Thursday, August 30, 2018

SULTRY SUMMER DAYS

Hello blog friends

I've been away for a long time but always thinking I need to do a blog post before too much time passes by.

I had two trips since we last visited here on my blog.  One was our Days of Summer retreat in Sebring FL with our duClay EGA Chapter.  There we 23 attendees, some were mothers of members and a guest or two.  We had a super time.

My mom and I love to visit tea rooms and we have some favorite spots around the state.  Since we were planning to visit Winter Haven on the way to Sebring we stopped and had lunch at The Twisted Teapot.  It was a lovely home converted to a tea room. 
 We had a nice lunch there before moving on to the real destination 4 Purls Yarn Shop.  Yes I was here two years ago and MY MY MY  - I knew it was a must stop any time I am in that neck of the woods.  It is definitely in my top 5 shops I have ever visited anywhere in the country.  It's owned by a sweet family - father mother and 3 children.  Two of the daughters have their own dye company called Emma's Yarns and they just went national with their product.  They also have a cool yarn truck they take around the state of Florida so check their website and maybe they are coming to a town near you.  Even the truck is worth driving for.  Did I get yarn - Yes I got yarn but somehow don't have any photos of it.
 Inn on the Lakes in Sebring is a great location for a retreat or workshop.  I've said many times before I've been going here for years for rug hooking workshops.  Here is a shot from our balcony - lovely but SO HOT!

on the way home my mom and I visited another favorite tearoom , Erika's Tea Room and gifts located in the cute downtown of Clermont.  not far off US 27 and not even far from the south side of Disney.
Erika and her mom have a great place.  She has the most awesome collection of tea pots, tea accessories, tea sets of any shop I have ever been to.  Yes I did add to my collection.  I'll show you sometime when I actually unwrap the tea set from Ireland.  Someone said why are you never in any photos - well here I am !  I usually take the photos.
One of the few stitching things I have finished this summer.  This is Fragments #1 2018 series and was actually finished by Vonna - The Twisted Stitcher.  She has already closed her finishing for 2018 sorry folks but Vonna has some awesome tutorials to help you finish your own items.  If I can do it - you can do it!  pick something small and easy and give it a try!

 As my long term blog followers know - I knit every summer with a group of friends doing a virtual "camp" with The Loopy Ewe a great shop in Colorado.  This is my July finish which I actually took with me to Sebring to finish up.  The pattern is Therapy and don't we all need some THERAPY!!!  The yarns is Woolen Boon for the overdyed blue and the solid blue and orange is Spud and Chloe Fine.  NO this is not a Gator scarf !!!!!  I might lean towards being an AU scarf but I'm really not into football at all.
  I love knitting - my eyes are so tired from being on the PC all day that many (most) nights I dont' feel like working on linen.  Yes I have great lights - all kinds - yes I have prescription glasses to help me - Yes I have dropped back to only buying 32ct and lower linen.  I must admit - I am enjoying canvas work so much more than stitching on linen.  It's a sad fact but I just don't get done what I once was able to get done.
In August - we took our annual family vacation with my folks to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area of Tenn.  Yes we have another favorite tea room there called the Wild Plum - it was far too hot to enjoy anything but their special wild plum iced tea - I think DH drank about 4 glasses.  Wish I had one right now!

We were there for opening day of a smashing new restaurant in Sevierville called Five Oaks Farmhouse.  WOW - the wood was new and it smelled wonderful.  Look at that 40ft ceiling and those gigantic beams.  The food was quite good too.  We wished we could make it back there for breakfast but so much to do so little time.


The outside of the farm house with my folks and DH.
 On the way home - we pass Elberton Granite Museum every year.  For 30 years we have passed this little museum by.  Most of the time it's not open but this time it was and we decided to stop and take a look.  They have a huge amount of granite quarries in this area of north Ga.  This is also the area where the Georgia Guidestones are positioned.  We've been to this mysterious site purported to be America's Stonehenge.  I don't know about that but who commissioned them is a mystery and they do have an ominous warning for the world.  Ever in the area - I suggest checking both of them out.
 And the finale - Camp Loopy 3 - this year is in the bank so to speak.  Last year I didn't finish the 3rd challenge but the owner changed the rules this year making it a choice to pick the yardage you want to knit for each month of the challenge.  Traditionally August was always 800 yards minimum and that is just really tough for me.  I'm glad I could choose 600 yards and make it work.  Pattern is Amery on Ravelry for any knitters out there and the yarn is Malabrigo Rios. 

