Monthly Archives: July 2008

Two Days in DC

Monday and Tuesday were busy days here at Knit & Play with Fire land. On Monday morning, I met P and Mac for breakfast before we headed to Arlington National Cemetery. It was not until we got there that we found out that my mother’s funeral would be a full military funeral. My mother served 5 years in the US Navy and she was given credit for service during Vietnam even though she left the service before military troops were really sent to Vietnam. Her burial site over looks the Pentagon.

After the service, P, Mac, and I went over to DC to Cake Love. And just for those who care to see Mac all dressed up in a suit and tie. I am posting his picture here. Yes, MG, there are several photos of him in a suit and tie. After we had dessert, we headed back up towards Frederick to a reception hosted by a family friend. I will have to say that Mac was the hit of the party. He held everyone in awe in the dining room discussing all sorts of topics. Everyone described him as being extremely funny. P and I were in the other room, so we can’t really vouch for this description. But everyone had fun and my oldest nephew is now going to save his money so he can buy some more video games.

Taken next door to Cake Love in DC

Taken next door to Cake Love in DC

On Tuesday, I took my cousin and her daughter down to DC. Her daughter wanted to go to the Smithsonian. We settled on the Natural History Museum and wandered all over it. One advantage of having been there so many times is that you pretty much know where everything is located. We wandered around the dinosaur exhibits and through the Soil exhibit which was interesting. Of course the bugs were the best part. The Madagascar hissing cockroach was one of the insects out to be petted and held. And since I know some one who has some in her classroom, I held one briefly but I felt that the kids should be the ones holding it. So I let my cousin’s daughter take it next. And her mother was wondering what had taken over her daughter’s body. They live near New Orleans and they both hate bugs.

After touring the museum we picked up free tickets to the butterfly exhibit but we had tickets for 3:30 so we headed off to lunch. We than walked down the mall toward the Lincoln Memorial.. I honestly don’t think my cousin realized how spread about everything is on the Mall. I was trying to keep us in the shade as much as possible but by the time we got to the World War II Memorial, they needed to sit. Since it was a really hot day, there were tons of people around the pool in the middle of the Memorial with their feet in the water. So we stayed there a bit cooling down. Wet feet do cool you done. My cousin’s daughter wanted to go to the Lincoln Memorial which is at the other end of the Reflecting Pool. So we walked down there next. There was an ice cream stand right outside the memorial so we stopped to get some ice cream. But when they both saw how many stairs there were to climb they changed their minds.

The view from the WWII Memorial

The view from the WWII Memorial

I really love the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. It is simple yet an elegant tribute to those who served and lost their lives in that war that was not a war. We were right next to it so I made sure that we stopped there as well. I checked with a park ranger there and the closest Metro station was a 1/2 mile hike up 23rd Street I didn’t tell my cousin how far up the station was because I think she was getting walked out. But she did get to see the Department of State building while we walked up the street along with George Washington University.

The next stop on the whirlwind tour of DC a la KylieMac was the National Zoo. Of course there was another hike from the Metro station. And lucky for me, there was a Starbucks right across the street from the zoo entrance. I do need my fix every so often. We walked along the Asia Trail and saw the sloth bear, the clouded leopard, and the red panda. The clouded leopards were hiding but we did manage to spot one. I did take a photo but it was not the best. I think I need to go back to the zoo to try again. And any visit to the zoo requires a trip to the Panda House. The giant pandas were smart and were in their indoor habitat where the air was nice and cool.

I would have been happy to keep walking and explore of the zoo but my cousin was getting hungry so we headed over to Adams-Morgan and ate before heading back home. I think that I walked my cousin and her daughter out. And they were complaining about the heat and humidity. They are from the New Orleans area and thought it was bad here. It was hot true but I guess I am used to it. I will be going back down to DC to go back to the museums and my favorite monuments to play with my camera but I will either go by myself or take my oldest nephew or my niece. Okay on second though, maybe not the oldest one since I will be fighting him the entire time to be able to use my camera. He claims that he can’t take a decent photo using a point and shoot. Maybe I will take his sister instead.

