Monday, August 31, 2015

Dog Days of Summer

Vintage Stitchers met at Marilyn's. She met us at the door wearing this apron Barbara made for her:


She was working on a quilt for fall that will include this machine-appliquéd pumpkin block: 


Rebecca is using some lovely fabrics to make a Drunkard's Path quilt using the hand-appliqué method.


Carol didn't like her Dresden Plate blocks, so she cut them into squares for this table runner:


Julie has been working on a Storm at Sea quilt, but it's for someone else, so she did't want me to publish a photo. You'll just have to image it huge, but without the borders Eleanor Burns used in her version.

I finished my Uintas Shawl. Here's what it looked like hot off the needles:


Here it is blocking: 


My Ravelry project page is here. I wrote up extensive notes about the project, and they're on that page, if you decide to make this shawl. The pattern, Washington Park Shawl, is available through Ravelry. It was designed by Debbi Stone for the Rose City Yarn Crawl in March, and presented as a mystery KAL. My DDIL2 gave me the pattern as a gift. I picked some Knit Picks Palette from my stash. I chose Sky and Whirlpool, two skeins of each. Although they were different dye lots, it didn't matter in this project. You could make this using four different colors, although I only had 2 g left from the ball I used for the border, cutting it rather close to finish with one 50 g ball of yarn. It ended up 65" wide and 24.5" from the top to the tip of one of the points close to the center.


In family news, our Sunny celebrated Dog Day last week by pretending to be a cat. She caught and tried to eat the mouse we have been trying to evict from our house all summer. The mouse (not in photo) was not available for comment, as it died at the scene, but we were able to keep Sunny from eating it. From now on, our girl dog will be known by her Native American/Chinese name: Mousie-Tongue.


And today (August 31st) is our Rocky's 11th birthday. Happy birthday, Rocky!


What's on my needles: Pink Monkey Socks, Fair Isle Flower Socks. Maybe this week I'll CO the March of the Fiber Animals Cardigan for DH. September 1st is my goal for CO. 

What's on my Featherweight: First Ladies Quilt. Still.

What's on my wheel: Languishing.

What's on my loom: Multi-scrap scarf, no progress since before the trip.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Georgette Heyer's Penhallow, one of her mysteries. The victim was so evil, I wanted to kill him myself. No happy-ever-after for anyone, but delicious dark humor. Then I listened to Gerald and Elizabeth by D. E. Stevenson, one of my favorite authors. I read the book years ago, but had forgotten how it went. A delightful story. Now listening to Mercedes Lackey's Blood Red. All of these were from Audible. Finished James Patterson and Maxine Paetro's Private in iBooks. It was very good. Now reading Restless Hearts by Mona Ingram on the Kindle app.

What's in my wine glass: Beringer's Pinot Grigio, a nice choice for hot weather.

What's my tip of the week: Need a design wall you can put away when you aren't using it? I use a queen-size Warm & Natural batt with a hem at the top and bottom for battens that can be used to support and keep the batt flat. I hook the top batten over hooks on a closet in my work room. When not in use, it can be rolled up and stored. You don't need to use pins for small blocks, especially if you aren't walking by closely. Not all quilt batting holds together this well, so be careful in your choice.


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 24, 2015

Fiber Really, Really High

We left last Sunday to camp in the Uinta Mountains of Utah, where lovely scenery abounds.

We like to say at Cobblerest, because of its scenic location near a stream and low-density campsites (not to mention a lower price than the more popular campgrounds in the area).


Evenings were spent by the stream. DH read his Nook and I listened to Audible while knitting. the pups either played in the stream or just hung out.


One of the first things we did was hang out our hummingbird feeder. Soon we had customers.


During the day, we went for hikes. The area is full of little lakes (what we called "ponds" in New England when I was growing up). Rocky loves to swim, but he really likes to have a purpose, so we throw a stick out for him.


Sunny did some swimming, too, but she really prefers to go after live fish, rather than chase a stick. She has been on a diet and knows she's looking good.


