Thursday, July 31, 2008

yesterday's knitting story

The conversation I had yesterday with the lady at the tennis tournament was actually kind of funny. When I told it to my daughter, she said it was one of the strangest she had heard, so I thought I would share the whole thing with you, since I only shared one line yesterday.

Here's how it went:

I was sitting in the shade, watching my daughter play against her friend. She plays tennis with this girl every day out at her tennis academy. This girl is really, really good and I knew my daughter really didn't have a chance to beat her, but was hoping she could at least get a game off of her. They are really good friends and they were going to have fun, no matter what happened.

This lady and her daughter were sitting in the sun, and it was in the low 90's. Not terribly hot for a California summer, but I wouldn't want to be sitting in the sun, so when the lady looked over, I invited her to come and sit in the shade with me. She grabbed her chair and she and her daughter came over to sit by me. There were three guys sitting on the other side of me, but there was enough room for the two ladies to squeeze inbetween and there would have been better viewing for them to watch the match they were watching. She said, oh, no, I'm not watching my daughter play, it's just a friend so it isn't important that I can't see very well.

She asked the guys who they were watching and they said they were watching the girls on the court next to my daughter and she had a conversation about how good these girls were and where they were from. The lady and her daughter were from New York.

Then, she turns to me and says, "Obviously you aren't watching anyone." because I was knitting. So I explain to her that I'm watching my daughter play her very good friend.

Then, the funny part of the conversation happens. Have you seen the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Well, do you know the spoiled girl, who says to her father, "I want a Goose that Lays a Golden Egg!" You know the tone of her voice when she says it? Picture that.

The mother asks what I'm knitting and I say a scarf for my daughter who is going to Ohio to college (everyone asks--Ohio State?--like it is the only college in Ohio) where it is cold in the winter. The girl turns to her mother and says in that voice, "I want a scarf. Mother, make me a scarf!" The mom says, "I don't know how to knit." The girl says, in that same voice, "Well, learn how to knit!"

So, I turn to the girl and say, "Why don't you learn how to knit?"

And the girl says, "I'll just knit myself a sweater!"

The mom laughs and says,"Why not make youself a whole ensemble."

The girl says, "No, I'll make myself a whole outfit!"

The mom says, "That's what an ensemble is, it's an outfit, the whole thing."

I said, "Why don't you just start with a scarf."

Then, the match they were watching was over and they left. I had a good chuckle and went back to knitting and watching my daughter win one game, but lose the match. I just love people!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

baby, it's cold outside

Ok, so it is in the 90's, but I'm thinking ahead to the winter, in Ohio, when it will be cold outside and I'm trying to prepare. I'm working with wool yarn and knitting like crazy. It helps that I have been sitting for hours, watching tennis matches so I have the time to sit and knit. I don't know how parents can just sit and do nothing. A lady came up to me today while I was watching the last match and said, 'Obviously you aren't watching anyone play.' How rude! Just because I can multi-task.
Monday, I got the red and yellow scarf done, ends woven in and everything and started the blue one. That is for the room-mate and is in a knit 3 purl 3 pattern. I have about 15 inches done so far. I worked on it yesterday as well and then found the gorgeous variagated wool yarn in the garage last night and had to start another scarf with it right away. I worked for about 2 hours on it last night and then decided it was too wide, so pulled it out completely and started over this morning. I got 39 inches done just today at the tennis matches. It is almost done, because I'm almost out of yarn. Probably another 15 inches or so. I was instructed not to make them too long, but also told that I could make as many scarves as I wanted. I'm actually glad that my oldest is going some place cold so I can try out all sorts of new knitting and crocheting patterns and lots of fun new yarns. I told her if she gets tired of them, she can give them away to all of her friends or people on the street that she meets or leave them around campus for people to take =)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

look at this!

The fabric cutting table (I mean ping pong table) is up and ready for play! I can't believe the garage is actually clean enough for such a thing. Just a few weeks ago, you couldn't even walk through this room and now look at it. When I get an idea in my head, I scare myself =)

I found out the 2012 Olympics are in London, so I don't even have to learn another language! I have a long way to go to get ready, but I think I can practice and get good enough to represent the USA in table tennis. They let old people in don't they? Heh, heh...

