Wednesday, October 28, 2015


There are two things that bug me about the way yarn is sold.  For socks I like to buy Paton's Kroy Sock yarn.  I like the feel, I like the way it washes and wears, I like the colours.  It comes in 50 gm balls, enough for one sock each.  So to make a pair you need to buy two balls.  I always check to make sure the colour number and the lot number match.  But sometimes the socks don't match, as we saw in the last pair I finished.  I planned to give them to our daughter in law, but they just weren't good enough.

So that's number one: sometimes there's an inconsistency in matching in the same colour way.

Number two:

I really, really wish that the manufacturers would tag the end of yarn at the middle of the ball.  Look at that mess!  I was trying to find the beginning of yarn in the centre of the ball.  It's so much better to pull the yarn from the centre and not have the ball jerking around as you knit, which is what happens when you start with the loose end on the outside of the ball.

If yarn comes in a skein, it's so much easier.  That is, if you have a yarn winder, which I do.  Remember how years and years ago you dragooned a family member into sitting with the skein around their wrists, so you could wind a ball from it.  Well, now we have yarn winders, and we can just wrap the skein around the back of a chair and go from there.  Come to think of it, when there were no willing family members, that's how I wound my yarn ball years ago.  (Plus, I had learned how to wind the ball so that the yarn pulled out from the middle, and wandering balls were avoided!)

And now I thought of a THIRD thing that bugs me when making socks.  I like the socks to have the colour changes at the same places.  But that means that each ball should start at the same spot in the colour changes of the yarn--and go in the same direction.  That is OFTEN not the case. 

I have resorted to rewinding yarn and trying to spot visually where they match, so that my socks will match.  Sometimes I come close.  Sometimes I hit it spot on.  But often, it just doesn't work.

Hey, that was a pretty big rant, wasn't it?  I wish the yarn companies would hear what I've said and actually make some changes.

Oh, and guess what?  I've thought of a FOURTH thing.  Have you ever experienced this: you buy what is supposedly a good ball of yarn and in winding it, or knitting from it, you discover it's full of broken threads, or knotted threads?  That happened to me once on a ball of bamboo yarn from Mary Maxim.  I took pictures and emailed them with the evidence.  They responded right away with an apology, and mailed me a free replacement.  That was GOOD customer care!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Dear Son #2 arrived on Friday evening on time for supper.  He had been attending a conference in Las Vegas which ended that day.  When he went to pick up his rental car to drive here, the only vehicle left was pretty shocking.  Although he had asked for a simple small car, he had a choice between an old 12 passenger van and this smart number:

He's tall--six feet six inches.  The car is pretty low-slung.  He said he felt as if he were driving lying down.

One of the car's fancy features was the projection onto the pavement beside the door of the mustang logo, a bright white light figure shining from the underside of the side view mirrors.

We're not much of a family for fancy vehicles.  DS#2 never owned a car until after he was married.  His wife came with a car, which, sadly he crashed on their honeymoon, driving down I 5 in Oregon, hydroplaning into a bridge abutment during a rainstorm.  Their honeymoon was somewhat of a disaster, beginning with a night on an island near Vancouver.  Supposed to be really romantic, but the accommodations were somewhat short of what had been advertised.  Then the car crash and an enforced stay in a motel in Salem while the car was repaired.  A memorable time, I guess.  But now, 20 years later, they are still together and have two smart, beautiful and talented teenage daughters.

Dear Son #1 who visited the week before has had only one four wheeled vehicle: a now-stationary Volkswagon camping van.  He had also rented a vehicle to drive here, and his was a nifty little black car (I forget the make), easy to handle, with excellent gas mileage.  Our own car is a second hand Toyota Camry, from 2000.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Things don't always turn out well.  These socks started out so nicely.  The one in the lower left was the first of the pair.  I like it a lot, but wished the leg could have been longer.  The yarn is Paton's Kroy Sock Yarn, the colour is "Cameo Colours."  You need one 50 gram ball for each sock.  I thought when I bought the yarn that there were two balls of the same dye lot.  But they are quite different.  The second sock has much less blue in it, and even the pink is less intense.

One would hope that the manufacturer would start every ball of yarn in one colour run at the same place in the colour run.  Evidently not!  This is quite disappointing.  I was planning to give them to our DDIL, who has not yet had a pair of socks from me, but these are just not good enough.  I guess, by default, they will be mine, to wear with jeans or slacks.

These socks in the first photo are knit in a "lace" pattern, but that's not very evident.  It is a nice pattern with eight cables around the leg, and four cables on the instep.

