Saturday, February 16, 2013

Slow slow slow

G'day all!

It was a slow week this week.  Had lunch with a friend on Monday then had bucketloads of work to do.  The weather was dull for most of the week (after being brilliant early on Sunday) and well, it was a good week for getting work done.  OK, it took until Thursday for me to make any really good headway - I have way too many things I am trying to work on at once, all for the one project, and I keep overthinking stuff.  But the grey encouraged me to stay home.

A hint of the glory to come.

Then on Friday suddenly the weather pulled a stunning reversal.  The fog and cloud cleared and the skies washed to a brilliant blue.  It is times like those days that I marvel that I live in this place.  I also decided I had worked four days and needed a break, so I took off to Richmond Beach, a place I almost went to a year ago but the six or seven way stop by the beach confused me enough that I took the wrong direction and went on an adventure (aka I drove around in circles for a while until I found my way out of the can of worms I was driving in).

There is so much stunning scenery around here, really.

Loggy and pebbly beach but there is sand
to the south of this pic.  Richmond Beach.

I forget how beautiful it can be when I am mired in grey.  Even knowing the grey means it stays green here most of the year round does not help on your fourth day in a row of grey.

But this is a reminder.

Old pilings at Richmond Beach.
Sand from here was used to build places in Seattle.

This place is amazing.

Coastal people monument at Richmond Beach.

It truly is.

Looking south-ish from Richmond Beach

It also means I got a few arty shots of the three little quilts - arty because I couldn't find a big enough rock to throw them over, plus it was windy along the sound.  When it is windy, I have to take quick, less considered shots before the quilt blows away.   They are not big quilts by any means - one hardly qualifies as a lap quilt.   I need to get proper shots of them that show the quilt details and also then tell you the pattern they are based on.

This turned out better than expected
and the back is pretty cool too.

Heh, that one is so wrinkly you can't see detail.

This really is a different quilt.
It has no pink in it.

In other news, Nathan's Valentine's Day socks continue.

Bright socks, fairly good colour representation

I've turned the heel on the second one now so hooray, it won't be too much longer before it is done, then I can move on to something else.  I don't normally knit only one thing at a time but I'm a bit flummoxed by choice at the moment - there are so many things I'd like to make that I'm making none of them because I cannot choose.  I have to finish off a microfleece top that I started today.  It has some really bad wrinkles in the fabric that might never come out, right under the bustline too!  However, given I drafted it from one of my favourite microfleece tops, it is pretty good for a first go.  I have to attach the collar and work out what to do with the front opening (face it and leave it open is my current preference).  If I had enough fabric I'd give it a hood - I love my microfleece top with the hood.  I'll have to go find more fabric to make one without wrinkles now that I know my drafted pattern works, which is good!  Also making the basic body takes no time at all on the overlocker, though the finishing touches of hems and collar will probably take longer than the rest put together.

This week's confession: I bought mascara.  I used to have lovely long, dark lashes (so didn't use mascara except on special occasions) but chemo took them away and now I have stumpy little beggars, a pathetic sprouting.  They don't define my eyes at all, so I bought mascara to "define blue eyes."  Turns out that means it is dark blue with sparkly bits in it.  I just thought it would be dark blue.  The sparkly bits are a bit disturbing, but the mascara works.

Now if only it would get a bit warmer so my poor face recovers from getting chilled when I go outside.  The near freezing temperatures a month or so ago really knocked my skin around - I went pink and hot feeling, like I'd been sunburned, across everywhere bar a strip under my nostrils (presumably kept warm by my breath) and part of my forehead (ditto - no, kidding, probably because of my fringe, less likely because of the heat created by my giant brain.  Hah).  It was weird but I remember something similar happening when we were in Canada over FIVE years ago in December.  OMG.  Five years.  So much has happened since then.

BTW, we saw an otter at Ballard Locks today.  Something almost black with a loooong slim/pointy tail thundered down a bank and under the walkway, then a couple of seconds later we saw what looked like a seal head appear in the water.  It wasn't a seal because seals are porkier and don't have loooong tails.  We'd already noticed a lot of oyster shells cracked around the gardens on the south side of the locks and now we think we know the culprit(s).

This plant used to be green.
We don't think otters did this because they don't fly.


Saturday, February 09, 2013

Time flies like a banana

G'day all!

Actually fruit flies like a banana but you get the gist.

I would love to tell you about all the exciting things I've done recently but umm they are so boring that I can't remember them.

Quiet is good but meh, I need a little jazzing up.  The weather has been dull again these last couple of days.  It hasn't rained, it has just been grey.  I am not good with grey.  I haven't been anywhere in particular (apart from knit night), I haven't seen anyone (apart from knit night and dinner out last night with various of Nathan's workmates, two of whom are friends before they were workmates, and one girlfriend whom I totally confused, with the help of Q).

