Monday, August 29, 2016

All Dolled Up

It’s always busy with a puppy in the house. However, I did get a little knitting done and some Christmas shopping.

I ordered two boy dolls for our older grandsons, both four years old. The dolls came from My Sibling and My Pal Dolls. They are identical. I’ll be dressing them both. I’m calling them Buddy and Dude for now.
It’s an interesting company. They have a sheltered workshop setting to employ disabled people and to help them get work experience.

Here’s a look at the boy doll alongside Dolly. (Buddy was happy to strip to the altogether, but Dolly insisted on keeping her panties on.)

Here's what Buddy had to take off, besides the hoodie:

Dolly (a Madame Alexander doll) is a little better quality for less money, but I like supporting the work the My Sibling company does, and their boy dolls look like boys, not like girls with short hair. They are similar in size. Dolly has a slightly larger chest (like another Dolly we know) but narrower shoulders than Buddy. Dolly has longer legs and a shorter torso. Knitting patterns should be interchangeable, but some alterations may be needed for sewn garments. Like real kids.

Of course, Daphne should have a new doll for Christmas, so I’ve ordered her a Götz Hannah doll, and it should be here in the next couple of days. This is the one I ordered, the Hannah Loves Hairstyling.

She's coming from the European Union. I hope her passport and visa are in order. Last I heard, she had landed in San Francisco. I'm sure they're taking good care of her.

Speaking of dolls (we were, weren’t we?), one of my Ravelry friends from Canada made six outfits for Lauren the Habitat for Humanity doll and included some high-top sneakers. Here they are, modeled by Lauren by Creatology, sold at Michael's:

I handed Lauren and her wardrobe—now quite extensive—over to the person who “commissioned” me to make the outfits. She will be part of the silent auction for the Park City Habitat for Humanity’s Overall Ball in October. Dolly and Gabi have talked with her on the phone, and she is fine and looking forward to her permanent home.

Vintage Stitchers met at Marilyn’s on Saturday. We had a nice variety of stitching projects to look at. Julie had just received these great cross-stitch pieces back from the framer.

Janet has finished her Washington Park Shawl. This is the one I made last year. She found it challenging,  especially the lace border, but she did great!

Diane is working on this scarf, the Candleglow Scarf. She’s using Knit Picks Chroma fingering in “Vermont.”

As for quilting, we had a nice assortment to look at. Carol is planning on appliquéing yo-yos on this yellow-and-gray quilt.

Barbara has finished this dragon fused-appliqué quilt top.

She also finished two redwork quilt tops

Marilyn is getting a whole new kitchen because of a cracked sink and a fire on the stove...long story…and just because. Before we left, she had us add to her “artwork” on her old cabinets.

I can’t leave you without some puppy cuteness. We have started hiking/walking with Dusty, now that he should be fully immunized. Here is how he responds to “come.” (You can see Rocky is responding, but he isn't as fast.)

…and just to show, he may still have “accidents” on the kitchen floor (getting fewer all the time), he is reliable on the couch.

What's on my needles: The “So-not-my-palette Cardigan” still working on the first sleeve.

What's on my Featherweight: Getting ready to make doll clothes for two boys and a girl. The girl should arrive this week.

What's on my wheel: It’s hard to spin with a puppy underfoot….

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Listening to Ashes of Roses, from Tales of the Latter Kingdoms by Christine Pope from Audible. Not my favorite, but an interesting story nonetheless. Not sure I’ll listen to more by this author. It might be mostly the narrator, very stilted and overly dramatic, but I’m trying to pretend it’s an interpreter for a language in a kingdom far away. On the Kindle app I’m reading Ella: An Everland Ever After Tale. It was a little confusing at first listening to one Cinderella story and reading another at the same time, but they are different enough that I soon sorted them out. I like Ella fairly well. I really like that the “prince charming” character is a disabled person, an amputee. You don’t see that every day.

What's in my wine glass: Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot by Concha y Toro, vintage 2015 (can’t let it get stale). The big bottle.

