Monday, October 30, 2006

Actual Quilting Activity!

Yeah, I said I'd post Saturday and now it's Monday. Things got busy on Saturday and I never turned on a computer yesterday. Get over it. ;-) PLEASE NOTE: I had this all ready to go yesterday (Monday) but Blogger wouldn't take the photos, then I ran out of time. I have plenty of stuff to blog about (with pictures) so hopefully I'll have time for a couple of posts this week. Happy Halloween! :)

So I spent a lot of Friday evening at Bearly "floating." Beth and I went to Whole Foods for dinner (salad bar! Yeah!) then across the street to Big 5 for a few minutes. When I got back, I had no idea what I wanted to work on. First, I tried my Batik Beauties, a quilt that I will be piecing for the rest of my natural life. That lasted for a few minutes, then I decided to cut out the rest of my Starr Designs kit.

Here are my strips all cut out and ready to goI should have taken a pic of the gigantic sushi roll that all the fabric was in before I untied and took a rotary cutter to it. Oh well.

Here's another view. All my strips hangin' out in the tub where they will live for a few weeks until I actually start sewing them together. Methinks this project needs a tub the next size up!

And, here's a pic of the pic of what the kit makes. Ain't it cool?

Once I finished getting all those strips cut out, I needed something else to work on. I had brought my Picnic Plaid to do more quilting on the center (border is done, and all the inside strips are ditched both ways), but quilting was more than I was up for. However, it needed binding and the border was quilted, so that's what I did.

This is a pre-binding photo. Depending on when I get home tonight, I might tackle getting the "excess" trimmed off. Then, all I need to do is hand-sew the binding down after I make a label.

Labels. Ugh. Hey, now that I have a printer at home, I could do that instead of embroidery! Wow! I just thought of that! Woo-Hoo! :) I am a terrible friend and also need to do two labels for my friend Ellyn's twins who were born in MAY. I suck. But this gives me hope!

I got some kick-ass knitting done over the weekend too, but I'll save those photos for another day. Happy Monday! :)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pumpkins, Strips and More Progress

Early this morning, well before the sun came up, I snapped a few pictures of my Halloween Row Robin blocks on my way out the door. Doing these rows with Lisa, Carol and Beth has been waaay too much fun and I'm looking forward to our next informal exchange/challenge. I have five of each of these blocks and a pile of coordinating fabrics.

Here's Beth's. Paper pieced in the "don't actually sew through the freezer paper" method. Wish I could remember whose technique that is. I think Judy Matheison?

Here's Lisa's block. Probably paper pieced as well.

Carol was working on these FOREVER. Those little orange squares on each side? They are 3D!

And here's my boring little block. Oh, these are all 12" finished blocks if I remember right. It'll make a nice big quilt whenever I get it done.

So what am I going to work on tomorrow night? I think I'm going to take my Picnic Plaid quilt that has been thisclose to being done for about six months now. My quilting thread, and my Brother 1500 which only sews a straight stitch. I'm going to do some cutting tonight and with any luck I'll start sewing on my Starr Designs kit that I've had for about five years (Kit is similar to this ... no applique and strictly primary colors).

Erin, if you are reading: My sis-in-law requested Halloween and St. Patrick's Day placemats for xmas presents. My quilting mojo has been in short supply recently ... mostly because quilting/sewing at home requires so much set-up and knitting is so much easier to sit down and do. Sewing time is going to be at a serious premium over the next few months. I think I can work in three Friday Nights between now and the end of volleyball season ... and that's if I'm doing really well and the team gets eliminated before the Final Four.

What this boils down to is that there's very little chance that I'll have your special request finished in time for the holidays. But please don't think I'm totally blowing you off. I'll get to them as soon as I can!

Enjoy whatever is left of your Thursday. I'll take pics tomorrow night at Bearly and will probably post again from the Rose Bowl on Saturday afternoon. :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Progress, Minimal Pictures

I’m composing in word and preparing to do a cut-and-paste ‘cause Blogger is down until 3 my time. Just a warning – my primary knitting projects are all at home. These pics are what I have with me at the office. Meeting knitting for my 4:30 meeting (non-work) that I’m probably going to skip.

