Friday, December 25, 2015

merry christmas everyone

This year for Christmas I felt like getting out the tub of decorations I hung on to when we moved.  Sister Suzy mentioned this is the first time in a while I have shown any interest in Christmas or that she has had any desire either.  We discussed the toll stress has on one's enthusiasm for life.

I rummaged around in the back of a closet and found my monster tree (all two feet of it).  Sister Suzy mentioned the tree would look a whole lot better if it had lights on it.  I agreed.  So, I did a little research on how long a string I would need.  The experts on the tube say 50 lights per foot of tree!  I do not want to catch the tree on fire! Nor do I want to be blinded by the light!  Well, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby were both advertising short strings for craft projects.  We went for a look-see and I found a 35-light string that was nine-n-half feet long.  That ought to be plenty.  And, it was.  Sure makes the tree look a lot nicer!
I dug out my Greek-cookbook I picked up way back in the dark ages to do some Christmas baking.  Once a year the Greek Orthodox Churches in Wichita have a fundraiser where they make Greek pastries and such.  Dad worked with a gentleman out at the Air Patch who was Greek Orthodox.  He mentioned the bake sale to Dad, Dad mentioned it to Mom, so off we went to the bake sale.  We were hooked.  One year they had cookbooks for sale.  This cookbook is one of those collections where a plea is sent out to the parents and congregation for recipes.  The Book is called Hellenic Cuisine.  It was copyrighted in 1957 and my book is the 36th printing in 1986.  The cookbook even has a recipe for Communion bread called Prosphoron in it.  The symbols that should be stamped on it, the meanings of the symbols and how it is to be portioned.

One of my favorite recipes out of the book is Almond Roll.  I had forgot how wonderful these were!  These taste better the second day, if they last that long!  I never make a full recipe.  I can get four rolls and 28 to 32 servings with this half recipe.


Almond Rolls


1/2 pound of filo/phyllo pastry

1 pound of almonds

3/4 pound of UN-salted butter, melted

3 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar

2 oz whiskey/rum



Syrup

1 cup honey

Juice of half a lemon


The recipe calls for blanched almonds.  I do not bother.  Grind your almond fairly fine, a few chunks are okay in your food processor.

Beat egg whites stiff.  In a separate bowl beat egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy and the sugar is dissolved.  Alternating, fold in, the almonds and the egg whites until blended.  Then add the liquor.  I prefer rum to whiskey and I think if you had some Amaretto that would be good too.

Lay a filo/phyllo pastry sheet down and use a pastry brush to butter the sheet.  Repeat the buttering of each sheet until you have about a quarter of the stack of pastry sheets buttered and stacked on top of each other.  Should be four to five sheets.  Pour a quarter of the batter at one end of the stack and spread it towards the middle.  The batter will cover about 1/4 to a 1/3 of the stack.  Roll up jell-roll style; turn under the ends and place in a buttered jellyroll pan, seam-side down.

Repeat with the rest of the sheets and mixture.  While working with one roll be sure and cover the rest of the pastry sheets with a damp cloth or paper towels to keep the pastry sheets from drying out.  Otherwise, you will have a disappointing mess on your hands.

The directions say pour the leftover butter from brushing your pastry sheets over the rolls.  I do not, because I am pretty liberal as I am brushing the pastry sheets.  The butter will bake out and then be reabsorbed towards the end of the baking.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  I usually bake until golden brown and in my oven that is an extra 10 minutes.

While the almond rolls are baking put your honey and lemon juice in a saucepan and heat to boiling, stirring to keep from scorching.  Once it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and set aside.  Drizzle about half of the honey syrup over the hot pastry rolls.  The instruction say to cut immediately but I have better luck waiting until the pastry rolls cool and then cut.  I turn the slices on their sides and drizzle the rest of the honey syrup over the cut slices to soak in.  I get 7 to 8 slices per roll.  I store them in the refrigerator.

For the other half pound of filo/phyllo pastry, I make Baklava.  I use a combination of walnuts and almonds with cinnamon and cloves and the same honey syrup.  But, that will be for another day!

I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas!

