Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Welcome to my first post of this year... and it's an update of where I am and why and all that stuff.

My primary focus is working down my stash to a level that fits into my home.  I have lost an attic, garage, shed and a few extra rooms with closets.  Bummer!

I have been assisted by a minor flood in the room I was using for storage - the 2nd bedroom, maybe 12x11 or so less a closet almost the width of the room with floor to ceiling doors - off their tracks.  That problem was repaired as the maintenance personnel had to get into that closet because it appeared to be the source of the water.  It wasn't but both doors now slide - sort of.  I will need some silicone spray or something to help them slide.I

I had to empty the room and a month later, after the carpet was cleaned, started moving stuff back less excess junk and sorted so all handspun is together, sock yarns, yarns to be gifted or used for those who don't sort laundry, and so on.  A huge amount of books are to be run to McKays (an institution in TN and with those who have lived here).  Projects that can be called WIPs were gathered to be worked on and completed.  Items which cannot be matched up with their patterns were frogged and the yarn moved to its home - handspun, etc.  Not yet started items were also gathered.  Their final fate has yet to be determined. 

I'm not yet done - but I'm down to the tedious stuff - paperwork.  'Nuff said.

So progress of items since last year.

First, I found and completed a washcloth.  It's five petals, worked separately then joined and the center decreases down and is tied off.
The other 2 petals are there, it's just this is huge - almost 10" across.  It's knit in a 10-ply cotton yarn.

If anyone is interested in the pattern, leave a comment and I'll dig up the link.  It's a free pattern out of Canada.

Next knitted WIP was a pair of socks called Shazbat.  I finished them and have worn them - they fit beautifully and I love them.

For some reason the colors are wonky in the photo.  My walls are a pale gold and the socks are a dark green.  The good part?  The pattern shows well.  I'm not a contortionist so I can't show the pattern that goes up the back of the socks - this older body just doesn't allow me to do things like that any more.

Now for the stitching.  First up the Stitch-along (SAL) which started January 1.  This is a HAED BB SAL and people could choose one of four designs.  I chose Undercover and did start it on January 1.  It is a section of a larger retired design and has a lot of color changes in a small area (stitchers call this confetti)  So here is my progress after two weeks of work.

For those who can't see the whole thing (most of which isn't stitched yet), it is a fawn laying down in the forest.  What isn't part of the SAL is the trillium around the fawn.  This will be for my younger granddaughter when it is done.  I have also found three free Skylander characters in cross stitch for her three brothers.

Next I have progress on Pink Spotted Orchid, another retired HAED design. I don't think I've posted a 'before' photo so I'll post the last one of 2014 followed by the one showing where I am now.

 The photo at left was taken 11 December.

And 6 February.  I realize for some this is as exciting as watching paint dry, but it allows me to see that I am making progress.

The non-HAED I decided to work on this year is Blackstone Fantasy Garden by Ink Circles.  It is a Celtic Knot in cross stitch with the resulting spaces filled with blackwork.  Rather than using black threads, this garden is using some beautifully dyed floss.  Here are the before taken in 2013

and after:

Finally there is Fireside Fairytales, another HAED design.

The before is from mid-December 2014.  I'm not going to post an after one as the change really isn't visible right now.  I've completed page 1 and am working on page 2.  There are 6 pages across on this design and maybe 7 rows (can't remember right now).  The only goal I've set on each of the HAED designs is to complete the current page and one other, except for the fawn, which I want to complete this year.

Other projects?  Well I have been weaving more.  I hope to have at least one of the towels completed in February.  I've also done some spinning and taught a person to spin on a spindle just last week.  I've told her to let me know when/if she wants to learn more or other types of spinning.

Next knitting WIP will be a pair of socks I've been working on forever.  They are 2-color knitting and a design from Janel Laidman called Granada.
I'll be at work again on these (the above is only the first sock) probably starting this weekend.

