Why this journey?

I've been retired now for over a year. Husband has been sick but is now doing quite well with new pacemaker. I continue to knit and knit and crochet. Recently I became friends again with my sewing machine so you will see some of those projects, too. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Trouble with Hearts

The trouble with Hearts is that they break.  They break when a lover departs.  They break when the house is too quiet.  They break when the departed soul is commended to God -- May the angels greet you . .

My husband died on March 28.  He was at home, where he wanted to be, with family around him.  Hospice says that hearing is the last sense to lose its capacity for knowing the world.  Grandson Sid played the violin for at least an hour Thursday evening while Gpa was 'sleeping.'  (hospice calls this the transitional phase.)  Ernie talked to each of his kids and grandkids that day, also while he was 'sleeping.'

He heard every word.

In between paperwork, funeral, paperwork, cleanup at home, paperwork, thank-you cards, tears, and more tears, I've managed to pick up needles or a crochet hook and make a bit of progress.  Pictures follow.  Not sure how predictable or regularI will be with posts.  I'm leaving the blog active so that when my heart is back in it I can share.

That's the trouble with hearts -- sometimes they stay broken for a long time.  The good news is, hearts know how to love -- after all, they wouldn't break if not for love.  We were married over 32 years.

Hearts get big holes in them, too.  Fairly certain not even the knitting will fill this big hole.

Star Baby Blanket, crochet, size G hook

Scrap quilt 

More scraps

There are lots more scraps

See, more scraps

Upside down scraps.

Mini Mochi scarf from Regia Journal

The point at which bigger starts to get smaller, using decreases.

Pile of granny bits for afghan

Starting to take shape

Assembled as you go, during last round of each granny

More assembly

Slip stitches and long SC to join

This doesn't show the 14 rounds of borders I added.  Whew!
Finished the last bit the morning of the funeral.  Kept me busy.

Choices for a prom purse.  Finally picked the 2nd on left.

Another view of prom purse choices.

The final choice.

Another baby quilt.  At end of January, 3rd Great was born.  He
came with parental units to GGPa's funeral.  GG #4 is due in July
and has already received a Peanuts quilt.

KAL shawl that Darliss and I are doing.  From
Fiddlesticks in Canada.  Yarn from Sarah's Yarns
in Brooklyn, wool and silk.  This is bottom lace
knit 'across' then stitches for body will be
picked up along left edge above.

So, hearts.  They love and they break.  Hearts remember and mourn.  Hearts smile and laugh.

We couldn't live without them.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Girly-Girl Purses

Here in the Pacific Northwest March is doing its "liony" thing.  The weather is so unsettled.  The wind is blowing and the rain is coming down sideways.  The skies are threatening to explode and if they aren't threatening they are dumping buckets onto us.  No Lambs here.

It's a great day for a project at the sewing machine.  Girly-girl purses using fat quarters.

So wonderful and so much fun to make.

Things couldn't have worked out any better.
  • Coordinated fat quarters from Calico Threads in Tacoma, a great new quilt shop.
  • Brand new spools of thread (am I a cheap date, or what!?)
  • Ribbons and trims to embellish.
  • A free pattern from Diary of a Quilter.

So I made two!
Pink and Green -- for Spring
Each one has coordinated lining.

I had such fun, plus saved a bundle.  The ribbons were all on sale and it was Senior Wednesday at Hancock so I got 15% off the entire purchase.  

I am soooo easy to please.

I just love projects like this.  They come together nicely and the end product is classy.  Each will make a fine gift for Easter.

We are approaching Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week.  I hope your Lenten journey has been helpful and meaningful.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Over the Edge

Approaching 56 assembled granny squares, I was able to see the size of the finished product.
A bit of the border on the left side of the foto.
Yikes!  It's not as big as I hoped.

And I know you're thinking "It's her gauge."  Nope.  It's just desigend to be a lapghan.  I sure wish I'd noticed that fact.  What is it about my excitement at new projects that creates such barriers to the fine print?  One of my many human weaknesses . . .

It's too small.
I do NOT wanna make any more granny squares than I have already.
Implications?  Gotta create a border, and not just the several rows of sc called for as a finishing edge.

This implication and its many possible solutions sent me right over the edge.  Even kept me awake!  And certainly sent me to several resources to discover others' ideas.  (I like Ravelry for this purpose, as well as images on Google that show up attached to a search.)

I settled on the simplest of all solutions, relying again on Occam's Razor which says something about the simple answer usually being the best one.  The border will be one row of beige sc to set a good foundation; then rows/rounds of granny 3-somes, with each row in one of the many colors used in the squares.  I can use this method to expand the size of the afghan and may even intersperse a row or two more of the beige/oatmeal.