Judy

Sunday, December 20, 2015

belle's wedding quilt

I finished Belle's quilt right before Sister Suzy and I left for a trip back to Kansas after she finished her first quarter of school.  I started this quilt over a year ago.  It spent several months setting after I started it because I just didn't feel like finishing it.  It was one of three; I started and lost interest in over the last year.
This is a tossed nine-patch, believe-it-or-not.  When I saw it out on the web in this size I was surprised at how different it looked from the one I had seen on a quiltinaday you-tube video and made for Sister Suzy one Christmas.
I just realized I made one for both Belle and Sister Suzy!  Kewl! The connection between Belle and Sister Suzy is they have been friends since third grade.  Sister Suzy was the Maid of Honor for Belle in October when Sister Suzy flew back to Kansas for the wedding.

Side Note: Flying in and out of Mesa to Wichita is a lot easier than Sky Harbor to KCI or Ok City.  Mesa and Wichita are smaller airports with only one building and you can get direct flights at a reasonable price.  Then getting from KC, MO or OK City to Wichita is an additional hassle.

I used the Crazy Short-cut Quilt-as-you-go Method to set the quilt together with.
I know I keep talking about this method of setting a quilt together.  But...man...it beats the hell out of wresting a king-size quilt's worth of materials in a home sewing machine!  And you end up with a nice looking quilt.

I spent a lot of time thinking, as I quilt and set it together, on what kind of border I was going to use.  The plans for this quilt is on my computer with the dead motherboard and I couldn't for-the-life-of-me remember what I had decided for a border.  So, this is what I decided on.
Belle was using fall colors for her wedding and I just happen to have some fabric that fit the bill.  Yeah, for a closet of fabric!  I decided to offset the borders instead of using cornerstones or the standard horizontal set of the border.  I think it gave the quilt the right pizzazz.  I chose a solid green for the binding and outside frame.

On the back, I used solids for the backing, setting the blocks with gingham.  Yeah, more gingham out of the stash!
I really like how the back turned out.  As you can see, I played around with different ways to quilt each block.  I was trying to hold boredom at bay.  It helped.

The quilt ended up being 96-inches square, with each block being 14-inches square.  I did not make a nine patch and then cut it.  I just built each block using a 10-inch square, 2 - 10x5 rectangles and a 5-inch square.  Most of the fabric was previous cut strips leftover from other projects.

Well the label is on.
So it it time for me to wish all of you a good day!

Judy

Monday, December 7, 2015

the state of my mind

No, I have not abandon my blog, just went through a very dry spell of nothing done creatively and a prolonged spell of melancholy.  I have come up for air again and hopefully I can reestablish some enjoyable routines again, like building quilts, knitting, cooking, and other pursuits.

My beast of burden  (the 2005 Focus) died.  Finally got an estimate on the check engine light that had been on for two years.  It was the front catalytic convert at 2,000 bucks.  Since the car was only worth $300 to $1,000 with 260,000 miles, it is not worth the repairs but it ran, and ran well.  The final blow was the car acted like something was wrong with the battery/alternator/starter and the mechanic could not find anything wrong, but all the gauges on the dash would quit and the car would die.  The car died on Sister Suzy at Christown Mall after a movie and would not restart after letting set overnight.  Called the junkyard and had them come pick it up.  Did not realize how much stress I was under about the car until the tow-truck pulled out of the parking lot and I cried from relief.

Anniversary of Hubby's death plus the financial bombshells and repercussions that have been occurring the last year did not help any either.  Things are better but it is still going to be a while before everything is taken care of.  Of course, the vultures/bill collectors do not believe there are no assets as 95-97% of all Americans have some kind of assets.  There was nine dollars and 41 cents in our checking account the day he died.  No life insurance, no IRAs, no stocks, bonds, property, real or personal that were unencumbered, zilch, nada, nothing.  So, basically, I am waiting them out by ignoring the phone, taking all the collection notices and putting them in a file and when I get his ashes interred, I will address the collection notices.  The phone ringing is stressful.  It reminds me of the financial mess that is setting in the file cabinet that I do not have the money for a lawyer to resolve.  In the meantime, the needs of the living come first, not some bill collector, in my world.

I have been stressing over Sister Suzy's first quarter of graduate school.  Will she pull it off or not?  17 hours of graduate level class in 10 weeks instead of the standard of 9-12 hours over 16 weeks.  The last couple of weeks were touch-n-go, but she pulled out A-minuses across the board.  So, this quarter is starting out a lot calmer.  She is still behind the 8-ball on books, 2 of the 4 are going to be late coming in, but she has a workable plan for those.

My sister went through a cancer scare this spring/summer.  The doctors say it looks like they got it all, so now it is in the wait-n-watch phase.  She is now dealing with the side effects of Chemo and Radiation, hair growing back, deep bone pain, weakened muscles and neuropathy.

