Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Eye on CWC

(This week I'm featuring some random close-up photos)

photo taken through an art sculpture
Central Wyoming College campus
Riverton, WY
November 2015
Central Wyoming College (CWC) opened in 1968, and I enrolled in classes the Fall of 1969. The original campus consisted of three buildings: one housed the student union, administration offices, and the library; the largest building contained classrooms for the core subjects and a lecture hall around the perimeter and faculty offices in the center; the smallest building housed the maintenance office.

The campus has grown considerably in the last 48 years. It now has two dorms, an apartment building, a large fine arts building, the original classroom building (remodeled and expanded) and now attached to the original administration building, large library, student center, book store, gymnasium, small theatre, studios and offices for the Wyoming PBS station, and a new health science building.

Unfortunately, CWC and other educational institutions are currently dealing with massive budget cuts. Governor Mead stated last week that even deeper cuts could occur in all state-funded programs.

Wyoming's economy is heavily dependent on the energy industry (oil, natural gas, and coal), and currently these industries are quite depressed and unemployment is high. We can only hope things will turn around soon, but frankly, the state could be in for some very lean times for several years.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Winter Wind Sculpture

(This week, I'm featuring some random close-up photos)

drifted snow
Winter 1978
Many people who do not live in snow country don't realize that when blown into drifts, the snow can become hard enough to support a person or animals. The wind not only packs the snow into hard drifts, it forms waves and ripples.

It's no secret that the wind blows in Wyoming, and most of the winter road closures are due to drifting snow. Some people think they can simply drive through the drifts, not realizing the drifts can be long and sometimes deeper than they appear.

Snow drifts can be picturesque but also treacherous.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Close-Up Week

(This week, I'm featuring some random close-up photos)

making a rubbing from the Vietnam Wall
Washington D.C.
mid-1990s
Dick Q. organized a Close-Up trip for his senior Social Studies students every year. The students raised money (selling concessions, hosting meals at games, and working for people in the community) all year long to pay for the trip. One year, Dick asked me to go with the group as the female sponsor, and I readily accepted.

It was my first trip to D.C., so I was as excited as the students. Dick had made the trip many years and knew all the places to visit and all the history behind them. I learned a great deal about our nation's capitol. The group toured the Pentagon, the White House, the Capitol building, the National Cathedral, the National Zoo, Arlington Cemetery, and many museums and monuments. We also toured the Kennedy Center and attended two plays - both musicals.

We walked everywhere to keep costs down and sometimes rode the Metro. Personally, I think Dick also wanted to wear the students out so they wouldn't feel the need to be rowdy at night.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for me, and I enjoyed it immensely. I'd love to go back someday and see the new structures - Martin Luther King, Jr., World War II, and Roosevelt memorials.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Foreign Friday

Mount Unzen Park
April 1980
In the spring of 1980 a group of Dept of Defense teachers toured Southern Japan. One of our stops was Mount Unzen, an active volcanic area. According to Wikipedia, Mount Unzen erupted from 1990 - 1995.

source
Nancy Stearns & Judy Loxtercamp
Mount Unzen Park
April 1980
This photo from an earlier post was also taken at the Mount Unzen Park, just up the hill from the tram station.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Oh Look, Yarn


I've been working hard all year to Slash the Stash (yarn and fabric), and I was somewhat successful; that is, until Marilyn's neighbor stopped by with some gorgeous shawls she'd knit and an invitation to go to a yarn shop.

We went to Colorful Yarns, and the second I walked in the door, I was just like Dory.

If you look at the photos of the shop under their website's "Gallery" tab, you might understand why I fell off the no-buy wagon.

Dianne showed me the kits for the shawls she'd knit and the store samples of other shawls. Oh my, I was in real trouble but loving every minute of it.

The nearest "local" yarn shop is 120 miles from my house; thus, my purchases are usually limited to online shopping. It was heavenly to see, squish, and pet the yarn in the shop. To justify my selections, I kept telling myself I had premium money from my Fair ribbons, which covered 75% of my stash enhancement spree.

Here's what I purchased at Colorful Yarns

stash enhancement
August 2016
From the top - Top hank is actually two skeins of yarn and beads (a kit to make Sweet Little Nothing by Susan DeBettignies) 460 yards/4 oz. of 100% superwash wool The picot edge and beads really dress up this shawl. I purchased the black/gray/cream kit since I frequently wear those colors.

Second skein - an Indie sock yarn (Becoming Art) - color way December; 460 yards/4 oz. of 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, and 10% nylon

Third skein - The Natural Dye Studio "Angel 4ply sock yarn" - color way Heather; 390 yards/100 grams of 70% Baby Alpaca, 10% cashmere, 20% silk - from the Clearance Room - this will probably become a scarf

Fourth skein - Schoppel Crazy Zauberball - colorway Domino #2100; 420 meters/100 grams of 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon

Did I stop there? Of course not!

