Friday, March 29, 2013

Rag Socks

The Rag Socks are off the needles.  I used two balls of yarn, and I just started the socks with whatever color was on the tail.  So, they are not a perfect match as far as the stripes go, but I like the way the colored pattern worked out.  This Patton yarn was great to knit with, and I would use it again.  I hope it is nice to wear too! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thoughts for Thursday...

. "The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking."
Albert Einstein

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wyoming Girls

We may be seen as rough-cut gems,
Some appear to be lustrous pearls,
But all are set in solid gold
Because we are Wyoming girls.

Some of us were mined right here
Some arrived by road or rail
To find a rugged atmosphere,
Spartan glamor on the trail.

Undaunted by earth's shadows,
We reflect the perfect Light,
Which dries the tears, warms the heart,
Brightens like stars, darkest night.

No matter our cut or design,
Our reflected light gently swirls,
softening roughened edges
For we are Wyoming girls.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fiber Challenge Finished

It's finished and ready to be delivered to Lucy's Sheep Camp.  I did make a few changes and adjustments.  A friend gave me some old rusty barbed wire and fence staple, so I added them in.  Also, I decided the "Giddy Up" patch was too white (too much contrast) for the rest of the piece, so I stained it with a wet tea bag, and that did the trick. 

I also finished the first one I made. Although I'm still contemplating tea-staining the "Don't Fence Me In" card.  That will be easy to do.  I added horseshoe nails and rusty wire and barbed wire to this one too.  It's going to be a gift. 

Hmmm....what shall I do next??  The wheels are turning...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blue Grass Music

A local group, The Low Water String Band, was invited by the Riverton Library to play a concert Saturday night.  It was absolutely delightful.  They had such fun picking out songs to perform, highlighting the multiple talents of each member.  They all sing, they all play multiple instruments, and they all enjoy the beauty of a bluegrass beat and lyric. 

They played for a full two hours, and it was just wonderful.  One lyric that drew a laugh from the crowd was the opening lyric of a song that begins, "I put some whiskey in my whiskey..."  Another cute song, written by the banjo player, starts out with an opening lyric saying, "Mama gave me a pistol for my first toy..."  Oh, you've got to love blue grass lyrics! The time went by too quickly. 

I took in an instrument for Joe to look at after the concert.  It's a mandolin that came from my dad's side of the family.  Nobody in the family seemed to have much information about it, but my Dad inherited it.  I have to wonder how often it was played in some blue grass jam session...

One Christmas, maybe 35 years ago, Mom decided to have the instrument refurbished as a surprise for my dad.  She went to great lengths and considerable expense to find a guy to work on it.   This was going to be a lovely surprise, assuming Dad had some sentimental links to this instrument. 

When he opened it, he was amazed alright.  He had forgotten about it.  Furthermore, he had no idea why he was receiving this mandolin, and apparently, and much to our surprise, there was no sentimental link.  Oh man!!  I know Mom was really disappointed.  I don't remember Dad ever touching or playing it, and I eventually asked if I could have it.  Mom was pretty happy about that.  I bought a mandolin book, sat for hours building up some calloused finger tips, and learned to pick out a few tunes.  But that was years ago.

It's been sitting in my basement for a long time.  Just a few weeks ago, I got it out to take a look at it, and I discovered that it had a new crack on the front.  It's just so darned dry in this part of the country, that this is not unusual.  But, I tuned it up and got out the mandolin book to try a few chords and easy songs.  It's got a great sound. 

Anyway, Joe took a look at it, as did a few other folks. They offered a couple of ideas for getting it repaired.  The fiddle player (Jacob) thought that the instrument most likely came from eastern Europe, and he said you don't see many of these around.  The case intrigued him too.  It's definitely an old one, having traveled many miles. Another guy saw it and was really surprised, saying that he had one just like it, and the case looked similar too.  He didn't know much about the history of his instrument either, so there's much to be discovered. Oh how I wish it could tell me its story!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

"The Water is Wide"

I am always keeping my eye (and ear) out for ideas for songs I might use in voice lessons for my little gals, a third grader and a fourth grader.  I try to look to lyrics that are appropriate for girls that age.  We’ve learned a few patriotic songs, folk songs, spirituals, songs of the old west, and some songs from Disney shows and musicals.  The girls like contemporary artists, but seriously, the themes are often too mature for these girls, and I just can’t see them singing such lyrics at this age. 
With that said, I stumbled across the title to a folk song I learned when I was singing in the school choir: “The Water is Wide.”  (Sound familiar?) It’s a classic.  So, I looked for a piano arrangement that might be pleasing, and I found one by James Taylor.  Love it.  If you want to hear James Taylor sing it, check out the link:

Anyway, I went to Wikipedia and found the following information:
“The Water is Wide” is also titled “O Waly, Waly” and is of English origin, dating as far back as the 1600’s.  Various influences have changed the wording and verses over the centuries, but the modern version of the song was made popular by Pete Seeger.  Many, many recordings have been made of this song, and you may remember renditions by The Seekers, Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, James Taylor and others.  I was surprised to discover that the song has been used in ten different films, including The River Wild and The Bounty.