And, for the icing on my cake of woe-is-me, my knees hurt like hell and my weight is ballooning.  Cortisol levels are way up, asthma is bothering me, and blood sugars are being stupid.  I.e. the stress of being me is getting to me.  But all is not lost, I have started mediating, again, and doing EFT to bring down the stress/cortisol levels which is helping the asthma and blood sugars.  Which in turn is helping the weight so if I can get some weight off maybe the knees will lighten up a bit.  Which would help my mental health by not being in such pain, which means I will feel like doing something.  Which...

Okay, I have bent your ears enough.  Back later with some pictures of a quilt I actually finished.  I hope everyone is having an enjoyable day.


Judy

Thursday, August 27, 2015

entrelac baby afghan/blanket

I knitted a baby afghan/blanket.  The goal was to get some yarn out of my stash.  The stash is 717 grams or 25.29 oz or about a pound-n-half lighter.  I wanted to use up all the Lion Brand Cupcake, not the greatest yarn in the world to work with.  The cut ends frayed A LOT as I noted in a previous blog post.  Another point of contention was the yarn was rated as worsted (4) and it was barely sport (3).  That was the weight of the yarns I used with the cupcake to get the same gauge.

I used one 6 oz skein of Red Heart Baby Sport (Crayon Print).  That was the variegated.  The rest was the Cupcake (Blueberry and Marshmallow) except for 5 maybe 10 yards of Michael’s Loops and Threads White Sport to get me back to the beginning of the round for the outside border of garter stitch.  I had about 18 inches leftover of the Cupcake Blueberry that I bound-off with left. Yeah!
 The blanket measured 52 inches square after washing and blocking.  A little bit bigger than I wanted/figured but not bad for a first project knitting a bias fabric
This is a close up of the border.  I knit the inside border of garter-stitch 3 time before I got something I liked.  What I did find out though was I had enough of the Cupcake to add an outer-border and bind-off so I guess the experiment in futility wasn't a total bust. ; >)  The Cupcake didn't like being ripped back that much either!

I re-knit the middle border twice.  I started with a 4 x 2 ribbing.  It was okay but nothing to write home about.  So I pulled out the diamond lace pattern for the Tappan Zee sweater and used that.  I got one and a half repeats before I ran out of yarn.  I had to redo the corners, as my idea about working the diamond lace pattern into the corners as I added stitches didn't work out so hot.  I ended up with solid corners.  I bet if I would get out graph paper and chart it, that it would have worked.  Sometimes I have trouble visualizing how to make it work.
While researching how to leave the stitches live when I finished the entrelac, I read a blurb/blurp that said you will need to increase your stitches by a factor of 1.3 to 1.4 to get the fabric to lay flat.  I had to increase by 1.4 to make gauge.  The big holes you see where I added the interior border was not intended.  I was slipping the first stitch so instead of binding-off the stitch I slipped it to the next needle and I think I should have knitted the first stitch when I turned the work to go back for that last row.  I will have to play with it to find out on the next entrelac project.

For a design-it-as-you-go project I think it turned out well.

Hope everyone is having a good day!

Judy

Sunday, August 23, 2015

goings-on

Well, I decided to come up for air and post something on my blog just to let y'all know I haven't abandon it.

Sister Suzy is safely nestled in the other bedroom waiting for the first day of graduate school.  She's a bit nervous after the first day of orientation.  She thinks she may have bitten off more that she can chew.  Which I think is good, in that, she won't go into this complacent.

One hiccup is none of her books is in the university bookstore and the disbursement of student loans isn't until the third day after school starts.  However, she is not the only one and the professors were made aware.  There is some scrabbling in the background to loan some books until everyone has money to get their books ordered and in.

Got a crap load of junk in the dining room I need to go through...hang pictures on walls...quilt racks on the walls...books to put away and such.  Still got a crap load of junk in the storage room in Kansas to get rid of or find a place for here.  But that storage room has a lot less in it than when I rented it in November of 2013.  I hope to have the storage room emptied the next time we head back.  Two years is all the time I want to invest in storing stuff.  Time to let the stuff/junk go or put it to use again.

More later

I hope everyone is having a good day!

