Friday, January 31, 2020

FAREWELL JANUARY

The first month of the new decade has flown by in a whirl of activities.

Most exciting thing I do every Janaury is Off the Ocean rug camp which is held in Orange Park where I live.  It's nice to be a commuter and sleep in my own bed every night.

I had one of my favorite teachers again this year - Diane Stoffel.  I revisited a rug I started in 2018 and never worked on since.  It is the Strawberry Thief, a William Morris pattern and the rug was from Encompassing Designs in Canada.

This photo is were I left off 2 years ago but I believe I did get the right thrush finished before I put it away.
 This photo is where I ended up after camp this year.  I feel I made great progress on it in 4 days.  I am loving the color plan but then that is why I keep coming back to Diane year after year.  Her wool is just stunning and she has the most outstanding eye for where to place the colors.  This rug is done almost entirely in a 4 cut - maybe a few details in a 3.  The colors you see are about all the colors in the rug.  Everything else is many shades of green for the foliage the thrushes are rummaging thru looking for strawberries.  It's a lovely rug and I am so pleased.
 Halleluiah - my Adam and Eve cube stool was beautifully finished by my DF Katie Puckett.  I had done 3 of the seams and then got scared about fitting it over the wooden base and padding the base and all the details of making it work.  Here is the Adam panel in the rug exhibit at Off the Ocean

the Eve panel is probably my favorite - you can see her reaching for the apple in the serpents mouth.   Lots of glare from the strong sunlight in the gallery where the rug show is held.  You can see the tail of the snake on the Adam photo above really well.  This stool pattern was purchase a long time ago when Kim Nixon was still alive.  We had her leave 2 sides of the stool blank and Katie adapted motifs from the A&E antique sampler Jane Atkinson throughout the 4 sides for me.  Even has the burning bush on her side of the stool.
 The little deer and oversized flower , more motifs from Jane Atkinson.. Oh and I won 2nd place in a lovely exhibit for the fine cut division.  My friend Katie presented the prize.
 The lovely shell rug was the first place winner in fine cut, hooked by my dear old friend Sara Beth Black who is a native of Jacksonville.  She has won many time before with her lovely work.
Not sure whose rug that is below hers on the floor.
 This is the 3rd place winner in fine cut - a Carla Gerard rug co-hooked by friends Nan and Joanne.  it is so colorful.  Joanne is known for her love of bright colors.  I am really proud that 3 of us "locals" so to speak cleaned up in the fine cut division.
 
I wanted to get this post done before January hit the history books.  I've been knitting a lot and hopefully next post will have some progress photos of shawls I have been working on plus my fair isle cowl.  I enjoy reading all  your comments - please do pop in and tell me how January has been for you.  See you in February !

Monday, December 30, 2019

DECEMBER 2019

The end of December already.  How can Christmas be over ????  I am always so sad to see it end.  It never seems to be long enough.  I think many people have those sentiments but some are probably glad to see life return to normal.  I just love the lights, music and guilt free sweets.  I'll pay for that I'm sure. 

In addition to the year being almost over - the DECADE is almost over WOW - now that is a scary thought for sure. Do you make extra important resolutions for the new decade?  not me - I don't do resolutions any more - I never kept them and it made me upset to be failing at yet another endeavor. I've been the same weight for 10 or 15 years so that isn't changing, I love my job and hope to retire here one day so that isn't changing I hope, I am happy with my husband and that isn't changing.  I love all my needlework and knitting and only regret that I don't have more time or spend more time rug hooking.  I adore rug hooking but I just seem to do less and less each year.  Off the Ocean rug camp is coming up next month and I have one completed item being finished - hope it's done in time to display at the exhibit.  It's been a dry spell - about 3 years since I had a finish to display.

