Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September Sampler Blocks

Sometimes I use graph paper and crayons to check the placement of fabrics on the Sampler blocks, especially when the pattern shows more fabrics than I am using or if I am running short of a color.

Sunday, I worked on the September sampler blocks:

Aunt Dinah is shown on the left

Can't Stop Spinnin' is shown on the right (I used the crayons several times to find a placement I liked for this block. I wanted to make sure that it did not have a heavy feeling/appearance)

The other blocks in the sampler can be found here and here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hokey Pokey

I am almost finished knitting the socks for my Christmas list. I have the final pair on the needles now for my niece. They have a bit of lace and are a bit fancier than these ribbed-cuff socks.

If you want to do the Hokey Pokey, click here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

I've been auditioning more layouts for my half-square triangles, and I need your opinions.

Please take into consideration that I will not be using any sashing between the blocks, so look how well they "play" together.


Here are the choices:

This is "A"

This is "B"

This is "C"
(Note that is is a reverse of "D")

This is "D"
(Note that is is a reverse of "C")

This is "E"

This is "F"

This is "G"
 (the layout I posted last week) 

What is your eye telling you about these layouts? Any favorites?

Thanks for your input

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Found It

I've been searching for a book of knit edgings and trims since I added the edging to Little Princess. I've looked in yarn shops and online without any luck.

Last week, I found what I've been seeking: knit edgings & trims 150 stitches, edited by Kate Haxell.

I like to actually look inside a knitting book before I purchase, and when I picked this one off of the shelf at Barnes & Noble in Cheyenne, I knew I could stop searching.

The book has a nice variety of modern and traditional trims and edgings. Here are just a few that you will find inside:

This book should be in every knitter's reference library.

I also found a bargain on the Hobby Lobby Clearance rack. Someday, I hope to make one of the gown sets.

Friday, September 25, 2009

One Step Closer

I've managed to work my way through the stacks of scraps from Scrappy Spools.

Now, I need to decide what to do with them. I have been thinking about making pinwheels, but I'm not quite sure.

Other than pinwheels, this is another idea that I am considering.

Do you have any suggestions for quilts made with half-square triangles?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sign of the Season

When I see these signs in the summer, I wonder how tourists interpret "chain law."

Chain Law means that the road is hazardous (usually blowing and drifting snow with poor visibility and little or no traction) and that tire chains are required. These warning signs are commonly seen on Wyoming's mountain passes: this one is on the South Pass road where the grade is steep and drifting snow is frequent during the winter. Because road conditions can change quickly in the mountains, the flashing lights, only turned on in extreme conditions, should be heeded.

Do you have signs in your area that might cause a tourist to ponder their meaning?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Binding Recommendation

I strongly recommend having your favorite pattern books spiral-bound.

Most of the craft books (knitting, twining, and quilting) are soft bound.The books aren't too practical when I need to actually use them. Often the binding becomes broken from my attempts or it slips all over the table or off of my lap.

Once I discovered that I could have the books spiral-bound at Kinkos, my books are in better shape and I am much happier.

Personally, I wish publishers would produce these books with spiral bindings.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fantasy #1 & #2

Another pair of socks finished! Unfortunately, they don't match, but I do have enough yarn to make another pair just like them.

Fantasy #1, shown on the left, was knit from Opal Fantasie #1912 on size 2 needles. It is a men's size 9.5

Fantasy #2, shown on the right, was knit from Opal Fantasie #1911 on size 2 needles. It is a men's size 9

When the mates are finished, all of the men's socks on my gift list will be finished. I am pleased to report that in all five skeins of Opal, I found only one knot.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Historic Portals

On Tuesday, I took a side trip to visit one of my favorite places in southeastern Wyoming: Fort Laramie. The last time I visited the fort was in the late seventies, but it hasn't changed other than some improved walkways, etc.

How many prisoners longed to be on the other side of this window?

Most of the glass panes in the buildings had lovely swirls of imperfections.

The past is clearly revealed by doorways

that welcomed the occupants home after a long day,

windows that revealed their surroundings and offered protection from the elements.

and stairwells with polished bannisters.

I imagine a sewing machine or a writing desk tucked in the little alcove at the top of these stairs.