Maybe, I will just stick to quilting. Is there an Olympic event for that?

Monday, July 28, 2008

the garage is clean enough

I can't believe it! The garage is clean enough to set the ping pong table up. You will have to wait until tomorrow to see pictures, but we even played a few rounds of table tennis and lost 5 balls in the buckets somewhere. I guess I had better make curtains to keep the balls away from the cubbie holes where they can roll under things. There's no way I'm digging under the fridge or boxes out there to find a little ball.

I'm not as good as I remember. I guess I'll have to wait until the 2012 Olympics. Gee, whiz, I really wanted to go to China. Where are the 2012 ones held anyways? Anybody know?

I also finished the red and yellow scarf today while watching Ariel play tennis. She had three matches so I got a lot done. I started a blue one for her room mate. She is from San Diego so will also need some warm things to wear. Stay tuned for pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

organizational day

Do you ever feel the need to take stock in what you have and figure out what needs to be done? Well, today is such a day. I have about 50 projects going. I don't mean, 50 projects wanting to be done. I mean 50 projects all being worked on. There is the T shirt quilt and the dog house and the garage cleaning and the backyard lawn-scaping and the bindings of quilts and the quilts for the kids whose mother was stuck and killed by lightening. I just need a day to figure out where I am in each of these projects and where I want to be in 3 weeks when I have to go back to work. I hate this part of summer. Then, there is Ariel going off to college and the panic attacks when I really stop to think about her leaving. It scares me that she will be so far away. If you look on a map and see where exactly Oberlin, Ohio is from California, that's practically a zillion miles away and it breaks this mother's heart. I got a webcam the other day so now I have to figure out how to use that and maybe it will help to be able to see her every day but I doubt it.

Here's what I got done yesterday and today so far. This is the quilt I'm working on for one of the boys whose mother was stuck by lightning. The fabric came in the mail last week from San Jose and the pattern is called Illinois Crossroads. I just need to quilt and bind it now.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I survived!

I survived the sleepover and even got some knitting and sewing done =) Then, I opened up the newspaper this morning and realized why. All four girls are listed in the 7th grade honor roll with a 4.0 GPA. I call them my Super Nerds. They are a great bunch of Teenagers! My daughter couldn't have picked better friends.

Friday, July 25, 2008

scarf progress

Here is the progress on the scarf from Wed, Thurs and today. I forgot to take a picture on Wed, so cheated and folded it up. A little bit every day and it will get done. I'm going to keep going until I run out of the red and yellow yarn and I have about 1/3 of each skein left. I also got another 12 string blocks done today. One of them disappeared when it was time to take pictures. Where do they go? I have no idea, but I hope it shows up when it is time to put them all together.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

my mom and dad

back of the red and blue cranes

I just got a package from my mom and dad. My mom is the quilter and my dad just took up painting about a year ago. Can you believe he can make such wonderful paintings like this? He did this for my oldest. She requested a wolf painting and this is what he came up with. He paints about one painting a day. While my parents were visiting for her graduation, he painted a huge picture of lilies for over my fireplace. That was a real treat to watch the painting develop. Then, he worked with my youngest to paint a picture of horses running. He also worked with me and the youngest to paint a standing horse. The great thing is they all look like what they are supposed to be =)

I just had to share pictures of these wonderful gifts.

Lightning story update

I told you about my online friend who worked with a lady who was killed recently. She had just gotten married two weeks ago and quit her job to be a stay home mom. She went outside to retrieve her son's eyeglasses that the dog had taken into the yard and was stuck by lightening. Well, one of you read that on my blog and emailed me this news article and asked if this was the same lady. Since it said that the husband had also been killed, I didn't think it was, but you know how accurate newspapers can be.

