Friday, July 16, 2010

The Yard is Coming Along

[Family and Friends Friday]

After two weekend away we get to spend some time at home in Cedar City and enjoy the cool temps in the basement, upstairs in the real world is another story.

Over the Fourth of July we visited Carlee and family in Salt Lake City. They had their annual friend’s picnic-party with lots of kids and fireworks in the street. Here is a picture of Katie Jane helping Carlee make some sugar cookies for the party.

The following weekend we visited Las Vegas to attend Erin’s sister’s wedding on Mt. Charleston. Nice place to have a wedding in the summer in Vegas, since it’s usually 20 degrees cooler up on the mountain. Erin was in the wedding party and so was Paige as a flower girl. Here is a picture of the family after the ceremony. Baby Jordan is now about 4 months old.

Before we left for the two weekends, most of the landscaping was completed. Bob’s planted about 18 trees on the lot, some lilacs and other small scrubs. The stone and fence were added. We’re just waiting for a bit of fence to be finished and the artificial grass in the back yard by the patio to be done. It was suppose to be completed today, but they never got here. So I assume something will happen early next week. These are pictures of the back patio area, the front west side yard and finally the east side yard.

The next phase will be to add some small bushes, scrubs and grasses. The ground is so hard that Bob has to use a pick axe to dig the plant holes. Evidentially this area was once a lake bed and is mostly a fine clay soil that is like a rock when it dries. When it is a dust it is so fine that it sneaks in the house when it is windy, which is pretty often.

I haven’t gotten any weaving students yet. But I will keep trying to find places to post notices about The Bloomin’ Loom and beginning weaving lessons. It is so warm, mid 90’s, that I don’t imagine too many people want to get out and do things. Will keep you all posted.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bloomin' Loom Has Moved

About a month ago I found out from two sources that a weaving shop/studio was opening in Cedar City. Needless to say I was pretty happy hearing about that. A Utah craft store, Roberts, had just closed down after serving Cedar City for 23 years. Sew Swanky, a yarn and quilting store had morphed into Stitch It Up, a cross stitch and quilting store. So the yarn stores were on the losing end of things. Here I was moving to town and the yarn stores were disappearing. I was starting to get despondent.

Ann Nelson, a Cedar City weaver, along with her daughter, Becky, and son-in-law, Jesse, have opened a combination weaving studio-gift shop called The Bloomin’ Loom. Ann raises sheep and also sells some roving, and will be selling weaving yarns. But the main inventory is their handwoven rugs and hand towels.

They’ve recently moved to a new location at 491 S. Main St. in the Crown Pointe Mall, suite 204. I visited it last week and it’s a much nicer shop than they were first located at. It’s airy with a raised ceiling, and has lots more room. And it has an additional room for a classroom.

That is of special interest to me as they are interested in offering weaving lessons and I just happen to be available to teach to some beginning weaving lessons. Talk about serendipity. I was wondering how I was going to keep myself occupied once we moved to Cedar City and I wouldn’t be able to work at the yarn shop in Las Vegas anymore.

So after the 4th of July we are going to try offering a beginning weaving class, probably using my own frame looms since most of those interested don’t own looms. Now I just have to be able to find all my teaching materials in all of my moving boxes!

The Bloomin' Loom does have an online store, which you might want to check out just click here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Trip into Dixie National Forest

[Family and Friends Friday]

After we spent most of the week unpacking boxes and getting settled, we decided to take Father’s Day off and go for a Sunday drive. Driving east of Cedar City on state road 14 a person goes through Dixie National Forest. About 35 miles from Cedar City is a resort settlement of Duck Creek and we headed toward that.

The elevation of Cedar City is about 5800 ft and the road east climbs to about 9 or 10 thousand feet. On the scenic byway are some spectacular views. Near the top a person can look south and see the edges of Zion National Park. I know this because the sign at the viewpoint told me, because I sure didn’t have a clue as to what I was looking at. I just knew it was quite a distance away and was a Kodiak moment.

