Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Trailer Retrieval Saga

During the week of Thanksgiving I went to Arizona to visit the folks and collect my little travel trailer. Here she is in Arizona. Isn't she cute!?! She'll be even cuter when she has been spiffed up with a new paint job.

In the past week or so I have learned a lot. Here are a few of the things I have learned:

1. Trailer hitches come in a vast variety of heights, even if the guy at U-Haul who installed your hitch neglected to mention this fact.
2. Trailer tires cost more than regular car tires.
3. Soon after learning fact #2, Murphey's Law guarantees that other expensive auto repair will suddenly be required.
4. Single-axle trailers are a bit tricky to back up.
5. When you mention you are buying a trailer, people you don't even know show up to give you advice on how to back it up.
6. Your ability to back it gracefully is inversely proportionate to the number of people who are watching.
7. It is important to have trailer bearings repacked, because a former owner may have done it himself and bungled the job.
8. If you carefully park the trailer in a back corner of a parking lot, leaving just enough room to pull out, other drivers will think you know something special and carefully wedge their SUVs into the narrow spots at either end.
9. When you finally find coffee during the long trip across the Nevada Desert, it will come in a cup with a mysterious, yet persistant dribble.

She is now comfy and cozy under a tarp in my driveway, waiting for spring.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Spring leaves for winter knitting

I have been longing to knit with handspun. There are many fabulous commercially spun yarns to choose from, and I have regularly fallen prey to their wiles and now own bins and baskets full of them, yet they never give quite the satisfaction that comes from knitting with my own handspun. So with a holiday weekend ahead of me I pulled out some lovely handspun that was waiting patiently in my fiber room for just the right project. I bought the fiber at Black Sheep Gathering a couple of years ago. It is 50%-50% wool-mohair from BearDog Fibers. They called the colorway "Spring Leaves". I kept passing it by as I wandered about the Market, telling myself that I had absolutely no need for it. It wormed its way into my conciousness and just as we were leaving the last day, I dashed back in and bought all they had. Not as much as I would normally buy for a don't-know-what-the-project-will-be project, but enough for something. I spun the fiber up into an approximately fingering weight yarn, to get as much yardage as possible. Still I had no project in mind and the yarn was put away for future inspiration. The inspiration came from Birdsong's Blog. She recently made a "Seraphim Shawl" using a pattern available from http://mimknits.com. I admired it greatly and purchased the pattern. "Spring Leaves" sounds just right for the leaf-patterned lace border. I have started the shawl and it is working up quickly so far. It starts at the back of the neck and worked outwards, with the lace knitting at the end. I am taking it on faith that I have enough yarn, since I neglected to McMorran it. (Taking chances makes life interesting, right?)

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving is fun and safe. Me, I'll be overeating and knitting with happy, fuzzy, green handspun.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

More Tiling

Wednesday I finished up the Tile Mosaic class that I took through the Washoe County School District. Having learned a lot from my mutant cow trivet, I created and completed a sun design on a wooden tray. I found the octagonal wooden tray for about fifty cents at Salvation Army. I was attracted to the unusual shape. The tile used for the design came from a gold painted flowerpot, a ceramic halloween pumpkin, and a ceramic duckie box from my bathroom. I tried to purchase yellow tiles at Home Depot, but apparently yellow is out of style - not a yellow tile to be had! So the duckie gave its life for art. Well... craft, anyway. I planned to cover the sides with tile as well, but I ran out of time.

I still need to practice some on my grouting technique, but I feel confident that, with a bit of preplanning, I can tackle the bathrooms. I just need to choose a color pallette and start accumulating the right stuff to smash.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Needle Felting Workshop

Today I taught needle-felting as a workshop after the Guild meeting. Yesterday I got together with Sharon and Mim to make some sample items to show folks some of the easy things they can make. The small ball was made by Sharon, Mim made the Christmas stocking ornament, and we all worked on the snowman.

Last night I continued making samples, including a pony (created by wrapping roving around pipecleaners), a sun, and a couple of "squiggle ball" ornaments. For the workshop, I showed folks the basics, passed out needles and sponges, and we all dove into the piles of fibers. Although many folks started with basic balls, Toni made a llama, Polly made a furry tribble with a shiny silver glitz hat, and Heidi made an ornament shaped like a wrapped present.

As the "teacher", I was pleased by the occasional silence, interspersed with discussion and laughter as everyone concentrated and shared their projects. I was also pleased that noone needed the large box of bandaids I had on hand! I made a third squiggle ball (I like playing with layer upon layer of bright colors). I sent everyone home with their needles and sponges, so I am looking forward to seeing what shows up at the next meeting's ornament exchange!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Day devoted to Craft

Today was the second half of my 2-part workshop on Japanese Wood Block Printing. Everyone had their blocks carved, so we went right to work printing. During the course of the day I made 9 prints, each with 3 seperate colors printed from seperate blocks. Although I can't claim any great results, I did learn a lot from each print run. Here is the best of them. Not exactly what I was going for, but what I've learned can be applied to better planned future projects.

After the class (and after a shopping spree in the Museum Shop) I took a tour of local thrift shops to buy stuff to use in my mosaic class. I am now the proud owner of a mass of ugly, but interestingly colored or textured, china. Plus I bought several wooden boxes, bookends, and a tray that could be the base to mosaic on top of. The best scores were from the bargain room of the local Good Will. There the posted price is $1 per pound, but the clerk eyeballed my shopping cart full of china and charged me only $14! And that included a cool vintage wall sconce that I may clean up, rewire and install somewhere.

Now on to knitting before bed.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tiling inadequacy

Wednesday I had my first session of a 3-part Tile Mosaic class. While it was loads of fun, and I can really get into applying hammer to tile, my initial effort leaves a lot to be desired. Let me help you out - it's supposed to be a cow. Perhaps abstracts are more my style. This weekend I am off to thrift shops looking for odd items to break into little pieces or glue little pieces onto.