Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday Tab- Merrill Navy Scouts

This wonderful Merrill set was obviously published in the early 40's. Thanks to Dottie for sharing!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I mentioned that I've embarked on an uncharacteristic cleaning binge, delving into drawers and closet corners that have not seen the light of day since we moved into this house a decade ago.  Among other things, I uncovered a largish box of sock yarn that I bought at the Sock Summit in Portland. In '09. The box sat where it has sat for the last three years, next to the TV in the bedroom, under a pile of blankets and a couple of American Girl dolls...

It was just about intervention time, I think.

So while this urge lasts, in addition to being fairly ruthless about tossing excess junk (why would we keep a non-functional computer monitor? Why would we save four of them?  Along with broken answering machines and a coffee maker dutifully labeled "leaks"?), and cleaning (oh the dust... the dust), and filling bag after bag with nice clothes that we simply don't wear (or... urk... don't fit), I've made executive decisions about some of the things I've saved, and some of the things that I thought I was going to do. And some of the things I am currently doing.

Remember that box of novelty yarn that I posted yesterday, the one I found up on the bedroom closet shelf? It's now on the way to my sister, who wanted the yarn. I will be sending more off, and donating some to charities, and selling some on eBay (eventually- the Wool Room is last on my Tackle List, since boxes from every other room are still being added to the WR inventory).

See these? These are single socks that were knitted for The Big Book of Socks. The actual socks from the book. There just wasn't time to knit whole pairs for photography before publication. The photo samples came back to me eventually and there are easily 35 single socks in this pile. I saved the yarn for these socks, stashing partial balls and bits in another closet next to my office. I always intended to knit the mates, and then use the socks for gifts.

Guess what? I finally realized that I am never, ever going to knit the mates. It's simply not going to happen. I have moved on. I am totally over these socks.

So what am I going to do with them? Not a clue. I can't bring myself to toss them, and single socks are not much use to anyone, but I now know for sure that I'm not going to knit the mates, which is such a relief. I had been dreading that job. Maybe I'll cut them up for doll clothes, or use them as working samples in a steeking class. In any case, I have admitted to myself, and now to you all, that they're never going to be pairs.

And what will I do with the yarn? It depends- most will go in with my leftover yarns for socks and hats. Some will be woven into scarves, some will be given away. And some... are you sitting down? .... some of it is just going to be tossed.

There, I said it.

Which brings me to another realization: Unless I'm on a deadline, and under contract, I don't have to finish a project that I hate.

Remember this from a few days ago?
This is lovely Crystal Palace Panda Cotton and Panda Wool yarn (both bamboo blends). It's wonderful yarn, light and soft and fun to knit with. But it's not well suited for weaving. It's a bit elastic, and the ends don't blend in nicely, and I hated working with it. Hated it so much that I hadn't picked up the shuttle for several days. Yesterday, after deciding that I could just let the Single Socks ride, I looked at the loom, and even though there was more than 2' of warp left, I said the hell with it, and cut the scarf off.

Yep, I decided that I hated weaving with the yarn, and that there was absolutely no point in forcing myself to keep working on this scarf just for the sake of using up the warp. The finished scarf is 5 1/2" wide (elastic, remember), and 44" long (excluding fringe), which is long enough for a short scarf. It's soft enough and drapey and it looks great (though it's not ironable- I nearly melted it on a medium setting). And I will never weave with that yarn again.

And then I warped the loom with something that I am enjoying using: Knit Picks Main Line Cotton warp, and some fringey novelty yarn (content unknown). This is going to weave quickly, and it's going to make a nubbly, fun scarf (and the fringey ends may poke out as it's worn, which will be cool).

But best of all, I'm enjoying the process again, which is the whole point.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What I'm Doing...

