Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Finished: The Patch Work Blanket

As I mentioned in my previous post - I saved a lot of pictures of blog ideas to trigger future posts.  It is going to take some time to get caught up.  Each deserves it own time in the spot light.  If you missed the last post - be sure to check it out.  There is one very very cute bull dog featured there.  And he has almost entirely left the puppy stage.

During the blog break I did finish the weave-it square blanket that I started about 15 years ago.  


Weave-it squares are done on a special 4 inch square loom and the pins or nails are arranged in groupings of 3.  All the squares are sewn together just as you would sew together a granny square blanket.  Pictured above are 3 weave-it style looms.  The wooden one on the left was the first loom I purchased.  It took me a bit a research before I found someone who would make one.  There were original versions available on the secondary market but they often were expensive as they also qualified as antiques.  These looms were popularized in the 1930s through the 1950s.  Recently they are are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. The white loom on the right is a Zoom loom (a weave-it loom by another name) manufactured currently and has some comfort design elements.  But it works the same as the wood loom.  The clear loom on the bottom is also a weave-it style loom - only it is 8 inches square, but the nail placement is the same - groups of three.  


You might remember this picture from a previous post.  A collection of squares - some sewn together and some not.  And many not even made yet.


Here it is finished and folded up.  It makes a perfect square.  I decided to put a border on this blanket using some of the colors to pull it all together.  At first I was going to make it with a one color border, but I couldn’t settle on the one color.

I finally decided that 4 colors from the blanket - one for each side would look the best.

All for corners and colors.

As I was sewing the blanket together, I was not entirely satisfied with my seams.  Some of them looked very uneven and almost amateurish.  But try as I might, the seams were sometimes just messy to my eye. The pictures below show what I mean.  



But despite the rough look of the finishing I couldn’t help liking it.  There was something about the finishing that was appealing and I couldn’t put my finger on it.  And then I remembered what the true meaning of “patchwork” was.

United States[edit]

Patchwork enjoyed a widespread revival during the Great Depression as a way to recycle worn clothing into warm quilts. Even very small and worn pieces of material are suitable for use in patchwork, although crafters today more often use new 100% cotton fabrics as the basis for their designs. In the US, patchwork declined after World War II but was again revived during the American bicentennial.


The picture above shows that patchwork items were not entirely perfect and often the fabrics and colors used were not necessarily planned to coordinate perfectly.  And that was the feeling that my own weave-it blanket was echoing in my mind.  Not perfect but as a fully finished item - very appealing.

The weaknesses of this blanket in my mind are:

  • This blanket has many types of fiber contents and as a result will never be machine washable and dry-able.  Yarn was picked on color primarily. 
  • Because of the various types of yarns and the various colors - the seams would never look entire finished to a perfectionist eye - which sadly I seem to have.
  • It has a ton of ends.  The problem in my mind is that each end represents a break in the fabric of the blanket - a weak point!  There are tons of weak points.

But despite those weakness - I LOVE it.  I learned a whole lot about what yarns work with this weaving and what don’t. I LOVE that this used scrap yarn. It was yarn I loved from previous projects and couldn’t throw away the left overs - and finally, finally I got a chance to put them to good use.

Perfection!!

And already grabbed and used!!  



Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Back - and the Bully!

I knew I had fallen into a blog break, 

but I didn’t realize my last post was mid-March. 

Life, of course, never takes a “break” .... just keeps marching on. There is no real reason for the break in writing - it just happens - and I go with the flow now more than I used to.

I have been taking pictures, however, as a reminder to me of possible blog topics should I ever get my butt in gear to write again. Before May slips away and it is JUNE (yikes), I thought I would slip in this post.

One of the main “eaters of time” is this little guy - my daughter’s new puppy, Tate.

Here he is running toward the camera while my daughter, in a mask, watches on.
He is a fortunate pup - gets to go to work with her occassionally. This picture was taken at her work. 


 He is a hogger of time.  A real attention “sponge.”  And such a cutie.

A cutie picture!
Note his left eye.  Exactly half blue for sure and half brown?, gray green? -
not sure of the other color.
 
A sponge picture.

He is growing soooo fast.  One last picture that shows his evolving adult bulldog face!

The latest picture I snagged of Tate from Facebook.
He definitely has lost that puppy face and the grown up face is
fast emerging.

And yes,
he had his mouth in the dirt in this picture.  Keeping him from eating stuff
is a full time job.
  