Remember that excitement I mentioned above?  Yup, I needed to see the idea as a reality and right now!  Never mind there are 10-12 squares left to finish.  Nope, gonna skip right over that (even if temporarily) and proceed to the border.

Here you can see that I'm adding squares around
the outside edge.  I can insert the others after I
get a few rows of the border completed.

I really like this pattern.  It's a granny but with a bit of a twist.  You can find the pattern at Red Heart -- Versatile Afghan.  My yarn was actually intended for another project -- but it surely won't surprise you that I grabbed it for this project.  All of the yarn is Bernat, Super Value.

Here's a few pix that will show you how the granny square is turned so that the corners are re-located 90 degrees to the right.

  • The yellow center has one round of 'normal' granny corners.
  • Then the purple round is begun, not in the green corner, but in the 1ch space between the corners.
  • Double trebles are used to create a new corner, with ch3 between, passing over the green corner.
  • The first of 2 final rounds uses the new corner.  When it's time for a 3-some of DC to get to the next corner, you reach down to the green corner and capture it with the ch3 purple. 

Lots of yarn, lots of color changes, lots of ends to weave.  Organization is essential.  If you've done a granny (or any project with lots of colors) you know how important it is to keep things organized.
All the yarn in a box that delivered the K-Cups.
Six skeins fit perfectly!

Nice sturdy shoe box for the zip bags
that hold each of the 10 different blocks.
I did say lots of combinations, didn't I?

I set forth some 'rules' for myself, knowing that weaving in ends is not something I anticipate with excitement at the end of a project.

  • I crocheted centers and next round of each block and stored these in a bag.  
  • I added one round three and added it to the bag for that numbered block.  (The last 2 rounds are oatmeal, with the second of those 2 rounds a connecting round.)
  • I wove in all ends for each block as I added it to the lapghan.  
  • I trimmed all the ends and brought a small plastic container next to my chair so I could deposit orts there.
  • I didn't follow any particular order for assembly, sometimes across a row, sometimes up a column, sometimes adding diagonally.

I have 2 more blocks to complete the outer edge and then I will be "over the edge" with rounds and rounds of border granny.  I am fairly sure that after row 3 or 4 I will be pining for work on a square.  It's a good thing I planned some empty space to fill with the granny squares.

If not I'd really be over the edge.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tink? Frog? Drop?

Yikes!  Just after completing all the increases to widen the scarf, I look down and see this!

Can you see it?  The white hole about 1/3 from the bottom
in the center.  It wasn't a dropped stitch --
but one where I had split the yarn.
The stitch was there -- but only by one
very fine and fragile thread

Now what?  Tink it?  Too many rows.  Frog it?  Too much knitting to rip out -- it's soooo painful.  Drop it?  Yup.  That's the pathway to correction.


Left pic:  I dropped all the stitches in the ladder down to the split stitch.
Right pic:  Trusty crochet hook used to pick them up.
I think blocking will manage/correct any
irregularities that were created.


Otherwise, except for this detour, the project is proceeding.  Here are some measurements at the turning point.  After increasing every rs row to 88 st in the st st section, you proceed with decreases eors (every other right side) row so measurements are in order.

  28-29 inches to the turning row.

22 inches at the change from increase to decrease.
The crochet hook marks the spot.

The colors are magnificent and the yarn is yummy.  Mini Mochi on a size US4.

Back on track. . . and without tinking OR frogging.  Yea rah!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Almost Spring but . . .

The sun is finally shining and promises to shine for a couple of days this weekend here in the Pacific NW.  Relatives and friends in the NE are stilling digging out from YAS (yet another snowfall).  I am still knitting with wool.  (Don't really like cotton so I continue with wool and blends even during the summer.)

Bot some fabulous Mini Mochi at Weaving Works in Seattle during a yarn shopping trip with friend Darliss. WW is a great shop with a wonderful selection and variety of yarn, plus supplies for weavers.  Also, they have lots of books and notebooks of patterns.  I wish I lived a bit closer as it's a 50+ mile trip one way thru downtown and the worst of the I-5 corridor traffic.

One of the store models was a wonderful shawl that included some leaves and a growing band of stockinette.
 Here's the beginning of the shawl . .
The yarn specified by the pattern was Regia Angora Merino
solid colors.  But I preferred this Mini Mochi in
a color wave that includes dark emerald and some copper
Up close . . .

