Saturday, December 24, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011
It seems like we talk a lot about how much we have to do and how busy we all are during this month of December. Often I think we have an attitude that it is just all too much, and we get very little enjoyment out of what is intended to be pure enjoyment! So I am focusing on the big 4: family, friends, faith and fun! I do what I can with what I have, and keep reminding myself that it is all good.
We always do some outdoor lights, but simply done. A couple strings on the front porch, maybe a small tree near the road, and that's enough. Then we light up the tree in the house, and depending on my mood and time, we might wrap the log beams with garland and lights. Altogether, they create a nice glow and a noticeable bump in our electric bill! We have decided to convert over to LED lights for their low-energy consumption, but we don't want to shell out the money for a total light makeover. So we started with 3 new strings for the porch lights this year, and will add more as we go. They do seem to have more light output, I hope we don't have any wandering aircraft mistaking our front yard for a landing strip!
We had a little excitement this week and a reminder of how lucky we are to be living in the 21st century. My sweet parents had a bad scare when my dad's heart started acting up a bit. Here's my mom and dad from about a year or so ago--
Normally healthy and happy, this pair just seems to keep on ticking. They really are those people who are "young for their age", and although they have slowed down a bit over the years, they keep plenty active. This really is the first experience of this type for him, and was distressing at times, but overall things went smoothly. He developed a very slow heart rate, which brings with it additional problems. A heart rate of 35 might be desireable for a marathon runner, but not so much for an 85 year old guy! A quick helicopter ride from Worthington to Sanford Medical Center in Sioux Falls, pop in a pacemaker, and voila! Looking and feeling much better! These little devices seem routine and commonplace to someone like myself who has worked in the medical field for many years. But when I step outside of that perspective, this can seem much more amazing. And if this had happened 50 or 60 years ago, my dad would not have had such a good outcome from this heart problem. In fact, his life would have suddenly become severely limited and shortened. So THANK YOU to all those medical researchers, past and present, who work continuously in some lab somewhere, doing a job that might be considered boring and tedious.
When we found out early Tuesday that we would be taking an unplanned trip to Sioux Falls, I needed to quickly get not only some clothes packed, but a project or 2, of course! I had started out a pair of socks not so long ago, using the technique that lets me knit both socks at once, so I tossed that in the car to keep my hands busy. I am using a nice yarn called Noro Silk Garden Sock, which I purchased early in 2009. I would have liked to work on it sooner, but ran into a little problem. To make these socks, I needed to divide the one skein of yarn into 2 equal balls. But then one ball disappeared, and I had no idea what happened to it. I looked high and low, and resigned myself to the fact that it was permanently gone. I occasionally looked at the one sad ball remaining, and wondered what to do with it, but never was able to pick it up and do anything with it. Lucky for me I didn't! Because 2 years later, when I am removing couch cushions to clean underneath (yes, I know I should do that a little more often than once a decade) I find that missing ball of yarn way smooshed down in the crack! So I finally was able to cast on for those socks, and was making a bit of progress during waiting room and drive time this week. Until I looked more closely at what I had been creating, and realized that the cuff was going to be too small to fit over any ankle that is not emaciated! So time to rip back, and recalculate. These socks are a long time coming! Maybe I will eventually have enough to take a picture of and share, but no guarantees!
Monday, November 21, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
A., the designer's ability to predict and create hot new fashions and develop a worldwide reputation,
or B., a worldwide reputation gained by hook or by crook with a following that makes everything they design an instant hot new fashion?
This feeds right into my mini-obsession with Project Runway (and now Project Accessory!) and the experiences the struggling designers must go through to come out on top. I always wish I could know more about the critique by the judges, because they are supposed to be the people in the know, and sometimes they flat out don't fit with what my own critique says! Even if you don't get the program on your TV selection, if you are reading this page then you have access to the shows on their website. So I invite you to watch an episode and see who you would kick off the island (or toss off the runway).
On another related note, I want to give a little testimonial for the Kindle cover that I am using. I showed you this before when I shared pictures from a September retreat, but it is worth revisiting now after some time to use and test the design. I make and try out a lot of patterns and projects for classes and displays at Bear Patch, some with better success than others. This was the second pattern I made for an e-reader cover, and this one is a keeper!
It is the Reader Wrap from Atkinson Designs. It is a well-designed and very functional cover. Honestly, what else would I expect from Terry Atkinson? So if you are looking for help for your naked e-reader, this is the one to try!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
I showed you a picture of this hat a few days ago on the Bear Patch Blog when it was in the works. I don't have a little head to model it for you, so this jug will have to do! The literal jughead! I got as far as the fluff ball while I was traveling, but had to pause briefly. This little knobby ball is actually knitted instead of made as a pom-pom of yarn pieces. I suppose maybe this might be seen as less of a choking hazard for a baby since it can't come apart or loose like the usual pom-pom. It is created right at the end of the point of the hat, making a few rows of increases and then decreases before binding off. Before making the decreases, the inner space needs to be filled with some fiberfill. Of course, I had not packed any fiberfill for the trip! So on the first day of the Market, I went directly to the Quilter's Dream booth. I order batting on a roll from them for my longarm quilting, and it is my favorite brand. I use the Cotton Select, a thin (but not the thinnest) 100% cotton. They have a good offer for charity quilters, too, with a low price on seconds. I ordered a box of seconds for my quilt guild's projects for Quilts For Kids, and the flaws were negligible. Anyway, they also make a very nice cotton stuffing, and I picked up a little sample bag which worked out very nicely to fill the space in the knitted ball for the cap. Voila! Done!
This cap was a pattern from this book:
Thank you, Debbie, for finding this! It has several little novelty hats that will be fun to experiment with. The one I made was actually done in red and white to make a Christmas elf hat, but since my little guy won't be here in time for this Christmas, I substituted other colors. The yarns I used were Lion Brand Cotton Ease color 149 Stone and Artfibers Fauve color 11. I don't think that specific Artfibers yarn is available anymore. I purchased it a few years ago (maybe 3 or 4?) when I was visiting Jan or Brita in San Francisco. They had a nice yarn and knitting boutique near Union Square, I'm not sure if it is still there or if they have moved. They spin and manufacture their own yarns, so yarns change with fiber availability. It's kind of a dark tweedy green color, and I was surprised to see a lot of yellow-gold in the water when I washed it. The 2 yarns worked nicely together, and I am using more of the Cotton Ease for a blankie. I have started the blankie but after making about 6" I decided I wanted to change one of the colors. So I have ripped it back to start over, and in the meantime, learned from my knitting mentor/goddess (ThoraLee) about a better way to cast on so the edge will lay nice and flat. So it's a good thing to rip now and then! Thora Lee even directed me to this nice video, which helps so much! Thank you!
I also wanted to pass along a link to a wonderful online quilt show that I found this morning. It is put together by a blogger and quilter, and all of the pictures of the quilt link to the blog of the person who made it, so you can learn a little about the background. Also, when you are on Amy's Creative Side blog, check out her nice tutorials.
Monday, October 31, 2011
I'm ready to go.
I'm standin' here
Outside your door....no, wait! Wrong millenium! Sorry John! (Denver, that is!)
A couple of quilts on display at the International Quilt Expo in Houston--
Some eye candy for you! I have been posting daily reports with pictures and even video on the Bear Patch blog so hop over there!