Sunday, June 5, 2022

GOOD AS NEW

A few weeks ago I showed this wheel from an ex student,
 missing some parts and in need of some tender loving care.
My husband and I took most of it apart,
and I gave it a good rubbing and cleaning with linseed oil.
My husband fabricated the parts of the treadle that were missing
and we put it back together again.
Then of course I had to give it a test drive.
I used some beautifully soft and clean Blue Faced Leister roving
from Capistrano Fiber Arts and the old gal is as good as new.

Now I think I'll mordant the skein and put it in a solar dye jar with some lovely pink and purple fushias I've been saving.
Have never dyed with those before.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

LOST & FOUND

It's been awhile since I've laid eyes on this Kaleidoscope Cardi,
pattern by Knit Collage.  
I was searching for something else recently and found this instead.
I'd forgotten how much I loved it 3 years ago when I weighted 25 pds. less.
Ha!
So guess what,
I really want to finish it and loose the weight so I can wear it.
This last month I've been trying to loose some pounds,
even before I found this.
Now keep in mind,
I'm always trying to loose weight.
It's my life.
I've tried fasting, weight lifting, cardio, eating way better,
but nothing has been working like it used to when I was teaching 
and never, ever sat down all day.
So a friend at the gym who recently lost a ton of weight shared his secret.
Walking, counting steps and caloric deficient.
Well I was already doing all those things.
He simple said you aren't doing enough walking.
And he was right!
He said you have to do at least 15,000 steps a day,
everyday.
Eat all the vegies and fruit you want,
and cut back to only 2 meals a day.
Plus continue to lift weights at gym along with sit-ups and leg lifts.
I was averaging between 6000 to 10,000 steps in retirement,
so about a month ago I really picked up my pace.
My children set me up with Audible (books on tape) for my birthday,
headphones and a fanny pack.
And now I'm averaging between 12,000 and 15,000 steps a day
and have lost 6 pds. that I'm managing to miraculously keep off. 
I'm even trying to pick up the pace more by doing a little bit of jogging,
plus lots of hills.
People are starting to notice 
that my upper arms, butt and thighs are looking slimmer.
YES!!!!
But where I'm really noticing it is in my upper stomach,
right under my breasts which no one will ever see again.
LOL
I can't tell you how excited I am.
I'm even noticing that I'm standing taller and feeling lighter on my feet,
and it feels so good.
The down side is it takes a chunk of time from my day and evening.
And discipline,
lots of discipline!
I'll let you know how it goes.

Are you wondering if I allow myself a cheat day?
You betcha.
One day a week I get one scoop of ice cream
but I keep on truckin' on that day as well.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

SHORTY SOCK PEEK

Almost finished with Shorty Sock #1 from the skeins you saw spun up in last post.
Remember,
 these spinning batts came from Lindsey at Artifacts of Appreciation 
as well as her pattern for Shorty Socks.
I learned two new techniques:
a twisted 1 by 1 rib for the cuff,
 and a Dutch Heel Turn.  
Loved the new heel turn technique but hated the twisted ribbing.
The heel turn adds a bit of extra fiber for wear,
but the twisted rib,
well it was twisted
 and hard to get my needle point into each stitch to knit and purl
thru the back of every stitch.
But ohhh does it look nice!

For the cuff I used the dyed BFL/Silk braid spun and plied on itself.
For body of sock Lindsey's spun batts plied on themselves,
and for the heel,
the braid spun and plied with Lindsey's batts.

What I wasn't pleased with is the irregular stripping of sock body batts.
So for the second sock I'm going to experiment more with mixing the 5 batts up more frequently as I spin.
Not super concerned that they won't exactly match when knitted up,
since they are just to wear around the house in the evenings.

