It’s been a long week here — actually a long month — well, really a long year so far.
2016 has been full of stresses and April chock-full of busyness. My quilt guild had a very successful show over the weekend. My part in the show prep started way back in July of 2015 and finally ended at about 6pm on Sunday.
The week was full of appointments and various duties and responsibilities, culminating today in a wonderful, restful time at our Spirit Stitchers group at my church. I spent the day talking, eating, knitting, talking, looking at others’ projects, knitting, talking ……I ended the day taking a dog for a walk, and I don’t have a dog, but a good friend does and we walked the town. So, I generally had a wonderful day.
But it felt so good to come home, take off the blue jeans and crawl into favorite knit yoga pants and a decades-old, favorite Mickey Mouse t-shirt. Note that you do not have to actually do yoga to be very fond of yoga pants. My husband is out of town so I had the quiet house to myself to do whatever I liked, which was mostly nothing.
Usually home means coming HOME to our wonderful property and house and my wonderful Hubby. But tonight it meant knit pants, feet up on the futon, quilting magazines, glasses of iced tea, and not much else. Home . . . . . welcome . . . .
I have been enamored for years with the idea of “possibilities” ever since I encountered the quilt book publishing company by that name. Besides the wonderful quilt patterns and ideas presented in their books, the concept of anticipating the possibilities of crafting and dreaming of handling crafting materials really appeals to me.
Every time a magazine comes in the mail (today it was Interweave Knits Spring 2014) or I go down to my quilting studio and pull a book off my shelves for perusal, my mind is thoroughly engaged with the possibility of creating what I see on the pages.
And I’ve been dreaming and crafting other things too. I treated myself to a 6 week knitting class and am making my first sweater – hoping to learn enough from my teacher so that the sweater actually fits. And I’m working on a kumihimo braided, beaded “something”. Whether it’s a bracelet or necklace is yet to be determined. And a beading loom might just have arrived from amazon.com last week. And then there’s the rigid heddle weaving loom upstairs with two placemats partially woven on it. And I’ve been dreaming of getting this all relocated back in the quilting studio if the carpenters EVER finish down there. And …………well, there are lots of POSSIBILITIES.
So that’s my word for 2014 and my plan for 2014 is to become much better at turning all these things into REALITIES.
Today was a busy Saturday. Hubby was up early for a swim. I was in town to visit Ridgefield’s Summerfest on the way to a rehearsal. Lunch on the patio of a local restaurant. Trip up north to the pond supply store. Home to sit on the deck and read (Hubby) and knit (me) for a while. Then gardening for Hubby and baking for me. Then dinner cooked on the grill. A run to the grocery store for missing ingredients for cupcake frosting. A stop at the Carvel!!!! And home to frost cupcakes and watch le Tour de France. Whew! No wonder I’m tired and Hubby is sleeping in the chair with his computer in his lap.
Some random thoughts and photos before I close the lid on this laptop and head off to bed . . . . . . . . . . .
This picture is of some of the first fruits of our garden (gathered and eaten today), though we’ve had some zucchini prior to today.
In the completed commitments category are the two quilts made for the two new homeowners of the Linden Place homes built by Housatonic Habitat for Humanity. The home dedications were in June and I made a quilt for each of the two homeowner families. I haven’t heard that a CO has been issued for either home, but I’m sure they are anxious to move in. Here is a photo of me by our pond with the two quilts in my arms. They are about to be loaded into the car and driven to the dedication ceremony.
I really enjoyed the quilting and finishing of these quilts. They were done in beautiful weather and in my wonderful quilting “studio”. Doesn’t this look like a great place to work?
So resolution # 5 for 2012 I named “Get Real”. This mostly relates to all of my craft projects that are in some state of completion. So, they are either being finished or “frogged” (as in the case of knitting — ripped out) or thrown away or given away for someone else to complete. My quilt guild has a challenge contest to be completed in September of 2012. Those interested in competing filled out a form listing names and descriptions of WIPs (Works In Progress) or UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) that they are committing to finish by our September meeting. For every project on our list, the entry fee was a fat quarter of batik fabric. And for every project we actually complete, we get an chance in the drawing for one of the baskets of batiks. I signed up for seven, though I could have listed many more, and now I need to GET REAL and GET QUILTING!