As we do every year - we spent Christmas at my parents lake house.  My mom redid her mantle this year and it was so pretty with the 4 Shepherds Bush stockings my dad stitched for us.  Faye Riggsbee, Carolina Stitcher did the finishing.  If you need a wonderful finisher , Faye is your girl.  She has done so many lovely things for us over the years or I should say she has taken our ordinary finishes and made something lovely out of them.
 This was my mom's Christmas exchange gift for our duClay Chapter EGA this year.  Again "Faye" finishes.  These hearts were in a Blackbird Design book, maybe had Friends in the title - I don't remember.  We found the handwoven basket on one of our antiquing excursions in the NC mountains earlier this summer.  We have so much fun making our gifts special for our friends in EGA.
 This was my EGA exchange  - it was from the BBD book Ooh La La that just came out this years market.  I used the called for linen and it is lined with lovely French General fabric.  I used Gloriana silk to stitch with and Gloriana ribbons too.  It was beautifully finished by DF Devon who has both a floss tube now and a blog.  Cottage on Cherry Creek.  I set up a link to her first floss tube if you want to check her out.  She also has a great Etsy shop Strawberrylane with handmade bags, needleminders, floss tags and so forth.  I keep nagging her to post her Deliciously Dyed by Devon linen on her shop but I'm sure her time is too limited.  Anyway - I'm thrilled with the finish and a DF got my bag in the exchange so all is right with the world.
 had an exciting needlepoint finish at the end of the season.  This is Onward Ho by Mile High Princess.  A stitch guide came with the canvas but I made lots of changes, mainly in his suit, antlers, background. Even had to buy one of those fancy hot fix gun thingy's so I could affix Rudolphs crystal nose.   DF Linda K finished for me into a flat fold stand up for me.  She is getting to be quite the finisher.
 Here's the back - I think the fabric was just perfect.  I know I will treasure him for many seasons to come.
 Merry Christmas to me !  This was a kit I ordered on Christmas Eve from 4 Purls yarn shop in Winter Haven Fl.  I order a lot from this shop but its not close to me.  I have visited the shop twice and I'm thankful it's too far because I would be in big trouble.  It's a family owned business - the parents and their 2 girls work in the shop.  the girls dye a line of yarn called Emma's - they are big time now with shops all over the country clambering to be able to stock their yarn.  This is a special Mystery Knit A Long by Nomadic Knits called 12 days of Knitmas.  Fun fun !  I chose a Christmas type colorway and know if I stick with it - I'll be able to wear it this winter or next for sure.
 Other fun project on the needles is the Genner cowl by Arne and Carlos, A Norwegian design team with a successful you tube channel. It's  a Rowan design using Rowan Cotton Cashmere.  I haven't touched fair isle knitting in probably 20 or more years but I am really enjoying it and I guess maybe I will have to dust off that Alice Starmore vest kit and get it going while I'm all brushed up on fair isle.
 Lastly for this picture parade is Suburban by Joji.  This was a model in our LYS The Craft House which is in northern St Johns County.  This yarn is Leading Men which I was not familiar with.  It doesn't look like much in this photo.  It's a very long fairly narrow wrap style shawl.  I am finally out of this lace section - I almost gave it up more than once.  I am a very lazy knitter and having to tink back too many times is not in my wheelhouse.  I'm now in a very relaxed striping section so onward I go.  Next post I'll have an updated photo to show.  I'm using a Leading Men gradient and also an Emma's neutral because I thought I needed one and there is also a very busy overdyed skein I plan to use.  The original pattern only had 3 colors and I should have stuck to that but alas more is better right!  Not in all cases and I think I'll save the gradient for the striped sections and try and use the 3 main colors for the rest.  AHHHH adventures in knitting - I guess that is what I am most happy doing.
Seems like blog readership or maybe just commenting is down.  I hate to give up my blogging.  I just don't get the same feeling from the million Facebook posts I waste a lot of time reading and looking thru.  Thankfully most of them are for needlework and not for knitting.  I need to really limit my time on FB or it sucks up my whole evening when I could be stitching or knitting.  I have some lofty goals for my EGA chapter challenge this year.  I was so happy to finish 7 out of my 8 pledges for finishes in 2019.  The Onward Ho and the French sampler bag were the last 2.

