Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer Fun

The trip to Wisconsin involved a lot of puppy care, but I managed to get some knitting done.

I finished Daphne Jr.’s Aran sweater while in Wisconsin. Here is Dolly modeling it. (I had to drag her away from trying on all the clothes I made for Daphne Jr., some of which she hadn't seen since before Christmas.) Daphne says Daphne Jr. misses her friend Dolly. They'll get together again for Christmas, though. That should be fun. Daphne agreed with me that, although Daphne Jr. and Dolly look a lot alike, their personalities are different.

This was our “campsite” in Wisconsin.



My "Seeing Stars" quilt went along to live with DD and DSIL in Wisconsin as an anniversary present.



We had some interesting stops on the way back. In Rock Springs, Wyoming, we saw this trailer, my favorite.



These were our neighbors. There are actually four pugs, although you can only see three. (One is behind the towel.) Why have one, when you can have a set of four?



We had a busy week after getting back, unpacking the trailer and taking it back to storage. (The whole process of parking it is rather like threading a needle with an eye smaller than the thread.)

The first sleeve of the “So-not-my-palette” cardigan is coming along. Some of this was done after our return, but most of it during the return trip.



I also got to work on it during Common Threads, which met at Margareth’s on Thursday. Here is her finished Homestead Shawl.


She’s making another one for Karan.



The pups got a bath on Monday. They had a lot of fun playing themselves dry on the warm deck. After a good brushing, I got some photos of them together. Rocky knows how to pose, but Dusty’s expressions were different in every photo. I posted a few of them on Facebook and asked people for captions, especially for this one.



I got: 
“Little Silly Face and Mr. Dignified” 
”I’m bigger than you.” 
“Now for this photo, do your best ‘I’m so regal’ pose and look off to the distance, not at the camera---…Never mind.”
“Who, me? I didn’t take the treats.” 
“I didn’t do it, Mom. The new kid did!” 
”I’m just hanging with my big brother!”

Saturday we took our first hike with Dusty. We’re working on “come” and “on trail.” He responded well to the dog whistle. Most of this trail is blocked to cars. We drove in as far as we could go, to minimize chance of Parvo infection (as most dogs do their business at the beginning of a hike, and we wanted to minimize contact for now). We washed both pups' paws (eight paws in all!) when we got back, and removed our shoes, just to be safe. Dusty should have full immunization today, (a week after his third Parvo shot) but we'll probably continue foot cleaning for a few more days, just to be sure.



Sunday we got a puppy sitter after church to look after Dusty, so we could go see Kubo and the Two Strings. Our younger son, Peter Stuart, worked on the film in visual effects, so if you go to see it (and why wouldn't you want to?), be sure to stay for the credits and look for his name. Johan, our youngest grandson, is listed as a Kubo baby, along with the other babies of crew members who were born during the filming, so watch for him, too.

I have ordered two of this boy doll for Zachary and Soren:



I’m hoping for some puppy sleeping time during the fall to make wardrobes for them both. Christmas is at our house.

DGD1 is moving back to California in a few days. She has been with us for 19 months, trying to get back on her feet. She works as a fashion photographer, something that is difficult to do successfully here in Utah. She has made two trips for photo shoots in California in the last couple of months and has plenty of work. We think she is ready to be on her own, but we're sure she will be back for Christmas or after Christmas to spend time with her "baby" cousins and other family members.

We're in the middle of the Ravellenic Games on Ravelry, but this "prize" from Tour de Fleece participation was waiting for me when we returned home.



What's on my needles: The “So-not-my-palette Cardigan” still working on the first sleeve. (I may have to rename it. The palette is growing on me.) Delectable Pathways quilt put aside for now. It’s too hot to have a quilt draped over my lap.
What's on my Featherweight: Getting ready to make boy doll clothes.
What's on my wheel: Waiting for next spinning project.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished reading The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah Ladd. Finished reading Remember This by Shae Buggs on the Kindle app on my iPad. During the trip, we listened to Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor. The whole series is very entertaining, and DH can’t wait for the second book.
What's in my wine glass: Corbett Canyon Merlot. The big bottle.
What's my tip of the week: Much unwanted puppy behavior can be discouraged by keeping a metal dog dish handy and banging it when puppy jumps up, bites you or your clothes. or barks. Accompany the banging with a command: “down” or “off,” for example, or “no bites.” A rolled-up newspaper slapped against your leg or hand will work for many dogs, but our Dusty needed something more startling. Be sure you do it when your puppy is exhibiting the unwanted behavior, not after he has stopped, or you will be training the wrong thing. I would absolutely not recommend hitting a puppy or adult dog; this is only designed to get their attention and remind them of who is pack leader. Chewing the wrong thing is usually handled by using some Bitter Apple spray on the item. It makes them dislike chewing that item, even after the spray has worn off. I like to keep corrections to a minimum and allow as many lessons as possible to be learned by simple experience.


Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Dog Days of Summer

We just returned last night, and I'll write more about it, but here's a taste of the puppy fun.


The pups shared Rocky's toys and slept in their crates side-by-side in our trailer. The third night of our trip found us in a lovely park, Lake Anita Park in Iowa.


When we arrived in Wisconsin, Rocky got reacquainted with the two grandkids we were there to visit. He taught Zachary to play fetch by actually bringing the ball back to him. (He plays a more complicated  ball game with us. We throw the ball and he brings it close to us and then teases us with it. We have to try to get it from him. That's the game.)


The pups had fun playing in a yard with grass. Here you can see them doing their Tyrannosaurus Rex impersonation.



Dusty has started to learn to "heel." We practiced during trips to the neighborhood parks and to Riverside Park in La Crosse. 



We had been weighing Dusty on Sundays, so we took our scales along. The day before we left, he weighed 9.0 lbs. One week later he was 9.8. I weighed him two days later just to see if I could catch him at 10.0 lbs. even, but he was already 10.4. The breeder assures us that he will slow down and finish growing sooner than Rocky did. I hope so, because I have to pick him up and carry him fairly often. It's like handling a hairy bowling ball with four legs, teeth and a tongue.

Look for my regular blog post next week.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.




Monday, August 8, 2016

Hand-pieced Quilts I Have Known

As I am on vacation and may not have access to the Internet when I usually post my blog, I’ve prepared a couple of special posts for the Mondays I’ll be gone. 


The first has to do with my hand-pieced quilts. This is one I developed, combining a quilt pattern I saw on Simply Quilts in 1998 or 1999. I ordered the fabric directly from the company, because I could only find little bits of it in quilt shops. The pattern was from Susan Branch's "The Language of Flowers" line of fabrics by Springs Industries. It's basically a LeMoyne Star with half LeMoyne Star blocks. The appliqué was not part of the original pattern. I copied it from the photo of a 1930s-era quilt kit quilt I found in a book. The four bouquets of flowers were arranged on a plain background. 


As you can see, I still haven’t finished hand-quilting it. I started with the appliqué. Then I found I had difficulty getting all the points to come together when I pieced by machine (using practice fabric), so I ended up hand-piecing it.

When I first started quilting, I thought you had to sew all the pieces together by hand. I made my first quilt in 1962. I eased into quilting by learning hand-quilting from my church youth group leader when I was 17. A couple of years later, when I was in college and on my own, I decided to make an almost-identical quilt with the scraps left over from my sewing projects (dresses, etc.). The quilt we had worked on was a glorified 9-patch, hand-pieced, so I thought mine had to be hand-pieced, too. I put it together using polyester batting, whatever thread I had, and my scraps of fabric, some of which were polyester or polyester-blend. Over the years, the batting wore out the backing, the background and some of the fabrics int he blocks. I was broken-hearted, but refused to throw it away. It was my first quilt!
The quilt sat in a box for years, calling to me. Finally, in 2002, I separated the layers, removed the background fabric and began replacing the block fabrics that had worn out. When it was put back together again, I re-hand-quilted, following the same quilting pattern I had used before. 


It has a label on the back that tells this story.

While I was collecting fabrics for my Spring Flowers quilt in 2000, I decided to make a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt, inspired by another episode of Simply quilts, this one starring Pati Shambaugh and featuring her “Quilt Patis,” an alternative to English Paper Piecing.


