Sunday, May 31, 2009

Voyager Lace Stole or Why Do I do This to Myself?

also known as What Stole My Sanity...

I am trying to knit this lace stole, it is called Voyager. The pattern is a free one from Elann Yarns. The plan is for me to do this as a KAL (knit along) for the re-read of Voyager by Diana Gabaldon with the Outlander Fans over at Ravelry.

I am trying to knit it with the yarn pictured above. It's lace weight yarn from Spirit Trail called Clotho in the Autumn Harvest Colourway. I love the colourway as it's has got two of my favorite colours in it.

So to the point of this post... I have cast on 99 stitches to start five times already. Today, I got the farthest along, six whole rows of garter stitch and 6 whole rows of pattern (out of 10, sigh). I found a mistake in the number of stitches on the sixth row of pattern (two to many, sigh), realized that I didn't have a lifeline in, yet another sigh. So, now I have to rip it, rip it, rip it (frogging). You just can't tink (knit backwards) a lace pattern without having a lifeline in. If you try to un-knit, you tend to lose the yarn overs that are inherent in lace knitting. Bleh, poopers, caca occurs, meh, and an even bigger sigh! Yes, I am starting YET again. Yes, I will get this. Yes, I can do this. Yes, I have knit lace before. Yes, I am that determined. Yes, more shall be revealed.

However, my Knitpicks Harmony Wood Interchangeables have been a real boon to my lace knitting. At least I stitch better with them. I just can't count better. They have really lovely points for finding the stitches. The wood has enough tooth to hold onto the yarn, yet the needles are pretty slick and let's the stitches slide off when you need them to. I am so glad that Erin gifted me them to my birthday.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Oven Roasted Stew - Creamer Potatoes

My daughter asked me to write down the receipt that I used to make the supper last night. She was the genesis of the idea as she brought home a bag of red, white and purple creamer potatoes from the New Sunflower Farmer's Market the other day. WE REALLY LOVE these potatoes. They are like "buttah".

I had also gotten a package of Super Cherry Tomatoes and Baby Carrots as freebies when I went to the opening of the market on Wednesday, so an idea was born.

When I realize that we needed something fairly soon for supper yesterday and I looked at the taters and I thought, Hmmmm?

So, I proceeded to wash and quartered the red potatoes as they are rather small in size. I am saving the purple and white ones for smashed taters later on. I then washed and quartered baby carrots, Super cherry tomatoes, sliced up some celery and added some little beef filets that I cut into bite size pieces to the mix.

I placed all these ingredients in a cast iron skillet and then added a couple of grinds of black pepper, a bay leaf, a tablespoon of dried garlic chips, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of Kitchen Bouquet and a half cup of water. I put the skillet in a 350 degree oven and we went off to Big Lots in search of P.O.T.s (plastic organizer thingies).

The stew was nearly ready when we returned from the store. I boiled a pot of water for spinach fettuccine and wallah, supper was done.

Oven Roasted Stew

Oven at 350 degrees

6-8 red creamer potatoes, washed and quartered
10-12 baby carrots, quartered
6 small tomatoes, quartered
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1/2 to 3/4 pound beef, cut bite sized
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup water (depending on the amount of gravy you want)
1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet
ground pepper to taste (salt too, if you use it)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried garlic chips

Place all ingredients in the cast iron skillet, give a good stir to coat the ingredients and roast for about an hour or until done to your liking.

Serve over spinach fettuccine or other pasta of choice.

Enjoy! I do wish that I had taken a picture of the finished and plated stew as the colours were as lovely as a Braque painting when assembled...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dave Lowe's Latest Knitting Toon

I love Dave Lowe's toons. I want this as a tee shirt. I REALLY think that all of Dave's Knittar and knitting related art should be tee shirt designs. HE SO GETS US! Here is the linky to Dave's Website: Dave Lowe's ParaAbnormal

On an unrelated topic, I am about to hit one hundred posts, so forgie (Scots English for forgive, BTW) me now for nattering on...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

YAY, a New Market - Sunflower Farmer's Market Opens

Today was this first morning that it wasn't cloudy or threatening to rain in 5 days. Which was all to the good, as I went to stand in line with 300 plus of my neighbors for the opening of the new Sunflower Farmer's Market.

