Monday, June 10, 2019


Definition of hobby 
a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxationWriting is just a hobby of his.Her hobbies include gardening and bird-watching.********************That is the definition according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary on line, although for purposes of full disclosure MY hobbies are not those being quoted of in the above note!It should more appropriately read "Her hobbies include sewing, knitting, reading and writing.Last week was pretty hectic.  I worked my normal three days plus taught a class on the Wire Frame Tote Bag one evening.  Saturday there was work plus a graduation party.  Friday was errand running and I managed to squeeze in some sewing time in addition to cleaning the glass in both the patio and storm doors.  It's amazing how good they look now!

On Sunday I did not go to church.  I go to church nearly every Sunday, and it felt a little strange, not getting up early to go.  However, I was scheduled as a Lector for our After Weekend Worship on Monday, so I decided to sleep in on Sunday.  DH did go on Sunday morning, so after he left I made some tea and sat down to watch CBS Sunday Morning live for once instead of watching the recording later.It felt pretty decadent, sitting on the couch with tea and toast.  But there on the coffee table before me was some knitting and a new magazine.  I guess that's my version of laying around eating bonbons!  So I could anticipate two hours of uninterrupted free time and I took full advantage.

First I knit a while on this sock, the second of the pair.  The yarn is from Simply Socks and the colorway is Sometime in April.  I love the way the striping is rainbow-ish without being a slave to red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple.   I picked out a color for the heel that goes well and doesn't disrupt the striping.

After that got boring (plain vanilla pattern, just continuous knitting) I opened a project bag and discovered this little beauty!  It's my first experiment with short socks.  I particularly liked the black seeds in the Watermelon patterned yarn.

Somewhere along the line I put aside this green 'pair' after knitting one sock.  It's also now in the queue, although I have to finish one or the other of the above socks to get the needles required to finish this pair.  The yarn is a bit heavier than the fingering I used for either of the other two, so they will make great winter footwear.  They feel nice and look kind of camouflage-y, the jungle version.

Last time I was down in the sewing room last week I spent some time searching for my wool pressing mat.  Lord knows where I put it the last time I used it!  In digging around and rearranging, I came across a bin of knit fabrics, some of which I bought at the local Stretch and Sew store, which closed up decades ago.  I decided that since I need new white tee shirts every summer, I should pull out the pile and see what I can stitch up.  That required some heavy lifting, since the box with the garment patterns in it was holding up one end of a small shelf unit that is sitting on some bins.  This is how my life goes... one thing leads to another which leads to the rabbit hole and ZIP!!! She's off and running, original errand forgotten.The new task required DH to hold up the shelf unit while I subbed out boxes.  Luckily he was available and not too crabby about the whole process.  The result is several new tops, most of which are decidedly unexciting but have no underarm staining and no spaghetti sauce spots.  But these two are not plain in color, although the same pattern was used for all the tees.  It's a basic S&S tank pattern with a dropped shoulder and no sleeve.  Easy to make and easy to wear.

And now I know that my serger works, that I remember how to sew on knits, and that I still fit into the same sized pattern I did two years ago!  All in all, the week was a success.Sew or knit on...

Friday, June 7, 2019

Sticky L and Other Musings

My keyboard is not cooperating today.  And hasn't for the past week or so - but I'm not sure why.

The L key sticks.  This is a bummer when your email address contains two of them!  I just tried to sign in to work on this post and I got the message "We do not recognize this email".  Well, no wonder!  You cannot spell global without a couple of Ls!

So now my right ring finger has learned how to really smash the keyboard.  I used to sit three cubicles away from someone who smashed his fingers down on the keyboard.  I always wondered what he was angry with, to type so furiously.  Maybe he had a sticky L too.  I hope that nothing was spilled to make the keyboard stick.  There are only so many words you can type without Ls if you expect your blog to make any sense.

Life is so busy right now I don't have time to blog much anymore.  I feel sad about that because I love to write.  I read Rita Farro's blog every day just for the pleasure of hearing good sentences strung together in my head.  I think it's one of the reasons I love to read - that hearing of sentences pulled into paragraphs and creating chapters of stories...

Today Rita wrote about hobbies, and asked the questions how important are hobbies, and how do you pick them?

So Rita -- my short answer is very important, and I think they pick you!

Since I was able to reach the foot control on my grandmother's treadle sewing machine I have been sewing bits of fabric together.  She made quilts when I was little, and also knitted and crocheted items.  (She made fabulous doilies, but that's another post!)  I watched her and played with her scraps and eventually she let me sew things with that wonderful machine.  I.Was.Hooked.  For good and all.

I think from then on, there has never been a time when I didn't do some sort of needlework.  It has been a God-send.  If I start with necessity, sewing gave me more clothing during my high school years than I could ever have afforded to buy.  It then became a pleasure as I made things for my two babies and my first home.  I branched out into making gifts for others.  It contributed a small amount to my income (like the farmer's wife and her egg money).

It then became a social outlet when I first worked at a fabric store and then joined a guild.  At some point it became a necessity, like breathing.

However, it also lead to reconnection with less immediate family, group projects, and other major fiber addictions like yarn, and beads, and on and on...  I think it must run in families (or packs??) since my aunties and cousins have been bitten by the same bug.

Then I found other sewists - via the guild and shopping activities.  Some of my best girlfriends are sewists, and it has bonded us with sewing to start and moved on to make us more like sisters.  It's good to have such wonderful female friendships.  It helps us through the tough spots.

Maybe it's more of a calling.  A vocation!

Since we moved to the condo, well actually since before then, since I retired from my full-time office job, things have been hectic.  I work part time at a quilt shop, alternating between two and three day weeks.  My 'hobbie' led me to that.  I volunteer at church in several capacities, some of which require some 'homework'.  One of those activities involves our quilt guild.  Was it fate, or ??

This week I need to get my act together and plan some activities for the church quilters sewing retreat.  It's a six hour session instead of a three hour normal get together, so we try to have some fun, learn a new pattern or a new technique, play some Quilter's Bingo, eat and just have a good time.  Since our preschool quilts are done, I'm not sure what we're going to work on... I'll need to spend some time in my sewing room!
This is last year's quilt.

Too bad I have to spend all that time with fabric and patterns... LOL!

I also want to take a little trip to the garden center.  It's finally warm here is SE Wisconsin, and I need some color on my patio.  The deck is gray, the rails are white, the furniture is black.  Not a happy situation... especially for someone who enjoys color!  I have a couple of empty pots to fill, maybe with some geraniums or some Impatience or anything else that might be available.  I have morning shade and afternoon sun.

Time to get a move on it.  DH went out to breakfast with the other 'boys', and he'll be back soon.

Sew on...

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Catching Up

This last five months have flown by... literally and figuratively!  It seems like a few weeks ago I was packing to move and it's almost June.  You know what they say, time flies when you're having fun.  :-)

We moved on January 4, a Friday.  I can't say enough nice things about Two Men and a Truck!  Although they need to change their name to THREE Men and a Truck... those young fellows worked their tails off to take TWO truckloads of things from our old place to the new one.  They were so careful, and so kind about my tons of books and all the boxes marked 'sewing stuff'.  They were extremely nice and went away with a big tip at the end of a long day.  Thank you boys!

My sewing room is coming along.  I won't say nicely, it's slow going.  There are no shelves on the walls like there were in my old house.  Things are still in boxes.  I actually have opened them all so I know what's in them, but there are still a good half dozen at least that haven't been unpacked.

This is part of the mess I had on December 28 of last year.  I'm so happy to report that what I have now is nowhere NEAR that big pile.  Although DH has declared a moratorium on cardboard boxes!

I'm sure the recycling guys in our condo development are happy that they've seen a major reduction in cardboard from my unit!

My daughter and I went to a big book sale at State Fair Park last week.  All the books were from the Half Price Book Store clearance.  There were lots of older books and tables full of kids and young adult fiction, history and crafting books... I never made it back to the fiction section.  We filled a grocery cart with books and neither one of us exceeded $50!  I scored a newer Betty Crocker cookbook and two from Rachel Ray, along with two bagfuls of mystery and fiction, and a coffee table book called the Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll.  Awesome!


Sew on...

Sunday, April 7, 2019

My Warranty Is Expiring...

My warranty is expiring and all my parts are wearing out!


Not really, but it could seem that way.

I have injured myself in the past without really knowing exactly what it happened, but my recent knee problems are bordering on the ridiculous.

As a teenager I fell from a skateboard (when it wasn't even moving) and tore ligaments in one of my knees.  I don't remember which knee.  If I could find my confirmation photo, there would be a clue in it, because I received my confirmation/communion on a crutch.

As a youngster I tripped on a small string barrier supporting some hedges and fell on the sidewalk on one of my knees.  I don't remember which knee it was.  My mom might remember but she's been gone for 20 years.

So therefore when I woke up one morning with a stiff knee it was no surprise.  Long car trips or marathon sitting causes stiffness and the knees always moan and groan about trips on the stairs of more than two flights.  But after four hours on my feet at the store, the left knee was doing more than moaning.  More like screaming at the top of the lungs.

An x-ray showed arthritis and degenerative joint disease.  Meniscus damage doesn't show on an x-ray, it requires an MRI, but my insurance wouldn't pay for an MRI until I failed physical therapy.

OK, PT it is!

After one session of PT I was taking the two steps up to the house from the garage and heard a loud POP!  Pain radiated up the thigh and down the calf... so we went to Urgent Care.  Result:  this was a pretty spectacular fail of PT, and an MRI was scheduled.

Meanwhile I was hobbling around using a cane, and icing the knee pretty steadily.  and resting....

The only benefit of the whole situation was more time for knitting.  Although going up and down the stairs has been slow business.  One day DH was talking to someone and he said "she went to bed an hour before me and I passed her on the stairs".

Ha. Ha. Ha.

So now surgery is scheduled to repair the meniscus, and hopefully after a week or so I'll be walking normally.  Hopefully.

All I can say is thank goodness for skilled surgeons and medical personnel.  I feel very confident that thigs will turn out fine.  At my preop appointment my surgeon asked whether I minded if he prayed with me.  No sir, I do not mind.  In fact, I'm very pleased and happy that you are being assisted in all this by the Great Surgeon!

Thanks be to God.

Keep on keepin' on!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

There and Back Again...

Something happened between Christmas and today that had me baffled.  Blogger changed some things or I changed something or I neglected to change something, and well, we fell out of sync or whatever.  But today I had what I can only call divine inspiration and tried some back door stuff and here I am again, or so it would appear.

Randomly, since December we moved house, I had eyelid surgery, it showed, we spent a month unpacking and getting rid of cardboard boxes, it snowed, the weather got VERY cold and then warmed to freezing, my sewing room got halfway put together, I hurt my back, then hurt my knee, it snowed, it got cold... duh.  It IS winter and it is Wisconsin after all.

Or so said one guy they interviewed on the news one evening.  Quote "I don't know why you people think it's news... it's WISCONSIN, what did you expect?"

I love that guy!

In the shop we got some fine new things.  Before we moved house, I made some sample soft books for small kids.  One was Noah's Ark, the other was this fine book on dinosaurs.

After the move and the eye surgery, I finished the black and while Escher quilt that was supposed to go to my SIL for Christmas.  I have it pressed and am waiting for 108" wide black backing so I can get it quilted.

I ran out of one of the light fabrics and I cut the bottom off the first five rows one block north of where it should have been cut... which would have resulted in a shorter, but wider, quilt than was intended.  That would NOT do.  I searched high and low as much as I was able to find more of the red Spin Dot that is in the centers.  No luck.  I got a small piece from the shop and attempted to replace the half blocks that I messed up.  then I discovered that the one stripe I needed for TWO of the blocks was gone.  I did find an appropriate substitute, but that meant remaking an additional four blocks, and disassembling two rows at least part way.  It was time consuming but not impossible, although it would have been much easier had my sewing room, or at least my big ironing board, have been put up for use.  But it's all set up now, and I did finish.

Miss Kitty has been adjusting at a decent pace.  She still tries to sit in my lap when I'm trying to knit, but at least she stopped whining ALL the time, and she has for the most part given up on rattling all the closet doors.  She discovered a couple of squirrels outside the living room window, so Cat TV is back on the air.  Not that you can tell from that face...

I participated in the Kaffe Mystery with Free Spirit fabrics.  The monthly packets were interesting.  One month a snowball of gorgeous Kaffe prints and your basic contrast fabric, and then next month a checkerboard of same... I did the dark.  I'm glad I chose that because I think it was the most impressive in the end.  I can't wait to complete the top.  

Each month you were encouraged to post a picture of something related to the mystery.  In October they asked for a seasonal picture.  I posted my blocks with a cute little pumpkin on my kitchen table, and I won the prize for posting!  When it arrived I was quite impressed with its value -- a layer cake of Kaffe plus a packet of fat quarters in all of my favorite prints in RED, which I love!  So I posted the photo above with a Thank You message to Free Spirit.

Now that I'm laid up with a knee injury the sewing me be a bit more difficult, but I can knit!  In a class at my favorite local yarn shop Cream City Yarn in Brookfield, WI, I knit an adorable baby sweater from a pattern called Welcome to the Flock by Julie Farwell-Clay.  Here's a link to the pattern on Ravelry.  Pattern  It's not free (it's $6) but it's so cute that if you knit for babies you'll probably want to buy it. 

Mine will probably be a baby shower gift in the fall.  I have enough yarn left to make a hat of some sort.  I'm not sure about making the hat in the pattern because I prefer baby hats that a-cover the baby's ears and b-tie or somehow fasten on.  Nothing's worse for me than a baby who looks like he/she feels cold, and a bare head looks cold when it's sweater weather!

This is a long enough post for today.  The knee and back are not comforted by a lot of sitting at the computer, and I have some prescribed exercises to do before physical therapy happens tomorrow.

Keep calm and carry on...

Thursday, December 27, 2018

8 Days and Counting

One week from tomorrow the moving van shows up and starts carrying out furniture and boxes.  One. Short. Week.

I am so not ready, and yet readier than I'll ever be, to move.  Ugh!  Moving... it's awful and wonderful at the same time.  I cannot wait to move into a condo again.  No more moaning about having to shovel the snow.  DH, not me!  Never me!

Of course this year there hasn't been a lot of snow, so go figure.

Random happenings in 2018 that I did for the last time, or for the last time here in this house:

 Daughter's wedding box, craft project with granddaughter Miss A
 Getting "the eye" from Miss Kitty
 Painting and cleaning the rental unit...
 Getting new patio doors installed
 Last meal around the old table, now we eat around the new one.
 Snowman coffee!  The snow melted the next day...
 Baking Christmas cookies!  They were delicious.
 DH finally bought a new recliner.  He did a good job.  It even has a USB port for charging your phone while you lounge.
Pea Soup, with the after Thanksgiving ham.  I figured no one but me would be eating it so I used California Blend veggies instead of just plain carrots.

Boxes upon boxes are filling my rooms.  I don't know how much you can pack in a day, but I have my limits.  I was teasing DH that anything not packed could stay for the next occupant.  He hasn't packed anything of his yet, so we'll see how that goes!

Time for dinner.  I'm ordering pizza.

Pack on...