So that's it for this month.  We're having snow and ice in small amounts but have more forecast for Friday afternoon.  So I'm staying in and staying warm.  You do the same.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Plans for stitches for 2015

I have been watching all sorts of cross stitch videos on YouTube.  Most are from people participating in Floss Tube (I'm not) and also planning on various stitch alongs (SAL) which start January 1, 2015.  So I'm going to try to set some goals for myself for 2015.

First of all, the reason for this is I am downsizing.  I've gone from about a 1765 sq ft home with an attic and 2-car garage AND a shed to less than 1100 sq ft, no attic, no garage, no shed.  40+ years of accumulated stuff that was never really cleaned out nor sorted was basically stuffed into one room until a month ago.

One month ago I had been in and out of that room, unpacking books and moving them to a bookcase or to a countertop.  I finished a box, tore it down and sat down to knit.  I was not feeling any joy with the knitting so frogged the thing and tried to decide what to knit.  I need more socks.  I went back to that room and my feet got wet with COLD water in the same place I'd been walking back and forth a few hours earlier.  Well today the room is basically empty of all the 'stuff' and the people are supposed to be here today to clean the carpet.  The plan is to sort out everything that goes back into that room into bins based on what it is (supplies vs project, important papers, etc) and those bins will be, hopefully, stored in the closet, which is about 8' wide with sliding doors.  Then I can assemble a table to use as a project table for sewing or cutting or finishing.

I expect to make a trip or two to the Goodwill donation trailer about 1/2 mile away from me as well as several trips to McKays.  McKays is a wonderful shop located in 4 cities in Tennessee (here along with Memphis, Knoxville and Nashville) which will buy or give credit for books, cd's, dvd's, VHS, electronic games and records.  There are some rules but they are pretty reasonable and common sense.  Those books rejected by McKays will go to the library so they can sell them or, in the case of a few, maybe use them in their collection so others may enjoy them.

Some knitting things may be frogged and returned to stash.  My current knitting projects include a pair of socks called Shazbat that are being knit 2 at a time, magic loop, in Cascade Heritage in a very dark green.  My mother gave me a kit she had purchased and asked me to knit it up for her.  That needs to be finished off and blocked then returned to her.  That is a priority this coming year.  I have my Magic Carpet Ride which is not being frogged due to all the beads.  I want to finish the socks by the end of January and do more work on MCR.  I have a pullover about half done and a cardigan which only needs the front band/collar to be completed.  For the pullover, it is probably going to be finished sometime in 2015.  The cardigan needs some work as I don't like the way the band is created then attached.  I believe I want to make it more as you would a border on a shawl, knitting and attaching as you go.  I'll need to write or chart out the band and plan the attaching stitching.  That also is to be finished in 2015.  There are 2 other sweaters which will be frogged and started again in the future.

Spinning will be strictly from stash - no new purchases of fiber.  I have 11 5-gallon buckets currently crammed with fiber plus other fiber such as a few pounds of cotton, a batt from Loop, some silk and some alpaca.  Plus I found one of those giant zip-locks with some fleece that may be older than my grands. 

There is a lone star quilt that needs to be finished.  I've been hand quilting it and I want to get one more point of the star finished and the adjoining fill-in done.  I have a quilt top I gave to my daughter.  That needs backing and then tied as a comforter, bound and returned to her.  I'll need to decide on backing and binding.  I believe I have batting available to use for it.  I should have yarn I can use to tie it as well.

Weaving - there is warp for 2 dish towels currently on the loom.  I ran into an issue with the pattern which is now corrected.  The weaving that was on the loom was unpicked and started again.  I hope to finish this before the end of January.  One grand wants a scarf and I think I'll warp the loom and make a faux-Burberry scarf for that person.  That should take maybe a month to do at most.

That leaves cross stitch projects - which are very numerous.  None will be frogged or trashed.  What I will do is pick some out to focus on.  When they are done, other oldies will be chosen to complete.  There will be one new start on January 1.