Check out the lyrics (two verses only) from the older English version. (If you’re an English major like me, you might get a kick out of reading the words.  Brings back memories of my college class studying Chaucer!)

Waly, Waly, gin Love be bonny
O Waly, waly, (a lament – "woe is me") up the bank,
And waly, waly, doun the brae (hill),
And waly, waly, yon burn-side (riverside),
Where I and my love want to go!
I lean'd my back into an aik (oak),
I thocht it was a trustie tree;
But first it bow'd and syne (soon) it brak (broke)—
Sae my true love did lichtlie (lightly) me.

O waly, waly, gin love be bonnie (beautiful),
A little time while it is new!
But when 'tis auld (old) it waxeth cauld (cold),
And fades awa' like morning dew.
O wherefore should I busk my heid (adorn my head),
Or wherefore should I kame (comb) my hair?
For my true Love has me forsook,
And says he'll never lo'e me mair (more).

And here are the verses sung in the modern version of “The Water is Wide.”

The water is wide, I can-not cross o'er.
And neither have I wings to fly.
give me a boat that can carry two,
And both shall row, my love and I.

A ship there is and she sails the seas.
She's loaded deep, as deep can be;
But not as deep as the love I'm in
And I know not if I sink or swim.

I leaned my back up against a young oak
Thinking he were a trusty tree
but first he bended and then he broke
Thus did my love prove false to me.

O love is handsome and love is fine
Bright as a jewel when first it's new
but love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like the morning dew.
And fades away like the morning dew.


I think the girls and I will have fun singing this one.  It is in their vocal range and will give them practice holding on to long tones with good breath support.  It’s one of those tunes that can play in your head, lingering like the aroma of a lovely spring bloom.  Can’t wait to get started.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Aspen Catkins

       I was much too busy working to notice your subtle changes.  
                                       but now I'm home,  
                  spending spring morning hours at the computer, 
                                        and there you are, 
      your leafless branches framed by the window in front of me.

       As the stubborn coolness of winter slowly marches away, 
                        I'm noticing the gradual swelling of buds 
                        from which your leaves will soon emerge.  
                                    I didn't hear it before, 
                                   but now I understand 
                          that you are the lone voice in my yard, 
                            announcing, "Spring has arrived."

                        Today these buds look plump and fuzzy, 
                               and I take the time to discover 
                                  that they are called catkins
                     derived from a Dutch word meaning kitten, 
                             because they resemble a kitten's tail.

            I didn't realize that you, my Aspen, are gender specific.  
               I am truly curious and hope to uncover the mystery: 
                                  Are you male or female?  
               All I know for the moment is that if you are a male, 
                            you are counting on these recent, 
                                  persistent March winds 
                                 to distribute your pollen.

                            So, I'm watching your catkins
                   and wonder how long the tails will grow
                            before they drop or blow away 
                          and allow your apple green leaves 
                           to open to the warmth of the sun.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Old cedar fencing

My neighbor Brett is pretty handy at woodworking, so I asked him if he'd consider helping me make  two background/frameworks for felting projects  Fortunately, he didn't have other plans, so  he agreed to pull out the saws.  And I promised him lunch.

After showing him what I had in mind, I went to the scrap pile and pulled out 3 pieces of old, weathered, cedar fencing that I had torn down several years ago.  (I had saved them just for projects like this.)

 It was so nice outside that we were able to work out on the cement pad in front of his garage.  It was the most time I'd spent outside in the fresh air and sunshine in months!! 

I thought the work would only take a couple hours.  Well, it took twice as long. Brett searched for the wood glue; had to settle for school glue.  He patiently helped me think through decisions about the dimensions, and we had to discuss the best length of nails and screws to use...etc., etc. Just when you think you have all the measurements right...something doesn't' quite fit...even though it SHOULD.   Measure, adjust, measure again.  Check the angles.  Shave off a "skosh" here.  Pull a splinter out of your finger there...                                            

In the end, it was all good...

So here's one of the frames we made, and I'm using it for my "Wild, Wild West" Fiber Challenge.  Right now, all the components from the project bag are in the "picture," but they are not nailed or glued down.  I think I will just look at it again in a few days and see if I want to change my mind on any of the details. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

It felt like spring...

Yes, amazingly, Friday and Saturday felt like spring.

 Saturday I attended our local Fiber Arts Guild meeting. Our special program was lead by Billie from Lucy's Sheep Camp, and she had all the materials and instruction to lead us through making a needle-felted postcard.  We all used a spring theme and had fun poking the wool. 

