June 27, 2006

Thank you Handyman Dave!

Handyman Dave was able to come over yesterday and get my two other brackets installed so I was able to hang up my curtains last night. Unfortunately, despite all my measuring care, they were not level. So Handyman Dave came over this morning before going on a lobstering trip to move one of the brackets up. The result is as follows:

Sorry the photos are not the greatest. This is a dark room and although I tried to photoshop them closer to the original, they are not great pictures. Some things you will notice I'm sure - they are short. When I originally did the measurements, I thought I would have them hang just above the baseboard heaters. They are a bit longer and now I think they need to come to the floor. I have a few options, find a trim and add it to the bottom or add additional material and "fudge" the look to make them reach the floor. There are hold backs that match the rod and I think that would help to spruce them up. I could also use corded tassels or something like that. I do have a two inch brown fringe trim with enough to attach a row at the top or at the bottom but the bottoms will still be short of the floor I think. Here is a closeup of the fabric of the curtains and two other fabrics in the color grouping that could potentially be used to trim these. I was thinking of creating a tablecloth using one, two or all three of the fabrics.

Your opinions are welcome so please comment!

June 26, 2006

HAED Storey Keeper Update

Here are two pictures of my latest progress on my HAED. I've now completed 2,400 stitches. I took a close up and a distance (not the greatest of photos) because I think you get to see the affect better with the far away view. With the weather so cloudy and grey, it's hard to work on this - I really have to use the cheaters for this project. I am hoping we will eventually get some sun and that I can stitch outside. It's much easier to see with good daylight. I wish I had a camera with a zoom for these kinds of photos!

It rained quite a bit again today and most of last night. Everything is so clammy and damp I can't stand it. My towels are sour after one day and every piece of paper in the house is limp. I think even Cowboy is depressed by the weather. He's been moping around looking for something to do but being outside is pretty miserable as the mosquitoes are huge and hungry. Please oh please will someone send some sunshine????

June 25, 2006

Not A Total Washout

The weekend that is! Although it was a very gloomy weekend weatherwise, I did get some things accomplished. I sewed curtains for my dining room but I can't show you a photo yet because there were some issues with the installation of the rod. These types of things are when it sucks to be single and live alone. I am going to have to call Handyman Dave and see if he can fix the mess I made of some of my drywall and get the other two brackets hung. Hopefully he can get here this week and I will take a photo of the curtains hung. They are rather plain and I fell like they may need some kind of further embellishment but I'm undecided as to what it should be. I bought some trim when I bought the fabric (all from Walmart again!!) but I'm not sure it's right. I will look forward to your thoughts on that subject once you see them hung.

I did get quite a bit done on Dainty House Wren yesterday and today I put a lot of good time into my HAED. I will show you a picture tomorrow because I plan to put a bit more time into it this evening.

Although I had a three day weekend, I'm sorry to see Monday come. And I can't believe that next weekend is basically 4th of July weekend. Will we ever have a summer up here? I hope you had a great weekend and thanks for stopping by as always!

June 23, 2006


I took the day off today and this is part of what I have to show for it: G is for Goose is now finished. I'm going to put this away for a little bit so that I can devote some time to my HAED piece and also start a gift for someone that will need to be done the end of next month. I also worked a bit on CHS Dainty Housewren so I will probably have update pics of that piece tomorrow.

The weather here is supposed to be rainy this weekend - again! We did have some this morning while I was on my way to get a haircut - my first in Maine - and it feels like it will rain again tonight. While I was hoping for some beach weather this weekend, I have plenty of things I can do indoors including more sewing for my kitchen and there are definitely a number of stitched items that could use finishing. We shall see what tomorrow holds.

Thank goodness for the weekend!

June 21, 2006

Happy Summer Solstice!

Today is the longest day of sunlight all year long and the day to celebrate the summer solstice. It was totally gorgeous here and I sat out on the patio at work and ate my lunch today. It was very hard to go back inside to my desk.

Sorry it's been a week without pictures. I have been working on my second sock and this morning started the heel. Tonight was obedience class so I won't make too much progress tonight I think. We did pretty well in class and the instructor showed me how to be a bit firmer on some things with Cowboy. We are half way through our 6 week course and I'm pretty happy with how we're doing.

