Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Dearest Quilting Commenters (and miles and miles of binding)

Quilting Commenters are the best! Your positive thoughts and encouragement have helped me immensely during this trying time - thank you so much. I'm sitting here feeling all warm and fuzzy (except for my feet - they're cold 'cause my favorite wool socks are still damp from being washed) and knowing that there are people out there that care, even though we've never met. So again, thank you - know that you are appreciated.

So this morning (at 3:48 my time) I finished machine stitching on the last of miles and miles and miles of binding. Oops, make that kilometers and kilometers ... in this case, Canadian doesn't sound nearly as exhausting. Anyway, I attached the binding to the wedding quilt. Today (Wednesday) we travel, then I have Thursday and Friday to finish hand sewing the binding down. Last step on the quilt before wrapping? Serious cat hair removal.

Man oh man, my cats approved of this one. Both of them were sprayed with water, chased off it, and yelled at numerous times, but it did not stop them from coming back. It has been their favorite of all my quilts in progress. This thing has more clandestine cat fur than the dust ponies under the bed! I guess they feel the love infused in that quilt.

It was difficult to finish with the non-procreational cr@p going on - I wanted it to be made while only happy thoughts were rattling around in empty head land, so have had few moments to work on it lately (thus the late night last night to finish it, and the really really bad sentence you're suffering through here). Mission successful - all stitches were infused (word of the day, apparently) with joy and laughter (and a touch of the sexy - some lascivious comments were made during the construction of this quilt, too). The official photographic unveiling will be done after we return from the land of floods and weddings.

One final thought - 7.5 hours of travel time each way, if DH agrees to do all the driving (doubtful, but hopeful), should equal two kitty beds ready for felting and a good start on the next pair of hand knitted work socks for DH (pretty sure that's why he married me - he got his first pair of home made wool socks and was immediately hooked).

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Tank with Clapotis

Sounds like a nasty infectious war time irritation, doesn't it?

DAD - You may want to refrain from reading the rest of this post. It's about boobs (mine), knitting design, and medical malaise. But HAPPY 60TH BIRTHDAY if you're reading this on June 30th! Now STOP READING please.

You've seen my completed Clapotis before, caught sunning itself by a local creek. This time, however, it is aiding in the debut of a new but equally orange item - my Yup, She's Wearing a Bra tank. Why is it called that? Because when worn with any bra other than nude toned, the lacework down the center front allows for confirmation of bra location and colour. So now, before I leave the house, I can just check through the yarn overs to ensure that yup, bra is in place. Or, I suppose, I could just look down the neckline too. Oh hell, who am I kidding - I'm always wearing a bra. Not wearing a bra is grounds for sagginess and chapped nipples.

Anyway, this is a tank I designed to match Clapotis, seeing as I went into "I'm running out of yarn" panic and ordered far more than I needed to finish the wrap. I probably have enough left to make short sleeves for the tank, but I think for now I will try it without sleeves. It will have its public debut in Calgary this weekend, weather permitting.

The tank is a really simple design, based on gauge with the orange yarn on 4.5mm needles. It is shaped nicely, nips in at the waist, has a scooped but not blatant neckline, hemmed edges, and tiny slits at the bottom side seams. It was fast and easy to knit, and I actually enjoyed the miles and miles of stocking stitch (stockinette to you Americans) as there was so much fun stuff going on with the yarn. I will definitely make tops like this again, as I finally figured out the secret to making them fit well and look tailored.

The secret? When working with cotton or cotton blends, swatch for gauge, then cast on and make the front exactly to your body measurements, with no extra fabric for ease. Then, when you cast on for the back, add enough for only one inch of ease. That's it. The one inch of ease is enough for comfort, and the knitted cotton fabric always re-shapes itself a bit as it is worn. The garment now has about two inches of ease just through wearing it for a few hours, but doesn't seem inclined to grow any more. Also, for future garments, I know that I can knit them a tad shorter, as the heavier cotton fabric will pull downward.

I don't believe the same will apply for wool, but a wool tank top is my idea of torture, anyway.

The photo was taken by DH, during a brief sunny period this evening, after DAYS AND DAYS AND DAYS of rain, with intermittent fog and cloud. For most of the past few days, I've been wearing wool sweaters.

