Monday, March 28, 2011

gardening and stuff

What have I been up to the past week? Well, let's see. For starters I have been gardening. I tore up two spots for permanent raised beds. There are 40 asparagus crowns and 50 strawberry plants in the first one. The other bed has moved around in the back yard several times before I decided where I would put it. The first location I staked it out last fall. Then I moved it north of the asparagus/strawberry bed and even got a round or two of roto-tilling done. After Hubby tripped, fell, and we thought the roto-tiller was going to eat him, (He still has a knot on the back of his head and a couple of small cuts) we quit for the day. I got up the next day and moved the second bed next to the first one. It will have a cement-paver path between them, the width of a paver. I will be planting 6 thorn-less raspberries in the middle of the second bed and I am looking for some perennial herbs to add to each end.

While we were chewing up Hubby, we were burning brush and weeds inside the fence of the garden and a brush pile on top of the stumps of a pecan tree we had cut down that was in the power lines. We would like to get the stumps burnt out because they are also where we would like to put up a fence across the back property line. Getting the fence up will slow down the two-legged varmints wondering through the yard.

I haven't done much with the sweater I restarted. My hands have been numb and swollen from all the garden work. It rained Saturday morning and then cooled down so I haven't been back out to the garden. Sunday morning I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up my needles and my hands didn't hurt so I spent the day knitting. Tomorrow I will need to get back outside to burn more brush if the wind isn't too high.

Taught Sister Suzy how to formally address an envelope, in cursive. I can not believe they haven't been taught how to do this in English class! There are occasions when you need to know how to do it and when to do it! We went through old photographs to find 4 pictures of her at different ages to be put on a disk with the other kids who are graduating. It will be played on a loop before the graduation ceremony.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

gauge swatches lie

Gauge swatches lie, egregiously!

I think I can write about it calmly now, I have slept on it. I was feeling confident I could knit a sweater after the success of Sister Suzy's sweater. I did a search of Ravelry looking at patterns that were used with the Bernat Satin Sport yarn I have.

I found Amy King's Tappan Zee sweater pattern. And it had instruction in my size! I reviewed all the projects, in Ravelry, taking note of the changes some of the knitters had made while looking carefully at the photographs for the way it fit on different people. I noted, as some of the others had, as the sizing went up the neckline got looser to the point of almost falling off the shoulders of some. I dropped the neck size down four sizes and then increased on the first round of stockinette to my size. I knitted a gauge swatch. I was getting gauge! I knitted along happily doing the increases as prescribed watching the yoke grow by leaps and bounds wondering about how humongous it was getting. Telling myself it had to be that big to get around my square shoulders and large chest with room for my dainty upper arms.

After I did the second repeat of the diamond lace pattern I decided to try it on to find out how much more I need to knit to make it fit length-wise around the chest and under the arms. As I was transferring stitches to another circular needle. I notice how quickly the needle was filling up and I wasn't even halfway around the sweater! With great trepidation I tried it on. At least, one other fat lady and me could have wrapped it around us at the same time! WAHHHHHHH! I re-measured gauge. . . 4.25 stitches to the inch!. . .not 5! Row gauge was 6 to an inch. . .not 8! Expletive! Expletive! Expletive!

I frogged the whole thing last night! Washed the yarn to remove the kinks before giving up and going to bed to sleep off the frustration. The yarn is still drying as I write.

Using Ann Budd's recommendation in 'The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns' for using the gauge you are getting. I will go down 4 sizes on this pattern. What is it with me, and 4 stitches to the inch with 6 rows to the inch! I knit with #10 needles I get 3.75 stitches to the inch. I knit with #6 needles I get 4.25 stitches to the inch. Sigh!

Well, I printed a new copy of the pattern and have it marked up with notes in the smaller size. As soon as the yarn dries I will try again!

Have a good day!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

another quilt done

I made this quilt-top right after Mother passed away. She had me cut these blocks from some fabric samples she had received from one of the ladies she quilted with at the Haysville Library. The fabric looks like they might have been drapery samples made of mostly polyester. So only time will tell how badly it will beard. I had a huge stack of the blocks. Mother wanted them set together randomly, in a very scrappy way. I did one quilt that way with paisley prints and did not like it very well. Too busy! There is no place for the eyes to rest. So, I set matching blocks together in a diamond pattern. I like this look a lot better.

For the borders I used left-over blocks sew together in long strips. Then cut the strips into thirds. The strips were re-sewn together in a random fashion using two strips of white muslin, with mitered corners.

A traditional thickness of polyester batting was used. I used outline quilting in the body of the quilt and for the white muslin strips, then a zigzag in the three strips in the middle of the border. The quilt will fit regular size bed. I am very glad I didn't use a thicker batting nor have a bigger quilt because it was a bear to handle in the machine.

The red and blue materials used for the binding were leftover bindings I found in Mother's stash. I trimmed up the blue piece to match the size of the red piece. The binding was almost the right length. I was only short the length of the piece of gingham. So, I got a piece of gingham worked in, too! (One of my goals is to get all the gingham used up. I have a huge box of the stuff!)