I am planning to take Friday off this week so I should have some pictures of stitching and knitting to share before the week is out!

Hope you got out and enjoyed that extra sunshine!

June 19, 2006

Good neighbors

I have to say one of the lucky things about my move to Maine is that I live on a street with very good neighbors - something I never valued all that much as I tend to mind my own business. Tonight after walking Cowboy, I was watering my plants and grass when my behind-me neighbor Sue came out to ask if I liked salmon. The answer was a definite yes. Her husband had grilled salmon for dinner and they had extra. I was the lucky recipient of a "no cooking on my part" dinner of a salmon steak grilled to perfection. Yummy to say the least!

There is a nice cooling breeze blowing in so I'm going to sit and work on my sock for a bit. I also went to the library after work and came back with a renewed Shipping News and three other new books: The Conjurer's Bird by Martin Davies which I had out before but had to return, The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis and London is the Best City in America by Laura Dave. All new authors to me so I hope I like them! What a nice way to end a Monday. Now if I could just figure out my blog spacing error......


I spent countless hours yesterday afternoon in my 84 degree "office" trying to add a Knit Kit Swap button to my blog and start a list of all the blogs I read. Right when I thought I had it figured out, either Blogger failed or my PC failed because everything was lost. Sigh, I've now got to go back and recreate what I did yesterday and try and figure out my spacing issues. I thought this was supposed to be "push button publishing"????

It was quite a warm day yesterday - our first of the summer. I haven't put my AC units in yet and I must say I was sorry for that yesterday. But I put a call into my handy man guy to hopefully install them this week. One is just too heavy and the other goes in one of my new windows and the frames are different so I'm afraid it will fall out unless it's screwed in and I am not going to be the one to drill into my new windows. I will let Dave figure it out.

On the crafty front, I did managed to sew a curtain for my bathroom window and get that hung and I sewed up a panel to hide my storage space in the bathroom and I'm really pleased with the results. I also managed to get some stitching in so here are pictures of that and the progress of my second STR Pebble Beach sock.

June 18, 2006

Knit Sock Kit Swap Answers!

This is my first time joining a knitting related exchange and I'm really excited about it. The knitalong involves hand making a bag of some sort and then finding a pattern and sock yarn and other knitting related goodies and sending them along to your partner. I've already been mulling around ideas that would incorporate both sewing and stitching to create the bag but I had better not wait to long to get something going.

What are your favorite colors? My favorite colors are green, red and purple.
Are you a new sock knitter? How long have you been knitting socks? I have been knitting socks for about a year now.
Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn? I have tons of multicolored but no solids in my stash so it might be nice to have a solid to use for a beautiful stitch design that wouldn't be seen as well with a multicolor.
What fibers do you prefer in sock yarn? I have mainly wool in my stash but am open to experimenting with cotton or combinations. Most important to me is how it will feel on the foot.
Where do you usually knit socks? Either in my living room chair or now that the weather is nice, out on my front porch.
How do you usually carry/store small projects? Right now all my knitting is toted around in a large Vera Bradley bag I got as a gift. I really don' t have any small project bags that would be perfect for sock knitting.
What are your favorite sock knitting patterns? My old faithful sock patter is Classic Socks by Yankee Knitter Designs. I also have Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road which I really like a lot. I'm knitting my first pair of socks out of this book. I plan to get her latest book at some point. My next pair of socks will be an attempt to knit some Jaywalkers.
What are your favorite sock knitting techniques? I only know how to knit on DPNs and I really love the "old fashioned" feel of this.
What new techniques would you like to try? I'm not sure I'm interested enough in learning how to knit on circulars because I really like DPNs.
Do you prefer circulars or dpns for sock knitting? Definitely DPNs.
What are some of your favorite yarns? I love, love, love Blue Moon Fiber Arts' Socks That Rock and have recently purchased some Claudia yarn but haven't worked with it yet. Definitely a preference for hand dyed and superwash merino but I'm open to trying new yarns.
What yarn do you totally covet? I'd like to try some Vesper, Lorna's Laces, Sweet Georgia yarns, Lisa Souza or Texas Hill Country hand dyed sock yarns.
Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object? Not that I can think of!Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)? I love Brittany needles and Addi Turbos.
If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be? Oh I'd be Socks That Rock by Blue Moon Fiber arts - soft and colorful and just amazing. :-)
Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? I love chocolate and nuts together and especially love dark chocolate.
What's your favorite animal? Horses
Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages? I have a 2 year old Jack Russell Terrier named Cowboy that I recently adopted.
If you were a color what color would you be? Either red or purple or a combination because I love both colors.
Describe your favorite shirt (yours or someone else's). I am a t-shirt person - slogan or not, not too tightly fitting and soft, soft, soft and large.
What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature? Any tree
Tell me the best quote you've ever heard or read. I read this on a headstone in the cemetery where I walk daily: "To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die". I just think that is soooo powerful.
Do you have a wishlist? Not really. I'm trying to stitch from my stash right now and not buy anything new. If I had to say something, I would like Mason Dixon Knitting or Wendy Johnson's new books.
Anything else you'd like to share with the group today? I so look forward to being in this exchange and to get to know my partner better.