What's my tip of the week: In knitting lace, lifelines are your friends. Diane has had trouble with having to rip out and pick up stitches on her Candleglow Scarf. Janet knew from her experience with the Washington Park Shawl that lifelines can be useful when knitting lace, so we had a discussion about lifelines. I know of two ways to make them:
  1. When you come to a row/round you think would be a good start-over place, you run a yarn needle with some contrast (preferably non-sticky) yarn through all the stitches on the needle. Leave some ends hanging out both ends or tie the ends together if working in the round.
  2. If you’re knitting with interchangeable needles that have a hole for the little key that allows you to tighten the needle tip to the cable, you can thread a heavy thread (button thread or even dental floss works well) through that hole, leaving a long enough tail to extend the length of your knitting. Knit the row, and then untie the end and leave some ends hanging out both ends or tie the ends together if working in the round.
If you find you've made a mistake and have to rip out, you can rip to the lifeline, pick up the stitches and you're off and running. (It's a good idea to make a note in your pattern indicating where you're placed a lifeline.

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 22, 2016

Summer Fun

The trip to Wisconsin involved a lot of puppy care, but I managed to get some knitting done.

I finished Daphne Jr.’s Aran sweater while in Wisconsin. Here is Dolly modeling it. (I had to drag her away from trying on all the clothes I made for Daphne Jr., some of which she hadn't seen since before Christmas.) Daphne says Daphne Jr. misses her friend Dolly. They'll get together again for Christmas, though. That should be fun. Daphne agreed with me that, although Daphne Jr. and Dolly look a lot alike, their personalities are different.

This was our “campsite” in Wisconsin.

My "Seeing Stars" quilt went along to live with DD and DSIL in Wisconsin as an anniversary present.

We had some interesting stops on the way back. In Rock Springs, Wyoming, we saw this trailer, my favorite.

These were our neighbors. There are actually four pugs, although you can only see three. (One is behind the towel.) Why have one, when you can have a set of four?

We had a busy week after getting back, unpacking the trailer and taking it back to storage. (The whole process of parking it is rather like threading a needle with an eye smaller than the thread.)

The first sleeve of the “So-not-my-palette” cardigan is coming along. Some of this was done after our return, but most of it during the return trip.

I also got to work on it during Common Threads, which met at Margareth’s on Thursday. Here is her finished Homestead Shawl.

She’s making another one for Karan.

The pups got a bath on Monday. They had a lot of fun playing themselves dry on the warm deck. After a good brushing, I got some photos of them together. Rocky knows how to pose, but Dusty’s expressions were different in every photo. I posted a few of them on Facebook and asked people for captions, especially for this one.

I got: 
“Little Silly Face and Mr. Dignified” 
”I’m bigger than you.” 
“Now for this photo, do your best ‘I’m so regal’ pose and look off to the distance, not at the camera---…Never mind.”
“Who, me? I didn’t take the treats.” 
“I didn’t do it, Mom. The new kid did!” 
”I’m just hanging with my big brother!”

Saturday we took our first hike with Dusty. We’re working on “come” and “on trail.” He responded well to the dog whistle. Most of this trail is blocked to cars. We drove in as far as we could go, to minimize chance of Parvo infection (as most dogs do their business at the beginning of a hike, and we wanted to minimize contact for now). We washed both pups' paws (eight paws in all!) when we got back, and removed our shoes, just to be safe. Dusty should have full immunization today, (a week after his third Parvo shot) but we'll probably continue foot cleaning for a few more days, just to be sure.

Sunday we got a puppy sitter after church to look after Dusty, so we could go see Kubo and the Two Strings. Our younger son, Peter Stuart, worked on the film in visual effects, so if you go to see it (and why wouldn't you want to?), be sure to stay for the credits and look for his name. Johan, our youngest grandson, is listed as a Kubo baby, along with the other babies of crew members who were born during the filming, so watch for him, too.

I have ordered two of this boy doll for Zachary and Soren:

I’m hoping for some puppy sleeping time during the fall to make wardrobes for them both. Christmas is at our house.

DGD1 is moving back to California in a few days. She has been with us for 19 months, trying to get back on her feet. She works as a fashion photographer, something that is difficult to do successfully here in Utah. She has made two trips for photo shoots in California in the last couple of months and has plenty of work. We think she is ready to be on her own, but we're sure she will be back for Christmas or after Christmas to spend time with her "baby" cousins and other family members.

We're in the middle of the Ravellenic Games on Ravelry, but this "prize" from Tour de Fleece participation was waiting for me when we returned home.

