Thursday, May 31, 2018

Back in Time - Fiber Guild

Fiber Guild members gather at Nancy J.'s house for a Christmas meeting
approximately 2011
For years, the Fiber Guild met at Nancy J.'s house for its December meeting. Many times, members would bring a wrapped skein of yarn for a gift exchange. Often Nancy would organize some musical entertainment. One year, several of the Riverton ladies performed attempted to perform Christmas carols accompanied with Boom Whackers; another year, one of Nancy's piano students entertained the members. Santa even showed up one year with treats for those in attendance.

Refreshments often included mulled cider, an egg casserole, and Julie W.'s  famous cranberry coffee cake. Gradually, the group outgrew Nancy's house, and we met in larger venues.

To give you an idea of what Boom Whackers sound like, here's a video for your enjoyment. The Riverton ladies had a lot of fun playing the Boom Whackers, but we spent more time laughing than actually playing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Sharing a Technique

May 2018
Long-time readers know that I knit socks exclusively on two circular needles. A woman in the Monday afternoon Needlers group wanted to learn the technique, so I cast on a pair of socks to knit along with her. She mastered the heel flap, heel turn, and the gusset without any difficulty. The yarn I'm using for this pair was given to me a couple of months ago by Julie W.

Val S. is enjoying the technique, and I doubt that she will return to knitting socks with double-point needles (DPNs).

             50% superwash wool, 25% soy silk,
             22.5% cotton, 2.5% Chitin

      US size 2

Have you taught someone a "new" technique?

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Blogger seems to be playing tricks: currently it's not emailing comments left on posts for many bloggers, so this is not something that I can fix. I enjoy responding to comments, so I hope the glitch is worked out soon. If you've recently left a comment and I haven't responded, it's not because I don't appreciate your thoughts, it's because I haven't seen them. Until this issue is resolved, I'll check my blog daily for your comments and reply when I can. Thanks for your patience and for continuing to read and comment on my posts. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Book Selections

May 2018

Books that I've "read" since March:

      Stranger in Paradise by Robert B. Parker   👍
      Bear Town by Fredrik Backman   👍 👍
      The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman   👍
      "E" is for Evidence by Sue Grafton   👍
      Death in Paradise by Robert B. Parker   👍
      A Fine Summer's Day by Charles Todd   👍
      The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah  👍
      Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr  👍
      Cop Town by Karin Slaughter  👍
      The Blue Bedroom and Other Stories by Rosamunde Pilcher 👍
      The Empty House by Rosamunde Pilcher 👍
      American Fire by Monica Hesse   👍 👍
      Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight   👎 👎
      A Superior Death by Nevada Barr   👍
      Running on Empty by Christine Musello   👎 👎
      The Guilty by David Baldacci   👍 👍
      Loving Eleanor by Susan Wittig Albert  

I try to select at least one non-fiction book each month. Sadly, the two on this list were not worth my time, and I listened to more than half of each of them. Two thumbs down is actually very generous.

I just started reading Loving Eleanor, a fictionalized autobiography detailing the relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and her friend, AP Reporter Lorena Hickock. The book is based on thousands of actual letters exchanged between Eleanor and "Hick" over the years of their intimate relationship. Their story illustrates that history holds many secrets.

Have you read any surprising and/or scandalous books?

Monday, May 28, 2018

Reflect & Honor

Arlington National Cemetery
March mid-1990s 

Many men and women have given their lives for our freedoms. 

Take a moment to reflect . . . 

to appreciate their service to our country . . . 

image found online

to remember and honor their ultimate sacrifice. 

Friday, May 25, 2018


Medtronic pacemaker interrogator
May 2018
Every six months, I find myself sitting in a small exam room hooked up to this machine: it's what my cardiologist uses to interrogate my pacemaker to see if it is functioning as intended.

Since 2013, my heart has been paced by a dual chamber Medtronic pacemaker: it is not MRI compatible. Technology has changed a lot since 2013 and pacers are getting smaller and smarter. Now, some pacemakers can be interrogated wirelessly via an app or a device similar to a smart phone. I asked my cardiologist about the small devices, and he said they are currently only for single-chamber pacing and are leadless (no wires threaded through a vein and into the heart chambers).

My pacemaker has approximately 8 years of battery life remaining. Since the pacemaker is a sealed unit, when my cardiologist feels it is close to losing power, the entire pacemaker will be replaced and attached to the leads (wires) that are embedded in my heart's chambers.

