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Monday, November 30, 2015

Windows 10 and Me. The ongoing saga.

My PC died and the Landcaster said I should buy a new computer.  He loaned me a Mac, but this old dog had some issues with learning new tricks (software) so I got a Surface Book pre-installed with Win10 and Nvidia discrete GPU.  This will be an ongoing post of some issues and how they got solved.  So far there have been only minor annoying bugs. I rather like investigating the fixes and trying them out.   There are new updates frequently so I assume Microsoft is working on them as well.  I have 90 days to schedule an appointment at the Microsoft help desk but have avoided them so far.

1.  In Firefox, I got a message that the application had been blocked from accessing graphics software.  This seemed to be solved.  I had to un-install the Nvida drivers, then re-install them.  It was a little fussy doing this and the Lancaster had to step in.  Win 10 wouldn't just recognize video card and load the new drivers but they were eventually installed manually.

2.  Time was always wrong.  I messed with the time settings.  The zone, the time.  It would be fine for the moment, but always slowed down.  By morning I was a hour off.  I tried a couple of servers to synchronize the time with, but got an error that the synchronization failed.  I finally tried this method and the time finally seems to be fixed.

3. Everything seemed hunky dory until I let the computer sleep for several hours.When the laptop woke up the second monitor did not.   I'm still working on this one.  On shutdown and restart the second monitor was detected.  I have turned hibernation off but will have to see what happens next time the system sleeps.  Well that didn't work, so now I have edited the display settings to "extended" under multiple displays, and "sleep never" in power and sleep in the PC mode.  Well that didn't work either.  The microsoft knowledge base says "On waking from sleep, your Surface may have trouble reconnecting to an external display. To fix this, unplug the video cable from the Mini DisplayPort and plug it back in again. This can also affect daisy-chained monitors."  I don't think it's a cable problem but I'll have to try it. 

To be continued. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Dressing the Girls Up for Halloween

Marietta as the Good Witch
Cape and Hat:  Fun Threads Designs.  I sewed two buttons on where I attached the ribbon.  I made the hat out of felt.
T-shirt and buckle boots:  Amazon seller, American Fashion World 
Tights:  Etsy Shop, Sew Fun Doll Clothes
She is pretty complete except for t-shirt embellishment and/or jewelry.  Her broom is a cake tester from Berea College Crafts in Kentucky. 

Elizabeth as Princess Leia
DressI traced her body and added ease.  The fabric is single knit from stash.  I cut a hole for her head and added a folded strip for the turtle neck, then hemmed the raw edges.  The belt was cut down from a thrift-ed sparkly belt.  This doll has some body shape problems so I added two cotton balls for a bust and some shoulder pads. I also repainted her lips. She came with white boots so those worked out fine.    Her hair can still use a little work.  

Kate "Izzy" as Hermione Granger

Izzy had some major problems when I got her.  Her hat was glued to her head and her right arm was partially amputated.  She was sent to a doll hospital, but the doc didn't feel I should put a lot of money into her repair as she was not a "good" doll.  (sad face)  Anyway she did get most of the glue out of her hair and re-attached her arm.  I watched numerous videos on how to recondition dolls hair and ended up using Downy and detangler to clean her hair.  It has a much better texture now.  I will have to watch more videos on how to curl it.  For now it looks glorious for her Hermione Granger costume.  I repainted her lips as well. Her wand is a shawl pin from The Constant Knitter

Hat:  Fun Threads Designs. I downsized the hat a bit since Izzy has an 11 inch head and Marietta has a 12 inch head.  I used felt again.  
Scarf:  My own design.  Yellow Rowan Pure Wool, Red Knitaly.  16 stitches knit in the round.  Turkish CO, double needle bind-off.  Fringed.  Stripes are 8 rows.  
Robe:  Wonderful free pattern by MyAGDollCraft .  Izzy (shhh) has a big head and her body is rather tiny.  I cut the pattern along the sew lines and it just happened to be perfect.  
Skirt:  Just winged this.  I found a nice plaid grey flannel shirt at the thrift store and cut the longest strip possible.  I hemmed one long side, then used the lines of the plaid to make pleats.  I measured the finished length and subtracted the waist portion and added seam allowances and hems. The waist portion was doubled and seam allowances added.  I folded it and half and thread some elastic through.  I cut off whatever I didn't need from the pleated sections and sewed up the back seam.
Vest:  This came out way too big, so lucky thing the scarf covers the neck.  I'm thinking about knitting her a sweater and sewing a collared blouse.  Sounds pretty fiddley too me.  
Stockings:  I used this video to make a pattern
Only had some knit in black to try them out and my machine did not want to hem it well.  They fit pretty well imo.  
Shoes:  I have no idea what size shoes this girl takes.  My first attempt at shoes was way too large.  I used a pattern from The Doll's Dressmaker, by Venus Dodge.  I'm going to try another size.

