Monday, October 30, 2006

Weekend Update

Thanks so much for all the comments on the angora cardigan! It was a fun to knit project and I'm thrilled with how it looked. Thanks so much for taking to the time to leave a comment!!! My finished Gallery has been updated.

In typical post finished project restlessness, I'm sort of bouncing around new projects. A little of this a little of that, etc. I did a little knitting nest clean up (which has since been re-messed) and frogged a couple of "not working" projects... some socks and the first couple of choices for the Shoalwater that I had just tossed aside as I looked for the right yarn.

I spent Friday working on a Project Linus blanket. I've decided that I'm going to sew blankets for them. It's just so much faster than knitting or crocheting a blanket. One of the ladies in our SnB group is going to collect items for the Dulaan project, so I'll reserve my charity knitting for that. Since I really prefer knitting sweaters to anything else, I'm going to try to get a couple of kids sweaters done before May.

I restarted Matt's 2X2 ribbed sweater. I had originally started it top down, seamless style. Then he mentioned he doesn't like raglan sleeves. Sigh, no biggy (I wasn't very far and I was sorta making up the pattern as I went... which is always dangerous). Instead I'm using a basic dropped shoulder pattern. Simple (read: boring) knit. I was happily knitting along on it, until he pissed me off, so it went back into the closet (oh, like you haven't done that).

So back to me. Hey, I like knitting for me! I'm always available for color selection, fit and encouragement. Anyway, I decided that I really want to get back to the Sunrise Circle Jacket.

If you remember I had started this a while ago. I had the back almost finished, but it seemed like the armhole shaping was HUGE. Well, just about that time we hit The Yarn Gallery in Reading and I tried on their shop sample (which is LOVELY!!). I was making mine the 45". Well the shop sample was the 35" finished size. Apart from the sleeves being too snug (yes, I have upper arm issues), it fit me just right. The darts were in the right spot, it was a good length, etc. So I knew the 45" wasn't going to work.

Well, I cast it back on over the weekend. I didn't frog the orginal, but I think I'm going to have to for mental reasons. Again, all that st. st isn't my favorite thing in the world and I keep looking at that almost finished back and realize that I've got to do it all over again. Sigh. Anyway, the interesting part is the front, so I'll just dig in, do the boring back then look forward to the fronts. Oh, and I decided to do the 37" finished size.

On top of all that, I have about 70 hours invested in Okami. What an indepth game! A good old fashion action adventure that plays almost like an RPG.

Well, I've got lots of things to do today, I just need to decide what to concentrate on!!!!

Happy Knitting!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dress Me In Angora

Click to enlarge

The Angora Cables Cardigan is done. It is lovely. The angora/wool blend give the yarn a lovely halo, yet the cable/lace border has good definition. It has a lovely drape. It was delightful to knit... to the point that I didn't want it to end.

The problem? The sleeves are too tight. I knew this was going to be an issue from the beginning, but had hoped I could block them open a bit. All sizes start with the same stitches for the cable lace pattern then increases up from there. They are snug from the beginning. I'm guessing the designer had skinny arms and didn't consider that these would be too narrow. I should've increased more stitches sooner (I actually like most of my increases done before I hit the elbow, but with the cable lace pattern on the cuff, that wouldn't have worked well). It fits me fine everywhere else, so hopefully, 10 more lbs they'll be fine.

Project stats:
Pattern: Classic Elite pattern "LaGran Eyelet and Cable Cardigan" from the booklet Winter.

Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Angora

Changes to the pattern: There was additional eyelet that were to be added in the body that I didn't do and I didn't do the eyelets on the decreases. They didn't really add to the design and quite frankly just looked like holes rather than a delibrate design feature. Obviously substituted yarn.

Problems with the pattern: I think the sleeves are designed to be a little too small. This might be more of a personal body issue, and less a pattern issue.

Overall Impressions: The pattern is lovely, was fun to knit and I loooove the yarn. This is one of those occassions that I think my yarn choice was an improvemet over the orginal. The cables/lace pattern is much more visable in my version. So overall, I give it a thumbs up. I do think I'll try to stretch the sleeves just a smidgeon more to see if I can get it to fit (or find a thinner turtleneck? hmmmm)

Okay, so now what? Well, tis the season? I have a handful of gift projects that I need to work on and get done. It's hard, as I really want to cast on something (or three) new.

I do have some sewing I want to work on today, as I have some gift sewing to do too!

Happy Knitting (or in my case, sewing!)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Block It Baby!

