dedicated this year for this purpose.

I decided on this goal this year after thinking long and hard about my life.  Although I am 25 years plus from retirement, my husband and I know that we want to have an RV.  We also have stuff.  So we need to start paring down now ever so slowly.  And since an RV is not a cheap thing, decisions and choices need to be made.  The decision that I have made (at least for now) is that I'd rather have money to retire and have an RV and not own a longarm.  (I also want a condo, but that is another post!)  So clearly I need to learn to quilt my stuff.  Plus I have college to pay for my DD in 5 years or so.  While Ted can get her half tuition, it still costs some serious cash.

Anyway, this was the first quilt I tried this on.  I sandwiched the first row and basically did SITD around most of the parts in each block.  This is FAR MORE quilting than I have ever done on a quilt.  Then I trimmed up the joining edge, and did a 6 layer seam, which from top to bottom, is wrong side up row 2, row 1 quilt sandwich, right side up backing and then the batting.  sew the whole thing together and then bring the row 2 pieces together and quilt that row.  I did that for rows 2 through 4.  By row 4, some of the quilt was being drug through the tiny harp of the machine (I sew on a Jem.  Yes, really.  It's all I could afford with daycare at the time.)

When all 4 rows were on, I quilted through the sashings in the rows and columns - just a quick stitch down the center.  Then I trimmed and attached the binding.  I used white thread on the top and brown thread on the back.

It worked flawlessly.  No puckers.  No tucks.  No requilting.  Some frustration, but beginner frustration.  I was worried about a bump where the rows were attached because it's two layers of batting sewn together.  You have to step on it to feel it and you have to really look to find the bump.

HEre are some random photos of the back.  See if you can find the bump.

You can see it here in this last picture if you find the horizontal center of the quilt and look for it.  Again, you and I would know to look for it, but I don't think others would care.

What I have learned from this quilt:

It might have been smarter to do two halves and then do a center join that has the strip down the back that needs to be hand sewn down.

I can now try more complex quilting per block because I can manage the quilt in the machine.

I was also able to not worry about time on this one.  I didn't care how long it took.  I normally do not look forward to quilting and want it done as quickly as possible.  For this one, I said each strip had to be done within a disc of the Lord of the Rings movie (each disc is between 1.5 and 2 hours).  This is a manageable way to quilt over several days.  I was done withe attaching the binding by the end of the first half of the Return of the King.

For my next MQIS quilt, it will be an oversized king in the Yellow Brick Road (YBR) pattern.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Quilter Fail

OK, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and this is no different.

I finally finished a BOM from Country Threads quilt shop.  Jo at Jo's Country Junction mentioned it last year and so I did it.  I used the colors from the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for the fabric selection.   (Got it?  January's block was pink because the Rainbow Scrap Challenge said to use hot pink.)  So I got the blocks all done in January.  Then I saw the layout and didn't like it.  At all.

So I've got 4 Fab 4's going at once.  Yes, I know.  Leave me alone.  Fab 1 are 4 quilts to finish.  The BOM is in here.  Fab 2 are all king sized quilts for our bed.  Fab 3 are all baby quilts.  Fab 4 are all string quilts.  So I've decided to only work on these 16 quilts.  (I have serious quilter's ADD.)  So one week I finish a quilt to the hand finishing point.  The other week I work one 1 quilt in each of the 4 Fabs and do one step.  It could be a small step or a large step.  Doesn't matter.

OK so week one, it was this BOM quilt.  Last weekend I laid out the blocks, made a few filler 9 patches, figured out sashings. cornerstones and the backing.  I decided to use the Machine Quilting in Pieces method by Marti Michell.  I took pictures of the process.  I paced myself during the Stashbusters retreat cruise through the Pacific (I got off in Australia and went to New Zealand and go to Middle Earth watching Lord of the Rings.) By the end of the first disc of Return of the King, the binding was on the quilt.  Hooray!

So I then did a quarter of the blocks for a quilt from Fab 2, and thus ended last weekend.

So this weekend, I sewed a quarter of the blocks for a quilt in Fab 4 and picked out 2 seams from Orca Bay (a row upside down right in the middle of that damned thing).  (I still have some FMQ to do on one from Fab 1.)  I hand sewed down the binding of the BOM quilt while watching TV with my DD on Friday night and Saturday nights.

So this morning, I put the quilt, along with 2 color catchers, in the washing machine.

It unbalanced my machine.  I could just cry.

The sopping wet quilt is in my bathtub.  Another load of clothing has been run through the machine and it's fine, but it jostled loose the tube from the dryer.  I can't win for trying!

And so the story of how the machine quilting in pieces went is delayed.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Bronchitis FTW!

Yes, folks, I have bronchitis.  However, this is I think the first time I've had it since I outsourced my dog for her retirement.  So it's been a long time.  And it didn't feel quite the same way.

Monday started with me waking up at 5.30am going 'there is no way I can go to work.'  And so I didn't.  Things got moved, backups took over, etc.  Tuesday I felt better and by the time the day was done, I was climbing the walls.  I needed to go back to work.