Farther down the highway, the road overlooked Navajo Lake from quite a height. The lake was formed by a lava flow and has no outlet, other than through sink holes. What a beautiful color of the water.

The area around the village of Duck Creek is usually not accessable during the winter because of the high elevation and the snows. It looks like there was a lake there at one time and the grassland just grew into it. So now it resembles a bog with a creek running through it. Log cabins with metal roofs, green or red-orange, are a common building type. I thought the church on the far side of the “lake” was picturesque.

This week we have been buying trees and Bob tried planting the first two. He had to use a pick axe to break the ground up in our yard as the fine clay slit is very hard when dried. The larger trees, CO Blue Spruce, Austrian Pine, and the Birch clump were picked up by the landscaper, Greg Cox. He, thankfully, used his heavy equipment to dig holes for these trees. Today we bought a couple of more trees, Crabapple and a Choakcherry, which will probably get put in the ground on Monday.

Monday the landscaping crew is also going to put in the fence posts for the 3 rail plastic fencing. We’re looking forward for that to go in so that we can start letting the dog out through the dog door…provided we can get the dog to use the new dog door. We have a pretty cautious dog, and the fact that the door exits over a basement window well doesn’t help matters. So we have to revise the ramp so that it is especially sturdy.

In my next blog I’ll tell you about the weaving studio, Bloomin’ Loom that I found in Cedar City.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Getting Settled in Cedar City

[Family and Friends Friday]

We’ve been here a little over two weeks and have experienced a hailstorm and a windstorm. Thank goodness those two days have been more than balanced by the bright sunshiny days in between. The temperate temperatures have been welcomed after moving from the 100 degree temperatures of Las Vegas.

Besides unpacking boxes, a seemingly never ending job, we’ve been slowly moving “stuff” from the garage into the correct room in the house. One day we actually took a trip to Hurricane and St. George, a trip to the big city, and came home with our first tree. Bob planted the Redbud in front of his bookroom. Hopefully soon we will add some others to our naked looking lot.

Some of the boxes that were really getting in the way and on our nerves were the big wardrobe boxes from our closet. We didn’t have any shelving or a clothes rod in the master closet, so that became a priority once the kitchen was in order.

So yesterday and today we were frequent shoppers at Home Depot buying shelving, brackets and rods to get the closet done. It was a challenge for Bob since the concrete walls can only be screwed into every eight inches. Hopefully the first hole hits in the right place so that the rest will follow. The end result turned out okay without any major errors, but it did seem like a master puzzle for awhile.

Bob’s side does look pretty neat, mine –not so much. But it meant we got rid of a bunch more of boxes. It’s the simple things in life that give us satisfaction. Like a job well done, and getting rid of cardboard boxes.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Las Vegas--Going, Going, Gone

[Family and Friends Friday]

We have finally made the move from Las Vegas to Cedar City. Now we are slowing trying to dig our way out of the pile of boxes that we moved last Sunday. We spent Monday trying to get organized in Cedar City. Especially to get Utah plates for my card, as my registration ran out June 2.

Tuesday we headed back to Las Vegas to clean the house and get it ready for the Stanley Steamer team on Wednesday. We stayed the night with Dustin and Erin, Paige and Jordan. We had to get those last minutes of holding the baby before we left town.

Wednesday night we were back in Cedar and starting to attack the pile of never ending boxes of “stuff”. And of course it was like a treasure hunt looking for things you couldn’t remember which box you packed it in. I finally found my medicine bottles today in my craft room, even though the box was labeled main bathroom.

Before this last move my craft room was in pretty good order, looking nice and neat. This is how it looks today. I can barely walk through the piles of stuff. Straightening that mess will probably come last.

We got phone service yesterday, and got hooked up with Direct TV today, so both Bob and I feel a little more with it. There is only so much two people who have been married 45 years can talk about.