On Tuesday, on the trail back from beyond Bench Lake, which is at 10,000'+ elevation and 5.6 miles round trip, I tripped and fell. I guess I was tired. I determined nothing was broken, got up and dusted myself off. The following dialog took place--
Me: My arm is bleeding.
DH: I have the first aid kit.
Me: I think I need a tourniquet. I don't want to attract sharks.
DH: The first aid kit also has an amputation saw....
(They say laughter is the best medicine!)
My biggest concern was the sore spot at the base my right thumb, which later turned purple. Would I be able to knit? Is the Pope Catholic? It turned out that knitting and the movement required by later hikes took care of the injuries, other than the small cut on my right forearm, treated with a little antibiotic creme (from the aforementioned first aid kit) and a band-aid. 
DH took this photo of me with the pups.

 While I took the yummy Pink Monkey Socks with me, I mostly just worked on the Uintas Shawl. The pattern is the Washington Park Shawl from the Rose City Yarn Crawl this year. I'm using Palette in Whirlpool and Sky. 

 
The final border is knitted vertically along the bottom edge, knitting the final stitch together with the live stitch on the bottom edge every other row. This is a very fun pattern. I found I liked knitting the border with an extra dpn, rather than the other tip of the circular needle.

When we returned home from camping, we learned that DGD had suffered an injury at work, a torn ligament in her knee. She is recovering well, and her employer is taking care of the medical expenses, but she had been trying to reach us. How ironic that we had better communication with her during our trip to Europe than we did in the mountains an hour or so from home.

What's on my needles: Pink Monkey Socks, Washington Park (Uintas) Shawl, Fair Isle Flower Socks. Progress only on Uintas Shawl.
What's on my Featherweight: First Ladies Quilt. Still. 
What's on my wheel: Languishing. 
What's on my loom: Multi-scrap scarf, no progress since before the trip.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E. Ladd from Audible. It was good, but the author made grammatical mistakes common today but unknown at the time the story was set, and the narrator occasionally lost the character she was portraying. Great story, though. Now listening to Penhallow by Georgette Heyer, also from Audible, one of her mysteries. Reading James Patterson and Maxine Paetro's Private in iBooks. Surprisingly good.
What's in my wine glass: Fisheye Shiraz 2013. Nice vintage. Aged.
What's my tip of the week: Quick way to peel an onion if you're in a hurry. Cut it in half longitudinally. Cut the stem and the root ends off both halves. Pull off the entire outer layer and throw it away (preferably in the compost). Sometimes the skin will come off easily, but if not, just ditch the entire outer layer. Isn't your time (for quilting or knitting) worth more than a tiny bit of onion? 

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 17, 2015

Another Week at Home

Quilters! Finally, I have some quilts to show you. But first a little food.


Vintage Stitchers met at Janet's on Thursday. Marilyn brought this embroidered Christmas quilt center to show us. Now to put the borders on.


Barbara showed us this great train quilt for a little boy.


The back even looks like a train track.





Janet's daughter made her this great art quilt.


The back is interesting, too. We couldn't decide whether the quilting is a pantograph or free-form.


Remember this Circle of Hope quilt of Marilyn's? It's finished.


Some of us have been knitting, as well. Janet made these great convertible mittens.


Speaking of knitting, my Coral Reef Shawl is finished.


I dyed this yarn (Knit Picks Shadow Lace Weight in "Bare") with 2 pkg each Orange and Cherry Kool-Aid and five drops of black food coloring using the sun-tea method. I left the hank in the dye bath without turning or stirring it until the dye was exhausted. Because it wasn't stirred, the yarn ended up with variations in how much dye was taken up.

The pattern is Enzian by Sue Berg. The instructions are minimal. I redrew the chart, because I had difficulty with the right- and left-slanting triangles for K2tog and SSK. I knit 11 vertical repeats of the pattern before doing the border. I couldn’t figure out how and where to start the border pattern, but I went through all the Enzian projects (and there are many) on Ravelry until I came across "Cupani," who mentioned in her project notes that the border pattern starts at row 43 of the regular pattern. It also helps to know that the border is a substitution for part of the pattern, not a whole new one.