I don't know if it's the Post-Idol blahs, but I seem to be having a hard time thinking up blog posts this week.
Of course, part of the problem is that I'm doing this:
 Or at least, I'm supposed to be doing this... proofing Mourning Shift for eBook release. Happily, there is very little actual proofing needed because the files are remarkably error-free, thanks to Ryan Boettger and his wonderful team of students. But with or without errors, I wrote the book, which means that it's difficult for me to read it. I'll be glad when I finish (though I will have two more books to proof very soon).
 When I'm not proofing, I am still weaving. I'm using up some Crystal Palace Panda Cotton and Panda Wool (bamboo blends). It's wonderful yarn, but maybe not perfect for weaving because it's fairly elastic.
 When I'm not weaving, I'm inspecting our trees for Cedar Apple Rust. Looks like they could slither down the branches and attack us in our sleep, don't they?
 When I'm not inspecting trees, I'm cleaning closets. I found these (two spindles, seven baggies of fiber and about 20 balls of novelty yarn) stashed in an upper corner of the bedroom closet. I'm not kidding when I say that there is yarn in every room of my house. And also not kidding when I say that I haven't done a deep-drawer/closet cleaning in a very long time. In my bedstand drawer, I found a pair of glasses with single-vision lenses. I've had bi-focals since, oh say, '98 or so...
 And when I'm not cleaning, I'm making progress on the Robot Quilt.
 And when I'm not making progress on the Robot Quilt, I'm oohing and aahing over just how cute this thing is.
 And when I'm not oohing and aahing, and when I'm in the car, I'm actually knitting a leftover-yarn sock.
And when I'm not doing any of the above, I'm procrastinating... and writing blog posts.

Monday, May 28, 2012

error error

Sorry I've been so quiet- I'm proofing the files for Mourning Shift so it can be released as an eBook (on all of the platforms, I believe). I should finish today or tomorrow, and then it'll be back to normal.

In the meantime, I tried to upload a teeny little video of my back yard to tide you over, but I can't quite get it to upload. I'll keep trying.

Until then, here's a photo I snapped this morning. The fog lifted almost immediately, but it's a pretty cool shot anyway.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Registration is open for the Michigan Fiber Festival!

I'll be teaching classes at the Michigan Fiber Festival in August again! I'm thrilled to have been invited back, and am really looking forward to another trip to the beautiful state. I hope to see some of you there. Class registration is open, here are the classes I'll be teaching from Wednesday August 15- Friday August 17:

Wednesday, August 15


#122 Writing Patterns for Publication              

Learn tricks and tips for writing up your original pattern for publication, from 30-year pattern-writing veteran, blogger Kathleen Taylor, author of five knitting books, over 500 magazine articles, and many other original sewing and knitting patterns. Whether you plan to submit your design to a magazine, or will publish and sell it yourself, you need to know about pattern format, photography, pattern testing, copyright information, and contacting editors and publishers. Q&A time provided at the end of the class. Handouts will be provided.

Class Level: Beginner

Class Limit: 25

Material Fees:  None

Participants should bring with them:  Pen and paper for taking notes.


#133 Little Tips and Knitting Tricks  

Spend two/three hours with author and designer Kathleen Taylor, learning fun techniques that will make your knitting easier: a Substitute for the SSK that is faster and simpler, Knitting Back Backwards (for heels and bobbles), adding beads as you knit, using wire, fixing cable and Fair Isle mistakes, and other time-saving tips. I will provide handouts, and other small supplies (beads, wire)

Class Level: Beginner ~ Students should be familiar with the knit and purl stitches

Class Limit: 15

Material Fees: None

Participants should bring with them: Worsted and fingering
weight yarns (leftover balls are fine), appropriate straight
needles for both yarn weights, scissors.

 Cast on 10 stitches and
work a few rows of stockinette stitch in both yarn weights
(this can be done during class).

Thursday, August 16- All Day

#202 Nordic Christmas Stocking 

Students will learn yarn wrangling and chart reading while making a 14" long, toe-up, stranded Christmas Stocking, with an afterthought heel. Students knit the toe in advance and in class, will knit past the waste-yarn heel marking, and then knit an afterthought heel. It is not likely that all students will finish their stockings in class, but they should have the tools and information to finish on their own. No previous stranding or sock knitting experience required.

