Approaching deadline

40C01AEF-007D-440C-BF79-D732160411F3

It suddenly dawned on me that if it’s almost the end of May, then logically that means it’s almost June, which means I need to get cranking on this baby quilt all of a sudden. The baby is due in mid June.  I went from feeling like I had all the time in the world to wondering how I could’ve wasted so much time!

So I am back to jigsawing pieces of fabric together. It’s rainy and quiet and my family members are all cocooning  in their rooms, so it gives a lot of time to think about Memorial Day as I sew.

D8D6D369-B9A3-47F4-889B-595F7E08A60E

There are a lot of veterans in my family, but we were lucky enough to not lose any during active duty. I’m so grateful for that, and I’m thinking a lot about people who weren’t so lucky today. It is a very grim situation that much of the country finds itself in this Memorial Day, which makes it hard for people who have to mourn alone.  And there is so much to mourn right now.

I hope everybody is staying safe, and healthy, and finding people who they can connect with.

 

No drama llamas

E58C4333-EA46-419B-A75C-2BAD1B9311A0
My sister’s new house needed kitchen curtains.  Searching thru the fabric possibilities, she liked some llama tea towels I had saved for a future project, so curtains they became.

The towels were a set, but one of them had just the mountains on it, and one had three rows of llamas.  A little slicing and ripping out of old seams and adding in others, and two curtains were created where towels once were.

2BE10880-2387-4E36-B8AB-74D369205BD8

They look pretty cute in place too.

123_1

123_1_01

Life goes random

It’s been a week of great difficulties and a very few random small accomplishments.  Since the big troubles are outside the scope of this blog, here are some of the random things I accomplished this week.

I sewed some fabric masks for my nieces to wear in grocery stores.

CF05F353-EEED-4686-831C-47AF0D9A2264

I repotted my window cacti, something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time, but I feared the spines.

B5FC7CE6-60C6-4F05-92F4-7147A877D932

I bought the metal pots a while back at IKEA and then drilled a hole in the bottoms for drainage.  A very heavy duty gardening glove saved me from the spines.  And I used a technique I learned on Gardner’s World, where you put the old pot inside the new one and fill dirt around it and then it leaves the perfect sized hole for the plant when you take it out.

C5781D2F-7A7D-4387-9997-8FAA920CC083

And yet I still got dirt everywhere.

EC2485B5-3A00-488D-9AEE-C39C86EDC994

I also used an egg carton to start some pepper seeds.  I’ve never succeeded at growing peppers, but maybe this year?

8AD53E98-D4C5-4C7C-AD2C-3485C9FF8C79

More seeds still to plant.  It needs to be a bit warmer.  I had to put chicken wire around the new raised bed where these seeds will end up because the puppy (who is now 35 pounds!) keeps digging all the nice loose dirt out of it.

.And I did more work on my slippers, which were developing holes around the patched areas.  I don’t know why I don’t just knit new ones, but I’m entertaining myself with different techniques to stretch out their lifespans.  This time I tried needle felting.

416EB25A-C188-4694-BEE0-B5B6F55C663D

I didn’t have foam or a felting mat so I used my fingernail brush.  Other than the awkwardness of fitting it into the heel it did the job.  I used some of the multitude of fiber I have on hand for the spinning I never seem to do anymore and stabbed away on the inside-out slipper bottoms. It seems to have worked, and it doesn’t show from the outside.  A little more time added to extend their lives.  I’m running out of techniques though, so this might be their last chance and then I will have to pick up the knitting needles.

Other random accomplishments this week:  I ate a lot of cookies, got into zero fights with my housebound teenage sons, and reread a huge number of comfort novels.  All good things.

This is Spring Break week for three of us according to the school calendar.  Kind of meaningless under the circumstances.  My husband is still going to work, but has a furlough week next week as his company cuts back on payroll as orders are drying up.

My high school is going to attempt online school starting next week.  We had an exploratory Zoom session on Monday to see how that would work.  74 of 90 teenagers showed up for it, which was an encouraging sign.  It was so good to see them again, even if only in little squares on my tablet screen!

All but two of the 90 have signed up for the Google Classroom my teaching team has created, so we are hopeful.  We have an integrated project planned that isn’t overwhelming to get started, and a special ed teacher involved to add extra support.  Fingers are crossed.

Hoping you are all safe and healthy, wherever you are.

National Quilting Day

04805261-984C-4D84-A2C8-94BCFDC16D1B

Until today, I didn’t know there was a National Quilting Day.  Amazingly, considering I haven’t been working much at all, I actually worked on a quilt today. I must’ve sensed something in the air.

ACDBBE0E-5F99-4BC8-A30B-D6E98FB10F4A

I’m scrap piecing together a baby quilt for one of my team members. I’m not sure that the colors really look baby quilty, but she’s not a pastel person so I think she’ll like it.  And I’m having fun with the randomness as I build blocks and puzzle out combining the odd sizes.

C48CB9B5-5542-4C51-81B9-EBD5E0B81FCA

I need to decide soon if it’s going to be a square or a rectangle.

Well, this changes things

Sometimes the world makes a sudden sharp turn and becomes very bewildering.

1844E6C9-65F8-4934-AD27-B361CB5BB86C
Around here we are all feeling a little like our puppy Maxx right now.  Things are all upset.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I work for a school district. Work is apparently no longer the correct word. The governor of Washington has ordered all schools to be closed, and now we are awaiting guidance from admin about what that means for our students and ourselves.

My particular school is very online. The students all have Chromebooks, and are very used to using Google Classroom on a daily basis. However, that doesn’t mean everybody has access from home, and students who need special services to be academically successful also can’t just open their Chromebook and go for it.

A lot of students also rely on the schools for meals, but I’m happy to report that my district has a plan to continue availability of food. They’re going to run the buses on elementary school routes and at each bus stop people can wait and be handed their food.  They’re also going to have a couple of schools open where students can stop and pick up food.

While what I can only assume are fairly frantic administrative meetings are happening to decide how to deliver education as well as food if (when) this stretches out, the rest of us are at home waiting to hear the plan.  My teaching team and I have been having video meetings and brainstorming possibilities.

And as of now, I’m also self-isolating with two middle school sons, while my husband still has to go into work.

I want to say that I know we are very, very lucky. The state is going to continue to pay my salary while the schools are closed, and so far my husband’s company is not talking about layoffs. Compared to other people, we are going to be just fine. The hair salon my niece works at closed with just 20 minutes notice yesterday, my sister’s second job just laid her off, and with the new notice to close all restaurants and bars and allow only take out, a lot more people are going to suddenly lose their jobs.  So we are grateful for what we have and ready to offer help where we can to others in our community who are less fortunate.

My sister and I visited my mom today.  She lives in one of those active retirement community buildings, where they are highly discouraging visitors. Locked doors and signs everywhere levels of discouraging. So our visit looked like this:

52DBBFB0-98B0-4AF7-BF89-3388D224121D

We’ve told her that we will get her a bucket on a rope so we can keep her supplies of coffee creamer and chocolate topped up.

Luckily, during this sudden downtime, crafters can always come up with things to do.

I’ve started sewing again for the first time in a long time.  Baby quilts must be made!

And then there is the high volume soup making.

And, as long as the sunshine holds out, garden improvements. My new raised bed arrived recently so we put it together today.  It is steel and designed to develop a rusty orange patina very soon.

I also have supplies to make a lot more panels like this wire one that will go up on posts around the yard for vines to grown along.  One down, six more to go.

FAE4912E-518F-456F-B1F2-D675D2C4E4AD

And then there is the new puppy.  She is thrilled to have us around all the time!

38271602-DBB9-47FC-B714-3A031E8010A2

So, keeping busy isn’t a real concern. Keeping healthy is, but we’ve got plenty of soap and social distancing.  I know the boys are going to get bored a lot faster than I will, but one likes to play basketball in the street, and the other one sees his friends just as much in video games as he ever did in person, and I’m letting them ride their bikes all around as long as they avoid people. Eventually they’ll get desperate enough to read books and remember they used to like those.

And, as I’ve explained to them, I am certified in this state to assign them homework!

Hoping you all stay safe and healthy out there.

Mending

There is still very little crafting going on around here, as I continue to spend most of my time on my new job, or recovering from my new job, or cocooned on the couch watching inane television programs so I don’t have to think about my new job. No energy left for sewing or spinning or picking up stitches so my sweater will have sleeves.

However, I did manage to do some darning on my felted slippers.

5D99E8FD-2597-4159-B14C-3CBC6CD71FBE
I’ve knit the Fuzzy Feet slipper pattern a multitude of times. My go-to yarn for this is Lamb’s Pride worsted, a combination of wool and mohair which usually felts beautifully and wears like iron. Something went awry in the machine felting this time, and the felting density was uneven. Throwing them back in the machine stopped having any effect – it was apparently as felted as they were going to get.

Since I wear these slippers without paying much attention to what is good for them, the bottoms tend to wear out first. Usually this takes a year or so, because they’re so tough, so even wearing them outside on the cement walkways doesn’t do much for quite a while. But these slippers just haven’t lasted the way they usually do.

B9AE1182-A6AB-48F5-A284-524E8BE4C968

As I’m not spending much time knitting, I didn’t want to have to make another pair already, so I darned the bottoms instead where the yarn was starting to wear thin.

And I finally got to use the sock egg thingie I picked up a while back!

Horizontal stitches first, then weaving back and forth vertically and the worn spots of both feet have an extra layer built up again.

As you can see, I didn’t make any attempt to hide the fact that these are darned. If I was worried about a sophisticated slipper appearance, I probably wouldn’t be wearing these fuzzy feet slippers at all.  My criteria for slippers is all about warmth, nothing about appearance.

I really need to get on those sweater sleeves now. . .

Time?

A6386169-3FA9-460E-92B1-EE1B42CDC330
It may be time to get a new basic cookbook.

C87CAD4D-6D34-4447-8779-D359717ACA03

My  parents gave me this cookbook when I went away to college. So, more years ago than I care to recall correctly. Lately, my sons have been using it to make cookies. Which may explain its current state, although I’m sure some of those stains are from me.  I at least kept the pages in order though!

Betty, thanks for all the help over the years.

Other things I’m calling time on include the Papa sweater that I’ve attempted three times.
E86FAE86-C595-486A-B1BA-0D1A6F4BA233
All of those pictures are the same yarn.  It fascinates me how it can look so many colors in different lights.

But in all of those pics, the yarn, no matter its color, is in the shape of an ill fitting mess.  Just not the pattern for me or this yarn.  So many increases in such a short space left weird puckers that looked even stranger on.

48DC262C-794D-48D1-91BD-1863F9980778

C0581255-8D9F-4197-B461-ABA3AB6372B0

So attempt #3 is now back to its primordial yarn form.

3D061B3B-C1D8-4952-9AFE-9E8E35F0F67DI’m consoling myself with my at-last-blocked purple sweater.

D95F62A3-7976-47C4-98E4-FB0CA37B9F41

Woodfords turned out to be a light, comfy everyday cardigan that I will wear a lot.  The yarn, Silky Wool, stretched in length quite a bit in the blocking, and I still wish I’d used a size down in the needle for a denser fabric, but the sweater is still great, and all those many, many ends are finally sewn in, both from the pattern and the knots in a couple of the skeins.

Now back to shifting through Ravelry for the next project.

Winter celebrations

The first day of Hanukkah and the Winter Solstice coincide this year, which means it was dark enough to light the candle very early this evening.

A09A2B6B-6164-4ACA-9AF1-9C8D5CB647A1

My husband went all out on the latke making.

Meanwhile, my oldest son made his annual pretzel treats, this time with a new “recipe.”  (I’m not sure melting chocolate caramels and pretzels really counts as a recipe, but it’s tasty!)

4E3DF65F-9282-499C-8749-9FDC3AE63536FD22B31C-55DD-4651-84F2-8B8059ED8DEC

There were also mutant pink snowman that he made with the help of a silicone mold. I’m not sure anyone is going to be brave enough to eat them.

The kitchen may never recover, but we’re going to eat well for the next couple of days.

75057312-0E97-418E-9F1D-895CC2477446

Happy Hanukkah!  And bring on the longer days!

8267BFDA-9788-4058-92F1-FDDF09E3081E

Ewe and I

I spent the day yesterday at a wonderful new-to-me yarn shop in Chehalis with my fiber friends – Ewe and I.

B8FB179D-79D3-4DB7-B074-B20B7A17C4EB

It is both yarn shop and cafe, so we used it as our landing spot and drank many cups of tea while we split off in small groups to check out other nearby businesses.

I highly recommend the Sisters quilting store as well.  Maybe wear sunglasses – the fabric is bright!

43B751EF-9564-4B13-9DA9-5D8AD0CAB276

So much Kaffe Fassett.  The choices were mind boggling.

Lunch back at the yarn store was as lovely as the fiber choices.

737B8C03-B97B-4AA3-A147-C7C5BC48C21F

Definitely a town to return to.  It is already on the calendar.