Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Math

Take one ever-climbing black cat in a very small house with limited window perches.

Add one quilter who has been kicked out of her crafting room to make way for the teenager and is cutting on the kitchen table.

And you get two bloody fingers with a lot of censored curse words.

Yes, our Dayton jumped on the kitchen table to reach his perch in front of the window. He collided with my hand as I was about to make a cut. Neither of us was happy about the outcome - he didn't get to the window, I bled on the denim.

Feeling sorry for myself, I made some chocolate chip banana bread. Mmm, chocolatey goodness eases pain and distress.

I snacked on it while I cut stars for applique on the denim quilt.

Next time we will discuss the formula for stressing out the teacher with hot coffee, sunny spring days and bad attitudes. Caution - do not where white for this demonstration.

Happy Thursday, M

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Study In Denim

This is my kitchen table this morning.

I have been hoarding denim for sometime now and finally decided to get on with making it into a quilt.

Compared to other fabrics, it takes up more room per metre and is heavier to shift. If I get it stitched up into a quilt, I can send it off and let the scraps go to other quilters. It's that lazy quilter streak coming out in me again.

A few posts ago, I promised that I would divulge my secret of reading and crafting at the same time. It's not actually secret but it tickles me that I've finally cottoned on to it.

Project Gutenberg has downloadable audio books now. For free. They don't have a huge selection yet but they are looking for volunteers to record some of the titles, if you're interested.

Last week, I listened to Bram Stoker's Dracula while knitting the green vest and stitching the Prairie Roads blocks. It was heavenly and I highly recommend it. I am always pulled between my reading and my crafting so being able to combine the two in this way is very, very gratifying.

Then add the fact that it was free and I am practically squirming with my joy. I am such a geek! I know this. I embrace this about myself. I celebrate my geekiness.

Ahhh, it's a good day to be a denim-hoarding, Dracula-listening, cheap, crafty geek.

Happy Saturday, M

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring? Yeah, Whatever.

Yes, I know. Yesterday was the first full day of spring.

I have noticed that other bloggers are writing about the thaw and the little green sprouts peering out of the earth, blooms threatening all over the place.

But in the comments from my last post, Eyeleen said "That's a lot of snow!" It made me realize that spring for us in northern Saskatchewan is far different than for anybody south of the 52nd parallel.

This fact, and other bloggers fascination with warm and green, inspired me to take some photos this morning.

My bedroom window is the one behind the pile of snow.
My neighbour's house.

Our school yard and the lake beyond.

Despite all this white, fluffy stuff, we have our own signs of spring. Yesterday the temperature rose to 0 degrees Celsius (32 for Fahrenheit users) and there was bright sunshine. With the sun, there was melting going on. With the melting, there was much excitement and many flying snowballs from the kids.

So we have signs of spring here, too. They're just different.

And later.

And slower.

But they are very much appreciated. Maybe even more so because we know that our winters are tiresomely long and our springs painfully short.

While we wait for it, though, I think I'll just avoid any of those inconsiderate blogs that are showing their daffodils and go to the hockey tournament this weekend.

Happy Thursday, M

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Weird and Wonderful

First the weird.

Chad was out running errands yesterday afternoon. He was taking so long that I thought he must have stopped at a friend's house and lost track of the time while playing X-box Live. He has done that on occasion so I wasn't overly worried. I wasn't overly happy about it but I wasn't overly worried.

In hindsight, I wish he'd been playing games with his friends.

Thanks to the heroic efforts of friends and neighbours, both Chad and the truck are healthy and happy. Chad is a little reluctant to drive in the winter again but I've almost got him convinced that he needs to get back on that horse.

Now some wonderful.

I got a chance to lay out the blocks for my Prairie Roads quilt.

Isn't it fabulously gorgeous? I adore the colours. It really looks like a prairie sunset to me. Ahhh, happy is a beautiful quilt made by my own two hands.

And still more of the wonderful.

This arrived in the mail today.

My dear friend, Zanzara, sent me a beautiful little table loom and an amazing book for beginning weavers, accompanied by a lovely note of encouragement.

