Quilting Isn’t For Wimps

Yesterday was the big quilt event day that I mentioned before. My friend Leslie and I met at the event place at 8:15 am geared up and ready to do this volunteer quilting (the sewing part). Our task was to create twin sized quilts for young adults who were coming out of a homeless state into community in apartments built for their use. I guess we had the goal of creating a specific number of quilts – we exceeded that very easily.

For some reason, this event wasn’t just a "let’s get together and do this good/fun thing" there was a competitive theme. I guess that was okay, but I am not really a competitive person. We did manage to win 2nd place, but only because our team was so small that we were teamed up with another small group.

I had fun, but sewing (sitting) is hard work! Bending over too high tables cutting and cutting and cutting, sitting on too high chairs sewing and sewing and sewing. I only took one bathroom break because I had cut my finger and needed a bandage and thought "what the heck, might as well take care of the bladder too!" otherwise I felt pressed to finish that quilt! The group really wanted us to be out of the building close to the posted end time, which was 4:00 pm. We went a bit over.

So, Leslie, Brenda and I did our best to create functional and hopefully beautiful quilts. We had another person helping, Judy – who wasn’t around when our group picture was taken.

Here is our group:

Leslie is in the front with the red shirt, her friend Brenda is directly in back in red too. The gentleman is Oscar Reed (a former Viking football player connected to the charity). I am in the brown on the right. The other ladies I do not know, they were from the other group.

I wish I would have gotten a pic of Brenda’s quilt because it was really stunning – bright green colors with a rainforest / jungle theme.

I did get a photo of Leslie’s. Here she is with her creation (and a magical 3rd hand):

If I were asked to give her quilt a name it would be "mathematical nightmare" or the "whooops!" quilt, because Leslie kept saying whoops and oh-oh. It turned out fantastic though.

Mine wasn’t so bright after the solid and border, which was kind of surprise because the individual print fabrics were very colorful. I like how it turned out; my first quilt top since the 80’s (or was it the 90’s? Anyway, it has been a loooooong time.)

I got a kind of weird/funny comment from one other quilter. She said, "is this your first quilt? Because you seem very proud of it!" but she said it like I shouldn’t be proud. I said, no, it isn’t my first, but yes I am proud because I think it turned out nice and it is the first quilt top I have done in a loooooooong time. She seemed miffed that I was so happy.

I think it is part of my job in life to be happy to show other people that they can be happy too. I am just wondering why some other people seem to have a hard time with other people’s joy. You would think they would want to share in it and have it help them reach that state too; sharing the love.

I really had a good time. It was fun meeting new people, even those that weren’t so friendly. Leslie’s friend, Brenda seemed very nice. I hope to see her again, perhaps at Leslie’s place because she wants to learn how to knit. I am all for helping someone learn how to knit! Our other group member, Judy (who isn’t pictured) was very nice too, very helpful and although she didn’t get to finish her quilt that day, I am sure it will be very pretty. I wish I could see it!

I was totally wiped out by the time I got home and my back was twinging/spazzing out. I had to cancel going to another event so I could chill out at home – sit in a comfy spot and tend to my back.

Back to knitting now – I am finishing up on that 2nd mitten, then I think I will start my Charlotte Web Shawl!


It’s Thursday Already

Dang. Having a non-traditional "job" and life means days of the week get mixed up. Today feels like a Monday to me. Don’t know why. Maybe it is because my mojo is off. My husband, WT slept in today but got up before I did. He was all in my area first thing in the morning so now I am off. That sounds a little weird, doesn’t it? What I mean is that I have a normal morning routine. Get up, greet the dog, open the bedroom door, greet the cats. Turn on the computer, use the potty, get back to the computer, net while I wake up, shower and dress and either go back to the computer and do some work or work on whatever the day brings. Same routine every morning. If I have a client or student I still start the day off with the computer, I just don’t spend as much time there.