Huzzah, we now have a Sunflower Farmer's Market here. The first 200 people in line this morning got a free bag of groceries. So, I got up with the DD and drove her to work so I could get in line. When we drove by the store at 5:35 am, we saw that there were people in line already waiting for the 7:00 am official open! Though the grand opening is today, the store was actually open yesterday and Erin stopped in on her way home. She did a little comparison of prices with Whole Foods Market, while she walked about. She determined that some are better, some are comparable and some are higher on the things we regularly buy. That is the to be expected in any retail situation, however. It was nice to shop a brand new store, though I didn't spend much time there as it was PACKED, of course. Since I don't do crowds all that well, I wanted to get in and get my free bag of groceries and get out. I will go back after the frenzy dies down and really scope it out.

Erin and I talked about it and we wondered if I would get to be one of the 200 people to get a free bag of groceries. I proceeded to drop Erin off at work and went back to the store. Somehow, I got a parking spot RIGHT in front and my queue number was 107, WOOT.

I had a book and knitting and a quilt to finish binding and a chair. However, but for the knitting, they all stayed in the car. I did stand in line with all the other early risers and briefly worked on the knitted block for Megan's baby afghan. The woman in line behind me also had her knitting, so we compared notes on knitting, Ravelry, LYSs and the libraries.

What I got in the bag of free groceries and also purchased.

Michele from Ravelry (with her knitting, which is a small bag done with Magic Loop).

Again, more to be revealed. It looked good though and I can actually walk to this one if I want to put a good foot under..

7:45 pm - ETA: I forgot to mention that the store staff couldn't have been friendlier or more knowledgeable about where things were (a serious pet peeve of mine, staff not knowing where things are) and they were really good at getting the moil thru the store, the checkout and out the door and one even followed me to the car to help stow the groceries and retrieve my cart (I am sure that is not a regular part of the service, they had already run out of carts). I was in and out of the store and back at the house within 14 minutes of the opening of the doors. None so bad, eh?

Oh and this was the view from the parking lot..

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time to Reveal More - NYB

The Double NYB in all it's glory.

Detail of the Double NYB Block

Detail of the Single NYB

As promised here is the more to be revealed. Here are detail shots of the NYBs after they were quilted. The binding is now on and on the double one completely stitched with a sleeve for hanging if I so desire. I plan to make so matching fabric napkins just in case I use it on the table instead.

The single block NYB is light enough in weight that it will just get hook and loop tape to hang it with. This is a great trick I learned from Mistress Quilter, Judy B. Dales aeons ago. She primarily uses it for hanging odd shaped quilts but I find it works just as well for square and rectangular ones. It also makes them quick change artists, when I want to change them out.

Monday, May 25, 2009

In Honour of Our Fallen Heros

Today is Memorial Day in the US of A. It is a day to remember our service members. They died in the service of their country helping to protect my right to live free.

My GrandDa was a career Army man, as well as a member of the National Guard. It was not an easy life for his family, but he believe in what he was doing. I have infinite respect and admiration for those that make military life a career as they know the risk of dying in service. I appreciate their sacrifices and the sacrifices of their family.

If you care to read two other lovely tributes to this day and the men and women it honours, please do check out Tristan's blog at Enchanted Revelry and Anne's Blog at El Milagro Studio

Again, thank you for your service, Bless you All.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Surprise! I Really am Working on Some New Quilts

Many of you readers may not know that I have actually been a quilter far longer than I have been a knitter. How so ever, knitting has been a force of nature and pretty much taken up all my attention for the last two years.

Since I finally felt I was missing something in my life, I volunteered to be the Block of the Month (BOM) coordinator for the Piecing Partners Quilt Guild. This was as an incentive to get some quilting back into the rotation of things I enjoy doing. Keeping my hand in quilting is also the reason that I have been participating in the sorta annual Baggo Challenges and the Slice Quilt with my Fiber Pirates friends.

Last month, I designed a Columbine Applique Block for the BOM we turned in this month. Here's a picture of one of them.

