Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another Shawl

This one is called Isolde by Wendy Lewis. I got the pattern from the summer issue of Crochet! Magazine. I decided to buy the entire issue rather than just the pattern because there were other patterns inside I wanted to make. I'm using Lion Brands LB 1878, a 100% virgin will in plum, a dark purple color. I really like this yarn, and of course, as soon as I discovered it Lionbrand decides to discontinue it! But there's plenty on the cone so I'll have more than enough to finish.

The design in in 3 sections, I'm currently on the 3rd pattern repeat of Section 2. The first section went really fast, the second has lots of picots which are an annoying little stitch requiring one to stick the hook into the beginning chain of a certain number of chains specified in the pattern. To me the worst this time though is the row with a double crochet every stitch. It seems to take forever to complete those rows.

Here is a photo of it unblocked. It's got an awful lot of ripples which I find worrisome as I wasn't sure that they would go away after blocking so I did a test block with it dry.

As you can see the dry blocking makes them disappear but of course they won't and didn't stay away when i unpinned it. I am hoping a good long soak and pinning to dry will make them disappear permanently. I'm told this will usually work. I hope so because I am toying with the idea of entering it in the county fair in August. Stay tuned.

My Crocheted Summer Sweater the Bell Sleeve Pullover

I see I have neglected to show off my lovely, pink cotton top that I only took 2 months (5 weeks really) to crochet. It is called the Bell Sleeve Pullover and was designed by Doris Chan, an interesting person with lots of wonderful designs, many patterns available for free as was this one. I would like to mention the Bell Sleeve is not as hard as I originally thought it was, I merely had a steep learning curve in that I had no idea how to make a foundation single crochet (fsc) to replace the ubiquitous and quite miserable to work with usual starting chain. Everyone learning to crochet starts with the row of chains which in itself is not hard to learn, what is hard is the next row, sticking that hook into and under the appropriate chain over and over again. It is VERY annoying and often frustrating especially if you're making a king size afghan or using a fuzzy yarn. I learned the fsc by watching various you tube videos, just do a search and give it a try.

But back to my glorious pullover. I used nearly all of 7 skeins of Patons Grace 100% mercerized cotton yarn in the color Wildberry. (purchased on sale for $2.99 a skein) It is soft and easy to work with, plus it dealt well with continuously ripping out sections when I screwed up something or, as I did 3 times I think, have to change to a larger pattern size. I ended up using the large size (can't believe I really started with small first!) and added 20 rows to the body and 8 rows to the sleeves plus one for the actual bell. I'm a tall women so I always have to add extra whether I am using yarn or fabric.

Here it is.

I do believe I will be making another one in  but with short cap sleeves. I thought it looked very cute that way but I wanted to make the first garment in the original design to prove I could. I love it!

Monday, July 22, 2013

More Photos from the "Not Quite a Tornado" Storm

This is my wooden deck. I took this photo through the window because I didn't want to get beaned by hail. It was a couple inches thick by the time it was over and it was a couple hours before it all melted.

These 2 trees are hanging over the trail I regularly walk with Luna and the Zigman. The trunks are twisted. You can barely see in the upper right corner what looks like 2 white trunks. it's actually one poplar tree broken in half, the top hanging down on the left side by its bark. Hal cut them and a lot of the other trees out of the way today. 

Closeup of the trunk of the tree in the photo above. Only swirling winds can do this I think.

Another twisted tree.
This last photo shows more trees laying in several different directions. Again, I can only believe a swirling wind could create this sort of orientation.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

POWER!!!!! and Cooler Temps!

Just before 1 am Ziggy started barking, we looked out the bedroom window and lights were slowly coming down the driveway. It was a big Consumers Electric cherry picker truck. I thought they must be lost coming down our ridiculously narrow dirt driveway when the downed lines were one street over, other side of the swamp, where our power comes from.

Hal got dressed and ambled out to see what was going. They told him the hardest part of the job was find our place, and they had to repair the cracked, and thus opened, switch linking our transformer to the lines. Also said something about us being the last ones. Hal mentioned that yeah, we were the end of the line. They were gone in 10 minutes and we just lay there waiting, and at 1:15 am the power snapped back on. SO happy to have electricity again and running water!

As a side note, last night Hal tested the small generator on the well pump and it wasn't powerful enough to run it. So now we are looking at generators on line to figure out what is the smallest size we can get away with that could also run the furnace blower in winter. Has to be bigger than the 2500 watts this Honda had. Sure did do the trick for saving our food though.

Second side note, beautiful cool breeze coming through the front windows and it's only 76 degrees outside. Fantastic!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Still No Power

Where is Scotty when you need him?

Half the village actually does have power and there are electric company trucks all over, but not on the street I get my power from. They did send a crew to cut the dead tree off the power line that runs to our transformer so when the power does come back on it won't catch fire and knock it out again.

We have some power to our house in that Hal borrowed his dad's small Honda generator and hooked it into the circuits that power the 2 refrigerators and 3 chest freezers. Then he went to the store bought some male plug ends, cut up a 14 gauge power cord and made 2 cords with a plug end on each end. They are now plugged into separate outlets in the garage and into the 2 outlets of the generator and we can turn on various things in the house, and turn off other things to keep from tripping the breakers or generator. This is why I can write to this blog. We have refrigeration and internet. However, I am about to run out of laptop battery power and will need to power down to be able to plug this in and recharge.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Closest Thing to a Tornado!

