Stash and Puppies

I haven't blogged for a week, so I figured I best come up with something *really* good to talk about. Work has been incredibly busy, I'm stitching as fast as I can at home to finish up stuff before heading to Nashville and there's nothing unusual going on that's remotely blog-worthy.

So I'm resorting to the old standbys: Puppies, Stash and Tons of Pictures.

Exhibit A: Nero

Isn't that the most adorable little face? Wait...I've got a better one....

Exhibit B: Nero Crashed On The Back Of The Couch

Exhibit C: Greta And The Coleslaw

Yes, you read that right, this is Greta after removing her nose from the KFC coleslaw container. *I* didn't give it to her of course, but DH some other nameless adult in the house did.

Exhibit D: The Puppy Shot

They don't like us at all. It's a pity really.

Exhibit E: The Trio

They were in close proximity and I was able to snap quickly. It's *something*!

Exhibit F: Trade Stash

Enchanter is now living in sunny Florida and these wonderful fabric specimens are now resting comfortably with some of their "cousins" in my stash.

Thanks, Belinda!

Exhibit G & H: Knitpicks is Goooooood

Nothing like getting a box full of yarn in the mail...

The red is destined to be some nice wool socks and the blue is a cotton/modal (whatever that is) blend is going to be the purse on the cover of Last Minute Knitted Gifts

This is going to make that pattern underneath - it's a "faux argyle" with knits/purls. Very cool.

Exhibit I: Lusting for Lorna

This is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn. Yes, it's just as soft as the picture. This was a recent ebay find....

Exhibit J: But First....

Hey, in my defense I started this on Saturday before going to the Braves v Diamondbacks baseball game (Braves won...we went to the right game of the series as they *lost* the other two on Friday and Sunday). I thought I might knit at the game. I didn't, but I *did* in the car on the way there....not a total waste!


New StRIP List

Ok, after the "Great Purge of 2005" here's what's left (In no particular order):

Butterfly Lace - Victoria Sampler
Heirloom Christmas Sampler - Victoria Sampler
Stroke of Midnight - TW
Dragon Ride - TW
Noah's Ark - TW
Autumn Queen - Mirabilia
Emerald Mermaid - Mirabilia
Christmas Elegance - Mirabilia
Quilt Mystery - Chatelaine
Egyptian Garden - Chatelaine
Sampler of Unpublished Insertion Stitches - Martha Schmidt
Neptune/Poseidon - Lynne Nicoletti
L'Epoch Nouveau - Dimple Designs
Edith Wolford - Silver Lining
Santa's Midnight Ride - Dutch Treat
Fortunate Traveler - TW
English Garden Welcome - TW
Medieval Majesty - Leon Conrad

Other Commitments:
Enchanting Lair Model
Ornament RR - began June '05
Bent Creek Snap-Along (2005)

As of July 2005 - 21
Finished - 0
New Starts - 0
Total - 21

Goal for December 2005 - Under 20 (including RRs) I'll go out on a limb and say that Autumn Queen and Butterfly Lace will definitely be finished this year.


Rotation/Stitching Thoughts - Followup

Thought I forgot about this, didn't you?

Well, I didn't. I've just had a few (*cough* two *cough*) new distractions at home... [by the way, I'm working on a "family shot" of the three of 'em, but having them sit still long enough for the digital to actually take the pic has been a challenge. Or if they are still, they aren't all looking the same way...]

After ruminating on my list and pulling out a few of the pieces, I did put up for adoption five of the "retired" WIPs. Celestial Dragon, Magical Night and Enchanter all have new homes (they will be mailed tomorrow, ladies). Lady of the Flag has a couple of suitors but Peace (Silver Lining) is still a "wallflower" (get it? Ha!). I'm sure she'll be claimed eventually.

Next was a good look at the dreaded "obligation" pieces that I have. Now, none are difficult or even annoying to stitch on, I've simply let the due dates creep too close. So, as noted for this month's goals, I should have one finished completely and the second (a model due for Nashville) will get all my attention.

Once those two are out of the way, the only "obligation" stitching will be smallish pieces - my current Ornament RR (which I'm caught up on, finishing the first piece last weekend) and the Bent Creek Snap-Along (which I'm technically a month behind....choosing to work up the 4th of July Holiday snapper rather than "July Sings" - oh well).

So what will be my new rotation? Well, it'll be goal-based. Monthly goals that is.

That's right, I'm going with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude and simply adapting a new Rotation-Style driven by monthly goals. That's been the one constant in the "successful" months over the last 18 months. Goals will minimally cover any obligation stitching (RRs, SALs), incorporate some knitting and address at least one large WIP (Autumn Queen to begin with). I usually manage to hit most of my goals and *still* have a bit of "free time" to spend on either a new small start (you wouldn't believe the size of the box I have with fully-kitted small projects) or some other screaming WIP.

Goals will be documented here each month with a short review of the previous month's progress (just like I have been doing).

I've smashed thru my StRIP goal for the year, so I'll amend it to say I'd still like to have at least one fewer WIP than I have right now. We'll get more ambitious next year....

Tomorrow, a full StRIP list....


Three Times the Love

So, Saturday I needed to get some dogfood.

DH accompanied me on my usual Saturday errands (so he could add a couple) and that means we *both* hit the pet store.

Of *course* we had to check out the puppies. I mean, we had been planning to get Greta a buddy here soon and if they happened to have a male schnauzer....well...

Meet Nero:

Nero is a three month old salt and pepper miniature schnauzer. Fixed, chipped and such a sweetie.

Now, two should be plenty, right? Right?

Well, that would be the case if they hadn't had....


This darling baby girl is five months old and was rejected by someone that specifically asked for a white female schnauzer :( With various sales and discounts...she was *almost* free and how could we leave her?!?

Greta had *no* problems when we brought them home yesterday. She patiently stood and let them sniff. Not a growl when they discovered her toys and food/water bowls. She is definitely the "momma" and played with them most of the evening, but kept them in the front room or kitchen with us and gave them the tour of the backyard.

Heaven help me, we are now a three-dog family!


Rotation/Stitching Thoughts

At the end of April, my real life went thru some upheaval that continued for well over two months. It was a miracle I picked up *anything* involving needle and thread during that time, let alone kept to a documented rotation.

But we're back on an even keel now, so time to do some analysis and get back to making progress.

As you may have noticed from various posts and my sidebar over there -> I've expanded the scope of my stitching to include significantly larger needles and thread (knitting). I've never been bothered by a long WIP list (I just don't share it too often...ha!) and as much as I'd like to whittle it down to something less than 10, that's a loooooong-term goal and not suitable for each month.

And if you think I can go *years* without a new start...think again.

It was that attitude that started my StRIP (Stash Reduction Implementation Plan) adventure over two years ago with the folks on the Rotation BB. I must admit, it's been a modest success. I was pushing 40 projects when it started, and now I'm around 30. Granted, many of those projects were unceremoniously "retired" rather than completed....but given the slow shift in my taste and priorities, that's not unexpected.

What is surprising, is that I feel the urge to do it again. Yup, officially "retire" a few more that I simply don't see myself finishing any time....ever. Various reasons (like last time) - yucky fabric, taste change, something more appealing in the same subject waiting, icky chart, all the usual suspects. Is it a dose of Cold Hard Reality creeping in? Probably. A way to find a lower number of Projects without having to invest the long hours to finish projects that would be folded up in a drawer and forgotten? Oh yeah.

Candidates? You want to know what I'm thinking of dumping?

Sitting down, right? There are a few shockers here....

Project: Storyteller - TW
Reason: Yucky fabric. The Quaker Cloth has not held up well with the repeated handling required by this project (worked in hand). It's gotten too soft and the weight of the stitching is having a detrimental effect on the fabric. This can only get worse as I'm not quite half-way with it.
Restart? Possibly. Definitely on something lighter in color and heavier in weave, though.

Project: Lady of the Flag - Mirabilia
Reason: I'd rather stitch Queens. She doesn't quite *fit* with them, though.
Restart: Highly unlikely.

Project: Peace - Silver Lining
Reason: I've started this twice already. Once over-1 and this time over-2 and I'm still not happy with the results. I give up. There are other flowers of Marc's that I like much better.
Restart: Maybe...but a smaller version

Project: MH Honeybees
Reason: I don't know what possessed me to ever get this in the first place.
Restart: Heavens, no.

Project: Enchanter - TW
Reason: I don't know what I'd do with him if he ever was finished!
Restart: Unlikely. This is a kit, though, so technically he'll just be in true "UFO" status (unless I find him a new home...which is possible)

Project: Magical Night - TW (with HUGE apologies to Justyna)
Reason: Same as Mr. E above.
Restart: No. I found *perfect* fabric for this and it still doesn't grab me. Maybe I've been corrupted by all the nasty rumors of stitching pegasi wings....

Project: Mystery 6 (Indian Summer Reflections) - Chatelaine
Reason: I like the newer mandala gardens so much more!
Restart: Not the whole piece, but possibly bits and pieces. I can simply finish the center and have a great piece for the top of a box....

Borderline Projects (I can't decide one way or the other...so they stay for now):

Project: Celestial Dragon - TW (Sorry, Suz!)
Reason: Permin Linen + over-1 = headache. It's also 28-ct, so he's *huge*
Restart: Possible. I'd almost like to find him a new home....he'll be stunning on the Star Sapphire Linen.

Project: Santa's Midnight Ride - Dutch Treat
Reason: Fabric is yucky to work on: stiff and fuzzy (18-ct worked over-2). But it goes quickly and I have the perfect spot for the table topper to live during the holidays....
Restart: No...but it's probably only 40-50 hours to finish it....

Ok, so if I eliminate 8 of the 9 above, that leaves me under 20 projects in the "official" WIP list:

Stroke of Midnight - TW
Dragon Ride - TW
Fortunate Traveler** - TW
Noah's Ark - TW
English Garden Welcome** - TW
Autumn Queen - Mirabilia
Emerald Mermaid - Mirabilia
Christmas Elegance - Mirabilia
Quilt Mystery - Chatelaine
Egyptian Garden - Chatelaine
Heirloom Christmas Sampler - Victoria Sampler
Butterfly Lace* - Victoria Sampler
Sampler of Unpublished Insertion Stitches - Martha Schmidt
Neptune/Poseidon - Lynne Nicoletti
L'Epoch Nouveau - Dimple Designs
Medieval Majesty** - Leon Conrad
Edith Wolford - Silver Lining
Santa's Midnight Ride - Dutch Treat

* - Less than 10 hours to finish
** - Under 10 hours done. I'd probably drop these from the list for now and add them back in once I've freed up other "spots."

Wow, I've hit my StRIP goal for the year (under 25) and I've barely taken a stitch.


My spouse *really* wants me to get Autumn Queen up on the living room wall (I guess he thinks Winter is lonely). Every time I finish an ornament or other small project lately, after the "Nice!" I get the comment "...but I can't hang it on the wall."

I would really like to have Heirloom Christmas Sampler done for holiday hanging (heck, it'll hang year-round just like my other stuff). That tree though...[shudder]. I'm about a third of the way thru it and had to start the next bands for sanity's sake.

The only rotation system that has been working lately is the Monthly Goals. I keep them pretty reasonable and meet *most* by monthend (hey, if I made it easy, where would the challenge be?).

I've just been gifted with Chatelaine Midi 1. If I use DMC rather than the NPI (which I'm not enamored with by any stretch) I could have it kitted fairly quickly (and at reasonable cost). I have the fabric, too. It's not as large as Egyptian Garden and only has six parts.

I have a model I *must* finish ASAP. I have a small exchange piece I must finish as well.

So that's the situation. Let's ruminate on this for a day and see if I can come up with a workable plan.... thanks for listening to me "thinking out loud" :) Feel free to provide feedback/suggestions/etc.....I'll post to the Rotation BB for additional discussion opportunities...


Picture Parade

I promised pics this week and I'm here to deliver on both finished and new projects....

First, Mom's socks were completed with 5+ hours to spare! (Finished at 12:30pm and we left for dinner just after 6)

The yarn is from Knitpicks - Sock Garden in Hydrangea. Very nice stuff to work with. The pattern was from Angel Yarns - it was included in the "Sock Starter Kit" with Opal Sock yarn. Way easy....

Next up was a Bent Creek Snapper finish:

I know, it's not the official "July" Snapper...but hey, I'm close! I started it on the 4th and finished it Sunday. DMC on Light Sand Belfast...just like the others.

Of course with two finishes, that means two starts, right?

This lovely cornflower blue snake is the beginnings of the Vintage Camisole. More Knitpicks yarn...Wool of the Andes (in Cornflower) if I remember correctly (you might think it would be printed on the label there...but it's not). There's a crochet edging for the bottom to tame the stockinette curl.

Finally, I'd like to *finally* introduce the beginnings of my Pi Shawl:

This is 20+ rounds in (first round at 144 for Jenni's reference). See that pretty stitch marker? That's one that Jenni sent me (I'm using a couple on the tank, but failed to position them appropriately for the picture...sorry).

This puppy was a PITA to start. You start with 9 stitches on 3 double-pointed needles. And you are *supposed* to use an "invisible cast-on" with a crochet hook and loop of yarn. Yeah. Now, I know how to crochet and while it took some serious willpower to leave the loops *on* the hook as I was working them into the center loop, I managed my nine stitches and transferred them to the three DPNs.

Then the fun began. Three slippery needles....laceweight yarn....a mere three stitches on each needle and doing yarn over increases to double the number of stitches.


So does it surprise *anyone* that somewhere around Round 5 I dropped a stitch and didn't find it until Round 10? I thought not. So out it all came and I started again.

Pick up loops....leave them on hook...transfer to DPN and juggle while trying to knit with teeny-tiny yarn and pull the center loop tight.....

Not happening.

The third time is the charm, as usual. I surrender the "Invisible" Battle, but I'm not ready to give up on the war. I revert to my old stand-by (long tail) and cast on nine beautifully even stitches, arrange them on the DPNs and I'm off and running.

A couple hours later I transferred to the circular needle and all was well in the Pi Battle....


Meme Day

It's been a hectic week as you may have guessed with the serious lack of entries.

I better should have some finished items to show off next week and possibly the beginnings of a new knitting project...

For now, I am hiding behind a couple memes!

Booking Through Thursday (June 30)

Most people I know enjoy some sort of mystery stories. My mother-in-law loved police and courtroom procedurals. My mother likes detective fiction. There are also murder mysteries, general mysteries, and hard-boiled detective stories, with protagonists such as Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade, Amelia Peabody, Kinsey Millhone, Mamur Zapt, and Perry Mason to name a few.

  1. Do you enjoy reading mysteries? Love them! One of my top two genres to read (Fantasy being the other)

  2. What's your favorite kind of mystery? Murder mysteries are number one. Yeah, throw some other felonies in for some added flavor, but I want a dead body right in the middle! I love historicals and "cozy" mysteries and anything with a dash of humor. I usually avoid "True Crime" types - I much prefer fiction. The closest I'll come to "courtroom" style is Perry Mason - haven't read any others that appeal in the category.

  3. Do you like plenty of blood and guts, or do you prefer the details to be left to the reader's imagination? You can keep the blood and guts.....I can imagine plenty.

  4. Do you prefer mystery stories based in the author's time or in previous centuries? I love historical-based stories and will pick those up off the shelf first. Whether it's the past for the author or not doesn't make a difference. I love Rex Stout - his Nero Wolfe books were mostly contemporary for him, but they are historical for me.

    Not to say I don't read modern mysteries.....I'm not-so-patiently waiting on the newest Janet Evanovich from my mother. Love Dan Brown's stuff, too.

  5. Do you prefer mysteries based in your own country, or in distant lands? Reading about far away countries is as close as I get to travelling right now. Someday I hope to *see* some of the landmarks in the books....

  6. Do you like to figure out the solution, or do you allow yourself to be carried away with the story? I just let the story unfold. Sometimes it's fairly obvious what the solution is, but the journey the detective/sleuth/protagonist takes is most of the fun

Booking Through Thursday (July 7)

My own personal definition of a coffee table book is a book that is large, over-sized, has lots of pictures, is about a specific theme (e.g., Georgia O'Keeffe's 100 Flowers, steeple chasing, Disney Animation, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc.) and generally speaking not something that most people would sit down and read in an afternoon. Coffee table books are often displayed singly or in piles for the benefit of guests to peruse, to stimulate conversation, because they look good, or whatever.

  1. Do you have any coffee table books? A couple....

  2. Do you have one or two, or would you say you have a collection of them? Not a collection of coffee table books, but books that are part of an overall collection or interest.

  3. Do you keep them on your coffee table? If not, where? No...they are in the office or bedroom with the other books (Don't want them to get lonely, ya know).

  4. What are they about? I have two on the making of my favorite move - "Gone With the Wind." Great behind-the-scenes photos and stories. The most read book is about the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. The photographs...oh my. Stunning, simply stunning. He was a true genius of an architect. Not so nice of a man, but we all have our challenges ;)

  5. Have you read them? All of them? None? Why? I have definitely read them all! Cover to cover, several times.

Stitching Bloggers Question (June 22)

Are there any types of designs that you won't stitch?

"Won't" as in "never-ever no matter who designs it or the subject matter"? I can't honestly say there are design types I can positively state I will never stitch. Tastes change...and while I hope I never have the urge to stitch cutesy animals and uber-country scenes, I've stitched them in the past!

I usually avoid primitives...but there are a few designers that can tempt me to cross the line (Bent Creek at the top of the list). I'm not a fan of computer-converted artwork, but I am still drawn to some specific artists (Monet is #1 there) and may someday take the plunge (in something smallish - not the poster-sized versions). Oh, wait, I do have a version of Van Gogh's Starry Night in my stash.....so my feet are already wet.

Stitching Bloggers Question (June 29)

When starting a new project, do you start in the middle? If you do, once you've worked down to the bottom, do you turn your chart and fabric around so that you are stitching the top section downwards again or do you just stitch upwards from the middle?

First, I *never* turn my chart and fabric. My brain invariably would turn them back the right way and I'd just make a mess! Stitches going the wrong way...not pretty.

As for starting, it depends. If there's no border, I usually start in the middle (even on band samplers) or somewhere close. If there's a border, I'll work an outline (if there's an outer band of stitches) or part of one side before making my way to the middle.

Stitching Bloggers Question (July 6)

Do you think that you stitch neater on Evenweave than you do on Aida cloth? If so, why?

Is this a trick question? I can't remember the last time I worked on Aida and if I *did* it would only be for something with *zero* fractionals. Fractionals on aida are just pure torture.

I will say my evenweave stitching is usually neater and more even than my linen stitching. Not that that is a *bad* thing, it's just part of the character of a linen project. If I'm doing lots of over-1, I absolutely want evenweave and preferably a good thick variety (Jubilee - my favorite for pure over-1).


July Goals & Weekend Stuff

Well, my June goals are MIA (eaten in the ezMess), so I can unofficially say I met them all ;)

Yeah, I know, it's cracking me up, too.

Let's see what's on tap for July:

July Goals

Finish Mom's socks for birthday dinner on Saturday, July 9th (her birthday is the 10th. The big 6-0).
Stitch first Ornament in new RR
Make progress on Faerie Blue
Finish Seasonal Exchange piece
Start/Finish July Snapper
Start/Finish 4th of July Snapper
Start DD's knitted tank
Start Pi Shawl

Whew...better get moving...

Weekend Stuff

I took last Friday off for a luxurious 4-day weekend. We didn't have any plans other than lots of baseball and some serious DVD time. June was hectic for us and we all needed some time for deep breaths and copious sleep (ok, maybe only the adults needed the sleep).

Here's how it went:

Friday - the usual Saturday errands (which really threw off the internal clock) and a relaxed dinner out at a local Mexican place.

Saturday - Quality time with Hydrangea Sock #1, Columbo and Poirot. Also serious kitchen time with homemade spaghetti sauce and garlic breadsticks for dinner.

Sunday - Outing to the movies with kids+1 (DD's girlfriend). Theater had a 45-minute power outage about 2/3rds thru Madagascar (DS and I, Bewitched for DD and her friend). Outing lasted just a bit longer than expected. Baseball and the finish of Sock #1 that evening.

Monday - LOTS of baseball (ESPN showed 5 games in HD on Monday) and the beginnings of Sock #2. Also washed the "stinky" laceweight in Woolite which took care of the dye/wool smell easily. One skein (of three) yielded a 4-5" wound ball of yarn. I'll wash/wind the rest this week....

That's it for me! Enjoy your day :)