12/31/13

SmartPhone Knitting

Counting Rows by chocolate sounds pretty yummy, but a 'Resolution Buster' in the proverbial 'Lose Weight' as the #1 New Years Resolution

I quit making New Years Resolutions years ago and switched to 'Goal Setting'.  Stuff like:
~Chocolates for Row Counting...M&M's instead of Snicker Bites.
~Increase M&M intake to 2+ per row rather than every 20 Rows.
~Reward self with a handful at the end of each sitting and knitting session regardless of length of session.  Double it if session is longer than 10 minutes.

Now that I look back and review these 'Knitting Goals' I see why I have dozens of  Knitting Works In Progress, Knitting Log Books full of 'Strikeout Ticks', and empty M&M bags littering the bottom of my Knitting Bag.  No wonder my jeans are too tight. 

All I can say is "Good Timing" on Santa's part with the gift of a new Smart Phone.  Yep, traded in the old one which Tim...sales guy...called a dinosaur and then quickly amended to 'Best of it's Time'...I must have given him 'The Look' cause I really loved that SmartAleck Phone.  At any rate, I'm finding that my new 'Smarter Phone' maybe my best bet for 'Setting Knitting Goals' in 2014 that will get me back in my 'Jeans' with ease.
FatFree Knitting Row Counter!!!
I have an APP for that!!!!
(Love saying that)
Also have an APP for Calculating Quilt Measurements...will save that for another
Tricks of My Trades Tuesday.
In the meantime, here are some Links about Knitting Apps.
Be sure and read the Descriptions and the Reviews before downloading.
iKnitty.com ... Apps list on Sidebar
hAPPy New Year!!!
 
 


12/29/13

Despicable Knitting

While watching Despicable Me2 the other night, I found myself singing along with the Minions Banana Song just as I had with the Beach Boys back in 1965. The 21st Century Minioneze  BaBaBanana tunes right up to the BBoy's 20th Century Rockin' and a Reelin'  BaBaBarbara Ann.  Check it out:
The Minions Banana Song on U-Tube HERE and the
 Beach Boys' Barbara Ann on U-Tube HERE.
Another example of 'What Goes Around....yada yada yada!!!!
Now this is not a Review or a Plug for the movie.  I will leave that to my Grandson who watches it 24 and 7 and speaks Minioneze fluently.  What this is....is a Slipper Sizing Pattern Test.
 
For once, I am Size Testing a Slipper Pattern...as this is not my first Rodeo at knitting slippers for grandkids who just gotta have them sooner than later, and then never wear them. 

Although, knitting slippers is not like knitting a sweater which I have had some experience in starting and none in finishing.  No, it's more like knitting Socks in that it takes TWO...one for each foot...another example of my excellent starting skills.

I have long been afflicted with SSS...Second Sock Syndrome...which is quite apparent when digging through my sock drawer.  I am determined not to let the Second Sock aversion morf into Second Slipper Syndrome. 

Therefore, this first PAIR of Minion Slippers are being made at the same time on one set of needles...which is going to cause a shockwave of dropped stitches among my knitting group.  Not only that, but my Grands are not getting the first PAIR....I AM!!!!
Oh Yeah....BaBaBarbara Aaaannnn!
Here's the LINK to the Pattern if you would like to Size Test a Pair for yourself...
or your Grandkids!
Posted to DayByDay....MadeIt~ShowIt Monday
Linking To:

The Broken Chain

We little knew that day, God was going to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly, in Death we do the same.
 
It broke our hearts to lose you.  You did not go alone.
For part of us went with you, the day God called you home.
 
You left us beautiful memories, your love is still our guide.
And although we cannot see you, You are always at our side.
 
Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.

12/28/13

Sue's Special Share Saturday

As I acknowledge the Flowers, Cards and Messages of Sympathy,
'My Heart is Finding Peace'.