Anyway, while WT was computing and such, I spent a few minutes taking pictures of some FOs. Now I realize the scarf really isn’t finished because I haven’t tucked the ends in yet. Even so, here it is along with my one finished mitten:

I steamed the scarf with an iron to block it and I don’t like how smashed and thin it looks. You can see it looks lacy on one end where the light is coming through – it really isn’t that thin. I think I am going to dunk it and pin it today after I sew in the ends. I tried to get a pic of the way it comes to a "v" at the middle but the picture was blurry and I don’t want to mess with the camera again.

Tuesday night my friend Leslie and I got together to work on some quilts for a charity project that we are attending on Saturday. It has been years since I did any sewing for quilting. It was nice. We had seriously underestimated the time we needed to get this pre-work done (of course). So I spent some time yesterday afternoon finishing my part up. Here are some pics of the huge strip of fabric I needed to produce in order to be ready for the big event on Saturday.

I didn’t pick the fabrics. I thought some of them really didn’t fit, but now that they are all sewed together I think they look pretty nice. It is a nice coincidence too seeing that the theme is African because I had a student this weekend who is visiting here from South Africa. He is a tour guide/land owner who does bird watching and safari tours. Interesting person.

What else do I have to show you – Oh yes, I was RAOKed on Monday by Amanda. She sent me this pile of yummy Llama fiber to spin:


Thanks Amanda!!! I will share pics of it spun up but I have a bunch of wool and mohair blend that I promised I would finish before starting anything new.

Monday was a really good day for other reasons too. Stephanie posted on her very popular blog that I had donated a set of my Goddess Guards Beaded Stitch Markers as an incentive for donations to Doctors Without Borders. So, many more orders for those – which is great! Now I have to crank out a bunch and get them in the mail.

So, I have a lot of things to do – beaded stitch markers, dunk my scarf, etc. Gotta go now. Talk more at ya later.



Can’t believe this is happening. President Bush celebrating his 2nd inauguration when so many people have died in the war, and with the recent natural disasters. I am ashamed and mad. What are we to do?

Please, if you haven’t heard of this – check it out. Make today a Not One Damn Dime Day. We don’t have any business celebrating when so many people could benefit from the money used in this shamefully embarrassing display of over-the-top excess.


Okay, so now that I have that out, I want to let you see what I celebrate and can feel good about it too….

This great gift from Ample Knitters Secret Pal

This cool scarf kit is by Lincraft. Michelle lives in Australia, and she had to sign her name on a form to get this 1st gift mailed to me. So, she is not a secret pal anymore but I am way okay with this. I get gifts! Whoooo hooooo.

Another thing to celebrate. Kerry took this cool picture of all the hats and the scarf I made:

It looks like a magical tree.

That is all for now.


Perhaps My Next Project

I used to be the kind of person who had only one book going, and would keep at it until it was finished. I also usually only had one project going – back when I was doing beadwork. And there were only the occassional UFOs – tucked away for undoing later when I was more in the mood.

Now I find myself reading several books at a time, and having several projects going. I like it!

So, here is one of my next projects. At last, a real Charlotte of my own, not someone else’s that I visit on their website. Someone on the AK list mentioned "yarn porn". My yarn porn is more in the way of finished projects. I have tucked away links to people’s choices for their Charlotte Web Shawls and links to the finished shawls. I have tucked away links to online stores that sell a good selecton of Koigu PPM, I have downloaded some of these to try to make up combinations that I like.

But when it got down to it, I visited local yarnstores to make my purchases. It is just too dang hard to photo Koigu and capture how they will look with other colors of Koigu.

Now, here is what I have come up for mine:

1=117 blue (21 g) & ??? pink/blue (36 g), 2=239 brown (50 g), 3=201 dark purple (35 g), 4=314 tans (30 & 36 g), 5=305 bright purple (50 g)

Most of these are partial skeins that I bought from Needlework Unlimited when the had both a massive new shipment and were selling partials by the gram. The last color I picked up at The Yarnery. I read from another person’s tips that if you can, buy more of the 5th color so I will do that.

