Monday, April 29, 2013

Some Knitting

It's really spring!  The magnolia tree is spectacular and the forsythias are blooming also.  There was lots of outdoor activity, like cleaning out garden beds, golfing, and lawn mowing and raking this weekend.  The weather couldn't have been nicer for this, sunny and not too hot.  Today it is overcast and the rest of the week is going to be in the 70's.  Yeah!
Transitioning from winter wools to summer shorts is never a gradual process in our area.  It usually happens so quickly you haven't gotten out the summer duds or put away the boots.  Snow and frost can happen well into May, so tender annuals can't go in the ground too soon.

I potted most of my seeds; zinnias and sunflowers, beets and beans.  I like to start them growing in pots before I transplant them in the garden to give them a head start and keep the bunnies away from their tender new shoots.

I finished a pair of socks for myself this weekend and started another pair.  I have to add to my drawer as I had 4 pair that developed holes on the heels.  I think one of my pairs of boots had a spot that wore them through.  I'll have to replace them before next winter.  My favorite pair, of course.

The Kroy striped sock yarn is usually free from knots, but one skein had several knots and I was worried I would have two non matched socks (hate that!)  but it didn't turn out too badly, just a little difference in the toe, that only I will notice if I keep my shoes on!
I put another sock on the needles as soon as I finished the Kroy.  It is a limited edition Kertzer in blues and purples.  I think I might do a pattern as the pair I did for DD#3 pooled a bit.  Got to be an easy pattern as I take these socks with me everywhere and work on them when I have a spare moment.

I have three sweaters in the almost finished pile that I am going to commit here to finishing this week.  

1. Pat's cardigan has the buttonhole band to be finished and the side seams to sew up.  
2. My striped Tempest has to be sewn up and the button band and collar done.  Hmmm! That one could take a while.  Maybe that's why it's been unfinished.
3.  My Dahlia cardigan has one sleeve partially finished.  Once both sleeves are done it is completely done and that is a good thing.

Maybe one week is too ambitious.  I'll just devote myself to these three projects and see how long they take.
I'll check in next Monday with a progress report.
Free day, one of the kids is sick.  We have a bowling banquet tonight so no cooking tonight!  A really free day!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sewing Monday

When my girls were little and I was not working outside the home, I did a lot of sewing for them.  Everything from t-shirts to jeans and fancy, smocked Easter dresses. I remember one Easter eve staying up until the wee small hours finishing up 3 dresses.  There was even a time when I sewed and crocheted various stuffed animals and sold them at craft shows with a friend.

I am no novice, but it has been quite a number of years since I have really done any sewing other than mending.  I got the itch to pick it up again and decided to start with something simple.  I always have a need for more project bags and there is plenty of  coordinating fabric in my stash.  This weekend I decided to get some sewing done.

I know what I like in project bags.  The small bags from are my absolute favorites for my sock knitting.  The reasons are clear, no zippers or velcro to trap my yarn.  I want larger bags to hold sweater projects and tried to find a pattern I liked.  None of the commercial patterns had everything I wanted, so I am trying to engineer the type of bag I like.  I am modifying a Simplicity pattern and adding features that I think I will like using.

My sewing skills are more than a little rusty, I will admit.  I am using two very plain fabrics to make the prototype.  I also cut the basic pattern out of a medium weight interfacing so I can reuse the pattern, if I get it to turn out the way I have it in my mind.

One thing I noticed about the pattern instructions, is how very brief they are.  A novice sewer, I think, would have a hard time knowing just what to do.  I am not sure if this is true of every pattern that's out there, but it sure is true about this one.

Stay tuned to see how this turns out!

It is in the high 60's today,finally, so I went out to do some gardening this morning.  I cut down the clematis vines on the side of the garage and cleaned up the debris that gets blown in that corner and did some weeding.  Wow, am I sore!  Winter was too long and I haven't been keeping in shape.  A little at a time is how my garden is going to get ready for the summer!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Can't Believe It's Been So Long...

Just checked my last post which was after winter break and here it is after Spring break and I am just posting again! Too long with too much to catch up on.
Spring is taking a long time to get here this year.  We finally had some sunny warm weather the last two days but the evenings were rainy with prolonged thunderstorms.  It's going to rain all day today and temperatures are going to drop again for a few days but there were some small signs of spring among the mess of last year's garden: crocuses and the first of the daffodils are trying to break through.  I was so happy to see them!

Also robins have been spotted both by eyes and by ears, I just love their happy songs this time of year and I hung the finch feeder on Sunday, they finally noticed it yesterday and I got to see the bright cheery yellow outside my kitchen window.

Spring break was less than stellar.  More cold miserable weather that kept us indoors.  Fortunately books were read and a puzzle was worked on.  I thought the Winter break puzzle was a challenge, well for Spring break I picked a black and white panorama of New York.

Needless to say we are still working on it

Hopefully it will be done this weekend as the kids are sleeping over.

I have been trying to  keep up with my reading goal of two books a week.  One audio and one either paper or ebook seems to work. Don't know how this will be during the summer as I have less time to myself, but I am going to make an effort to keep it up.  

I have been listening to two podcasts about books: Books on the Nightstand and Literary Disco.  Both are excellent and fun to listen to.  

I have been feverishly adding to my wish list on the library site and have read many of the Books On the Nightstand recommendations.  I have yet to hit a bad suggestion.  I am also following the short story arc.  Anne Kingman has challenged herself to read a short story a day for 2013 which she has designated Project Short Story  I am not quite that ambitious but I am reading some of the suggested short stories, especially the ones that are readily accessible on the internet or library or on podcasts, such as Selected Shorts and The New Yorker Fiction.  

I had some misgivings about tackling short stories.  They have never been on my radar so I have not been exposed to the genre since high school and college days.  But I read a few of the first suggestions and  have been pulled in.  It is truly a unique writing style and takes an amazing ability to give the reader a completely satisfying story in a few paragraphs.

A really wonderful experience was listening to Ray Bradbury's "The Veldt" read by Stephen Colbert while taking the kids to the Botanical Gardens.  It was a "driveway moment" to have them want to sit in the car when we got home and finish the story and then have them say "That was great!"

I have to try to remember the stories I've read so far this year and make a list.  It might be a goal to try and read one or two a week.