Monday, January 30, 2017

It Beats a Hamster Wheel!

I managed to get some weaving done this week.

My priority this past week was to work on the scarf on my loom and the hand-quilting on my "Sistine Chapel" (Delectable Pathways) quilt. I made some progress on both. The scarf (a Christmas 2016 present for DD) is at 62", so it should be easy to finish. I'm using various shades of blue, purple, green and beige with some ribbon yarn worked in with some of my handspun beige/green/brown. (You can just see some of the ribbon yarn hanging down at the bottom of the photo.)

The hand-quilting on the center panel and the Delectable Mountain blocks of my Sistine Chapel quilt was done when the week started. I managed to complete the second panel of the three during the week.

I still need to quilt the Delectable Mountain blocks on the outside, and then finish the third panel and the Delectable Mountain blocks on that side. Then I'll be ready to put on the binding and a sleeve for hanging over our stairway on the wall.

DDIL2 and I are doing a private knit-along (KAL) with the Impari Shawlette using Twisted Owl Worsted in Penny Slot. A trip to Salt Lake City to attend a production of The Man of La Mancha provided an opportunity for some knitting in the car and during intermission.

The sun came out on Saturday, and I finally got a photo of Dolly in the snow (and sun) in her new Polarscape sweater.

I will need to make some clothes for Hannah for Daphne's birthday, so I need to acquire a Hannah-sized doll. Fortunately for me, someone on Ravelry is divesting himself of all of his dolls except one. The one I've been wanting is among those he's selling. It's the Götz Vroni. He made the hand-smocked dress she's wearing.

I won't get her until late March, but plenty of time for making clothes for Daphne's birthday in May. I know she's in good condition, and I'm saving a bit of money by getting her used, so it's a good deal for me.

It was a crazy week in our lives. After attending the Women's March in Park City on Saturday of last week, leaving the dogs in DH's care, we had another march on Monday in downtown Salt Lake City to the Utah Capitol building, which is a magnificent structure built more than 100 years ago. We used Facebook to put together carpools. One lady who lives in Heber City offered to drive. She had a van big enough for seven people, but her 4-yr.-old daughter had to come with us. DH and I sat in the back. (That's my DG, Charlie, the dark hat right above the right-hand pink hat.)

We were having a blizzard, but we still had 10,000+ people marching. It was exciting to be part of something that big. 

We managed to get everyone inside the building, which was three-stories high, with balconies on each level. The building stretches in two directions, and this is just the view from the ground floor (where we were) toward the stairs where the speakers were.

The building stretches in the other direction (behind me) for the same distance. The lady next to me was wearing an American flag hijab. When one of the speakers talked about caring about everyone, regardless of their religion, she and I looked at each other and then we hugged.

Tuesday the pups went to Marcia, our groomer. They came home looking cuter than ever.

But for extreme cuteness, there's nothing to beat our youngest grandson, Johan.

Here he is, pretending to be asleep. You can tell he's pretending by the smart on his face. Two of my quilts are in the photo. He's lying under a flannel quilt that has an old woolen Navy for "batting." My FIL had five of these woolen blankets left over from WWII. I made four quilts using cotton flannel. The quilts are tied. You can just see another quilt I quilted when we lived in Indonesia sticking up in the center right of the photo. Somehow, quilt and family always end up together.

The Man of La Mancha was wonderful. It was put on by Utah Opera. They had planned to have a production of a new opera in January 2017, but toward the end of last year (I think) they realized that opera wasn't going to be ready in time, so they substituted this musical. We have seen the show three times before, in Los Angeles and in Salt Lake City, but this was the best production so far. After the curtain calls, there was an encore, and they put the words to "To Dream an Impossible Dream" on the screen usually used for translations during the operas. We were invited to sing along with them. I looked around while we were singing and saw a lot of tears. It was very inspirational.

What's on my needles: The Impari Shawlette. The March of the Fibres is still waiting in the wings.

