Saturday, November 8, 2014

I am alive

I had a very stressful summer with work and I didn't enjoy it at all. I read somewhere that a sign that your emotional health is not good, is lack of participation in hobbies that used to bring you joy. I felt that way this summer. I didn't do any crafting because I was so drained physically and emotionally.

Well, it is fall/winter now and there is time to do things! Emily and I have been squeezing time in, usually on a Friday afternoon to get some sewing done. We started these embroidery samplers and it is going pretty well. I will post pictures on a later post. Embroidery isn't my strength though. I am not that familiar with stitches and so I keep defaulting to satin stitches.

Last night I started a new cross stitch project. It was a free DMC chart for a snowflake sampler. I love the symmetry of the pattern. I ran to the quirky cross stitch store after work and was looking for some overdyed floss. I considered opalescent fabric, but I think that would have overwhelmed the pattern. It is too 'clean' for opalescent and variegated  floss. Well, I was looking at embroidery floss when the one of the owners came over and pointed out this other kind of cotton thread I'd never heard of before. Caron Wildflowers described as "a single stranded hand-dyed cotton in variegated colors. It has more of a matte finish when stitched. Use one or more strands as required by the ground fabric. It is between a #8 and #12 pearl cotton in weight." I am really enjoying it and I did some reading from the company's website and it is a nice tale.

I figured out why not since this is just a pattern that you can use any colour. I really like the finish. It is more raised in my opinion and I love to run my fingers over the top of stitches. Gives a bit more dimension and while the Xs are clear, they fill out nicely.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Laying out the squares

I love my colour combination- Burnt Orange, California Poppy, Granny Smith, Lupine and Midnight Heather. According to my spreadsheet I am 88.50% done. I should be done with everything but the peach tomorrow. Then I just have to wait till my yarn shows up. I randomized all the squares and put them on an X,Y grid. As I finish up squares I am laying them out so I can see what it looks like together.

The real battle starts after the squares are done. First I need to weave in all the ends. That is going to be LONG. I am going to block the squares. I was at my LYS Thursday and learned about blocking wires. I had never heard of them and since I am on a grid they would work really well. I just have to weave the wires through the spaces and then use T-pins to hold the wires in place. After all that I need to join the squares together. I am going to use Highland Green which is a more traditional green. It should coordinate well.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

One down, 119 to go

 I have been a crocheting fool. I have finished almost all of the 4 round. I ran out of yarn for one of my colours so I am 6 shy of the 120. I went through this evening and sorted everything out for the final round. It has gone really well. I am going to start laying out as I finish up squares so I can see what it looks like all together. I have a regular green that I think I am going to use to join them all. I don't want to use a 'neutral', but then again green can be a neutral.

A finished square! Position 2,2 in the 11x11 grid.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Granny Squares progress

I've kept up with my goal of 24 square rounds per day. I already know that when I get done I won't be lifting a crochet hook for a LONG time. It does take time, but I am enjoying it. There is a rhythm to crochet that I enjoy. It is also an easy pattern to do while watching TV. I've watch A LOT of Law and Order this week. There are marathons almost every day on some channel or the other. Everything I've learned about crime investigation and justice I've learned from L&O. It really is a good who.

So I am 40% done. I really love having a spreadsheet to keep track of how much I've completed and when I need to sort out for the next colour. On to the third colour!

Monday, May 5, 2014

I may actually finish something!

I did start my granny squares crochet blocks and so far I am staying on task. It does take some time, but I am liking the routine. I am doing 120 non-repeated blocks. I decided it was easier to work a colour at a time, rather than finishing a single block with all 5 colours.

So here is some math:
120 blocks*5 colour rounds= 600 rounds
600 rounds/30 days= 20 rounds/day

There are 31 days in May, but it was easier to assume there were 30. I have done 24 per day because it works out to 24 per colour. I am going gang busters now, but my guess I will slack off in a bit. Doing the extra 4 per the last 4 days has bought me a slack day.

I am using ziplock bags to keep things straight. I am famous for leaving things different places and then forgetting where I put them. My system is to put them in the bag of the next colour I'm supposed to crochet. I have a pivot table that shows me how to divide the colours for the next block. Told you I was a nerd! Granny squares are a bit wasteful, but if I weren't using the yarn for this I wouldn't be using it at all and that is even more wasteful.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Eating paste

