Friday, October 30, 2009

"Copper and I Drive to Michigan...."

Copper and I left early Monday morning to drive to Michigan to visit Patrick and Julie meet my new granddaughter, Abigail!

I thought this photo turned out pretty well since I was driving....not the smartest thing to do, but I was extra careful....I promise!

"What was that flash?"

" much longer?"

Patrick, Julie, and little Abigail.

A barely awake Abigail with Grandpa.

There we are....a little more eye action. :)

More photos of our trip to follow......

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"The First Sewing project....."

The front room seems to be gathering more "hobby" materials everyday (more since this photo was taken!). Thank goodness everything is easy to set up and take down, which means moving furniture, too......but finding storage places for everything is a bit of a challenge. :(

A little practice piece using the same fabrics.

Ready to begin after pinning the flannel and fleece together.

The finished baby blanket showing both sides.

The fleece top in all of its glory. :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Weaving Leads to Learning New Skills......"

Yes, as you can see from the photo below, I have invested in a new sewing machine. As I mentioned in my earlier posts about my current project, I am weaving bath towels. Towels could, I suppose, have tied end fringe, but you don't see too many of them finished that way, so I figured I would need a sewing machine to sew the ends to finish them. I do have my mothers old, black Singer sewing machine, which was from the 1940's or 50's, but I do not have much experience with sewing, and with all the new machines out there, I figured I would invest in something more up to date than the old Singer, and "hopefully", one that would be somewhat easier to learn on. I believe I found "just the one". ;) (Besides, with a new grandchild, why not explore making things for her, too?)

This is a Baby Lock, Grace A-Line Series, Model BL 40. I had actually found 2 sewing machines that I liked......this Baby Lock and a Husqvarna Viking Emerald 116. Joann Fibers carry the Husqvarna, and the Baby Lock is carried by M & R Sewing, an independent local sewing/vacuum store. If any repairs are needed in the future, Joann Fibers sends the machines away, while M & R Sewing does repair "in-house". Point 1 in favor of the Baby Lock. Point 2 was the fact that the employees at M & R Sewing all have Baby Lock machines for their own use. What better way to find out answers to any questions that I may have about the machines? Point 3 and possibly the best (in my opinion) reason for buying the Baby Lock, is that I do not need a foot pedal to use my machine (although, that too, is included). All control is available at my fingertips. Having used my Mom's old machine a little, I was thrilled at not having to use my foot for controlling the sewing process!

Stitch changes at the turn of a dial.......

After my sewing machine purchase, I headed back to Joann Fabrics to buy materials/patterns to try my hand at "self teaching". I knew a little about sewing, but not much....enough to get me in trouble, I guess, eh? ;) I bought thread, fleece material, flannel, and few other "notions" for sewing a baby blanket. Since then, I have done more research on sewing, getting books from the library, checked on line sewing videos, etc. and have also gone back to Joann's a number of times for sewing supplies that will make learning to sew easier and more enjoyable (although, I truly am excited about the whole process!). Of course, now I have the extra job of storing more "hobby" materials. I WILL succeed!!!! :)

This is the fleece in my attempt at sewing a baby blanket (I added blue flannel for backing). It did come out fine, and I have given it to our newest neighbor, Henry Michael. Michael and Anna's son was born last Sunday. He weighed a whopping 10# 3 oz, and was 21" long!!!

I'm sure I will be adding more about my attempt at learning these new sewing skills. Wish me LUCK!!! ;)

Friday, October 23, 2009

"Loom Prep......."

Actually, I have already begun weaving my next project, which is bath towels, but these photos show the prep that led up to starting.......

All the warp wound onto the warp beam and the warp threads spread out in one inch segments.

Warp threads ready to be threaded through the heddles.

Threading begun.......

Threading finished and warp also threaded through the reed.

Threads ready to be tied up to the front rod.

Ready to begin weaving!

Weaving progress to follow........

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Some Gifts....."

I finished a couple of "Henley" style sweaters that I am giving the boys for Christmas (and 1 for myself, too!) and found these terrific buttons for them.

This one is mine........Bear Claws!

A close up of the claw......

