Saturday, October 1, 2011

October has arrived!

I just love October!  I love the way the air feels. I love the way the temperatures feel.  I especially love the wind and the falling leaves.  And, I love Halloween, too.

There's a tutorial for a Halloween wreath over on Dollar Store Crafts that I found back in late August.  Though the post was from September 2010, I was still able to find the bath scrubbers at my local Dollar Tree.  The rattan wreaths, though, were a bit smaller than the one used in the tutorial so it only took three scrubbers to cover the wreath instead of four.

Here's my wreath that came together in about half an hour using one wreath, three scrubbers, one ghoul and some purple curling ribbon from Dollar Tree, a bit of Fun Fur from my stash and a glue gun.  Not bad for $6, huh?

Click the picture to enlarge

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September TUSAL

Greetings, folks.  Here we are at another new moon.  And, once again, I really don't have much to show for it in my TUSAL bottle.

Even Jack looks a bit perplexed that there's nothing new in there.  Sorry, but knitting doesn't generate the amount of ortage that embroidery does.

Yes, I'm still knitting.  And, yes, I'm still working on big squares.  One day I hope to have them all done and then I can sew them all together and have a great lap rug to show for it.  Perhaps my stitching mojo will return by then.

I've been telling an online friend about all the birds in my backyard.  Here's a shot out my kitchen window of many of the feeders in the backyard and a good showing of the different birds that visit the feeders.  We once tried to count up all the species of birds we've seen in the backyard and I believe we came up with 18.

 And, then there are the squirrels.  They enjoy the sunflower seeds and peanuts we put in the feeder box.  Sometimes they hit the jackpot and get a stale bread bowl.

Click on any of the pictures for a bit larger view.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Doesn't hurt to ask

So, I'm helping with a link to a blog written by someone I don't know.

Gullible, aren't I?

Monday, August 29, 2011

TUSAL: August 2011

Here we are at the New Moon for August.  I'm still not stitching so there's no new floss in the jar. There are a few yarn snippets, but not from anything specific.  The blue blob is from a working swatch where I was trying to figure out the stockinette stitch. 

Here's anothe view of the TUSAL bottle.  The nosy kitty is Tabby; she's part of the local cat colony.  It's not quite fair to call her feral as she clearly belonged to someone once upon a time.  I have no idea who or why she's not with them now.  Too bad the kittehs can't tell their stories to us.

My dear friend PP read my last post about stitching a scarf and a hat for the coming winter.  PP is an accomplished knitter (and fiber woman in general) and she made me some truly awesome fingerless gloves from the same yarn I used. Aren't the gloves beautiful?  Thank you so much, PP, for these awesome gloves.  You rocked my world!  When the cold weather hits, I'm going to be so ready for it! 

Here's another shot of these oh so comfortable gloves!

What I've been knitting lately are squares.  This is the pattern I used for the wash cloth that was my second (and third) projects.  The yarn came from Mama's stash.  Just your run of the mill cotton yarn.  It may be Peaches 'n Cream, or it may be just something similar.  I had the crazy idea to use this blocks like quilting blocks and use them to make a lap rug/throw/Afghan/whatever.  I've got some ideas for constuction but will keep that to myself until I'm further along on the project.

When I ran out of Mama's yarn (after three squares) I bought a new cone of yarn.  Wouldn't you know it they didn't have the same color, close but not the same.  Oh, well, it's not like anyone else will see this.  The smaller squares pictured above are 50 stitches wide at their widest.  The big boy above is at 86.5 stitches when the picture was taken and will ultimately be 100.  I want to knit at least four (or maybe six) of these jumbo squares for the center of the lap rug.

The odometer on the ol' Subaru is still spinning. And yes, it just took about 2.5 gallons of gas to get the 85 miles on the tripmeter.  The old gal will be 17 years old in just a couple of weeks.  We sure got our money's worth out of this car.  Rock on, Suby!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

TUSAL: July 2011, Second of Two

Greetings, everyone, from the last day of July, 2011.  My goodness, how time has flown by!

I did a bit of research and found that the second new moon in a given month is referred to as either a black moon (according to this article) or a dark moon.  This list of moon folklore said that two new moons in one month predicted a month's bad weather.  Taken along with another tidbit from the same list (a new moon on a Saturday (as it was yesterday) supposedly brings 20 days of wind and rain) and we should be in for some lousy weather.  Believe if you wish, but I don't think that will be the case.

What are all the bits of colored fluffiness?

I've been a knittin' fool this month and the little bits of color are the trimming from the pom-pom that went on the hat I knitted.  Yes, you read that right: I knitted a hat!  And a scarf to go with it.  I've learned to knit in the round on cables and also on double pointed needles.  Both of those were an interesting experience.  The double pointed needles were difficult to maneuver when completing the crown of the hat.  I'm not sure I want to go through that again.  Perhaps it would be easier with smaller needles.  I used Size 10us.

The original pattern for the scarf called for three skeins and for it to be 65 inches long.  Well, I used all three skeins and mine turned out to be 78 inches (2 m) long.  It's alright, though, since I'm tall and like having extra length to wrap around the neck and over the face, if necessary.

