Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Yarny Field Trip

The El Segundo Slipt Stitchers hit the road on Saturday. We journeyed up to Van Nuys to visit the Trendsetter Yarns Warehouse and office. Barry Klein is the owner of the company, plus he's an excellent knit designer.
Barry Klein

We started out with our usual business meeting, although it was cut WAY short. Who could concentrate sitting in a warehouse full of delicious yarn? Barry rolled out a rack of knit samples and proceeded to explain the designs and yarn used for each. 
Barry is a very clever guy! He told us the reasons behind some shapes of garments and also why certain yarns would work better for these pieces. Members of our Guild popped up to model the designs.
After Barry's talk we were let loose in the warehouse for SHOPPING. There were plenty of Trendsetter employees available to help us. Since Trendsetter is a wholesale business, they do not sell directly to the public. One of our members owns Alamitos Bay Yarn Company, so she ran all of the sales through her system. I managed to purchase 880 yards of Trendsetter's Yarn called "Transitions, Smoothies." It's a beautiful blend of colors...from hot pinks to purples to aquas. Lenora is wearing a sweater/poncho in this colorway, below.
Lenora. Yarn: Trendsetter Transitions "Smoothies"

To see ALL of the photos from our visit to Trendsetter, click on this LINK.
Not sure what I'll make yet...I'm considering pattterns

After our warehouse extravaganza I zoomed over to Galpin Motors, a few minutes away. I'd heard about The Horseless Carriage Coffee Shop at this car dealership and wanted to give it a try. 
Galpin's management is very smart. While you're waiting for your car to be serviced or while contemplating a sale, why not grab a burger? Brilliant. The coffee shop is clean, well run and the food was good! It has been here since 1966! 
There are some original design features from the 1960s and a few more from the 1980s

Corned Beef Hash and Poached Eggs

If I'm in the area, I'll definitely visit again.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Finally! A positive group event

HBO Staff experiences the #eclipse2017

Yes, everyone can agree that the total solar eclipse this morning was a unifying event. Here at my HBO office in Santa Monica, people brought moon-shaped food to share, extra eclipse glasses and a positive mood! We had a grand time for about an hour. Our office quadrant faces north/east and the fifth floor balcony right outside. It was the perfect viewing point to see the eclipse. 
Jen and David

Thai and Gena, viewing the eclipse old-school!
There were co-workers I hadn't see in YEARS descending on the fifth floor balcony! Lots of new people too! 
Ron and Mark

One of my co-workers managed to take a photo on his iPhone, through the eclipse glasses!  Very cool.
Eclipse photo by David Coupland
Thanks Gena and Lisa for bringing moon-shaped food!
If I had really planned ahead, I would have crocheted something appropriate to commemorate the eclipse event. 
Eclipse Beverage Coasters!
Penny crocheted a "sun" hat with a moveable moon eclipse!

Thank you, heavens above, for bringing us an event we can ALL rally around!

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Sew Simple

"Protest is Patriotic" Scarf. This is Stitchylinda's version called 'Patriotic Pride," including the rainbow stripes

During these trying times in our country I've been focusing inward. I'm doing what I can in my own way by crocheting blankets for immigrants coming to our country #welcomeblanket. I make things for donations to hospitals for people suffering from illness. I support my friends in their efforts for change in this country. I donate to worthy organizations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. I buy locally and try to choose independent businesses for shopping, dining, etc. The only way to heal our country is if we all work together for a common goal and a brighter future.
Instead of supporting the major retailers in our country I've decided to take up sewing again. I used to sew constantly. Often, I'd see a design I liked in the fashion magazines and try to reproduce it for myself using unique fabrics. Now, that I'm of a certain age, I cannot seem to find the simple clothes that I want to wear. I'm not looking for trendy. I'm looking for nice fabric, good construction and fabrics that are comfortable to wear.
Sonya Philip's Pattern

I happened upon 100 Acts of Sewing while I was reading a knitting blog a few weeks ago. Sonya Philip is a knitter who sews and designs clothing. Her patterns are simple and straight-forward. She customizes her designs using offbeat fabrics. I bought the pattern for her tunic and simple pants.

