April 30, 2006

A start and a finish of sorts

First, thanks to everyone for their kind comments. Cowboy is settling in great. I'm not sure I'm jazzed about the name but it's probably to late to change it at this point.

Today, I spent most of the entire day working on this poor sock. I thought I would stretch my skills so I am attempting Conwy from Knitting on The Road book by Nancy Bush. The original pattern called for Lorna's Laces but I am using Knit Picks Memories in the Yukon colorway. Unfortunately, I had to rip the first attempt and what you see is the second. This is just the cuff and one repeat but I am concerned that you're not going to be able to see the pattern as with the original. But I am NOT starting it over again. I will proceed and see what results. Either way it's definitely a learning experience as it has a small cable in it. I had planned these for me so it doesn't matter if they don't turn out exactly like the picture!

The finish is for E is for Elephant. Yeah, I'm so glad to finally be done. The charts for B, C, D and E are in a mailing envelope and will head off to Vivian in the Yukon Territories tomorrow if I can make it to the post office. Now I will need to buy the next 4 charts before I can continue on this piece. I didn't get any of my planned finishing work done today due to my messing around with that blasted sock.

I will close with a Happy Birthday for my dad who turned 86 today. I love you Grampito!

April 29, 2006

New Things at Casa Pearl

Friday night, I picked up this guy in Lynn, MA. He's my first new thing this weekend at Casa Pearl as I like to call my house. Obviously, he's made himself right at home in my stitching chair. This is Cowboy and he's a 2 y.o. wire haired Jack Russell Terrier. He was surrendered by his owner at the vets where she wanted to put him down (we won't go into the reasons) when he was saved by one of the employees. He was being fostered in a home with another male JRT which just wasn't working out so his picture showed up on Petfinder.com when I did a search on Wednesday night. I have been thinking about adopting since January but wasn't sure I wanted the commitment of another animal. One look at this guy's face convinced me to take the plunge. He is a really good boy and has settled in quite well so far. We got lots of exercise today and now he's sleeping on the back of my couch in my home office. He's spent the day visually keeping track of all the goings on in the neighborhood - especially that of the cat across the street. He would soooo like to eat him!

The next new arrival came today in the mail and it's the May Essy's Friends. The designer time is Drawn Thread and I really like the design. It is finished as another tin pin but horizontal instead of vertical this time. I love these little pins and have been wearing the other two I've completed to work quite often. I look forward to adding this one to my collection. The time stamp on my camera needs to be adjusted so disregard that if you click on the photos.

April 27, 2006

Hello Spring!

Tonight at my s and b group I was able to finish my little Lizzie Kate freebie. It is really a quick stitch and I love how it turned out. I also found a piece of fabric so that I can make it into either a little pillow (wouldn't green tassels look cute on the ends?) or a wall hanging. I'm leaning towards the pillow at this point.

Next in line for finishing is E is for Elephant by CHS. I have an envelope ready to mail off to Vivian once that is done. Then it will be time to think about getting the next couple of charts. And I still have to decide on how to finish my stitched Melanie's Exchange piece.

April 26, 2006

No pictures today

But I should have a completed picture of my LK freebie tomorrow. I've completed the frame, flower and started on the word hello. This has gone very quickly and I really like the design.

I'm contemplating starting on the Stitcher's Surprise Sampler Book Project - I know Jo has started these but is anyone else planning to stitch them? I have been mulling over how I'd like to do mine and I think I'm going to do them all on 32ct Lambswool using some of the WDW threads I bought a while back. I'm going to do each letter monochromatic (at least that is the plan) and see how they look. The fabric pages the directions call for are fairly large - she recommends 16x11 pieces of fabric for each letter to allow for the finishing process. I have some fabric already that's left from a yard I bought but I'm going to have to get more. I really think this is a neat idea and the designs are fairly small so each letter shouldn't take that long. I really like the idea of learning all those new stitches!

