Friday, August 24, 2012

Fabric Friday - Flea Market Fancy Edition

 I finally decided to get some Flea Market Fancy fabric for myself, these were on sale for $5 a yard at Pink Castle Fabrics last week.  I have been thinking about these for a long time and I couldn't pass up that price.  I did end up getting a few more prints elsewhere because the first shop was sold out.  Those haven't come yet, I thought perhaps today but they did not appear.  I have been thinking about what to do with these, and I can't decide if I should do something really modern with them or perhaps go a more traditional route.  I have seen some cute quilts on Pinterest that use these fabrics so I do have some good sources of inspiration.

I have made progress on my Modern Sampler quilt!  I could not believe how long it took me to come up with the layout shown above.  It took me several attempts over a couple of days to get this figured out.  Somehow I never realized until I was laying it out that I had used 2 blues, 2 greens, 1 red and 1 yellow.  So I was trying to make sure that the red and yellow were somewhat evenly spaced out around the quilt to break up the blue and green but also make sure I didn't repeat 2 colors right next to each other.  This afternoon I got the top three rows sewn together with some white sashing before I had to stop for the day.  It is always good to stop on a good note, it makes me look forward to the next time.  I was working on this while re-watching Ally McBeal on Netflix Instant.  I like to watch something I have seen before while sewing so it doesn't matter if I miss something.

This evening while watching tv with Pat I finally finished Liesl!  I am hoping it hasn't turned out too big.  I still need to block it, weave in a few ends and find some buttons.  Now I am on to planning new projects.  I found out today that my friend Kristin's sister is having a baby girl in December so I am thinking I need to knit a baby sweater.  I knit her first daughter Olivia a tiny little Baby Surprise jacket so I need to come up with something else.  I have been browsing baby sweaters on Ravelry and have a few options favorited.

I think Pat and I are going to check out the Front Street Brewery in Davenport this weekend and I am planning a trip to the farmers market.  Otherwise I think it will be a fairly quiet weekend so hopefully I will get some more work done on my quilt.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday - Knitting

I have added a few WIP's to the knitting rotation in the last week.  Above are the first 6 squares plus part of a seventh of my Barn Raising Quilt from the book Knitalong.  The pattern uses leftover sock yarn, of which I have a ton!  So far I have used Dream in color Smooshy twice, String Theory Caper sock twice, Hazel Knits Artisan sock, and Fannie's Farm House fingering.  The current square is Squoosh Fiber Arts Ultra Sock.  I am using a Size 2 Knit Picks Nickle plated needle for all the squares.  Hopefully the slight variation in size due to the differences in the yarn will block out.  I have a long way to go on this project!  
The second WIP is the Ravi Cardigan, pattern by Carol Feller.  The yarn for this is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Medium Weight colorway Oregon Red Clover Honey.  This pattern is worked top down but starts by working the yoke sideways in shortrows then picking up and knitting down the body.  I really need to get going on this one, it will be a great fall sweater. 

I have also been working on Liesl, this sweater has become the bane of my existence!  Other people have knit this bulky weight, short sleeve, lace sweater in 4 days!  I have been working on it since April!  Argh!  I don't even think I like it anymore but I must proceed.  I am part way done with the last sleeve then I plan to add a few more repeats to the body to make it a tad longer.  It must be done before this time next week or I may murder the sweater! 

I have also been working on one other project but it is secret knitting as it is a Christmas gift for a friend of mine so no pics of that for now.   Before anyone thinks I am really ambitious to be starting Christmas knitting in August I am actually seeing this friend in October for our yearly get together so I am not really being an over achiever. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

State Fair Wrap Up

On Saturday Pat and I headed to Des Moines for a short weekend trip.  The State Fair was our objective for Sunday so Saturday afternoon we went shopping around town.  To appease Pat we first went to Bass Pro Shop in Altoona.  Then we headed to Creekside Quilting for some fabric shopping (Pat stayed in the car).  Next up was Penzey's and then the brand new Whole Foods.  We found the most delicious dark chocolate and sea salt caramels at Whole Foods.  They are ridiculously good!  We overdid it at Penzeys and Whole Foods so opted to skip Trader Joe's this trip.  Someday we are going to live somewhere that has these shops so we don't have to incorporate them into our travel plans!  We ended our day at Jethro's BBQ new location in Waukee.  I had a very tasty beer from New Belgium brewery called Red Hoptober. 

