May 31, 2006

Yarney Goodness

While I haven't bought any cross stitch stash lately (other than the Essy's Friends automatics), I have been buying a fair amount of yarn lately. My latest purchases arrived yesterday from Kpixie - three skeins of bamboo yarn in a color called Sky to make the sweater pictured on the cover of the Summer 2006 edition of Interweave Knits and two skeins of handpainted sock yarn by Claudia in the colorway John B.

I must stop reading other knitter's blogs because I've been totally sucked deeper into my sock obsession. That is the way I recently discovered Blue Moon Fiber Arts and ended up buying two skeins of their unbelievably soft and gorgeous Socks that Rock yarn in Red Rock Canyon and Pebble. I think I will be starting a basic sock using Pebble tomorrow to kick off my Summer of Socks. While putting in the link, I discovered they have updated their site with new colors so I'm off to see if I can be tempted a bit more before June 1st and the "I'm on the wagon" starts.

May 30, 2006

Back to stitching

Yesterday I actually picked up my cross stitch for the first time in over a week. I am back to working on the CHS Alphabet over one. As you can see from the photo, I'm up to F is for Farm. This one doesn't have a border like the rest do and I think it may have been one of the earliest designs. I really think it's cute and it's going really fast. I worked on it again this morning so maybe if I manage that the rest of the week, I can have it finished over the weekend.

It was so hard to go back to work today - after three days off, it's hard to get back into the swing of working again! And today was just gorgeous weatherwise - cooler and brilliantly sunny. It would be great if our whole summer stayed just like today!

Thank you to all who have taken the time to comment on my blog. I really appreciate it! I'm behind in posting but I have been reading! There are some gorgeous things underway - both knitted and stitched and it's really inspiring. Keep up the great work!

May 29, 2006

More Pictures of Casa Pearl

I was having trouble adding these to my first post. The top two photos are my porch from the left and right sides of the front door. The bottom two photos are of my mulching with new perennials (an astilbe and jacobs ladder to the right with existing day lillies on the left) and my window boxes. I filled them with pinkypurple geraniums, licorice plant, sweet potato vine and I can't rember what the other varigated plant is. Everything but the geraniums should drape over the edges of the boxes once they get going.

A Very Productive Long Weekend

Well, the three day Memorial weekend is drawing to a close. I'm sorry to see it end but I'm really happy with all that I accomplished. And there's only four work days this week so the weekend will arrive quickly!

On Saturday I was out very early (7:15am) to get plants and mulch for the yard. I planted two new perennials and my window boxes and mulched my beds. Last year I didn't do anything because I was busy on the inside and getting settled into my new job and home. This year everything looks much better at Casa Pearl. On Sunday I hung these cute green lanterns I found at Target - they are battery operated! and my wind chimes and lanterns that I have had for a while. I am really pleased with how everything turned out and Cowboy and I spent quite a bit of time sitting on the porch yesterday afternoon.

This morning I made curtains for my kitchen windows - can you believe that everything is from Walmart - the fabric, trim and rods? I am so pleased with how these turned out - pretty professional if you ask me! :-) I even hung the rods myself this afternoon. I tend to procrastinate on things like that but was determined I wasn't going to let my beautiful curtains lie around for another week before I hung them. I plan to make some kind of seat covers and panels to hide some storage I have. That will probably wait until next weekend though.

And just a short time ago, I finished the first Conwy sock. I think I could have gone one more row of cables before beginning the decrease for the toe as it's a tiny bit short which may make it wear faster. I think will add the extra cable to the other sock and see how they wear. Please disregard the pasty leg in the photo! I'm thrilled to finally have completed at least one of these socks. I may wait a week or so before starting the other. The first one took forever!

I hope you enjoyed your long holiday weekend and thanks to those who've served our country and are memorialized on this day.

May 27, 2006

Cursed Conwy

This is an updated photo of my progress on my Conwy sock from the Nancy Bush book Knitting on the Road. Last night, I had the brilliant idea of trying them on to see how the heel fit and snapped one of the needles. I use Brittany 5" bamboo needles and this was the second of this pair of #1s that I've broken on this sock. Since it was about 7:30pm, there wasn't much hope I'd find another set of needles anywhere in town but I did attempt Walmart. Of course, they had 50 zillion crochet hooks and some straight knitting needles but no dpns. So now I'm waiting for the quilt shop across the street to open and hoping they have a set of 1s in bamboo. I know they don't carry Brittany's but I'm desperate so I'll take anything. Otherwise I have to trek into Kennebunk which on a big tourist weekend is to be avoided if at all possible. I swear it will be a miracle if I ever finish these socks. Maybe I should give them a break and start a really simple sock pattern?

May 25, 2006

Not quite a delinquent after all

Tonight I took Cowboy to the animal shelter where we will be taking obedience classes. I was very concerned about how aggressive and hyper he is when he sees other dogs while we are out walking. I figured if he reacts that way during class, no one will get anything out of it because of the disruption.

