Friday, July 27, 2012

A Good Oops

I have struggled with breakage on my right floating selvedge on all my towels. The left one is beautiful and I have no other breakages, but at the right one breaks at least once a towel. And even when it's intact, the right selvedge isn't something I would take home to show my mother.

Today it broke for the second time in one towel. Grrrrrr. I want to blame a defective yarn but it happens to every thread, no matter who is the manufacturer.
A couple of years ago I read Laura Frey say that she didn't use floating selvedge because she weaves too fast to mess with them. I swallowed hard and started weaving without one - the pencil marks the point. I want to sell this towel so I was really nervous, but absolutely nothing happened. I've since finished this one and several more and the right selvedge is better than it was before. I'm beyond surprised. I've been getting these little pimples along the right selvedge all along and thought that was good. They're gone now. The right side is machine clean. I honestly don't know what to think.
Meanwhile, I've emptied six cones on this recent warp. I've thought a lot about Michael's increase in price come August and have decided to order my PayPal balance in yarn before that goes into effect.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A New Thread

My cones arrived from the George Yarn Company. The yarn is more tender than Webs Valley 8/2 cotton, and I realized that it's the second grade of UKI that I had read about on the Yarn Barn of Kansas website. They carry two grades of the UKI and this is what they say about this grade:

"We carry several lines of 8/2 unmercerized cotton. This line is the more economical choice for those needing larger amounts of colors. The twist is a little looser, so you might experience a few broken threads in the warp, but the price is right. You can also mix the 8/2 A Colors with 8/2 B colors for maximum color range."

Michael's price is right! He charged me $10.50 for a pound and Yarn Barn charges $14.75. He's raising his prices by 10% next month but it's still a good price. I paid $11.99 bulk price from Webs, in case you want to know.

I shuffled around colors and placement of colors for way too long this morning. I needed to be weaving!

This is what I finally decided on. I am on the sixth of ten towels and so I'll have to put on a short warp of the Yuba River towels in order to have them done for the fair. I am determined to have an entry in that category.
The other unfinished entry is my knitted jacket. I finally finished the cowl collar which took a ton of yarn, finished a sleeve today and have another sleeve a quarter of the way finished. That's all I'm going to be doing for the next week. And even then, I'm going to have to drive my entries over in order to meet the submission deadline. Dislike.

On another note, my membership to the St Mary's fitness center was due for renewal tomorrow. I have agonized for months over what I would do when the time came. I love swimming and the tai chi, but I only get in eight times a month and its expensive. Yesterday I checked in for a swim. When she told me my membership would expire in a day, did I want to renew, I said I don't think so. I didn't know until that second what I would do. I had seen my doctor that morning for a routine visit and he was absolutely unimpressed by my gym membership. In fact he was incredulous that I no longer had a walking routine. He was thrilled that I'm studying tai chi.

So the plan is to walk one day and do tai chi exercises the alternate days. I have Mark Lord's schedule and can take classes from him much more cheaply than the gym membership. I think I outgrew the gym. I lost interest in racing to no where on an elliptical trainer and even the lap swims had started to seem pointless. I've enjoyed the tai chi exercises under the trees in our yard. Somehow it seems more wholesome. I think the time was right. It's a new thread in my life.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Zombie Invasion

Alexia checked the garden every morning before breakfast, hoping against hope that something was finally ripe enough to pick. Finally Grandpa discovered one small zucchini for her.
She was thrilled. He showed her how to cut the stem and then let her cut it for herself. And that's still the only thing that has been ripe enough to pick.
She and I baked three loaves of bread on Wednesday and while we waited for them to rise, we had high tea. I broke out my Noritake china that I bought when we were stationed in the Philippines so we could have the real deal. Friday we baked Lemon Squares from the last Cooking Light magazine for the VFD barbeque the next day. If you saw that recipe, they were a smashing success. However they do contain nuts and I was worried that I'd forget to supply a note. Alexia wrote a note for me. It says "almins in the leamian sqrares. Cut them and leave some for me."
The Zombie Invasion was a promotional for the annual volunteer firehouse barbeque and fundraiser. The safety fair theme was that if you're ready for zombies, you're ready for disaster. The day included this band which we have had before. They're really fun, doing retro music and occasionally there are toe tappers who feel the need to swing out a little and dance in the grass.
CERT volunteers created and ran the childrens games. Sandy and her grandson put all of them together and they were a hit. This was a first time event and she went all out. She's the leader of our local CERT team, the Red Rock Rattlers.
The bean bag toss was probably the favorite, followed by pin the eyes on the zombie.
The drop dead absolute favorite was the water balloon fights which were open to kids of all ages. The Care Flight helicopter came and the crew allowed children to sit in the cockpit. I think everyone loved it but Alexia who was terrified and done as soon as she started. Volunteers fingerprinted children and a laser simulation fire extinguisher station helped people learn how to use one properly. Some people had never even held one.
The children earned a "gold" coin for participating in each game and then were able to trade them in for the toys in the tubs. The prize element raised the popularity of the games, if you're ever doing something like this.

