Monday, April 25, 2011

High Fiber—Tulip Time!

But not for us! (Sigh!)

The leaves are starting to peek through, but we won't have the flowers for another month. Still, we have beauties to enjoy, so we can't complain!

I finished the latest mitts for Mitts of Steal. If anyone wants to help, please contact me. I'm currently collecting fingerless mitts for another dialysis clinic in Beaverton. I'll deliver them when I'm there in July. The cuffs need to be no longer than 3" and the mitts should have a thumb, open at the top, so patients can text, knit or read while undergoing treatment.

The pattern is the "Horseshoe Mani Mitts" by Becky Bair (KnitterGirl39) and should be available soon. I was one of the knitters who volunteered to test the pattern. It was very easy to follow. It calls for fingering weight yarn. (I used Imagination in Woodsman.) If you want something for thicker yarn, I can recommend Becky's "Midnight Sky Mitts," available here:

This one calls for holding sport weight yarn double, which is the equivalent of worsted weight. I made a pair each way (one pair with two strands of sport and one pair with worsted weight) and this pattern was easy to follow, too. The mitts take a lot less yarn than to make socks. You can get a pair from about the amount it would take for one sock of equal weight yarn.

Common Threads met on Thursday. Georgette was finishing up a baby blanket.

Lynda helped with the edging. They did two rounds of single crochet all around it. It turned out great!

Thursday night we had a Christian Seder at our church. It was fun learning about the different parts of the Seder with others in our congregation.

Then the priests and the members of the altar guild stripped the altar in preparation for Good Friday.

I CO for Daphne's birthday sweater. I'm hoping it will be pretty big on her. I'm basing it on the "Classy Unisex Cardigan" from Knit on Down by House of White Birches. I'm using Knit Picks Swish DK in Peapod.

The ground is starting to appear from under the snow in some places in our yard. A little patch of vegetation attracted this young neighbor for lunch on Saturday.

Sunday was Easter, of course. Here's the St. Luke's choir singing Vivaldi's Gloria. (I'm the last woman on the left, right next to the men.)

The tulips will come, but in the meantime, there's still time to enjoy the snow with DH and the pups!

What's on my needles: Still the baby alpaca shawl and now Daphne's green cardigan.
What's on my wheel: Still the Louet Corriedale in Olive Green
What's in my hoop: The hand-pieced LeMoyne Star quilt, hibernating.
What's on my spindles: Still the Louet Corriedale in Aqua and the Ashford Mulberry.
What's on my iPad: I just downloaded the BBC version of "Pride and Prejudice! My first video! I'm still listening to The Passage. It will probably take another week to hear the rest of it.
What's my app of the week?: Azul. It lets me view just about any video.
What's in my wine glass: "Two Buck Chuck" (aka Charles Shaw) Merlot.

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the iPad. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, not even my MacBook, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

High Fiber—Special Delivery

Daphne needs an Easter chick for her first Easter, so I made her one.

I will send it on its way today. Ravelry members can see how I did it here. I used Swish DK in Bare and Di.Vé Cipria in yellow, held together, and Stroll fingering weight yarn to embroider the eyes and beak. It's about 2 1/2" high. Daphne should be able to hold it in her hand but not get the whole thing in her mouth to create a choking hazard.

The felted bag I made for my iPad got its lining.

This bag is made just like the other one I made, only this one is made so the iPad goes in vertically instead of horizontally. That leaves the earbud jack and the wake/sleep button exposed.

The latest quilt top is not finished but all the blocks are now together:

This is the "Sparkling Gemstones" quilt from Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott. It still needs a border.

What would I do differently? I would absolutely wait to add the background strips until the blocks were put together and eliminate the seam in the middle of each background section. I had a very difficult time trying to match up those seams with the block seams so they nestled properly. Pressing instructions would have been helpful, too. It was good I checked how the seams went together as I went along. Anyone making this quilt, let me know if you have problems. It's more difficult than it looks, which was a surprise to me.

Big event of the week: First delivery of Mitts of Steal! AngelKarhu took the first batch of 50 pairs to the first clinic for distribution to dialysis patients. A special delivery indeed! I wasn't there, but photos were taken, so I'll try to get one or two for a later blog post. She's now collecting for the next clinic, another one near her. I hope to be present for the next distribution, since I have to be in the area anyway.

In the meantime, I started another pair:

This is KnitterGirl39’s pattern. I'm using some Imagination in Woodsman from my stash.

I'm enjoying having a "mother ship" for my iPad, my new (refurbished) MacBook. As you can see, it has plenty of ram.