I had a lot of fun working on these costumes.  While my friends are all in the grand child mode, it looks to me my future does not hold grandchildren.  I'm hoping my nieces'  younger daughter will one day adopt Marietta, but who knows.  Kids you know have minds of their own!  Kate and Elizabeth had some body image problems and scare little ones.  

I miss sewing garments on my old Bernina.  I wish Bernina still supported my 1530.  The Janome is much better with free-motion quilting but it doesn't like to sew over bumps (like seams) and is horrible on narrow seams and starting up.  I am just too lazy some times to start over a bit of fabric or finding the stabilizer, sigh. 

Thursday, October 01, 2015


Most of my Ireland pictures are up.  Lots of flowers!  There were so many varieties!  The scenery was outstanding as well.  My pictures just don't do justice to the beauty.  Ireland Flickr Album

I also have a few pictures of my brief stay in Atlanta, GA with the fabulous Knitted Brow.  We did drum-carding, soap and a trip to the AtBot  Mr. Cricket the handsome poodle treated me well after a brief re-introduction.

So on to the FOs

Oaken Poncho
Pattern:  Easy Folded Poncho by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas
Yarn:  Bugga! by The Verdant Gryphon.  Colorway:  Oaken Timberworm.  Lovely, lovely cushy yarn!  I used two skeins with just a tiny bit left, and not enough for the cowl
Needles:  size 6
Mods:  none
Comments.  The two skeins did not match so I planned the brighter one for the front.  The seam joins the two different skeins and sits on top on one shoulder.  Not a problem!  This is very comfy to wear.  This was the perfect knit for those long stretches on the the bus in Ireland.  So mindless it did not interfere with sight seeing out the window!

Chamblee Bliss

Kim checked out a drum carder and we mixed up a bunch of batts.  Fiber content is chop suey.  Mostly wool, tiny amount of angelina and some silk.    This was the first time for me spinning batts.  They are a pleasure!  I did the singles on Edward, my Bosworth midi, and plied them on Serenity, my Majacraft Rose.    I ended up with 1.3 oz. of worsted 3 ply, and 0.2 oz of a two ply.  Not sure what it will be.

While I was having fun with the drum-carder, Kim made soap.  She sent me home with 9 bars of glorious soap, which is still curing, but smells heavenly.

And just another Shoulder Cozy, or was it two.  One in Noro Aya/Cascade lace and one in Noro Taiyo/Cascade lace, in very similar colorways.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Finding Wool in Ireland

I took a tour of Ireland, and this is probably not the best way to find wool in Ireland.  Luckily I had an enabling tour buddy who escaped with me on two separate occasions.

The countryside in Ireland is full of free-range sheep.  They are in yards, on mountains, in the roads, just about everywhere the tour bus went.  The farmers "brand" the sheep by painting them with bright colors then just turn them loose.  Since they are pretty much eating machines, they graze wherever there is green.  When the sheep are needed, they are rounded up and separated..

 One of the highlights of the tour was seeing Brendan Ferris demonstrate the art of herding sheep with his Border collies.  I had seen his you tube and it is just wonderful!  First  he showed us 10 different kinds of sheep and after the demo, answered questions.

The two dogs he worked with were so eager to work! They never barked and they never touched the sheep.  (Not so with cattle, as the dogs nipped the heels of the stragglers.)