This month, I picked a Simple New York Beauty type block from 101 Full Sized Quilt Blocks and Borders for the BOM. The guild block is going to be Red, White and Blue. Here's a photo of one of the R, W & Bs that I did for the sample board. The guild members each will make a quarter block with red, white and blue fabrics and then bring them back for a drawing and winner take all and they'll get a scrappy top and hopefully they learned something new in the process.

I have been a fan of this block for a while, so I really enjoyed revisiting it again. To that end, this is what I did today. I made eight quarters to make two circles. This may end up either as a wall hanging or a table runner. I do have enough of some of the fabrics to make some matching napkins. Most of the fabrics were sold to me as fat quarters which are 18 x 22 inches.

This one is an analogous colour run starting with yellow green and ending at blue red. This is now the second time I have made these blocks in an analogous colourway. Since I was having so much fun, I made a third analogous colour run starting with blue green and ending at red purple, this one used two fewer fabrics than the first one did.

Here too, is a photograph of the first one I did, complete with the quilting and binding. I made this as a class exercise for Heather Thomas' Infamous Colour Class back in 2003. It is in the collection of a friend of mine from the Quilt Mavericks as we did a trade for a piece of each other's art.

More to be revealed, so stay tuned, dear readers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fiber Pirates Rock! - Awesome New Quilt

I belong to a Yahoo Group called the Fiber Pirates. We are a cyber ship of quilt and fiber artists from around the globe. We are also a talented group of men and women who seem to collect interesting bits and bobs for making art with. I blogged earlier about the Baggo quilt I just finished for MrsK that is made with dupioni silk, fake rose petals and ribbon yarn (15 April 2009 for a picture)...

We, the Fiber Pirates, annually (somewhat) do a project called the Bag o' sCraps (aka BaggoCrap) or Baggo for short. The basic idea is that each participant collects a gallon bag of fabric and other stuff and sends it off to the Baggo Swap Mum. She, in turn, send that bag back out to someone else. That person then makes a quilt from whatever of the contents of the Baggo they want to use or feel they can use. Sometimes that is the biggest challenge of all. As in, "How in the World am I Going to Do Anything With This Lot?"

These are the contents of the bag I sent for the 2009 Baggo.

We can add stuff from their own stashes if necessary. For instance, for the one done last year, I did knitted jelly fish from a metallic yarn for it. I have blogged a picture of that quilt in an earlier post (also pictured on the 15 April 2009 post).

This is a picture of what I am getting back. This picture is pretty craptastic as there is a metallic fleck in the green fabric. It appears that most point and shoot cameras REALLY, REALLY don't like metallics from what I have been experiencing. I can tell though, that it has an amazing amount of quilting. I just cannot wait for it to come home so I see it for real. I will also have to find its place of honour on one of my walls.

It looks so amazing! I didn't even recognize it as belonging to me as it is WAY BETTER than the contents of my Baggo would have suggested. Earlier, I had thought that one of the other quilts posted was mine as it does have fabrics in it that are in my own stash as well.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Angels and Demons

We saw the movie today, really we did, as it was raining when we came out of the theatre this afternoon. We decided that it was really worth seeing at the theatre instead of waiting til it came out on DVD. The reason being is that the Eternal City, that is Rome, was as much a character as the Professor, the Physicist, the Camerlengo, and the College of Cardinals was. Is it wrong that I thought a priest looked mighty fine in his robes? Ewan McGregor was fabulous in his part, BTW. Tom Hanks did his usual yeoman work and Ayelet Zurer wasn't too annoying or helpless, even.

Both the DD and I had read the Angels and Demons when it first came out. We both thought it was better story than the DaVinci Code. We enjoyed DaVinci as well, mind you, but A & D was a much better read in our opinion.

We did have a few issues with certain threads of the story being mangled, but for the most part, a good job was done by the writers in taking this story from book to film. I must say that Ron Howard sure does know how to direct a movie and the lighting through the whole was wonderful. Great use of light and shadow, which I am sure was the point, but so few get it so right.

Go see, it's an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon..