Judy

Monday, June 15, 2015

ready for sister suzy

I finally got the master bedroom ready for Sister Suzy.  Damn, I hate bunged up knees!  I took down the Vertical blinds that seem to be ubiquitous to Arizona on all windows and doors.  Oh, and patio doors are arcadia doors in Arizona, too.  You get some really puzzled looks when you talk about your patio doors until they make the connection.
Can we say butt ugly!?  I thought we could!  Also, note they do nothing to protect from heat/cold infiltration.  I don't think they had ever been taken down to clean, if the top of the bracket/rail was any indications. It looks like all maintenance did was replace damaged slats as you can see in the different shades of white in the slats.

Any way, this is what I came up with.

I went to Hobby lobby and picked up 5 yards of white flocked drapery lining.  I made a sash/black-out curtain and hung that over the door blocking out any light that might come around the curtain as well as blocking out the cold/heat.  That curtain alone cut the temperature in that room by at least 10 degrees and the A/C isn't cycling as much.  Then I hung the drapes I originally bought for the front room on the rod that the finials screw into but only used one and butted the other end up against the wall.  I used rings on the sash curtain so you can open the curtains and step out the door.  But like a dummy I got the wrong size rings for the drapery rod, so I had to just run the drapes on the rod until I can get the right size rings to finish the project.  This makes the drapes hang a little high in the picture.

If Sister Suzy wants it darker in her room, I will go back to Hobby Lobby to get the black drapery lining fabric and make another curtain.  She has a security light just outside her patio door shining on the mailboxes and courtyard.  It really lights up that room and the balcony.

Well I'm going to be off line for a month or so while I'm back in Kansas getting Sister Suzy and visiting family.

Y'all hold the fort down and don't have too much fun!

Judy

Sunday, May 31, 2015

learning something new

I learned something new while avoiding cleaning and rearranging the bedrooms.
Entrelac! 

I think I may have found what I want to do with this yarn. 

I started Frankie Brown's Ten Stitch Blanket but I couldn't get the corners square. I did stumble upon a you-tube tutorial from Very Pink Knits that explained what I was probably doing wrong with the corners. Of course, that was after I had given up, ripped it all out and moved on to another pattern.

The next pattern tried was Lion Brand's Mud Cloth Inspired Afghan.  This was an intarsia pattern with 50 bazillion little balls of yarn.  I got maybe the first section knitted before I gave up because ever few rows you had to stop and untangle all those little skeins of yarn so you could knit some more.  This yarn frays really bad so it was a real mess.  Maybe in a sturdier yarn.  And I have a quilt designed in the lay-out!

Then I thought about the Edith Shawl by Lion Brand as an afghan but realized I would be dealing with 12 skeins of yarn.  Less than the Mud Cloth afghan but still not what I wanted to get involved with. The other problem was the lace I was getting didn't look so hot.  Maybe a simpler lace pattern.

So I pulled out the lace pattern from my Tappan Zee sweater and started with that.  Knit one repeat in blue and one in white.  Nope, not what I wanted.  Because I was stacking one diamond repeat on top of another, I was creating a secondary diamond half blue-half white. Yuck!

Then I was searching Ravelry for things knitted with Lion Brand's Cupcake Yarn and found a couple of entrelac projects.  I liked what I saw and I have always wanted to learn how to knit entrelac.  So why not?  I would be knitting one color at a time.  Kewl! 

So I search for you-tube tutorials and found several.  The most helpful were the tutorials put up by iknitwithcatfur.
part 1  and   part 2.

I did use Eunny Jang's suggestion to slip the first stitch of the every row as it made picking up stitches a whole lot easier on the foundation row.  The other thing I noticed was everybody's cast-on row was too tight, including Eunny Jang's.  So I played around with a couple of ideas for stretchy cast-ons and decided on a provisional cast-on.  If I need to make the afghan bigger/longer I have a place to add equally when I run out of the cupcake yarn.  If not, I think Jeny's stretchy cast-off will give it equal stretch at both ends.

One other thing, to keep the fraying under control, I remembered what you do with nylon rope to keep it from unraveling.  You use a flame to melt the ends.  Guess what, it works!  Just don't shake the end to put out the flame or you have molten plastic sticking to your skin.  Blow out the flame and let it cool before touching.  We won't discuss how many times I did this before I remember to blow out the end.  Okay!

Well, I need to empty and move a dresser. : >(
Or I could just go knit some more. : >)

Y'all have a good day!

