KATHY'S FANCY STITCHING NEWS



Postings and ponderings of a quilting and knitting addict!





Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another Addiction…

Like I needed something else to fill my “spare” (HAHAHA!) time??

Knitting socks is my other    ONE of my other addictions.  I just can’t sit with nothing to do, and it seems I have lost my zeal for applique.  PLUS, it is hard to do needle-turn applique while riding down the bumpy LA roads.  I have a whole collection of sock yarns now, thanks to Knit Picks.  It does NOT rival my fabric collection, but give me a little more time.  Knitting is my “grab and go” project that fills those little moments of time while waiting.

Here is my latest pair….

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This is Risata cotton/nylon yarn and a patterned stitch which Mary shared  with me.  I’m on the down-hill stretch.  I have finished the side heel gussets and will be knitting the foot portion of the sock.    This next part goes quickly, so these should be done within the week (IF I can pull myself away from the IQ long enough to knit).  My preferred method is “2-socks-at-one-time” on 2 circular needles.  When you are done with one, you are done with both… I like that.  No “second sock syndrome” using this method.  I tried the DPNs, and the “Magic Circle”, 2- socks at a time on one VERY long circular needle, but this method works best for me.

WHY are socks on my mind?  Because Judy L has challenged us to knit a pair in Nov.  Starting on Nov. 1 lots of folks will be knitting socks along with Judy, and many of those probably for the first time.  (I’m not sure I can wait that long to start my next pair… we’ll be going camping in a couple of weeks and I will have to have some knitting to take with me.)

I must give this little disclaimer… your first pair is a bit “testy”… it seems to take forever just getting used to the process, figuring out how to hold the needles, getting your yarn tension consistent, etc.   I started on DPNs for the first pair because that was the easiest way to learn the process of sock knitting.  The pattern I had was written for DPNs.  I still use that same pattern but have converted it for the 2-a-1-t method.  I do NOT recommend that beginners start with the 2-a-1-t method.  After the first pair on DPNs you kind of understand where you are headed and then you can go for the other methods.  OR you may decide that DPNs are just fine with you…. that is what Judy L uses and she cranks out socks like a sweat shop!

SO… I challenge YOU to join up and knit a pair in November.  BUT be forewarned… it is addicting, and like eating potato chips, you can’t do just one!  I’ll post here when Judy posts her sign-up  for the knit-along.  Any local folks that are interested and need help getting started, feel free to contact me and I’ll be glad to guide you along.

GREAT NEWS!!!  I found out last night that my IQ has shipped and will be here on Friday.  My dealer will install on Sunday, and then I will be up and running!! That means, the quilt in the machine today will be my LAST non-IQ quilt (except for those really wonky quilts I get occasionally… I don’t think I can use IQ on them when I have to be so careful not to stitch in pleats and tucks.).  SO… I did the “happy dance”, and I celebrated with a chocolate bar that was stashed back in the cabinet for some special occasion.  WOOOHOOO!!!

Be blessed today in all you set you hand too!  I’ll see you again on Monday design wall.

KAT

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Monday’s Design Wall

BOO’S QUILT:    A dear friend and member of the Cotton Country Quilters of Bastrop, LA had a massive stroke several months ago.  She is still in rehab and making progress, but has a long way to go.  The CCQ group made blocks for a throw-size quilt to send to her.  I  pieced it Sunday afternoon, and will be quilting it as soon as I can figure out what to do with the borders.  I thought I had something in my stash that would do for the 2 borders, but it just did not look right.  Aw shucks… a trip to the quilt shop will be needed.  :)

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This quilt is bright and cheerful.  Boo loves pink and purple so I know she will enjoy snuggling in this quilt.  We each wrote messages on the snowball blocks, and we hope she will get great comfort and joy from reading them.

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Other accomplishments this week…

1.  The shelf for my quilting room is painted and does really look nicer!

2.  Termite damage to the floor (discovered when I moved the shelf to paint it) has been repaired by DH and BIL… it really is a good thing IQ was delayed.  That allowed them to handle this before it was installed.

3. The housework I had planned on doing before IQ arrival has, for the most part, been done.

Speaking of IQ…… 6 more days!!!

