Friday, September 28, 2012

Needle-Felting Class

I love watching the creative process in action!  Last night I taught a needle-felting class through the local college's outreach program. This session's project was designed to give students an opportunity to pick a felt on which they would needle-felt a fall-themed design, using cookie cutters to form many of the shapes.  After an introduction to all the materials and a brief demonstration, the gals got right to work.  Here are a few pictures:
The round felt was made by Dana McDonald, and the square one was made by Tara Anderson.

Cats in the moonlight was made by Kristi Hardke.

 Fall leaves with chestnuts place mat was made by Jan Jensen.
More on the next post...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New residents...

Despite my hesitation, I was talked into it.  Yep.  Because I haven’t had a dog or cat around the place for nearly two years, and other little critters have started to move in, it was, perhaps, a real good idea to get some “barn” cats. My friends insisted I would be thrilled with the results: minimal care, no anxiety in leaving them alone, no mice.   

Kris’s cats recently had litters, and she was more than willing to share the bounty.   So, how many do I take?  1? 2? 3? I had to ponder this decision. Life in the country is not easy, and, unfortunately, there are usually predators passing through.  One the plus side, these little ones have not been handled much, so they are on wild side.  They should be savvy. 
On Sunday I went to Kris’s to get them.  While I was on my way, Kris went out to catch the three litter mates (one grey and two Siamese), and she asked me to wish her luck.  Fortunately, she was able to nab them by the neck as they were attempting to eat, but they were not happy about it.  Kris attempted to check the sex of the kitties, but gave up because they got really cranky about that!   By the time I arrived, the kitties were imprisoned in a small pet carrier, and when we peeked in to have a look at the trio, the grey one hissed emphatically!  Yikes.  Feisty little thing.  Now it was Kris’s turn to wish me good luck in getting them out.  Kris’ parting words were, “If they run away, I’ve got plenty more.” I can still hear her punctuating that with laughter.

During the ride home on the seat next to me, the three were huddled in the back of the pet carrier, wary of me, but content with the ride in the pickup.  

My plan was to keep them trapped for a few days in a dogaloo by the shed which I had already set up with food, water, and a blanket.  I was hoping they would be so hungry, they would be thrilled to walk right in from the carrier.  Well, not so much.  So, I tried tipping the carrier to dump them in there.  Then I tried to tip and bounce them out.  The more I tipped, the more they hung in there, until finally one of the Siamese fell out and slipped between the sides of the carrier and the dogaloo and flashed out of there like a bolt of lightening, running for the south side of the house.  Well, there goes one…

I decided to try to trap the other two by stuffing the gaps with a garbage bag and a towel, just because they were handy.  Yeah, that looked pretty good, and I thought I’d just leave them alone so they would venture toward the food and maybe take a nap.  

An hour or so later, I went out to check on them.  And they were running around the wood pile!!  Those little buggers had escaped by climbing up the towel and pulling it out enough to create an escape route.  So much for my best laid plans.  So, the trio had all escaped, were running around, and hiding under the shed.  I just hoped all three would find each other before nightfall.  

Monday evening I finally saw that all three were together, and from my window, I could watch them play on some lumber that was piled by the shed.  They were having a grand time, frolicking about and wrestling with each other.  I can’t help but laugh when I see kittens play. It is delightful entertainment.  

So, I make sure they have food and water.  They make sure I don’t get near them.  

With my telephoto lens I was able to snap a few pictures today of the grey one, who I’ve named Shade, and one of the Siamese, who I’ve named Smoke because of the smoky coloring around its nose and eyes.    The other Siamese has evaded the camera lens, for now...
Shade is the boldest of the kitties and the ring leader.

Shade and Smoke were watching me from under the step.  It was a stare down.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Candle Mat

Getting ready for a needle-felting class, I experimented with a very small felt mat that I thought could be cut into a round piece.  The Fall Table-Runner class will focus on using fall colors and shapes to create  table-runner, place mat, or candle mat sized pieces.  I try to have a few samples on hand to illustrate the possibilities.  So, here's a candle mat that is decorated with fall leaves, acorns, and apples.  Students will be able to use cookie cutters to get the shapes just right, which is a big help if one does not feel they could do it free-hand.  It's fast and easy. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Visitors at Lucy's Sheep Camp

On Saturday, Leane accompanied me to Lucy's Sheep Camp (north of Thermopolis) to buy some wool table-runners and roving for a couple of needle-felting classes I'll be teaching soon.  I enjoy going in and visiting with the owner, Billie Jo, who is very artistic and usually jump-starts some new creative endeavor.

