Author Archives: Melanie

My favorite podcasts

Here are my favorite audio podcasts and YouTube channels. These are not the only ones I watch or listen to but this is what I am loving right now as I craft.

Audio:

Off Kilter Quilts

Hip To Be A Square

My Creative Corner 3

Simple Handmade Everyday

 

YouTube Channels:

Off The Grid Needlearts

Epic Gardening and Epic Urban Homestead

The Fat Squirrel Speaks

The Dawn of Vanlife

 

 

 

Sewing Room …

We needed a break from moving. The old house is mostly empty. There are a handful of items that can go in a single car load. And that’s it. All we have to do is clean and patch anything up. But we were so tired that we decided to take a break from that today. Instead, I connected all the computers my team and I will need tomorrow for work. I also unpacked and got my sewing room in some kind of order.

I discovered while unpacking that the movers (cuz my hubby would never do this) put some of my fabric and yarn bins in the garage. I was a bit upset. Ok a lot upset but there was nothing that could be done. The bins are all the way in the back corner of the garage with a whole lot of boxes around it.

After I got what I got done I realized in hindsight that it was probably a good thing the bins were in the garage. It probably would have overwhelmed me. I currently have no place for whatever is in the garage but I have space in the moddle of the room. I am thinking of making a pressing board for that area and putting more fabric underneath. Nothing will happen soon but I’m playing with my ideas. I’ve never had a sewing room like this before and Immsioer excited. I really want to start quilting now but it’s late and I got to go to bed.

~happy Sunday

Melanie

Mostly moved

There is only a handful of large items left at the old house and the hubby plans to grab those over the weekend. Then we need to clean it up and hope the property management do not ding us too hard.

But here’s the state of my sewing room at the new house!

I thought you’d like to see this chaos.

Happy quilting. By the way, I used this opportunity to take my big machine for her annual spa treatment. That way I only have to move her once. By the time I have her back I should have my sew-ezi table in place to set her in.

Happy Friday friends

Melanie

internet day…

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been trying to install internet at the new house. We had 4 cable lines, one in each room, none in the living or family rooms. We tried each and none of them worked.

Because of Covid, a tech couldn’t come out until today to figure out why. And he discovered it pretty quickly.

All of the lines had been cut from the outside. Why would someone do that? We assumed to make it look pretty. But then why would they leave the ugly cables inside and on the roof with the old dishes and extra lines? Who knows what people think…

I’ve found so many surprising things in this house but those will wait for a later day.

~keep on crafting my friends!

Melanie

Going off Social Media

Lately, I’ve been feeling down. I’m sad, frustrated, upset, and immobilized.  The pandemic, quarantine, loss of people, friends, and family and the social things that kept my small tiny little life happy has really gotten to me.  The politics and obvious blatant racism and pain in the world. Just pain everywhere.  It’s awful and horrible. 

I am on Instagram and Facebook. I have a Twitter account that I don’t really use but periodically get pulled to when I click on something that brings me to it.  I watch YouTube and I do not even know what qualifies as social media anymore because just being on my computer or phone brings up notifications that pull me away from what I want to do and draws me down into a rabbit hole.

I am reading a book called, “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport.  I loved his book, “Deep Work” and I’m enjoying this book.  It’s about our digital life and how we no longer have control over our actions, thoughts, uses.  He’s much more eloquent than I am and I’m probably saying it wrong.  But I realize that I’m letting social media control my moods – I get sad, upset, jealous/envious, and angry after I check Insta/FB to see what’s going on.  I know I should know better than to feel this way when I see friends post certain things.  I know I should be better at putting my phone down, shutting my computer off, and doing the things that really matter.  I’ve often thought of deactivating my accounts and I still haven’t done it.

But some things have got to change. I am tired of this unmotivated, sad, angry feeling that has consumed me recently.

