Saturday, March 31, 2007

Daffodils, Cottons, and Gray Skies

Although it's not very nice out today, I do have the windows open, and it's not raining, at least not yet. Today doesn't compare with the nice weather we had on Wednesday and Thursday, but given that I don't have to wear winter gear, I'll take it.

Speaking of weather, everyone seems to be under it. My son came home from college last night complaining of scratchy throat and congestion; one of my other sons was sick earlier in the week; I don't feel great, and several of the nurses on my floor were out sick. Hmmm. I did feel well enough this morning to make a quick trip to my new favorite shop, the Quilt Barn in Allentown. I know, I know, this is supposed to be a knitting blog, but we don't have a yarn shop nearby. Thank God for ebay, at least yarn-wise. I have a few yards of jet-black (not just black, mind you!), like the Amish use for their wonderful quilts, and I was been kicking around ideas for it. I have in mind a quilt using triangles made of various colors set on black, and a quilt using forty stars, all different solid colors, set on black, sort of like this: In case you didn't notice, that star is not sewn yet, just folded to get a general idea of what it will look like. The colors didn't come out true, either. It's much more of a deep teal, and the background is a deep black, not the navy it looks like here. I think the other picture shows the true colors much better. And b ecause this is primarily a knitting blog, yes, I have been knitting. I have 13 squares of the gray afghan finished, and last night I knitted 5 inches of the sleeve from Audrey. That project is moving right along, and I will work on it some more tonight.

And, yes, for anyone who is wondering, there is a difference in black colors. The lady at the quilt shop showed me black, and jet-black together, and the jet-black was clearly much darker, and showed up both bright and pastel solids much nicer. Live and learn, I guess. I never would have thought it made that much of a difference.

Spring seems to have sprung around here, as attested by the next few pictures.My Ice Follies daffodils, which are my favorite daffodil
ever, a sea of Dutch crocus, and my very lush and healthy Hellebore, which started blooming well before our last bout of ice, sleet, and freezing rain. It came through that mess very well, even though it was frozen to the ground at one point.

My Saturday sky picture was taken through the branches of my tempermental Lilac bush. Some years I get flowers, more often than not, I don't. Will this be a blooming or non-blooming year? Stay tuned.

Monday, March 26, 2007

One Year

Well, yesterday, March 25, was my one year anniversary on blogger. A lot has changed in that time. I graduated from school, have a better job, and hopefully a better life, although it seems like my ex is determined to see this doesn't happen. And, this has evolved from a strictly knitting blog to more of a commentary on whatever craft I happen to be doing. I still knit a lot, and love knitting, but the Great Bedroom Excavation unearthed projects from long ago and far away, and made me realize how much I love doing this stuff.

Right now, I'm having a debate (with myself, naturally), about the best way to finish off a "Birds in Air" quilt. I located 77 finished blocks, plus the makings for many more, and I know I originally planned this quilt using a white material with blue flowers for the other half of the blocks. I recently found three yards of black material, and I love the way the blocks look on it, and I am sorely tempted to go with that. What's stopping me is the fact that I have another quilt planned with a black background, in the Amish style, and I'm having fun collecting clear solid colors for this quilt. I'm not sure I want two quilts with black backgrounds. Oh, yeah, and I still have the original magazine picture showing the birds in air done like I had originally planned to do it, and I love the look. Decisions, decisions.

I have not posted in a couple of weeks because of technical difficulties. Huh? technical difficulties?? Yeah, when I signed in on blogger a few weeks ago, I had about five minutes before I had to go to work. I figured, eh, a quick post, and my Saturday Sky picture. The fates and blogger had other things in mind for me. Blogger is switching everyone over, and you have to have a google account. Well, I'm not in a hurry to switch, and I don't have a google account. And, I don't especially want one either. Blogger would not let me off the page that insisted I had to change my account now. Well, my five minutes had already run out, so I figured I'd deal with it later. A couple of days later, I managed to get on to my dashboard just fine, so I started to post, and my frickin' computer crashed! Crap. by that time, my son was home, and bugging me to let him get on the computer. I can't do a blog post like that, so I gave up again. Then, real life and work intervened, and the rest is history, so here I am two weeks later doing my post. And, here is the Saturday Sky post from two weeks ago.

We had another storm on Friday, March 16. "Just an inch of snow, and some rain" was pretty much what they said on the tv. Well. It took be 50 minutes to make a 25 minute drive that night on iced-over roads. At least most of them had been sorta plowed, with the glaring exception of Princeton. What the hell gives with that town? I've never seen roads that bad in my life. I know they have a snowplow, they just don't use it. Getting home the next day was another adventure. Once again, Princeton's roads were horrendous, West Windsor's roads had been haphazardly plowed, and when I reached our township, it was amazing. I felt like I was in one of those pictures where the sun is coming out, blue sky, angels playing trumpets, little bunnies hopping around, you get the picture. Our roads were clear from curb to curb, with no slush anywhere on the driving surface. And because the sun was coming out, miracle of miracles, the roads were actually drying up! Jeez, I pay a buttload of taxes for the privledge of living in this town, and sometimes, it's actually worth it.

