Sunday, August 17, 2014

Where there's a will…

Although dealing with doctors can sometimes be frustrating, here's a case to restore all faith in the medical profession.

This little guy…  well, let's just say he has started life here on Earth on his own terms.  The latest installment of those "terms" was to arrive a bit early… 9 weeks early!  He weighed about 3.5 lbs.  He is the newest member of our family - my husband's cousin's grandson.  I think that makes him our third cousin!

I'm always happy to have a baby on the horizon so I can make a blanket.  I had this one all timed out to be finished in July.  Oops!  The little guy arrived in May, so I got into high gear and finished it up.  This is Lucy's Neat Ripple pattern from Attic 24.  I used a Martha Stewart Crafts yarn.  It says "extra soft wool blend", with the blend being 65% acrylic and 35% wool.  I loved working with it, and the result was very soft and cuddly.  It washed and dried beautifully.

After spending 6 weeks under the watchful eye of his nurses and doctors and parents in the hospital, he is now home and growing and thriving.  His Mom and Dad sent this cute picture of him enjoying his stroller and his new blankie.

Last I heard, he is closing in on 11 pounds.  All is good.  I'm thankful to live in a time and place where stories like this can have a happy ending.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Courthouse Steps - Climbed!!!


I really enjoyed working on this rug, which is a variation of Log Cabin Courthouse Steps, but I must admit it was a tad more difficult to pull off than I anticipated!  For one thing, I needed more colors than I thought.  As it turns out, you need to separate the colors from each other carefully.  Obviously, you don't want to place the same color in two sections that touch each other.  Even two different wools that are "similar" in color should never touch.  There is still one place in this rug where that happens - where two "grays" run into each other, but I left it as a reminder to myself not to do that next time.  And I think there will be a next time!
The finished rug measures about 30"x42".  It's hard to see in the picture, but I hooked four rows of the reddish brown around the border and then bound the edge with that same wool.  The little squares in the middle of each block are that same wool. Originally I had random colors in those little squares, but I like this much better.  Using the dark color in those little squares made the "steps" really pop out!

I also recently finished this little hit or miss mat.  It measures 13"x27".  This was to be an experiment with making a small rug to sell.  Now I don't think I can part with it!  I bound this one with turquoise yarn I had on hand.  Normally I would not use a contrasting color for the binding, but I think it works here.  (I do love my turquoise.)

On our recent trip to Arizona, I made a discovery about my iPhone.  Did you know an iPhone camera could do this?  This is very close-up.  I had no idea it could focus this close and take a sharp picture.  

We live in Lawrence, KS, which is very near Overland Park in Kansas City, the site of the shootings at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom.  The word community is so appropriate here.  My husband played basketball on the outdoor courts there for many years.  One of our dear friends tuned the piano there just a few days before the shootings.  Other friends recently bought their home from a couple who then moved into a residence in Village Shalom (where the third person was shot).  Another friend goes to the same church as two of the victims.  It amazes me how interconnected we all are.

Mother Nature was not happy with us that day.  Here's what we saw in the sky from our balcony and kitchen windows.  (Photos by my husband Mike McPheeters)

Thanks for stopping by.  Happy Spring to you and yours.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Catching Up

After my long absence… Hello!

We are finally settled in our temporary home in beautiful downtown Lawrence, KS.  For us, 2013 was the year of selling our house and downsizing our possessions.  I give us a B+ on the downsizing effort!  Even so, our storage unit is…  hmmm… scary full.

I'm posting one picture from our old house, because it has in it one of my favorite rugs that I have hooked.  On the back wall, see Floral Sampler, framed.  The pattern may be found on Nola Heidbreder's website:  It comes in two sizes - the one I hooked is the larger one, 29"x39".  I have framed a few rugs over the years, and I love the way they look.  I think some "rugs" are meant to be seen vertically.  And of course, no one is going to walk all over a rug on the wall!

Here's a closer look at Floral Sampler.  It really is a lovely design.  I love the animals.

Rug hooking here in our new digs has been a bit of a challenge! I do miss my little room in the old house that was dedicated to all my messy endeavors!  But I'm doing the best I can now here in the apartment, which involves a lot of vacuuming. 

Here are my WIP rugs:

This rabbit is a "rescue rug".  My husband's cousin started it as a first rug many years ago.  Hooking was not her thing, so I offered to take over the project.  All of her wool was BAD.  I can see why she didn't like working on it.  It was so loosely woven and weak, it just fell apart when I tried to hook with it.  So I pulled out all she had done and started over with new wool.  This gave me opportunity to choose new colors - so I went "bright".   I also added a checkerboard border, which I must admit is harder than it looks!  My current idea is to add one more row of hooking around the outside of checkerboard (maybe the lime green) and then whip the edge in that same color.  Those checkerboard pieces need an established edge on both sides (the rug background being one edge, and my new edge (lime???) being the other).  I'll let you know how that goes.

This next rug is based on an idea I've had for a long time.  Years ago, I cut the picture below from a catalog.  It is a rug, but I'm not sure of the technique used to make it.  You may recognize it as a form of the Log Cabin quilt design called Courthouse Steps.  In this case, there is no repetition of a color palette like you would typically see in a Courthouse Steps quilt.  Instead, it is "scrappy".

Below is my version (so far).  (Yes, I drew all those lines on there.  It is easy - just drag a Sharpie along the linen - in the ditch.  It will stay right in there and make a straight line.)  This rug has been fascinating to work on.  I thought it would be easy, but not so.  I started out with a color palette of about 7 colors then had to add more in order to get the right amount of separation between colors.  I see some things I want to change, but I'll not do that until everything is hooked and I can see the big picture.  To my eye, that light, bright turquoise (near the center) is too bright - it will probably get changed to the more subtle turquoise (there is some on the bottom row, just right of center).

I have one more WIP, but it is SO CLOSE to being done I'll save it for another post.

We got home a few weeks ago from our annual trek to Arizona.  It was warm and sunny and beautiful.  After the rough winter we've had here in Kansas, it was truly wonderful to be out there.  In Tucson, we visited the Tucson Botanical Gardens.  The butterfly house was my favorite part.  Here are a few pics of these gorgeous creatures and a couple of very creative frogs!

And a few "flora" from the gardens...

There were quite a few of these wonderful mosaic benches around the gardens.  This was my favorite - with the bunny and the sleeping javelina.  Betsey Livingston, you have a very cute bench.

OK - caught up!  Just a few more days until Spring arrives!  Around here that is no guarantee of good weather, but it means there is at least HOPE!