And then at about 2.30 this morning I coughed the horrible cough of bronchitis.  The grip of death was on my windpipe.  I didn't exactly get much more sleep after that.  So I called in this morning.  Actually I don't call anywhere; I email.  It's not like I can talk or anything.

The doctor's office opened at 7 and they had no room at the inn.  They sent me to urgent care, who opened at 8,  By 9, I was home, diagnosis and McDonald's breakfast in hand.

Meanwhile I had been running a low grade fever.  But of course the batteries decided to die in the thermometer, so instead of going straight to Walgreens after the doctor, I went home, ate, fished out the dead batteries and then went to Walgreens.  I was home by 10am.

I took one hit on the inhaler, breathed deeply and took a nap.

I then went on a conference call, did some reading and grabbed my kid from school because her bus broke down.  She and I ran to the grocery store and now we are home.

Meanwhile I need to study for my hopefully very last insurance exam.  And take my steroids.

Friday, February 28, 2014

On the Needles 02/28/14

I'm still working on the first sock.  I'm not really impressed so once I cast off, I will try it on and I may just rip the whole damned thing out and start over top-down.  Toe-up sucks, man.

I do love the yarn and I am pretty sure I will love the sock.  The last time I knit socks was, ahem, 30 years ago.  That means I was in junior high.  Yes, that is accurate.  However, I was knitting with crappy acrylic yarn then and I could not stand the feeling on me feet.  My feet are super-sensitive; it took my DH 3 years to be able to touch my feet to rub them, only to find that the problem was that there was so much tension in my feet, it explained all the pain.  Now my feet are much happier and I am overall much less sensitive, so I decided to give socks a go again with way better yarn.

There's also something else on the needles, but that's super-secret.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Knitting Update

Here is the sock, Sunday evening.  I started it Saturday evening, so this is 24 hours later.  I am maybe 40% through the foot.  Everything after the first 1.5 inches was done 15 minutes here, 5 minutes there.  Stir the roasting veggies, knit for 14 minutes.  You get the idea.

My goal for this work week is to determine how long the foot part needs to be.  I need to stop making the foot part and make the heel, so I really need to know when to stop the foot part.

Knitting wise, the goal is finish the foot part.  Then I can do battle with the heel starting over the weekend.  

The yarn is called Tamara's Day Brightener and it was a Loopy Legend at the Loopy Ewe.  Needles size 2.  

Socks, an experiment

On Friday, I looked through my new Sock Knitting Companion book and determined I wanted to do toe-up socks with a plain toe, no wraps, etc.  I then saw I needed waste yarn for the provisional cast on, and thus ended Friday night.

On Saturday night, I cast on and got through the toe (badly) and started a few rounds.  However, whatever I did, I have to purl everything instead of knit.  Le sigh.

On Sunday morning, I put the sock next to my living room TV to be knit on when I have free moments.  This morning, it was watching This Week with George S.  I had 20 minutes and so I knit.  I watch the evening news most nights, so I hope to get in at least 15 minutes a day during the mindless part of the sock.

When it becomes time to pay attention again (the heel), I will dedicate time to the effort.  I am hoping that by using this found time, I will get 1 sock done per month.  Which means I should have new Easter socks I guess.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Warning, this is not a fun post about knitting.  This is an emotional post about knitting.

I bit my nails as a child.  So when I was 10, and Kim was 17, our mother signed us for knitting lessons one town over.  She even let Kim drive us there and back but of course we had to call and check in.

So I learned how to knit.  I liked the rhythmic aspect of it.  Kim is more free-form and she didn't take to it.  That's fine; our mother thought it was a life skill like typing and sewing and so we learned.  It also helped me stop biting my nails.

So I knit my way through 5th through 8th grades.  I went to a Catholic school and made a sweater for my uniform.  I made gifts and loved to knit.  As some of you may know, we had no freedoms as children, and so while reading was Kim's escape, knitting was mine (at that time).

I entered high school and still knit.  I also could sew and I made some of my clothes.  I had unique things and I grew up in the era of Pretty in Pink, so people got the concept of self-designed clothing.  I made my first quilt in the summer of 1986, after breaking up with my boyfriend.  (As an aside, we have reconnected via social media and he has just learned to quilt.  I remind him to enjoy the process.  He can be hard on himself regarding his art.  He is, as he is with all his art, talented.)

I entered college and I was a train commuter student doing the reverse commute from Chicagoland to the far western suburbs.  I continued to sew, modifying styles (more pants, less skirts) for commuting.  I quilted more and knit less.  I had moved into afghans; I was done with sweaters for a while.   I will state that with the exception of the sweater I made as part of my school uniform, all the yarn I had was acrylic.  100% acrylic.  No good stuff.

So I am in my last year of college.  My father had left, my sister had left (more like driven away in both cases) and I was left with my now dying mother.  She was never a very nice person and made it very clear as time went on that her life had been a big waste and all of us were to blame for that.  I would like to note that my father has NEVER impeded anyone from pursing their dreams.  This was even noted in his eulogy, how strong this trait was in him.  So anyway, I reach Christmas 1991.