I feel like I have formed long enduring friendships thru my blog and thru others blogs.  If you read my blog please take a minute to comment - I really do read them and love hearing from you.  If you have a blog too - I hope I am remembering to visit you and comment too.  Well friends - I'll get back to my Christmas music on Pandora, have a toast for the new year be it eggnog, wine, champagne or your favorite tea or latte.  Just take a moment to pause and be thankful for all you have in your life. 
Many happy stitches to you all - let's make the next decade GREAT !

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

NOTABLE IN NOVEMBER

What's notable about November - well I have a few finishes to show - STITCHED finishes no doubt! 
No knitting finishes but getting close on Odyssey.  This is another Joji design.  It uses Emma's DK yarn which is dyed here in Florida.  Four Purls is a wonderful family affair with husband JD and wife Laura who are very active in the business.  Two daughters Emma and Aspen doing the dyeing.  They have about 4 or 5 yarn bases now and scrumptious colors.  You can just see the Kale green 3rd color peaking thru the edge.  This is not as mindless as it looks.  There are big "eyelets" which are not easily seen in this photo that have presented some counting problems.  It's getting really heavy now and I'm wanting to use it during our very short "shawl" season.  Although DH is eyeballing this one, he keeps commenting how "manly" the color combination looks.  Rich autumnal colors but yes may be construed as "manly".  We may have to have joint custody of this one!
 Every fall I seem to get in high gear with finishing things I have been plodding on all year or maybe pulled out from the archives and decide to finish.  One reason of motivation is that our duClay EGA chapter has a challenge every year.  It's a fundraiser for the chapter so you "bid" against yourself that you will finish this item or that item and maybe it's new and hasn't been started yet or it's a UFO you want to finish.  Sammy is part of the Sourpuss pumpkin series of 6 from Melissa Shirley Designs and a stitch guide was provided with the canvas.  I pretty much used the stitch guide.  You can't really see it too well but there are some "wooley" details which I loved adding to a needlepoint canvas.  All my long term blog friends know I am a rug hooker and I have wool coming out my ears.  It was fun rummaging thru my stash looking for the perfect nose color and the cheeks are quilled wool.  The eyes have cogs for the pupils and the nose has little beads.  FUN FUN!!!!!!  I don't know if I will attempt to finish him myself or if I will send to a finisher.
 Another very small finish.  This is from The Needlepointer in Washington.  It is a Pippin Design and was a 3 part Heart club series.  Stitch guides and threads were included.  I have one more to do.  I did do the finishing myself on this one.  Too bad my "messy ruched" edge doesn't really show up in the photo.  I just enrolled in a new 3 part spider series so next year we'll have some of those to show next fall.
 I've seen lots of Country Cottage Glitter House series being stitched and shown on blogs and FB.  This is my first one finished and I hope to start another one soon.  I was attracted to them from the first glance - I like the pale demure colors for Christmas.  I sent this to a new finisher - Starry Night Studio - I am very pleased with the finishing.  I sent my own fabric and we chose the ribbon and cording colors together.  I will definitely be using Alissa again.
 Another Country Cottage Needlework design called Time for Tea - Beautifully finished by my DF Devon.  Devon is very talented and creative with finishing, great knitter and rabid stitcher.  She has a new floss tube Cottage on Cherry Creek Way . Devon also does lovely bags and charms etc and sells on Etsy under the Strawberry Lane shop.  I have very little time for floss tube watching but I do try to pop in on Devon's a few others.  I work full time and I try hard to stay off the Ipad when I get home so I can actually pick up a needle or two before my eyes give out.

I picked out this lovely batik fabric and it matched perfectly.  This was a birthday gift for DF Carol R.  She and I both share a love of stitching and tea and I knew she would love this design.
Well friends - I'm sorry I completely missed posting in October.  That is one of my favorite months of the year.  We haven't had much fall but November has been a little more seasonal  and I am loving the cooler weather.  Hopefully I'll be back soon with another post before Christmas.  Until then - I hope your are all having a lovely fall with many happy stitches.