BOSTON -- Authorities have identified the man and woman killed when struck by lightning outside their home in Standish.
The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said the victims were 22-year-old Anthony Clarke and 28-year-old Krysta Bearor. Their names were released Saturday after relatives were notified.
Officials said three small children were at home Friday evening when lightning struck. Investigators said Clarke and Bearor had gone outside to retrieve a pair of eyeglasses the family dog had taken from one of the children.
The lightning deaths were the 19th and 20th recorded this year by the National Weather Service.

Then, another online friend found the obituary of the woman who was killed and it is the same person. This one identifies her children and gives an address to send condolences. I plan to make a quilt for each of the children. If you would like to send a card to the family, the address is at the bottom of the obituary.

Krysta Ann (Legel) Bearor
Krysta Ann (Legel) Bearor, 28 STANDISH -- Krysta Ann (Legel) Bearor, 28, of Standish, was taken from us on July 18, 2008, by an act of God. Krysta was born in Clare, Mich., on March 26, 1980, and has been a resident of Maine since 1986. Krysta is survived by her husband of two weeks, Sean Bearor. Sean and Krysta knew instantly that they were soul mates. Sean was Krysta's love of her life. Krysta leaves behind two sons, Jason Keith Allen Miller, 9 and Kaleb Anthony Nicolantonio, 4. Krysta loved her sons and loved being a mother. Jason and Kaleb were two of Krysta's biggest joys in her life. She was also blessed with two step-daughters, Jayden Destiny Bearor, 2 and Bayleigh Catherine Bearor Kenney, 7 months. She said her family was complete with two sons and two daughters. Krysta loved life, she loved pushing the limits. She was a daredevil who enjoyed all outdoors, being with people and having fun. Krysta was a high school graduate, who had worked out of the home and upon marriage decided to stay at home as a full time mother and homemaker. Krysta was an excellent swimmer and enjoyed fishing among other activities. Krysta is survived and will be sadly missed and remembered with love by her mother and stepfather, Deborah A. and Michael S. Letourneau, her father, Mark A. Legel and his partner, Melissa Zelenkewich; and her only sister, Dana A. Legel all residing in Vassalboro, two step-sisters, Sara A. Letourneau of Lebanon, N.H., and Lindsey R. Letourneau of Fairfield; paternal grandparents, Jack and Joan Baragar, her maternal grandmother, Gail Maloney of Rapid River, Mich., her maternal grandfather and step-grandmother, Robert and Margo Maloney of Frankfort, Ill., and her step-grandparents, Jules and Gaile Letourneau of Fairfield; her mother-in-law, Cheryl Bearor of Standish; her sisters-in-law, Christy Lord, Kimberly Morse and Heather Bearor all of Standish, and her brother-in-law, Kristopher Bearor of Buxton; aunts, uncles and cousins in Illinois, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina and Texas. Krysta will also be remembered by her wide circle of friends whom she loved to laugh with and always had a good time with. Krysta we love you and will remember your wit and charm. You will always be in our hearts. Visiting hours will be Friday, July 25, 2008, from 2-4 p.m., with a memorial service at 4 p.m. at the Dolby & Dorr Funeral Chapel, 76 State St., Gorham. Condolences and comfort may be sent to Krysta's husband: Sean Bearor and family P.O. Box 284 Standish, Maine 04084 In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to: The Krysta Bearor Memorial Fund, for the benefit of her four children Care of Maine Savings Federal Credit Union 912 Main St. P.O. Box 189 North Vassalboro, Maine 04962 Krysta Ann (Legel) Bearor

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

fabric, strings and scarf

First, a picture of some of the fabric from the box I picked up yesterday. Most of it was velour, while soft to the touch, not really stuff for quilting. I'm sure I will find a good use for it, maybe backs for Stockings for the troops?