Last Thursday I went to one of my local yarn stores for a granny squares class. I used to crochet, but hadn't in a while and last fall I signed up for a crochet along. It was once a month for 6 months I think. I made it to only 2 or 3 classes. I bought all the yarn so I have a ton of yarn sitting around. During one of the few classes I did attend, I asked about granny squares and so I like to think I brought about this class. Anyway, I went to the class unprepared. I forgot my supplies at home and didn't have enough time to go home and pick them up after work. So I went to Joann's and picked up $2 yarn and a cheapo crochet hook. My first mistake of the session was admitting that I had done that. I got the stink eye for saying I went to Joann's. I just couldn't get the pattern to work. It was off from the get go and it go progressively worse and was all misshapen and not square. It was like kindergarten where all the other kids are writing their name and you don't even know letters. I felt like I was the paste eating child! Sidebar- I never ate paste as a kid and I have no idea why anybody would. It was AWFUL! I even left the lesson early. Sitting in my car I texted my friend to tell her how awful it was and how I was going to have to either get a tutor and pay somebody to crochet up a few for me to take to the next lesson.

Yesterday I decided to try again. This time it turned out OK, but on the class handout I found out that there are different kinds of granny squares and they had taught me the circle in square kind. I like the original one, the one that was the inspiration for the granny square quilts. Worked like a dream. I can write my name! I did two and they turned out fantastic.

Since I can't leave well enough alone, I've decided to make an afghan. I am going to use the yarn I picked up for the crochet along. I used this image as inspiration. I love the two sample blocks I made. And because I am a big nerd, I don't want repeats so I used a permutation generator to get all possible combinations. With 5 colours there are 120 combinations. If I used 4 colours out of the 5, it is still 120 combinations so I am going with 5 colours since they will be bigger blocks and hence a larger throw with same number of blocks. Always thinking, this one. Technically I can get it done in a month. 120=4/day*31days/May. Yeah, right!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I don't take good pictures

I take lovely vacation pictures. I am even a Iowa State Fair blue ribbon winner, but I can't take quilt pictures to save my life. I think it is because I have to stage them. With monuments or people in action, they are already staged.
Well, a friend of mine went into the hospital last weekend. It was a very serious situation and a scary time. I didn't have a lot of time, so I made up a pillow to give her while she was in. I made a Turning Twenty block and I think it turned out well. I stitched in the ditch to hold the fusible batting in place. I used three fat quarters from Dena Designs. I like the way they coordinate, but not matchy matchy. I needed one pillow, but I had enough fabric for two more so I am going to do that and mail it to my niece.

I also finished up the blocks for the Toes in the Sand Block of the Month. Only 2 months behind. Go me! I have to finish it, but that shouldn't take long. Famous last words, I know.

I like the red and yellow added into the prescribed blue blocks. It makes it brighter and more fun. I went to a crochet class Thursday which is quite the story, but I will post that later. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Long time no blog

Yikes! It was January the last time I blogged. I haven't been blogging, but I have been cross stitching. I started the Quilty Stitches cross stitch which is a nice combination of cross stitch and quilting. The blocks come together pretty fast, but my colour choices were mocked by my friend, Emily. Looking at it again, yes it is pretty hideous. I used this image as inspiration, but it just didn't translate. I think the problem was using a flat fabric. After using the sparkly hand dyed fabric for the 12 Days of Christmas pattern, regular fabric just won't do.

Oh, and I got a needleminder. It is a tree frog and I love it. I should have put something by it to show the scale and the colours don't show up very well, but it is about an inch and a half and the rhinestones are amber/brown.

Speaking of Emily, we had a craft day on Saturday with another friend. It ended up being one long chat and a Netflix marathon. I didn't do any sewing, but it was a lovely day. Here is an update of Emily's deer cross stitch. You can see her progress as well her needle minder and a cat! The last update was from well over a year ago, but there hasn't been much stitching going on since for various reasons. We both need to have more sewing evenings.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Catching up

I've been catching up on my Toes in the Sand Block of the Month this weekend. I've done 2 months worth (4 blocks) and should get another month's done this evening. I will only be one month behind then, which isn't too bad. I am now starting to coordinate the colours a little more so that I don't have two that are exactly the same next to each other. I like using the red and yellow as well as the blues. It makes it fun and colourful. There are two months worth after January and then just the setting triangles. I don't know if I want to use the white grunge or try something else.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy Twelfth Night!

Today is the 12th day of Christmas. Somewhere along the way the days of Christmas have started before Christmas, rather than before. I am looking at you, consumer America.

In my last post, oh way back in early December I talked about starting the 12 Days of Christmas cross stitch. I have done all of it but the white. I had hoped to finish today, but instead I had a very leisurely and enjoyable lunch with a couple from church. The stitching can wait. Likewise, yesterday I had a great time at Stitch with a friend from the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild. I have a good life. Anyway, since today is twelfth night and the start of the new Downton season, I made a Galette Des Rois. I had never heard of it before, but while doing research about the 12 Days I found a recipe. I haven't tasted it yet, but it does look divine.

Happy Twelfth Night!