The Angora Cable Cardigan is blocking. I'm not sure why it took me so long to finish. It was actually a fast knit... when I actually knit on it.

It's already been drying since yesterday afternoon, so it should be ready for seaming and finishing later today, or maybe tomorrow. It's going to be a really warm luxerious cardigan. I'm really happy with how it's turning out!

I'm trying to update my knitting gallery, but my site is having some technical difficulties. It looks like it has been resolved, so it should be updated today. I'll be adding 2 projects: the Rose Leaf Pullover and the Silver Creek Gansey. Hopefully the Angora Cable Cardigan by the end of the week!

Off to lunch with a dear friend today.
Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tuesday

Well, if you think today's title is snazzy, just wait...

I'm playing Okami. I love this game. It's up there with Psychonauts for enjoyment. Actually there's a lot of similarities. Not with the humor (Psychonauts wins hands down in that department) but the same combination of platforming/puzzle solving with some battles. Both have rich engrossing stories. They are both just beautiful to watch (even if they do have very different art styles). It makes me wonder about sales, tho. From activity on the message boards and press around Okami, I'm thinking this one is doing very well in sales, yet Psychonauts didn't do as well. (oh and if you still haven't played Psychonauts, it's now available to download thru Steam! You don't even have to leave the house to get it! Plus it's only $19.95! So you don't even need a console game system to play it! Okay, I admit it. I have a thing for Tim Schafer. If he wasn't married. Or I wasn't married. Or if we didn't live on different ends of the country, I would so be stalking him).

So anyway, I played practically all day yesterday. Do you think that's healthy? I mean, if it was a good book that would be alright, right? Tell me the difference.

As far as knitting goes... well... I did start a Christmas project on Sunday. I'm not quite at the halfway point (yes, it's obviously a fast and easy Christmas project) and no I can't tell you what it is or show photographs.

The second sleeve on the angora sweater still isn't done. Ya, maybe that's what I'll try to do today. Or play Okami. Something like that.

Response to yesterday's comments:
Jake says to thank everyone. He also wants you to know that he's very aware of his sad little puppy dog looks and knows how to use them to his advantage.

Kristen: I'm willing to bet that you were using "Rescue Remedy" which is bach flower essence. Our vet recommended it to us for Jake and we're trying it. At this point I'm thinking it might just be easier for me to use it....

Debby: the vet thought that between the Rescue Remedy and the opium based pain killer, he would calm down... we're adding warm blankets, lots of head scratching and belly rubbing. He just won't "relax". I'm thinking the next step is yoga... he's got the downward dog pose just perfect... next I want to teach him child pose.

Well off to play knit...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Diagnosis: Weenie

Jake wants to thank everyone for their well wishes.

We had him back to the vet's on Friday. His Lyme disease results were negative and his shoulder showed signs of some improvement. The vet thought he should be feeling a bit better, so she gave us a different anti inflammatory and an additional painkiller (that should sorta knock him out). I think the anti inflammatory is working, as he doesn't seem to be in as much pain, but he's still very easily stressed. He's simply gotten very easily stressed in his old age. He shakes and pants and the stress is very stressful to be around.

So he's very needy, which means I have a 48 lb appendage attatched to me. He goes where I go and sits on or as near me as he can. This has cut into my hobby time considerably. I can't sew at all and even knitting is a bit of a challenge. He's definitely improving and I'm hoping today I can get some stuff done... including the second sleeve for the angora sweater.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Friday Post

Thanks everyone for the suggestions to help Jake. We've been trying them all and nothing is helping. He's going back to the vet's today for Xrays and a Lyme disease test (which isn't likely... he's had the vaccine). There's been no improvement at all and Jake is taking it like a man...

...meaning he's whiney, irritable, needy and actually quite grumpy.

At this point we don't think it's just the arthritis. The anti-inflammatory's have always helped in the past and we're not seeing them have any effect at all this time. The biggest problem is that he's so "twitchy". He can't get comfortable. He's shaking and panting constantly-even thru the night. Which isn't helping him... he's very tense and I think it's actually making him feel worse.

I'm very very tired, as he pretty much kept me up all night. It's been a long 4 days and I'm not very optimistic about it getting better any time soon.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Quilt in a Day

I started a new quilt yesterday. Something special for Jake... more of a sleeping "pad" than a blankie.

I had planned on using the fabric I bought on Monday for the quilt so I could practice my quilting, but decided I just wanted to get it done, so I did a basic quick piecing pattern.

Ya, it was pretty quick alright. One day to cut, sew, quilt and even wash and dry it.

