Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Busy with school

I have finished a couple of quilts since my last post, but I've been too busy with college to get pictures posted (or just about anything else).

Just a few more days. I just need to hang on for a few more days. I miss my quilting loft.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Busy quilting

I have been busy working on customer quilts this week. It isn't easy to find the time, between the kids and the kittens, but I'm trying. I'm getting a lot more phone calls regarding my quilting services, and that's a good thing.

It's true what they say about buying a longarm quilting machine, though. You run out of time to do your own quilting once you start quilting for others. Please don't take that as a complaint, though. :)

Once I get the current batch of customer quilts out the door, I'll be able to work on my birthday blocks project again. It's time to get some more blocks finished for that; I enjoy making blocks for other people, because I can express my creativity without being terribly concerned about how the finished quilt will look. Everyone expects their quilt to look scrappy, since the blocks are being created by so many people. Of course, I put a lot of extra effort into the blocks for others; I'm a "better done than perfect" type of quilter when doing quilts for myself, but I am quite capable of sewing a good quality block when necessary. Anyway, doing just one block at a time is fun.

I'm going to do some rearranging of my quilting loft this weekend. I want to remove the huge bookshelf that's there, while adding a desk for my scrapbooking supplies. I think I'll have more time to work on my photo albums if I can leave my pages out on the desk. That way, if I get called away from scrapbooking, I can simply come back to it whenever I have a few spare minutes. The same goes for quilting. I need to have everything set up and ready to go, so I can take full advantage of every minute I get to myself.

Every spare minute counts!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I'm going to insist on quilting time tomorrow

Today, Sweetie offered to take the kids to the zoo, so I could have time to work in my quilting loft without being interrupted by the little ones. It sounded like a great idea to me, and I was looking forward to the time to work.

Well, we had some blowing snow and cold temperatures here early this afternoon, so we decided to just take the kids to lunch. Sweetie asked me to come along at the last minute, so I threw on my clothes, pulled back my hair, and jumped in the car. (Yes, that means that I was still in my pajamas at noon today.) After lunch, Sweetie drove us to the local yarn shop, so I could pick out something pretty for Valentine's Day. I found three balls of sparkly pink yarn on sale, so I'm going to use them to make some lacy scarves for my three girls. Or just one lacy scarf for my oldest daughter, depending on how much yarn the pattern actually requires. It's fun to experiment with new yarns and patterns!

Once I get my customer quilts finished, I'm going to take a brief respite from quilting to piece some more birthday quilt blocks. With the exception of a last-minute addition to our roster (who has an early February birthday and is willing to wait for her blocks), I am caught up with birthdays through mid-March. I'd like to get more blocks finished this week, if possible. They don't take very long, once I actually find time to work on them.

Sweetie is playing hockey tonight, so I am going to relax for the rest of the evening. It's pretty peaceful here without the TV blaring in the living room, and I am going to enjoy listening to my music and knitting before I go to bed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Broken needle!

Tonight, I was finally able to spend some time quilting. I am almost finished with my second son's queen-sized quilt, so there I was, zipping along, when I heard a horrible noise.

My needle broke in three places. The pattern just happened to hit one of those intersections where six pieces of fabric meet, and since I didn't have that particular intersection ironed completely flat, the needle caught and broke.

Unlike a normal sewing machine, when a needle breaks on a longarm quilting machine, you can't just replace the needle and start sewing again. You have to replace the needle and re-time the machine, which takes about an hour for someone like me, who doesn't have to do it very often. It's not very fun, but it's better to spend that hour now than break even more components (and possibly ruin a quilt) later.

I hate when stuff like this happens, especially when I'm finally making good progress on my quilts. It's not something that I could do when I'm tired and unable to see clearly, since it's fairly complicated. I hated having to shut down before I was ready to do so, but that's life.

