Monday, May 30, 2016

Rain and Sun, Roosters, Frogs and Pups

On Sunday I finished “Sunny’s Socks.”

I’m using Charlene Schurch’s “Baby Cable Rib” pattern. The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll “Sunny Afternoon” hand-painted sock yarn, a gift from a dear friend, a remembrance of our Sunny, who was sunny all day long.
The "Waimea Rooster" Merino and black Tencel roving spinning is coming along. Saturday I received more of this luscious fiber in the mail, along with some “Knitting Community Orphans” and “The Frog Prince” colorways from AlohaBlu using the same fiber. The gigantic 8oz Waimea Rooster is in the middle. 

The braid on the left is the "Knitting Community Orphans," and the one on the right is "The Frog Prince," based on the photos used for our Ravelry group, The Frog Prince and His Knitting Community Orphans. I have 4oz of each. I ordered these two for this year's Tour de Fleece.  (Our group will have its own team this year.) The Tour de Fleece (TdF) runs concurrently with the Tour de France in July. Spinners on Ravelry sign up for teams and challenge themselves (or just relax and spin) with wheel and/or spindle.

In quilting news, the binding is finished on my “Seeing Stars” quilt. Here it is on the bed:

The design is based on Connecting Threads’ “Clara’s Journey.”
Vintage Stitchers met on Thursday. We met at Diane’s. She had her “Hop To It” quilt on the wall.

Barbara was sewing the binding on this great sampler quilt. (You may have seen this before, but just as a top.)

Marilyn is almost done with this great quilt:

I worked on hand-quilting my “Delectable Pathways” quilt.

DD sent me this photo of Miss Daphne and Daphne Jr., who is wearing her Red Riding Hood outfit. She wanted to show me how much she is enjoying her birthday present.

We’ve been getting a lot of rain lately, but Saturday was mostly nice, so Rocky and I went for a walk/hike, which started and ended up on-leash on the street, but included a nice section of off-leash time for us.

What's on my needles: Still hand-quilting the “Delectable Pathways” quilt. Working on the “Sunny’s Socks.” Still have Aran sweater for Daphne Jr. and “Trickle Sock”s on needles.
What's on my Featherweight: Waiting for the next project.
What's on my wheel: Waimea Rooster Merino/Tencel from AlohaBlu.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Dragon Rose by Christine Pope on the Audible app. It was delightful. Now I’m listening to Split Second by David Baldacci. Good so far. Still looking for a book to read on the Kindle app on my iPad, but I’ve been catching up on my magazines on Zinio.
What's in my wine glass: Crane Lake Malbec 2014, one of our faves.
What's my tip of the week: If you’re mostly using the same set of cutlery, you can save time unloading the dishwasher if you train family members to put all the big spoons in a certain slot in the cutlery basket, all the little spoons in another slot (always the same), etc. Then when you go to unload the cutlery, you can just grab everything that’s in one slot and put it away at one time, no sorting. Of course, you would have to deduct the time it takes to train family members to put things away in the dishwasher in the right slots.

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, May 23, 2016

Beethoven, Binding and Birthdays

The performances of Beethoven’s Ninth on Monday and Tuesday went well. Here’s a photo from Monday’s performance.

We were in Berlin for Christmas in 1988 and attended a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth with Herbert von Karajan conducting. It was a very moving experience. The wall would come down less than a year later and was celebrated by a big celebration that included Leonard Bernstein conducting the same orchestra. I never thought I would get to sing this great piece with a real orchestra. It was truly the high point in a couple of difficult weeks. (If you want to find me in the photo, I'm in the front row of the choir, far left. That's house left or stage right, if you're savvy.)

Common Threads met on Thursday at Lynda’s. Kay had returned from her four-month cruise. She had a good time, in spite of a leg fracture caused by a fall in the shower. She got to practice her Spanish and worked on this afghan:

Karan showed us photos of her grandson, who will be a year old in July. (You may remember the hot-air-balloon mobile she knitted for him.) For once, everyone was knitting.

Margareth is working on a hooded sweater for her new grandson. She couldn't figure out the placket join, which was made with four stitches on each end of the section knitted flat. You overlap the ends of your knitting and then knit the first two with a third needle, the way you do a three-needle BO, only without the BO. (I was up-to-date on this technique because I had used it in my Everyday Play doll dress pattern.