The weather here is nice and cool, it was only in the 60s today, after the 100 in Las Vegas the day we left, and we appreciate the change. Incidentally the air conditioning in Bob’s Mini wasn’t working, or he couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. I’m not sure which case it is. But the end result was the same, he suffered the four hours it took us to follow the moving truck. (It usually is a two and a half hour drive.)

Well, tomorrow back to unpacking. I finally got the pantry unpacked, tomorrow the spice cabinet. Don’t know when I will feel like weaving or knitting again. I can’t believe I am going to bed about eleven, that’s early for me. Hopefully Fiber Investments will get fired up soon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Waiting Game

We’re all waiting for spring, which has got to be just around the corner. Yesterday I took a walk around the subdivision where we live looking for signs of spring. The first tree to bloom in the Vegas Valley is the fruit-less pear tree which has nice white blossoms, like the apple tree. But I didn’t see any in our neighborhood.

The ornamental plum tree also blooms early with small pink flowers and then develops its dark margenta colored leaves. The tree lines the streets leading into our subdivision, and they are just starting to show their blossoms.

The rosemary bushes are in full bloom with their lavender/blue tiny flowers. They don’t seem to be affected by the cooler weather.

The neighbor’s poppies were getting ready to open, and a second orange flower opened today. Some of the trees are budding out and other flowers add color to these dreary February days when it looks like rain. I like the sunny days much better.

Our family is also awaiting the birth of Paige’s new sister any day now. Here is Paige, newly 2 years old on Feb. 12, in front of her kitchen set that Santa brought. Jordan Clair is not going to arrive at 36 weeks like Paige did, as Erin in now at 37 weeks. But there have been a couple of false contractions so all cell phones are kept close.

I’m going to be traveling to Salt Lake City for a wedding and the following week to Chicago for Bob’s convention, so I will be taking a break from writing this blog for a couple of weeks.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sadie and Mac, Our Live-In Crazies

Sadie and Mac are our family animals, not counting George our desert tortoise who is presently hibernating. Sadie is a gray tabby about eleven years old that we inherited from our daughter, Carlee, three or four years ago when her husband’s asthma and allergies started getting serious. Sadie was adopted from an animal shelter when Carlee went solo with her first apartment.

As a kitten Sadie was pretty playful, chasing ping pong balls in the bathtub, tossing milk jug tabs, and unraveling toilet paper rolls. She’s still pretty active and will often attach my knitting or weaving yarns if they show any suspicious movements. This year when we came home we discovered Sadie playing with a little silver lizard in the dining room. The second time the lizard appeared in the house it was minus a tail. It seems to have survived as we’ve picked it up and put it back outside a couple of times during the summer.

Sadie is a live-in alarm clock, but not regular enough to be dependable. Around 6 AM Sadie will jump on the bed near my head and start loudly purring. If I’m really lucky, I’m laying facing her and she will start touching my face with her paw or butting me with her wet nose. I think she just wants someone to wake up and feed her.

Every time I sit down in my chair ready to watch TV and knit, Sadie runs over and tries to stretch out on my chest. Needless to say it is hard to knit with a cat lying on your arm. So we battle it out for about 5 minutes until she get discouraged and curls up next to me and goes to sleep.

Mac is our Heinz 57 mixed breed dog. We named her after Sarah Mac Kinsey, the TV JAG character, so we could call her Mac. She is the neighborhood dog and often makes the rounds on Saturdays greeting the neighbors when everyone is outside doing their chores. She is such a terrific watchdog that we often have to wake her up when we come home. But when we have visitors she is right there to greet them because she knows that they’ve all come to play with her. Thank goodness Mac isn’t a big barker, but she does like to talk to you with her special howling language. I always feel like she’s trying to tell me something, but I’m just not getting the translation.

Mac really loves water, maybe she’s part Lab. Last week we got lots of rain, more than all of last year. During the steady rain here was Mac standing out in the middle of the backyard just staring back at us in the house, like we were missing out on something. Strange. During the summer when we take walks around the neighborhood and come upon a lawn sprinkler working, Mac would stand over the sprinkler until we pull her away. Probably felt pretty good.