And for the boys......Indian and Buffalo Nickles!

A close up of the Buffalo.....

And one of the Indian Head Buttons. Perfect replicas of old nickles!

When talking with Patrick last Friday, he lamented the fact that no one had given Abigail anything that had a camouflage pattern on it (hunter that he is and I'm sure he is hoping that Abigail will be interested in hunting, too). Don and I took care of that little issue on our drive to Iowa last Saturday, stopping at Cabela's in Prairie du Chien, WI, which is on the Mississippi River. We found a very small "camo" winter hat and a tiny pair of "camo" shoes, both I'm sure, intended for little boys. When buying buttons the other day, I found these little pink bows and decided to sew them onto the hat to make sure no one would confuse Abigail's gender. ;)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Our Trip to Sumner, Iowa......."

As I mentioned, Don and I drove to Sumner, Iowa for a wedding last weekend. Our friends, Jim and George, after being together for 32 years were now able to legalize their partnership because on April 3 (MY birthday no less!), 2009, Iowa's Supreme Court, with a unanimous vote, legalized same sex marriages.

We arrived early to our hotel (we stayed in Fayette, about 15 miles from Sumner), and I had time to help Sheila with some knitting concerns.

The newly married couple, George and Jim..........

Friends, Penny and Sheila, with Jim and George.

From left to right: Penny, David, me, Don, and Sheila.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Postville, Iowa Fire....."

Don and I drove to Sumner, Iowa for a wedding last weekend. More on that tomorrow. Saturday morning, as we drove into Postville, Iowa, the air was thick with smoke. As we turned onto the main street, we saw why. One of the downtown buildings was on fire....roads were blocked so we had to take a detour into some residential neighborhoods. We, being the naturally nosy guys that we are, drove around until we could park and walk over to the fire.

This 3/4 back view is from the bank parking lot where we parked.

This is the only area where we saw flames emerging from the building.

The fire was in the 2nd building from the corner.....

The building on fire was a beautiful old one. We "think" we saw a bakery sign on it, and the upstairs was at least 1 apartment, possibly 2.

On our way home, we stopped again to take "after" photos. Here is how things ended up.....sad, isn't it?

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Another Weaving Project Started......"

I began another weaving project last week. This one required the heddles that I'd taken off for the rugs to be added back onto the harnesses. I put every one that I had, but it still didn't meet the suggested epi (ends per inch) for the size of the warp. I will have to call this an experiment and hope for the best. This project is Bath Towels. I'd bought some 8/2 cotton warp and my weft will be cotton chenille. I have 5 colors of weft (beige's, browns, and rust) to create stripes, so we'll see what happens.

This photo shows me adding the heddles to the harnesses. I took the harnesses off of the loom, and used a spring clamp to hold onto the harness cable. I'm finding more uses for my spring clamps. ;)

The completed harnesses. Each harness now has over 100 heddles on it and each and every one will be in use for this project.

Measuring out the warp on the warping board, which is temporarily attached to the loom using my largest spring clamps. :)

The warp all measured out and ready to be untied and fanned out per inch along my homemade raddle (board with nails spread out in inch increments).

The warp ready to be wound onto the warp beam. The 4 round dowels are part of the tensioning device I use which Don gave me as a gift (made specifically for my Harrisville Loom).

More photos to follow as work progresses.......

Friday, October 16, 2009

"The Last of Andy's Fire Photos....."

Zoe was bright eyed and wide awake on Saturday, while Kai slept in his stroller the entire time.

Zoe was not a happy baby when she was with me and nothing I could do would change that......

Another "long shot" of the gathering.....

"Pyromaniac #2" beginning lessons on "how to"........

Krista and Zoe.......

Moms being Moms.......Angela holding Benjamin and Krista with Zoe.

A much happier Zoe (than when I held her) in the arms of Christin, along with Rob and Christina.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Andy's Fire Continued......"

This photo shows the gathering around the fire.......

"Pyromaniac #1".......

Along with "Pyromaniac #2"..........

"It's a bird, a plane........."

Angela, Benjamin, and Andy.......

I thought a face view of Benjamin was in order......

More photos of the gathering tomorrow......