What's on my Featherweight: Still waiting for a new assignment.

What's on my loom: The Multi Scarf for DD, up to 62" now.

What's on my wheel: Stanzi is set up again with more Full Circle spinning fiber, no progress again this week.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished All the Winters After by Seré Prince Halverson. Very good book. It was poetic, literary, yet still exciting and intriguing. Then I listened to The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden. It was good, too, a sweet story about family conflict and misunderstandings. Now listening to The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini. Seems good so far, similar in style to Debbie Macomber and Marie Bostwick. The last four books I've listened to have been Audible Deals of the Day, very worthwhile listens for not too much more than a cup of coffee at Starbuck's each. On the Kindle app, I finished Mistletoe at Moonglow by Deborah Garn. Now I'm reading Anna and Her Daughters by D. E. Stevenson, one of my favorite authors. I read it years ago and remembered I liked it but couldn't remember much more than what the characters were like. I'm really enjoying rereading it.

What's in my wine glass: Crane Lake Malbec, always a nice choice..

What's my tip of the week: When hand-quilting, you don't need to make a knot when you're out of thread. Just feed the needle back up through the stitches you just made, moving the needle between the stitches from one side of the row of stitches to the other. If you need do, you can gently push the needle, eye-end first, part way back out through the fabric, rotate the needle and push it back through the batting in a new direction. If the quilt get stretched sometime, you don't have to worry about a knot popping through to the surface.

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, January 23, 2017

Can I Take a Nap?

Common Threads met at Janet's on Thursday.

Janet was sewing the binding on Joanie's pine tree quilt. This is a wall hanging we (Joanie's friends who quilt) helped Joanie make, using a very simple paper-pieced design. The concept and the fabric choices were Joanie's, and she made one of the blocks. We had a work party at her house and helped her. Julie donated the batting and the machine-quilting services, and Janet, as I've said, is sewing on the binding. 

Margareth has turned into an accomplished quilter. She has just finished this queen-size quilt top for the bed in her cabin. She put a lot of herself into the design. (If you look closely, you can see a bear cub in the tree next to the moose, who looks concerned about the activities of the beaver.)

Her first quilt is all done but finishing the binding. This was a log-cabin pattern, to which she added bear appliqués. It will go on the wall of her cabin.

Susan, one of our part-time members, showed up with this lovely scarf.

She also brought this shawlette. The edges fall in a delicate spiral.

The Women's March on Saturday had a Park City location. This was complicated because, as you can see, the Sundance Film Festival had begun. It took us an hour to reach the staging area by car. (Georgette's DH drove us.) It was only 13 miles, but it took us an hour because of the snow and traffic. About double the number of people turned up as were expected, and authorities estimate that there were 8,000+ people in the march, not counting the festival goers who didn't participate (some did) or the skiers. 

Our "plan" was to take the bus back to Quarry Village, the last bus stop, where Lynda had left her car. The buses covering the route we needed to take couldn't get back to the transit center a block off Main St., and buses were unable to turn around in the transit center because of all the people. We were unable to board any buses for a while, because they were full. We had to walk to the Deer Valley bus stop and wait for a bus to take us out of the area to a place where we could catch the bus we needed. The next bus that came was going off duty for his lunch break, and the one after that didn't go where we needed to go, but we took it anyway, because it got us closer. Rather than wait at the next bus stop for another hour, we walked about half a mile to the bus stop where we could catch the correct bus. There was another 45-minute wait before we finally boarded the bus that went to Quarry Village. There were no seats, and it was a real crush, but eventually enough people got off so we were able to find seats. When we arrived at Quarry Village, we were exhausted and hungry, so we decided to go to Billy Blanco's for lunch.

When I got home, I crashed on the couch and took a nap with the pups. We've been having a lot of snow lately. When we had one day with a few hours of sun in the middle of the week, I took the pups out for a romp. (The snow is deeper than it looks. The pups don't sink in very far.)

