Sunday, August 30, 2009

Man The Life Boats!

It rained yesterday...and rained, and rained, and rained. Here in the Southcoast region of Massachusetts we got a storm system from the west that converged with the remnants of tropical storm Danny. It dumped a LOT of rain overnight Friday and ALL DAY Saturday.

I was dumb enough to get out in all the rain yesterday afternoon and go to the grocery store. My sweetie called me while I was on my wet little jaunt to make sure I was OK. We were under flood warnings...and I did have to cross a couple of partially flooded streets to get to my destination and back again.

During this phone call, sweetie said he'd been down in the basement to see if there was water coming in to a place that's prone to leakage when it rains a lot. At that particular time he said it was damp, which is normal. It all checked out OK and he went on his merry way.

An hour later when I got home and dried out some, I went to the basement to get a load of wash from the dryer. At the top of the stairs I flipped the light on and started to take a step but STOPPED! dead. in. my. tracks. - for lo and behold, at the bottom of the stairs was water. LOTS of water. I hollered to sweetie to COME HERE NOW!!! We both ventured down to find the whole basement with about 2 inches of water...and the sump pump in the frech drain WAS NOT WORKING!!

Nearest we could figure after about 20 minutes of investigating was that the city storm drain system was flooded to the point of backing up into our property and caused the french drain to clog and the sump pump couldn't function. All this happened in about 90 minutes time - from the time he'd been down to check just prior to the phone call until the grim discovery at the top of the stairs just minutes later.

Sweetie did some digging into the drain and surmised that the valve inside had slammed shut from all the water. He fixed it and got it to working again. It was slow to drain, but it WAS draining! He got the shop vac and started to clean up. I got the big push broom and was pulling water away from the washer and dryer. We did this periodically all evening and he worked some into the night. This morning it was mostly dry save for a big area rug that's in front of the washer and dryer. It's gonna have to be thrown out. The de-humidifier has been working over time for sure.

All the while when were cleaning up I kept thinking "where's the the rubber duckies and the little toy boats when you need them?" It was a little kids paradise for sure!

In all the commotion of trying to figure where the water was coming from and the subsequent clean up, I didn't think to take pictures of our first flood. Maybe next time....and I'm sure there will be a next time. It's just part of life here.

So goes the life of living on the coast in southern New England. But I wouldn't have it any other way!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another Fun Give A Way!

Quilt n Quilt Things is having a cool give away to celebrate her blogaversary. The stuff she's giving away is all quilt related and if you want to check it all out and get in on it, go here:

Good Luck!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Knit Pickin' - Catching Up

A few weeks ago I posted about some knitted throw pillows I was working on. I finished them recently but am just now getting around to showing you the finished product.

Whilst working on these, I got side tracked with making pincushions...aaaand working on a couple of other knitted projects...aaaand keeping up with every day life. I get all scattered like that very often as I think of new projects I want to take on while I'm working on something else. I have a hard time waiting to start something new, so the current project gets put to the side until I've done enough on the new project to warrant guilt for dropping the previous project in favor of the new one.


It takes me a while to complete said projects - but I do get them completed...eventually.

So, these nifty little striped knitted throw pillow were fun to do. They were absolutely mindless in the knitting. I wanted something simple in design and technique. It was about having fun with the colors.

Normally I knit with nice wools...usually Merino wool - and the softer the better! But when searching for yarn to do accent pillows, the colors I came up with in the various wools available to me fell quite short of what I was looking for. I found nothing that would even begin to coordinate with what I have going in my living room. I don't usually use acrylics of any kind, but I saw this stuff in A.C. Moore and knew it was what I needed to do the job.

These yarns are from the Vanna White Collection by Lion Brand yarns. They're very soft without being fuzzy, so little chance of pilling with wear and tear. They're nice and springy and form quite nicely to whatever gauge I need for the project. And it was really quite nice to work with. I enjoyed it very much...and still am!

So now I have cool little colorful pillows that will please for a long time to come. There are more of these little gems in the hopper; same colors but different patterns. Will end up with about ten pillows by the time it's all said and done. I LOVE throw pillows...and the more the better!

So now I'm off to work some on the one I currently have on the needles before I get summoned to do something else that will take me away from it till who knows when!

Have a knit pickin' good day ya'll!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quilting - It's A Family Thing

I was born into and grew up with very talented and creative women in my family. My family lineage is steeped in generations of seamstresses, knitters, crocheters, tatters, quilters, and needle crafters to no end. For as long as I can remember, these things have been going on all around me.

I don't know much about my dad's family. I was taken away from them at a very young age and they were never talked about in our house. So I don't know whether or not there were creatively talented women in the Daniel family. In my adult years, it's something I've never researched. I've preferred to keep that distance my mother set for us early on. But I think I'm getting close to wanting to know more about where I come from, for I know there are TWO sides to a family and those two sides make up the whole of who I am genetically. It will be worth looking into someday. But all I've heard about my whole life is my mother's family and the rich heritage it offers it abundant ways.

