Monday, September 30, 2013

Cold Weather, Good Life!

Snow arrived in Park City last week. That's Sunny, checking out the snow on the front deck.

We usually get a light snowfall in September. This year it was unusual, though. We had five  days of  light to medium snowfall with some accumulation on rooftops and shady areas. It's gone now, but the temperatures have stayed unseasonably cool at higher our house.
Vintage Stitchers met at Ellen's, in spite of the snowfall. The ladies from Salt Lake City braved the canyon to get to us.
Show-and-tell included Rebecca's wall hanging, all finished except for the binding. 

Here's the back:

Ellen's Hawaiian quilt is about done, too. She purchased the kit when she was in Hawaii on vacation with her daughter.

Ellen also showed off this quilt made years ago, origianlly intended as a back for another quilt. Her son's girlfriend liked it just as a quilt top, so Ellen bought enough fabric for two backs, and this one is going to the girlfriend. Lucky girl! (Brenda did the quilting on her longarm. She does a very professional-looking job!)

I've started Appliqué Panel #3 for the Delectable Pathways quilt. I just have a couple of stems and a leaf done so far. It isn't really enough to show off yet.
During the week, I found myself in need of a take-along project, something that would fit in my purse. Socks are always a good project of that type, so I went to my stash and picked out this Panda Silk sock yarn, 52% bamboo, 43% Superwash merino and 5% combed silk. For a pattern, I dug out (I didn't have to dig far) my two Charlene Schurch "Sensational Knitted Socks" books and picked out the "Broad Spiral Ribbing" pattern from the newer book, More Sensational Knitted Socks. I took them along when we went to the theater Wednesday evening. I'm calling them my "Green Tea" socks. 

The Christmas Waffle sweater may be done by this Christmas. I've finished the body to the armholes, and I took my needle tips off the cable to use for the first sleeve.

I'm doing the sleeves on two circular needles. I found it a bit tricky getting started, though. The pattern calls for a provisional cast-on. I used the invisible cast-on, which is a type of provisional cast-on. Using two circular needles makes it difficult to tell if it's twisted after you join to work in the round. I had to knit several rounds before I could tell that it wasn't twisted. What a relief! (I get to do this all over again for the other sleeve, though.)
The llama seems to spin up nicely. I'm plying my share of what Lynda and I prepared. Here's what the singles looked like:

It has been too cold to work on the raw fleece further. The first step (cleaning) has to be done outside. We expect it to warm up again, though. 
One big event this week was dealing with DH's new iPad. Years ago, DS1 gave us an iPod, and that started events in motion. DH used his name, password, etc., to set up an iTunes account. He never did anything with it, though. I was the one who always loaded up the iPod with audiobooks when we were getting ready to take a trip. When I got my iPad 3 1/2 years ago, I synced to the iTunes library we already had on his computer, and then moved it to the old gimpy laptop when DH gave that to me so I wouldn't have to touch his desktop. When that died, DH bought a netbook for me to use (although it was still his) to sync my iPad. Two years ago I finally had enough money to get my own computer, a MacBook, so I opened my iTunes on it. (Are you still following me?) It was my iTunes, and I had added lots of stuff to it over the last few years. However, Apple never forgot that it was his originally, so when he set up his own account with his own new iPad, all the stuff in my library showed up. He deleted it several times, but every time he opened up iTunes, there was my stuff, including all my PDFs of knitting and quilting patterns. I also noticed that all my PDFs were missing from my iPad iBooks library, except for two knitting patterns and a weaving book. We called Apple together on Saturday and talked to a nice technical support person named Dave, who walked us through our "separation." There were two things he couldn't fix for us, though. One was the organization of my PDFs in files. My files are still there, but all the documents are in one folder. I'll have to sort that out myself. The other thing was all my stuff in DH's iTunes library. He will have to keep it or delete it, as he sees fit, but nothing I add to iTunes from now on will go into his library, and vice versa. Whew! I'd like to give Dave a gold star!
What's on my needles: Dogwood Blossoms, Christmas Waffle and Green Tea socks
What's on my loom: Hoping to warp soon for a scarf. 
What's on my wheel: Plying the llama. 
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Peter West by D. E. Stevenson from Audible, one of my favorite authors. Now I've started The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson-Burnett (author of Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Secret Garden). Very good, so far. The eBook The Hannover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner is on my iPad Nook app for bedtime reading. Listening to the Fiber Hooligan podcast and the Knit Picks podcast.
What's my app of the week: Apple Radio! I discovered this little gem since updating my iPhone to iOS7. Love it! You can put in the name of a performer you like, and Apple will make you a radio station with that performer and similar ones.
What's in my wine glass: FoxhornVineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. The big bottle, which I thoroughly deserve!
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, September 23, 2013

Terrible or Terrific Technology?

