Monday, April 27, 2015

Done With Winter, For Now....

The weather has warmed up a bit, and our bulbs are emerging.

We also have daffodils, as do our neighbors. The ski resorts closed after Sunday's operation. Soon they will gear up for taking mountain bikers up the hill to ride down. DGD1 brought home her snowboard and boots to store until next year. The trails are drying out, as the snow line moves higher. We discovered a new trail on Tuesday, after dropping off the truck to be serviced. We hiked with the pups for a couple of hours. This is our version of the opening scene of "Downton Abbey."

Rocky had run up ahead. Thursday I saw and heard our first hummingbird, something that usually doesn't happen until May 1st. We have the feeder out now.
Also on Thursday was Vintage Stitchers. We met at Barbara's. (I forgot my camera, so these were taken with my phone.) Marilyn was finishing up this "1600" quilt. After seeing one Carol made using 2 1/2" squares every time she added a new strip, she decided to do the same. I think the effect is quite nice. She used only florals left over from other projects.

Carol was just finishing up this Shoo-fly quilt.

(Sorry it's blurred. Either she moved or I did.) The back is fun, too.

In knitting news, DH's socks are coming along.

I think the color is more accurate in this photo. The flash didn't go off. That sometimes washes out the color somewhat. The pattern is Ann Budd's "Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks" from Interweave's Favorite Socks 25 Timeless Designs. The yarn is Stroll Tweed in "Rabbit Heather." I'm using my 2.5 mm Sunstruck dpns. (I have finished the first sock since I took this photo and CO for the second one.)
On Thursday I realized I was getting close to the toe and would need DH's foot for size. Since I didn't think he would part with it for a few hours and I needed something mindless to work on at Vintage Stitchers, I cast on Cookie A's Kai-Mei Socks. I'm using Stroll sock yarn in "Navy" to go with my new navy dress with white polka-dots that I got for our trip this summer. The cuff is mindless 3X3 ribbing. It's the foot that provides the entertainment. I'll wear these socks with sandals, so the lacy "insert" will show.
So I didn't get DH's "March of the Fibres" cast on yet, but he won't be able to wear it until next winter, so I still have some time. We will be camping this week, so I might get it started then. I decided it wasn't mindless enough to cast on at Vintage Stitchers. I want to do the corrugated ribbing that goes along with Fair Isle knitting, because the ribbing on my Dogwood Blossoms cardigan doesn't seem substantial enough, and I'm using the same yarn.
By the time you read this, I will be camping in Moab, Utah, where it's already warm. Next week's blog post should have photos of our adventure.

What's on my needles: The second Diagonal Cross-Rib Sock for DH. Also just CO Cookie A's Kai-Mei Socks. Maybe by the time you read this the ribbing for the "March of the Fibres" cardigan for DH.

What's on my wheel: Still Full Circle spinning fiber in "Pigeon." No progress this week

What's on my loom: Still some warp for another scarf. No progress this week.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Mariana by Susana Kearsley, also from the library on the Overdrive app. Spooky and romantic, its about reincarnation and a sort of time travel. Very interesting book. Finished reading Jennifer Coburn's Tales from the Crib, on the Kindle app. It was filled with unusual characters. Quirky story and fun to read. Now I'm reading Ridiculous by D. L. Carter. I wish it were available from Audible or Whispersync. It's an unusual Regency romance with hilarious dialogue. A young woman cross-dresses as her male cousin (who has just died) to try to protect her mother and sisters from being thrown out on the street by his brother, who would inherit.

What's in my wine glass: Charles Shaw Merlot, A.K.A. "Two-buck Chuck." Contraband from Oregon, and $3 a bottle, but very nice.

What's my tip of the week: I use my Chart Keeper for keeping my place on a complicated chart, but sometimes it's in use for another project or I just want to keep my place in the pattern. I often copy my pattern, so I don't have to carry around a book with me, and I put the photocopies in a plastic sheet protector. Sticky notes don't always stay put, so I fasten them on with a piece of transparent tape. The sticky note makes it possible to see where I am, and the tape keeps it from falling off. The tape and not can be easily peeled off together to move to a new spot. You can get special colored tape that will do the same thing. (BTW, there are replacement magnets for the Chart Keeper, sold separately)

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, April 20, 2015

Fine Finishes

The April Sunshine Socks are finished and on my feet.

The pattern is "Sunshine" from Sock Innovation by Cookie A. Yarn Regia 4-fädig in "00017." I plan to make most of the socks from this book.