Had a bit of bother this afternoon around 2 pm. Fifteen minutes of torrential sheet like rain, huge hail and toppled and snapped trees, power lines, etc. If this wasn't a tornado, it was awfully close. I'll just let my few photos tell today's tale. The reason they're such lousy photos is it was so hot when this hit when it was over steam was rising from the ground that was covered in hail. Here you go.
lots of trees like this
Another hail photo before it all melted

just off in the woods where Esther Rd ends

my thumb, this stuff was everywhere

my driveway near the house

lots of trees like this
I'll have more updates when I get home and get power back there. At least no one was hurt. (as far as I know).

edited to replace duplicate hail photo

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Love My New Floor!

So I ordered the new vinyl floor back in April at the local store's semi-annual sale. I can't really say I got a great deal, but there would be a lot of material and labor so I don't think I over paid by much. I said there was no rush as we had to rip up the carpet ourselves as well as baseboard molding, of which there was very little, and loose pieces of vinyl. Then we waited. And waited. I had originally been told the first week or so of May.

In mid June I finally called and was informed the installer had injured his knee.Okay, no biggie, he was supposed to be very good so we waited some more. The last week of June I got the call he would be out the  Tuesday before July 4th (a Thursday this year) and work around the holiday. Good thing we don't go places too often.
the old hallway
Ed and his helper who Hal thought was his wife (she didn't talk much as she really only spoke Spanish, I got to practice what little I remembered from high school, I think she was pleased I tried) arrived about 10:10 am on the 2nd in a van with all the luan which had to be put down as an underlayment to cover the imperfections in the floor including the glue ridges left from a carpet that was glued to the floor instead of installed with carpet tacks! The luan was stapled down about every 6 inches and the edges were ground down to create a shallow channel and filled with a white filler material and made smooth.

luan to the left old vinyl to the right
Before Ed got started we showed him some water damage to the sub floor in one corner that caused the sub-floor to swell and buckle a bit. He couldn't guarantee that that part wouldn't have problems in the future but since we weren't paying to have that issue fixed (the leak was fixed and the floor was dry), he did his best to make it work by putting in long nails to reach into the sub-sub-floor instead of relying just on staples.

the extra nailed corner
Ed said he had 45 years in the business and he was good. Before he lay down the vinyl, which he had to pre-cut at the store it was such a large roll and too heavy to move by even 3 people, he made sure there was nothing, no small scrap, a poked up staple that was in the way of a perfectly flat surface. He was also very careful in matching up the pattern, in fact the 4 of us sat down for half an hour and made sure the pattern matched perfectly.
the bad corner, aka the dining room
So we were really pleased with Ed's first 2 days of work, but when he returned on Friday to complete the hallway I was blown away by his work in the hallway. First, I never expected him to also cover the risers with vinyl and then I saw how meticulous he was in matching up the grout lines. The lines flow perfectly even in the angled section.
the grout lines all line up
 One last touch was his meticulous care in cutting the corner strips. The odd angle on the top stair in the above photo meshes beautifully.
the finished hall
So we may have waited a long time but it was worth the wait. Now Hal is slowly installing the baseboard molding in the main room. He's done 2 walls only (he finally caught that head cold, so is taking a break) so all the furniture is still scattered, plus we've decided to re-arrange the rooms again. Hopefully, I'll have final photos in a month or two.

Incidentally, the floor is by Congoleum and is called Midnight Terrace. :-)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Independence Day 2013

AKA the Fourth of July.

As usual, tractors
Had a fun Independence Day. Went to the parade, hung around in the park with my adopted family, Uncle Butch's, went to Mrs J's (Uncle B's widow) for a BBQ. I made 2 flavors of jello because my stove was sitting across the other side of the room because my vinyl floor was finally being installed! (more on that in the next post.) And later drove my truck over to the other side of town to watch the fireworks. I tried my camera on them. Most of the photos were duds but a few turned out nice. I've provided a few parade photos, too.
First ever beach float.
There are always old cars
My best photo

Maybe next year I'll have better photos. It's a challenge.

Monday, July 1, 2013

I Meant....

to write a couple more posts in June, I really did but things got busy and then I started feeling lousy and realized this morning that it wasn't severe allergies but a mild head cold. Mild in that it doesn't hurt to swallow but my throat feels like sandpaper, I have lots more post nasal drip than I normally do (hence the sore throat), I'm coughing a bit more than I ought to for the dust I am stirring up while cleaning (not to mention almost coughing up a lung the first day I woke up and felt lousy) plus I feel very tired. Hal also woke up this morning with a similar sore throat so it then became obvious to me that I was really ill.

The cleaning is in preparation for our new vinyl floor which I was finally informed of last Tuesday would be happening tomorrow (the following Tuesday) and would also continue Wednesday and then Friday if necessary. But not Thursday which happens to be Independence Day here in the good old USofA. Darn good thing we weren't planning on traveling anywhere on vacation.

It's been more than 2 months since we ordered the floor. We were told maybe the first week of May so that's when Hal tore up the carpeting. It was glued to the floor. Consequently, it means we have to have luan screwed and glued to cover the residual glue and other defects. Probably doubled the price of the installation. Carpet would have been cheaper but vinyl will be easier to keep clean with two dogs in the long run.

The installer had injured his knee, at least that is what we were told and as I am not immune to injury I completely understand. But I sure hope nothing screws this up. I'd like to have things back to normal, especially as we moved the TV and stereo today and will have to content ourselves with an old CRT TV in the guest room which is stuffed with extra furniture till this is done.

Stay tuned.