Creative Every Day - Nature

Here's a sketch for the current CED project I am working on... It happens to be done as a sketch in someone else's Moleskine. However, it does give me a feel for the subject. I am sure that the owner of the Moleskine will be happy with having a preview sketch.

Ravens are an ongoing fascination with their tricksters selves born from an encounter in a reservation in the 4 Corners area back in 2002. As I was driving through north of Yuba City, I saw a raven harassing a Native American long distance runner. It was trying to pull hair from her pony tail. My fascination continues today with the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday this year. I did a postcard challenge earlier this year for Quilt Art about the poem the Raven.

BTW: Anne, this is all your fault. Here's the study for that 12 x 12 canvas we talked about earlier. The right side raven will have a shiny object in it's beak when all is said and done..

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tag You Are IT!

My friend Anne, the bodacious owner of the Fabulous El Milagro Studio has tagged me, now I tag you.

This is how the Tag works:

A. Name & link back to the person who tagged you. (I managed that part....)
B. List six (un)important things that make you happy.
C. Tag six bloggers & let them know they're *it* by leaving them a comment.

Six things........

1. Time with my DD, chilling with a vintage TV show!
2. The Cat that owns us both, Pan aka Pandemonium!
3. Sharing art, literature and life's stuff with my family and friends.
4. I really do like wearing a corset!
5. Good friends who put up with and celebrate my eccentricities. I took this one directly from Anne and Amen to that, Sistah Grrl!
6. A Great Cup of Joe!

Now, to my victims, er, I mean, my FRIENDS! ;-)

1. Nic at for persevering on the Jolly Green Giant and her willingness to share it with us, pretty amazing!
2. Rebecca at for always amusing me and giving me a window into her world at the other end of Union Blvd!
3. Father Michael at for his considered and thought provoking writing on any number of subjects...
4. Kay at for her colourful addition to my life and her puzzles of interesting things and whose work inspires me.
5. Brittany at for her wonderful spirit and kewl art and for being my new found friend.
6. Ces at for amazing art, thoughtful commentary and the kewlest Moleskines, on this earth or any other.

Again, I cannot say it better then Anne, so I am not changing a word. Go pass this on; see what is truly important, or unimportant but makes you happy!
All my readers, without question, make me happy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beltane Lemony Lavender Goodness Receipt

This past weekend I decide to make a Lemon Lavender cookie recipe that I have been wanting to experiment with ever since I first saw it. I don't recall exactly where it was that I saw it, but I think it has it's genesis in a cookie called Lavender and Lemon Snowflakes from Crafts'nThings posted sometime in October. Seeing that recipe again a few weeks ago got me to thinking about making them. Here's the link to the Snowflake Cookies.

The cookies in the recipe cited above appear to be quite the fat and cholesterol bombs. Also, they are rather more labour intensive than I was up for over the weekend. I love, though, the idea of a lavender/lemon flavoured cookie. So, I preceded to fiddle around with a basic cookie recipe. I have had success with this basic cookie in the past as I didn't have to make too many adjustments for altitude and such (we live at nearly 7000 feet here). I made the first iteration of the recipe following the basic recipe. Although, I did tweak it as I went. For instance, I added the juice of the lemon and the vanilla extract to the basic recipe. I used only 1 teaspoon of lavender flowers in this batch, but in my opinion it needed more, which is why the recipe below calls for a tablespoon full. These are very lemony with the zest and juice, the lavender makes a nice counterpoint to the tartness. Here is what I came up with. The recipe that got me thinking about these cookies in the first place contains 2/3 cup more sugar, 2 eggs and 2 3/4 cups more flour than this basic shortbread type dough.

Leslie's Lemony Lavender Roll Cookies

Oven @ 350 degrees


1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Food Grade Lavender Flowers (available at Whole Foods, for certain) or amount to your personal taste
Zest from One Large Lemon (grate zest on small side of box grater, make sure you scrap the inside of grater to get all zest when done grating the lemon)
Juice of One Lemon
1 Teaspoon of Real Vanilla Extract
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
1 Cup All Purpose Flour + 1-3 tablespoons (if at altitude)
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

In Small Bowl - Sift Together Flour and Salt
In Large Bowl - Cream Butter til Soft
Mix in Sugar, Lavender and Lemon Zest
Cream all together while adding lemon juice and vanilla extract
Add Flour Mixture until a Soft Dough forms.