Georgette is working on the Tahki Yarns Fire Island Fringed Shawl by Irina Poludnenko, who coincidentally designed the Vicenza (my “Lovejoy”) Lace Shawl. It’s very pretty, but the pattern is giving her fits. She had to rip out and start over.

Lynda is working on a sock. She isn’t crazy about the stripes, so she says the socks will go in her “gift drawer.”

I worked on my “Sunny’s Socks,” using this yarn, sent to me by a dear friend in honor of Sunny and to cheer me up. 

The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll “Sunny Afternoon” hand-painted. How appropriate. I CO on Wednesday using Charlene Schurch’s “Baby Cable Rib” pattern. It's a perfect pattern for breaking up the pooling and not detract from it or get lost in the busyness of a hand-painted yarn. After Common Threads I had this much done:

Friday, I was required to do the H-word, which, as you know, I always put off as long as I can. We had an appraiser coming to look at the house, so we can refinance and make some much-needed repairs, mostly to the exterior. I worked flat-out, only stopping for a 15-minute lie down after lunch. I was certain I was going to be in a lot of pain on Saturday, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I wish I had thought to take a before photo in my fiber studio, because I had pretty much just been throwing things in there since Christmas, but here’s the after, not perfect, because I ran out of steam about 5:10, and the appraiser was coming at 6:00 PM.

It helped that DGD1 is in California visiting friends and to do some photo shoots, because I had access to her bathroom and all of the rest of the downstairs to clean. We have company coming to spend the night tonight, and he will be staying in the loom area, so I had to clean up for him anyway. I plan to host Common Threads on June 2nd, so now I just have to keep everything tidy until then.

I’ve started spinning my Waimea Rooster roving. (I have more coming, so I should be able to make something nice and big with the yarn.) This is the Merino/Tencel blend.

Also under construction is my “Seeing Stars” quilt. I’m sewing on the binding. I hope to have it finished and ready to show off next week. Sewing on binding is one of my least-favorite quilting chores, but I’m always so happy when it’s done.

Finally, my “Lovejoy” (Vicenza) shawl went to DDIL1 for her birthday, which is today. Happy birthday, Patty!

What's on my needles: Still hand-quilting the “Delectable Pathways” quilt and sewing binding on the “Seeing Stars” quilt. Working on the “Sunny’s Socks.” Still have Aran sweater for Daphne Jr. and “Trickle Sock”s on needles. Swatched for “So Not My Palette” cardigan and got gauge. I’ll probably CO when I finish the binding on “Seeing Stars.”

What's on my Featherweight: Waiting for the next project.

What's on my wheel: Waimea Rooster Merino/Tencel from AlohaBlu.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. Reading Dragon Rose by Christine Pope on the Kindle app. However, they have given me the WhisperSync version for free, so I may listen to it instead. I had just started, so I don’t know how good it is yet.

What's in my wine glass: Bohemian Highway Merlot. On the bottle it says, “This package is recyclable. Protect your karma.” Recycling protects more than your karma, if we all do it. DH is combing the state liquor stores as I write this, hoping to find another bottle or two.

What's my tip of the week: When sewing on folded binding, I like to put my right forefinger between the binding and the quilt to keep both layers together and slightly stretched. It keeps the top layer from sliding past the bottom layer. It’s a little unwieldy until you get the hang of it.

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, May 16, 2016

Life Goes On

Johan’s I-spy quilt top is finished:

I dropped it off at the quilter and picked up my “Seeing Stars,” based on Connecting Threads’ kit “Clara’s Journey.”

Now I’m working on sewing on the binding. There were some nice quilts at Vintage Stitchers, but my phone died before I got there, so I don’t have any photos. I have stopped taking my camera, because my phone takes better photos. A quick stop at a nearby Simply Mac after the meeting put it to rights again. I should be able to fix it myself next time.

Common Threads met on May 3rd. Margareth brought this great weaving project for show-and-tell.

The second bobbin of Full Circle singles I started for the first The Frog Prince and the Knitting Community Orphans Spin-in was finished...

...and the two bobbins plied.

The Vicenza Shawl is almost done. I'm using Knit Picks Hawthorn in "Lovejoy."

The first performance of Beethoven’s Ninth went well. I somehow managed to get home in time to get ready and then meet up with my carpool. Sunday night we had another dress rehearsal in a new location. We’ll have performances the next two nights. 

The Knitting Community closed down. It was sad, but we will always have our memories, and the new Ravelry group The Frog Prince and the Knitting Community Orphans.