This technique uses plastic hexagons that have a hole in the middle. You cut a square slightly bigger than you want your hexagon to be, pin the plastic hexagon onto the fabric through the hole in the middle, then fold over two sides and make a stitch forming a corner. Without cutting or knotting your thread, you fold over the next side and take a stitch in that corner, and so on, ending with another stitch in the first corner. Very fast! When you have enough of these hexagons “upholstered,” you start sewing them together, using an overcast stitch. Once a hexagon is completely surrounded by its comrades, you can remove the template, using a crochet hook or knitting needle through the hole in the center.

The quilt took me six months to piece and three months to hand-quilt. I was sick of it by the time it was finished, but I love it now.

During the 1970s, I hand-pieced another quilt, this one for my sister-in-law. It was another LeMoyne Star quilt, and it was the second quilt I ever made. When she knew she was dying, she gave it back to me to keep for my kids. I need to take a photo of it.

I find hand-piecing to be very satisfying “work,” like hand-quilting.

I will try to add photos from the trip to the comments, if I have access to Internet during the trip. See you next time.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Fiber and Pups...With a Twist

The spinning for Tour de Fleece is done. I finished the second bobbin of the lovely Waimea Rooster merino/Tencel fiber from AlohaBlu. Here are the two bobbins, within 1 gm of each other in weight.
Then I got out my expensive lazy kate.
My wheel has a lazy kate built in, but I like to place the bobbins at least a few feet away from my wheel while plying, so the twist has a chance to even out a bit before the singles get plied.
Here’s what my yarn looked like before washing.

I got 20 WPI (wraps per inch, so fairly fine yarn, in the fingering range). I had 880 yds before washing. 

Dusty had his first haircut with our regular groomer. The breeder groomed the pups regularly while she had them, so they would be used to grooming. Here’s what he looked like before:

He looked much better after


Here’s a photo of Dusty and Rocky after their day at the spa.


It didn’t take them long to get dirty again.


I didn’t make it to Vintage Stitchers this week, but I dropped in on Joanie, along with Dusty and Rocky, so she could meet the new pup. She had just returned from a trip to Idaho, and brought me a souvenir.


Ha-ha, very funny! However, it’s a nice guidebook. It has a skull and crossbones beside each mushroom that’s toxic to humans, but doesn’t specify which ones are toxic to dogs. However, if I can identify the offending mushroom, I can Google it to find out if it’s toxic to dogs.
What's on my needles: The “So-not-my-palette Cardigan” working on the first sleeve, very little progress this week. Delectable Pathways quilt put aside for now.
What's on my Featherweight: No sewing until I get home again.
What's on my wheel: Just finished the Waimea Rooster Merino/Tencel from AlohaBlu, but plan to spin something new when I get back.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury, also from Audible. Now reading The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah Ladd. Interesting story, but the narrator leaves something to be desired. I think she would be better reading children’s literature. It’s a Regency novel, and it also bothered me at first that she has an American accent, especially since they mention the war with the American colonies. I got used to her reading as the story went on, though, so it’s OK. (It’s Christian lit, if that influences you. It didn’t bother me.) Still reading Remember This by Shae Buggs on the Kindle app on my iPad, making some progress, now that things have calmed down a bit on the puppy front. 
What's in my wine glass: Amberhill Secret Blend, a red, 2014. It’s my second-favorite wine.
What's my tip of the week: If you’re training your puppy to do his business in the backyard, take him out every time he wakes up, finishes eating, has been playing vigorously for 10 minutes or so, or just for some exercise. Tell him what you want him to do (we use “make potty,” and then ask, “more potty?” if we think he might have some more serious business), then praise him if he does it. Don’t take him back in the house right away, unless it’s because he gets to eat, and he’s hungry. If they enjoy being outdoors, dogs will learn to put off doing their business to get to stay out longer.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tour de Fleece, Tour de Poodle….

The spinning for Tour de Fleece has been coming along. I’m well into the second bobbin of the lovely Waimea Rooster merino/Tencel fiber from AlohaBlu.


I also finished making the steeks for my “So-not-my-palette” cardigan. Here it is before I cut the steeks.


This shot shows how I trimmed the loose ends of yarn, rather than weaving them in, one of the advantages of steeks.