Dusty and Rocky have become good pals. Rocky loves is little brother so much he actually is willing to accept some kisses. (I think it's why they're called "French" poodles.)

My fiber fun this week was to finish dressing Gabi and Dolly. After I gave away most of their clothes, leaving them with only summer attire, I found I couldn't look at them without feeling cold. Debonair Designs is having a Polarscape KAL (Knit Along) featuring her newest pattern, and it seemed a good time to join in on a fun project and make the girls look warmer.

I CO Gabi's sweater a week ago Saturday, so I would have something small to take along when we went to the theater that afternoon. After I finished the sweater and hat, using Knit Picks Palette in "white" held double, I took Gabi out to get photos in the real snow.

The pattern is designed for Götz dolls, which are slimmer than American Girl dolls. Gabi is closer to their size, so it worked out well for her as written. Dolly is almost the same size as most of the American Girl dolls, though. When I tried the sweater and hat on Dolly, it would close in the back, but the button band stretched out, and the sweater and hat both looked tight. I wanted to try working the sleeves in the round anyway, so I went up a needle size for both ribbing and body knitting to get a looser knit and produce a bigger sweater. I worked the sleeves in the round using two circular needles.

Using larger size needles makes the fabric longer as well as wider, so, to keep the sleeves from being too long, I stopped the sleeves one pattern repeat (one cable) short for the BO for the underarm. I described my modifications on the Ravelry page for the project. It was snowing yesterday when I finished the hat. I'll try to get photos out in the backyard when the sun comes out again, hopefully in a day or two.

I worked Dolly's hat in the round with two circular needles. It required a bit of though, because I had to reverse the stitches in the instructions every other round, not just K to P and vice versa, but also working backwards on those rounds from how the pattern was written. It worked out well, though. Gabi's hat has no pompom, but I improvised one for Dolly's hat. It's nice to have the girls hang out in my fiber studio without feeling cold every time I see them.

I'm ready to CO for the Impari Shawlette using the yarn DDIL2 gave me for birthday (Twisted Owl Superwash Merino Worsted). She and I are going to knit these as a KAL. I may get back to my Trickle Brick Socks, but I also have plans to start the March of the Fibres sweater for DH.

My priority this coming week will be to work on the scarf on my loom and the hand-quilting on my "Sistine Chapel" (Delectable Pathways) quilt.

What's on my needles: The Trickle Brick Socks, and just CO the Impari Shawlette. The March of the Fibres is waiting in the wings.

What's on my Featherweight: Still waiting for a new assignment.

What's on my loom: No progress on the scarf for DD this week, but I went to the loom and admired my progress a few times. 

What's on my wheel: Stanzi is set up again with more Full Circle spinning fiber, no progress this week.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, a very interesting story. I think I have another series of stories to listen to. Now listening to All the Winters After by Seré Prince Halverson. Very interesting so far. On the Kindle app, I'm reading Mistletoe at Moonglow by Deborah Garn. A cozy story in the tradition of Debbie Macomber and Marie Bostwick. Nice for bedtime.

What's in my wine glass: Crane Lake Malbec, one of our staples.

What's my tip of the week: When taking photos of quilting or textured knitting (such as Aran, cables, etc.), don't use a flash, diffused or reflected light or other light source from the same direction as the camera. Placing the quilt or knitted item with a light source from the side creates slight shadows that emphasize the quilting or the texture of the stitches.

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, January 16, 2017

A Crazy Busy Week

This week saw me back at hand-quilting my "Sistine Chapel." 

The design the "Delectable Pathways" design by Mary Sorensen I started several years ago. This week I managed to finish quilting the center panel and am now working my way down one of the side panels.

Since I decided to give the scarf I'm weaving to DD, and the loom is operational again, I decided I'd better spend a little time each day working on it. I managed to complete another 12".

