Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summertime Swap

It's that time of year again. The Annual Dishcloth Swap on Ravelry is upon us. I love this swap! I've been participating for six years. My friend, Eve is in charge of this exchange of beautiful, hand-made dishcloths. I usually help out by offering my dining room table on swap day.
Here are the details: 
IN A NUTSHELLSend 5 dishcloths (same pattern, various colors) with one SASE to the address below by August 25th. Receive 5 different dishcloths back. No signup, no obligation - if you make it by the deadline, you are in; if not, then there is always next year. Now read the details:


THE RULESSigning up: There’s no need to sign up or notify anyone in any way that you intend to swap. Have your dishcloth at the destination below by AUGUST 25th, 2017 and you’ll be swapping. If you don’t have them there on time, they’ll be returned to you. We love you to participate in Ravelry group, but it’s not a requirement.
YOUR DISHCLOTHSEach participant is required to crochet or knit 5 dishcloth/washcloth/spa-cloths in the same pattern. Please do vary the colors as you see fit. 
Please be sure your cloths measure between 6x6 and 9x9 inches square or 6 to 9 inches in diameter. 
THEY MUST BE WITHIN THESE SIZE PARAMETERS OR THEY WILL BE RETURNED TO YOU. 
Label each dishcloth with maker and care instructions. Feel free to include yarn and pattern info. Affix the label with a safety pin or tie it on. No straight pins, please.


YARNS100% Cotton or cotton blend yarn – 100% cotton yarn is awesome and is used often for dish/washcloths. Blends are great too but they need to be at least 50% cotton and contain no animal fibers. 
Linen and hemp yarn – These yarns are yummy and last FOREVER. Feel free to use these yarns =D 
No boucle yarns – This stuff is awesome but not for dishcloths. Its spun a little to loosely to take the abuse that dish/washcloths tend to take. Save this yummy stuff for hats and baby blankets! 
Worsted or DK weight – #4 and #3 weight yarns make very scrubalicious washcloths. They clean well and they rinse and dry well when using this weight yarn too. 
Colors – Gooooooo nuts! Solids! Variegated! Striped! Neutrals! Brights! Muted! Its all good =D 
These are absolute requirements and if you don’t follow them, you won’t be able to swap.


THE ACTUAL SWAPPINGAfter the dishcloths are received, your hosts are going to get together and have a grand time looking at all of your gorgeous work and selecting 5 different beauties to send back to you.
The goal of this swap is to produce and receive little pieces of fiber art. Use beautiful yarns, color combinations, and patterns. Don’t feel pressured to use teensy little crochet cotton. Thicker cottons like Tahki Cotton Classic , Rowan Cotton Glace, and Elann Sonata make great washcloths. Have a ton of fun.
POSTAGE AND ENVELOPEUS participants need to include a self-addressed, postage-paid, large First Class Envelope (SASE). Please do NOT use those super-bulky 1/4” thick full-of-shredded-insulation type envelopes for the SASE, as they will cause over-weight and require extra postage (the envelopes themselves weigh 3 ounces or something ridiculous). Best are plastic envelopes or Tyvek®-style (though NOT the free priority ones the PO provides). Please put the P.O. Box address (PO BOX 1492, La Canada Flintridge, CA 91012) as the “sent from” address on the SASE. Do not leave it blank - the USPS will not accept a package without a return address. AND, if the return address and the mailing address are the same and the postage is short your package will get stuck in the DEAD MAIL box (details, details…I know…snooooooze).


The current first class rate for a large envelope weighing up to 13 oz. is $ 4.35. We will make sure all packages stay under 13 oz. so that we’re sure your postage is covered. You will have to purchase the stamp(s) to cover this.
Also, as much as we love people sending us cash, do not send cash for postage instead of buying your own stamps. Your return envelope should be complete: mailing address, return address and adequate postage.
Non-US participants 
Please see our Non US shipping page for details.


We’ll need to receive your dishcloth/washcloth/spa-cloth by August 25th, 2017. Please mail them to:
Swap Headquarters 
PO BOX 1492 
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91012

Also please include your Ravelry-name on the outside of the envelope that you are mailing all your stuff in. That way we can keep an easy list of whose package arrived and you can see when we got your package.
INSPIRATION AND PATTERNSWe have a page and a thread in the Ravelry group for pattern and yarn suggestions. Please add to it!
QUESTIONSFeel free to post in the discussions section. PM one of the mods of this group.
TAG for projects in this swap: Annual-DC-Swap
LOOK at all of those dishcloths I've made in the past six years! I've received that many and MORE back. It's so much fun on Swap Day, piling up all of those beautiful dishcloths for distribution. Usually, Lisa, Eve and I have a very difficult time deciding who gets what! We try to be fair.
2016 Swap Committee, Diane, Eve, Lisa, Ellen
I'm not sure which pattern I'll use for this year's swap. There are TONS of free patterns available on Ravelry for knitters and crocheters! JOIN ME this year. It's so much fun!

