Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Recap

Baby K had a wonderful time. She got to cook with Grandma:

Grandma and a friend made this beautiful quilt:

Some of her new toys - the stroller was better than the baby doll! She loves to talk on the telephone. But, she spent ALL DAY walking around with Mommy's new spatulas!

I am using some of my free time to work on a quilt for a friend's graduation in May. He is a soccer player and the school colors are green and yellow. There will be another round of yellow and green on each square, then black sashing.

I put the miters away for a bit and cast on for a pair of Tofutsies-brand socks. I am about halfway down the fold-over cuff. I have heard this yarn is wonderful. It's very thin, but friends say it "blooms" after washing.

With all these projects, I think I need a schedule: Monday = socks, Tuesday = quilt...

B. wants to use our vacation time to get rid of some of the clutter around the house. I have "issues" with this. I appreciate the end result, but the process is rough. I have actually had meltdowns when B. empties the closets for re-organization. My limited self-analysis links this back to all the moving I did as a child and young adult. Now that we have been settled in this house for five years my reaction tends to be "Don't touch my stuff!" But I am going to soldier through and try to simplify in 2008. Wish me luck!

Friday, December 21, 2007

On Vacation

Just had a few duties at school this morning and we are officially done with first semester! Those last few days always seem endless.

I took advantage of a quiet afternoon at home to finish my One Block Wonder:

It's about 50" by 60", which makes a nice bulletin board cover in my classroom! I think my students will enjoy the kaleidoscope aspect. I meant to use some of the original fabric in the border, but I didn't buy extra...oops. And the eternal dilemma of a quilting design. Stitch in the Ditch sounds like the easiest, but it's really a chore. I may just do some large meandering to really let the fabric shine.

As Christmas approaches, I thought I'd dig up one of my favorite kitty pictures.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Time flies!

Baby K loves her green vegetables! First it was your ordinary green beans and peas...but we have now progressed to broccoli, lettuce, cucumber and asparagus. She has started walking, but came down with another ear infection this week...just days before her scheduled surgery to insert tubes in her ears and get them cleared up! I am hoping the antibiotics work fast so we can get this taken care off. And I'd also prefer not to miss any more school this students start to panic when they see a sub just days before final exams.

I am about 8% done with my mitered blanket - no, I did not forget the zero! I measured my queen size bed, and my original plan of 144 squares will be just right. Here is the "nested corners" layout that I want to use. And I think there is a holiday coming up, right?!? I dusted off my rubber stamps and got some Christmas cards done while baby K was napping today. I was thisclose to going store-bought this year, but I had delusions of crafting time in October and bought all the stamp supplies. I can't let it go to waste... Someone told me once that the Christmas season lasts until Epiphany, Jan 6th, so at least that gives me some time when school's out to get everything in the mail.

We still have a playpen set up where our Christmas tree goes, so rather than fight with a large tree in a small space, I just got out my Santa collection. Several are Jim Shore figurines, and there are lots of cats too.
I inherited a "dancing hamster" from my of those obnoxious drug store toys...and it has become one of baby K's favorites! She dances along and hugs it to her chest...she can even hum Jingle Bells now. I've got to get her performance on tape. DH and I said our present to each other would be a video camera, and I need to go get it BEFORE Christmas! Maybe I'll brave the mall this weekend.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Table runners...perfect for instant gratification! I haven't had time for much quilting on the longarm, but I helped my mom make Christmas presents for a friend. Plain backs let my quilting show beautifully. There was a center panel, and then two borders, as you can see by the three designs. Simple curves and swirls in the border, and ribbons in the center! The idea for ribbons came from Cindy Roth, a longarm teacher who was just featured in the longarm magazine "On Track."Baby K is babbling up a storm. Last night, she pointed to the TV where her "growth" bunny sits. Here she is loving that bunny:

Friday, November 23, 2007


I saw my friend Connie today at our LY/QS and she hinted that I should post more pictures of my mitered squares. I am obsessed with this project! I spent my free time this week (while my students were supposedly doing homework - ha!) planning color schemes and calculating sizes and quantites of yarn. I started blocking today:

In this photo you can see my project box too! I'll clear space in the sewing closet for the blocked squares and keep the bits of yarn in the box. I am making sets of 3 of each color scheme. The layout will be similar to the "card trick" quilt pattern...kind of nested corners is the only way I can describe it. I started with the teal and blue (center), then made the blue and white (on the right) and I'm currently working on the rust and blue that you see on the left. I am leaving long tails on the cast on and bind off - theoretically to help me sew all the squares together! Every set will have some blue - either of the two shades you see, plus a navy blue I bought today. I am going to alternate starting with blue or the contrast color.

Daddy and Baby K are enjoying their day off. Too bad we don't have a football game on in the background to complete the holiday portrait!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks

Enjoying the day with family and friends...

Happy Thanksgiving from Baby K and her mom and dad!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday Sewing

I've been working on The Commission. My original idea was a Trip Around the World pattern, but I wanted a lap quilt with 6 inch squares. I decided on 10 by 12 squares, which will give me a 60 by 72-inch quilt. The traditional "trip" pattern hasa single square in the center, which didn't work with the even numbers in my layout. I like the corners in this design because it gives it a little Southwest flair. I am working on my 6th mitered square for my knitted blanket. Visit Cara's blog and search for her "Miter Madness" - that was my inspiration. I decided to use blue as one of the colors in each square, and I have a different layout in mind. When I get enough squares done to showcase the design, I will take pictures.

Baby K gets cuter every day...if I do say so myself! She is starting to use some words, like "baaa" for ball and "nana" for banana. If she wants to eat, she just points to the kitchen and grunts. Such a lady!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

WIP Wednesday

Did a little bit of sewing today! No photos of the Commission, since sewing six inch squares together doesn't look much different than the layout of the fabric I showed last time!

I finally dug into my copy of Mason Dixon Knitting. I started with a Ballband Dishcloth. If I had more time, everyone would be getting these for Christmas! Fun to knit and QUICK. My gift idea was to tuck them inside coffee mugs. Maybe next year!!

Then, I knit my first miter! Another fun quick knit. Although getting enough squares for a whole blanket may take years...And Baby K got some quality cuddles with Grandpa tonight:

When I made my project list last weekend, I forgot a few things. I am going to put together a t-shirt quilt for my aunt, and I am quilting some table runners for my mom. I have Monday off (Veteran's Day) so I hope to be at the longarm most of the day. The table runners should be easy enough to get done in a day.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Reults from the Shopping Expedition

Baby K got the chance to show off her Halloween sweatshirt. She loves to visit Grandma's shop!

Here's what I found for the challenge. The paisley print is the actual challenge fabric. I think I will use the blue and white for the checkerboard and add the green somewhere for a zinger. It's not very clear in the photo, but in the paisleys there is a hint of green, I promise!

And for the commission...
I changed the layout a bit to fit the size I want, so it's not a true Trip Around the World. The yellow fabric will be the center and then it moves out until the top and bottom rows are the black. It should go together quickly, and I'll share pictures when there is progress.
Two more repeats on the dishcloth, then I can join the miter madness! These are my first selections of Tahki Cotton Classic.
I want to use this on my bed eventually, and Hubby and I love blues, so that will be the focus. The yellow and orange are there to brighten things up a bit!

Friday, November 02, 2007

In the Queue

After the Socktoberfest disaster, I needed some instant knitting gratification, so I went to the stash and grabbed the Sugar-n-Cream that I bought to make the Ballband Dishcloth from Mason Dixon Knitting:
Tomorrow I have a big shopping list for my trek to my favorite store.