The Picot Dot Wrap by Sheryl Zuccaro was another shawl that Dianne had knit, and I loved it. The shop had several kits - many in bright colors, but I purchased the more "subdued" colors.

kit to make Picot Dot Wrap
As is somewhat evident in the photo below, the yarn has color changes and gradients. I think it will be fun to see exactly what colors are inside these skeins; perhaps, it is not as subdued as I first thought.

both skeins are in gradients

Two skeins of Kauni
       color way EC  (black/gray) - 400 meters/140 grams 100% wool
       color way EQ  (rainbow?) - 400 meters/160 grams 100% wool

Actually, my trip to the yarn shop with Dianne was not the first stash enhancement I made while in Denver. I found some Sugar and Cream cotton on sale ($1.25 a ball) at Michael's. Locally, it can cost up to $3 or $4 a ball.
twelve balls of Sugar and Cream and
two skeins of I Love This Cotton" on clearance at  Hobby Lobby

Soo, my Slash the Stash efforts must begin again. Obviously, when I fall off the no-buy wagon, I go face first and smiling all the way down!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Spotted at the Fair

crocheted Christening Gown and Bonnet
August 2016
A gorgeous Christening gown and bonnet: I hope this will become a treasured heirloom for the crafter's family. I was thrilled to see it won a blue ribbon and a Champion ribbon for its Division.

a quilt with "heart"
August 2016
A quilt with "Heart" in the 4-H building: the heart made the simple design even more powerful. I hope to copy the idea for a Quilt of Valor.

a fun array of pincushions
August 2016
A variety of pincushions: a hat, doughnuts, chickens, a sewing machine, a slice of cake, and an owl with scissors for spectacles. They were cute and just plain fun!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dishcloth Swap

dishcloths and scrubby made for the swap
August 2016
In early August, Kathyb organized a dishcloth swap, and fourteen people joined in the fun. The swap guidelines required each person to make and send two dishcloths. One or two small trinkets could also be included in the package.

I sent two cloths, a tulle scrubby, and some knitting notions to my swap partner - Betsy (The Simple Life of a Queen).

Thanks, Kathyb for the fun and easy swap.

The pattern I used is no longer available online, but it uses the Double Woven Stitch - YouTube has a tutorial for completing the stitch here.

Double Woven Dishcloth 
made with US size 7 or 8 needles
one ball of cotton dishcloth yarn

Cast on 38 stitches or any multiple of four

Rows 1-4:   Knit across

Row 5:  K3, P32, K3

Row 6:  K6, *sl 2 wyif, move yarn to back, K2; repeat from * to last
              4 stitches; K4

Row 7:  K3, P32, K3

Row 8:  K4, *sl 2 wyif, move yarn to back, K2; repeat from * to last
              6 stitches; sl 2 wyif, move yarn to back, K4

Row 9:  K3, P32, K3

Rows 10 - 57:  repeat rows 6 - 9 twelve (12) more times

Rows 58 - 60:  Knit across

Bind off

Notes: 
I followed the pattern and had 0.9 oz remaining from the
         2 oz ball of Sugar and Cream
Hopefully, the scraps will make a smaller cloth, possibly with 32 stitches
WYIF = with yarn in front - the YouTube video shows this technique

Scrubby pattern can be found in an earlier post.

The package from my Dishcloth Swap partner arrived yesterday. Look at the wonderful things she sent. Five, yes count them-five, dishcloths, a skein of cotton crochet thread that is perfect for reinforcing sock heels and toes, a DPN case (Betsy made it), and some yummy tea. Thank you, Betsy for being my partner in the swap.

the treasure trove of goodies from my swap partner
August 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

Board Coverup

new fabric for pressing board
The large pressing board in my sewing room has needed a new cover for quite some time, and those available online that would fit the 24 x 60 inch board are only white/cream and covered with a gird. I wanted color and something that would not show scorch marks too much. The large-print 60 inch wide fabric (100% cotton) was found at Walmart for $3.00 a yard. It's a home decorator fabric (heavier weight), so its perfect a board coverup. The design makes me smile: it reminds me of the illustrations in Dr. Seuss books.
ironing station with a new cover
The new board cover was completed at Marilyn's house a couple of weeks ago and put it on the pressing board as soon as I got home. The original cover had string in the channel around the edge, but for this cover, I used a flat, nylon rope and a spring fastener from an old sweatshirt hood string to keep the rope taut.

I purchased a black, white, and grey print for Marilyn's board, which is not as wide as my board, so some adjustments were made in the "pattern."

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes
Quilt of Valor
57 x 69
Last week, Marilyn and I had another Sisters' Sewing Retreat. I prepped the fabric for this top and another one before traveling to Denver.

The flags in Stars and Stripes and the large panel used to make Allegiance were purchased at a Kansas quilt shop last summer. I haven't seen the panels in any other fabric shop, before or since last summer's trip.