Heaven and Earth is having a free SAL for the bulletin board participants.  Sign-ups closed at the first of December.  I chose Undercover.  If you click on the Heaven and Earth link, it will take you to that design's material pack.  The design is no longer available.  The SAL will only be a portion of that design, basically a portrait look for the fawn.  I purchased a material pack with fabric and it is here and ready to go.  I'll work on it for one week a month.  I need to get at least 1/2 page finished to get another one of the SAL choices free.  There is one of some golden retreiver pups that I would like.  The other weeks of the month will be used to work on my Fireside Fairytales, the Pink Spotted Orchid and one of my oldies.  First up will be Heirloom Christmas Sampler as it is the closest to finished.  There is some stitching, all the beadwork and all the other embellishments to add.  Then it will be framed to appear at Christmas time.  After that will come the Desiderata.  I want to finish 5 more bands on it.  If it is completed, I'll pull out another UFO and work on it until it is done.

I had a computer hiccup and so there are no photos today.  Hopefully I can fix the issue and insert the photos in a few days.

Meanwhile I wish you and yours all the joy, peace and love this Christmas season brings and may you have a wonderful New Year.


Monday, October 13, 2014


I just realized that I missed posting around the first.  Big oops! So now I can play catch up and show what I've been up to.

First of all, cross stitch.  I spent most of my time working on Fireside Fairytales from Heaven and Earth Designs.  I think this was about where I was when I last posted here.
 I am almost done with this first page of stitching, almost 10,000 stitches.   So the second photo is where I am today.  My goal this week is to finish this first page and continue on page 2. 

 It's pretty nice to see just how far I have come on this.  Oh, the sparkly stuff?  That is Sulky Sliver in Silver, that I'm using to show vertical columns of 10 stitches.  There is also a line across the top.  In addition there is a line of stitches on top of over 2 under 2 and on the side marking off 10 stitch sections.  I love the way the colors show more now - except what looks blue is actually purples.

The non-HAED stitching I worked on is a piece by Mystic Stitch called Blue Faery Moon.  I'm stitching this with 2 strands of floss over 2 threads, again using 28 count evenweave.  I had started this long ago and shortly after starting, my world went topsy-turvy  and this was put away.  There are only 26 colors - mostly blues - and it's really fun to do.  So here are where I picked it up and where I was after a week of stitching:  Before:

 and After:
Hopefully future pictures will be much better in quality.  

My knitting progress photos would be similar to watching paint dry - just more of the same - so no updates this time around.  Spinning is the same.  

The other things that occurred are that I found more of my WIPS so there will be a bit more variety showing up and that I have started a class sponsored by Etsy.  Etsy, for those sheltered souls, is a website dedicated to craftspeople.  A craftsperson can set up a shop and sell their wares internationally if they desire or just in their own country.  The class will give the basics on setting up the shop, marketing your products, and other relevant topics.  There will be one class to photograph our products so we can post them for sale.  Chattanooga is one of 10 US locales for this class (guinea pigs anyone?) and the others in the class do a variety of things - from making books to painting watercolors.  

More later when things get going.  

I will be back somewhere around November 1 with another update.  Until then: ENJOY!  Photo below - our local sentries.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Let's do an update...

I've finished my first rotation in the Heaven and Earth Designs Bulletin Board so I can update my progress.

First of all, Fireside Fairytales.  I've just picked up this one again as week 5 is for new starts and discontinued patterns.  I have neither so just picked up the biggest.
 I've posted the photo from August 8th and then from August 14th.  While it doesn't show there are two vertical columns in purple family colors and in the most recent one, the start of the arch bringing you into the room.
 The following week was confetti.  I broke out Seasons Winter but discovered too many errors and frogged  the whole thing and started again.  This chart is 75 stitches across and 231 rows tall.  I've completed 5 full rows and some partial rows.

The background material is actually white - I guess the phone or the night lighting caused it to look funky.

The funny looking area above the top row is hem stitching as the top and bottom will be fringed when this is done.  Hem stitching will hold the fabric and not allow it to ravel further.