(Traffic jam on the Ring of Kerry)

According to wiki, "Sheep have horizontal slit-shaped pupils, possessing excellent peripheral vision; with visual fields of approximately 270° to 320°, sheep can see behind themselves without turning their heads."  Our very knowledgeable tour guide mentioned this fact and also that their eyes are set on farther back then human eyes.  It explains why the dogs can't really sneak up on the sheep and why they start to move even though the dog is not in front of them.  It also only takes a look from the dog for the sheep to be herded.

Most of the Woolen Mills the tour buses go to have woven or knitted items.  They are beautifully done.  I did find an occasional hank of yarn, but no roving.

My buddy and I took a little walk off the beaten path in Dingle, and found Commodum.  They carry some lovely knits and woven items and yarn from Donnegal, but alas no roving.
Window of Commondn

Donegal Yarn at Commondum
As a consolation I bought two skeins.  I'm on vacation ya know :) Perhaps they shall be Gnomes.

In Dublin, we skipped the Guinness and whiskey tours to go on a search party for The Constant Knitter.  The tour bus crossed the street it was on so dropped us off!

The shopkeeper was so nice and friendly!  She had some roving and I asked if she had Cheviot as I wanted to spin some.  She said it was all Cheviot.  Yay!  She was not able to help me out with finding a traditional shawl pin.  The few I saw were either huge, too expensive and not to my liking, or too cheaply made.  The National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology in Dublin had a very nice display.

Thank you blogless Melody for the nice pic collage! 

The nice shopkeeper at The Constant Knitter, Rosemary Murphy, explained that Irish Wool was not soft and so not so desirable.  The shepherds get only pennies for fleeces, so not much reaches the small shops.  If I every go again, I would like to dedicate more time for the search.  There are spinning guilds somewhere and probably fiber festivals as well. 

Rosemary Murphy gave us a new map and pointed us in the right direction.  We had a lovely walk back meandering through St. Stephens Green (Faiche Stiabhna) and a 3 story shopping mall.  Luckily blogless Melody is not as directionally challenged as I am, and not afraid to ask for directions.

Add:  Now that I'm back and looking I found this article about the wool industry in Ireland.
Wonderful Irish Wool

Thursday, August 13, 2015


The gang is out for cabinet cleaning.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hansen E-spinner Retreat

I flew into Seattle on July 4 at night a was treated to fireworks blooming on the city!

I sat next to a handsome young Australian and learned that Australia still has a draft, but also that the military are not supposed to wear their uniforms off base.  I guess it makes them targets.  In the light of the recent senseless murder of 4 unarmed Marines, I ponder how we got to these times and how do we get out of it.  About 22 vets commit suicide every day as well.  Perhaps it's the muggy weather that makes me dwell on such serious topics.

So, on to my summer adventure. These not so little rascals( Bonnie, Toni and Rudy) live with Jan, a classmate from high school.  Bonnie did not bark as much this time.  Perhaps it was because I gave her treats.
She has the best of both worlds, living close to the city all the amenities it brings but also living in her own private forest.  Seattle was having record high temps but at least it cooled down at night.

I took the Rocket Shuttle from the airport to the Bishop Victorian in Port Townsend.  This worked out very well and I would recommend that service.  The shuttle goes south  around Puget Sound  back north to Port Townsend.  It drives over the Hood Canal.


The Bishop Victorian  is a quaint hotel in and equally quaint town.

It has no elevator so I'm happy I was on the second floor.  That's my room above the flag. My room even had a kitchen.  The hotel kindly provides ear plugs to ward off the sound of screaming seagulls.  Some idiot decided after dark to set off a firecracker which woke them all up, so I was prepared!

I had two days of intense spinning with a very knowledgeable spinner, Judith MacKenzie.  She is a wonderful storyteller as well.  I'm still thinking the "silkworm tickler" job is urban legend although she swears it is a true occupation.  The ticklers cannot drink and must be celibate.  After the worms have eaten to the point they are ready to go to sleep and spin their cocoon, the ticklers stroke them with a feather and wake them up so the can eat more and get even fatter, and spin more silk.
I learned how to take apart my woolee winder, clean it and put it back together.  Judith provided many different fibers for us to practice on. I got out her book, The Intentional Spinner, when I got home and it made a lot more sense.