Monday, September 30, 2019

SAD TO SEE SEPTEMBER GO

September was a pretty good month.  We dodged a big bullet in NE FL with a near miss from Dorian - the hurricane that decimated part of the Bahamas - it was so close - so scary!  We are not out of the woods yet with hurricanes so we'll keep praying that 2019 is a clear year for our area and keep praying for those in Panama City FL and Mexico Beach and surrounding areas who never got ANY help from our government thru FEMA.  I don't understand why they are the forgotten, it's so sad.

I can't believe it's been over a month since vacation.  Yes we were back in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area of Tenn with my folks.  We love going up there and visiting familiar places, shopping, relaxing etc.
 Here is a photo of us on my mom's birthday.  This restaurant is way up high in Gatlinburg - well high for us flatlanders .  my husband looks like a giant next to my folks - he used to say he was living in the hobbit house when we lived in my grandmothers little 900 sq ft cottage.  Now we have high ceilings in our craftsman home so he doesn't feel so inhibited and claustrophobic.



Last night in the condo - above Pigeon Forge with a nice view of the Smokey Mountain range.
 Those who follow my blog know I spend all summer knitting on Camp Loopy projects.  Yehaw I did finish this beauty with 1 hour to spare and posted my photo at 11pm on 8/31/19 - This is Jodi by Joji.
The yarn is new to me Knerd String Sport - it was lovely to knit with - 3 colors - come on fall - I can't wait to wear this one.
As all the stitchers following here know - Faye Riggsbee Carolina Stitcher had a terrible fall in June and shattered her elbow and had a long hot summer on the road to recovery.  She has made a miraculous return to stitching and her finishing business.  She sent back this darling to me last week - this is a Heart in Hand design.  I can't remember the exact name of the chart.  I just love the creative touches Faye uses in all her finishing.


I had to delete 2 photos that were upside down - I was sure I corrected that .  Oh well - more for next time.  I'm back to stitching more in hopes of finishing a few more of our EGA chapters challenges before the end of the year. 
 
Of course there is always knitting !  I'm back on another Joji design I started this winter called Odyssey - I'll show a photo next time.
 
I hope fall is coming to some of my blog friends.  No chance of that here - it was 90 again today (sigh)  One of these days when we least expect it - I guess it will be fall in the deep south.  Until we meet again - I hope you enjoy all the things you love most about fall.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

AUUUUGGGGGGUSSTTT

August is a great month in many parts of the country.  A friend from Wisconsin said it was finally beautiful there.  I don't think I would ever term August in the deep south as "beautiful"  It's rainy, sweltering or there are threats of hurricanes brewing all around  us.  Hate to start a blog post with pessimism so there you know what August is like for me - let's move on !

I have a very few things to show.  As all my long term blog followers know - I do a virtual knitting camp every summer with a shop in Colorado called The Loopy Ewe.  It's my 8th or 9th year - so while I am tied up all summer knitting - I am also producing some great items for myself or for gifts, so that is a YAY!  I also try and make it a rule if it fits with the shop requirements that I use new to me yarns.  I have found some favorites by doing this and I have also found some I would not purchase again.

This month - I used a new to me yarn weight - the dyer Blue Moon is one I've used before in their 2 lighter weight yarns but I used their worsted weight for this baby afghan for a DF's first grand child.
the color is Coral Sky and it shows more vivid than it really is.  It is a Tin Can Knits pattern called Waffles.  Easy 4 row repeat and the size is easily adjustable.  I have gifted it already and the grandmother was thrilled. 

In late July we had Jennifer Riefenberg a national needlepoint teacher come and do a class for duClay Chapter our local EGA guild.  The project was a counted canvas piece called Bloom.  WHAT FUN!
The photo on the left is her chart cover.  The one on the right is my progress by the end of the 2nd day. 