Last but certainly the most important thing in the post is my dear mom's birthday.  My DH looks like he is about to dump that plate of cupcakes into the floor but he didn't and we ate them up !  I posted this photo on FB and I got comments from so many of our great friends, my mom is not on FB so I showed her all the greetings .  Blog friends and FB friends are just as real to me as my local friends, all important to me.

I love reading your comments but we are all getting less and less on our blogs.  please do take a moment to leave a comment.  Until we meet again in sweet September!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

TIME GOES BY

Yes my friends - time goes by !  I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted on my blog.  There hasn't been much going on.  Needlework wise nothing was finished except my Camp Loopy for June project was finished on time - YAY!!!

My faithful blog followers will know that every summer I do a virtual camp with The Loopy Ewe
a great on line shop but they also do brick and mortar in Colorado.  Below is my June finish, for any knitters who may be interested I used the Hedgehog Fibres sock - wasn't that impressed with the yarn.  It seemed over processed to me and felt like I was knitting with cotton.  It behaved like cotton and wasn't springy like wool should be.  I do love the color and it blocked out nice so it's a nice finish and I might use it for a gift. The pattern is Spindrift by Helen Stewart.  I really like how she writes her patterns.
This is what I am working on for July.  It is a mix of Woolen Boon Space Cowboy in the middle and two skeins of Spud and Chloe Fine on either side.  I am doing Therapy by Laura Aylor.  So far I really like the yarn and the pattern.  Just have to keep hustling along, this one has more yardage than the June challenge. 



 
 

We spent a long weekend in St Augustine Beach in June.  It was a lovely but HOT weekend.  Here is our view from the balcony.  I never tire of that view and I don't know why we don't go to the beach more often for weekend getaways.  The condo is much roomier than a hotel - that is probably why we don't.



I always bring WAY too many projects to work on but this time I limited myself to finishing the shawl above, some time enjoying my watermelon class piece and a Plum Street SAL with our EGA guild.  OH and I did sneak in a new start on the WTNT Basketful of Summertime.

 
I'd love to hear what you have been up to this summer.  So many of my favorite blogs are never updated any more and I feel like I've lost a good friend.  Many of those "friends" post on FB but it's not the same as a good old newsy blog post.  So if you used to write on a blog - why don't you take a minute to update it and let your blog friends know what you're up to.  Until we meet again - have a wonderful summer!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

IN THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY

May has been a wonderfully busy month for me.  April was a good month too - my birth month!

The first weekend in May was a wonderful retreat weekend with the Sun Region EGA group.  We had about 68 attend the retreat held in Safety Harbor FL.  I was Facilities chair so I was busy all thru the weekend and exhausted when we left to come home but it was a really great retreat. My mom went with me again, she attended her first Sun Region retreat last April in Mt Dora and we had a great time so we thought it would be fun to do it again.  This was the wonderful view from our 2nd story balcony where we spent a few moments in the late afternoons relaxing.  In the distance is the west side of Tampa Bay.  Espiritu Springs is on the grounds of this resort - purported to be the "fountain of youth" by Spanish explorers. 
We also celebrated Mothers Day with my dear mom.  She and my DH at Blue
 Bamboo - one of our favorite restaurants in town did a lovely MD brunch.