The yarn and fabric I received for Christmas/birthday have been prepared, the yarn for knitting and the fabric pressed to the right size for my fabric stash.

Looking at my resident dolls has been making me cold because they have almost nothing to wear, so I decided to take part in a doll KAL (knit-along) on Ravelry in the Debonair Designs for Dolls group. The KAL is for the Polarscape design by Deb Denair.

Our contractor came on Thursday to install the cabinets in the hall leading to our master bath. We had a lot of snow, so DH was out early, blowing the driveway to make room for the contractor's truck and providing some entertainment for our neighbors' puppy. Watch is a poodle mix one month younger than Dusty, but still growing.

We had to move a bunch of stuff to clear the area where the cabinets would go, so it was a busy couple of days. One of the pieces, a side panel for the taller section, was the wrong side, so we still don't have that on, and we're waiting for a mirror with an oak frame that will go over the lower section.

This will provide storage for shoes and clothes. The other side of the hallway is taken up with closet with sliding doors.

For this week's cuteness, here's a photo of Zachary, making breakfast for Zachary Jr. and Hannah. He will be a good daddy someday. He's so happy to have his own doll.

What's on my needles: The Polarscape doll sweater, getting close to joining the sleeves to do the yoke.

What's on my Featherweight: Still waiting for a new assignment.

What's on my loom: Progress on the scarf for DD. 

What's on my wheel: Stanzi is set up again with more Full Circle spinning fiber, no progress, however.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Agatha Raisin and Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton, then The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, both from Audible. I would describe the second book as a poetic emotional roller coaster, well written and full of sensory input. Finished Lord Haversham Takes Command by Heidi Ashworth on the Kindle app. There were a lot of grammar/typesetting errors, but the story was interesting. Nothing new started yet.

What's in my wine glass: Big House "Prohibition Red" 2015, by the box. It will probably take us a week to get through it. At least it doesn't go off in the box.

What's my tip of the week: Hand-quilting a quilt with long straight lines doesn't require drawing on the fabric, if your long straight lines are as far apart as a strip of masking tape. It's best to leave the tape off when you stop quilting, but I haven't had it leave any sticky residue so far. The same strip can be used several times. I've found that the quilting is smoother if you always sew in the same direction, rather than going up one row of stitches and down the next.

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, January 9, 2017

A Winter's Tale

The "So-not-my-palette Cardigan" is finished.

I elected to work two "afterthought pockets" in the front. I did this by picking up stitches where I wanted the pocket and working a ribbed band. Then I picked up stitches two rounds/rows above those stitches to make the pocket lining. 

If you pick up and knit at least one row before cutting the center stitch in the round/row between the two sets of picked-up stitches, it's easier to deal with the floats (strands that hang out in the back) created during the process of knitting with two colors. 

For blocking, I got out the wooly board. It took a few minutes to figure out how to put it together again. I set the wooly board with the washed (still wet) cardigan under a ceiling fan. In the morning, I added a smaller, tabletop fan to help finish the job.

When it was dry, I added some reinforcement stitches to some of the steek facings, using my sewing machine. Then I trimmed close to the stitching, and finally I sewed the facings down to the inside of the sweater using a blanket stitch.

With most of the family gone, I had a chance to have a look at some of the craft supplies I received for Christmas and birthday, which included a stack of fat quarters from The Stitchin' Post in Sister, OR, a special presser foot for my Featherweight with a built-in quarter inch (on top of the fat quarters) and some lovely yarn to make...a shawl, maybe? I sense a theme, colorwise.

Winter has continued to attack. This was our back deck after two days of sunlight and before this weekend's storm. That table is 60" in diameter, which should give you an idea of the depth of the snow.

