Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Knitted Stuff

Wow. Spring is here. I am so busy. You are too, I think, huh? I thought so. But thanks for stopping by anyway! I'm trying to go visit all of you, but argh! Busy! I miss my bloggy friends and I'm sooo behind on my blog-reading. What are you all up to?

I've been able to knit a little bit while watching the "Deep Space Nine" series in the evenings. I love anything Star Trek, but I missed that series somehow. I don't think I had a television when it played originally, so I'm finally watching it via Netflix. No commercials and I can see every episode in order. Netflix is great.

Here are some hats I finished for Angela and Grayson:

This little cutie is called "Center Square." It's by London Nelson and the pattern is free on Ravelry. I made it using two strands of Cascade 220 in two different colors.

Grayson's hat is the "Skull Hat" pattern by Gina Doherty. It's also free on Ravelry.

Single strand, easy chart, very fun pattern. I think it's easy enough for beginning colorworkers. I used Cascade 220 for this one, too.

Unfortunately, Grayson and Angela have run out of room in their tiny dorms (and both have too much winter clothing already), so I have to find someone else to gift these hats to. That's okay, I just wanted to make them.

Here are some socks:

Aren't the colors in this yarn GORGEOUS?? Yes, it IS Wollmeise. THEEEE legendary Wollmeise. The hundred-dollar-a-skein-on-ebay Wollmeise. I'll pause for you to catch your breath before I continue.

No, I didn't get my hands on any myself, I'm not that good of a yarn huntress. Nor am I willing to pay a hundred dollars a skein for it. My intrepid yarn stalker friend Jo Anne got into the Wollmeise sock club and she KNOWS people. Who know people. Who know when the Wollmeise is available. So now YOU know someone who knows someone who can get Wollmeise.

But I can't get you any, so don't even ask. Sorry. I'm not THAT special.

Anyway, I traded Jo Anne a pan I wasn't using for this skein of Wollmeise.

Wool is much nicer than a pan, I think.

Look at how pretty that heel came out! This is the "Basketweave Rib" sock pattern from "Sensational Knitted Socks" by Charlene Schurch. Oh boy, is that ever a good book. My favorite socks are from that book--they're all so well-constructed and the patterns are so clear and excellent! I made my very first sock from that book and I keep going back to it for patterns. Definitely my favorite sock book of all time.

At present, I'm working on this:

This is my "Shawl of Torture, Misery and Despair." It's original name was "Ishbel," but it earned the name change. When this shawl is not boring me with stockinette stitch, it's torturing me with charts, yarnovers, misplaced stitches, dropped stitches, sheer NUMBER of stitches, and impossible fuzziness. I'm using Malabrigo laceweight yarn in "Carrot." It's soft and the color is pretty, but that's all I have nice to say about it. The other things I have to say about it would involve cursing, which I try to avoid. Sometimes I curse in keyboard symbols. But I don't think they make enough keyboard symbols for my feelings about this yarn and project. But dang it, I'm gonna finish this thing. I'm stubborn and I'm not going to let a pattern or yarn beat me. I may end up at Happy Acres talking to the garden fairies, but I'm not going to let a sissy shawl make me give up.

Next post, I'll finally show you my new lavender quilt. I need to think of a name for it and take some good pictures.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sue's House, Part Three

Last time, I gave you a glimpse of Jenny's undersea kaleidoscope quilt. Here's Jenny holding up her quilt top:
She did such a beautiful job on the kaleidoscopes!
Synchronized swimming mermaids.

Neat, huh? Beautiful job, Jenny.

And here's a cutie quilt top by Carol, who is standing behind the quilt holding it up so you can't see her:

I love the boney border!

After the quilt show and tell, I wandered upstairs to find Sue's sewing room. Here is the stair landing:

Look at all that storage! I love the curvy lines.

A peek at the view in her bedroom. How would you like to wake up to this view every morning?