These photos got a little out of order but this is our most recent trip to Hiawassee Ga.  We always try to catch lunch at the Coleman House - this beautiful Queen Anne style Victorian home is in Swainsboro Ga. and they do a wonderful lunch buffet.  I don't know if they still do B&B here but it's a great lunch stop 5 or 6 days a week, closed on Saturdays.  Just one shot of their beautiful gardens.  I had more photos of this stop but it was getting photo heavy.  We were on our way to Hiawassee so I could attend a rug hooking workshop at the Hookery with Linda Bell.  Her studio has been featured before in my blog.  It is just stunning, such a relaxing camp.  This year she had teacher Laura Pierce from California.  Check out her Flying Dog website .  She specializes in faces and she was amazing.  I learned so much from her in this 3 day workshop.  I'll show you my project.
 

me
 If you've been reading my blog for a while you know what time it is ???  It's Camp Loopy time.  Every summer I spend June, July and Aug knitting with a group of friends and attending a "virtual" camp put on by the Loopy Ewe.  Sheri does a great job with this virtual camp and has worldwide attendance.  Check out her website/blog for details - it's not too late to join the fun.  This years theme is "cowboys or western theme"  This is my June yarn and it's one I've never tried Hedgehog Fibres from England.  Color called Cereal for some odd reason.  Not a great photo but you'll be seeing the project I picked out in June.  Not sure but I have several shawl patterns I'm pondering.  This is my 7th year participating in camp.
 While in Safety Harbor a few weeks ago - we visited Roxy's Yarns - a great little shop across the bay in Tampa.  My mom fell in love with this crocheted Noro jacket which they had on display made out of this exact colorway of Malabrigo Rios - a worsted weight yarn.  I'm rusty on crochet but I ordered a new Furls hook (have you seen them???)  and I'm off on the jacket !  it's been fun.  So far so good
Next knitting project getting attention is Neridah by an Australian designer Ambah.  It's in 3 colors but the 3rd color hasn't made an appearance yet.  I found the perfect shade of dusty aqua to coordinate with these greens.  the solid bright green is Shibui Staccato and the overdyed is Blue Moon Socks that Rock in the Bubble Guppie colorway.  It's been so great for spring knitting.

 I needed an easy project for the trip so I started Alchemy by one of my favorite designers Woolenberry.  Janina the designer lives in Finland.  Her designs are usually light and airy and perfect for Florida climate.  This one is two colors but you only see the Shalimar Enzo Sport weight so far in a pretty shade of bluish gray.  Seed stitch is a nice diversion from garter for me so this is easy to pick up and put down and perfect for travel or knit night with the girls.
A bit out of order but here is my St Nicholas project that I did in my Hiawassee rug workshop.  Here is the progression of work I did in 3 days of class.  Bear in mind that this was only class time - no hooking at night on this trip.

 This is probably the end of day 2 of hooking - ONLY on the face - I just had to get the face in.  Laura had great advice and really got me out of my box.  I had never done a human face before.
 Day 3 of class - I worked only on the cardinal and pulled wool from Linda Bell's beautiful selection of hand dyed wools for the staff and background.  This rug is designed by Tish Murphy - sorry I didn't give her credit for the design.  It's not a big rug only 18" x 18".  but in a 3 cut - it moves very
 

 

S L O W - but worth it for the effect.  I am doing the same sort of color plan but with different wools of course - I didn't buy the kit from Tish. 

A close up of the cardinal - I am very pleased with how the rug is coming out.  I hope to continue hooking on him but I have OH SO many rug WIP's and I just don't hook much in the summer months but this is a nice small rug unlike my other rugs which are larger and heavy and hot to work on in the humid summers way down south.
 
Well my blog friends - hope you have also had a merry May and things are going your way.  I always appreciate your comments - love hearing from you and what you've been up to.  See  you in June!

Friday, March 30, 2018

EASTER GREETINGS !

I just couldn't let another month go by without making a blog post.  I really have no photos to show of what I've been accomplishing because it isn't much of anything needlework wise.

Work has been very demanding this year with many tough projects on my plate all due in March and April.  I'm not out of the woods yet but several have had successful launches. 

With all my energy and attention on work - I have had little time or energy for needlework.  I have done some mindless knitting and am making  progress on my Rodeo Drive poncho (but no new photo) and my Jujuy shawl (again no updated photo)

I did have this darling needlepoint bunny canvas by Liz that has gotten some love this past week.  I had put in part of the bunny a few years ago when I first bought the canvas . I had put in the lacy top borders also.  I spent the day with DF Linda K last Saturday and she is a great friend to brainstorm and collaborate with on threads and stitches.  She provided great suggestions for the tulips and all the ones in this photo have gone bye-bye and I'll put them in as she recommended over the weekend.  It came out really cute - now to decide whether I will tackle the finishing or I'll  send it to a finisher.