1. Fabric for the Trip Around the World (to be known as the Commission)

2. Fabric for the checkerboard background of the Challenge. Kay Gardiner talks about color choices in the mitered blanket section of MDK, and she said neutrals such as beige and grey can make colors pop more that a black or white background. I originally though a b&w checkerboard would be the way to go, but I will make a point of auditioning other choices with the reddish/purple challenge fabric.

3. Tahki Cotton yarn for a mitered blanket. This is another pattern from Mason Dixon Knitting (MDK). I fell in love with the one over at January One. I'd love to make the squares from sock yarn like Shelly Kang does, but I need more info on the measurements. (Duh...she has a tutorial on her blog. I guess I can start the sock yarn version sooner than I thought!)

Hmmm...I guess 3 things isn't THAT big of a shopping list, but since they are all brand-new projects, it's kind of daunting. I mean, I do have a full-time job and a 15-month old...when do I think I'm going to get this stuff sewn up?!? It's easier when I keep the due dates in perspective. The Commission is going to be presented in January 2008, so obviously that's first. I just need to turn off the TV after Baby K goes to bed and sew for a couple hours. The Challenge is due in March 2008, so that can be the focus of the school holidays in January and February. And the miters are just for fun...we certainly don't need blankets for warmth here in Phoenix. It's forecast to be 90 this weekend. Craziness!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October 31

Baby K and I went to a potluck at our church. We did a little bit of trick-or-treating in the parking lot.

The end of Socktoberfest 2007:

Yep, that's about where I started. I saw pictures of someone else's socks using this yarn and my were awful in comparison. I figured it was better to start over than have a finished mess. Better luck next year!

Here is my latest idea for the challenge fabric I got at MQS back in June. I'm thinking of using Ricky Tims' "Caveman Quilting" techniques to piece the focal fabric into a checkerboard background.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Almost to the end...

This is the progress on my Socktoberfest sock. I'll consider it successful if I finish one of the pair by Wednesday! I'm thinking it needs about two more inches of color, and then half an inch or so of black ribbing to match the heel and toe.

Unfortunately, I am not completely happy with the way the yarn is knitting up. It's 100% superwash merino, very lightweight. I made a feeble attempt at swatching and got 8stitches to the inch on US 2 dpns. As I started knitting the toe, it seemed large, so I switched to US 1s for most of the foot. It fits, but I think I am stretching the yarn too much, which of course distorts the fabric. So, for the leg, I went back to US 2s. I have some modifications in mind for the second sock...perhaps re-reading the Yarn Harlot's generic recipe would help! I'd rather not frog this one, but we'll see when I get done with sock #2. I should have plenty of yarn, which is a small blessing :-)

Another contributing factor is the length of each color. You can see how the black kind of lines up in sections, but the orange and purple are always single rows, which lets the other stitches show up too much, if that makes sense to anyone!

Oh, and to make matters worse, I have huge holes where the short row heels join back to the main sock! grrrr. I know there are suggestions online for preventing that...more research before sock #2!

Edit: Ravelry is wonderful! I did a quick search for the yarn, and someone else was making socks with it. I much preferred hers, of course! So, it looks like my Halloween socks will wait ANOTHER year. I need to rip these out, find a matching weight solid yarn for the heels and toes, and start again on size 1 needles. Oh joy. I think I will dig into a Rockin Sock Club kit instead ;-) Obviously, I am not ready to venture out on my own into the wild world of sock design!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I got a commission to make a quilt...and I have complete design control, how cool is that?!? I want something fairly simple, so I thought of a Trip Around the World - easy cutting and basic straight seams. It's due to the customer in January, which gives me time over Christmas vacation to work on it. Yay - fabric shopping with someone else's money, does it get any better??

