Monday, May 21, 2018

Civil War Hexie Quilt

Finished this one up today.  I started machine piecing the top but that was taking longer to do than if I just stitched it up by hand so the bulk of the quilt top is and stitched. The top was machine quilted on my longarm. Fabrics are all Civil War reproductions. I used to be in the Civil War Repros monthly club at Keepsake Quilting so that’s where most of these came from.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Operation Down Size Continues

Operation Down Size continues.  Three years to go and then it will be a smaller house and a smaller life, less work and more fun and travel so I’m starting early and tossing :).

Took eleven jumbo heavy duty outdoor yard bags of unwanted clothing, household stuff, purses, shoes, etc to Salvation Army Super Store yesterday.  Basically I gave away 90% of my wardrobe. Thanks to 40 plus lbs. of weight loss, pretty much very little fits or if it does fit it’s so old and dated I don’t want to wear it.  If it required dry cleaning, I tossed it. If it required wearing a special bra to wear it, I tossed it.  Eventually I’ll get rid of all store bought sweaters and replace them with hand knit ones.  That is the dream anyway :). If it was shoes with more than a 1” heel I tossed them.  If it was something I ever wore to someone’s trial or parole hearing, I tossed it. :). I got rid of evening gowns and all the formal attire.  If it made me look like a milk maid, a lumber jack (thank you L.L. Bean), a rodeo barrel racer (thank you Tractor Supply), a Little House on the Prairie extra, like I crushed grapes in a vat for a living, was a candy striper or was married to a “made man” it was tossed.  If it was all black and made me look like Morticia Adams, it was tossed.  The muu muu I bought for the muu muu party, tossed.  Half a dozen flannel nightgowns...tossed.  The Bridget Jones enormous white panties were tossed.  No I did not pull a Hillary Clinton and attempt to donate my bloomers for a tax deduction.  The next move is on us and not a military or government move so at this point I’m thinking “do I want to find a box to pack this in to keep and move God knows where?”  Mostly the answers are no so .....tossed!!  I’m keeping nothing out of a sense of obligation to anyone. I owe nobody any reasons or explanations for what is or isn’t in my house.  When I give a gift, there are no strings attached. I expect gifts given to me to likewise have no strings attached.  If that’s upsetting to anyone, they can help our cause and put an end to this vicious circle and stop giving us gifts :). The next step is to list excess furniture on the free yardsale pages.  Giving away stuff is not as easy as I thought it would be even in New England where New Englanders pride themselves on being “frugal” (basically extremely cheap...seriously I’ve seen some things that I just couldn’t believe on how cheap people can be here).  Whatever anyone doesn’t want for free will make its way to the town dump.  The mission continues  :)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Windchill Sweater

I wore my Windchill sweater out in public for the first time.  I guess anytime you knit something and can wear it in public, it’s a success :). It fits me!!!  I’ve got a few I’ve made that I wouldn’t wear in public :). I have struggled with getting sweaters to fit me but I think I might be getting the hang of it.  I tend to make the sweaters too big. I pick the wrong size to make.  I just ripped out one I had started a couple of years ago.  It was monstrous huge.  I’ll soak and reskein the yarn and try something else with it.  Anyway I rarely post pics of me in my blog but here’s me in my Windchill sweater.  I’m starting the Carol Fellor Tabouli Knit Along next week.  It might be knitting above my paygrade but I’m going to give it a shot.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

“Windchill” buttonless DK Cardigan

Finished another sweater :). I’m at the point in my sweater knitting “career” where I have to have one on the needles.  Will be looking for another one to start tonight.  The Bruins are out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Hockey season is over so I might be knitting less and catching up on everything I’ve ignored since hockey season began :).  This sweater is super easy.  An adventurous beginner knitter could do this.  It’s knit from the top down. The pattern is well written.  No buttons or button holes (sweeeeeeeet).  The name of the pattern is ‘Windchill’ by Melissa LaBarre. First time knitting any of her patterns.  I wear a size 8/10 and I made the 35 1/2 size.  It’s not meant to close in the front. The pattern says to pick the size that is closest to your bust measurement without going over.  That worked for me.  It fits great.  My gauge was maybe one stitch bigger than the pattern called for.  It all worked out.  The yarn is Rowan Pure Wool Superwash  Color #1368 which if I remember right is named “putty”.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2018

So I made the 7 1/2 hour venture to Maryland for the Sheep and Wool Festival.  Stayed at the Comfort Suites on Fort Meade Army base.  Uneventful trip unless you count when I was detained by 4 policemen for driving up to the entrance gate of the NSA.  The base shut down one of gates on Sunday and not knowing my way around the base, I saw another set of gates nearby and thought maybe I could exit Fort Meade that way....ummmmmmmm no.  Oops my bad.  Very nice police men once they realized I wasn’t a threat to national security and just a lost knitter :)

