Monday, March 23, 2015

the state of my wardrobe(summer)

The state of my summer wardrobe is sorry, sad, embarrassingly ragged.  Since the temps are in the middle to high 80s the situation is becoming critical if I want to leave the A/C off for a few more weeks.  I have repaired or remodeled 6 pair of shorts and should get another summer out of them.  The tops?  I'm down to 2 shirts that are only fit for rags and don't want to be seen in public in them.

So I have gone through my fabric stash and found 8 pieces of fabric that there is enough yardage to make shirts with.  I even found a pattern that I had never used rolled up in a piece of fabric.  What could be simpler than a front, back and neck-facings?  I have the first of the new shirts made.
The shirt pattern takes about two and a third yards.  Not thrilled with a boat-style neckline so the next one will have something different.  Probably bring the back of the neck up to the natural neckline and change the front to a v-neck or a scoop neckline.  Have also considered cutting a square opening just at the mid-line of the bust and inserting a button closure, kind of like the dickeys of my youth.  I'm waffling on this as it is more work (buttons and buttonholes) but it would add some more pizazz to the shirts.

And no, I did not use the shoulder pads! LOL I have football-player shoulders and neck muscles.  Which is why I want to bring the neckline back around to the natural neckline.

I hope everyone is having a good day!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

another pretty - shamrock

I made me another pretty to hang on my wall.
Since it is March, why not something to do with St. Paddy's Day?  I looked at leprechauns, rainbows, pots of gold, shamrocks and all sorts of thing to appliqué.  As beautiful as some appliqué is, I don't have the patience nor do I like it when my hands go numb from gripping a small object such as a needle for long periods of time.  So I when I discovered a pieced shamrock over at Quilting I went for it.

This is what I came up with in EQ6:
Once again, EQ6 did not have this block in their Block Library, so I went to the Easy Draw section and drew the block.  I then imported the block into my lay-out.  The block is a 12-inch block set on point.  I played with the inside border to get just a section on the bottom.  The outside border is the binding.

Need to cut:
(12) 3.5-inch blocks for the patchwork of the leaves of the shamrock.
  (9) 2 3/8-inch blocks of background for the shaping of the shamrock leaves.
 (1) 6.5-inc block of background for the quadrant the stem is in.  This is where I variated from the pattern and instruction, and used a 10-inch piece of bias binding cut down to 1.5".  Pressed the sides under a 1/4" and machine appliquéd it across the diagonal of the 6.5" block.
 (1) 6 7/8-inch block cut on the diagonal for the 2 lower triangles around the shamrock of background material.
 (1) 9 7/8-inch block cut on the diagonal for the 2 upper triangles around the shamrock of back ground material.
 (2) 6.5 x 7.5inch blocks for either side of the flowerpot on background material.
 (1) 9.5 x 7.5-inch block for the flower pot.  The flowerpot was another variation from the pattern and instructions.

I had to square up the block after I added the four side triangles and before I added the flowerpot bottom.  I trimmed off about 3-inches of the stem part of the block.

I was having trouble pinning the trimmed flowerpot to the two pieces of background until I had an Aha! moment.
Take the piece you cut off the pot and lay it on the background to get the right angle for pinning.

Sew it down and press.
Repeat with the other side and trim the seam allowance to a 1/4-inch.  Attach to the bottom of your block.  I echo quilted the background and stitched in the ditch around all the colored parts of the quilt with an echoed flowerpot in the center of the pot fabric.

When I got ready to make binding, I decided I didn't want the original green binding but something different.  Why not a gold binding to represent the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?  I found a goldish-yellow print in the stash.  I think it was just what this pretty need.
The label is on
So now I need to get busy with a wedding gift for Hubby's nephew that is getting married this June.  I have a couple of ideas, so we will see where they lead me.