A few things I learned:
1.  Winding a ball toward your heart puts in right twist and away from your heart puts in left twist. Left =S twist for sinister. 
2.  It's best to know what project you want to spin for,  so you can select the right fiber, the right fiber prep,  and the right spinning technique.  I'm still in the reactive spinning mode. 
3.  Adjust the wheel for diameter control.  Adjust take-up or tension(side button on e-spinner) or pulley size to make the yarn thicker.  To spin finer, take tension off your wheel (cross-lace flyer), or reduce pulley size.  If spinning woolen, slow down long draw to allow more twist into the web and make the single thicker.  
Kevin Hansen gave the group a guided tour of his factory in Port Townsend.  I was so impressed with how clean it was!  He has many fascinating machines that are computer operated and dedicated to certain jobs.  
Judith MacKenzie says she can do all her spinning on the e-spinner, except for paper.  I get the feeling she prefers the jumbo and lace flyers for most of the spinning, She did not encourage me to buy them yet, just fool with the woolee winder for now.  I'm all for that.  I did buy two more bobbins and an orifice reducer.  Who knew I needed one of those?

I had fun walking around the town and some great food.  A very spicey Tom Yum at Asian Noodle, the best BLT at The Courtyard Cafe (called a BLAST), a nice ribeye with the best roasted cauliflower! at Sweet Laurette.  They make great breakfast as well.  

I found some yummy Berry Sangria tea at the Spice and Tea Shop downtown and the cutest rubber ducky tea ball.  It just made me happy.  Unfortunately the website is sold out of the tea, so I hope the shop in town responds to my email request.

 My friends and Magic picked me up and we rode the Edmonds Ferry back to Seattle. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

The Great Tidying Up Project of 2015

The fabric stash is pretty much folded and put away.  There is some overflow to deal with.  Marie Kondo's book does not address tidying up the craft areas unless it is covered under category 5, Miscellany.  What does one do when every little bit of stash brings joy?  I approached this thinking I will have to "debulk" first.  With the fabric I still have one bag of Asian fabric to sort and find a place for and there was some quilt batting that had no choice but to live in my bedroom.  At least it has it's own drawer.  I donated a couple small bags to a friends church.  After folding and rolling my lace, I find I have much more room, but still gave away a ton of doilies that no longer sparked joy.  My cutting table and washer dryer tops were cleared!  Also the back door entry way is  clear!  The dyeing supplies have all found places to live in the home.  I just hope I can find them when I need them. 

My mom has decided she needs to clean and destash also.  The trick to keeping some of her stuff is to get rid of some of mine.  I replaced my coke glasses with the cute Kirin beer glasses that my dad had collected.  My friends also adopted some of her nice things...the cute Irish Coffee Glasses with shamrocks, the Blue Danube cheese plate.  Lots of stuff has been donated.  We both feel lighter already.

I semi-attacked the rubber stamping corner and started on the yarn.  I labelled the bins. One lazy kate and 2 bags of "crap" were given away at the Monday Night Aloha Knitters group.Thank bob for yarn bombers!

I got this idea to deal with some of the many hats I have that fit no known human head or are to scratchy to wear.  Make felted bowls!

3 of them before

5 of them after

They are drying after two 14 minutes agitating sessions in my washer with one rinse.  I think I love them!

I'm loosing steam, as they craft areas are really a challenge.  I have found that by debulking and working toward cleaner counters, that I do have more room for stuff. I have the beads to go.

I haven't stopped shopping, but it has slowed down some.  Some entity out there decided not to allow streaming of you tube through my Sony blu-ray player, so I've ordered a Roku.  I couldn't resist this cute Hermes, sculpted by the artist formally know as moonlight baker.

(the little horsie was created by May Izumi)

Old habits die hard.  I continue to accumulate receipts and such, but I'm better at disposing of some of the junk that comes in the mail.  I can' seem to put the pen back in the pen place after I use it.  So far I've been faithful at folding my laundry.

One last project that may be considered a "tidying" project is a Terracotta Garden which makes use of broken or unloved terracotta pots.  Mine still has a lot of growing to do.