Blogging Trends in 2014

I'm not a 'TREND SETTER', but I'm thinking for 2014 I could be...or not!
It depends on how I manage and like this 'Latest Blog Make-over'.
On this last Saturday of 2013, I am beginng what I am calling
Day~By~Day on CollectInTexas Gal.
After five years of blogging about
 Collecting, Decorating, Dishes, Family History, Needleworks, Texas and Whatever,
it is time to 'Re-Organize and Prioritize'.
That's what one does for the beginning of a New Year when New Years Resolutions
are NOT Happening....at least not as 'Statements To Make a Liar Outta Me'.
 
'Trends for Blogging in 2014'....I Googled that....and sure enough there were several hits.   Mostly from marketing analysts who agree that 'Content' is STILL 'King', but that the King's Content should be served up on Social Media Silver Platters and spread throughout the World Wide Webkingdom.  Well, there's where I'm going to get off the Trend Setter Wagon....even though I am somewhat trendy with CITexas Gal on Facebook and Pinterest in a limited way.  For those whose time and interest lies there...more power!

For this GRIT, 'Girl Raised In Texas'...I use to say that a lot...CollectInTexas Gal's Trending for 2014 will be Day~By~Day with: 
MakeIt~ShowIt Monday      
Tricks of My Trades Tuesday
WorksInProgress Wednesday  
Collected Treasures Thursday
YeOlde Family Friday   
Sue's Special Shares Saturday
KeepingIt Simple Sunday 
  
It's a way of including ALL the Aspects of the last five years and
 'Re-Organizing and Prioritizing' via the Calendar. 
 Will I post everyday of the Week on Topic? 
Will I become Blogger's Next Blog of Note? 


12/25/13

Getting Ahead of Myself

Getting Ahead of Myself is a common situation for me.  I won't call it an issue or a problem or even a character flaw.  It's just me, and most people who know me accept my 'Been There Done WithIt' philosophy.  They also know my next move is going to be quick and will include multiple whirlwind tasks.  It happens when I lose interest in a project where the starting is more fun than the finishing...now that's a flaw, but not a problem as I usually get back to it and finish or repurpose it in someway.  I can count on Getting Ahead of Myself this time of the year, too. 
Hmmmmm....do you suppose it might be because I'm in a hurry to be
another year older in January?
UhNo....being a Card Carryin Senior Citizen puts plenty candles on the cake,
thank-you very much!
 
Perhaps the best explanation of why I Get Ahead of Myself is in the Stars.
We January Gals are fortunate enough to be born under the humanitarian Zodiac sign of Aquarius which confirms our forward thinking and moving.  We are born revolutionaries with clear-cut ways of how we run our own world as well as most people around us.  There's more, but I'm good with this for now.  You kind of get the picture, right?
 
So, now you're not all that surprised to see CollectInTexas Gal ready for the New Year.  She's all gussied up with a new dress (background) and new accessories(Tags).  As cheeky as I might appear, there is still the 'Traditional Family' oriented aspect that will always be a part of me and my Blog/BLOGS....always the 'OverDoSue'.

Bring It!
I am READY....how about You?

12/15/13

In Loving Memory

Lights of Love
Can you see our candles burning in the night?
Lights of love we send you rays of purest white.
 
Our Sweet Mother we remember...though missing from our sight
In honor and remembrance we light candles in the night.
 
All across the big blue marble spinning out in space
Can you see the candles burning from this human place?
 
Oh, Angel gone before us who taught us perfect love
This night the world lights candles that you may see them from above.
 
Tonight the globe is lit by love of those who know great sorrow,
But as we remember our yesterdays, let us light one candle for tomorrow.
 
We will not forget, and every year in December
We will light candles as
Our Mother
We remember.
~Jacqueline Brown~

12/11/13

WIP Wed...On The Road...Again

I STARTED a NEW Project...last night!!!
Really, Sue....like there are not enough WIP's to finish in the next 13 Days Til Christmas Eve.
I can explain....this is not for a Christmas Gift...at least not this year!
Not that it hasn't been a Christmas Gift before...Yep...it was just that in 2009.
As you can see I started way early that year...like in March!
This Lavish Lace Shawl is a 'Road Trip' Project.
I always have one in progress and since I finished the last TWO earlier this month,
another Road Trip Shawl was needed for this Wednesday on The Road Again.
There are Two Criteria for choosing this 'Ready-Set-Go' WIP.
1.  It must be EASY and require NO Tick Tracking...see Fixin' SSK SlipUps.
2.  It must fit in a medium size, easy carry, knitted or crocheted bag. 
Like this One...