Common Threads met at Georgette’s on Thursday. Georgette is working on her second Mother Bear Project bear:

Lynda finished her sheep baby sweater:

I finished Appliqué Panel #2 for the Delectable Pathways quilt. Here it is with the embroidered skinny stems:

All of these projects are definitely low-tech. However we used some more-complicated technology on some fiber.
Lynda came over on Friday to help me work on the llama fleeces. (I have six.) I’m going to share the finished fiber with her, and she is going to help me process it. My wonderful DH made me this fiber sifter:

It’s wire mesh inside a wooden frame. It was supposed to go on top of our two saw horses, but DH needed them for the doors he needs to sand and finish before autumn winter arrives. Lynda brought over her kayak stands, which are a little higher, but we sat on stools, so it worked. We took the whole contraption and a bag of fleece, and set up under a big tree, so the stuff we didn’t want could fall on the ground. We brought over the trash can, but with a slight breeze, you can’t control all of it.

Another friend gave me three llama fleeces over a year ago. This past June she gave me three more (from the same animals). Lynda and I decided we had better get busy. she was gone part of the summer, then we were gone, then DH needed to buy the materials for the sifter, and finally, he needed to make the thing. Anyway, the project got delayed until our first cold weather threatened.

Lynda and I thought it was a good idea to process a small quantity and spin it to see if it was even worth the effort. We daubed small clumps of the fleece on the wire mesh, allowing some of the dust, vegetable matter (VM) and short cuts to fall out. Then we attempted to get the guard hairs out of the clump we had just finished daubing. Most of the time, all of the guard hairs came together in a point on the outside (the side away from the cut edge). We were able to pinch the tips of the guard hairs together and pull the soft, highly crimped fibers away from them. When we decided we had worked long enough, we took what we had, washed it and laid it out on the sifter to dry, covering the top tightly with an old sheet. It was dry Saturday morning. Lynda came back after lunchtime on Saturday, and we ran what we had through the drum carder, a Patrick Green “Deb’s Delicate Deluxe,” which is designed for soft, fine fiber like alpaca. Llama is pretty close to alpaca, once the guard hairs are removed. We ended up with eight batts like this:

We divided the batts between us, so we could each give it a try. We never got it weighed, so I’ll have to weigh the finished yarn. This is only a small fraction of what we have to process, though. Stay tuned!

That's it for the "terrific technology." Now for the "terrible" part:
I’ve had two days of technology hell this week. The first day was Thursday (DH's birthday), when Skype kept crashing, the B&N website wouldn't accept my password or DH's, resulting in problems getting his Nook (my present to him) set up, and then the Twitter Refollow site went down just when I wanted to learn how to use it. Friday there were no problems, but Saturday I updated to iOS 7 on my iPhone and ran into a delay between typing a character and its appearance. Eight seconds worth! Then I also got another password problem, which was coincidental, but especially disturbing since I couldn't type the password easily with the delay. Then I ran out of minutes on my phone while I was talking with someone from Apple. Then I had trouble adding minutes because of a glitch in my carrier’s website.
After I rebooted my phone several times and was ready to try to do a restore, my friend Lynda came to work with me on the llama fleece, and I had to stop.
I thought I would try to sign up for Google Voice, which would give me additional minutes for free, because it works through the Internet, and I have unlimited data. But when I put in my phone number it wanted me to choose my carrier from a list provided. My carrier wasn't on the list, but there was no way to close the window. I finally figured out how to add minutes to my phone, so I called Apple back. The iOS 7 problems were fixed up in no time.
Back to Google, I lied and chose Verizon from the list of carriers, which got me to a window where I could choose to have a Google number instead, which seemed to be the only alternative. Now I should have unlimited minutes on my phone, as long as I call from Google Voice. We'll see how it works. So far, I'm loving iOS 7, except for the weird colors.