Looks like he might keep that color in his left eye - it is 
half blue and half something else.

He is finally old enough and vaccinated enough to go to doggie daycare.  As a result, I might not have him as much as I did this last spring.

I may get more blogging time in now ... I certainly have a number of topics to catch up on.

Hope all is well with you guys.  My family and I have still missed the bullet of Covid - shocking really since it seems to be cropping up around us in some of our friends.  Guess those vaccines and masks really do work.  Here’s hoping you guys are also missing this same bullet!

Cheers!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

And here he is!!

 Last weekend my daughter and I drove down to southern VA,                     3 hours away from home - to pick up this little guy!!!


Meet Tate, my daughter’s new English Bulldog puppy and my new grand dog!!


It began the night before with me driving down to my daughter’s condo in DC.  This is a drive I have taken hundreds of times to pick up Milo, her previous dog, that we lost last July.  But this was during rush hour, it was dark and the traffic patterns were a bit different because of rush hour, and I haven’t driven in city traffic in 8 months. This trip is about 30 miles away - and mid-day it would take me about an hour, but this night it took about 90 minutes.  Just the state of traffic in our area.



The next morning we traveled through snow and high winds.  Fortunately we were traveling south and driving out of the storm.  


At some point it was just rain.

We knew the storm was still hitting our area and we would need to deal with it on our return trip, but ...


At the end of the road was this wonderful joining of pet owner and puppy.  And what a darling he is.
We spent a short time getting his paper work and some initial instructions ... and then we turned right around and began the 3 hours trip back home.



I had some serious bonding time with him in the back seat - and when he wasn’t sitting on my lap, he was looking out the window.  Everything was new to him.  He didn’t sleep a wink on the trip home. He was on an adventure.



A seriously cute little guy.



Arriving at home my daughter had set up his crate and his play area - with toys aplenty!  He was so cute running around and enjoying it all.


She purchased a very important ’toy’ - a stuff white dog, with a heart beat you can feel and a heating pad insert that lasts 24 hours.  He sleeps on or beside it all the time.




She even purchased a quilted jacket for him because the weather was so cold over the weekend and he seemed so cold outside, but the jacket was kind of big and the weather is now improving and he clearly had an opinion about wearing his new jacket.  The face says it all.


What Tate doesn’t yet understand is that he will want for nothing!  He has landed in a family who values their pets as especially important family members.  

Welcome to the family little guy.  
You are in for a great life!

Friday, March 11, 2022

The Aja Evolution - Chapter 72, Section M, Line Item 3, parts A through F 🤣 !

It is hard to wrap my brain around just how much adjustment time this little creature, 

called Aja, requires. But clearly we are not at the crest of that mountain top!  

This coming May will be 2 years since a very scared, skinny, jittery and somewhat distrusting little orange female cat entered our lives.  And still there are little changes happening all the time - she is more comfortable in our home and more comfortable with us.  

Sitting on my lap - and not sure she likes this camera “thing” I keep doing.
😆
Its all in the position of the ears!

In the last few months she has been conquering the skill of lap sitting.  Usually in the evening, when all is quiet and I am watching TV (listening through ear buds - so the condo is very quiet), this little cat jumps up to the arm of my chair, waits patiently while I clear what I am doing from my lap, then steps carefully into the space I have made for her - and settles in for some petting time.  

She can’t see I am taking another picture, so the ears
have returned to normal.

But she didn’t start out this comfortable.  


It all began with her version of “drive by” - feet hitting the side of the chair and just as fast, feet pushing off in the opposite direction. Blink and you missed it!  After she figured out that no ‘condo monster’  swallowed her up,  she tried jumping into my lap with no warning ... sometimes landing on the top my open laptop - and then shooting off again, leaving me with a mess on whatever I was working on.  But I knew I was being tested (or maybe trained?)  I was calm.  She was persistent!  Next step in the goal of lap sitting, she started jumping on the arm of my chair and staring at me.  That was her signal that I must prepare her space (my lap.)  Once cleared she carefully settled in - tail whipping back and forth - letting me know she is “on the ready” for something.  Currently, she has stopped whipping her tail and she lets the petting begin.  I am also using these visits to acclimate her to the idea of my arms around her for an affectionate hug and a kiss on the forehead.  The first couple times I did this, she leaned away from me in the opposite direction.  Now she seems to accept it - because she knows I let go. At some point she just might enjoy it.  Its all baby steps with her! 

