Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sheep talk

Yesterday was a rather trying day. While I love my sheep dearly, integrating a new member (or even an old member who has been removed from the flock for a while) is an ordeal. The flock doesn't welcome new members or returning members with open hooves. In fact, it's the opposite. The new member has to go through the "ritual" of being excepted into the flock. This involves being chased, pushed, and some butting. If the new member is really timid, then the flock will pick up on this and be almost merciless. But, if the new member is a bit aggressive, then the flock seems to go a bit easier. No, they aren't being mean. It's just their way of fitting the new (or returning) member into their social hierarchy......and they do have a social hierarchy. Every one has a place and knows their place in the flock. Yesterday was the day an old member of the flock finally rejoined. It's taken weeks to get this little wether integrated back into the flock.....but he's back. There was a bit of pushing, chasing, and butting......most of it on his part surprisingly.......but it didn't last long. I think the amount of snow on the ground played a big part. A foot fell over the weekend and we got another 5" today alone. Considering how small the Shetlands are.....well, that's a lot of snow for them. Yes, they do enjoy playing in the snow, but tend to stay fairly close to their barn. Even the llama isn't real keen on walking through snow that goes over his knees. So we keep a path cleared for them from their barn to their water container. I keep meaning to take pictures of the sheep in the snow, but have been too busy shoveling. Hopefully this weekend when all the projected storms have passed and things are a bit quieter.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Victorian Hankie quilt

A cold and lots of snow kept me home and in the sewing room this weekend. This is the result of my weekend "confinement".....a completed quilt top. The hankie panels and the pink fabric were sent to me by a very dear friend. The rose print fabric I found at one of my favorite fabric shops. I had an extra hankie panel and some left over pink setting triangles. Hence the small piece next to the quilt top. This piece will eventually be embroider with pertinent label information and then pieced into a backing for the quilt. The pattern for the quilt can be found in the March 2008 issue of Quilt magazine. This one probably won't be quilted for a while.....since I really don't have a clue as to how to quilt it. Just need to give the quilt time to "talk" to me, that's all. :)
I've been working on my Carolina Crossroads mystery quilt. Almost done with step #6. Yes, it has been a bit slow going but that's okay. I'm having fun with it and am really pleased with how it is turning out. I probably would have made more progress on it if I didn't put it aside so often to work on my split 9-patch blocks. Those are coming along wonderfully!!! I'm just about finished piecing all my signature blocks. Simply love working on this quilt. It's a sheer joy to open up all the different charm packs and see what has been sent.
No knitting or spinning progress to really talk about. Timmy, the second sheep in the sheep mobile, is just about complete. I have set him aside for now. It seems that I have misplaced my pom-pom maker. So this gives me a place to stop and a reason for finally finishing up the alien illusion scarf. I know that if I don't finish it now, I never will. And this is definitely one project that I don't want left unfinished.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Shaun the Sheep

Here it is! A finished Shaun the Sheep!! This was a lot of fun to do.....and a great learning experience. This is the smallest knitting I have ever done. I used double pointed needles with point protectors on one end so my stitches wouldn't slide off. Worked like a charm! Shaun's body is knitted from an acrylic baby boucle. The rest of him (plus his knitting) is knitted from a baby alpaca yarn. All the yarn is a dk weight. I used small bits of black chenille stems in his arms and legs to give them a bit more "body". Plus it really helps the arms hold their pose. Shaun's knitting needles were made from toothpicks with 5mm beads glued to the ends. His eyes are purchased "wiggly" eyes. I wasn't real sure if I liked the way they looked. So I purchased supplies to make the eyes from felt.....which I did. Ended up liking the "wiggly" eyes much better. I think they give him a bit more character. Shaun is about 5" tall.

I did start on the second sheep in this mobile. His name is Timmy and he's a baby. So far I have the body knit up. I hope to work on him a bit more tonight. While the knitting is simply, it's a bit fiddly due to the small size. Still makes for a very fun project. Gives me a nice break from the illusion scarf....which I'm still working on.

Update on the alien illusion scarf: alien motif #4 is finished. I will start on alien motif #5 in the next day or so. Tihs is definitely one of those projects where it's nice to have something else to work on. For me, a break is needed every now and then or the knitting becomes monotonous.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Carolina Crossroads - Step #6

Here is it.....the star block from step #6 of the Carolina Crossroads mystery quilt. I was able to get half of my star blocks sewn together yesterday. I'm real pleased with the way it is turning out. Love the color choices, too....which is always a good thing! Now to finish the star blocks, plus the half star blocks and setting triangles. Then it's on to step #7.