What's on my needles: Waffle sweater, Dogwood Blossoms.
What's on my loom: Empty, while I decide what to start next.
What's on my Featherweight: Still the Delectable Pathways quilt.
What's on my wheel: Ready to start the llama. The Full Circle “Caramel” is spun and plied!
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Just finished Pittacus Lore’s I am Four from the library by way of the OverDrive app. I’ve just started Peter West by D. E. Stevenson, from Audible. Also reading the eBook, Imperfect Pairings by Jackie Townsend from BookBub on the Kindle app.
What's my app of the week: Flashlight from iHandy. We had a power outage Tuesday, which threw a lot of things off. The power was back on when I went to Park City Singers practice in the evening, but when we came out, the lights weren’t on in the parking lot because the timer was offline because of the outage. Hooray for instant flashlight!
What's in my wine glass: Salmon Creek Merlot, 2011, in the big bottle. Just because I needed it!

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

Monday, September 16, 2013


Vintage Stitchers met on Thursday at Barbara's. She was trying to get some advice about her new batik quilt.
The pattern is a "block of the month" (BOM) from Kreative Threads. The pattern name is “Bits and Pieces.”
Barbara put the quilt on the piano so we could stand back and look at it to help her make decisions about borders. What it came down to is, what do you like? Rebecca and I liked the dark inner border with the medium batik for the outer border. Some of the others preferred a more complicated border, such as the one in the pattern. 
I’ll let you know what she does.
Barbara was also working on this tessellation quilt:
Rebecca was sewing the binding on her 1600 quilt
This is an easy, easy quilt, but the fabric selections can make it spectacular!
Janet made some charity stockings. A local quilt shop owner let her have the panels from the sale section. She often does that for charity projects. 

She's also binding a mostly batik quilt:
Saturday was the weavers' guild meeting (Mary Meigs Atwater Weavers Guild).
We met at the home of one of the members. The place was fantastic, even without the sheep, goats and dogs.
Sage is a boy sheep who has become a pet because of all the difficulties he had at birth and growing up. (I say, "boy sheep," because he's still pretty young. Also, he's been neutered.)
He wandered through the area where we were having our meeting. I think the dogs think he’s just a different breed of dog.
One of the guild members taught us how to make wet-felted bowls, vases and purses from wool roving. She had some lovely examples of what you could do with the finished items. Some were embellished with needle-felted motifs or embroidered or crocheted flowers, leaves and in one case, ants.
Balloons were used to give the projects a hollow shape. The roving was smoothed over the balloons. 
Then they put panty hose over everything and washed them in soap and water with lots of whacking on the cement. (I heard at least one balloon pop!)
The finished projects were very pretty, and no two were alike. 

We shared a potluck lunch, and then had a tour of the log home, which our hostess and her husband had built mostly by themselves.
The antique furnishings gave it a museum-like feeling. It was also relaxed, though, if you can image a relaxed museum!
She had craft areas all over the house, including two floor looms, but here's where she does her sewing: 
There were sheep, goats and dogs everywhere. They were very entertaining!
We had a great time! I found out that I'm all signed up for the guild's rug class with Jason Collingwood in November. I can hardly wait! The guild rents table looms for members’ use, and I’m signed up for one, since I can’t haul my lovely floor loom to class.
In the meantime, the Warm Colorway Placemats are coming along. The third one is finished:
The white stripe at the upper edge (the last part woven) is waste yarn. I'm putting 2" of waste yarn between the placemats instead of sticking in a lease stick. I think it will make it easier to finish off the fringe, because it will stay put until I get the last pick sewn down.
This is my second set of pretty much the same placemats with a change in colorway. I decided that, to make the work more interesting, I would rotate the color order, so each placemat would be different, but still with all the same colors.
The Waffle sweater is almost to the armholes. The second panel of the Delectable Pathways quilt is almost done; just finishing up the embroidery. Some spinning to do yet on the Caramel roving. It’s getting chilly, so I think it’s time to finish my Dogwood Blossoms Cardigan. And we’re starting to practice for the Park City Singers' holiday concert.
Finally, happy 48th anniversary to my often-loveable DH, Charlie, since September 15, 1965. If we don’t kill each other, we’ll stay married a few more years. (If that isn't amazing, I don't know what is!) And happy birthday to him as well, on Thursday!
What's on my needles: Waffle sweater, Dogwood Blossoms
What's on my loom: Warm Colorway Placemats, one more to go.
What's on my Featherweight: Still the Delectable Pathways quilt.
What's on my wheel: Full Circle Roving “Caramel,” second bobbin almost done.
What's on my iPad: Just finished Debbie Macomber’s Starting Now. Now reading Pittacus Lore’s I am Four. Both of these are audiobooks from the library by way of the OverDrive app. Also reading the eBook, Imperfect Pairings by Jackie Townsend from BookBub on the Kindle app.
What's my app of the week: Instagram. I haven't used it much yet, but it’s pretty easy. I got it so I could participate in KnitPicks' Instagram contest, "Yarn With A View." I also downloaded The Recipe Box from the app store. It’s an app that allows you to input your own recipes. I’ll let you know in a future blog
What's in my wine glass: Big House Red 2011 vintage. Very nice!