Will need a good blocking (you can see the pins holding
scarf in place for pix.)  The center section expands while
the leaves travel up each side.

Great pattern at a great price.  This little "journal" from Regia has at least 12 patterns, including a series for babies.  There are hats, scarves, shawl, sox -- variety at a great price.  $6.95 US.

After the expansion, the center stockinette section will decrease its way back to nothing, leaving only the leaves to intersect at the finished (and narrow-again) end of the scarf.

Love the yarn, though I have to watch not to split.  I am using
a US 4 needle.

Really enjoying this one.  It moves along.  It's not too taxing.  The yarn is soft and the colors are yummy.  I will wear it this Spring even if the sun is shining.  I am a knitter.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hospital Time

If you've been sitting with someone in the hospital -- or been in the hospital yourself -- you know that time passes in a very different way.  Remember the time warps from Star Trek or other sci fi stuff?

Sometimes 3 minutes feels like 3 hours and sometimes, those awful times, 3 hours can fly by in 3 minutes while emergencies are being attended to.

On Super Bowl Sunday, husband fell very early (3:15 am).  Result:  compression fracture in T11 vertebra plus intractable pain.  Nothing would move that pain, so to the ER we went.  Made the mistake of coming home after a dose of morphine (or whatever) and returned 2 1/2 days later still with pain, the intractable type.  Then a 5 day wait to allow for blood thinners to wear off so the interventional radiologist could perform a vertebroplasty.  This is a pain killer, completely!  The doc uses needles and xray guidance to shoot bone cement into the fracture.  Bye Bye Pain.

Short answer for this knitter -- most of the time I was helping husband eat, pass the time, talking to docs, straightening covers, you get the idea.  It's called Caregiver Time.

I did get two flannels decorated with crocheted edging, tho I don't have final pix.  I put them in the mail as soon as I could.

This one got a third row of clusters.

This one got 2-3 more rows but this pic
shows the colors nicely, anyway.

During Recovery-At-Home time, in between meals and laundry, I was able to make a second one of these.
Mailed off the first one to Seattle for
a birthday present.  Finished the second
one and hand-delivered it for a belated
mid-Feb birthday.

This last week I found time to piece the Peanuts quilt kit I got from Nancy's Notions.  This one is bright and has lots of contrast.  Tomorrow it will be off with Ms. Spence for its appointment with her long arm quilting machine.  Heather Spence Designs

Stripe on the left is backing fabric.

Pix seem to be upside down and turned the wrong way.  I call this:  Gotta Finish the Post Soon Time.

  • There's Long Chat Friend Time (and I miss this with my friends.)
  • There's Walk in the Misty Rain Time While Saying A Rosary Time (always healing)
  • There's Chore Time (don't we all love this!  Fill in the blank for your 'favorite' chore.)
  • There's Thank the Readers for their Loyalty Time -- Right now and always.
And then there's God's Time -- relish the mysteries, my friend.s

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baby Stitching

 Always fun, always rewarding, always satisfying -- Baby Stitching.  Our extended family is expecting 2 more little ones this year.  Maryland PA granddaughter and State Patrol husband will deliver their #3 tomorrow.  Rhode Island granddaughter (retired USN) and Navy husband will deliver their 1st in July.

The clown quilt is basted and ready for machine quilting.  The printed top includes quilting marks which I will use to begin.  Then I hope to repeat those shapes and do some shadow quilting, filling in as needed.

I use a handy quilting gun to baste.  It shoots those pesky tag things, the ones you have to cut when removing tags from purchased clothing.  Each piece penetrates all layers and holds them together.  The messy part is when you have to carefully cut each one to remove it after the quilting is complete.  Makes a mess of plastic red bits, but I prefer the gun to thread basting or safety pins.
Maybe you can see the little red insertions.  There is one in
the lower part of the "A" and one near the line in the
middle of the "B".

Green flannel for the backing, with
multi-colored bit dots.  Hoping to use pale
green thread for quilting.

Receiving Blanket 

First step is basted narrow hem.  Then a row of
Single Crochet, at 6-8 per inch.  I am using size 10 thread
and a 1.8 (6) steel hook.

At this point I am adding Row 3.  Row 1 looks like a
blanket stitch (the sc/s) and row 2 and row 3 are nested
rows of DC Ch3 DC.

I am making #7 in the picture, with one more row to finish.

Another great find from AbeBooks -- a collection of
edgings by Terry Kimbrough, published 1994 by
Leisure Arts.

Time to face the sewing machine.  I also have jean patches to sew, patching the spots where the former patches have worn thru!