Not one to let grass grow under my feet, or DH's, for that matter, I immediately cast on a pair of socks for him, using the "Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks" by Ann Budd, from Favorite Socks 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave. The diagonal goes in the opposite direction on the other sock, which should keep me entertained while knitting it, not that I ever have to worry about "Second Sock Syndrome." I'm using Stroll Tweed in "Rabbit Heather." I'm almost to the heel, but this photo, taken about halfway down the leg, will give you an idea. The color is much warmer, however, more a warm tan than the gray it appears in this photo. It may be the background that makes it appear gray. The color in the photo on the KP product page (follow this link) appears very accurate on my monitor.

Also finished is the Pine Burr quilt top:

The pattern for the quilt is McCall's Quilting May/June 2012 "Pine Burr Made Modern," although my quilt is very different from the one in the article. (This quilt is paper-pieced, in case you missed my earlier posts about it.) Common Threads gave me the opportunity to call upon Ellen and Karan to hold up the quilt top for a photo of the whole thing. 
We met this week at Margareth's. She has remodeled her loft to make a new place for her loom, so we had a tour.

She has her portable loom set up there, too.

There is a door that leads out to a little balcony. When the weather is nice, she can take her portable loom out there to weave and listen to the birds. Inside, she has a nice couch and a fireplace.
Most of us were knitting. Karan is almost done with her "Flying South Cardigan." She made the long-sleeved version. I have this in my queue on my Ravelry page. 

That evening, Ellen and I went to the monthly quilt guild meeting at Davidene's. Our topic was panels. We looked at a number of the panels the shop had available and brainstormed what you could do with each one.

We also looked at some finished quilts that used panels in them. We talked about what we liked or didn't like about them. Most of them were very nicely done.

One we liked was this monkey panel:

Someone turned it into this charming quilt, in which Snail's Trail blocks are used to represent the tails of monkeys.

These two quilt tops showed how important contrast can be. The design on the left has some nicely executed stars that unfortunately don't show up well because of the choice of fabrics. They needed more contrast between the fabrics. Also a problem was the choice of a fabric with a large, high-contrast pattern.

Most people stuck to the topic for their show-and-tell. For this holiday/winter quilt Bonnie used a panel and some homespuns.

Lynn showed us this pirate quilt she had made for "Talk Like a Pirate Day," September 19th, which is my DH's birthday. (He is a pirate, after all. Arrrrgh.)

Jill loves Twister blocks. She used some tiny ones in this quilt top.

This was supposed to be the back, but we thought she should make a separate quilt out of it and quilt it herself. (She's been practicing with her walking foot.)

Colleen made this to commemorate the fun she has with her golfing buddies.

Dianne is making a quilt using this "Sawtooth Cats" paper-pieced block. The tails are paper-pieced and appliquéd on. (This is not made from a panel.)

I tried to pass my Pine Burr quilt off as a panel, but they weren't buying it. At least it was paper-pieced, so it fit in with Dianne's kitties.

We finally got a really typical winter snow. The accumulation was eventually about 14" at our place, but the resorts on the other side of the mountain (Solitude, Alta and Brighton) got close to 28".

I hope that finishes winter for us, but we could still get snow through the beginning of July. The local resorts have closed for the season. Downhill skiers will have to journey to the other side of the mountain if they want to enjoy the snow and have access to lifts. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will still find snow to enjoy for some time yet.

What's on my needles: The Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks for DH. Ready to CO his "March of the Fibres" cardi.

What's on my Featherweight: Starting work on the third block for the First Ladies Quilt.

What's on my wheel: Still Full Circle spinning fiber in "Pigeon."

What's on my loom: Still some warp for another scarf.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Mississippi Jack, because I couldn't wait to find out what happens next. Now I'm looking forward to the sixth book in the series. In the meantime, I've started Mariana by Susana Kearsley, also from the library on the Overdrive app. Still reading Jennifer Coburn's Tales from the Crib, on the Kindle app.

What's in my wine glass: Foxhorn Vineyards Merlot, the big bottle, for very big thirsts.

What's my tip of the week: Need to measure butter for a recipe? Use a glass measuring cup big enough for about twice the amount you need. Fill it to a given amount with water (say 1 cup) and then add the butter until the water level reaches the measurement of the water and what you need in butter added together. Pour out the water, and you have the right amount of butter. This is more accurate than cutting up a stick of butter, and perhaps your butter doesn't come in stick form. It also works for other semi-solid ingredients, like cream cheese. If you're adding a liquid (milk or juice), you can use that instead of water. Then you can expand the technique to measuring yogurt or sour cream.

