Saturday, October 30, 2010


What a nice switch- a weekend with no deadlines or pressures looming.  It's been one of those gray days that just makes me want to curl up inside- so I did, except for the curling up part.  I spent the morning cleaning up and organizing the studio, which sorely needed it.  I did run out and get a few groceries, and also got a larger three drawer storage unit for my little fabric bits.  The collection had long since outgrown the small three drawer unit, which replaced three shoeboxes!

After it was all clean, I made a holster for one of the other massage therapists at Shannon's work.  She wanted purple, she got a deep purple hand dye on Kona.  Worked great.  I also got laundry done.  But mostly, I just enjoyed  being.

After a lovely dinner at Mimi's Cafe (grilled salmon on a yummy salad with low fat citrus vinaigrette), we are back home.  Everyone else is out, we are being the grinches of Halloween and ignoring the doorbell.  Thankfully, the wet weather meant not many are out- so not a lot of ringing.  After I finish this, I think I'll pick up my knitting and watch the USC-Oregon game, apparently two teams without a defense.

As for my weight loss adventure, it is moving along well.  I've taken off eight pounds last time I checked, and am rather enjoying tracking all my food.  I've learned that reducing calories is a lot easier if you don't eat a lot of carbs, so hunger has not really been an issue.  I'm either walking the dog or exercising at the gym about four days a week.  It's been a no-stress way to do this, and I'm glad it's working.  I even got into some jeans today that hadn't fit in over a year.

All in all, a nice couple of days.  Hope your weekend was relaxing too!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lava Lamp

Well, I was still working on it the night before my reveal time- but I got it in under the wire.  I even got to bed at my usual time, not the middle of the night!!

This is my piece for the October Interpret This! challenge.  A perfect storm of the muse deciding to take a vacation and a crisis at work left me feeling adrift and totally uncreative.  A nudge from my daughter (who saw something in the picture I'd overlooked), and I managed to come up with this.  It's 12 inches in diameter- I knew I couldn't manage anything even remotely large!!

The background is a piece I rusted recently, and added tea to get the lovely gray tones.  The 'lamp' is from one batik that I fussy cut to get the different colors and values.  The 'lamp' and the background were constructed separately, the background quilted and then the lamp appliqued.  I finished the edge with satin stitching and couched yarn.

Given the sad state  of my creative muse right now, I'm pretty happy with this one.  I captured a piece of the photo that I liked, and love how the colors in the lamp and the rusted background play off each other.  I'm really glad I don't have any projects I have to work on this weekend.  I think I'm going to give the studio a good cleaning and organizing- and hopefully Ms. Muse will decide it's time to return home.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Brain Dead

That about describes how I am feeling.  I'm sure getting two hours of sleep Thursday night has something to do with it, but I have been feeling singularly uninspired for awhile.  I did some work on my IT! piece today, but I still don't have a definite idea of where I'm going with it.  Right now I'm praying for a miracle in that department.

The one fiber thing that has been going well is knitting- something that is ideally suited to those brain dead times.  I am so happy with how my sock is coming along! I am past the heel, and now just knitting up the leg- I'll just keep at it til I run out of yarn, since I only bought two skeins.  These will go great with jeans this winter!

I just can't believe how easy this has been on the two circular needles.  I purposely  bought two different kinds, and that has turned out to be a good decision.  So now I'll just keep knitting up the leg with a 2 X 2 ribbing till the yarn runs out.  Look what you started, Judy!  My family is already thinking they will be getting socks for Christmas.  And I know my next pair will be wilder, both the yarn and the stitch patterning.  Size two needles turns out to be not so bad when you're only knitting on sixty stitches.

Well, hopefully I'll have something quilty to post later this week.  Right now I think I need some more catch-up sleep!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I've knitted since a neighbor taught me when I was a teenager.  I may go years without making anything now, but every once in awhile I get the urge to feel the needles in my hands.  One thing I have never done, however, is socks.  I hate knitting on double pointed needles, and as far as I knew, that was the only way.

A couple of weeks ago, I learded that assumption was wrong.  My cyber-friend Judy turned me onto several webpages that show how to knit seamless socks on two circular needles.  Now that I can manage!

I got the yarn, and got some needles- sizes 2 and 3.  I guarantee I have never knit anything on needles that small!!  Then I started trying the special cast-on with two needles.  It didn't sound that hard, and had some similarities to another invisible cast-on I've done.  I tried, and tried.  No luck.  I found a youtube video showing both the knitting and the cast-on.  The first was a great help, answered one question I had that the webpages didn't.  The cast-on video, not so much.  So I went back  to the pages Judy sent me.  Once I thought I had it, and started knitting.  I dropped stitches all over the place, it drove me nuts.  And where was my nice purl ridge between the needles?

I read the instructions again, and tried one more time.  Success!!  The stitches stayed put on the needles, and I had a lovely purl ridge.  Yahoo!  So I started knitting and increasing.  I even had a lovely toe that was starting to cover my toes.  I thought I was on  my way.

Then I looked closer at the piece on my needles.  It was starting to look like a Chinese pagoda roof.  Obviously I was increasing more than four stitches every other round.  

So I ripped it all out, and  cast on again- this time I got it right the first time.  I know I will have to count stitches every round, to make sure I'm not messing up again.  And, I've made my life easier by relaxing the cables on my needles.  I had no idea that running them a few times through boiling water would make such a difference!