Bright and early Sunday morning we headed for the fair grounds.  We like to go early before it gets really busy.  We managed to luck out and get free street parking not too far from the entrance.  We started out at the Varied Industries building and split a cinnamon roll for breakfast along with some coffee flavored water.  After exploring the various booths downstairs we made our way upstairs to the Fabric and Threads area.  I had never found this area before but this year I made sure to look up where it was before going to the fair.  I wasn't sure if it would be cool to take pictures so I didn't but I wish I had!  There were some beautiful projects there.  It was largely quilting with some knitting and other stitchy crafts.  The knitting was very nicely displayed and there were some patterns I recognized.  I am thinking about perhaps entering in the future.  I also saw latch hook rugs that were really intriguing.  One in particular had a field scene with wooly sheep!  I had never seen rugs like that before but I think I should check it out in the future. 

After leaving that building we found The Dominator from the tv show Storm Chasers which Pat loves.  It was pretty cool and I managed to convince Pat to pose for a picture. 

Next we ventured over to the livestock buildings to see if I could find any cute animals.  We were in the sheep barn during the angora goat show so I got some pictures of the goats in their pens before going out to be judged.  They were very interested in what was going on in the ring so it was difficult to get them to look at the camera but I got a few good shots.  These goats are so cute!

The llama show was the night before and I couldn't find where the llamas were being kept or they might have all gone home so I got these pics at the avenue of breeds.  Their was one llama with a baby and one alpaca with a baby.  The alpaca baby was being shy but they were all very cute!
alpaca and baby

llama and baby
After getting a super lunch of corn dogs we headed to the Cultural Center because I had something on reserve at Willow Avenue Pottery .  I had seen these little llamas on Facebook and I thought I needed one, I have heard that people sometimes use llamas as guard animals for flocks of sheep so I got a llama to guard my stash!
So after more exploring, viewing the world's largest chocolate moose, eating some good food and some really questionable fried pickles we headed for home.  We were grateful to get home before it started thunder storming, it even hailed!  Fortunately the garden seems to be ok, the hail wasn't very big but it did come down for a long time. 

I will be back tomorrow with a recipe review and canning update.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pinterest project

I love Pinterest, I have pinned so many different pictures and have gotten a lot of great ideas over there.  I pinned this picture quite a while ago and Pat finally got around to making it for me.  It is made from different sizes of pvc tubing and attached with double sided stick tape.  I am so happy with how this turned out and how well it works!  Previously these were just piled in the bottom of my cabinet and always getting tangled up.  I used to have a holder that hung on the wall but I like to put things away and also this bathroom doesn't have a lot of wall space.  So this is one Pinterest project that actually got completed.  I recently saw a pin that said something like - pinterest ought to have another button that says 'completed' and when you click it you get a round of applause.  Sounds like a good idea to me!  I love to check things off lists so that would be even more incentive! 

Speaking of lists I totally failed on my goals from last week's WIP wednesday post.  I did get the vest finished but hardly worked on the Liesl sweater at all.  My Stitch quilt made negative progress when I decided to remove the sashing from the blocks I had done and cut them all down to 8" square  rather than put sashing on and then cut them down to size.  It seemed like too much of a waste of fabric to me.  Fortunately I didn't have too much done on the sashing.  Now I am in the market for an 8" square ruler to use, hopefully I can make it to Jo-Ann fabric this weekend, I have a 50% off coupon! 

I am working on gathering some fabric for a autumn themed wall quilt, I got a few pieces yesterday at Susan's Calico Creations in Fulton.  We are planning on going to Des Moines this weekend to go the fair so hopefully I can go to Creekside Quilting in Urbandale to finish gathering up what I need. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ravellenic Gold!

I finished the vest at 530 pm on Sunday so I got my "Colorwork Cross Country" medal button for my sidebar.  This was the Nederland Vest from Knitscene Fall 2008.  Most of the yarn is Cascade 220 except the dark blue which is Knitpicks Wool of the Andes worsted.  I used my size 7 Signature needles and size 5 Nickle knitpicks needles for the ribbing.  I had original planned to use purple and natural along with the two different greens but I am glad I went with the two shades of blue instead.  The portion above the colorwork is a little too big - which is why I am only showing a side shot.  I am not sure how to fix it.  This was my first colorwork garment so I think it turned out ok all things considered.  I did learn some good tips from the Craftsy class I am taking.  I am looking forward to getting some yarn for that vest and starting it later this fall. 