Update on my Shaun the Sheep and Friends mobile: Finally finished Shaun the Sheep. Finished up the "fiddly" things this morning. I knew that I wasn't real crazy about the wiggly eyes and will be replacing them......but something just wasn't hitting me quite right everytime I looked at my little sheep. It finally dawned on me this morning. The head!! I had sewn the head on wrong. So I carefully undid it and tried again. Looks so cute!!! As soon as I get the new eyes on I will post a picture of my completed Shaun the Sheep. This is going to be very cute once it is all done.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Split 9-Patch

It's not like I really needed another project. But when inspiration hits......well, what is a girl to do?? So off I went to find a box of 2 1/2" Christmas charms that I knew I had from a swap I did years ago. Had fun doing the swap but was clueless as to what to do with the charms once they all arrived. It took years, but I finally know. They will make a lovely split 9-patch quilt. Here is one block that was sewn up on the spur of the moment. After sewing up 3 blocks I decided that it would probably behoove me to sit down and see exactly how many charm packets I have....and then come up with a design in EQ. No sense sewing up all these blocks and not having a clue as to what I will do with them after that. I now have a "game plan". I know how many blocks I will need and how they will be set. Now to finish up a project so that I can have fun making this quilt.

Worked on my mystery quilt today. Finished up step #5. I thought about posting a picture of each step then decided that it would make more sense to simply post a picture of a completed block. Especially since I'm making parts of blocks right now. Step #6 was posted last week (yes, I'm behind). It is of the first block. So a picture will be posted once I have one made. Step #7 (the final step) was posted today. I most likely won't get to that step for another few days....at least. Doesn't matter though. I've been really enjoying myself with this....and have been loving the way it has been using up my stash.

Knitting update: Halfway done with alien motif #4. Got sidetracked with my sheep mobile or I probably would be furter along. The sheep mobile is coming along nicely though. Bought the rest of the yarn needed for it. Even bought little wiggly eyes for the sheep. Although I'm not sure I will be using them. It's just not giving me the look I was going for. Oh well. That's life. Try something.....don't care for it.....try something else.

Spinning update: I have all the mountain welsh plied. Yea!! Just need to set the twist and the finished yarn will be ready to use. I've also been spinning up the North Ronaldsay on my Prelude spinning wheel. Have two bobbins of singles that are ready to go on the yarn blocker to have the twist set. A third bobbin is half full. I'm hoping to have this all spun up by the end of the month. It will be interesting to see how I do.

Monday, January 14, 2008

It's been a crazy weekend. One of those where you feel as though you are being pulled in a bazillion different directions. I did manage to get to my favorite yarn/fabric shop. Bought some yarn for a new project.....Shaun the Sheep and Friends mobile. The pattern was a freebie with Issue #35 of Simply Knitting. And since I tend to collect sheep things.....well, it just seemed perfect. Bought the yarn Saturday and cast on that very night. Just couldn't wait. :)

I also worked on the alien illusion scarf. Alien motif #3 is now finished. Yea! This marks the half-way point on this project. Only 3 more alien motifs to knit and the scarf will be finished. Of course it takes me about four hours for each motif. No, I'm not a very quick knitter......but I am having fun with it. Love the yarn, too.

The backing for my "Pretty in Pink" sudoku quilt is done. Turned out rather nice. The top, backing, and fabric for the binding is all put together for finishing at a later date. I would love to work on my scrappy mystery quilt for a bit. Get caught up on it. The mystery quilt can be found on the Quiltville site (Scrap Quilt Patterns under My Links). Carolina Crossroads is the name of it. It's been an incredibly fun mystery quilt to work on. Love using up my scraps, too.

