Monday, July 27, 2009

focus, focus, FOCUS

It seems that once a road trip has been completed there is a necessary obligation to tell oneself to focus--get back on task! Unload the car, unpack the luggage, store away all purchases, and

take away the obstacles blocking your mind.
Step over those obstacles to open your mind and see the beauty that hands can create.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Who or What is Albuquerque?

Albuquerque--"The city in New Mexico, U.S., is named for a Spanish viceroy of New Spain, Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva Enriquez, Duque de Alburquerque y Marques de Cuellar (viceroy from 1701-1711). The story has it that, in 1706, provisional governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdes suggested that the town be named after the viceroy as incentive for the viceroy to grant villa status to the town, which didn't quite meet villa standards (requiring 30 families to be living in the area; there were only 18 at the time). The governor got what he wanted and the viceroy got his name in lights, as it were. The full, original name of the villa was San Francisco de Alburquerque. Phillip V of Spain apparently did not like that name and changed it to San Felipe de Alburquerque (not a bit narcissistic, that Phillip). The king's concern with such details didn't pay off in the end, as the San Felipe de was dropped from the town's name (just takes too long to say!)." Take Our Word For It site.
Yes, a visit to Albuquerque is in our grip. First off, it was necessary to learn how to spell that interesting, unusual word--how many q's and how many u's? That would be a good game show question!
A day on the town yielded some insight into the history of the original settlers--the Pueblo Indians. Prehistoric are the Petroglyphs, which dot the landscape that dates over 150,000 years. Archaeologists estimate that ancestors of today's Native people carved these symbols of images into the rocks from 3,000 years to 700 years ago. As we traversed along the rocky outcrops, one can't help to imagine about those people and why did they leave some interesting writings for us to discern.

The next logical place to visit is the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, representing 19 New Mexico Pueblos. A center that features museum offering a showcase of Pueblo history and accomplishments; gift shop for Native art pieces and exhibition gallery,featuring contemporary artistry of Pueblo and other Native people of the Southwest. And no place would be complete without an eating establishment that gave you all the local flavor of green and red chilies.

"Peaceful Warrior Prayer"
The Peaceful Warrior's prayer
is a healing prayer, spiritually singing
to the Global Community
about living in harmony
upon our Mother Earth.
To reunite the spiritual circle
of the human family.
To remain us all
of the sacredness of life
and to walk gently with dignity, integrity,
respecting one another
and our differences."
Estella Lovetto, author

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Taylor's Tulips

About 18 months ago 'surfing' the internet brought my attention to a BOM (Block of the Month) group sponsored by Heather Finnell of Burning the Midnight Oil . Heather provided a different block each month for a year. Her directions were clear and precise. Each month the block instructions and cutting directions were on the website link till the middle of the next month. If you missed that month's directions, you could purchase from Heather. There was also a yahoo group to discuss the ongoing month so if there are any problems or concerns, you could bring your questions to the group for answers or assistance. This seems to be the way of the internet lately--which is not a bad practice. The BOM is free till a certain time. Well, the center piecing blocks were done in a timely fashion but then it came to the time to do the applique and this quilt "Taylor's Tulips" had lots of applique!
This summer the blocks were brought together and applique begun. How to do the applique, which isn't my strong suit? Needle turning each of those pieces--NOT--so the next thought was to interface the applique pieces and turn; each piece would be ready for stitcing. Trace each leaf, tulip lip and center onto interfacing, place on wrong side of fabric, stitch around with machine (set on tight stitch), cut out the pieces and turn. Of course, this took some time but this was night work while watching DVR or DVDs and soon the 94 tulip lips and 42 centers plus number of leaves were turned. Let the hand stitching begin and we start with the center block.

Each corner will need applique work.

This is only the center block! And the surrounding blocks will need applique work. The finished quilt is outstanding! We'll looking forward to that final stitch.
There was another BOM project begun in January and this one would last only 6 months. There is no applique involved and the monthly instructions went well except in June we traveled to our summer location, and the decision was made to leave the quilt top behind. This quilt will be finished in the fall--that's okay. It's a stunning quilt top called "Foolish Goose Tracks". We can only hope that Heather will continue with her lovely quilt patterns and they will be offered free! Thanks, Heather!! It's been a great ride.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