Daphne’s birthday was Saturday. It’s hard to believe she’s already six! Saturday was going to be filled with dance rehearsals and other kids’ birthday celebrations, so we had FaceTime on Friday. Both Daphne and Zachary were delighted with the little clothes for Daphne Jr., as well as the bed, chair and ottoman. Daphne was mostly offstage during our visit, but I got this screen shot of Zachary trying out the chair.

Most of the week was spent reflecting on Sunny’s life and what she brought to others. I know we need to spend some time grieving, and we’re allowing ourselves time to do that. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy and empathy from friends and family, both in person, through the mail and online. 

Some of the most important lessons in life I've learned from my dogs. Every dog I've had in my life has taught me something. I think that’s one reason dogs don’t live as long as humans. We need experience with at least several dogs over time to learn the lessons we need to learn about ourselves, our interaction with others and life in general.

From Sunny, I've learned (among other things) the following:
Life is short; greet every new day with joy and enthusiasm.
Greet everyone who arrives at your home as if he/she were an old friend you haven't seen in years, but bark at them if they walk by without coming in, especially if they have a dog with them.
No matter how fast you wag your tail, it will not fly off your butt.
You will never run out of kisses, no matter how many you give away, but only give them to those who appreciate them.
Work to keep your pack together.
Every side is your good side.
Kibble. Yum!
Dishes should always be prerinsed before they go into the dishwasher.

Here's just a little of what I've learned from Rocky:
People food is better than dog food.
There's nothing like a cuddle on the couch or a view of the street while sitting on the porch with a friend.
Always come when you hear "carrot."
A ball thrown to the middle of the pond must be retrieved, but on land, you just have to show your humans where it landed. They will pick it up.
Looking before you leap is greatly overrated. The joy of soaring through the air is worth the risk of what's on the other side of that log.
Dishes should always be prerinsed before they go into the dishwasher. Preferably with a friend to help.

We will never be able to replace Sunny; every dog is unique, and the variations in personality seem even greater in poodles. However, Sunny will have a successor when we recover financially and when we are ready to give our time to a puppy. 

As if life couldn't get any more complicated, on Sunday, after leaving the opera on our way to drop me off at rehearsal for Beethoven's Ninth, this happened:

Just one of those things. No one was hurt, fortunately, but both cars probably totaled. The blame was probably evenly divided between the drivers.

What's on my needles: Still hand-quilting the “Delectable Pathways” quilt. Working on the the Vicenza Lace Shawl. Still have Aran sweater for Daphne Jr. and socks on needles. 

What's on my Featherweight: Waiting for the next project.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

What's in my wine glass: Lindemann’s Cawarra Shiraz-Cabernet 2014. Very nice.

What's my tip of the week: When making a 4-patch or 9-patch, alternating straight of grain and width of fabric patches will make the block more uniformly flexible, in case you have to ease to fit other pieces. Of course, the pattern on the fabric doesn’t always allow it to get the effect you want, but when it does, it can make life easier.

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, May 9, 2016

Sunny Days

This week started off with the usual activities, mostly indoor because we’ve been getting a lot of rain. Toward the end of the week, we noticed that Sunny seemed to be breathing harder than usual. By Saturday, it had worsened so much that we took her to the vet. An X-ray showed a lot of fluid in her chest, but not in her lungs. The vet sent us to an animal emergency hospital in Salt Lake. She was kept in an oxygen cage, while we discussed the possible diagnoses, none of which were very good. Saturday evening they put a drainage tube in and gave her a transfusion, and she was able to breath better. Sunday it became clear she probably wouldn’t make it through until Monday, so, with our permission, they went ahead with the surgery. She made it through surgery, although they had to resuscitate her four times. We lost her during the post-op period. We waged a hard battle to keep her with us physically, although I know she will be with us forever. Saying goodbye is hard.
I want to say a few words about Sunny, but first I want to thank all my friends and others who don't know me all that well for your thoughts and prayers. The outpouring of love and concern has been overwhelming. Thank you for being there for me, Sunny and my family. I think the prayers were answered, just not the way we had hoped. I believe it's because this is what was right for her.
Sunny was sassy from the time she was born. After she came to live with us, she ruled Rocky and tried to rule us. But only at home. Whenever we went anywhere, she would look up at me, and I could read her thoughts: "You can be the alpha for now."

It was that willingness to be well behaved while out and about that made her a good therapy dog. And she was good at it.

