It's Done . . . Sort of

The 12 blocks are done - all that's left is crocheting them together and doing the border. Piece of cake.

Square #11 is the Pineapple Granny by Priscilla Hewitt.
I darkened the photo in an attempt to bring out the details; it's actually a light yellow with a purple border.

Square #12 is a variation on the Daisy Flower Charity Square by Krochet Krystal.
Both squares are made with Bernat Cotton Tots and an "H" hook.

I played around with various configurations - lots and lots of
configurations - before deciding to just sew the blocks together in the order that I made them. The last square is missing in this photo but it'll give you an idea what the final blanket will look like. (And you can see more details of the pineapple granny, sans border.) I'm using white to put the squares together and for the border. Seven days to go until Addy gets here!



Thanks for all the feedback on Addy's blanket. About 10 last night I decided to go with my 'nag instinct' - if I left it this size, it would always nag me that it wasn't what it should have/could have been. So, I give you . . . Square #10. This is the Friendship Jewel Granny Square designed by Kimberly Andrew. It took just over 2 hours to make using Bernat Cotton Tots and a size "H" hook. I liked the center section but what really sold me on this pattern was the front-post stitches in the center of the last 4 rows. I love post, aka cable, stitches!

Flooring continues.
Dick is getting faster at tiling and grouting - he's going to be an expert by the time he finishes our almost 1500 square feet of porcelain. It's amazing to see how much he accomplishes each morning. Laying the big tiles in the center of the floor goes pretty quickly, it's individually sizing, shaping and cutting the small fill-in tiles that takes time. A lot of time.

The only one unhappy about the construction? Oreo kitty.
The new living room couch is her favorite napping spot. And she refuses to give it up, plastic be d**ned.


Addy's Blankie

I felt a strong need to finish something so . . . . this is square #9 for Addy's "grandma's house" blanket. It's the Warm Jewel Granny Square by Kimberly Andrew, done in Bernat Cotton Tots (100% cotton) yarn with an "H" hook. Really easy pattern - it took me just over 2 hours to complete.

With nine blocks done, the blanket would be about 40 x 40" without the border.
My original plan was for 12 squares. But this is a nice size. So do I stop now or add three more squares as planned? I'm inclined to keep with the original plan mainly because that one blue square looks so out of place without another one to balance it. And I think a rectangle is more pleasing to look at than a square. The downside is that it will be huge and I'll need to do more blocks. Time's running out since Addy arrives in just 9 days. Opinions, anyone?


Shawl Progress

Seven squares are done. Each skein makes four squares and I have nine skeins. At the risk of jinxing myself, I think I've got more than enough silk for this project.

Only 17 squares and 10 days to go.


Tiling Along

Construction continues. Dick is working his way from the entry hall into the living room, removing the carpet and tiling small sections at a time. The caution tape marks the area he grouted on Saturday. He plans each section so we can still get from place to place in the house. In this case, he left a little room so the kids can get up the stairs to their bedrooms.

Friday's project was tiling this part of the living room.
His goal is to have the carpet removed and the entire living and dining room tiled by the end of Labor Day weekend. So we can enjoy the beautiful new floors? Nope - because he can't wait to start tearing out and drywalling the dining room windows.
He does love his projects. (and so do I!)


Personal Best

My little waterfall of color - 407 yards of 2-ply, handspun goodness - a personal best for number of yards spun in a single skein.

This is the Columbia/mohair roving I bought at last year's Fair. I've slowly been working my way through the 1+ pound bag. At Thursday's spin night, I plied 2 of the 3 bobbins I've had sitting around for awhile. I love the colors and the yarn is well balanced; I was very pleased with how it turned out.

I was going to make a scarf with this, but I think I'll wait until it's all spun and see how much yardage I have. Maybe enough to do a shawl? We'll see . . .

I found this wavy scarf pattern on Ravelry
and immediately knew I had to make it - AND that I had the perfect yarn already in my stash (3 skeins of Noro Kabuto. Softer than usual for Noro and a solid color. Don't think I've ever seen a mono-color from Noro before.) You'll notice that it's knitted? I'm enjoying every stitch so far.

Friday is now 'Knit Day'. When I sit down to work on a project, I automatically reach for crochet. To encourage me to work on other crafts, I've designated
Thursday for spinning and Friday for knitting. Weaving Monday may be next. I knit one 66-yard skein last night before moving on to . . .

The Yarn Harlot's One Row Handspun Scarf. My handspun. My knitting.
This is the Iris Eyes Are Smiling roving I spun and entered in last year's Fair (honorable mention! whoohoo!) This is another pattern I knew I wanted to make as soon as I saw it. It's a simple 4-stitch repeat that makes a reversible fabric. 4 stitches. You'd think that would be hard to mess up. You'd be wrong.