DGD1 came here, not just for fun, but to work, doing photoshoots with models in SLC. She had to cancel a photoshoot on Thursday because of the snow. She has a two-wheel drive car, useful in California but not so good here in January. Wednesday, she couldn't even get back to the house, but had to park at a gas station down by the freeway at the foot of the road to our house. I had to go pick her up, and I felt as if I were taking my life in my hands, even with 4X4. I had to drive her back down there at 8:00 AM to get her car. Finally, on Friday (between storms), she packed up and moved to stay with a friend down in Salt Lake Valley, where they don't get so much snow.

Dusty is missing her. He evidently knows she hasn't left the state. He keeps going to the door and whining, but he doesn't want to go out.

What's on my needles: The Trickle Brick socks, again, but no progress so far this week.

What's on my Featherweight: Ready for new quilting. I used her to reinforce the steek facings for my "So-not-my-palette Cardigan," so she's still sitting out.

What's on my loom: Working on the scarf I started more than two years ago. 

What's on my wheel: Stanzi is set up again with more Full Circle spinning fiber.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor, a delightful story. Now listening to Agatha Raisin and Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton. A cozy mystery. I think there may be more in the series. Now reading Lord Haversham Takes Command by Heidi Ashworth on the Kindle app. There are a lot of grammar/typesetting errors, but the story is entertaining and sometimes funny.

What's in my wine glass: Crane Lake Malbec, always a good value.

What's my tip of the week: If you live in a place where you're subject to extreme cold in the winter time, leave the cabinet doors under the bathroom sinks open to enable heat to enter and protect your pipes from freezing. We learned this several years ago the hard way.

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, January 2, 2017

A Week With Family

There is no shortage of snow at our place.

The dogs have been enjoying it and the grandkids. Our older granddaughter arrived the day after Christmas and reconnected with the other grandkids.

The week was filled with fun and play. 

We took occasional walks to wear out kids and dogs. 

The younger boys made several trips to the Fieldhouse to play indoors on the Astroturf.
We continued to celebrate Hanukkah together. Zachary learned to light the candles for himself.

New Year's Eve was our last day together. We went to breakfast at No Worries. It was their last day, too, because they lost their lease as of January 1st. We will miss this place, which has been so convenient, although they plan to open up again when they find a new location.

We had our champagne toasts the night before, because DS2 and his family were leaving early evening on New Year's Eve.

DD's family left on New Year's Day. After they left, I discovered that Mensch on a Bench had been left behind. I don't think he minded too much, though, because they left him plenty of Hanukkah Geld.

I spent New Year's Day cleaning up and doing laundry. DH helped me move my loom back into its rightful place. I hope to start weaving again in a day or two.

DGD1 will be here for a couple of weeks. She had to sleep on the floor while the other relatives were here, but now she gets the guest room. I'm still putting boxes and Christmas wrap away. Cooking for 11-12 people was a challenge, so food for three should be easy. The best part: I'm almost over my cold. Just in time for most of the family to depart. [Sigh!]

Today is New Year's Day (observed), according to my calendar, so Happy New Year everyone!

What's on my needles: Still the “So-not-my-palette Cardigan,” more progress on the second sleeve. I really want to get done with Christmas preparations, so I can relax in front of the fire with my knitting.

What's on my Featherweight: Ready for new quilting.

What's on my loom: The ancient, hibernating project: the scarf I started more than two years ago. It's wonderful that the loom is fixed and functioning again.

What's on my wheel: Still put away for now, but I plan to set Stanzi up again with more Full Circle spinning fiber...or something else (there are so many choices).

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Christmas music, and Still listening to An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor, coming along. Finished A Lady in Hiding by Amy Corwin and The Poignant Sting by Sherwood Smith, which I enjoyed immensely.

What's in my wine glass: A lot of wine has passed these lips since I last reported on wine. Currently a bottle of Alice White Shiraz sits open on the counter. Always a good value..

What's my tip of the week: Placing a blocking project under a rotating ceiling fan will speed up the process of drying. This is especially handy if the project is fairly thick and more than one layer, although a lace shawl will dry quickly this way, too.

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.