Monday, October 31, 2016

Picot Dot Shawl - a beginning

Picot Dot supplies
Remember the kit I purchased in Denver and shared in this post? Last week, I decided to read through the pattern and start knitting. Hmmm, cast-on was delayed until I could wrap my head around the directions.

The pattern, like all others, gives directions for the stitch rows. The sections have labels: S, A, B, SR, BR. Sounds easy enough, but then the sections are repeated periodically. The pattern contained a check list of knitting rows and pattern rows. I pulled out my highlighters and went to work marking the yarn color placement and prepared a set of handy flip cards with the stitch pattern for each row: i.e. S1, S2, S3, S4, etc. The cards and checklist will keep me on track without constantly referring to the pattern itself.

It looks and sounds complicated, but it really isn't, thanks to the handy checklist. Now, that I have everything prepared and have a clear understanding of the pattern, I can begin knitting.

Do you read the entire pattern before beginning a new project?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Back in Time - On Stage

the king addresses one of his subjects
approx. 1978
Wheatland High School
Wheatland, WY
I loved teaching at Wheatland: the town and the students were welcoming. One of my assignments at WHS was the drama program, and I had some extremely talented students. The drama class not only acted in the numerous plays, but also designed, built and painted sets, created props, and designed and made costumes.

One year we staged The Mouse that Roared, and instead of renting costumes, I asked my students to design and make costume prototypes, using Barbie and Ken dolls for models. The results were astounding (the boys actually did a better job than the girls at designing and sewing), and we made full-sized costumes from their designs. The king's costume in the photo is one example of their creations.

The fabric for the costumes was salvaged: at the end of the old gymnasium was a stage, and in the storage area under the stage I found huge boxes that contained the old velvet stage curtains (a set of deep blue, and a set of burgundy). I asked permission to cut the curtains to make costumes (yes, much like Maria from the Sound of Music), and during the years I was in Wheatland, we used a LOT of that velvet fabric for costumes and other projects.

Plays staged included: Oklahoma, Godspell, Winnie the Pooh, South Pacific, A Man Called Peter, The Bermuda Triangle, Up the Down Staircase, MASH, Bad Day at Gopher's Breath (a play performed in the school's outdoor courtyard), and many others, including one-act plays.

I collaborated with the music department on all the musicals. Other staff members made up the band for Godspell, and the Industrial Arts department installed the chain link fence for the set. The programs and advertising posters for all the plays were printed in the school's Graphic Arts department. It was fun involving more students and departments in the stage performances.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sweet Little Nothing - revisited

binding off with beads -  half way point
October 2016
Last week, I focused my knitting time to finishing Sweet Little Nothing. Friday night I began the bind-off, staying up late (nearly 1AM) until I was making too many mistakes.

In the photo, you can see that I used a lifeline in the rows immediately before the bind-off. I thought it would make correcting bind-off mistakes easier, and it paid off several times, especially during my late-night knitting.

This project created NO scraps. In fact, I was sweating the last four inches of the bind-off and even "fudged" on a couple of the beaded picot points just to finish. Note: based on a couple of Ravelry projects, I knit to 427 sts : the pattern recommended 408 its, so the tight finish was of my own making, not the pattern.

See how close it was. . .

a squeaker finish!
Yikes, it was a squeaker. Notice that the last two beads do not have picot points, but with some other black yarn, I will "create" the points with a tapestry needle.

completed "Sweet Little Nothing"
October 2016
Sweet Little Nothing is finished, and I love it. 

Pattern: Sweet Little Nothing by Sue DeBettignies for Ogle Design
               (Ravelry pattern link)

Needle:  US size 6

Kit:   purchased at Colorful Yarn in Colorado -  $32.00
          4 oz. (420 yards) of superwash 100% wool
          beads and pattern

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Cashmere Transformation

Several months ago, Julie W. gave me two hanks of 100% cashmere. The yarn was luscious and so soft, but it had a characteristic I'd never seen before. It was not really plied, but had two strands.
stranded yarn
close-up of the strands
While I loved the yarn and the colors, I knew it would be a pain to knit with the two strands of yarn. I've knit with two strands before, but it was worsted weight and easy to control, but I knew the lace weight strands would give me fits.

For a long time, I pondered what to do with the yarn. Finally, it dawned on me that I belong to a fiber guild full of talented spinners. I asked Briana F. if she could possible ply the strands together, and I was delighted that she agreed.
plied yarn
Briana brought the yarn to the Guild meeting on Saturday, and I was thrilled with the the result.

close-up of the strands plied together. 
What a transformation! Now, the yarn is more knitter friendly.

Have you ever seen or knit with two-strand yarn?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Old Glory

Old Glory
Quilt of Valor
58 x 75
Old Glory is the second top made with a patriotic panel from my fabric stash. The border fabrics were pulled from stash to complete the quilt. As with American Hero (posted last week) the final border is a "cheater" fabric.

Old Glory is QOV #103

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Door Prize

bundle of nine batik fat quarters
Last month I went to the Lander Quilt Show and shared some photos. After I made a purchase at one of the vendors' booths, my friend Sheri H. encouraged me to register for a door prize. I seldom win anything, so I was completely surprised when Katheryn E. texted me the next morning to tell me I had won.

I selected the black and red bundle of fat quarters for my door prize. The bundle is so cute, I don't want to open it yet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Thank You, Canada!

Posted on You Tube October 12, 2016: "Seems America could use some cheering up right now. Check out what some Canadians are saying about what's happening down south."

I'll admit the election and all of its drama has been getting to me, so when I saw this wonderful video posted on another blog, I knew it had to be shared. 

Here's a link to the article in the Washington Post.