I’m getting excited!  Sure hope things go as scheduled.  If so, IQ will arrive on Oct. 3.   ‘Nuff said….

Have a wonderful week, and do go check out other design walls at Judy’s Patchwork Times!

KAT

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Boo-Hoo!

I just got an email from the IQ dealer… my installation has been delayed one more week.    : (     I knew this was a possibility, but was on a very hopeful countdown… now let’s add 7 days to that.

10 1/2 more days.  I have my fingers crossed (and Cristyn also suggested crossing my toes), my eyes crossed, I will cross ANYTHING if it brings my IQ to me on Oct. 2.   This is harder than a kid waiting for Christmas to open gifts… at least they don’t MOVE Dec. 25th on you!

The good side… (I really AM trying HARD to find the positive in this!), I won’t have to be in quite such a hurry to get everything spic and span in the quilting room, which is good.  I put the second coat of paint on the shelf  this morning, so as soon as it cures I need to vacuum up all the paint dust and then start getting things back to “normal” in the quilting room.  I will also get DH to help me lower the machine and get things back in level… a tough job!

And then, back to stitching customer quilts for one more week… I just THOUGHT I had done my last quilt without IQ!  OK… no more whining… back to work, chin up, shoulders straight, wipe that tear from your eye, missy!!  Just do it!  Git-R-Done!   How many other clich├ęs can I come up with to stir me into action?  LOL!  And in the big scope of things, what is one more week? 

EXTREME  ANTICIPATION!!  That’s what it is!!

KAT

Monday, September 20, 2010

Design Wall Monday

OK… it’s not ON the design wall, and it’s not even ON the sewing machine yet, but here is what I am working on.

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I have been oh-so-busy turning a pile of de-constructed men’s shirts into…

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THIS…. because I found…

 

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THIS book (Scraps & Shirttails, by Bonnie K. Hunter).

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And I  L-O-V-E  THIS quilt.  It’s not for me… but my son decided he needed a king-size quilt for his bed.  Merry Christmas, Jeremy.  I HOPE I have it done by Christmas!!

My design wall DOES actually have something on it.  I finally am satisfied with the arrangement of the One Block Wonder blocks and will sew them when I get an opportunity.  You can’t see them today… they are covered with black plastic because I am painting the shelf that sits right in front of my design wall.  One coat down, one more to go.

Check out other design walls at  Judy’s Patchwork Times blog.

IQ arrives SATURDAY!!  4 1/2 more days of dreaming about what I will do with my IQ.  I have a whole pile of my quilt tops stacked up to practice on, and then will be back to customer quilts after a week of playing on my own things.

Company coming, IQ coming, church things, family things, other busy things… my life-cup runneth over right now.  Be blessed this week in all YOU do, too.  I probably won’t post again until about next Monday, when I will give you a full IQ update.

KAT

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Almost There!

SHEESH!  It’s been a WEEK since my last post!  So sorry, but things are really busy right now.  I am working on finishing the quilting on my LAST customer quilt before my IQ arrives (9 more days!).  I will finish that quilt TONIGHT!

The loggers are still busy working here… just a few more days and they should be finished with it all.  This has been most interesting to watch them at work.  Tomorrow morning early I will go down with DH and watch the shearer cutting trees… that is part of the operation I have not seen yet.

Tomorrow is Grandparent’s Day at Katelyn’s school.  I was invited to come eat lunch with her at 10:30am… yep, I’m having flashbacks of all the years I taught kindergarten and we ate lunch at 10:30am.  Some days now I don’t eat BREAKFAST until that time!

I’m packing things up for the local guild’s Quilt ‘Till You Wilt on Saturday.  I will finish de-constructing some shirts, and hopefully finish cutting the pieces for my son’s quilt.  This will be his Christmas, so I must really get moving on this.

Next week will be busy finishing getting ready for IQ’s arrival.  I will lower and level Gussie Fay.  I am probably going to take the casters off her legs and put the regular feet back on… the room where she is now is too small to move her anyway.  AND if I were to move her any at all it would mean having to level her again because the room is so unlevel.  That closet will FINALLY get cleaned out, also.  The long shelf in that room will get sanded and painted.  The later part of the week will be spent cleaning the rest of the house.  Company and IQ coming means I will be cleaning like the Mr. Clean “white tornado” again.  I certainly don’t want to have to do housework once IQ gets here… I want to PLAY with HER!!