I can’t go off completely. I run the Facebook group for my quilt guild. I am also technically in charge of the guild’s Instagram account and by technically, it’s because I created the account and I monitor it. But since Covid, I’ve not really posted anything on it. I also run our zoom weekly quilting bee on Sundays to help keep the guild connected to each other.  I moved the apps on my phone to another page further away from my home screen that is slightly more difficult for me to get to.  That way it’s more of a conscious choice to get to it.  I may apply more rules to myself but so far, I’ve decreased my contact on social media and taking back more of my time and becoming more positive.

As part of my evening ritual, I am not allowed to check Facebook or Instagram after 7pm. I just started doing this in the last couple of weeks and my sleep has improved dramatically.  My fit bit broke a recently so I can’t give you real numbers but in terms of feeling, I’m waking up much better each day more regularly than before. 

~always,

Melanie

My weekly crafty update

So much has gone on over the last week.  

I finally finished this quilt top. As a reminder, it’s Area 4’s mystery quilt from the 2012 SoCal Quilter’s Run.  And, I somehow got all the kits except the finishing instructions. I pieced all the blocks last year (2019) at a little Sunday quilt gathering at my friend, Tova’s house. We met every Sunday for a long while. Then I started taking garment sewing classes and other friends got theater season tickets, then Covid happened.  We now meet on Zoom and our little 5 person group has expanded to about 12-13.  Anyway, every week I worked on these blocks until they were finished. I didn’t document when I started although I could probably figure it out if I truly want to (I don’t).  All the blocks were done and then I put them away to tackle at a quilt retreat. The best things about retreats are the collective minds who help puzzle through problems.  I didn’t have the finishing instructions so at the first and last retreat I went to this year in early March “BC” (before covid-19) I put the blocks up and figured out how I wanted it to go.  I took a picture and carefully put them back in my project bin in order with careful instructions as to how it supposed to go.  I actually found a place I want to pick out.  It’s the second row on the top. the second from the left and the second from the right need to be switched so that it would match the bottom.  I don’t normally correct things that I find if I find it this far along the process.  But my eye is drawn to it and I cringe so I’m going to take it apart.

 

Moving Again

And we are moving again. It’s been a little over a year since our last move and it’s that time again. I love where we are living but the house is on the older side and hasn’t been kept up. So I am looking forward to moving to a home with dual pane windows that we can easily open and close.  It’s also a bigger house with a room for my sewing. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve always had a room for my sewing.  In actuality it’s usually my office that I stuff my sewing in.  But now, I get to separate my office stuff and my sewing.  The computer and office stuff will be in my daughter’s room. Since she’s away in college she’s only home during the summer and school breaks so when she’s here, I can work from my laptop in my sewing room . And when she’s not home I can work in her room.  I love being able to separate my office and my craft room. I’ve worked from home for 15 years now and I still run into problems stopping working.  Having that separation will help a lot.  In addition, computers are loud. It will be nice to not have to hear it all the time.

Project bags

I’ve started packing and pulled all my project bags from my cabinet.  This is where I stuff them when the yarn is matched up with a pattern and is simply waiting for the time it gets space in my knitting rotation.  Every bag contains a wonderful surprise for me. 🙂

 

RBG fabric

In honor of RBG and her passing, I purchased this fabric. I can’t wait to get it and make masks for the strong young women in my life.

Happy Crafting!

~Melanie

 

Finished knitting projects

Every morning I knit a bit on my sock. The current one I’m working on, as detailed on this post,  is a lot of purling. And I was doing the toes (I knit socks two at a time on magic loop) and it just messed up my thumb and wrist. I probably do not purl correctly. But regardless, as a result it’s been tender and I am restricting my sock knitting (or purling at this point) to 1-2 rows a day. During the weekdays I do 1 row but over the weekend I do 2 rows because I have the time to do it slowly and not hurt myself.  I hope this will be okay with my recovery without having to completely stop knitting (purling) on it.