Here's the front of the card that I made, based on some inspiration from a design on Sally's silk scarf.

And here's the back of the postcard.  Billie brought an ink pad and a postcard stamp to  stamp this design on a rectangle of muslin which was then adhered to the back of the felted piece with sticky interfacing and a hot iron.

The final steps were to punch holes around the outside of the postcard and then crochet an edge.  TA-DA.    It will be perfect as an Easter postcard.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Don't Fence Me In...

I'm probably pretty close to finishing this wet-felted piece I put on my post a couple days ago.  The first one got the cowgirl... and this one has a fence line and some Indian Paint Brush to add color and interest.  Haven't decided if I will add something more or not. 
The wet-felted piece.

Here's the same piece after I added the machine stitching and some needle-felting.

I think I'm ready to use the actual materials I got for the Fiber Challenge and hope for the best as I lay out the wool and start the wet-felting process.  I've learned a few things by experimenting; hope it pays off. Ha.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thoughts for Thursday...

Here's looking to the south at a "spring" storm coming over the mountains.

"The deep roots never doubt spring will come."
   --Marty Rubin

"Spring is the time of plans and projects."
   --Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Spring reminds us not to limit our God-given strength, wisdom,  love,  hope, and possibilities.   

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Closing the door on winter...

OK, it's not spring yet. But officially, March 20th, the first day of spring, if getting pretty close.  And, the temps have come up well above freezing during the day, so it feels like spring is right around the corner!!  Sunday afternoon I attended a vocal concert, and I didn't even have to wear a jacket!! 

This next "season" is aptly called "Springtime in the Rockies."  Which translates into very strange weather. Heavy, wet snow one day, and 50 degrees and sunny the next.  You know well the saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait 30 minutes." 

I looked up the lyrics to Gene Autry's "When It's Springtime in the Rockies," and found one verse that described the general feel of spring in this part of the country:

          The twilight shadows deepen into night, dear 
          The city lights are gleaming o'er the snow 
          I sit alone beside the cheery fire, dear 
          I'm dreaming dreams from out the long ago.

Really, the signs of green grass poking through winter's cover and the splashes of color from spring flowers are still a good month away.  So while I'm confined to sitting by the "cheery fire" in the mornings, I'm delighting in my African Violet which is slowly opening its blooms. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wild, Wild West

Billie, at Lucy's Sheep Camp, has issued another fiber challenge to anyone interested.  The theme is "Wild, Wild West."  Each contestant gets a bag with the same materials in it, which includes a piece of grey felt (8x8), hunks of red, blue, and yellow roving, two pieces of lace, a leather star, a gold horseshoe charm, a rusted gun shell casing, a plug nickle, and the words "Giddy-up" printed on a small piece of paper/fabric.  You can make anything you want to, but ALL the items must be used in some form or other. You can't leave anything out, but you can add other things.  So, I've been trying to get some inspiration...

I saw a great techinique for wet-felting, needle-felting, and machine stitching on a new blog I've started to follow:  I love what she did. Thanks, Kerry! You are so talented.

 So, I thought maybe I would give it a try with materials that I have, using the same basic colors in the challenge packet.  If it didn't work out, at least I wouldn't have ruined the project by experimenting!  Been down that road before....what could possibly go wrong?  Kind of like my attempts at cooking a new dish for company! 

Anyway, I should have taken a few more pictures, but...

I made two wet-felted pieces, which are sort of similar.  Here's one after it was wet-felted.

Then here's the other one after I machine stitched some "outlining" around the mountains and fence line.  And then I added some needle-felting to fill in where it needed some color, or where the lines of color were not quite right.  Finally, I added the cowgirl and her lasso which I needle felted separately, then attached to the background.  When  I do the "real thing," I may attach the finished piece to a larger square of felt, or perhaps to a barn-wood background.  I will need to ask my neighbor to help me build a framework for this out of my barn-wood planks, and I hope he can spare the time to do that. That's all rather "ify" at the moment.

Next, I need to consider where how I would incorporate star,  the gun shell, plug nickel, horseshoe, and printed I've got a little more to think about!!  I might have to add a horse in the background.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sock Hop

I have two socks on the needles, and I'm hopping from one to the other.  The blue (on size 5 needles) one must be finished soon, and the second one cast on.  But, when I need a little something different in my hands, I'll be picking up the rag socks (on size 3 needles).

Just 3 more inches on the foot, and I can start the toe.

Got to the heel flap!  I'm liking the striping of the yarn.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rag Socks

I got this Patons Kroy Socks (Ragg Shades) Yarn for Christmas.  I decided to let the colors in the yarn do their striping thing while I did a simple ribbing.  I really like whats happening with the colors so far.  There's plenty of yarn (2 skeins), so I am planning to knit the leg about 8 inches long. I'm using size 3 needles.