Class Level: Students must be comfortable with knitting in the round. No Fair Isle, or stranded knitting, or sock-knitting experience

Class Limit: 15

Material Fees: None

Participants should bring with them: Size 8 dpns (or long circs if they’re Magic Loopers), and 2- 50gr balls of solid worsted weight yarn highly contrasting colors, several yards of contrasting waste yarn, stitch markers, safety pin, several post-it notes. Homework required

Pre-Knit Stocking Toe: With Size 8 needles and dark worsted weight yarn, CO 20 sts. Divide on needles as desired, without twisting
the sts, join. Rnd 1: K; Rnd 2: (K 5, Inc 1), rep around. Rnd 3: K; Rnd 4: (K 6, Inc 1) rep around. Repeat those 2 rnds, working 1 more
st before the inc on each even rnd, until there are 50 sts.
Note: it is possible for late signups to use a provisional cast on, and knit the toe later.

Friday August 17- All Day

#306 Fair Isle Design    
Expand on your Fair Isle skills, and design your own Toddler- Size Fair Isle hat in this workshop with author, knitter, and designer Kathleen Taylor. We’ll discuss color choices, design elements, and motif repeats. We’ll do specific designing exercises, and then combine those motifs to design an original toddler-size Fair Isle hat, and begin working on the hat by the end of the workshop.Students will finish knitting the hat at home.

Class Level:  Intermediate to Advanced

Class Limit: 15

Material Fees: None

Participants should bring with them: Assorted worsted weight yarns, 100 gr total, in up to 6 colors (leftover yarns and small balls are fine), colored pencils to match the yarns, 16" size 5 circular needle, pencil, eraser, stitch markers, safety pin, several post-it notes. Homework required

With the 16"(40 cm) Size 5 (3.75mm)circular needle, or 1 or 2 long circular needles, CO 90 sts with MC. Without twisting the sts,
join, placing the large marker at the beginning of the round.
Rnds 1-8 (hem facing): K
Picot Edge Rnd: *K 2 tog, YO*, rep around
Next Rnd:  K, working each YO as a stitch.
Next Rnd: *K 15, Inc 1*, rep around (6 sts increased- 96 sts)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday Tab- Saalfield #2767, Around the World with Connie and Jean, 1958

Paper doll friend Dottie is sharing her vast collection of paper doll scans with us. How vast, do you ask? She sent me a DVD with the files, and it took a full hour to copy them to my hard drive. That's vast. The scans are marvelous, and there are many many that I've never seen before. We're going to have some fun now!

Thank you so much Dottie! You rock!

Herewith: Saalfield #2797 Around the World with Connie and Jean, published in 1958.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

AI Season 11 Finale- 05-23-12

Well here we are, four months into this adventure, two nights a week, and more words than I've written on any other project in that time period (including paying jobs). It's been a year of talent. In fact this Top 10 may be the most talented ever, and yet it's been a strangely lackluster year. Or maybe that's just me. In any case, tonight is the night, so let's get on with it.

We open with flashing lights and strobes, all of the old animated title sequences, behind the scenes clips, and... hmmm.... they're playing Phil's Home over the intro. Knowing this show, that could mean something. Or it could mean nothing. I guess we'll find out soon. Well, not exactly soon... but in two hours and five minutes.

Without further ado, the Top 12... well the Top 3-12 anyway... take the stage, all in white. Heejun looks good, and Erika went back to blonde hair. It's nice to see everyone again, even if I can't remember a couple of their names. Joshua hilariously proves that he can't break dance. Suddenly the stage is full of hip-hop dancers dressed in black. I have no idea who these guys are, but one of the girls has something weird peeking out from under the hem of her shortie skirt. I sincerely hope it's not a medical  appliance of some sort. They end with smoke and confetti, and the kids lining up on either side of the stage.

The judges enter through the 3-12 Gauntlet. JLo is glam in a tight, short, gold sparkly dress with long sleeves. Randy is channeling Captain Kangaroo, and Steven is in a brocade Steven Tyler Outfit. Ryan is in a tux with a black bow tie.

In the audience I spot: Jane Lynch, Carrie Underwood, Lisa Rinna and her grotesque lips, Dean Caine, and Scotty McCreery.

Ryan calls out Phil (white tee shirt, white pants, still manages to look sloppy) and Jessica (strapless, short, tight white glittery bandage dress). Ryan says that over 132 million votes were cast last night. Exactly none of those votes were cast by me.

