It’s been such a busy weekend, I almost forgot to post.  And since I’m a real slacker and only post once a week, I’d better get to it.

My sewing friend Lisa and I participated in the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop this weekend.  All of the quilt shops in the area get together and offer a fun four days of hopping around from quilt shop to quilt shop, collecting block kits and generally getting acquainted with a lot of different shops.  I can’t quite remember how many there are, but you must hit at least 16 of them to be eligible for the grand prize drawing.  We did four shops on our own earlier in the week, but yesterday banded together to do 12 in one day!  It was fun and exhausting.  At each shop we were given a coordinating quilt block kit.  Some shops were very kind and gave us all the fabrics needed for the block while others made us buy a "finishing" kit – with prices ranging from 50 cents to $5.99. Needless to say, we passed on the more expensive ones.  I’ve started working on my blocks and finished two of them today:

Block1

Block2

Forgive the slightly blurry photo of the second one.  I could try and get a better one, but the blur hides my less than stellar machine applique.  I feel pretty confident with hand applique and machine piecing, but really need to work on the machine applique.  Also, be assured that they are both square – it’s just the angle.

Not much knitting has been accomplished this week because I’ve been concentrating on quilting Ivy’s quilt.  I hope to get the center done by the end of this week so I can take it to my quilt group for advice on the border.  I did work on the front of my vest at the car show last Saturday, but ended up having to frog everything I put in because I started my waist decreases too late.  Can’t blame Ms. Lavold for that one – purely my fault! 

And, it was a pretty lousy week at work.  Staffing woes continue with one assistant moving away this week and a new, inexperienced one starting.  I think she’ll work out very well, but is so inexperienced that we’re going to be spending a lot of time training her.  Then another assistant asked to have her hours cut and another informed us that she is leaving at the end of the summer!!  It’s getting really hard to find good assistants.  It used to be when I put an ad in the paper I would get at least 10 or 15 responses.  The last two times I’ve only gotten two.  Living on an island certainly restricts your pool of candidates.  Surprisingly I was able to let things go and not obsess about it over the weekend.  Hope I can continue doing that.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled knitting to bring you:

Hester

Hester

Please forgive the horrible photo.  It does not even begin to do justice to the pattern or the yarn.  As soon as I saw this vest I knew I had to make it.  The design and fit just seemed so perfect for me.  And the yarn has proven to be a good match.  I think I neglected to mention in my last post that this is an Elsebeth Lavold pattern.  As usual, it is long on design, but the pattern is less than clear in parts.  Not that it’s a badly written pattern – it’s not.  But if I were a beginner I would be a little mystified in parts.  As it is, I have enough experience to say, "Oh yes, that’s what she means!"  The confusion began with the sizes.  The sizes listed as Small (34.75) Medium (37) Large (39.5).  But nowhere is there any indication of what those measurements refer to.  Bust measurement, finished dimension of vest?  What??? And there are no diagrams of the finished garment to give you a hint.  I had to do my own calculations to come up with a finished garment size in order to figure out what size to knit.  So we’re going on a wing and a prayer here.  However, other than that small caveat, I really love this pattern and should all go well can see knitting it again and again.  I love the shirttail hem (done with short rows) and the waist shaping.  And the yarn is knitting up beautifully!  You can’t see the little flecks of brown and blue and the way the checkerboard gives an almost pearlescent effect.

I was also able to get a fairly decent shot of Ivy’s newborn set:

Ivy

All of this knitting progress has been in part due to a road trip this week.  We had to take the Mini Cooper in for preventive maintenance and the nearest Mini dealer (the only one in Washington) is 2 1/2 hours away.  Add in an hour and a half wait there and the fact that hubby was driving and that translates into quite a bit of knitting time.  If the weather cooperates there’s a car show tomorrow that hubby wants to do which will also result in a lot of knitting time.

The latest buzz around knitting blogdom has been about Ravelry.  It’s still in the beta testing stage and newcomers are being invited slowly.  I got my invitation today after only about a two week wait.  It is WAY cool.  There is a section for keeping track of your projects, in progress and completed, plus ways to link to others who are working on the same project/yarn, etc.  You can even keep track of your stash!  I think it’s a great way to tap into the vast community of knitters out there.  Finding blogs to read of like-minded knitters is sometimes hit and miss and this is a way to connect to those who have the same interests.  Go check it out and get on the email list for an invite.  They are being sent out in the order received.  The only downside I can see with this is getting terribly distracted by all the content.  You can spend hours just browsing.  So, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go and do just that!