I didn’t do the crochet edging to finish it off, but instead, BO on the wrong side in K, holding the yarn double. I ended up needing slightly more than the 100 g ball of yarn, but I had extra left over from another project, which I had dyed at the same time. Ten repeats of the pattern could have been knit with plenty of yarn left for the border and BO.

This seems to be the summer of the shawls. I decided to CO the Washington Park Shawl, since I had the pattern and the yarn. Why not?



The Pink Monkey Socks are coming along:



My First Ladies Quilt class ran into difficulties. I had cut all my fabric for the blocks, but forgot to put them into my bag. When when I got to the store, there was a large group of people having a class that started late. I talked for a few minutes with the teacher about the Lincoln block, and we decided I would have no trouble finishing the blocks on my own. Watch for photos of them next week.

Just the appliqué blocks to go!

In other news, my crocheted Busy Bee Throw is moving along as well. Forty-two hexagons finished out of 136 needed. Very portable project that fits in my purse.

As you read this, we are camping in the Uinta Mountains, just a few miles east of where we live. I hope to have some lovely photos of scenic views and hikes with the pups for next week...along with the usual fibery goodness.

What's on my needles: Pink Monkey Socks, Washington Park Shawl, Fair Isle Flower Socks.

What's on my Featherweight: First Ladies Quilt

What's on my wheel: Languishing.

What's on my loom: Multi-scrap scarf, no progress since before the trip to Europe.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Julie Klassen's The Maid of Fairbourne Hall. Now listening to The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E. Ladd, both from Audible. Reading James Patterson's Private in iBooks.

What's in my wine glass: Copper Ridge Merlot, the big bottle. Very nice.

What's my tip of the week: The family dog is more than willing to prerinse your dishes before they go into the dishwasher. (Just don't forget this last step.)


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 10, 2015

In Stitches

The Steampunk Shawlette is finished and in use:
The pattern is The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief by Orange Flower Yarn. The yarn is Malabrigo Arroyo in Piedras. DDIL2 and I made a trip to Wasatch & Wool, my local yarn shop, while the kids were visiting, and we both CO the same project, hers in a lovely colorway in shades of purple. She finished hers quickly, and I finished mine this past week.
Now I'm back to the Coral Reef Shawl, using Knit Picks 100% Merino Lace Weight I had dyed with Orange and Cherry Kool-Aid and a few drops of black food coloring. I'm just starting the border pattern.

The pattern is Enzian by Sue Berg, a free Ravelry pattern.
Also on my needles is Cookie A's Monkey Socks, which I've named "Pink Monkey."

The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll in Dogwood Heather. I CO these on the plane on the way back from Europe, because I wanted something entertaining. I didn't want to risk the ire of Amsterdam Security again with the NP needle tips, so I packed my Coral Reef Shawl in our checked luggage.
Also moving along is the first of the Fair Isle Flower Socks, now moving down the foot.
The yarn is Jawoll Aktion and Stroll Sock Yarn in White.
Quilters: Fear not, I will have something to report to the quilting world next week. Wednesday is my First Ladies class, and Thursday is Vintage Stitchers. My camera is ready!


What's on my needles: The Coral Reef Shawl, the Pink Monkey Socks and the Fair Isle Flower Socks.

What's on my Featherweight: The next block for the First Ladies Quilt

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Just finished listening to Georgette Heyer's These Old Shades and Devil's Cub, one after the other, both from Audible. The characters from the first book make an appearance in the second one. Both were good. Now Listening to The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen. Reading Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro in iBooks.

What's in my wine glass: Crane Lake Malbec 2013, one of our favorites.


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 3, 2015

Herding Cats

Let's get the fiber fun out of the way first, since it was a minor part of my life this past week.