What can I say! The backing has got to be one of the ugliest pieces of fabric in Mother's collection. I grilled my younger sister about where Mother got it. Sis seems to think it came out of a batch of fabric that someone brought into the library for the ladies. No one took it, so Mother did. The fabric was seven yard long and 30 inches wide. I figure it was used for borders. The greenish-blue square in the middle is because I didn't have enough to make a complete back and it matched the lattice like pattern in the brownish fabric. This piece of fabric is a good example of; if you don't know what possessed you to buy it, use it for a backing!

This is a close-up of the backing and quilting. The photos make the backing look pretty good! It fits Sister Suzy's bed, but she doesn't like it. Hubby's happy about that, because he really likes how the top turned out. He says the backing hurts his eyes, so he will keep it right-side-up when he is snuggled under it.

Have a good day!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

stage mother

Sigh! My life as a stage mother is over! Sister Suzy is graduating this year and the high school theatre troop put on their last production for the year. It was Stand and Deliver. Sister Suzy was the security guard and the janitor. Sister Suzy did a great job! As well as the rest of the troop! They were really stretched as actors. It is so much easier to do the over-the-top stuff. Getting the accents, subtle body movements and such frustrated them all, time and again.

I got to find and alter the pants, a shirt, and belts for Sister Suzy's costumes. The theatre director found the shirt for the security guard . I also, got to make a holster for her baton. I had a couple of false starts before I figured out a way to make the holster without a bunch of bulky seams. Hubby took care of the musical sound track for between the scenes when the stage was blacked-out. There wasn't enough Santana and way too much Jose Feliciano (one short piece. . . I can live without him!)

During production week we provide one of the evening meals for the cast and crew. The kids were so appreciative. Some of the comments were “All-right a gourmet meal!”. . .“A feast!”. . .And tons of thank-yous.

No more listening to Sister Suzy after a day of set building, talking about supplies they were looking for. Then rummaging around and coming up with the stuff they needed. Sigh!

Have a good day!


Friday, March 4, 2011

red and white gingham quilt

The twin size red-n-white gingham striped quilt is finished! Yeah! You can read about the trials and tribulation here and here and here. I like how it looks. I have two different sizes of gingham for the binding. I should have divided it up into equal segments so the short piece doesn't look like I ran out of binding and added some to have enough to go around. Which is what I did!

Here is a picture of the binding I almost had enough of in two different sizes. I did some fancy finagling to get it to all look right. I am pretty proud of that corner too. It is nice and crisp!

A detail shot of the quilting and binding.

The backing was shirting flannel. You can see that chuck of binding I slapped on in the lower left hand corner. I am disappointed in myself for not taking the time to do it right. And I am too lazy to rip it off and do it in a way that would be unifying. (Like most seamstresses I know, I will do about anything to avoid seam rippers and picking threads!)

Close-up of the quilting on the back. I am still trying to figure out a way to not back stitch on short sections of quilting without tying knots and burying threads between the layers.

The gingham adventures will be continuing. There is still a box of gingham blocks to use up. I came up with another lay-out I want to try. I think, I will use up some of the pink gingham this go round.

Have a good day!


Thursday, March 3, 2011

sister suzy's sweater finished

Remember this!

Ta! Da! Finished! My first sweater! And it fits! Yeah!

I made the sleeves plain because of the long floats on the back(inside) with the stranded color work and the possibility of getting fingers caught in them. The other was I wasn't sure I could pull off getting the color changes in the right spots. Maybe another time!

I used buttons from Mother's button stash and I sewed on buttons on the back of the wooden ones to add more structure. If slipping the button assemble through the spacing in the knitting proves to not work. I will sew the two buttons around a strand or two of yarn.

I used magic loop for the first time when I knitted both sleeves at the same time. I SO wanted the sleeves to be the same length! The sleeves looked tight when I picked up the stitches to knit them. I am so glad I stopped and measured Sister Suzy's arms, because if I had followed the pattern the sleeves would have been too tight. I waited until I got to the elbow for the decreases. I did a two stitch decrease every inch until the circumference was 9 inches. I increased the length of the body by an inch and the bottom ribbing by an inch also. The cuff was increased to 3 inches and the neck ribbing to 1 1/2 inches.

Off to finish the next project.(a shrug for me!)

Have a good day!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Sister Suzy has decided to go to her Senior Prom. I get to make her dress! Yes! Yes! Yes! I didn’t get to bed until 1:30 this morning looking at dresses on the web last night. I found several I thought she would like. To meet her criteria it must be floor length because she is NOT wearing pantyhose. Doesn’t expose too much of her chest or back, covers the shoulders so she doesn’t have to wear a corset or specialty undergarments. Let’s see, what else, oh yeah, and if I can figure out how to put sleeves in the dress that would be nice also.

I found one dress I really like. I have e-mailed links to the dresses to her and Hubby. Hubby look at the dresses, he liked the same one I did. (Hubby about had a stroke when he saw the prices!) So, if Sister Suzy likes it. Off to the fabric store we go, looking for patterns and fabric. (Actually, I will go pattern shopping because Sister Suzy doesn't have the patience for the looking. Sigh.) I am stoked!!! I love making dresses!!!

Have a good day!