Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Longarm University mystery quilt

I've decided to do the mystery quilt at Longarm University, and hopefully learn some new quilting designs, techniques, or just have fun. Today is piecing day, and tomorrow is quilting day, but I'll have to hold off on starting until Jan. 2, because today I need to prepare for guests, and tomorrow will be cooking and hosting. It will be something to look forward to....

Thorpe hat - finished

I'm not sure if David likes his new hat or not, but it's finished! I think he really wanted it to be made out of thinner yarns like the one that his brother purchased, and I would have preferred to have the knitting a bit tighter, but this was the best I could do with stash yarn and the only earflap pattern that I had on hand when the power was out - so all in all, I think it's ok, but I might have to look for a fairaisle pattern that I can make from sock yarn and make another.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Teal Wool and Mohair

Something else I managed to do was spin up this beautiful yarn from wool and mohair roving that I purchased from Black Bunny. I think this is the most beautiful yarn I've spun so far, but I have a pink / purple / blue spun up that I might ply with white, and also a couple more rovings from them in beautiful warmer shades that should also be wonderful when spun up.

Now that I'm able to spin up beautiful yarns (even though they aren't totally consistent yet), the next thing to learn is how to spin a yarn that will work for the project that I want to make, instead of spinning yarn and looking for a pattern that I can use it for. There's alwayse something new that can be learned!

Christmas knitting - Thorpe hat

Since we had no power and no guests for Christmas, I asked my oldest son if he would like me to knit a hat for him (after all, I've made hats for everyone else more recently than the last one that I had knit for him), and what kind. He held up his brother's fairisle earflap hat (purchased), and told me "like this". Luckily I had printed out a free pattern from Through the Loops, called Thorpe (look in the sidebar), which had both plain and pattern designs, so we looked through my yarn stash and found a yarn I thought might work.

The gauge for the yarn I'm using is a bit smaller than the pattern requires, so I thought about starting with one size larger needles, but couldn't find double pointed in the correct size, so started with the size on the pattern. I love the design, but it's coming out too small, and of course we can't go out to purchase the correct size, so last night I considered adding columns to the pattern, but have now decided to just go ahead and start over with needles that are two sizes larger and see how it works out. If it's too large, I'll just have to wait until I can shop for the right size when the weather improves. At least I love the pattern, which is working out very nicely, especially since I done almost no fairisle work.

Power out for Christmas

The phrase "let it snow" has new meaning this year. I'm already to the point that I'd be very happy not to see any more snow at our house, as we have received more than we usually get for the entire winter - at least 24 inches! Our winter usually consists of some snow, usually less than 6 inches at a time, and roads that clear up within a day or two, so even if we have snow laying in the yard, the roads are passable as long as you watch for a few small icy areas. Because of this, our cities don't have the gear that cities in snowy areas have, so it is more difficult for us to handle.
I took pictures yesterday, on Christmas, but did not post them because we lost power at about 4am, and it never came back until nearly 8pm. While that meant no Christmas dinner, at least we were able to stay comfortable at home and thankfully, we have a gas cooktop, so I made soup for dinner that didn't require opening the refrigerator, yet tasted good and warmed us up inside.
I greatly appreciate all those at PSE here, who spent their Christmas day repairing the power lines so that we could have our power back on, and who are probably still out there trying to get it back on for others.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Hope you all have a very

And even more snow....

Yes, this is the view at our house today, and it's a good thing that my husband and son shoveled some of the snow off our deck, as otherwise we would be worried about it supporting all this snow. I really think we must be breaking records withall this snow! As I'm writing this, more is coming down, although the weatherman said some areas may turn to rain, although I'm betting we will continue to see snow, as we're at about 500' (at least we seem to get the weather that is predicted for that elevation). I think I'm about as prepared as I'm going to get for Christmas, other than maybe some more decorating / baking, and yes maybe I'll try knitting up a quick hat for another hand made gift, but it looks like the family dinner will end up being postponed until they can make it here safely.
Hope all of you have a warm, safe and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It snowed!

I can't remember when we have had this much snow! I've been guessing that it was 5 or 6 inches, but decided to run out and measure it - it's just shy of 6 inches of snow piling up out there, and it hasn't stopped yet, just lightened up! We usually get mostly rain during the winter, so are considering ourselves snowed in.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Channel Quilted Slippers - information

I've been asked about the pattern for these slippers, and while I'd love to be able to share it, I have to respect the copyright of others, and I hope you'll understand.

