Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I found my fourth needle.

Yah me!

Monday, April 24, 2006

I had planned on bringing some knitting along to do in the early stages of Noel's labor. I packed the needles but no yarn to go on them. Uhm, yeah. That'll work. NOT. So that morning on my way to the hospital, picking up a Starbucks for strength and energy, I spied a Joann's in the shopping center across the street and said "Aha!" Or something similar to that. Maybe it was "Goodie!" or "Hurray!" It's a bit fuzzy now. But anyhoo, I drove on over and the sign said they didn't open for another twenty minutes. TWENTY MINUTES! Do you know how long that is when your daughter is at the hospital and about to go into labor (she was being induced) at any minute!? It felt like two hours. So after the first hour, er, first ten minutes, I got out of my car and stood in front of the glass front doors trying to look as forlorn and damsel-in-distress-like as possible. It worked. The manager opened the door for me.

I discovered that when your brain is all a-buzz with excitement and nervousness over an impending grandchild is not a very good time, on the spur of the moment, to decide on a new project. Scarf? Nah, don't need any more scarf stuff. Hats? Maybe. Baby stuff. Oh, yes, good idea! I looked at the pattern books but they all looked like Egyptian hieroglyphics to me - not because I can't read a knitting pattern but because my brain wouldn't let me settle on any of the words long enough for my eyeballs to understand them. But eventually I decided, even though I have never ever knit a sock in my entire life (I've attempted several but never made it past the cuff), that I should knit baby socks.

I suppose there's some logic to starting out a sock knitting career by knitting a baby sock. They're small. You work your way through all the steps quickly. Of course logic also told me that starting with a Yule Stocking was the best choice because you only had to make one sock and you didn't need to worry about making a second one coming out the same size. I still haven't finished that project, but there are evil cats to blame in large part for that delay.

Here are the colors I picked out and here's how far I got on the first sock before Noel's labor kicked into a more serious gear that necessitated my active involvement. As you can see, it was a very fast labor, lucky her.
I unpacked this project this morning and discovered I have a couple of unexpected problems. First, a small carton of orange juice broke and got the knitting a bit soggy, although a quilting magazine absorbed most of the liquid. The pattern book is missing altogether, which saved it from the orange juice, but I hope it turns up since I hate spending money on patterns. It's probably in another suitcase. One of the needles is also missing and I have less hope that I'll find it since there's no reason it wouldn't be with the other three. The needle that was missing was actually one that had stitches on it. I think I caught up all the stitches again on the empty needle, but I'll have to make sure the stitches are all turned correctly and put back on their proper needle sets, although that's a moot point until I find the missing needle. I'd just pull it all off and start over but I'm feeling sentimental about having done those stitches while at the birth.

If I ever find the needle and ever finish even one pair of socks, they aren't actually very baby sized even though the pattern says they should fit a 6-12 month old. They're obviously more toddler sized. So, good. I'll have more time to work on them.

Moving on.....

I should just change the name of this blog from Laume's Studio to Look at What Laume Bought! Sigh. I know, a studio implies that there's some creative work going on in it. And I will. Eventually. Post England (we leave in 9 days!!!). I promise. I also promise to get back to work on my Nanowrimo Novel. And you don't have to bug me about that one because William is already doing a very good job of harassing ..... er, encouraging me to get back to work on it. In fact, just this morning, I made a deal with him. If he memorized his multiplication tables, I promised to go back to work on my novel and write at least an hour a day. (I'd love if he won this bet, but I'm pretty sure he won't bother.)

Oh, so, anyway - Look at what Laume Bought!

I went back to the same Joann's while on a post birth Starbucks run because they had a huge weekend sale going on and I never ever manage to be in the vicinity of a Joann's during one of their sales.

The bottom row is just quilting fabric that caught my eye for one reason or another.

The top row are all flannels, again, for receiving blankets. Look at the lighthouse and anchor one on the left and the fishies one on the right. Since my next grandchild's daddy is in the Navy, these are perfect! And I couldn't resist the Mexican food one because the whole family loves to go out for Mexican food and besides, when you wrap them up, they so look like little burritos. My favorite though is the sweet little garden pictures and words. It's much cuter then it looks in the photo. And now I really need to stay away from the flannel section for the rest of my DIL's pregnancy. I mean, a baby can only use so many blankets before they outgrow that bundling stage.