What do you think of the easter eggy colored chevron fabric?   I think it would be great for backing fabric.

 Sure would hate to ruin it but I haven't ruined anything yet.  May not be as slick as a pro but my finishing is improving and I would like to keep challenging myself.

I hope if any of my blogs friends are still out there reading my neglected blog - that you all have a blessed Easter, don't eat too many chocolate bunnies and better yet - spend some time with a needle "stitching" on your bunnies and chicks !!!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

JANUARY - SEASON OF WOOL

Every January for 19 years now (yes hard to believe) I have been attending first On the Ocean and then Off the Ocean (same camp- different locations)  This camp was started by mother daughter team Judy Colley and Katie Puckett.  When I attended the first camp 19 years ago - I was a greenpea - A rank novice - I knew nothing about rug hooking except I had seen it in a North Ga. mountain artisan co-op and was enchanted.  I set out on my journey to learn more about this wonderful fiber art form.

My search after many phone calls (yes no email back in those days) led me to order a copy of Rug Hooking Magazine.  In perusing the mag - I found a tiny block ad in the back advertising Off the Ocean rug camp in Atlantic Beach Fl in January - it was already November and OMG- could this be true.  I called this woman Judy and while she did have some difficulty understanding my southern accent - it was determined that YES she did have room in a class for me and YES - that teacher could teach a beginner to hook and would bring everything I needed.  OK - I won't bore you with all the details but let's just say my first experience was not a great one.  The teacher I had I don't believe wanted to teach a beginner or either she had more people in her class than she could handle - I left after day 2 of a 5 day camp and never returned.  If not for my friend Katie calling me about 6 months later to see how I was doing and ask if I wanted to get together with a small group and hook - I would probably not be here today 19 years later - still rug hooking and still loving this awesome fiber art.

Sadly - Judy has had ill health and Katie had to take on someone else to help her with the camp but the camp is still going and next year will be a grand 20th anniversary celebration.  Of course I am going - god willing and the creek don't rise no more than it has this past year with trees falling on our house and sustaining flooding in the historic home where I work, hurricanes and all the other trials and tribulations life throws at us.

I have some great photos to show you from the Off the Ocean rug camp but first a photo of my knitting project getting the most attention lately.  A beautiful poncho called Rodeo Dr Poncho in lovely new to me Malabrigo Dos Tierras yarn.  I have a lot more done on this poncho now - there is a cable down the center.  It is a pretty bluish gray called Polar Morn - how appropriate since it's even been quite cold in the deep south the past few weeks.  I LOVE IT !!!!  gives me a chance to wear hand knits every single day. 

This Santa needlepoint ornament got about a week of attention before the mood passed and now it's put away probably till next fall.  I did get the reindeer done and Santa's beard and I have ordered the silk for Santa's suit as I needed another color for contrast.  It's a fun design by Mile High Princess.  Stitch guide came with it.  Some suggestions I am using and some not.

On to the rugs - YES - of course I started a new rug this year.  My teacher Diane Stoffel did a fantastic color plan on the William Morris Strawberry Thief.  Here is 1/2 of the mirror image - the rug is 30 x 50 approx.  Yes it was bigger than it sounded on the website LOL - I am hooking this weekend so I hope to finish the bird soon.  The birds are English Thrushes so said by William Morris who used them as inspiration in his art work so many centuries ago. 
 The color is pretty accurate but the shadows do disrupt things.  I only put in one strawberry but they will all be the same rich muted red color.  This rug has tons of green and blue/green and the background is a typical Wm Morris type color - a dark teal blue with lots of black.  The very edge of the rug will be black.  I couldn't be happier or more excited with what Diane planned for the rug and I made very little changes in what she dyed for me.
 There is only 1 other woman who has attended all 19 OTO rug camps - my friend Annie T - she has been in my class a lot over the years.  Here is her WIP from this year.  A barn scene.