Alex knows which quilt setting he likes best. He's voted for the black background. Shows up his white fur nicely.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Found It

In my last post, I mentioned that I'd finally broken down and gotten a beige fabric with white figures on it for the background of the "Birds in Air" quilt blocks I unearthed in my closet. This morning, I unearthed something else in the closet. I noticed a flat underbed-type storage container, and curious as to what was in it, I pulled it out. Wow!! More quilt fabrics, a couple of crewel and needlepoint projects,
and best of all, the fabric that I forgot I bought for this quilt! White background, small blue print - just what I had in mind. I'm going to try to get at least a few of the blocks finished, so I can see what they look like.

And, on that note, meet my new baby. Thirty five years ago, I bought a top-of-the-line Singer Futura sewing machine. That machine went through a lot, and served me well for all that time. It finally met its end a few years ago, and I have been machine-less since. I missed having a machine, but since my husband didn't care to see me at the sewing machine (god forbid I might actually be enjoying myself!), it wasn't a priority. Then came three years of two jobs and school, and no time for enjoying anything. Now, I have quilts and curtains to finish, and clothes to mend, and other projects in mind. So, I need a machine, but since I don't make all my clothes any more like I used to, a top of the line machine isn't needed. Besides, the price of some of those machines took my breath away. I was looking at a basic Husqvarna, and that was coming in at over $600, which kind of made me gasp. I wanted a basic machine at a price that wasn't going to bankrupt me. I found this machine at Target, and I did check it out thoroughly. It seems to have good reviews, so I think it'll be ok for me. Even though it's basic, it's not the rock-bottm basic, and it has 120 stitches, along with some other interesting options. I think we'll get along just fine.

I grossly underestimated the amount of time it would take me to finish the gray afghan. I thought I would be finished by the beginning or middle of March. Heh. Here it is the middle of March, and I have 12 blocks finished, with 8 to go. I started the 13th block tonight, but this is clearly going to take a while, especially since most of the remaining eight blocks have cables, etc. on them, which will increase the time it takes to knit each block. Oh well. I'd hoped to have this finished by now, but I'm going to have to wing it now.

We had beautiful weather today. It reached 79 degrees! Not bad for March 14, hmm? We are supposed to have thunderstorms tonight, and tomorrow, but so far, I haven't seen anything but clouds. Another warm day tomorrow, and then it's back to freeze-your-butt off temps. I had all the windows open today, much to the delight of every feline in the house. And, lucky Hobbes got to go outside with Chris this afternoon. There are some Dutch crocus blooming in the left of this picture. They seem to have very floppy stems this year, as do my daffodils, which are also blooming while laying down on the ground.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spring Has Sprung (Nevermind That It's Still Technically Winter)

What a beautiful day. It was in the high 60's, and the only thing that would have made it more perfect would have been more sun. It was kind of cloudy today, but still, it felt wonderful. Tomorrow is supposed to be even better, with highs in the 90's. Dusty wanted to go out this afternoon, but I hated to not let him out. Our backyard is like a bog right now, and I can't deal with the mud that would be all over him, and the house, too. And, he had his eyelid stapled this morning, and he was still a little groggy for the rest of the day. He's had a scratch on his cornea, and a fungus that has kind of thickened the skin around his eye, which makes his eyelashes turn down a bit. Unfortunately, they turn down right on the scratch, which keeps irritating it. So, the short term solution is to staple it up. Last week, the vet put a couple of stitches in it, but Dusty kept fiddling with it, and snapped the stitches. Reminds me of when we had one of our cats spayed at a spay clinic about thirty miles away. They gave me detailed instructions on care of her stitches, and how to remove them myself in about a week from surgery (I can handle that). However, by the time we were home, she had nibbled one of the stitches out herself.

I'm still looking for a fabric for the other half of the "birds in air" quilt blocks I found. I have a couple of fabrics I really like, and would like to use, but alas, I have less than a yard of each of them, which is nowhere near enough. I went to the Quilt Barn today, and looked through all the fabrics, and found one I sorta liked, and bought, but I'm not sure I'm going to be happy if I use it. I think I'm going to break down and order fabric swatches from Keepsake Quilting in NH, and see if they have anything I like. In my mind, I know what I want to use, and I have a feeling I'm not going to be happy unless I get that look, and I don't want to put a lot of time into sewing something that is not going to make me happy. Not to mention all the time I'll have to waste picking it out after I've already wasted a ton of time cutting and sewing the material.