Second, I've been playing with strings today. What are strings? Strings are the leftover pieces of fabric, cut from other projects. This morning, I cut out 17 pillowcases for the girls to work on and there were little bits of fabric leftover. These strips or strings were anywhere from 1 inch to 2 1/2 inches wide. You sew them to a foundation square and then cut that into a 9 1/2 inch block and lay out the blocks to make a pattern. I'm just playing with it. I got 11 blocks done today and had 2 from a very long time ago. The top right one in the picture is one that I had and it sticks out like a sore thumb at the moment. Looks like I will have to make a bunch more so they blend in better. Not sure how I will end up setting these blocks. I like to play with the strings because it is mindless sewing. You don't have to think about anything when sewing string quilts. Just grab the next strip of fabric and as long as it isn't the same and will fit along side the piece you have, you sew it on.

Here is a tutorial on making string blocks. Why not try one out yourself.

They can be addicting though so watch out. You might find yourself cutting up perfectly good fabric into little strips to make some of these! That's what I did. Here's a picture of a string quilt I made for a little baby whose parents died in a car accident in Germany.

And finally, the progress on the scarf for my oldest. I got a little done last night while watching TV. Ah, mindless Television. It is good for something =)

13 years ago

What were you doing 13 years ago today? I was having a baby! That is really hard to believe, because I'm only 25 years old myself. I should be in the Guinness Book of Records for that. It's a harder lie to tell every year since my oldest is now 18. I used to be able to get away with it. I think once the kids pass my age, I will have to start getting older.

Yes, I now have TWO teenage daughters. The heavy sighs, eye rolls and folded arms prove it. Of course, I'm dumber now that they are both teenagers. I used to know everything, but now I know nothing. At least I have no place to go but up from here.

Today's big plans are for a swim party with the church Youth Group and of course cake. I love cake.

I cut out pillowcases this morning. 17 of them to be exact. The girls called me last night and they were so excited that they had finished their 4 pillowcases they took home. They each made 5 yesterday. They have a goal of 100 so they are 1/10 of the way there on their first day. I don't know if I can keep up with them! I told you they were fast learners. Maybe I can teach them to quilt too =-D

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

fabric day

Today I got two packages in the mail from San Jose. A wonderful lady contacted me a couple of days ago and asked if I could use some fabrics that she had leftover from quilts she had made for her grandchildren. She found me through the Binky Patrol website and sent me these fabrics. They will make wonderful quilts for children and I was so happy to get them.

I also got a call from the local quilt shop. Someone had dropped of a huge box of fabrics that her mother had used and passed on to her when she died. I still have to unpack those and see what is in that box.

And here is the picture of the scarf I'm working on. Tonight is a good TV night so I'll have a couple more hours to work on it.

It's my day

Look, on the blog links on the left hand side, Alycia has named today Marilyn day! That's me! So, today is my day and I'm going to enjoy it to the fullest. Is that a word? As a teacher I should know. But, hey, I teach science, not English so I guess I can make up words if I want to.

Today began with teaching two young people how to sew. They are students at the high school I teach at (again, ending a sentence with a preposition is a bad would think I was in school or something) and they wanted to help make pillowcases for the ConKerr cancer program ( so they came over and I taught them how to make French seams and everything. These were the quickest learners ever. They each made three pillowcases in the 2 hours they were here and I sent them home each with a sewing machine and two more pillowcases cut out. I am going to cut more cases out for them and drop them off so they can keep going. I told them to call me when they get stuck. One of the girls' mothers knows how to sew, so hopefully she will help them if they forget how to thread the machines. They have a goal of 100 pillowcases this year.

They also want to make some Christmas stockings for the troops and are collecting items to send to Iraq in support of the troops. These are a couple of great kids. They almost make me want to go back to school. ALMOST. Not quite though.

I also pulled together fabric for a lady from church to cut for me. I love having people cut fabric for me. That is one less step in putting a quilt together.

Monday, July 21, 2008

time is going quickly

The summer is racing by quickly. We go back to work Aug 18 and I'm trying not to count the days just yet, but I know they are going by too fast for me.

