Friday, March 30, 2018

"Hairy" Knitting

preparing to cast on
March 2018
Someone donated two skeins of Haute Fur to the local charity knitting group, and I took both skeins to knit "No-Hair-Day" Chemo Cap by Sue W. Thompson (Ravelry link)

I've knit several of the caps before, but this was the first time I'd knit with the Yarn Bee brand (Hobby Lobby). The skein contains 76 yards, and I thought it would be enough to knit a medium/large cap, and it nearly was.

The pattern is easy - just plain knit in the round for six inches and then begin decreasing. I was on the sixth row of decreases when the tail of the yarn came into view over the arm of my knitting chair. Tinking back is impossible with this hairy yarn, so I to make some adjustments and began decreasing more quickly. In the end, it didn't change the appearance of the hat, but it's probably a half and inch shorter. After knitting the hat/cap is turned inside out so the smooth knit side is worn next to the head.
a very "hairy" cap
Yarn Bee Haute Fur yarn - Magenta #545
March 2018
Now that I'm aware of how the yarn knits, the multi-colored skein, shown above, will become a size small/medium cap and shouldn't need any last minute adjustments to the pattern.

I recommend this yarn for knitting the "No-Hair-Day" cap because it doesn't require attaching a new ball/skein of yarn, and the "hair" fibers are much longer than the Lion Brand Fun Fur yarn I've used; thus, creating a more realistic and thicker head of "hair."

Do you like knitting with eyelash, novelty yarn?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Book Recommendations

reading and knitting
March 2018
I can't remember whose blog post recommended Donna Tartt's book, The Goldfinch, but I liked it. It is a compelling and sometimes dark story. The plot gets bogged down in several places with unnecessary explanations: in my opinion, large sections could have been cut without changing the story. Be aware, that this book uses the "F" word liberally.

Sewing and knitting are wonderful accompaniments to audio books: another pair of socks will soon be finished.

Books that I have recently read and recommend:
  (books with ** are highly recommended)
** The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
    Lie in Wait by Eric Richstad
    The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech
** A Man Called Ove  by Fredrik Backman
    All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
** The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate
    The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
    Split Image by Robert B. Parker
    Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict
    The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman
    Sleeping Tiger by Rosamunde Pilcher
    Voices in Summer by Rosamunde Pilcher
** Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
    A Single Breath by Lucy Clark
    Deliver Us from Evil by David Baldacci
    My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
    The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

What book(s) do you recommend that I add to my book queue?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Marketing Ploy

deceptive marketing ploy
March 2018
I am aware that businesses have to be creative to be successful, but using deceptive tactics is not acceptable to me.

A "credit adjustment" document (portion of it shown above) arrived in the mail from a marketing group for O magazine. I haven't subscribed to this publication for at least two years (I can read it on my iPad using the public library app), and do NOT have a credit balance.

 The statement states the magazine is $54 annually and my "adjusted rate" is $8 because of all my "credit." A bit of online research clearly shows the annual subscription rate is $15.
The $8 rate is a great deal, but why would the publisher resort to such deceptive tactics?

I have become cynical: I question every piece of mail, every phone call, every email, every interaction.  Do you?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Nature's Call

Nature's Call
57 x 73 inches
Quilt of Valor #138
This panel has been in my stash for a long time and was added to my UFO challenge list to be completed this year. Horizontal panels can be a challenge, so I searched Pinterest for ideas and discovered this pattern that highlights and complements the panel.

Pattern: Reflections by Mountainpeek Creations

Monday, March 26, 2018

Pair #3

baby hat & pair of socks (women's size 9)
March 2018
One of my goals this year is to knit at least one pair of socks a month. Last week, these colorful socks were finished, and I knit baby hat with the remaining yardage. Only a tiny bit of yarn remains.

Doesn't this colorful yarn (Cascade Yarns - Heritage Prints #04 - Iris) remind you of Spring and Easter eggs.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Back in Time - Prexy's Pasture

Prexy's Pasture (facing west)
University of Wyoming campus
Laramie, WY
March 16, 2018
Kyle Spradley Photography ~ Facebook image
Seeing this photo of Prexy's Pasture brought back memories of my two and half years at the University of Wyoming.

I can't begin to count the number of times I trudged across Prexy's Pasture on my way to classes at UW in the early 70s. The wind was often howling and drifting snow across the open space in the winter. Cold nights in the spring would turn the sidewalks into treacherous ice corridors. One early morning, I fell so many times, that I finally took off my shoes and walked in my socks to get to class on time. The pine trees have grown a lot since the early 70s and probably buffer some of the brutal wind and reduce how much the snow can drift in the area. In the summer, the campus is gorgeous with green spaces and blooming flowers.

The UW campus has expanded so much that it is clearly more than double what it was in the 70s. The only part that hasn't changed much is the area around Prexy's Pasture - the site near the original UW campus.