The photos aren't great (as usual), but here's a picture of the backing fabric:
I had one moment of panic when I thought the one way pattern of the dogs was going to be going in the wrong direction, but they ended up right. Oh, and black might not have been the best choice to mask dog hair... lol!

I used some old batting that I had taken out of a commercial comforter (Matt thought it was too warm) so it's nice and fluffy, just what I wanted for a sleeping pad. Not a batting I would use for something else.

This pattern was a lot of fun to make and I can see a lot of uses for it... especially for Project Linus. Some fun novelty prints (better batting) and a day's worth of work (or probably more like: 2 half days). The only problem is that I would want to make it a bit bigger for Project Linus, meaning I would need to cut longer strips (and therefore not cut it out by the width of the fabric) or do some extra piecing.

Jake's still not feeling very well. He's in a lot of pain. The vet put him on some medication, but we're not seeing it working as of yet. He cries every time he moves, can't do the stairs (and since we're in a split level... there's a lot of stairs) and he's very stressed (heavy panting and shaking). It's very frustrating, as I hate to see him suffer like this, but there's really not much more we can do. The inflammation will eventually go down and we're trying to keep him from too much movement so fingers crossed, he'll feel better in a day or two.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Yet an other lame blog

Sorry about the lack of blogging lately. I've discovered that quilting doesn't make as interesting blog material as knitting (it's hard to see progress when quilting a queen sized quilt).

I went shopping with Ann on Monday and a little stash enhancement happened. I got some Encore to make Matt a Christmas gift (of all the sweaters I've made him, it's the Encore vest that he wears/loves the most). I also got some fabric to make Jake a little blanket. He sleeps on a crappy cheap "felt" blanket that we used when we were crate training him. 10 years ago. So it'll be good practice for me, too. I really want my piecing to get more precise.

Speaking of Jake, he's off to the Vet's this morning. He's in a lot of pain and hopefully the vet can help us out. It's truely heartbreaking to see him suffer like this. He won't go down the stairs and he cries if you try to touch him. The damp cold weather is probably to blame and I think the arthritits has just gotten really bad.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday

ya, those clever titles just keep coming!

Weekend update:

Hmmm, not much in the crafty area. Unless you count baking cookies. Matt's race team had their end of season picnic on Saturday so I baked cookies and made soup. It was cold (brrr) for a picnic. Also note to self: chocolate chip cookies and Hefeweinzen probably aren't the best pairing.

Of course I took my camera. It was all nice and snug in my purse the entire party... so no pics.

Sunday was chore day followed by some football watching... again, not a lot of crafty stuff done.

The good news is that I finished Blood Omen 2. I was never able to beat the final boss the first time I played it. So that just leaves me with trying to play the first Legacy of Kain game. The problem with it is the age. It was made 10 years ago and it's an old style top down view game. Might not be bad on the PC, but on the Playstation, it's simply hard to see. I'm not used to this style game (as it's not used any more).

So I'm back in game limbo. I've got my eye on a couple of new games... specifically Okami.

Looks like a beautiful game... and a true action adventure game (my favorite style of game).

The quilt wasn't touched all weekend and I probably won't get to it today, as I'm running some errands. Speaking of such... off to get my day started!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Quilting, Crocheting and Blood Sucking

Ah the joys of all my hobbies!

First let me say that I do think my Singer will be visiting an other repair shop. It's a decent machine (at one time it was Singer's top of the line... 10 years ago) so it might be worth an other shot. I'm pretty happy with my cheap little machines right now, so I'm in no hurry.

I spent yesterday doing the quilting on the bowtie quilt. Between still getting used to a new sewing machine, using cotton thread for the first time as well as the walking foot, I struggled a bit (especially when the pivoting section on the walking foot wasn't tight enough and the foot kept falling off... until I tightened the screw... ya, that made a difference).

I'm not big on the cotton thread. Now I admit that I may be using hand quilting thread. It's pretty thick and there's not a lot of flexibility to it. It's running thru my machine fine, but winding the bobbin was fun. I spent some time practicing and then I jumped right in.

It's slow going. A queen size quilt ain't so small. It's a lot of physical work to move the quilt around, but the walking foot rocks! Right now I'm just outlining the bowties so it's pretty straight forward. Just follow the seams! The next thing will be to do the inside of the bowties, and I'll have to be a little more careful. Then decide what to do in the large white sections.