Now, off to pack for the wedding, and spend three times as long as packing takes figuring out which project(s) will travel best to keep me busy during the two days by myself in the hotel. DH will be doing stuff with his brother, the groom, and other family stuff. I'm not physically up to participating right now, so will be sitting quietly without much movement, to try to minimize the pain / cramping / bleeding of the end of the not quite almost a pregnancy. Yup, a hotel in a far away city is really where I want to be right now. Uh huh. Yippee.

Oh - and Canada Day! July 1st is Canada Day, and this year I will be celebrating with tea and biscuits, alone in my hotel room. But that's okay, as I'd rather be alone than out in the rowdy Calgarian crowds. The sea of red and white clothing is a little much to look at, anyway.

Where have all the photos gone?

Yup, I've been really wordy lately. Sorry. So, for your visual stimutation, I present the view from my studio (with ghost image of me in my fluffy ivory bathrobe reflected in the glass, and some rain beaten lupins).

Those with a sharp eye will have noticed the hummingbird feeder halfway up the window, along the right hand side. This placement is intentional, and provides hours of entertainment for the cats.

Bean will sit below the feeder, staring up at it, vibrating with energy and ready to pounce at the first sign of hummingbirds. There has been a lot of cat slobber removal from the inside of that window. Bean leaps up, goes splat against the glass, the bird flies away, Bean slides to the floor, and if Peanut has been paying attention, she then swats at Bean for her silliness.

Yup, all sorts of summer fun for DH and I. And if you're worried about the hummingbirds, don't - our next door neighbour has a great and bird friendly yard full of flowers, so they just go one yard over for relaxation and nectar.

Here we have Bean, exhausted after a rousing bout of hummingbird chasing and being swatted by Peanut. Don't worry, no birds nor Beans were harmed during this scenario.

Peanut, in all her pissy glory. She really only looks happy if she is (a) sleeping on my lap, (b) sleeping on DH's lap, (c) sleeping on our bed, or (d) eating. Lots of cuddles, but not much activity from the Peanut.

Note: Not happy about how Blogspot's new photo attachment system is working. Will have to play with it to avoid silly mini wraps.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Laundromat Lunacy

So I'm in the local laundromat working my way through four loads of laundry and some knitting, when I suddenly get the urge to fishslap this a$$hole upside the head . . . but with reason. Oh, so with reason.

There was this couple and their small daughter (maybe 15 months) in there doing a week's worth of laundry (it was Saturday). Obviously this couple was in the same boat as me - washing machine kaput. The wife was very pregnant, but was still working away on the laundry (running 8 machines is pretty much full time - one would stop, she would transfer to the dryer and get that started, the next would stop, etc). The husband alternated between walking around inside and outside (ducking indoors during sprinkles, then out again when the cloud passed) with the baby, and kept her entertained. The only sounds the baby made were happy ones - Dad was doing a great job.

Anyway, as they were finishing up, she (finally) sat down to take a break, and he passed her the baby and proceeded to fold laundry. He was folding away, quietly, and watching while his wife made the baby giggle merrily. Then, this guy comes in through the back door of the laundromat, takes one look at the situation, and sums it up thusly: "What, buddy - first she makes you look after the friggin' kid while she does the laundry, and now she's got ya folding? Just what kinda man areya?" Then this guy titters like he's said something really amusing, grins to everyone in the room, and shuffles off to do whatever the hell he came in for. If I hadn't been in the middle of folding my unmentionables, I would have hauled off and smacked him! Okay, I wouldn't have, but I sure as heck was pissed off!

The young man he had emasculated so badly and publicly was kind of looking down at his feet, not knowing what to do or say. His wife, obviously a decent woman, quietly asked him to start carrying out the folded bags of laundry and start the truck. She then juggled the baby and folded the last few things with one hand, and they left.

So now I want to know - where the hell was the a$$hole during the last 40 years? How could he have possibly missed all the important stuff going on that resulted in a social situation in which both men and women can take part in child care and laundry duties? And, I wonder why his wife puts up with his sh!t? Because it turned out that the reason he was in the laundromat was to check up on his wife, the woman manning the laundry fortress. And by check up on, I mean he was heard saying things like "What you been doin' woman? Why didn't you make me a lunch before you left for work? Do I gotta feed myself now? Holy crap!"