DDIL2 (here for our family reunion) and I went to Wasatch & Wool on Monday so she could pick up some yarn to make the Age of Brass & Steam Kerchief as a KAL with her knitting group at home. She planned on making it into a shawlette by knitting an extra stockinette section. She chose a lovely Malabrigo Arroyo in Lavanda, which is a monochromatic colorway of grape-like purple tones. I couldn't resist selecting some yarn to make the same project, some Malabrigo Arroyo in Piedras. The kerchief is a fairly quick project, even with the extra section, if you have time to work on it. DDIL2 finished hers but for the blocking while they were here, and I have only the last stockinette stitch section to go.

The big event for this week, though, was the gathering of all our children and grandchildren (our family reunion) as part of our 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Here's our oldest with the youngest.


Johan (our youngest) is well into the toddler stage now. He had a good time watching the jays and the squirrels on the back deck.


The front deck turned into an outdoor play area for the kids. DH had picked up some cast-off toys at our community's "Dumpster Days." There were three riding vehicles, as well as some other toys someone no longer wanted. Daphne and Zachary showed how well they play together.
 

The yellow school bus was a present for Soren from his cousins, one he really enjoyed playing with.


I stayed home from the trip to the Hogle Zoo because I had come down with a cold and wanted to rest, but we took some walks together in the neighborhood. Several trips to various playgrounds/climbing facilities kept the kids busy as well.


On the 31st we had a picnic at the Jordanelle Reservoir, where the kids got to swim in shallow water and participate in some fun games and activities.
 

That night, our last night together and DD and DSIL's anniversary, we opened a couple of bottles of champagne and celebrated their anniversary, as well as the anniversaries of the rest of us. 

There were times it seemed like an insane asylum at our house, between Baby Johan who was into everything and the three-year-old boys Zachary and Soren (my, how I had forgotten, and I had never had two that age at the same time), but we had a wonderful time together and everyone arrived home again safely.

Our actual anniversary isn't until the middle of September, but we had to fit around everyone's vacation time. Little did I know 50 years ago, as I was planning for our wedding, what great kids and grandkids we would have someday.

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 27, 2015

European Adventure

We're back from our trip, which included a Rhine River Cruise.


The Viking Sun was our ship. Crew and staff were outstanding, and we had a great time.


My fears that we would be sleeping in hammocks in the engine room proved to be ungrounded.


We saw some great old castles.


Walking around some really neat towns and cities provided plenty of exercise, but we also climbed all 509 (I think) steps up the steeple of the great cathedral in Köln (Cologne).

The trip was not entirely devoid of fiber fun. In one castle, Marksburg, we saw this great old loom, along with spinning wheels, and carding and combing equipment. 


The visits in various towns yielded some great quilt shops, like this one in Koblenz.


A member of the Viking staff found me this great yarn shop in Cologne. The yarn was much less expensive than for the same brand in the U.S. They seem to be an outlet for Lana Grosse.



In Amsterdam, this yarn-bombed bicycle caught my eye, which then drifted into the store, taking me with it with DH following close behind. 


This place gave me goosebumps! In the middle of old Amsterdam, with real estate at a premium, I was delighted to find a very nice classroom space upstairs and lots more yarn, including some lovely Zauberballs at a good price.

I got less knitting done than I expected, because we were so busy, but the occasional bus ride and sitting with morning coffee aboard ship provided some time for knitting, and sometimes an occasional chat with fellow knitters. My Coral Reef Shawl is coming down the home stretch. I'm now on the last pattern repeat before the border. Whoo-hoo!



The first Fair Isle Flower sock is moving down the foot. This is the last photo I've taken of it, but the foot is further along.


I also CO the Monkey socks in Stroll "Dogwood Heather" because I wanted something entertaining to work on for the plane trip home. I'm about halfway down the ankle.

I get a lot of teasing for being an elderly iPad nerd, but this nice lady aboard our ship is ten years older than I am. She was out on deck during the day we sailed through the valley with all the castles using her iPad to take photos.


We had a nice visit with relatives in Finland before coming home to get ready for visits from the kids and the grands. In Finland we enjoyed some relaxing time at various relatives' summer cottages, which included sauna and lake swimming.


Now our children and grandchildren are visiting. Bedlam.

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.