Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Accomplished!

Accomplished--according to the thesaurus this word relates to 'skilled, proficient, able, gifted, talented, finished' Yes, finished fits here! But, just because these two items and projects are 'accomplished' doesn't mean they or myself are skilled, proficient, able, gifted or talented.....it just means two UFO's are off the list and now tucked into the appropriate storage unit and hopefully, they will appear in the near future to be clad upon one's body.
Here are the mystery socks (and yes, they are indeed socks!) and looking lovely lying on the sofa.
This was the Nancy Bush 'mystery' pattern and quite fast to knit. And the other 'accomplished' project are the wrist warmers, using the handspun yarn from a summer art roving from "Orchids" painting. Instead of one large project, this yarn was used on smaller projects. Earlier blog showed the headband "Quant" Interesting that the latest issue of Interweave Press "Handspun" magazine featured several of these headbands with the use of handspun. modeled by granddaughter's lovely hands.
Yes, Finished is a good feeling. Now, to tackle the pile of other UFO's waiting in the wings.

Monday, September 28, 2009

More Good Stuff!

As promised here is more of the weaving exhibit/sale. Wonderful baskets! Even Christmas decorations!
Home furnishings!
linens perfectly suited for any kitchen and a few of the lovely wearables.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Over One, Under One

The weavers in our area have made a great show of themselves and their productions! The Contemporary Handweavers of Houston hosted their annual show and sale this weekend and a mighty fine exhibit it was! Sale was awesome as well. The exhibit/sale was held at Houston Contemporary Craft Center--the perfect location for this function. The lighting is good, the layout is excellent and the space is outstanding--the organization couldn't ask for anything better than that. From the minute you walk through the doors you are amazed! The colors, the fabrics, structures and variety--where does one begin? From the table with handwoven scarves and lovely jewelry to the racks of linens, placemats, you have a hard time deciding what to buy--all this eye candy!
A table with handfelted socks
And more scarves to choose from: Plus a table with handspun yarns! Just too many wonderful things to show here so next blog more photos!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What is a Quilt?

Recently, on a visit to a quilt exhibit, there were several interesting quilts on display. One of the reasons to look at quilts 'up close and personal' is to see 1) the pattern 2)quilting design 3)setting of blocks and borders 4)different layouts of blocks. Here are some quilts of interest
But, there were about three or four 'quilts' that were exhibited that had us questioning, what is a quilt? This is called 'Swedish needle weaving' or huckery or Swedish Huck weaving or Huck toweling. In my younger days, my hands 'wove' a many of these towels; not on a loom but with needle and thread! But, here were 'Huck toweling pieces' displayed as quilts--no two layers or three layers sandwiched together, just one single layer of toweling--of course, it was on the scale of bed size and there was an impressive amount of work, but to call it a quilt? Interesting in fact! Each exhibit has it's own guidelines and obviously, these fit into their 'quilt' category

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mid America!

There is nothing like driving across mid America--We took off east on Hwy. 36 out of Colorado to head across Kansas. Little aside here--do NOT drink two large cups of coffee before heading down the road--there are few towns across that part of Colorado and when you do find a town, there is nothing open at the time of day that you are driving (we were early morning). There are no gas stations, no cafes, no nothin' to stop at. Then we come upon a small park in the middle of nowhere--thank goodness! There sits an out building that looks like a rest room--zoom--of course, we went past it! "Stop! That was a rest room back there". Around we go to the park and it was a small rest stop--pit toilets, but we cares.
And on the back of the door is this sign: Relief!
We crossed over into
where you can find interesting historical events that happen in mid America.

Can't read the sign? It's about Bloody Benders and along the way we spotted several signs for Prairie Spirit Trail and then you know you're in Kansas when you see this advertisement.
We were entertained along Hwy 36 all across Kansas as it was the weekend for US Highway 36 Treasure Hunt We have never seen so many 'treasures' in our entire life! Anywhere there was a town people had put out their 'treasures' for the seekers. Too bad we were on a time schedule and couldn't stop to seek our special treasure. You've gotta love mid America!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mystery Socks?