Even my step dad's family offers quite a lot in the way of sewing, quilting, and creating through the generations. My mother found old quilts dating back to the late 1700's stored away in my step grandparents dairy barn in Arkansas. They were traced back to my step dad's mother's family in Ohio and Pennsylvania and were quite the treasures indeed. My mother was so taken with one of the quilts she found that she meticulously studied the pattern and the fabrics it was made of in order to make one herself. She recreated the pattern and searched far and wide until she found the exact same fabrics. It was beautiful when she finished. And it was pure pure joy for her to recreate this wondrous work of art.

A great aunt of mine in Texas is a nationally known quilter: Minnie Ola 'Olie' Perryman of Gatesville, Texas. She took that same pattern to make the same quilt for herself. A picture of her with that quilt with an article about the history of the Prickly Pear quilt are featured in the book 'Lone Stars: A Legacy Of Texas Quilts 1936-1986.'

My younger sister and I have been sewing and quilting since we were 'knee high to a grasshopper'. In the same tradition my grandmother learned to quilt from her mother, so did my sister and I learn the craft. My grandmother could recall being three years old and sitting next to her mother at the quilt frame with needle and thread quilting right along. My grandmother did the same thing with my sister and I when we were very young. We both learned to sew on her mother's old Singer treadle sewing machine. I was six and my sister was around five I think. We were the same ages sitting next to her at the quilt frame with needle in hand quilting right along also. My grandmother had my youngest daughter sitting beside her at the age of three showing her how to push the needle along in whatever quilt she had in the frame at the time.

I've spent all my life quilting. I've spent that life with my mothers family as deep inspiration for keeping the craft alive. My sister does the same thing. We both do quilting by hand as has been passed down in our family. The hand quilting is a preference. We know machine quilting seems to be THE thing to do these days. It's evident in monthly quilt publications as they advertise elaborate, expensive quilting machines and the quilts that have been produced by these machines. More and more quilters and their elaborately machined quilts are featured. Granted these quilts are beautiful, but they don't have the same look, feel, aesthetic quality, or artistic value as a hand quilted quilt has. Long gone is the simplicity that hand quilting offers.

These days I don't quilt so much. I have a sewing machine that is in non working order and don't have a quilt frame to my name any longer. I am also poor as a church mouse and not capable of changing these particular statuses at this time. I don't know when I will be able to change it. Not in the foreseeable future for sure. So to make up for it, I knit and crochet like crazy, preferring to knit. My sister on the other hand does have her sewing machine which is in working order and a quilt frame in hand and keeps them both busy.

My sister Rosanne, who lives in San Antonio, Texas spends a lot of time sitting at her quilt frame hand stitching along. Her 'significant other' gave her a Grace quilt frame for Christmas and she's had something going in it ever since. But she's been quilting for far longer than that.

She is a stay at home mom with a seven year old still in tow. She has a 22 year old who is still living at home also while she works and goes to school. But she's working to get her married off ASAP! In the midst of taking care of all that needs taking care of while wrangling kids, managing a household, taking care of 'significant other', and doing the daily 'must do's', she manages to find the time to sit at the frame and quilt some most every day...even in the horrendous heat Texas is currently experiencing - 105 degrees in San Antonio every day for the past two weeks for sure. And one of the air conditioners in her house conked out a while ago, so she is definitely feeling the heat in her house! But she marches right along on the quilt no matter what. I admire her tenacity.

I remember long after I married, left home and was living in Colorado, getting a letter in the mail from my grandmother in Texas bragging about my little sister and her first quilt. She was of junior high age at the time and had been working with my grandmother and great aunt Olie to make a beautiful Fan quilt. It was done in different shades of blue with white lace edging the fans. It was beautiful indeed. She's been quilting ever since. She's has always managed to stay in practice with quilting no matter her situation and how many times she's moved over the years.

Her current project is what you see in photos here. She says it's kind of a hodge podge of stuff in piecing and quilting. She sends me pictures of the progress and I'm always impressed with the ideas she comes up with as she goes along. She's doing lots of different quilting designs as she goes: so far there are little birds, and butterflies, and triangles. She has other ideas swirling around in her head about what to do next. It's so cool that she can do this and it just works as it goes. I can hardly wait to see the finished product.

She and I talk often, pretty much every day. We text all day long. (It's a good thing we each have unlimited texting on our phone plans!) We talk about everything and the conversations always turn to the quilting and the knitting. We talk about our family traditions in this regard. We are each adamant about pursuing the family heritage and traditions in the ways of crafting - especially quilting. We are determined to keep the craft of hand quilting alive, no matter how small that impact may be on the quilting community as a whole.