...or one of these.
~Just justifying having way more of them than any one person can use~
Gotta go Pack the 'Lavish Lace Shawl' and get 'Ready~Set N Go'.
O' decisions, decisions...which 'Bag' for this WIP On The Road Again Trip?
Do you have a Road Trip Project?
If you would like to try the Lavish Lace Shawl....HERE is the FREE Pattern.

12/10/13

Stash Away-Stash Away All...Ya'll

This time of the year is a great time to buy Christmas theme fabric!  Why?  Because it's ON SALE!

It's a 'Marketing Stash Strategy', and I know this because I have had years of practice in not only Christmas Stashing, but Christmas Marketing Strategy. 

It's called 'Year End Inventory Reduction' by the 'MarkItUp-eters, and 'Christmas Stash Away' by quilters, crafters and sewers.

As soon as it goes ON SALE for 50% Off, it's time to buy the pieces you 'Gotta Have'...don't wait for a lower discount...it won't be there.  At 50% off you are getting it almost wholesale...yep, the markup is at least half when it comes into the fabric shop.  With each reduction, the fabric store loses money on it's initial investment and passes on the savings to their 'Stash Away Customers'.

Big Box Fabric Stores can afford to reduce their Christmas stock all the way down to 75% off without taking a big hit on their bottom line....as long as it's out the door by December 31st.  Otherwise it's Inventory Tax Material..pun intended...for the next year.  It's a matter of 'Quanity' not 'Quality'.

Now for the independent Quilt Shops, it's a different story.  Yes, they would like to turn over their Christmas inventory which they begin 'Stocking'...pun intended...in July.  So smart of them to get their customers in the Christmas Gift Making mood when we are in the middle of  'Summer Sweat Sewing'.  Somehow, the Winter Themed fabrics have a way of cooling off customers...that and freezing up the AC. 

I always loved making up 'Christmas Samplers', Blocks and Stockings for displays.  So inspiring were the 'Sugar Plum-Frosty-Snowflake' and Santa fabrics.  The Christmas colors, the glitzy threads, the Embroidery Designs, the Cuddly-Softie Christmas Doll patterns and Doll Clothes were favorites for gift making.
Then...along came grandson Jackson and his 2013 Favorite Character...Zombie Guy!
As he sat on Santa's Lap and said, "All I want for Christmas is a Zombie Guy",
Santa raised an eyebrow and winked at me and said,
"That's all on YOU, Nana...my Elves do not do Zombies"
Even though not a single Christmas Stash fabric was used or any of the Glitzy Embroidery Thread was stitched on scars, scalp and smoocher, Jackson's Christmas Gift was made in the 'Spirit of Christmas'....Creepy though it may be. 
As I said, now is the time to shop for your 2014 Christmas Stash.
Check out your LQS...Local Quilt Shop...they will have
'Quilt Quality' Christmas Fabrics ON SALE!
Big Box Fabric Shops will have BARGINS with Added Discount Coupons.
Check them out Online...HANCOCKS ...Printout or Download Coupons to your Smartphone.
I'm SEW glad Christmas Fabric Stashing has gone HiTech!
Have a Merry Christmas and Stash Away-Stash Away All...Ya'll.
Click HERE for my ETSY Shop....Handmade in Texas Gifts...Fabric...Quilts and More.
Coupon Auto Applied at Checkout
It's Inventory Reduction on my Stash Away-Stash Away All, Ya'll.
Linking To:
Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday

12/8/13

Speed Knitting, Quick Crochet and Pink Roses

As predicted, there will be last minute stitching of some sort being done on Christmas Eve...I said that HERE on the post...Ending November.  It happens that way most every year even when I start early...like in July...at least with the thought process.  As a matter of fact, I am somewhat of a 'Gift Magician'...yes, I can pull a 'Quilted Gift' outta my 'Top Hat'...also known as 'The Quilt Closet"...anytime of the year.  Family and Friends are just as likely to get one of those Magical Gifts made years ago or just in the last year or last month or last week. 
This year there is a special group of 'Care Givers' who have touched my Family, and even though we have said Thank-you to them many times, words are just not enough to express our appreciation. So, to the Yarn-A-Rama Stash I flew and cast on 30 needles at a time and began a 'Speed Knitting Frenzy' that would rival Santa's Elves Knit Shop....he has one you know...I checked...they were booked up.
Now I am a 'Knit Gift Magician'...thanks to Bonda...my manual knitting machine.
See the 30 Needles...knitting at the same time with one swipe of Bonda...Magic Indeed!!!!