Okay some thoughts on MD Sheep and Wool.  Way better than New York. The crowds on Saturday were large but bearable. Sundays crowd size was even more pleasant.  I haven’t been to MD Sheep and Wool in about 6 years and it has grown a lot!  Saturday we had to wait for quite some time in a 2 mile long line of stand still traffic from basically Rt. 32 to the parking lots of the festival.  I love watching how drivers act when trapped in gridlock.  It’s like they lose their minds.  Watched one woman who absolutely refused to let anyone merge in front of if letting just one car in front of her would have delayed her arrival at the festival by too much time. Irony?   She’s one of those loons with a “COEXIST” bumper sticker on the back of her car :).  COEXIST unless you want to merge in my lane :).  The lines to get something to eat or use the ladies were a lot shorter than NY S&W too and if you were willing to use a portapotty, there were no lines at all.  I was!  All those plies in barre classes I could hover over a portapotty like a CH-53E helicopter.  No problem.  :)

Awesome vendors!  Lots of creative knitty inspiration! My head is spinning with ideas and wanting to start spinning again.  Also went to the “Needles Up” event on Friday. It was small but lovely.  I met one of my favorite podcasters (Denise from Earthtones Girl). As I was leaving Needles Up, I came across one of the ladies who went on the Ireland knitting tour with our tour group.  We were both stunned to see each other as she’s a West Coaster.  I organized a small reunion Saturday at the festival with several of the girls who went on that trip. It was great seeing everyone again and we all talked about the great memories we had of the trip to Ireland.  The general consensus...the Aran Island was the best.  Anyway more reunions are planned with these lovely talented ladies.

So honestly I didn’t buy much yarn.  I bought my first sock blank because it had Maryland Sheep and Wool 2018 stamped on it. So it was souvenier yarn and who can pass up souvenier yarn.  I got two skeins of Hedgehog Fiber’s yarn because I had yarn at home that would match and I could whip up two color shawls with both of them. And that was it for yarn.  Picked up a couple of gifties, two sweater patterns, a sheepy embroidered quilt pattern and temporary knitter’s tattoos for when I’m feeling particularly bad ass :).

Saturday I met up with some Maryland friends when we were stationed down there.  Sunday night got to have dinner with one of my long time besties :) So all in all a really good trip!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Project Bag....Size Matters

Really liked the previous little wool bag I made but it was very small.....could hold one cake of yarn and one pair of circular needles with the project crammed into I played with the math and made a bigger one.  This one size wise is great....but I’m going to tweek the size of the floral top print a little.  I’m also playing with interfacing and stiffeners because if you enlarge the size of the wool piece ..... the bigger it gets, the floppier it gets and there’s nothing worse then a floppy project bag :).
I may add the handle later....right now the only piece of boning I have is too short.

I’m having a hard time finding nice ribbons or trims to use as draw strings.  Joann’s has a lot of bright white stuff and a couple of cream colored ones but not anything really interesting, primitive, country looking.  If anybody out there in Blogger world knows a good source for things like that, I’d appreciate the info.

Heading south tomorrow for Maryland Sheep and Wool weekend. Driving down with a friend and meeting up with some of my old “home girls” from when we lived in Maryland along with some friends I met on the Ireland trip.  I’ll take pics I’m sure.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Taco Stuffed Shells

Made this last night.  It turned out really good.  The recipe is from an old Taste of Home magazine I had pulled out and stuck in a pile of loose recipes.  Had a 1 1/2 yr. old pulling my cookbooks out of the kitchen cabinet the other day :) and she spread the recipes all over. As I was putting them away, I thought this one looked like something to make soon.  Thanks you Amelia :)

The original recipe was to make a dish and to freeze some for another time.  The recipe got confusing that way so I blacked out anything about freezing the extra dish.  This dish is company worthy.  :)

Monday, April 30, 2018

Jamie’s Shawl by Cozy Up Knits

Finished the “Jamie’s Shawl” by the Cozy Up With the Stitching Sisters.  In order to stash bust this yarn, I just kept going with the various textures of the pattern to make the shawl bigger.  It’s approx. 72” by 40”.  The yarn is discontinued (Gedifra Shetland Deluxe). It’s a combination of 50% wool, 25% angora goat and 25% camelid alpaca. (I have no idea what camelid alpaca is :)) It blocked beautifully whatever it is :)

 One of my progress’s time to dust off the Passport and plan another trip.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Another Knitting Project Bag

Made this for a friend before we go on a major road trip next weekend to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  It’s the Bella Bag I’ve been making lately.  Found the cute knitty fabric at the Cottonweeds Quilt shop in Freeport, Maine when we popped in there during Spa Knitting Weekend. (We didn’t stay for the weekend, just popped up there for the day and hit a couple of yarn shops coming and going).  The pattern has the bag in two sizes. She wanted the big one which is sweater worthy and great for something like the Cozy Memories blanket.