Judy

Saturday, May 23, 2015

quilts Mother and I collaborated on

I found some pictures of quilts Mother and I collaborated on and I am playing with Hubby's computer to see if I can up-load them.  Guess what, I think it is going to work!
This is the last embroidered quilt Mom and I made together.  This quilt is for a friend of my younger sister.  Tricia and my sister went to high school together.  Mom and Dad kind of finished raising her, the hugs and encouragement when she needed it and the lecture/boot when she need that too.  If Mom called, as she became frailer Tricia was right there to help Mom when we couldn't get to her.  As a token of Mother's appreciation for Tricia's time and trouble, Mom wanted to make her a quilt.  My sister helped with color selection for the embroidery floss and borders.  I suggested the flying geese sashing to tie all the different blocks and colors together.  The great part was having Tricia help to pick out the fabrics because Tricia didn't know the quilt was for her.  She was just having fun playing with fabric!

As I was researching how to make flying geese, I discovered the symbolism of the background as being the sky.  I had originally planned to make the background scrappy too.  So my 'ah moment' was to turn the background into blue and make all the corner squares green for fields.  I thought it pulled the quilt together quite nicely so did everyone else.  The original idea for the border didn't work once I had the main body done.  So a trip to the quilt shop with it laid out on the floor in the classroom auditioning fabric culminated with me calling my sister and asking her to come help.  Boy, does it ever help to have someone who has had some art/color training!  She didn't have any trouble pulling the hand-dyed fabric for the outside border off the shelf.  I looked at it, but it was expensive...and I was spending Mom's money.  The inside border took a little more trial and error to get the right shade of green for it.  Tricia was so overwhelmed she cried when Mom gave it to her.
Mom's being silly in this one!  She likes having her picture taken about as well as I do!

This quilt was for my sister.  The embroidered blocks are lilacs and dragonflies.  I decided it needed to be set together with some kind of lattice sashing.  There are two colors of green.  The blue patches are the same fabric as the border believe it or not and the on-point cornerstones are a deep purple.  I had to hand-sew the points to the border to get them to come out right.  There were 50 billion little pieces to this sashing.  I was surprised I didn't have more problems setting it together.
This one went to my older brother and his wife.  The embroidered blocks are Jack Dempsey rose blocks.  As my sister and I were trying to find fabric to set this quilt together with, one of the ladies who worked at the quilt shop said, if it were her, she would eliminate some of the excess white around the edges.  The light bulb went off for us and we changed up the layout.  Then, as I am wont-to-do, I changed it even further after I got home and started playing around with the idea.  I ripped and resewed several spots because I was having trouble getting it to lay smooth with no puckers.  There were a few spots I ended up hand sewing to get it right.

Yeah, a blog post from some pictures I found while cleaning out and rearranging closets!  And yes, I'm avoiding the mess, why do you ask? LOL

I hope everyone is having a good day!

Judy

Thursday, May 7, 2015

just checking in

Just checking in, been having all kinds of computer problems.  Took my tower into Best Buy and they tell me my motherboard is dying although the funky sound is coming from the hard drive.  I got on Hubby's computer and sent an e-mail to his brother-in-law because I decided they were full of it.  However, I will have to stop calling them names after he e-mailed back and said it is a good possibility that something on the motherboard isn't working right and not feeding the correct power to the hard-drive.

So, I've got to dig through all of Hubby's computer stuff and see if there is a spare motherboard lying around.  Find all the disks for the software and if I have the right ones.  I'm also looking at just moving my hard-drive to his computer.  Then running both hard-drives from his, but I will need all the software before I start and his computer needs to be upgraded to Windows 7 cause his still has XP on it.  Also, he has some sort of exotic motherboard that is specifically for re-mastering music and videos and the standard stuff isn't always compatible.  Ah, for the days of our old KLH 286 with plug-n-play.

Don't have much to report on the quilting front.  I have two quilts started and with the blocks about half quilted.  I have lost interest in both.  Come to think of it, I have three quilts started and laying around. Sigh!

I haven't started cleaning out the second bedroom.  I need to get a move on it as I am heading to Kansas the middle of June to load Sister Suzy up to bring her out here with as much stuff as possible.  I would love to rent a truck and empty the storage room and my sister's garage but I may not have the funds to do it. Another sigh!

On another front, I'm beginning to think I may be allergic to corn. (Sister and oldest daughter are/were allergic to corn.)  I've been watching my caloric intake in an effort to take some strain off my knees.  I had a bowl of popcorn about a week ago and overnight gained five pounds.  (I gain 2 to 5 pounds if I have any dairy.)  It has taken me a week to get most of that weight back off.  If that (being allergic to corn) is true, I will probably need to drop peas and soy from my diet as they are/were both allergic to those items, also.  Double sigh!