I do believe I showed a hell of a lot of self restraint in that I not only did not hit the a$$hole, but simply finished folding and left quietly. But I'll tell you, the next time his wife tries to start a conversation with me while I'm doing the laundry, I will actually spend some time talking to her. She obviously gets no intelligent conversation at home.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Mountain Mornings and a Major Moan

This past week I've been spending my mornings in an odd-for-most-people-but-just-right-for-me way. When DH heads into his bathroom (that's right, we are firm believers in the separate bathrooms make for a healthy marriage thing) to get ready at 5:30am, I brew a pot of coffee, put on a sweater and some thick wool socks, and head out onto the balcony. Yes, pants too - not into flashing the neighbours my girly bits.

I curl up in a chair, wrapped in a home made quilt, and knit. I can usually get a few inches done while DH is getting ready for his day, and still have time to make his lunch and pour his coffee-to-go.

This has got to be the best morning routine I've ever tried, which explains why, after a week, I'm still doing it. Not normally one for mornings (aka sunup is usually when I head to bed), this knitting with the early morning birds thing really appeals to me. This morning I had the extra treat of watching snow fall on two of the peaks across the way, while on my balcony I was cozy and warm in my sweater and quilt nest.

The rest of the day (after kissing DH goodbye and locking him out for the day) is spent doing the usual - dishes, laundry, cleaning up, working on the wedding quilt, grocery shopping, etc. I gotta say, though, that my outlook on the usual daily activities is a lot calmer after waking and having coffee with the birds.

Now, for those of you wondering why in the heck I haven't been blogging more faithfully, especially after having such a great start every morning, here comes the lame excuse. If you are in a good mood, and don't want it squelched, STOP READING HERE. If you are okay with shi##y news and depressing thoughts, keep on reading.

Just over a week ago, DH and I conceived (again). So, as usual, my body has gone into intruder alert mode, and is fighting me on everything. I may be calmly doing dishes and folding laundry, but my innards are in turmoil. I'm cramping, weepy, and exhausted. I'm sleeping at least 16 hours a day. I'm snapping at the cats for no reason. Everything itches. Etc, etc, etc. I figure that by the time July 5th rolls around (earliest I can confirm pregnancy), it will already be done with, leaving me worse the wear, and with nothing to show for it again. Aaargh! Thus, blogging has been low on my list, as I still count blogging and the reading of my fellow webring bloggers as a good and pleasant thing. So, while feeling miserable and depressed (even after my stellar mornings), I don't want to ruin blogging. Okay, enough wallowing - now I'm off to clean up Bean's latest embellishment attempts, and check on the progress of the snow across the way.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Shhh, It's a Secret!

Well, I would love to be blogging about the INCREDIBLE WONDERFUL SUPERFANTASTIC quilt I'm working on now, but as it is a wedding present for Chris and Rhea, and things got changed a little, I have been ordered by DH to keep it a secret. Thus, no photos, no status reports, and no hints. Okay, maybe some hints . . . think wood tones, fall leaves, and a creek full of trout. Not sounding like a quilt, is it? I desperately want to share it with the blogworld, but cannot, on punishment of having my favorite yarns hidden away (evil threats, just evil), so no more teasing. However, after the official unveiling after the wedding, I will post pictures. I'm really proud of this one.

So, in the mean time, That Logan Chick will be a little knit-centric. Now that the washing machine has coughed its last breath, I am laundromat-ing it until the repair company comes to our tiny little town in the mountains - June 29th. A little back story about our local laundromat: it is mostly used by oil field workers, rig pigs, and logging types. Thus, it is filled with men that rarely shower, and they put the filthiest of clothes in any old washer, even though there are a number marked specifically for extra dirty work clothes. When I go in to do our laundry, they all kind of look at me funny (ummm, girl - I think most of them have been in the bush too long). So, I'm really not comfortable just walking away from my laundry, so now spend my afternoons sitting in the laundromat while I do my washing, knitting all the while. I can still take the loads home to dry, so I skedaddle as soon as my washing is done. Carrying loads of wet laundry - my back is so happy with me! Long story wound up - my next few posts will likely include adventures of Logan in laundromat land.