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Solstice

Sun scarf designs by VERA Neumann

SUMMER! It's the longest day of the year. Living in Southern California, we are fortunate to almost always have sunny weather. I'm a native. I love sunshine and all it represents. Of course, I do not like it when the temperatures reach over 90 degrees. In parts of sunny Southern California today, we're having record temperatures.
We live in Mid-City Los Angeles, on a mild hill. The cool breezes from Culver City waft over our neighborhood. I work in Santa Monica, not far from the beach. It is relatively cool here today too, while other parts of the City, especially the San Fernando Valley are rather warm.
This type of weather makes me want to crochet sunny things in golden colors.
Amigurumi Sun
Sunny Spread
I added a sunny Willow Square to an afghan
Floppy Brim Hat
I think I'll look through my yarn stash and see how many different shades of yellow I can find. Maybe I'll crochet another Welcome Blanket in sunny colors!


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Monday, June 19, 2017

Music is a Mood Booster

Feeling down in the dumps? Kinda' depressed about nothing and everything? Music is a mood booster. When I hear a great song on the radio and sing along, I automatically feel better. When I'm playing my ukulele I really feel great. Just the act of singing and raising my voice makes breathing easier and more regulated. Music is my therapy of choice.
My earliest musical instrument, the Hurdy Gurdy! This is at my 4th birthday party, Roxbury Park, Beverly Hills with Robbie Feldman

When I was a child, my Mother used to play the piano all the time. She was quite good. Sometimes, when she played popular songs, I would sing along. She taught me how to read music and play a few tunes. Later, I took piano lessons and became somewhat proficient in sight reading. I never continued with the piano, which I regret. At least I had a basic knowledge of the keyboard and reading music to progress to other instruments.
My brother, on the other hand, took to playing music immediately. He was in the school orchestra as a youngster and had private lessons on the clarinet. Later, he picked up the flute, saxophone, French horn and more. At about the same time, Ken wanted to learn how to play the guitar. My Dad owned a classical guitar and was taking some lessons at adult school. Ken got hold of Dad's guitar one day, looked at the music and played the classical riffs that my Dad had been struggling with...just like that!
My brother Ken and his clarinet, 1960, Los Angeles

From that time on, my brother Ken has been a multi-instrumentalist and a luthier. In addition to the instruments mentioned above, he plays banjo, fiddle, zither, bowed dulcimer, traditional dulcimer, steel guitar, bandura, sitar and many more obscure stringed instruments. He has made music his life's work.
Ken with his 7-string guitar, Pilot Mtn., NC, 2017

I was very lucky to be around the house and become Ken's little musical protégé. Since my hands were too small to learn guitar, Ken 
taught me how to play the ukulele. I really don't remember having a ukulele, 
because I graduated to guitar and banjo rapidly. When I was 10 years old, 
Ken registered me as a beginning contestant at the Topanga Banjo and 
Fiddle Contest. I won! I didn't enter the following year, but the third year, I 
registered again in the beginning category and won a third place ribbon. I 
was going downhill fast. 
During high school, my best friends were in Band and Orchestra. Luckily, I could
count measures, so I asked to be in the percussion section. In Orchestra I played
whatever minor percussion instruments were necessary, usually the triangle. In
band, since I'd played piano, I was given the chore of playing the Glockenspiel!
That's me with the Glockenspiel on the right. Click on photo to embiggen

switched to playing guitar more often in high school and continued through 
college, going back to banjo periodically.
Wig Wam Motor Court Jamboree, 2011, Rialto, CA

During my high school and college years I was a camp counselor at Idyllwild 
School of Music and the Arts. I accompanied many campfire songfests. 
Needless to say, I didn't really need to be too accomplished to play the three 
chords necessary for those songs.
Duet with Jonde Northcutt, Idyllwild, 1970

I always had an instrument available to play in the subsequent years, but never 
really concentrated on getting to be a better player until I re-discovered the 
ukulele. I bought an inexpensive uke about 11 years ago and took lessons.
All of my early training kicked in (thanks, Kenny). I was hooked. I've been 
participating in ukulele groups, workshops and going to ukulele festivals for 
the past eleven years.
My sweet Brother built me a custom ukulele in 2010!
Picking out a few tunes on Nancy's autoharp
At The Fender Factory, Corona, CA, 2015
Ready to play and sing "Easter Parade," 2016
One of these days I might buy a Banjolele! Music Center 2016

I love to play and sing. Not that I'm any good at captivating others, but at least I like to 
entertain myself! After playing and singing for just a few minutes, I feel happy. One of
these days maybe I'll even improve my playing!
Ukulele Workshop, Culver City, 2017. This is my new Kala Tenor Ukulele, Salt and Pepper / Dog Hair finish. Photo by Cali Rose

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Welcome Blanket - CraftActivism!