I have managed to get a bit of crafting done.  I've had a quilt that I thought I might get done before Christmas (hahahahaha!).  It's now Feb and I've finally cleared it off the decks.  It needs its beauty shots done, along with two other little quilts but until the weather cooperates I can't get them.  And the weather is being mighty uncooperative, being horribly dull whenever the forecast is for partly cloudy (Hooray - that link says why!  A high pressure has formed so we get no weather events apart from grey!) and then when we are supposed to have a day of rain, it brightens up completely.  Makes it amazingly hard to plan anything, but is excellent for whinging about.

So what have I made since last I blogged?

A hat for DH.  Not normally sideways.

A thick and woolly hat with microfleece lining for DH.  With pompoms by special request.  This hat took pretty much all of two skeins of Cascade 220 superwash.  I made it top down in the style of the Andean ear flap hats he likes so much.  If I make me one I've realised I can use a thin strip of microfleece to crochet around the edge - the wool on my rainbow hat makes me itch.  And yes I crocheted!

CVM woolly goodness

A nice big ball of handspun CVM (California variegated mutant sheep).  This took forever because white (it is really a silvery white but of course the pic was taken under unnatural light) gets pretty boring to spin after a while.  There's over 100g in that cake of yarn and probably 500m or so of yarn.  Not sure, I should measure it.

I finished a sock (and forgot to take pics of it) then got diverted into making DH a new pair of socks.  Red, burgundy, orange and pale lime.

The sock is a lot longer now and
yeah, the colour is way off again.

I made myself a skirt.  Like everything else in my post today I need to have a nice day to photograph it properly.  Also I should've vacuumed the floor (and my socks) before taking this portrait of it.

Recycled pullovers make pretty skirts
Yes I chose the socks to match.

I sat down today and finished the above mentioned quilt.  It needed quilting and the binding put on.  It took nearly six hours to finish a small quilt (about 110cm square or umm hmm, 44? inches).  I didn't do much in the way of fancy stitching either, but having to rip out one part took a good half hour.  I machine sewed the binding down too - my bad but meh, it would take a couple of days to sew the binding down and this quilt is headed to a home where they won't care about that.  And if they do, they can give it to someone else!

See - the quilting isn't that good.

The grand thing about quilting is once you give the quilt a wash and it goes all wrinkly, a lot of the mistakes become a whole lot less obvious.

This mistake can't be ignored though

Can you see the mistake in the above picture?  Have a look at the safety pin.  Yes it is meant to be bent - it is designed to be used as a basting pin when you quilt.  Have a close look at it.  Note that the (almost) white thread goes right over the head of the safety pin.  Right over it.  I sewed across it.  Not also that the sewing continues.  Yep, I didn't break the needle or anything.  I didn't even notice!

My favourite bit

This little swirl sitting right in the white sashing on the back pleases me immensely.  It is by no means perfect but it pleases me (a whole lot more than the bit that is puckered... sigh... ah well it is imperfect, just like its creator!).

DH sent me a link to a blog that I am not quite sure about.  The person makes creatures and things that look quite fleshy and often like parts of the body that people don't usually show off, well unless it is in special sorts of movies.  Don't go there if you are easily offended or made queasy.

Now really don't look at this person's work if you are at all queasy about the insides of bodies.  I find it fascinating, if a bit offputting, and I'm only queasy about blood (particularly if it is my own and or it is spurting) or vomit.  And leeches.  Anyway, I mean it.  It is pretty detailed and realistic.

On safer ground, I've been meaning to link to a friend's art blog.  She is not your average artist - don't expect her still lifes to be simply of fruit sitting in a bowl.  It is more likely to be trying to eat the person trying to eat it.  I have some of her art on one of our walls and I am pretty sure there is some still at home too :-)

Tonight we saw an episode of Time Team (they've cancelled Time Team, DH tells me!  Woe!) that was about a town that sprang up to train English machine gunners in WWI.  My Pop was a machine gunner in WWI but he was in an Oz battalion (25th Aus MG coy then 5th Machine Gun Battalion).  Apparently the machine gunners were the creme de la creme of the recruits with good maths skills and clear thinking but I dunno about my Pop being that - he seems to have been an Aussie larrikin (enjoying the chance to see sights he would otherwise never see and meet, ahem, ladies...) and we are not completely sure he was numerate or literate.  It seems he was a good soldier as far as the fighting part goes but the following orders and doing as he was told?  He kept being court martialled when he wasn't injured.  But he was definitely in the machine gunners.  I have so little information about him - most of what I know is from old postcards and ancient memories of tales told by the family.  He survived the war, only dying when I was nearly ten but he was terrifying - tall, with a mop of white curly hair and a really husky voice from being gassed - and I was such a wussy child.  Sigh.  There's noone older than my brother in my part of the family now, so finding out family stuff is difficult - I have to rely on my siblings or old postcards and letters like Pop sent back from the war.

Anyway, enough rambling.