I have to figure out what to do to get more of the 3rd color and in order to create the 1st color I am mixing 2 different partial skeins. If it doesn’t work I will need to find more of either. I would really like to use all of the mystery number skein – I think it might be 705. So…. if anyone out there has some 705 lying around or some 201 lying around I would be very grateful if you would sell your partial stash to me. Just email me so we can strike a deal.

In my last post I mentioned having purchased some Cherry Tree Hill for another scarf. I just tried to photo it – can’t get the colors to come out right and from visiting the Cherry Tree Hill website, I can see that they had problems too. If you saw this yarn in person you would scratch your head when you read the color African Grey because mine doesn’t have any hint of grey. It is very vibrant and flame looking. I saw it done up as a scarf in a modified feather and fan pattern and couldn’t take my eyes off it it. The owner saw this and gave me her freebie pattern. Silly girl, it wasn’t the pattern I was struck with. But of course once I got that freebie pattern it was almost like the secret okay from on high to go ahead and get that skein. Do I really need another scarf? No. Do I really look good in those colors – not really, but they are so delicious. I could pull it off with a lot of purple on, and I wear purple so there you go.

I am making fantastic progress on the scarf I showed you before. I will probably be done this week. Then on to matching mittens. I need to find a somewhat matching pattern for the cuff that mimics the basketweave design. I think I might have found it in a cuff pattern from the book, Cool Socks Warm Feet but that is just from a casual look. I will need to research that a bit more.

Now I gotta go jump in the shower and get out the door for my weekly meeting of The Bead Ladies (not just Ladies, not just beads) .

Talk more at ya later.


Catching Up

I feel like those of you who read my blog are my friends that I haven’t been able to connect with – and now we need to catch up. I hope you are all up for a large-ish post.

The Minnesota contingent of Ample Knitters gathered yesterday. We have taken to meeting monthly and this month we re-visted last month’s place of the Perkins restaurant off of 494 on France in Bloomington. This is one huge Perkins. We ate lunch, talked and shared our latest creations and then did a bit of knitting. It is really nice getting together with other knitters. We get a lot of "looks" though. One cute elderly lady went up to Kerry and said "I do knitting too!" — all proud.

I had brought my 13 finished children’s hats and 1 children-sized scarf to add to the donation pile (Kerry is gathering donations of winter items for a local school). Now I am done with hats for a while. I wish I would have remembered to get a picture of the whole pile. But most of them were basic hats done in wool/acrylic or poofy acrylic yarns.

I also brought along my recent purchase of this book:

Socks for Sandals and Clogs, by Anna Zilboorg

I would give you a link to Amazon.com but they are still showing this as out-of-print. This book is a new edition with new socks. It is fabulous. I want to make all of the socks. What is really cool is that they also have resoleable socks in here too. I have other patterns for resoleable socks, but the patterning on these – dreamy.

Now a confession. I have made a lot of socks. But none out of sock weight yarn. Is that weird? I don’t know why, but I feel intimidated by sock-weight yarn for socks. It doesn’t have to do with smaller knitting needles because I started back to knitting making beaded knitted amulet bags out of size 0000 and 00000 needles. There is no rational connection here – I am just afraid. I have to work through this so I am working up to doing a set of socks for myself really soon. Please someone hold me to it. I should tell my local knitting pals so that they will check up on me.

Okay, so here is another item to share. A non-knitter friend of my weekly beading/knitting group brought a kit made by Cranston Village.com. Alice had purchased one of these kits

for her daughter to knit for her – cute! She told me she bought hers at Walmart so the next time I was there I picked one up too. They come if different styles and colors.

And I also recently purchased some more Koigu PPM for my Charlotte Web Shawl, but I forgot to bring it up here to my computer so that will have to wait til next time.

I am still working on that basketweave scarf for me. I also just picked up a skein of really stunning Cherry Tree hill sock yarn last night when Kerry and I ran around to swap out some yarn for a shawl she is planning to knit. Pick and pattern to follow, also a pick to another book purchase – this one is a Christmas Sock book. I can’t remember the name so that will wait too.

