Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 2016!

It is so hard to believe it is the first day of a new year--and what a year it will be!  Retirement looms in the future this year, and that is such an exciting proposition!  Retirement also means moving from a place we've lived for 27 years closer to family, and that's really something I'm looking forward to!  It will be wonderful to watch the grands grow and have a bigger part in the things they are involved with.

The three granddaughters spent a few days with us between Christmas and New Year's.  Since the twins recently turned 8, they got to sew on a regular sewing machine for the first time, and a great time was had by all.  The first day they just practiced sewing straight lines by watching edge of the fabric along the edge of the presser foot.  Day 2 brought their first pillow making experience.  K said she couldn't understand how you could take something 2D and make it 3D.  (Yup, they cover that in second grade now)  She was so excited when she sewed the seams, then turned her pillow and poked stuffing down into it. Ditto for E.

Big sister V didn't have a chance to sew this time, but she found a skirt she wants to make for her newest American Girl doll.  That will be in the works in the near future.

I'm really looking forward to helping them develop the love of creating things.  That's a true gift to give!

Sunday, December 6, 2015


There are some really great things that happen in December, and a couple of not so great things.  We have a lot of family and friends'  birthdays this month including a new little great-nephew born today.  Throughout the month,  it is always heart-warming to get together to celebrate all of the wonderful traditions we've come to associate with December.

December is also the time when the semester ends, and as a teacher of 42 years, that can make it a really hectic time. Classes ended Friday and tomorrow marks finals week.  I also have to visit several of my students in their classrooms for one more official observation. That part I love.  It's such a gift to get to spend an hour or two in classrooms full of children.  I'm going to miss that next fall--the paperwork, not so much!

I'm a sunshine type of girl, and that means I find December's weather, and winter weather in general, to be something to be endured.

The pluses outweighs the minuses, though.  Bring it on!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Holiday Crafting Update

Well, the sweater from the last post has the back completed and the two sleeves are on the needles right now.  They are about half done.  I like knitting both at the same time as they will truly be the same!  I'm putting the front off until the end--haven't done intarsia before, but am going to attempt it.  In fact, the original design had a frog on it, but O likes dinosaurs better, so a brontosaurus he gets.  Had to get out my cross stitch software to draw one out and make sure it fits the front.  Hope he enjoys it.

I discovered Tunisian crochet last month.  Oh, my.  Blame Craftsy--they let met have a month of any classes I wanted to watch and I only had to pay $20 for the month.  Got to see some awesome things, but I got hooked (hee, hee) on Tunisian crochet.  Jennifer Hansen and Dora Ohrenstein both have amazing classes that I watched.  I actually have Addi crochet hooks that you can attach to the circular knitting needle lines, and away I went!  I got a spa cloth done, and now probably need to do a couple more for the girls.  Maybe we can do a spa day over the holidays.

Last, but not least, I also watched several crochet classes and decided V, E & K need new hats for Christmas.  The nice thing about crochet is that when you have to take something out, you just yank the yarn back to where you made the error. Tuesday I started a hat for Miss K, and finished crocheting on Saturday.  OK, so maybe there's something else I adore, like how quickly small projects go!  Anyway, I decided it needs some embellishment, so I see a flower or two on my hooks this week. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Time to Think About the Holidays!

Every year I have really good intentions about making most of the gifts I give.  Some years I actually do it and others maybe not so much.  This year I'll probably be somewhere in the middle.  You see, the trouble with making gifts is that you actually have to plan far enough ahead to get them done.  I keep thinking this will be the last year I'll have trouble doing  that, because come next fall I'll be retired, but people keep telling me I'll be busier than ever.  I hope not.  I've always said the first year I'm retired I'm going to live in my pajamas and do all of the things I haven't had time to do while working.  I'll only get dressed to visit family and go out to eat!  I'm sure you're grinning now.

I did start a sweater for my grandson this evening.  Got about 3" knit on the back.  He's small enough that I think I can actually get it done in time for him to wear and I'm making it on the big side so he can wear it two years.  It's easier than knitting socks on tiny needles, I can tell you that much.  Sometime in the next couple of weeks I have to finish the ribbing on my second sock so I can actually have a pair I've made.  Back to the holidays.  I have doll clothes knitted for two of the granddaughters, and just need to do one more.  I think I can get that done, too.  The daughters got shawls last year, so if I get that far for them it will be something smaller.

