Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Everything but the Kitchen Sync!

Today is the 1-week anniversary of my relationship with my cute and handy iPad.


It's receiving a nice anniversary present from me--a protective carry bag, which you can see in the photo above. I had some WotA Bulky left in "Hazelnut," and also some of the same yarn in "Oregano" in my stash, already caked up and ready to go. I used the Montana Felted Eco Tote pattern as a jumping-off place, did the math based on my felted swatch for the diaper bag I made for Daphne (basically the Tote with a lining), and CO 70 sts. (I figured out how big it had to be before felting to be the right size afterwards, and that's how I got the 70 sts.It needed to be 20.5" around--or 10.25" across--and 8" high) I knit it until it was 13" high, changing the colors to use up the last of my "Chestnut." After binding off the top, I sewed the bottom shut, using the tail I had left at the CO. Then I made the handles according to the directions in the Tote pattern. only doing the I-cord 24" instead of 12", so I could carry it over my shoulder. (I almost made it too short--I-cord, not my favorite! This is when I'm glad I'm not very tall!) Here it is before felting:



I washed it in my washing machine with the lowest load size, hot with cold rinse. I have an old pair of jeans I throw in for felting to provide some abrasion. I checked it a couple of times during the washing, but as with the swatch and the diaper bag, the complete cycle was needed. I looked around for a book to wrap in plastic and put
inside for drying. The book that was just the right size was Knit Fix by Lisa Kartus. (BTW, Knit Fix is good for a lot more than blocking!)






It was dry enough this morning to try it out, and it fits. When it's completely dry, I can use it!


So, how did I end up with the iPad? I'm in a mixed marriage. DH is a PC person, and he was the one who bought the laptop and then told me I couldn't touch his precious desktop. I'm really a Mac kinda girl, but he's been patient and has helped me when I ran into difficulty. I've been groaning for months about all the memory problems related to dealing with photos and all the virus and spyware protection programs needed with a PC. It also needs to be cleaned annually, and when it heats up, it slows down more. I had been wanting an e-book reader (like a Kindle) for about a year, but a new laptop was a priority. The only way I could get one would have been used, and then I would still have to wait for the e-book reader. [Sigh!] When I heard about the iPad, I looked into it, and discovered that I could do it for everything I'm using the laptop for except syncing my iPod and iPad and burning CDs. I may have to use it for shrinking the size of my photos so they don't take so long to load, but I think I can actually do that in my camera, so we'll see. I can use the gimpy laptop for those things, now that I've been able to remove some things from it and it doesn't stay on for long. I've had some issues with the KP website, which I've been able to get around, but I'm sure Ning will fix those things, because there are a lot of iPads out there already, and more selling all the time. I've been doing my computer work in the kitchen, so that's where I do my syncing. The little iPad, however, goes with me to a comfortable seat in the living room, which is nice. When the bag is dry, I can carry it around safely.
Also this week, I finished the lining for the diaper bag:


And the baby leg warmers:



The quilt top for baby Daphne is finished, but I need to piece the back and get it to the quilter.


What's on my needles: Swatch for baby christening gown (waiting for order from KP with actual yarn, but swatch will be the same yarn, different color)
What's on my wheel: Nothing. I'm looking through my fiber stash to see what to spin next.
What's on my iPod: I'm listening to my second Audible book, Monica Ferris' Knitting Bones
What's on my spindle: Ashford merino and silk

Happy knitting and spinning! --P

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Quick as a Bunny--Not!

As you know, I've been working on some bunny-related items for Daphne, our DGD2, due to arrive via stork about June 6th. These baby leg warmers are very quick to knit--



if you don't decide they're too skinny around the cuffs! I'm off to the frog pond! Well, it won't take me long to get back to this point. I'll have plenty of yarn. The scale shows 35 gm left from the 50gm ball. I'm glad I didn't cut it, though. It's Essential (now Stroll) kettle-dyed sock yarn in "gold."

I have the diaper bag almost finished. I've pinned in the lining--



I just have to sew it in. You probably remember the bunny quilt I've been working on--



I decided it needed four carrot blocks to go with it. There are now two like this--



And two like this--



I've been using my "design wall" to try out layouts.



The "design wall" is actually a full-size "Warm & Natural" quilt batt with a hem at the top and the bottom, with a batten in each hem. I put hooks over my fiber studio closet to hang the whole thing on, so I arrange blocks and see how they look. They cling by themselves as long as there's no breeze. A couple of pins takes care of that, though.