Who knows what technological advancements will be available at that time.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Back in Time - Volcanoes

tourists examine a lava field in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
 June 1976
Forty-two years ago, I visited Hawaii for the first time, and the tour featured a stop at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It was a desolate landscape, filled with lava fields and very little vegetation.

lava mound
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
June 1976
Kilauea caldera rim
taken from the Kilauea Visitor Center
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
June 1976
It doesn't look anything like the images that are currently on the nightly news.

Those living in the path of Kilauea's recent eruptions must be terrified. Not many people think about having a live volcano in their backyard. Do you?

I live 240 miles from the world's largest supervolcano caldera in Yellowstone National Park and sometimes ponder the threat that it "could" present. The likelihood of an eruption is small . . . or is it?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Square Dance - clue #5

sewing Clue #5 of Square Dance QAL
May 2018
Clue #5 for the Square Dance QAL was released on Friday. This clue involved sewing two units together.
oops - six units sewn together incorrectly
It was an easy clue, but somehow I got distracted and sewed six units together incorrectly.

Out came the seam ripper, and within a half an hour all the units were sewn correctly and pressed.

awaiting the final clue
Next month, the newly created units and the nine-patches will somehow be turned into a quilt top, and the Square Dance QAL will be finished.

If you are interested in making this quilt in the future, you'd better download the clues, because they will be removed from Carol's site after the reveal.

Square Dance clues 1 - 5

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Back in Time - Wedding Party

ring bearer and flower girls
near Kinnear, WY
approximately 1956
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex' wedding, an elegant and romantic affair, was the topic of conversation all weekend. Over the years, I have been in three wedding parties: as a flower girl when I was a child and as a maid of honor for two friends.

My debut as a flower girl almost didn't happen: I was a shy child and remember hiding behind a chair in our front room when it was time to go to the church. The photo (I'm in the middle) shows that someone managed to persuade me to go to the Mendenhall wedding.

Other than your own wedding, have you ever been in a wedding party?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Lone Star

Lone Star
56 x 67 inches
Quilt of Valor #143
This UFO can be checked off of the May UFO Challenge list. It didn't take long to make, but all the HSTs required tedious trimming and squaring.

I've cut the fabric for another flag quilt and hope to have it finished before the end of May.

Notes: As I stated in an earlier post, two vertical rows were added in order to meet the minimal size requirement for a Quilt of Valor.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Mismatched Mitts

fingerless mitts
May 2018
While my knitting progress has slowed, my needles still hold projects. A set of needles in my knitting bag contain a stalled pair of socks. I'll pick up that project again once the fingerless mitts are finished.

A couple of months ago, a knitting friend (Julie W.) gave me some sock yarn. One of the skeins was Poems Socks by Wisdom Yarns (Universal Yarn) 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon - color #963 Girly Girl. The yarn has a different feel and has a halo when knit - almost like it contains some mohair.

one pair finished; another pair in progress
May 2018
It's self-striping, so the mitts will be mismatched. The 100 gram skein will easily make two pair of fingerless mitts - a pair from me and a pair for a friend.

Thank you, Julie for this colorful yarn.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

They're Back . . .

Maxine is one of my favorite cartoons because she doesn't mince words and often doesn't have much of a filter. While I am getting older and more irritable, my neighbors will be pleased that colorful geraniums will be back on my front step this summer.  

I didn't purchase any plants for my front step last spring because I didn't think I would be able to adequately care for them following my knee surgery. My neighbor commented that she missed seeing the colorful geraniums in front of my house. 

Last week, I had some annual appointments in Casper, and one of the items on my shopping list was to find some reasonably priced geranium plants. Typically, the cost of plants is cheaper around Mother's Day, especially at Menards, and I purchased five hanging baskets there for $46.

five hanging baskets of geraniums
May 2018
It may seem odd to some, but before I put the plants in my car, I snip all the flowers off for two reasons: one, to avoid having a mass of fallen petals in my trunk, and two, to allow the plant to rest. Removing the blooms helps the plants adjust to their environment and allows them to put their energy into growing stronger. Nursery plants get stressed, and a stressed plant can become diseased.

The plants will be loaded again with blooms.

What plants do you like to have near your front door?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

June's House

tiny house carving by Connie H.
May 2018
This tiny house carving arrived in the mail last week. It's amazing and adorable.

Connie (Far Side of Fifty) has a snow stick contest every year where her blog readers guess when all the snow in her Minnesota yard is completely melted at the Snow Stick. This year, she added a contest to guess when a large pile of snow (plowed from her driveway) she named June would disappear completely. My guess was April 27, 2018.

June disappeared on the 186th day of winter - April 30, 2018. Since my guess was the closest to that date, I won the contest, and I received a bark carving by Connie.