There you have it! My answers and probably a lot more than you needed to know. I'm really very easy to please so whoever has me for a partner needn't worry about what they send. I will love it!

June 16, 2006

Yeah - A Finish

This morning I finished up my first summer sock! It is so unbelievable soft. I sure hope I got the sizing right as this will be a gift. It's for someone with a size 6 shoe size - do you think it looks right? Only time will tell I guess. I plan to cast on for the second one momentarily.

Last night I got some decent stitching done at my s&b group at the quilt store. Here are updated photos of my CHS Dainty House Wren and CHS Alphabet Sampler pieces. I started in the middle of Dainty House Wren so the part I'm working on is her skirt. I really like how the colors are coming out on the Ink Spot fabric.

June 14, 2006

Forward Progress

First, thank you to all for your thoughtful comments on yesterday's post. The great thing about stitchers is that although we come in many different shapes, colors and nationalities, not to mention geographic locations, we still seem to have so much in common and think alike in a lot of ways.

Tonight was my and Cowboy's second obedience class. Let's just say I'm drinking a big glass of wine while I type this! LOL It was 150% better than last week and I'm really proud of him. Last week he was so stressed out and overexcited I thought there was no way we would ever make any progress. He cried and flipped out for most of the hour long class and had to be located in a hallway rather than the actual room for the class. We did a lot of work over the course of the week and I saw a lot of improvement in his obedience. Tonight I got there early and there was only one dog there before us. This gave him a chance to freak out and then get over it as more dogs arrived. By the time the class was over, he was so exhausted from being excited and working, he ran out of steam. Overall he was really well behaved, sitting beside me and not doing the incessant crying and whining he exhibited last week. That's progress! I think he will sleep very well tonight and I know I will!

On the stitching front, I started CHS Dainty House Wren on Monday night and I've put some more time into G is for Goose. I'm happy with my progress on both pieces and hope to finish G by the weekend if I get some quality stitch time. I'm much happier with how the outlining looks now that more of the design is visible.

June 13, 2006

Goal Setting Phenomenon

Does this happen to you? If you've been reading my blog, you know I set a bunch of stitching, reading and knitting goals for myself for this summer. Well, I'm into the 2nd week of June and I find myself totally stressed out by the imagined deadlines these goals represent. As I was knitting on my sock this morning, I kept thinking I should be knitting faster if I'm to have any hope of finishing more than one pair of socks per month this summer. Lost in the drive to achieve my goal is the pleasure I find in the actual knitting. Instead of focusing on my pleasure in the fantastic yarn I'm working with and the satisfaction that comes from seeing the finished result of my time and effort is a frantic feeling that I need to work faster. This is the same with my reading goals - I've yet to start one of the books on my summer reading list and that's stressing me out! The only place I'm ahead is with stitching.

While I know there is satisfaction in checking off a goal achieved, the self induced stress of achieving them is sapping my enjoyment in the tasks. I've decided to slow down and enjoy the summer - as brief as it is - and be happy with whatever I have accomplished by the beginning of September. To take the time to savor my pleasure in the art of knitting, the rhythmic flow of yarn through my fingers and the feel of the needles in my hand. To enjoy the pull of thread through fabric and the developing design that results as I poke my needle in and out of the linen. The pleasure that comes with opening a new book and reading that first word and the anticipation of turning that next page, falling deeper under the spell of the author's words.

