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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.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Butterfly Cards

I had a fun day making butterfly cards with blogless Forest Maiden.  She will be returning to her forest soon and was able to take a break from her cleaning house in preparation for the summer renters.  She provided lunch!    The stamps are mostly from Stampin' Ups Butterfly collection.  What a lot of fun that set is!  It's always fun to share papers and ideas.

I tried out a new mosaic maker, Andrea Mosaic.  Freeware! Looks like fun!

I made desert, Apple Charlotte.

I watched Trish Yearwood and her sister make this.  I didn't have a charlotte pan, so I used my casserole dish.  I added the zest and juice from two lemons so it was very lemon-y.  I also used half whole wheat bread to make the pattern and cut back on the sugar so it was nicely tart.  

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Fabric Stash Project 2015

It's worse then I thought.  I do recognize these fabrics.  I'm folding them and storing them upright.  I still have a few more tubs.  I resolve not buy fabric or yarn without a project in mind.  The donate pile is actually quite small on this first go around.

I'm reading a book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo.  I've actually folded my clothes and stood them up, and now I'm folding my fabric.  I'm done with Great Shred Project!  That was very cathartic.  It may be awhile before all my possessions have a place...tough for a crafter.  I really should so something with all the basket-making stuff.  It's a bit moldy but some of it is still good.  I doubt I'll be making baskets anymore. I'm cock-a-roaching the plastic bins from my yarn stash for the fabric stash, trying to resist the urge to buy more storage bins. (One of Ms Kondo's suggestions). The yarn stash will have to be next. I wonder how one stores yarn upright?

I watched this video and liked they way she did it.

I've given up haircuts and massages until June. My hairdresser said "long time no see".  I told her I was re-inventing myself and would see her in June.  I even thought about finding a part time job.  Now that is is really bad.  Of course I came to senses right away when I envisioned waking up and having to show up someplace on a schedule. 

It's been raining recently and the cotton plant is not happy about it.  I discovered that the bolls that have lost their calyx through wind damage do not make good cotton.  I guess they need that protection.  The bolls pop open but the cotton inside is moldy and never puffs out.  Nature is so fascinating.  On a good note, despite the rain, my electric bill has been minus!  The solar project is paying off.

Game of Thrones is back on air.  It is so tough waiting a week for the new episode and I cry for more when the episode ends.  The series is diverging from the book and so far the changes are all good!  But Justified finished it's run.  No more Olyphant to watch, sigh. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Anything but Lazy Kate

I could not wait to spin all my cotton to try out my Anything but Lazy Kate.  I had my first bobbin of cotton wound off on 5 plastic bobbins and had spun about 3/4 of a second Hansen Woolee Winder bobbin full.  I made a 3 ply and have yet to soak and dry it.  The Kate really worked well without any additional tensioning.  I may ply a second skein before finishing the rest of my Ewa Beach cotton.

Very little knitting has been going on.  I wanted to make a hooded cowl after watching Seventh Son.  Jeff Bridges has a cowl that has a nice drape and reminds me a lot of
The one I use the most does not form a nice hood.  I found this pattern on the LionBrand site
by Lion Brand Yarn and Number 4 sister was nice enough to pick up the Thick and Quick with some coupons.   The contruction intrigued me so I knit it up.  Two skeins.  Face has been blurred to protect the hopelessly paranoid.  It's basically a garter stitch rectangle.  Instead of binding off I folded the piece in half and grafted the end off.  With the beginning yarn, I sewed up the sides.  It made for a pointy hood and something very wam and cozy.  Not for Hawaii, though and not very drapey.  It was fun to make. 

I found a quilt I made a while back, back before I knew much about quilting.  It was a sad thing with a folded over border, that didn't even have batting all the way to the edge.  The fabric is a bit spotted and the quilting bad.  There are a million puckers.  But it is one of my very favorite patterns, Storm at Sea and it is nice and soft.  So I decided to trim off the weird border and bind it, and use it.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Catching Up

April 1 I will be coming up on 10 years blogging!  A decade!  I started this blog when I had lots to whine about.  Now that I'm pretty much retired, there is not much to whine about.

What there is, is a whole lot more time to think about gardening, housecleaning, and exercising, which is still not happening as much as it should.  There is a little more walking and so far two zumba classes.  I'm thinking about giving up my regular massages since the price went up again and go prn.  I've also giving up regular haircuts, for a while.  I'm contemplating using that money to join the Y.  In a year I can get free membership through my health plan.  I'm not really the gym type, but I'm willing to give it another try. 

It's be a revolving door of sisters the last month or so.  So nice to have them visit mom and help her with those things she cannot do anymore at 91.  She can still do plenty though.  Her garden puts me to shame!
Her honohono orchids are doing exceptionally well this year.  They are so fragrant!

On the knitting scene there was another Giro and another Cadhla Shawl.
A friend brought some Romney yarn from NZ for the Cadhla Shawl.  She has another Cadhla I knit with Pima Fresca Solid by Queensland Collection that she says is her favorite shawl and requested another.  This yarn is way warm for Hawaii! I used my last bit of Noro Aya for the Giro, my third one.
I did a little Wilton's cake dye dyeing on some Romney locks.
My kind of dyeing...non toxic and done with kitchen supplies.

I finished 3 quilts.  2 are large lap quilts and one is baby quilt size.  I used up my flower blocks from the 2014 Big Island Quilt Shop Hop and made a pieced backing.  The pattern is called Garden Path and is free from McCall's.
The two pink and green ones are called Summer in the Park.  I arranged the blocks in different ways and used only two Amy Butler prints and white.  The smaller one has a flannel backing which really showed up the machine quilting nicely.  The machine quilting was done by Barbara Alama. After seeing her fabric stash I'll feel no shame when I look at mine, lol. 

I had fun making my own quilt label with a rubber stamp and sharpie.  Ironing the fabric on freezer paper really helped.  I heat set the label before hand stitching it on.  Next time I will sew it into the binding. 

I'm still spinning cotton.  It's a long term project.  I can't wait to try out my Anything But Lazy Kate.  I may just have to interupt the cotton spinning and ply!  This cool gadget was a birthday gift for my wonderful and enabling sisters!  Aren't sister grand?