Well enough grousing!  There are lots of good things going on, too.  Even if it's nothing more than John Bradford's, "there, but for the grace of God, goes I."

Y'all have a good day!

Judy

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

latest additions to my summer wardrobe

Here are the two latest additions my summer wardrobe.
The pink print is your standard V-neckline with one important change.  I bring the point of the 'V' up about an inch, as I really don't like exposing my cleavage.  My last name isn't Kardashian, so leaving nothing to the imagination, just isn't my thing.  Something my dear sainted mother pointed out when I was 13-14 was, if you wanted to be treated like a lady, look like one and act like one.  It rang a bell, along with, you are responsible for any child you procreate until that child is 18.   Do you remember how old 18-year olds were when you were 13-14?  E-gads, they were almost as ancient as my parents!  LOL  And did you know that a V-neckline has a slight curve to it?  I didn't until I took that pattern making seminar.
The green Hawaiian print's neckline was inspired by a pattern I saw when I was making sure I was spelling Butterick correctly last week.  That was pretty easy to do.  I took the front opening for the slit-neckline and using the lid off the rice storage container as a template I drew a slight curve on the facing.  Then I laid it down on the front of the shirt matched up the neck line and sewed it on leaving about two inches unsewn so I could attach the back facing and sew up the shoulder seams before finishing the rest of the shirt.
I am reorganizing and cleaning the kitchen so I maybe off-line for a while.  I need to make room for Sister Suzy moving in with her stuff in July.

I hope everyone is having a good day!

Judy

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

second improvement to summer wardrobe

The second improvement to my summer wardrobe finally got finished today after a couple false starts and an attempt by myself to screw up the other knee.
I used the pattern pictured as inspiration for a better neckline.  I redrew the neckline a couple of times before the old noggin remembered I had a pattern making kit in the closet.  I dug it out and got the neckline much closer to what I wanted. (Still needs a bit of tweaking)
Some of the best money I have ever spent.  I bought this kit and the one for pants back in the mid-80s.  There was a seminar that went with it to explain how to get the most out of the kits and some pretty cool tidbits like; why Simplicity patterns are usually two sizes too big, McCall's are one size too big and Butterick and Vogue are usually dead on.  Which helps explains to me why I always preferred the fit of the Butterick and Vogue patterns, as well as the fact they were more couture/stylish.  Interesting side note: while I was making sure I spelled the names of the pattern companies right, did you know McCall's now owns the Butterick and Vogue labels?  Me, nether!  If you ever run across either one of these kits or the clear acrylic ruler that goes with the kits grab them.  The best thing that ever happened to altering patterns so what you make fits.

Anyway back to my new shirt, I went through my button box, which is a plastic 7” x12 “x12” drawer in one of those tower thingy's, and found a button in the buttons I inherited from my mother I liked really well.
It's old and some of the gold is worn off but I think it adds to the charm of the button.  I moved the button loop down a little from the edge of neckline for the fun of it.  The jury is out as to whether or not I think it was a good idea.

Well, on to the next one.  I'm thinking maybe a keyhole neckline for the next shirt or a V-neck or a scoop then there is a square neckline.  I don't think I want any collars but who knows where my imagination could wander off too.

I hope everyone is having a good day!

Judy

Oh yeah, the knee!  Friday morning as I was coming out of the kitchen my left knee popped and I thought I was going to the floor but caught myself with the table and hung on for dear life.  I finally got myself back to the bedroom using a folding chair as a walker to get to Hubby's cane.  Then, I used both of them for the rest of the day to get from the bed to the bathroom.  I was eating naproxen like it was candy.  All I could think of was, "Man as bad as I hurt, I don't even want to experience this pain without these pain relievers."  It took me until the middle of the night to remember I have a TENS unit for the other knee that would work just fine on the one that was hurting so badly.  LOL, I know, kind of slow! By Saturday afternoon all I needed was the cane to get back-n-forth.  Yesterday, I made it down the stairs to the dumpster and to the mailbox only using the cane for the stairs part.  The weird part is the lower calf muscle is painfully tight and the muscles up the outside of leg into the hip are stiff-tight.  So much for my doing a bunch of exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the knees and doing more walking to get the weight off for the time being!  Jude

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!

Judy

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 Works.com 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!

Judy

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!

Judy

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!

Judy

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!

Judy