Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring Fever?

I think I have Spring Fever. Does anyone know what the symptoms are? I'm busy, but I just feel so...hmmm....unfocused. I'm not doing anything I SHOULD be doing...I just feel like wandering around, doing a little bit of everything.

For instance, I have this incredibly lovely stack of fabric that I got for Christmas last year:

And this perfectly wonderful pattern to make it into:

But I don't feel like tackling a big project right now! My attention span is too short. So I do silly things like this:

I made a thrifted pillowcase into an apron. I think it came out pretty...but still...

I have an entire stack of perfectly wonderful new crisp fabric waiting for me...and I'm sewing together old sheets again. What is wrong with me??

I did finish a useful pair of socks:

These are my "Jury Duty" socks. I started them as a mindless, chartless project when I was called for jury duty...but my case got cancelled (yay!) and I was stuck with finishing the world's most boring sock pattern. I like the yarn--it's Misti Alpaca. Very warm and soft, which are my two favorite qualities in a sock.

But then I went back to sewing old dishtowels:

Can you guess what this is? Here it is, unrolled:

And unflapped:

My dpn's now have a cozy little bed to sleep in. I used two Martha Stewart dishtowels, some batting, and a bit of fabric to make the flap. Don't they look cute all tucked in?

Spring fever, I tell you.

As long as my mind is wandering, I'll tell you about my new favorite cereal:

I'm on a gluten-free diet now, just to see what happens. It's been two weeks and so far, I don't feel much different. Maybe gluten was responsible for my former longer attention span...you think? Nah. Anyway, this stuff is yummy! I think the box is happy, too. Can't you just see a quilt in all those colors?

Speaking of yummy, it's lychee time of year again:

These are so sweet and tasty. Have you ever had lychee? You peel back the red skin and eat the flesh, which tastes a bit like a grape, but more floral-tasting. These are not quite ready; they'll get redder and sweeter.

My orchids are showing off right now:

Hello, my pretties. Do you have Spring Fever, too?

While I'm wandering around the yard, this new little family crosses my path:

The yard is so lovely, I just may stay out here and wander a bit.

Is there any cure for this?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

No More Haunted Mansion

Remember my morgue-like sewing room?


Gee, it's about time, isn't it? I've only been staring at those horrible depressing drapes--courtesy of our home's previous owner--for ten years now. Yay! We now have nice white faux wood blinds, courtesy of our local Home Depot.

And did you notice the color? We painted, too! (Thanks for all your color suggestions on this post.) This was my inspiration palette:

Obviously, a color scheme selected by a perimenopausal woman living in Hawaii. Summer is so dang hot! I'd rather fantasize that I'm living atop that iceberg there.

Here were the iceberg-inspired swatches that I agonized over:

As you can see, icy, cool, ice cube colors. I had actually decided on "Tide Pools," which is on the card furthest to your left--middle swatch. But the day we purchased the paint, I forgot my paint swatches at home, and had to remember what color I had decided upon. The remembering part didn't go so well--I picked out a new group of aqua swatches and "Delicate Mist" looked and sounded more familiar, so I bought a gallon of that one. ("Delicate Mist" is the middle card, middle color.)

I remembered wrong. Oh well, it's kind of close. It looked closer under the lighting at Home Depot, anyway.

It's difficult to capture the color in this room! There is too much light to be able to see it very well.

We actually finished painting a couple weeks ago, but I didn't post pictures because I couldn't get good pictures of the paint color (I still can't). The window light burns out the camera, so the color is hard to photograph.

It's a very delicate color. I like it a lot. I think if it were any darker, I'd tire of it easily.

It feels very serene and peaceful in here atop my imaginary iceberg.

I picked up this sconce at my favorite thrift store. It's perfect for my knitting needles.

The light aqua is a little easier to see on this wall--but still, you don't see the whole large cumulative blue/green/gray space. It's a large room, so there is plenty of blue.

My sewing room will never be a "pretty" room. It's my work room. My quilt factory. I love my sewing table (ugly) and my machine-on-a-stick (12 feet of bare wood and sprinkler pipe), and all the yarn storage beneath. I suppose I could drape everything in fabric...but ugh...I'd rather be quilting. Besides, with all the bright natural light, decorator fabric fades in six months. Not worth it.

I like my room to be practical and rearrangeable. I also like to store my bulky, unattractive items so they are easy to get to. I think if I made it a really "pretty" room, I'd never want to get it messy!

I love my space. It feels very restful, without feeling very "Rest in Peace"-full, if you know what I mean.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Survived the Shawl

I survived the shawl.

I am soooo glad this project is done. Here is "Ishbel:"

The Shawl of Pure Evil.

Grrrrrr. Oh sure...in this picture, it's laying here all innocent and soft, but don't be deceived. It's a vicious little thing. Fuzz, billions of yarnovers, dropped stitches, more fuzz, multiple charts, boring stockinette with teeny tiny FUZZY yarn--it's just plain mean. See the points? Think of them as fangs with my blood dripping from them.

I only finished this shawl because it taunted me. It lay in wait for me on my recliner every night, quietly plotting how it was going to break me. And it almost succeeded! I almost gave up at least once a night.

But I survived.

And...I kind of like it! I may make another one. (Slow learner.)

Next time, I would definitely use a different yarn. This is Malabrigo Lace in "Carrot." I love the color, but oh oh oh the fuzz! The Malabrigo would be good for someone making this shawl for the second time--when one already knows what one is doing--because mistakes are impossible to fix. The more you linger over a mistake, the more fuzz is produced--kind of like trying to pet a rabid dog.

But it sure is soft on my neck! And practically weightless. Just a little whisper of a thing, really. It's lovely to wear.

Perhaps on my next attempted shawl pattern, I'll consult a shawl expert regarding suitable yarn types before I nearly commit shawlicide.

Here is the lace edge. The edges did not turn out like I thought. I think I may have bound off too tightly (I think I was trying to strangle the thing....). In addition, I don't think this yarn blocks very well. I pinned out the points, but they're just not as pointy as they should be.

See? No points at all. Smooth edges. Not enough drama for an evil shawl, I think.

This is what the edges are supposed to look like:

This is sammysmith's Ishbel. I hope she doesn't mind me using this picture; I cut and pasted it from Ravelry. Her points are lovely and stayed pointy after blocking. I can see that her bind-off was looser than mine, too.

Here is the front of my shawl:

I need a shawl pin or something. I don't think I'd ever wear it this way, though. It feels too good up against my neck. I think I'll probably wear it more like this:

Perhaps I'll try to reblock it the next time I wash it to see if I can coax some points out of the infernal thing. I just worry about more fuzz when I wash it. I do love the color though! It's exactly the color of fresh carrot juice.

In other news, my new lavender quilt won a prestigious award! It's been designated by Mr. Bigglesworth as the most desirable sleeping spot of the week.

Quite an honor.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Just a Bed Quilt

My lavender bed quilt is done.

There's not really much to say about it; it's just a bed quilt. Just a humble bed quilt made from my lavender, seafoam green, aqua, and purple stash pile.

The soft kind of bed quilt that I like so much.

Scrappy and full of memories...

with blocks that Angela and I worked on together...

and my friend Cindy (Angela's mom) sent over some pretty scraps for...

with lots of quilting in soft green cotton thread.

Yep, just a humble bed quilt.
My favorite kind of quilt.
We slept under it last night and we both slept well. I think that's a good sign.
Here's the pattern if you want to make one yourself:

Very simple. Just assemble like you would a nine patch.