According to Wikipedia, Prexy's Pasture is a large grassy area located within a ring of classroom and administrative buildings and serves as the center mall of the campus. The name is attributed to an obscure rule that the university president, or "prexy", is given exclusive use of the area for livestock grazing. During the administration of Arthur G. Crane the name, "Prexy's Pasture", was formally declared. Prexy's, as it is often called today, is also known for the unique pattern formed by concrete pathways that students and faculty use to cross the pasture.

When the University of Wyoming first opened its doors in 1887, Prexy's Pasture was nothing more than an actual pasture covered in native grasses. The football team played their games on the pasture until 1922, when Corbett Field opened at the southeast corner of campus. Over time, as the needs of the university has changed, the area has been altered and redesigned. The original design was established in 1924 and in 1949 the area was landscaped with Blue Spruce and Mugo Pine. In February 1965, the Board of Trustees decided to construct the new science center on the west side of Prexy's Pasture. The board president, Harold F. Newton, who was concerned about the location, leaked the decision to the local press. The uproar that followed caused the board to decide on a new location for the science center and resulted in a new state statute making it necessary for any new structure built on the pasture to receive legislative approval.

Prexy's Pasture (facing east)
University of Wyoming campus
Laramie, WY

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Patriot

The Patriot
62 x 81 inches
Quilt of Valor #137
The final clue to the mystery was released last Wednesday, and by Saturday, the pieces were sewn together into a quilt top.

I think the design would be more pleasing to the eye if all the red and white striped blocks were going the same direction to resemble a flag.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Doll Quilts

four doll quilts
March 2018
On Saturday, I found some appropriate squares and orphan four-patches in my scrap bins and made four doll quilts for A Doll Like Me (Facebook link) project.

I learned about the project from Mary's blog (Making Quilts from Stash) and followed the link to Needle and Foot. I am too late to join Bernie's collection drive, but I decided to make a a few dolls quilts to send on my own.

The four little doll quilts and the Sunbonnet Sue doll blanket are in the mail.

image from A Doll Like Me
The dolls that Amy makes are created to match their owners and their special needs. 

Quilters always have orphan blocks that can be turned into adorable and quick doll quilts. The Doll Like Me project also welcomes knit and crochet doll blankets. If you want to help, contact Amy on the Facebook page.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Can It Be?

According to the calendar, today is the day!

I saw a pair of robins yesterday . . . spring-like weather will hopefully be here soon.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Square Dance - clue #2

Square Dance - clue #2
112 blocks (two sizes)
Clue #2 for the Square Dance QAL was released on Friday. Since the fabric was already cut, the pieces were quickly sewn. Fifty-six of the blocks are made with 2.5 x 6.5 inch strips, and fifty-six blocks are made from 3 x 7.5 inch strips.

All the pieces have been used, so next month the clue will likely be about assembling some larger units.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Back in Time - Hawaii 1976

dancers at the Polynesian Culture Center
June 1976
Lately I've been yearning for color, as the landscape is still brown and grey with a bit of the white stuff still visible here and there. I searched my old photos and found these two images from the first trip I made to Hawaii - June 1976. Hawaii is beautiful and colorful - the perfect getaway (even in photos) for a winter weary soul.

Polynesian Culture Center
June 1976
I returned to Hawaii in 1985 and then again in 2010.  Have you visited Hawaii?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Tavern Blues - a finish

pieced border fabric
March 2018
I really wanted to finish the Tavern Blues quilt in January, but my motivation flagged when I discovered I didn't have enough fabric for the borders. Last week, I bit the bullet and cut and pieced the border strips together. The fabric didn't cooperate well with my efforts to piece it, but I decided it was good enough and probably wouldn't be that visible when the top was quilted.

finished Tavern Blues quilt
March 2018
As I've mentioned before, this quilt is a beast (96 inches square) and I don't have a large enough area to hang the quilt to get a good photo. I had to move the kitchen table out of the way to even measure the final borders.

cornerstones instead of mitering
March 2018
Because I was short of border fabric, I could not miter the corners, so I added cornerstones, using the same fabric as the sashing cornerstones.

The backing is made, and the quilt is ready to take to the longarmer for quilting. I am thrilled to have this quilt top finished. I'll share a better photo of the whole quilt when it is quilted and bound.

Tavern Blues is a Civil War inspired pattern by Bonnie Blue Quilts and designed by Paula Barnes.

The story behind the quilt, as printed on the pattern:

At the age of 17, Mary Elizabeth Jenkins married John Harrison Surratt, a 28 year old farmer and land holder. They had three children together.

In 1851 the home they lived in burned to the ground. John purchased 200 acres in what is now known as Clinton, Maryland and built a new home and tavern. Surratt Tavern was also a post office, a safe house for the Confederate underground, a polling place, and an inn. 

Over the years, John Surratt became an alcoholic and was reportedly both mentally and physically abusive to Mary. 