In the same vein, I aired my yarn stash and cleaned the yarn closet, uncoveing some UFOs there too. What gave me the idea for the resolution was a thing I started in 2011 that I called “Finish It Friday”. I started only working on knitting UFOs on Friday and actually got quite a few of them finished last year. So – the idea for the resolution was born and I have had a bit of success so far in 2012.
2012-5-1 quick and cozy cowl
This one had been languishing on the bottom of the knitting basket for over a year just waiting on my sewing on the two matching buttons. That’s all it needed — just two buttons — just 10 minutes of time. Make sense to you? Me neither. I sewed on the buttons, wore it the next day and had several people who commented on how pretty it was. Here it is finished and being modeled by Cheeks the bear who models a lot of my completed projects for photos.
2012-5-2 This Old Sock
This is an even sadder story. In 2003 I took knitting lessons over in Bedford Hills New York with a wonderful young teacher and at a great yarn store. I really wanted to learn how to knit socks, so she started me on a pair using 2 circular needles. I was also learning other things at the time and thought my sock wasn’t too good. But I continued knitting until all I needed to do was graft the toe (a smooth seam). I didn’t know how to do that and apparently the class ended before I learned. Anyway, the project sunk to the bottom of a bag in the yarn closet never to be seen again until this year’s complete emptying of the yarn closet all over the living room floor. I uncovered the unfinished first sock and the remainder of the ball of yarn. I cast on the second sock and finished it in 3 weeks (I’m a much faster and better knitter now than I was 9 years ago). So, this project took me NINE YEARS to finish. But it’s done – and here are the photos to prove it. The only good news hear is that there cannot be any knitting UFOs older than this because I only started knitting 9 years ago.
Second sock syndrome – cured! They aren’t really different sizes, the photo distorted the front one a bit. Can’t wait to wear them, but will have to get the air cast of my left ankle first. The cast is held on by velcro which wouldn’t be good for the just-finished-after-nine-years sock fabric!
But I consider that resolution 2012-5 Get Real is off to a good start.
And the yarn stash – dumped all over the floor on February 20th is now back in the closet. Very organized. More on this later but this was the result of resolution 2012-2 Get Organized or Else. So, I’ve inventoried and organized the yarn stash, inventoried and organized the knitting needles, and inventoried (a bit) some of the quilting projects. Much work remains to be done — but we’re only at the end of the first quarter of 2012. YIKES! We’re at the end of the first quarter of 2012.
We took a mini-vacation to Martha’s Vineyard over the weekend and I took some knitting along. We took the car onto the ferry from Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven. It was storming fiercely and the waves were tossing the boat about. But I took my knitting upstairs to the passenger area and did some knitting, just so I could say that I did. You couldn’t see anything anyway. It was 2:30 in the afternoon, but the gray, rainy sky was absolutely indistinguishable from the gray tossing sea. I made great progress on my poncho while we were away, mostly due to the fact that the weather was so bad.
The last day and a half that we were there, the storm finally passed and gray skies became blue again. What a difference a day makes.
I treated myself to a quick trip to Stitches East in Hartford today. This is a convention with knitting classes and a huge vendor mall. At the time registration was open, my schedule was too indefinite for the fall to make any plans that required pre-payment of fees. However, my schedule was actually free today so I drove over to the vendor mall.
So much yarn!!!! So many goodies — knitting needles, knitting jewelry, magazines, books, . . . . . . . . . . .
I did stop in the booth of my local yarn shop to say hi to the gals working there. They were doing a shining business and the booth looked great. Also visited the booth of a yarn shop whose owner I only know thru email1313s and messages on Ravelry. It was great to meet her and her staff in person and to have a little chat.