This next pair has such an interesting yarn, again Paton's Kroy Sock yarn, this time in "Clover Colours."  Because the yarn has so much going on I decided to knit a very plain sock, with a 2 x 2 ribbing on the leg.  I wonder how the colour match between these two socks will be.

We expect #2 son to arrive around supper time, so I've planned a nice meal: salmon, "dressed up" rice, steamed broccoli.  And, of course, ice cream for dessert--Blue Bunny Vanilla Bean, quite yummy.  Last year when we were in AZ I found an even better vanilla bean ice cream, Blue (something, I forget), but that company had problems with Listeria and had contaminated ice cream.  It's no longer available.

I joined the choir at the Lord of Life Lutheran Church we are attending.  Love it!  That and the orchestra are just big treats for me while we are here.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Dear Son #1 was here from Monday suppertime until Saturday morning.  We had a wonderful visit with him and it was such a delight to have him around for a week.

This coming Friday we expect DS#2 around suppertime.  What a treat!

We've had a few storms lately.  This one came through last Friday afternoon.  That's not rain--it's dust.  You could see a dust coloured cloud, quite towering, heading our way.  It roared through with lots of force, blowing blossoms off bushes and small limbs off trees.

The landscape/cleaning crew had already gone home before it came through, so there was lots of debris around for the weekend.  We went to the pool on Saturday and Sunday anyway, and the water was the dirtiest I've ever seen it.  There were husks from palm trees floating on the water, and lines of dirt on the bottom of the pool.  The few people using the pool simply removed the largest pieces of vegetation.

Today when we went it had all been cleaned up.  The areas in front of our condo had all been "blown" clean by the crew and the tree debris picked up.  All is clean and neat again.

I have great respect for the labourers here.  They come to work early and work hard with the result that the village always looks lovely.  Donald Trump would like to send a lot of them south, but what would AZ look like without them?  Who would pick all the fruits and vegetables that we enjoy from the markets at such low prices?  We should rather encourage them to stay and become citizens, include them in health care and educate their children--tomorrow's workers and caregivers.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Monday morning I finished spray painting the two white wicker chairs, changing them to a warm brown.  That afternoon I sewed the cushions for them.  Wednesday I bought a lovely plant from Sprouts to complement them.

The cushions look a little funny--they're so tall, but when you sit on them, they squish right down.  I made them quite tall because the chairs are very low for comfortable seating.

I had intended to put piping at the top and bottom seams, but when I made the first cut of the fabric I wrecked that possibility.  I cut the sides to fit the foam, and forgot to include the extra fabric to cover the piping.  Then there was not enough fabric left to cut the piping separately.  Oh well, this version is o.k. too.

Dear Son #1 is visiting this week from California.  It's a real pleasure to have him here.  It will be hard to say goodbye again on Saturday.

Friday, October 9, 2015


Last January I bought two wicker chairs which I found advertised on the Community Billboard, for just $5 each.  They show their age, but the price was right!

This morning I scrubbed them up, and then, since I had the big brush and a pailful of soapy water I also scrubbed up the screens, windows and door on the little patio out front.  I love clean!

Just now I spray painted one of the chairs, and am SO pleased at how this is turning out. The "warm caramel" one is the newly painted chair.  The white is how it was.  The fabric hanging over the white chair will cover some foam cushions for the seats.  I'm happy with this simple project so far.  We'll see what happens when I try to make the cushions. That will be the hard part.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


We had a good trip down here to AZ, not too much hustling.  We stopped in Ogden, Utah at a tourist info and were given a suggestion of how to go around Salt Lake City.  It was a nice drive, but a little too long to be a doable alternative.  However, this time we chose to stay in Ogden, checking into a Super 8 around 3 p.m. rather than tackle SLC on a Friday between 4 and 6 p.m., combined with "Conference" and a very popular football game that would have tripled the traffic.  Therefore we were on the road an extra day, arriving here on Sunday noon.

Thursday we are scheduled to have internet/t.v./phone hooked up, and that will be a relief.  For now we can go to the Community Center to use the internet there.

Today I finished unpacking our luggage (what we "lugged" along) and what we left here in the storage shed.  We also bought a new fridge at Sears to replace the original which runs pretty much non-stop.  Should be a big improvement and save on the electric bill, although I must say, Arizona Power is extremely reasonable.

The new quilt suits the bedroom here extremely well.  I think the furniture gives enough of an echo of the golden squares in the quilt, and the wall should stay a creamy white.  The quilt even matches the old carpet quite well--something unforeseen.  I actually bought the kits to make the quilt before we bought the condo.

So here we are settled in for the first part of the winter.  I had my first swim late Sunday afternoon, and had the pool all to myself.  So relaxing!