Here's some more fabric, this was from a trip up to Lake Almanor to drive around the lake and enjoy the lovely spring weather that finally arrived last week. It's all just "because I liked it". All FQ's except a 3/4 yard of the stripe because I love to use stripes for bindings and sashings and framing stuff. The three on the left go together nicely, although I didn't plan it that way.

That's all. Now I'll go wash it all in my new washing machine and finish unpacking. If you find a lone 2 pointed 3.25 blue metal knitting needle laying about, let me know, wouldja?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Recently I've bought a bunch of art quilt and collage magazines. Bought them. Paid for them. Carried the bags home. And haven't had the time or energy or focus to look at any of them. Tonight I finally stumbled upon the latest purchase, the Summer 2006 issue of ClothPaperScisscors, and browsed through it during commercials through a couple of family television shows. In the back was a page discussing a new quiz and challenge. You took this quiz on their website and it tells you what "kind" of artist you were. They did say that it was all to be taken with a grain of salt, but still, I could see from the multiple choice answers offered what general themes they were aiming at representing - they labeled them The Spontaneous Artist, the Grunge Artist, the Integrated Artist, and something along the lines of The Did You Take This Test Accidentally? Artist. The challenge then proposed that you do a piece in the style that the quiz labeled you and then turn the work over and do something opposite or different to the other side. Sounded fun, interesting, and I'm a sucker for online tests....

My answers were about as evening spaced between the four types as possible (since you can't divide 10 evenly by 4. You can't divide 11 evenly by 4 either, which I know not only because I'm smart that way but because I felt I could go either way on one question and so I wrote down both of my answers.)

I felt....... cheated? Frustrated? Annoyed? Not at the quiz so much. At myself. It figures. That's me for ya. Balanced. Stable. Able to see all sides of a question. But when it comes to art, maybe it's not a good thing to be too balanced. I mean, if I could be inspired to go in four different directions - for argument's sake let's just call them East, West, North, and South - what will happen? Well, I'll tell you. Usually, nothing happens. If I can't make up my mind, I can't start. If I can't commit or feel overwhelming compelled (or at least a teensy bit more compelled) to go with one particular project/style/direction over another, then I usually stall in the "coming up with good ideas" stage of creating.

Now to my credit, I'm damn good at this stage. Probably because I spend so much time in it. But it's considerably less rewarding to tell people about all your great ideas then it is to show them some of your great ideas come to fruition. And again to my credit - some ideas do end up making it all the way from idea to completed work. Usually because there's a deadline, or people watching me, or some sort of other guilt producing, outside pressure to perform. The real issue here is that I'd like more of my ideas to become more then just ideas.

Completely contradicting what I just said (I'm very good at living happily in a world of contradictions - bouncing around like a little yin/yang ball), I've just finished up a large number of stressful projects that have been screaming at me from my to-do list for months. I've also come back from several trips and in two weeks I'll be gone again for an entire month. So at the moment, I've given myself permission to do absolutely no art at all and to feel completely guilt free about it. It feels soooooo damn good - I can't tell you how good! Ironically it actually makes me feel like I want to do something creative.

But no. I'm probably not going to race into the studio and be a whirlwind of productive creativity. Nope. Instead I'm gonna try to bring my gardens under a modicum of control. Just enough to keep them from going completely back to wilderness while I'm gone this spring (spring - which finally arrived yesterday thank heavens!) I'm gonna try out my new washing machine. I'm gonna sort through clothes and knicknacks that have been pushed into abandoned piles for months (or in some cases, years). I'm gonna make an itinerary for our trip to England, reserve a B & B or two, make a list of things to bring and things to see. I'm gonna organize my bookcases. I'm gonna scrub some floors and wash some windows.

Or maybe I won't do most of those things and then grin about it guiltlessly. But when I get back from across one of those big, blue, wet things, I'm gonna give some serious thought to this inability I seem to have to committing to a style. Try to come up with a plan on how to deal with it. Hey, maybe I'll make myself one of those old fashioned spinners and just go with whatever project the arrow lands on. Of course, this will involve deciding how to make the spinner in the first place......


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I wrote this post before I left for Sacramento and the new grandbaby, so some of it doesn't make sense because it talks of things that will be happening that have actually already happened. Does that make sense? But, instead of messing with it, I'll just post it as it is and use the extra time to get something else more important done, like unpack the car. Here ya go:

This is a good ol' fashion show and tell day. I want to show and tell all about my most recent fabric finds. I didn't really get any of it in the midst of my recent girlfriend getaway. Instead I found some on the way there, some on the way back, and some the day following my return.

