Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ryan's Room is now Blue!

The tan color is gone, and it's now quite blue. We were joking around that it doesn't look like a spare bedroom any more.

Now we need to paint the doors and trim, and it'll be ready to move Ryan's stuff back in place.

The real challenge of this project has been the "help" from the kids. They want to help so badly, but they're just not quite to the ages that they can be helpful for very long.


Yesterday we decided to have a little outing for a treat, and we went to Wendy's and then saw an IMAX film in 3D, Dolphins and Whales. Gillian, Greg, and I really enjoyed it but Ryan didn't like the 3D glasses. It was a short film, which was one of the reasons we decided to go, knowing that Ryan has a hard time sitting through more than about 35 minutes. Heck, he's four, so I think he's doing pretty well. I thought the film was good, although it got a little preachy (they hit you over the head again and again with the conservation/protection of the "tribes" but I know that's important), and Daryll Hannah wouldn't have been my choice for narrator. It was good overall though!

Back to painting....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Quilting, Spinning, Knitting, and Painting

It's only Saturday afternoon of a three-day weekend but I'm tired, so I'm not feeling creative in the clever blog post title department.

We're working on paining Ryan's room, including the ceiling, and I am out of shape. Drastically. My hand hurts from attempting to work the ceiling paint into the popcorn around the edges of the room. My wonderful hubby did the roller work and it looks great! This evening we'll get the walls painted with a nice blue that will bring out the blue in his Cars quilt. What, me decorate around a quilt? LOL! Last weekend (or so--it's all running together) Greg put new doors in our room and Ryan's room so we have more painting to do, but it's going to be SO nice when it's done!


On the quilting front, here's what I'm trying to get finished before the quilt show in two weeks:

It's a crappy picture, but that's my Sparkling Star Chains quilt. My friend Gale made the original quilt on the cover of the pattern and I took that picture long enough ago that it's not looking so good when I have it printed again. Plus, for selling patterns it's always fun to have "the" quilt hanging in my booth next to the pattern.

I have a little less than two weeks to get this finished (it needs the border), quilting, and bound. Plus I have two other paying quilts to get quilted, so I'm gonna be busy!

I also finished a version of Crazy for Curves that my Mom made a while back, but I haven't gotten a chance to photograph it yet. Soon! (I hope!)


The other night I had to take a little time out from other things and do some spinning.

First I fulled the last third of these purple Ashland Bay singles, and I think this batch is around 750 yards. I should have around 2,000 yards now, so I should be able to do a nice big lace project with it. If I could choose a pattern, that is....

This next picture is about 1/3 of some fleece I bought from Lowder Colors Farms at the sheep shearing a few months ago. I still have the other 2/3 as singles on a bobbin, so once I get that plied it should match this hank.

I was going for a 2-ply fingering weight and I think I got pretty close! I wanted it fairly loosely spun for another Victorian Shoulderette and I should have plenty.

I've been procrastinating about finishing the fleece I bought at the shearing, which has been just silly. I did get the first half of the fleece washed again and I'm thrilled with it! Now I just need to finish the other half and I'll have a lot of fleece to spin up. It was 7.75 lbs unwashed and I'm curious to see how much I'll have after cleaning it.

I spun up a little bit of fleece that my Mom and I carded, and while it's not the best spinning job here's Eva's fleece mini-skein:

and Eva's fleece detail:

You can see the wonderful bits of silver in her fleece in this picture.


I finally got a picture of the Beginning Lace class samples I was working on.

Here's the horse shoe lace version:

And the Vine Lace version:

I think for the class we'll do the shorter simple eyelet lace bottom like in the second picture, with the horse shoe lace body from the first pic, and the border from the second pic.


Happy Memorial Day weekend to my U.S. readers, and a HUGE "thank you" to all of the people who have served or are serving in our military forces.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Knitted-On Edgings

I've been working on test pieces for my beginning lace knitting class coming up in July at Fiber Christmas In July, and part of that will be how to do a knitted-on edging. While I was working on it I decided to take a few photographs (that's my leg/knee in the picture so obviously this wasn't really planned out). For your knitting pleasure, here's a basic tutorial.

This first picture shows the border at a 90º angle to the body of the work. (In this case, a scarf.) I tried to arrange it a little more nicely, but I had to have one hand for the camera. You can get the basic idea though—the body stitches are on the left needle with the edging stitches on the right needle. With the needles in this position, the return row of the edging has just been worked.
Tip: I usually like to end all of the stitches on the left needle since if I have to put the work down, sometimes it slips out of the edging stitches fairly easily.

In this picture I've arranged the work in a better working position, and you can see how the last edging stitch is going to be joined with the body stitch by knitting two together. I've got one picture without labels and the second with labels, and it got hard to see what was going on once I started labeling. [Click on the pictures to make them larger.]

In this next picture the body and edging stitches have been knitted together (although it's hard to see-be sure to click to enlarge!).

In this picture the edging stitches have been worked and you can see the join with the body and edging stitches. I like to have things oriented so that the right-hand needle holds the edging stitches and the edging/body joins are made at the end of a right-side (edging) row, but that isn't always convenient.

