Meet the Braided Ball. It's a free download. The basic pattern is 6 strips of plain knitting. 2 of them are sewn together into loops. The next 2 are woven into the first 2 and sewn together as loops. Then, the last 2 are also woven around and sewn together. The end result is a fun little ball.
For more fun, pull apart a couple of the braids and toss in some catnip or kitty treats. The set it out for the kitties to find.
Bert likes the ball and spent some time pushing it around the kitchen floor trying to get at the catnip. Time to check out Chief's reaction.
Chief not only liked it but got the "happy kitty" look. When I showed the ball to a couple workmates, they both got the happy people face. They held the soft ball, cuddled it, squished it. You get the idea. And- this was without any people nip in it! Now I have to test it with little kids. But, I think I can safely say, this cute braided ball is going to be a hit all around.
Yesterday started my week long vacation or as I've been calling them lately - practise retirement. The quilt shop that a friend works at a few Saturdays a month is moving. That means a week of really good sales. Everything in the shop is on sale. Saturday was at 40%. This was enough for me to get a road trip. I drove down to the shop a couple hours away and stopped at another on the way there.
The first shop was All In Stitches in Stewartville, MN. It's a nice shop. The sample quilts were very inviting and got me excited to buy something. On the side of the shop is a nice sized classroom. There was a class going on so I didn't get a chance to go in and look at the items in there too much cause I didn't want to bother the people sewing. In the main room, I ended up finding some black with gold bits material to use as the binding on my quilt I'm working on. I also got a McKenna Ryan pattern for a bird house and material to go with it.
On to Pine Needle Quilt Shop in Racine, MN. Much of the Bernina stuff was gone which is fine with me because I don't own a Bernina and I was there for material. As I said everything was 40% off so I bought lots.
I got 2 kits of quilt tops about 60x80 inches. If I add a wider border either one can be a queen size quilt top. One had the pattern the other was from a book. The book wasn't there but I found it at my library so - good to go. I also got a kit for a wall hanging for Thanksgiving. Then there was the 8 fat quarters and a book (not in picture).
For those of you who are knitters and not quilters let me explain fat quarters. You already understand the concept of stash. Knitters buy a skein here and there and build the stash in hopes of having something to knit at 3AM when you wake up and have to start a new project. Quilters are the same. Shops cut 1 yard pieces of material then cut that into 1/4s or 4 pieces called a fat quarter. These are set up in crates and little shelves for shoppers to get all excited about and buy. After all they're cheap and pretty and easy to grab. Eventually you have a huge pile of fat quarters and it looks pretty much like a knitters stash - WAY more than you could ever use. The nice thing about fat quarters over the single skein - it's easier to mix and match quilt pieces. As a matter of fact most quilts look better when you use a lot of different fabrics in it.
Back in 2003 and 2004 I belonged to the Thimbleberries Club. Each quarter would be a different pattern and kit for that item. I bought a few of the kits and made the tops. Then the quilting mojo left me and the tops were packed up. This year I got the quilting mojo back and unpacked the box of tops.
This quilt was well on its way to being completed. I had finished the top basted it together with batting and backing and even started machine quilting it. It's meant to be "antique" Christmas colors and will look great on my big dining room wall. So, this is what I've been working on the past few weeks. One problem was, the binding didn't get packed with the quilt so, I've been on the look out for a material that will coordinate with the quilt. Yesterday I found it so, now to finish the quilt!
The past week Bert has been very helpful. He's monitored my computer use, making sure I dont' spend too much time playing games.
Then he's also been acting as quality control for softness of freshly laundered clothes. It took him about 3 minutes to figure out I had a basket of clothes to add his hair to. I set the basket on the bed and went to the bathroom. When I got back - there he was. Just another typical day at our household.