Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Couple WIPs and A New Start

I've been quiet but not idle. In the past couple of weeks I've finished a stack of linen garb in a frantic pre-Ragnarok rush (two shirts, two pairs of pants, three hoods, and one surcoat). We've sorted the camping equipment, packed up the truck and the trailer.

Once we finished the Ragnarok prep I turned my attention to cleaning up the house and a little bit of cross stitch. The cross stitch has made more progress than the house cleaning. I completed page 1 of The Princess and the Dragon by Charting Creations.

I worked a bit on Tiger Chilling Out by Dimensions and made it all the way to the bottom of the first page of the this project!

I even started my Ragnarok Consolation Project, and of course discovered that I somehow missed one of the colors that I need for the first page. I think I'll be able to salvage it from another project but I haven't checked yet. I'm stitching this on 28 count black lugana, making my super-bright LED magnifying lamp a necessity. I also have this pattern in paper format rather than PDF, making it a little bit more tedious to stitch - ninja stitches are definitely making themselves known.

I've got more cleaning tomorrow and a lot of laundry to do, but I hope to get back in my sewing room and maybe work on my quilts for a bit. I've got a few quilts that just need borders and if I get borders on them there will be three quilts that need to be quilted. Finally, weekend plans include some quality time with my niece. What are your plans for the weekend?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Weekend on Mackinac Island

 Jack had a work-related trip up to Mackinac Island this weekend, so I took a couple days off and joined him. We drove up to Frankenmuth on Wednesday night and enjoyed a chicken dinner at Zehnders. On Thursday we continued up to Mackinaw City where we picked up an otter shirt for me from a local t-shirt shop and some books for Baby from Enchanted Knights, the medieval store.

Then it was onto the ferry and across the lake to Mackinac Island. It was our first time staying on the island, as we have always stayed on the mainland and ferried across for the day before. Jack had to do work stuff on Friday and Saturday mornings but the rest of the time he was free and we went exploring. We saw Fort Mackinac, took a carriage tour, ate some decent food, picked up a couple souvenirs, and generally relaxed and had a good time.

The view from the Fort, about halfway up.
The weather was mostly mild with a hearty breeze so it was the perfect time to go. We stayed at Mission Point Resort, which is on Main Street but about a 15 minute walk outside of downtown proper.

The lighthouse in the middle is Round Island Lighthouse which was first built in 1895 and is now a historical landmark. Round Island is an uninhabited island just south of Mackinac and is part of the Hiawatha National Forest.

One windy evening from a bench just outside the hotel
Its a good 4.5 hour drive to Mackinac, so of course I took along a bag full of crafty projects. I started a new something (not sure whether it will be a very small blanket or a very large tote bag) out of the last of the yarn from my Grandmother. This yarn is so old it has stickers from a store that went out of business about 15 years ago and I think the yarn itself is much older than that.

This is my first Join-As-You-Go experiment and I'm happy with how its going so far.

I also spent some time cross stitching while Jack was at his conference.

Friday morning's relaxing stitching time.
Today we headed back, stopping of course at the Cheese Haus in Frankenmuth on the way home to get our favorite cheese spread.

On a slightly different topic, since I can't go to Ragnarok this year, Jack bought me the fabric and floss to go with a pattern he gifted me for Christmas last year, with the caveat that I can't start it until Ragnarok. You'll be seeing a new project soon.

Well, its getting late and I'm tired and I sadly have to go back to work tomorrow. I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Wascally Wabbit

 Meet Rascal, the friendly neighborhood bunny rabbit that visits in the morning. We must be on the same schedule, because I see him as I'm leaving for work a few times a week. I personally think he likes eating all the dandelions in my yard and I'm more than happy to let him have them.

Well, I've been trying to get into the Ragnarok groove but I seem to be lacking motivation. I did eventually digitize the Baline Cross and and working on a new surcoat for Jack.

Also working on Waiting by Tilton Crafts here and there. I've ALMOST finished a page.

I suppose I should go clean something, since we have friends coming over tomorrow to stay overnight. Hope you all have a nice weekend.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Where Did the Month Go?

Yes it really has been a month since I've posted o_O

So what's new?

Well, I spent the first week of May in Milwaukee for work training. I had big plans to stitch or crochet my heart out in the evenings. Sadly, the lighting in the hotel room was subpar and it was more trouble that it was worth. I did acquire a couple skeins of fluffy yarn while there, which turned out to be very difficult to crochet because of the twists in the yarn. The solution was a much larger hook and a very simple pattern. Double crochet all the way, with a color change every five rows to keep it interesting.

I've also finished a scarf I started in January, started a matching hat, worked a bit on the C2C rainbow blanket, and completely ignored my Sophie's Universe. I'll post more photos of those projects before too long.

The following couple of weeks after my training were filled with chores catch-up from being gone for a week, Mother's day festivities, gobs and gobs of laundry, a round of spring colds, attempts to get moving on prepping for Ragnarok, and planning and actually cooking a few meals. I even attempted to make a paleo homemade pasta a couple nights ago. It was an abject failure - the dough just didn't want to stick together properly.