Alexia and I and a small crew filled water balloons for hours on end and got very wet in the process, but it was hot and somehow it was fun. One of the important things in disaster preparation is knowing your community and there was plenty of community building going on.
A number of the volunteers got into the zombie fun.

At the face painting table, you could also choose to be made into a zombie. Alexia came home as a "bling bling zombie" - her words. The "jewelry is from the bins, traded for her plastic coins. About 3:30 I drove her to Hallelujah Junction to meet up with her parents, halfway between our homes, as they were taking her brother out for his birthday. Originally she wanted to go to church with me this morning but she announced very seriously at dinner Friday night that she had decided to go home so she could spend the last day of summer vacation with her family. Third grade (year-round school) starts tomorrow. She's getting so grown up.

After a week in Oregon followed by a week with Alexia, I was in bed last night by 8:00 and slept until 8:30 this morning. I was the zombie and no one knew it!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Alexia, Day One

I finally got some studio time today. Alexia was playing Wii this morning so I tore out the red and went to the solid, red flecked blue. I may add the red later. I was impressed with Linda's rag rug that she showed at the guild meeting Saturday. The warp is 6 epi, in a 12 dent reed, sleyed every other dent. I have a 6 dent reed so can't wait to try that next time. It was great to see a rug in person!
Beryl gave me permission to use one of her Flickr photos of the Yuba River as my inspiration image for the Nevada County Fair. I'm entering a towel in the Inspired by Nevada County category.
I started rooting around my cones today, looking at the photo. Alexia went through all the cones with me, matching them to the photo. She approves of my choices. These are the colors that match, but I really don't have colors for the rocks and that's a huge part of picture. I emailed Michael at the Georgia Yarn Company. By this evening I had a confirmation that he had the cones in stock that I needed and they are in route - will be here by the end of the week. That's faster and cheaper than Webs and the cotton is made here in the US. He's got my attention.
Alexia and I went over to Mim's today. I'm completely out of eggs and since Mim didn't have a full dozen, we went out to see if there were more. Alexia was so excited because Mim let her collect them.
You can't get eggs any fresher than this! She's taking them from the nest to the crate. I told Lex that we would go over after lunch. She asked me all morning if it was lunch yet.
She was hoping against hope that Mim still had her rabbits because she loves to hold them. Her face says it all. Shortly after this she saw a garter snake in the barn that left her talking non-stop about it for the next hour. I told Mim and she redirected the snake away from her Jack Russell. They're living mouse traps, but I'm with Lex. They scare me too.
We finished our visit with a tour of the garden - so many fun and interesting things. This is where they are tasting the currants and Alexia is explaining the perfect ingredients to make them into a "tasty" dish. We came home with our locker lamb - we buy one from Mim every year. I feel so fortunate to know where my food comes from.
I got a warp wound this morning while Alexia was playing on the Wii. I know you think I'm prolific, but honestly, I can't bear to watch TV. This was just a 2 1/2 hour investment of my time and I loved it - the window open, breeze blowing through the room and best of all, the birds in the trees just outside.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

We're Back

We got home late yesterday afternoon. Our visit with the kids in Bend was very fun. This time we didn't do a lot of running around - it was just too hot for that. We spent a great deal of the visit at their house, sitting on the deck and well, visiting. Both our grandsons have iPod Touches so we ended up playing endless rounds of Draw Something on our devices, which produced a lot of silliness and laughter. We also went with the boys to see Hugo at the dollar matinee - loved the movie!

This shell was my trip knitting. It's yarn from the pirate fiber gift exchange at Spindle Camp and is 100% cotton. I used Stitch Wizard to do the math part of the sweater, with some changes in shaping and finishing. I'm really happy with it.

I had to get over to the Ranch House for the Association meeting and election of board members this morning - I had neglected to mail our ballot. I slept late so I thought I'd just take it over and also buy their pancake breakfast. However, I got sucked into the meeting and by the time they took a break, breakfast was over.

