Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Calypso SKYP Socks

My latest project is finished and Dave was able to help with the photography. I was waiting for the wind and the rain to stop, then realized we could just take the pictures indoors. Here be the socks!

This is the Simple SKYP Socks pattern, which I have used once before. Actually, I didn't use any of the construction details from the pattern, only the SKYP stitch. I knit the socks according to formulas and techniques that I strung together. They were made, two at a time, from the toe up, beginning with Judy's Magic Cast-on. I increased to 64 stitches, made a short row heel, knit some 2 x 2 ribbing and cast off with Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off. The yarn is from Phydeaux Designs. I have another skein of her pretty yarn left from my original order - the yarn seemed to need a simple pattern as it is quite colorful and has a lot of contrast. The SKYP stitch adds just a bit of interest without getting completely lost in all of the mad color.

The yarn is called Chaussette Sock - the colorway is Calypso

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bonneville Salt Flats

I stayed home but Dave just got back from a nice 3500 mile trip to Arizona on his motorcycle. This is a shot that was taken by some moto folks that he met at the Bonneville Salt Flats. He has more pictures on Facebook and SmugMug.

I have some photos to take of a pair of socks that are just off the needles and a quilt that is finished but I'm waiting for good weather, the right light and an available helper. Everything has to line up - photography is harder for me than knitting or sewing.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


My friend, John Corso, a well read guy, sent me this link from the New York Times. I am a nurse so he was right to think I would be interested. The article is a book review and I have NOT read the book but I found myself snorting at some of the antiquated language and the images that it conjures up. It seems intended to salute nurses and yet...

Flannel capes, starched white caps, hand maidens, tentative, submissive - some of this is given as background - but even one of the modern, present-day, university educated nurses is quoted as preferring the old guard, diploma nurses who were "trained" in hospitals. "I wanted to be like them - a nurse who could start IVs on anyone". Another nurse dismisses "turning patients like logs" and "measuring the diameter of bedsores" and the NYT uses "Nurses Highlight Job's Tedious Duties..." as the subtitle. 

Excuse me! I do not think "the glory days of nursing were during World War II". Nurses are, first and foremost, patient care managers. They either do the necessary work themselves or see that it gets done. That patient with the bedsores is somebody's grandmother and it is very useful to know whether her pressure ulcers are healing or getting worse. Grandma gets turned "like a log" to prevent such injuries in the first place. Tedious, perhaps, but important. All professions have tasks and duties that are repetitive or tedious and it is easy to come up with examples. Accountants, lawyers, pharmacists, ophthalmologists ("Is this one better - or this one?"). I have seen some pretty bored anesthesiologists and the people doing the colonoscopies - well, they are not seeing much variety up there, either.

The word, nurse, as a noun is used as a catchall term. The "nurse" who answers the phone is a receptionist. Several of the doctors at our clinic routinely refer to the medical assistants as nurses. Nursing, the verb, can also be confusing. When our son was a baby, I was frequently asked, "Are you still nursing?" and I was never sure which question to answer.

Physical therapy and pharmacy licenses now require PhDs and nurses are still arguing about whether requiring a Bachelor's degree is a good idea. Raising the bar on nursing education was debated when I was in college and, 34 years later, it still hasn't happened. It is a wonderful profession and has been a fine career for me. I encourage anyone who is interested to pursue it at the university level. It is a broad field and there are many paths one can take during a lifetime of work. It is flexible (part-time, full-time), easily transferrable (big city, small town, foreign country) and ever changing. One can earn enough to live comfortably and support a family (modestly) if necessary. It is also a great launchpad for other areas of work and study, within nursing and health care, and in other related fields.

There are millions of nurses in this country and around the world, managing care and helping people heal. I've always thought it was a worthwhile way to make a living.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Here is a photo report on the status of the current projects:

Binding for the St. Louis 16 Patch quilt

Calypso socks
EPP Lozenge 18" pillow top

Drunkard's Path blocks
4.5" untrimmed
184 so far

Friday, May 17, 2013

Me and My Boy

Me with Ray and Casey in Las Vegas

Lilacs and a bubble gun 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May Bee Blocks

Our virtual quilting bee, the Cheer circle of do Good Stitches, has a new quilt in the making. The quilter for this month chose the Road to Tennessee block. She pretty much just told us how to do it on Flickr but offered up a couple of links to online tutorials. Here is one link, but there are others as well.

She asked for gender neutral colors (no pink or purple) and a white or whitish background. I pretty much went for contrast and movement rather than rainbow or childish in my fabric choices. It is always interesting to see the finished quilts after all of the makers get their blocks done.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

St. Louis 16 Patch Quilt

This quilt top came together pretty quickly. I have had a stack of fat quarters sitting around for awhile, waiting for inspiration to strike. When I saw the tutorial for the St. Louis 16 Patch block, I thought it would work well with the directional prints of the Lucky Penny Bike Path line. I used a variety of low volume fabrics for contrast. 

The quilt top measures 56" x 70", a lap quilt size, which seems to be about the only size I make. It is big enough to show off fabrics and design but still small enough to easily handle machine quilting it at home. Besides, then I can finish one project and move on to the next!

I am thinking about this Lucky Penny fabric for the backing but also kind of want something that is lighter in color overall. It's from the same collection so the colors are perfect. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Granny Square Quilt

This quilt has been finished for awhile but sometimes it takes longer to get the photographs than it does to make the quilt. I used the Granny Square Quilt Tutorial on the Moda Bake Shop blog and followed the instructions pretty much to the letter. The strip piecing method was quick and enjoyable; each set of cut fabrics makes two blocks. I liked the rounded corners on the pattern and since I had never used this variation of quilt construction, I wanted to try it. I sewed a bias binding after reading several sets of instructions online and was happy with how it turned out. 

The fabrics are a variety of grays and blues with a little bit of bright green. I wanted a limited color palette with this project and wanted to keep the overall effect rather soft, despite the navy and the darker gray. The background and sashing is Kona Snow - it's not the brightest white so there is slightly less contrast with the colored blocks.

I stabilized the layers with a double row of straight line machine quilting through all of the blocks before I attached the binding. I prefer doing my hand stitching once all of the batting is tucked in; it isn't always possible but it worked out well this time.

The backing is a pretty Denyse Schmidt fabric called Complex Plaid in Willow from the Shelburne Falls line. It complements the colors of the front and, because the plaid is printed on point, it echoes the X shapes of the blocks. It only needed one seam on the back but I carefully matched the plaid for the fun of it. Hmm - wonder if anyone will care?

The finished quilt measures 57" x 68" before washing.