Hats on

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My library recently added Creative Bug access to our library accounts, which gave me the chance to make versions of a sun hat that my friend showed me last weekend.  This one, specifically.

My mom and sister were over on the 4th of July and pulled some fabrics so I could make them hats as well.

It’s just a three piece pattern, reversible and floppy.  I used a sew-in medium weight interfacing — iron-on would have been easier when sewing the curves but I didn’t have any in the right weight.

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My only complaint about the Creative Big presentation is that the directions are video only.  It assumes that you’ve never sewn anything like this before, so the process is shown step by step, slowly.  I would have appreciated written directions as well so I could just quickly skim to see if there were any special steps I wouldn’t have expected.  There really weren’t.  If you’ve sewn anything with an attached lining and you’ve done curves, you can sew this hat without the videos.

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Except, you do need to make sure the lines of communication are working.  I made my sister’s first.  That is her modeling it up in the top picture.  The hat comes in wide and short brim options and  she chose wide.  My mom and I have shorter hair and decided the shorter brims would suit us better.  While I was working on mine, my sister cut out Mom’s fabric.  Only when I told her the smaller brim, she just heard small, and cut the whole thing out in the small size.  Which I didn’t know until I’d finished it and we tried it on.

The people in my family have really big heads – to the point that we can almost never buy hats.  Size small just perched on top of Mom’s head, more comic decoration than head gear.

So I made a fourth hat and we’ll find some small child in the family to give the other to.

The three that fit us:

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And reversed:

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It is great to have a hat that really fits.  I’m already planning more.  I need a black and white one to go with my swimming suit, and a wide brimmed one in a sturdy fabric for maximum sun protection during yard work.  Maybe denim?

 

 

On vacation

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Summer vacation finally got here, and I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to arrange camping trips.  We recently bought a little tent trailer, and I’m discovering that it is very difficult to just spontaneously go camping on a weekend.  People apparently start booking the reservable camp spots months in advance, way before we realized we were going to be able to get a trailer.  My husband, sadly, doesn’t get summer off, so if we want him to come along, it has to be on the weekend.

But I’ve cobbled together a few reservations for various locations over the next couple months.  We may have to switch spots every night – and we will know better for next year to plan way in advance.  But we will be camping!

We did a couple of test runs in nearby parks to make sure we knew how everything works.  We’ve learned how to turn on the propane heater, attach the side mounted camp stove, and made lists of things we need to organize the very minimal storage.

And saw some pretty beautiful scenery.

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Our dog, Theo, who is rather a neurotic and barky mess, has proven better at camping than we thought he’d be.  He hates strangers and cars and bikes, but it turns out he is a big fan of woods and nature walks, and he’s been willing to keep a little quieter so other campers aren’t bothered.

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So I think this camping experiment is going to be a success once we work out all the kinks.

When not endlessly searching through the Washington and Oregon state park reservation systems, I’ve been sitting down at the sewing machine and am making more X and 16 patch blocks.  Nights in the forests get chilly – we are going to need a bunch of quilts!  It is motivating to get back to the fabric.

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(P.S.  That is Mt. St. Helens in the mountain photos above, our local volcano.  The visitors’ center at Johnston Ridge is wonderful – we’ve been going for years to see the recovery proceeding since the eruption. But it turns out no dogs are allowed in the national monument. Yet another thing we’ve newly learned about camping – check ahead where and when pets are allowed.)

I’ve got nothing

I wish I had some fiber progress to show.  But there has been almost no creative work done around here lately.  Due to some unexpected family and work trauma all coming on at the same time, all my down time has been spent on immersion escapism reading and binge watching shows like Project Runway.  Watching other people sew probably doesn’t count, right?

I’ve also spent a lot of time brushing the cat.  While reading.  Very easy on the disturbed brain.

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And it makes the cat pretty happy too.

But it means this is all I have to show for accomplishments:

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And I’ve only just noticed that I’ve matched my yarn and my cat.

Spring break in Surprise

We’ve just finished up spring break in Surprise, Arizona, where my mom has a winter place.

I took my usual plethora of cactus photos.

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We were very lazy this trip, spending much of the time hanging by the community pool during the day and playing games and working on puzzles in the evenings when we could pry the boys off their electronics.

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They finished a lot of puzzles, mainly because they kept buying easier and easier ones.  They wanted the sense of accomplishment rather than a challenge.

I walked a lot around the trails and neighborhoods with my sister, trying to build my endurance back up after a horrid chest cold that had taken down all my family members throughout March.

We did go overnight to Sedona and took one of the pink Jeep tours through the red rock area.  Rough roads but gorgeous scenery.