My fabric stash is nowhere as extensive as my yarn stash, but I happened to have a few yards of a nice tapa-like Hawaiian cotton, so I whipped up the tunic. I added a granny square pocket, since granny squares are the building blocks to fashion and it was recently International Granny Square Day. #grannysquareday2017. I cut this tunic on the large size, so next time, I'll trim it down a bit, but I really like it. The pattern was easy to follow and came together quickly. 
Ellen's Tiki Tunic #100actsofsewing

Most of my in-house fabric tends to be of the Hawaiian variety, including some darker toned fabrics. 
Ellen's Stashed Fabric

I have an affinity to Aloha prints. Must be because they represent calm, happy and peaceful times to me. One of my friends is a graphic designer and has many fabric designs on the excellent Spoonflower site. I was browsing Michael's designs yesterday and came upon yet another tiki flower design that I just loved. I messaged Michael to tell him how much I liked his designs. He asked if there was anything special I would like to order. So, I asked him to change up the colors of one of his designs. HE DID IT! I can't wait to get my sample of "Aloha Flowers 5d" for another fab Tiki Tunic!
"Aloha Flowers 5d" by Michael Uhlenkott
This coming weekend I will be thoughtful and kind. I will try to understand others. Then, I will sew, crochet and knit!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Where Were You When Elvis Died?

"Young Elvis." Painting by Sharon Furrate
Tuesday, August 16, 1977, 40 years ago. I'd just started a new job at Twentieth Century Fox Studios the month before. I was sitting in my cubicle in the old Administration Building, across from Stage 9 ("M*A*S*H" Stage). I was working in the International Accounting Department as a secretary. One of the managers came out of his office and told us the news about Elvis' death. Jerry couldn't believe what he'd heard. The secretary next to me, Jeanne, started crying. The news traveled quickly through the building. Everyone was turning on radios to hear the details.
While I realized Elvis' importance to the history of rock and roll (I wasn't one of his super-fans). By the time I was REALLY interested in popular music, it was all Beach Boys, Beatles and Rolling Stones for me. Elvis was considered passe'.  
In the mid-70's some of my girlfriends were traveling to Las Vegas regularly to catch his shows. I was invited, but decided that this was not a hip thing for me to do. I, of course, only wanted to be the hippest of the cool. I regret that I never saw Elvis perform live. Even toward the end of his career, he was still a very powerful presence on stage. Sigh.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

4th Annual Granny Square Day!

Today is Annual Granny Square Day. Search #grannysquareday2017 to see the virtual granny square blanket on your Instagram feed! 

Some people do not know how to read instructions! They are ruining the virtual blanket! I read the instructions and complied. I'm all about right versus wrong. The instructions for Granny Square Day 2017 say: "Post a cropped photo of a SINGLE granny square (a 4-round granny square looks the best) to #grannysquareday2017 on August 15.  You can make more than one post but only feature a SINGLE square in each post. NO works in progress shots or pictures of blankets, please. You don't have to be the maker of the square...take a close-up photo of your grandmother's crochet! If you cannot crochet, go ahead and take a close-up of a knitted square."
The instructions seem quite clear to me, so how come people are posting photos like these?

Three of my squares are in the collage below. The others are from the beautiful Instagram feed.
The Virtual Granny Square Blanket should look like this on your Instagram feed!
People from all over the world are posting squares. One square is more beautiful than the next! This makes me want to scrap all of my current yarn projects and start crocheting a granny square blanket because I really need more granny blankets. NOT!
Stack o' Granny Blankies at Ellen's House
Granny squares are not only for blankets. I've said it before and I'll say it again, "Granny Squares are the Building Blocks to Fashion."  Just check this link for verification!

