Monday, February 28, 2011

"Bibs in Petoskey, MI....."

My youngest son, Sean, lives in Petoskey, MI, where he is a chef for the Symons Restaurant Group, at Cava, in Bay Harbor. The executive chef, Tommy, and his wife, just had their 1st child, Myles. Here he is modeling one of his new is one of my knitted cotton bibs. I think many of you know how much I enjoy babies, and know how much I enjoy knitting, so yes, I couldn't stop myself from sending Myles some bibs. May he wear them in great health!

Friday, February 25, 2011

"Once There Was Hope...."

I took this photo one morning because the temperatures had been rising for a few days and I wanted to capture how much snow we had before all of it was gone, but as you can see, I was already too late for that since the street is completely clear and much is gone from rooftops.

This photo was taken about a week later after quite a bit more snow had melted. Notice that you can actually see the bench on the deck now, where before, even though the photo wasn't exactly taken the same, the bench top was almost hidden from view due to the pile of snow.

All good things come to an end........the temperatures dropped again and we've had snow, freezing rain, rain, and all combinations of the former. Spring can't be too far away though.....we've only 4 days (including today) until March begins and warmer temperatures will consistently be more frequent.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Amaryllis Bulbs....."

Don's sister, Bonnie, and her husband, Eugene, have been sending us Amaryllis bulbs for several years for a Christmas gift. We both enjoy watching the bulbs send out their flower stalks and anticipate the long blossoming period.

The one we received this year arrived with 2 flower buds already up, and unfortunately, frozen. I called White Flower Farm to report this and they sent out another bulb to replace it. I decided to keep the frozen bulb and see if perhaps it would send up some leaves. I had my doubts as the bulb, after warming up, felt "squishy" so I thought it may have been a lost cause.

That bulb has the very tall flower stalk in todays photo. It pulled through and sent up a flower stalk!!! The replacement bulb is closer to the window and is sending up 2 flower stalks. Unfortunately, the other 2 pots of bulbs we've received previously, are just sending up leaves. I've not been able to get them to flower a 2nd time, but continue to hope that one will.

More photos when they are in bloom........

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Towel Re-started....."

After re-winding and re-tying the warp, and after weaving the header in, I began once again on the towel. So far, I have about 16" woven, which includes the 3 shades of blue stripe sequence. The pattern gives 4 variations for stripes on the towels, and I plan to try all 4. To complete this 1st towel, I weave 9" more of natural yarn, then another stripe sequence, and end the towel with 8" of the natural again. (double click on the photo for a larger view of the towel)

Everything (knock on wood) seems to be going along quite well now. I hope that trend continues. ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Once Again at the Capitol......"

Don and I went back to the Capitol to support Saturday mornings gathering of protestors. We got there early enough that while I parked myself on a cement bench outside along the steps up to the Capitol building, Don wandered around inside and out, getting some great photos.

Even though fairly early, the rotunda was packed with protest supporters.

Don told me of this sign but I hadn't seen it until he processed his photos. The person holding it was delighted with watching people's initial reactions change from when they started reading his sign, to when they got to the "good parts". ;) For any of you who do not understand the train reference, "Governor elect" Walker....."told" Governor Doyle to halt work on the high speed train from Milwaukee to Madison, before taking office..........little did we know exactly HOW domineering Walker would act "after" he was sworn in.......

The 1st large organized group of protestors in parade mode.......

Soon after the first group made their way around the Capitol, another large organized group, Firefighters, came up from State Street, being led by bagpipers and drummers.

A friend of ours, Rory, is the piper on the far side.........

The Firefighter group was VERY large.......

This was our vantage point for the entire time we were at the rally (except for Don's excursions).

Dan (wearing red), you might recognize from happy hour photos on our front deck. He gave a speech prior to his and the other band members of Clovis Mann performing a number of songs for the protestors.

And a photo of Erica (white hat), too.

This definitely says our feelings about the Democratic Senators who, in our opinion, did the only thing they could do by going to Illinois to prevent the vote on the bill. I don't think in the history of politics in Wisconsin, has any bill been introduced on a Friday, "by the media", BEFORE it was given to the elected officials who were supposed to be the ones to vote on it..........ON THE FOLLOWING THURSDAY! Can you say "rush/push it through!"?

We left after the morning rally, choosing not to be on the Square when the Tea Party supporters arrived for their rallies, which were to take place at noon and 3PM. Thankfully, there were no clashes beyond some verbal dueling by opposing opinions, and for whatever reason, the bill supporters left the Capitol by around 1:20 PM.

This was taken as we walked down State Street away from the Capitol.......

Monday, February 21, 2011

"Weekend Work on the Towels...."

My next step was to thread all 400 warp ends through the heddles in a 1,2,3,4 shaft pattern.

In my opinion, Don took some excellent photos of the process.

I am so happy with my new loom. The front beam is removable, which makes getting down and into the shaft area for threading the heddles so much easier!

All heddles threaded and ready for the next step of sleying the reed.....meaning.... threading all 400 warp ends through the beater, after which, they will be tied to the front rod, and then actual weaving can begin. ;)

A broader view of the loom with all the warp tied on and the header woven.