The final week was HAEDless stitching - non-HAED designs and I broke out an old start of mine, Big Red by The Silver Lining.  I adore Marc's flowers and lighthouses.  I have five designs of his in process but Big Red will probably be my focus for a while.

So below are my start and end -  August 22nd and August 28th.

 This starting photo represents 1 page, though incomplete, of the pattern.  The ending photo is with the addition of a 2nd page (to the left of the first page) and the start of pages 3 & 4 which sit over.  These will complete most of the stems and begin the lowest of 3 poppies.  

I do the backstitching before the cross stitch so that I know where I am in the pattern.  The needle slips under that backstitch and it does look good after stitching.

 There is not a lot of other news.  I will be going to a knitting night at Genuine Purl, my local yarn shop (LYS) on Thursdays to get me to finish some socks I have in progress.  There is also a mystery sock knit along (MOCK) starting today on Ravelry.  The pattern is Shazam in memory of Robin Williams.  I will be joining that and have downloaded the first clue.  There are 4 clues, one per week.  I need to split a skein and wind so that I can do each clue for each sock.  At the end of the Mock, I'll have a completed pair of socks.

So crafty stuff continues and the 90+degree weather seems to have wandered elsewhere so that does mean fall is coming.  

I have two family members living in the northeastern portion of the country.  Both are reporting the first changes toward fall.  I'm not seeing anything here, but don't expect to for a few more weeks.

Off to stitch some more.  Enjoy what you enjoy doing and I'll be back with more updates in about a month.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

At Long Last

I'm back again - within the same month even.  I'm not responsible for any shock, awe or cardiac events following this announcement.

What I'm currently working on are 3 cross stitch projects in rotation, 2 spinning projects and one knitting project.

Two of the cross stitch projects are from Heaven and Earth Designs.  The first is from an artist named Randal Spangler.  It's name is Fireside Fairytales.  This is a what I aspire to achieve in my stitching:
 Fireside Fairytales and this is where I am:  If you look in the upper left corner of the design above - well there is a ways to go for me.  Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED) has a bulletin board and they have stitch alongs (SAL) weekly.  Week 2 was for BAP (big a$$ project) or sleeping works in progress.  This week, week 3 is for confetti stitching.  That is when there are many color changes in a small space.  Mr. Spangler's designs qualify.  Oh, this is being stitched on 28 count fabric.  In other words, 28 stitches = one inch.  This design is 450 stitches wide by 569 stitches high.  

For my confetti week, I'm working on a Storykeep, the HAED term for a bookmark.  Mine is called Seasons Winter.  She's 75 stitches wide by 312 high and has 86 colors of floss.  In that small an area, yep, there is confetti.  I took this photo yesterday with 93 stitches in place. So this is the full width of the storykeep.  I have stitched more, but won't update photos until next week when I need to post my 'After' photo.

Storykeep Seasons Winter

The last week of the month is for HAEDless stitching - non-HAED designs.  For that I've pulled out my Big Red by The Silver Lining.  This one was started at least 18 months ago - maybe longer.  Marc Sastaad, the designer/artist, is probably my favorite for flowers and lighthouses.  

My results to date are
I've started at the bottom so I can watch the flowers grow as I stitch.  This is also stitched on 28 count fabric.  It's 274 wide by 440 tall.  The outlines complete my first page of 16 (I think).  I do have some more to fill in with the actual cross stitches.

The spinning in process - well I only have one photo to share.  This is my support spinning on a tahkli and it's cotton.  The tahkli (mine anyway) is imported from India and is a metal shaft with a brass whorl.  I have 17 oz of cotton sliver (sly-ver is the way it's pronounced) of 4 colors - white, brown, green and tan.
The cotton will be wound into a skein and then boiled to remove the rest of the natural waxes coating the fibers.  This will also deepen the colors.  I'm spinning the green cotton right now.  I'll put a penny or dime in the next shot to show its size, but that bowl is less than 4" across.