April 24, 2006

Quick Start

Now that I've finished the stitching for my Melanie's Exchange piece, last night I started a quick freebie by Lizzie Kate. I've had it kitted up to go for at least a month but I didn't want to start it until all my exchange pieces were stitched. I chose a scrap of blue linen from my stash and I'm using the GAST and WDW threads the chart calls for. I'm not sure how I will finish this but I'm leaning towards a small pillow that I can display on my coffee table. The other option was to make it into a little hanging piece that I could hang on my front door. I think I will wait until it's finished to decide.

April 22, 2006

Happy Birthday Jo!

Today is Jo's birthday and from the reading her blog today, it sounds like it was a very nice birthday for her. Happy Birthday Jo!

Today I got a chance to sit and stitch with my friend Nancy and catch up with what she's finished and what she's working on. Her list of accomplishments and WIPs is much, much greater than mine. It's always so fun to get together with her and see what she's up to, including some new designs that will be released in the very near future. I love Glory Bee designs!

With the stitching I did this afternoon with Nancy before my hair appointment and what I did this evening, I was able to complete my design for Melanie's Exchange with the SBEBB. I still have to attach the embellishment I received and I may decide to do a bit of backstitching but for the most part the piece is ready for finishing. Now if I could just decide how to finish it!

I also started a new sock today while I was waiting for the color to set at my hair appointment. The plan is that this pair will be for me but you never know!

April 21, 2006

50% Off Extravaganza

Last night at my S&B group, someone mentioned that a local quilt shop was going out of business and everything was 50% off. I had just recently visited this shop because she carried a pretty good selection of knitting stuff as well. All the knitting stuff was 50% off too I was told.

Today was payday so I left work a little early and went to visit the shop to see if there was anything I "needed". This is what came home with me: 14 pairs of Addi Turbo circulars in assorted sizes, 2 books of great patterns, 3 skeins of sock yarn, Brown Sheep wool for my next felted bag which will also introduce me to intarsia work and 7 skeins of wool for a really cool fringed sweater jacket in one of the books I bought, and 2 skeins of a fun yarn for a scarf. And everything was 50% off!!! The savings on the Addi Turbo's alone was well worth the trip. I am in heaven playing in my new yarns! I used a good bit of some tax return money I had set aside for playing but there's a good bit left so I'm pretty happy with my bargains.

April 20, 2006

Birthday gift finally on its way

Today I took Jo's SBEBB Birthday exchange package to the post office to be mailed. My fingers are crossed that it will arrive in Maryland on time for her birthday on Saturday. Now that just leaves Aniza's birthday in September to think about. Plus there is the anticipation of it being my turn to receive birthday stitching at the end of July!

I've also completed about half of the stitching on my Melanie's Exchange piece. I think that I will try to refrain from signing up for any more exchanges for a bit so that I can do some stitching of my own. I still haven't finished E is for Elephant and I need to get those charts to Vivian so that she can have fun stitching them. That will be my top priority after my ME piece is done.

Tomorrow is Friday and I'm so thankful as it has been a very loooong week. I will be going down to NH to get my hair cut and colored and see my family. We will also be celebrating my BIL's birthday which was on the 16th, Greek Easter which is Sunday and my niece Ceci's birthday which is the 28th. Sounds like a whole lot of celebrating doesn't it? And I might just get to be able to stitch a bit with my friend Nancy - we haven't seen each other since September which seems like much longer.

April 19, 2006

Final Felted Bag

Here is a picture of my bag after it's 2nd and final felting. I'm very happy with how the 2nd felting went - it did shrink it a bit more and made the fabric much tighter and hopefully stronger.