The iPad is the real workhorse, though. It's on most of the day for various functions. The MacBook is great, but I love the touch screen on the iPad, to say nothing of the portability and the fact that it's big enough that I can type on the on-screen keyboard as fast as on any keyboard I've had. I can't believe I've had my iPad a year already! (Our anniversary is this week.)

The snow is melting at last! The downside is, we're subject to sudden slides of icebergs from the roof:

Good thing the pups weren't standing there! (Sunny is back to normal after her surgery. She has to have broth every day, though, to prevent a recurrence of bladder stones. I'll spare you a photo of the stones, though.)

I promised a gratuitous baby photo, so here's Miss Daphne at 11 months mugging for the camera with Daddy! Boy, does she know what the camera is for!

What's on my needles: Still the baby alpaca lace shawl and the Mitts of Steal in the photo above.
What's on my wheel: Louët Corridale in Olive Green
What's in my hoop: A quilt I have been working on for years. (Photo in a later post.)
What's on my spindles: Louët Corriedale in Aqua on the Turkish, Ashford Mulberry on my Golding Tsunami.
What's on my iPad: The Passage by Justin Cronin (A marathon listen, but fascinating. I'm getting my money's worth with one credit from Audible!)
My iPad app of the week: Zinio, hands down! I just bought my first eMag subscription for my iPad through Zinio: "Knitting Traditions." I also downloaded the free first issue of "Entangled," a fiber eMagazine. My iPad didn't get heavier, either!
What's in my wine glass: Woodbridge Zinfandel 2008, although by the time you read this, the glass will have been washed and put away!

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the iPad. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, not even my MacBook, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

High Fiber—Across the Snowy Wasteland...

...And onto the frozen trundra! That's how I feel after my first week back from Death Valley! We've had snow almost every day this week!

I don't mind, except when I have to drive someplace. Like taking Sunny to see Dr. Rick, who discovered bladder stones! He managed to remove them leaving a tiny bikini scar. 

Sunny was bossing everyone at the clinic, so they were happy to see us come to pick her up. We'll find out sometime this week about treatment, after the stones are analyzed. (Anyone lose some marbles?)

In some ways it was almost like my birthday this week, aside from worrying about Sunny. I finally got a printer to use with my iPad. Here you can see it set up in my fiber studio:

 My plan is not to have to bother DH at all with, "Sweetie, print this for me, would you please?" He has always been willing, but he has his things to do. I like to print off patterns from the Internet and copy patterns from books, so I don't have to lug the book around. (I'm careful to abide by copyright laws, though.)

A surprise came in the mail this week! Lookie, lookie! Spinning fiber from a very, very special friend. What an unexpected joy! It's mohair and baby mohair. I plan on blending it with merino (I have a bunch of that already) and dyeing it. Or maybe dyeing it and then blending it! It should be fun to spin!

I'll report back on what I end up doing with it.

Thursday, Common Threads met at Kay's. She brought photos of her stay in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where she goes every year to learn Spanish. I brought some fliers for "Mitts of Steal" and some free patterns for several different types of mitts for the group members to choose from.

Lynda (shown above, right) made me some mitts to send. She even embellished them with flowers from 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet by Lesley Stanfield, available here:

Lynda always does beautiful work, so it was a pleasure to get these. For more information about "Mitts of Steal," go to

Karan, who is first and foremost a quilter who knits, demonstrated how she avoids neck, back and shoulder pain while doing hand work. She puts a small pillow in her lap.

She was working on an appliqué project.

I have been looking for a place big enough to photograph my latest finished quilt top. The ladies gave it a shot, and this was the result.

I may have to spread it out in the backyard during the summer and take a photo from a helicopter! Actually, it's barely queen size! (It's the Floral Bouquet quilt from Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott.) I'm working on one more quilt from the book and should have some photos next time. This has been a busy week!

Kay had this quilt on her wall. It was made for her by a good friend. A very, very good friend. (What would be do without our very, very good friends?)

Besides the quilt I'm working on, I spend some time working on a second iPad Tote Bag. This one will be lined with the fabric in the photo, which shows the bag nearing completion of the knitting, before felting.

As you might notice, I'm using my needle tips without the cable to make the I-Cord. (I-Cord, for you non-knitters, is a tube of knitting made by knitting a few stitches on a double pointed needle, sliding the work to the other end of the needle and knitting another row, repeating until the tube is long enough. The name is short for "Idiot Cord.") Not my favorite activity, but it makes a nice strap for a bag.

My bag just came out of the washer, and it's the right size. Another way this bag is different from my previous iPad Tote is, the iPad will slide in with the short edge up, so the ear buds can be plugged in without taking the device out of the bag.