These are all flannels. I found all but the orange tie-dye one at the textile warehouse. I thought they were all so cute and different from the boring stuff you usually find for babies, I want to make most of them into receiving blankets for my upcoming grandkids. The orange one will be for Anastacia. If I'm lucky, I might even manage to get it done tomorrow so I can bring it down with me for the delivery this week. (Noel is going to be induced on Friday morning.) The rest, except for the pink and green teapot one, are for Joe and Lisa's December baby, who will certainly need more receiving blankets then a spring "valley girl" baby. The plan for the teapots are for them to become a flax heating bag or two.

All of this quilting fabric I found at the textile warehouse too. Notice the selection theme - BRIGHT! About half of them were purchased with something in mind, the other half simply because I liked them. I'll figure out what to do with them eventually. Remember, you can click on the photos and get more detail.

Except for the teensy bit on the bottom righthand corner (which are from the photo layout above) and Fred Weasley, the rest of these are thrift store finds. The bright plaid on the left and the soft pastel plaid on the right are pillows I bought, not fabric. The green and orange thing on top is a tiny old-fashioned apron with pockets all along the bottom. I think it would look cute hung on the wall and used to store things in all the pockets. Not sure where it will go yet. The green striped and the white and blue striped are really, really large pieces of soft, heavyweight, nubby cottons. Not enough to do an entire chair in, but perhaps throw pillows or seat covers or tablecloth and napkins or....... not sure but couldn't pass up any of it. Everything in the photo was tagged from only two to four dollars!

These are quilter's cottons, found them at Walmart amongst the Easter and spring holiday prints. I'd gone looking for the tie-dyed flannels (all had been sold out except for the orange piece in the first photo), but I liked these. Usually this sort of mottled pattern comes in only dark or bright colors. I decided some day I'd certainly need these. In fact I want to do a small spring something with colored eggs in it and these would be perfect for what I have in mind. Of course with all the studio time I'll be able to carve out of what's left of this spring season, maybe I'll make it in time to enjoy it next spring, eh? Or the year after that?

Well, gee, it's fun just collecting the stuff. Hubby says between the fabric and the books, it keeps the house well insulated.
Several weeks ago I found an old spring based rocking chair. It was painted cherry red. How could I resist. At the time I thought I was buying it with the accompanying cushions, which were overstuffed and covered in an lovely, old-fashioned floral print. Alas, it wasn't meant to be - as I was taking things apart to fit into the back of the Subaru, I realized the pillows were priced separately. I didn't want to get the saleswoman, an elderly woman who was clearly just "helping out the owner", in trouble, so I did the right thing and brought the cushions back inside. I was annoyed when a few days later I pulled the receipt out of my jean pocket and discovered that despite being a good samaritan, I'd accidentally been overcharged twenty dollars for the chair. I don't get up there much, so I haven't had a chance to try to get a credit back on that and I don't even know if there will be any record to prove how much the chair was supposed to cost. Sigh.

But moving on, I love the chair. I few days ago I made it to a textile warehouse and bought some big pillow forms and upholstery fabric to make new cushions. Originally I was looking for something as similar as possible to the old-fashioned floral of the original cushions, but I ended up coming home with the prints below instead.

My absolute favorite is the big fruit print. I wanted something that would match what was already in my livingroom, but not be predictable or too ordinary. I also liked the subdued leaf print with the matching stripe. And last but not least, the dark paisley. Originally I thought I'd make simple covers with a slit up the back so they'd be easy to remove and wash, using different prints for different seasons of the year. But then I realized it would be more practical to put zippers on the side so that they would be reversible and last longer. I have enough fabric to make both sides in the fruit print. I'm gonna use the leave and strip print as opposite sides in the same set of cushions. And the dark print I'll match up with a dark solid of some sort I already have stashed away. Of course, none of the actual sewing will take place until I can finish up all my other projects and travel plans in the couple of months.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I don't think I've shared any pictures yet of Garret's quilt, have I? I didn't want to spoil the surprise. Since my #2 grandson didn't come into our lives until he was about five months old, he didn't get a quilt at birth like Joshua did, or like the soon to arrive Anastacia. So I made this slightly larger quilt for him for his birthday this month. Unfortunately my machine wouldn't cooperate and now I doubt I'll be able to finish it until after I come back from traveling in May. But I did bring it down to show my daughter and she said "The colors are sooo Garret." I was really pleased because I had the same reaction after I laid out the blocks and first saw it "together" - it just seemed to express his happy, mellow personality.

