Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Breaking Historical Records

Before
February 22, 2017
finally down to "practically" bare pavement
On Wednesday, February 22 I was thrilled that nearly all the ice and snow had melted on my street and from the parking lots around town: I was clearly getting a case of Spring Fever.

As this earlier post illustrates, my street was covered with a thick sheet of packed snow and ice since the Christmas Day and two successive January Storms.

The warmer temperatures in mid-February prompted melting snow and premature flooding through the valley along the Wind River . . .

locally, the small town of Hudson took the brunt of the
melting snowpack from the sustained chinook winds in the
Sinks Canyon area - February 2017
and eventually on the Big Horn river further north.

massive ice jam on the Big Horn River
Worland, WY
February 11, 2017
No one expected flooding in February! The premature thaw was brought under control by Mother Nature when the temperature dropped below freezing at night. The flood waters receded and a nice balance of warm days and frigid nights continued.

But . . . it was short-lived, as the day after the bare pavement photo (shown at the beginning of this post) was taken, it snowed and continued to snow into Friday. When the sun finally came out Friday afternoon, approximately 12 inches had fallen, and once more the piles of snow appeared in yards and the streets are again snow-packed.

After
February 23, 2017
According to the National Weather Bureau, Riverton and three other towns (Dubois, Cody, and Rock Springs) have surpassed their historical record of snow in a designated time frame. I had no idea that I had shoveled 46.7 inches from my driveway and sidewalk from October to February until I read this report:
from County 10 online news 
Chances of snow continue through March and sometimes even into May, so the historic snow record will likely not hold for long.

source
snowplow on Togwotee Pass
 by Jakub Knoll
February 2017
Undoubtedly the February flooding was only a taste of what is to come, as the snowpack in the mountains is also at historic levels, and water always travels downhill.  Everyone in the area is hoping for a slow but steady Spring melt in the mountains and in the valley.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Tote Bag

tote bag made from 50# dog food sack
February 2017
Sheri and I got together recently and stitched a tote bag from plastic feed sacks. I'm pleased with the result, but I will move the straps more toward the center on the next one I make.

I understand the reason plastic is now being used for feed sacks: it doesn't rip as easily as paper, but unfortunately, the plastic also does not decompose. Convenience wins, and the environment loses.

Pinterest and the internet offer numerous ideas on how to utilize these feed sacks. Many free patterns or directions are available to make gardening aprons, tote bags, messenger bags, zipper bags, etc. Pinterest has links to over 1000 ideas on how to make something useful from plastic feed bags. The more bags that are kept from the landfill the better.

Make sure to use a heavy-duty needle in your sewing machine and lengthen the stitch, too. Don't expect perfect tension, as the bags are slippery.

Have you found a way to recycle your pet food bags?


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Back in Time - Campsite Games

campsite games
August 1999
August 1999, nearly all of my family gathered for a week-long camping trip at the Worthen Meadows campground above Lander, Wyoming. The North Dakota and Minnesota group rented a large RV and drove to Wyoming for the reunion. The Colorado and Wyoming group brought two large tents.

We played card games at the campsite on the days when the fish weren't biting or when everyone was tired of hiking. We also played bocce ball and frisbee.

Shown at the table, playing cards: Brenda (CO), Katie and Bruce (MN), Chris and Stephanie (WY). Paul (ND) can be seen in the background, and Evelyn (ND) is seated on the right.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Two Step QAL - Clues 1 & 2

Two Step Mystery Quilt Along
February 2017
In January, when I saw a mystery quilt along featuring scraps, I decided to participate. On Sunday, I pulled red and blue scraps out my scrap bins for 2.5, 4.5, 5, 6.5 inch pieces and astonishingly found enough for the Two Step Mystery quilt. Other than resizing the 6.5 inch squares into 5.75 inch squares, no fabric (other than the white background) required cutting.

January Clue #1
48 strip sets
(24 blue/white; 24 red/white)
Clue #1 was easy and fast with chain-stitching.

February Clue #2
making hour glass blocks
February's clue was more involved, requiring marking and careful stitching, cutting, and squaring.

February Clue #2
48 hour-glass blocks
Two Step Mystery Quilt Along
Clues #1 & 2 complete
It's not too late to join in the fun. Clues #1 and 2 can easily be completed before the next clue is released on the third Friday of March.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mystery Clue #3

(56) three-patch sections
(140) 3.5 inch squares
Clue #3 was released on Friday, and the components quickly came together. Hopefully, the pieces will start falling into place soon.

Earlier clues can be seen here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

DIY Niddy Noddy

wool yarn reclaimed from thrift shop sweaters
before washing
2007
Since I'm presenting a program at the March Fiber Guild meeting on reclaiming yarn from wool sweaters, I thought it would be a good idea to start gathering the items I'd need and deconstruct a sweater to refresh my mind.

I started reclaiming the wool in 2007 from wool sweaters that were purchased (some shown in this earlier post) in Denver thrift shops.

Once washed, the reclaimed wool could not be distinguished from that purchased in a yarn shop. Some of the wool I reclaimed can be seen in this post. The reclaimed wool has been used in a variety of projects for charities and for gifts.

Projects I made using reclaimed wool: 
    Vests for children in cold climates - here, here, here, here
    Cowls - here and here
    Hats and helmet liners for the military - herehere and here
    Mittens
    Christmas stockings   here and here
   
When I first started reclaiming wool, I tried every possible way to wind the wool into hanks so it could be washed. My first attempts were time-consuming, and I've since discovered that a niddy noddy can reduce the time investment considerably. What? You've never heard of a niddy noddy?