"What's the mystery? You know they are going to be socks!" The brown haired kid replied when she heard that 'mystery socks' were the task for the month of September.
Yes, the finished product will be socks indeed, but the mystery is what will each week bring in the way of design. This 'mystery sock' pattern is being brought to us by sock knitters anonymous group on Ravelry . Every other month there is a 'mystery sock' pattern presented each week so by the end of the month, if you have kept up, you'll have a completed pair of socks (that is, if you do two at a time or a fast knitter to do one at a time). September mystery pattern is written by Nancy Bush, well known knitter. What a treat to participate in this free (yes, free) venture. So, here we go--sock yarn on hand, knitting needles poised at the ready and we are working on clue 3 (which is the heel section) this week. Here is what has been knitted so far: front, lacy and back straight forward.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Let The Bugling Begin!

It's that time of year when we head into the mountains to see some golden aspens and hear the bugle of the bull elks as they round up their 'harem' of cows. Why do bull elks bugle? During the September-October mating season, bull elk stage their own passion play of sorts. The characteristic rutting call of bulls can be heard from just before dusk to dawn. We head to Rocky Mountain National Park to view these elegant creatures as they have come down from high country to participate in this annual ritual. It's a cold and rainy day as we drive along the parkways looking for the gathering of these small 'harems'. . This is one elk that is 'bugling' his mating call to warn off the nearby waiting younger bulls.Frankly, these two younger males do not stand a chance with this regal bull with his large rack of antlers. During the winter months when grass is not plentiful the elks will eat the bark from the aspen trees. Here you can see the scarred aspens.
The higher we drove into the park, our rainy day turned to a snowy day! What a treat to see those lovely large snow flakes dropping from the cloudy sky. The temp also dropped to 32 and snow was sticking to trees, ground and unwarmed surfaces.
Back on the plains, we stopped in the small town of Niwot where we ventured into the local coffee shop for some liquid refreshments.
Riding the back seat offers the opportunity to do some knitting and work was done on fingerless gloves, Full o' Win Mitts. Photo to follow on next blog--want to tie up the loose ends and find some nice hands to model!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Start Anew?

Is it time to begin another UFO? I have finished 12, count them, 12 wall hangings that will attach to the wall piece. Twelve hangings that will mark each month of the year--feeling good to have that project off the table. So, since this one is out of the way, is it time to begin another project? One that will take some time or one that will be a quickie? At the present time, the majority vote of one is quick and easy! But, just waiting in the wings are a couple of long term projects that are carry along--you know, those that you pick up when you have to dash out the door and wait....One of the favorite ones to take along is the silk spinning bag. This small tote was a gift; perfect to hold two drop spindles and hand dyed silk roving.
And the other project has to be knitting. Here is the latest to be carried along--a charity hat (using stash yarns no less) for Knits for Needs The pattern is from the collection of Woolly Worm Head Don't you just love that name?!! She has some wonderful hat patterns. Another one of hers is featured in Knit on the Net latest issue. It is called 'Molly'. Are you a member of Ravelry ? Then join Wooly Worm Head group. Each month a different and unique hat is featured. You can also join the Knits for Needs group on Ravelry.