At the same time 
(because I have to have at least 10 or more projects going on at one time),
I'm restoring this older spinning wheel which was donated to me by 3-D art student and Alumni Rachel Strong.
Trying to remember when she graduated,
sometime in the early1990's I believe.
She was one of my Crafts superstars back in the day 
and really loved spinning her own yarn.
So her parents bought her this Ashford wheel 
to take with her to Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.
After she graduated,
 it came back home with her to Cypress, Ca. 
where she volunteered her time in several Elementary schools 
showing the kids the how-tos of spinning.
But of course life got too busy for her to spin,
a child as well as the Owner/Dance instructor of her own Strong Dance Studio.
Needless to say this wheel has some history behind it.
It was stored in my kiln room 
(which was always a big mess about to be cleaned up type of a place)
for many years and has since lost some of its parts,
namely a Footman and it's Treadle.
But with the help of my husband 
I'm pretty sure we could fabricate those,
 unless,
 anyone out there has any other ideas?
I just finished gluing up the bottom of the Mother of All
so I'm pretty excited about that.
And have watched a few videos about taking the wheel completely apart
to de-rust and restore parts and finishes.
I can do this!
After all,
I put my first Ashford together 40+ years ago from scratch,
by myself,
and it only took me a full day.
HA!

Monday, April 18, 2022

A PEEK AT WHAT I'M WORKING ON

A recent discovery is Lindsey and her site at 
www.artifactsofappreciation
up in Canada.
She is an avid spinner/knitter who sells the most luscious batts to spin up.
So yummy they include wool, alpaca, silk and kid mohair all carded together.
Above I separated the 5 batts she sent me into smaller segments.
Each batt was a bit different but they all flow beautifully together
as you can see.
The top half are separated into 8ths and then staggered,
the bottom half are separated into 4ths and lined up into rows.
Then I experimented spinning and plying them different ways.
I also wanted to add a bit more color into some of the yarns.
I had a braid of Blue Faced Leister wool and Tussah silk
that seemed to look good combined with Linsey's batts,
bought from Cowgirls Yarn in Laramie, Wyoming.
Below a much thinner length of the braid being auditioned & ready to spin up.
You can really see above the shine of the Tussah silk peeking out in all the batts.

So from left to right below,
the first skein is one of the experiments plied on itself,
same with the second skein.
I liked the second one better because more of the darker fibers showed up.
The 3rd skein is the braid spun up and plied on itself
Btw, 
I also experimented with how to spin up these batts,
woolen or worsted,
long or short draw or off the fold.
I ended up spinning long draw woolen off the fold for the most softness and shine.
My favorite skein is the 4th one,
 a singles of the braid plied with a singles of Lindsey's batts.
A close-up below.
I haven't used my spinning wheel in at least 3 years now,
and it just feels so good to get back at it.
Because spinning is a global skill,
like riding a bicycle,
it comes right back to you.
Super relaxing while I binge on Netflix's Longmire,
a modern Western murder mystery series about a Wyoming sheriff,
his Deputies & town,
and the Cheyanne people that live on the reservation nearby.
Starring the older but still very handsome Australian actor,
Robert Taylor,
as well as Lou Diamond Philips and A. Martinez. 
The scenery is gorgeous so I looked to see where it was filmed.
Several locations in New Mexico were used
including Santa Fe, Eagles Nest, Espanola, Red River, Los Alamos and Las Vegas.
And the most iconic location in the series is Longmire's log cabin 
filmed in the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

So what to make out of these delicious yarns?
Stay turned for my next post,
or ha ha,
maybe my next one after that. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

CRAZY LUCKY

Usually I kill orchids,
they are one of the plants I've never had too much luck with.
Over the years I can sort of keep them alive,
but rarely get them to bloom.
These two beauties were at my daughter's home in her kitchen window where they were thriving,
but alas,
she felt like they were taking up too much counter space,
so basically I rescued them from an untimely death.
And after about 2 weeks I saw  flower stems emerge from both plants.
I was shocked, thrilled and over-joyed,
but sadly knowing I could not take credit for it.
They were in the perfect storm at her house,
a bright kitchen sink window.
But now there was no way I was giving them back
Ha!!
Then another stem formed as an off shoot of the first one.
Oh boy!!
But then came disaster.
In my zeal to water this baby I accidently broke off the second flower stem.
I was devastated and so mad at myself.
So I tired reaffixing it with a band aide,
but I'm sure you can imagine how that went.
A big fail.
Big lesson I've learned,
 that with older age comes great clumsiness.
Does anyone else have this problem?
Can't keep count of how many times recently that I've tripped and fallen,
and just keep stumbling over things because I forget to look down when I'm in a hurry.
I fell like it started when I turned 60.