While we were elbow deep in fibers, our head spinning with color combinations and project possibilities, we suddenly heard an unexpected noise outside the open door to the shop.  We all turned to look...and there was Little Joe!  He was ready to walk right in and  join the search for wool treasures too!

Leane is quite a horsewoman in her own right, and she gave ol' Joe a welcomed scratch on the neck while I slipped out to get my camera for this photo op.

 I have to say, he liked the attention and was not a bit camera shy.  So, when you live in the country, you never know who might drop into the shop on the first day of Autumn... 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cotton Socks

I was given some cotton sock yarn from Nancy S.'s leftover stash, and I decided to make up a short pair of socks as a gift.  Nancy S. said the yarn was wonderful to work with, was soft, and washed up very well.  So, I've been very happy to work on a pair of circulars with such great yarn.  I've nearly finished the 2nd sock, so I'm doing well on completing this project in a timely manner.

The simple K2, P2 ribbing is continued down the top of the foot.

I like the yarn so well, I've ordered more cotton blend sock I guess I've got plenty of sock knitting in my future. It's a great project for travel.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sunset Scarf

Clapotis  by Kate Gilbert (available on

Close up: Note the dropped stitches, which help make the scar/shawl less bulky.

I finally finished it!  You may have heard of the Sky Scarf, which a few of the gals in our Fiber Arts Guild have begun.  I decided to try a variation on the theme and watch the daily sunsets instead.  Each day you note the color of the sky and knit two rows of that color (or combination of colors). I also wanted to use the Clapotis pattern to make the scarf.  This also meant I would be using heavier yarn (worsted weight) and size 8 needles. Actually, it was difficult to find the colors I needed.  The 5 colors I used worked well enough, but I wish I would have had a peachy color (rather than the yellow), as that was often a dominant color in the sky at sunset. My scarf records the sky for a 6 month period, whereas the regular sky scarf records  the color of the sky for a year.

The lighter end of my scarf was started in April, and we had many cloudy evenings, and the white clouds dominated the western horizon. As summer arrived, we had beautiful, clear blue skies, and the sunsets were mostly blue and peachy. By July we started to have smoke in the sky from forest fires in WY, UT, NV, MT, and ID.  The smoky skies continued off and on, making for evenings of a blood red sun and some beautiful sunsets. The scarf came off the needles yesterday, and it took quite a while, at least 2 TV shows, to weave in all the ends!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ride the Duck

I was recently reminded of an unusual 6-wheel vehicle that I saw in San Francisco.  It was so intriguing, I got a ticket for a 90 minute ride on the DUCK. 

This was one of the original refurbished WWII Amphibious landing crafts which was used to transport soldiers and supplies over both land and water.  In more recent years, these crafts were used by police departments, fire stations, and rescue units in San Francisco.  Now, they are a tourist attraction. 

It was great fun riding through the streets of the North Shore of San Francisco and then driving right into the water and taking a slow tour of the Bay as well.  Finally, we were amazed at how the craft climbed right out of the water and made its way back on to the busy city streets to finish the tour.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chillin' by the pool

After a morning of shopping in the vendor's area of the Knitting Show at the Grand Sierra Resort, we decided to do some chillin' and knittin' poolside. The weather was perfect, and we were able to find a table in a shady area.  It was a relaxing break in a beautiful location.
 Cheryl, Nancy, Julie, and Nina enjoy a refreshing drink while knitting.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Continental Knitting

One of the great things about the TKGA Knitting Show is that they attract some of the big names in the knitting community to teach a variety of classes over the course of several days.  I felt fortunate to be able to sign up for two classes with Galina Khmeleva, an expert on Orenburg Lace.  I enrolled in a 3 hour morning class entitled “Continental Knitting: A Variation on a Theme.”  

Galina strongly encouraged her students to hold that left index finger right down on the left needle, rather than pointing it up in the air like you were at high tea.  With practice, it should make a difference in one’s overall speed.  I found that holding it this way was even more helpful to do the purl stitch.  I started to get more comfortable with it in just a few minutes of practice in class.  Another tip: If you use the granny purl stitch (yarn wrapping around the needle clockwise) on the wrong side of the fabric, then you must knit the stitches through the back loop on the right side of the stockinet fabric.  Otherwise, the stitches will be twisted. 