Windows frame what was, what is, and what will be.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Old Man River

Are you getting tired of seeing socks?

Old Man River, size 10.5 men's socks knit on size 2 needles, using Opal (Mississippi #2085)

Only two more pair of men's socks to knit, but my sock yarn scrap bag is filling up. I see some short-cuffed sock knitting in my future.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Going "Home"

I have fond memories of teaching in this old building

Thomas Wolfe said, "You Can't Go Home Again", but this week I tried.

On my way to a Pulmonary Hypertension Support Group meeting in Cheyenne, WY, I planned a stopover in Wheatland, the location of my first real job and the beginning of my 33-year career in education.

Ironically, as I drove down the eerily familiar streets, John Denver crooned on the radio, "Hey it's good to be back home again. . ."

It truly was good to be back home again.

I slowly drove by the places I had lived 36 years ago (just putting that is writing is daunting and makes me feel ancient) and pulled over briefly to snap photos.

My first apartment was in the basement of an older home; the second, an apartment with a Murphy bed and steam radiators that made the doors swell shut in the winter. It was a good thing I was smaller in those days and able to squeeze through the windows. The small home (pictured above) was shared with another teacher, and finally I purchased a mobile home.

Wheatland was home for six years: I packed more activity and fun in those six years than in all the years since. Many of the friendships I made during those years are still strong. Everyone has moved on to other schools and other states, but our time at this location cemented our lives together.

I wish that I had a photo of this building before the mural was repainted. The mural used to cover the entire side of the building. The Landmark was a frequent "watering hole" on Friday evenings.

Memory has a strange way of warping reality. I didn't think I would have an opportunity to enter the school buildings since I would be arriving after school hours, but Fortune was on my side. I pulled over to take some photos of the building where it all began, pictured at the top of this post. As I clicked away, a woman exited and was clearly on her way home. She inquired if I had gone to school in the building, and so I began my story. Graciously, she asked if I wanted to see my old classroom, and for the next half-hour, she took me back in time.

Wheatland High School was destroyed by a fire the year before I was hired and classes in the fall of 1973 were held wherever there was room -- church basements, above downtown businesses, meeting halls, etc. Classes were scattered all over town, and patience concerning tardies was a necessity.

My first classroom was the lobby of the gymnasium and contained four outside doors, two doors to the gymnasium, one door to the main building, and a door to boiler room. It was a constant battle to keep students' attention with basketballs pounding on the gym doors, students coming in to get a drink from a water fountain by the boiler room door, and custodians going to the boiler room. Everything had to be portable because on game days all the desks, book cases, etc. were stacked against the side wall. Looking back, I don't know how I survived my first year. I doubt if a Fire Marshal or the teacher'' union would allow such a classroom space now. Here is my lobby "classroom" 36 years later. Imagine this space filled with forty desks. (I am glad that the walls were painted white then.)

My second year I was still in the same building, but I was fortunate to have a real classroom. Sure it was an old elementary classroom and the chalk boards were knee high, but it had one door and I was not required to move things for game nights.

Since the building is now used for Community Outreach, my classroom now houses the Spinning classes. I wonder why I didn't think of hanging posters like that in my classroom?

By my third year, the new building was progressing, and I was moved into yet another classroom. Although it was not in the new building, I loved this room. I had a bank of windows that faced south, and I filled them with Jade plants, Geraniums, and vines. The other three walls were chalk boards and bulletin boards. I had built-in bookcases under the window. It was an ideal room.

I really wanted to see the school auditorium since I was also the drama teacher. I spent a lot of time in that space, directing musicals, one-acts, and full-length productions, climbing the cat-walk, setting lights, and painting scenery. The auditorium door was unlocked, but I could not find the light switch, so I had to settle for the outside classroom where my students performed skits and plays. The trees have grown considerably.

The new high school is actually a complex of separate buildings, almost like a college campus. During the 1970's the campus had these buildings: agriculture, industrial arts, science, classroom, library, business, and the main building that housed the office, music, auditorium, gymnasium, art, and home economics. It appears that the fear of fire has dissipated, as some additions are now connected to the existing buildings.

Wheatland has a special place in my heart. The town, the school, the parents, and the students made me the teacher that I later became. I am forever grateful for my six years in this special place, this place I am proud to call home.

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