My husband, too, is working on his own schedule of 'taming the tiger.’  Several times a day he walks into the bedroom and sits on the side of the bed calling to her - and she comes!  Sometimes it is from the far end of the condo - on the run!  She jumps up on the bed and sits primly beside him as he gives her pets.  She obviously wants that time with him, because she always comes.  It is a short time but welcomed by both man and beast! And thank God for it -because those who read my blog almost 2 years ago, will remember, the first night she was with us, my blind husband stepped on her.  She was definitely NOT friends with him that night.  But like all our cats, over time she has figured out that he can’t see, so when he is on the move - so is she!

She also comes out of the bedroom most afternoons and curls up on the floor in a safe place and naps!  We are hoping that someday she realizes that there are comfy chairs just one leap up where she can reside safely as well.  


She has her own water fountain now that provides her moving filter fresh water whenever she wants it.  Yes, we bought her a pet water fountain when we discovered her trying to drink out of the bathroom faucets.  I quickly realized that I hardly ever saw her drink water out of her bowl (which was changed twice a day.). The moment we put the new water fountain down - she began taking long drinks.  That along with her healthy appetite - and she has put on some weight.  When May rolls around, I am sure we will be getting the first of the yearly Vet lectures about keeping an eye on her weight!  (Just like when I go to the doctor.) Ha! Regardless... her fur looks soft and shiny and no bones are showing!! Happy and healthy.  One good looking orange kitty!  

She also has some favorite toys.  Cat Nip Paper Bag is a recent addition!  


The bag smells yummy!

I don’t see anything.  Maybe if I get closer!

Ok!  Going in.  Taking one for the team!!

She also has a crinkle toy that I have seen her bat around and carry in her mouth.  


And laser lights are her very favorite toy of all.  I’ve even found a ball of yarn rolled across the floor - and not put there by me!

Bottom line - she is doing great! And she continues to get her owners trained just the way she likes them!!

Oh yes, we are going to get the weight lecture!!


 



Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Weaving - I’ll be back!

I wish it wasn’t so, but I occasionally have projects that are started, not completed and are either given away or frogged. 

One of these 'not completed' projects is a weave-it blanket.  I will say this project has “staying power” because it has survived multiple downsizing events.  Every time I came across the bag filled with woven squares I said “I’ll be back” ... It never occurred to me even once that maybe I should just give up on this project

Well, now I am back!  And here is the story.

Here are all the squares of this partially started blanket.
Yes, it is a lot of pieces,
and yes, it has a lot of ends to weave in! (Gobs and gobs of ends!)  And as you can see - some of the 
sewing has been done - but honestly, this has a ton of work left to do 
before it is complete.

But seen up close the woven squares are so appealing to me, and different yarns
produce different effects.  The plaid ones above are made with a single multi color skein of yarn.  
It is fun to watch it develop.  
Each plaid is different and there is no cutting the yarn to change colors.

This weave-it blanket was started around 2009 - 2010 soon after I learned to make these little squares from Karen, (Happy One) of the Life is Good blog.  Karen introduced me to this weaving technique that she learned from her grandmother. At the time it wasn’t all that common a technique but in the 1930s and 1940s it was very popular.  When I started with this project you could buy weave-it looms on the secondary market - and with a little searching - I found someone who would make them “new.”  As the interest in weaving grew over the years, these little looms were “rediscovered” and have gained popularity among weavers, knitters, crocheters alike.

The white loom is the Zoom Loom and the wooden loom is the one
I purchased off of Etsy. Both are weave-it style looms.

On weave-it looms, the pins are in groupings of 3.

At about the same time, I discovered the pin weaving looms made by Hazel Rose - looms where the pins are equally spaced and the weaving is done corner to corner. They come in various sizes (squares, rectangles, triangles, etc.) and fall under the umbrella term of continuous strand weaving - meaning that you create the warp of the project at the same time as you weave the project.  Very ingenious and half the work.



Here are 6 squares made on a 12” Hazel Rose pin loom using the 
continuous strand weaving method.  They are not yet sewn together and many more 
are needed to complete the project - but with 12” squares there are many fewer ends to
weave in and the sewing is much easier.  I am still experimenting with this project on patterns and
if I will introduce a 3rd color.  I have researched weaving patterns that can be done on this loom as well.  So this project is still in its infancy.