I had planned to post this yesterday but I worked late and just as I was getting reading to leave the office, a Code Orange was called in to the ER from the fire department which kept me there until 8:30. A postal worker opened a mail box and a white powder exploded out onto her. The hospital went into Incident Command mode for a hazardous material event. I ended up being part of the team as the historian, the person responsible for recording all of the steps taken by our staff during the emergency event. We weren't sure what role we would play but it turns out our team decontaminated the two people and processed them through our ER while the substance was analyzed. It was found to have a pH of 4 which led to the assumption it was some kind of baby or talcum powder. The event was closed and the patients were sent home. Our team did a fantastic job and the area EMA supervisor was on hand to witness our performance.

I was quite tired by the time I got home and went straight to bed. Late this afternoon, we were informed that the substance was in fact ferilizer so the matter has gone from a nasty prank, which was serious enough, to one with malicious intent. The police are investigating the matter and I hope those responsible will be penalized for the trauma to the workers. Considerable expense resulted as well for the fire department, our team and the FEMA team involved in investigating the substance. This morning was my one year review with my boss (I can't believe it's been a year!!) so I was able to demonstrate that I've really experienced a lot over the course of this past year - including being part of a code incident!

April 17, 2006

Learning Experience

Well, I finished my knitted bag and as you will see from the first photo - I didn't attach the handles evenly. Of course I didn't realize this until I held it up and of course I double stitched the handles on for security. There was no way I was getting them off that bag easily so I just went with the results. Learning experience - do not stitch on a patterned surface - I swear I had them evenly placed and reassess your work often!

The second photo is after the first go round in the washing machine. It is now going around a second time with the addition of some tennis balls to enhance the agitation. I am hoping it will shrink at least a little bit more.

Learning experience: I would not buy this yarn again. While I love the color, I think I would have had better results with a 100% wool yarn. Not to worry as I already have my next bag pattern picked out!

April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

I hope you and your loved ones enjoyed a blessed Easter today. I will be celebrating next week which is Greek Orthodox Easter. I'm not Greek but my BIL is and my sister and family belong to a Greek Orthodox church so I tend to celebrate that more than regular Easter unless they fall on the same day.

This has been a very productive weekend for me. I finished Jo's exchange gift and got it put together. It's ready to go but I'm still waiting on some things I ordered for her so I can't send it off just yet. Hopefully, the package will arrive in tomorrow's mail. I am quite happy with how it turned out. I didn't do the finishing exactly as in the original as I thought the stitched piece alone was quite nice. I hope Jo thinks so too!

I also started my Melanie's Exchange piece. It's due to be mailed out on May 12th but I wanted to get going now that I have finally chosen a design. I can't reveal too much but here is what was sent to me to stitch with and the beginning of what I have chosen to stitch. This is going really quickly so I'm hoping I will get the stitching part finished this week. This project is allowing me to work with two fibers I have never used before - Dragon Floss which is from Wales and Six Strand Sweets. So far I like both fibers. The third fiber is GAST which I'm used to. This is a really neat exchange and I can't wait to see the various designs that result. I'm still not sure what I will do for finishing. I'd love to try something new but my creativity is sleeping at the moment! Hopefully it will wake up by the time the stitching is finished and I'll come up with something really clever.

April 10, 2006

It's a ball, it's a mystery, it's a....

bag I hope! This is what has been keeping me away from the computer lately in addition to working on Jo's birthday gift which I can't show yet of course. I made a fair amount of progress on that project this weekend and I'm hoping to finish it off before Friday.

As an alternative, I've been knitting away on this in the hope that it will become my first felted item. It is knit from this cool yarn that is thick and think and has nubbies throughout. It will be felted down to something more the size of the photo I hope. Currently it could be a very funky tube top or a very short mini skirt. The pattern is a free one that you can find on the Berroco site. They have a newsletter that I subscribe to and they often send free patterns or links to their pattern library and I've printed out quite a few of them. This will be my first freebie project from them. The color I chose is called Damariscotta which I thought was appropriate because it's a river and town in Maine. At least I think there is a river too....

