Monday, February 24, 2014


I haven't done any new quilting, but I got two new jobs to work on.  Just when I think I'll have time to work on my own stuff, more customers appear.  I guess I'll have to count my blessings, right?

The Girl Scout cookies came in!  We helped unload them from the pallets.  By my estimation, there were over 5,000 cases of cookies here.  I couldn't even get all the cookies into one photo--I got the girls to pose with the cookies on the right.  Both of them were helping unload the boxes.

I finished working on my customer's quilt.  The piece was beautiful and quilted up pretty well until the very end when one of the borders was just a bit too long.  I made some adjustments (for no charge) and finished it up.  When I gave it back to the owner, I made the full disclosure and that I didn't charge her extra...and she said that's why she keeps coming back to me.  Yey!  Score one for customer service!

Emma got a haircut!  She's so darn cute!

Saturday was "Ragnarok"--according to Facebook legend--so I invited my gal-pal over for a day of beadwork!   We took a road trip to Seattle to visit a glass shop.  Great for emergencies, but the prices are a little higher and selection is more limited than mail ordering from Frantz.  I just didn't want to wait for bead release to arrive, so we drove down to check out the store.  OK, first we went to the local place and were horribly disappointed by their lack of knowledge and lampworking supplies.

This is what I got while I was there.  I picked up a couple sticks of a dark, dark was $65 a pound, but I only got about $8 worth.  I realized after working with it that it wasn't worth the money.  Ah, well.  I'll see if I can make anything interesting out of it.

Here are some of the beads I made.  Heide saw the two beads near the left that look like cranberries and commissioned 10 of them, so I got right on that.

This is one of the cooler ones...the turquoise has a chemical reaction with the yellow glass, making the black outlines.  I may have to get more of the turquoise...that's so cooooool!

So with that, I have to be ready to teach to a group of Kindergarteners tomorrow (art) and later, work on the first of the two quilts for my customers.  Another busy week!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

End of Mid-Winter Break

For some odd reason, the school systems out West deem it necessary to have a couple days off in the middle of February.  They chose a 3-day weekend and made it into a 4-day weekend, so they're really only getting one extra day off.  It gives me a chance to sleep in a bit, so I'm not complaining...

After getting each of the kids to do one chore (a miracle!) I got the last pieces cut and sewn to make the border for the Jewel Box quilt.  This finishes the diamonds around the edge but caps off the chains.  I really like the look of it!

This now makes 7 UFO quilt tops that are waiting to be quilted, including one customer quilt.  I also received a note from a friend who may have another one for me by Thursday.  I have to get busy!!

No progress on the knitting today, but there it is.  Maybe tomorrow, although it's a short day for school and I really need to get some work done on my customer's quilt.

Pirate Retreat!

I got so much done this weekend!  Lauri, Linda, Sharon, Jean and Debbie (a new member of our crew) got together and worked on projects from Saturday about noon through Monday.  I was really glad that I was still feeling well on the weekend--last Monday, I went to dinner with Godith at a restaurant that has a name that sounds like a fruit and an insect (not "Orange Ants", but you get the hint).  We didn't know it, but it had just re-opened after having been sanitized from a norovirus outbreak.  There was no sign on the door warning guests, in case they hadn't read the paper or were just passing through town.  The next day, Godith wrote me a note asking, "How are you doing?" and explained the details that she read in the paper.  Apparently, the next day, they closed again, indefinitely.  I just looked up the incubation period, which is 12-48 hours, so it appears I cleared the danger period.  Whew!

Linda & Sharon (with Miss O) arrived shortly after noon, just after Lauri (and Mr. L).  The kids ran upstairs and started playing happily.  Jean arrived a few minutes later in her full dance regalia after performances with two dance companies!

I set to work on my UFO list.  I made a lot of progress on several quilts.
First I added bindings on two quilts that were nearly finished.  Emma's Japanese one-block wonder was on the top of that list because she had been harassing me recently about taking so long on getting it done.  I couldn't find a green that matched, so I selected a yellow that matched the fabrics in the quilt.  I hope I can wrestle it away from her for the quilt show in April.

Next was the purple pinwheels quilt that I made from swapped fabrics from the guild and a variety of purples from my stash.  I didn't have any more purple, so I chose a piece of orange...and I ended up being about 2 feet short in the binding.  I had to find another fabric that was pretty wasn't as bright, but it blends in pretty good.  No one will notice.  And if they do, they're looking too close!  This one will also be in the quilt show, then afterwards, it may have to find itself a new home. :)

Finished assembly of the blocks and borders added to the Civil War quilt.  This one is a twin size--about 80" x 106".

Blocks were sewn together and borders added to the pineapple quilt.  I love the look of this one, and I had wanted to make this quilt for a long time, but I really started to hate doing it after a while.  I had originally planned to make 25 blocks, but after 16 enormous blocks, I threw the rest of the photocopies of the patterns away.  With the borders, it's a good lap size, and is a bright, cheerful quilt that I will probably use in the living room for TV time.

I added a simple border to the Children's Hospital quilt.  Again, this is not a donation to the hospital, but for the parents to sleep under while staying with a child at Children's...for me & Kelly, specifically.

I made a bunch of Half Square Triangles for the border of the Jewel Box quilt.  This was still in progress when the Pirates left on Monday.  The 5" squares were pre-cut, saving me a lot of time.  The border will be white all around, but finish the diamonds around the edge.  I think I may have to scrounge up more white on white fabrics...not sure what I'm going to do for that, if I have some hidden in my sewing room or if I'll have to buy a couple yards.