Sounds like a lot of purchases recently. I understand other knitters curtailing their stash enhancement activities to get a handle on their space, or to fund other endeavors (like charity donations) but I guess I am not interested in doing that right now and probably never will. I have lived a kind of life where I have always been one to think about others first and have denied myself a lot of things – or gone through periods when buying anything but the basics of life was out-of-the-question. I am just not interested in living that way anymore.

However, it has led me to realize that I really don’t need to get things now. I pause and think and tune into my desire to see where it is coming from. It is a coming from a desire to comfort myself, or perhaps a feeling of fear (if I don’t purchase it now, it will run out/not be there so I don’t want to miss out), or from a true appreciation and a desire to create? It sounds like a long process, but it only takes a few seconds.

It works and that is good because I like balance. Can’t figure if it is a Zen thing or a Libra thing. Doesn’t matter, I just feel comfortable in the middle.



I finished the scarf for my sister. Here it is, draped over her wool poncho that she wears as a winter coat.

Again, Bernat Misti (50% acrylic, 35% mohair, 15% wool). And unidentified cotton that I had a crapload of. Stitch: cast on an even number of stitches. P1, YO, P2 together (repeat across across) P the last stitch. Repeat to desired length.

I was hoping that the acrylic content would keep the mohair/wool from being too fuzzy and hairy but alas, it still leaves a lot of hair all over the place – maybe just not as much as it would otherwise.

I am working on a scarf (and mittens eventually) for me. So far it is okay, but I am not 100% convinced. I may make the whole scarf and then decide again – really.

Here is what I have so far:

This scarf comes from the book Knitted Shawls, Stoles & Scarves, by Nancie M. Wiseman. I really recommend it. It has nice shaped items. Shaped so that the scarves snuggle around the neck nicely without bunching up.

Knitted Shawls, Stoles, and Scarves

Mine is the Textured Squares Scarf, on p. 22. I am making it in a lighter weight yarn, so am using smaller needles. If I continue, I will make it much, much longer than the one in the pattern. Theirs looks nice, but somewhat stiff and short in the pic.

I have received 8 orders for my Goddess Guards© beaded stitch markers. Yeah! To recap – I am going to donate $5 to tsunami relief for each pair ordered. I am going to put a limit on this because they take a bit of time to make. So here is the deal, I will continue to make the donation of $5/set for any orders through January 31, 2005.

And, I finally got my hands on a full-spectrum light that didn’t break the bank. It is a Bell & Howell. It isn’t really nice looking, but what the heck – it works.

It is taking me some time to get used to it. I guess I have been working in a lightless cave up till now because the light seems rather blinding. I took the pic of my scarf under the light and I didn’t have to adjust the colors at all. If you are interested in one, get it through Harriet Carter because there is a good deal going on right now.

I also received a small package from Detta too. She sent me these R&R bobbins. They are the ends of spindles and you use them with toilet paper rolls to use as temporary bobbins when you ply. So far I have wound off 3 bobbins onto toilet paper rolls, and once I get more spun I will start plying and will report back to you if they work. The conversion to the toilet paper rolls was kind of a pain. But once I figured out that I needed to use duct tape to tape the roll onto the ball winder, it went much more smooth.

It seems like I should say more, so I will.

Do you believe in prayer? I do. Even if you don’t believe there isn’t someone "up there" to hear us you might want to try it out. Especially because there has been so much going on lately. People still hurting from disasters years ago, 9/11, the tsunami victims and their families. We need to keep each other going – keep each other believing that there is help and hope. Praying out loud is especially helpful. And this isn’t just a religious thing – it is a Quantum Physics thing. Really. If you are interested in that, and you haven’t already – run to see the movie "What the Bleep Do We Know" and pay attention to the portion about water and words. Check out this website about how thoughts and words and music change the structure of water.

Okay, I feel like I’m done now. I hope you have a great day. Thursday has always been my favorite day.