The snow didn't slow down the FedEx delivery man, who brought me something special. I have to pause now and take a breath.

OK. Some of you may know that I don't deal with PCs or Windows very well. I confess I'm not very patient! That may surprise some of you who know me as a knitter and hand-quilter. I do these things to keep patient, among other things. Well, it's true.

I have been planning and hoping to free myself of all PCs and Windows interaction for about 15 years, ever since my Mac IIE died a horrible death in the tropics. That was what led me to use my income tax refund last year partly for my iPad. However, I was still stuck having to interact with Windows to sync my magical new device, using a netbook that:
a) Didn't belong to me, and
b) Couldn't hold the amount of data I could have on my iPad. 

Thanks to my impending income tax refund, Sunny's surgery will be paid for, and thanks to the "Bill Me Later" plan, which allows me to pay it off within six months with 0% interest, I was able to order my new refurbished MacBook, iPad's big brother, which arrived mid-blizzard on Saturday morning. No dog sleds needed!

I have been busy downloading a lot of my music CDs today. It will be nice to be able to listen to them on my iPad!

Little iPad has no need to be jealous, though! Big brother will mostly be used for storage and Skyping. I'm free! I'm free! I will have to be careful with money for a few months, but it will be worth it! 

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the iPad. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. In fact, no photos or documents used for this blog post were stored on any PC.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

High Fiber—The Really Low Down: Death Valley Days

We spent a week at Death Valley recently. Well, a few days, anyway.

On the way, we spent the first night at Sand Hollow, close to St. George, Utah.

The next night was spent at Valley of Fire, close to Las Vegas.

We went for a hike there with the pups. On the left is DH's brother, and his dog, Onslow.

They have petroglyphs there, depicting scenes from everyday life, including people walking their dogs. Here's a petroglyph of a person wearing bifocals and knitting fingerless mitts for Mitts of Steal.*

From there we went on to Death Valley. DH went on hikes with some friends of ours, and I took the pups on long walks. They aren't allowed on the trails in Death Valley, but we found some nice walks to do. It would be dangerous for them to be off leash because of rattlesnakes and coyotes. We saw some interesting landmarks, though. Here are Rocky and Sunny in front of a monument for Old Harmony Borax Works.

The only wildlife we saw was roadrunners...several of them. One ran parallel to us, but on the opposite side of the highway. It had something in its mouth. I worried when it appeared to be getting ready to cross the highway. It stopped on the edge of the road, and I was sure it would run out and be squashed by oncoming traffic. It looked left, though, and waited for the line of cars to pass. Then it ran halfway across, looked right, and, finding the road clear, finished its run to the other side. Just like in the cartoons. As it passed near me, I saw that it had some kind of little rodent, for its babies, I assume.

During our return trip, I took part in the Spin-in on the Knit Picks Knitting Community. I wanted to participate, even though we would be on the road during that time. Each participant planned spinning activities from Friday at noon (our local time) until Monday at noon. We could spin any fiber we wanted using any kind of spindle or wheel.

You can read more about the Spin-in here.

I had brought my scale along to weigh my fiber before starting.

I had packed my wheel, "Stanzi," my KP Turkish drop spindle and plenty of fiber. I started the Spin-in in the truck with my drop spindle, although it was difficult in the back seat of the pickup. This was easier:

It was taken in our fifth wheel in Mesquite, NV, where we stopped the last night. Here you can see my WooLee Winder flyer fly!

Here's what I got done during the Spin-in:

Corriedale spun: 25 g, or .882 oz (drop spindle)

Gaywool spun: 146 g, or 5.15 oz (wheel). This is from the fiber shown on the scale above.

On the knitting front, I finished up the last of five more pairs of fingerless mitts for Mitts of Steal* during our trip and collected two more from a friend who had already given me a pair. Eight pairs in all are now awaiting distribution (plus the two others I had sent earlier, one from me and one from another friend).

Finally, I finished putting the Floral Bouquet blocks together and added the borders.:

Saturday I had my last quilt class for the winter. I will save photos of that quilt for another post.

In the meantime, the pups are happy to be able to go off leash again! Here they are on a dead-end street where we can let them run. There are only three houses on this long street, two of them summer homes and the other one has cat people, so they drive carefully. Soon hiking season will start!

*Mitts of Steal is an organization that makes fingerless mitts (knitted or crocheted) for dialysis patients, who often suffer from a condition called Steal Syndrome, very cold hands during treatment. Learn more here:
Or here:

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the iPad. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.