 After the 'Speed Knitting' comes the 'Quick Crochet' with edging, beads and fringe, and almost 'Quick as a Wink' a warm and fuzzy pile of scarves appear.  HoHoHo!!!

What goes with Scarves?  A Rose Broach, of course! 
What color of Rose says 'Thank-you for Caring'?  Why Pink of course!

I'm off to 'Quick Crochet' Pink Roses.  I made the White Rose from THIS pattern...FREE from Lion Brand Yarn Company.  It is also on my Pattern List...left Sidebar...in case you would like to make it later.
Linking To:

12/5/13

Crochet 'Cup Cozy Doily Maker' Award

Like many things, Crochet has 'Come and Gone' over the years.  It's origin is vague with many theories and discoveries of ancient crochet examples and references in writings from Switzerland to South America. 

Crochet was properly introduced to Needleworkers during the 19th Century with the industrialization of 'Machine Spun Cotton Thread'.  Thank-you Eli Whitney! 

I personally have my high school Homemaking I teacher, Mrs. Browning, to thank for learning crochet.  It was another of those 'BackInThe Sixties' thingies that every young girl should know in order to make coffee table doilies and spider web bedspreads...the essential and ultimate stamp to being inducted into the realm of a 'Master Hooker'.

By the time I got to Homemaking IV, my 'Hope Chest' held a collection of what Mrs. Browning finally gave up and gave me the best 'Cup Cozy Doily Maker' award.  Needless to say, I did not invest in the 100 Balls of 100 percent cotton thread it took to make a bedspread. 

The final blow to my lack of 'Crochet Curriculum Mastery' was knowing my fellow 'Hookers' had outdone me with their Hope Chests overflowing with crochet doilies, tablecloths and bedspreads...the 1960's Susie Homemaker's Guide to Hooking a Husband.  My only consolation was my Hope Chest full of 'Aprons'...I could SEW and COOK. 

I never did make a crocheted bedspread or master the art of 'Coffee Table Doilies'. However, I am a 'Master Doily Collector' as well as crocheted lace and crochet books.   Never one to give up on learning a 'Needlework' skill, I gave Mrs. Browning's lessons a second chance and made these....
 Thanks Mrs. Browning for the 'Cup Cozy Doily Maker' Award.  Your 'Positive Reinforcement'
made all the difference in a
Lifetime of Crochet Enjoyment for this Susie Homemaker.
Linking To:

12/1/13

Zombie Guy...My Creepy Christmas Spirit

Some years the Christmas Spirit eludes me. Not so this year!

Oh, I admit it's kind of a 'Creepy Christmas Spirit!

In past years I've been inspired by Angels... could hardly wait to TOP the Tree with a newly made Crocheted Angel and decorate with delicate and glittery 'Snowflakes'.

Then there was the year the tree was filled with shinny glass Baubles, Victorian Beaded Ornaments and more breakables than you'd find in a china closet.  That was just a few years ago when Grandson Jackson was also the Un-Decorator...you might remember...The Un-Decorator Is Here .