Caution:  Actual knitting content follows.  I know, a shocker, huh?  I’ve been feeling a trifle guilty at the lack of knitting content lately.  My pendulum seems to have swung more towards quilting and sewing.  But then I remind myself that this is not primarily a knitting blog – it is a blog about my life and interests and as such reflects that those interests can be pretty varied.

Today has been very wet and windy – a perfect day for puttering around inside.  I settled in with recorded versions of Fons & Porter Quilting, Martha’s Sewing Room and Eleanor Burns (I know, she drives me crazy too, but she makes some great quilts!) and finished the knitting on Abby’s sweater:

Abbysweater

All that’s left now is to start sewing together, knit on the collar and install the zipper.  Not my favorite parts of the knitting process, but at times necessary.  However it does bode well for having the sweater done by the time I go to Orlando in September.

And, after a brief hiatus in stash enhacement, I succumbed to these lovelies:

Yarn

This is Tatamy Tweed (grey) and Little Lehigh (pink) by Kraemer Yarns.  They are the identical yarns, but the Little Lehigh is the name for their baby colors.  The yarn is 45% cotton and 55% acrylic and is machine washable.  It has a wonderful hand to it and knits up as a DK.  The owner of the LYS had some garments done up and they were gorgeous.  The pink is destined to be a little sweater for Ivy and the grey will be a vest for me.  The pattern is the "Hester" vest (I know, I was drawn to the name!) from the Kashmiri Love Collection.  I can’t seem to find a photo on the internet so I’ll try to scan one when I actually get started on it.  It’s a darling vest with a shirttail hem – very flattering.  The price on this yarn is great – $5.95 for 250 yards!  If I like how it turns out, I’ll probably do it again in Silky Wool.

I also started Ivy’s newborn set.  Yes, there are sets made for both Ben and Izzy that she could wear, but she needs to have her own to hand down to her babies.  I tried to get a picture, but my flash just wasn’t cooperating.  Suffice it to say that it’s a lacey Dale of Norway pattern in white. 

Did you every have one of those times that you were glad you stayed home?  This weekend certainly qualifies.  Hubby asked if I would like to go away for the weekend with him and we thought about driving up to Vancouver and visiting Li.  I had emailed her, but apparently her email was having issues and she didn’t get it.  Just as well, because we heard on the news that the Peace Arch crossing (which we usually take) is closed due to a huge annual celebration and the crossing that cars were being diverted to was down to one lane in each direction.  So, we decided to take a ride on a local tour boat that cruises around our island.  I was all set to go and buy tickets when we read about the icky weather and possibly choppy seas.  We are neither one good sailors so decided to wait until things are a little calmer.  So, we pick up our morning paper today to find that the boat ran aground, sending some passengers to the hospital.  Our safe little home is feeling very snug and cozy today!

And, if you want a good laugh, go check out Jessica’s site – what a hoot!!  Definitely falls into the category, "What WERE they thinking?"

A busy weekend – but fun stuff going on.  My sister is on the board of the Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra and this year she was the chairman of their annual auction.  My mission was to go down and hopefully keep her from having a total melt down.  I believe the mission was accomplished successfully.  When all was said and done, she had raised about $70,000 for the orchestra, so I think it was definitely a job well done!  And I think she even came out on the other side with her sanity semi-intact.  There are rumblings of her doing it again next year, but I think she needs to decompress from this year before making a decision.  But she did a great job!!

A little knitting was accomplished while I was sitting waiting at one time or another.  I have resurrected a previously frogged project.  Remember this afghan?  I started it, then changed my mind, then frogged it and started something else, then changed my mind and started something else again.  Well, I changed my mind again.  Do we detect a little knitting ADD here?  I first started off doing a pattern that I had done for my sister years ago and loved.  But I saw something else I thought I would like better – when that didn’t work out, I thought doing squares for the Great American Aran Afghan would be fun.  And no doubt they are fun, but I found myself needing some semi-mindless knitting to distract me from the boredom of Forest Path, so we are back to the original Guernsey-style afghan.  And just to show you that I am far enough that changing my mind is no longer an option:

Centerpanel

I’ve finished the center panel and started on one of the end borders.  I don’t promise that this will be done anytime soon – I need it as a mindless distraction.  But I do promise it will NOT be frogged!  Remember, you heard it hear first.

And, if you followed my comments from last post, the verdict is in.  Abby does want to see the quilt.  I emailed her a picture a few days ago, but here for your viewing enjoyment is Ivy’s baby quilt:

Ivysquilt

I had toyed with the idea of machine quilting it, but I remember the joy I had of putting all those hand stitches into Izzy’s quilt and praying for her as I stitched.  So this will be hand quilted and savored, with prayers going up for Ivy’s safe arrival, good health and a happy, blessed life.