Now we’ve noticed that the cat is starting to eat Mac’s dog food, and Mac has taken some of Sadie’s food when the dish was too close to the edge of the table. How soon can we expect the cat to start barking and the dog to start purring?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Noro Circle Vest

The last few weeks I’ve been on a kick knitting with Noro Silk Garden yarn. I finally finished a circle vest knit from a pattern in Elaine Eskesen’s book Silk Knits. Carla Giuffrida designed the Circle Vest done in the earthy tones, while Elaine Eskesen did the Circle Vest done in the light summer colors. My version was done in blues, Noro Silk Garden Color #37.

The vest pattern calls for the vest to be done on size #9 double points to get started and then on #9 circulars 16 and 29 inch to continue. I finally switched to a 47 inch to finish off the vest, as the 29 inch needle just got too crowded for my taste. The pattern recommended 7 balls of Noro Silk Garden for my size, Large. I thought I only used 6, but I’m not sure as I lost count of the wrappers.

It was as interesting pattern, and once I got into the rhythm of the knitting I was okay. But when I had been following the written instructions so carefully through the pattern of increases and got to the point where the pattern told me to continue the increases in a like manner, I did a low level panic. Once I got my head together and analyzed how the pattern of increases was working I then worked up a little cheat sheet to keep track of what I was doing. I’m the kind of knitter that checks off the rows with pencil and paper to keep track. I never got in the habit of using the row clickers. I couldn’t remember if I had clicked or not at the end of a row.

When I finished the circle vest it looked like a huge sombrero, with the mount in the middle. Thank heavens, after washing and blocking that went away; so did the curling edge.

But if I were to knit another circle vest I would make the arm holes longer. The present armholes are a bit snug. The armholes are made by knitting the required length of the opening with waste yarn. Then when the vest is finished the waste yarn is carefully removed and the live stitched are slip stitched with a crochet hook.

I enjoy knitting in the evening while listening to TV, if I watch too much I usually have to reknit something. Anyway I find it a nice way to relax, IF the pattern isn’t too challenging. I found I can’t do lace at night listening and/or watching TV, my counting never comes out correctly.

Next: Sadie and Mac, our live in crazies

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Part 2 - Tapestry Class for the New Year

As for yarn, the warp used in this tapestry class is a mercerized cotton, about sport weight. While the weft used is a single ply wool knitting worsted weight. I found that Lamb’s Pride by Brown Sheep duplicated the colors of Glasbrook’s very closely, so I’m using that for the beginning class.

The weft yarns are wound into butterflies to be used in the weaving, but tapestry needles or bobbins could also be used to weave the weft. Personally, I really don’t like weaving with butterflies and would rather work with a weaving needle or a bobbin. A weaving needle is a bit longer than a tapestry needle and still has a blunt point and a large eye.

My secret wish is to make my own wooden bobbins. I’ve tried using a dowel in a vise and shaving it to get the shape that I want. But it’s really labor intensive and a small lathe would really do the job much faster and better. I can picture a small lathe in my wood working shop of the future, but then I can picture a lot of things in my head. Whether it will really happen is another thing. A friend of mine once accused me of weaving only so that I would have an excuse to work with wood. Hmm, might be true.

Other tools that are handy for tapestry weaving are pick up sticks, a batten and a weaving fork or beater. This photo shows some really nice examples of items that I’ve picked up at weaving conferences and shops, and some of my own woodworking attempts. I’m sure you can tell which is which easily enough. One item in the lower front is a letter opener from World Bazaar that I cut teeth into the lower edge with a scroll saw to create a weaving fork.

As with my rigid heddle class the tapestry goes for an hour and a half for six sessions. We cover different weaving techniques such as hatching, shading, diagonals, stripes, outlining, and finishing. Like most introductory classes it’s just the beginning, there’s so much more to learn.

Next, what’s coming off the knitting needles…