I'm giving Jackson the credit for getting me in the Christmas Spirit this year, too.
It's been the 'Year of the Zombie' with Jackson.  Yep, we all have been given a Zombie name or Zombie has been added...ie...Nana Zombie.  I have even played the Zombie Xbox game with the predictable outcome of being Zombie Zapped.  I discouraged letting him watch the TV Zombies, playing the Xbox and all the IPad Zombie websites.  What were his parents thinking?
Then I came across the Zombie Doll Pattern.
With a few alterations to the pattern and a change of clothes...I give you
'Zombie Guy'.
Along with some Christmas Remanents from last year, he and Elmo are helping me get in the Christmas Spirit....albeit....'Creepy Christmas'!
I can hardly wait to put him UNDER the Tree!
Linking To:

11/30/13

Ending November with an EVEN Number

I like things nice and neat, orderly and even.
I'm not a fanatical neat freak, and I can make chaos out of order. 
However, 'The Evenness Chromosome' has always worked overtime in my psycho psyche.  It is the reason that I am here at this late hour on the last day of November writing a nonsense post.  Yep, as soon as I noticed that November was about to end with an uneven number of posts, I was scrambling for a topic of interest that would rival all the Hoopla of Black Friday, Super Shopping Saturday, Spendthrift Sunday and Cyber Monday.  The only thing I can come up with is...'Twenty-five Shopping Days Til Christmas'...which puts me back to another 'Uneven' number.
 
Not that it matters much to me....shopping days until Christmas....I am MAKING gifts and if all goes according to plan and they way it does most every year, I will be putting the final stitches on something right up until Christmas Eve. 
At least it's an 'Even Numbered Eve'.
Just in case you checked my November Numbers, I just wanted you to know
  I'm not superstitious about the Number 13...it's just that it is uneven.
Besides...'14' is my LUCKY number...and it's EVEN!

 

11/27/13

BASTING BackInTheDay and TODAY

Basting seemed an appropriate topic for this Alphabe Thanksgiving Thursday...afterall, many of you are BASTING BIRDS today. Not much has changed in Bird Basting since, well, colonial days...except Butterball Self-Basting Birds. Otherwise, it's squirt the bird with the Basting Thingy and hope that keeps it juicy.

You may have guessed I don't have a lot of experience with Bird Basting...clue being 'Basting Thingy'....which I have, but have only used for sucking drippings from the Self-Basting Butterball or Bob's Beer Bottle in the Birds Butt-Basting.

On the other hand, I have years of the other kind of BASTING.  That'd be Quilt Basting, Bob!  In fact, I'm pretty sure I inherited the Basting DNA from my Grandmother Minnie who 'Needle and Thread' basted many quilts BackInTheDay.  Bless her heart, she would be proud that her Back Breaking Basting Trait was passed on even though it skipped a generation...my Mother is a Bird Baster not a Quilt Baster.  She knows very well how to squirt the Basting Thingy.

http://www.howcast.com/videos/507519-How-to-Thread-Baste-a-Quilt-QuiltingNeedle and Thread Basting is still practiced today by many quilters who hand quilt in frames and hoops and also by those who machine quilt.

 Click on the U-Tube Player for an excellent video on Thread Basting by Cathy Izzo.  Can you just imagine Minnie's reaction to learning Needle and Thread Basting via U-Tube? 

Butterball Turkeys/Engineers are not the only innovators in the world of basting.  Not that their engineers are turkeys or that their turkeys are innovators or....well, anyway...the Quilt World innovators have stepped up to the plate...so to speak...on BASTING.
Quilt Basting has come into the Twenty-first Century not only with U-Tube HowTo Videos, but with tools, supplies and aids to help the handquilter and machine quilter to achieve the best possible results in record basting time.  There is the 'Safety Pin' method, the 'Spray Baste' method, and the 'Steam A Seam' method.
Well known 'Quilt Innovator', Nancy Leman demonstrates these three techniques. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSeWBOnbC90
Thank-you Nancy!
Basting is a very important 'B' word in the 'Quilt World,
 but it is not by any means the only one.
There are at least 20 more 'B' words I could have chosen and several of them
 have dual applications like Basting...ie....Squirting and Stitching.
Here are a few quilting 'B' words....you can fill in the dual applications.
~Birthing...Method of sewing the quilt batting and backing to the outside edges...right sides together...then turning the whole thing inside out as if it were a pillow case. 
~BOM...Block of the Month. 
~Bubble Jet Set...A liquid product which makes ink color fast on fabric. For use in your jet printer in making labels.
~Burn Test...A test using a flame on fabric to identify Fibers.  That'd be FIRE, Bob!
~Bare Feet...A device for finding pins dropped on bare floors and carpet.
 