After the commercial, Phil (in brown/gray/blue now- he's a quick-change artist) takes the stage with John Fogarty (blue plaid shirt, blue hankie tied very tightly around his neck, and not a speck of gray in his very dark hair). This is a perfect pairing- their voices and guitars blend excellently as they sing two songs (Have You Ever Seen the Rain, and Bad Moon Rising). No matter what happens later in the show, it's obvious that Phil is having a marvelous time now. For me, it would be okay if they slowed down just a tinch, but that's a pretty minor quibble.

Now we get a montage of *memorable* moments with Bird is the Word playing in the background. The only actual memorable moment was when some big guy in a skirt didn't know who Ryan was.

Joshua, in a silver lame jacket that actually fits him for a change, sings Take me to the Pilot. He bounces on his toes and starts with his usual excess notage and energy, when he's joined by a solidly-built woman with long straight hair and a skin-tight body suit that is slit from ankle to nearly the waist on either side. It's not until the woman starts out-Joshua-ing Joshua that I realize that she's Fantasia. Well, this is also a perfect pairing. The judges are up and dancing, and the audience is going wild, and I look at my watch as they both nearly blow a gasket trying to outsing each other.

Evidently, Jimmy Iovine had a hard time remembering Jennifer's name all season, calling her Jessica  (and once, memorably, Joshica) in blooper clip after blooper clip. These bits provided the best laughs all season.

Next up are the Ladies of the Top 12 (minus Jessica), all dressed in assorted sparkly colors. Amazing of all amazings, Skylar is in a dress that is both flattering, and has an even hem. They're singing a medley of songs that I recognize, though I can't pull the titles from the spongy mess that my brain has become. Jessica joins them, and then announces Chaka Kahn, who is helped down the stairs by a couple of handsome young men. Chaka is wearing an extremely ill-conceived brown sparkly body suit. Unfortunate outfit notwithstanding, the woman can sing. Randy, Ryan, and Steven give her a Standing O. I take JLo's absence from the judging table as significant.

The Fordmercial is sweet- giving each of the kids a final moment on-screen, including Phil, who has not been in the videos since early on. Afterwards, Phil declares that his brother in law Ben is his musical mentor. Jessica says likewise for an old family friend. Both of the mentors are in the audience, and they're awarded new cars, to their delight. Phil and Jessica get new cars too (the Top 2 get cars every year, so no one pretends to be surprised).

Rhianna doesn't have to share the stage with any finalists. She makes her entrance from a large cube with lots of rune-ish looking R's all over it. The cube opens and Rhianna stands in a triangle formed of green laser lights. She has very tall hair, a skimpy outfit, drummers, and a whole slew of tribal dancers in Hammer pants. They all dance as though they're being electrocuted. ho hum...

Skylar is up next, and... she's dressed like a Goth Milkmaid (white cotton peasant top gathered at the waist into a very very very short, full skirt, a leather belt that is at least 8" wide, a vaguely-Heidi leather vest, and, I kid you not, black pockets edged in white ruffles. All of this over skin-tight black leather leggings. It's enough to make my brain explode). Skylar sings with her usual energy, and she introduces Reba McIntyre, who is dressed conservatively by comparison, in a black dress, black stockings and boots.

Next we get an LSD fueled tour of Steven Tyler's dressing room, which is stocked with a score of Playboy Bunnies, a live 3-toed sloth, a ceramic monkey, a live monkey, an inflatable zebra, and Steven Tyler's elderly sister making out with some random dude on a couch. Yeah, I don't know either.

Jessica, in a one-shouldered blue prom dress, reprises what I think is her best performance of the season, Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. Since Whitney is otherwise occupied these days, I wonder who is going to join her onstage. My guess is Jennifer Hudson. But no, Jessica completes the solo as a solo. Hmmm.....

The Top 12 Guys (minus Phil), all dressed in varying shades of black and gray (with a purple armband thrown in by Joshua) start singing a Neil Diamond medley, and sure enough, there's Neil Diamond. He looks good, but his voice is wavery and he's doing the Professor Harold Hill version Sweet Caroline, with the guys providing the absolute lamest backup chorus ever (so good, so good, so good). Wow, that was embarrassing for everyone.