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

Monday, September 9, 2013

Beautiful Bears, Bigger Blankets and Budget Books

Joanie has finished another bear for the Mother Bear Project:
You can just see the petticoat with a picot edge peeking out from under the skirt. (Joanie is a fantastic designer.) These bears go to children who have HIV/AIDS, mostly in African countries. Each one has a tag with the name of the person who made it. Ravelry has a pattern for an in-the-round bear for Mother Bear Project. Whether you get the Ravelry pattern or buy a pattern from the Mother Bear website, the cost is $5, which goes to help offset the shipping costs of the bears.
Common Threads met at Margareth’s lovely new place. She has a wonderful place for her loom. Right now she’s working on a doubleweave blanket:

You can see the two selvedges on the weaver's right (lower part of photo). The finished blanket will turn out to be twice the width using this method. It looks like a 2/2 twill. I can’t wait to see it finished!
Julie is making this knitted dress for her granddaughter. I'm tempted to make one for Daphne.
I’m plugging along on my appliqué. Panel #2 is nearly finished.
The Waffle sweater is also coming along. Dividing my time between projects really slows down the progress.
While working on various projects, I’ve been listening to A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which I just finished. Very good book, 24 hrs. of listening entertainment, and there’s a sequel, Shadow of Night, which I’ve put on my Audible wish list. I’ve just learned that it’s a trilogy, and Book #3 (as yet unnamed) isn’t out yet, but I plan on spacing these books apart anyway. Book #1 is primarily about the relationship between members of three "non-human" groups: witches, vampires and demons, and the long-standing tensions between them. It seems to be sort of an allegory about racial/cultural prejudices and how those tensions play out when people of various groups get to know each other personally. It’s far more than that, though, with love, adventure, suspense and fantasy. Sort of like grown-up Harry Potter meets grown-up Twilight, but more.
Hiking in the late summer in the mountains around our home is wonderful. We've had a lot of rain lately, but we try to get out as much as possible to give the pups a good run before winter comes.
Another big event this week: Our landline telephone finally went bye-bye. The very last message on our answering machine said, “This is your final notification.” Little did they know! I look forward to naps, stitch counting and quilting without the interruptions from telemarketers.
Daphne's taking dancing lessons. You can tell she really loves it!
She also loves school. She can’t wait to go and doesn’t want to leave at the end of the day.
Finally, we went to the James Taylor/Utah Symphony/Mormon Tabernacle Choir Concert Saturday night. It was awesome. I was so tempted to sing along!