I hope everyone is having a good day!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

cabled wedding blanket - my version

This is my take of the Cabled Wedding Blanket.
The original pattern calls for super-bulky yarn.  What I wanted to use was worsted-weight Red Heart's Fleck in Oatmeal.  I already had the yarn in my stash as a partially done, crocheted afghan.  I had decided I would not finish it due to the strain on my hands from crocheting and the amount of yarn the afghan was sucking up.  I knitted this whole afghan (48" x 72") with about a skein leftover from about a 48" x 36" partially done crocheted one.

I decided on 12-inches of my favorite basket-weave pattern around the center panel.  Then I decided 5 cables in the 24" x 48" center would fill it nicely, 2 Celtic braids and 3 Aran braids on reverse stockinette.
I knitted it on a 40" US #6 circular needles. My gauge was 5.25 stitches/inch.  So needless to say I did a boat-load of swatching and research to get it to work.

One thing I learned was that cables pull in and you will have to add stitches to get it to lay flat without heavy blocking when going from one pattern to another.  I had to add 4 stitches/cable on the set-up row before beginning the cables.

I still got some rippling after washing the afghan as you can see in the picture above.  I didn't dry it in a dryer so I don't know if it would have dried tighter or not. (Laundromat dryers are notoriously hot!)  Nor did I block it very hard.

The basket weave pattern I used is:
Row 1:  Knit
Row 2, 4 & 6: K6, P4
Row 3 & 5:  K4, P6
Row 7:  Knit
Row 8, 10, & 12:  P5, K6, *P4, K6*, to last 9 stitches then P4, K5
Row 9 & 11:  P5, K4, *P6, K4*, to last 11stitches then P6, K5
I cast on 250 stitches and did seven-n-half repeats to get my 12-inches of basket-weave.

I built myself a chart in Microsoft Excel for the center panel.

I highlighted the two spots I kept screwing up the crossovers.  It is a pain to un-knit that part of the cable and re-knit it up to get the crossing right when you notice you screwed-up several rows down.  And, I did it a time or two even after I highlighted it!  Shesh!!!
When you get to the last row of the center panel and are decreasing it helps to decrease the same amount that you increased!  LOL  I had to rip back the last row of the center panel twice until I figured out what I was doing wrong!

So there you have it!  I saw a concept on Ravelry that I liked and made it my own.  It only took me 3 years to finish it!  And no, my dearest sister I am not going to send it to you!  You have to knit your own.

I hope everyone is having a good day!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

finished my pretty

This is what I had planned.
This is what I ended up with.
The little preprinted hearts I was going to use in the corners had an off-white background which just didn't look right so the strips at the top gave me the length I was looking for.   I wish I had taken more off the top of the block and centered it better top-to-bottom, but didn't see the centering problem until I had it almost quilted.  Next time!

To build this 10-inch block you will need three fabrics, a background, and 2 fabrics with lot of contrast.  The fabric with the red background uses a block 4 1/2" by 6 1/2" and a strip of 2 1/2" by 12 1/2".
The fabric with the light background uses a block 4 1/2" by 6 1/2" and a strip of 2 1/2" by 10".
The white background uses a block 4 1/2" by 4 1/2" and a strip of 2 1/2" by 10".

I used 3/4-inch echo quilting around my heart and stitch-in-the-ditch for the heart and strips at the top.

The label is on and a bit wonky.

So it is time to work on other projects.

I hope everybody is having a good day!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

I had a brain storm

I was looking at that wall hanging that hubby's maternal grandmother made the other day and had a brain storm.
Remember the flags that you hung outside depending on the season?  Well, why not make a wall hanging/quilt block and have something different to hang on the wall each month or season?  Half the year will be easy; it's one block; a quick sew.

This is what I have planned for February.
The center block is from Quilting Assistant.  I'm surprised that EQ6 doesn't have this block in its library.

Remember making these when we were kids in school to give to our mothers for Mother's Day?  What I didn't know was those woven paper hearts are Swedish or Danish.  Which says to me, a more accurate description would be Scandinavian.

So I'm going to indulge my ADD and go make me a pretty!