This design is copyrignt 2003 Carol Harrington for Ana-Cross-Stitch, with a statement "May not be copied without permission", so you'll need to contact them to see if they still have it and will share - they gave it to me free when I purchased yarn to make the slippers, which was only 2 balls of yarn (don't think it was expensive, as it was to be my son's project, when he was learning to knit). I would imagine that if you contacted them and asked they would do the same for you, but it's just a guess. I tried to Google a website for them, but came up empty, other than their contact information: Ana-Cross-Stitch - 719 Commercial Ave., Anacortes, WA 98221, Phone: (360) 299-9010.

Channel Quilted Slippers - update

One down, second is in progress, with about 1.5" knit so far - although I've managed to make it a bit more difficult, since I hurt my left ring finger this morning, so right now knitting is stalled, and hand in ice pack, while I type one handed and hope it feels better soon.
Top view:
and side view:
Since it isn't a secret, I did have him try on the slipper to see if it fit, and luckily the only change will be to sew up a little more of the top seam. I also did a weight comparison of the yarn left and the slipper, and the scale says I'll have enough, whew!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Organizing blog

In case you haven't noticed, I've updated my blog. On the right side are all the links, and now there is a section for labels. Labels are new to me, but I think I've been able to figure out how to make good use of them. I've gone back through my older posts and added labels to most of them to help you find what you're looking for, although there are more that still need work.

If you're interested in seeing progress on my quilt patterns, new colorations, etc, just click on the name of the quilt. Of course I'm not perfect, so missed adding all the possibilities, and found I need to add the "quilt pattern" tag to some more, but now you can click on "janet's influence" and easily find the posts without searching through months, or even years of posts. Not all my patterns are pictured on my blog, as I started my company before blogging got so popular.

Most of yesterday was spent working on my website, and I was able to come close to a front page that I like (without a template this time), and started to create the other pages, although I'll probably try to upload it soon, with some of the pages with "coming soon" on them, just to see if it really works.

Channel Quilted Slippers

Right now, I'm trying (really hard) to work on my son's slippers that were started 2-4 years ago, and I'm finally decreasing for the toe. He saw the slipper model in a knitting shop and loved them, and of course it was supposed to be "easy" but both of us have had our own problems with it. He followed the directions, and knit about 1" or less, before wanting help, as he couldn't see the channels forming. We worked together, and then he gave up and I ended up starting them, knitting enough to see that the channels were forming, and a bit more. I don't think it's fun to knit, although it is an interesting design, and for some reason this project makes my hands tired, especially my left, so it was put aside for awhile.

Well, the other day he reminded me about these slippers, and said he would still like them, and luckily I managed to find where they had been stashed. Although the knit fabric looks ok, I'm wondering if I have knit so tightly that I've used up too much yarn, and will there be enough yarn to make two? I'm thinking that maybe I could make an educated guess, if I weigh the finished slipper and the remaining balls of yarn. If the yarn weighs less than the slipper, I'm in for trouble and will need to have my son try on the finished slipper to if he still likes it (for all I know he might not like the feel of those ridges under his feet).

I guess the worst case is that I go find new yarn and start over. I wish I lived closer to the shop that had the sample, as I could have gone there and looked at the sample as frequently as I needed to, maybe even worked on it a bit at the shop, they would know if I made a mistake, and I would have finished this the same year we started it, but I'll just have to figure it out on my own (this is what I usually end up doing, and I guess I haven't done too bad so far).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hot Waffles Mitts and Hat

Yes, I'm feverishly working like a busy beaver, trying to get ready for Christmas and also finish a new quilt pattern.
For this red set of hat and mitts, I used Cascade 220 yarn and the Hot Waffles Mitts and Hat pattern from Knitspot. It was great to be able to find a quick to knit project, download the pattern and get started right away!
These were small enough a project that I could take it along, and managed to finish rather quickly, even though I worked on them between other projects. Tuesday, while working at the gallery, I managed to make one complete mitt, and about 1/ 3 of the second, which I thought was great, especially since I have never knit a mitt or glove. This morning I finished darning in the loose ends, so now the set is finished and ready to wrap!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A little time for spinning

In between everything else that I've got going on, I did manage to take a little time out to spin up some new wool batts. Spinning from a batt is new to me, but I was drawn in by the beautiful pictures that I've been seeing in Spin-off Magazine, and onliine posts by others, so of course I had to order some and try it. Some of it spun very nicely, some parts were a bit more difficult, and I am not going to decide how I feel about it until it is plyed and I have a chance to knit something up with it - because if I can't knit up something for a gift or me with it, it isn't worth spinning more, is it? The batt was created by Crosspatch Creations and is in the Kaleidoscope colorway, however I purchased it from The Bellweather.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Water Quilt - finished!