What's on my needles: Waffle sweater and Dogwood Blossoms.
What's on my loom: Warm colorway placemats.
What's on my Featherweight: Waiting to piece the Delectable Mountain block strips, when appliqué is done. The second appliqué panel is almost finished.
What's on my wheel: Still the Full Circle Roving in Caramel, bobbin #2. Making slow progress.
What's on my iPad/iPhone (books): Finished A Discovery of Witches. (See above) Now listening to David Baldacci’s Hell’s Corner from the library through the OverDrive app. Also finished the eBook mystery Stranger in Town by Cheryl Bradshaw on the iBooks app. I purchased the book from BookBub for $.99. I’m looking forward to more by this author. Just started Imperfect Pairings by Jackie Townsend on the Kindle app, also from Book Bub. I believe this one was free. So far, it’s a good read.
What's on my iPad/iPhone (podcasts): Fiber HooliganKnit Picks podcasts.
What's my app of the week: Netflix. I've had it before, but when they separated streaming from the DVDs, DH and I couldn't agree on which to get, so we cancelled. Now we're trying out the streaming version.
What's in my wine glass: Concannon 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. Very nice!

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

Monday, September 2, 2013

Cloudy Days; Bright Colors, Kids and Pets

Have I been busy? Isn't it Labor Day? The placemats are coming along:
The yellow is the center of the placemat. I'm using Dishie worsted in Fiesta RedConchClementine and Creme Brûlée, with just a touch of Swan.
The Waffle Sweater is seeing some progress, too:
The yarn is Swish DK in Lava Heather. The pattern is Jon Gilliam's Men's Texture-striped Raglan.
Here's a closeup of the Tunisian knitting. It's accomplished by a round of (YO, sl 1) all around, then K2tog tbl all around. It gives sort of a needlepoint-stitch look, interspersed with rounds of stockinette. The waffle pattern is a type of lace, but more manly looking than most lace patterns.
Here's a look at the appliqué progress
Two flowers, a stem or two and a few leaves to go.
I renewed Knitter's Magazine, one of my Zinio subscriptions, and got a call from my bank, which manages my credit card. Apparently Zinio is in the UK, and they got concerned because I had a charge from my dairy in Utah and Zinio in the UK on the same day. They wondered how I could be in both places at once. Nice to know they're on the job!
Rocky's birthday was Saturday. I can't believe he's nine years old! Both dogs get a present when one of them has a birthday. Rocky got a toy raccoon, which he promptly disemboweled. It's nice he doesn't eat the guts. Fiber is good for you, but....
Sunny got a toy squirrel for Rocky's birthday. She promptly took it into her "cave" and looked out as if to say, "This squirrel is mine! My precious!"
The pups and I went to the pond in the afternoon, where the pups had a swim and played in the water. It's nice to have a friend to play with!
There were some big dogs to play with, too, and Rocky had fun running around with them, but Sunny was a little intimidated by their size and activity level. Both dogs got in some swimming, though, and came home worn out.
Daphne and Zachary think it's nice to have someone to play with, too! (Or are they working?)
Here's Zombie Soren, after his parents finished the Portland to Coast race last weekend, on team Walking Dead
What's on my needles: Waffle sweater and Dogwood Blossoms.
What's on my loom: Warm colorway placemats.
What's on my Featherweight: Helping Joanie with her paper-pieced pine-tree blocks, ready to piece the Delectable Mountain block strips, when appliqué is done.
What's on my wheel: Still the Full Circle Roving in Caramel, bobbin #2. Making progress.
What's on my iPad/iPhone (books): Just finished  Comfort Food, one of the Friday Night Knitting Club novels by Kate Jacobs, this one from the library through the OverDrive app. Then listened to I, Alex Cross, by James Patterson and Rose Harbor Inn by Debbie Macomber also on the Overdrive app. For bedtime reading, I finished the eBook Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber, one of the Blossom Street novels, also from the library by way of the OverDrive app. Now I'm reading Stranger in Town by Cheryl Bradshaw on the iBooks app. (I found this one for $.99 through Book Bub.) Finally, I just started A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness from Audible.
What's my app of the week: Public Radio Player. We discontinued Sirius, so I bought a Satechi transmitter that fits into my iPhone or iPad. With the Public Radio Player app, I can transmit live streaming from my favorite PBS radio station to our stereo. (We can't receive any radio up here in the mountains.) The transmitter can also be used in the car and for transmitting music from my music app or an audiobook, either while driving or in our living room.
What's in my wine glass: Amberhill Select Blend 2010, which we discovered a year ago and is now one of our favorites.
Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the MacBook, using the iPad and iPhone for photos and photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.