Eye Candy Friday

Marie and I are leaving for camp today.
See you on Monday!



I was reading through Doris Chan's book, Amazing Crochet Lace, last night and found a pattern I really wanted to make. (Added: I just found this photo. Pretty, yes?) But it takes 10 balls of yarn that normally sells for $7.99 each. Way too much money for something I might not even like. I was in my local Michael's today and they had the yarn (Lion Brand's Incredible) FOR $2 A BALL!!! Guess what I'm making tonight . . . . .

The reason I was reading that book? Marie and I are leaving tomorrow for a weekend at scrapbook camp. There will be eight of us total so we'll have the place all to ourselves; no "outsiders", just family and friends. No meals to cook, no dishes to wash, no beds to make. No getting out of our pj's all weekend if we don't want to.

But I'm not in the mood to scrapbook (haven't been for a while now) so I'm taking a few sets of pictures to organize. And then I'm going to crochet the days away. I want to make this
into a shawl, probably with yarn I have from here or maybe from here. Wish me luck!


I'm Sorry

Apparently, Mr. Washie didn't appreciate yesterday's post that his side of the laundry room wasn't as "cool" as the remodeled side. And he made his displeasure known in an abundant manner - fortunately (??) the water ran out through the garage, down the driveway and into the street rather than into the house. I think Dick invented some new swear words when we found this mess. Gives new meaning to "a river runs through it."

On a more positive note, yesterday Lois and I taught crochet to about 20 7-10 year old girls at a Boys and Girls Club in Oxnard. Lois gave each participant a hook, ball of yarn and a bag to take home. I came up with the projects - a simple chained necklace with beads and a slightly more difficult chain and slip stitch necklace done in the round.
The girls all seemed to have a good time, and everyone went home with at least one completed project - a necklace, jump rope, bracelet or something else they'd made. For me, the best part was the opportunity to pass my love of fiber to the next generation.


I {heart} Laundry

Well, not laundry. But I love my new laundry room. One of my requests when we remodeled was to have more space in the laundry room. The original area was little more than a hallway. So we moved the ugly wall on the right back two feet (eliminating the closet that was on the other side of the wall), painted, put in new flooring, hung cabinets and voila - gorgeous! I love all the counter space and how open it feels now. Dick is going to install roll-out bins behind the middle two doors so I can easily sort laundry and still keep it out of sight between loads. Dick's pretty innovative and likes putting his own touch on things. One of our concerns was where to put the cat boxes. The girls are all indoor kitties; even the garage is off-limits to them*. So Dick cut a hole in the wall between the laundry room and the garage, installed a cat door, built a caged in area under the desk and . . . . . a private, cats-only area. Very cool. The cats haven't minded the change; I think they think they are getting away with something since they've never been allowed in the garage before.

And what does the other side of the laundry room look like? Typical washer, dryer, and hanging rack. Not nearly as cool as the new side.

* The girls are either well trained or wimps; I can't decide which. Whenever they do manage to get out - usually after Dick leaves the door to the garage open a few seconds too long - they hightail it around back to my studio, where they sit by the door and cry until I let them back in. Brats.


How I Spent My Weekend

This is how I spent my weekend:This is how Dick spent his weekend:The pixie batts are from here. Merino and alpaca and silk and angelina. Nice. (She has more - you should ask her about them. Spinning heaven!)


Back Again

So, yesterday we drove up to the conference. We'd planned to stay overnight in Visalia but changed our minds when both our first and second hotel rooms turned out to have backed up toilets. The first room smelled like it was not the first time this had happened, either. The second room's front door was so badly warped that we had to body-slam it to get it shut. This was supposedly a three-star hotel. Yeah. Right. We were so out of there.

Rather than try to find another hotel - most were booked up for the weekend - we decided just to drive back home. Three hours up there, two hours to visit the vendors, one hour to decide we will never stay at another Days Inn, and three
hours back home. We walked in the door almost exactly 12 hours after we left.

Was it worth it? YES! I made a few, select purchases (read "didn't spend a lot of $$"), checked out the guild's booth, and talked to some nice people. Dick got to see what the vendors were offering, what people were buying, and a (fairly small, unfortunately) selection of different wheels.

The Guild's "Blooming Cotton" booth, featuring a variety of scarves made by members, was (in my unbiased opinion) the best one there. My two scarves were on the back wall -
including the one in Schaefer Yarn's 'Laurel' (100% Pima cotton) that I forgot to take a photo of back in January; Vickie's scarf was front and center, draped along the front of the booth. My purchases included a conference bag (top photo), red, white and blue silk hankies (eat your heart out, Vickie!), and cones of estate sale yarn - the light green is cotton and rayon; the other two are silk noil. Score!


Eye Candy Friday

From the Huntington Library's Spring Collection.


Spinning Daze

Our Thursday night spinning group met tonight, all four of us. Several of our usual members are attending the spinning and weaving conference in Visalia this week, so we expected the numbers to be down. I brought an extra wheel, just in case we could entice someone from the knitters group to try spinning. And it worked! Barbara "got it" on the first try, thanks to Susie's expert tutelage.

Dick and I are taking a run up to Visalia tomorrow so he can check out the various spinning wheels that are on the market. He wants to design and build wheels, in addition to repairing them. The conference is a great place for him to see what's available and talk to different dealers. (and I might do a little shopping. As long as we're there anyway. {grin})

The newest plants are in the ground and the front yard is coming along. The rain (sprinkles? we got barely enough to dampen the ground; this has not been a good year for rainfall) forced Dick to work inside, but he thinks the yard will be done in less than two more weeks. WhooHoo!


Descanso Gardens

The camellias and azaleas are in full bloom, as are most of the bulb plants. And they have a whole garden of lilacs. Gorgeous, fragrant lilacs. Definitely my favorites - along with the iris.Dick liked the cherry trees best (I think this is one of the cherry trees . . . . it was a pretty, messy tree at any rate)

It sprinkled on us, off and on, for most of the two hours we spent wandering the trails. Up side - I got some great (for me) photos of raindrops on flowers.And I took 111 photos. One. Hundred. And. Eleven. Not a record by any means, but pretty darn good for just two hours.


It's a Bust

Or a learning experience. I keep reminding myself that this sweater was made totally from stash, as an experiment to see what I liked and what I didn't. But . . . . I'd convinced myself that it was going to fit and look good. sigh.

So I reclaimed the various pieces from AJ
who'd gone nuts, rolling all over them, tossing them up, crawling under them, and generally acting like I'd crocheted with catnip, blocked them out on the carpet, then sewed everything together and put on the trim, buttonholes, and one button . . . . . and it doesn't fit. I was on gauge, according to the pattern, and the sweater fits through the stomach and hips, which is where I expected problems. But I forgot that my shoulders are bigger than "normal"; I've always had problems with jackets not fitting properly.
Dick says this would look nice on someone who was less "statuesque". See why I love that man?

So, what did I learn?

  • I like the shell stitch the designer used; it's very pretty and doesn't look too crochet-y.
  • I like the set-in sleeves, but next time I need to allow more room in the armhole and extra width across the shoulders.
  • Fitted sleeves are nice but these were too tight. I like more ease.
  • Boxy designs are not flattering for me, especially if made with a moderately stiff yarn. (This was Lion Brand Wool-Ease, chosen strictly because I had five skeins of it in my stash. And I ended up needing every yard.)
  • Sewing everything together and doing the finish work takes every bit as long as crocheting all the pieces. I thought I'd never finish.
  • I learned I want to make another sweater. Anybody have a pattern they'd recommend?


Dangerous Time

I've almost F'd an O (finished an object) and I'm at that most dangerous stage - when the boredom of 'been there, done that' hits and I start planning future projects in my head. Then I think, hmmmm, that sounds like more fun than what I'm working on . . . And the next thing you know, I have another UFO (un-finished object) in my stash and I'm off on the new project.

My incentive to actually finish this project is that I want to wear it when I teach my next crochet class Tuesday night. Which means I have to finish it today so I can block it tomorrow.
Cross your fingers for me!

UPDATE: Am I smarter than a 5th grader? Apparently not. Most first graders can count to 40. I, it appears, can not. These are supposed to be the same size.
Can you say "rip it"?


Pretty Things

Look what I got in the mail from Kimberly. Two skeins of sock yarn - Americana and Totally Turple - and three pixie batts - a mix of wool, silk, alpaca and Angelina called Stormy Seas. They're even prettier in person than in the photos. Thanks, Kimberly!

Remember last week's concrete pour? Dick's been busy this week, laying block for what I thought was a bench. Nope. It's a waterfall.
He's going to face the cement blocks with a combination of marble and the rock that's in the sidewalk. The water will bubble out of the top and trickle down the rock face. Gorgeous!

Dick's also been planting new sections of the yard and replacing plants that were killed in last month's freeze. Rather than following the landscape architects plans (how boring!), he's been buying basically anything that's purple and semi-draught resistant. We now have several types of sweet-smelling lavender and this purple cabbage, which is one of my favorites.
(I don't know what it is - it just reminds me of cabbage.) We weren't sure what it would look like when it grew up - and were pleased when these pretty little yellow flowers appeared this morning. I think we'll keep this one (and maybe I'll even figure out what it is . . . .) A few other favorites - my iris are coming back strong this year. When Dick tore out the old vegetation in this street-side planter, he was careful to leave the iris bulbs in place. But you never know how they'll do, year to year. Maybe the freeze was good for them.

And these yellow flowers? Weeds.
I think they're mustard plants; they grow wild everywhere in So. California. But the flowers are so cheerful, we hate to pull them out. Plus, there's nothing you can do to get rid of them - they just come back bigger and stronger every year.

These were some of the first plants we put in when we moved into the house some 18 or 19 years ago.
I love that they look like orchids. They bloom almost year round and don't need a lot of care. My definition of the perfect flower!