A close up of the woven header. This section is woven with scrap yarn because it is done purely to spread out and bring all the warp ends into parallel alignment.

I couldn't stop myself.....I just HAD to weave some of the towel!

Once again, my personal photographer, Don, snapped some photos of the process......

A close up of where I ended Saturday night.

My weaving area. I have the loom on felt pads which allows me to slide it out into the room when I want to weave. Having the ability to move it easily makes it more functional when it comes to getting around the loom, too.

The final update from the weekend.....sigh. After weaving on it a bit more, I began having problems with warp tension. I realized after a bit that when I had wound the warp onto the warp beam, even though tight then, the way I did it allowed the warp sticks to move, which in turn, really messed up the tension. So, luckily, I was able to wind the entire warp forward onto the cloth beam, and re-wind the warp back onto the warp beam again, but in doing so, it meant that I was going to have to cut what I had already woven off from the loom, then re-tie the warp to the front rod, and begin once again.

Here is a photo of the piece cut from the loom. As sorry as I was to have to do this, it isn't a total waste. I now can follow the patterns instructions on how to finish the towels, using this as a "test piece".

After re-doing all of this, I am now back to where I, header woven in, and several inches of towel woven once again.

More to follow......

Friday, February 18, 2011

"2nd Weaving Project Starts....."

I decided to try something new on the loom. I ordered a "kit", which had all of the yarns necessary for 4 "Camp/Cottage Towels", or as I would normally call them, kitchen towels. ;)

Here is the first part of the warp, tied and ready to come off of the warping rack.

And the same warp chained (to keep it from tangling) ready to go onto the loom. Hard to believe it is 5 yards long. :)

All of the warp measured out, chained, and ready to spread out so that it can be wound onto the warp beam.

Warp spread out and through my Harrisville tensioning rack.

A view from the back. The warp will be wound onto the large warp beam, situated directly below where the ends are now.

Part way through winding the warp onto the warp beam......

The warp is on the loom! Well.....meaning I can begin threading all 400 warp ends through the heddles and then through the reed as my next step in the process. ;)

I've also included the pattern sheet that I received with the kit, so you could see what the final towels will look like....or so I hope. ;) Of course, as you can see, I'm using 3 shades of blue, with the natural as main background.

To be continued......

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Weather Affects Sports in Grand Forks....."

Last week, Simon was on the outdoor skating rinks in his hockey gear, practicing with puck and stick.

I forgot to mention he'd just gotten new gloves and safety helmet, too. :)

Jonathan making Simon and Henry work for each goal they put into the net.

The competition was tough!

That all changed......this week the temperatures rose and the snow/ice began melting. So much so, that Henry was able to get his bike out and take it for a spin!

He was one happy bicyclist!

A quick rest before once again pumping the pedals!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Protest Rally at the Capitol....."

There was a change in plans and we went to the protest rally yesterday instead of today. I say "we", because I, too, went to support the state workers of Wisconsin. We knew there were a lot of protesters, but couldn't venture a guess at just how many, but the news last night confirmed it for us....over 10,000 people showed up yesterday afternoon, many with their own signs, too, as you will see in the following photos. Actually, there were 2 rallies, with us attending the 1st one. Many of the protestors stayed throughout the day, but Don, Jim, and Jacob, went back to work (as we "assume" many others did), but a new wave of protestors came later in the afternoon when another rally was scheduled. That one continued into the evening......

A public hearing was being held inside the Capitol. Each person was given 2 minutes to speak. Not all of the persons speaking were in protest, but some in support, too. They are entitled to a voice as well........but there were not many attending yesterday in support. Don told me this morning that the public hearing was still in session at midnight. That's a lot of people given 2 minutes!

As you can imagine, the crowd ROARED when this truck drove around the corner blasting its horn in support! No one needed to gesture (raised arm and pulled down) for that to happen. ;)

Every spot bare of snow held protestors........

Elsewhere, the protestors fully lined the edges and were many, many deep.

Many varieties of signs........and people of all ages.

The steps up to the Capitol were completely full. Obviously, the streets around the Capitol were closed and the crowd filled the streets, too.

My documentation that I truly was there. ;) A 60 year old man, a teenager in the turbulent 1960's and this was my 1st protest rally. Who says an old dog can't experience new things, eh? :)

Don also told me a little while ago that the Madison schools were closed today. On last nights news, it was reported that a letter had been sent home to parents that precautions had been taken to insure that students would have supervision if too many teachers called in sick for today, BUT, to be sure and listen to the morning news in case school had to be closed because of an overwhelming number. Seems that has happened........wonder where those teachers will be today...........

**Update: The public hearing went until 3 AM last night and will begin again today.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Preparing to Protest....."

Last night was a first for me. I drew a protest sign for Don to carry while joining the "march on the Capitol" tomorrow. He'd found a piece of clip art that he liked which I could use as a guide. It's been awhile since I'd sat down to draw.....and it felt good. :)

The finished piece. ;)