I eventually found the sewing room. It was marvelous. Stunning. As a matter of fact, I think I was so stunned that I forgot to take good pictures. Has that ever happened to you? There's so much to see that you just can't seem to put the camera between your eyes and what you're gawking at? That was me. So believe me, this sewing room was soooo much more than my slightly crummy pictures. I wish you could've seen it in person!

Of course, I kept getting stunned by the view. Deer in headlights, you know?

Built-ins everywhere. A sink. Miles of counter space. Acres of room to create in.

Uh oh. Someone please take the camera away from me. I'm fixated on the view. I didn't even take a picture of the sewing area. Or all the storage! Or the thousands of drawers and cupboards.

Oh well, maybe next time I'll be more immune to the view and I'll be able to get better sewing room pictures. Man. Did you see that sewing room view???

Back at home, I finally finished quilting the thread-eating quilt. I'm not going to even talk about all the thread blobs on the back. Meh.

I also have been knitting a lot in between thread break tantrums. I've finished socks, two hats, a scarf, and started a shawl! Here's the scarf:

Yummy yummy Cascade Baby Alpaca. The color of strawberry ice cream.

A close up of the pattern. The pattern is Stephanie Pearl McPhee's "One Row Scarf," available on Ravelry. Here's the link for all you Ravelers:


More knitting and quilt pix soon.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sue's House, Part Two

So sorry to leave you at Sue's house for so long! But really, there are worse places to be stuck for a week, aren't there? Like being stuck in your office working on taxes for your appointment with your accountant?

Like being stuck tying 362,098 little *&^% bows on a mountain of pattern orders?

Like being stuck with a king-sized quilt on your frame that no matter WHAT thread, tension, batting, needle size, silicone goo, tautness, and a thousand other variables that believe me, I've tried, keeps breaking your &^%$# quilting thread every two feet of sewing??

Like being stuck nursing a very torn-up kitty that got in a terrible fight a few nights ago and whose face is swollen twice it's normal size from an abcess? Like trying to administer pink amoxicillin to said kitty and subsequently having to wash pink spray off everything within a four foot radius of said kitty?

I digress. I also am using a lot of symbol keys, which is never a good sign of my mood.

On the other hand, I'm happy and in a VERY good mood because my new "Postcards from Hawaii" quilt pattern is selling like hot poi cakes! I've been so busy making and delivering patterns that I can't even get the new pattern posted on my website. Besides, my fingers are very sore from tying bows (Why oh why oh why did I ever think those bows were cute?)

And on yet another hand, I'm nervous because we've spent all morning under a tsunami watch because of a 7.9 earthquake somewhere out in the Pacific ocean. Nothing puts things into perspective like waiting to be washed out to sea--taxes, sick kitty, bows, thread-eating quilt and all.

So overall, it's been a good week...relatively. I didn't get washed out to sea.

Hard to believe that this innocent-looking ocean wants to climb up out of its bed and come eat all my stuff:

Gooood ocean. Just stay right there. Staaaaayyy....

So here we are, back at Sue's house, looking at her fabulous kitchen!


This one's a little blurry. It's a very long hallway, but I didn't go down it. I didn't want to seem too nosy.

More quilters are arriving and gathering in the living room. Notice all the windows and sliders!

Sue has a nice big table for entertaining! Since this was late February, she decorated for Valentine's Day AND St. Patrick's Day with a pink and green theme.

We always have a nice potluck lunch--we have many great cooks in our No Nene group!

Uh oh, another view picture. I never get tired of looking at it:

These quilters gathered on the lanai to eat their lunch.

Here's another scenic view: the dessert table.

Did I mention the view out the lanai?

Yes, we did do more than just eat and enjoy the view. Here's a peek of the quilt I'll show you next time:

Jenny's beautiful kaleidoscopic undersea quilt. And next time, we'll finally see the sewing room!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods, Part One

...to Sue's house we go!

I promised you a little tour of Sue's fabulous house on Hanalei Bay, so we'll start our trip today. I took lots of pictures that day, so we'll have to do this in parts. Let's start with the drive to the North Shore.

A nice late February drive on Kauai:

I took these pictures with the camera sitting atop the steering wheel while I was driving. I do not recommend trying this at home, unless your roads are as unpopulated as ours.

That pointy rock below is affectionately known as "Kong." The angle isn't right here, but from some angles, it looks like King Kong's head.

I love this part of the trip!

This forest on the way to the North Shore is so beautiful. The north shore of our island is the greenest and rainiest shore. It's very lush and beautiful, even in February.

I showed you the front of Sue's house in my last post, so I'll skip the duplicate. Here's how I know I've arrived at the right house:

Lots of quilters' shoes! We always take our shoes off before entering someone's home. It's the polite thing to do, especially since our red dirt is so terrible to try to get out of carpeting. Besides, it's pretty great to be barefoot in February, especially when you've got the ocean right outside your door!

I'm not going to try to arrange these pictures in any type of order. I started snapping pictures when I came through the front door; I'll just list them as I took them:

From the kitchen, looking to the dining room. The view to the oceanfront burnt out on this picture, unfortunately. The side of the house facing the ocean is all windows and sliders. Amazing.

The kitchen:

Two sinks, a warming oven, a built-in oversize fridge (can you find it?), and miles of counter space. I love all the swoopy design curves in this house!

And this view from the slider between the dining area and living room:

Ahhh....can you imagine? I took lots of pictures of this view, so you'll be seeing it again. It was breathtaking.

I forgot to take a picture of the whole bathroom, but here are some details:

Flipper awaits your handwashing needs. This is the "Dolphin Bathroom." (Dang...or are they porpoises? How come I never look up this stuff before I blog? Oh well, too late now...)

If they WERE porpoises, this could be called her "All Porpoise Room." Heh heh...

Drawer and cabinet pull...uh...mammals.

So there are the first nine pictures. More to follow. Meanwhile, here's a peek at what's going on back at home:

It's a huge quilt, so I'll be working on it while you're touring Sue's house.
And yes, there will be pictures of her sewing room!

Friday, March 6, 2009

No Nene's Kauai Humane Society Quilt

I belong to a large quilt group called the "No Nene" group. We meet once a month on the North Shore of our island. It isn't an official guild, but we do manage quite a few fund-raising activities throughout the year. We don't have a facility at which we regularly meet; we usually meet at member's homes.

Recently, we met at Sue's house, which has several jaw-dropping features:

An oceanfront acre of Hanalei Bay. No kidding. Can you imagine? I'm giving you a peek at the front of the house as you walk up to it. On my next post, I'll show you more of the inside of the house and the views from her lanai. You will DEFINITELY want to come back for that, but today, we're going to talk about No Nene's fabulous quilt!

Continuing along with the "awesome" theme, this is the quilt that the No Nene group made for the annual Kauai Humane Society fundraiser:

Click to enlarge any of these pictures (it's worth it!). This quilt was a group effort. Many wonderful quilters worked hard on this quilt (sadly, I didn't attend much last year, so I can't take any credit at all). But I must mention Jeni Hardy as one of big contributors, as she set all the blocks together with the small mosaic sashing blocks, and also machine-quilted the quilt.

Fiber artist Lea Ingram designed the reef portion, hand-painted seabirds, and I'm sure was responsible for many more aspects of the quilt.

Various members made the creature blocks.

Many of these creatures were from commercial patterns. Barbara Bieraugel from the Big Island designed many of these blocks and her patterns are available through Kapaia Stitchery at 808-245-2281.

Some of these other blocks were from McKenna Ryan's Sea Breeze pattern series. I'm sure you can google that name and find a local source.

Fantastic machine-quilting, Jeni. You can't really tell in this picture, but the thread Jeni used was metallic sparkly thread and it gives the quilt a gorgeous shimmer.

I love the jellyfish! Well, I love the quilted version of the jellyfish. The real ones are not so great up close. My son and I had a run-in with a jellyfish when he was three and it was not pleasant for either of us. But they are quite beautiful from a distance!

