Stitching and Life in the Company of Pets

Sunday, January 25, 2009

More squares

Not a whole lot going on this week. I enjoy watching the TV series Bones, Monk, and Psyche, and did remember when they came on this week, so while they were on I got some stitching time in. My Halloween squares are growing. The lower right corner is where the boxes will stop and then the border will go in (design is 9 squares by 9 squares). The 11" Q snaps I have it on will be a bit tight. However it will fit and I like the 11" ones, the 14" ones tend to make it a bit harder to handle so I'll leave it on these to finish. Here's where I am now, at this point I'm still a bit ahead of my schedule for this. For a change I even got a good picture where you can see more of the true color of the Lentil linen I'm doing it on.

Last night my friend came over and we knitted and watched an older movie that I hadn't seen before, January Man. Overall it was pretty good. It had Susan Sarandon, Kevin Kline, Harvey Keitel, and Alan Rickman, all actors I enjoy. She'd had a bit of trouble finishing her knitted square that she was working on for the donation piece from the book reading earlier, so unfortunately we had to rip about half of it back out and restart from there. I felt a bit guilty ripping it back, but it turned out well. She got some more practice in on the decreasing part, and it looked much better by the end of the movie than it had before, so she was pleased. They are collecting the squares till the end of the month, so she'll have time to finish and get it turned in. I turned mine in last week, and they had a nice amount in the basket they were collecting them in. They should be able to have a lovely afghan and raise funds for a good cause. While I was there I also had a fun look around the store. While none of the yummy yarns ended up going home with me, they sure were tempting.

Since she was knitting, I worked on my knitted cat mat too, so that I was doing the same thing if needed to explain something again. A little less confusing than if I was crocheting or stitching. While I have a small dishcloth started, since I'd have to pay attention to a pattern and didn't want the distraction, I worked on the cat mat I also have going. This one's almost done. I'm using the Vanna's Choice again in Mountain Print.

No pictures of wildlife this week. Yesterday, while cold, was nice and sunny, so I'll leave you a picture of the not so "wild" life from inside that were taking advantage of the sunbeams to grab a nap. Don't these two look comfy? The other two were dozing too, but not near enough to get in the same picture.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

More squares and the clown

Well as crazy as it's been this week, I did manage to squeeze in a bit more stitching time. I can't believe I was worried that I wouldn't enjoy doing the squares (the outlining of them) on my Blue Ribbon Design, that I'd find it to boring or repetitive, I'm loving them. Every time I finish a little square it feels like an accomplishment, even though it is just the outline. Then I get the fun of looking to see what fun little goodie I get to stitch inside. Even when I'm really tired I can work on it, as doing the square outlines doesn't even really require looking at the pattern. I have the Six Bats and a Witches Hat that I'm currently doing, and I also have Winter WingDings. If I swap with Kim who I'm doing this as a SAL with, since she's doing Luck, Letters, and Leprechauns, that gives me a third I can do. There are so many other fun ones in this series, like PostCards from Paradise and Bunnies and Blooms, I think there will definitely be more of these in the future. So here's what I got done this week. Again lighting wasn't so good. However, since we are getting snow again and not much sun (and I don't even want to go into the cold) this is about as good as I was going to get.

Last week I introduced you to the bully in our neighborhood, today I'll show you the clown, and I'll bet a lot of you have these crazy little fellows living in your neighborhoods. Here he is checking out the seed basket and getting ready to steal a bit and here he is after he's gotten a handful and wants to eat it They are so funny the way they can hang upside down with their toes and eat. I know some people don't like it that they get into the bird feeders, but I don't mind. They are so cute and fun to watch, they make me smile. Some days I can have as many as 6 or 8 running around in the back at the same time. I was complaining a couple weeks ago when I took these that it was cold, and at that point a lot of the snow we'd gotten earlier had melted. Little did I know what we'd be getting later, I should have enjoyed it while we had it. Again, I was having to take the pictures through the window, so as not to startle them off the feeder, so they are a bit fuzzy. However, as soon as I go out and they hear the door they are on alert, courtesy of Jaz. While she's getting older so doesn't chase the squirrels as much anymore, she still does just often enough that they are wary of her. Earlier this summer I was quite worried on Jaz, as she seemed to have such difficulty getting around anymore. However, the colder weather seems to have given her a new lease on life. While I don't like the snow, she sure does. Here are some pictures of her having her normal fun in the snow. When I took the pictures, I thought we had a fair amount of snow, but it just kept coming, so this is just a small amount of what we currently have.
Can you tell how much she loves it, LOL.
Well I'm off to see what all you've been up to. Hope you're staying warm, seems like everywhere is cold this winter.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A new style squares, SAL, and a Bully