I was working down to the wire on this one, as I really wanted it finished in time for the gallery opening last night, and managed to make it happen, but just barely. In fact, I wanted it to be there so much that I was up until 3am Friday night, finishing the beading, and then the binding and sleeve still needed to be done yesterday before heading to the galery to hang everything. Yes, I ran a few minutes late, but it was finished and ready to hang. Since I ran out the door the minute it was finished, I took this photo of it hanging at the gallery (hey, at least I remembered to take a picture).

Of course it could have been finished without staying up that late if I hadn't volunteered to bake cookies for last night's opening, but it turned out ok, the quilt was finished in time, and we had chocolate chip, coconut oatmeal, and ginger cookies to snack on too.

Now today is my day to put my feet up and take a break, but since it's really difficult for me to just sit and do nothing, I'm going to be knitting a christmas gift. Of course it probably won't be finished today, and I won't be able to post it for a while (don't want to spoil the surprise), but I'll remember to take a picture to post later.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Featured Artist at Gallery 113!

Don't forget, tonight is the gallery opening! Karin, the other featured artist was kind enough to write the press release for the Woodinville Weekly newspaper, and also create this beautiful flyer that showcases our current favorites. We're not sure why they only printed the photo of her watercolor, but I'm guessing it's because my quilt was printed in color with the press release of it's acceptance in the APNQ Quiltfest quilt show, earlier this year.
Please plan to stop by and say hi, we'd love to meet you!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Home and Studio Construction - update

Now it's been so long since I uploaded the picture of the living room after the demolition work was done on our house, but the work is slowly progressing. As the smaller changes we had planned to make, ended up growing as we found things that needed to be fixed or brought up to code, eventually we ended up basically gutting the house and starting over on the inside. It was so bad they had to jack up and level the floors, and replace 3 major beams that hold up the roof! If you look closely, while they have decided where the outlets will be, there aren't any wires going to them, since this room is one of those that hasn't been wired yet.

At least I'll eventually have a great studio in the space above, and a second laundry room with old upright washer and dryer so that I can dye fabric more easily again, as well as store all my dyes and fabric paints. We also managed to gain a loft for my husband in the attic space above part of the garage, entry and a bedroom, so he will have his own space too. The rooms have been framed out, and the new windows have been installed, along with new plumbing above the slab, and they are working on the electrical work. Eventually it will be finished, but it's going really, really, slow, and right now, I'm just looking forward to seeing drywall being installed so that we can get a better feel for how it is going to turn out.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mermaid Forest Socks - finished!!!

Since we haven't been spending as much time on the road lately, these have taken quite a while for me to finish, but tonight I was able to finish the toe of the second sock and now have a pair! They are called Mermaid Forest Socks from SuzisKnits, and I love the way they came out (although I did decide not to continue the lace pattern down into the foot). The yarn is Jumbo Gems superwash fingering yarn by louet, that has been hand painted in the Key West Waters colorway by Cherry Tree Hill. I really love the way they turned out, and can't wait to wear them.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Kreativ Blogger Award

While I was busy hosting Thanksgiving and off checking on our building project, Sherryl nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger award! Her blog Having Fun, showcases her long arm quilting projects, as well as other things she is working on, and she has another blog called Fields of Color to showcase her beautiful hand dyed fabrics.

1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.

2. Put a link to the person you got the award from in your blog.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

As you may know, I have varied interestes, so here are my 5 nominees:

Jane LaFazio's Janeville - I love her sketches and art quilts, and not too long ago took an online class from her. Her sketches inspire me to take my sketchbook along with me so that I can practice my drawing skills, as well as using them when working on my quilts.

Jenny Bowker's Postcards from Cairo - I started following Jenny's blog quite a while ago, and love being able to almost visit another country through her blog on my computer, as well as admire the quilts she makes that reflect

Carol's blog, Carol Lenthall Dreamstitcher, is full of her awesome bead and textile art. What can I say, but lots of eye candy!

Glennis Dolce, known as Shibori Girl, dyes the most gorgeous shibori ribbon and other silk products and shows them off on her. I've had the pleasure to take both an online class with her as well as one in person at Houston Quilt Festival this year.

Lisa is an art quilter and fabric dyer, as well as teacher, and it's very inspiring to see what she and her students are up to. Her blog is called Dyed and Gone to Heaven, and I think it fits - I'd love to be able to take one of her classes.