For those of you that have been following my adventures, I'd just like to finish with this: the poltergeist has been exercised from my car! WOOO HOOOOO! Fine, command start has been located and removed, and now rests in the glove box until the next full moon, at which point I will either bury it, or throw it off the highest cliff I can find. Yup, littering. Fine, I'll just toss it in the garbage - but not until I stomp on it several times - may even do a dance of "I-hate-you-but-you're-dead-now-so-hah!" on its little electrical gizmo box. Yippee!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

What we did on Saturday

The rain / drizzle let up, the sun came out, and DH decided it was time to go and sacrifice a few trout in the name of summer fun.

DH in his natural element. It should be noted that while DH was in search of the not so elusive trout (2 down, more to go back for tomorrow), I spent a lovely few hours knitting on the banks of Sheep Creek. In fact, four boat loads of white water rafters came by, and I'm quite sure that the chick sitting on a log at the edge of the creek, wrapped in Clapotis, and knitting the Booga Bag on circulars was likely the highlight of their trip. Yup. Fer sure, dude.

Even as an infant, the Booga Bag has an adventurous nature. Here we see it leaping unafraid from rock to rock, completely unfazed by the swirling rapids below. No stitches were dropped in the taking of this photograph, but someone (that would be me) got a wet a@@.

Older, wiser, and a lot less adventurous, Clapotis chose to enjoy the sunshine beside the creek, reclining on some sun baked rocks. I was happy about this, as it gave me a chance to dry my a@@ after chasing Booga Bag around in the rapids. Posted by Hello

Friday, June 17, 2005

Long on Reflection . . .

yet sadly short on blog.

Where have I been, you ask? Here, but not here. Yup, the great sucking black hole of reflection got to me, and I barely escaped its grasp. For the past few days I've mainly been doing three things: knitting, thinking, and moping. The frustrating thing is, I've been doing all three at the same time. Idiot knitting (stocking stitch with occasional intentional dropping of stitches - see Clapotis), thinking about knitting and quilting and life in general, and moping about cloudy days, car trouble, appliance burnout, etc.

So, this is going to be a long, rambling, and most likely boring post. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it's gonna be.

Let's start with the demise of appliances. The first to go was the command start on my car. Just to be fair, I must clarify that I love the car - it is the best car in the world (to me), and it gives me no troubles at all. The car is good. Hell, the car is great. The command start, on the other hand, sucks rocks. (Thanks DebR) It has suddenly developed its own personality, and it's an ANNOYING ONE!!! For the past week, it has been going off like crazy - not in a starting-when-I-don't-want-it-to-start-way, but in a clicking-and-flashing-the-lights-damn-near-constantly-for-no-apparent-reason way. AAARGH!

We've tried everything to stop this, including calling the help line for the command start manufacturer. Their brilliant advice on being told what was happening? "It sounds defective. Have it disconnected." Gee, thanks. Why didn't I think of that? AAARGH! Okay, so now I have to drive two hours to the nearest Toyota dealership to have the CONSTANT CLICKING AND FLICKING OF LIGHTS disconnected, which means two hours of driving with CONSTANT CLICKING AND FLICKING OF LIGHTS. You see my annoyance.

Next - our dryer has been acting up for the past few months. It no longer recognizes when the clothes are dry, so will just keep running and running and running if put on the cycle that works on moisture content. Solution? Switch to using only the timed dry cycle. Problem with this solution? Must either go through this cycle's maximum timed dry twice for a standard load of wash, or split each standard load of wash in two, drying only half at a time. Not so bad. Manageable.

But then - wait for it - something is wrong with the washer - it no longer spins. Washes, rinses, but does not spin. Thus, the clothes are COMPLETELY SODDEN when I go to put them in THE DRYER THAT DOESN'T WORK WELL ANYWAY. So, my timed dry (80 minutes) now takes either 4 cycles for half a load of laundry, or 1 cycle for three items. AAARGH! Too bad naked ain't acceptable around here - 'cause the laundry is getting REALLY STINKIN' ANNOYING! Oh, and for those of you thinking "just dry it on the line" - we've had rain for three days. Clothes don't dry in the rain. Plus, I have a thing about putting my knickers out in public.