Owner of The Little Knittery (moving from Atwater to Los Feliz soon), Kat Coyle posted about another community project. Kat is the designer of the Pussy Hat for the PussyHat Project that was globally successful last winter. 
The new project is called "The Welcome Blanket." Read all of the details about it HERE. I like the idea of creating a special blanket for a newcomer to our country!
From The Welcome Blanket Website:  The proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico is almost 2000 miles long.  Imagine if the massive distance of this wall was re-conceptualized and re-contextualized not to divide, but to include. Instead of a wall, a concrete line, to keep people out, what if lines of yarn became 3,500,640 yards of blankets to welcome people in?
Kat's pattern for The Welcome Blanket is called Come Together Blanket. It's an easy knit pattern made up of sixteen 10-inch squares for a 40-inch square blanket. The squares are knit on the diagonal and can be arranged in many different pleasing patterns. You can use any weight yarn, many colors, two colors, or any combination. A crochet version of this design is also on the website, interpreted by Amy O'Neill Houck
Kat Coyle's "Come Together" Blanket


The squares can be arranged is so many different designs. I found a few examples online:

I found a crocheted blanket design online using the Corner2Corner or diagonal stitch. In the photo below, the squares seem to be smaller, but I'm making each of my squares 10 inches across.
I call this a QuiltGhan
Ellen's Template

I've finished my squares for the red, white and blue Welcome Blanket. Now, I just have to sew them together.


The blankets that are turned in to The Welcome Blanket Project will be displayed in a show at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago beginning July 18, 2017 through December 17, 2017. When the show closes, the blanket packages will be distributed to refugees and other immigrants through resettlement organizations.
The deadline for mailing your blanket is September 5, 2017. You have the rest of the summer to knit and/or crochet! Read more about it HERE. There will be free shipping too!
I've already started some granny square diagonals for a second blanket using stash yarn. The squares are portable, fast and easy. 
Ellen's Second Welcome Blanket, in Progress
Won't you join me in creating your own Welcome Blanket?

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Pink Slipped!

My good friend, Brit e-mailed this article to me this morning, saying that this is close to my neighborhood. True. Wow! Three PINK houses in a row. It's an Instagrammable art project by "The Most Famous Artist" and his company "The Mural Agency." Architectural firm, M-Rad hired The Most Famous Artist to paint the homes. They are also the firm designing the proposed 45-unit apartment complex for this corner of Hi-Point and Saturn in Faircrest Heights (between Fairfax and Crescent Heights, south of Pico, north of Washington Blvd.).
Hi-Point Street between Airdrome and Pico has seen some major development in the past few years. There have been many apartment buildings and those mega-box houses constructed on this street. In a way, I'm sad that the character of those sweet little Spanish Revival homes of the 1930s are gone, but this started happening in the 1950s when the dig-bat apartment houses were being built.
Here is the Artist's statement on his Instagram Account:
themostfamousartist1500 hi point street -- until it's demolished -- an ephemeral conceptual art project as a jumping off point for a conversation about community, development, public art, and social media. A real life manifestation of paintings I've been working on for years. Obvious references to #christo's large scale public color works, #louisenevelson's assemblages, the #dada movement, and #julianschnabel's pink building in west village. With this project I'm encouraging the viewer to formulate their own meaning behind the work. As the artist, I start and the viewer finishes the work. And I'm excited to see where that exchange takes us as a community. Ps -- if I had the budget + time I would have painted the entire structure, but I think we got the message across with the resources we had.

The pinkness started on June 7th. There were some models and photographers there this morning for photo-shoots.  I read that some of the neighbors were upset with the jarring color. Not sure if the houses will be re-painted a more subtle color before demolition starts.
It was super fun walking around the houses this morning snapping shots! I just couldn't stop! Pink is such an infectiously happy color!

Photographers and Models

It might just be the right time to high-tail it over to Hi-Point and Saturn for our annual Christmas card photo shoot!
Before these houses were tickled pink! Photo, Google Maps


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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery