Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Prayer Quilt

Sunday I was gifted with this surprise:

This prayer quilt is a gift from the Victory Prayer Quilt group at my church.  (For reference, my wals are lavender, not pink, and there is lavender in the quilt peeking out on the right.  The photo was taken with my phone and took all night to travel to my in-box--which reiiterates why I need to find my camera!)
It's beautiful--and I'm guessing it is the work of Judy, for whom I've quilted many prayer quilts over the years.  I've been one of the makers in that ministry since it was started many years ago (maybe around 2004 and 2005).  I'm blessed to receive it.  It will travel to the hospital with me on Friday.  Surgery has been moved up 1/2 hour; we still need many prayers for the DaVinci robot, because it's currently booked for someone else.  I did ask that the surgeon continue to let them know he wants to use it if it becomes available. It could significantly decrease both my healing time and my time in the hospital.

In the meantime, I'm praying, nesting, and avoiding places with sick people.  I do love just being home!

I hope for one or two more year's end quilt finishes since they need only binding. I knit in spare moments but am not sure I'll manage more year's end knitting finishes.

Happy knitting and quilting....

Saturday, December 23, 2017

I'm Back!!!

I'm back. That was a much longer break than I intended--due to camera issues (it's disappeared)!

I just finished quilting and binding this and hanging it on our door.  Pre-printed panel made it great for quilting fun. I think it's the only finish (or start, for that matter) since the unintended blogging break that started in June.

Mostly I've been knitting socks (most still in progress) and one finished fade sweater.  Pictures later, hopefully.

In the meantime, the Engineer returned to school and is half way (maybe farther) through her master's degree.  I was offered a new job, which I accepted, but have worked there for only one week since my previous school refused to release me earlier. I was in physical therapy for quite a while because my lumbar spine and sacrum kept locking up (and because it took five months to get into the orthopedist who specializes in backs). There is some lumbar deterioration that is common with aging, but what an MRI showed in addition is a pelvic mass, which raises concerns for ovarian cancer. Blood markers for cancer are only slightly elevated, CT scans show the mass but are not definitive.  Therefore, next Friday, 12/29, I'm scheduled for surgery.  In addition to praying for healing, we are praying the DaVinci computerized surgery and surgery room become available--since five small incisions would heal much more quickly than one vertical incision. (Sick days do not transfer to new jobs, so I've lost six weeks of sick leave and have only five days, which will not be sufficient.) My daughter doesn't have to return to university until January 22, so that is a blessing.  In the meantime, I'm praying a lot, keeping things calm and sweet, and enjoying all the small delights and music that make the holidays so special.  I welcome additional prayers for healing and for the availability of the DaVinci since it's scheduled for weeks out and we need it to become available for this coming Friday.

I hope to post more of what I've been making and working on soon.

Happy knitting and quilting, and have wonderful joyous holidays!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fistful of Fiber Gorgeous

I want to share more gorgeous yarn from the Albuquerque Fiber Fiesta.

LaDonna Maxwell has been dyeing fiber for four years and lives near Las Cruces, New Mexico.
She names her colorways after places is New Mexico.  I wasn't paying attention to that.  When I got home I saw that she had named the lower one, which has more mossy greens than evident in the photo, for the little town just up the road.

Here's a photo of her card.  She's in the process of setting up her web site for shopping, but is still loading yarns.
LaDonna is very talented--and nice!

Happy quiltmaking and knitting,

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Spring to Summer Needle Activity

I enjoyed a few days off work, went back for a day of training yesterday, and am now ready to enjoy our short summer break (one day shy of two months).  I'm not sure exactly when teachers got a three month spring break (never in my nearly four decade career), but we did get 10-week breaks in the past.  I hope I can find enough energy to make this one productive in quite a few ways. 

A couple of months ago a dear friend said I needed red socks.  I don't do red socks, so I inquired if fuchsia would work.  I finished the first pair a few weeks ago and posted about them here.

 This yarn is in the Djinni color way from an independent dyer and was purchased last year. Toe up, a basic heel flap I've used for years, and an instep and ankle  pattern lifted from a piece of knitting not originally on a sock.