Here’s the pathetic “progress” I’ve made on my second Cherry Tree Hill sock. Flash wouldn’t fire and this is kinda out of focus.

And here’s the progress on Fuzzy Foot 4. This one is for my brother. I’m through the heel, so now it’s just flat knitting to the 10” mark, then my toe decreases.

Just to have more photos, here’s a good cloud picture from about three weeks ago. We don’t get clouds like this here in LA very often. It’s almost always either solid light-gray overcast or perfectly clear blue sky. Any “normal” clouds are unusual, hence the photo.

So I’ve been knitting. A lot. Have the front panel finished and on holders for my alpaca cable sweater and just need to get the armpit/shoulder shaping figured out for the back. Then it’s sleeves and finishing. yay. (excited about the sweater, not so much about the finishing!)

I’m also most of the way through the front of my v-neck pullover. The colors rock. I’m going to need to get a long-sleeve t-shirt to wear underneath, though. Unless washing softens this thing up, it’s gonna be scratchy.

I’m also up to the armpits on the back of my Countess sweater. Boy, is that some yummy yarn!

Sorry this post is so boring. There hasn’t been much of anything going on in my world except work and knitting. And there aren’t any real knitting pictures. I suck. The big plan for tomorrow? “Dress down” for work and clean out my insanely cluttered office. It needs it. Believe me. Those coffee cups on my desk? Barely holding their real estate against the mountain of paper and loose CDs that are threatening to spill all over everything. Ugh. I’m a slob.

I am, however, going quilting on Friday night. Woo-Hoo! Bearly, here I come! Do I know what I’m going to be working on? Absolutely not. Hmmm. Something to ponder!

Finally, here’s a very fun little link I found on someone else’s blog. I love the muppett show and liked the engine’s choice, so here it is. Enjoy! :)

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Finished Objects!

OK, so it has taken me a while to get another post up here. Why is it that my "real" life keeps interfering with what I want to be doing?

Speaking of which, I skipped a sewing night with my bestest buddies last night so I could be here. I have seen some truly fugly losses by our women's volleyball team at the Lyon Center over the last six years, so it was nice to see us show some "intestinal fortutude" and pull out the win. Plus, it our first Lexus Gauntlet points EVER in this sport, so that's good too. :)

Just as the match started, I got a photo-mail on my cell phone. Beth, with Sandy, holding toilet paper. Toilet paper? What the????? Apparently, Beth decided that we keep going to Sandy's house and we're using too much of her necessary supplies. Most people bring food/snacks. Beth? She brings TP!

So I have been a busy little knitter over the last week or so. Just not on any sweaters! First, I finished my first pair of fuzzy feet. Love this pattern!

This is what they look like, pre-felting. I think this pair is going to be for my mom. I've already started on the next pair, which will be for either my best friend or my brother in a great forest green. Probably my brother, since the best friend is part Sasquach (men's size 12.5 feet!) and if I do Colin's pair first, I'll have a little leftover yarn to help with Bill's. That's important, since this photo is of what I had leftover from the skein of Cascade 220 after finishing the inaugural pair. Now the only trick will be executing my first felting experience!

The other thing I finished was a pair of mittens for my friend Julie in Indianapolis. I had a LOT of fun making these, although the yarn was awfully splitty.

I think today I'm going to cast on for my "countess" v-neck pullover ... a Classic Elite yarn and a pattern from one of their books. Yummy. Then I need to get back to my alpaca cable. Too many projects, not enough time! Have a great weekend, y'all!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Why I Love my Sewing Buddies

I couldn't go to Finish a Project at Bearly Stitchin on Friday night because I was here instead. I'm usually so busy at these events that I forget about what I'm missing. Then I get an email or a phone call about what I missed and I get a little bummed.

So today, I was in my office doing boring routine Monday stuff. Then, this afternoon I got an email from Lisa. Apparently, on Friday night, Carol tried to fix my messed up exchange block. Here are the results of that endeavor.

I feel better now. Don't I have awesome friends? ;-)

I'm sure all of my M&Ms buddies have been eagerly awaiting the posting of the pics I took at our block exchange last Monday (Oct. 9). I decided it would be an absolute pain in the patoot to upload a bakers dozen photos to blogger, so I created a Yahoo! Photos account. You can go to this web address:

and check out the photos in the "M" folder. It was supposed to be "M&Ms BW" but apparently the ampersand truncates the file name. Who knew? Everyone is ID'd by name, holding up their blocks. The post-name numbers ('01 or '02) indicates if it was that person's first or second set of black and white blocks.