I've discovered an Aldi's a couple miles from work and along with it, the joys of purchasing excellent produce at half the cost of my regular store. I even branched out and picked up some dairy, which I'm a bit skeptical about as we've had bad luck with off-brand cheese and sour cream.

In between all that I did manage to work on a couple cross stitch projects.

Waiting by Tilton Crafts has seen a fair amount of love recently.

As has my tiger, who now has the beginning of a nose.

So that's about it for now. In addition to Ragnarok, Jack has a work trip coming up to Mackinac Island and I took a couple days off to accompany him. Its entirely possible that I will be getting quite a lot of crafting done in the car trip there and back, an approximately five hour drive. I've never had the pleasure of staying on the island before, so I'm really looking forward to it.

Let me know what you've been up to in the last month - share a link to your blog/instagram page if you'd like!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Month's Worth of Stitching in One Post

Yes, its been a bit quiet here on the blog front, mostly because I haven't really had the time to update things. However, I find myself with 30 minutes before bedtime and a handful of projects that are coming along. 

First up, another block on the Life is Beautiful Quilt, finished sometime in March.

Then I went back to my tiger for a week or so.

Then I pulled out Fall Fairy, which I discovered I hadn't worked on in at least a year. Might be closer to two years actually. Holy Moly.

And this weekend, in between helping out at our Dagorhir event, I was able to squeeze in a fair amount of work on Waiting by Tilton Crafts (retired). I have more than half a page done now!

Lastly, I've spent several fruitless hours attempting to figure out how to use the auto-split feature on my embroidery software to split and embroider large patterns. The result was less than exciting. The problem is alignment. You can see a gap in the center left, where the basting stitching is.

I finally gave up hoping to find tutorials for my specific software and started watching Craftsy class on splitting and aligning designs. I'm happy to say that its been most useful so far. I was able to align a circle after the first lesson and now I'm working on lessons 2 and 3 to properly split and save a design. My software is different than the teacher's so its probably going to take some extra finagling. Overall though, I'm pleased with how things are going.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The RAK's are Flying

Over the Easter weekend, the staff at Heaven and Earth Designs offered a sale on patterns and kits. I watched my Facebook feed fill up with a surprising number of RAK posts as the weekend went on.

Even more surprising was the emails I received notifying me that I had been RAK'd!

Heroes and Heroines by Aimee Stewart

Mini Bravery by Cheri Gerhardt

Mini Wisdom by Cheri Gerhardt
I decided to get in on the fun and used a random number generator to choose a couple people off the RAK list and sent them charts from their wishlist. It's quite enjoyable to see people so excited over a surprise and it really improved the beginning of my week.

On the crafty side of things, I've been working on a few long term projects and also attempting to come to grips with splitting patterns for the embroidery machine, a tedious and frustrating process that has yet to yield a successful stitch. I suppose like anything else, it takes practice. Urban threads has a few already split designs and I may try stitching out one of those to see how the alignment process works. I do have a quilt finish and an embroidered block finish to share as soon as I get a chance to take photos.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

It's Time for a New Challenge

Welcome to Slow Sunday Stitching, a linky party hosted by Kathy @ Kathy's Quilts. Today is the day that you slow down, get some rest, and focus on a handwork project.

I started by decluttering my project pile a bit. These are three abandoned projects that I have had no desire to get back to. The square one was a test patch for a baby blanket and I decided that the white washed out the beautiful blues and greens too much. The crocodile stitch scarf was one of my first attempts and it suffered from multiple hook sizes and a variety of other complication. It has laid abandoned for a couple of years at least. Finally, I neglected the project on the bottom because I couldn't get the scales to lay flat. They currently languish in a corner of my living room and I will give my niece the chance to adopt them before discarding - she used to like having little things like this for her stuffed animals, although I'll hazard a guess that she might be growing out of that.

Having eliminated a few WIPS that I was dreading (whew, what a relief) and freed up a few skeins of yarn, I started a new project, the Sophie's Universe Mandala.

Rounds 1-12 of Sophie's Universe
Please please please, if you take this project on, count your stitches every round. I've saved myself a ton of work by doing so, because I've been able to correct mistakes immediately. I really like that every round is different from the previous, making it less rote work and more brain power.

The other slow stitching project this weekend has been Tiger Chilling out by Dimensions. I've had this one back out for just over a week.

As of 3/26/17
I hope that you are having a nice, easygoing, peaceful, relaxing, and restful Sunday.  What slow stitching projects are you working on this weekend?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Completed Baby Blanket

The power was still out at work yesterday, but my supervisor told us to show up anyway, so I dragged myself out of bed and drove through the snow to get there. Upon arriving, I was instructed by the building manager that no one was supposed to be there. He sent everyone straight back home. I wasn't complaining. I went home, went back to bed, and then managed to finish off this little beauty.

I wrapped it up and passed it off to my cousin, who will see that it gets to her new niece, Baby Anna. It's approximately 40" across and took four skeins of Red Heart Unforgettable in Peacock. There is a little left over. I didn't think it was enough for one final round and I decided not to play yarn chicken.