But that's enough about appliances. And the fact that I am now in a constant state of minding the washer and dryer.

Next - knitting. Okay, I already described the idiot knitting project that I am working on, and if you scroll down you can see a bit of it in progress (the orange thing). What I didn't mention was that the yarn is a cotton / viscose / poly blend, with no give whatsoever. As such, it is hard on the hands. After about 6 or 7 hours of knitting (broken up by WAY TOO MANY trips to the dryer) my hands begin to cramp and ache. So, my solution to the aching hands is . . . switch to knitting 100% wool.

Yup. That's right. This quilting addict has suddenly had her brain replaced with that of a knitting addict. While I'm not sure how it happened, I'm having a bit of fun with it. The wool project is a felted bag, and I'm using the 4 balls of Noro Kureyon that I picked up somewhere along the way, not even realizing that is one of the best wools available for felting. I'm loving the colour, too! Check out number 154 (do click on the photo - it is so much yummier when they show more balls). This is colour shifting at its best - and I'm all about the colour shifting. Yummy. Also, I blocked for the first time ever! So, to recap:
1. Multiple projects on the go;
2. When hands too sore to continue knitting, switching to a different fiber instead of stopping knitting;
3. Both projects were started only because of the great yarns;
4. Having always said that blocking was for pansies, I now not only take that back, I'm now all about the blocking;
5. I have a huge looming deadline on another (quilt) project, yet am ignoring it in favour of the sexy yarns;
6. And blogging about it.
Yup, Yarn Harlot would be proud.

Other than the "damn my hands ache - better switch to the wool" problem, the other issue with constant and unending knitting is that it gives me lots of time to think. And surf the net. Yup, I can knit and read blogs at the same time. I've even figured out how to wrap my yarn around the mouse so that I can tug as I go to scroll down the page. Not sure if this is laziness or genius, but it works for me.

Anyway, I've read Yarn Harlot's entire archives, from blog day one onward (three days of reading, as there has been a lot of jumping up to get the dryer over and over and over and over...). Wicked wit, great attitude, and very informative. And yes, I have a few times laughed hard enough that I dropped stitches where stitches were not supposed to be dropped (but don't worry, I picked them up again - always keep the trusty crochet hook handy for just such an occurrence). Oh, and laughed hard enough that I (a) made the cat jump off my lap (b) woke the sleeping spouse, and (c) had to wipe coffee off the monitor. The Harlot is my new hero. But don't worry, fellow quilters, I'm a fickle bi#ch and will be back to quilting heros any moment now.

On the thinking thing, I've been doing tonnes of that. Yup, tonnes - I am Canadian, eh. I've come to a few conclusions, too. The one that will affect me most is one I need to think on a little more in order to properly express it. So, I will draw this extremely long and ramble-y post to a close, leaving the blogging about thinking to another day. Hopefully, the sun will come out tomorrow (break into the Annie song here, I did) so I can take photos of the incredible Noro Kureyon bag in process, and the necessary-but-not-currently-here last ball of the yarn for the Clapotis will arrive at my local Canada Post outlet. Ooooh, bad sentence. And not so sure on the spelling. Of anything, anymore.

Shut up Logan, enough already. And yes, note the time of this post. Sleeping is for pussies. Caffeine rocks. Caffeine also breaks the "i before e" rule - I think. Not so sure. Again, please note the time of this post. Aargh.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

DebR - This one's for You

 Posted by Hello
The shoes. The evening bag. The wrap. All for you, Deb. The details: I purchased the wrap first, and coordinated a skirt and tee with it. Then, I needed shoes and a bag. The bag I knitted from Collinette cotton, and trimmed with a coordinating eyelash yarn. It's just big enough for the important stuff - license, cash, lippy, wet wipes (I'm a spilly bi#ch), digital camera, hotel or car keys.