Ham, Egg and Cheese Ring

We have 5 chickens.  Four of them lay eggs.  We get four a day!  The fifth chicken is in henapause :). Was in the grocery store last week and saw the latest issue of Taste of Home brunch magazine and it had this really pretty ham, egg and cheese ring on the cover. First thing I did was look to see how many eggs it used. 10!!!  We have a winner.  I knew I had close to 35 eggs in the fridge :)

Made it this morning.  It was really good. Would make this for company but might make the scrabbled egg mixture the night before to speed things up.  I used a store brand (not Pillbury) crescent roll which turned out to be just a rectangular flat piece of triangles! :). Hello? :). Would spray the pizza pan with a non-stick spray even though the recipe says don’t grease the stuck in a couple of places.  Could use fresh pepper and onions instead of green onion and smoke peppers too.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

We Want The Cup!!

 She’s just so damn cute!!! Go Bruins!!!

Large Tote

I was fiddling around with the Bella bag pattern.  The pattern calls for fusible foam which isn’t cheap so instead I used quilt batting and quilted the tops and bottom pieces. Using batting in addition to a base fabric on the top of the pattern was a mistake.  It made rolling the top down to secure the bag very difficult and bunchy.  So then I played around with the it and turned it into a tote bag. Added tabs to attach some store bought black faux leather handles.  So without ever rolling the bag down like the Bella bag, this bag is BIG!!  Oh I almost forgot. I also added 3 magnet snaps to keep the bag closed.  So the next time I make the Bella bag I’ll try just quilting the bottom piece and not the top.  I really like the sheep fabric and if you look close, the purple is in a stockinette stitch pattern :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Autumn Chicken and Vegetables

 Made this tonight in the Instant Pot. It was okay.  It needs something to jazz it up but I’m getting a 9 on the scale of 1 to 10 from my resident food critic :)

Here’s the link:

Monday, April 16, 2018

Yarn Dyeing Class

I signed up to take a yarn dyeing class at one of my favorite yarn shops (Mother of Purl) in Freeport, Maine.  The shop is about 2 1/2 hours from my house but it’s worth the ride.  Most of the yarn shops near me have gone out of business or they just don’t have interesting classes.  The local shops will have open knit where you pay to sit at a table and knit with other people and they have someone there to help you if you need help but I never need help so I don’t see the point of paying to knit.  That money could buy yarn :). Webs is about 2 hours from me and I keep an eye on their class schedule because they have some good classes and really good teachers there too. I attended a Nora Gaughan design lecture there once that was really interesting.  I’ll admit most of that design talk was over my head but it was fascinating to get into the head of a well known designer and I love the look of most of her stuff.  I also took a guernsey class there with Beth Brown Reinsel that was amazing!!  Beth is an fabulous teacher and I came away from that class learning a lot!!

So when I saw the yarn dyeing class I signed up.  I thought winter will be over by then so weather won’t be a problem.  What a fool :). I debated just getting up early and leaving for Maine the day of the class or going the night ahead of time.  Glad I went up the night ahead of time because Saturday night into Sunday morning we had more ice and sleet.  I also managed to pop into Camp Wool in Kennebunk on the way up and popped into Cottonweeds Quilt shop in Freeport Saturday evening before the Bruins game :). Woke up Sunday morning at the hotel and could hear people in the parking lot scraping ice off their windshields.  Thankfully once I got done scraping, I only had to drive less than 1/10 of a mile to the yarn shop. :). By the time the class was over, the roads were good....slicked up once I got back into Massachusetts and we’ve had more snow and ice last night too. I’ve got about 3” of global warming to shovel on the back deck :). All in all the timing of the crap weather was perfect :).

The class was wicked FUN.  I think I may have caught the yarn dyeing bug.  (Sure because you don’t see enough stunning yarn out there dyed by other people :)) The teacher Susan is co owner of the shop. Nice nice lady and she has her own yarn dyeing company Blue Moon.  I think I may even have a skein of her yarn in my stash.

So we learned watercolor effects and speckles.  I had no specific colors in mind really. The other students seemed to have a particular look they were going for.  I was just winging it :). We were going to dye 3 skeins of fingering weight yarn and I vaguely thought I might try for a grello :) Yellow and gray mix.  It didn’t turn out gray and yellow but I was happy with it anyway :). The lady next to me Kristen dyed STUNNING colors. I’ll post a pic of hers and mine. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind. We’re following each other now in IG. :).

The class took a lot of the mystery of yarn dyeing away.  It’s not the rocket science I thought it might be. :).  Last night I found myself looking at yarn dyeing I need another textile fiber-y hobby? In two weeks a friend and I are going to Maryland Sheep and Wool and meeting up with some other knitty friends there including ladies that went on the Ireland knitting tour with me.  I may be paying attention to the yarn dyeing booths more than I have before :).

Happy knitting :)

So not Grello :)
Above is Kristn’s.  I love her middle yarn!!
These are mine.  The 3 inches of global warming and sleet and ice make a nice back drop :).   The middle one in the basket pictures is my favorite.  My first two were rather subdued compared to everyone else’s so I slathered more dye into the mix of the teal one :). I can’t wait to knit these up but I have no idea what I’m going to make out of them yet. :).