In the meantime, I'm still working on the gray afghan. I have 11 of the 20 blocks done, and I'm halfway through a 12th block. I was working a lot last week, so I didn't get as much done as I wanted to, although I am making progress on this. More than halfway through the blocks now; all I have to do is put them together and add the edging. Oh, yeah, and finish the other 8 blocks, too.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I Will Remember To Change My Clocks, I Will Remember To Change My Clocks....

or, at least, I hope I will. I always spend the day reminding myself to change the clocks, and then, when I go to bed I forget. This made for an interesting day when I was in clinicals. I was supposed to be there at 8 am on Sunday mornings, and got up as usual at 7 am, grabbed breakfast, showed, changed, and got out the door, and to the hospital by 7:55. Not bad, except that everything was an hour later, and I was late, too, although I DID remember it before my alarm went off in the morning,which meant that I got up at what was now 7:30 and I ran around like a nut and managed to get there by 8:20. Ooops. I wasn't the only person who was late. There were three other people who skulked in after me. Heh. And, tonight I'm on call, which means, I guess, that I'm on call for only 11 hours and not 12.

I worked four nights this week, including last night, and the night before. Last night was absolutely crazy, and it didn't settle down until about 1:30 am. I think I fell asleep as soon as I hit the pillow this morning. I intended to get up and do a few errands, but that didn't work out. I'm kind of sorry I didn't get up earlier, because it looked like it was a beautiful day, and I missed most of it. I do have a lovely Saturday Sky picture, taken before sunset this evening. We've had typical March weather for these parts, with nice warm days coming after a surprise snowfall earlier in the week. I still have snow in the shady parts of my yard, and most of the parking lots around here have several large, cement-type hills of compacted snow and ice, which will be there for a while.

Still working on the gray afghan. I've got ten squares done, and am 2/3 of the way through an eleventh. I also found 77 partially finished quilt blocks, called "birds in the air" It's a kind of neat scrappy quilt, and I need a fabric to finish off the other half of the blocks. I have them laid out here on a white fabric with a pale blue print, and I kind of like the effect. I think I'm going to have to hit Joann Fabrics tomorrow, and see if I can find anything I like. I'm still debating on how to finish the Log Cabin quilt. Last night, I was thinking of putting in a double batt and then tying it to make more of a comforter than a quilt. This is along the lines of what I was thinking in the first place, but I haven't made a final decision yet.

This is Spring Break, and my son is home from college. I'm happy to see him, but I don't know how much I will actually see of him. He's working tonight, and is going to Boston for a few days, and I have to work, so this may be interesting. Still, it's good to know he's here, and just hear him moving around in his room upstairs. I like having a full house. After 30 years of being a parent to five boys, I'm still not ready for the empty nest thing.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


At a lot of things - mostly at the bills my husband handed me today, saying "here, I can't pay these." Really?!? Imagine how surprised I am. This isn't the first time, and it probably won't be the last. What really irks me is the statement "If you need help paying these, call me, I'm getting a big check in this month." WTF? First of all, I've heard this before. It sort of comes under the category of "if his lips are moving, it's a lie". Sigh. What a pain in the knee.

I worked a lot last week - it came out to three full time shifts, including three extra hours tacked on to the twelve hours I customarily work, and parts of two others, which means I was there five nights. Which means that I didn't get much knitting done. I did finish the ninth square of the grey afghan, and am halfway through the tenth. I don't think I'm going to be getting this afghan done by the middle of March. I may have been a little optimistic. I may be able to finish the tenth square by tomorrow. Just for some actual knitting content, I've got a picture of a pair of socks in Opal Lollipop that I finished awhile ago.

I did take a Saturday Sky picture yesterday. I just forgot to post it. The day started out wonderfully. When I woke up, I opened the windows - it was in the high 50's - and proceeded to do what I had to. I needed to go run errands, and when I left, I was wearing a t-shirt and jeans. For some reason, I grabbed a sweatshirt to throw in the car, and I'm so glad I did! Two hours later, the temps had dropped into the 40's and the wind came up. Brrr! The beautiful blue sky was covered with gray clouds. Today was chilly again, with snow flurries with nearly every gust of wind. No accumulation, though. We had a great deal of heavy rain on Thursday night, and I'm glad it wasn't snow, and I'm equally glad I didn't have to work. Apparently, quite a few roads were closed because of flooding, including most of the roads I use to get back and forth from work. I took this picture on Saturday, and you can see that there is still a lot of standing water behind my house.

And, no kitty picture today. Just a picture of some seagulls who were sitting in the parking lot at AC Moore today. They were all facing into the wind, with the exception of one who figured he'd come over and see what I was doing.

Heh. As I type this, I just got called into work again. Oy.