Ryan singles out one of Randy's signature phrases (you could sing the phonebook) and plays multiple clips of him saying exactly that. Then we flip to the 3-12 in Choir Robes, literally singing the phone book. This may be the best bit in the history of this show. It's hilarious.

Now we know why JLo wasn't in the audience earlier- she was getting ready to sing not just one, but two songs for us. She comes out in a baseball cap, a silver tank top, and silver hammer pants. I believe that her backup dancers are female but don't quote me on that. They're all wearing white wigs, white caps, blue lips, and more hammer pants. This is an extravaganza of saggy crotches. Some guy in black comes out rapping very quickly and incomprehensibly. JLo ducks down and then stands up without her hat, and without her tank top (she's not naked, there was a cute little bra top underneath). Men are dropping down from the ceiling to join the festivities. My god, the woman has killer abs. And her butt is heroic. We have no idea what she's singing (my guess: I wanna see ya, wouldn't want to be ya; The Hub's guess: I want a penis). Whatever the words are, it's a highly aerobic performance, featuring much more of JLo's actual voice than we usually hear in her performances.

More audience spotting: Taylor Hicks (the show must finally have forgiven him. Maybe next year he can actually sing), Lauren Alaina, Ace Young, and an all-grown-up-and-rather-busty Diana DeGarmo. Ryan calls Ace and Diana up and announces that they're a couple. Ace takes the microphone, gives his jeweler a plug,  and then gets down on one knee and proposes to Diana, who has been rendered nearly speechless. It's sweet and cheesy, and I admit to being a sucker for things like this.

Next up is Hollie, in a striped strapless sheath that is gilttery in front and plain in back. She's wailing You'll Never Walk Alone, and is shortly joined by Jordin Sparks, gorgeous in a silver satin negligee. They hit those huge notes and sound fine together... singing a hymn... on the American Idol Finale...  Sadly, Jerry Lewis does not magically appear.

Giving Deandre the opening he's been waiting for all season, the guys sing a tribute to Robin Gibb and The Bee Gees. Colton, wearing a jacket with a monster-sized collar, makes some exceptionally weird faces as he sings some truly horrible notes.

Jessica comes out in a black prom dress to sing And I am Telling You. She's joined by Jennifer Holliday, in a green prom dress. I know that JH was the original Effie in Dream Girls, but she has been publicly ungracious about Jennifer Hudson's performances, which does not sit well with me. As with Jessica, there is no denying Ms. Holliday's talent, but my lordy, this is the most over-acted, over-dramatic, over-the-top performance I've ever seen. Jennifer Holliday seriously looks like she's having a stroke. Amazingly, Jessica is holding her own in this Diva-Off. I feel exhausted just watching it and am relieved when it's finally over.

Well, it took them two years, but Aerosmith is finally going to perform on the AI stage. Steven is decked out in streamers and a floaty dressing gown. Say what you will about Steven Tyler (and I certainly have), the man is a genuine superstar. I don't recognize their first song, which is not surprising. The Hub doesn't recognize it either, which is. But we both know song #2. The entire world knows song #2. No auto-tune or lip syncing for this bunch- this is a true live performance. Tyler is doing pretty well for an old fart.

Okay, we've frittered almost two hours, and it's time for the Top 2 Duet. Phil is in an actual tux, though he's wearing a v-neck tee shirt under the vest, rather than a shirt. Jessica is wearing burgundy movie theater drapes. They're singing Up Where We Belong. Phil is all Joe Cocker and Jessica is oversinging. It's okay but nothing special.

And now, finally, it's time to get down to it.

Ryan calls for the envelope, which is carried onstage by a very tall fellow. Phil babbles. Jessica ditto.

Dim the lights...
132 million votes...
The winner of Season 11 is...

Phil Phillips!

Heejun is maybe even happier than Phil, who appears to be in shock. Ryan hands Phil his guitar and Phil readies himself to sing Home, which is the best coronation song in the history of this show. It's actual music (which I have already purchased).

