Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Am Knitting Too

I'll have you know that I voluntarily vacuumed today. I vacuumed the carpet in my sewing area in the basement--and then I made another skirt, and I used the machine Mom gave me a couple weeks ago to get used to it.

I have been knitting, though. I got a free pattern when I bought a couple skeins of yarn
from Spin last weekend on my way home from The Clearing. I cast on last Sunday and couldn't get past Row 2. Row 2!! I knit and ripped, knit and ripped until I flung it from me in frustration. I got smart on Monday and personal messaged the pattern's designer on Ravelry. She got right back to me that there was an error in the pattern and she'd send me an email copy. Hooray!

I tried to finish the Baby Socks for Tanya's baby-to-be before Friday Night Knitting because it was the last Friday she'd be there before the baby arrived. Didn't make it. I had to show
her the single completed sock and promise the second before the baby was born. Didn't make that either. I got the leg knitted sitting in the ER yesterday waiting to find out that Durwood was fine, but didn't get the heel, etc. done. I visited with Mom and sat with Durwood after supper not knitting. Baby Clara Beth lost patience and got herself borned yesterday evening during a storm. Babies, they're just not reliable.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Remember I said that my roomie Lala wore skirts in the scorching heat and looked cool last week? I showed you all the fabric I bought on Tuesday to make some for me. Well, despite Mrs. Boss being at the shop for about 5 hours yesterday I managed to lay out and cut out a couple (right under her very nose!) and I got one sewed up last night. So that you don't think I have suddenly become organized or sane, I'll confess to not going down to sew until after 9 PM so that it was nearly 11:30 when I came up with a completed skirt. It still needs a tweak or two at the waist and the pockets I added need to drop down an inch but it's a nice, old (1989) easy Simplicity pattern for skirts and pants. I looked through all the pattern books at JoAnn and didn't really find a simple, everyday skirt pattern. Where are all the "normal" clothes these days?

I've never really been a "blue" girl but this fabric grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I like the way the skirt turned out and it's very comfy. I'll be firing up the machine again tonight.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Raw Materials & Blooming Lilies

I love to make things--yarn, fabric, wood, flour & sugar, words--I don't care what the raw materials are I can't help making something out of something else. It's a compulsion that I can't resist.

Lala, my roomie last week wore skirts and looked cool and comfortable. I want to be cool too so I thought I'd make myself some. I stopped at JoAnn's on my way home from walking this morning and found these 4 fabrics on the sale tables, one of them (the one in the upper right) is even a border print which makes me strangely excited. The plaid in the lower right is made of squares stitched and serged together that I can't wait to sew up. I'll be taking it and the pattern to work tomorrow. Maybe I'll find the time to pin and cut it out then.

After mowing t
his afternoon I showered and left early for my chiro appointment to get some birdseed. On the way to the clinic I swung into Hancock Fabrics and found some more. These I found on the $1 and $2/yd. table. I'm most excited about the brown cotton gauze with flowers on it or maybe the muted plaid second from the top of the pile.

My lilies are doing their best to impress this year. I took one of the white ones to work with me yesterday and enjoyed its fragrance all

The pink S
targazers are my favorites and their colors are extra vivid this summer.

I was amazed to see the purple mums blooming away behind the lilies.

And Dad's rose has started its second round of blooming.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm Melting, Melting...

Hot. Humid. Still as the grave. I had been confident that there'd be a cool breeze blowing up the bluff to cool us off, after all there's all that cool water right there at the base of the cliff. Wrong. Oh, so wrong. The only thing that saved me was the workshop is air-conditioned so at the end of a hot walk there was a cool room. It was hard not to prop the lock so we could sneak back after dark and sleep in there, but I resisted. Then I thought that since I know the door code for the Jensen Center where there's carpeting, I'd drive over with my sheet and pillow and sleep in the office. I didn't do that either. I thought about all those years growing up with only a fan to cool us and decided to just deal. I took a lot of cool showers, drank lots of water, and complained. (I'm sure it was the latter that kept me the coolest.) We did go down to The Clearing's beach for a swim a couple times but the climb back up the bluff steps and the hike back to the cabin really undid all the cooling, plus we were working nearly non-stop from 9-5:45 every day to get our chairs cut out, drilled, sanded, turned, and glued together. I had 5 classmates (all male) and 2 teachers (also male) and I changed the design of my chair (naturally. when have you ever known me to follow the crowd?). Herb, the 85-year-old teacher was patient and helped me all the while scolding me (in a friendly way) if I whined too much about how hard it was since he told me it'd be way harder than following his suggestion (hey, no one can resist a little "I told you so" every once in a while). I was certain that I had some natural woodworking talent since Grandpa Stephan was a carpenter, as was his brother, but turns out I don't, or at least it's not as much of an "instinct" as I had hoped. I wasn't the worst in class but you get out of practice as an adult learning totally new things. I needed to take along my kindergarten self and didn't always manage it but I toughed it out and triumphed in the end.

I stopped at a yarn shop on my way up and shopped the 40% off bins...

Lala and I went to the kite store on Sunday and I bought me a new kite...

