Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

I think I’m nearly through the awkward phase of many of my projects - both work and personal. The awkward phase, as I call it, is past the beginning point, but too far from completion to even see it on the horizon. It has a never-ending quality to it.

I can’t discuss anything that’s on my work plate here. Let’s just say that between now and November 15, I’ll have written about 10,000 words. And that’s just counting the edited down copy - not the five times that number that must be written first.

But I can discuss some things in the crafting category.

Block of the Month - Craftsy
During the summer I fell badly behind. Two block designs every month meant that when September started I had two September blocks, two August blocks, and two July blocks to make before catching up to the rest of class. It’s now the middle of September, and I’ve finished both July blocks, and one of August.

I hope to get the second August block done before October begins, so I’ll begin October with two October blocks and two September blocks. By November we’ll have completed all the blocks for our quilt and can begin assembling the topper. And I know, if I’m still working on September and October blocks in January, it’s quite probable the quilt will never be completed. There are just too many demands on my time and attention to prioritize this over projects that do still have a deadline.

Winter Quilt
I’m still making regular progress on it, though it’s slow, and there are plenty of days that I can’t work on it at all. I do see a conclusion on the distant horizon, but I have stopped making completion date projections. It’s too depressing and overwhelming.

Sailing the Hudson Bay
Tip: It’s faster and more efficient to spend 15 minutes working out the math on the instructions, rather than guessing what they mean, knitting for five days, then ripping out and starting over. But the front and back are now done, and sleeve 1 is on the needles.

Thanks to International Spin in Public Day, I was able to finish spinning the second singles necessary for a two-ply yarn. Once I free up the bobbins, I have a large ball of supersonic-colored roving ready to rock. But pro-active regular spinning will have to wait until the winter quilt is off the frame and a bit of floor space is freed up in the craft room.

In other news: As mad as it might be, I’m about to begin five more knitting projects, and six more classes. More on those later.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

A Wee Bit of Randomness

Last night’s menu will definitely make a repeat performance at my house. A new-to-me recipe, Pork Chops & Apples in Mustard Sauce out of Fannie Farmer.

I used pork loin sliced to around 1 1/4" inches, and placed them on a bed of thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (thank you, mandolin). The chops were juicy, tender and extremely flavorful. The cream in the mustard sauce cut down on the mustard-flavor. It’s a different take on an old favorite.

I served it alongside a bed of whipped turnips, recipe found in the same cookbook. The consistency is similar to mashed potatoes, but it is lighter and includes grated lemon peel. Dee-lish! That was the first time I’ve made whipped turnips, or turnips of any ilk for that matter, but I have been looking for a suitable side alternative to my standard potatoes, rice or noodle options.

I’ve declared these two balls of yarn to be my favorite:

They may make the difference between finishing Sailing the Hudson Bay, or not. I’m within inches of finishing the sweater front, and then only had five visible balls of yarn to do both sleeves and the neckline. I found these two balls hiding under some other knitting bags. They make me happy.

It’s September, right? So why am I still working on July’s blocks from the Craftsy Block of the Month class? Last night I managed to finish the first of the two blocks, a traditional Dresden block (above). Next up is a modern take on the traditional Dresden pattern. I’ll start on the second block later today, and hope to start work on the first August block next week. Since September’s patterns are out, this means that I’m currently five blocks behind with only one or two months left before the class begins assembling the quilt topper. I’m not at all happy with the downward trajectory of my personal BOM project schedule, and need to kick it up a notch or two if I’m to complete the project with the rest of the class. If I don’t complete it in December, then it is very likely—given the other demands on my time and interest—that this project will find a permanent home in my UFO pile.

On the winter quilt front, I’m currently focused on a fiddly in-fill section that is taking super-long to complete. By the end of Monday I did manage to finish one row of this in-fill, and slid the quilt to the left to start the next row up later today. If you are of an age that you can visualize a manual typewriter returning to start the next line in a document, that is exactly what was accomplished. Still a long way to go, but I’ll celebrate even the most minor completion levels.