I have been thinking of getting a loom since I got back from Ireland in 2004. Having had the chance to do some traditional weaving while there, I fell in love with the process. During a recent and unexpected conversation with Zanzara, I mentioned that it was my next major equipment addition. Lo and behold, she had this lovely little one that needed a new home. Now it's here in my home. I love the way the universe works sometimes!

Here's hoping you get a little wonderful and a little less weird in your life this week. M

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Seventy Stars and Sushi

Wow! Creativity abounds this weekend.

Last night, I made sushi for the first time since I took the sushi-making class ten years ago. It was delicious.

I don't have any sushi-quality sashimi but I stuffed it with avocado, cucumber and some teriyaki salmon. Yummers!

Today, I finally finished the last seams on 70 stars for my Prairie Roads quilt. I am very, very pleased with them. The blocks themselves are far from perfect but the colours are glorious. Pinks and corals in wonderful combinations. I can't wait to see it all together.

In case you missed it in a previous post, this quilt is based on Bonnie's Oklahoma Back Roads quilt. Mine is made from scraps and fat quarters that I've collected but I guess I just happened to have a lot of pinks and corals. (I'm thinking that girly part of me is really obvious in this quilt.)

I feel both rested and productive after this long weekend. I'm totally ready to go back to work tomorrow. It's a good feeling.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

While The Teenager's Away . . .

The crafter will play.

Chad is away in Prince Albert this weekend visiting his aunt and cousins. I have the house to myself and a three day weekend. Crafting has taken over.

And that's just the coffee table.

Over on the kitchen table, there is quilting in progress.

I finally got all the seams ironed on my first batch of block bits (my least favourite part of the quilting process) and started putting more of them together. I am making good headway on it today.

As promised, I have a pic of the fabrics that broke my diet. In my defense, I would like to point out that this is the first stash enhancing I've done since early October so I can still be quite proud of myself.

They were so seriously worth it! I adore that batik heart fabric and the multicoloured vines just grabbed me.

Since I was breaking the diet for those fabrics, I also indulged in a couple of matching Moda charm packs. I've never had charm squares before and I have to say I am quite happy about not having to cut them if I don't want to. I am such a lazy quilter!

I've also made awesome progress on the vest for Dulaan. I love that I don't have seams to do on it. Apparently I'm a lazy knitter,too.

Yesterday I spent the morning doing some major house cleaning and got some mending done, too. I used the opportunity to practice my hand-applique of a heart over a hole in my duvet cover.
Yup, it's been a great weekend so far. Next time I'll tell you my new secret for reading while I craft. It's heaven.

Wishing you all a Happy St. Patrick's Day! M

Monday, March 12, 2007

It's All Relative!

My friend, Katharyn, sent me an email card from Lion Brand Yarn. It's so cute and so me that I had to share it.

If you haven't seen the site already, you should check it out. Lovely!

Yesterday, I finished the other green mitten for Dulaan and started this vest in a pale green Lopi.

On Saturday, I took a jaunt down to Meadow Lake for groceries, a vet visit for Reuben and a few other errands. I have to admit that I broke my fabric diet but the two pieces I got were so worth it! I'll post pics of them later.

As I was leaving the craft store, I actually felt really bad about breaking my diet. I wish I felt that bad when I broke other diets!

Happy Monday morning, M

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Up For It

There have been a few people interested in the Dulaan Twenty Challenge so I thought I would just acknowledge their efforts here.

Angela is committed to 20.
Eyeleen is volunteering 10.
Katie is stepping up with another 10.

Ryan has also had a few takers over on her blog.

Thanks so much, Knitters. I think Dulaan 2007 is going to be the best one yet.

If anyone else wants to join in, it's never too late!

As for me, I didn't post my knitting progress for a couple of days because I wanted to leave the challenge up for any late readers. But I have been knitting and I'm feeling very gung-ho about it still.

Here's evidence:

Two and a half pairs of mittens. The second green will be finished by the end of today. Actually they're quite little so probably by the end of the morning.