The bright sunshine really brings out the beautiful colors in the yarn.  (It's Lion Brand Amazing yarn in colorway Mauna Loa.)  Hard to believe I'm taking pictures of knitwear when it's 100 degrees outside.  Ugh.  C'mon winter!

Ready for cold weather!

This is Ginger.  She's been a member of my feral cat colony for three years now.  Ginger showed up when she was just a tiny kitten, but already too wild to tame.  She has been spayed, though, so she's not adding to the cat population.  This was such a great picture of her, I just had to share it.

Here's Jack on the run.  (He really does have all four legs.)  And Bob looking a bit grumpy.  Pardon his rumpled fur but he got a bath on Friday and can't do a thing with it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Nikki and the Binder, and a New Kitty

I got email from a nice lady named Nikki who actually made a binder from my tutorial.  This gave me a big happy!  And she sent pictures, too!

I gave this to my 14 year old son for his birthday. He is an aspiring writer, and puts all his works in the binder.  He loves it. 

I sew quite a bit, and I was asked to visit my daughter’s sewing class (high school) with some of my projects.  I brought the cover, and the teacher liked it so much she asked me for the website, and of course I obliged her.  She is considering using your tutorial for one of her class projects next fall, I believe. 

Doesn't that look like a great fabric for a teenager?  How nice to hear that a teacher thinks my tutorial is worth using! Hope I didn't do anything wrong in there.  Please, Mrs. Davis, I'd love to see pictures when your class completes their projects!

In early to mid-June we noticed a very vocal, little black cat hanging around the house.  He responded to "kitty, kitty, kitty" by meowing loud and often.  He acted afraid and didn't want to come close, but would run up on the porch and furiously nom the kitten chow left there for the ferals.  Eventually, he did warm up to us and started flopping over for belly rubs.  Upon closer inspection it was apparent that this was a young cat (about 7 months) who still had all his equipment.  He would often show up with cobwebs on his face so we figured he was living in the neighbor's crawlspace.  After getting to know him for a week and earning his trust, we put him into a cat carrier and took him to the vet so they could run him up on the rack and give him a tune-up and all the shots and neuter him.  We brought him back home to the house and he was happy as could be, even with the doxies and Bob.  Bob, on the other hand wasn't too delighted with the little cat - Jack, as he is called - and stomped around the house complaining loudly to everyone and no one in particular.  It took about a week, but Bob and Jack are now getting along together and Bob's got his sweet disposition back again.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

TUSAL: July 2011 - First of two

This month is rather unique in that we will have two new moons in the same month.  When there are two full moons that second is refered to as a blue moon.  Anyone know what you call the second new moon in the same calendar month? (Other than the obvious, "rare".)

Stitching with tiny needles and fibers still doesn't hold any appeal for me right now so there hasn't been much added to my ort jar.  But, unlike the last two months (or so) there actually are some new orts in the jar; they are yarn orts, but orts they be!

I've managed to knit three things.  The first started life as the second incarantion of my learning swatch.  It turns out I was knitting with a twist.  Wish I could remember the actual name of the stitch I was doing, but it wasn't the garter stitch.  Once, that got sorted out, SH showed me how to do decreases and at a good enough time to turn the practice piece into a little buttoned pouch.  The yarn reminded me of water and there was a cute fish button in my stash waiting to be used.  This little pouch will be about the right size to use for credit card, ID and a bit of money to tuck into my pocket.

The next two projects (which were actually finished before I did the finishing on the pouch (confused yet?)) were the ubiquitous knitted wash cloth.  It's a nice learning project for several reasons: (1) you learn yarn over and knit two together; (2) there are plenty of repetitions to reinforce the motor memory; and (3) you've actually got something useful at the end.

The first one had some problems.  I tinked and reknit and tinked some more.  In the end, it was a good learning experience.  The second one had fewer problems and looks better than the first. 

My current project is a scarf; it shouldn't be a big deal and will be completed unless I get bored.  There's a pattern for a matching hat.  I'll believe it when I see it.   Actually, it's kind of exciting learning a new craft.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

TUSAL for June

Here it is, my friends, my TUSAL bottle for June.  Not a lot, well, nothing actually, different from last month.  Still in a stitching slump.   :(

Lately, I've been trying knitting when I feel the need to do something with my hands.  Back and forth on the same 20 stitches.  The owner of the LNS showed me this could actually be turned into some thing useful:  Stitch a long-ish narrow piece.  Stitch two short ends together.  Do a running stitch around the top and bottom of the tube.  Gather and sew it shut on both sides.  Ta-da!  A dish scrubbie.

If I get around to makeing one of these I'll post some pictures and label it a tutorial.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Actually Finished Something

This weekend I got to be a Parrotthead for the first time.  One of the friends of my youth came to town and went to the show with me.  A grand time and mucho tequilla was had by all.

This friend is one that I owed a handmade craft some time in 2011, so I fulfilled this promise with a book safe. This Spanish text book was rescued from a by-the-pound bin at a thrift store. The safe compartment was lined with maps taken from an atlas that was rescued from the same situation.