Galina demonstrated the long-tail cast-on, slipping the first stitch (as if to purl with yarn in front) of a knitted row,  and the lacy bind-off.  All three techniques look and work so nicely; they have become part of my usual routine in knitting. 

I did not take a single picture of the students working in class.  It didn’t even occur to me at the time because I was so focused on the tasks at hand.  

So, what pictures can I share with readers today? 

Concentration and working on new techniques take a lot of energy, and you have to refuel every few hours, right?   How about the OUTSTANDING FOOD at the banquet/fashion show in the evening? The presentation of the food was BEAUTIFUL.  Kudos to the chefs at the Grand Sierra Resort!  Check out the orchid on the salad plate.  And yes, I ate it.  The main course…so tasty!  And then the dessert… a work of art!!  Almost too pretty to eat.  Everything was delicious!  Once refueled, I was ready to absorb more beautiful knitting ideas, yarns, and techniques.

Turkey dinner


Fashion Show: A sweater with a pleated bottom section on body and sleeves.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Got to Knit

I just returned from a FABULOUS trip to The Knitting Guild of America’s Knitting Show in Reno, NV.  It was really great in every way, even the 13.5 hour drive to get there!  While one gal was driving, the other 3 were softly clicking needles under lively conversation.  

Going to a knitting show of this size was perfect, and something I’ve wanted to do for some time.  Everything fell into place, and the plans worked out beautifully. 
We made it!  Julie, Nancy (me), Nancy, and Cheryl sat down for dinner.

Before recording some of the highlights of the trip, I was inspired to write the following:


Knitting relaxes me . . . releases me

Needles provide my eager fingers solitary, artistic, purposeful activity

Inspired authors have already worked out the pattern’s fine details

The glorious invitation is to live them

To enjoy the journey

Ingesting the fiber that satisfies the soul

Noting the richness of color, line, and texture

Giving to others of the overflow

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Bunny

First of all, my Sony camera finally bit the dust...or maybe it was exposed to too much dust on  desert/mountain trails.  Whatever the case, I had to invest in a new one. So, having done all the preparatory work, I finally have my first pictures downloaded on the computer. Does anyone else find all the downloading of software, accepting their policies, registering, etc. a big PAIN? Yeah, it's probably just me. 

I had to find something quick and easy to shoot.  When I went outside, I saw my wild bunny by the shed.  He's been hanging out around the place all summer.  I loved it when I would see him stretched out under the 4-wheeler trailer in the heat of the day, and I've tried to get pictures of him, but with no luck.  Now with this camera, I used the zoom and caught him. I only got one shot, and then he was gone.

My wild bunny

He's been making his home in the woodpile.  See the entrance between the two big logs on the ground?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

You might be an experienced knitter if ...

"That's the same cable I used in Dylan's baby blanket." from It Itches by Franklin Habit.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Rider...New Trails

It is fun to explore new trails on a 4-wheeler, but it’s equally as fun to take someone new on a 4-wheeler ride in the mountains.  So, here was Nancy S’s first ride, and she did very well! We took it easy, stopped for pictures, explored some trails, and enjoyed the fine weather.  

Here's Nancy S. snapping photos of the devastation left by a forest fire a few years ago.

Glenn and Cheryl were part of the crew too, and they led the excursion in their side-by-side Polaris RZR; I brought up the tail end.   We were in the Union Pass area, and I had not approached Fish Lake from the Sheridan Creek Road, so that section was new to me.  I’m always interested in new trails! We stopped for about 30 minutes at Fish Lake, located very near the continental divide.  The breezes swept across this small lake and kept us cool while we sat on a sunny hill on the north shore to eat lunch. 

Fish Lake

On our way back, Glenn was willing to take us down two different roads that branched off the Sheridan Creek Road. Both were new to me. The first one had a roadblock where a bridge must have been taken out, so we were not able to continue to the trail's end.  The second road led us in to Pellam Lake.  The last quarter-mile was rough, so Nancy S. parked her machine and rode with me on my 4-wheeler as we followed Glenn and Cheryl. 

Here is a section of the road as we approached Pellam Lake.

 Yeehaw!  Nancy got a taste of a more difficult 4-wheeler ride, rolling over a maze of boulders, tree roots, and gullies. What a great sight as we approached the lake.  Although it’s a destination for many fishermen, today we were the only ones there.  It was peaceful and beautiful, tucked in at the base of Lava Mountain.

We posed for the self-timer camera: Me, Nancy S., Glenn, and Cheryl