What's on my needles: The “So-not-my-palette Cardigan” still working on the first sleeve. (I may have to rename it. The palette is growing on me.) Delectable Pathways quilt put aside for now. It’s too hot to have a quilt draped over my lap.
What's on my Featherweight: Getting ready to make boy doll clothes.
What's on my wheel: Waiting for next spinning project.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished reading The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah Ladd. Finished reading Remember This by Shae Buggs on the Kindle app on my iPad. During the trip, we listened to Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor. The whole series is very entertaining, and DH can’t wait for the second book.
What's in my wine glass: Corbett Canyon Merlot. The big bottle.
What's my tip of the week: Much unwanted puppy behavior can be discouraged by keeping a metal dog dish handy and banging it when puppy jumps up, bites you or your clothes. or barks. Accompany the banging with a command: “down” or “off,” for example, or “no bites.” A rolled-up newspaper slapped against your leg or hand will work for many dogs, but our Dusty needed something more startling. Be sure you do it when your puppy is exhibiting the unwanted behavior, not after he has stopped, or you will be training the wrong thing. I would absolutely not recommend hitting a puppy or adult dog; this is only designed to get their attention and remind them of who is pack leader. Chewing the wrong thing is usually handled by using some Bitter Apple spray on the item. It makes them dislike chewing that item, even after the spray has worn off. I like to keep corrections to a minimum and allow as many lessons as possible to be learned by simple experience.

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 15, 2016

The Dog Days of Summer

We just returned last night, and I'll write more about it, but here's a taste of the puppy fun.

The pups shared Rocky's toys and slept in their crates side-by-side in our trailer. The third night of our trip found us in a lovely park, Lake Anita Park in Iowa.

When we arrived in Wisconsin, Rocky got reacquainted with the two grandkids we were there to visit. He taught Zachary to play fetch by actually bringing the ball back to him. (He plays a more complicated  ball game with us. We throw the ball and he brings it close to us and then teases us with it. We have to try to get it from him. That's the game.)

The pups had fun playing in a yard with grass. Here you can see them doing their Tyrannosaurus Rex impersonation.

Dusty has started to learn to "heel." We practiced during trips to the neighborhood parks and to Riverside Park in La Crosse. 

We had been weighing Dusty on Sundays, so we took our scales along. The day before we left, he weighed 9.0 lbs. One week later he was 9.8. I weighed him two days later just to see if I could catch him at 10.0 lbs. even, but he was already 10.4. The breeder assures us that he will slow down and finish growing sooner than Rocky did. I hope so, because I have to pick him up and carry him fairly often. It's like handling a hairy bowling ball with four legs, teeth and a tongue.

Look for my regular blog post next week.

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 8, 2016

Hand-pieced Quilts I Have Known

As I am on vacation and may not have access to the Internet when I usually post my blog, I’ve prepared a couple of special posts for the Mondays I’ll be gone. 

The first has to do with my hand-pieced quilts. This is one I developed, combining a quilt pattern I saw on Simply Quilts in 1998 or 1999. I ordered the fabric directly from the company, because I could only find little bits of it in quilt shops. The pattern was from Susan Branch's "The Language of Flowers" line of fabrics by Springs Industries. It's basically a LeMoyne Star with half LeMoyne Star blocks. The appliqué was not part of the original pattern. I copied it from the photo of a 1930s-era quilt kit quilt I found in a book. The four bouquets of flowers were arranged on a plain background. 

As you can see, I still haven’t finished hand-quilting it. I started with the appliqué. Then I found I had difficulty getting all the points to come together when I pieced by machine (using practice fabric), so I ended up hand-piecing it.

When I first started quilting, I thought you had to sew all the pieces together by hand. I made my first quilt in 1962. I eased into quilting by learning hand-quilting from my church youth group leader when I was 17. A couple of years later, when I was in college and on my own, I decided to make an almost-identical quilt with the scraps left over from my sewing projects (dresses, etc.). The quilt we had worked on was a glorified 9-patch, hand-pieced, so I thought mine had to be hand-pieced, too. I put it together using polyester batting, whatever thread I had, and my scraps of fabric, some of which were polyester or polyester-blend. Over the years, the batting wore out the backing, the background and some of the fabrics int he blocks. I was broken-hearted, but refused to throw it away. It was my first quilt!
The quilt sat in a box for years, calling to me. Finally, in 2002, I separated the layers, removed the background fabric and began replacing the block fabrics that had worn out. When it was put back together again, I re-hand-quilted, following the same quilting pattern I had used before. 