It's all layered and pinned and ready to be sewn or maybe even tied. The photo below shows the cute "animals driving cars" print I used for the backing. Again, Fred was helping with the display, sort of a feline Vanna.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

While on the subject of scarves, take a look at the pretty, pretty, pretty present from my friend Deirdre. Fred (aka Fred Weasley, aka Fred is Red, aka Evil Kitty) has graciously agreed to model it for me. It's a poly velvet, wide and long and lush, just shy of being big enough to be called a shawl or wrap. It looks great with a jacket and blue jeans, takes an ordinary outfit just a step up in snazziness. With the blues, greens and purples, and the silky feel, it's like wearing water - quite appropriate for an Otter Girl. The artsy part of it, apart from looking artsy in it, she hand dyed it herself.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Here's the promised pic of the finished Spring Scarf. It's fuzzy but not too warm, just enough for a light chill. When wrapped like this, it hangs down just above my waist, so it's pretty long. I have about 2/3 of a skein left. I'm thinking I'll use up some white yarn I bought accidentally and make a hat, and then trim it with the rest of this fuzzy pastel. Now, I just have to find that white yarn. Hmmmm, I think I might have returned it, now that I think about it. I looked for more skeins of this, but they had sold out. So now I have to go buy white yarn? Or maybe just save the extra for fairy hair or a baby hat. A baby hat! Good idea. If I can find a pattern, I can take it down and work on it while I'm with Noel in the hospital. She's due to be induced this Friday. I'm getting excited about meeting this new little person!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I finished my scarf last night, just in time to use it on my Girl's Getaway Weekend. I'm taking off the minute I push "publish post" and plan to have a wonderful time. I'll take lots of pics, including one of the new scarf.

The one bummer, I didn't get another project done in time to bring down for my grandson's first birthday. The sewing machine was being a monster. I finally gave up and will have to settle for showing my daughter the gift unfinished and then bring it back home and have a long talk with the aforementioned machine about the responsibility of tight stitches. No eyelashes! No tangles! She's not a beauty contestant for crissakes, she's a sewing machine.

Okay, gotta run!

Well, drive. It's too far to.... nevermind.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Y'know, this blogging thing is very time consuming. Take this morning, for instance. I wanted to show you a picture of something I'm working on, and I wanted to compare it to dyed eggs. I knew I had several lovely photos of baskets full of colorful eggs that my kids and I have made over the years. No problem. I'll just find one. SEVERAL HOURS LATER......
Although I can see the pictures clearly in my mind, I can't find them!! I did, however, find a photo of my son Joe as a baby wearing a football outfit, which I looked for in vain about a year ago. And the one of my yard full of quail that I couldn't find when I wanted it a few months back. Here is the only photo I could find with colored eggs in it. The one good thing is it gives me a good excuse to show you this adorable picture of William when he was just a wee thing. After you're done going "Ahhhh, wasn't he cute!", let your eyes wander down to the lower lefthand corner of the photo and check out the pastel colored eggs.

Now, check out what I'm working on, a project I've dubbed my "Spring Scarf". Hey, if it insists on continuing to be cold and dreary and rainy and snowy (again, last night, sigh) in APRIL, then that gives me more then enough justification to need a spring colored scarf. Aren't the colors delectable. Like.... hey, I think I bought a bag of pastel colored malted milk ball eggs.... just a minute.....

AHA! In the bottom drawer of the desk. So, okay. I'll just go scarf down a bunch of.... I mean, I'll go work on my scarf.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I'm past due to show what I did with my Simple Still Life project for March. This was my first month participating and I got off to a good start by taking a lot of photos of possible choices early in the month. You can see them here. The idea is that you expand on the photo, changing it in some way photographically, artistically, or use it as the basis for a work in a different medium, whether that be a sketch, a textile piece, a painting.... Of course being busy and frazzled and sidetracked and... did I mention busy? I settled for doing something simple with it, although I do like the results.

Here's the photo I decided I liked best:

I like it a lot, just the way it is. It's simple and makes a nice statement about the beauty of useful things. But since it seemed like cheating just to stop with the original photo, I messed around with it a bit in my Kodak photo program. Not many options, but I came up with this, and I have to admit, I rather like it as well. It makes the tools seem witchy and symbolic. A broom for wiping the cobwebs from the sky (or riding in it), a rake for dancing in the garden, and a shovel for digging deep into the dark and quiet earth. I call it "Magical Tools".

If you'd like to see what other participants did with this month's theme - Three the Same but Different - go here.