 Here's a bigger photo - WOW - it was a super fun project and I learned so much from Jennifer.  If you ever get to take a class from her - you should !  She had a easy way about her, the class had challenges but she made it easy to maneuver thru even the complex layered stitches.  A plethora of colors and threads were used.  FUN FUN!!!!!
 Next is 6 Fat Men - a Lizzie Kate design of 6 snowmen patterns on one piece of linen.  Interesting to note that this piece of 28ct Antique Cotton by R&R was the very first piece of hand dyed linen I ever purchased.  It sat in stash for years and years.  I remember my friend the shop owner saying - WELL - I will order this for you but you have to take the whole 1/2 yard piece and it is EXPENSIVE!!!  That is so funny - I think it was about $35 for that 1/2 yard of linen - imagine that!  linen truly is an investment - if you store it properly - it will be around forever for your future pleasure.  I've now finished 1/2 of the designs and a couple of friends in my EGA chapter are just starting this as a SAL among friends.  I love the bright colors.  I leave this bag at work and when I am stuck doing long boring system work - I sometimes pop in a few stitches here and there and I don't even need my special stitching glasses.
 


Everyone says how hard to believe how fast time is going by.  we'll wake up one day and it will be full on fall !  I have to say I'm always ready for fall.  We have at least another couple of months of pool season depending on how much rainy windy weather we get in September.  I know parents and grandparents are usually glad to see this time of the year coming to get the kiddos back in a routine of school.

thanks for coming by my blog and I appreciate your comments.  Hope all your stitches are happy ones!

Friday, July 05, 2019

JUNE BUT ALAS IT'S JULY !

Hi Friends

What little I have to show is from June.

As my long time followers know - every summer I do Camp Loopy - A virtual knitting camp with a small group of friends.  This is with The Loopy Ewe a great online and brick and mortar shop in Colorado.  This is my 9th year of participating WOW !  can it be true.  This year is Space Camp and it's been fun to chatter with my fellow space camp friends making up corny terminology taken from Star Trek episodes and so forth.

Last month I showed you my beautiful yarn choice.  Shell Beach was the colorway by Qing Fibres dyed in England.  Here is the finished shawl - Drops of Joy by Woolenberry.  The odd thing is that I was unable to finish the whole bottom border of the shawl - a pretty fishnet feature.  I wrote the designer mentioning that maybe she needed to change her yardage requirements.  I even dropped a  needle size but still had to bind off because I was out of yarn. 

 A closer version so you can see the two rows of fishnet lace and more about the color of the yarn.  It does look like beautiful shells.  it's still a very usable size but it was just a puzzle as to why I ran so short on yarn.
 The other shawl in progress I dont' think I've ever shown in a monthly club from Jimmy Beans Wool. this is a Sunshower a design  by Ambah in Australia.  You get one color a month and you had two color scheme choices in the beginning.  I've never done a monthly like this before and so far it's been manageable to keep up with every month.  I just added the Harvest gold colorway but my Camp Loopy knitting really takes precedence over everything else. 

It's a really easy relaxing pattern but it's getting big quick.  The yarn is a favorite - Madelinetosh Merino Light - so far I have 6 colors there so I guess I am halfway thru.  There are little eyelets sprinkled around - the rest is mindless garter knitting.

I started feeling bad about how much rug hooking I have piled around and I wanted to work on something easy like filling background.  I have this wonderful Uncle Sam hat -  a Polly Minick pattern.  I did this in a class with Polly some years ago.  I didn't realize I had so much background left to do.  The background is Polly's signature 4 different navy type colors, one hand dyed by Jeanne Benjamin and the other three are overdyes of textures.  Hooked in a 6 cut for any rug hooking fans out there and YES Lauren - I know - If I was hooking is in ginormous 10 cut or whatever - I would be finished by now LOL ! 

 This is a closer shot of the rug.  I did get some background filled in the few hours I was in the mood to sit under wool in sweltering down south humidity.  It's a fair sized runner but will be fun when done.  A few of the colors are from my stash or actually most are I think.  I have several more Polly canvases I would love to get to in my lifetime.
well friends - where does the time go - June is gone with the wind and July is upon us already.  I hope summer brings all the things you love and love doing.  Thanks for commenting and reading my blog.  I am seeing a few people come back to blogging and it's great to see. 

Friday, May 31, 2019

MUSINGS IN MAY

May has come and gone - well it's gone at midnight tonight and my long time blog followers know what that means - CAMP LOOPY starts June 1st - This will be the 8th or 9th consecutive year I've participated in Camp Loopy with The Loopy Ewe which started out some years ago as an online shop.  They have grown, moved to Colorado and now have a brick and mortar as well and added quilting fabric.  They run this virtual camp every summer and it's a great way to get 3 projects completed - get a discount on yarn and maybe have a few Christmas or birthday gifts set

aside.  For some reason I failed to take a photo when the yarn arrived so I am swiping a photo of my June yarn off the Loopy website.  This is Shellbeach - A Qing Fibres yarn dyed in London.  I always try and use "new to me" yarns for camp projects.  The requirement for June's challenge was to use a pattern published in 2019 so I went for one of my favorite designers Janina of Woolenberry's new design Drops of Joy.  Yarns this busy can be tricky to work with but it looked so summery to me, I couldn't resist !

I mentioned in my last post I was on my way to the Sun Region EGA seminar in Orlando the first weekend in May.  I was so busy - I was Facilities Chair - I didn't have much time for photo taking.  I also didn't take a class because of this reason.  I also had very little stitching time but I did have fun with friends.  The other big surprise was my roomy and DF Carol R and I won BIG !  our chapter duClay EGA donated not one but TWO big boxes of stitched items for the opportunity drawings.  I was so proud of our members who planned and stitched so many special "travel" related pieces to donate for our travel boxes.  I never win anything but for Carol and I both to win duClay's boxes it was just so special.  An amazing array of items in my box, a project bag and a whole bunch of stitched smalls made by some awesome ladies.

Next on the travel log was a trip to "heavenly Hiawassee" - in mountains of North Ga. just a few miles from the NC border.  We rented the same condo on Lake Chatuge that we shared last year with my folks.  On the way up  - we love to visit the Coleman House B&B  They serve a wonderful lunch buffet 6 days a week, closed Saturdays. 

Here is my DH and my dad exiting the big wraparound porch into the side garden.

that brick structure behind me was their smokehouse - every country plantation home had a smokehouse of their own.  Also surrounding the house are wonderful gardens.  I particularly love the oak leaf hydrangea. Theirs were just stunning and that is the blossom behind my head.

Here is a side view of the smokehouse -the lovely Queen Ann in the background and that huge Oak Leaf Hydrangea that was almost bigger than the smokehouse.  I always wish we had time to sit on the big porch and take a few stitches.  Many many years ago - some of our sampler guild (now defunct) and our rug hooking friends had a retreat at this B&B and I have such fond memories every time I step on that porch of lovely days gone by.

Here is my wonderful step dad who is more like a father to me.  We were pleased to celebrate his 81st birthday while on this trip.  Never without a smile on his face, he is an awesome stitcher too.  He has been working on Scarlet Letters Eleanor Parr for many months and is closing in on a finish.  He's done many Mirabilias too, those are his favorites to work - he's not particularly crazy about samplers.

here is the view of the lakefront from the lower deck.  Lake Chatuge spreads for miles around the Hiawassee and Young Harris area.  There are many fingers and coves and this condo is on the eastern most portion of the lake.  It's right in the middle of town but seems so quiet back on this cove.

A lovely sunset shot, we sure hated to say goodbye.
 
Coming home to hateful HOT NE FL was not fun.  record highs all week near or over 100 degrees. WAY too early in the summer to be this hot.  However - I sure send prayers for all those who have been devastated by tornados and floods in the Midwest and Texas.  I am also very apprehensive about an active hurricane season predicted for 2019.  So much sickness and sadness on this earth, I guess that's why we all find such solace and peace in our hand work.  whether it be knitting, needlework, hooking, quilting or whatever keeps your hands busy and your prayers going for us all - keep at it - we definitely ALL need prayers.  I love to hear from you all - please do leave a comment for me.
Until we meet again - I hope June is joyous for you and yours.