TWO down, ONE to go

Here we go--only one more of the Roving Art pieces is to be spun--that's quite an accomplishment in my book; doing two out of three within the last month. The last two rovings have been interesting to spin. The wool feels good as the fibers slip smoothly through your fingers. As the fibers wind onto the bobbin, thoughts form in the brain: is this the best way to spin? And which way to spin the roving (split down the middle, split along the side, spin all one color at a time, spin from the fold, graze, random pull, etc. So many different techniques. And once the 4 oz roving has been spun, the next decision is how to ply--from two bobbins, from the ball, from center pull of ball and outside ply, Navajo ply, two, three, four ply or just single ply. No reason to divert from the usual--split the roving in small slivers lengthwise and spin; then ply from ball, using center pull and outside--makes a great two ply yarn everytime.
Okay--those decisions are made, next on the agenda--what to create from this finished yarn? Browse through numerous patterns to find just the perfect one to fit the finished yarn or should the yarn just relax and lie around in the basket, looking pretty? Browsing is good! You find so many wonderful patterns that are just perfect for your spun yarn--or maybe, for the next yarn that is to be spun.
Here is the latest Roving Art piece, using a pattern from Knitty Winter, 2007. The headband is 'Quant' using entrelac knitting technique--one of my all time favorite knitting skills!
But, just who is this piece named after? Mary Quant? Who is she? Research, research brings us to find her Mary Quant Well, you can learn something new every day!
Since we are in a different location for summer, we have to improvise some equipment. We are recycling!

It's not pretty but it's functional. There is something to do with that beat up Amazon box and a wooden skewer. Works well to wind onto ball winder, which we do have.
Tally-ho, it's off to spin another roving and make plans for the finished yarn use.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Yes, it's Friday! and special things happen on Friday in blogland. Over at Alpaca Farm Girl there is a posting of Friday Arts each week. Another site for eye candy is Or Smoking Hot Needles--gotta love that! These are only two of the blogs that feature wonderful handcrafts. The Internet gives us the opportunity to have the whole world at our fingertips. Each of us can testify to the number of hours we have spent researching any given topic via WWW. Too many chances to take the wrong turn to another thought--'oh, let's just go to this page as it looks interesting!' One of those wrong turns took me to Charming Girls Quilt Club at Charming Chatter . This soul is definitely a 'sucker' for any fiber art and as they say "jack of all, but a master of none" is my motto. And to find that the Internet offers such riches of wealth for fiber arts warms the mind and body. Charming Chatter asked some questions that are difficult to answer:

1. Favorite Fabric: Choices, choices, choices-- There are just too many fabric lines out there to even pick a favorite.

2. The pattern most looking forward to sewing: There are numerous patterns that are on the agenda and each has that high anticipation level

3. Food weakness: Well, it's anything salty and sweet!

4. If I knew I couldn't fail, I'd: Try to do more than necessary--oh, wait that already happens!
5. The Best "Life" Advice is: Patience is a virtue.

It's a happening world and we are part of that WORLD WIDE WORLD and ain't it fun?!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Heading to the Loom

It is time for the warp to hit the loom! Earlier this summer Handweavers Guild of America had a selection of yarns, Convergence 2010 Commemorative Yarn handpainted by Teresa Ruch Designs . It was hard to resist this yarn. And since there is another year till the conference, there will certainly be time to weave a scarf to wear during the fashion show event. Yes, there will be time to weave, but first the loom needs to be warped; it just doesn't warp itself--we wish!

The yarn is bamboo. Plans are to use silk sewing thread for the weft and the warp will be sett warp faced, maybe 30 or 36 epi. The weaving should, we write should, go quickly once it has been warped.
Okay, the yarn has been balled from the skein and now winding on the warping board.

Looks pretty cool, huh? Stay tuned to see if this will be woven this summer.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Non Fiber Related!

Some mornings we walk along the 'greenbelt' area. The greenbelt is really along a wildlife preserve and no mowing has taken place this summer along the walkway so you will walk through towering bamboo and other shrubs. There are some small trees along the walk as well. The kids play in this area, which could simulate a jungle, a forest or just a plain good hiding location. We can envision youngsters snickering as they crouch behind a tree or in the high brush. There are numerous bunnies munching along the pathway and some nights, especially during a full moon, we can hear the call of coyotes. There must be deer and other interesting creatures hidden there as well but never seen with the naked eye. Birds flutter from wildflower to weed, of which there are plenty. The thistles are six foot in height and they loom overhead. Knowing they are a true weed, they are still flowering beautiful and will provide food for birds and other wildlife. There is little sounds except for the occassionally dog bark and the tweeting of the birds that visit to search for their meal of the day. It is a pleasant walk, down hill, but we always remember that we must walk home UP hill once we finish the 'greenbelt'.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Are you a shopaholic? We watched that movie the other night--"Confessions of a Shopaholic", a definite chick flick for sure. As we were viewing what the movie classified as shopaholic, the thoughts running through my brain said 'NOT'!
Shopping is not one of those passions my soul possessions----unless, shopping in a fiber shop! Doesn't matter what type of fiber shop--fabric or yarn--the resistance is very low on the scale. Last week a stop was made at one of the fabulous quilt shops in town. Of course, the thought was to just see what was new on the market; maybe, touch and smell the fabrics, browse through the new kits and books. Then look at the price tags and say "whew, that's too high" but that didn't happen! The prices looked just right!
It seems stitching is back--hurrah!! Stitching combined with quilt blocks look to be riding on a magic wave right now and of course, those are big temptations in my book!
There were the wonderful patterns--

One company that brings temptations to the soul is Crabapple Hill Studio
And the quilt kits; all the fabrics and pattern included! What is better than that?