Phil starts out okay, but he begins to lose it about halfway through, and by the final refrain, he leaves the stage to go hug his family.

And so, after 4 months and a lot of whining, that's it for Season 11. Every year about this time, I declare that I will never again recap this show, and every January, I'm back at it. It's an illness, lemee tellya. Will I be back next Jan? More than likely. Until then, Seacrest Out!

Edited to add- my description did not do it justice... here's proof:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

AI Season 11- Top 2 Performance- 05-22-12

Well folks, this is about it- just tonight and tomorrow left, and then we can put this season to bed. Finally.

We open with blank pages in a book, ink, pen, beginnings, fears, drive, nerves, dream, Idol!

Randy is in a sherbet orange jacket with white piping on the collar and pocket. He has a red flower, and  blue shirt with an orange and green plaid collar and front band. Steven is in a lacy purple suit over a purple silk shirt. JLo is dressed like a circus aerial act in black leggings, and a one-shouldered black leotard fashioned from spangly black feathers arranged on a sheer foundation. Her hair is slicked up in a tight bun. Ryan is in a black suit with a black tie, and a red polka dot pocket square. His pompadour is front and center.

Phil helps Jessica enter down the stairs. Ryan interviews them- Jessica is excited, Phil is incoherent. They're going to sing three songs apiece, all in a one hour show, so Ryan is going to have to keep things moving  smartly tonight,. That's why they pay him the big bucks.

Phil won the coin toss, and he elects to go last.

# Round 1. Simon Fuller chose Whitney Houston's I Who Have Nothing for Jessica's first song.  Jessica is dressed in a saloon girl's undershift. Well, Fuller chose a song perfectly suited to Jessica's strengths- it's a big song that builds up into a Huge Song. There are soft parts and glory notes, and Jessica is technically flawless. She even seems to have the vibrato under control tonight.

Simon Fuller chose Ben E. King's Stand By Me for Phil, and once again, he chose perfectly. Phil is in a clean, unironed chambray shirt, and he's playing his guitar, with a bongo backup. Oh my, this is wonderful. Wow! I'm not the only one who thinks so- I can actually hear the audience singing along.

Ryan rattles off the multiple voting phone numbers in some sort of weird accent, and then asks the Judges what they thought of Round 1. JLo says that it's the battle of the opposites (and she's absolutely correct). Randy gives Round 1 to Jessica. Steven is not asked for his opinion.

I think that each song was just right for the singer. Jessica was technically perfect, but  for what it's worth,  I'll be buying Phil's song tomorrow.

Jason Derulo's collaboration with the internet is up next. He's sitting down on a folding chair, and he isn't wearing his neck brace as he sings Undefeated. He does get up and dance a bit, though he does it pretty carefully. He's wearing tan cargo pants and a black and red jacket.  Someone must have sprinkled itching powder in his jockeys because the poor young man keeps picking at his nether regions. I'm embarrassed for him, doing that on national TV, when everyone is watching. How will he ever live it down? Oh, the song? It's not terrible, but it's nothing that I'll need to hear again. I won't be rushing to download one of the 10,000 free copies.

For Round #2 Jessica chose her favorite performance of the season, which evidently is The Prayer. She's wearing a champagne pink, floaty chiffon toga with a pink sparkly belt. The song is all glory notes and wind machine. Again, it's technically perfect, but this song leaves me cold. I have no connection to it at all.

I have a whole list of songs that I'd like to hear Phil sing again, so I squint in confusion when I hear that he's chosen to re-perform Billy Joel's Movin' Out. If I had remembered that he performed it, it still would not have been in my Top 5 Phil Song List. That said, Phil (in a black long sleeved tee) is doing just fine with it. It's PP from beginning to end. and the Sax Lady is playing a soprano tonight.

Steven says that Jessica won Round 2. Randy says it's a dead heat. JLo gives the round to Phil.

From me, Jessica gets the nod for technical perfection, Phil gets the nod for performance, and neither one gets anything for song choice.

Round #3 consists of their possible Winner's Single, though let's not kid ourselves- both of these songs will be released. Probably sooner rather than later.