I once made a shawl for my mom using this 12 inch bias corner to corner loom.  It was pretty easy to sew 10-12 squares together and have a lovely shawl. A close up of that shawl can be seen in the center picture of the header of my blog. Unfortunately that shawl is no more and finding pictures of the shawl have proved unsuccessful.  My mom was in assisted living at that time and the shawl was snatched up by the center staff and put in the laundry - washed and dried in commercial sized washers and driers - and because it was 100% wool, it shrunk to the size of a placemat.  ☹️

Weaving and I parted company for a few years, but I held on to most of the equipment and yarn.  Then my thumb started giving me problems and I was searching around for things to do with yarn that didn’t aggravate my hands!  Weaving started to pull me in once again, but only for the smaller simplistic looms - like the weaving-it and the Hazel Rose looms - that didn’t involved tons of preplanning and warping as a precursor to the fun part - which was the actual weaving.

So weaving is back in my life again and it has been most gratifying to discover that these smaller pin looms have a dedicated following.  They can be found in Facebook groups, Ravelry groups, websites, and several dedicated blogs that focus on small hand held looms - and even books and patterns that are dedicated to wearable projects created using these cute little blocks.  In fact, it is very easy now to get a weave-it style loom that is not a 1930s antique.  The Zoom Loom has several wonderful little features that the antique style loom does not.

Returning to the weave-it loom blanket (that I am now calling The Patch Work Blanket) - here is the first photo once again followed by the most recent photo that shows the current progress.

Here are the squares that I found packed away in a bag from years ago.
Only the far left column of squares have been completely sewn together.  
Tons of strings still hang from all pieces of the work.
And, yes, all those strings are a bit overwhelming.  But I have
a plan for future weave-it projects to get passed the strings.  

Almost all the squares have been sewn together and the strings for 
most of it have been woven into the piece.  I suspect this blanket is more than half done,
but how much more needs to be done - I don’t know yet.

I will return to this blanket and the pluses and minuses of doing a project like this in a future post.  I will also share some of the books and patterns that I have discovered that use this technique.  




Saturday, February 26, 2022

Comments - and a Public Service Awareness Campaign

Hello readers.

I have a few new readers.  Since I like to visit and comment on the blogs of my readers ...  it is time once again to make a Public Service Announcement about Blogspot.com commenting pluses and minuses - the blogging platform you are visiting now that is used by me and many others.  

The Pluses and the minuses  There are 2 methods of Blogspot.com comments: Embedded Commenting and PopUp Commenting.  

PopUp Commenting seems to work consistently well for most readers - except that the blog owner cannot respond individually to each comment received.   I use PopUp Commenting.   

Embedded Commenting does not work well for some us.  Comments ‘appear' to be submitted to the blog you are visiting, but they never show up.  No error message is provided to alert you to this problem.  And when I have back-tracked with the blog owner through a private email - just to confirm they got the comment - they report they never saw it.  Very frustrating for the visitor. If it works, however, it lets the blog owner reply individually to each visitor comment.  Very satisfying for all.

What happened: 

A few years ago Blogspot made some adjustments to their blog platform.  It was at this time the commenting problem cropped up.  Embedded Commenting would only work if the blog I was visiting recognized me as “signed in” to Google.  I am always signed into Google, but the software just didn’t see it that way on some blogs.  I spent considerable time trying to get “signed in” in the eyes of some blogs.  I reported this issue to Blogger over a year ago and got no response - and, more importantly - no fix.  I gave up trying. 

While I understand that Embedded Commenting is the preferred method of accepting comments for most of us, it blocks some of the readers from leaving a comment.

My Fix: 

My own personal work-a-round with some Embedded Commenting blogs is to send my comment to the blog owner's personal email.  My comment doesn’t show up on the owner’s blog, but it lets the blog owner know I visited.  I comment less often with that approach.  Lately, however, I have found that some blogs don’t provide an email.  I still visit, but I am totally invisible to the blog owner, with the exception that I probably count in your Blog Visitor statistics.

Bottom Line:  Regardless of where you stand on how you receive comments on your blog, I just wanted to make readers aware of the problems some readers have with the Embedded Comments feature.  And I think twice about starting up with new blogs that use an Embedded Comments method. If I haven’t visited or commented on your blog, that may be the problem.

Thanks for reading/listening!  Happy Blogging everyone.


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Tate - perfecting his cuteness!

 




I can’t wait to hold that little nugget on the ride home!  Three whole hours on the ride back.  He will know exactly who his grandmother is by the time we hit my daughter’s house!!