And here's the munchkin, just a short while before a nasty ear infection struck. Yep, we've been to the doctor today and have the antibiotics to prove it! It seems like we are making WEEKLY visits, ugh.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Weekly Post

My school had a half-day vacation and Baby K was happily playing at daycare, so I came home and quilted - Yay for me! This quilt has a combination of applique, paper piecing and regular piecing. I used a variety of designs - echo around the applique, meandering, scrolls, etc. Here's a sampling:
Here is Baby K with her favorite toy these days - a wooden spoon. No need to shop the expensive specialty stores, just hit the tupperware aisle at the grocery store!

Soctoberfest update...I am about halfway up the leg on the first Halloween sock. Pictures when sock #1 is done!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Design Challenge

Judy recently issued a design challenge. I had such fun playing with the Arkansas Crossroads block!

I started with blue, my favorite color:

I decided to try an offcenter design, soemthing a little different:

Then, I rotated the blocks and came up with tic-tact-toe. Since it also looks like hugs-n-kisses (XOXO) I changed the color scheme to pink:Finally, I decided to play with a scrappy color scheme. I put the blocks on point and added a piano key border. There is a thin inner border so the main design "floats."

I love how the variations emerge when you rotate the blocks. It's like the many layouts of log cabins, such fun to play with! You lose some of that with sashing, which is why none of these designs use sashing.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Primary SOCKtoberfest Project

I bought this SOCKtoberfest yarn from Scout last year, and I finally cast on with it! I am using plain black for the heels and toes. I decided on plain stockinette stitches because A) it's faster, so they might be done in time for Halloween, and 2) I want to enjoy the colors in the yarn! So far, it's knitting up with small varigation, not really even enough to call stripes.

And, it started as a true MONSTER project, perfect for Halloween! Totally my fault, because I was rushing to get the skein wound into balls before we left for church yesterday morning. B was busy with Baby K, and it turned into a nasty tangle. I fought with it for a bit, then decided to do the dasterdly deed and cut off the first cake. Then I realized a stray loop got caught around the base of my yarn winder. *&%#$!!!! I had to cut that too. Then I started over. hahahaha. It was even MORE of a tangled mess! It took me 3 HOURS yesterday afternoon to hand-wind and untangle the yarn. But, now I'm on my way with simple knitting.

Here's the little angel, fresh from her first solid night's sleep. Yes, we were over-indulgent parents and got up at 2am every night to feed her - until 3 days ago, when I finally put my foot down. I told B. he was NOT ALLOWED to get out of bed no matter what. The first two nights I had to sit with her for a while when she woke up and cried, but last night she slept for 8 hours uninterrupted. YAY!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

1st SOCKtoberfest Finish

Presenting my Firebirds...

They were the June installment of the Rockin Sock Club. I added the picot edge, and my new Sketchers shoes, which I bought especially to show off handknit socks. They do rather well, don't ya think?

Next up...Socktoberfest yarn!!!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Into the black hole

I got my Ravelry invitation! I am "andimc13" if you want to add me as a friend. I joined the Arizona Knitters and Socks that Rawk groups so far.

For the non-knitters out there, Ravelry is a brilliant online community database site, where I can upload photos and details of my yarn stash, works-in-progress, UFOs, needles, books, etc. Projects are cross-referenced by pattern and yarn, so you can get inspiration for that yarn you love but have no idea what to use it for, and see how patterns are working up for all the other knitters in the universe. Basically, it's a "myspace" for knitters!

For the quilters, it seems like Ricky Tims is trying to create a similar community with his Quilt Show forum. Has anyone joined? I thought about subscribing to the online broadcast, but haven't had time so far. Please let me know if you have watched and what you think of it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Piecing Playtime

I finished my whitework quilt - woo-hoo! The binding is attached and just needs to be stitched down. Next up is a customer quilt that has a deadline of October 23rd...luckily there are some school holidays coming up when Baby K will be at daycare. Since I'm paying for the time, she can go play and I'll quilt for a few hours.

Before I put my little machine away for a while, I decided to piece a few blocks. I was exploring Bonnie's free patterns a while back, and the Boxy Stars caught my eye. They go together very quickly with 2.5 inch strips.

