Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Favorite!

Raspberries! I love these things, and they are always so expensive in the stores, even when they are in season. So in my never ending quest to keep the kids occupied and moving around, we went berry picking today at a local farm.

This is the first time we've picked raspberries, even though they are my favorites, because I forget when they are in season. So we usually go for strawberries & blueberries and I'm grumpy about missing the raspberries. Not this year! Yay me! We picked about 8.25 lbs of the things, so some are already sitting in the freezer (we really need to get a bigger freezer!) and we're gobbling the rest. I also shared some with the neighbors. My youngest may wake up as a raspberry tomorrow as she's eaten so many today!

I don't know if it was just my luck or if this is typical of raspberry fields, but I was nearly eaten alive by biting flies and mosquitoes while picking. I've never had them like this when picking strawberries or blueberries, but maybe I've just been lucky. The bugs didn't seem to notice the girls, which is good, or the whole experience might have been less fun for all of us. Then again, I'm always a bugs favorite in any crowd, I'm special that way. I just dug into the bushes not willing to be deterred by the stings. The berries are worth it, all yummy and sweet and just perfectly ripened raspberries.

The girls got bored, bless the little dears, and so we were only out about an hour. Still, it is a good thing I didn't press them to stay longer. I have no idea what I'd do with more berries! We got free shortbread at the checkout stand, which is a nice bonus, and I've got some lovely chocolate ice cream just calling out for a nice sidecar of berries later on. You know, after the kids are in bed and can't see me get all swoony over the double dose of yummy goodness. LOL

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Done with boring

Okay, so the quilt square is done! I finished it yesterday afternoon and danced a happy little jig around the room, much to my children's psychological distress. The photo looks a bit pink, but I set this on top of a pink surface and it kind of bled through the fabric a bit. Trust me, the fabric is white, the stitching is in dark blue, deep cranberry and a pale pink.

As I said before, this should be the last quilt square for a while, so I can now return to knitting. And getting that yarn finished (set) from the Tour de Fleece. I don't have photos of that up yet, as I was waiting to take them when I had all the fiber washed and hanging to dry. It is raining out today, so it didn't seem like the best day for washing fiber.

Still, with luck, I'll be able to pick up one of my languishing knit projects sometime today. If I ever stop playing on the computer!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Quilt square of boring

This quilt square is really driving me nuts and I just want it done. The pattern I have has some errors, so I'm trying to correct them as I go (which means: I rip out the stitches after I've finished that part of the pattern only to find there are missing stitches in the pattern). I'm having so much fun! I think I'm really just done on the patterns this year. This is like the 4th square (or more?) and since the patterns all come from the same book, they are very similar and I am BORED. And no, the chart errors do not add the correct level, or type, of excitement to the project.

I'm about 60% done, so that is the only bright spot right now. Well, and the colors are ones that I actually like and that helps too. Mind you, I'm very happy to be contributing to such a special gift, I'm just bored of the work. Fortunately, we don't have any more weddings scheduled until next year, so there'll be a break.

I'm been very happy to break things up with the spinning for the Tour de Fleece 2008. I finished all the fiber I had hoped to finish, the Ruby Merino, last night. I'm plying the last bit of it today as my Victory Lap. I'm very pleased with what I accomplished both in the quantity completed and in the improvement in the overall quality of my spinning. I hope I will make sure I spin a bit every week in the future, though that might mean shopping to enhance the stash at some point.

Oh, darn! grin

The oldest DD is feeling a bit under the weather, so there should be plenty of time spent at home to finish the square and get back to the other projects! You know, until I get whatever it is she has.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Stitching backwards

I still don't know how I managed it, but yesterday I spent a fair bit of time on the new quilt square project. In reviewing about two hours worth of stitching, I found that there are two small sections where for no apparent reason I decided to cross the stitch the wrong way. I don't know if I shifted the fabric while I was stitching or if I just temporarily lost my mind. (I like to pretend it is temporary.) So, today I will be ripping out those stitches and then trying to get more of the square done.

Yesterday Himself picked up season one of Nero Wolfe on DVD. He got it at a used bookstore for about $20, so it was a great deal! Last night, we watched the first episode and I spent the entire time spinning. It was so much fun! I love this series, it is very well done, and my spinning went really well. If I can continue to balance the stitching and spinning, this will do much to soothe my tired brain.

I handed off the hats to the two boys yesterday, and they were both pleased. The youngest, who requested them in the first place, was so happy he wore it all day. It seems he'd been pestering my friend about whether or not I'd remember that I promised to knit him a hat. He was very worried that I'd forget. I was really happy I made the time, he was very happy when he saw the hat in my hand. That made the whole project worth every minute. Even so, I'll try not to volunteer for anything else in the near future. I'm really not enjoying deadlines right now. Must be SUMMER! LOL

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sad news

I thought since I had mentioned her on the blog the other day, I would share this news as well. My cousin Lindsey passed away early this morning. She was an amazing witness to all in her love for the Lord and for her family and friends. She will be deeply missed by all.

Fleece photo

Here's 5.245 oz of the Ruby Merino all plied up. I haven't checked the wpi, but it is at least a worsted, maybe a heavy worsted, which is pretty much the weight I was going for. I'm pleased. I love this color! This is a good thing since I have about 13 more cakes of this stuff to spin.

