Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beach Scenes

Having a great time! Wish you were here!

Farmer's Market

Fruits, veggies, house plants, garden plants, cakes, pies, baked goodies, jams & Jellies, honey, cheese and all kinds of goodies! Miss M and I got An Orchid - pretty, isn't it?

Water Lilies

Fred came in to tell me that mom had three water lilies blooming, two white and a purple in the stock tank pond. Teresa was on the phone with me at the time and said the purple one must be a tropical that Craig had sent. I said no, they were all from last year, ones Craig had sent and that I had over wintered.

Since I have a black thumb and since tropicals are hard to over winter we had decided that I didn't have any tropicals left this past spring.

Teresa gave me a quick lesson in water lilies over the phone. If the leaves are smooth edged, then they are the hardy ones but if they have a kind of serrated leaf, they are a tropical.

I went and took pictures and sure enough the purple one has serrated leaves. Pretty cool hunh?

I also realized that even tho the stock tank and the half barrel are getting an inch of water a week, they are losing a lot more than that. Also took off the yellowed leaves so it looks better but decided to be honest with the picture.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Travel Knitting

The drive to the beach never bothers
me. If I'm driving, it's a terrific
opportunity to listen to a huge chunk
of a good audiobook. If my other half
is driving we'll be listening to country
music, but I get several uninterrupted
hours of pure knitting time. Today he
drove so it was knitting. I had started the second penguin, but only
had a dozen rows. I got it up to the neck but didn't have my second
needle handy so put it away and cast on a helmet liner. As you can
see, i was well into the decreases be the time we got here.

And then when we drove through the gate and opened the windows Casey
decided to really enjoy herself.

Things you Never Needed to Know

Qiviut is a word from the Inuit language meaning underwool of the Oomingmak. It is 8 times warmer than wool. Qiviut doesn't shrink or felt but dyes. It doesn't have a natural elasticity like wool.
Elasticity comes from a fiber that has a natural crimp (the individual hairs have an even wave, appearing as if they just had a perm). The more crimp per inch, the more elastic the yarn.

Alpaca also doesn't have the elasticity of wool. To get a more elastic yarn mix alpaca with 20 to 50 percent wool. On the other hand, alpaca is 5 times warmer than sheep's wool. Alpaca comes naturally off the cute little friendly alpaca in 22 colors that can be mixed and dyed. Taking raw alpaca fiber to processed, you retain 85-95% of the fleece compared to 50-75% of wool fiber.

Camelids and oxen (alpaca and qiviut) contain no lanolin so that doesn't have to be removed during processing.

Camels have a super soft coat producing super soft yarn. And they molt their entire undercoat every spring so you don't even have to shear them. Wonder where I can get camels???
Goats - cashmere is very hard on the earth, mohair isn't.

Camelids (alpaca) yarn doesn't pill.

As for dogs and cats: it is not the length of fiber that determines how well it will spin into yarn, but the diameter of the individual hairs. The finer the fiber, the softer the yarn. Dog and cat yarn will felt.

The word yarn showed up meaning “spun fiber” back in Old English before the arrival of the Norman invaders a thousand years ago. This means it was from a Germanic root.

The moths that eat your wool items will also eat your silk ones.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Redux Seattle

There were more posts I wanted to do from Seattle but lacked the energy.

These are things we saw that were fun stuffs.

A sign allowing dogs on leashes only with the caveat that they could be off leash. We sat here and watched tankers coming in and out, saw the lighthouse, meet a nice dog (off leash) with his person. all in all a very nice relaxing time.

Alf isn't into beaches or water. These beaches were all rock and no sand but Alf is definitely not going into the water to swim and prefers to sniff among the driftwood over playing else where on the beach.

But it was on an island and to get to it you had to go on the ferry. On the way home the car ahead of us had two cotons in it. They came down to talk one at a time. Alf really liked the girl (the one in the photo) but did not seem to care for the boy dog. The feelings were mutual. The boy dog had a horrible overbite or underbite.

On the island we saw the red bike in the tree. The bicycle-eating tree has been featured in Ripley's Believe It Or Not, and also inspired a children's book by Berkeley Breathed, Red Ranger Came Calling. Breathed used to live on Vashon Island. Two generations concur that the bicycle belonged to Don Puz, who in 1954 left his bicycle in the woods, forgot about it and never went back looking for it. Sounds like some kids I knew when I was growing up. Which is close to the same time frame when this one was abandoned.

Driving around Vashon Island we saw pedestrian crossing signs and one for senior citizens. Perhaps it is just that I am so sheltered, I had never seen one of those before. I was put in mind of the movie Rob liked so much, how many points do you get for running them over. Surely not.

My hubby doesn't do water or boats or water and boats, so it was especially nice of him to take me here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stash Enhancement

As if I didn't already have enough yarn . . . I went to my favorite local yarn shop and got more!!!  Actually, some of this I bought last week, and some of it came from the local Michaels cuz the yarn shop doesn't have a great selection of fun fur.  I know novelty yarn fell out of vogue in the last few years but really, did that have to include fun fur too?  I love furry yarn for making little critters.  So, you can see the finished-but-not-felted penguin and hedgehog in the upper left corner and the in-progress penguin below them in the bowl, bag and on the floor.  Then on the right we have yarns for various and sundry other hedgehogs, owls and even another totoro.  And I don't think I posted a picture of the baby owl pattern I got - Miss S wants me to make her one before she goes off into the great wide world.  Gonna be great fun (fur)!!!

Casey's Fish

Casey finally got brushed out after her bath, so now she's all poofy like she should be. This is her feeding her fish - she loves her fish!

Two very important things to note:
1)  I posted this blog entry from my iPhone - I didn't do it through the phone posting, I emailed it instead.  But it's nice to know that I can post both text and pictures easily when I'm not home.
2)  I found a setting under global settings that let me select whether to use the 'updated' editor or the 'old' editor.  I switched it to the 'updated' editor and, though I'm still figuring it out, I think it's going to be much easier to control where the pictures go.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tatting Tea Tuesday Too

Tuesdays and Thursdays are errands, apppointments and running around days. Makes it hard to participate in Tatting Tea Tuesday but we did it.

We started out with a beauty shop appointment (have to be beautiful to tat), followed up by a doctor's appointment (have to be fit to tat), followed by a visit to Bi-Mart to check our numbers for Lucky Number Tuesday (have to be rich to tat - okay that didn't work out but we bought a Tatting Teapot).

Then we came home and set up for Tatting Tea Tuesday. Mom went to get her knitting and I get set up for tea. We had a bit of a nosh with our tea before tatting & knitting. We had a delicious pasta salad with vegies made by Dena her very self. The tea was an Orange Spice provided by Elaine.

Andrew stopped by to visit with us during tea and to talk with us for a few minutes. He picked a peach from the tree outside the front door and when he had finished eating it, he ran off again. But it was good to visit even so. He was all dressed up because he had just been to a job ineterview which he felt went very well. He hopes.

Mom worked on her helmet cap. I worked on the pattern that Teresa had asked about. I could not figure out the pattern and restarted it over and over and over. I finally gave up on it and started a pretty bookmark. I only got one small ring done when are tea was over. Mom was tired and went home to take a wee nap. I was also extremely tired and was fighting to keep my eyes open. The tea was officially over.

Since we didn't get anything done, we don't have pictures to post of what we did.

Tatting Tea Tuesday

Iced tea that is . . . it's way too hot down here for hot tea and I've been working outside all afternoon in the heat. I had to go out and look for the pond leak again. The girls and I have ripped out the rock wall almost all the way around the pond, but there was one side of the waterfall left. On the left side (as you look at the pond from the house) there is a dwarf japanese maple tree on the hillside overlooking the pond. I had it put there kind of as a tribute to all the japanese tea gardens that Daddy tried to build over the years. Anyway, it's flourishing there and part of the reason is that it's got a virtually unlimited source of water - the drought down here doesn't bother it a bit. I cut two roots that were more than an inch in diameter that had infiltrated the waterfall and pushed the liner (which was cut too close originally) down far enough for the water to seep over it. I'm really hoping that this is the last piece of the puzzle, but we won't know that for a day or two.

Anyway, tatting has been happening - and a lot more than just on Tuesday. I need to finish the knitting that I'm doing for other people because babies won't wait to be born until I'm done and they won't stop growing for me either. But I am still enchanted with the Mary Konior book and am still tatting from it too. Miss S is also tatting from it every chance she gets - on her new custom made tatting shuttles. I'm starting another pattern from it with the variegated red Lizbeth 20 you see in the picture - but just getting started. The blue on the right side is going to be a birthday present for Mother so I can't tell you what it's going to be yet. I was hoping to show you that it is almost the right color, but it looks almost black in the picture. It is too dark, but it isn't nearly as dark as it looks in this picture.

And in the finished objects we have a couple of empty the shuttle butterflies. DH seems to really like tatting and he's claimed one of them. The little thing in the butterfly picture was supposed to be a flower just because I liked the thread, but it is too tight and not enough petals, so it's just a doodle. Then we have a little owl - found the pattern for that on InTatters. I didn't weave in the ends - just tied them and cut them - so you can see one sticking out on the side. And lastly, I finished Black Magic from the Mary Konior book Tatting with Visual Patterns in Lizbeth size 10 in Spring Garden. I really like that colorway. There are a couple of very noticeable mistakes in it, but I still like it and it will make a lovely bookmark.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Knitting Monday . . . and a little Tatting Too!

I have been knitting, at least a little. It's been hard to find time for it with all the tatting that I've been playing with. These are the baby gifts I'm making. I'm making two of the penguins which is why you see the extra little pieces on the right hand side. This penguin still needs wings or flippers and the second penguin needs a body. It's going to be darn cute tho. I tested the white and it does felt, not as well as the black, so the stitches still show but the sizing will be the same for both. The Hedgehog is the same as all the others I've made before it - and I am going to have to make several more after I finish these baby gifts (2 penguins and a hedgehog).

Of course there has been a goodly amount of tatting going on around here too. This is the ring I tatted on after Dena posted that lovely video showing how to tat around a cabone ring. I used Lizbeth size 10 in Sea Shells and just sort of copied an item that Krystledawne has in her Etsy shop because I couldn't figure out the pattern I really wanted to make. (Thanks Krystledawne!) My piece is not an exact replica of hers because I was just trying to see if I could do this - and I could. I should have made the little rings bigger than they are, but I didn't know that until they were started so I made the joining picots very large and added an extra ring so that it wouldn't cup. So, it's not a perfect piece, but I learned a lot doing it.

And this is my brand new The Shuttle Shop dragon shuttle. I think it's just gorgeous and I love wooden shuttles because they are so nice to hold. This looks delicate with the openwork design, but it's not - it's nice and sturdy. I haven't used it yet because I've been playing with bits and pieces. Miss S says I have to use it to tat a dragon, but I don't think I'm there yet . . . too many things I don't know how to do. Soon, I hope.

And some teenage tatting for your viewing pleasure. This is the Jack & Jill edging from Mary Konior's Tatting with Visual Patterns. It's the second edging the girl decided to make. She made the first with size 80 thread just because she wanted to see what it would tat up like.

Not only is Miss S tatting furiously, she's now designing and making tatting shuttles. She learned to cast pewter in art class at school last year - you may remember the Mother's Day necklace she made me Here.
Well, she did more casting this year and made me some lovely Spider earings (this was while she was playing Charlotte in Charlotte's Web) to thank me for all the spiders I knit for the show.
Now she's brought the casting home and is doing it here and she decided that she wanted to figure out how to make tatting shuttles. You see that there is one with thread on it and here is a picture of her flat cat shuttle without thread. She's cast it 3 times and improved it each time. She's testing them herself and then I'm testing them for her also. She hopes to make them and offer them for sale in an Etsy shop along with some of her other castings. I have to tell you I love the way the pewter picks up my body heat and becomes warm and comfortable in my hand as I tat. This could be good.

And this is my very cute baby girl - all wet and straggly from her bath. She smells different after baths these days because of the new detangle spray. It's not a bad smell, but it is not what I'm used to either. It really does help with the brushing tho . . .


It was a sad morning when I went through my email and came across a note from the company that installed and maintains my a/c furnace unit. They wrote to tell me that they now have "huffer" locks in stock and can come out and install one.

Hopefully, unless you are a parent of a teenager, you haven't a clue what the significance of that is.

A couple of weeks ago a teenage boy from a very small town in rural Idaho drowned while swimming in a pond. He went swimming right after huffing freon and although he died from drowning, the reason he drowned was his mind was whacked out.

Still don't know what huffing is and why you should care? Huffing freon is when the teenagers go to some home or business and fill up a margarine tub or a bag with the freon out of your a/c. Then breathe it. Every home and business is a fill up spot without even knowing it.

