Saturday, February 24, 2007

Not Much Going On

I've been working a lot this week, so I haven't accomplished too much in the way of knitting, or anything else. I'm now up to eight finished squares on the gray afghan, and I'm halfway through a ninth.

Although knitting is my main hobby, finding all my other projects in the closet have made me realize how much I like crafts in general. I have several unfinished quilts that I'd like to finish. Finish meaning, sewing together. I love piecing quilts, but I'm not a big fan of the actual quilting. I've done it, but I enjoy the creation process much more. So, this leaves me wondering what to do. Do I back the quilts and just make a tied quilt, or do I quilt it myself (real unlikely), or do I send it out to be quilted? That can be pretty pricey, so that may not be my best option, either. However, a lot of people view a "tied" quilt as a non-quilt. Do I care? I didn't think I did, but I must care at least a little, or I wouldn't be having this discussion with myself.

Saturday Sky picture was a little late today. I took it at nearly dusk, but the sky was still blue. No sign of the storm we're supposed to get tomorrow. I spent the afternoon running errands, including an hour or so in the Quilt Barn in Allentown. I could easily have blown a big wad of cash there, but keeping in mind I already have two giant rubbermaid containers of quilt fabric, I kept it easy. I got some blue fabric with stars on it for a block I have in mind from the piecemakers calendar (starry sky, duh!) from several years ago, and I got some fabric to back the Cats in Wagons wall hanging I made. All I have to do for that one is finish the cat's faces, and add the buttons for the wagon wheels. Oh, yeah, and do a little quilting on that one. Tying won't work with it.

We have some issues going on with one of our cats. I hope it's only a tooth and not cancer. I just have a bad feeling about this one.

And, last but not least, Mr. B. looking like a little angel. This was after spending the morning pouncing on stray gloves, ankles and feet passing by, and anything else that moved, or not. Check out the little paws folded up in front of him.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Saturday Sky

I just took a picture of Saturday Sky. We have a brilliant blue sky, but there are clouds heading in from the west, as you can see. The forecast is for some snow tomorrow. Right now, it's just snow showers, but predictions have not been real accurate around here. We were supposed to get a major storm on Tuesday, but we got about three inches of snow, covered with freezing rain, which made for some interesting pictures. I'm standing on top of the crusty snow, and I'm not a lightweight. However, moving around on that stuff was like ice skating. My yard slants downhill, so I needed to be careful I didn't wind up on my ass or worse.

I finished (I think) getting all my various projects organized. Wow, there were so many more than I thought. I'm going to try to work through an old project and a new project at the same time. To that end, I'm busy working on a grey afghan
I located in the closet. This has a specific recipient in mind, so I'm going to keep that one at the front. I have nearly even squares done, and thirteen more to go, plus the edging. With a little luck, I might have this one done by the middle or end of March. I'm still working on the Opal socks, and have made progress on them. I'm halfway to the foot on the first sock. This one will go with me as a portable project.

We had some visitors the other night. I've been putting out critter mix for the squirrels and chipmunks, and it has been disappearing at an alarming rate. If the squirrels were eating all of it,
they wouldn't be able to haul their fat behinds up a tree, so I suspected deer. So I see the cats all staring out the window, so I looked, and there were six deer helping themselves to the food. I grabbed my camera, but of course, the batteries were nearly dead, so the pics didn't come out very well.

And the squirrels are busy raiding the birdfeeders as usual, and Gremlin is busy trying to save the world from squirrels.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Happy 24th Birthday...

to my third son, Jon. He arrived in this world on this day 24 years ago. Late. At the end of a raging blizzard. We had 29 inches of snow on the ground, and more still coming down when I woke my husband and said "baby's coming." "Now??" "Yes, now!" We looked out the window, and all we could see of my station wagon was the roof rack. His car was stuck in the snow several blocks away, so I said, "Call 911". Which he did, and the local police department, fire department and first aid squad showed up to dig us out of our house, while my labor progressed rapidly inside. They finally cleared away the mountain of snow drifted by our door, and got me into the ambulance. It took us 80 minutes to make a 25 minute drive, and I had motion sickness the whole way, thanks to the chains on the ambulance tires, and all the snow still on the road. He was not born in my living room, or on the road, thanks to the fact he was a whopping 10 lbs., 5 oz., and 23 inches long at birth. Had he been a smaller baby, he would have been born at home or en route.