I picked up the sleeve stitches and started knitting the first sleeve, but I discovered a mistake in how I picked up the stitches, so off to the frog pond. With a new puppy in the house, the heat and the early sunrise, I haven’t been getting enough sleep, and the light wasn’t very good when I was picking them up, not to mention the distractions at Common Threads, where I was doing it. I got off by one vertical row of stitches on the last few inches of the front. Oh, well. I get to have the fun all over again! At least this time I know I’m doing it right.
Common Threads met on Thursday at Lynda’s. Margareth was working on this great shawl, the Homestead Shawl from Interweave Knits’ Gifts 2015 edition.


Janet was working on her Washington Park Shawl. She has started the border, which has some challenges, but I should be able to show off her finished shawl before too long.
Other people were working on socks, baby knitting and needlepoint.
Meanwhile in Puppy Land, Dusty continues to grow. Yesterday, at 12 weeks, he tipped the scales at 8.0 lbs. This shot shows Dusty on July 13th (left) and July 23rd (right), so you can see how much he has grown in that time. (Check out the height of the play yard fence.)


You can also see that his facial hair has grown (presumably all of his hair, but the facial hair really shows up). His “raccoon eyes” have become less pronounced. He goes for his first grooming (other than by the breeder) on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see what he looks like when I pick him up.
How has his nibs, The Dustball Dude managed this phenomenal growth? Of course, by eating, but also by sleeping a lot:


He also has been muscle-building by playing a lot with brother Rocky, whereby big brother just needs to stay still or move his head a bit. Sometimes he can even continue to nap:


Dusty has also had a couple of walks with the family:


And some water play. On Sunday, we threw a toy in that doesn't float. He hesitated, poked it with a paw a couple of times, and then went after it with his mouth. True to poodle form, the bubbles came out his nose as he retrieved it. Go, Dusty!


We finally figured out how to get Dusty to eat enough in the evening so he could get through the night.
The Little Dude had his puppy boosters on Tuesday, which means he’s less likely to get Parvo now. We are still being cautious, though, and cleaning the pups’ feet as well as our own with disinfectants after we have been out on the street, until he has his final puppy booster on August 16.
Because we have a trip coming up, and Dusty won’t have full immunity until 10 days after his next puppy shots, we decided to try to train him to use paper, which we can put down in the bathtub of our trailer, so his feet never have to touch the ground at rest stops (always a danger area, because dogs from all over use the area). We will only have Rocky’s feet to clean, and our shoes to slip off at the door to the trailer.
We have trained Dusty to go on demand, so it was easy to get him to go on paper once he was used to going on the ground outdoors. We just put him on the paper and said, "Make potty." (Now if we can just get him not to go anywhere else...but that will come.) He’s sleeping well at night, now that we have figured out that he just needed a big dinner in the evening.
We expect to be leaving on our trip east a week from today, but that’s flexible. I'm planning on delivering the "Seeing Stars" quilt to our daughter and SIL, and take some quilting books to DDIL1, but shhhhh! It's supposed to be a surprise. Dolly will go along, too, so Daphne can meet Daphne Jr.'s counterpart.
What's on my needles: The “So-not-my-palette Cardigan” steeks done. Still hand-quilting my Delectable Pathways quilt.
What's on my Featherweight: I used my machine for the steeks finished, and now my machine is put away again.
What's on my wheel: Still the Waimea Rooster Merino/Tencel from AlohaBlu, continuing to spin for the Tour de Fleece, making good progress on the second bobbin.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Thornwood House by Anna Romer, one of the best books I have ever listened to. It had everything: Adventure, suspense, mystery and romance coupled with interesting, very human characters, some Australian history, with beautiful language and a feast of the senses, with sights, sounds, smells and other sensations. Find out more here or here. I feel as if I had just visited Australia without the need of a plane ticket. Now listening to The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury, also from Audible. Still reading Remember This by Shae Buggs on the Kindle app on my iPad. 
What's in my wine glass: Lindemann’s Cawarra Shiraz-Cabernet 2014. Always a nice choice.
What's my tip of the week: Do you have hummingbird feeders? You don’t need to buy expensive feed for them. Boil water and mix it with sugar. Allow to cool at least until lukewarm. A ratio of 1 sugar to 4 water works. Use regular table sugar only (sucrose) from cane or beets. Never use honey or artificial sweeteners. Hummingbirds don’t need the vitamins nor especially the red dye in most commercial hummingbird feed.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Quilts and Other Fiber Adventures

Vintage Stitchers met at Rebecca’s on Thursday. Marilyn had made this sailboat quilt.