We visited Federal Heights Nursing Home for several years, sometimes entertaining a group of people in the rec room; sometimes visiting people in their rooms. She always knew which people needed kisses and which didn't want them. There was only one person she wanted to give kisses to who didn't want them, and that was a person who really wanted her kisses but was allergic to dog saliva. Sunny would sit with her back to the woman and look over her shoulder at her to prevent the tongue from coming out accidentally.
Several times patients who were anxiously awaiting pain medication found they didn't need it after Sunny sat with them for a while and accepted their stroking. One lady with Alzheimer's or dementia (I never received information on their diagnoses) used to yell at me when I came in, clearly believing I was someone from her past. I would put Sunny up on the bed, take the woman's hand and put it on Sunny's back. She would look at Sunny and start petting her. Then she would ask me my dog's name and say she was pretty and soft, or something else clearly connected with reality. Then she would drift off again, but for those few minutes she was living in the present. Another woman just out of a coma laughed when Sunny licked her fingers. There were many situations like that. Sunny loved her work, but would sleep the rest of the afternoon after we came home.

We also visited Camp Hobe and had planned to go again this year. She entertained the kids with her tricks and let them hug and pet her.
Sunny was athletic. She could run like the wind. 

She loved camping. 

Sunny was a great hiker and snowshoer.

She was an excellent mouser when we needed one. She was smarter than most people. She leaves behind a big hole in our lives.

I feel honored to have been her friend/mom/companion for 9 years and 8 months.
I'm glad we did everything we could to save her. At least we know we gave it our best shot.

My regular blog post will return next week.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Farewells and Goodbye

We said goodbye to the Knitting Community yesterday. And my page:

I have such fond memories of the years on the Knitting Community and special friends, some of whom I have no way of communicating with again (Susan, Marty, Judith), as well as some I'm still in touch with even daily.
On the bright side, we have The Frog Prince and His Knitting Community Orphans, which is now in full swing.
I spent a good part of Saturday on the Knitting Community copying photos I thought I might not have elsewhere. I had already copied half of them, but the past couple of weeks has been very busy with extra practices for Beethoven’s Ninth, with our first performance this coming Sunday. I had a deadline and priorities.
I did get a few other things done this week, though. I had been waiting for my contact person at the Winter Sports School to tell me what they wanted on the label for the back of the quilt commemorating the life of Sam Jackenthal, the young skier who died after an accident in Australia. I finally wrote up something and got an OK on it. Here’s what it looks like, including the names of all the quilters who donated their efforts.

Here’s a photo of the finished quilt. The blocks were painted by students at the school who knew Sam. I think it was therapeutic for them to say goodbye in this way, and will be therapeutic as well when they see the quilt. (The Winter Sports School is for young athletes who participate in winter sports, which they practice during the winter. The school allows them to go to school during the seasons when there are no winter sports.)

The quilt will be on display at the school and once the students who knew Sam have graduated, it will go to Sam's family.
Many thanks to everyone who took part in producing it.
I delivered it after church on Sunday, before dropping by to visit my friend Joanie, who needs to have her current knitting project restarted after she made a mistake and had to frog back to the CO.
I managed to get more spinning and knitting done during the week, but not enough to show much difference, so watch for an update next week. I managed to organize my squares for Johan’s I-spy quilt, and got a few cut to size. And (Ta-da!) Dolly finally got her slip.

This was the pattern I made for it, similar to the one I used for the dirndl to go with the Red Ridinghood outfit.

The line on the skirt pattern shows where I had to cut it to make it short enough. If anyone wants the pattern, I plan on making a better copy, one that will fit on an 8.5” X 11” piece of paper, which will require a fold in the middle of the bodice. Send me a personal message if you want one, either on Quilt With Us or on Ravelry, but if you’re in a real hurry, you can just copy this and blow up the photo so that the 1” marks on my portable cutting mat are 1”.  You will see that the tops of the shoulders are placed on the fold, and one side of the skirt is also on the fold.
I use freezer paper for my doll patterns if I make them myself. Then I can press them onto the cloth, maybe put in one pin, and cut carefully without separating the fold underneath. I wanted a decorative trim down the front, so I placed that on first.

I used a pin to hold it in place. Then I folded the entire piece with the wrong sides together, pinned in several places and sewed (quilters: “chain-pieced") up the left back, around the left armhole, around the neck, around the right armhole and finally down the right back, not cutting the thread at the tops of the shoulders. As you can see, I trimmed the seams, trimmed the corners and clipped the curves.