I do have two other sweaters currently on the needles but I am starting to think about what I want to do next.  I have been thinking about using some sock yarn to make a vest similar to this one.  It would be good to continue to clear out the sock yarn stash.  I also have some Berroco Blackstone Tweed that I have been trying to figure out what to do with.  I really should finish the two sweaters I have on the needles before I start anything new so I can change my mind several times before I am ready to cast on!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Randomness on Saturday night

I have my first finished knitting project since May 19!  These are the Revival socks by Glenna C of Knitting to Stay Sane . It was a well written pattern but I think I have my fill of twisted stitches for awhile!  The yarn I used is Hazel Knits Artisan sock in the sage brush colorway.  I really like this sock yarn and know from past experience that it holds up well.  These socks were supposed to be my first Camp Loopy project for this summer but I sadly failed to finish them by the deadline.  Last year I participated in Camp Loopy and finished all three of the projects, this year I haven't finished any of them!  I just haven't been knitting as much lately.  Hopefully now that fall is approaching I will be more inspired to knit.  There are a lot of inspiring patterns in the new fall issue of Twist Collective I love all the garments in the Homestead story as well as the Budapest Market socks and the Barberry Cardigan.  I actually have the yarn in my stash that was used for the Barberry Cardigan I might think about that once I am ready for twisted stitches again. 

New bedroom

Part of the reason I haven't been knitting much lately is because we have been working on a remodeling project in our house.  We have finally finished up the work and I got some pictures taken today.  Pat bought our house 10 years ago before we were married and we have been fixing it up ever since.  Our house was built in approximately 1890 so it has taken a lot of work.  We finished remodeling the downstairs a few years ago and started on the upstairs. 

There are 4 bedrooms and a large storage closet upstairs, we still have 2 of the bedrooms left to remodel before we are done.  Pat started working on one of the bedrooms back in January, blowing insulation into the walls and then covering over the plaster and lath with sheetrock and then plastering, painting and putting in new flooring.  My portion of the project was painting the ceiling, walls and the woodwork.  Then after I got a really bad can of paint, stripping all of the woodwork in the first bedroom and repainting it!  That was a nightmare, I think I went to Sherwin Williams for more paint stripper 4 times!  If I could meet the person who painted the woodwork teal I would have several harsh words for them!  (Unfortunately the woodwork in one of our remaining unfinished bedrooms is RED)  When it was finished we moved our current bedroom and then I repainted the bedroom we had finished a few years ago.  It had previously been a pretty purple color but we are thinking of trying to sell so we decided to just paint over it white.  I normally choose much more fun paint colors.  Pat had even gotten used to the purple and was kind of sad to see it go.  The last touch to the project was finally installing doors on our old bedroom and the storage closet!  These 2 rooms have been door-less for probably 6 years.  No longer can the cats climb around in the storage closet and knock things down at 2 am! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday Quilting Edition

No knitting pictures for today, the Liesl sweater is only a little farther along, I do have the colorwork section on the Nederland vest done.  I also finished the Revival Socks so I will have an FO post perhaps tomorrow.  I haven't had much knitting time the last few days, I have been too busy.  Yesterday I finally made it to the Freight House Farmers Market to pick up some peppers, garlic and extra tomatoes for canning some salsa.  I haven't made salsa in a few years so hopefully it turns out well.

Today I have Quilting WIP's to share, actually I should admit that I haven't worked on either in months!  Hopefully posting them here will motivate me to get to work on them.  The first is my Rainbow Road table runner.  This pattern is from the Curved Class by Stitched in Color that I took last spring.  I really signed up for the class because I loved this table runner so much.  I did enjoy the class though, I have materials for a few more of the projects that I should get going on.  I really need to get my table runner finished but I started having a few issues.  I think I made my pieces too curvy so I was having trouble stitching them together.  I think I need to get to work with my seam ripper and try again.  Hopefully I can fix it.  I did have a lot of fun cutting up my charm packs and randomly sewing them back together.

My second WIP is the Mod Sampler Quilt by Oh Fransson.  The fabric I am using is Stitch by Betz White.  I have all the blocks done and now I need to start working on the sashing. 

My goal for next WIP Wednesday is to have some progress made on either of these projects and to have both Liesl and the Nederland Vest finished!  I should have a good amount of knitting time over the weekend because we are going to Des Moines for the state fair which is about 3.5 hours from here.  Pat always does all the driving so I will have lots of time to knit!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Recipe Reviews and Preserving Progress

I spent most of the day yesterday in the kitchen and I got a lot done.  Pat spent all morning working on projects around the house and finally got our current remodeling project finished!  Woo hoo!  I will share photos once I have a chance to tidy up a bit.  I made 4 new recipes yesterday, Brownie Cream Cheese Bites, Banana Feather Loaf, Double Peanut Butter Paisley Bars and Spicy Corn Chowder .  The peanut butter bars were very good, the recipe is from the back of the Reese's peanut butter chips bag.  I do plan to make these again but I think I should up the chocolate flavor a bit.  I will either sub 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips for 1/2 the peanut butter chips or use melted semi-sweet chocolate instead of chocolate syrup.  Perhaps both!