We tried to fly it and my "old" Ironman kite on Thursday but the wind was too light and variable. She got Ironman to fly for about a minute so I grabbed a picture. I'll be flying my frog as soon as it's windy enough.

In the workshop, we cut out the chair pieces...

glued them together...

turned the legs...

sanded and sanded and sanded...

glued and clamped...

and ended up with chairs. Mine's the Shaker one. It still needs stain and varnish or some sort of finish, but for now I'm happy that it's 3-D instead of 2-D.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sew Much Fun

I had a brainstorm on Sunday, that I should make a bag for my writing friend, Lala, as a gift when we room together next week at The Clearing. Of course, it would have been smarter to make the bag weeks ago when I had the brainstorm the FIRST time but I'll never get the time back so I flipped through One Yard Wonders and found a super-simple bag pattern. It's called the Baroque Banana Bag but I think that's a terrible name for a cute bag. I had the fabric, only needed to buy a zipper and wide ribbon for the strap. Naturally I had to make one for me too. I picked out the fabric for the bags and linings, and cut them out at work on Monday. On my way home I stopped at JoAnn for zippers and ribbons, then after supper and 2 episodes of Antiques Roadshow, I sewed the first bag body together. It was quick and easy. The directions told you to pin the strap onto the bag and sew it all by hand. That's right, sew the strap onto the bag over the center seam and then sew the 2 layers of ribbon together BY HAND. Two Yards' Worth. And to sew the 16" zipper in by hand too.That was not happening. I suck at handstitching and avoid it at all costs. So I thought about it yesterday while driving Mom around and had a plan by the time I got home. I should have taken in-progress pictures but I didn't think of that until I was done with both of them. Anyway, TA-DA! Didn't they turn out cute? I love them. The ferny one is for Lala and the flowery one's mine. (To give you an idea of their size, that's a sofa cushion they're lying on, so they're about 17" wide and the strap makes them 1 1/2" wide.) My friend Skully commented today that sewing gives you instant gratification unlike knitting which makes you wait sometimes for weeks.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Some Knitting & Some Flowers

I'm trying to be more balanced. I'll probably be trying to be more balanced for the rest of my natural life, but I'm taking another stab at it today. I'm trying to go a little easier on myself when I fall short (which is usually) and enjoy the attempt(s). I've finally come to grips with the notion than I'm probably never going to be perfect (for long) so I need to appreciate my natural wackiness and just run with it.

At Friday Night Knitting I consulted with the others and came to the conclusion that I need to knit about 1 1/2 more inches of foot before I make my short-row heel. I hoped to have this sock done before I go off to The Clearing next Saturday for my week in the woods playing with wood but I might not. Oh well. (See the mature lack of self-recrimination? Growth!) The foot is the long part of these socks and I lose track of how long I have to knit on it so that it fits right. I should write it down.

I got the Lava Shawl out of hibernation again on Friday and added a few rows. It's starting to look shawl-ish and I adore the colors. I understand that it's not going to be wool shawl weather for about 5 months but I'm liking making it anyway. I even end up with the correct number of stitches on most rows and, when I don't, I can see where I went wrong and fix it. (See? Learning!)

I've slowed down on Bandwagon Block #6. Don't know why. I've slowed down on all my p
rojects lately. Must be because it's officially the dog days of summer. I finally learned why it's called that. This is when Sirius, the dog star, is above the horizon and long ago people thought that the bright star added its heat to the summer to explain why it's hotter in July and August. Pretty clever, isn't it? Wrong, but clever. Everyone knows it's because of all the cookouts and campfires. Sheesh.

Here are some pictures of all the things blooming today--red Cock's Comb, Daisies, and Lantana looking fantastic with its pink and yellow florets.

Durwood picked his first tomato yesterday and ate it before I could take its picture, but he said that this one's mine. I might be a nice person and let him have this one too. Might.

See how the lettuces are rebounding? We'll get a couple more suppers' worth of salads before I replant.

See the baby Patty Pan squashes? They look like tiny, pale green turbans at the base of the blossoms. We can't wait until they're ready to eat. I made the mistake of giving Mom a couple last year, now she wants more. Luckily one plant will make enough for both houses. This is one of those sneaky plants that hides its fruit until it's gotten big and then you find it, or it uproots itself with the weight of it. I promise to keep a closer eye on it this year.

I love lilies. I like Asiatic lilies

and day lilies

and Stargazer lilies.

I just wish they bloomed longer--or more than once a season.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

No Knitting Here

It hasn't been a very knitter-y weekend. I played in the dirt, played with watercolors, talked with Durwood, visited Mom, and grubbed through a few bins of fabric scraps. So I don't have any knitting to show you, but I do have pictures of the flowers I planted (the yellow snapdragons made me think of DD & DIL2)...

I hauled up my
watercolors and goofed around a bit on the back patio,

but I got an early birthday gift from Mom. It's a fancy computerized one, the first one she bought and no longer uses, so she passed it along to me. I anticipate spending a bit of t
his afternoon with the manual and a few fabric scraps.

Last night I went to the fireworks with DS but first I got a peek at Henny and Penny who had already roosted up for the night. The fireworks were excellent, loud and bright.