The shoes were a tough one, as they always are for me. I have one size 9 1/2 foot, and one size 10. The size 10 foot is D width, the 9 1/2 foot not quite. Thus, the purchasing of shoes has always been a major PAIN IN THE A##! These little beauties have elastic straps, so stretch out to the appropriate width for each foot. I bought size 10 to accomodate BigFoot. They were plain beige, which was perfect, as the skirt is turquoise, terracotta, and teal on a beige background. I also went with a beige tee under the wrap.

Anyway, I had to do some stitching to one shoe to take in the elastic for NoSoBigFoot. I was down there with a needle and thread anyway, so decided I may as well add extra girly bits in the form of beads. That was freakin' fiddly work, I'll tell ya! But, I think the end result was worth it. Ta da! Girly shoes for both BigFoot and NotSoBigFoot. Applause, applause. The best thing? The beading looks like arrows pointing to my toes. Have I mentioned I love my toes? They're plump, short, and look just like little piggies. And, they give me an excuse to wear nail polish. If I can find any, I will be painting them turquoise for the next wedding (coming up at the beginning of July).

Goodbye to a Loving and Faithful Friend

Today was Bailey's last day with us. She has gone to a better place, where there is no pain or disease. Her gentle presence will be missed, and her sweet nature will be remembered. Bailey, you were loved during your time here with us, and you will remain in our hearts. Farewell, and thank you for the gift of your company, however brief.

 Posted by Hello

Some Colour to Liven Things up

All those text only posts are getting boring, so here are some photos to brighten things up. For Deborah, I give you a selection of rocks, purchased and / or collected with the intent of embellishing, but let's face it, I just like the rocks. I put them out in the sun on the balcony to photograph, and they got all warm and yummy in the sun.

In this shot, some Canadian jade, Chinese olive jade, yellow turquoise, and assorted stone chips are lovingly displayed in my knitting project from the trip - Clapotis. Green and orange are a favorite combination.
 Posted by Hello
Here are some of the selection of green toned rocks I've collected. They don't have holes in them, so will need to be attached to my quilts with tulle or wire. Aren't they pretty in the sun? They got so warm and toasty - I can just imagine they were thanking me for the fresh air and sun exposure.
 Posted by Hello
Finally, a shot of the Clapotis, in process. This is a cotton / viscose/ polyester blend novelty yarn, in a truly great combination of colours. The bright orange gets a kick from the clear chartreuse, then both are toned by the ecru and the rose of the cotton. I'm loving every stitch!

 Posted by Hello
Later today - the beaded shoes! DebR, you know I can't resist you when you're demanding! And yes, it was unpardonably cruel of me to tease you like that. The shoes are coming. Me in the girly outfit, on the other hand, will have to be seriously considered. I will see what the photos from other wedding friends are like before I cough up Logan as Girly Girl for all to see.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Time for a Critter Count

Well, I'm back, but I had to leave DH in Edmonton to spend a few more days working at Head Office - so had to deal with the 4.5 hour trip back myself. I sang really loudly and incredibly badly, just to keep myself awake. Just Call Me Angel in the Morning Baby never sounded so brutal!

To the critter count ... back home to two very relieved cats. Bean was thrilled to have me back, and rubbed me and loved me and purred all over the place, then promptly embellished a bit of carpet for me, and ran away to hide her embarrasment. I guess my homecoming after four days was more than she could take. Peanut, on the other hand, ignored me studiously, up until I consented to carpetate with her (which involves laying on the floor and wriggling around to get all of the itchy spots thoroughly scratched by the rug - she does with wriggling, I scratch the side that is not being tickled by the rug). She is now thinking about forgiving my absence, but may punish me further by not sleeping on the bed tonight - will have to wait and see.

For the non-domestic critter count, between the trip out and the trip back, I saw one coyote, one black bear, three live and one squashed moose, five elk (including two I had to stop for to allow them to stand in the center of the road until they were sure I knew who was in charge of traffic), and deer too numerous to count. Except for the coyote and two deer, all of the other critters were seen on Highway 40 north of Hinton. It's a great road for viewing wild things. And for hitting wild things. Not that I've done that. Yet. Crossed fingers that it never happens.

