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!

Friday, March 20, 2009

New Project

This morning I created a new blog for a new project I'm getting ready to start.

I hope other stitchers will join me in this journey. Yes, the post is long and there are no pictures yet, but I wanted to explain exactly what inspired me and what I hope to accomplish.

21st Century Sampler Project

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kwilty Kim--

Come into the light! Yes, this post is all about luring you down to the Redneck Riviera. Look, below you see what I see when I wait at the stoplight. I leave my neighborhood, drive up the highway about two miles or so and this is the sound view at the intersection:

Here is my hicktown's skyline. It's not a metropolitan area by any stretch of the imagination but it's my town and I love it--although this view is approximately four miles from my house.

Here's one of the buildings at our sweet new park. It's got functioning bathrooms which is a step above the park next door. Those bathrooms have been out of order since Hurricane Ivan. I think they have portopotties set up at that beach but I'm not sure.

Look at this. It's March 18th. Do you see that Carribean like water? Can you feel the soft sugar white sands between your toes? Come on Kim.....close your eyes, feel the breeze, the warm sun.

Look at that water, and a fishing boat is out there. On a Wednesday! In March!

Here's a random shot at another beach up the highway. I almost didn't get a parking space. It was the crowded but mostly with locals.

And look, this is the view from this beach looking down towards the condos. See all that beach? See how white it is and clean and gorgeous?

So Kim come on down. I should mention that there's really no culture down here. But there is a quilt guild and an EGA Chapter. There's Needle Delights in Pensacola. Ft Walton Beach and Destin both have yarn shops. There's a very, very small quilting shop in Ft. Walton Beach, and the Cotton Loft in Destin is a quilt shop.
Speaking of Kim-she's having a pretty sweet giveaway on her blog, check it out here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The View From My Chair

Last Friday:

I needed to get away so I got in the truck and drove the few miles to the beach. This beach was supposed to be a pay to use state park but after Hurricane Dennis--I think...they(the state of Florida) decided they didn't want the responsibility so the land went back to the county. It's a pretty sweet park. I was only there an hour and got a bit pink. I was one of the few people there under 60 or 70, the snowbirds have found it but not the wild spring breakers.
People along my part of the Panhandle are getting a real taste of what it means to attract the college crowd. Did you guys know that college kids drink and like to party? Apparently the folks down here didn't know that until last weekend. It's not like Panama City is another planet, surely they had a clue what it meant to get 1000s of college kids on a beach or maybe not. But they are here, spending much needed money in my area. My area doesn't offer a lot to the young crowd. There's one nice restaurant and one bar type establishment on the beach with volleyball nets and jetski rentals but that's about it. Anything else you need or want you have to go over the bridge which is only a mile long but still, my beach is not an all inclusive kind of thing. It doesn't scream "PARTY".
Thanks for all the 13th Colony Bay love. I'm really happy it's completed and am looking forward to getting it framed when the funds are available. What do I have to do to qualify for one of those government funded bonuses, it's obvious running a successful company isn't a requirement. I think we all should get us a $100,000 bonus I could do me some economic stimulating, believe me.
I'm in that "not sure what to do with my crafty self" zone at the moment. I started Primitive Needle's Talking Board and have been working here and there on a HAED designs piece-Dark Waters, it'll eventually be a triptyche with Dark Waters, the mermaid panel along the bottom and then Bright Skies-the angel panel across the top with a water and sky panel in the middle connecting them.
I also have fabric gathered for a quilt for my bed, a mix of regular old reds, blacks, whites and then some funky black and red skull fabrics to mix in for a quirky diversion. Anna at Pleasantview Schoolhouse has pieced three scrappy quilt tops in record time and Kwilty Kim is also a quilt top piecing machine so I'm thinking I need to jump in and get this top pieced. It's not going to be anything special, just a mix of squares and strips.
I also have a sundress started from last year to make as a beach coverup, it's pretty much cut out and just needs to be sewed together but sewing clothes intimidates me like you wouldn't believe and since I refuse to measure myself because as long as I don't look in a mirror or write down my exact measurements I feel like I have a decent figure, it's when I have to shop for clothes or try something on that the ugly reality sets in. You know where you suddenly realize YOU'RE FAT? So I prefer to cut and sew and if it doesn't fit find another use for the fabric, especially since I'm still just learning at the moment. By the time I'm ready to tackle altering a pattern maybe I'll have lost a few pounds.
Someone in comments, Anonymous, asked about the skull and crossbones, well they are pink and I'm a girl and I have a pirate fetish, so there ya go. No, they have nothing to do with a three bedroom ranch or cross stitch except my profile pic is my cross stitch version of a girlie skull and cross bones because like I said, I have this thing for pirates and ships and fantasy related adventures on the ship with the pirate so they make me smile.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

By my own authority, as I am the stitcher of this 13th Colony Bay, which makes me Governor too, I proclaim today March 9, 2009 a free stitch day! For all those stitchers laboring over slow works in progress, I give you the freedom to step away from them, start something fresh, or the freedom to choose to pursue the projects to their completion.

(click to enlarge)
13th Colony Bay Parts 1, 2, & 3
32ct Star Sapphire Linen
2x2 DMC

As you can see above, oh loyal stitchers, the rewards of diligence are a beauty to behold.

Our Colonists can now move freely about all three islands, their sheep are healthy, grazing along the coastline, the homes are secure and the walls and roofs will hold against the strongest winds of a hurricane. (work with me, I'm sleep deprived ok?)
The 13th Colony beckons us all home, mornings spent doing our chores, afternoons we can be found hidden in the shade of a tree with a good book, listening to the waves lap the shore, the sheep baaing back and forth to each other wondering how they ended up here where it's so freakin' hot, isn't it time to be sheared (shorn?) yet?

Ah, yes, my oasis, away from the crowds, my own private island, me, the sheep, good books, good music, surrounded by my stash of needlework, a pitcher of homemade sangria and maybe a pirate to share it with.....
The only changes I made, and they were unintentional, was to use two strands of DMC to back stitch the fences and because my backstitching looked like crap, serioiusly, I used long stitches in some places instead of individual backstitches, other than those changes I followed the charts.
Donna-thank you so much for this wonderful design. It has brought me a lot of joy and unfortunately I can't go into all the lovely pirate fantasies I've created in my head while working on this but they too have brought me a little bit of happiness, LOL....
Click on Donna's name to check out her blog and get her sweet free chart. Check out all her other designs. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on Mystic Island and Spring Cove.