The brownie bites were good, but I think I put too much of the chocolate batter in the minimuffin tins so didn't leave enough room for the cream cheese batter.  Pat liked them but thought they could use more cream cheese filling.  I think his actual comment was "Are these supposed to have cream cheese in them?" 

I have never made (or had) corn chowder before but I think it turned out pretty well.  Pat suggested more celery and green onion and less spice.  I think more of a savory flavor would have been to our liking.  Now that I am over my aversion to soup in the summer time I will hunt up more corn chowder recipes to try.  It might have to wait until next summer though, we don't have too much sweet corn left around here. 

The fourth new recipe was the banana feather loaf from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  I plan to attempt this bread again another day so I will save a review for later. 

I also canned my fourth batch of pickles from the garden and froze several bags of sweet corn.  I think it will be my last batch of dill pickles for the year.  If I get more cucumbers I may attempt to make sweet pickles.  In the previous three years of canning I have always meant to make a list of what I preserve so here is my list of what I have put up so far this year:

13 - quarts of dill pickles
3 - 1/2 pints of blackberry syrup
3 - 1/2 pints of strawberry syrup
6 - pints of strawberry lemonade syrup
5 - 1/2 pints of lemony strawberry jam
2 - pints of lemony strawberry jam
1 - quart of blackberry brandy
1 - pint of blackberry brandy (I used one full bottle of Korbel brandy)

1 - gallon bag of strawberries
2 - gallon bags of blackberries
10 - 10 oz bags of corn

Remaining from 2011
2 - pints of pickled hot peppers
1 - pint spiced strawberry jam
2 -1/2 pints maple apple pear butter
3 - 4 oz jars balsamic red pepper jelly
4 - quart jars of grape juice

1/4 - gallon bag sliced green peppers
3/4 - gallon bag sliced hot banana peppers

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fabric Friday

I have had the fabric collection Madrona Road by Violet Craft on my fabric wish list since I first saw it on Oh Fransson's blog several months ago.  It recently went on sale and I had a coupon code for a new Etsy shop called I Don't Do Dishes so I picked up some 1/2 yard pieces of my favorite prints.  I don't know yet what I am going to make with it but for now I am happy to just admire it!  I Don't Do Dishes had really good customer service and very quick shipping as well so I would definitely recommend them. 

We went to Miss Effie's Blooms Tunes and Brews last night and had a really nice evening listening to music and chatting with my friend Laura and her husband.  I left the camera in the car all night so no pictures unfortunately.  Laura and I both had our knitting along so we both made some progress on our projects.  It was nice having someone to KIP with! 

This weekend should be fairly quiet around here so I am planning on trying a few new recipes.  If they turn out I will post a review next time. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WIP wednesday

 I have three knitting WIP's to share today.  The first is my Liesl sweater, which is taking me an extraordinarily long time to finish.  I had it about 1/3 finished and decided that it was too small in the neckline so I frogged the whole thing and recast on with the wide neck version of the pattern on one size larger needles.  It seems to be working out much better now.  It looks like I should have alternated skeins but I can live with it, hopefully it won't be quite so noticeable when finished.  The yarn is Sundara Yarn Aran Silky Merino which is a beautiful yarn, it held up to being frogged pretty well, it is only slightly fuzzy. 

 The second WIP is my Ravellenic Games Nederland Vest which I think is coming along pretty well.  I am almost halfway through the colorwork section and I think I like the color choices I made.  I am crossing my fingers that the sizing comes out ok.  I cheated on my swatch and didn't even finish it because time got short to cast on during the opening ceremonies.  I was also trying to do a speed swatch in the round and it turned into a major pain so I decided to just cast on and hope for the best. 

The third WIP is my Revival Socks, these were supposed to be for Camp Loopy project 1 but I got too busy and didn't get them done in time.  This is the second sock so they should be done soon.  The yarn is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock and it is a really sturdy sock yarn.  It is the second pair of socks I have knit with this yarn and the first has held up really well.  My first pair are kind of wild and I do like this subtle variegation much better. 

I do have three more WIP's that are currently in hibernation, I will share those another week.