I did a couple of rows of knitting on my mystery shawl, and I'm about to price out components for my bicycle. I need to get that bicycle up and running again, because summer will be here before I know it, and I want to be able to do a week-long bicycle tour in July. Lots of work ahead of me for that, but it will be worth it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Life gets in the way

Mondays are always hectic for us. Shakespeare has Cub Scouts and Twirler has baton practice each Monday, so I usually spend the entire day running around. Yesterday was worse, because I had a dentist appointment at 8:30 in the morning. As I told the dental assistant yesterday, I am not a morning person, and Monday mornings are the absolute worst mornings for me. She promised to never let me try to make a morning appointment again.

Today, I had hoped to get some work done before taking Princess to her well-child checkup this afternoon. Unfortunately, our kitten is sick and needed to be taken to the clinic for tests and observation. The girls are running around like crazy right now, and I'm watching the clock. I want to arrive a little early, in hopes of getting seen before our appointment (although I'll settle for getting in on time, instead of an hour late, which has happened before).

There's a quilt guild meeting tonight, but it doesn't look like I'll be able to finish anything for show-and-tell. I'm going to try, though, because I have several quilts that just need to be bound, and if I'm lucky, I'll be able to get binding made, applied, and sewn down before the meeting. We'll have to see how cooperative the kids are going to be this afternoon.

It's not looking good so far, but I'm hoping for the best.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Finally, some quilting time!

My youngest child, a girl we've nicknamed "Starbuck," is taking a nap today. Her slightly older sister, "Princess," is watching Sleeping Beauty, and I have been working in my quilt loft this afternoon.

Unfortunately, I didn't eat breakfast or lunch today, so I had to take a break to eat. My lunch is in the microwave, so I thought I'd write a quick blog post while it's cooking.

Yesterday was Princess' birthday, so I didn't spend a lot of time at home. We all went out to lunch, then I took our little girl to the mall to pick out her presents. She wanted new clothes for her pink Build-A-Bear monkey (which was her present last year), and she had a grand time shopping for outfits in the store. She picked out an Olympic hoodie, a birthday t-shirt, two denim skirts, a pretty pink dress, and a set of pink pajamas. She probably has the best-dressed monkey in the state now, but she is extremely HAPPY!

Knit Picks is having a sale on books until February 22nd, and I plan to buy a few new books for myself. One of them features knitted items for Build-A-Bear toys, and since we seem to own enough of those stuffed animals to open our own store, that would be a fun book to add to my collection.

Lunch is ready, and I'm facing some deadlines in the quilting loft, so I'm heading back to real life. Have a good day!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Time for Plan B

Plan A (quilt most of the day today) did not work out. I'm not sure what the children ingested today, but whatever it was, I want some. They were all bouncing off the walls, and amazingly enough, they kept it up most of the day.

Long story short, I have spent a grand total of ten minutes in my quilting loft today.

Twirler is sleeping up in my loft now, because she keeps her little sisters awake far too late at night. I wish I had known three years ago that we were going to end up staying here for the remainder of Sweetie's military career, because there is no way I would have settled for this three bedroom house if I had known that we were going to be here for more than five years. At the time, we had two girls and two boys, with a new baby girl due to arrive two weeks after closing. We had planned to spend a year and a half in this house, then we were going to move, so we figured it would be a decent house for our family until Sweetie received his final assignment. So much for that! Fortunately, we have a basement. It's unfinished, but we can still make a decent bedroom area for our daughter. We just have to wait for the weather to become warm again, so that our contractor can install an egress window in the basement. I certainly don't want her to get trapped down there.

My mystery sock club began today, and it's time to start working on my new socks. I've already informed everyone that tomorrow will be quilting day. I can only hope that it works out.

Today will be my quilting day

I plan to spend today doing as much quilting as possible. My first order of business will be the First Saturday blocks for one of my local quilt shops; I'm making two sets, one for my 10-year-old daughter (nicknamed Twirler) and my 7-year-old son (Shakespeare). I had originally planned to teach them both how to quilt with these blocks, but life tends to get in the way, and I end up making the blocks right before we leave for the quilt shop. If the blocks are finished, the next month's blocks are free.