I did start a simple crochet project last night while watching The Closer on DVD. Just a simple little wrap to toss over my shoulders in the mornings since it's gotton a bit chilly. Mindless in a hot pink baby yarn. Soft and snuggly.

The other thing I'm doing is playing Blood Omen 2. This is part of the Legacy of Kain series, but as I mentioned before not quite like the other games. I only played thru it once before and was never able to beat the final boss. We'll see. It seems a bit easier this time (I still don't like the controls or the fighting style... but I love Kain. He's an arrogant vampire with a really hot voice). It's always fun to play these types of games this time of year. I might have to pull out Fatal Frame again and try it. That is one scary game (creepy and the only weapon is a camera... now that's scary!).

Happy Knitting... or quilting... or crocheting... or blood sucking!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Repair Shop Broke My Sewing Machine

Let me say that Blogger is having some issues today, so I hope this even works...

Matt picked up my Singer from the repair shop yesterday. I took the machine in because it could use a good cleaning/oil and I was having some issues with the bobbin tension. However, it worked.

It no longer works at all. While the thread tension wasn't great, it was still a usable machine. However it came back to me in non-working form. I am not happy about this.

Since it's an computerized machine, if there's something "missing" it knows it and won't let you sew. They removed part of the upper tension system (the final little wired section that the thread goes thru before it goes into the needle. With out that piece, it won't sew. I'm guessing that's the piece that they couldn't get to fix the machine.

However, they made it worse. I am not happy. I do think I might try taking it some place else to see if it can be fixed. This just doesn't seem right.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The hard part done?

I finally got my quilt top basted together. After procrastinating on it for 10 years, it took me a full day of back breaking work to pin it all together. Well, most of it is pinned, I ran out of saftey pins before I hit the border. So part of it is thread basted.

It looks great laid out, that's for sure. I know that one of the reasons I was procrastinating on it was the back breakingness of it. I really spent most of the day on it. I didn't want to leave it on the living room floor (and it was hard enough to keep the dogs off of it as it was). So I spent from about 10:30ish laying it out (with some much appreciated help from Kate and Lydia) then pinning it. I got done a little after 3:00. One very short break for lunch and a short break to chat with Lauren. I then spent the rest of the afternoon playing Blood Omen 2. (while I love the Legacy of Kain series, this one is not my favorite... the story is a bit off the main story and the game play isn't very well done. I was never able to beat the final boss. Plus there's no Raziel... oh sorry, got on a tangent there, didn't I?)

Now comes the fun part: actual quilting. I'm going to machine quilt it and I've never done anything this large before. I've made a few haps, but I think struggling with all this bulk is going to be a bit of a challenge. If it doesn't work well on my sewing table, I'll use the dining room table.

I probably won't get to it today, as I have some things to do today (including grocercies... ugh). Let's just hope it doesn't take me 10 more years of procrastination to get started with the quilting....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Who Me? A Quilter?

As of right now, I don't consider myself a quilter. I buy quilting fabric (hey, I don't consider myself a sock knitter, but boy do I buy a lot of sock yarn). I buy quilting books. I've even pieced together a few projects.

Today I will take the next step to become a quilter: Basting my first quilt together. I've been avoiding this step. I've been avoiding this step for almost 10 years.

Here's a bad photo of the quilt top (I had to use a flash... I hate having to use a flash):

oh, did I mention my first quilting project was a queen sized quilt?

Here's a detail (still with a flash, so some of the detail is washed out):


So I figured if I keep lecturing Theresa about not fearing her knitting... and you don't know if you can do it until you give it a go, I figured I needed to get this done.

So I spent some time yesterday doing some pressing (I've had the back, the batting and the top ready to go for 10 years) and Matt and I moved some furniture in the living room to be able to lay it out (still need to do a sweep up of dog hair).

I only plan on basting it today. I want to practice the actual quilting process a bit. I also do have some knitting to do...

Speaking of such: the Angora Cabled sweater is moving along rather quickly. I don't feel like I've put a lot of time into that sweater, yet the second sleeve is past the cable section. I think the reason it's moving so quickly is that I just love the Elsebeth Lavold angora yarn. So yummy to work with!

Well, lot's to do today... so off to get my shower and pull out the sweeper (hmmm, quilting may be the best way to make sure the house gets vacuumed regularly?)

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Misc.