I am having fun trying to fill my box. In my own mind, it's also a bit of a race to see if I can get them done before Easter break. I've made myself a deal that if I can finish the Dulaan knitting by then, I'll quilt for the entire ten holidays. Yeah, I'm just that kind of obsessed crafter - my reward for full-on crafting is more crafting. Like you're any different! Just try to deny it!

Hope you're all having a brilliant Sunday, M

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Personal Dulaan Challenge

Okay. So it started innocently enough.

I was talking to my mom last night. It was one of our usual conversations,day to day stuff, nothing spectacular. Then she said she'd read yesterday's post about my recent binge of Dulaan knitting. She proceeded to tell me that last year she made 19 items for them.

"Nice," I said. Then I told her she needed to do 20 this year since the organizer, Ryan, is trying to collect just one more item than she did in the 2006 campaign.

"Uh huh," says Mom, "Good idea."

Suddenly, the idea to make 20 Dulaan items includes me. (Hmmm, I'm not sure how that happened but I suspect it has something to do with my mother's magical powers of persuading without making it look like her idea.)

Anyway, however it happened, now it's out there - my own personal Dulaan challenge for this year. Twenty items in total (a pair of anything that requires pairing - socks, mitts, etc - being 1 item).

For me, I'm going to add the condition that they all have to be made out of my stash. Because I'm just that kinda masochistic knitter dedicated to reducing the yarn stock in my life.

Now that I'm picking up the gauntlet, I thought I'd share. Anybody care to join me in the Dulaan Twenty Challenge? M

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Zud, Zud, Zud (sung to the car jingle)

Oh, look! Another Zud for the Dulaan Project. They do go together very quickly and are a great way to use up some bulk yarns in the stash.

And I am all about the stash busting these days, which means that Dulaan is going to get a whole box full from me this year, not just a few pieces here and there like the last couple of years.

I started a pair of mittens for them this morning before work . Another stash project using two dk-weight yarns my mom found at Value Village, (also known as the VV boutique for those who don't wish to admit they shop there). They are brand new skeins with their tags still on, and let me tell you, those suckers are old (I could tell by the tags) but the fibre is still lovely and fresh.

For those of you who may not know, I have had issues with finding a good versatile mitten pattern for some time now. I have been searching and struggling to find one that I could adapt for which ever yarn weight or hand size I had to work with.

In another desperate attempt, I was going through my pattern collection last night and decided to check out my vintage collection. (It must have been the vintage yarn that inspired me.)

Lo and behold! Look what I found there.

It is exactly what I needed and now, no more mitten madness.

It has child sizes from 2-12, plus adult S-M-L. It also includes gauges for six different weights of yarns, easy to follow instructions and a few helpful hints. All this in a two-page flyer that originally cost 40 cents. It warms my little vintage-loving heart!!! (I was so seriously born in the wrong era!)

You know, there are days when I am hit fully in the face by my "knitter" status. This is one of them. I am blowing my own mind with my mitten problem, my vintage knitting pattern collection, the size of my stash and my own joy thinking about all these things together.

Hoping you find your own inner knitter, M
ETA: Thanks to Marti for double checking my links. It's fixed now and you can access the current Dulaan website.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Another Day, Another Zud

Here's our Chad modeling the latest Zud in pale green and red - adult size.

It was a productive day yesterday with much knitting and movie watching. In Friday's mail, I received a "Best of the 40's" collection that includes The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, Adam's Rib and Mildred Pierce. Between that and Zud, it was a most blissful and healing day.

I hope you have a blissful weekend, M

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Zud Hat

I decided that I need to spend a little time doing some good in the world with my knitting, just a little bit. And, thus, I present the Zud Hat from Mossy Cottage Knits and her Duulan campaign.

I told you it was just a little bit. This hat isn't even as big as a paperback.

In keeping with today's warming the world idea, here's a cool picture taken through my kitchen window.

The frost on the glass was in such beautiful patterns and then the trees in the backyard were visible through it. A beautiful image from the bitter cold.

Happy winter knitting, M