Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Beauty Shot...

And here it is, in all its glory! Amazing how hard it is to photograph this color. It's not actually quite this red, but a rich mahogany browny russet. Hard to photograph, too. I stood on the bed to try to shoot down on it, and then scraped a huge piece of skin from the back of my heel when I tried to step down without standing on the blanket. The trials of photography! So now, I need to get serious about what's next. Nothing too complicated, since I only have a few days before I take off for California.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Finito, Benito!

Another FO, off the needles! Doesn't look very promising, does it? Still very blob-like. Turned out to be 41 inches (about 100 cm, I think?) fresh off the needles. Took 3.75 skeins of Bendigo 12 Ply rustic, and I used 5.0, 5.5 and 6.0 mm needles, depending on what I had available. Looks kind of like an amoeba, doesn't it? As you can see from this picture, taken on the (very bright) foam blocking mats, I gave it a pretty agressive blocking...up to 64 inches (160 cm, if my in-my-head math is correct).

Not a very good picture, because I'm blocking it in the laundry where the light isn't very good, and the dark mahogany/redwood brown doesn't photograph very well anyway, and it's competing with the brilliant hues of those kids' foam mats.
I'll post a pic of this in a more salubrious setting once it's dry. But I'm really happy to be finished. The binding off was extremely boring and time-consuming!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Keepin' On Keepin' On...

Woo-hoo! Finished, and aren't they wonderful? This was SUCH a fun knit..and very fast, too. Yarn is Pagewood Farms Chugiak Merino in Grape Juice, and the pattern is the Cable Twist Socks...using that wonderful left twist: Following the example of Pat, I knit these with sock yarn, rather than sport weight, and they fit like a dream!

So, I'm making good progress on the Hemlock Ring Blanket, following the charts from The Rainey Sisters and Brooklyn Tweed. This is knit with Bendigo Woollen Mills Rustic 12 Ply, in the color Russet, a rich mahogany-redwood color. I'm approaching the end, although you can't tell from this picture: it just looks like a big blob...a common failing when trying to photograph a circular shawl while it's still on the needles. Only 4 more plain rows to go, and then the final border. AND...today I finished piecing the blocks for Katie Rose's Big Girl Quilt:

These blocks are 9", and the sashing will be 2" with the cornerstones forming stars. I'll choose the fabric for that while I'm in California next month, as well as some super fabric for a wide-ish border all around.

And just for fun, here are some gratuitous kitty shots taken a couple of days ago when it was boiling hot here. Cloudy was lounging on the settee as close to the Pi Shawl as possible. He loves that shawl, and I'm constantly moving it out of the way so he doesn't suckle it to death!

Patch was distressed to hear the little musical chime that indicates I'm opening the cover on the digital camera, but he hung around long enough for me to get this shot, before he scuttled under the bed to hide until it was "safe" again!

Meanwhile, Alfonse was lounging on the cool grass under the big elm tree, enjoying having the yard to himself...no grey brothers around to beat him up.

So other than what you see here, I've been trawling the net to find patterns and yarns to occupy myself during my FIVE GLORIOUS WEEKS (!!) in California. So far, I have ordered some Peace Fleece in Volgasippi Blue to make to make an Acer Caridgan, shamelessly copying the above-referenced Pat, who has impeccable taste.
I'm also mulling over lots of quilty ideas. I keep seeing gorgeous quilts on everyone else's blogs and immediately want to make them all. (Of course, this NEVER happens to any of you!) So I think I need to start collecting some bright, hot colors in batik, for a quilt for our bed in winter, when it's cold and depressing outside. And some brown, grey, neutral fabrics for another quilt for warmer times of the year. And I feel the urge to make another log cabin quilt, and a square in a square quilt, and, and, and....
I'm just in love with the Amanda Jacket (Ravelry link) and I've been looking at Beaverslide yarn, maybe in Prairie Aster but I haven't decided on the color yet.
I'd like to take some socks on the airplane so I won't be too bored, but after having two sets of bamboo needles decapitated once before, I'm reluctant. I have some pink Louet Gems yarn that's been in my stash awhile, and I'm thinking it would look good in Marguerite (Stitches of Violet)'s Shetland Lace Rib pattern.
In addition, I accidentally bought some cashmere laceweight from Yubina the other day, and the Knitting Pixie's Luscious Lace Scarf (Ravelry link) has its name on that, I think.
So as you see, I've got lots to think about and organize as I get ready for my trip. Hope you are all having fun and making plans, too!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Stop Me Before I Quilt Again!

What is this big pile of fabric and scraps, you may ask: Some you may recognize from the 10 Wishes quilt, but others are new.

Yes, I've made a start on the Big Girl Quilt (i.e. queen-size) for Katie Rose. I've been so inspired by the lovely quilts Mary and her Heartstrings group have made that I decided to make one for Katie. Here's where I am -- two rows of string blocks made...four rows still unmade. I will sash these blocks with 2" sashing (don't know what fabric yet), making stars from the cornerstones (ditto).You can't really see the EQ design very well, I know...sorry. Here's a close-up of the first four blocks:

Second four:

Third four:

It's really fun doing these. I love the colors...wanted them to be "girly" but not too bright. I will add a wide-ish border of some gorgeous fabric, yet to be discovered, I think.
I'm also ratting through my WIPs and getting inspired to finish up the As Time Goes By quilt pretty soon. Of course, I leave for California in three weeks, (yes, there WILL be stash enhancement going on!), so I'm unlikely to tackle that one before my return here at the end of February or early March. Still, it feels good to be working again, and to be so anxious to get in there and quilt, quilt, quilt!

I'm On A Roll...

OK, so there is not JUST quilting going on...there's also knitting. These socks are called Hedgerow, and the yarn is Cherry Tree Hill in a gorgeous dark turquoise blend. 2.25mm needles, as usual. Pretty, no? And I couldn't resist also casting on this pair of Cable Twist socks after I saw Pat's (the green ones in the pic). Original pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, but Pat did hers in that gorgeous sock yarn, so I rummaged through my yarn stash and lo, what did I find? This beautiful Pagewood Farms merino, in the colorway Grape Juice. Again, 2.25mm needles.

AND...can you believe it? I finished this WIP...started in California before we moved Down Under, where it languished mostly, until last week. In the wake of the fast finish on the 10 Wishes quilt I decided to forge ahead and wrap this one up.

Here it is in all its glory: queen-size, quilted, bound and on the bed, at last. (But not washed yet...just didn't have the energy or patience to wait for it to dry.)

Some of you may remember that this quilt is a remake of a lovely antique quilt I have that is so worn I feel it's dangerous to use it any longer. But the design is so lovely I didn't want it just to sit on a shelf, so I worked the design up on EQ5 and started piecing. The original quilt is signed on the back with only the initials G. L., so for the moment I'm calling it "G.L. Reborn", but obviously I need a good name for the quilt...any brilliant ideas?

And, and, and...there's been a NEW BEGINNING, too! But that's for the NEXT post...