Note to self: Life is often too short - slow down and savor the simple pleasures and gifts that it brings each day. Won't you join me?

I leave you with the magnificent progress that is my first sock of June. I hope the giftee will eventually take as much pleasure in it as the gifter is having in creating it!

PS: I just came in from sitting out on my porch with Cowboy, enjoying the great breeze and warm weather and knitting on my sock! :-)

June 12, 2006

What constitutes an obsession?

This was waiting for me when I got home today. Six skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock lightweight superwash merino. That makes 12 skeins of hand dyed sock yarn in the last week alone! Do you think there's a problem? I don't think I can make a unbiased ruling on this one. Pictured are top row left to right - County Clare, Sherbet, Saratoga (definitely reserved for me!) and Dutch Canyon. Below that is Highway 30 and Fred Flinstone (reserved for me too I think!). I just had to buy all of this when I saw that Blue Moon had updated it's website. God I love this yarn. I'm really beginning to think I'm out of control. However, Amy the creator of the Spunky Eclectic sock yarn I bought at the Fiber Frolic said she had enough to make 200 pairs when she last counted her stash so I'm really not doing so bad right? :-)

I've also got an update tonight on my CHS alphabet piece. The goose is stitched in GAST Cotton Candy which is quite hard to see on my ivory colored fabric. So I decided to outline the goose in black and while it helps you to see the shape, I'm not sure I like it. I think I'm going to end up leaving it because I dread having to pull it out. What do you think?

I'm going to give myself a break from this tonight and start CHS Dainty House Wren. Danielle is almost finished her piece so I'm hoping she will change its UFO status to finished. I bought the fabric and NPI silks to do the design in both colorways. Tonight I will start the R&R Inkspot Black version. I just love the colors and the design on this piece. Anyone else interested in SALing along is welcome!

June 11, 2006

Finally drying out!

Today was actually a day with no rain! YEAH!! We had some fairly decent sunshine and pretty nice temps. Cowboy and I went for several very nice walks. I also managed to wash down my porch furniture - everything is covered in green pollen - argh. And I also cleaned off the grill and fired it up so I could use it to grill some shrimp kabobs this evening for dinner. I also ripped and cut out a bunch of maple seedlings that had started to overgrow my lilac bushes. I probably need to do some more cutting but it looks much better than it did. Yard work is hard work! LOL I also managed to do two loads of laundry, wash the dog, mop the bedroom and bathroom floors and clean the bathroom. Boy am I tired!

And I even managed to accomplish some stitching today too! I am supposed to be stitching on UFOs with the LAS bb but since I seem to be the only one UFOing, I didn't feel like picking up my Snug needleroll today. Instead I put some quality time into my HAED Storey Keeper since we finally had some sunshine. It's so much easier to stitch on this with good natural light. Plus I've recently gotten a pair of "cheaters" from the eye doctor to help with over one stitching. Here is progres from May (on the left) and my progress as of today. I will have completed 1,800 stitches with today's work. Seems like an awful small corner for 1,800 stitches doesn't it?

I hope you had a wonderful and productive weekend!

June 10, 2006

Maine Fiber Frolic

Despite today being a grey and rainy day - AGAIN!!! I decided to venture up north to my first fiber event. The 2006 Maine Fiber Frolic is taking place this weekend at the Windsor Fairgrounds. Windsor is east of Augusta and took me about 2 hours to reach. Not too many cars in the parking lot when I arrived around noon - I think the weather kept a lot of people indoors. My pictures aren't that great - it was soo gloomy even with the flash.

I wandered around the barns and looked at the alpacas, sheep and goats - some interesting displays of heritage breeds and angora goats. A man was giving instructions to two younger boys on how to show their goats which was fun to watch. There were also some adorable angora rabbits - the yarn for sale was just incredibly soft and lovely. I was also very tempted to buy some alpaca yarn but resisted!

Then it was a wander through the commercial tents and various booths with fiber related products. I wandered through everything first, had some lunch and then went back to buy some.... sock yarn of course! I bought 4 skeins of hand dyed superwash merino from a woman named Amy King. Her brand name is Spunky Eclectic and I bought two skeins of Dinasour and two skeins of Gunsmoke. It's so much nicer to be able to see colors in person versus seeing them on your computer monitor. There were some really lovely things available for sale but I stayed under my $50.00 budget - barely!