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On our way back we stopped at Montezuma’s Castle National Park to see the remains of the cliff dwellings.  We needed to sneak at least a little education into the vacation.

EE913583-DA59-490B-B431-65F9D633B256I got just a bit of knitting done – I brought my sock to the pool every time, but the water called me away from the yarn.

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This may be our last year here, as Mom isn’t sure she is going to come back.  Having two places is getting to be a bit much for her.  If it was our last trip, it was a very relaxing one.

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Thursdays

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My sister and I decided to try to reserve Thursday evenings for crafting together as a sort of New Year’s plan.  We started last week, and it was a success for her.  I showed her the tutorial I used for my lunch bag, and she made a water bottle carrier from a canvas curtain I bought at Goodwill last week.

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My project was less successful.  I added more slices in the fine line wall hanging I started a while back.  Black lines on a light background.  I’m definitely getting better at thinner lines, but I just didn’t like how it was turning out enough to keep going.  Maybe the color combo was too blah?  I also like 90 degree angles better, like I had on my first one, which was a better color combo as well – blue and white.

 

Anyway, I abandoned it to the scrap bin and chalked it up as technique practice.

Today we met up again.  My sister started out by making wavy lines with different decorative stitches.  The plan is to add embroidery and other embellishments between the lines.

 

I’d started a wall hanging on the weekend, without a strong plan in mind.  I got out my scraps and sewed a lot of strings together into blocks, and then cut the blocks repeatedly to make long striped strips.

 

Those then became frames around shot cotton rectangles, and then got their own black frames.  I revised them a couple of times until I got them the size and color combo I liked best.

 

Today I auditioned background colors and got started on filling in the connections between the blocks and making some stripes for the sides.

 

Not a lot of progress, but I have a clearer idea in my head of where I’m headed now.

And we’re having fun.

Summer’s end

 

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I go back to work tomorrow, and it rained yesterday for the first time in a couple months, so I guess we are finally letting go of summer.

There was very little fiber or fabric in my summer.  Too busy, too distracted, and just never in the mood.

Instead, we remodeled, and traveled, and lazed, in about equal amounts.

I took the first major road trip we’ve ever done with the kids.  My sister and I loaded up a 1970s tent trailer and the boys and took off for California, driving south for 8 days.  We stayed mainly in state parks along the way.

We stayed in the redwoods first.

And then headed over to the coast:

We saw wild and aquarium creatures of all sorts:

The boys enjoyed every minute of it, of course.

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(And oh, how I wish I could have recorded their appalled voices when they found out that national forests don’t supply wifi!  Insert evil mother’s laugh here.)

At the end of the eight days we reached Anaheim, dropped my sister at the airport, and greeted my husband, who had flown down to join us, and we temporarily traded the trailer for an air-conditioned hotel.

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Then it was a week of heat, and rollercoasters, and junk food.  It was the kids’ first time at Disney and Universal Studios, and my first time in 20 years.  I have really mixed feelings about that part of the trip.  It was crowded, and expensive, and exhausting, and omg-level hot, but it was also fun, and nostalgic, and scary, and funny.

And so much screaming.  My husband doesn’t do heights and falling, so I was designated rollercoaster parent.  So Much Screaming.  I may never recover from the Guardians of the Galaxy drops or the twists of the IncrediCoaster.  Frankly, I barely made it through the sliding gondolas of the California Adventure Ferris wheel.  My youngest and I clung to each other to the point of bruising on each ride.  But we were proud of ourselves after we shakily exited each car and shook the blood back into our limbs.

And now they can say we have taken them to Disney and we don’t have to do it again for another 15-20 years!

The last leg of the trip was a bit truncated.  We dropped Roni off at the airport, and the plan was for me and the boys to drive up I-5, stopping at historical spots and in the mountains along the way, but wildfires put an end to that.  Once we got to Sacramento, the smoke was starting to get bad, and the huge Redding fire meant it only got worse the further north that we got.  So, we sped up the plans and cancelled a lot of stops, and made it home in four days.

It was arid, and smoky, and we were a bit vacationed out, so it was just as well.  And once the tires on the elderly trailer started to go, I was about done with camping.

All in all, it was a great trip. The kids got to swim in pools and rivers.

They saw new parts of the country and drove some really twisty roads, and some really straight ones..

We learned that we really like tent trailer camping (no sleeping on the ground!) and I think we are going to buy one.

And I learned that changing a tire on the side of I-5 is possible, but not pleasant.

We are definitely going to hit the road again on future vacations.  But with newer tires.

And in all that time, and all those miles, this is how much knitting I got done:

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