If I have the nerve, I will lay out my wonderful purchases and take a photo. The yarn was either all hand-dyed or natural alpaca. The alpaca is sooooooooo soft. Cannot wait to start on a new scarf with the yarn — and I just “happen” to have some new knitting needles to knit the scarf with.
I was at a meeting of my quilt guild, the Connecticut Piecemakers, yesterday and during “show and tell” finally had two completed quilt projects to show the group. It seems that I am usally not finished with a project or am just finished and have given it away when those guild meetings roll around. Anyway, this time I had two projects that I am keeping for myself to show. One was a paperpieced teddy bear (I’ll have to edit this and add the photo later) that will hang in my newly-painted green powder room. The second was a valentine’s table topper that I actually finished last year and was just getting back out to decorate my dining room table for Valentine’s Day.
What really inspired me was the woman who got up with about five finished objects and said that she had decided to dedicate January to finishing some UFOs and had this to show for her effort. So, I decided to declare this month “Finish It! February”. I have so many nearly finished objects, quilting and knitting, that I plan on having a quite productive February.
Among my plans include
1) finishing the antique reproduction fabric sampler quilt that I have been working on and using as class samples as I taught 4 sampler classes during the last two years (here’s the progress as of 1/22/09)
On this project, the third row (not pictured here) had a really ugly block that I decided not to use. So the finishing work includes assembling a log cabin block from left over fabrics, adding it to the third row and the third row to the top above, putting on borders, and then quilting by machine. When it’s done, I’m keeping this one (I think).
2) finishing the chenille afghan (knitted project that has a crocheted assembly and edging)
3) finishing the blocks for the Thimbleberries fabric sampler (5 more to go), then assembling into a top with sashing and borders. I think that I will most likely do the quilting in March, but I’m including this project in Finish It! February because the goal is to have the top finished. (I’ll photo this one later too)
4) finish the Tofutsies scarf and Tofutsies sock # 1. Note that you need two socks to make a pair, but the goal is to at least finish sock # 1
So, lots of great plans for February. But it’s already off to a great start. Last Saturday I finished the baby afghan I had been crocheting for my friend’s baby. It was wrapped and given at the shower last night. Alas, I forgot to photograph it, but it still counts as the first item completed in Finish It! February. And, of course, I’m already off to working on another alliterative slogan for motivation in March (Make It! March, maybe?).
Spring has been very cold here in Connecticut but this has seemed to make the blooming trees hang onto their beauty for longer than usual. Well, today — they are really letting go of their “beauty”. We have a Kwanzan cherry right outside our front door. This means it is also right next to our pond and waterfalls. We were supposed to have a storm today with lots of rain, but all we are getting is the wind. The big puffy pink blooms are being blown off the cherry tree in enormous quantities.
There is “pink snow” everywhere — sidewalks, flower beds, front steps, my bench, my flower pots, and unfortunately, the pond.
The petals from the blooms, and in some cases entire blooms, are filling the pond surface, being drawn into the skimmer for the pump, and eventually getting so thick that they are stopping the flow of water into the pump. Talk about your ripple effects!
Hubby turned off the pump this morning as he left for work and I headed off to a quilt guild meeting. But now I’m back home having used the leaf blower to blow away some of the “snow’, used the net to skim the top of the pond, and turned the pump back on. I’ve set a timer and every 20 minutes I go out and check the skimmer net — turn off the pump — clear the net — turn on the pump — come back in and reset the timer. I’m using this as an excuse to sit in the living room where I can hear the waterfalls and knit — claiming I cannot get anything else done in 20 minute intervals. So my summer vest is making good progress (I may even get it done before summer) and the pond is being taken care of. Note that, during this whole time, the fish are nowhere to be seen. They are still quite shy in their new home and I’m guessing that they are at the bottom of the pond in their cave wondering why the waterfall keeps going off and back on.
Here’s the vest front — in progress — ready for armhole shaping.