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, April 13, 2015

Short and Sweet, and To the Point

This week saw the center of Pine Burr quilt finished.

Not too much else got done this week while I worked to put the blocks together. However, after all the work to paper-piece the blocks and larger cornerstones, it felt good to get it put together. This quilt is going to be way too big for my design wall.
Note: There are no curved seams. The curved effect is all done with straight seams.

I plan to sew a dark inner border around it (1" finished) and then the outer border using the grey fabric featured in the four blocks that run diagonally from upper left to lower right. In fact, the border strips are already cut and are folded up on the table in front of the quilt top. The pattern is from McCall's Quilting May/June 2012, "Pine Burr Made Modern." My version looks nothing like the quilt in the magazine, partly because the colors are different, and partly because most of the seams show up clearly because there are many different background fabrics, rather than the cream solid used in the quilt in the article.

I had a problem sewing the paper-pieced sections to the sashing while the paper was still on them, so I ended up taking the paper off. That left me with some bias edges, which I figured I could work with if I did it carefully. It worked fine, except that I didn't think about the crossed bars that go through the blocks. With no cornerstones to keep them lined up, some of them moved to one side or the other a bit. Out came the seam ripper! However, I found I could get them to line up if I folded each sashing strip in half, pressed a crease into it and then opened it up again. Then I pinned that crease to the center of the crossbar on the block. When I was ready to sew the next block to the other side of the sashing strip, I lined up the crossed bar of one block with the crossed bar of the one underneath and put a pin through each of the crossed-bar seams, right through the threads of the top seam, then through the threads of the bottom seam and back up through both seams, about an inch closer to the sashing. This held the crossed bars of the two blocks on top of each other. Then I put a pin through the crease of the sashing strip and the middle of the crossed bar of the block I hadn't sewn yet. I should have taken a photo, because it worked well. I had to do this with the sashing that connected the blocks into strips, and then with the sashing between the strips of blocks. Whew!

Vintage Stitchers met at Ellen's on Thursday. That was when I started picking the paper off the back of my blocks. Everyone had brought quilts to show the last meeting, so we didn't have much show-and-tell. I only got one photo. Here's Marilyn's latest quilt, all from 2 1/2" strips.

Quilters: The quilt guild meeting is this week, so I should have lots to show next week.

The April Sunshine socks have been coming along. Soon I'll be ready for the heel turn on the second sock.

If you haven't read my previous blog post, I should tell you that the pattern is Sunshine from Cookie A's book, Sock Innovation. The yarn is Regia 4 fädig 4 ply in the romantically named color "00017."

On Friday (after Silver Sneakers) DH and I went on a hike in Toll Canyon with the pups. There's still a little snow, but it's easy now to get through without boots, snowshoes or YakTrax. Here's Sunny sitting on the bench that overlooks where the year-round stream pools up to make a watering hole of sorts.
This weekend was devoted to birthday celebrations. Saturday we did FaceTime with Daphne and Zachary, so we could see Zachary blow out his candles on the cake for his third birthday. We captured some screen shots. (The happy grandparents can be seen in the upper left-hand corner, along with Rocky, who has his head on his daddy's shoulder. If he knows we are Skyping or FaceTiming, he always climbs up in someone's lap, so he can be seen.)
Because Ellen wasn't here for her birthday last month, I treated her to lunch on Sunday, and Joanie came along. Joanie missed Vintage Stitchers at Ellen's on Thursday, so she was happy to see Ellen, who just got here but will be leaving soon.
Since Ellen will only be here for another week, the three of us plan to do something together this week before she has to leave.

What's on my needles: Still working on the April Sunshine socks, with the second sock well underway.

What's on my Featherweight: Just the borders to do on the Pine Burr quilt.

What's on my wheel: Full Circle spinning fiber in "Pigeon."

What's on my loom: Still some warp for another scarf.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Under the Jolly Roger by L. A. Meyer, and then In the Belly of the Bloodhound by the same author, both from the library on the Overdrive app. Now listening to April Lady by Georgette Heyer, to get myself away from Bloody Jack for a bit, although I can't wait to find out what happens next. (Talk about cliffhangers!) Still reading Jennifer Coburn's Tales from the Crib, on the Kindle app.

What's in my wine glass: Lindeman's Cawarra Shiraz-Cabernet 2013. Always nice, especially in the big bottle.

What's my tip of the week: If you have a set of Knit Picks' blocking mats but need more than you have, you can buy mats that fit at a hardware store or some toy stores. Just take one of your mats along to make sure the connecting sections match. (Thanks to my friend Jo for this tip.)