Connie and her husband (Far Guy) have been carving for several years and create beautiful hand-carved Christmas ornaments for multiple family members and friends each year. They design and create the ornaments throughout the year, and Connie adds a bit of paint to enhance the details. Connie and Far Guy also teach others the craft. You can read about their carving and classes here.

I am beyond thrilled to have one of Connie's creations. It reminds me of a garden fairy house.

Thank you, Connie for hosting the fun contests on your blog, and for sending me this adorable tiny house. I love it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

UFO progress

trimming HST blocks
May 2018
I'm making slow progress on this month's UFO. Because I added some width to the pattern in order to meet the QOV size requirements, I made 48 red/red half-square triangles, and 40 white/cream half-square triangles.

88 trimmed and squared HSTs
Whenever a pattern says to make two HSTs at a time  from a square of fabric with a measurement like 6 7/8",  I cut a 7" square instead to give myself a tiny bit of wiggle room. Invariably, if I don't add the 1/8", I end up with a HST that is too small. When squaring the blocks, the trimmings are sometimes a sliver and sometimes merely the 1/8", but the blocks are always the correct size.

This small adjustment always works for me and eliminates the frustration of having to redo the HSTs.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Rancher's Wife Antiques

Rancher's Wife Antiques
Berthod, CO
April 2018
Isn't this a cool mural? Since I was sitting in the back seat of the vehicle, I didn't see the mural until I walked across the street. The mural was impressive, and it was fun to see all the antiques in the building.

A ponderable: If you can recognize and identify the items in an antique shop, does that mean you are also an antique?

Friday, May 11, 2018

Back in Time - Central Wyoming College

Central Wyoming College faculty and graduating class
(click image to enlarge)
yellow star is over my head
May 1971
Central Wyoming College (CWC) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and I am proud to be an alum of this small community college. By the time I graduated from high school (1969), CWC had graduated two classes. To increase the student body in those early years when the college had no dormitories, the college paid students to drive. Having the option of living at home and attending college was an attractive proposition. I received my Associates' Degree in 1971 and was a member of the third graduating class of Central Wyoming College. More about the college's history can be found on Wikipedia. After graduation, I attended the University of Wyoming (UW) in Laramie, Wyoming, and graduated in the summer of 1973 with my Bachelor's Degree in education, with minors in theater and speech. CWC prepared me well for my transition to UW.

The campus had three buildings: one held all the administration offices, the library, and a small student union; another contained the classrooms, a lecture hall, and the faculty offices; a maintenance building set off to the side. The physical education classes were held in local high schools: I drove to St. Stephens for my early morning tennis class, and to the Riverton bowling alley for bowling.

Many local people didn't think CWC would be successful and often referred to it as Harvard on the Hill; however, it has flourished.

Over the years, the campus has grown and the original buildings have been remodeled several times. The campus now includes: dormitories and apartments; tennis and basketball courts; gymnasium and sports programs; large student union and cafeteria; performing arts building for art, music, theater, dance; health science building for nursing, computer and applied science, physical science; vocational building for construction, welding, auto mechanics; a large library, production studio for Wyoming PBS and a college radio station, and probably others.

The college even has satellite locations in Lander, Jackson, and Dubois.

Earlier posts about CWC can be found here

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Effective System

four scrap yarn baby hats
May 2018
I have fewer sock yarn scraps since I've started knitting a baby hat immediately after finishing a pair of socks. If I have any yarn remaining after knitting a hat. it is usually a very small amount, which results in the colorful hats shown in the top row.

Sometimes, it is overwhelming to have a bag full of scraps, so I am happy with my "new" system.

How do you keep your scraps under control?

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

May UFO Challenge

UFO to be made in May
A roll of the die revealed that number three is the project for May. The project from my UFO Challenge list under that number is the Freedom Flag quilt. Marilyn and I made quilts with this pattern in 2011: the two I made were Quits of Valor.

I liked the pattern so much that I wanted to make another one. The pattern calls for a gradient red fabric, and since 2011, I've had a heck of a time finding it. When my great-niece was married in 2015, I chanced upon the fabric in an Ogallala, NE quilt shop. The yardage has been marinating for three years and is ready to be used.

Finding time to sew this month will be tricky, as May is full of my annual "ists'" appointments: optometrist, periodontist, cardiologist, dermatologist, pulmonologist.

Do you schedule your annual appointments in the same month?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Melting Pot #2

Melting Pot #2
59 x 71 inches
Quilt of Valor #142
Melting Pot #2 came together fairly quickly after the four-patches were made. Using the four-patches and some HSTs, I made nine red and eleven blue Jacob Ladder blocks.

The wide border was made with some of the yardage that Judy M. donated.

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