April 5, 2006

April Snow

It started snowing this afternoon. I know it won't last but it's a bit disheartening to look out the window and see that white stuff coming down in April. I hope by the time I get up in the morning, it will all have melted away!

Since I can't show my exchange stitching and I've not done any more work on Storey Keeper this week, here is a photo of one of the lovely pillow covers that a friend brought back for me from India. He took his family back to visit and they did the tourist thing by going to Jaipur. It's the handi-craft capital of India as he told me and these pillows are just gorgeous aren't they? The fabric is silk and the stitching is gold - just lovely. They match the colors in my living room nicely so I just need to get the right size pillow inserts and I will keep them on my couch.

April 3, 2006

Three Delightful Packages

Today I had not one, not two, but three packages waiting for me when I got home. The first was from Laura in my Yahoo group exchange. She stitched me the most adorable Britty Bunny chart and made it into a lovely bag. The stitching is perfect and the cording is all hand made and her sewing skills are wonderful. She filled the bag with lots of goodies including two kits, a perforated paper Easter egg kit and a really neat sampler kit from Periwinkle Promises called April Too Sampler Accent. It will make a really cute pillow I can display. She also sent a lovely silver tape measure and needle holder - they are so pretty and I have nothing like them. A cute porcelain bunny button and a package of needles round out the stash - plus some yummy Easter candy of course! Thank you Laura!

The other two packages contained my threads and accent for Melanie's Exchange on the SBEBB board. I love, love, love what was sent and am going to look through my books to see what I might stitch using these goodies. I also got my April Essy's Friends kit which I will put away for a bit so I can concentrate on exchange stitching. I hope your Monday turned out as great as mine!

April 2, 2006

900 Stitches

In order to counteract my startitis, today I got out my Storey Keeper piece and spent a large part of the day working on her. I have completed 9 10x10 boxes which amounts to 900 stitches. How can so many stitches look so small on the fabric? You can see in the photo that I'm actually using a hoop. This is a very rare occurrence for me but I found it is allowing to work much more quickly with such a large piece of fabric. This is the hoop I bought for my rug hooking class and it has two different sized hoops that can be converted into a lap frame. I am using the larger hoop to hold the fabric and the smaller size as the base. I was really surprised to find that it works quite well.

The last time I took a photo of this piece was on February 7th. The detail in these HAED pieces is just amazing. Some of the blues are almost indistinguishable from one another so I have to be extremely careful I'm working with the right symbol and color. Nicki's technique of parking the threads is working quite well.

I think I will continue working on this piece during the week when I'm not working on Jo's birthday exchange piece. It's exciting to see the progress - even when measured in centimeters!

Barbara, I get my hair cut in Amherst, NH which is about an hour and a half from my house. The salon is called Portfolio and my stylist is Reina. She's incredibly talented but I'm not sure your friend will want to drive all that way!

April 1, 2006

Doing My Best to Support Local LNSs!

I finally have some photos to share as a result of a trip to Freeport. Last fall, I stumbled upon the website of Pheasant Run Needlecrafts which is located in Freeport, ME. It is run out of a small space attached to the owner's house. While not a large shop, it did have a pretty diverse range of charts and punchneedle. I managed to pick up three charts and three GAST threads that I thought I didn't have but of course I found out I had two of them when I got home.

I obviously must have been in a springy mood because all three charts have flowers as the focus. The two M Designs (Simple Sampler #2 and Floral Sampler) were new ones for me but I'm not sure if they are new releases. They are a bit different from what I usually go for, especially the Floral Sampler which has a very Art Deco feel to it. They use a combination of NPI silks (my favorites!) and Gloriana and Thread Gatherer fibers. The JBW Design is just really cute and I figured it would stitch up quite quickly.

I don't have most of the fibers currently in my stash so maybe I will use a little bit of my tax refund money to get them. It's probably good that I don't have the threads as I would have started them today. I have startitis! But I must get more done on Jo's birthday exchange piece before I can start anything new.