That's 6 out of 12 quilts with progress to them!  Most of the rest of the unfinished projects just need quilting and binding.  Now if only I can make sure that my longarm keeps working.  The stitch regulator is still not working up to par.  I'll have to find out what to do about that.

I was hoping that I could get all of the UFOs done by October...but I may get more than 12 done by then.  The rules of the UFO challenge say that you can keep adding UFOs to the list, but they must have been started prior to January.  I can't start one now and add it to the list.

Still working on the Olympic knitting, but I spent the entire weekend doing the quilting thing, so I'm a few days behind.  I love watching the sports, but I'm really frustrated with the coverage of the Olympic games this year.  They have 4 minutes of coverage, then 3 minutes of commercials.  They really only cover the US athletes and don't show any of the medal ceremonies.  They have a Facebook page that is posting the results of some of the competitions before the West coast feed even starts.  It's really frustrating and disappointing.  I keep thinking that NBC really should buy up several channels and air almost constant coverage of the various sites--one channel for skiing, both hills and flat surfaces; one for slope style & snowboarding; one channel for ice skating; one for speed skating; one for hockey; and one for curling and other odd sports like curling.

But that would involve me becoming CEO of NBC...and that probably won't happen.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Olympics and the Usual Chaos

Last Thursday marked the beginning of the Olympic coverage (even though the opening ceremonies didn't occur until Friday), so I started casting on the Norwegian Blue sweater.  The red strings are to help me count the stitches when casting on.  I needed 288 stitches on the needles, and darn it if I didn't lose count six times before I finally started putting these strings in between every 20 stitches.  I ended up having to take it out and start again...a couple I really didn't get it started until Friday anyway.  The judges said they'd allow it.  No deductions for a false start.  We'll just call it a "practice run".

Knitting wasn't the only thing I was doing, though.  I also took a little time on Thursday night to make some beads with Bekah.  These are the six I made that night.  Three of them were made with Olympic colors--I tried to do rings on the two on the far left, but one of the colors (green) was not cooperating.  Then I decided to do mixed up rings, on the right.  The three in the middle were just fun spotty beads.  Again, the green turned transparent and didn't have the desired effect, but it's still pretty cool.

I finished up the perle cotton weave and although I don't have a particular project in mind to add it to, I really like the way it turned out, the fineness of the weave, the flexibility of the fibers, and I know it's going to make a great impact on whatever garment I add it to.  Now I'll have to make some really stunning garment to go with it.  It reminds me of a doll house plan I had once.  I started with the door.  Little did I realize that you really can't start from the end, and that the doll house would never come to fruition.

Once the loom was available, I started weaving the band for the warp weighted loom, adding in the yards of wool for the warp.  It took nearly two entire skeins of Fisherman's wool to finish the warp, and I figure it'll take another two to weave it up.  The band will be laced onto the top cross bar and the weaving will start from that point.  I have set it aside for the last week while I worked on other projects.

Saturday was consumed with teaching a costuming class for Ithra.  I only had two students, but we had a great time and they were able to finish their mock-up and have a pattern to fit them and make a wearable outfit from there.  Since it was the first time I ever taught the class, I was glad not to have the pressure of a full classroom.

After my morning class, I "crashed" the beginning beadmaking class in the afternoon and ended up being a sort of co-teacher, helping the other students learning how to handle the mandrils, heating the glass, and making wearable beads.  I was able to make a couple beads myself, demonstrating layering colors.  This is the bead I made.  You'll notice the black ring around the blue glass--this is a chemical reaction between the ivory and the turquoise; a very cool effect!

When I got home, I was wanted to make more beads, so I brought out my torch and made these.  I probably would have made more but I ran out of fuel, and the jug of bead release is running low.  I'll have to pick some up tomorrow, I guess.

This is a photo of the sweater progress this evening, after three days of work.  I only got six rows done today, even though I was working on it for hours.  288 stitches takes forever, especially when it's two-color work.  It's slow going...they say it's a marathon, not a sprint, but it sure feels like the tortoise and the hare.  I'm the tortoise.  I think I'll call this one "Norwegian Blue (aka the Dead Parrot Sketch)".  Actually, I think the pattern is called Lillies or something like that.  It's from the DROPS web site, pattern #58-8.  I tried to copy the colors somewhat closely, although the colors available were not exact.  I can see now that mine is going to be quite a few shades lighter than hers, but it was what was available at the time.  The colors seem much more intense in this photo than it does in real life.

Tomorrow is the guild meeting, and I hope the weather doesn't delay the trip--it's supposed to be in the low 40s and rainy, so it should be fine.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Frigga Lives!

I have gone into detail on my SCA blog, but thought I'd mention my activities from the last 48 hours.  In short, I wanted to build a loom to weave fabric for a clothing project.  I was going to put it off until summer, but I just couldn't.  After doing some research, I found that not only was the supply list short, but I had just about everything in the garage already.  After a few adjustments, I made this!

While I may watch the Big Game tomorrow, I may end up starting some weaving on a band to start weaving on the loom.  Hard to explain, but essentially, you weave a band that becomes the selvege edge of the fabric at the top.  The warp strings are woven into the band, which hang down and are tied to weights.  I'll take pictures when it's all warped up.

Other than that, I'm one week into a low-carb diet.  I've gone back to the no potato, no pasta, no rice, no bread, no corn diet.  It's kind of a South Beach thing, I guess.  Lots of fruit and veggies, meat, dairy...I still have to work on cutting back on the sugar.

Tired though....this is my one weekend off in four.  More sleep!!