27 August 2012

More bowls...

Here are the most recent bowls I've made. The aubergine and crimson one was for our daughter-in-law. They are in the process of updating their home and hopefully this will fit in with the facelift.
The lighter color one was for a friend who moved to Tulsa. She's decorating a new home and these are her three colors.

Bowls minus "B" minus "s" equals OWL!
My sweet friend Kelsey was telling me about collecting owls when I saw her several days ago. I happened to come across a cute owl pattern on Etsy, via Pinterest. That pattern was sold out, but I came across a few more. I made a sample, liked it, then set out to make one just for her. He's been named Wilbur and she sent me a photo of his new home. I'm so tickled!

SmartHours—winding down...

SmartHours runs through September so there are only a few weeks remaining. Our newest billing was last week and here's the highlights. Soley due to SmartHours pricing, we saved $81.63 this billing. This billing cycle was $75.61 less than last year at this time, and that includes our moderate run of 100˚+ days, including some 109˚ and 113˚ days! We used 97% if the kilowatt load this year compared to last. And, had we been on SmartHours last year, our bill might have been $64 less. All tolled, so far we saved just over $350 this summer soley due to SmartHours pricing and time of use. And our bills have been $484 less this year than last from May through July.

Based on this year's experience, I'll gladly sign up for SmartHours next year. I can't think of any reason why I wouldn't. The savings are incredible and I can't really think of a downside. Once I got over Tom's initial misgivings, it was smooth sailing. I know we could have saved even more if we were uber vigilant, but for a couple of comfort hounds, we did well. I'll have one more summary in late September—stay tuned!

10 August 2012

Fabric bowls...

Two fabrics + 80 feet of clothesline = Fabric Bowl
We were invited to a friend's 50th birthday celebration. I knew I wanted to make Leesa something, but what? As it worked out, I was able to wrap each of the two fabrics two ways which gave me a four-level range of gradation. When I purchased the fabric, I was thinking of mimicking a zebra pattern. I knew, a few rounds in to the base, it probably wasn't going to succeed. But I kept on, lightening the black/white balance until the top four rounds which were my darkest tone.

Made from 2011 BOM Batiks
A few days later (I think that was last night) I started my own bowl. Months ago when I was working on my BOM batik quilt, I saved .5-inch wide strips intending to make a fabric bowl someday. This was also before I took the class. From the background color fabrics, I cut the supplied 3-inch wide strips down to 2.5 inches. I started with the dark tones, worked into the middle and light tones, and finished with more dark strips.
Paper piping ready to be wrapped
Instead of using clothesline, I tried out some paper piping cord. I bought this stuff decades ago when I was sewing spa and makeup bags from vinyl-laminated fabric—it was c.1988-1991. One thing I really liked about using this piping is that it is on a spool so unwinds easily with no tangling or twisting. I LIKE. I worked directly from the spool; wrapped the cord at the sewing machine; then stitched a bit and wrapped some more. I like the shape of this one—a little curvy and a turned down lip. Got this one done mid-afternoon.

More Giardiniera
I've been wanting to make something special for a young friend of mine from the same fabric as my Lemon Pepper Poppy Quilt. I cut mostly .75-inch strips from the remnants and arranged them into a pattern I liked. This wound up being another bowl with a 6-inch base (as were the two previous ones above) with a slightly turned under lip. I loved it for her! And she loved it, too!

I've got a couple more bowls to make for friends and family while I'm still in the bowl-building groove.

from The Gourmet Yarn Co.
Two weeks ago, I took a class at The Gourmet Yarn Co. on knitting the Spectra Scarf designed by Stephen West. Owner Margaret Schroeder taught the class. It was a sluggish start but after two hours, we all got the hang of it. I've been working on it off and on and am pretty pleased so far. The only part I didn't like was finding a mistake I couldn't live with 70 rows back. Yup. A big part of knitting is fixing mistakes. I'm getting better at it. I pulled the 70 rows; managed to get all the stitches back on my needles; and am now back about where I was before. I've learned a couple of things through this project. First, I've been purling incorrectly for years. I was throwing my yarn the wrong direction and twisting my loops. Ugh. And two, with long sessions of knitting, I've much improved my hand positioning/use and cut down of lots of extra repetitive motion. I am only about 25% done, so there's lots to do. It takes a certain kind of faith/folly to knit in the summer on 113˚ days while dreaming of cooler temps down the road.
Tosh Merino Light (Ruby Slippers) and Crazy Zauberball
I fell in love with this scarf when I first saw it on TGYC's Facebook page in a near-Cherokee Red and blues/gray variegated yarns. They were out of the red when I bought my supplies, so I chose a plum and orange/taupe/gray/purple variegated yarns. I still think I'd like to do a red one that will remind me of Fallingwater's tower of windows.