I didn't sew the blue block together, because I think I'd rather have all the sections use different fabric. I will be controlling the color combos, though...I have a hard time with totally scrappy designs.

Monday, October 01, 2007

It's SOCKtober!

Here sits Solstice Slip #2, my first goal for the month of SOCKtober:

I measured SS#1, and I really got tired fast, LOL - only 3.25 inches of the leg before I start the picot edge!

I actually got a halfway decent picture of the whitework quilt I'm working on. This is the center medallion design. There are radiating lines and more feathers for an outer border. A little more stippling and then it gets a rinse to erase the blue marker.

Fianlly, here is Baby K, enthralled with a leftover beach toy. I think the original intent was to shape sand castles, but she likes putting Legos in it and basically carrying it around. She can get up in her rocker all by herself, then she looks over and grins when I tell her to sit in the chair properly. Typical mom fear of her tumbling over and getting a nasty bump!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

In review

Well, I think that I am finally back to normal after being sick for most of September! It took 2 rounds of antibiotics to kick the bug that Baby K brought home from daycare.

Regular photos don't show her off 13 months she babbles all the time and is hardly ever still! Grandpa taught her to High-Five, and she does a full-face blink when you wink at her. Time to get a videocamera - suggestions welcome!

The second picture is the little mower toy that she pushes around. She needs a little more confidence before she takes off on her own. Mom and Dad think that is just fine...we know that she will be getting into everything even more when she starts walking!

Fiber update...I have been quilting a bit, but it's not photogenic. Whitework! Our longarm guild challenge this year is wholecloth. I took a class from Karen McTavish last March, and I started quilting it last week. My tension is off a bit on the back, which is a bummer, but I will enter it in the challenge anyway. At this point, the goal is to get it done!

Socks...I just turned the heel on the second Solstice Slip sock that I started in July. It took three tries before I finally measured the foot and got it the right length. I blame the sinus infection. I have big plans for Socktoberfest...stay tuned!

And now I will weigh in on the hot water-cooler topic...the new TV season!

Monday - "How I met your Mother" and "Two and a Half Men" Start the week off with a laugh. These are consistently funny, clever shows.

Tuesday - movie night. I haven't gotten into anything on Tuesdays, which is fine because my quilt group meets that night.

Wednesday - thank goodness for DVRs! I have choir practice, so I tape "Kid Nation," "Private Practice," and "Dirty Sexy Money." Kid Nation is better than I expected. I was hoping to find some application for my high school government class, but so far, it's just a typical reality/challenge show. Private Practice looks like it brings the same good drama from Grey's Anatomy to a new setting. Dirty Sexy Money fulfills the promise of the ads...over the top characters in a soap opera. I think it has potential!

Thursday - "Survivor: China" and "Grey's Anatomy." I'm late to the Survivor party...this is the first time I've watched more than 5 minutes of it! I can't believe how physical they get in the challenges. I'm not a big fan of the mud-wrestling, but it's fun to watch people try to build a functional team in the early stages of the game. Do I really even need to comment on Grey's??? Some interesting storylines...but saving a deer? Hello, call a vet!

Friday/Saturday - time to catch up on all the shows I taped during the week :-)

Sunday...looking forward to Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters! What have you been watching?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday Sewing

Baby K has been taking nice long naps in the middle of the day...part of the daycare routine. It allows me to get some sewing done on the weekends, what a treat!

Does that even look comfortable?!? I love her little feet!

I was able to make three blocks for my guild's December raffle. A small group picks the fabric and pattern for everyone, then all the blocks are raffled off at the December Holiday Party. I wasn't thrilled with the pattern at first, but it is growing on me. The colors are great!

We have a built-in entertainment center around the fireplace. When Baby K started crawling, we got tired real quick of trying to keep her out of the DVDs and magazines in the cubbies. Now she has a little play space: