What have I been doing? (quilting and sewing)

Well, this front has been fairly quiet, overall. I have done a few things, but nothing quite as fruitful as the knitting.

potholders in progress

First off, I already showed you most of the quilt I did last winter, so I won’t return there. I did, however, finish some badly needed potholders. The old ones were just some that Mom had bought me, and were getting so worn some were actually getting holes in them. So instead I found some nice food fabric, layered it with some thin cotton batting and some thermal protective fabric that is just right for potholders, then did some simple crosshatch quilting. This picture doesn’t show the completed ones — those pictures are still sitting on my camera — but I did a decent black binding with yellow and red thread. They turned out rather nicely

quilting on denim quiltIn the meantime, I’ve been working away, slowly but steadily, on my denim quilt. I currently have five or six blocks done, which is maybe a third of the work. It’s a total of sixteen blocks, with fairly wide sashing. And remember, this is one that I am doing completely by hand, piecing and quilting, so it’s probably going to end up taking me another year! Especially since I really only work on it one hour a week, during lunch at work when I meet with a friend. She is doing the same, and is closer to the end, but I must say, she has a higher record than I, considering it’s going to be finished for her son’s first wedding anniversary (we hope!), but she started it somewhere around the time he was born.

I’m using a variegated thread for the quilting, and I rather like the effect. Each block is getting its own quilting design, but I’ll probably do some kind of Celtic braid for the sashings.

But I have been doing some things on the sewing front as well Christmas stockings Here we have one batch of Christmas stockings that I did for charity.
This will probably be ongoing, since the charity was just gearing up the first time I did this, and boy did they need a lot! Over 700 homemade stockings done to give out to children with no chance of a decent Xmas, and they did have a good, decent selection of toys for the children, not cheap, throwaway stuff. I’ll certainly be doing more this year, but fortunately it’s a quick job.

theater curtain in progress

In connection with the mission trip I did in August, I made some theater curtains to go on a puppet stage made out of PVC pipe. (I did not make the stage; that was the carpenter in our group.) The curtains were fairly simple, justl ots of straight seams, but the sheer size of them made it a challenge. And then of course I had to pack them in my luggage! Fabric is heavy.

skirt made for mission trip

I did make myself a simple circle skirt, the kind that gets lots of fabric, for going down there. Partly for the challenge, partly because I needed another skirt of breathable fabric. I did add pockets, and was very pleased with myself. However, I’m not sure it was a complete success, since I don’t know that I like the look of myself in it. But maybe if I could make it only a slightly gathered skirt? I’m not sure, but the idea is working in the back of my head.

Did I do anything else? Well, mainly just repair work. I replaced the extremely worn out elastic waistbands of some of my favorite lounge-around shorts, but that was fairly simple once I figured out the appropriate width of elastic.

Now, I’ve got to practice in order to machine quilt my quilt top that is waiting for me. There’s also a crazy quilt top that I want to put together — I did that last year as well, but I have no pictures because I just remembered it! — and I’d like to do some threadplay on it first. Did I do anything with that crazy quilt piece that I was doing by hand? I’ll have to go find it, I think. It’s probably going to be the front of a pocket on a tote bag. But that probably needs to go into the embroidery post, so it can wait. I need to go looking in my project boxes to see if I’m missing anything.

Next topic: what have I been doing? (spinning)

What have I been doing? (the knitting)

Well, I’ve finally broken another long silence, so let’s see what I’ve been doing.

I finished this pair of socks, the number five pair. They came out fairly nice, and I do like the yarn, but I must say, I won’t be using that heel again.

I finished this scarf for myself, and decided against keeping it. The edges kept curling under, and I want something that will lay flat. It was incredibly annoying. Anyway, I thought I might as well try to sell it through my guild sales, or else give it to charity. I decided to try again with the Berroco Ultra Alpaca yarn, because it is so marvelously soft.

This time, I’m trying to do some two-color knitting, in order to teach myself the skill of one color over each hand. That is still in progress.

I did a quick hat for charity, using up some stash yarn that I was glad to get rid of.