Monday, September 7, 2009

CHILI Season

What would September be without Chilies? Hatch chilies no less. Of course, September brings cooler weather, wonderful fall colors, changing leaves and shorter days. But, when September rolls around, in our book it's time to head out to gather those Hatch green chilies from New Mexico. We visit our favorite roasting spot--Nick's Garden. We remember the first time we visited Nick's several years ago when roasting chilies were just coming in and it wasn't popular to feast on these sensations. There was just a small setup with a few bushels of chilies and one lady was serving up some green chili stew as a sample of what could done with the chilies. To this day, that is the best chili recipe!
New Mexico Green Chili
4 Cups water
3 cups roasted & peeled chopped green chilies
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes with juice
1 clove fresh minced garlic
1 Tbls bacon drippings or lard (that certainly adds to the flavor!)
2 Tbls flour
Salt to taste
We add cooked pork but you could also use beef, turkey or chicken
In dutch oven, heat bacon drippings until hot. Add flour until it looks like pasty (in the south, we call it a roux) Brown flour until dark brown, if you don't brown enough, chili will look chalky. Add water, wisking until all lumps are gone. Add tomatoes with juice, chilies, garlic and salt. At this point, chili may still be too thick; add a little more water; not too much. Simmer for 10 minutes with meat. TA DA! Delicious! Serve with cornbread.
In the many years since our first visit to Nick's for our chilies, we have learned there is a right way and a wrong way to clean those roasted specialities. We tried cleaning in the kitchen over running water; but, after tears and running noses from the strong chili smell, we moved outdoors to the deck. Now, we are 'pros'! We bag them in freezer bags and store in freezer for future consumption.
Here's another couple recipes that we like using roasted green chilies.
Green Chili Quesadillas
Large homemade flour tortillas laid out on hot grill, sprinkle shredded cheeses (Mexican white & cheddar mixed) over tortillas, spoon over chopped green chilies, fold over half tortilla, grill till cheese is melted, slice into eating pieces and serve--yum, yum!
Stuffed Green Chilies
Take whole green chilies and stuff with goat cheese (our favorite) and place on grill (we use non stick foil). Heat till cheese is melted. You can also use cream cheese. If grill is not handy, layer split chilies in casserole and spread cheese over top--bake 350 degree oven until cheese is bubbly.
And of course, there is the
Green Chili Sauce that can be served over anything and everything! And if you have ever eaten in New Mexico, that's actually what they do--
Ingredients:
2 lbs red or green chilies, roasted and skin removed
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1/4 lime
2 tablespoons oil
1-2 jalapenos seeded (optional for spiciness)
2 cups water
Preparation:
Blend chilies in food processor until chunky. Add in remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
Use immediately or freeze for later use.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Walk Down Main Street

Are you of the age to remember those days of Main Street? The time when you could walk from one store to the next without crossing the street? And these weren't'chain' stores either but Mom & Pop stores that sold everything from china to undies. Those days have come and gone. Today's stores mostly represent the big box stores or chain type shopping experience. We have grown into this society but part of the Main Street is coming back--the open air 'malls' instead of enclosed. We take our morning walk along our Main Street at Town Center--isn't there one popping up in your neighborhood? It's a pleasant walk and since we go early there is no traffic or shoppers to worry with. There is the Main Street Plaza where fountains shoot into the air encouraging young folks, on warm days, to frolic. On chosen evenings there are sponsored band concerts where families gather to enjoy the music and companionship of neighbors. And on certain days of the week an organized farmers' market will have booths around the outside. The streets are lined with overflowing flower baskets
Other water structures and bronze statues dot the main street as well.
We walk, talk, window shop to see the latest fashions, enjoy the piped in music that floats from the outdoor speakers--all this and not one cent is spent. No, it's not the Main Street I remember from my childhood but it is accepted as the Main Street of Now.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

THE Bag!

BAGS! and More bags are very popular this season so why not make one or two or three. The perfect fabric was found at the Quilt fair for brown haired kid who wanted a new school bag. She had an old one that had outlived its usefulness. The fabric in the old bag was great fabric too--just right for a school teacher to carry her supplies to and from. The 'new' fabric is bright and displays school related objects just like the old one. Getting down to making the bag--that was the major problem; just seemed too many other things got in the way or maybe it was just the thought of replacing the old bag. That old bag was SO perfect! But, a new bag was needed. The pattern was supplied by friend Judy. She had made several bags from this pattern and it was quite straight forward--easy peazy. What is the sewers saying "measure twice, cut once"? There was plenty of fabric to accomplish this pattern, cut front & back, some pockets as well. Then the wrong interfacing was used on the pockets--bummer--need to cut more fabric. Oh, look, there is that nice piece just lying around! Sew up another couple of pockets using that 'spare' piece of fabric. When the lining was finished and it was time to sandwich with the front--where is that front piece any way? Drats! I cut it for the spare pockets!!! How stupid!! Where was my brain? Put the bag aside, hang one's head in shame, kick myself a thousand times and put off the completion for another day. Later in the week there were errands to run and a stop in the quilt shop was on the agenda--needed to replace that front for the bag--only, this shop didn't have anything remotely like the original--think fast--what to do? The quilt shop gal offered her opinion, "why not stripe it with a compliment fabric?" Good suggestion, but there wasn't enough of the front fabric left to make the complete bag so a substitute fabric was found that would work--not quite what was thought of first but it would work. Here is the striped front side. and the other side with the pencil 'perfect' fabric! and the inside with the 'perfect twice made' pockets!
Now, I'm on the outlook for another piece of 'perfect' fabric to try my hand at another bag for brown haired kid and this time I'll make sure to have my brain fully engaged!!!