Well, on to some knitting content. You would think that with all of the beautiful Socks that Rock and Lorna's Laces I have, I would be dying to knit with one of those yarns. Well, I am, but curiosity got the better of me. While I was organizing my yarns and projects, I came across a skein of Opal yarn that I didn't recognize. There was no real name on it, except for something that translated as "Development collection." So, I started knitting with it, and this is what it looks like. I like the colors and the pattern. Lavender, green, ivory, pale orange, and a greyish blue. Nice. I don't know if this color ever went into production, or if it did, I don't think it was available in the US. So, this will be my portable project until they are done.

And, the UFO's keep coming. I have more of them than I ever thought I did, in all sorts of crafts - quilting, cross stitch, needlepoint, crewel, bargello. Here are a few of the quilt blocks I found. I'm also trying to finish up the blocks for a grey afghan I'm working on. This is for someone specific, so I need to get busy here. In the meantime, I'm not starting any new projects at all, with the exception of socks.

Anyway, on to the UFO's, which are some more of the quilt blocks I've unearthed from the depths of my closet.
The rows of triangles are "Flying Geese". I have a lot of these cut out; I found a plastic bag full of them, so it shouldn't take too long to get a quilt's worth of these done. The multicolored stars are "Ohio Star". (Duh!) And, the red and white star is "Clay's Choice", I think. It's been a long time since I started that one. The only problem is that I know I started all these blocks with specific quilt layouts in mind. Now, I can't find the pictures that inspired me. I did unearth a lot of quilt magazines, so when I'm not busy trying to catch up on projects, I might have time to look through them to see if my inspiration was in there.

It's supposed to snow in these parts starting tomorrow night. It'll be interesting to see if this snow actually materializes, or if it's just another false alarm. In the meantime I'm ready - vacation this week, so I don't have to drive to work in a sloppy mess, and lord only knows, I have enough to keep me busy.Alex has found a nice warm box to snuggle in. Why do they always try to cram themselves into a box that is way too small for them?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

UFO Sightings....

Well, I finished the gift socks, they are wrapped in tissue and in a cute little birthday bag, just waiting to go to their recipient this weekend. I hope they fit, but I think they'll be well received. right now, I'm heading toward the toe on the last sock of my Socktober socks. If you remember, I managed to finish 1 1/2 pairs, and then got caught up by the holiday season. So, this will be the last (I think) orphan sock I have floating around.

However, on the UFO front, things are not so good. Not only do I have way too many unfinished projects (afghans, sweaters, etc) hanging around, but I found lots more in other crafts. When my oldest moved into the upstairs room that I had been using as a craft room, my husband cleaned out the room by dumping everything in boxes. Just dumped it. The boxes went into the room he used as an office. The official line was we would "share" the office. Never happened. My stuff stayed dumped, and five years ago, when he moved out, we cleaned out the office so another son could move in there (they were all sharing rooms up to this time), the boxes made it into my bedroom, where they have been living since.

I didn't have time to look through them, or do anything with them, because suddenly being able to support myself headed to the top of the Things I Need To Do list. So, after three years or so of working two jobs and going to school, which left no time for crafts of any sort, I found myself graduated, employed and able to more or less support myself and my family. And, lo and behold, it turns out with this job comes something known as a "vacation". Wow. I get to take time off from work and actually get paid for it. I haven't had a job like that in 20 years or so.

So, I'm taking next week off. And, I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to straighten out my bedroom and my projects. So far, Chris put a desk in my room, and put up shelves over the desk, and rewired two bedside lamps I was going to toss. I have started looking through the boxes of stuff in my room, located about five million sandals and flip flops that were living under my bed, got them organized or tossed, depending on their condition, and just started to work my way through the general clutter. The biggest box split at the seams, and stuff is spilling out, so I started with that box. For the next couple of posts, I'll be featuring some of my UFO's, along with any current projects I'm attempting to finish. The UFO on the left is a cross stitch project done with three strands of wool on 14 count needlepoint canvas. It's a floor pillow and it's about 23 inches across. I think I started this one in 1992 or so. I think it's beautiful and I will definitely be finishing this one!