Additional critters included a room full of drunken wedding partiers, consisting mostly of mining engineers and teachers. Oh, and the groom. He's famous for his drunken escapades, especially at the weddings of others. At our wedding, he is the star of four completely separate and unrelated tales of alcohol induced disaster / idiocy. His own wedding was not really all that different - he was just dressed better! A fun time was had by all, and the happy couple had a day in which as well as getting married surrounded by friends and family, they had a hell of a good time. Rather than putting on a big show with lots of formality, they just acted like they always do - relaxed, happy, and enjoying each other's company. It was an ideal wedding, and bodes well for the marriage. Best of all, the drunken Ukranian dancing was spectacular! Oh, and the food was sublime! DH ate so much that he was snoring by 1:00am, much to the chagrin of a group of rowdy friends that had to party on without him.

Not critter related, but a big part of the trip ... I picked up some more great yarns, beads, and stones for embellishing small quilts. Some of these treasures may find their way into the QuiltArt List Quilt Swap 2005. So, no photos of the new treasures - although I may be persuaded to share something tomorrow. And, I got a lot of knitting done while travelling and hanging out in hotel rooms - a small evening bag to match my fancy wedding duds (boy, was I decked out in the girly finery - I even beaded my fancy schmancy new girly shoes, too!) and a good beginning on Clapotis, a knitted shawl / scarf / stole thingy from

Now that I'm back, though, I'm ready to hit the quilting again, hard. Instead, I will be cleaning up Bean's additional embellished areas, unpacking the bizillion bags of stuff (DH decided to do his annual clothes, shoes, and fishing gear shopping), and finishing up the quilt for Chris and Rhea's wedding (in three weeks). Oh, and catching up with my blogging friends! Ummmmm, wasting time on the computer. Love it.

I'm so happy to be home!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

On the Road Again

As Willie says, I'm on the road again. DH and I are off to spend two days at Head Office working on a project proposal, then down to Calgary to attend the wedding of two classmates from our University days - known as the annual reunion. Sadly, we are running out of classmate weddings. The next few annual reunions may need to be planned as reunions, rather than weddings!

We will return late (very late) Sunday night, so I will be non-bloggus until Monday. Again, I will miss you all. Hopefully I will have stories to tell and interesting photos to post when we get back.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hey, Where'd they go?

Now I know a number of you have expressed interest in having my mountain view for your own, but did you have to take them? And how'd ya do it?

 Posted by Hello
Could you please give them back? I miss them. Sniff.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Organic Study in Teal

Okay, I finished attaching the knitted border, and wound a few extra threads in for good measure. The blocking I did helped the border to lay flat, but the added weight of the knitted area made the piece sag when hung. What to do to counteract the effects of gravity? Fight gravity with foam! I traced the outline onto foam board, cut out the shape, and pinned around the outside edges, wrapping the knitted edges around the foam board. The entire piece is now flat, secure, and really easy to hang.

I don't think I will go any further with it, but I am now confident that I can use the addition of knitted areas in other works successfully. This was really a trial piece for the knitted border - for future pieces, I will choose much more interesting yarns (although I do like the subtle colour shift I got from this one).

Organic Study in Teal Posted by Hello

Progress and Oddness

We just had a wonderful, if short, weekend with DH's family. So now I am feeling positive, refreshed, and ready to tackle the teal piece again.

Finished the knitted border last night - decided to give it another go mainly to have something easy to knit while on the drive. I'm happy with it so far - blocked it last night, and have yet to go down to my studio to check on it this morning. I'll be weaving additional fibers through the border before attaching it, and may add beads / rocks to it to. DH came up with the inspired idea of running a length of heavy gauge wire around the edge to hold it in shape, so invested CDN$1.44 for 36 feet of wire - if it works, I'll be using this often. I've got a substantial stash of yarns from back when I was primarily a knitter, and have a habit of buying single balls of yarn that catch my interest. These fibers will find their way into a great many of my small quilts, and have even been used to decorate the binding of a silk couch throw I made recently.