I think this would have been a more worthwhile trip if the weather had been better. It ended up being a 4 hour drive for just 1.5 hours spent at the event.

June 9, 2006

Green Goodness from Australia

This is the lovely package I received from Dot in Australia as part of the yahoo group we both belong to. The group organizes many wonderful exchanges and this one was about a specific color - my choice was green obviously! Dot sent tons of fabulous threads, two really great charts I can't wait to stitch, lovely fabric, the most adorable wooden kangaroo button and a lovely candle with a scent called Lime Mojito as well as some gorgeous hand dyed silk threads in "Tuscan Olive". I will have to go through my stash to find just the right thing to stitch using these beautiful items. Thank you so very much Dot!

In other news, I'm really glad today is Friday. Tomorrow I'm off to the Maine Fiber Frolic in Windsor where I will try to be good and not come home with tons of sock yarn but I'm not promising anything. I'm ready to turn my heel on my first sock with the Summer of Socks KAL and hope to finish the first one and cast on for the mate this weekend.

June 6, 2006

A little bit of sunshine

Today we had some sunshine for the first time in what seems like a month even though it was only a few days. So far June has not felt very much like summer. And unfortunately they are forecasting more rain - including over the weekend. Ugh. Everything is nice and green but I want to go to the beach and it has felt more like fall this past week than summer.

However, I have been making progress on my summer goal projects - with this weather it's good to have indoor hobbies! Last night I started working on G is for Goose on my CHS alphabet piece. Once I pick this up, I always end up working on it longer than I intend to because it goes so quickly. If I keep up at the pace I've been going, I'll have this particular stitching goal accomplished by the end of June! Which wouldn't be a bad thing as I've got the itch to start a new project - most likely CHS Dainty House Wren which never seems to get started and I've had it kitted up for months.

I've also been making great progress on my first pair of summer socks. I've got about 1/2 an inch more and I'll start the heel on the first sock. This yarn is so incredibly soft to work with - I am definitely in love with this yarn.

I've also read about 65 pages of The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. It's going much faster than the first time I read it but its been long enough since my first reading that I don't remember much so it's all new reading. I'm considering renting the movie version once I've finished to book to see how it compares to the book.

June 4, 2006

Nicely Productive Weekend

Yeah - I finished F is for Farm - once step closer to accomplishing one of my summer stitching goals! I also started my first pair of socks for the Summer of Socks KAL. I love the yarn I'm working with - Socks That Rock in Pebble Beach.

The picture isn't that great - it's a combination of greens, turquoise, brown and tan. It is really soft and it will be hard to give up these socks but I'm earmarking them for a Christmas present. Now that it's in public, I have to follow through right?

Tonight I plan to make a start on The Shipping News by Annie Proulx so that I can also start one of my designated summer reads without feeling guilty. I have to have TSN finished in time to discuss it on the 28th.

June 1, 2006

Summer Goals

Okay, I don't usually post goals but I've been inspired to set some reading, knitting and hopefully stitching goals for this summer.

This is my reading list:
1. The Parrots of Telegraph Hill by Mark Bittner
2. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Froer
3. Do They Wear High Heels in Heaven? by Erica Orloff
4. Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
5. Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire
6. A House for Mr. Biswas by V. S. Naipul
7. Chocolat by Joanne Harris
8. The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman
9. Beginners Luck by Laura Pederson

I think a goal of reading three per month should be doable. I will also be reading The Shipping News by Annie Proulx for my June library book group. I've read it before but it was a very long time ago so it will be almost as if I haven't read it at all.

My Knitting Goals:

I am planning to KAL along with the group doing Summer of Socks. I've committed to knit as many pairs of socks as I can by the end of the summer. I also plan to knit a cardigan and the tank sweater I mentioned in my last post.

With just those knitting and reading goals, it's hard to imagine having time to do much stitching but here are a few goals:

1. Finish the letters F, G, H, I and J by September 1 so that I can send them to Vivian.
2. Stitch A, B, C and D from the Erica Michael's freebies for the alphabet book.
3. Finish stitching page 1 and start page 2 of the Storey Keeper.
4. Finish my Snug needleroll UFO project.

Stay tuned to see how it goes!