I started a lace shawl,Garden Shawl started

but somehow seem to have gotten distracted with another that I am close to finishing, once again using up some stash yarn. I will probably attempt to sell this as well, since it is both extremely simple, and includes colors that do not appeal to me.

I started — and finished — my sixth pair of socks. These were my first pair made for someone else, and were a gift for my Sister for Christmas. I hope she likes them.

I then promptly made another pair for me, this time in Colinette Jitterbug yarn, which I like very well except for the fact that the skein is not quite big enough. I had a real struggle making them come out even. I am simply thankful that I did them toe-up rather than top-down. By the way, this was only the second time I had done toe-up, with short-row heels, and it worked so much better this time that I was delighted with them. Unfortunately, I think I made them just a little too big, though I don’t think that will stop me for wearing them.

Then I made this quick, top-down baby sweater for a baby shower gift at church, though I have yet to give it. It is, however, finished, ends woven in, so hopefully this weekend it gets washed and blocked, ready for delivery on Sunday morning.

In the meantime, I also made a shopping bag of Euroflax linen, once again using up some stash yarn that I had thought I would make into a
hand towel, once again a la Mason-Dixon Knitting, but then I realized how much yarn that would take for one towel, and decided that was a little too expensive for something that is generally woven anyway. So once I realized one of my reusable shopping bags was developing a hole, I found a good pattern on Ravelry and made one, more or less like the pattern I found. I still want to make something with linen yarn, but not a hand towel.

This is another one-ball project, where I had gotten the yarn to test out for swatching for a summer cardigan that is still on my goal list, but in the meantime, I decided to make something with the leftover yarn, and made this scarf for the guild Xmas party, although I also wove in some really pretty ribbon yarn to liven it up. I also made a baby hat with the blue leftovers from two other yarns that I used to swatch for that cardigan — hopefully it will fit the baby in question, since that family tends to have babies with big heads! And another baby hat, which may turn out to be too small and need to be used for a doll hat with the multi-colored leftover yarn.

And finally, I am trying to work on some legwarmers and a top-down sweater for myself. Both of them keep hitting pause moments, which I will blog about separately. The legwarmers, at least, have been a real challenge.

Anyway, I must say, listing all this on the blog makes me aware of what I’ve been doing this past year since I updated my projects list here. And this is just the knitting. I’ll do other posts for the other crafts.

Oh, and did I mention that I am working on socks #8?

thinking through a decision

I’ll get to what I’ve been doing on the craft front next post, where I’ll update us all, myself included, on what I’ve been doing, but I suddenly felt the urge to write out my reasons for a decision — buying a smartphone.

Why in the world do I want one? Well,

#1. I’m thinking it may be time to replace my pda. I have greatly enjoyed my Tungsten E, and I have no real desire to replace it, but I do find that the battery is showing signs of wear. Now that may actually mean that I need to replace the battery, so if that were the only reason for replacing the pda, I’d just replace the battery, but

#2. I’ve been thinking I need to reduce the amount of poundage on my shoulder. It’s getting to to the point that sometimes it hurts my back to carry my bag into work, and when it’s JUST my purse, carrying the weight for a long time does get to me. Now, partly that means I need to replace my bag with something that is less unbalanced and thus more carryable for long periods of time, and I certainly have that in mind, but reducing poundage is another consideration in that process, and I definitely want to do that if possible. If I get a smartphone, I can combine cell phone and pda into one lighter piece of equipment.

#3. I’ve been thinking of getting a newer phone, that’s on the same network as some of my family, so as to reduce costs, and if I get something newer with GPS capabilities for emergency situations, I will feel perfectly comfortable in getting rid of my landline phone, and therefore getting rid of that bill. Yes, the cell phone bill will increase, but that’s ok, since I hope it will remain below the combined price of landline and cell phone now.

Criteria to achieve if I really do this:
1. phone where I can transfer my current Palm info without having to re-enter it.

2. preferably Verizon network, which is where I can link to several family members, or AT&T, which is where I am now and allows me to talk to college friend regularly for free.

3. QWERTY keyboard

4. long battery life

5. Anything else I can think of?

Obviously, I have some homework to do.