I will post photos of the teal piece when it is further along. Now, off to catch up on the Blogs of my fellow webring quilters! Will settle in with a large coffee, and enjoy.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Today I'm a Tease

I couldn't resist. I had to post this before we left for the weekend. This is a closeup of part of the most recent quiltlet. The knitted border? Toast! It was a dumb idea anyway! But this yummy little seed pod of happiness? Fun, fun, fun.

The yummy seed pod of happiness . . . Posted by Hello

. . . in its natural habitat. Posted by Hello

Friday, June 03, 2005

Combining My Passions

Enough with the naughty thoughts! I'm not talking about those passions, so get your mind back up where it belongs. And keep it there. Ahem.

Okay, now that we're in serious mode...I've been looking at my multiple collections. Over the years I have been a gatherer and hoarder of many things, but specifically I have hoarded quilting fabrics, novelty yarns, semi-precious stones, beads, and feathers. So, what to do with these varying but fun collections? Heavily embellished art quilts, that's what! Hey, stop that! What else where you thinking? Haven't we already gone over the location of your mind today? Did I not order you to keep it out of the gutter? Bad reader, no biscuit.

So, a new test piece is underway. This weekend we will have a minimum of 10 hours in the vehicle (aargh!) at DH's request, so I have told him that this time he's driving. And I will knit. Yup, am knitting (hold on for it...) the border for a small piece. Not postcard small, but still a quiltlet. Love that word. Was reminded of its existence today by Mrs. Mel on her latest post, Bliss. I'm combining a Michael Mrowka hand dyed fabric, some fun and furry novelty yarns, shisha mirrors, a great hand dyed Valdani thread, and whatever else I can think of to create an over the top, crazy a@#ed little quiltlet. I love creating stuff! Yup, I've gone over the edge. I'm embellishing so hard that the original fabric may disappear in a haze of shiney things and whispy things. Sonji, you'd be proud. Why? 'Cause more is more, dammit! Ah ah ah! You must imagine the ah ah ah as spoken by The Count, from Sesame Street. One little quiltlet. Two little quiltlets. Three little quiltlets. Ah ah ah.

A gray day out my window. Posted by Hello

One more for the Test Piece Collection

Okay, I spent three days on it, and now . . . I hate it! The good news is, it can be counted as a test piece, and I learned a lot. The lessons, some painful and a few not-so-painful, include:

1. Don't fuse too many layers together, as they get hard to quilt through. For future fusing, I must limit myself to two or three layers only.

2. Know in advance the FMQ pattern that will be used. Every unpicked stitch shows, as the cotton does not close back over stitch holes once it has been fused.

3. When working on a black background, use black batting. The white is very obvious if you do have to unpick some FMQ.

4. When properly fused, you can FMQ your butt off, and the fused pieces will not lift. Yippee!

5. Don't try to couch three different bulky novelty yarns down at the same time - take the time to work them in separately, it's worth the effort.

6. Doing an advance sketch is good. Using a design overlay for placing is good. Stopping your design construction half way through because you're bored is bad, and can result in a finished piece that looks like a kindergarten class projectile vomitted crayons onto the design wall.

7. Three days lost to idiocy is not as bad as it could be. I could have made it bigger!

8. The "sketch it on freezer paper, trace it on wax paper, use the freezer paper pieces as templates on the applique shapes, and re-construct it using the wax paper as an overlay guide" method of construction is definately a keeper.

9. Can't think of anything else. Stop the "Lessons learned" segment here.

10. Nope, got one more. Spritzing and quick pressing batting totally works well at getting the wrinkles out - much better than hanging it.

So, in conclusion, I had a fun time wasting three days, so can't really call them wasted. And, if I'm ever in need of a 14" x 16" piece of brightly coloured schlock, I've got one in storage. Now, back to the border of Chris and Rhea's wedding quilt. And knitting a poncho. Because they're "out" now, so I may as well make one. Sigh.

WOMBAT - Waste of materials, brains and time. Posted by Hello

Kind of looks like an octopus playing with a puppy, doesn't it?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Just a Quick Post

It's really cloudy here today - as in I can't see much beyond the back yard, and everything is damp, damp, damp. However, it is also quite warm already.

This is just a quick post to say that I am working hard, but not ready to post about it yet. Back to it.