The back shows the quilting.


Brenda was making some towels for a friend who has Portugese Water Dogs.


She was also working on a kitty quilt using machine applique and embroidery.






Janet had made this great little project bag during the Stitching Society Group at Davidene’s.

Barbara inherited an old kit for this quilt designed by Anna for the original Whimsy Cottage.


She also made a 1600 quilt background for these flowers.


Rebecca and Barbara made these row-by-row quilt blocks that were part of a quilt shop hop project. The flowers are identical sets of precut pieces. The backgrounds are graduated fabrics cut apart and pieced back together.


Ellen has finished these hand-appliquéd house blocks from Home Sweet Home by Barb Adams and Alma Allen. (These blocks are from the book I got my mantle quilt from.)



Barbara had these fabrics for an Amish quilt for a long time. She repeated the same 16-patch block and used the leftover fabrics in the border and on the back.



Diane also did a repeat of one block for a completely different effect. This quilt has an antique look.


The backing fabric is a honeycomb with bees.


Carol had finished this sampler quilt, which she plans to drape over a chair.


Rebecca’s Pink Floyd has been quilted:


As well as the bunny.


Both are fused appliqué designs of Laura Heine. I spent the meeting hand-sewing the binding on Johan's I-spy quilt.
In other fiber news, my “So-not-my-palette” cardigan has grown by a couple of inches.


And the first bobbin of the “Waimea Rooster” singles is done for Tour de Fleece (TdF), with a start on the second.


I finished the hand-sewing for Johan’s I-spy quilt, and it's done.


The young man in question is in Mallorca with his parents, aunt and uncle, his brother and his cousin. Here he is shown here on the far left, sporting a new Spanish haircut, on his way to visit Ila Sa Dragonera, where there were lizards nowhere near the size of the Komodo Dragons we once saw, but still pretty cool. From left, Johan, Cousin Leo, Brother Soren and in the second row, Mom. (In the stern is an unidentified boat pilot.)


Of course, some of you are only reading this for an update on Dusty. We made it to Tuesday without mushroom incidents. Then he found the piece of mushroom I had thoughtlessly stupidly tossed back in the bushes on July 4th. It was dried up, but only half there. I couldn’t remember exactly how much of it was left from the incident the week before, so off to the vet’s office, where his stomach contents revealed no mushroom. That meant we didn't have to have him on a special diet for the next few days, because he hadn't ingested any toxins. I left the piece of mushroom with the vet, and she was going to see if she could identify it. She recommended that we get health insurance for Dusty, because she suspects he’s going to be a “very naughty boy.” Naughty, maybe, but stinkin' cute!


Now Dusty is only allowed in the backyard on his leash unless both human parents are present, one to throw the ball and one to guard the mushroom bush. This is speeding up his leash training. He and Rocky have been getting in some good play sessions, though, both with chasing the ball and pretend fighting.


Tuesday he gets his Parvo shot, and presumably can then begin taking actual walks on the street after it takes effect. In the meantime, nap times for the Little Dude and for me have been agonizingly short, as Rocky voices his concern every time a neighbor goes up and down the street in front of our house playing Pokémon GO. I’m afraid they are going to ask to come into my house soon!

GIPHY.C
What's on my needles: The “So-not-my-palette Cardigan” some progress made. Still hand-quilting my Delectable Pathways quilt.
What's on my Featherweight: Binding for Johan’s I-spy quilt is finished, and my machine put away…for now.
What's on my wheel: Still the Waimea Rooster Merino/Tencel from AlohaBlu, continuing to spin for the Tour de Fleece, now on the second bobbin.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished A Study in Sable by Mercedes Lackey and now reading Thornwood House by Anna Romer, both from Audible. Still reading Remember This by Shae Buggs on the Kindle app on my iPad. 
What's in my wine glass: Charles Shaw (aka Two-buck Chuck, or in this case, $2.99) Merlot, which is good and we have in good supply, thanks to our trip to Nevada.
What's my tip of the week: If you have a puppy who likes to chew (drawer pulls, slippers, etc.), get some Bitter Apple and spray it on anything you want to protect without having to watch all the time. Some pups don't care, but most won't chew because they don't like the taste. Fabric (like your jeans legs) may need more applications. If all else fails, order some chain mail from Amazon.com.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.