Wedding Shawl

One down. Eleventy-seven to go.*

*Actually, I don't know how many I have left to do. This square measures 8 x 8 1/2", but it's blocked to within an inch of its life. My initial plan is to do 8 across and 3 down for a total of 24 blocks, plus the border. Subject to change, of course.



First up, the scarf I made from the silk/tencel yarn I bought at Morro Fleece Works during our mini-vacation. The best thing about this scarf is that I discovered I can crochet on road trips, as long as I don't have to be really precise in my hook placement. Give me a big, open pattern and time in the car just flies. The pattern is your basic "V" stitch; with the lumpy-bumpy nature of the yarn, it's really hard to see individual stitches. I still love the yarn but the further I got into the skein, the thicker and thicker the white silk strand became. I'm choosing to believe that was what the spinner intended . . . and not that this was their first effort. (a possibility)

This is the most accurate color.

I'm a bit behind in getting samples
to the shop for my crochet block-a-month class. This is September's block, which I'll be teaching in less than 2 weeks. It's a thread crochet pattern from 1946 that I tweaked a little. I love how it looks. This one was made with Misti Alpaca Worsted (100% baby alpaca) in color #4388 (a plumy-purple) using an "H" hook.
And this is Addy's version in Bernat CottonTots 100% cotton, also with an "H" hook. The colors in this photo are really dark but it shows the pattern best, I think. I have 8 blocks done for Addy's blankie. I hope to get 4 more done and the blanket pieced together before she arrives on September 6. Anybody want to take that bet?


More Vacation

I'm cleaning my "studio" today - moving all my scrapbooking stuff out and into storage so I'll have even. more. room. for fiber - so this will be short.

Day Two of the Our Last Kid's Finally An Adult* adventure took us to the Monterey Aquarium.
This place is wonderful and ranks high on my list of favorites. They've made it even better since the last time we visited by adding a whole new wing to house Jellies!

This pic is from my cell phone; not bad, eh?

They had big jellies and little jellies, purple jellies and clear jellies. About the only marine thingee I like better than jellies are sea dragons. Have to go to the Long Beach aquarium for those though. If you like otters or penguins, be sure to check out Monterey's live web cams.

Lunch was at the Fish Hopper, about a block down from the aquarium.
We'd never tried this one before and were a little nervous - some touristy restaurants, especially fish ones, can leave very bad, very painful memories. But this was excellent. The food was good and we were seated right by a window overlooking Monterey Bay. For entertainment, we had seals lazing on rocks, seagulls, kayakers, and more, almost within touching distance. Very memorable experience.

That afternoon we drove up the coast to Santa Cruz and beyond.
We found the Natural Bridges State Beach by accident. The pictures are dark but can you see the caves in the rocks? The website has a better photo where you can see all the way through the caves. We hit rush hour traffic on the way back to Pacific Grove; just goes to show LA isn't the only place with icky traffic. At least Monterey has better views will you sit.

Wednesday morning we started south through Seventeen Mile Drive
Obligatory Lone Cypress photo

and Carmel. Dick took a side road to avoid yet another traffic jam (dang tourists!) and I spotted a sign for the Carmel Mission - officially the San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, founded in 1771. I didn't realize that this is the burial site for Father Junipero Serra. The mission and its grounds are beautiful; very peaceful and serene. Flowers were plentiful (are these zinnias?) and so were the bees. The honeybee in the first photo and the bumblebee in the second ended up on the same flower. Guess which one came out the winner after that little discussion? We had forgotten that the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance was scheduled two days after we left the area. We remembered when we started seeing Ferraris, Maserati's, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, and more driving en mass up Hwy 1. "En mass" as in nine Lamborghinis, one behind the other, powering through the turns toward us.

We lost count at about 40 Lambors - no exaggeration - which included a white one with black graffiti-type writing all over it. I thought Dick was going to cry.
By the time we stopped for lunch at 3, it was almost - almost - to the point of "ho hum, there's another one".

* We arrived back home to find Gary sick with a cough. Coughs tend to settle in his chest, make themselves at home, and stay awhile. We broke out the usual medications, with minimal success.

Friday night he got us up no less than 5 times - remember he's 18 not 8 - looking for medicine or for sympathy. Dick and I were both up for an hour at 3:30 - I hadn't gotten to sleep yet and Dick had been awakened so many times he couldn't go back to sleep. By then it was Saturday and, of course, all the doctor's offices and urgent care clinics were closed. It's a nice, healthy cough (he sounds like a seal) but it's Just. A. Cough.
He's had that towel on his head all day.