While I'm at the shop, I'm going to pick up Becky's Quilt of Valor for quilting. If all goes well, I'll be able to deliver her quilted quilt at Tuesday night's guild meeting, when I'll be picking up another quilt for quilting. Business is picking up, and I'm excited about it. My new quilt bags should be here by the end of next week; they are similar to the "fabric" grocery bags that are so popular now, but these are much larger and feature longer straps. The bags will have my logo on them, and I will be using them instead of extra large ziplock bags to return quilts to their owners after quilting. I'm also going to use them to take my quilts to the guild meetings for show and tell. They weren't cheap, since I had to buy 250 of them at once, but I think that I will make up that money by the end of the year.

I am almost done with my second son's first queen-sized quilt. It's one of my favorites so far, and I'm going to have a hard time letting it go. I know he will appreciate it. After I get done quilting the quilt-for-hire that came here all the way from Canada, I will work on binding all of my quilts. By the time I finish A's quilt, I will have six quilts in need of binding. Needless to say, binding is not my favorite thing to do, but I know it needs to be done.

Sweetie has promised to help with the kids this weekend, so I can get my work done. I hope that he keeps that promise, because I certainly have a lot to do!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Warning: Crazy Knitter on the Loose!

I'm not really sure why I've been bitten by the knitting bug lately, but I am starting to worry my husband. I'm spending more time knitting and/or buying yarn than I have quilting, and that is so completely out of the realm of "normal" for me that it's actually a bit frightening.

I'm not complaining, though. I'm having too much fun!

While I was visiting one of my local quilt shops, one of my friends told me that one of her coworkers is an avid knitter who does mystery shawl KALs. I've never been one to pass up a good mystery, so I did the Google thing as soon as I returned home and found a lady offering a couple of these mystery shawl KALs, as well as a mystery sock KAL.

You guessed it. I joined all three! :)

Well, when my first shawl yarn arrived, I discovered that not all yarns arrive in neat little skeins, ready to be used. I unwound the hank and was stunned that so much yarn could be contained in such a small little package. I was already a week behind schedule for the mystery, so my baby girls and I headed to the local yarn shop for a swift and a ball winder. Within an hour of returning home, I had all of my shawl yarn and one hank of sock yarn wound into balls, ready to go. That was FUN!

Sometime today, FedEx will be delivering my Knit Picks order. Since there are so many different ways to knit socks, I bought just about every Harmony size 2 (2.75mm) needle that KP offers. I ordered DPs and several lengths of circulars, so I can play around with all of the different methods (two circulars, Magic Loop, etc.). I have already decided to knit two socks at once, so that will limit my choices a bit. I don't mind, though, because the last time I knitted a sock, that's all I did. ONE SOCK. That second sock is horribly hard to start, isn't it?

My little girls are just about to fall asleep for nap time. They are both coming down with colds and aren't feeling as energetic as normal. I'm going to take advantage of the time to finish some quilting, since I am actually getting paid to do that.

For all of you getting hit with snow (again!), be careful out there.

(Originally posted on Knitting Community)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Knitting News, etc.

This weekend, I joined two Mystery Shawl groups online. The first one started a week ago, so I'll have two clues to finish once my yarn arrives (hopefully today). The second one doesn't start until early March. Both are done by the same person, and they seem like a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to getting started!

I am almost done with my first doll afghan for my "Grandchild Afghan Project." It's just a simple stockinette stitch afghan with a knitted frame, and it's made with one skein of KnitPick's Swish Worsted yarn and size 10 needles. I hope the little girls enjoy playing with it.

I haven't been crocheting lately. I have finished several inches of the Humane Society cat blanket, but I haven't had time to work on it this weekend. I am getting behind on my quilts, so I'll probably postpone crocheting for the time being.

Knitting will be my before-bed craft of choice this week. In addition to the doll blanket, I want to get my scarf finished, so I can wear it when it snows here again.