After his sudden death of a stroke in 1862, Mary was forced to sell off land to pay off her husband's debts. She moved into a townhouse her husband had purchased earlier in Washington, D.C., and she rented the tavern to an ex-policeman, John Lloyd, who would later testify against her in the conspiracy trial of Lincoln's assassination. 

Mary turned the townhouse into a boarding house, and it was there that Mary's son John Surratt Jr., a Confederate spy during the war, introduced her to John Wilkes Booth and other conspirators. 

Mary Surratt and three other conspirators were tried and found guilty in the assassination plot of President Lincoln and as a result were sentenced to death. On July 7, 1865 they were sent to the gallows and hung, making Mary Surratt the first woman to be executed by the United States government. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sock Knitting Continues

women's size 9 - 10
March 2018
Most of the sock yarn in my stash is self-striping, and I enjoy watching the stripes reveal themselves as I knit. The stripes keep me motivated, as I will pull the yarn out of the ball and challenge myself to knit just one more stripe.

Ellen gifted this ball of yarn to me, and I love the colors. Thanks again, Ellen!

Yarn: Cascade Yarns - Heritage Prints (#22 - Fall Harvest)
           75% superwash merino, 25% nylon

Needles:  US size 2

Stitches: cuff - 64 stitches, foot 60 stitches

baby hat knit with scraps from Fall Harvest socks
I decided to use the scrap yarn immediately to knit a baby hat. Only a small bit of this yarn remains, and soon it will be combined with other bits to knit another baby hat for donation.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Patriot - clue #4

The Patriot mystery QOV
clues 1 - 4
March 2018
Clue #4 produced another set of 9.5 inch rail fence blocks. I decided to use both white and red string scraps and made my "rails" irregular. The four 3.5 inch strips of scraps are 30ish and 40ish in length.

Clues for this mystery can be found here:

    Fabric Requirements

    Clue #1

    Clue #2

    Clue #3

    Clue #4

Monday, March 12, 2018

Patriotic Pride

Patriotic Pride
60 x 70 inches
Quilt of Valor #136
The Patriotic Pride panel was purchased at the Dubois quilt show last year. The panel is produced by Studio Fabrics and is pattern #3596P

I love how the names fit in the shape of each State.

This is first UFO finish for March.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Give Me a Break!

As ridiculous as it seems, I cannot answer my phone if I don't recognize the number on caller ID. I am being besieged with telemarketing calls: forty-five calls in the short month of February, and as of today, I have received 23 calls in March.
I registered on the Do Not Call list in 2008, and according to the Registry, my number is still listed. It appears the crooks have outsmarted the authorities once again. The problem is that they change numbers so quickly that they cannot be tracked or even blocked.

Some calls I receive are local numbers, and others appear on my caller ID with names I recognize, but they are not those individuals: their numbers have been "cloned."

Technology is allowing the telemarketing industry to legally stalk and harass citizens. If someone rang our doorbells two, three, or four times a day, local authorities could deal with them.

Ignoring the calls is not working and being on the Do Not Call registry is not working. Disconnecting the phone is the only solution to this frustrating situation; however, I don't want to go to that extreme.

How do you handle this annoying problem?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

March UFOs

March UFO selection
Marilyn asked me to roll the die for this month's UFO selection - a five.

My #5 UFOs are unfinished Quilts of Valor - a word panel and some wildlife panels. The wildlife panels have been in my stash for over three years. In recent years, more veterans in this area have selected wildlife or hunting related quilts over patriotic quilts.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Scrap Control

scrap bins reaching capacity
March 2018
One of my goals in 2018 is to keep my sewing area tidy or at least tidier than it's been in the past. Instead of tossing scraps in a box and dealing with them in the distant future, I'm trying to deal with them once a month.

The pieces are pressed and then cut into useable sizes and placed in my scrap bins. As you can see from the labels, I cut the fabric chunks into squares and strips. The condition of these boxes determine when more scrap quilts are created. The 2.5 inch strip bin was once contained in one of the plastic shoe boxes but recently moved into the larger box which is clearly twice as large. I need to bring that box under control.

The clear plastic box shown upper left contained single 2.5 inch squares. To clean out that box, I made four-patch units. Once they were sewn and pressed, I had over 100 four-patches. I have an idea of how these will be used, but it's on the back burner right now.
over 100 four-patch blocks
March 2018
Scrap control is never-ending, but at least the boxes keep the scraps contained and tidy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Special Delivery

stitch markers made by FarSide (Connie)
March 2018
I found a surprise package in my mail last week:  a variety of stitch markers made by Far Side (Connie) who lives in Minnesota. Connie is a multi-talented lady: photography, wood carving, scrapbooking, card making, beading. You may enjoy her two blogs: Far Side of Fifty and Forgotten Old Photos. Thanks, Connie for making my day special.

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