How sad that our world has come to this.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Helmet Caps for Soldiers

We have been busy knitting helmet caps for the soldiers of the 116th Brigade who are deploying to Iraq in September. Teresa sent her hats, I finished up most of mine and mom got hers done except for the last one.

So we went over to Meridian to The Yarn Shoppe to turn in this batch. We were excited and so was Melissa at The Yarn Shoppe.
We had twelve hats to turn in - 4 from each of us. The shop was at 300 hats plus and it felt very good to help them on their way to 400. They aren't the only yarn shop collecting the hats and that is a good thing. There are 2700 men and women going over, 1500 from Idaho and 1200 from Oregon and Montana.

I would feel bad if we didn't have a hat for each and every one of those soldiers. So mom and I got enough yarn to make 4 more each and we each had one on our needles.

Tatting Lesson

Next Tatting Tea Tuesday I want you to practice covering a cabone ring with ds. Here is your lesson on how to do just that.

Step 1. Get a cabone (or other) ring; a shuttle wound in thread Preferably with a point or hook

Step 2. Lay the ring OVER the thread leaving about 3" of tail. Use the left hand to hold the tail - don't let it get sucked through the ring.

Step 3. Use the point to pull the thread up through the center of the ring, make the loop big enough to pass the shuttle through.

Step 4. Pass the shuttle through the loop from bottom to top.

Step 5. Pull the tail end of cord to 'flip' the stitch. You need to pass the shuttle through the loop from top to bottom. This is easiest on the first stitch, after this you are working to the right of the last made stitch. Cause the stitch to go into and out the back of the ring. Then pull open the second part of the stitch, pulling this part open into a loop pulls the first have closed. Draw it up tight to the previous stitch or if you need a picot here, leave a gap.

Because learning tatting is easiest with a teacher sitting next to you and I am not sitting next to you, I have included a very poor quality video for your edification. I am not a good photographer, nor a decent video doer especially when I am videoing myself. But it is the best I could do under the circumstances.

If you can't make this video suffice, let me know and I will try to talk hubby into handling the camera. I did it many times and this was the best. Course most of the times the camera didn't turn on.

For beads in the center or a motif in the center, tat the motif first and add it in with joins through its picots, as you are ds around the ring.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Ok - I think we should run our tally from Sunday to Sunday. I'll play around and figure some way to post tallies. It might be that I'll just have to have you email them to me and I'll post them each week, but I'll figure something out. So plan to set all pedometers to zero before you go to bed tonight and start the counts first thing in the morning. Or maybe you think we should post more often than once a week?

Any questions or suggestions?

I'm still not having a lot of luck with the pedometer keeping the exact step count, but it's off by less than 10% and it's undercounting so it's ok. I also got another free one in the mail, so starting today, I'm going to use both of them and see which is closer. You can cute little green pedometer free from Nature's Bounty too - just go to their website and sign up for it and they'll mail you a free one. I think the offer says it takes several weeks, but it took less than two for me to get mine.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tatting Tea Tuesday

Since the Blogger editor is being so stupid, all the pictures will have to be together and all mixed up - I can't move them or type around them anymore. I'm beginning to really hate blogger.

First up on Tatting Tea Tuesday we have new acquisitions. I got two new books: Up and Tat Em from Marilee Rockley and Christmas Ornament Collection by JoAnn Stearns from Handy Hands. I also bought a bunch of lizbeth size 10 and a lacis shuttle from Handy Hands. I've already started tatting with the pretty pink and green size 10.

I have finished two lovely pretties. The first (the multi colored one) is called Hearts in A Snowflake from Jon's Tatting blog. I love her patterns cuz they are so pretty and pretty well explained. She's got a book I want to buy, but I'm not sure I can do tatting on rings yet - I keep trying and failing. The second is from someone named carolivy on the InTatters forum. She calls it the Tatted Clover Bookmark (you may need to be a member to get at that) - it was a pretty easy pattern and I tatted it out of Lizbeth size 20 in Caribean.

My next project is called Black Magic and is from the Mary Konior book Tatting with Visual Patterns. I'm making it in the pretty green and pink lizbeth size 20 I just got and using the new lacis shuttle.

I really do want to learn how to tat around cabone rings - but it's totally escaping me now. Have you tried it? Any tips or hints to share with me?

Tasty Tuesday Tomatoes!!!

The girl grew tomatoes. We started picking them a few days ago. Oh my are they good! And the really lovely thing is that there are many more to come!!!!