I had a private lesson with one of the instructors and overall he was really good. They actually had a class going so he was exposed to a lot of other dogs which is good. The instructor felt that after the first class or two he should be just fine and gave me some techniques to work on before class starts on June 7th. I think it will be really good for Cowboy to have something to keep his mind working on and maybe off of thoughts of eating the cat across the street at the first opportunity!

Tomorrow is Friday and the start of a long weekend - I can't wait! The weather looks pretty good and I hope to get my flower boxes planted and some landscaping started. I hope you have some wonderful plans for your long weekend as well!

May 24, 2006

UFO Progress

Last week I picked up my Snug needleroll for the first time since March. I didn't accomplish a whole lot and there is an error in one of the areas I did stitch. I completed the three other corner woven stitch blocks and put in the beds at the top of the piece. That is where the problem lies - my spacing is off on the left hand side by two squares. I of course did not discover this until I had done all of the back stitching.

For now I'm going to leave it be. Once it's rolled up, I don't think it will be all that apparent. I will test out that theory once the whole piece has been completed. I wish I had more time to work on it but I was trying to complete my crocheted bag and I'm still obsessed with my sock knitting plus I had to finish my library book group selection as the discussion was this evening.

May 23, 2006

Back to regularly scheduled blogging

It's been a week since I've sat down to write a blog entry - there's been a lot going on lately. Tonight I want to share the wonderful package I received yesterday from Chiara for Melanie's Exchange with the SBEBB. It is just gorgeous and she hand made the box as well. Isn't she talented? The paper that lines the box is a gorgeous green with fairies on it. I will display it on my nightstand next to the wall where my other heart pieces are displayed. She included a wonderful smelling candle, a great heart chart and note pad as well as some lovely colors of Danish flower thread. Thank you Chiara for taking the time to scout out my blog and stitch the perfect design for me - hearts! It's really funny because I stitched this exact same design for my partner Sabine. She received her gift and seems quite happy with it.

I finished it using a piece of foam core board wrapped in cotton batting and then I attached the two pieces of fabric using glue. Then I found a perfect color ribbon, formed a hanger with a knot tied in and glued the two ends around the sides of the piece. I couldn't figure out a way to personalize the stitched piece so I included a littlee hang tag that says "To Sabine from Patti". I was lucky enough to have a piece of fabric that matched the thread colors I was sent really well.

Last night was the final crochet class. I sewed my purse together and now I just need to make a handle and attach it and sew on my buttons. I will show a picture once it's completely finished but I really like it. It was a pretty quick project to make and might be a good idea for Christmas gifts.

May 16, 2006

The destroyer

I finally remembered where I had tucked the bag of toys that Cowboy's foster mother had given me when I picked him up and gave Cowboy one of the squeaky toys. He proceeded to rip it apart, pulling off the spider's legs and ripping out the squeaker and all of the stuffing inside. I got him to look up for the camera only by offering a few treats. He's quite the killer of all things!

New Hooker again!

Last night was my second session for my crochet class. The two blue (blue again!!) swatches are my practice squares which the teacher deemed good enough for me to start on the actual purse that we are making in the class. It's a really simple small purse to carry a few things in for a summer outing.

I chose the salmony color cotton yarn at the bottom to work with and got started. It will basically be a long rectangle that will be folded and sewn to create a purse and we'll make a hanger to attach. I must say I enjoy crocheting. I have found it easier to master than knitting for the most part with my greatest difficulty being figuring out how to hold the thread in my left hand to keep tension even and make it possible to crochet at a fair rate.

Next Monday is the last class. I've really enjoyed the instructor - she was also the teacher for my sweater construction class. She had such good short cuts and was a really nice person. She will probably teach some fall classes so I will be on the look out for those.

May 12, 2006

R.I.P. or RIP?

Well, I had a sweater finishing class on Wednesday and I took along my sock in the hopes of asking the instructor where I had gone wrong. She helpfully showed me where I had misunderstood the pattern chart. But this meant a decision of either continuing on with the errors or ripping the 10 cables I had already completed out and starting over - for the 4th time. When I left the shop on Wednesday, I wasn't ripping out. By the time I got home, I sat and ripped it out. This is a fabulous patterned sock and I really want to get it right. So on Thursday night at my S&B group, I restarted the pattern. So far I've gotten 3 cables finished and it looks much better.

Tomorrow starts my UFO week with a BB I belong to so I think I'm going to start a little early. I will be working on my Snug needleroll which I haven't picked up since March. Here is where I left off. I will start with the remaining 3 woven stitches in the corners and then go up or down. The weather here has been really rainy and damp so it's perfect for sitting and stitching.

On a four legged note, today Colby (we're trying this name out instead of Cowboy) had a vet appointment. He's doing great but we really need to work on the aggressive behavior - he gave the most adorable new puppy a very traumatic first vet experience by barking like crazy. I've now filled all my coat pockets with bits of dog treats to try and do some on leash training. The vet suggested a Gentle Leader so I may go to the pet store and pick one up tomorrow. I had to use one on my other JRT for pulling issues so I'm familiar with how they work.