We see for ourselves at craft fairs, and quilt shows, and monthly quilt
publications, and advertising of all sorts in the world of quilting that hand quilting is falling by the way side. Even the Grace Quilt Frame company has branched out and created frames that will accommodate quilting machines. It's a sad fact. We live in world of needing instant gratification which is what machine quilting offers. No one wants to take the time to preserve history in newly made quilts. Quilting has become as commercial as everything else in this world. It's all about mass production and money. An art form that was formed out of necessity hundreds of years ago is rapidly becoming a lost art. That's a horribly sad fact also.

No matter how busy our lives get, me and mine will always make the time to sit at a quilt frame and plug along one hand stitch at a time until we've created the work of art we desire. There's not much family left on my mother's side. Most are gone now, including my mother and grandmother. My sister and I hope they can see what she and I do today and are proud that we keep at least family tradition alive.

Happy quilting...and happy day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fun, Fun, Give Away!!

NO. No. no. I'm not giving away anything...YET. But someone I know is giving away something VERY fun and I want to give her a shout out here and give you all the opportunity to get in on it.

JenX67 is giving away a set of 3 brand new John Hughes DVD's: The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Pretty In Pink. How fun is that?!

If you happen to be a regular reader of my blog and scroll down the page when you're looking around at stuff here, you'll notice a section called 'Spiritually Speaking'. Included in that list of blogs I read is jenX67. She writes a daily blog focusing a lot on Generation X, among other things, and it is ALWAYS great and inspirational reading.

I happen to know jenX67 from my childhood...well, the waining years of my childhood anyway. Her dad was the pastor of a little church I attended in west Texas in the late 70's. She has a brother who is my age and two older sisters. Her family and their message of faith and spirituality were a huge influence on me during that time. That influence is still with me today...although I must admit you can't always tell it outwardly if you talk to me in person - or read my blog with any regularity. But believe me, it's there...especially in my music!

I LOVE her blog. She is a very talented writer. She's very creative in sooooooo many ways. AND has THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FAMILY! Her whole family is creative and talented. One of her sisters has another blog on the same list: 'A Gathering Of Thoughts'. Check them both out some time. Believe me, it will be worth your time!

If you go to, you can check out the specs of her contest and get in all this fun! Don't miss out!

By the way, I should mention that mentioning jenX67's give a way here earns me a bonus point towards the contest. Sneaky...but effective!!!

In the meantime, have a knit pickin' good day ya'll!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pincushions Galore!

It's been a while since I've been here. It's been kinda busy tending to the daily necessities of life. Yes, there is more to life than knitting, crocheting, quilting, know, all that really important stuff.

In between taking care of the things that need taking care of, I've been making these little crocheted pin cushions. Mostly I've done them late at night while trying to unwind enough to go to sleep.

I saw this pattern on Ravelry. It was written in Danish and I by no means speak or even begin to understand the language, spoken or written. So I just kinda looked at the picture and 'ciphered' it for myself thataway.

I thought it was just too cute not give it a shot. It's so easy and so much fun to make. I plan to make more...some to give as gifts for quilters and seamstresses I know.

I've mainly used Sugar-N-Cream Cotton yarns for these. I have so much of it leftover from the potholder making jag I was on a few weeks ago. I've made a couple of them from some Merino wool I have, but I really prefer the cotton for the function-ability it creates for the cushion itself. It will keep pins and needles nice and sharp constantly pushing them into the stiff cotton. The pins slide easily in and out of the cushion, but the texture of the cotton will be good for keeping points sharp.

This is a PERFECT project for that bag full of little scraps of yarn you just don't know what to do with.

What's been the most fun is digging through old buttons and buying new ones too for the centers of the cushions. I've come up with some great vintage glass buttons and some other fun stuff too. I've seen a few of these made up with little crocheted flowers in the centers. I tried that, but I prefer the look of the old, and the glitzy, and the fun colored buttons.

My mother had two little pincushions like these when I was a little girl and I know those cushions were old back then. They'd been given to her by her mother. So this pattern has been around for a very long time. The ones I see online now may be a very slightly different version of the old ones my mother had, but not by much.

While I knit and crochet and do whatever it is I do through the day, this is my partner in crime. The cat is always there to check out the latest project in the works. Once he's scoped it out and decides it's OK for me to proceed, he curls up in my lap or beside me where ever I happen to be.

All my projects are "Dinkus" approved. I call him 'Dink', 'Dinkus', 'Dinky Doo', 'Kubla Kraus', 'Joe', ...whatever pops into my head at the moment that seems to fit his personality at that particular moment. That's why he's never had just one name. There are too many different facets to his personality and one name is not fitting all the time. Remarkably, he responds to what ever name he's called at any given moment. He just seems to know he's no ordinary cat.

So any time you see a project here that's been marked 'Dinkus Approved', you'll know it's of top notch quality and satisfaction guaranteed. If it's been sniffed, rubbed on, purred over and 'bisquit making tested', then it's good to go!

I hope to get to post a little more often the next couple of weeks, but we'll see.

In the mean time, I hope you're having a knit pickin' good summer!