What's on my needles: Baby leg warmers.
What's on my Featherweight: Piecing for bunny quilt!
What's on my wheel: White baby alpaca, just a couple of ounces left and I can ply!
What's on my iPod: Just Finished the Frankenstein trilogy by Dean Koontz, now listening to 44 Scotland St. by Alexander McCall Smith
What's on my spindle: Same old, same old. Haven't touched my spindle for a while.

Happy knitting/spinning/quilting! --P

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Snowed In!

But first, an update on my progress on the Bunny Block. Having finished another knitting project for DD's little Daphne, due June 6th, I turned back to the bunny block from Hop To It! by Edyta Sitar. I'm making progress:

The fabric to the left is the backing and my focus fabric for the quilt top. It's Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit Garden Scene. To finish the block, I have to applique the eye, nose and mouth, and then another stem with leaves and a berry. The rest of the quilt will be pieced. I hope to get the piecing done next week, as I have an "appointment" with my friend Julie for machine quilting in May. The applique is getting easier, but I still don't have the dexterity I had before I had to give up quilting due to thumb pain. I'm finding my eyes are worse, too. I have to use a pair of clip-on magnifiers and my Ott light to be able to see. My actual vison is fine with my glasses, but as I get older, I need increasing amounts of light to see what I'm doing. (It would help if the sun came out for a while!)

Here's the knitting project I just finished:

The yarn is Knit Picks' Comfy Sport in "Creme Brulee" and "Ivory." Here's a closeup of the front detail. I created this detail because I decided to do a M1R, K1, M1L for the increases in the front, and then didn't like the holes created.

It looks sort of like cross stitch. The BSJ can be found several places, such as The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann, which also has the bonnet pattern. (The book is on sale right now at Knit Picks!)

I was supposed to go to the nursing home yesterday with Sunny for pet therapy for the patients, but we were snowed in! This is the first time we've been actually snowed in since we've lived here. Here's DH cleaning the driveway around lunchtime. (Psst! It wasn't done snowing. We got more after this photo!)

He spent 2 1/2 hours with the shovel and the snow blower! I'm so glad we didn't get a dump like this right after he had his shoulder surgery!

It was so bad, our milkman couldn't get to our house. He called in the morning and explained that his chains had broken. No problem--for me, anyway. I had enough of everything to last until he got here. He couldn't have gotten to our front door without going through waist-high snow anyway. He finally got to our house last night.

The upside to being snowed in is, you have more time to knit or quilt. In my case, I want to finish the baby quilt (see above) before starting any more knitting projects.

Tomorrow is supposed to be clear. I hope so, because my quilting minigroup "Vintage Stitchers" is coming here for a trunk show. I hope to have some photos of Tina's quilts in next week's blog. Our "Common Threads" group met last Thursday. That group is made up of quilters, knitters and other stitchery enthusiasts. Karan, our hostess for Common Threads last week, showed off her first pair of KP socks from the kit "Speedy Sport Socks."

It's fun being in groups with both knitters and quilters, because they go back and forth between the two crafts/art forms, as I do.

Saturday brought the usual doggy snowshoe. Here fellow snowshoer Jay helps Annemarie get up, while Annemarie's Eddy watches. (You don't have to have a dog to go on a doggy snowshoe.)

Jay doesn't have a dog, but his wife has a horse and writes steamy novels. She hired me to be the proofreader once because her regular proofer wasn't available. I was forced to read the steamy parts (a lot of the book!), because there might have been a typo, and she was paying me to read them. [Blush!]


Of course, I have been enjoying "hanging out" with my Quilt With Us and Knitting Community buddies, and you know who you are!

What's on my needles: Finishing up DH's Fair Isle sleeveless cardi
What's on my wheel: Still the baby alpaca, but I'm making progress. I've plied the first two bobbins from this batch. Just a little to go.
What's on my spindle: Still the Ashford Merino and Silk in "Mulberry."
What's on my quilting frame: Bunny Block from Hop To It (see above).
What's on my iPod: Just finished Sarah's Cottage by D. E. Stevenson, and have gone back to Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Prodigal Son (Book 1 of the Trilogy). I really like Audible and am looking forward to downloading more books for my trip to Wisconsin the end of May, to be with DD when Daphne is born. I forgot to mention last week that I finished Lorna Doone, downloaded from Librivox.org. I read the last three chapters in written form through Project Gutenberg. Their volunteer readers are all very good, but I found the accent of one of the readers very distracting, so I resorted to reading the last three chapters while knitting the baby sweater, rather than listening to it.
What's on my Zen Nano: Knitting podcasts, mostly, such as Sticks and String, and, Knit Picks' wonderful podcast, my favorite! (I'm on the verge of KP podcast withdrawal, since there was no podcast last week.)

Happy knitting and quilting, everyone! --P