It is harder to get in your car and drive to the actual quilt/yarn/fabric shop so the internet has made shopping much easier for those who call themselves "shopaholics", but that doesn't include me......oh, yeah there were the dyed rovings that were purchased last month and the books that were just ordered and the............must we go on?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Stitchin' in our blood

It seems the hands want to do more stitching; maybe because it is easy to carry along project and there are the lovely threads that are available for just those perfect little designs. Recently, on an Internet search, these wonderful designs were found. Classified as BOM (Block of Month), the patterns would appear around the fifth of each month. Not on the first, but the fifth--making it something to look forward to after the first of the month chores are out of the way. There will be a total of 9 blocks. You too can find these free (yes, free!) patterns on the website of Gail Pan Designs Gail is one of those talented Australian designers that keep us 'in stitches'!

In the mail box last week was the annual arrival of the International Quilt Festival catalogue. It is a ritual of the summer to peruse the pages and pages of this printed matter to find the perfect workshop/class/lecture/tour. This year the event will take place earlier than in years past. Well, that is just fine as later in the month of October the fest is always bumping right next to the mother-daughter trip. The Quilt Festival group has been branching out all over the US. Some of the Ex-pat gals are attending the festival in Long Beach, CA during late July. Check out the website at Quilts

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Three Sisters Scarf #2

Finally! The first roving (Mother & Child) received from Roving Arts has been spun and plied. The roving was split and spun along the length. To finish the yarn, it was balled and then plied from the ball, taking yarn from center pull and outside of ball. This gives an interesting look to the finished yarn. To decide upon a pattern, a search was made through Ravelry . The pattern was from Smoking Hot Needles . There were three scarf patterns that would fit with the yarn. Each pattern was titled Three Sisters Scarves #1, #2 and #3. Okay, which one to knit? Each has a nice chart for the pattern design. Let's do #2 at this time and save the #1 and #3 for the other rovings that need to be spun.
The chart is up front with yarn overs and decreases, slating one way or the other. Pattern repeat was over 12 stitches--not a problem. Off to cast the yarn onto the lovely needles from Knit Picks .
Going okay until row 7 of the chart; not enough stitches. Count, recount, frog and start over again--how many times did this happen? No reason to do a true confession here--it was plenty. Disclaimer: There was just a little distraction going on in the house--the arrival of three teenage grandkids! We can handle this situation--think, think! Then, it was like a light bulb went off! Why not do as you should--separate each pattern repeat with a marker? Well, that worked very well and no stitches have been lost or miscounted. Now, there is no reason to make a mistake even though card games, loud music and dvds or interesting TV shows.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day on the fiber trail!

What can be grander than a day roaming the town visiting different fiber shops and seeing some exciting fiber art? Nothing can beat that in my book so that is what transpired on hump day. The last thing DD said as my feet walked through the garage door--'don't buy anything that you don't need'.
First stop was a visit to a local quilt shop, Great American Quilt Factory .

In the front window was advertisement for upcoming quilt show, which sounded interesting.

In a later blog entry, there will be a posting of 'stuff' that was purchased and very much 'needed'!
Down the street is Tactile Arts which was hosting a wearable art exhibit: Inspirational Effects of Texture in Wearable Art. Weaving, quilting, felting, silk painting garments were featured in the gallery space. Too many lovely garments to photo.

Next stop was to west side of town to meet knitter friend, Judy, at Knit Nack

What a great place to 'hang out'--coffee bar, comfy sofas and lots of lovely yarns to browse through. The temptation was too much and a book just had to jump into my hands, recommended by friend Judy--Hand Knitting Collection, Book #2 by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton
After lunch at the next door bar and grill, we moved onto Posh, A Yarn Boutique , located in a little yellow house that once hosted a French restaurant. One really had to put their blinders on here as there was a small back room that was marked with Sale over the door frame: all the yarns were 25% off! As we sat in the enclosed sun porch, knitting and sharing thoughts, we noticed the clouds gathering in the west. So rain was approaching and the hands on the clock read it was close to traffic time and time for us to head in different directions to end my fiber trail day.