Still haven't gotten the stitching mojo back yet. But I have started something new: knitting. Dear friend SU is teaching me how to knit Continental. I'll pause a momment to let PP recover from this shock. ... So far, my knitting looks a lot like my crocheting: way too tight. Why is my tension so tight when working with yarn but I can do just fine with thread and floss and silk and tiny needles?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

TUSAL: May 2011

Here's my TUSAL bottle for May's new moon.  If it look suspiciously like the shot from April, there's a reason.  Due to being very busy at work and allergies and a sinus infect yada yada yada I've been in a crafting slump lately.  Here's hoping this is just a temporary thing and I'll be feeling crafty and productive again in May.

Monday, April 4, 2011

TUSAL: April 2011

A half-gallon size Ball jar stepped up to become the new TUSAL bottle after the minor disaster that claimed the original apothecary jar. This one should be a bit more forgiving if it slips from my hands, but I'd best be quick to get toes out of the way since this jar is rather hefty.

Friend SU had a birthday recently. I made a book safe and a tin and scissor fob set for her. The book safe, at first, didn't go over well; I believe she really would have rather had the single volume from the 1957 edition children's encyclopedia. When I explained the original condition of the book (dirty, sooty, broken spine, pages tearing from spine etc), I think she understood why I did what I did with it. I promise I do not destroy any books of value when I make book safes. SU really loved the repurposed Altoids tin with the cute sheep on the front. The tiny scissors made her happy too since they are too small to use for anything other than snipping yarn or embroidery threads. She said she's infamous for ruining scissors by using them as screwdrivers or cutting up paper or tough fabrics like denim.

Friday, March 4, 2011

TUSAL: March 2011

Looking down on TUSAL for March's new moon.

Lots of orts of all sorts added during February.

Moments later... uh-oh. And, yes. The bottom part landed right side up.

The lid survived but the orts are currently in a one quart zippy bag.

More later. I've got a Randy Rogers Band concert to go to.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

TUSAL: February 2011

Greetings. Here we are Groundhog's Day as well as another new moon, which means it's time for another picture for the TUSAL hosted by It'sDaffycat. There is a lot more to show this time than last.

During the last month, I made nine scissor fobs, took a needle work class in Florida and worked on several smalls for a project that's still in the works. In addition to orts from stitching, there's also the label and empty spool from a ball of #12 black perle cotton, an empty spool of Krienik #4 very fine braid, scraps of handmade cording and various and sundry scraps of linens and felts and velvets from finishing projects. Yes, it's been a busy month!

The needlework class I attended is an annual event taught by Susan Greening Davis. The attendees lovingly refer to it as Pirate Camp since it is held in the St. Augustine area - and they've had more than their fair share of pirates in the day. The beaches are beautiful in this area.

I like to make favors for my table-mates and hosts of the class and, this year, decided to make scissor fobs.

A little piece of needle work from JE's late mother inspired the black-on-black stitching on the front. The fabric is 22 count Hardanger stitched with #12 perle cotton.

In keeping with the pirate theme, I found a cute Jolly Roger rubber stamp and used it to make emblossed velvet for the back of the fob.

Joining the two pieces was a bit of a challenge. The velvet was crawly and evil and didn't want to stay put to be sewn together with the stitched piece. There was a lot of cussing involved. I made the tassels from #12 perle cotton, and the cording was made with #5 perle cotton and red #4 Krienik braid.

I'd been to St. Augustine several times but had never visited the lighthouse. Right before taking our afternoon break, one of the ladies at the class asked who was going to be climbing to the top of the lighthouse. At the time I thought to myself, "Not me!" But a while latter, driving down A1A, there was the lighthouse.

I turned off the main road to get some pictures of it and one thing lead to another. Oh, did I mention my mom was with me? Yuppers, she'd come to the stitching class and here we were at the lighthouse.

Now, understand, I'm afraid of heights and Mama had a total hip replacement a year ago last Christmas. Neither of us were great candidates for doing this, but I knew we could. All 219 stairs up to the top.

I kept my eyes on the wall when going up the stairs; the holes made into the stairs offered too much of a view to look down. Mama, on the other hand, was watching the stairs to make sure she didn't make a misstep. We'd rest on the landings, and Mama wanted to quit a few times, but I kept egging her on.

And we made it to the top! It was a glorious view and I wish I'd been able to step away from the safety of the brick wall to look around more, but I was terrified. Going down was a lot faster than going up for Mama. It took me a bit longer because I had a death-grip on wall mounted handrail (with both hands) and had to hand-over-hand my way down - looking at the wall not the steps. I was very happy to reach the bottom but could now brag I'd actually made it to the top. Three cheers for me and Mama!

Pookie had also made the trip, but we left him in Jacksonville with our friends B and TM and their bird, Gus.

Here's a book safe I made for B for her hospitality:

It's the best book safe I've made to date and she appeared to be please by it.

While there, I saw the scissor fob I'd made for her last year. It's a Lori Birmingham design. Don't you love them? They're all so delicate and beautifully feminine

I'll leave you with a shot of the good ship Bob sailing along the carpet.