I drove to Mim's just a mile away for the CSSW guild meeting, since it was being held right here in our valley. I was starving but really enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new members. I finished knitting the shell there and by the time I got home at 2:30, was absolutely starving.
I decided it would be a good day to do nothing - so worked on some odds and ends of knitting. I've dreaded picking up the stitches for the cowl collar on this sweater from the very first stitches I cast on. I made that my priority and am glad to have that out of my hair. It's entered in the fair and needs to be done and ready in the next couple of weeks - I have a ways to go!
Angela invited us over to Red Rock Ranch for dinner tonight. I don't think there was a special occasion. Ian was there yesterday evening to pay Kerry, our house sitter, and she said to come if we were free. As you can see, the ever present wind unset two of the tables.
Red Rock Ranch is one of the old ranches in our area, originally dating to the early 20th century. You can tell by the size of the cottonwood trees that they've been there for a while.
Look at the size of that tree! Look at the size of that dog!!!
Granite walked up to Kerry, just as she was getting ready to pop a snack. You don't have to speak dog to know what he's thinking.
Apple was making the rounds. She's a sociable 40-year-old cockatoo who doesn't want to miss out on anything.
Ian called my attention, saying he was doing a Dr Doolittle impression. Apple had worked her way around the table and it was his turn.
That visit promptly ended when someone offered Apple a drink of wine. She loves wine. She loves food. She loves attention.
And when everyone walked away, she helped herself to Myrna's Pepsi. Define birdbrain!
It was an absolutely golden evening, fantastic food, fantastic friends. I still marvel that it wasn't until we moved to the country that we acquired neighbors.
And I wore my new shell for the evening.

Tomorrow is grandson Kiernan's 13th birthday party and afterwards we'll come home with Alexia for the last week of her school break. Third grade starts next week! Meanwhile, she and I have to get ready for the Zombie Invasion next Saturday. More on that later.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Fire Cracker Day or Just Crackers

I ran over to Mim's after lunch - this is her end of our valley. She's hosting a guild meeting this Saturday which I had anticipated attending but we're leaving for Oregon on Friday to see our kids. I have four beautiful alpaca fleeces that I have been storing with well-meaning intentions, but the reality is that I am drowning in fleece. I took them over in the hopes that someone will want them for their fiber stash.
It's been such a mild summer so far that the prickly poppies are just now in full bloom - in July! I realize that this isn't what you'd call full bloom outside of the high desert, but consider what they're growing in and what moisture they have, or not. These guys are struttin' their stuff.
I came down the bottom on the hill - lo and behold, there was a turkey vulture sitting on the fence post. He's not a very big, but I haven't seen one here in a long time. When I started up the car, I spooked three. You never know what you're going to see here, but I'd rather what I see fly rather than slither.
This alien looking image is me hem-
stitching fringe. The bottom fringe was tied in bundles of three, but after my exchange with Pat McDaniel, I elected to tie the emulated fringe in bundles of two. This is only of interest to rug weavers BTW. I can see that Pat's option is going to emulate tied fringe very well. Thanks Pat!
This is the rug I've just started. A friend gave me a double set of Tommy Hilfiger twin sheets and I almost wrenched my shoulder patting my back for the clever use of the red checkered pillow case in the rug. I hate it! I absolutely hate it. I have to focus on getting ready to leave for Oregon so have forbidden myself from entering the zone of temptation - my studio. When we get back, the red comes out.
My Knit Picks order came. Sadly the only thing I actually needed was the cable connectors, which were $1.99 plus shipping. But when I saw the Lantern Moon (fair trade from Vietnam) case for the interchangeable Harmony needles, I caved.
I know that I am fully capable of sewing a storage case like this and I also know that I'm fully not interested. This is half the size of the plastic case the needles come in. Let's call it a donation.
And finally, the real reason why I can't let myself go into the studio - my yarn order arrived. Look at all the fantastic color potential arrangements, on to top of the ones I've already established. I'm tossing around a Dawn scheme that would include ink black. When I can't sleep, I think of colors. You count sheep, I'll string colors together.

Read a good book lately? I have and here are a couple:

The Expats by Chris Pavone: Mom's day job isn't as it seems and then the whole family has a shake up. Fun, total beach read.

Porch Lights by Dorothy Benton Frank: Maybe a little predictable but I fell in love with characters and would read every book after if she went for sequels.

Learning to Swim
by Sara J. Henry: This is another romp and I only caught onto it by another friend through Goodreads.

How Not to Run a B&B by Bobby Hutchinson: I found this through my Amazon rental subscription and have to say it's one of my favorite books this year, though I'm not sure it's available otherwise. If you have Amazon Prime, two thumbs up.

And we're outta here - see you in a week!