Turn dough out onto Wax Paper or Parchment Paper, Wrap and Refrigerate for 20 Minutes.

Remove from frig and roll dough into a 2 inch diameter log, wrap and return to frig for another 45 minutes.

After at least 45 minutes, remove from frig, slice into 1/4 inch thick disks and bake on a lightly grease baking pan for 12-15 minutes.

Try not to let them get too brown.

Cool slightly on the baking tray and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

These will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

I think that I shall add this recipe to my Beltane recipes that also include receipts for various oatcakes and oatbreads.

If you are unaware of what Beltane is, here's a link to the Wiki definition. Beltane is a Celtic Spring Celebration and is a festival of flowers, fertility of the earth and the kine. Jumping the fire and Maypole Dancing are just some of the features of this ancient celebration.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Here's Another Blog to Check Out!

Brittany over at is having a contest for a lovely Dia de Las Muertos inspired stick pin. She also does really neat art work.

This photo is of the piece that Brittany is giving away on her blog.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Star Trek the Movie


Nothing more need be said.


We actually saw the movie! The weather changed from sunny and warm to rainy and cool between the thought of going to the movie and walking up to the box office to buy the tickets (about 2 hours). My daughter and I, after nearly 2 years of living in the Springs, have experienced either rain, snow or the weather changing every time we decide to go see a movie. We've become convince we haven't seen the movie if something is not spitting from the sky or blowing us across the parking lot.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother's Day Wishes to You

I read any number of blogs and was reminded by more than a few of the fact that Mother's Day was nearly upon us. It got me to thinking about my Mother and the gift of creativity that she gave me. I learned most of my favorite past times at her knee. She taught me to sew and quilt, to draw and paint, the basics of knitting and needlepoint (Da was a big help here as we are both cack-handed) and she encouraged me in the pursuit my heart's desire art-wise. There were no boxes that we had to punch our way out of...

Sunday will be Mother's Day. I have no Mum or Grandmums or even a sister to wish well of the day as they have all gone before me. I, therefore send regards of the day to you.

Our family for whatever reason, was not much on sending flowers for occasions, special or otherwise. I'm still not entirely sure why that it. There is no one left to ask the question of, though. Be that as it may, until my mother passed away I always saw to it that a corsage of red and white carnations was delivered to her if I couldn't bring it myself.

When she started working the Sunday brunches at The Black Banana in Philadelphia, I would have the corsage of red and white carnations waiting in the cooler for her to wear while she was working on the line. Her co-workers thought it was a lovely little salute and she was always surprised when they were there as she gathered her ingredients for the day. Mum loved working the brunches as she thought it was a fun break on her day off from her own store, By Hand.

Now the color of the carnations has significance. Carnations are among the most popular cut flowers, used in floral arrangements, corsages, and boutonnieres. In Europe the carnation was formerly used as a treatment for fevers. It was also used to spice wine and ale during Elizabethan times, as a substitute for the more expensive clove.

In 1907, Miss Anna Jarvis selected the pink carnation as the symbol for Mother's Day. So, like the Day itself, it was Miss Jarvis who made carnations a part of Mother's Day. She introduced and supplied the carnations at the first Mother's Day service conducted in Grafton, West Virginia. The carnation was chosen because of her mother's fondness for them.

Maybe, at first, they were not exactly picked up on an emblematic sense. But they were immediately accepted as appropriate for the occasion. It was the inherent quality of sweetness, purity and endurance that made the carnations so popular on Mother's Day.

Later, white carnations, with their sweet fragrance, came to be regarded as the flower meant for those who have missed their mothers. Missed, either because of death, or, because of staying at a distance. It was the red carnations which in the course of time became the symbol of wishing a living mother, Love. Perhaps, red, the color of blood and heart, was thought to be more suited to represent life and love.