  • I got a new sewing machine. Cost me less than an Xbox 360 (which is now no longer in the budget... good thing I haven't seen a game I really want for it yet) and it'll do for a year or two when I'm ready to upgrade (ya and that's when Matt will need a new Time Trial bike, right)


  • Remember when I said I was sorta unfocused and was looking for a new challenge? Ya, well I decided I want to make a quilt. Yes I have a quilt top that I made 10 years ago, but it's sorta sloppy and I want to get "good" at quilting. I spent the weekend trying to get more precise in my piecing skills


  • FYI: if you think that this area is full of yarn shops (and it is) there's probably twice that many quilting supply shops... notice I didn't say fabric shops. If you make clothes, I'm stuck with Joann's which pretty much sucks. (Unless I go into Philly). Being near Lancaster County, PA gives you a lot of options for quilting supplies however.


  • The angora sweater is moving along. One more sleeve to go.


  • I haven't tried posting new pictures since Gena chewed thru the USB port for the camera and my motherboard is wonky so I can't use the memory card


  • I can't get Interpol's Evil out of my head


  • Since I check Trust But Verify several times a day (it's not like I'm obsessed. Really. But it really is the most useful site to keep updated on all things Floyd), looks like all 370 pages of Floyd Landis's lab report will be available on Floyd's site. Now if only I could read French and understand all those little numbers.


  • I'm thrilled the Tigers beat the Yankees (sorry Nicole)


  • Happy Birthday Nicole! sorry you hit a deer and the Yankees lost


  • I've decided I've got a "thing" for Clive Owens


  • I really like chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.


  • I don't like the fact that my size 12 jeans don't zipper up anymore, which means that I shouldn't be eating chocolate cake with peanut butter icing (hey I did use reduced fat peanut butter... that saved like 2 grams of fat!)



Happy Knitting!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Thanks so much!

I want to thank everyone that left me condolences over the loss of my sewing machine.

I think the problem is that these newer electronic machines are not as fixable as the old mechanical ones (if you have a Singer Featherweight... DO NOT GET RID OF IT EVER.... your great great grandchildren will still be able to sew with it). Anywho, I did consider trying an other repair shop, but just don't think it's worth it. This place is a Singer dealer, and if they can't get the part, then it's not likely someone else will either.

However, after some discussion, we decided to get me a temporary machine. Nothing too expensive, but one with an automatic buttoholer and the ability to do satin stitch. The heavy duty jeans machine that I'm using it a nice little machine, but it's pretty basic.

We popped over to Walmart yesterday and picked up a cheap little Brother. It had all the features that I wanted and I was pretty happy with it, until I tried the buttonholer... the foot was missing. Actually, a lot of the accessories were missing and the manual was in Spanish. Looks like someone had helped themselves to half the items in the box. Dang. So it's going back today and we'll look for something else. I don't want to spend a lot of money and it will only need to last me a year or two.

The sad thing is that this little cheap Brother (less than $200) was basically the same machine as my high end Singer. The machines have come a long way in the last 10 years... and the little bit that I sewed with it (ya, it was just a basic straight stitch) seemed like it was a decent machine.

So lots to do today... our 1991 Toyota 4 Runner has a recall on it (gotta love that!) so it's off to the garage. Then return the machine to Walmart and then look elsewhere for an other machine. If I can't find something, I've got my eye on a couple on Ebay, but I really would rather I had the machine for the weekend. I've got a pair of pajamas that need buttonholes!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

R.I.P.

My high end sewing machine ain't so high end anymore. It's now obsolete and the repair shop can not get the part they need to fix it. So it's officially D.O.A.

I'm not happy. I realize that the machine is about 10 years old, but it should still be repairable. It was never my "dream" machine, but it was the most expensive machine I ever bought. I'm having a big issue with the idea that they can't get a part. In all my years of sewing (and with my mother having a sewing shop that offered machine repair), I don't ever remember a machine not being repairable.

Because I have a back up machine, we won't be buying me a new one anytime soon. I mean it's not like a racing bike after all.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Blog Break!

My blog will turn 5 this month (I forget what day I actually started blogging, and I don't have the archives back that far anymore). That's a lot of blogging over the years. I've been pretty consistant about getting something up every weekday morning.

So to celebrate this almost daily ritual, I'm taking the week off from blogging (at least at my knitting blog... I actually want to focus more on my fitness blog this week and try to get myself motivated to blog there more). I feel like I'm just going thru the motions with this blog and my knitting is a little hit or miss right now (sewing pajamas is fun!). So I'm taking the pressure off myself this week and probably won't be blogging. If I finish something, or run into something that is blog worthy, I'll post, but don't expect a daily update this week.

I'll be back next week (probably) to my regular weekday schedule.

Happy Knitting!