Every evening I work on my husband’s Weasley sweater. My goal for Q3 (which ends at the end of this month) is to finish the sleeves. I had about 20 rows of sleeve to do when I had hubby try it on. The sleeves seemed long. Now, I think that it might be the way he tried it on and the fact that none of the seams have been done but I have a feeling, he may want it longer once we’ve got it all put together nicely.  So, I started the cuff now and when I get the cuff to the length I want the sleeves to be, I plan to put them on cables and not bind off.  I will finish up the rest of the sweater in Q4 and then when everything else is done, we’ll do a try on and see how those sleeves are. By not binding off, I’ll be able to knit more cuff or tink back the cuff, knit more sleeve and then put the cuff back on depending on how much more I have to knit, if any.

I usually get to everything else on Thursday’s during our knit night on zoom.  Over the last few months I finished this cowl.

Mix Wave Cowl
9/12/2020

And last week I finished this pair of socks. All I needed to do was take a picture of it. The picture doesn’t sow the pattern very well but neither does the yarn. I love these kinds of yarn and my stash is filled with speckled, variegated, striped yarn that just do not show off cables or lace very well.  Of course, I love to knit socks with cables and lace so… they don’t go well together.

Dragon Pox
Designer: Knotty Gnome
Finished, 9/4/2020

On my sock knitting post, I wrote about pulling out my sock knitting books and knitting socks from those patterns once I finish the 5 kitted up projects that waiting patiently for their turns.  The problem is that my stash is what it is and the socks I want to knit are what they are and I have decided that I will need to appropriate my yarn to more suitable projects.  And since I do not need more socks and I do not want to buy more yarn, I am not planning to knit socks out of one of my books at this point.  I am thinking of knitting hats or mittens or shawls.  I will pull out my yarn as we get closer to year end to evaluate what I’ve got and what I want to do with it and then kit them up so that I will have my plan ready to go once my sock kits are finally finished up.

Happy knitting, friends!

~Melanie

Cross Stitch, progressing along

A Kiss for Snowman
A dimensions gold kit
9/17/2020

I finally finished the cross stitch on this Dimensions kit. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. I still have to do the back stitch so that will come around at it’s next rotation. This is not my favorite WIP to work on.  It’s a 6″ square but there are a lot of blending floss together and using 1, 2, or 4 strands at a time so it took a lot of paying attention.  I’m really happy to have gotten the cross stitch done and I hope to get the back stitch finished soon as well.

Titania
Mirabilia
9/17/2020

I worked on Titania this week and got a few stitches done before I got bored and moved on. Most of my cross stitch I stitch to finish a diagonal but this is one of those exceptions. So I don’t think I get as much done because after a couple of days I want to move on.  I may have to count stitches on this one and make it so that I get a certain amount of stitches done when it comes up on the schedule.

Gamer Nouveau
09/17/2020

And then I worked on Gamer and got another diagonal complete. This is my favorite project to work on. The kit is offered by GeckoRouge and the designer is Medusa Dollmaker. My goal for this year was 6 pages and I will have to check out where I was in the beginning of the year to figure out how much I got done. I would be really happy if I could finish the row this year.

Gamer Nouveau
09/17/2020

 

Gamer Nouveau
09/17/2020

My weekly crafty update ~on quilting

Last week I turned my sewing machine on again after 2 weeks of not touching it.

Dancing with the Stars
Still in pieces
Linda Ballard
9/7/2020

I pieced more pieces of Dancing with the Stars so I can make more blocks to fit a queen size quilt. I think I may run out of fabric and I went to Joanns to find something similar and I failed.  It may not be queen size. or, I’ll have to keep hunting.