Other than that, my fiber life has been a bust.  I rusted some scarves, and am not thrilled with how they turned out.  I keep thinking about my IT! piece, and trying to figure what I'll do.  I think I know, but I can't say I'm excited about it.  Even doing some research on the photo didn't help me.  It all feels so BLAH!!

I've been here before, and know it will pass eventually.  In the meantime, I'm glad I have something else to occupy my hands- and hopefully cover my feet!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Not much to blog about-

I haven't been doing much with fiber or dyes, despite the fact my next IT! piece needs to be finished in a couple of weeks.  I have a meeting with my WAQ friends today- we are checking out a new independent fabric store in Salt Lake.  I hear they have lovely rayon batiks.  And, there's a yarn store next door, so I'm sure we'll wander in there too.  We're enjoying a bit of Indian summer weather, so it should be a nice day.

And, I've stuck to my 'regimen' for almost two weeks.  Funny, but logging every bit of food you eat means I'm not thinking about it much.  I haven't felt deprived, and I'm not eliminating any foods- just making choices based on calorie counts.  I sure hope this works, after losing three pounds I seem to be stalling a bit.  But, I've no intentions of stopping it, it is becoming just a part of my daily routine.

Hopefully later this weekend I'll actually have some fiber or quilty content to post.  I do have some scarves marinating in rust and tannin, those should be washed out this weekend.  Now I'm off to Salt Lake--

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Slowly. . .

I'm getting back to 'normal' after ten days away from work and my other routines.  Today I've been playing some in the studio.  I got the edges zigzagged around this little piece I finished while I was in Florida--

I knew I'd need something to work on while I was there, so I threw together this little piece figuring I'd do the handwork.  Call it a sample or test piece for my 12 by 12 group for 'Prairie'- it's loosely based on a photo of prairie grasses.  The 12 by 12 piece will be similar, with different fabrics.  And it won't be hand embroidered!  I'll use this one in a demo for my Surface Design group meeting in November on how to mount and mat small fiber pieces.

A new product came up on a couple of my fiber lists- Decolourant Plus.  I saw an ad for it from Quilting Arts online, I think, and it piqued my curiosity.  When list members were offered a free sample to try, I jumped on it.  First I tried it on two notoriously difficult colors to discharge- turquoise and fuschia.  Here's the results-

This was an already-quilted sample.  I applied the Decolourant with a foam roller using a light touch, I didn't want it in the 'valleys' created by the quilting.  The bottom part is with just the Decolourant, the top part is with the Decolourant Plus, which adds a color in addition to discharging the fabric.  I got a Deep Purple color.  I rather like how that looks, I'm not too crazy about the discharge with just the Decolourant on turquoise.  Here's a closer up look at that--

Then I tried both of them on a scrap of fuschia fabric, using a thermofax screen and a stamp.  I like the effect on the fuschia better--

You can definitely see the discharge effect on the flip side of the purple.  I for one like being able to deposit a specific color if I want, I think I will be trying this some more.

A couple of people have done this just with sunlight.  We don't have any of that right now, it has been cloudy and rainy all week.  So I now have two different black fabrics with Decolourant on them, sitting under a heat lamp.  If nothing else, it will dry it quicker- and maybe I'll luck out and it will discharge too.

On a not-fabric related note- I think I mentioned recently that I've finally joined the bandwagon and bought myself an iPod.  It's turning out that I don't listen to music much on it, but I do lots of other things!  I found a free app called 'Lose it' that a number of reviews said was very helpful for losing weight.  It's nothing but a food diary and database of calorie and nutrient counts, but it's amazing the difference it can make when you track that.  One week into it, and I've lost a pound and a half.  I'm taking this slow and easy, and not making huge changes to the way I eat anyway.  I guess I'm lucky in that I don't much like junk or fast foods, and I love fresh fruits and veggies.  We'll see, but I'm hopeful I can keep this up and be at my goal weight next March.

And now I'm off to try something I've sworn for years I'd never do- knit socks!  Judy convinced me that it is fun, it can be done without double pointed needles (which I hate)- so I got some yarn and size 3 circular needles.  First step is to figure out the toe-up cast-on- you'll know my progress (or lack thereof) later this weekend!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

I'm Back. . .

I got back from Florida late last night- I never did get to posting at all.  It was a nice, relaxing ten days, and wonderful to see Michelle for her first birthday.  Obviously, she has changed considerably from the one month old I saw on my last trip there!

Her birthday party was in a park- and it was hot and humid, Florida at it's best.  She looked adorable!!

She has the most amazing big, dark brown eyes with lashes anyone (female, at least) would kill for.  Daddy is already planning how he will handle the onslaught of boys!

We only went out to eat one night while I was there- the night before I left.  Sean had told me about a place a friend introduced him to, Ella's Folk Art Cafe.  It was wonderful!  There is all kinds of eclectic art outside and inside the restaurant- I loved this horse sculpture at the front entrance.  If you find yourself in Tampa, I highly recommend this place.

Inside, there was lots more.  Close to us was the Elvis wall!

Miss Michelle was very well behaved, chewing on a piece of bread while we waited for our dinners.  

See what I mean about those eyes??

Sean had steak, Marly had chicken, but I had to try the special that night- a pork chop with pumpkin-pecan alfredo sauce, sauteed asparagus with cranberries, and mashed potato cake.  It was all absolutely wonderful.  

Afterwards, we shared a piece of chocolate chai cheesecake- it was gone before I could get a picture!