DF Donna P was my table mate again this year.  She was doing a quite large sailing ship rug by Pine Island Primitives.  She made great progress.  Donna has attended a good many OTO rug camps and I first met her when she was living in Miami and was in my 2nd OTO class when they were held in Atlantic Beach.  Donna has since moved up to our area and I see her almost every month at EGA meeting. 
 Sisters Nancy S and Sara Beth B also have attended many OTO camps and have an interesting connection to us.  Their mom was in the first inception of the rug guild we formed in Jacksonville back in the late 90's.  They both live in NC I believe but we always have a chat about their mom and things back in those days.  This is Nancy's awesome rug - mostly hooked in a 3 cut.  Diane did the color plan.  and NO - she didn't get all that done at this camp - she started it in the summer I believe.
 Dawn was in my class again this year - this is her celtic bird - she made great progress.  Dawn is another local gal who was a charter member of the rug guild.
 Two ladies in my class were both hooking the same blueberry pattern - the artwork by Mary Fibbich who was also at one time a member of our local rug guild before moving to Maine
 This is friend and fellow blogger Lauren (Rugs and Pugs blog fame) rug.  She was in Kris Miller's class of Spruce Ridge Rug Studio.  It was so great meeting Lauren in person - she and I have similar interests in samplers, antiques and rug hooking.  She also loves dogs particularly pugs and does great work fostering and finding homes for these little sweeties.  Amazing what Lauren got done but then she hooks with an 8 or higher cut. 
 
I have run out of time to show the winners at the rug exhibit and some other WIP rugs.  I will come back again soon (hopefully) and show you more photos.  In the meantime - I hope you are all starting off your new year right with wool and linen in yours hands! 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

CLOSING IN ON CHRISTMAS

I LOVE looking at all the pretty snow photos on Facebook and blogs, watching Hallmark movies and dreaming of spending Christmas in the snow, riding in a horse drawn sleigh.  Oh my - sitting by a fire and having a hot beverage - all stuff of dreams. Considering it's 80+ degrees here in the deep south  - that is simply all it is "a dream" !  I don't want to sound bitter but I really do wish it was at least cold or cool enough to wear one of my hand knit shawls.  Oh well - one thing is for sure - I can't change the weather so on to a few finishes of late.

This is part of a club series with The Needlepointer in Wa. - it is Hats , Bats and Boots by Pippin Studios.  They are quick and fun to stitch but the finishing OIY!!!!!!  It took me about 8 hrs to finish up this little beast.  It is nothing fancy for sure but I am proud of the way it came out.  It has a pre-made silver beaded border that was ticky to apply.  anyway -it's a FFO !

Here is the back !