Today I put the binding on two quilts and half way on another. Someone on one of my quilting lists asked if people liked doing the bindings. Some people said they dreaded it and some said they were happy to do it because that meant the quilt was almost done. I agree that it is exciting to put the binding on, but it is hard work. It is hard physically on my shoulders, manipulating the quilt and pulling and stretching so that the quilt doesn't warp on the edges. My bindings are 1,000 times better than when I first started and I think that is where the greatest improvement has been in my quilting since January of this year. I look back at some of those first quilts and cringe a little. I'm glad to see that I have been learning and progressing and can't wait to see where I will be a year from now.

I learned today in another of my online groups that a lady that works with one of my online crafters just got married two weeks ago. She quit her job so she could stay home and be a full time mom to three kids. There was a big thunderstorm over the weekend and the family dog had stolen her son's eyeglasses and left them out in the yard. She went out to get them and was stuck and killed by lightening. She left behind a brand new husband and three little children. I am hoping to make comfort quilts for the three children if I can find out their ages and genders and maybe favorite colors.

This is a reminder that we don't know how many days we have on this earth. We aren't promised tomorrow. Live today like it is your last and enjoy your family and friends. Spend today doing the things you love. The dishes will wait, the dust will be there tomorrow. Children grow up too fast. Take a minute today to hug them tight and tell them you love them.

On a happier note, I'm working on a scarf made from the wool yarn I bought at Lambtown. I just made up a pattern. I cast on 33 stitches and knit 3, purl 3 to the end. Do this for 6 rows and then switch. Purl the knit stitches and knit the purl stitches. It makes a basket weave pattern. I'm doing it in two colors, yellow and red (crimson) the colors of Oberlin College. The pattern for the colors is 3 sections of red, 1 of yellow, 2 of red, 3 of yellow, 1 red, 2 yellow...get it?

Promise to post a picture tomorrow. I also have a couple of high school kids coming over tomorrow to learn how to sew. They are going to be making pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer. I love helping gets get excited about voluneer work.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pictures and T Shirt quilt

Here are some pictures from the last couple of days. First, Lambtown:

Here are some poor, naked animals that just got sheared so we could have some wonderful fiber to make yarn. Thanks guys!
These guys look like they are next!
Sheep to shawl competition:

Here is the angora rabbit show. These guys have the softest fur~

Wool judging. For the first couple of years I went, I bought several whole fleece. I still have about 4 of them, waiting for me to wash and spin them. I wasn't even tempted to buy any this year. Inside the vendor area. There were a lot of yarn vendors. I bought 8 skeins of wool yarn for scarves and hats.

Here is my latest project, a T Shirt quilt for my oldest. First, you gather as many T Shirts as you want for the quilt. Usually you use one shirt per block. Sometimes a shirt will have a good picture on the front and on the back, so one shirt will make two blocks. Cut off the neck band and sleeves, oh, and make sure the shirt is clean =)Here is a nice assortment of shirts. We still need to pick out about 6 more. This quilt will be either 5x5 or 6x4 depending on the final count of shirts. The smaller logos can be joined together to make one block.

You can use your favorite block pattern. I'm using one called Twist and Shout from a book called "You Did What With My T Shirt". But, you really don't need a special book to make a T Shirt quilt. Just iron fusable interfacing onto the back of the shirts.

Here I have used Pellon, Knit interfacing. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package or you will stick the interfacing to your iron. Ask me how I know this. Then, put a clear ruler on top of the logo, centering it in the ruler. Cut around it. Here I am using a 12 1/2 inch ruler. The fabric will go around the T Shirt and the final block will be 15 inches. I had two of the shirt pictures that were a little bigger than 12 1/2 inches. In that case, you have a couple of choices. You can make the T Shirt part bigger, or you can just cut part of the picture out. You can also twist the ruler so that you get most of the picture in the block. You don't have to have the whole picture there. Stay tuned for more info later, as I work on the blocks and give you updates on the progress of this quilt.

Another migraine day

Well, went to church and got another migraine. Just a quick post today. I've been working on a quilt for Ariel. This is a T Shirt quilt with some of her favorite school shirts. We are using a pattern called Twist and Shout and almost have all the blocks made. She is still looking for a few more shirts. I think it will be 6 x 4 and be about twin size when it is done.