Thank you, Canada for bringing my focus back to what really counts.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

American Hero

American Hero
Quilt of Valor
60 x 74
Last week, I gathered patriotic panels (six total) from my stash and pulled fabric for borders. The first top finished was American Hero. The outer border was made from a "cheater" print fabric. Panels make quick and easy quilts.

Cut border sizes: dark blue 2 inches, cream 3.5 inches, red marble 5.5 inches, final border 8.5 inches on sides and 6.5 on top and bottom (I ran short of fabric)

American Hero is QOV #102

Monday, October 17, 2016

Playing with Color

Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to try something new with the Lander Sewing Group. We met at the Lander Art Center to play with color, using InkTense pencils and color blocks.
Marty B. gives the group some background on the technique
Sheri H. uses a color block on one of the leaves she
outlined from a stencil. 
We used the InkTense color blocks and colored pencils to draw and fill in the shapes. After the color was added, then water was brushed over the color to set it into the fabric.

Katheryn E. adds water to her drawing. 
Once the water was brushed on the surface, the fabric was ironed. After that, finer details could be added to the fabric, or shading could be done.
Sheri H. adds more detail to her drawing 
This woman's free-hand drawing was amazing!
my first piece of InkTense drawing and coloring
At first I was intimidated with the blank fabric but finally drew some free-hand leaves. The leaves were drawn with an ink pencil and then I added the color inside the leaves, wet it, and then ironed. I added more color around the leaves and used the brush and water to "feather" the color around the leaves to give the illusion of movement.

my second piece
I really should have used more color on my second piece, but it was close to lunch. It was a fun-filled morning, and the activity forced me to tap into my imagination in a totally unfamiliar way.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Foreign Friday

Billeting office
Misawa AFB
Misawa, Japan
August 1979
When I arrived at Misawa AFB, I was taken to the Billeting Office for temporary lodging. I was allowed to stay in billeting for 30 days, while I searched for off-base housing. The building in the photo offered rooms with two beds: my roommate was Carol Ackerson, a DODDS teacher who had transferred from Germany. Carol gave me tips on dealing with the military red-tape. I grew to appreciate her advice. The rooms were small and had a small wardrobe. We had things piled everywhere as we had luggage that contained items we'd need until our household items arrived on base, which could take more than a month. The restroom was down the hall and resembled a dorm bathroom with numerous stalls and showers.

Carol advised me to add my name to the list for BOQ (on-base single housing). BOQ's were assigned by rank: whenever my name got close to the top of the list, officers ranking higher than me would transfer in and bump me down the list, lower than where I started in August. It took eight months for my name to reach the top of the list.

Previous posts on my housing while in Japan are outlined below:

Off-base housing
     •  Be it ever so humble

On-base housing
     •  Surprise Move to On-base housing
     •  BOQ location
     •  Winter on base
     •  BOQ housekeeper
     •  Celebrating Sakura blossoms at BOQ

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sweet Little Nothing

Sweet Little Nothing
October 2016

Yes, I'm still knitting: I recently started one of the kits I purchased on my August trip to Denver.  Sweet Little Nothing's kit came with two skeins of sock yarn (total of 460 yards), and in the photo, I had just added the second skein.

It's all garter stitch, but the picot edge is added with each row.  The cast-off row will also have picot points, but they will contain beads (included in the kit). I like how it looks so far and hope to have it finished before the end of the month.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Back in Time - Brooder House

"Sis," Jerry, Dad, Rich, and John
(Marilyn was probably a baby at the time)
approximately 1945
The brooder house looks fairly new in this photo, and I'm sure my Dad built it. It was used to keep the baby chicks safe, warm, and contained until they were old enough to be transferred to the chicken house.

It was no longer used for chicks when I was small: it was used for storage. I loved that little building and begged my parents to move it closer to the house and let me use it as a playhouse. Despite all my whining, it didn't happen. Rather than be deterred from my dream, I moved things around in the little building and adapted my play around the items.

The brooder house was located adjacent to the quonset hut that served as a garage.  My brothers spent a lot of their time in the garage, creating, welding, and repairing. Both the quonset and the brooder house were still used when the farm was sold in 1998.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

American Banner

American Banner
Quilt of Valor
64 x 81
American Banner was made from a kit I picked up at the Quilt of Valor Sew-in on October 1, 2016.

I've never been a fan of three-fabric quilts: I prefer the visual appeal of scrappy. If I make this pattern again, I would make it scrappy for more variety of reds and blues.

Century's kit contained the same red and cream fabrics, but the blue fabric was lighter.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Musical Tree

unique bird house
Riverton, WY
October 2016
Money doesn't grow on trees, but the tree I spotted on a walk last week clearly shows that musical instruments do, if the conditions are perfect.

I'm assuming this old guitar is a unique bird house, as it was stringless - a clever idea; however, removing the old nest(s) could be tricky.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Foreign Friday

National Palace Museum
Taipei, Taiwan
December 1979
This museum was massive and filled with beautiful items. Our tour did not stay there long enough to even see a fraction of the displays. (no photos allowed inside the building)

See the archway at the top of the stairs? The photo below shows the other side.

National Palace Museum
Taipei, Taiwan
December 1979
Here's more information about the museum and to get a perspective at the size of the building.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Idleness & Rust

old shed
Hudson, WY
October 2016
Idleness is to the human mind like rust to metal. 

~ Ezra Cornell ~

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Celebrating 100

Thanks to the Quilt of Valor Sew-in over the weekend, I have completed #100, which was a kit provided by the local QOV group.

Quilt of Valor
65 x 79
Century was presented to a veteran on February 28, 2017. An online article about the presentation can be found on County 10

Century's recipient is show in the back row
first gentleman on the left

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