I happen to be a fan of carnations. I like their scent as it is spicy and doesn't get cloying with prolonged exposure to it. Their ruffly petals are fun to observe as well. I also really like the natural variations as opposed to the forced colours they do for special occasions, like St Patrick's Day or the 4th of July. Doing that to flowers just seems silly to me.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Collage Mania

I would like to suggest that you all go take a look. Most especially, as I have been the beneficiary of the American Cancer Society's good works.

It's a reverse auction of art work in various medias, but primarily fiber related. I know a lot of the artistes from various art quilt groups I belongs to on-line.

You'll also see some of the Raven Challenge Postcards. I participated in this challenge as well. I blogged about it somewhere in the older posts.

I have been knitting more than anything for the last couple of years. I do keep my hand in quilting with challenges like the Raven card I did with QA and the Slice Quilt and the Baggos I do with the Fiber Pirates. Which reminds me I have to do a quilt for the Coffee Challenge with the Quilt Mavericks. It's due next week.

Here's part of a challenge we did over to the Fiber Pirates, it's my section of a slice quilt. Here's the Raven Challenge Postcard from the Quilt Arts group.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Painted Banners and Over-Skirts

or Why I Ended Up in Bed all Weekend

I refuse to submit to the fact that I just don't have the strength and stamina that I think I should have or used to have. After cancer in 2001 and West Nile Virus(WNV)in 2003, I seem to have lost about 30% of my strength. My immune system was still compromised from chemo when I contracted the WNV. I have to push myself fairly hard to get things finished in a timely manner. Unfortunately, no one know what a good lead time is. All last week, I hammered away on painting these canvases. Of course the weather refused to cooperate, no painting out of doors, heavy moisture in the air, etc. Even with acrylics, things took forever to dry.

This was the most challenging one and some of its detail shots.

This is the one that sank me.

I was suppose to spend the weekend in costume at the Heritage Days at Fort Lupton, CO with our Katte Beth and our Spinning Mistress, Darla from the Ren Scots but I couldn't get out of bed on Saturday morning as I had had a relapse of the WNV as a result of being too tired and was running a low grade fever. That and the fog that socked in my truck so badly, that I couldn't see it from my front door and its 15 feet away, maybe. I looked at the traffic cameras from here to Fort Lupton as well and it was pea soup all the way. High speed, winding highways, bad conditions, not my idea of a fun trip. The fog also lasted all day Saturday and the temperature didn't get over 50 degrees. So, discretion being the better part of being a chicken, I stayed home. It's just as well, as I didn't get out of bed for any appreciable amount of time until mid morning on Monday. My daughter, Erin took good care of me, bringing me real food to consume instead of a handful of crackers, LOL.

I was given the band of Seminole Patch Piecing forever ago in a de-stash swap. I always knew it was going to be a hem band on a skirt or something. It was blue tho and I don't do much in the way of blue in my various costuming pieces. Then, I found my Folkwear Prairie Dress pattern and decided I wanted to make the dress again and I found a blue/cream calico print for a dollar a yard (the length of dress I wanted to make take 5 + yards). I will wear this dress with the keyhole pocket apron over in warm weather and I will wear the patch work over-skirt over it in cool/cold weather. Part of the reason I wanted to make it again is so that I can wear it when I hang out with my friend, Katte Beth when we are at Fort Lupton.

I decided to make this over-skirt on Tuesday to wear on Saturday as well as finishing the painting of the banners. (I thought the break to sew would ease the impatience for the paint to dry, HAH). I also did my regular life stuff of knitting with friends, meeting friends for coffee, going to the library, cooking, laundry, re-arranging the furniture in my bedroom, packing for the weekend, yadda, yadda, yadda and so forth. Sadly, it all proved to be too much.

Here's the detail of the over skirt I also referred to in the title.

Here's what the Prairie Dress looks like with the keyhole pocket apron.

Then, the worse happened late yesterday afternoon, I broke a molar! So, I am currently in a fog of pain and percocet til I can get into a dentist this afternoon. I will then proceed to give them all my money to either fix it or yank it. More to be revealed, sigh. Therefore, the monotone brown banner, above , is again on hold as I can't think enough to paint it. This post alone has taken me over 2 hours of stopping/starting and spell check to write. However, a couple of my regular readers pinged me and wanted to know what was up. So here, tis!