Okay there are more photos that I wanted to put in this post but Word Press and I are having a few issues with photos today. So check out the photos over on Flickr instead. Hopefully I can figure out what is going on in the meantime.


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Finally Some Knitting

Okay this is supposed to be a knitting blog so there will be some photographic evidence of knitting in today’s post. I have been on a quilting kick lately. I have been sending quilts to the machine quilt on the average of about 2 per month. I am working my way through a large pile. Yes, this pile is on top of the bookcase in the studio.

The ones that I have been sending so far have been small ones. I am trying to use up fabric that is already in the stash for backings so it is easier to find smaller pieces. I need to piece some backings together for some of the bigger ones. But I am going to have to break down and buy backing fabrics for the bed size ones soon. Plus I have a few bed size quilts that just need borders sewn on before they are ready to jon the bookcase pile.

But the pile of quilts that have been quilted is not too bad. I have sewn on the binding to every one that I have gotten back so that they are ready to go. I have already hand sewn the bindings on a few of them already. They are still in the pile because they need labels. But the labels should be done later today and ready to be hand sewn. Want to make an educated guess that quilts may be holiday gifts this year?

I have some quilts that are in progress. A special quilt for French Fry still needs another 12 blocks sewn before I start sewing it together. I think that baby quilts need to be big enough to cover mom and baby and grow up with baby. I also finished up an experimental quilt idea that I have been playing with it. Yes, the mini is pinned to the curtains in the studio. The quilt is sew through. I want to tweak it some before doing it again.

And finally knitting. I started Cobblestone last weekend for my nephew’s Christmas present. He finally got to see it for the first time yesterday and he likes the color. Although his little brother thinks that his daddy needs a sweater. But what does a three year old know sometimes? He was trying to talk me into feeding him banana bread when there was none in the house despite his insistence that there was some. Lucky for me, he is agreeable to changes so long as he gets to eat. After feeding him a snack, he liked his brother’s sweater.

Posting next week will be sporadic for several reasons. Monday is the day that my mother will finally be buried. The ceremony will be at Arlington and P and her husband are coming in Sunday night. Tuesday I have to show my cousin and her daughter around DC. Depending on what my cousin wants to see, I may let her do her thing and I will wander the Mall and play with the camera. I think she wants to hit Aerospace and the Natural History Museums. I have been to both more times than I care to admit. So hopefully we can agree to meet at a certain spot on the Mall and both go our own ways. I have a few places I would like to hit that I have either not been to before or just love to revisit. So hopefully things will work out the way I want them to and there will be plenty of photos next week. Wonder if I can manage to hit a yarn store while I am in DC?


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In the effort to try and get my name out there as a photographer, I submit stuff every where. One of my favorite places to submit for possible publication is JPG magazine. There are different themes for every issue plus you are able to place your photos in other categories that may be possible themes for future issues. So far I haven’t had anything make it into the magazine but I figure the more I try the better my chances.

And yes, there will eventually be an Etsy store if I ever get everything together and make more cards and frame some more prints. Right now I am in the middle of trying to finish hand sewing on the binding to a quilt that I am hoping to deliver to some one Sunday. (Almost done with it too!) Plus I am hoping to finish up an experimental quilt tonight. I saw something in either a magazine or book years ago and the idea has stuck in my head. I have finally gotten around to taking the image from head and putting it into fabric and thread. I may not have photos of it finished for tomorrow but I will have photos for nest week of it finished. I am planning on taking it to my phoo guild meeting and letting everyone have a go at shooting it. (Plus some one in the guild is interested in a possible commission!!! Hopefully he won’t be shocked at the prices for a hand made quilt.)

And just so there is a photo here today since this is all about photography, here is another one from my Saturday trip up to West Virginia.