Christmas has never been a fun holiday.  As a child I remember the one sided screaming machine of my mother being upset having to see my dad's side of the family.  I remember her desire for the holiday to be perfect and so we had to stay up past midnight every Christmas.  I vividly remember being sick half of my Christmases (which has been confirmed by Kim) and Kim opening my presents (a source of humor now).  I *hated* Christmas.  2 weeks at home cooped up with an angry woman.  She forbade Kim and I to speak to each other, because we would gang up on her and she wasn't having that.

So we are at Christmas 1991.  I know my mother's time on this earth was measured; I worked like mad to make her an afghan.  I figured I could cover her with love.  And I did finish it.  And a few days before Christmas, she said,

"I didn't get anything for you for Christmas, so you can't give me anything."

She knew.  And she ruined it.  Shortly thereafter she said the only reason I knit was to draw attention to myself, to show off what I had made.

And thus ended my knitting.  I stopped cold.  She made me learn a skill, funded the stash, accepted my gifts, wore them, and in a fit of upper-handed rage, cut me down.  It cut me to the core.

I do not want to hear she suffered from mental illness, I don't want to hear about cancer.  I want everyone to know she knowingly said hateful things to her children because she got off on making people feel horrible.  I have lots of examples.  This one pertains to knitting.  People like to tell me it wasn't her speaking; it was the disease.  I really don't care.  I WANT MY FEELINGS VALIDATED.  I am entitled to those feelings and they hurt.

So I packed up my yarn and my needles and moved it all 3 times.  When I arrived here in central Illinois, I went through the stash yarn and donated it all.  I kept the tools - needles, etc.

In spring 2011, just after I finished my MBA, I took a beginning crochet class.  I loved it.  I went and bought yarn and yarn and yarn and sets of hooks.  Yes, it was 100% acrylic stuff, but it was wonderful to be happy with yarn again.  I've made some afghans and potholders.  One class assignment was a set of different potholders in various shapes.  I gave them to my dad for his apartment.  He loved them.  I made some fashion scarves and some winter scarves.  I was working with yarn again.

And then I found Ravelry.  Whoo boy.

And I decided that I would knit again, but only the good stuff.  Unique stuff.  Good yarns, quality workmanship, stitched with love.  I bought some nice stuff from The Loopy Ewe.  Some red, some fun dyed stuff and some other fun dyed stuff.

And now I am trying to make some socks.  Man, it's been a long time.

And while Christmas this year was hard because we knew it was Dad's last, I finally have begun to enjoy Christmas again.  I give full credit to my husband and my child who have worked with me through all of this.

And off I go.  I have no idea what a provisional cast on it, but I need some waste yarn to do it.  So off I go.


After much hassle, I have FINALLY figured out how to change the email address for Blogger for this blog.  I desperately need to break up with Yahoo, and this was one of the most critical ones to get updates.  I now have everything converted over to my gmail account, which matches my blogspot blog name, which makes me very very happy!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

My Absence

Yes, I’ve been absent.  Very absent.

But I think I have a good reason.  In late July, my dad’s cancer took a turn.  For anyone who has been part of a cancer survivor’s journey, the journey takes many, many turns.  In July, the turn was big.  He entered the hospital on the last Monday in July and he never went home to his apartment again.

It’s been a long journey with many turns.  Getting him into various skilled care facilities.  Dealing with family members (my father is remarried – don’t ask).  Shutting down his apartment.  Walking him through the disposition and allocation of his belongs.  Thankfully he is a man of few possessions, but those he has are precious.  Dealing with grandchildren.  Dealing with money (that would be me).  Dealing with medical institutions.  Trying to make honorable decisions.

He died yesterday in the wee hours of the morning, in hospice in my sister's living room.  My sister lives in a converted 3 flat with a coach house in the back.  Her oldest son is married and lives in the coach house.  That child has a bond with Grandpa that surpasses all of us.  My sister’s younger son is living pretty much in the lower flat, while my sister is in the upstairs flat.  The main kitchen, the living room, etc are on the main floor and that is where Dad was.

I am grateful that we celebrated Christmas on 12/22.  Dad was still awake and alert and cracking jokes ever so slowly.  By Christmas night, he was throwing up dead blood.  Now he is gone.

I cannot stress enough the good work of hospice.  They have made this last leg of the journey palatable, to use my sister’s wording.  We went with a firm that my cousin, who is a doctor, works for.  At the time they were brought in, it was August and Dad was very much aware of what was being discussed.  Our cousin guided him through the discussions and he felt very comfortable that someone was advocating for him (besides his children – he trusts us).  While we didn't call the firm until the 100 days of skilled nursing care was over, they have been nothing but wonderful.

So this is why I have been away.  Some things fell away and this was one of them.  I have decided that in 2014, I will better at this, and some other things too.

Meanwhile I have been quilting.  Not as much, but I have been.  And a situation at work has resolved itself.  It was a tough 2+ years being away from my department and manager, and it is so very nice to be back.