I do not know why I stopped turning the machine on. It became too hard. My Lowery stand and my big cross stitch frame was in front of my table and the room was just messy enough that I didn’t want to disturb the piles by moving it so I can sew.  That’s not usually something that stops me. In addition, I had enough of a mess on my cutting table that I didn’t want to clean it up so I could cut fabric.  And I was at a perfect stand still in all of my projects. Most WIPs needed something pressed or cut or both before I could move into actually sewing on the machine.  And I didn’t want to press or cut. I wanted to sew.  It’s the kind of motivation or unmotivation -demotivation? – well I was immobilized by my inability to make a decision of what to do next and so did not do anything.  On Labor Day, I finally stopped with the inaction and pressed and put the pieces to Dancing with the Stars under the needle.  🙂

2012 Southern CA
Quilt Run
Area Four
Mystery quilt
3/8/2020

And over the weekend I pulled this quilt from my retreat luggage. I already had the first 2 rows pieced. I sewed all but the final row pieced together. I just ran out of energy and had to call it quits for the week.  I hope to finish the top in the next couple of weeks.

~ keep on quilting!

Melanie

 

My Sock Knitting in 2020

New sock for September
Geeky Girls Knit
5th podiversary

Last week, I finished my most recent socks. The ends have not yet been woven in and I have not yet taken a picture so that will have to wait for another day.  But I picked my new sock project and got it started.  As it’s been awhile since I’ve mentioned here what I do, I’ll go into detail as to what I’ve done.  For the last 2-3 years, around October or November I sit down and pull all the sock patterns and single skein sock yarn, match them up together and kit them up.  The very first year, I pulled all my knit picks Felici. I was part of Knitting Expat’s Sock Clubs (she had 2 that year). So it was easy, every month she had a new sock pattern and I would pick one of my knit picks felici yarn and start knitting.  I still have Felici yarn in my stash. Then that October/November, I printed all my sock patterns that I hadn’t knitted, chose yarn to go with the pattern and stuck them in a project bag with a number.  That first year, I had 15.  At that point I had been purchasing or getting free downloads of sock patterns I loved and I wanted to knit them. It was a shame to keep them in my Ravelry library and never actually knit them. So I made my own little club.  Every month, I would ask Siri to pick a number from 1-15 and I would knit whatever it chose. I do not remember how many socks I knitted that year. While part of the Knitting Expat sock club, I challenged myself to knit each pair within the month so that I could stay on track with each pattern as they were released.  Most of the time I was able to stay on track. Every once in awhile I slipped.  But as long as I knit a few rows (at least 5 sometimes more) every day, then I was able to get the pair done each month.  When I started my own mini club I tried to stay within the monthly challenge. This ended fairly quickly mainly because I now have a ton of socks and not enough drawer space. I even sent a lot with my daughter when she went away to college.  Anyway, I don’t need 12 socks every year so I do not push myself to knit a pair a month.  I think 6 weeks is a good time frame. Any longer and I get bored.  At the end of that first year, I think I had 5 projects remaining from the 15.  Then last November I did the same thing, I still had the 5 projects from the previous year and somehow I had more patterns.  So I kitted up more and I started 2020 with 13 kitted sock projects.  Now I have 5 in my project bin. So I’ve got the 1 I started for September, the 1 I still have to weave the ends in so I must have finished 6. I’m pretty sure I didn’t take pictures of all of them and post it.  I will try to do that one of these days.

I’m currently formulating my plan for next year but I do not have as many sock patterns to knit in Ravelry like I’ve had in the past.  My LYS closed this year and I helped buy all their remaining sock books.  I am thinking about picking one of those books and working my way through it and I’ll probably do that until I’ve gone through all the books.  I’ll let you know what I end up deciding. The end of 2020 can’t come soon enough. I’m done with it. I’m hoping for a better end to the year along with a great 2021.

The socks I started last week are from the Geeky Girls Knit podcast. I haven’t watched it in awhile so I’m out of date with them. But when I was watching, they were a mother-daughter team. They were based in Edinburgh when I started watching them but then moved to the Pacific North West.  It’s been a few years since I got this kit and it was sitting waiting for me to get to it.  One of the reasons why I love doing my socks this way is because it means that I will knit the things I want to knit, even when I forget about it.

~Happy knitting to my knitter friends out there.

Melanie