The other spinning will have to wait on the photo op because it has dark colors to it so I have to wait for a bright day.  I have a 4 oz braid of Targhee, a USA developed sheep breed.  I think it will be sock yarn when it's finished.

My knitting project is one I had set aside last year and is a pair of socks.  The pattern is called Paraphernalia.  I'm knitting it in a brown colorway and have to dig up the source and name.  Anyway, more dark colors so photo op will have to wait.  

The spinning and knitting projects are for those times I am watching a movie and want to actually see most of the movie.  

Since the stitching projects have weekly SALs, this should force me to update at least once per month.  As a project is completed, another of the same sort will be pulled out and will join in.  Some of these projects go back years - but I'm not going to say how many - other than some are older than my grandkids.

I want to learn how to mat and frame my needlework and some prints I have.  I already have found instructions to create my own dry-mount style photo enlargements and as the supplies go on sale, will try doing some of those for gifts and my own gallery wall.  Some family members have taken some terrific photos so will see if they will allow me to use those as well.  

I am also trying to downsize my inventory of stuff.  I realize I have too much so need to pare it to the things I enjoy and use on a fairly regular basis.  I've started with books.  Stash of fiber, yarn and stitchables will be reduced by completing the projects or using the patterns I've gathered through the years.  

One of my grandkids asked me if I had some yarn they could have - so I got rid of 5 skeins of yarn.  It's not bad yarn but yarn I didn't have a need for.  The grand did so we're both happy.  I have more if she needs it. 

Until next time, Enjoy!



Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Very Quick Note

Just a very quick update to say after a hard drive crash, repair and now getting things back to normal.  I need to update and find my backup of some of my photos and then can post updates.

I'm now doing more cross stitching and spinning (cotton on a tahkli) with some earring design and creation taking place as well.  Hopefully will finish some projects along the way as well.

I'll be making this more about my progress in the crafts and as motivation for me to get out of this slump and make some progress in my healing.

My plan is to have something worth posting next week, by Saturday.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Deja Vu again, and again, and again...

I've just spent the last hour or so looking at my old and older entries on this blog.  I look at all the changes that have happened and realize that those entries were just the start.  I'm still changing and changing and will be doing more changing.

I have learned that some people I've known for years - well I didn't know them as well as I thought I did.  I learned that new friends can mean more to you in a short period of time than others can in years. 

And I have learned that government is government and ever the more shall be so.  In other words, SNAFU was created by government workers and is still the most appropriate acronym ever to fit so perfectly.  My recent experiences follow - and does show the SNAFU and FUBAR to their finest.  For those who do not know what those acronyms mean, I'll give hints or google them.  SNAFU is Situation Normal all _______ up.  FUBAR is ____________ up beyond all reason.  So the _____ is the same word in both situations and the G-rated word is Fouled.  Putting the two together as SNAFUBAR does make sense.

Ok now for my snafubar - AHA a new one - it goes as follows:

1.  Government of the US decrees that if you do not have health insurance, you must, under threat of penalty, go to a specified website and enroll.

I did that.

2.  Upon completion of said enrollment, an eligibility notice is issued.  Below are the highlights of the notice:

"You recently submitted an application to the Health Insurance Marketplace. We reviewed your application to see if you can get health coverage through the Marketplace and help paying for coverage and health services through:
 · A new tax credit that can be used right away to lower your monthly premium costs
 · Health plans that lower your out-of-pocket costs
 · TennCare (Medicaid) and CoverKids (Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)), which are joint federal and state programs that help with medical costs for people with limited income or special health care needs"

OK, that's what I thought this program was supposed to do.  Good, I'm in the right place.

Patience, grasshopper, there are lessons still to learn. 

elieve, which apparently advised me "You’re not eligible for a tax credit and cost-sharing reductions (lower copayments, coinsurance and deductibles) for Health Insurance Marketplace coverage because you or a tax filer who will claim you indicated on the application that they’re filing a separate federal income tax
return from their spouse."