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Bloom Family Reunion - 2017

Jo's Ranch House in Valley Glen

It was hot, hot, hot in the San Fernando Valley on Saturday, but in spite of the heat, we managed to have a wonderful Bloom Family Reunion. My cousin Jo has the PERFECT house in Valley Glen for large groups. The living room, dining room and kitchen are roomy (air-conditioned) and they lead outside to a covered patio and barbecue. The pool area is really beautiful and there are places in the yard to catch some shade.
Mike looks on as MacKenzie and Jackson pose for the camera

I'd estimate that there were about 40 of us in attendance, coming from New York, San Francisco, San Diego, Riverside, Fallbrook and various areas of Los Angeles. We were missing our family from Santa Barbara, Chicago, New York and North Carolina, but maybe next year!
My first cousins and Mom. L-R: Ellen, Sasha, Roz, Carol, Barbara, Barry, Amie

Everyone brought side dishes and beverages to share. The A,B,Cs brought hot-dogs, knockwurst and all the fixin's. Needless to say, we had plenty of food!
We NEVER run out of food at family gatherings
Barry and Yuki set up the group photo

A few people left early, but we managed to corral everyone else for our traditional group photo. Thanks to Larry and Patrick for clicking the pix!

Photo by Larry
click on photo to see larger
Photo by Patrick
Thanks to Jo and Jessica for lending us their house for the day. Thanks to Amie for helping to organize and thanks to ALL of my cousins for bringing yummy food to share and for participating!
To see MORE photos of the day, click on this LINK

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Art Exhibit - Chicago

One of my blankets is in the exhibit! Top, left corner!

Whoa! I'm so excited! I saw one of my Welcome Blankets in a photo that Kelly posted in the Welcome Blanket Group on Ravelry! Thanks, Kelly of Chicago for taking photos of the exhibit at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago!
Welcome Blanket Display at Smart Museum of Art, Chicago

If you don't see your blanket in any of these photos, this is what Kelly posted, "If you don’t see your blanket yet, don’t fret. Each blanket that comes in has to be fully cataloged: numbered and measured, with the full notes transcribed. Then every blanket goes in the freezer for six days. There are something like 140 blankets still in the queue, so it may take a while, but everything will get out into the gallery."

This is such a wonderful project. You can read the details here. The organizers pose this question: "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 wall, a concrete line, to keep people out, what if lines of yarn became 3,500,640 yards of blankets to welcome people in?"

There's still time to send in your blanket for this worthy project. The deadline is September 5th. 

All blanket gallery photos by Kelly Pollock.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Chris and Elise

Left Coast Dyeworks, founded by Christopher Bahls

I first met Christopher Bahls on the West Adams Heritage Association Holiday Home Tour and Progressive Dinner in 2013. Larry and I were walking along with the other tour participants on a particularly freezing night in December while our tour guide was describing the historic homes along the way. The walking portion of the tour was broken up with stops at various homes for each course of our holiday dinner. We were all bundled up and I noticed this young man wearing a particularly beautiful knit scarf. I asked him about the scarf and we proceeded to have a very long conversation about hand-knits.
The West Adams Heritage Association Holiday Home Tour, 2013

It turned out that Chris worked at a local knit shop, A Major Knitwork in Van Nuys. In between historic home stops, we discussed knitting and more. At the end of the tour we waved a fond farewell and knew we'd meet up again at one of the various yarny events in Los Angeles.
A few months later I was on the 2014 Los Angeles Yarn Crawl and my friend Nancy and I visited A Major Knitwork. Of course, we ran into Chris wearing another wonderful scarf!
Chris, Ellen at A Major Knitwork, Van Nuys, 2014 L.A. Yarn Crawl

Months later, while I was shopping at my local yarn store, The Knitting Tree, I saw Chris working there! Wow! Chris is an excellent addition to the staff at this great shop!
Chris, 2017. Photo by The Knitting Tree

Recently Chris opened up his own online yarn-dyeing business. The Knitting Tree also carries his creations. The company is called Left Coast Dyeworks. Chris creates some of the most beautiful color combinations I've ever seen. During the 2017 Yarn Crawl I could not resist purchasing one skein, Urban Tweed, in stunning shades of orange. 
Chris, at the debut of Left Coast Dyeworks. Photo by The Knitting Tree

What to do with just one skein. I didn't want to dilute the beauty of Chris' yarn by pairing with other yarn in a large project, so I crocheted my go-to shawl pattern, "Elise." I LOVE it! It's a perfect size and the yarn blocked out soft and pliable.
"Elise" Shawl, Left Coast Dyeworks Yarn
Nice work, Chris! Time for me to get over to The Knitting Tree and check out your new colors.

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