In case you're curious, we had an exchange in August with the rules of 8.5" blocks (8" finished), as many b/w fabrics as you want, but only one color ... could be anything color-wise, but had to read as a solid (think solid-looking batiks or moda marbles). Everyone brought two different blocks and we traded away. We decided that we liked these blocks so well that we'd lather, rinse, repeat and do the same exchange again with an Oct. 9 due date. Denise gets off the hook for the first set of blocks, as the Oct. 9 meeting was her first :)

Beth is not pictured with her blocks because she FORGOT ABOUT US and did a hit-and-run to drop off her blocks that night. Hmmm. She's had a bad week and we love her anyway. :) I also forgot to take a pic of her two blocks from the first exchange. Oh well!

Knitting-wise, I'm cranking right along. I finished my first Fuzzy Foot last night and got the second one started. If the felting process goes well on this test pair, it may become the xmas gift du jour.

I'll try to take progress photos tonight or tomorrow night. Hope all of you had a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sleep-Deprived Sewing

Sorry I didn't post last night. Was too wiped out when I got home and then was trying to clear some TiVo and couldn't pay attention to that and blog at the same time.

Pat, I have no need for a vowel, but can I please buy about 4 extra hours in a day?

Fan Mail
Thanks for the feedback and other comments. I love it! :)

I'm guessing it was Lisa who commented that she thought I didn't buy the watch at REI. I didn't buy it on Friday, but went back and bought it at the REI near my house on Saturday after I had made up my mind which watch I wanted. That's also when I went mildly bonkers, buying four t-shirts, a skirt and two sports bras along with the watch.

And now, on to our regularly scheduled program!

So I got home from the football game on Sunday night at about 10:30, and it was critical that I get my second set of blocks done for Monday's M&Ms exchange. You can see a pic of my first block here on a previous blog entry. I was damn close to finishing them on Friday night at Sandy's house. I got the "twosies" of half-square triangles sewn to the center squares and was ready to sew on the strips of "foursies" to each side when I realized that they weren't going to line up correctly.

I thought that the problem was just that I had the plain square sewn on the wrong end of the strip of three half-square triangles, so Carol, Sandy and I busted out a trio of seam rippers and got those 18 strips down to three squares in a heartbeat. However, it was 11:45 at that point, so the only polite thing to do was pack up and get the hell out of Sandy's house so she could go to sleep.

Saturday was spent driving on five freeways running errands and attending the UCLA-Arizona football game (ugh. our games aren't exactly entertaining this year!), and there was no time on Sunday morning to do any sewing before we left for our Steelers-Chargers adventure.

So I busted out my Designer I when I got home at about 10:30 Sunday night and was ready to sew. At which point, I realized that my strips of three half-square triangles were sewn together with all of the individual squares off-kilter by 90 degrees. SHAZBOT! (well, I said things much worse than that, but my mother reads this blog, so we'll stick with Shazbot!)

Move over to the couch, seam ripper in hand. Turn on The Amazing Race from two weeks ago (may as well multi-task and clear some TiVo while I frog these things). Turn 18 strips into 54 individual half-square triangles. Move back over to the sewing machine, which is on the kitchen table since it required way too much energy to dig out my sewing cabinet to sew there.

Place all of the half-square triangles around the block centerpiece as the correct exploded block. Sew everything back into twosies, then into foursie strips. Remember, we're hard up on midnight at this point.

Grab the set of nine centers and sew a strip of foursies on. Go to my cut-n-press on the kitchen counter, press the first three blocks and realize that Houston, we have a problem! One block, the ONLY one that was correct, looked like this:

The other eight looked like this:

Can you find the mistake? I checked all nine of the blocks. Eight of them were wrong. Swore a lot. Then decided that it was 12:20, it was a nine-person block exchange and that if all eight recipients of my block got the same thing, would it be such a bad thing if the block was technically incorrect? I left it alone. The Amish would be proud of me.