I must run and finish that quilt tonight so I can get my things packed for QTW.  We will perhaps be spending the night at the lake camp tomorrow so I need to have everything ready to leave in the MORNING.  Run, run, run… but soon, I will be a lady of leisure, sitting around eating bon-bons while the IQ stitches.  Yeh, right!

KAT

Thursday, September 9, 2010

T-I-M-B-E-R!!!!!

BIG happenings at the farm this week.  Timber land belonging to the family (and a small section of ours) is being thinned this week.  I went down with DH this morning to get a view of how this works. 

Now before any of you say, “OH NO!  They are cutting TREES!”, please understand that this is a pine PLANTATION… in other words… it was planted for this purpose.  This is a cash crop, just like growing cotton… only it takes a LOT longer!!  These trees are hybrid pines, planted for the specific purpose of harvesting and selling to plywood, lumber, and paper mills.  The trees we are having thinned are 13 years old, and if they are not thinned this way they will begin to die out… natural thinning.

BE SURE TO CLICK TO ENLARGE PICTURES SO YOU CAN GET A BETTER IDEA.  I also want to say, although the equipment looks like Tonka toys in these photos, these are VERY large pieces of machinery.

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See how thick the woods are in this picture?  Notice there is VERY little light reaching the ground level.  Also notice… no lower branches on these trees.  That is a sign they need thinning.  They also go by the stump diameter to determine the readiness for thinning.

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After thinning it will look like this… much more light reaching the body of the tree and helping it to grow in diameter.  They will take out every 5th row of planted pine, and also take out any damaged or unhealthy trees.  What damages trees?  Wind storms, ice storms, animals…. Mother Nature!  As with any type of farming, weather and nature have a great effect on your product.

I did not go to the area where they are cutting today (I’ll get a picture of that later for you), but this is how they get them ready to send to the mill.

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A skidder grabs a bundle of downed trees and takes them to the load-out site.

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The guy on the loader grabs several trees and places them in the de-limber.  Knife-edged jaws close around the bundle and he pulls them through, which shears off the limbs.

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When he gets close to the end of the trees a chain saw comes down from the yellow metal box on the right side and cuts the tops of the trees off.

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He then swings the trees over to the truck… I was amazed at how accurately he was placing trees on the pile!

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To market, to market…. almost ready to roll.  Once the first thin is done, the trees will grow rapidly and will need thinning again in about 5 years, and then another 5 years…

At some point the stand of timber will be clear-cut, and we will start over with a new planting of pine seedlings.  Why cut them all and start over?  Mills are equipped to handle certain sizes of trees.  If your trees get TOOOOO large they can’t be run through the mill, therefore you have no sale for them.

Do we get rich off of this?  HAHAHA!!  The first thin is not really a money-making event, but does help you recoup some of the costs of planting and spraying (to kill out unwanted trees and vines that naturally spring up in the middle of your nice, straight rows of pine trees).  BUT if our trees continue to grow well, and IF we don’t have any catastrophic weather events, and IF we don’t have any insect infestations that kills the stand, at some point there will be an income from these trees.  That’s a lot of IFs involved there… and a lot of time to wait and see.

Blessings to you today!!  I’m headed to town to my favorite store (Russell’s Jewelry) to pick out something for my birthday…. rumor has it that SOMEONE (I guess the Birthday Fairy) stopped by the store and left me a credit there!

KAT

Monday, September 6, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Welcome to all following links on Design Wall Monday!  Please browse around for a spell.  And if you are interested in a “Quilt Show” check out my archives for Dec. 09.  Each day of Dec. I featured one of my quilts, starting from the first ones all the way to show quilts.  ENJOY!  And do come visit again!

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The One Block Wonder is coming along.  I have rearranged this about 10 times, but I am getting very close to what I want.  It is amazing how I notice things in this picture that need moving, but it does not show so much on the real thing.  I think the blocks with the mostly-white centers really “pop” too much, so I’ll have to figure out a way to de-emphasize them.  Hopefully I will get this sewn together soon and have it ready to quilt when IQ arrives….  19 more days!!

