Monday, July 30, 2007

NOW I can share the secret projects

A few of the projects that I have been working on lately, I haven't shared yet. I didn't dare ruin a surprise.

I have become cyber-friends with several fellow "Weight Watchers". In one group (quilters) there has been the sadness two family deaths mingled with the joy of an upcoming birth. Some very sweet ladies thought it would be nice for us to show our love for our friends by making quilts--each of us making one block and mailing it to one of the quilting sisters who assembled it. The assembled pieces were then sent on to be quilted, then bound by two more talented ladies. Here are my squares that became part of the quilts. One of the quilts was mailed to Indiana last week;

the other was delivered in person today when several of our group were able to meet in Florida in person.

(For many of you experienced quilters out there, these blocks are no big deal. But in my defense for showing such simple things, I'm a pretty new quilter. Until about a year ago, all I had done was 5" square blocks serged together. My big step after that was the friendship squares for a block exchange with this same group of ladies. So for me this is like a few giant steps forward.)

The expectant mom (from Massachusetts, if I remember correctly) was one of those at the Florida get-together today. I had mailed this baby soap, wash cloth and soap bag

(along with some purchased pink baby towels, all wrapped it up in a box with a crochet chain "bow")

to one of today's attendees so she could deliver my surprise, along with MANY others that had been sent to her. Latest word is that baby "Sweet Pea" won't be needing too many clothes for a while as she was "well showered". I can't wait to hear more details.

I have many times heard the adage that sorrow shared is lessoned, and joy shared is multiplied. I pray that this is true for these wonderful women whom I have had the pleasure to know through the internet.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mmmm, Mmmm, Good

Whether you call it tapas, meze, or just plain appetizers, the cold leftovers from Wednesday's pasta sauce (Tennesse Grainger county tomatoes, olive oil from Greece, and herbs from my flower pots)

spread on some crostini was a wonderful quick lunch

while I'm busy working on some more squares

to surround my Friendship "throw".

These photos beat those of the cording from Wednesday. I don't know about you, but I was getting pretty tired of those ugly photos!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

But all I went to the store for was . . .

Yikes, I've gone and done it again. Browsed the aisles of a store when I just went for one little thing. 10 yards at 29 cents/yard should be only $2.90 + tax, right? So why did it come to $22.95? Well, the story is. . .

I went to the store to buy this:

so I could make some cording

for a pillow from this fabric.

All done in a couple hours. Turned out pretty nice, don't you think?

But the real story is: while I was at the store, somehow all this

got in my basket. But the prices were even below the marked clearance ($.97 from previous price of $5.99 and $.50 from $3.99); how can a gal NOT snatch it up?

And I still have all this not started yet,

not to mention the 3 works in progress for this year's birthday girls (2 in January--just a bit past due--and one coming up next month).

Of my new "stash", I think the purple will be a shawl or sweater for me; (I haven't knit for myself in YEARS.) the blue, a scarf for a gift; and the teal nubby, for a little boy's March birthday.
From the previous stash, I might do this year's October boy's (8 y0) birthday sweater, and the socs--well, I might get around to trying those sometime. Never done a soc in my life, only a pair of booties some 40 years ago.

Don't even ask me about all the flannel I bought at the quilt shop a couple weeks ago!

Saturday, July 21, 2007


From kissin' (er at least huggin') cousins

and just playin' cousins

to Papou's learning how to play bocci on the beach--

A great time was had by all.

And lest we forget, those birthday cupcakes did get decorated up just fine!

With help from the youngest grandchild (oops, she's blurry)--0h, except for 2 year old Eli who was napping

to the oldest.

A great way to keep them out of the sun for a little while.

So good bye to the beach for another year, when as it turns out and with God's blessings, there will be yet ANOTHER grandchild to join in the fun! YIPPEE! Congratulations to George and Kathy!

Although my knitting was with me, there was NOT EVEN ONE STITCH knitted. That's OK, I was back at it last night, and I'm about to head to the sewing room to work on some half-square-triangles for my current quilt project. Hmmm, I guess I'll have to be thinking about another special baby quilt, come February. Ah, the joys of being a grandmother.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ready for the Beach!

Yippee, it's almost time to meet all the kids (3) and grandkids (10) at the beach.
They have been there since Saturday. We will join them tomorrow and return home on Thursday. A lot of driving (from Knoxville to Pauley's Island SC) for just a couple days, but it will be well worth it.

Sorry friends, No knitting or sewing today--just a peek in to "Nani's" preparation to be with her family:
I decided a couple months ago that it would be fun to have a summer birthday celebration while we are there. It is not too often that we are all together since our geography keeps us apart--Knoxville and Nashville TN, Columbia SC, and Commack (Long Island) NY. A little while after making that decision, I got an e-mail ad from William Sonoma. (Why do I give them my e-mail address? They "get me" every time!) So I did a bit of baking today for the individual birthday cakes:

Aren't they cute?