And now for the real irony,
I went over to garden with my daughter yesterday and what do I see on her kitchen sink?
You guessed it,
a lovely, brand new blooming orchid.
Crazy woman!

Sunday, March 20, 2022

DECEMBER 1, 2021 TO PRESENT

Am finally caught up on Temperature Blanket,
and am so enjoying this project.
So now it's just one row a day to the end.
Most scared that I will run out of certain yarn colors and I already have over $300 invested.
Did I mention how hard it is to find Peace Fleece right now?
I even had to go outside the U.S. to Canada to find a few of the colors. 
So my fingers are crossed.
The temperatures in Crestline went up into the mid 80's
 and I was able to bring in a new color for that temp.
Can you guess which one it is?
It's called Mourning Dove and represents temps from 84 to 89 degrees
We had a couple of those days mid Feb. and beginning of March.
I'm really hoping that the temps drop way low in April and May 
so I can throw in colors called Amaranth and Woolly Bear.
We usually get one more super cold front between now and the end of May.
Plus we still need more rain and snow to build up enough water 
to take us thru another super warm summer that is predicted for this year.

As Liz from I'm Going to Texas remarked in the comments,
it's looking like a blanket inspired by the Ukraine people,
their flag colors of blue and yellow.
How apropos. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

A TREED KITTY

Our neighbor's dog treed a beautiful bobcat up a tree between our two houses
up on our mountain.
Notice the subtle color running up his back leg?
And just look at that chinny chin chin.
Magnificent!
Then today I saw a thin coyote run across the street from our cabin.
He looked hungry,
and I have a pooch that is all fattened up that he's probably seen on our walks.
Probably licking his chops right now. 

More rain predicted by this weekend.  
Yay!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

THE HILLS ARE COMING ALIVE...

not with the sound of music,
 but with grasses, small trees and mustard greens.
Gorgeousness everywhere you look.  
And these are all the hills that over the past 15 years 
have been burned twice to the ground by our wild fires.
Driving thru them Saturday to the knit store was pure eye candy.
But have you ever tried to take pictures while you are driving 70 mph?
Pretty tricky.
HA!!

Sunday, March 6, 2022

SNEAK PEEK ALONG WITH AN UNPLANNED HAPPY COINCIDENCE

Temperature Blanket yarns have all arrived and been caked up.  
Now to get caught up for 2 1/2 months on Temperature Blanket.
You are looking at the month of Dec. 2021 where I wanted to start this blanket.
The city temperature is based at our cabin in Crestline, Ca.,
and taken at 12 p.m. noon everyday.
This is usually the highest temp during the daytime hours there.
The first of Dec. was a bit on the warmer side (low 80's) 
seen in the light cream on very edge ,
and then dropped a bit (high 70's) to the yellow (Chickie Masla).
 By 3rd of Dec. the temps quickly dropped down into the 60's and a few 50's,
with several days in-between in the 70's.
Needless to say a fairly warm December.
The Peace Fleece Yarn has a bit of a stiff hand
 so I upped the size of the crochet hook from an "H" that was recommended to a "J".
It's helped a bit but still a little denser feeling then I was hoping for.
The yarn is supposed to soften a bit after a gentle warm bath at the end.
I was also told by yarn store owner at Buku Yarns in LaVerne, Ca.
to add lots of extra lanolin in the rinse for softness.
But I'm so enjoying the tweed -like color changes and textures in all the yarns.
Plus the size "J" hook gives it a bit of an open lacy vibe.