~Baste...Long stitches used to hold the top, batting and backing of a quilt together while the quilting is being done and removed when the quilt is completed. 

Pic of my Basted Bird!

Linking To:
 Jenny Matlocks Alphabe~Thursday Letter B

Now...Go Baste your Bird and have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

11/26/13

A 'Pantster' Project...No Plan~No Pattern

The Scrap Baskets have been calling me...BOTH of them...the
 Fabric Basket and the Yarn Basket.
Of course you know there are more than one of each of those....right?
Today, the Yarn Scraps yelled loudest!
Even though there was not a pattern or a plan, some organization had to happen in the Worsted Scrap Yarn Baskets.  After untangling and hand rolling a pile of string and pulling some knitted swatches and granny squares from the 'Yarny Practice Basket', I remembered a stitch I Pinned on my Crochet Pinterest Board a while back....HERE....Linen Stitch.  I used a 'J' crochet hook and chained 25 to start a scrapy strip.  The strip grew in length and then in width by linen stitching down one side.
Stitched in the swatches, rounded out the granny square, dumped out a huge jar of buttons and began to 'Fly by the Seat of My Pants' with embroidery yarn stitching.  This is the the FUN part...and when a 'Plan' begins to form.  Yep, it always goes back to 'Gotta have a Plan'!
 

I plan to make ANOTHER 'No Plan~No Pattern Scrappy Bag'!
Don'tCha just love it when a No Planner comes together?

11/25/13

I've Got The Crochet Christmas Blues

I started my Crocheted Christmas Gifts around the end of October.  I'm a fast crocheter and often end up having a Crochet Marathon Fest with my studio looking like a Yarn Bomb exploded.  This year my focus is on Scarves. 
 I hope everyone on my list wants one.
I'm hoping YOU and YOURS might want one too.
These beautiful BLUES available on my ETSY Shop....click HERE.
View all the Scarves...Left Sidebar ETSY Shop Scarf Strip.
 
This Scarf and Cross Collar is a Prototype...you know...a practice...Merry Christmas to Me.
Linking To:
Smiling Sally's BLUE MONDAY
Happy Thanksgiving!
 

11/24/13

Knitted Mesh Yarn...Not For Me!

It was hard not to title this post 'Knitted Mesh Mess'.  After thinking about it, I decided it would be contradictory  to my claim to being a collector, consumer and couture crafter of any and all things fiber.  Usually, I can get into a new Fiber medium with enthusiasm and patience to learn it's application.

Not so with the ever so popular 'Mesh/Lacy/Ruffle' Yarn.  Oh, I was enthused when I saw the scarves made up in the LYS...local yarn shop.  So much so, I promptly bought  several skeins thinking, "WooHoo, a quickie project just in time for Christmas Gifts. 

That was three Christmas' ago!  Not one was done for Christmas.  In fact only ONE was done at all, and Santa finally sent it ten months late in September with a card that said..."HoHoHoppy Birthday". 

What was my problem?  I'm glad you asked!
 
The Mesh was Mashed!
Thirty-three yards of yarn that had to be spread and stretched in order to knit between the mesh spaces.  Spreading and stretching caused the skein to twist into a coil that had to be spun out every few inches or so.  So much for Quick Knit project.  I finally got a rhythm of knit 1 hole, skip 2 holes, spin and spread coil and stick it back in the basket 2 weeks, months, years. 
 
So here I am two years later trying to live up to my self proclaimed 'Couture FiberWoman' image by finishing the Mesh Mess Scarves I started in spite of myself.  Yes, I started TWO more....it's the Waste Not Want Not thingy.  I finished the Green one today!  A Black and Gold one lacks a yard or so of spreading, stretching and stitching....that basket is next in line. 
That leaves the Blue Skein and a Lime Green Skein. 
Guess where they are going?
Wanna Make a Trendy Ruffled Scarf?  Here YaGo!
Yarn Bee Chrysalis....Lime Green Mesh Yarn....ETSY Link
Katia Triana Blue Mesh Yarn....ETSY Link
Want an OhSoTrendy Ruffled Scarf?  Here YaGo!

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