 

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Veggie Tales quilts are done and almost ready to send to the twins… I just need to make labels for them.  I found the most PERFECT binding fabric… it is called “Freckles” by Free Spirit.  Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it when I was snapping the others.  It is a tiny, tiny pin-dot of about 8 different bright colors on a black background… WONDERFUL binding fabric.  It would also make a great background fabric for a colorful quilt.  I’m going to have to hunt down some more of this!

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Both quilts were quilted using the Curlz panto.  I really considered custom quilting, but I kept reminding myself…

1.  These are USING quilts… they will be washed a gazillion times.

2.  I don’t have TIME for custom quilting right now because I am slower-than-slow at it.

I love these little quilts…. they are so bright and cheerful.  I know Kyleigh and Ryleigh will enjoy using them.

Be blessed in all you do today!!  I’m quilting like crazy on a super-king-size quilt.  Can I get it done before I need to leave for bowling this evening?  I’m challenging myself to do it.

Thanks for looking!  If you wish to see what others are us to, bee-bop on over to Judy’s Patchwork Times and follow the links.  I promise you will enjoy it!

KAT

Friday, September 3, 2010

Update… Lots going on!

WHEW!!  I’m taking a couple of deep cleansing breaths here, and sitting down just long enough to report in.  I feel oh-so-guilty when I look and realize that I have not blogged in quite a while.

GUSSIE UPDATE:  She is purring like a kitten.  I never did call the service line, because once I threatened she straightened up and stitched right (for a very brief time… like until about the time the service line would be CLOSED for the day!).  BUT I had finally realized that the whole issue was the rocking finger.  I tinkered with her, tiny adjustment at a time, until I finally found the spot she likes.  Result…. beautiful stitches, no loud clanking noises, and NO LOOPS!  I might need to check and see if DH can WELD the rocking finger in that position since it seems to want to undo itself on a regular basis.  But at least now I know I CAN DO IT!

QUILTING:  I’ve been very busy with customer quilts!  I’ve done 4 this week, and last night I quilted the Veggie Tales quilts for the twins.  Today I will get the bindings put on and probably hem them on the machine.  Then a H-U-G-E customer quilt will go in the machine.  I waited until I was SURE Gussie was fixed before even thinking about putting this one in.  Who wants to pick loops from the back of a king-size quilt?  NOT ME!!  I’ll drop off and pick up another load of quilts at quilt club next week.  I’m in a rush because….

IQ UPDATE:  More production issues have cropped up, but my IQ will arrive for installation on Sept. 25th!!  So I’m on a new count-down.  Plans are being made for painting and final cleaning the week before “she” gets here, so there will be no rest for me in the mean time.  OH… and we have company coming that weekend… but we will deal with that.  I usually clean house like a white tornado before company comes, but I have already started on the process because IQ was coming, so I am a step ahead of myself!  DH can be “host” instead of me because I will be learning how to use my new baby.  Can you tell I am excited?  I am SOOOO looking forward to having access to some new patterns, and the creativity I will have with IQ.

PEARS: … are everywhere.  They are just about to finish up and we are getting as many as possible dried in the food dehydrator.  I had never thought of doing that, but JUDY mentioned drying fruit and suggested pears were yummy.  Honestly, I don’t much care for regular pears.  They are the one fruit I just don’t particularly enjoy, but the dried ones are YUMMO!  It is a shame my dehydrator is so small.  Eight-ten pears at one time is all we can do.

OKRA:  It is coming out our ears!  And I am SOOOO thankful for the 2 1/2” of rain we got this morning.  That is the first measurable rain in a couple of MONTHS!  No kidding!  That should really revive the okra (which DH has been watering) and get it going some more.  We should have okra in abundance until cooler weather arrives, and that will probably be at least another month.

Got to run… DISH is coming to install tomorrow.  I figure I should at least wipe the months-old dust from the TVs and whatever they are sitting on!

Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend.  I’ll see you again next week.  And THIS time I will have something to show on Design Wall Monday!

KAT

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