I also took 6 quilts to church this morning. I think those are going to Hope Again, a rehab center in Hollywood for the kids of the people going through the program. I need to get about 5 or 6 more finished up by next week when the people from church are going down south.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

another migraine changes plans

Well, the Lambtown festival was fun. I stayed about an hour. They were not set up and ready to go at 9am when I got there, but I walked around and saw everything there was to see. I bought 8 skeins of wool yarn for my daughter and her room mate's hat/scarf sets. Since she is going to a place where it snows and she is not used to snow, I figured I had better get busy on something warm for her.

I wanted to post pictures, but have a nasty migraine again, just came on all of a sudden so those will have to wait until tomorrow.

But today was a good day for getting rid of things. If you haven't tried Freecycle ( you don't know what you are missing! I listed quite a few things and have had people coming all day to pick up things I no longer need. It is nice to have people help me clean out my garage. You can also ask for things on Freecycle and I've received yarn and fabric there as well.

I got rid of 6 bags and 2 boxes of fabric today that have been taking up space in the garage. This was some 70's polyester stuff that was given to me and I just kept hanging onto it for why? I don't know, maybe I thought the 70's were coming back. NOT my 70's, I have a couple more years before those come along. About a month ago I got rid of about 8 other bags of canvas and other fabrics that I was never going to use. I still have over 80 buckets of fabric that I will be using, especially with my helpers from North Hills and my new Quilting machine that can quilt a top in 10 minutes. I'm whipping these things out.

The garage is almost ready for the ping pong table. Maybe next week =)


Today is the Lambtown festival. It is at a nearby town and promises yarn and fiber and the smell of sheep! I'm headed out here shortly and promise to take some pictures for later.

I also ordered some more Signature Thread from King's Men in all the rainbow colors so I can quilt the rest of the quilts, not just the orange ones.

Try them out. They have the best prices I've found on the net, especially when combined with shipping. It was only $8 for the first 6 cones of thread. I think I will be set for thread for a long time now.

I've had people tell me that the Perma Core thread is supposed to be really good and maybe it is my batting that is cutting the thread. Problem is, since these are charity quilts, I am not going to be spending $6 a yard on batting that won't cut the thread. I buy the cheapest batting I can buy at JoAnn's. It comes in a package, 10 yards for $10.99. I use my 40% off coupon and get it for $7.08 with tax. You can't find batting cheaper than 70 cents a yard. It makes a really nice quilt too. So, if I have to pay a little more for the thread to make up for saving $5 a yard on the batting, I think that is worth the money.

Friday, July 18, 2008

great quilting day

Wow, I was busy today! I got three quilts quilted. I got a shipment of thread in and had to try it out. The Perma-Core poly/cotton stuff did not work. Too bad because it was the cheapest and I bought 5 spools of it. I guess I will have
30,000 yards of piecing thread! I also tried Signature thread in the cotton/poly blend and that kept breaking. I had to keep going back to the LYI thread from the local quilt shop to finish off the first two quilts because I didn't have the right color of the other threads. I didn't plan well when buying different threads to try out.

Finally, I tried the Signature 100% cotton thread purchased here

It was only $6.95 for 3,000 yards and I see that the 6,000 yard cones are also cheap. I am in love with this one. I didn't have the thread break one time on me. This is definately going on my list of more to buy! Right now, I have it in orange. I guess I will have to dig out all of my orange quilts and get those quilted up. I think I will order white next time =)

My favorite quilt of the day is the Happy Blocks. This one is made with 6 1/2 inch squares surrounded by 2 1/2 inch borders. There really wasn't a pattern I followed. Someone just suggested I try this and it turned out great. I wish I hadn't taken so long to quilt it. It looks so great! In each of the squares, I tried to draw something different. Here are some of my attempts at pictures. Can you tell what they are? The hardest thing was, I loaded the quilt upside down, so I had to draw these upside down. Do you know how hard it is to draw upside down with a sewing machine? Well, you really should try it!!!