It has a label on the back that tells this story.

While I was collecting fabrics for my Spring Flowers quilt in 2000, I decided to make a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt, inspired by another episode of Simply quilts, this one starring Pati Shambaugh and featuring her “Quilt Patis,” an alternative to English Paper Piecing.

This technique uses plastic hexagons that have a hole in the middle. You cut a square slightly bigger than you want your hexagon to be, pin the plastic hexagon onto the fabric through the hole in the middle, then fold over two sides and make a stitch forming a corner. Without cutting or knotting your thread, you fold over the next side and take a stitch in that corner, and so on, ending with another stitch in the first corner. Very fast! When you have enough of these hexagons “upholstered,” you start sewing them together, using an overcast stitch. Once a hexagon is completely surrounded by its comrades, you can remove the template, using a crochet hook or knitting needle through the hole in the center.

The quilt took me six months to piece and three months to hand-quilt. I was sick of it by the time it was finished, but I love it now.

During the 1970s, I hand-pieced another quilt, this one for my sister-in-law. It was another LeMoyne Star quilt, and it was the second quilt I ever made. When she knew she was dying, she gave it back to me to keep for my kids. I need to take a photo of it.

I find hand-piecing to be very satisfying “work,” like hand-quilting.

I will try to add photos from the trip to the comments, if I have access to Internet during the trip. See you next time.

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 1, 2016

Fiber and Pups...With a Twist

The spinning for Tour de Fleece is done. I finished the second bobbin of the lovely Waimea Rooster merino/Tencel fiber from AlohaBlu. Here are the two bobbins, within 1 gm of each other in weight.
Then I got out my expensive lazy kate.
My wheel has a lazy kate built in, but I like to place the bobbins at least a few feet away from my wheel while plying, so the twist has a chance to even out a bit before the singles get plied.
Here’s what my yarn looked like before washing.

I got 20 WPI (wraps per inch, so fairly fine yarn, in the fingering range). I had 880 yds before washing. 

Dusty had his first haircut with our regular groomer. The breeder groomed the pups regularly while she had them, so they would be used to grooming. Here’s what he looked like before:

He looked much better after

Here’s a photo of Dusty and Rocky after their day at the spa.

It didn’t take them long to get dirty again.

I didn’t make it to Vintage Stitchers this week, but I dropped in on Joanie, along with Dusty and Rocky, so she could meet the new pup. She had just returned from a trip to Idaho, and brought me a souvenir.

Ha-ha, very funny! However, it’s a nice guidebook. It has a skull and crossbones beside each mushroom that’s toxic to humans, but doesn’t specify which ones are toxic to dogs. However, if I can identify the offending mushroom, I can Google it to find out if it’s toxic to dogs.
What's on my needles: The “So-not-my-palette Cardigan” working on the first sleeve, very little progress this week. Delectable Pathways quilt put aside for now.
What's on my Featherweight: No sewing until I get home again.
What's on my wheel: Just finished the Waimea Rooster Merino/Tencel from AlohaBlu, but plan to spin something new when I get back.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury, also from Audible. Now reading The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah Ladd. Interesting story, but the narrator leaves something to be desired. I think she would be better reading children’s literature. It’s a Regency novel, and it also bothered me at first that she has an American accent, especially since they mention the war with the American colonies. I got used to her reading as the story went on, though, so it’s OK. (It’s Christian lit, if that influences you. It didn’t bother me.) Still reading Remember This by Shae Buggs on the Kindle app on my iPad, making some progress, now that things have calmed down a bit on the puppy front. 
What's in my wine glass: Amberhill Secret Blend, a red, 2014. It’s my second-favorite wine.
What's my tip of the week: If you’re training your puppy to do his business in the backyard, take him out every time he wakes up, finishes eating, has been playing vigorously for 10 minutes or so, or just for some exercise. Tell him what you want him to do (we use “make potty,” and then ask, “more potty?” if we think he might have some more serious business), then praise him if he does it. Don’t take him back in the house right away, unless it’s because he gets to eat, and he’s hungry. If they enjoy being outdoors, dogs will learn to put off doing their business to get to stay out longer.

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.