Even got some spinning time in this weekend. Finished spinning up the black Mountain Welsh. Set the twist on two bobbins of singles. Just need to wind them off the yarn blocker so they can be plied....and then get the twist set on the last two bobbins of singles. Love using my Sonata now that it has the Woolee Winder on it. Spins like a dream!! And it's so quiet. It was a bit noisy before. Plus the bobbins fill up so quickly. Now I'm wondering if I shouldn't put a Woolee Winder on my Prelude....although I really love the rustic look the wheel has now. And I don't mind changing hooks with that wheel. Plus it's such a dream to spin on. I was spinning on it last night. I started spinning up some North Ronaldsay on it months ago. It all got set aside with the holiday madness. Pulled it out again last night. Have a half a bobbin filled already. Maybe I can actually get all the North Ronaldsay spun up by the end of the month.....if I don't get distracted by other things that is. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hat and Mitten Set

Broken Rib Hat

Convertible Mittens

Both were made using Cascade 220 Quatro yarn in a purple colorway. The yarn is 100% wool and knits up beautifully. The pattern for the broken rib hat came from the Stitch -n- Bitch 2007 Daily Calendar. The pattern for the convertible mittens came from Knit1 magazine......2007 issue. I'm thinking it's either the fall or winter issue.

I have pulled out the illusion scarf that I started before Christmas and am back to working on that. Still haven't finished motif #2. Maybe tonight. With 80 rows per motif, it takes a bit of time to finish each one up. There are six total for the scarf. The up-side of it all is that I get to use my brand-new knitting needles. I was gifted with a set of the interchangeable Harmony wood needles for Christmas. Lovely, lovely needles!! Makes knitting a pure joy. :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Finally Finished!!

I finally finished the mitten caps for the convertible mittens. Yea!! Both mitten caps have been sewn onto the mittens....which have been washed, blocked, and are now drying. This has definitely been a project with its challenges.

Got more snow last night. Things sure do look pretty! Although it's not a whole lot of fun driving on roads that haven't been plowed. The sheep really seem to enjoy the show. They were out exploring things early this morning. They were out again this afternoon running, jumping, and bouncing through the snow. Playing as Shetlands do.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

" Pretty in Pink" Sudoku

Here is my second Sudoku quilt top finished. Had so much fun with this one! My blocks were cut a bit smaller than what I did for the first one. Due to the fabrics used, this one has a softer feel to it....which I simply love. It measures 62" square. Nice size for a snuggle quilt.

I started pulling fabrics from my stash for the backing. Now I just need to measure what I have pulled so far and see how it will all fit together so I end up with a backing the proper size. The binding on this one will be from the same pink fabric as the border.

On the knitting front......actually made quite a bit of progress with the mitten caps. I have one mitten cap completed and the second is half-way done. Yea!! I will be so happy when this project is finally finished.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Worked on the mitten caps last night. Was thinking that I would be able to finish up at least one. Didn't happen though. Discovered (the hard way) that the instructions are sadly lacking. They give you the first three starting rows and then jump right to the decreasing rows. Totally leaves out the 2" or so of knitting needed between the two. So I frogged what I had done....figured out what needs to be done so that cap is the right size....and then put it aside for the night. Talk about frustrating!!

Went to work on my applique sampler UFO today. Was hoping to at least have the center all put together. That didn't happen either. Have all my nine patches done and all of my light colored strips cut only to discover that there isn't enough fabric. I did spend some time trying to figure out a new way to set my blocks using what I had.....but that didn't work. Ended up driving into town and buying new fabric. Now I definitely know I have enough to put the top together using the setting that I want. As for the nine patches and light colored strips......well, looks like it will eventually turn into another quilt. Don't have a clue as to pattern or size. I will save that for another day.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Focused on my knitting yesterday. I am determined to finish up a couple of projects that I started before Christmas. Made some great progress on the convertible mittens I've been working on. Actually finished the second one up and have the mitten "caps" left to do. I'm hoping to finish these up by the end of the weekend.

Took the plunge and ordered yarn for my very first fishermen's sweater. It's actually a fair aisle fishermen's sweater. Simply adore the look of the sweater.

Spent an enjoyable hour at my spinning wheel. Finished another bobbin and have started a third. Love the way the Mountain Welsh wool is spinning up. I can hardly wait for it to be a wonderful finished yarn.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Sudoku Quilt

Here it is. A picture of my completed Sudoku quilt. This was so much fun and went together so easily. I already have fabric pulled for a second quilt. A friend and I are planning on making this one together.