I did, however, check my second set of foursies to make sure they were all correct. Amazingly, only one was out of whack, so I fixed it and went on my merry way.

The block exchange was quite fun. Lisa made a fabulous beef stew, other people brought other pieces of the potluck dinner and we laughed until 9:30! Sandy and I wound up chatting for a while afterwards so I got home late, never turned on the TV and fell into bed.

I have pics of everyone holding up their blocks (except for Beth. Beth flaked out on us, although she did drop off her blocks) and will get to that post in a day or two. Right now? I need to go work out RIGHT THIS SECOND so I can get showered and back over to my office in time for my very favorite standing meeting. Ugh. I'll do my best to post again at least one more time this week. Enjoy! :)

Oh yeah, I finished my first sock last night! No pics yet. Second sock is casted on and about half an inch into the cuff. Yay!

Monday, October 09, 2006


Yes, that's as far as I can remember Pi

Why is this relevant? Well, it isn't. Except that between noon on Saturday and 11 pm last night (Sunday night), I drove on the following freeways: 105, 605, 210, 134, 101, 405, 91, 5, 805 and 8. How crazy is that?

Those last three freeways were added to the list yesterday when Chris and I went to San Diego for the Chargers-Steelers game. We drove down a little early and had a fantastic lunch at Marechiaro's in El Cajon. Can't recommend this place highly enough. Fantastic food, reasonable prices. Owners are friends of one of my softball kids and her family, so we've had a team meal there each of the last three years. YUMMY!

Then we decided to do a park-and-ride thing and take the trolley to the game. We parked two stops east of Qualcomm Stadium and we were there a little before 2 pm for a 5:15 kickoff. I walked over to Adventure 16 to kill an hour shopping. Didn't get anything significant, although I did feed my keychain habit. Hey, I walked out having spent under $20. Gimme a break.

The end result was that we had zero traffic on the drive south and it took about 2 hours on the nose. We left with three minutes to go in the game and had zero traffic on the way home -- we were in the garage just under two hours after getting on the freeway in San Diego. WOW!

Three notables from the game.

First, The San Diego Chicken was there. I couldn't get a pic, but at one point he had a sign that said "Chicken Seeks Date With (nbc logo) Peacock." This morphed into a woman in a truly hideous peacock costume doing a halftime skit with the chicken. Chris thought it was hysterical.

Two: pretty good seats for a second consecutive year. Here's a view. Too bad the fans were complete assholes.

Third: This was one of the coolest things I've seen in a while. After lots of Terrible Towel-waving pre-game, during the San Diego introductions (which took forever), all the Steelers fans just stood there and held up our Terrible Towels. there was so much gold showing in the stands. Very impressive. Here is a super crappy picture. All those blobs of yellow are Steelers fans holding up their terrible towels. The pic is so bad because I was trying to do the same thing :)

Block exchange tonight. I have a saga about the completion of my second block for the exchange, but I'll save that for either tonight or tomorrow. Have a great evening! :)

Oh, and THANK YOU for all the comments. Love it! :)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I Love LA?

I've never really understood that song. Especially today. How's this for traffic suckage in a very large city:

12:30 pm PT: USC football home vs. Washington at a sold-out Coliseum (90K seats)
4 pm: UCLA football home vs. Arizona at the Rose Bowl (I'd guess about 80K fans)
5 pm: Dodgers home playoff game vs. Mets (50K + seats)
7:30 pm: LA Kings (hockey) home opener at a sold-out Staples Center (18K seats)

Not to mention the stairs race at the US Bank building downtown this morning and three other major festivals in the area. Getting anywhere isn't fun.

But, I ventured out early this morning. Stopped four blocks down the street to let the person at 2004 Vanderbilt know that after four consecutive days of calling UPS to say "hey, you dropped this package at the wrong address" the box is still sitting on our front porch and she can pick it up whenever she wants.

After gassing up (much cheaper now, thanks!), I did a hit-and-run at Beach Knitting to make sure I was where I thought it was on my sock. Here's a pic. :)

Then, I hit the REI October sale. Yikes. Got a new watch (digital. Needed it. Have been without a stopwatch-type watch since January), four t-shirts (none of the tshirts I love fit me any more, so they're heading to the Lake), an awesome skirt (yes, I said skirt), two sports bras, a workout top and I think that's it. Except for the watch, it was all on sale. Yay!