Jessica is sitting on a piano. She's wearing black leggings, a chartreuse tunic top, a white jacket, and black boots. The song is called Change Nothing, and it's totally Disney. Miley Cyrus could release this tomorrow. It's probably a good choice, given the demographics involved, but the song itself is kind of shrieky, and we're not hearing the vocal depth that brought Jessica to this point in the competition. From the look on her face, I think she knows it too.

Randy loves Jessica but did not love the song. JLo wanted more from her than a pop ballad. Steven echoes the other two. It feels wrong to ding Jessica for the song when she didn't choose it. Then she says something to Ryan that makes me think that maybe she did select this song after all. Hmmmm.

Phil, in a gray jacket over a gray tee, is singing a song called Home. He's playing his guitar (some pretty complex strumming), and this song is folky with a side order of Paul Simon. It's much better suited to Phil's voice and style than Jessica's was for her. Oh, there's a Drum Corps marching around, and even more amazing than a Drum Corps, is that the DC feels integral to the song, and not like a gimmick.

The judges give Phil a Standing O. In the audience, Jimmy Iovine gives Phil a Standing O. The audience goes wild.

Randy says: Brilliant, Genius, Perfect! JLo giddily giggles that it was Phil Phil all the way. Steven is on the same wavelength that The Hub and I are, and says that he heard a bit of Paul Simon in there.

Since Ryan did not ask the judges who won the evening, he has a couple of minutes to kill, during which he forces Jessica and Phil to gush about each other. Neither one is particularly comfortable doing this, but they sound sincere in liking and respecting each other.

Scotty McCreery,  wearing a white shirt and a brown vest, sings Please Remember Me, and plays us out over clips from the season.

Ryan may not have asked the Judges who won the night, but for me, the best songs were Jessica #1, and Phil #1 and #3. The worst was Jessica #3. Given the Idol voting record, I think Phil is going to take the title, but I will  not be in the least surprised at either outcome.

We'll see soon enough.

Monday, May 21, 2012

What a tangled web...

Well, not really, but there are only so many weaving quotes out there.

Anyway, I've been having fun.

 I wanted to play with Gingham, which is a variety of plaid woven with only 2 colors (one of them white). I have an entire Romney fleece that was mill spun to a worsted weight. I washed the fleece, and then sent it out to be spun. Yeah, I know- I love spinning, but I don't love spinning acres and acres of plain white. Besides, I wanted to see how the millspinning looked. Verdict: it looks great. Anyway, the white is the millspun, and the green is some of my handspun.
 I really love how this came out. It's my generic scarf size- 6 1/2" wide x 72" long (excluding fringes)(I'm still wrapping the warp around 2 kitchen chairs).
 The gingham plaid looks good too. I'm going to do more of it, probably with smaller squares.
 It wasn't until I got the scarf off the loom that I noticed this huge blooper, right in the center. Sigh.
 The non-blooper parts look pretty good though. I'm learning more and more with every project.
 On Sunday, I decided to play with leftover yarns. My only restriction was that the yarn had to be handspun, and it had to be leftover. I used assorted fibers (mostly wool, but some silk, some alpaca, some mohair blends) and weights (in some cases, I doubled the strands for the weft). I used my 8 dent heddle (8 threads per inch).
 And then I just chose colors and wove the scarf, roughly equal areas unless there wasn't enough yarn to do that. I wanted it to look semi-random. This wasn't a 3 1/2 hour scarf, but I still started and finished it on the same day.
I think it turned out really well, and I especially like the yellow/gray sections. I have plenty of that yarn on hand, and I may weave a yellow and gray scarf.

Oh, most of these scarves are not next-to-skin soft, so they'll have to be worn with collars, which isn't a big deal on a coat. Or they can all serve as table runners. However they end up being used, they're all going in the Big Tub 'O Knitted Things (which may need a title change).

Saturday, May 19, 2012

And quilting too

American Idol eats so many words that it takes me a couple of days to recoup (patience, folks- it's almost over). On non AI evenings, I've been working on the Robot Quilt. I'm about 1/5 done with the panel quilting.
 This adorable little robot is upside down on purpose.
 The nice thing about plain backs is that the quilting is very visible.
This whole quilt makes me smile.