I was very confident that I would finish this fiber easily by the end of the Tour, but now I'm a little concerned. As with many new endeavors, it is easy to make time for the project in the beginning, but as time passes, it is more of a challenge to find the time every day. Still, that is sort of the point of one of my goals anyway, make time for spinning at least a couple of times per week. Otherwise, how will I ever get better, or, maybe more importantly, knit from any yarn that I've created? Anyway, I'm still excited by the spinning & I'm definitely making progress. If I start to lose enthusiasm, I'll try petting my fiber stash and see if that helps. LOL

Here's my other sudden project, two more Badger Hats. They were done in Bernat Alpaca (like the sweater I'm working on) and turned out very nice, though possibly a bit large. One is in a cream and black (sort of slate-ish) mix and the other is in a nice blue and brown mix. I'm happy they went so quickly and I hope the boys like them. Assuming they can find them when they need them again.

Short post today, but I'm trying to get back in this habit too!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lazy blogging

I find it hard to believe that so much time has passed since I last posted anything. What a slacker! At least I can blame it on being Summer, even if that isn't necessarily the cause. LOL I'm afraid the past weeks have been very, very busy with good and bad things.

July 1 I had to have our sweet kitty put to sleep. He had kidney disease, and although we tried a number of different treatments, he just didn't improve and continued to deteriorate. He went from being a very thin 12-lb kitty to being about 5.5 lbs at the end. It was time. I am at peace with that, but it was very, very hard. I not only had to be the one to do it, I was also the one who had to tell the kids - who were devastated. That's both of my cats gone in 7 months, both unexpectedly. I'm feeling naked without my cats.

Himself seems to think this is an opportunity to be an animal-free household, he's convinced that the litter box creates dust that is deadly to his electronics. I say, he never bothers to dust - EVER - so how can he blame all the dust on the cat litter? I also say, we will have cats again and I really hope it doesn't cause an argument. The kids and I need animals to be happy, and the hamster just doesn't cut it for me. We'll see how this turns out.

The other bad news isn't really mine, but a dear cousin's news. She successfully battled cancer about 10 years ago, when she was 18. She had no symptoms prior to a collapse, but once she was in the hospital and the doctors found her cancer, they literally gave her days to live. With a great deal of prayer and chemo, she survived the cancer. Sort of. It seems that the treatments badly damaged her heart and lungs. She has been undergoing evaluation for the past few months in preparation for lung and heart transplants. However, this past week, the trip to the hospital (from OK to Cleveland) wiped her out and the doctors feel that there is nothing more that can be done for her. They expect that she has about 3 weeks left in her earthly life.

She is a beautiful young woman, a teacher, and has decided to leave the hospital and return to her home and hospice. Prayers are appreciated for her and her family, and I know many more than I can imagine are being offered in her behalf.

So perhaps you can see why I've stayed away from the blog. Too much sadness and I can't help but mention it here. Still, thanks for your patience. I will now try to turn it around a bit.

I am spinning away in the Tour de Fleece. I did miss about three days, but I also spun a bit on the day of rest, so I'm only down two days. Right? My goals are to get into the habit of spinning on a regular basis and to get that ruby Merino spun up so I can knit with it. This yarn is supposed to be for a bag for my other grandmother (not the one who's is receiving shawls). I'm making good progress and I've probably got just a little over 4oz left of the fiber to spin. I've got more fiber to play with if I finish this stuff, and if I can get some spinning in every day for the rest of the tour, I should get to try out new stuff.

I have made no progress on the Pi. I'm afraid it is knit five rounds, rip three around here. I think I've got it in hand, again, but then I started spinning and just haven't spent any more time on it.

I have made progress on the sweater for Himself. Sort of. I was nearly three repeats into the cable pattern when I figured out I was making an error. You see, I photocopied the chart from the book and made sure it was all there. What I didn't do was make sure all the shadings transferred. (You see where I'm going with this?) Anyway, it turns out that there are parts of the chart that are shaded, so the cables are slightly different. You'd think I might have noticed something since it seems to be impossible for me to remember front, back, knit, or purl without looking at the key every time I do a cable. Hmmm. The key had four different cable symbols. Why? I apparently didn't care, until I was three repeats into the darned thing. After comparing the photocopy to the book, I could see that the shading did not copy, so all the cable symbols looked the same. I've penciled in some shading now and I've ripped, because it will bother me, and I'm now one repeat into the pattern. It might just be wishful thinking, but I think the cables are looking better and more defined than they were before.

Tuesday I spent a few hours teaching a 12 year old boy to knit. He has no patience, but surprisingly I did. He is well on his way to a scarf (his choice, for a friend girl - not a girlfriend, nudge, nudge) though he believes that he will never need to learn to purl. heh. He did ask me to make him a hat, which I did yesterday. I'm thinking I'll do one for his brother too. So that is my project for today, and maybe tomorrow. We'll see how the time works out.

There's also another quilt square for a wedding quilt. What is with all the weddings?! I think this is the last one (no other weddings scheduled until next year), which is good. I'll get pictures up soon. I hope.