As if that weren't enough stash busting for one project, I decided that the backing needed to be pieced as well. I had a yard of fabric left over after putting the border on and really didn't want to put it back in the stash. So I pulled more fabrics and cut it all up into 10 1/2" squares. Then put a simple framing border on it so it would be larger than my quilt top. The fun part was laying it all out so that it looked pleasing to the eye. Especially since I didn't have equal numbers of any one fabric. I think it turned out pretty none the less. :) Both top and backing are now neatly folded.....with the binding fabric in a ziploc baggie pinned to them......waiting for the day when I will get it sandwiched and machine quilted.

With that top finished, another one started calling to me. So I pulled out fabric that had been set aside and started cutting strips. This quilt is actually a UFO from last year. The blocks were finished up in August (all hand applique).....the sashing and border fabric pulled a few days later. Then it was all set aside.....until now anyway. I'm doing a nine patch sashing and cornerstone. I got all the strips cut and my nine patches sewn together last night for the cornerstones. Today I hope to get all the sashing strips cut and sewn together. I have a picture on my computer of how I want the blocks laid out (each block is different). I will be using that as a guide when I start putting the top together. It will be nice when this is finally finished.

I did get my hour of spinning in yesterday afternoon. Was real pleased. I even managed to sneak another hour of spinning in last night. That was enough to finish filling the bobbin. Yea!! Looks like another two bobbins and I will be finished spinning up the Mountain Welsh and can move onto something else. In order to keep my fiber stash from growing like my fabric stash, I have decided that I will try spinning up one fiber a month. This month it's the roving I purchased before Christmas (with the Mountain Welsh being one......the other is alluding me right now). Last month it was the wool from Charlie, one of my sheep. His wool is now lovely finished yarn waiting to be used. So I'm doing pretty good so far. :)

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Every year you hear about people making resolutions. This year hasn't been any different. They make resolutions to lose weight, work out more, be more organized....and the list goes on. I noticed that the resolutions made (and hardly ever kept) are more about changing or improving yourself as a person than anything else. Well, I have thought hard and long on what (if any) resolutions I would like to make this year. This year I have decided that the only resolution I will make is to enjoy life more. This means spending more time doing the things I love and enjoy......be it family, hobbies, or my sheep.

One of the things I want to do is spin more. I would love being able to spin for an hour each day.....starting today. I was able to enjoy a very lovely hour of spinning on my Sonata. I'm currently spinning up black Mountain Welsh on it. While not the softest of wools, it is spinning up into a very nice single. I'm guessing it will eventually end up being a worsted weight two-ply yarn. The fiber was bought without a purpose in mind. I am now on my second bobbin and am thinking that this will make a pretty nice fulled teddy bear. :)

Another thing I want to do in the new year is to enjoy my quilting more....something I've already been doing. No more worrying about finishing up UFO's.....or having too many projects in progress and not being able to start a new one. This year will be the year that I simply make whatever catches my fancy. Of course I will be sure to have a completed top before moving onto something else. :) It will also be the year that I finally make a dent in my stash. Something I have been wanting to do for way too long.

And the knitting......yes, I do have goals for that as well. This year will be the year that I learn how to knit a sweater that will fit me. Pattern schematics and measurements have me a bit confused right now. But I am determined to learn what it all means and how it all works together. I want to be able to knit what I want without those thoughts running through my head - "I don't have the skills or knowledge to tackle something like this." I want to be a *fearless knitter*!!

So this is my new year's resolution......to enjoy life more and not sweat the small things. I hope this will be a year for learning new things, going beyond my comfort zone, and spending more time doing the things I enjoy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

First day of the New Year

Today is the start of a brand new year. So I thought why not finally take the plunge and start a blog as well. Something new for me anyway. So this is my blog. A place where I can share my thoughts on my sheep, spinning, knitting, and quilting. Not to mention all the wonderful projects I hope to enjoy throughout the year.

I spent the last couple of hours of the old year by working on a new quilt. Brought the new year in the same way....sewing!! I made a Sudoku quilt. Very easy and fun quilt to make. Just need to add borders before it will be ready for layering and quilting. I already know how it will be machine quilted. Nothing fancy. Keeping it simple. This is a quilt meant to be used.

The morning was busy. It got cold last night which meant all water containers outside were frozen solid. So after filling feeders with hay, it was time to bust ice and drag water. Right now there are two large water containers to fill and one small one. I have a small flock of Shetland sheep....which I simply adore. And they adore me. They are always happy to see me. This morning was no different. After filling their feeder I was surrounded by several sheep all wanting pets and hugs. Can't think of a better way to start the day.