In this last picture you can see the completed border. One thing to note is that the joining stitches change part-way through--this is because I dropped down the joining stitches and worked them back up, but forgot to twist the slipped stitch as I worked them back up. (That might be a post for another day.) If you want to know more about that technique, it's from Joan Schrouder (who is amazingly awesome, not to mention incredibly nice!) in the Best of Knitters: Shawls and Scarves book, around page 68 or so.

So that's my little tutorial on knitted-on edgings. If you have any questions please let me know! Like I said earlier, this was a spur-of-the-moment thing so if something needs clarification I'll be happy add more.

I hope you're all having a great week!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

One down, nine to go....

I've been piecing and quilting up a storm, and I finally have a little to show for it.

On April 28 I took a quilt class at a local quilt shop, Sew Flakes, (a HORRIBLE name, but that's what the new owner decided on), formerly Cyrilla's. The quilt is called Simple Simon and it uses the Quilt in a Day Flying Geese ruler. That ruler totally rocks!

This is how my Simple Simon quilt looked last week:

Today I finished the binding and here it is:

I used Hobbs Wool batting, which I'm totally in love with. I hope to nap under this quilt this afternoon/evening and really test it out before I take it over to the shop to hang in their "Stash Buster Series" trunk show. I wish I'd known about those classes earlier because I would've taken more of them.

All of these fabrics came from various fabric stores around San Diego. I had such a good time shopping for all of them, and this quilt barely made a dent in my homespun fabrics stash. When time is less of an issue I'm tempted to make another one, maybe larger. Who knows....


On the knitting front, I finished a hat (picture later, maybe) and I've gotten the sleeves and waistband done on Ryan's newest Wallaby.


Greg has been doing all kinds of house projects, including replacing the door between the house and the garage (there was NO insulation around it!!!) and taking out the in-wall ironing board and house monitor in Ryan's room. Today he got the wall textured so we're pretty much ready for paint. Hopefully I'll have a bunch of pictures in the next week or so.


Have a great rest-of-the-weekend!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

In addition to all of the unread stuff in my blogroll, I've got a loooong list going of the stuff I want to blog about.

I'm just going to start posting about it, in no particular order, and probably in a bunch of different posts rather than one long one.

You've been warned. ;-)


Here's my latest finished quilt:

The color balance is WAY off in this picture but I had to post it to show off my quilt holders.

They weren't terribly pleased to be drafted into helping. I've since figured out a way to hold quilts for photographing, although I've managed to lose the curtain rings I bought specifically for it. [sigh] Once I find them I'll take some pics of the system and post them.

About the quilt:
It's a gift for DD's first-grade teacher, and the kids all signed one of the blocks. Everything except the back came out of my stash, and I made it start-to-finish in 10 days.

We gave it to her yesterday, Friday, and I think she's thrilled with it. I'm just so amazed at the progress DD has made in her class this year.


My wonderful Aunt Louise sent these incredible music boxes (that's not the right term, becuase they don't open, but they sure are neat!) a while back and I've been remiss in posting about them.

Aren't they just wonderful? The workmanship on them is immaculate, especially since I'm used to seeing things like this (but no where near as nice!!!) that are made in China and other places, mass produced as cheaply as possible. I have one of them sitting here by my computer and I just admire all the little tiny pieces, painted with such care. They're so neat! Thank you, Aunt Louise!!


I'll be teaching at this year's Fiber Christmas, coming up toward the end of July. I'm excited about it, but I haven't completely nailed down exactly what I'll be teaching. Beginning knitting will be one class, and beginning lace knitting will be the other. I'm working on a scarf design using fingering-weight yarn for the lace class. It's so hard to figure out what to teach in such a short period of time, since I really love it when I can have two or more sessions with someone when I'm teaching them. I'll have lots of handouts, I'm sure.

I'll post a link to the website in a few days or so.


That's all for right now. I have a bunch more stuff to post about but I'll get to it some day....

Magic Loop, two at a time

I'm so behind on blogging, both writing and reading. As of this moment I have 784 unread blog posts in my blogroll. I'll get caught up some day.


I made this series of photos a while back (like in October!) with the intention of posting a little tutorial on knitting up two sleeves at once on one circular needle using the magic loop method. I was so pleased with myself when I figured it out, although I now know that the information was out there already. :-)

You'll need a long circular needle and two balls or ends of the yarn.

Step 1:
Cast on HALF of the stitches for the first sleeve.

Step 2:
Next, cast on ALL of the stitches for the second sleeve.

Pull out a loop of cable at the half-way point of the second sleeve. This will form part of the magic loop.

You'll need to position the parts so that you can cast on the remaining stitches, so your set-up should look something like this:

Or this:

Step 3:
And now you're ready to cast on the second half of the stitches for the first sleeve:

Here they are, ready to begin working in the round (or almost ready!).

The yarn is coming from the back needle, and I'm about to pull out the back needle so that the stitches are riding on the cable, and so that I can work the stitches on the front needle:

And working the stitches:

From this point, you just work as normal for magic loop, dropping and picking up the correct yarn for each sleeve/tube.