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, April 6, 2015

Finishing, Starting and the Progress In-between

The Johan Socks are finished and on my feet!

As mentioned in my March 23rd blog post, I made the bottom of the heels double-stranded. The yarn is Stroll Tweed in "Flagstone Heather."

I went for a walk in these socks and couldn't feel the thicker part, so I will be doing this on future socks. Almost immediately, I cast on Cookie A's "Sunshine" socks.

The first sock is moving right along:

This pattern is from her book Sock Innovation and the yarn is Regia 4-fädig with the exciting color name "00017," which I would describe as a pale tan. I really need some neutral-colored socks, so this was next on my list.

The book came out six years ago and was the subject of an active KAL on the Knitting Community. The first printing had a lot of errata, which I dutifully printed off and stuck in my book. I had planned to have it spiral-bound, with a pocket for all the errata, when I discovered that there was a Kindle version of the book, with the errors fixed, available for not much more than the spiral-binding would cost. I added the book to my iPad, which I plan to take with me when DH and I take our trip to Europe this summer to celebrate our survival of 50 years together (wedding anniversary in September). I had planned to take the book as well as the iPad, because socks are a very portable project, perfect for the plane and other sitting around. Now I have the book on my iPad, which weighs the same as it did before I downloaded the book.

In the fiber studio, the final Pine Burr block, #16, is done.

From the blocks, I moved on to the paper-pieced cornerstones (don't know what else to call them). There are 36. I made about 15 a day. I've found that with paper-piecing, the first few go together slowly, while I figure out how to do it. Then they move along nicely.

Now I'm putting together the sashing, pieced and solid cornerstones, and blocks.

Common Threads met his week at Georgette's. She lives just up the street from me, so I walked, in spite of the snow.

Karan brought her hot-air balloon mobile project.

Janalee made this Roundabout Ribbed Baby Vest for a friend's baby.

Margareth is making the Picot Boo Cardigan.

She just got a great deal on a new expensive and fancy sewing machine. I can't wait to see what she does with it.

Thursday we (DH and I) celebrated the 50th anniversary of the day we became engaged. I posted this on Facebook:

April 2, 1965.
Charlie: I don't want to get married.
Me: Who asked you?
Charlie: How about September?
Me: For what?
Charlie: The wedding.
Me: Are you sure?
Charlie: Yes.
Me. OK. [Kisses.] You should have asked me yesterday.
Charlie: Why?
Me: Yesterday was April Fool's Day.
Charlie: I thought today was April Fool's Day!
Always know what day it is.

I'm not the only one in the family with a sense of humor. Maybe that's one reason we've lasted 50 years.

Sunday's Easter service included some great music fairly well performed by our choir
For some added Cuteness, here's Zachary (who will be three on Wednesday) and Daphne in their new hand-me-down jammies.
What's on my needles: Working on the "April Sunshine" socks. No progress on the second "Martha Washington's Wreath" appliqué block for my First Ladies quilt this week, but worked on hand quilting my "Spring Flowers" quilt.

What's on my Featherweight: Pine Burr quilt, putting blocks and sashing together.

What's on my wheel: Full Circle spinning fiber in "Pigeon."

What's on my loom: Still some warp for another scarf.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Wards of Faerie, The Dark Legacy of Shannara, by Terry Brooks, which was a special deal from Audible. It kept me interested. I think I may have to get more in the series. (My public library has some of them.) now I'm listening to the third in the "Bloody Jack" series by L. A. Meyer, Under the Jolly Roger, from the library on the Overdrive app. Still reading Jennifer Coburn's Tales from the Crib, on the Kindle app. New to my Kindle app is Cookie A's Sock Innovation (as mentioned above).

What's in my wine glass: Concannon Selected Vinyards Petite Syrah 2012, one of our favorites, and great with chocolate.

What's my tip of the week: If you brush your dogs teeth, it will reduced the number of times they need cleaning at the vet's. Since I started brushing our pups' teeth several years ago, they haven't needed professional cleaning at all, and I've just found out we can go another year. This saves money and helps them avoid exposure to anesthesia. Two things I've learned about brushing their teeth: 1) Only the outside surfaces of the teeth need brushing, so you can hold their jaws shut and reach inside each cheek, thus avoiding tongue action. The back teeth are more important. 2) Our pups are used to having their teeth brushed right before we go to bed, so they don't resist. Most dogs are creatures of habit and will get used to an activity that's repeated at regular intervals or under the same circumstances. I use (human) baby toothbrushes for them, because they're fairly small dogs. You can buy doggy toothpaste online or at pet stores. I brush each side for about 35 seconds.

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.