Working on 2 separate projects right now.
The pair of socks for Jim (just turned the heel on first one)
and this blanket where I'm averaging about 6 rows of crochet a nite.

The happy coincidence happened after the first several nights of crocheting.
After finishing up one night I left the blanket on the couch 
and the next morning realized that the colors I picked to work with 
are almost identical to the colors in the painting above the couch.
Crazy, right?
My husband and I were so surprised because it was totally unplanned.
So now we know where it will end up when finished. 
Right now it's helping to keep the chill off in the evenings while working on it.

Our pup is enjoying it too!

What a life, huh?
LOL

If you are wondering about the painting,
it is an original oil that Jim purchased before I knew him,
one of his favorite pieces in the house.
It's such a stunning piece and I so admire the artist's loose style.
I guess I'm been looking and crafting under it for a good 10 years now.
Guessing the colors have penetrated my sub-conscious.
You are seeing only 7 of the 12 colors chosen.
Looking forward to incorporating the rest when the weather calls for them.
So far a super fun and exciting project
that's totally controlled by the weather.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

AN ERRIE DAY

    Woke up to this yesterday,
named the Holy Jim Fire located in the Cleveland National Forest,
a mountainous range in Orange County near us.
It looks closer then it was thank goodness.
Shockingly,
 no smell or ashes,
just a very scary looking sky all day and night long.
As of 7:00 last night it had burned 500 acres
but luckily no homes or businesses. 
Today the fire fighters report that only 30 more acres were burned
due to the lack of winds spreading it. 
For once we got lucky. 
The past several days the Santa Ana winds had been a problem but had settled yesterday.
And tomorrow brings rain and possible snow.
We got lucky this time.
This is how it looked last night as the sun was setting at 5:30 or so.
Strange.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

SPIRIT CLOTH INSPIRED

If you haven't had a chance to enroll in any Jude Hill stitch classes,
I really recommend Patchwork Beasts.
Jude of whirled wide Spirit Cloth fame is listed to the right under Artist's I Follow.
Love all her classes,
most of which I've taken over the years,
but it's her beasts faces that are so fun to play with.
Her drawings and watercolors of their faces in her on-line class are whimsical
and offer a lot of ideas to choose from.
I believe this is my 2nd attempt.
My first one can be seen here.
Jude is a wonderful teacher and I've learned so very much from her,
and her blog still continues to inspire and delight everyday.
So thank you Jude!

In our Tues. Nite Fiber Arts class,
we did a bunch of eco-dyeing about  year and a half ago.
Above are the pieces drying out.
We experimented with lots flowers, leaves, fruits & vegies for their dye properties.

After the pieces were opened, washed and ironed it was time to learn a few embroidery stitches along with needle turn applique.
Dang, 
this close up really shows my very messy embroidery.
Whoops!

Anyways...
We only used thin white and off white perle cotton threads to embroider with
which we had placed inside our bundled fabrics so they too absorbed the dyes.
Kinds of fabrics were thrifted linens, cottons and silk.

Each of us choose something different to fill our applique opening with.
I wanted to try another beast face.
Using Jude's famous invisible tacking stitch,
the face was attached to a contrasting piece of dyed cotton. 
I like to thrift really soft, 
old white bed sheets that have been washed many times.
Makes it much more easy to slide the needle thru.

Knowing I wanted to log cabin around the beast,
 here experimenting with several pieces of dyed, torn strips.

Then more stitching to secure/quilt over top,
a few vintage buttons and a twig complete the beast.
Oh,
in one of Jude's first classes I took,
she demoed how to easily fray the edges of the fabrics for a very cool edge.
I love the texture it adds.