I love the jumping dolphins! I can't figure out how they did that one. Broderie perse? Or Lea's amazing painting? I must ask next time.

Eileen Sanders embroidered the seahorses. Eileen does most everything by hand, so you can imagine what these look like up close.

I know some of the other No Nenes designed original blocks, but I don't have a listing of individual efforts. Besides, one of the meanings of "No Nene" is "No Name," so I guess that's appropriate. The group effort is what made this quilt so amazing.

Another view of the quilt, held by volunteers on Sue's lanai. I just love the colors in this quilt!

This quilt will be up for auction/ticket sales in May (I'm not sure exactly how they will be doing it this year.) For more information, you can call our Kauai Humane Society at 808-632-0610 Tuesday-Saturday. I don't think they know I'll be posting this, so early callers may get conflicting information. Our Humane Society is wonderful but small, so please be patient.

On my next blog post, I'll show you some more pictures of our meeting. You will not believe the view from the lanai. You just won't. I still can't....

Edited on 3/6/09 to add: Dr. Becky of the Kauai Humane society left this comment: "Aloha No Nene Quilters, Lisa Boyer and all, Absolutely stunning quilt and thank you so very much from all of us at Kauai Humane Society. Our annual dinner and silent auction is scheduled for May 9th at the Marriott with this year's theme, WOOFSTOCK. Go to kauaihumane.org for more details coming soon. Mahalo, Dr. Becky & the gang" Thanks for the info, Dr. Becky!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Economic Stimulus

This week, I've done my part for the economy. I'm not usually prone to the temptations of retail therapy, but something happened to my willpower this week. Perhaps these little Dutchboys and their cute little doggies had something to do with it:

My knees still go week when I look at this fabric. Look at those polite little doggies! Or how about this little animal party on pink gingham:

Agggh! Look at that elephant sleeping on his little rug. Irresistable. Don't they remind you of Little Golden Book characters? I got these two pieces (plus four others) from Superbuzzy. I LOVE Superbuzzy. I showed remarkable restraint. But someday, I'll have grandkids to sew for and all bets are off. Meanwhile, I'm slowly stockpiling. Stash stealth--that's my strategy. (It's also very hard to say ten times fast.)

Here is another purchase I made:

An adorable purse kit from Nanette at Freda's Hive. She supplied the instructions, outer panel fabrics, matching rick rack and fabric button (I LOVE that button!), and I supplied the handles and lining. The instructions were excellent and I'm very happy with how it turned out.

LOVE the button. Love the prints she picked out for this kit!

The instructions included this optional feature--slitted sides to make getting in and out of the bag easier. From now on, I'm giving all my bags this clever feature.

A peek at the inside. Don't you just love that yellow kitchen fabric??? Sigh.

The reverse--more wonderful prints.

I don't often buy kits because I feel like I want to make my "own" quilt or purse. But I love Nanette's taste so much! I wanted to work with what she picked out--and hopefully learn from her. I don't think I would have had the courage to mix these prints, but I did, and I lived! I LOVE this bag!

After I put Nanette's bag together, I had to have more. So I ordered this charm squares and trim kit from her:

It's a collection of lovely little prints and sweet trims. Some are vintage, some are Japanese imports, some are new fabrics. She also included a little precious pile of snippets, which I am still drooling over:

These are just a few of the snippets. Sigh. Thanks, Nanette. The kit is wonderful.

More excitement this week: I found a cigar box full of buttons and rick rack at a rummage sale:

These are just a few of my favorites. It's very hard to find anything old or antique here on the island; the weather, mold, mildew, bugs, etc. ad infinitum, are very hard on old things. People live a long life, but their stuff...not so much. So I'm always amazed when I run across things like this. It's very rare!

I also found a cutter cotton shirt that I couldn't pass up. The shirt was too small, but look at the fabric:

Happy frogs and mushrooms. I hope your day is as happy as these froggies.