 Next is another Pippin club piece with The Needlepointer.  Fanciful Forest was from a couple of years ago - at this rate one tree a year I'll be done in 2025 LOL !  I have really enjoyed all the clubs I have done with the Needlepointer.  They have used some new to me threads and the stitch guides are simple but interesting enough.  I've already started another one - much taller than this one!
 This is DF Ruth C who picked my exchange gift in our duClay EGA Chapter exchange.  I'm pretty proud of the BBD Sewing Bird.  It was expertly finished by The Twisted Stitcher Finishing Service.
Vonna did an excellent job finishing this exactly like I wanted it done.  I hope Ruth will enjoy it for many years to come.
 This is my mom's exchange gift to Carol P.  It is a With Thy Needle piece called Tulip Fantasy.  Again another fine finish by Vonna.  She did a flat fold stand up on this one - just perfect and I know Carol will enjoy using it - she does gorgeous work and truly has a "stitchers home".  Funny thing - I drew Carol's piece for my exchange - shoot !  I should have taken a photo of it.  If you are on Facebook - you can search for the duClay FB page and look up all our beautiful work that was displayed at our Christmas luncheon.
.Just so my hooking friends don't think I have given it up or forgotten how to hook - here is a WIP shot of a dear UFO I have neglected to finish year after year.  I really love working on seasonal projects in the season.  Once Christmas is over - well ............  this rug gets rolled up and put in the old red cupboard.  It is an adaptation of two WithThyNeedle charts in case you want to know. The color plan was done by my DF Dianne Kelly of the Woolen Cottage in Ohio.  It is mostly in a 6 cut.
Maybe next Christmas I can show  you a finish !
I always get excited about hooking this time of the year.  One reason is our local rug hooking camp opportunity is in early January.  Of course I'm going !  It will be my 19th consecutive year of attending this camp.  Of course I am starting a new rug - you'll just have to wait and see next month what I've chosen.
 My last finishes of the year are two shawls - the limited edition Christmas colorway was started two years ago on a trip to Gatlinburg.  After the holiday season was over - I put the project away.  I enjoy working on seasonal things - in the season.  I found it when I was plundering for something else and thought - WOW - this thing could be finished and worn this year if I put those turbo needles to work.  Which I did !  We had one stinkin day last week that I was attending a work Christmas function and it was cool enough to wear it.  ONE DAY !  it's really pretty - for the interested knitters - it's Blue Moon - a special colorway called Peppermint Stick Forest.  The pattern is Fractal Danger by Martina Behm a German designer.
 This lovely shawl belongs to my mom.  She saw it in a shop a couple of years ago and asked me if I could make it for her.  I said of course I can.  She picked out her own yarn with a little guidance from me.  Baah La Jolla is the brand and type.  Pattern Valley Breeze.  I hope it gets cool enough this year to wear it - it's quite large but I think turned out really well.
Well my friends - I hope each and every one of you has the brightest of holiday seasons and no matter what holidays you celebrate - I hope they are the loveliest ever.  I will wish you all a Merry Christmas because that's what we celebrate, the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior.  I enjoy hearing your comments - If I don't get to come back before New Years - hope you have a happy one.  Are you starting a new project on NYE?  that's a tradition with many stitchers.  Of course I am - I'd love to hear what you are doing.  Cheers Mel

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

TURKEY TIME !!!!

Thanksgiving seems early this year.  I don't know if that is really the case but this whole year is just slipping away at the speed of light.  One month it will be Christmas - WOW !

Speaking of - I showed this ornament in my last blog post but I finally got around to putting on the hanger.

 It was very plain on the back I thought so I figured out how to make ribbon rosettes from Wiki How on the internet.  It would have been easier I think if the ribbon wasn't so wide and stiff but I am very pleased with my first attempt and it does perk up the back of the ornament.  As I said before it is a LHN Sampler Tree series and we learned to do the beaded edge from our duClay EGA chapter "taste of " program.  I know it's a finish I will use again!
 my dear mom participated in the same "taste of" - she pooped out after doing the one side of beading in class and conned my dear dad into doing two sides and he ran out of beads so it came bouncing back to me to finish LOL !  It is also LHN Sampler Tree series - Deer Inn
 I found a cute little gingerbread man to cover up my messy tacking of the ribbon. 
Next is a gorgeous pillow that DF and finisher extraordinaire Faye - the Carolina Stitcher finished for me.  This is Mirabilia Mermaid initials spelling out M E L.  My dear dad stitched these for me, didn't he do a super job.  The trick was getting them to play nicely together as the colors are different from each other and the L is a larger size (sigh) Faye really handled those issues well and I picked out some pretty batik that pulled the colors all together I feel.  In my delusional wooley thoughts  -  I was going to do all of them and put in a wall hanging- NOT !  these things are as much work or more than the Prairie Schooler alphabet of which I have the A stitched, framed and hanging on my wall.  They are indeed beautiful and I would not deter anyone from stitching them or at least one!


Next up is another challenge piece for our EGA chapter I finished this past weekend.  Shepherds Bush Moonlight Garden.  It is mounted in a cute tray with ravens carved into the ends.  It was only a couple of weeks of missing Halloween but I have it out on a  table thru the weekend.  It will go into hibernation when I bring out the Christmas stuff hopefully this weekend.

Here is the raven carving.  Really cute little tray by Retromantics I think is the company SB uses.
Well my friends - I wanted to pop out and wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you all have family and friends to celebrate with and much to be thankful for this year.  I am thankful for many things, my blessings which are many, my dear family, many friends, a great job, health and happiness and many other things too numerous to list.  Best wishes to you all - please comment - I love hearing from you what you are most thankful for this year.