Colby is such a great dog in every other way but I am afraid of letting him get close to other dogs as he's already bitten one while on leash. I also got him registered in town and received the paperwork to get his microchip transferred to me. I've had him two weeks now and I can't believe how fast the time has gone. We are going to start a refresher obedience class on June 7th so I hope to get his aggressiveness under control by then.

May 10, 2006

Blogger wouldn't let me post this last night for some reason - this is my progress as of Sunday. I worked on this last night and have completed the lower most left hand block to total 1,400 stitches completed.

May 9, 2006

Blues and more blues

For someone who is not a fan of the color blue, I'm sure working with it a lot these days! My Conwy socks are being knit with a variegated blue yarn and my Storey Keeper is tons and tons of different shades of blue.

I've completed 8 cable rounds on my sock with four more to go before starting the heel. I know there are some errors - I'm find it difficult to maintain the pattern on needles 1 and 4 which have a decrease every 8 rows. I think you'd have to be a knitter or looking extremely close to tell so I'm not going to worry about it too much. The most visible part, the front, looks really good.

This past Sunday, I put some quality time into my HAED Storey Keeper piece. As of tonight, I've completed 1400 stitches - and the stitched area is barely an inch wide by about 1 3/4 inches long. Talk about slow moving progress!

Last night I drove to Portsmouth for a crochet class. I've been seeing some wonderful edges on knit sweaters that call for crochet plus some really cool crochet pieces so I signed up for the class back in January. It's three consecutive Mondays. I like the teacher and I picked up the hang of crocheting quite quickly. The hardest part is holding the yarn right because it's held by my left hand instead of the right as I'm used to with knitting. We will end up making a small crocheted purse that can be used as a summer bag. Tomorrow night I go back for a sweater finishing class.

May 6, 2006

Persistence Pays Off

I restarted my problem sock last night and here is the result of taking my time and checking twice! You can't really see the cabling pattern - I wish I had a zoom lens on my camera. I think my yarn choice is a bit to puffy for the design but if you have the piece in your hand, you can see the cables. I got a new Patterworks catalog in the mail today and they have some Lorna's Laces which was used in the pattern. I may just have to buy a few skeins to see if there's a big difference.

I also started the finishing of my Melanie's Exchange piece. I need to go to Walmart tomorrow to see if I can find a color coordinated ribbon to finish it off. Then it's just a waiting game for the goodies I ordered from Elegant Stitch to arrive and it will be ready to send off to its new home.

I also started putting in basting lines for the Erica Michael's alphabet pieces. I'm trying to be careful to ensure I have enough fabric to do the finishing. It says to make sure there are 12 squares (24 threads) between the two designs so I've folded my fabric down the middle and then basted a line 6 threads out from the fold (it has its own basting line) on either side. I also put in a horizontal center basting line. I'm a bit concerned because it says to center the design on the individual sides of the fabric but it seems that with the lines for the space between blocks/fold line, my stitched piece will be closer to the fold line. I hope this is correct - I'm thinking it is to allow for attaching the pieces together on the right? I sure hope so!

May 4, 2006

King of the Castle

From the look of this picture, I would say that Cowboy is settling in just fine. He has gotten more playful and enthusiastic each day when I come home. He greets me with a happy stub tail and kisses which is a great change from just a week ago. He remains good as gold. There are signs of the stubborn JRT personality and he's got the most amazing nose for scents but overall he is very well behaved. All of my neighbors are getting used to seeing him up in the window watching everything that goes on. He is really a great little guy and I'm so happy he's mine.

Tuesday night I went through my stash and picked some fabric and threads to start the Erica Michael's Stitcher's Surprise Alphabet book. I've decided to use this raw linen (it's not marked so I think that's what it is. I had two separate pieces in my stash which will be enough to do the first six letters. I've decided to use WDS Adobe for the Algerian eyelet and WDW Celebration for the Butterfly stitch. I also printed out D is for Daffodil and Diamond Ray. I'm pretty sure there's a WDW color called Daffodil so I'm probably use that and I'm leaning towards Mermaid for C is for Castle. I hope to start this project this weekend so "photos coming soon" on that one.

I also went ahead and ordered the next five lettes of the CHS alphabet series - F, G, H, I and J - from Wyndham Needleworks. This weekend I must complete the finishing on my Melanie's Exchange piece so it will be ready to go when the stash I ordered for my partner arrives from Elegant Stitch. I really hope she will like it as I have been doing a bit of snooping on her blog! It's such fun to try and surprise people.

May 1, 2006

Not meant to be?

Tonight I ripped out the sock I started for the second time yesterday. I had dropped a stitch and discovered it several rows later and then discovered I had gained a bunch of extra stitches on one needle. I have a very bad habit of forgetting to bring the yarn to the back after purling on this sock for some reason. So rather than suffer the pain of slowly reverse knitting when it had taken me so long to knit in the first place, I ripped the whole thing out and decided maybe this pattern wasn't meant to be for me at this point.

However, a step away from the project convinced me that I am not willing to give up on mastering this pattern so I will be restarting the sock - but probably not tonight! LOL I think I need a break. I cut off the section that I had knitted twice as it was quite kinked and looking a bit worn. I will start fresh tomorrow!