My third son is almost 18 years old, and he desperately wants a bicycle. Rather than give him a cheap one that will break within a few months, I have decided to hand down my Campagnolo racing components. My touring bicycle needs more rugged parts, and there's no point in letting those components sit in a box unused. I have a frame that someone gave me a few years ago that will fit J, and he's okay with using my pink-rimmed bicycle wheels on his black bike. I'll be the first to admit that his bicycle is going to look rather odd: an oddball cyclocross frame, racing components, and pink wheels aren't typically put together in one bike, but J doesn't care as long as it works. I haven't decided yet whether or not to do the work myself. I don't have a lot of bicycle tools yet, but considering the fact that I will be doing a lot more cycling this spring, it would be worth the investment. Besides, Sweetie is planning on getting himself a bicycle, too, which will make it much more worthwhile to have some bike shop tools at home.

So much to do, so little time!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More Notes About My Hobbies

Since I've returned to knitting and crocheting, it doesn't seem entirely appropriate to keep my business name as my "handle" for the different communities I visit in the yarn world. However, my quilting identity is a huge part of who I am, so I'm not going to change anything at this point. If you've found this blog through Ravelry or Knitting Community, WELCOME! I'm glad you're here.

I keep pretty busy with my children and my college classes, so I probably won't blog here every day. I'll do my best, though. I enjoy sharing my hobbies with others.

My current knitting projects include a cabled scarf and my "grandchild afghan project." I purchased half a dozen different types of luxury yarn recently, and I'm going to knit a doll afghan out of each skein. Those will be washed in the washer and dryer, then given to my youngest daughters (ages 3 and 2) to use with their baby dolls. Whichever yarn holds up the best under all of that abuse will be the one I use for my grandchildren's baby afghans.

I'm teaching my oldest daughter (age 10) how to knit, and she's going to help me create those doll afghans. They don't need to be perfect, which make them ideal practice pieces for her.

For crocheting, I'm working on a bed afghan for myself and my husband, as well as baby afghans for my above-mentioned preschool daughters. Yes, I'm behind schedule on those! They will be big enough for the girls to use for a few more years, assuming that I get them done in a reasonable amount of time. Now that I've been crocheting more often, it shouldn't be too difficult for me to finish them.

I'm also making a small crocheted blanket for one of my new kittens. We adopted two kittens yesterday. The lady at the humane society put a crocheted blanket in with the male kitten but didn't add one to the female kitten's box. I'm copying the pattern and using a purple ombre for her blanket right now. When I finish it, I'll make one for the male cat. My goal is to return the blanket that the humane society sent home, since I'm more than capable of creating one myself. Since it's a quick and easy pattern, I plan to create an extra one, so I can give the humane society two blankets (the borrowed one and a new one). It's the least I can do for all of the homeless cats here in town.

I won't bother to list all of the quilting projects I have going on right now. Suffice to say, I have enough quilt kits to keep me busy for at least the next three or four years. Probably enough to last a full decade, to be completely honest. It's nice to be able to find something to work on, no matter what I'm in the mood to create on any given day.

Lastly, I'm working on creating a scrapbooking space in my quilting loft upstairs. I love scrapbooking, but it's painful to get all of my tools out every single time I have a few minutes to sit down and work. I haven't worked out all of the details yet, but I am working on it.

Pictures will be posted soon. Thanks for visiting my new blog!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome to My New and Improved Blog!

I hope to post pictures of my projects here. What I'd really like to do is create a record of everything that I've made over the years, so I can share my projects with my family and friends. We'll see how motivated I'll be when it comes to scanning old photos and documenting each project. I've made a LOT of things in my lifetime!

Primarily, I'm a quilter. I quilt for myself and for others. However, my first real hobby was knitting; I learned how to knit when I was in sixth grade, and I finished several projects before I set my needles aside for 17 years. I learned how to crochet twice in my life. The first time, I was only five years old, and my mom taught me to crochet left-handed (since she was a lefty). I did very well, but like a typical five-year-old, I lost interest when the weather turned sunny. I didn't pick up crocheting again until I was 14, and I used to spend hours working on my afghans while talking to my mom. Those were very happy times for me. Mom died in late 1992, and I still miss those chats.

Mom taught me how to quilt in 1982, and I finished my first quilt the following year. It took me a while, because I didn't chose an easy pattern. I chose a modified version of Grandmother's Flower Garden. That's right. Hexagons! It isn't pretty, it isn't perfect, but I still love that quilt.