I hope everybody is having a good day!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

leftover pulp from almond milk

As you know I'm allergic to the casein protein in milk.  So to get some creamy goodness for my tea, coffee, hot chocolate and ice cream I make and use nut-milks.  Some nut-milks can be drank without straining like cashew milk after blitzing in the blender for three minutes (some people do strain cashew milk).  Almond milk however tastes best strained; it has a gritty mouth feel, to me, if you don't.

So what do you do with the leftover pulp?  Some folks actually throw it out, but I can't.  Seems a waste to me, so I went out on the web looking for recipes that use almond milk pulp and ended up at Elana Pantry.  She has some great recipes that use almond milk pulp and a boat load of them use almond flour (very finely ground almonds).

What I usually do with the pulp is save it up in the freezer and then dehydrate the pulp-patties until dry.  Then, one at a time, I break them up and pulverize them in the blender.  I sift the contents of the blender just in case I don't get everything ground up.  Regrind anything that needs it with the next broke-up patty.

One of the things I do with the resulting almond flour is to save it to make chocolate chip cookies for Sister Suzy to take to set as her theater director has Celiac disease.  Today I tried a new recipe for almond flour, Chocolate Coconut Macaroons from Elana's Gluten-free Almond Flour cookbook.  Oh, My, Good!

(A copyright free image)

I did modify her recipe a little, as usual.  LOL  I only used 3/4 cup of honey instead of 1 cup of agave nectar and the recipe on the proceeding page was for Almond Macaroons.  Yeah, why not, Almond Chocolate Coconut Macaroons!  So I added 1 teaspoon of almond extract to the blend.  This is what I ended up with:

3 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of almond extract

3/4 cup honey

1/4 cup of cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups of my almond flour

1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut, should have been 2 but that was all I had.

Preheat oven to 350.  I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper so nothing would stick.  I whisked the egg whites until they were frothy.  Then, added the next three ingredients and whisked very well.  I sifted the cocoa powder in and blended well.  Finally I folded the last two ingredients in.  I scooped heaping teaspoons full of dough on the cookie sheet, patting into smooth mounds and baked for 15 minutes.  Cooled the cookies for 30 minutes on the cookie sheet.  I got 20 cookies in total.  These cookies don't spread so they all fit on one big cookie sheet. 

If you like a more Almond-y flavor add more extract, Elana used a whole tablespoon. That seemed too much to me as I wanted to taste the chocolate, also.

I hope everyone is having a good day!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

sister suzy graduates

One of my reasons for heading back to Kansas in December was for Sister Susy's graduation.
(Not the best picture but considering it is from my little point-n-shot from half-court...)

They had her stand to acknowledge her grade point average.  It was announced to be a 4.0 but final grades were not in yet.  Last class was Friday, graduation ceremony was Saturday, and grades weren't due until the following Tuesday. 

I had to laugh, she is so disgusted because she made an A- in one of her class so her grade point average is 3.999 instead of 4.0.  She said they jinxed her by making her stand for the 4.0 acknowledgment.  I don't think that's too bad considering Hubby passed away a month into the semester, the Saturday after he died she started a full time job and was taken a full load of 15 hour with no fluff courses.  Those last 3 weeks were touch-n-go to get all the papers and projects finished and turned in on time, along with the job.

Afterwards we (family and friends) head over to the local Chinese Buffet for a celebratory meal.
Two of her high school teacher, Kent Harms her Softball Coach and Algebra teacher, Julie McCreight her Theater Director and forgive me I can't remember Julie's daughter's name.
One of the girls she runs around with from high school, Kylsie
One of her cousins, Sami.  I didn't get photos of the rest of the crowd.  Big hugs to you guys for coming and making our day!

Now for Graduate School!  I have my fingers crossed she gets into the program out here with Midwestern because it has a Doctorate Program and all internships are done on campus and are paid.  (Not to mention, I sometimes want to play Helicopter Mom.)  She, of course, is torn between staying in Kansas to be close to friends and the Doctorate Program out here with Midwestern.  Time will tell.

Hope everyone is having a good day!