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By Request

I have been emailing Sarah and she wanted to see some corn field pictures. I had planned on taking them tonight but I had to go out last night so I took the camera with me. I had to go play computer tech for a family friend who was having some email issues. (Simply problem to resolve but hard to keep a straight face when solving it. I know I will be having to solve the same exact problem again.)

One the was up to this friend’s house, you are driving between farms. I found a nice spot to pull over and a nice field with soybeans and corn and a silo to take a photo of just for Sarah. But on the way back, I decided to take a different road. (One advantage of country living is all sorts of farm roads to drive.) I was wanting to hit a specific spot coming back into town where I knew I could find a corn field that would have corn well over 6 feet by now. And the fact that the sun setting behind the mountains from there is a fantastic sight added an extra factor into the detour.

And I am happy I took the detour since the corn was nice and high and the sunset was oh so beautiful. And this location will always remain agricultural because it is next to a power company substation. So Sarah, these photos are just for you!!!!

And yes, I went home to play with my sewing machine some more. I am experimenting with a new quilt design. Version #1 should be done soon with version #2 coming soon. I will try and take a photo of my Cobblestone and the quilts in progress tonight.


Filed under eye candy, photography

Hot Weekend

The heat has struck the mid-Atlantic finally. This past spring and early summer were very comfortable heat wise. But this past week it has been hot and nasty. My plans for the weekend were based on trying to stay cool. Although I did go to the farmer’s market and the yarn shop. I may be on a yarn diet with P but we did allow ourselves an out if we needed to purchase some yarn to complete an project. And I did not have enough of the same color of Eco-Wool in my stash that I need to knit my nephew’s Cobblestone. I finally did a gauge swatch and after talking to my nephew, I started it. And based on the yardage for the size I have cast on I need exactly 3 skeins but I have 4 skeins. I may need to lengthen it. I will have the boy try it on at some point before I finish the body. (Photos later of this nothing to show yet.)

My original plans called for going to the bookstore after the yarn shop but I got a phone call asking if I wanted to head out to West Virgina to the new cabin of my one my dad’s neighbor’s. And since I know it would be cooler up in the mountains, I quickly agreed to ride along. So I gathered up the necessary stuff for a 2 hour car ride – knitting bag, camera, and a book or two. Yes, my knitting bag contained Cobblestone. The total amount of progress on the sweater when I started was that it was cast on and joined in the round. It now measures about 4 inches.

Even in the car with the a/c, you could tell that it was hot out. About an hour from Frederick is a fantastic scenic overlook called Sideling Hill. . I love the view from this overlook and always stop and to see the valley. Even on a hot hazy day, the view is fantastic.

The trip up the mountain to the cabin was nice. But I will admit that I am happy that it wasn’t me driving. You have the rock of the mountain on one side and a guardrail on the other. And this road is a major highway!! I am just happy that it is summer because I don’t think I would want to be on this road in the winter.

We finally found the cabin and it is still under construction. But the neighbor is doing almost all of the construction himself. They are hoping to move up there next summer. I am not sure how his grandchildren who live with him will like it up there. The kids go up there on weekends but to live up there would be another story. The closest town is about 15 miles on the road in front of the house. There is literally no one around.

I like the way the lot has been cleared. Only the trees needed around the house and the garage were cleared. Of course with 18 acres of woods, a clearing or two is nice. The exerior of the house s done and the well dug but not hooked up to the house yet. While my dad and the neighbor talked, Iwandered all over the cleared part of the lot with the camera. The photo of the stream is where the water from the well is being dumped right now. When he drilled for the well, he hit an underground river. The pressure is too high to cap the well so a temporary pipe was rigged up to divert the water. There is a lot of iron in the water which is why the rocks look like they belong in a EPA clean up site.

And the weather was a bit cooler up on top of the mountain. Well cooler is a relative term. It was still in the high 80’s but there was a breeze blowing. And I did manage to get a fair bit of knitting done on the drive up there and back.