Hmmm, do you notice how I wander from topic to topic in this post?  That may actually be part of my problem in getting my projects completed.  I tend to wander from sewing to knitting to embroidery to cooking and even sometimes cleaning, but I always come back and eventually it gets done.  Just not all at once.  Maybe I should adopt the little engine that could's motto--I think I can, I think I can and I will.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Stitches Texas 2015!

I had heard of Stitches for years, but really didn't know much about it except it was held in faraway places.  Well, last spring they announced a Stitches Texas event to be held at the Irving Convention Center, and since I've taken up knitting again the last couple of years, I decided to go.  I will say that the list of teachers was a big draw!  It was hard to decide what to take, and I finally decided to do the Peruvian knitting, Portuguese knitting (both taught by Andrea Wong) and a Flatter Yourself class with Melissa Leapman.  It was really hard, though, because there were so many other amazing instructors.  I really wanted to hear Anne Berk, Marly Bird, Lily Chin, Patty Lyons, Alasdair Post-Quinn and then when I got there I heard about other great classes, too.

So how did I decide what to take, you might ask.  I've been to Ecuador and saw the beautiful multi-colored knitting with rows of various designs there, and figured Peruvian knitting had to be close to the same, and right I was.  SO GLAD I chose that class.  I learned to do two-color work using the knitting pins I've come to love. Andrea Wong was also teaching Portuguese knitting, and I've been using that style(using the knitting pin) now for about a year, and I had some questions, so knew that I wanted that class.  Andrea answered my questions, and I got to show her the short row technique I have been using for socks. Since both those were full days, it left me with one slot.  I have a couple of Melissa Leapman's books, and her sweater designs are pretty darn flattering, so decided I needed to take her class as well.  That was a good choice as well, so now when I read Knitting the Perfect Fit, I'll have a better idea about the things she's sharing.

Then there was the market.  OH, MY!  There were over 100 vendors there and you could buy yarn and books and needles and patterns and all kinds of gadgets and hand cream and winders to create your own unique yarns and spinning wheels and lots of things I'm sure I haven't listed.  There were also informational tables about guilds and groups organized around sharing your knitting to keep people warm and booths from big name manufacturers of yarns and needles and so much more. Oh, my BIG find was a wooden yarn bowl--I've been on the lookout now for a year for one, and it is now sitting in my living room by my recliner where I sit to knit.  The best part, though, is that it has a dragon carved into it, and if you know me at all, you know I love the Anne MacCaffrey Pern series featuring, you guessed it, dragons.

I'm not sure if Stitches will be back here next year, but I sincerely hope they are!  I love to learn and this was a well-organized, full-of-information event!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I Remember How!

It's been a long time since I've had or taken the time to break out my embroidery software and get anything done!  This weekend I finally upgraded my PC, and after spending hours and hours getting it up and running, I decided to try out one of my embroidery programs to do a design hubby wanted done to put on the back of his Aussie hat.  It turned out pretty well.  I've also installed my cross stitch software programs and my Wild Ginger sewing programs so all is in order when I want to get some crafting done.  Love having them on a computer that runs quickly!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Socks Completed

I've been knitting socks on and off for about a year now.  Can't believe I took my first (and only) sock class in Austin last February.  Miss V and I have slippers, and I've made Misses K & E socks as well as Mr. O.  I must say that I've tried different techniques to do this and will probably explore some more soon, but the next pair is for me!  I finished the last two pair (Miss E this week and Mr. O in time for his February birthday) in the last three weeks.  

These two pair were done with self-striping yarn.  I used toe-up on magic loop technique.  The heels on both of these pairs were done using German Short Rows.  They still left small holes where the two short row sections come together, so on the next pair I'll try a different short row heel.  I bought the Fish Lips Kiss Heel sock pattern from the Sock Therapist on Ravelry. 

I must admit I have a weakness for sock yarn.  I think I have enough to make a dozen more pairs. I love using my Addi sock rocket needles to work these.  I like the extra length the needles have, and the sharper points really make some of the stitches much easier! 

Just one more thing--I'm actually finishing a belated Christmas present before I get to do my socks.  My daughter has been waiting patiently for it.