Tuesday, October 31, 2006

One down project down...

So I actually finished something last week. Some old friends in IL have had their 2nd child - congratulations to C&D. I wanted to send a present right off, but with a lot of people having babies, this was the 5th baby blanket this year, and unfortunately it just dragged on. I like making these in Sirdar Snuggly Baby Care, which no one sells around Binghamton. It's 60% acrylic, so good for popping in the washer & dryer, and 40% cotton, which gives it a more genuine softness (unlike the fake and often transitory softness of purely acrylic yarn - yes, I'm a fiber snob). I've been getting it from a lovely store in Harrisburg, PA (http://www.knittersdream.com/Yarn.html ). Now that it's almost November, I think it's nearly impossible that anyone I know (well enough to give presents to anyway) could fit in another baby this year. And, as of Saturday, the blanket was nicely packaged up and sent off to Chicago - yeah!

And this is my beautiful wallhanging from Kaffe Fasset's "Glorious Patchwork." It was years in the making, and I finally finished around my birthday last Feb. I learned hand quilting on this, and added beads in with the handquilting. For this quilt, I could look for interesting pieces of fabric, and then just use a little bit of them. It was made with paper piecing, so the squares & corners are all more precise than I could make them on my own.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A sad day, a senseless loss

Our friend, BW, did not make it through his illness. He passed away yesterday evening. Today's been a hard day for everyone who knew him. It's hard to imagine now what life will be like without him.

Monday, October 23, 2006

More on the tree of selective death

So, my poor laptop is really not doing well. The narcolepsy was the fault of the power cord; I switched to another power cord & that problem is fixed. But I tried to upload some photos last night and it slowly froze, in stages. First stage was that nothing seemed to be happening with the upload, but as we're still working with (free) dialup at home, that wasn't too unusual. But then absolutely nothing was happening. Next step: the laptop stops recognizing the keyboard properly. It will recognize some keys, but only as if they were . I hit "f" & it brings up the command, "find". Then, a few minutes later, the whole thing is frozen up. Bleh.

So here's one crafty image, from the net:

This is my result for the quiz, "What kind of knitting needles are you?" (http://www.quizilla.com/users/larissmix/quizzes/What%20kind%20of%20knitting%20needles%20are%20you%3F). Apparently, I am pink aluminum. I do have several of these, probably either swiped them from my mom, or bought them at Woolworths.

And now, back to the tree of death. The toxin released by the walnut tree is called juglone. This is a diagram of where the juglone is released.
Apparently, from most parts of the tree (the roots, the leaves and the inner bark, mainly). This looks a little daunting at first. And I briefly considered whether the big, beautiful tree in our backyard should be done away with. But it turns out that the toxin is not toxic to everything. It's particularly toxic to members of the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, and presumably, though no one mentioned this, deadly nightshade), but not toxic to many lovely plants, such as forsythia, crocus & hostas. So I'll use the walnut compost, in the vicinity of the walnut tree, and put some of these unaffected plants back there. This is the kind of happy info we can get from our university cooperative extension websites (like Cornell (http://www.cce.cornell.edu/), Virginia (http://www.ext.vt.edu/), Minnesota (http://www.extension.umn.edu/), etc) - good folks!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More Quilts of Yore

My laptop has developed narcolepsy, which has made it difficult to get to any recent photos. So the parade of oldies will continue, with a mini quilt made for VL in an art exchange last year:

This one was a wedding present for DVP & DP:

And this is one I actually made for myself and finished. I made it with old flannel shirts from the thrift store. It is oh-so-cozy.

I can't think of much else to write. I visited a friend with lymphoma in the hospital this morning. I guess if someone's in the hospital, there's a good chance they'd rather have a visit than just watch tv all day long. We are all hoping BW will get better soon!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Chicken and Quilts from Last Year

Here is one of D&LS's chickens. D&L are wonderful & helpful people. For example, L answered a composting question for me this weekend about whether walnut leaves would be harmful in my compost. K & I have a lovely walnut tree in the backyard of the house we bought this past spring. After buying the house, we found out that the downside to a walnut tree is that it is a Tree of Death - it releases a toxin that kills most other plants (not grass though) within the radius of its roots & branches. L, a plant biologist, warned against putting the leaves into compost, as the toxin may well be in the leaves, and then I would be creating Compost of Death (or at least Compost of Ill-Health) - not your general aim when composting.

Unfortunately, I had already added the leaves. And mixed them in. Thoroughly.

LC has requested that I show off the quilts we made last year for flood relief. The first two were crib- or lap-sized:

The next two were something like twin or full bed size:

This last one earned a nickname, but now that I come to think of describing it, I realize it was completely backwards, and made no sense. We were doing a marathon amount of quilting at the time and were probably sleep-deprived.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A few UFOs

So, let's see about adding some images...
This is the great UFO #1. I started this queen-sized quilt many years ago. It was from a book of "Weekend Quilt Projects." Ha! For a few years it was all pieced together, but without backing or batting. Then (I think around Thanksgiving 2003) my mom & her quilting group helped me stretch it all out on big church-basement tables, sandwich the backing, batting & top, and pinned it all together. Thereupon followed a start at machine quilting a queen-sized quilt on a regular sewing machine. The weight of the quilt pulls the fabric down, which led several times to the needle coming down on the sewing foot & snapping in half. Now I have a bigger work surface and should really get back to this project.

After a few others, anyway. Here's a sad little color scheme:

This is my 2nd commissioned piece, a baby quilt for DVP's sister. The lovely DVP sent a couple of color samples, incliduing a green most like the right-hand green of the two above. This green was very hard to match to any cute kid prints. And since taking this photo, the whole scheme has changed completely with only a few of the above colors staying in it.

And here's my first log cabin quilt. At the time of this photo, the blocks were not pieced together, though now they are (I'll have to work on this more, with more recent photos). It's sized to cover up a storage space in my office, and the orangey-yellows go with my office color scheme.

On a non-textile note, I made the maple-cayenne popcorn from DC's blog last night and we will attest that it is indeed a new form of crack.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Third attempt at starting a blog (maybe there are other things to work on today?). I'm inspired to start a blog by looking at what DC (http://dearestcupcake.blogspot.com/) and DL (http://bestitched.typepad.com/bestitched/) have done with theirs. We'll see how it goes...