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Okay, I had another post planned for today but when I opened my email this morning, there was a message that changed the post. On the urgings of Carrie, a fantastic photographer and expat living in Banciao,Taiwan, I submitted a few of my photos to the Flickr pool for A Photo a Day from Plant Earth.

I went through my photostream last week and submitted a few to the pool. And the email this morning told me that a photo I had taken back in June was selected as the photo of the day for today, Monday, July 21, on the blog website!!!! I love the colors in this photo and am thrilled that the photo was picked. So go and check out not only my photo but the other wonderful photos taken by photographers around the world.


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Local Scenes

Okay, I could complain about the fact that I am re-doing the binding on a small quilt. The reason is that I didn’t clean and check the stash really well before heading out to the quilt store. And since the quilt is all hand dyeds, trying to find a batik that was similar in value was impossible. So the color I picked looked okay in the store against the quilt but I didn’t like it after I had almost completely sewn on the binding. But I did a little bit more cleaning and managed to find more of the hand dyed that I had used tucked away in a basket. So I frogged the binding and am almost finished sewing on the second binding. I like ever so much better this time.

It is too hot to do anything outside that is unless you are a farmer or a bee. The local farmers are late in cutting their hay this year because the spring was so wet. There is a large field nearby where they have been cutting hay for the past few days. Every time I want to stop and take some photos of it, the wind is blowing right towards where I would have to stand. And well, I think you will understand why I haven’t stopped when you see the photos. Of course the location I chose to stop at last night was a dangerous place for reasons other than the dust. Some one kept threatening to hit me with a golf ball. Of course he was also yelling at me to take this shot and that shot. But don’t worry, it was some one I know really well. I threatened to throw some rocks at him and not give him any more desserts. (Not that I would stop that. He is my taste tester along with his grand daughters.) Plus I promised his wife that I would harrass him as much as possible. Of course nothing was said about not posting him hitting balls on the internet…….

Okay, the photo didn’t want to load. BUt I have it to use later. This weekend will really hot so I will be staying indoors. I hope everyone in the DC area manages to stay cool.

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Blackberry Heaven

Okay, I must really love blackberries to suffer the bug bites that I do when I pick them. The grass this year is teaming with fleas and guess who happens to be mildly allergic to flea bites? The first item on my checklist for berry picking is Benadryl followed by nice high boots. (An old pair of fire boots works out perfect!) Because the spring was so cool. some of the canes are still flowering. I have been hoping and hoping that I would get the perfect shot one of these days for the blackberry lover – a shot with a blossom and a ripe ready to pick berry. I managed to get the blackberry lover’s shot last night. After taking this shot, it was time for Benadryl and some quit time sewing. Well there was some knitting time. I did my swatch for Cobbleston. I am getting 4.5 stitches to the inch instead of 4.75 stitches to the inch the pattern calls for. But given that I am making it for a growing boy, I am not going to worry too much about it. He likes his clothes a little bit oversized anyhow.


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Sunny Days

It is definitely summer here in the mid-Atlantic. Because of the really cool spring, everything is late in blooming and ripening. The blackberry bushes that I normally would have been picking several quarts a day off of still have a few blossoms. And it is averaging out to be about 2 quarts picked every other day.Zucchini is just starting to come in. And tomatoes are formed but not yet turning red.

The sunflowers are just starting to bloom as well. I planted sunflowers last year but mine were the smaller ones. My neighbor right behind me plants the 15 footers every year. Well the one really tall one that is growing in my flower bed is either a seed from mine last year that has had its genetic code rescrambled to be really tall or a bird dropped some of the really tall seeds into my flower bed. I am guessing the flower stalk is well over 10 feet tall. I have to use a telephoto lens to photograph it!!