.5 inch PVC pipe
(4) 4.5 inch sections, (1) 12" section
(4) caps and (2) "T" sections
A wooden niddy noddy can be expense, so I made my niddy noddy for less than $5, and it took less time to assemble it than it took to purchase the components. The gentleman at ACE Hardware even cut the pipe to the specifications I found on this post.
three assembled sections of the niddy noddy
The center section is the one that determines the length of the hank and is interchangeable. I measured my swift and determined that I needed no larger than a 60" hank, so the center section of pipe is 12" in length.
forming a hank on a niddy noddy
note that one end is turned 90 degrees
The yarn will be crinkly and curly when it is raveled from the sweater. The niddy noddy provides just enough tension to create the hank length desired. At the four "legs" of the niddy noddy, the yarn will be secured with a figure-eight tie. This keeps the yarn from tangling when it is washed.

Directions on how to use the niddy noddy can be found here.
four-ounce hank of wool, reclaimed from one sweater sleeve.
The hank of yarn shown in this photo has been washed and the kinks have been removed. All of the yarn in the hank was reclaimed from one sleeve of the sweater. The yarn on the niddy noddy is from the sweater front and will be more than 4 ounces. The strand of yarn shows how kinky/curly it is after raveling. Soaking the wool in soapy, warm water for about 40 minutes removes most of the kinks. Do not agitate the wool while washing, rinse and gently squeeze the excess water from the wool. It can be spun in the washer (inside a mesh bag) to remove more water and to speed up drying time. Hand Wash and Line Dry only.

gauge can be determined before reclaiming yarn
It's a good idea to determine the gauge of the sweater before raveling all the pieces. From the gauge, I can also determine the approximate needle size - this knit was probably done with size 7 or 8 needles.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Addictive Knitting

four baby hats finished; two started
February 2017

Knitting these little hats is addictive! Kathy's scrap yarn is being knit into newborn hats for the Public Health nurses to distribute.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Forever, My Love

February 2017
I had a great time knitting this pair of socks with Ellen's gift yarn (Zombie BBQ). Since they were finished near Valentine's Day, it seems wrong to call them Zombie BBQ socks, so with a slight tweak of meaning, this pair will be called Forever, My Love.

Forever, My Love
February 2017
If I had been paying more attention when beginning the heel flap on sock #2, they would be a matching pair, but now they show a dark and light side on the cuffs.

Yarn:
    Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock (Zombie BBQ)
    Regia Silk (Burgundy)

Needles:
    US size 2

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Year of Stitches #2

Year of Stitches

I don't work on this project as frequently as the original challenge requires, but I'm progressing at my own speed.

After the blue stitches were added (shown in this earlier post), I saw an "H" and an idea quickly came to mind. I like where this small piece is headed.

I have a lot of DMC floss on hand, so that's what I'm using for this Year of Stitches project.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mystery Clues #1 & 2

Mystery Quilts for Military
Clue #1
Mystery Quilts for Military challenge began the first week of February, and wanting to shake things up a bit, I joined. Four fabrics were required for this mystery: I chose navy, antique beige, red batik, and a cream with small gold stars from my stash.

Clue #1 resulted in 112 half-square triangles.

Mystery Quilts for Military
Clue #2
Clue #2 resulted in 224 strip sets

I'm eager to see and work on the next clue which will be released on Friday.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Back in Time - Cellar

John S.
collapsing cellar
approx. 1984
I don't know when my parents built the cellar on the farm, but I'm guessing it was in the late 1940s. The cellar walls were dirt and almost smooth. On the west side of the narrow path down the middle was an open area to store potatoes, hard-shelled squash (acorn and huge hubbard), gourds, onions, and other root vegetables from the field and garden. Other items were also stored in the northwest corner, like empty lard buckets and empty wicker baskets and wire potato baskets. The east wall had narrow shelves to store numerous Mason jars, filled with tomatoes, tomato juice, corn and creamed corn, green beans, apples and apple sauce, sauerkraut, pickles (sweet and dill), peaches, pears, cherries, jams and jellies, apple butter and other fruits and vegetables if they were available. What we didn't eat out the garden was canned and taken to the cellar.

The steps into the cellar were wide and deep and cut from the earth. In the spring, it was common to find salamanders on the steps or at the bottom of the steps. The cellar door (seen in the photo) was heavy and made from wood. The only light that reached the cellar was when the door was open.

It was possible to stand upright in the cellar. The ceiling was probably two foot higher than the shelves, and in the middle was a small air vent that looked like a birdhouse on the top of "cellar hill."

From the photo, you can see the wooden frame of the roof and the depth of the dirt mounded on the frame.
collapsing the cellar
approx 1984
Cellar hill was probably only three or four foot high, but it was a good place to get some air on a bicycle and for little kids to slide down on their sled. On the northeast side of cellar hill was a large anthill of red ants that my oldest nephews liked to torment with firecrackers. The ants remained until the cellar was collapsed.

I don't remember why my brother John decided it was necessary to collapse the cellar other than my Mom didn't use it much: her canning days were over and the grocery store provided her with preserved fruits and vegetables.

The mound of earth was not missed and the flatten area provided more parking for equipment and visitors.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Charity Hats

hat and scrap ball of yarn
February 2017
Last month, I accompanied a friend to a charity knitting group that meets twice a month. One of the ladies had prepared a yarn ball out of scraps that I took to knit hats. I had no idea what colors would be in the ball or how much of each color.


 There was no rhyme or reason for the order of the colors - some worked and others not so much . . .


I prefer to knit hats with more control over the color, so I separated the remaining yarn into small balls for stripes. I like the last two hats much better than the first three.




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