A super fun project.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

A TEASE OF SPRING

First Freesia of the year...

and first Tulip.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

FOUND

 

A lovely new site filled with stitch and fiber,
called textileartist.org from all over the whirled
(sorry,  couldn't get the link to work even after 3 tries)
Take a peek.
Bet you'll find some hand stitchers you'll recognize.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

SOCK YARN OBSESSED

Going wild lately with my pension dollars on Indie dyed yarns,
and there are so many dyers out there with beautiful color ways to choose from.
Found this gorgeous skein online from Ancient Arts Yarn in Canada,
and sort of joined their color of the month club
Road Trip Across Canada
 (only buying when I can't live without each month's color way).
And this one,
January's,
above and 2 photos below represents the hills, valleys and skies across Canada.
It was love at first sight.

Here is February's color way called Sunshine Coast,
also extremely striking but I passed on this one.
Just a bit too wild and bright for my taste.


Front side of January's skein.

A lot of these dyers put their color on Fingering weight yarns
(super thin).
This one is 80 % Merino and 20% Nylon,
and is on their Passion 8 base,
a heavier Fingering Weight yarn with 8 plies.
Super soft next to the skin yet the nylon lends itself for sock making,
plus I will add a reinforcement strand at heel and toe area for more wear.
So far this yarn is going into a pair of nightie socks for my husband
who is very hard on his socks.  
Here it is caked into a ball.
Funny,
I didn't think it was as beautiful after I saw it in this format,
so we will see how it knits up.

Here is another recent purchase.
First saw it at Buku Yarns in La Verne, Ca. and really gravitated to it.
But I had just bought the other so I passed it up.
But all weekend it kept sneaking into my consciousness,
 messing with me.
You all know how that is,
right??
So back I went and bought it.
Have you ever seen blues put with the complimentary color way of green and red?
Well maybe years ago in some Xmas fabric, 
but not in a yarn.
Scrumptious!
Backside...
and caked up.
In this one the balling up really disguises all the lovely values of each color.
With this yarn I'm planning on knitting socks for myself
with a new pattern I found online which features a bit of lace around the leg.
But I promised my hubby to finish his socks first.
:)

Next while looking around online I ran across Row One Yarn Club,
oh noooooooo! 
This one is a monthly club as well,
and features 12 different Indie dyers from around the whirled.
Above and below is my first month's package.
These are color ways by an Indie dyer who calls her company Murky Depths.
I actually don't see anything murky about them,
just very sweet color mixes.
They total 100 yards,
also in a thin Fingering Weight yarn,
but not enough to make a pair of socks,
 I don't think,
so I will be searching for pattern ideas.
Or perhaps wait until more batches come in and combine them into something 
like a very soft baby blanket.
Not sure if you noticed what's in the cellophane package of hearts?
A Valentine themed stitch marker 
that I'll give tonight to knit-mate Aileen
 when she comes over for our weekly get-together.
And last but not least,
Row One also included a sticker and yummy bag of M&M's.

And this recent batch that just came in is also from Ancient Arts Yarn.
These baby skeins are referred to as Socknado Twisters,
and come in a zillion different color ways.
They are a Merino/Nylon blend for socks but on a different base that is only a 3 ply.  
Really wanting to experiment with different plies and bases to knit socks with.
Looking for something that's not terribly expensive,
yet doesn't pill up when worn or washed.
Sadly these little booties I made for my hubby a couple of years ago
didn't hold up at all,
although in this pix I had just finished making them.
They are superwash Merino/Nylon and really should have been hand washed
(even though the label says superwash).
 But my dear husband didn't realize that and threw them in the washer after his first wearing.
They came out a mess,
 pilled and partially felted up.
Of course he wanted to know what had happened to them.
It took everything in me to not scold him and make him feel bad after I had spent hours crafting them.
So I explained very nicely what happened and took them away from him immediately, 
pulled the pills off, re-wet gently in sink and blocked them dry.
They look better but they will never be the same.
Lesson learned.
HA!

Looking forward to each month being filled with wonderful surprises
from Row One.
I'll keep you posted.