Sunday, March 25, 2007

So lucky

I am indeed a lucky gal. I have sweet little nieces who are willing recipients of my urge to knit and sew, and I have friends who are fueling my urges by opening a lovely new yarn and fabric shop, Corning Stitch Works, right here in town. Oh, and they have vintage trims and buttons, too. Isn't that thoughtful of them?!

At their grand opening last weekend I snapped up several balls of this delightful New Zealand wool, "Buttons" by Magic Garden. It came in so many colors I had a hard time choosing, but this spring green finally won my heart.

And here's how it looks all knit up on size 3 needles into another little bolero. This one will head to California this week for little niece Sofia. The blue one from last week is already in Ohio with niece Makenna. I had such fun thinking of these sweet little misses while knitting, and wishing I could see them more often.

In the meantime, it's amazing how knitting needles and a sewing machine can help bridge the distance. Lucky thing, huh?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

This and that on a Sunday evening

Lots of things to think about on this cold Sunday in western New York - some serious, some funny, all grateful.

I got up this morning to find the still-damp bolero had been the object of considerable scrumpling by one Miss Abigail Cat. No harm done, though. (Note to self: Don't block sweaters on the best bird-watching perch in the house.)

Tracy at Woolwindings asked for a more detailed photo of the embellishment, and since this is the first request of this type I've ever received, I am only too happy to comply. Actually, I have so much admiration for Tracy, I would have complied even if I got this sort of request every day!

Next, I really enjoyed making this skirt for Randi's "Sewing Seeds" project. I'll get this in the mail to Randi this week, and her daughter will take it with her in June when she goes to volunteer at an orphanage in Africa this summer. I like knowing that a little girl may enjoy the bright cotton print, but even more importantly, I like knowing that Randi's daughter knows so many other people are supporting her in this volunteer work. We may have done a little sewing on this end, but it's Danika who will make the difference -- not only through the work she'll do in June, but through the way an experience like this may forever shape the way she approaches service. So, thanks, Randi and Danika, but letting us be part of this.

My brother Joe has been on my mind over recent days, as well. He and a group from his church in Indiana just returned from a week's worth of hard work in New Orleans, helping four victims of Hurricane Katrina. His first e-mail to family after his return spoke of the sheer scope of the devastation. It's almost unthinkable that such destruction is still evident a year and a half after the flooding. He may be writing more in his blog soon, so check in there if you're interested.

Lastly, I hope you'll spend a moment on a prayer for Joe's son -- my nephew, David, who is currently serving his second tour as an Army medic in Iraq. You can read a bit more about him here, in my brother's blog. And visit here, too, for a look at Joe (handsome dude, isn't he?) and adorable baby Berneice, the youngest of David and Susan's three kiddos. My special request comes because today is David's birthday - hopefully the last one he'll be spending so far from home.
Hope you are able to hug those dear to you today and be grateful for many blessings. I know I am!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bolero a-go-go

I've been working on the little knitted bolero inspired by the Abigail Breslin sweater in the paper a few weeks back. I was just chomping at the bit to see if I could mimic the sweater without a pattern. Fortunately I have a couple of little nieces who might not think it's too dorky to wear one of their auntie's experiments.

Today I finished this, knit on size 4 needles with denim-blue Wool-Ease (not my favorite yarn, but washable and already in my stash...)

Then I couldn't resist the urge to embellish with a little yarn embroidery, using tiny vintage buttons in the flower centers. So this is what's being blocked on my windowsill at this very moment.

I was aiming for a size five, and didn't trust the wide variety of sizing charts I found online. So I bought a little girl's shirt at our local gently-used children's clothing store and sized this sweater accordingly. I really love the way it turned out, and tonight will probably cast on another one in a size 6X. Since we got whalloped with another 10 inches of snow this weekend, it looks like I'll have plenty of sewing and knitting time tomorrow, too.

(I really hope this photos post OK - is it just me, or is anyone else seeing lots of red x's where blog photos ought to be????)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Seventeen quilts

Last weekend’s quilt guild retreat was so much fun that it’s taken me a whole week to recover. OK, so I didn’t really need a whole week, but it was really fun nonetheless. Imagine a three-day, two-night slumber party with sewing machines. Who could ask for anything more?

We all worked on our own projects during the retreat, but there was plenty of time to put the finishing touches on some of our service project quilts for the county nursing home. I seem to be the collection point for everyone’s work, so I took advantage of a little sunshine this afternoon to photograph most of them.

Don’t start thinking this is all my work – it’s not! But isn’t it neat to see what happens when a couple of dozen quilters compile their scraps and a little time?

This stack of 17 quilts – plus a few more still being completed -- will go to the nursing home later this month. I’m looking forward to knowing that they’ll soon be exactly where they belong – not folded neatly in a colorful stack in my family room, but hopefully bringing a little warmth and cheer to folks who can really use just that.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Packed and ready to go

Tomorrow begins a three-day quilt retreat!

I'm planning on finishing a number of quilting projects this weekend, one of which has been sitting partially completed for nearly two years. I also want to churn out a stack of receiving blankets, since the flannel's been washed and ready to sew since my mom's birthday in July. I have a number of quilts to bind as part of the guild's service project for a local nursing home. So I think I'll have more than enough to keep me busy through Sunday afternoon.

I had a great time at last year's retreat, and am really looking forward to this weekend. The conference center is only a few miles outside of town, so when Dan picks me up from work at noon tomorrow, I'll be dropped off, checked in, set up and sewing full-steam within the hour.

I was just going through my packing checklist, and was feeling great I had it all done.

Oops. Better add one more small bag -- for a change of clothes, PJs and a toothbrush.

There. NOW I'm ready.