Then I stopped at the San Gabriel Bead Company. Got a few of the parts necessary for a yarn row counter bracelet. Then I headed to the Rose Bowl where I am currently blogging. Haven't figured out my path home yet. It'll depend on when the Dodgers game ends in relation to when we end and when the Kings start.

So progress shots. Here's an updated shot of my v-neck sweater. It's ready for the armhole decreases. Fire up!

Here's a shot of my Sugar Maple quilt. I finished it about a year ago and paid a friend with a longarm to quilt it. It's not warm enough for the bed once the temp at night gets below 60 (yes, I'm well aware that this makes it a summer quilt when we move somewhere with seasons) so it got a bath and will be packed away shortly.

Otherwise, here's my kick-ass group of friday night homies. We sewed at Sandy's house last night, and it was HER BIRTHDAY! :) Back row (L-R) is Lisa, Carol, Anne and myself. In the front is Sandy on the left and Beth on the right.

Oh, and it since it was Sandy's birthday, we had cake. YUM!

I didn't finish my block, but plan to tonight. No time to blog tomorrow, since Chris and I are going to San Diego for the Steelers-Chargers game. I have plenty of test shots for Yarn Pr0n and some other stuff to post later in the week. I'll take pics of all my black and white blocks after we swap on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Busy, but Back!

Sorry I have been absent for almost two weeks. It wasn't intentional. Work-related warning. If you're curious why I have been so busy, first it was this, then this, then after a good night's sleep plus a two-hour nap, this. I was exhausted by the time Sunday rolled around, to say the least! Then it was back to "normal" this week, which means I have been a waste of oxygen. This time of year just isn't any fun for me, but I'm muddling through.

Additionally, I'm still making friends with my new camera. It's awesome, but close-up detailed pictures seem to be a problem unless I have plenty of daylight to deal with. I'll get better with this camera, it's just going to take a little time and practice. Please bear with me!

I meant to take a sock update photo last night, but I forgot. Maybe tonight I'll take care of that. I'm just about to the toe on sock #1. Woo-Hoo! I'm also about 10" into my purple V-neck sweater and it looks awesome. Honestly, I'm pretty excited about it. Forgot to take a picture of that too. Yes, I suck!

So what have I been working on that I did remember to take pictures of? THIS!

While I enjoy the sock thing and the available yarns are fabulous, I don't see myself becoming a sockaholic. Socks are generally on teeneytiny needles and seem to take forever -- my current sock is on a US3 needle. These mittens are for a friend of mine (who asked for mittens. I generally don't knit for other people, but mittens are a long-time favorite) and I fell in love with the yarn -- and I got gage on a US7 needle! Well, the colorway at least. But don't they look great?

Here's a hand-free shot of the left mitten. Started on Sunday night, finished on Tuesday night. I even grafted the top of the mitten with a kitchener stitch. Took me two tries to figure it out, but I got it done! Ends are woven in and everything. Woo-Hoo! If said friend doesn't love these, I WANT THEM BACK! :)

Tomorrow is Friday, and I think I might have some Yarn Pr0n-worthy shots to post. No guarantees, but I'm gonna try. What else is on deck for tomorrow? I haven't decided yet if I'm going to ask to take the day off. I'll probably at least come in late so I can stop by Beach Knitting to visit Irma. I can't go on Sunday because I'll be in San Diego to watch the Steelers beat the Chargers! :)

Eventually, I'll head out to Monrovia since we're sewing at Sandy's house again. I need to finish my second set of blocks for the M&Ms mini group, which meets on Monday (at Sandy's house, again!). I'm taking my D1 for its first real use. Hopefully Lisa and Carol will be up for plenty of "how do I make this go again?" questions. Here's my first M&Ms block that I finished the last time we went to Sandy's house. :)

So that's about it from here. I'm going to try to leave at a decent hour today (I was here at 7:30, so that shouldn't be an unreasonable plan!) and get home early, at which point I'll take a few more in-progress shots and maybe a Yarn Pr0n or two. Hope to see you again soon!

PS: Does anyone actually read this thing? Comments are welcome! ;-)