The weekend was spent working on quilts. I managed to completely finish 3 little mini quilts that need to be popped into the mail. Photos of these little charmers will show up after I know they have been received. I also managed to get about half of the blocks done for French Fry’s quilt. I also decided that I needed to sew bindings and hanging sleeves (if needed) on all of the quilts that I have been getting back from the machine quilter lately. It is still a little warm even with air conditioning to be sitting under a large quilt while hand sewing the binding on but this way they will be ready when the weather turns a bit cooler. I did manage to finish sewing on the binding and hanging sleeve for one of my doll quilts. I just need to create the label and sew it on before washing it and photographing it again. And in the process of all of this finishing qork, I have actually managed to create more open space on the studio floor. I stuck firm to my new rule about cleaning for 10 minutes for every hour of sewing. I promise you there will be photos soon of some of the finished quilts.

There is some knitting going on besides the Clapotis. My nephew has asked me to knit him a sweater and he is very trusting and letting me pick the pattern and the yarn. So I am swatching for a Cobblestone for him. I have some Eco-Wool in my stash and am swatching it up to see if it will work for him. If anyone has any suggestions for a good yarn for this pattern, please let me know. I may have to make this pattern twice. I have a feeling that my brother may borrow from his son with this sweater. And that would be a nice switch from my nephew helping himself sometimes from his daddy’s closet!


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Quilting Time

It seems like I have been spending more time in the quilting studio but that is okay. I have plenty to finish up in there. Plus for every hour spent in there I am forcing myself to spend at least 10 minutes cleaning up. The progress is slow but noticeable.

I was given two antique dressers recently that need a little bit of rehab. (They spent the winter in an unheated but insulated garage.) From previous experience, I know that most of the local antique places use a nice eco-friendly product first on everything. And since I had a partial bottle on hand, I have started rehabbing the one that is in better shape first. This one will go into the quilt studio and the drawers will hold fabric and yarn. The second one needs some work done on the drawers before using it. I have someone who do the work for me but I am going to get the wood ready before he does the work. This one will go into my downstairs front room that acts as a backup studio.

Yes, I have two quilting studios. My house is an old house and the first floor is rented out as commercial space. Because of the fire code, I have to have two exits from the second floor. So the front room where the stairs lead to the front door is mine. There is a door there that allows me access to the basement as well. The tenants have no access to this room. Since it is really a spare room for me, I have been using it for storage. I have organized fabrics and stored them on a nice wire shelf unit and am sorting out all sorts of old knitting, needlepoint, and quilting magazines in that room. And this will be where the second dress will live after it has been rehabbed. Actually both of them are in that room right now.

I have 3 mini quilts to sew binding on this weekend. I will also be starting a baby quilt for a friend who is due later on in the fall. I picked out the colors for French Fry and the pattern. I think she will like it and it will represent French Fry’s American and French parents. I can’t wait to start this one.

I am knitting yet another Clapotis as well. I needed something to knit that wasn’t a sock and I wanted it to mindless. So after reaching into the stash, I found yarn that has been in there awhile and I had actually bought to make a Clapotis. So I started it. I am on the straight section right now and while be for awhile. I am using a DK weight yarn and a smaller needle with plenty of yarn so the shawl will be longer. And while digging for that particular yarn, I came across some Noro Silk Garden that I think will leaving my stash. So if you are interested in trading something for some Silk Garden, let me know. The link will take you to my Ravelry stash page so you can see the color.

It is blackberry time, so I am out picking every day now. And it is zucchini time. I need to pick some tonight for dinner. I also need to make sure I have everything I need for dinner Sunday night since I am cooking for some family friends. They used to own an extremely popular restaurant near by but sold it in the fall. He is a chef but that doesn’t scare me. It is pulling together a menu based on a few different Arabic cookbooks that I own that is daunting. I love Arabic food and that is what I have chosen to cook. I am doing the cooking at my father’s house since it is easier and he has more room. Who knows, I may even invite my brother and his family over. Dinner won’t be until after evening Mass but the kids don’t have school now.


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