The rest of these yarns were purchased from vendors at the Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta May 17.  I went looking specificially for yarns containing fuchsia.  I've finished one pair so far.
 This color way is Big Girls Don't Cry from Zia Woolz.  Some of her yarns can create a multi-colored set of stripes depending upon how many stitches are cast on and the size of the needles.  I used 2.25 mm needles and may have cast on 32 stitches.  Toe up, one circular needle, short row heel from Arne & Carlos, for which they have posted both Norwegian and English tutorials on their blog and You-Tube.

I forgot to take a picture in the skein, so here's a little bit of the yarn in a ball and the socks.  I loved the way these pooled.  I also made them a bit shorter for summer.  No pattern; I just improvised as I went.

 These are in process and are Honey Bee from Zia Woolz.  Not a lot of fuchsia but lots of colors that appeal to bees when they are in floral form.  I've done a lot of darker socks lately, so these are kind of refreshing--and this is just plain vanilla.  I'll probably do another German short row heel.

More Fiber Fiesta yarns:
 Hot Mama from Zia Woolz.

 Velvet Touch from Zia Woolz. This is 5% gold stellina.

 Bougainvilla from Wooly Wonka.  Another customer had just bought every skein of this when I arrived, so Anne showed me a mini-skein and went home and dyed this one up for me.

Since I had been so focused on fuchsia at the show, and was rushed, as well, I never made it back to her booth to get Sea Dragon, so she died one of those for me too.
 This is more in line with what I usually purchase, but the copper colors in this make it very special.
 Photos don't do it justice.

And this is the drawstring bag with yellow ribbons that I made a couple of months ago and have been taking with me amost everywhere so that I can keep knitting, even when I'm walking.

Despite everything I've tried in order to increase the speed of my knitting, even in the vanilla sock version it takes me two minutes and forty seconds to complete a 64 stitch round English style and three minutes twenty seconds to do it continental style.  However, I'm still likely to switch hands now and then.

As for quilting, it's been several months since I've done any serious sewing!  And summer passes swiftly!  I'm trying to watch knitting vlogs while I knit at home.  Maybe I'll learn something.

Happy quilting and knitting,

Saturday, May 13, 2017

She Did It!

The College Girl is now an engineer!

 Before the ceremony...
 ...and after with one of New Mexico Tech's iconic buildings in the back ground...
 She earned a B.S. in Materials Engineering and Science with a Metallurgy Option.

With one of her best friends.

She'll be back next year to finish her master's.

It was a good day!

Happy quilting and knitting (I did some knitting while we waited.)...

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Finished Knit

A finished pair of socks.  Traditional Gansey stitch pattern.  No written pattern since I did toe up two-at-time on circular needles with a heel variation. There is a bit of stellina fiber in this yarn.  My concern that it might be a bit scratchy was entirely unfounded.  I don't feel it, but I do love the bit of sparkle.

I started these about a week into April, knowing I was going to have  time merely waiting on other people to do things in April and that, secondly, this is historically a very windy month, and knitting is a good distraction. Therefore, knitting socks allowed me to be productive instead of crazy.

I've decided I need more fuchsia yarn for more fuchsia socks, although mostly I just need more socks because the ones I began knitting about eight or nine years ago are wearing out--not that my early socks fit all that well anyway.  This is a great time to knit socks since there are so many indie dyers doing absolutely amazing yarn dyeing on such a wide variety of bases.

This afternoon I'm tying to finish up another pair of socks that had been languishing since sometime in 2016. This has been a good weekend for knitting since it came with a major cold-front, high winds, and a reported nine inches of snow.  This snow storm was the only major snow storm we've had this winter (aside from quite a few little ones).  It was fascinating to hear and sometimes watch the snow slide off my less-than-a-year-old metal roof. I'm thinking the drip line below my roof is going to be a wonderful place for some blooming plants, since if we have a normal winter with normal snows and a normal summer with normal monsoons, a lot more moisture will be benefiting the soil.

I am still trying to figure out what I'd like to grow as a ground cover. Someone suggested vinca major, so I may try some of that. While I'd love to grow rosemary and lavender, I priced bulk rosemary seed and about fell over.  I had an ever-expanding rosemary patch that was obliterated last year when I lost control of the yard and had to hire someone to mow it while I was at work.  I'm hoping some of the rosemary will reappear this year; if so, I'll begin moving it to a better location. Because of our high wind/desert location, our choices for ground cover are somewhat limited. (Not the my neighbor's invasive sumac and choke cherries have gotten the message that we don't want them!)

Less than a month until the end of my school year.  Two weeks until my daughter  graduates with a Bachelor's in Materials Science & Engineering.  She'll be home while she works in ABQ at her summer internship and then will head back to Socorro for her master's degree.  I'm hoping I can be more productive in the housekeeping and quiltmaking departments this summer.

Happy quiltmaking, knitting, etc.,

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Quilt Dedication - March 2017

We held a quilt dedication today.  Over 60 quilts made by members of our Victory Prayer Quilt Group and members of our congregation were dedicated to service and, over the next few months, will be distributed to family and friends of our church family as well as members who are battling cancer and other serious health challenges.

The phone photos I took yesterday were not very good, and there were bunches of things I had to do before the first service today, so I took these quickly between services--which will explain the images that include the tops of people's heads.
 When we have a dedication, all the people at the church service are invited to lay hands on the quilts as we pray together and commission the quilts for service.
 One of the exciting aspects of this ministry is that sometimes the quilts are treasured for years by the original recipients, and sometimes they pass them on to others who also experience healing beyond what their medical teams expect.
 The altar cloth is a collaboration of several members of our group created from a commercial pattern quite a few years ago. (I remember quilting it on one of my treadles in my living room.)
 Just as I'm fascinated by the colors quiltmakers choose to use, I'm fascinated by the colors which appeal to the people who choose a quilt to give or the people who choose a quilt.

 I'm not at all sure why that white black and red quilt is folded so small. (I did not set up that part of the display.)
Not all the quilts are pictured.  I think someone began talking to me, and because of the distraction, I thought I'd snapped a couple of photos when I hadn't.

In my family we've been praying for a cousin with lung cancer despite no known risk factors.  She is being blessed with lots of prayer support.  Yesterday the upper lobe of her left lung was removed in robotic surgery at Johns Hopkins.  Another cousin is in a rehabilitation facility in Lincoln, Nebraska following an industrial accident that has resulted in paralysis from the neck down.

Tomorrow Victory Quilters are getting together to sew some quilts appropriate for children because so many youngsters with connections to our congregation have faced some very serious health challenges lately, and we think we need a shelf for some fun, juvenile quilts to comfort therm on their journeys toward healing.

I have five days off from work and am soooo looking forward to time at home, and hoping I can manage at least one pajama day. I already have several things on the calendar the will require me to leave home, but if my scanner will work correctly, I may avoid a trip into Albuquerque. Then I'll have two more months until the end of the school year.

I'm also trying to get some new socks knitted--since socks I made eight years or so ago are wearing out at an alarming rate. Yes, I take my knitting almost everywhere--even to lunch today with the College Girl before she headed to the airport to pick up classmates and then back to her university. (I'm thinking we'll change her nickname to The Engineer, although she has begun work on her master's, and we should have a graduation not only this May but also next May.  I'm pleased with what a hard worker she is.)

I'm also marking five years post assault/brain injury. Only occasionally do I grieve what I lost in that injury and will never recover.  My journey since then has been filled with more blessings than I can innumerate.

Happy quiltmaking, knitting, and creating,....

Monday, February 20, 2017

5 Fat Quarter Fun February Quilt

I'm always interested in discovering good inspirations for prayer quilts.  Although I almost always design my own quilts, it's sometimes nice to let someone else do the design work and write the pattern.

So, when I saw Amanda and Amber's Chains of Love quilt, I thought, "That's a perfect weekend of quilting quilt!"

 I decided I'd do it in pinks and fuchsia, and received a notice of a perfectly timed fat quarter sale at Southwest Decoratives/Kokapelli Quilting Company.
 So, I bought some fat quarters from Southwest Decoratives and a lovely pale pink solid from Busy Bee Quilts.

Then after I cut the fat quarters, I remembered the pale pink and ivory quilt I made in the early 1980s that ended up being so bright that I had to throw it in a pot of blue dye to quiet it down. It would not be wise to make another too pink quilt, especially not in this design!