The flags were fussy-cut from the panel and then framed, the star within a star blocks were made with stash fabric, and the piano key border was made with Mary's donated fabric.

Pattern:  American Dreams (Pieced A) - free online pattern

Stars and Stripes is Quilt of Valor #98


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bernina Spa Day

Kurt E. cleans and conditions my Bernina
August 2016
Marilyn usually has her sewing machine cleaned at quilt shop in her area, and since I was in Denver last week, I asked if the technician was scheduled to be at the quilt shop. Unfortunately, he wasn't going to be at the shop until September, so Marilyn asked if he made "house calls." I was thrilled to sit in her kitchen and watch him clean and condition my two Berninas.

Last year, I had my oldest machine (purchased in 2004) "cleaned" at a dealer in Casper, WY.  At Marilyn's kitchen table, Kurt, a certified Bernina technician, discovered they hadn't done a very good job: the gear controlling the bobbin was clogged with gunk. He surmised the "cleaning" was only cosmetic and that they hadn't taken the cover off of the machine.

My newer machine was purchased in September 2015 and just needed a bit of a tune-up and oiling.

I sat and watched Kurt take the machines down their chassis, which was interesting in itself, but he also explained a lot about the workings and how to properly oil the bobbin area. I asked to take some photos so I wouldn't forget the areas that I need to oil in the future.

While the photos are specific to Bernina machines, it applies to nearly all sewing machines.

First, remove the bobbin and expose the bobbin shuttle.


Oil the groove around the area that holds the bobbin shuttle with a small line of oil.


Make sure to oil both sides.


Then, clean the bobbin shuttle with a soft cloth and place a small line of oil along the grove on the top side.


Turn the bobbin shuttle over and oil the ledge there, too.


The Bernina has a plastic part that holds the bobbin shuttle into place. That also needs to be oiled where it touches the metal of the shuttle. 

Make sure the bobbin shuttle is back into position and that the plastic ring is also snapped into place. Insert a bobbin and sew on a piece of scrap cloth until the oil is no longer visible in the stitching. 


Kurt spent about an hour on each machine and had both purring when he was finished.

I was very pleased with the cleaning and conditioning that Kurt did on my machine. If you are in the Denver area, I highly recommend his work.



(photos and contact information shared with Kurt's permission.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sneak Peek

star in a star block
August 2016
Last week, Marilyn and I had another Sisters' Sew-in, and this block is a sneak peek at the next Quilt of Valor in the works.

The center fabric is printed with the tiny blocks, but it almost looks like the centers of the Star in a Star blocks are pieced.

These fabrics are from my stash: the white fabric is one of the pieces Mary gave me a month ago. I plan to use more of Mary's fabric in the piano key border.

More photos to come. . .


Monday, August 15, 2016

Eyelet Ridge Cowl

close-up of Eyelet Ridge Cowl
August 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I found some single skeins of a light worsted yarn and knew it would make a lovely cowl.
cowl before blocking 
The cowl was a fairly quick knit and came off the needles after a couple of days of sporadic knitting.

Note how the top and bottom edges folded in on the cowl which would be okay, but I wanted the cowl to be deeper and easily blocked it flat.

blocked cowl
The colors in this last photo are fairly true to the actual colors.

Pattern by Sour Cherries

Yarn:  Knitting Fever - Painted Sky (Brick #202)
            one skein - 218 yards (100 grams)
            100% superwash merino

Needles: US 7


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Signals and Shifting


A few weeks ago as I was approaching a four-way intersection, I noticed the driver in front of me using hand signals to indicate his intentions. It has been YEARS since I've seen anyone use the gestures. In the 1950s and even the early 60s many cars did not have signal lights, so I saw them frequently. Drivers even rolled down the window in the winter to signal.

The signals are encouraged for cyclists, but honestly, I've never seen a cyclist use the signals in my area.

After I moved through the intersection that day, I began to ponder other driving changes. I learned how to drive on the farm when I was in Junior High. When my brother fed the cows in the pasture, he would put the pickup in first gear (granny) and then jump in the bed to throw the bales off for the cows. Eventually, he expected me to put the pickup or truck in gear and drive through the field. He cursed a few (many) times, when I nearly threw him off of the truck bed, and out of frustration, I learned the mechanics of maneuvering the clutch and the gear shift.


Manual transmissions are still common in my area: my first car had a manual transmission, and the pickup I purchased several years later did, too. The gear shifts in both vehicles were on the floor.

I remember at least one of the cars (tanks) my family had in my early years, had a column shift, but I'd never driven one until I was teaching in Wheatland, WY in the 1970s. In those days, the advisor drove the van or buses on trips, and on one trip I drove a van with a column shift. Because I'd driven with a floor gear shift, I didn't have any problem adapting.

Some questions to ponder:
     •  Can you drive a vehicle with a manual transmission?
     •  Have you used a column shift?
     •  Do individuals in your area use hand signals when driving or biking?


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