Tuesday, January 28, 2014

deux par deux


Not sure why I've got this burning desire to make, make, make. I've got two quilts at binding stage, a small wall hanging that is being quilted as I can get to it and now more tops. Forgive the awful lighting in my apartment - I run into the problem of light and space very quickly. This one is done except for the border and is hanging in the closet. The one below was listed as "experienced" and has been the biggest pain to put together that when I finally got the braid assembled I put it away before I threw it out from frustration - the rest should be a piece of cake.

We're currently locked in a low pressure that brought along some frigid cold temperatures. An infographic from NOAA listed this region as HOTH, and I heartily agree with them. If only we had tauntauns. I have the day off, but since it's so cold and everything is canceled [and I have a sinus infection] is it worth going out? No, not likely. Even though I could really use some cough drops, OJ and chicken soup. Okay, and a fabric run. Which really tells me that a day of rest was a good thing. I should probably just stay home and fold socks.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

You're so square [I don't care]

Found kollage's square knitting needles at Tuesday Morning for half off retail, and while I wasn't sold on the idea of square needles, not having to use double pointeds to knit in the round for a small project had a certain appeal. That said, they took getting used to. Not the squareness, the size. Not having to hunt for the left over DPN to start knitting the project is amazing. What is taking getting used to is trying to knit anything with decreased stitches. There's something about maneuvering the needle that just doesn't quite make it when it's that short. Really liking the larger, no twist circular. The cable connecting the needles doesn't twist or kink up. At. All. It's not as smooth to slid work over but it's not caught all the time. Sold.

So... what am I working on? Miss Susie's reading mitts by Susie Roger. Find them on Ravelry

Also this other beastie, a cowl for a friend that I'm making up as I go. It will have picot trim when it's done.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Painting keys

Oh, Pinterest. You win some, you lose some.

One that looked like a winner? Painted keys. I've had fancy keys straight from the store, but I wanted to give this a shot. Especially with all the nail polish ideas out there. 

Since the layers of lacquer will effect how the key works, tape off the blade (yep, thats what its really called) of the key. The part of the key getting the makeover is the bow - the part you hold and turn in the lock. The technical term is "applying torque" (hooray for physics.) The blade goes into the keyway of the lock, so the last thing you want is Essie keeping you out of your house. Since who really gets into their car via key anymore? Okay, well, I could, had the previous owners of my car handed over ALL the keys to the car, and not just the ignition keys, which don't match the locks. I digress. 

You will need: 

Nail lacquer in the brand/ color or your choice
Tape (masking, scotch, etc)
Key to be gussied up
A stack of old newspapers, magazine, catalogues, etc

Taping off the blade from the bow is essential. Not only will it protect the blade from being gunked up by lacquer, it will also make a clean paint line on the bow of the key, so make sure that tape is pressed down into all the nooks and crannies. Cut off a little more tape than you need to go around the key so that you can fold over under a corner. This will make getting the tape off so much easier later.  

Step one: prepare your work surface. Lay down one layer of paper or old magazine. Set up the stack so you have a ledge for the painted part of the key to hang off of and dry. Because who wants to come back in five minutes to flip over a dry key? Whose going to remember? Not me. Hanging the key out in air also lets you hold the key blade down and apply lacquer with out getting it everywhere and smudging your paint job. We know how important this is. 

Step two: tape off the key. 

Step three: shake up that lacquer. paint. Don't forget the edges and inside the hank. Yeah it will probably rub off but we're doing quality work here. 

Real question: how did the lacquer hold up to being whacked around on a set of keys? 

Pretty well actually. this is probably the 5th day of them rolling around in my purse, on the ring, being dropped in the snow, swinging from the ignition, and it's holding up pretty well. Wear in the places you would expect it to.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

School is canceled...

I don't know about all this "polar vortex"stuff but it's pretty darn cold outside. So cold they canceled school and delayed twice The thermometer at my friend's house either wasn't working, or legitimately read - 30F [it was pretty windy...] So cold the cat has taken sleeping under the blankets. That little lump right there? That's her. I poked it and it made a cat noise, so I'm leaving well enough alone. Nanook of the North? That would be me. Venturing out of the house. I look like the invisible woman, I know, except for that patch of skin under my sunglasses that was miraculously not frostbitten after my jaunt. Uhm... It was not intentional that my outerwear match my bedding... Saying. 

Anyway. Since school was canceled from the cold some jobs that I had prescheduled ended up getting shuffled around or canceled. Because they don't need you if the day they were trying to write curriculum got bumped because of extreme weather conditions. I'm only slightly confused by the whole thing; I don't exactly understand but anyway I'm home. Not out driving in the cold.

I've been getting some sewing time in. Except that this project is making me crazy. When they said challenging, they weren't kidding. I keep flipping the squares around and putting them in the wrong place. Took me a week and a half (and by that I mean 4 episodes of NCIS / a free week night plus some time on the weekends) to piece the center strip. I have two more seams to sew and it's finally finished. FINALLY. Ready to rip my hair out.

It's a project from the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting, and while I love quilting and sewing, this project was very aptly named. Star Crossed. Things that you think, that would be great together, but like Romeo and Juliet, it just ends badly because something, somewhere, is working against it.

This section in particular with the horizontal grey stripe - which you can't see because it fades out in the picture. I did follow the directions. No matter how I turned my triangles, half of that sucker would not make a thing that looked like that. One evening, down the drain trying to figure out what the heck. Also realizing that I'd done it in the wrong fabric, so I had to do it over again in the right fabric a different night. Only to discover I'd done it wrong with the right fabric. Again.  Another night shot ebcause I couldn't get the lay out straight, even with the picture in front of me, and sewed several things together wrong.

Really struggling with these fabric choices. I realize it's still in the working stages, and the photograph isn't the best.The creme is basically the same thing as the aqua, it's just a cream back ground, not aqua. Then there's that stripe of chopped up stripyness that's supposed to be off center... this whole thing is a giant star cluster of holy crap what just happened, and why did it happen, and it was supposed to be really great and pretty but no. Also, why do we call it a twin? A double? Who thought that was a good idea?

Because I don't need another twin size quilt, I'm making it to fit a double, and I'm doing so by turning this star-crossed project on it's head. Or side... So the tossed salad stripe will be across the top-ish [or bottom, depending on how it's oriented] and the creme stripe will be still be off center. The good news is assembling the tossed salad stripe is the hard part. When this is done, I hope I don't have a huge case of project regretsy.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year Card

I lost the Christmas cards. But from the tips of my red and green fuzzy slipper socks to the crown of my newly shorn head I wish you a happy new year.

I don't know what I'm going to do with all these little slips of paper. Some of them my students gave me when I was student teaching, the simple love of a six or seven year old expressed in a blank slip of paper printed with hearts, or cut in the shape of a fairy or a ballet slipper. It was strangely not cathartic, upending the jar and emptying the contents to make room for this year's crop of missives. My trending for being thankful was heaviest on things working out, things working out with good people, and being greatful for good people. In fact, that pretty well sums the whole jar up.

Here's to another year of things working out and good people. And the two things together. Cheers to all the good people in my life, and the ones I get to meet this year.