 I switched to a soft grey for the background. (I meant to pick up more gray this morning when I went out to visit the lab for a test, but I forgot--which is just as well since Busy Bee doesn't open until 9:00.)

I'm sure I'll be much happier with this pairing--although if I had recognized the problem I was about to create sooner, I might have used a couple of different pink fat quarters.

This pattern can be found here.

I first recognized the appeal of a pink/grey and pink/black combination when I was seven, and my family went to see some western movie in which the lady in the saloon wore skimpy pink and gray costumes and decorated her upstairs apartment in pink and black.  Of course, I was too innocent to have a clue about what her skimpy clothing and upstairs apartment represented; I have no memory of who the actress was or of the name of the movie.  But I do remember the colors!

I also love the idea of creating quilts with just five fat quarters and some yardage and plan to step up my designing--although I am just as likely to use four or six fat quarters.

I'm planning to finish sub-cutting the gray and to begin piecing today.  I have left-overs for lunch and the rest of my Presidents' Day holiday to enjoy my place of bliss.

Happy quiltmaking and crafting,

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

May Your Week Be Filled with Love

This sweet jacket was made just about 40 years ago.
 Although it was sewn together on the machine and the bias binding was applied by machine, the applique and quilting were  done all by hand. It's my original design.

 If I remember correctly, I created the design for a pillow for my white sofa, and then thought it needed to appear on something else, but I didn't want to make it over and over for a quilt.  Yes, there was once a time when single and childless made white fairly practical.

 Each sleeve was adorned with one applique heart plus two quilted ones.
I was not the kind of gal who wore her heart on her sleeve, but these seemed okay.
The red fabric was left over from a shirt I made my dad as either a Christmas present or a birthday present, probably in 1967 or 1968. The green is by Wamsutta and is one of the few 100% cotton prints available at the time. The white is a  simple unbleached muslin, probably purchased from J. C. Penney.  Yes, every Penney's store had a nice big fabric department back then.

 Each front was also treated to a heart, along with some clam-shell quilting.
 Such fine stitches!  It was hand-quilted on a 14-inch wooden hoop with Coats & Clark hand-quilting thread.

The tiny little applique stitches were learned by studying my paternal grandmother's applique.  She was the first Dolly I knew of, although her full name was Dora Maude Shreve Scheer. She passed away when my dad was ten years old.

I made the jacket because I certainly wasn't inviting people into my bedroom--or at least that's what we joked at the time. Quilt shows were almost unheard of--at least where I lived in Central Illinois.  I think the closest we came to a quilt show was the annual Mennonite Farm Sale at Exposition Gardens in Peoria, Illinois.

I haven't worn it for years.  It's too small for me now because at the time I made it I was ill and quite thin. My daughter is much too thin to wear it, so it lives in my closet, and I take it out occasionally and reminisce about making it and how much simpler life back then seems in retrospect and compared to the lives we live today. I know it merely seems to have been simpler because our healthy brains are smart enough understand that gratitude is life-sustaining, so we've tossed most of the negative memories and experiences.

I hope you're feeling loved today and that you take time to celebrate love all week!

Happy quiltmaking,

Monday, February 6, 2017

Another Unexpected Quilt

A little over a year ago one of our church families lost their high school son in an early morning accident as he drove into Albuquerque on the interstate to attend his high school.  I passed the tragic scene (semi trailer and car charred almost beyond belief) and offered up a prayer for those involved, not finding out until evening that my prayer had been for that sweet boy. He was an immensely talented young man with a great personality.  The family moved away shortly afterward.  I fully understand that the most daunting grief anyone ever experiences is the loss of a child and all the attendant hopes and dreams.  Today, we heard from the mother that now her two year old nephew has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and will be undergoing ten months of radiation and chemo.

These fabrics were gifted to me, but haven't made it into a quilt yet. They've been stacked in my line of sight for the last several months, because they needed to become a prayer quilt for a child. I haven't settled on a design--and am open to suggestions--and will sleep on it tonight, and maybe the next several nights. I often dream great quilts, and that needs to happen now.

I put out a call to members of my Victory Prayer Quilters group for volunteers to quilt and bind and for backing.  Hopefully, I'll be able to start cutting tomorrow after work and physical long as I have a design in my head by then.

Happy quiltmaking, knitting, etc.,

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