Then I turned it right-side out and pressed.

Next, I took the skirt, folded over the two back edges 1/4” and then 1/4” again, and sewed them down. I ran a row of stay-stitching around the waist, just inside 1/4”, and then clipped to the stitching.

Right sides together, I sewed the right side of the bodice to the skirt. (If you don’t care if you have raw edges or want to serge or zig-zag the raw edges, you can just sew both right side and lining to the skirt.)

I pressed under the raw edge of the lining to line up with the seam. This was what it looked like from the outside:

Then I made a row of top stitching over the seam and another row about 1/8” above that, to hold the lining in place. (Here you could make a nice finish by sewing the lining down by hand, but I was in a hurry to get the doll clothes sent off.)

To cover up my (ahem) irregular stitching, I put another piece of decorative trim over the stitching and sewed it down.

I tried it on Dolly (with her cooperation) for length and to determine how to sew the shoulders together. A very thin strap might have fit OK just sewing them together straight across, but I found I got a better fit at the shoulders by overlapping the shoulders and sewing them at an angle. (I might try not having shoulder sections at all next time and using ribbon in place of them.) I cut off the excess fabric at the hem and turned it up, adding a lace trim to hide the stitching. The final step was to sew small pieces of velcro on the back edges at the top, waist and hem. The same pattern would make a great summer dress.
Dolly was a big help with fitting the slip and making sure it was going to work. She didn’t get to keep it long, though, because it got shipped off in the package for Miss Daphne’s birthday, coming up May 14th, to be worn by Daphne Jr..
Here are Daphne Jr.’s duds, furniture and bedding packed and ready to ship. We needed a big box, because the mattress had a stiff piece of board at the bottom, so Daphne Jr. won’t sink into the depression in the lid of the storage box that is her bed. (We can’t have her sinking into a depression, can we?) That made the mattress too big to fit flat in the box. I could have had DD buy a comparable storage container there, but the mattress still would have been a problem.

DH filled the rest of the box with air pillows, and styrofoam peanuts, and when he ran out of those, plastic bags. He carried it for me to the Post office. It wasn’t that heavy, but it was bulky. (I held the doors.) Here he is at the Post Office.

(I love the sign on the wall that says “PACKED WITH HEART.” So true.)
With all the goodbyes, I’m glad I don’t have to say goodbye to my Knitting Community friends and fellow "orphans." Activities in the Ravelry forum are moving along. We even have plans for a special Spin-in during the Tour de Fleece, starting July 2 and runs through the 24th, so pretty much the whole month of July. The Tour de Fleece coincides every year with the Tour de France. (You might have heard of it. Bicycles are involved. We’re spinning. Get it?)
This year we will be spinning fiber prepared for us by Christina/AlohaBlu. She also does hand-dyed yarn, but we’re going to be spinning from her fiber. She’s even making two special colorways just for us (although we can use any colorway we like for the Spin-in). The special colorways are based on our logo photos, first The Frog Prince:

…and then His Knitting Community Orphans.

I plan on a braid of each, along with some Waimea Rooster.

I would give you a link to the Waimea Rooster colorway in a braid, but we bought it all up, so there’s no more in the shoppe. In fact, she’s dyeing more for us. If you really like it, I'm sure she'll make more.
What's on my needles: Still hand-quilting the “Delectable Pathways” quilt. Working on the the Vicenza Lace Shawl. Progress on both Still have Aran sweater for Daphne Jr. and socks on needles.
What's on my Featherweight: Johan’s I-spy quilt. Ready to start on Dolly’s Regency outfit when I get a chance.
What's on my wheel: Full Circle Roving, in "Fawn," still, almost done with second bobbin (out of two...whoo-hoo!)
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Listing to the Beethoven’s Ninth choral practice recording is still cutting into my audiobook time. Reading A Love That Never Tires by Allyson Jeleyne on the Kindle app.
What's in my wine glass: Lindeman’s Cawarra. The big bottle. Not that I drink the whole thing by myself at one sitting.
What's my tip of the week: Keep backups of the photos you really don’t want to lose on CDs, well-labeled. I lost some photos that were on my hard drive when my old laptop died. I lost more that were on Flickr when I had to give up my Yahoo account because it was repeatedly hacked. I could have lost even more photos that I had on the Knitting Community, if I hadn’t copied them to CD, especially the ones from before I got my new computer. I also have an external hard drive as a backup for my MacBook. 

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.