It's a good thing this isn't a 3-day weekend. I'm not sure he'd survive. And I'm not talkin' about that blasted cough.


Vacation Update

I meant to write this earlier, but I made the mistake of checking in on Ravelry . . . . two three several hours later I still haven't posted. That place is dangerous addictive.

Dick has had a bad case of the "gotta go's", aka the travel bug, for awhile now. But with Gary in summer school and not yet 18, we were kinda stuck at home. Both of those issues resolved themselves the first week of August; Dick's been pacing the driveway ever since. So Monday we made a quick stop to pick up my Fair entries, ribbons and check (for $13!) before hitting the road.

Our goal was to drive up the coast until we got tired or found something interesting. Dick thought we'd spend the night in San Luis Obispo, but neither of us was ready to stop when we hit the city limits at 4:00. Our first stop of the day was here. Hey, it's not my fault. We needed fuel and it just happened to be next to the gas station. Honest!

I've seen Shari at various shows - and have one of her felted rugs in my house - but I'd never been to her shop. She doesn't have a lot of yarn or fiber for sale but what she has is very nice. I found 3 skeins of a blue 50/50 wool/silk blend that I think will make a nice felted scarf or shawl. And a skein of one ply Tussah silk
and one ply Tencel - in green and white of all colors - that really spoke to me. It's obviously hand-spun and all lumpy-bumpy, but it's so shiny and soft that I just had to have it. (Sorry for the crummy cell phone photo. It's hard to focus in a moving car.) I couldn't just leave the yarn in the bag, so I improvised a swift (my knees) and wound yarn while we traveled.
Dick put the baby car through its paces up Hwy 1,
stopping occasionally for the views - and when the slow-poke, scardy-cat drivers in front of us got on his nerves. The stretch between Morro Bay and Big Sur has got to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world.

We ended up in Pacific Grove, just south of Monterey. We'd stayed here before, right after Dick retired in 2005, and really liked the area. It's August, top tourist season in a top tourist destination. No reservation, no problem, right? We really lucked out - the Inn at Seventeen Mile Drive,
where we stayed before, (go check out the photos, I'll wait. The place is gorgeous) had one room available for the two nights we wanted - and only those 2 nights for the month previous and the two months following. And not just a room - a stand-alone cottage with a king-size bed and a fireplace. Heaven.

Pacific Grove started out as a religious retreat but has grown into an upscale "village" with some excellent restaurants and a biking/walking path right along the ocean.
We've already picked out the B&B where we're going to stay on our next visit . . . a gorgeous Victorian mansion with several cottages that's just across the street from the ocean. And this time we'll make sure we have reservations.


Did You Miss Me?

Where in the world have I been for the last 3 days, you ask? Any guesses?


Wedding Photos

ahem. I didn't take a single photo of the bride and groom. We left the camera in the car during the ceremony and there were SO MANY cameras at the reception, I didn't think to point mine at the happy couple. Carolyn's photos will be better than mine anyway - she's a professional wedding photographer - so I'll just steal borrow some after she uploads them.

Lookin' good! The groom's parents - Vickie (Dick's sister) and Rich

The ceremony was here, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Perfect weather, with just a light breeze to keep everything cool. The deacon who officiated was hilarious, which was a good thing. Jen looked beautiful but terrified when she walked down the aisle. The deacon had her smiling and relaxed in minutes. The ceremony was beautiful and I've never seen Scott look happier.

We finished with family photos about 12:30 and since the reception didn't start until 5, we took Bill and Caroline to the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach. We probably looked a bit out of place in our wedding finery, but who cares?
Carolyn and I celebrate my getting to wear the shawl for about 10 minutes

The guys took off their ties,
Can you tell these two are brothers?

Marie put
a shirt over her dress, grabbed her tennis shoes (she was prepared for anything), and we wandered for a couple of hours.

Traffic getting to the reception on Balboa Island was horrible - think LA beach traffic on a beautiful, summer Saturday night. The reception was worth the hassle, though. The setting was beautiful - right on the water overlooking Newport Beach - the food was good and we got to spend time with family members we don't get to see as often as we'd like.

Two-year-old William,
the ring bearer, was the evening's best entertainment. He cried during the ceremony - he was not happy being separated from mommy, who was a bridesmaid - but was the life of the party after being reunited with mom and having an afternoon nap. He flirted with all the girls - the four and five-year old flower girls and 22 year-old Marie were his favorites - danced with Grandma, and played with the table decorations. Overall, a long but wonderful day. Congratulations, Scott and Jennifer!