Oh, and I need to mention this, too. Back in early January, I bought a pair of earrings off of ebay. I paid, and waited, and waited. About a week and a half ago, I remembered I still hadn't received the earrings, and made a note to email the seller. When I got home from work the next morning, there was a note in my mailbox from here apologizing for the delay, and telling me she had mailed them, plus a surprise. The surprise was a second set of very pretty earrings! Needless to say, I left her excellent feedback.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was on the Blue Moon Fibers site and ordered two skeins of sock yarn. The next day, I ordered another skein, in Rhodonite - pictured in another post. Well, the second order arrived a few days later, but no sign of the first order. I waited a couple of more days, and then called, and left a message on their machine. Got a call back the next day, and a message on my machine saying they were sorry, there was a mix-up, and the two missing skeins would be mailed out, and a surprise would be enclosed. Okay. I was expecting something small like dpns, or stitch markers. What did I get? Another skein of yarn! That's a $19.00 surprise. And, surprised I was, and thrilled, too. So here are the two skeins I ordered, in Chapman Springs, and Love-in-Idleness, and the surprise skein in Peaseblossom. I'm a happy camper, and a very pleased customer with both of these vendors.

And, once again, in the "how do they know?" category, I bring you a picture of Gremlin, all curled up on yet another UFO, a wall quilt that I'll show in a later post. It's sitting on the desk in my bedroom. The desk has been there since around Christmas, and Grem has completely ignored it. Until today. I had the quilt of the desk, photographing it (it's 21 degrees outside, and I didn't feel like freezing my butt off to get pictures!), and he runs in the room, and takes a flying leap onto the desk. Settled right down on the quilt and went to sleep. How do they know when something is different? He wasn't in the room when I put the quilt on the desk, and until that moment, the desk had been bare, with the exception of books and lamps. So, here he is, snoozing on, and furring up, my wall quilt.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

It's A Mite Chilly Out There...

25 degrees, to be exact. That's a big improvement over this morning's temps - 14 degrees. It's supposed to be 8 degrees tonight, and it's going to get really windy later, just to add to the fun. I nearly froze my fingers off earlier, while filling up all my bird feeders. We have a million birds out there when it's cold like this. Here's my Saturday Sky - brilliant blue, bright sunshine. You could never tell from that picture that we're all freezing our whatevers off.

We had a mini-drama earlier this week at the feeder. It was late in the afternoon and I was working on the computer in the family room, when I heard something slam into the sliding glass doors in the dining room. It was a big bang, so i could tell it was something big (duh!). I looked out, and saw a hawk circling around, about six feet off the ground. There were feathers everywhere on the ground. Closer inspection revealed they were mostly dove feathers, with a trail of them from the nearby feeder to the door. He must have nailed one of the doves that hang around under the feeder, and slammed right into the door after grabbing his prey. The hawk was now sitting in a nearby tree, prey-less. I looked around and didn't see anything, so I didn't know what happened to the unfortunate bird he grabbed.

A few hours later, I see my cats clustered around the sliding glass door, staring out very intently. Flipped on the light, and looked out, and finally spotted a very scared dove hanging out in the leaves still under the patio chair. Made a quick call to the local bird guy, who advised me to put the bird in a box in a warm place for the night. Hokay. Grab an old kitten carrier, put newspapers in it, and head outside. When Chris reaches for the bird, it flies off. Happy ending, I guess. I did see the same dove the next day - it was easy to tell - was missing a fair amount of feathers, which I am assured is what doves do. Hawks are amazing, and I love watching them. I just hate when they grab smaller birds from my feeders. I don't like the feeling I'm providing a sort of diner for them.

Still stalled, project-wise. I did finish the gift socks, which will go to the recipient next week, and have started another sock. No, not another pair, but the second sock of one of my Socktoberfest socks. If I can't figure out what I want to do for a big project, I can at least relieve my second-sock syndrome backup. And speaking of socks, I got this earlier this week - Socks that Rock in Rhodonite. Our uniform pants are currently pink, and I hear we are switching to purple, so either way, I'm covered with this yarn. I've been wearing my hand-knit socks to work, and I must admit, they're very comfortable. I work twelve hour shifts, so my feet are really killing me at the end of that 12 hours. I still have two more skeins coming from Blue Moon - apparently there was a glitch in my order.

Some pictures from the snow earlier this week. One of my solar path lights with a cap of snow. The day we got
that snow, they were predicting flurried - we wound up with 3 1/2 inches of snow. On the other hand, all hell was supposed to break loose yesterday morning, and all we got was some flurries in the morning, and heavy rain later in the day.

Murdoch has figured out the warmest place in the house is by the heat vent in our foyer. He parks himself there nearly all day, every day. The vent points downward, and it's amazing just how hot this furball gets while snoring away there. He gets up to eat and use the litter box, and then flops down and goes back to sleep.