Monday, March 30, 2009

What I Did on My Spring Break

I would love to tell you all that Spring Break was a whirlwind of travel, Paris, Barcelona, London, Ireland, NYC, Chicago, LA, but no spring break was spent in my messy house listening to almost grown kids whine about the nasty weather. I've apparently done a very good job convincing them that I have superpowers because they acted like I could do something about the deluge of rain falling from the sky. Like I was totally connected to the clouds and could blink my eyes, twitch my nose and the clouds would part, the sun would shine and life would be good. Uh no. So we spent the better part of last week listening to thunder, watching the lightening, and visiting the video store as much as humanly possible.

Of all the movies we watched over the week The Mist was the best. That's not saying a lot. Man are there some baaaaaad movies on the video store shelves these days. Avoid Mirrors. Yes it's got Keifer Sutherland but I so completely didn't get it. I mean I did get it, I understood it, but still that is two hours of my life I will never get back. We watched W. Josh Brolin is going to be the next great actor. He's wonderful. Whatever your politics this movie is worth watching just to see Josh Brolin. We watched Quantum of Solace, James Bond, Daniel Craig, 'nuff said.

I also watched A History of Violence a gazillion times. I love me some Viggo. If you haven't seen it's great on so many levels.

What did I do while watching all those movies? Well cross stitching was out because it's easy to make mistakes when someone is in your face whining for eight straight hours so I decided to spend some quality time with the 63 Squares afghan I'm making for my oldest son. The colors are his choice--I played with different shades of green, blue and yellow and these were just the ones that looked the best together. I added the variegated for some pizazz and well I like those variegated yarns. I can't help it. I always have, always will. I love them and pop them in when I can. I am crocheting this with good old inexpensive Red Heart, that staple of yarn baskets everywhere. I would love to make one of these in real wool. Really, I would but I have a few issues.

1) This is for my 21 yr old son, I hope he loves it so much that when he moves out one day when he's like 40(I wish that wasn't a joke, LOL) that he will want to take it with him. This means that if he ever washes it, it will go in the washer and the dryer and that means it will felt and be a doll blanket. Not good.

2) Since he's a guy and has a wild streak, I can only imagine what he will put this afghan through, so that means even if he doesn't want to wash it he will, eventually, which means if I crochet it with wool, it will felt--see reason 1.

So good old Red Heart it is. Below you can see the first 5 of 7 squares of Row 1. I had hoped to complete the row this weekend but had huge gauge issues and as you can see from the last square there I still have a gauge issue but I said screw this I'll make it work. The next smallest crochet hook was too small for the worsted weight, the E hook I think, so I just went with the F and left it as is. I will work it out later. My goal is to crochet this row by row instead of 1-63 and then assemble each row as it's completed and then sew the rows together as I finish them and it should make assembly much more enjoyable and not as overwhelming if I waited until all the blocks were done.

Here you see them piled up showing that nifty variegated. I can't help it. I love that Red Heart Bananaberry. It's a happy mix of colors. Every attempt I've made before on the 63 Squares afghan has ended up looking really sad. No matter what colors I chose, bright, dark, classy, they all looked uninspired, but these seem to be coming together ok. Or maybe it's just me being full of hope and all.
And the squares from a different angle because that's just how I roll:

Here is some progress on my HAED Dark Waters:

This project will be a lifetime commitment and I try to work on it when I can. I'm stitching it 2x1 on 22ct aida. It's a combination of Selena Fenech's Dark Waters(the mermaids) and across the top will be her Bright Skies which is an angel panel. I'm almost to the center panel of water and sky. I love this project so much. I can't imagine ever actually finishing it so that means when I sit down to work on it, I don't see the finished project, I just see little Xs. There is no pressure, I can just stitch and get lost in the story my mind makes up about these swimming mermaids and the shenanigans they are off to get into. Since I don't think like an angel I'm not sure what I might be dreaming about when I get to that part of the design but I'm sure I'll come up with something.
And below you see my start on The Primitive Needle's Talking Board. I thought I'd have this finished by now but got side tracked by spring break and that whole family thing and crocheting takes less concentration. I'm stitching it 1x2 on 36ct Relic from Picture This Plus.