In other news, I've been reading up extensively on Trim Healthy Mama. Its a way of eating where you're supposed to be able to eat just about anything using natural sugar alcohols like stevia instead of cane sugar and low glycemic impact carbs instead of white bread/pasta. The vast majority of what they say makes good scientific sense and they stress being guilt free which is totally helpful. One of the reasons I didn't go with the Whole30 (another plan I was looking at) is that they insist you can't slip up even once or its wasted effort. Ugh, who needs that? My bad day resulted in a chocolate bar and suddenly my whole diet is reset. No thank you.

We're so used to the sugars and carbs around here that its going to take some getting used to. I think I'll have to give it a solid month or two before I can figure out if it works for us. My first goal is to get breakfasts prepared and frozen, for easy on-the-go at work foods. After that it will be working out lunches and then eventually dinners. Baby steps, ya know? Wish me luck!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Unexpected Four Day Weekend

Power outages due to a windstorm have left my workplace without power both today and yesterday and I find myself celebrating the impromptu four day weekend with the appropriate laziness. Despite being home all day yesterday, I only did one load of laundry, one load of dishes, and still found myself exhausted by 4 pm and in bed by 9 pm.

I did however, spend a little bit of time working on a quilt for a baby cousin we are expecting soon. I had originally planned on making the Sorbet Quilt (find it here on Craftsy) but I wasn't thrilled with how it was working out in the colors I chose. I came up with this alternative layout which I am still considering. I think its an awkward size (40" x 60") and would rather have a fifth column of blocks if I can finagle it. I have a few pieces left over that were cut wrong, so I'll play with it a little more to see what I can come up with.

I also spent a little time crocheting the twelve point star blanket and some time stitching on the next Life is Beautiful block. Although I had visions of doing really elaborate embroidery for these, I've decided that they look best with a simple backstitch. I also think the message might be lost if there's too much going on.

This weekend I plan on continuing to work on the above projects and maybe a little bit of catch up on the housework side of things. Oh, and a fair amount of gratuitous video gaming. Because what else are four day weekends for?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

So Many Things to See

Its been just over two weeks since my last post. The lack of exposition on the various crafting projects I have going is due to a number of factors, one of which is that I'm not sure that my progress is post-worthy. The items I am choosing to work on seem to be more long term and less instant gratification (with one notable exception.)

This post will serve as both my 100 Day Challenge and Slow Sunday Stitching check in.

1. I have finished the quilting on the Rainbow Dresden Quilt. This was Numero Uno on my 100 Day Challenge list and now I have just over a month to get the binding on to meet my goal.

2. The Castle by Teresa Wentzler - I haven't touched this since January. Its a very frustrating project and I've been too tired lately to deal with it. This is where I left off a month or so ago.

3. C2C Blanket - I've added almost another skein but since its barely noticeable I'm not going to take a new picture. But this one has taken a backseat to the baby blanket I've been working on.

Slow Stitching Projects

1. The twelve point star baby blanket - Another skein was completed last night! We now have three down, one to go. The baby for whom this is intended was born yesterday. I figure another week or two and this should be done. Its about 3 feet across right now.

2. Random Scarf - I started this at the baby shower for the above mentioned baby. Its now about half done and is alternating rows of triple crochet and half-double crochet.

3. Life is Beautiful Block Two - A finish!

4. My current stitching project - Imagination Unleashed. I'll be hopefully spending more time on this today in between loads of laundry. I have barely scratched the surface of this but I technically have a page finish. That little gray leaf all the way to the left is its own page :)

I hope you are all doing well. Remember to take some time today to relax and slow down, enjoying the process of creation by hand. See Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching Post @ Kathy's Quilts for more enjoyable projects and also a link to the health benefits of hand crafting. And please pop over to the 100 Day Challenge to see how people are coming along with their projects this year.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday At Last

Oh boy am I glad the weekend is finally here. Due to life, things have been a little slow around here crafty wise. My days have been filled with work and my evenings have been filled with necessary life tasks like taxes and other important but unsatisfactory things. Bah Humbug.

However, last weekend I still managed a finish. The first of the new Life is Beautiful blocks is completed. I'm quite happy with the way it turned out, but I have mixed feelings about the additional stitching on the inside of the hearts. I originally envisioned an elaborately stitched work of art but there is something to be said for simplicity as well.

I also finished the skein on this blanket. I think I'll have to do at least two more skeins to get it up to size. I think that there is two skeins in it right now, but they seemed small to me so I'm not sure if I wound two balls from one skein due to tangling or something like that.

I've also started a waffle stitch scarf at work. Progress on this one is quite slow, since I often either run errands on my lunch break or take a short lunch so I can leave early. Its a nice heavy dense stitch, so the scarf should be quite warm when completed.

I'm planning to finish the Rainbow Dresden quilt sometime in the next week or so. I hope you have a nice relaxing weekend. May it be filled with many hours of crafty goodness.