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Half Year Review – 2015

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Well, howdy, Internet friends!  Seems that I sort of disappeared from blogging the last half of 2015.  So, it may take awhile to catch you all up; I’ll resist my initial inclination to do it all at once!

Connie_CDA_June_2015I started a new job last year, in May, which coincides with when my blogging dropped off the map.  I’d been at my previous employer for almost 10 years, so it’s been a bit of a transition.  I’m still in the same tech field, though it’s a much smaller department, and even get to travel and go to conferences.  I think I’m finally getting comfortable and I really like the people I work with.

I also started a small quiltscrap_explosion group.  It wasn’t an intentional decision, just a group of my friends who I wanted to spend time with and, well, it just sort of blossomed.  This photo is from one of those sessions where they helped me with a collection of scraps; what happens at sew day, stays at sew day!

Interestingly enough, the majority of the group are teachers, whether by formal training or natural ability.  We call ourselves the Grateful Threads and we meet once a month, working on both personal and group projects.  There’s so much laughter, fun, and learning that goes on, I can’t believe how lucky I am to know each and every one of them.

Pfaff_7570I bought a Pfaff 7570 sewing machine this summer because not only do I love my Pfaff machines, this one is capable of embroidering and came with the original cable that will allow connection to an (older) computer and a TON of embroidery cards.  I’ve had some challenges getting it connected so I can make up the embroidered quilt labels as I intended, but that’s an ongoing process.  I’ll keep you posted!

Fast forward to the recent holiday season, and I had several customer quilts I had promised for Christmas.  I finished by the 12th of December, so I helped a friend with her first quilt, which was made up of a variety of 5” blocks sewn together and a dark blue minky back.  She wanted to give it as a gift for Christmas and it was so much fun watching her gain confidence in the process.  I didn’t get any photos of the quilt, but I’m sure she did so I’ll post them later.

20151220_094040I also made 4 hats on my bulky knitting machine, 3 of them using this EASY pattern:

http://knittsings.com/how-to-machine-knit-a-basic-easy-stocking-hat

 

20151220_093647For the 4th one I adapted a hand knitting pattern that allows for a ponytail at the top so that my long-haired niece could wear it:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/holey-hat-2

It was fussy to do because I don’t have a garter bar for the bulky, much less know what I’m doing with adapting patterns or moving stitches around!  LOL!

I’m planning on getting my ribber set up in the next couple of weeks because I really want to start making a sweater that uses ribbing and I REALLY don’t want to hand knit it.

I’m also looking forward to trying a  new pattern for a Quarter Crown hat pattern that not only is it a new technique to learn but I’d like to contribute some chemo hats to a gal who only takes hand knitted hats made in the round because a seam is too rough on the chemo head.

http://slisen.blogspot.com/2016/01/quarter-crown-for-hats.html

I’m definitely looking forward to this coming year.  There will be many challenges but I’m going to embrace them all the best I can.

Happy New Year!

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New Year’s Day!

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What are you doing this New Year’s Day?  Me, I’m spending it with a group of fiber people!

You know, I never gave that description any thought when I started hanging out with spinners and knitters because of the company I was in when I said it, but outside of that community I’ve had lots of funny looks from people and then I realized they thought I meant “fiber” as in dietary fiber!

Today I’m taking not only my spinning wheel and new jumbo flyer so I can finish up the roving I’ve been working on, but I also made the bodies of 3 hats on my Singer HK-100 bulky knitting machine yesterday so now they just need to be sewn up to finish them.  That’s the part I dislike the most, but I’ll be able to finish them up in no time because I’m going to concentrate on them today, and someone there might even have an easier way to sew them up than I’ve been able to figure out so far, too.

I’m also going to take those over sized Fuzzy Feet slippers I made with me so I can finish the toes and then get them into the wash to felt them.  I have to say, I’m quite pleased with how they’ve turned out and I’ll be taking a toe-up sock pattern with me today so I can start learning how to do those, too.

I’m also taking a Coca Cola Chocolate Cake.  I’ve never tried it, or made it, before but I’ve never made socks before, either.

So, today it sounds like a lot of “finishing” going on!  That sounds fabulous to me, because they say that whatever you do on New Years Day is what you’ll do the rest of the year.   And by “they” I mean the gals I’m getting together with, and who knows who they got it from! 🙂 

I’ve really been  looking forward to our get together, I seem to come back calm and centered after spending a day with them.  There’s food, laughter, conversation and lots of creativity and support..

Next weekend, I’ll quilt.

Happy New Year!

New Year’s Day Goodness

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DSCF6221I was invited to spend New Year’s Day with a group of die hard fiber enthusiasts….knitters, spinners and weavers…who quickly became new friends.

We were hosted by Mitzi Meyer, at her home in Sweet, Idaho.  I am ashamed to say, in the 8 years I’ve lived in Idaho, I’ve rarely been outside of Boise; I didn’t even know there was a town named Sweet! I truly enjoyed the drive, it reminded me of my native Montana surroundings, and the next time my mom visits I’ll definitely take her out that way.  Their home was absolutely beautiful and perfect for this get together.

Of course, I took more projects than I was able to work on, but my motivation was to take advantage of all of the expertise in the room to get advice for completing several UFOs including:

  1. A 27 year old sweater that has been in “time out” (more on that later)
  2. A spinning project that stalled last year
  3. Instruction on how to ply my newly spun yarn

I showed off the hat that I started a couple of months ago for my DH, which is almost finished but didn’t make my knitting-machine-baby-blanket-samplerChristmas deadline…and got a good laugh from everyone because it’s absolutely gigantic!

My knitting machine sample got some attention as well, and I spent quite a bit of time talking with Angie, who is also trying to learn more about how to work her own knitting machine.

It was obvious that this is a close group of friends, but I felt welcome and included and look forward to spending more time with this unique and talented group.

Mitzi also runs an online store, Mitzi’s Yarns for Weavers and Knitters, where she sells mill ends and closeout inventory, and of course, we were able to peruse her wares. Mitzi had earlier showed off a scarf/shoulder cape she’d made, and written the pattern for, with a fingering-weight-closeupcombination of two strands of yarn that I thought would work perfectly to keep me warm this winter.

I’ve been looking for this sort of pattern and I was able to get enough yarn for the pattern to make 3 different color options using a mohair /wool /acrylic blend. I’ll pair one of theses colors with the black wool blend yarn and see how it turns out before I decide on what I want to pair the next one with. If it goes like I think it will, I might already be ahead of next Christmas’ gift season!

This might be one of those projects that is the knitting equivalent of a PSQ though, since this is a lace weight yarn (I think) and I’ve never worked with something so small!  However, I had an idea that I might be able to ply these two yarns together using my spinning wheel and treat the resulting yarn as one strand.

I’m back to my quilting this weekend.  I hope you all had a great holiday and got time to spend with all of your wonderful creative toys.