Today I'm going to play around with my Patternmaker software and see if I can get a pattern for Kudzu out of it. I have to use the other laptop with missing keys because the CD drive in this one is fried and I need to look for one of those external drives because I want to buy one of these for myself:
I'd prefer the HP Mini but only because the keyboard is almost normal size. Everything I've read about the Acer with the 6 cell battery is that you can get up to 3 1/2 hours of battery life. I love that, makes it great for taking it places, although if I want to write on it I need to figure out the whole Barbie sized keyboard. I'm really tired of fighting for computer time so I've told the spousal unit when that money tree sprouts up in the backyard I want one of these. Of course I have a never ending wish list of things I want--this is a necessity but the others? Total luxury items. Want a peak? Ashford Traditional Spinning Wheel, $425.00 A few things we'll ignore: I live in Florida and have no need to learn to spin wool but I want to. I really, really want to. I mean with climate change and all, Florida's weather could be like Montana's one day. Seriously. Learning to spin might be good knowledge to have one day.
Ashford Joy Spinning Wheel with free shipping and free fiber Add to that, I rarely travel and can think of no reason why I need a spinning wheel that I can fling over my shoulder but I do. I can't imagine a situation where I'd ever take a spinning wheel with me but for some reason I want this wheel, I dream about this wheel. Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation) We will ignore the fact that I seem to get most of my books at the library these days or the used bookstore. That doesn't matter I want a Kindle!
I also want a Serger--uh I don't sew but I've decided it'd be cool to make some exercise clothes and the serger will make finishing them nicer. I also won't add that fabric to make my own exercise clothes is more expensive than buying the clothes off the rack, and again I don't SEW! But a Serger it's a necessity.
I also want a set of Knit Picks' Harmony Interchangeable Needles and a set of the Options Interchangeable needles, and a set of the Harmony DPNs and the Harmony straights. No--I am not a passionate knitter, I play at knitting, I am slowly teaching myself and plan to take a sock knitting class in the not so distant future none of that matters, I want, I want, I want. Once again with climate change knitting might be a skill that's kind of important.
And I also want one of these quilting frames:
Honey Fork Fabrics So we won't mention how I've never completed a quilt. That doesn't matter. I would have this when the time came.
And do I mention here how I want tons of fabric? Kaffe Fossett, Anna Marie Horner, Amy Butler, BBD and oh so many more? Lots and lots of fabric.
I would also love a room full of Picture This Plus fabrics, all the floss I could ever need, and could just walk in the room, pull out what I need for a project and BAM, I could start it right then and there.
I know, I'm insane. Does anyone else have these unrealistic wishlists? Like you want things, you don't need them, you just want them so that one day when you get around to whatever they are there waiting on you?
Rainy days really gets me list making, dreaming, planning.
I won't mention the raised beds that didn't get built because they would have floated away, that'll be a job for this coming weekend. Because I want to grow lots and lots of tomatoes and can homemade salsa and tomato sauce this fall.
I'm thinking about getting several of these and hanging two of them on my front porch:
That's kind of decorative don't you think? We get western exposure, my front yard is the perfect place for a garden but I don't think the neighbors would appreciate me plowing up the yard, it wouldn't fit in the HOA code. But wouldn't these look like maybe viney party lanterns? I'm also thinking about hanging them from shepherd's hooks in the backyard. I'm going to grow tomatoes in the ground and in containers and in every free spot that gets sun because we use a lot of tomatoes around here. We eat a ton of salsa so canning my own might be a good thing or we could all die of botchulism which is my biggest fear about home canning but I want to try it this year.
So this is what I've been up to this week. Now to go fight with the ancient laptop and the Patternmaker sofware and see if I can work out a pattern for kudzu for My
21st Century Sampler Project. And for those of y'all that don't what kudzu is here are some links:
And also, note to self, when bored quit doing searches on flickr for quilts. My brain goes into overload and I want to make everything I see. It's TOO MUCH!


Anna van Schurman said...

Good news! Tomatoes are acidic enough (and you'll probably add vinegar) so the salsa shouldn't kill you. Love the afghan colors!

Margaret said...

I love reading your musings. :D Sorry about your spring break. Sounds about like I expect mine to be -- it's next week. And as for your wishlist, well yes, Kindle 2, sewing machine, Oh I could add a lot of other things too! lol!

Garden Girl said...

Holy smoke, Melissa! You are one busy woman! Don't you hate it when others make you feel personally responsible for the weather?? lol And I admire your guts for starting a HAED project. Wow. And I so appreciate the movie reviews. Did you see anything with my beloved Johnny Depp?

Brigitte said...

This afghan project looks terrific - great colours!
Your HAED piece is also great. I think not stitching a HAED under pressure is the only way to make it a fun stitch.
Some items on your wishlist are also on mine but they won't be in my house for the next years, lol.

Katrina said...

LOL, I wish I could change weather. A snap of my fingers and sunshine and flowers would appear.

Love the Afghan colors, they are so pretty. Your neverending project is amazing too.

Michelle said...

The afghan colors are fabulous!!! One of these days I'll stitch Dark Waters...I am so impressed by how much you've stitched! Love the Talking Board too....someday.

Carol said...

Melissa, home caning is so easy, especially when dealing with tomatoes. I can salsa EVERY summer (botulism fee, LOL) so if you need any help, tips, etc., feel free to ask! Love your afghan squares!

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