It will be interesting to see what the older children can do with all these trimmings

I wonder if they will look anything like this:

It really doesn't matter what they look like. They'll have a lot of fun anyway. And if any of you remember the Easter get together, there's a good chance that Eleni will be helping them out. She's the decorating queen, with granddaughter Juliana following close behind.
Speaking of Juliana, I had to make a couple loaves of bread for her. The first words out of her mouth almost every time she arrives at our house are, "Nani, do you have any home made bread?" So here you are dear! I wonder how long 2 loaves will last.

And, of course, besides the food, we need the birthday presents

And just so no one feels left out, a fun beach treat for everybody.

Now, I just need to get US packed! See you when we get home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

READ the directions!

OK, I've got to tell you all: sometimes I can be a REAL goofus! Enter my latest quilting booboo!
When I was making my HSTs (half square triangles) the other day, I thought I had remembered that for a 2 1/2 inch finished square, I needed to cut my initial squares (that would subsequently be cut in to 2 triangles) 2 7/8 inches. Unfortunately, I started to reason and decided that I must have remembered wrong, that certainly it MUST be 2 5/8 because after all once it's in the block, it's only a 2 inch square, so certainly 2 7/8 must be wrong. Well, those of you who have done many HSTs know that 2 7/8 was right! Too bad for me. I had already cut boohoos of 2 5/8 inch strips before I realized my mistake. I thought, "Well, maybe if I do 2 7/8 segments of those strips, giving me rectangles and not squares, I can fudge a little on my seams and make it work."
So here's an example of what I ended up with:

Not a very good square is it? But don't you like the new ruler I bought yesterday? It's 6 x 12 inches; the only one I had before yesterday was 6 x 24. I kept knocking things off my cutting table every time I turned that long ruler to do my "squaring up". And obviously with the above photo, it's quite clear that I needed to do a LOT of that. This particular square was not salvageable for this project, but I'll keep it for a smaller square for some other unknown project of the future. (Oh, so THAT'S how we get all those stashes?!)

I haven't tried out my new ruler yet--that's on the agenda for tomorrow, but I have used this little craft iron that I bought a few weeks ago and I REALLY like it for these little squares.

So with my trusty little iron, a good ruler, and rotary cutter

--and, of course a VERY scant 1/4 inch seam, I'm able to salvage a lot of those funny little NONsquares! Luckily it's a bias seam, so raveling out is unlikely.

Hmm, shall I count them all when I'm finished to see how many were usable for this project? We'll see.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Just which of these is most annoying?

Well, you may remember from my last entry that I mentioned getting annoyed with those little thingies that my daughter calls "washy strings"--you know the unfinished fabric edges that develop into a stringed mess when they go into the washer and dryer for pre sewing shrinking.

Well there are some other edges that really drive me nuts--the rolled edges of knitted items. I have tried the trick of knitting the last stitch of every row, no matter what the pattern calls for and I must admit that it does help some--but not always tremendously. And I must admit that I forgot that trick this time around, so this is what I ended up with.

Believe it or not, this is one fronts to the hoodie that I am working on.

But what is even more annoying has nothing to do with edges. I get really aggravated when I pay good money for an upscale yarn and get knots in it. This is the third knot so far in this project.

Yes, some of you know that I have been working on the hoodie and an Aran sweater for weeks now. You are probably wondering if I will ever finish them. I'm beginning to wonder myself! Just to let you know, I do finish things occasionally, like these wash/dish cloths that go places with me--like the doctor's office waiting room, the car repair shop, or just down to the river.
Any place I want to knit where I don't want to bother with a pattern.

And speaking of pattern, I think I have the final idea for my friendship square quilt. Neither the quilt shop or Anna Maria have enough of that piece of Bohemian fabric I was considering for the backing, so I had to go to another plan. This will be the backing and the binding.

If you are reading this, Anna, do you have enough of the circle (purple and brown) left for binding, or do I need to buy some? And I'll need about a yard and a half of the cream paisley.

I did finish my sashing (using some "postage stamp" pieces that I already had).

The sashing will surround the blocks from my friends (+ 2 of mine for a 6 block x 4 block rectangle) and outside the sashing I will add my own blocks.

My figures show it to be a 42" x 54 " finished throw. It will be a while yet before it's finished as I need to make several more blocks. (Funny, I didn't realize that the block I put in the corner for this photo actually had some of the binding fabric in it.)

So now that I have the photos taken, I can move the blocks off the cutting table and really get to cutting some more blocks. Better hop to it!