A new style of square is what we learned to do at the book reading. Last weekend I went to the book reading/signing at our local bookstore where they had Kate Jacobs appearing, the author of Friday Night Knitting Club. It was a lot of fun, she was a good speaker, read a section from her new sequel Knit 2, and answered questions. Just before she started, the owners of a local yarn store got us all started on making squares that would be about 5"x5" when finished and be donated. They are going to put the squares together for an afghan (or afghans if enough are donated as are collecting all the month of January) and then it will be auctioned off as a fundraiser for Breast Cancer research. I know how to knit a regular square, but the squares they had us do are knit in a diamond shape, with increasing and decreasing. It turned out to be easy and fun. My mom and friend went with me. My mom did great, picking up how to increase and decrease quickly and she's finished her square. My friend also did well, but had to work a bit harder. My mom loves to make scarfs, just straight knitting but varying the yarns. She then donates the scarfs to the local police station who puts them in the Christmas baskets they do each year and distribute to local seniors so they get a lovely warm scarf as a Christmas treat in their goodie package. However, this was really the first she's tried to increase and decrease. She only had to see it once or twice and she was off and going great. My friend has only just learned to knit, so trying to do the increasing and decreasing for her was harder, but she's sticking to it. I had such fun making the diamond type shape that I did three squares. I did the rust colored one first, and then the other two. Most squares they are getting seemed to be solid colors, so I did the other two in a variegated yarn so they might have an easier time transitioning between some of the colors in putting together the afghan. I used Lion Brands Vanna's Choice, which was a nice yarn to work with.

For you non knitters I've also got a bit of stitching done. My goal for this is 2-3 squares a week, so I'll be done by Oct. At this point that means I should have 4-6 squares done. As you can see I'm doing well on my SAL with my DSIL. It is kind of bright out today, but not sunny. We are getting a lot of snow, so is more of a glare. The picture turned out pretty good, except for it made the linen look more washed out than it really is. I'm really enjoying this. I didn't think I'd like doing all the little squares as outlines, but working on those at the end of the day is pretty relaxing. Not a lot of counting, as they are all the same size, and no color changes, so I can just grab my floss and go. The pattern is a delight to follow too. She gives the pattern all on one sheet, but also includes four additional sheets with the pattern blown up to a large size, lovely to look at with tired eyes. I'm definitely going to want to do some more of the Blue Ribbon Designs in this series.

As to the bully part of the title, this week I'll introduce you to our neighborhood bully. I live in the city, and while there are a lot of birds and squirrels, some of the other wildlife surprises me on occasion. We have numerous rabbits, and I've seen opossums and even raccoons, remember these two little guys? There are two of them hiding in the picture. All pictures are clickable so you can see them better. However, the Hawks I would have thought would have stayed in a more rural area, guess not.
In the first one he's hiding in the bushes, waiting for a unsuspecting bird or mouse to amble by. The second one he'd boldly come out into the yard. Sorry the picture isn't clearer, but I had to shoot the one on the ground through my window so as not to scare him. Since are blurry, he kind of looks like an oversized fat turtledove. In real life though he's gorgeous. Next week, I'll show you the neighborhood clown.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A finish, a WIP, and a New Start

Happy New Year to you all, I hope the coming year is a good one. I stayed in last night and for the early part of the evening tried to teach a friend to knit. Given my knitting skills aren't the greatest, it was a little bit interesting at times. However, we had a good time and she got several rows done and took the needles and yarn home to practice a bit more. So at least she hasn't run off screaming never again. Kate Jacobs, the author of Friday Night Knitting Club, is coming to a bookstore near us to talk about her new book, the sequel Knit 2, and as part of the promotion they are having a knit-in. Two individuals with yarn stores nearby will be there and we are all supposed to bring size 7 or 8 needles and some yarn. Not sure exactly what we'll be knitting, but it will be donated with the pieces put together and auctioned off for funds for breast cancer research. Beginners to experts are listed as being welcome. I'm planning on going with my mother, and my friend wants to go too, but figured a bit of basic knitting knowledge might be beneficial before hand, hence the knitting lesson.

After she left, I got down to some stitching, and I made some good headway on Joyful Summer.

While we don't have sun today, it is fairly bright out, so for a change I could get a fairly good picture. I so love the colors on this, it is just so cheerful.

The night before I had my last finish for 2008, I finished another cat mat for the animal shelter. This was a fun one to do as I liked how the coloring worked. Variegated yarns are so great, you just keep going and it does all the work of changing colors. As with the others, it measures 20x28. I did this one using Bernat Berella "4" afghan yarn in Fresh Lilac and I'd definitely use this yarn again, it was great to work with.

The other thing I got done yesterday was the final kitting of my new SAL, which I'm doing with my DSIL. I got the fabric pulled, cut, put on Q-snaps and the center marked. Here's how it looked to start and here's how it looks after spending a bit of time on it putting in my first stitches of 2009. Not a lot done, but at that time of night (just after midnight) I didn't want to do to much as then I'd just be frogging it back out the next morning. All the good luck frogs I have in my stitching area don't save me from mistakes when I stitch when I'm to tired. I'm doing this on Lakeside Linens 32 ct Lentil. The pictures really don't show the subtle shading. Over all it is a light tan, but the mottling gives it just a hint of a greenish cast in some areas and a rusty cast in others. If you click on the picture showing the start with the stitching you can sort of see the coloring in the fabric. I think this should look great with the overall Halloween colors of the piece. Kim is doing a different one by Blue Ribbon Designs, but as both of ours have the same number of squares, it should work out well.