Duh  I am legally married to DH.  We just haven't lived together in 1 year, 2 months and 14 days.  

The final time I called the government healthcare number,  I talked with a man who actually understood what was going on and said he could complete a new application for me and get this resolved.  We discussed the options.  
After more discussion I was advised that I probably would not like the premium amounts of any of the coverages available through the website.

Note:  My COBRA coverage from my former employer would be in excess of 2/3 of my monthly income.   The market health plans fall in a similar price range.

*** Actually the most recent earth-shattering business the TN legislation has been involved in was making hand-holding for minors in school illegal.  See this site for more information.  Teaser: 

Like any state legislature dealing with 8 percent unemployment and thousands of its residents facing disenfranchisement, the Tennessee Senate is targeting the menace of underage hand-holding.
Last week, the Senate passed SB 3310, a bill to update the state’s abstinence-based sex education curriculum to define holding hands and kissing as “gateway sexual activities.” Just one senator voted against the legislation; 28 voted in favor.
Since the bill specifically bans teachers from “demonstrating gateway sexual activity”, educators would be prohibited from even demonstrating what hand-holding is. Breaking these laws could result in a lawsuit, as Hunter from Daily Kos notes:

So we have Federal SNAFUBARs and State SNAFUBARs and I'm not quite sure which is worse.

Meanwhile on the home front Ravelry members are in the midst of Sock Madness 8 (SM8).  Round 2 is finishing up so I expect round 3 will start within the next week.  The pattern for sock 2 in SM8 looks so very elegant.  The challenge with #2 is called gauge.  Gauge for knitters is measured by stitches per inch and rows per inch.  My typical socks are knit at 64 stitches around - approximately 8-9 stitches per inch and 9-11 rows per inch.  Sock 2 is 80 stitches around and about 15 or 16 rows per inch.   Knitters achieve this gauge by using finer yarn (strands smaller around), smaller knitting needles and even tighter knitting.  Some times the result would be similar to bending rails off the train tracks with your hands.  Others may be a delicate fabric, elegant in appearance because of the tiny stitches.  Elements of the sock, in this case the Celtic Knot patterning, fit better in scale with the rest of the garment.  The last benefit I can think of would be durability, making smaller stitches means a more dense fabric so less to snag and catch on.

My personal challenge is a pattern called Leopold.  Leopold has pretty standard gauge.  I have 64 stitches on the needle. 
The patterns shown here are repeated on the other side of the sock as well.  This is actually my 4th attempt and so far (hitting head on wall for knock on wood), it is going well.  I'm knitting this as my participation in a knit-a-long (KAL) which is called do-si-do.  Basically you and a partner knit the same pattern.  It's all in fun and all participants support each other beautifully both with compliments (all well deserved) and help when problems arise and sympathy or cyber hugs when things go sideways (needle breaks at a wrong time or even personal things such as illness.  This is one type of support that can reaffirm your faith in people.

I realize I'm quite wordy but I ran out of one medication and rattling on and on (probably ad nauseum) seems to be part of what is happening to me as a result.  There are a few other things - I'm very emotional which is not like me at all.  Normally I have a very good public face - others don't see the emotions inside me - which also leads to people feeling I am distant and maybe even cold.  A massive headache is also raging on and on for the better part of a week now.  It does go away so my system says sleep.  I sleep but no rest.  Not a good feeling but help is coming.  I have an appointment set up where I can get some help at no charge, including medical care and the prescriptions.  That is a very good thing for me.

The next entry will cover Leopold - who should be finished.  The photo above is for part of the leg of the first sock.  I get to do all that over again for sock 2.  I think that may be part of the reason I do like knitting socks 2 at a time.  It's not possible all of the time and that's ok too.  I may have the 2nd Brucie going on as well.  I'll show the next unfinished socks to get some special attention.  Other things that get attention will be part of Show and Tell. 

Until then, Spud sends a glamor shot for you to enjoy!