Exeter Murals & An Act of Kindness

Citrus grove mural photo

Citrus Grove Mural, Exeter CA

Talk about creativity! This small town in central California has over twenty murals painted on the sides of their downtown buildings. What an amazing feat. The curator of the cultural center there told us that these murals have saved their little town. It is now a stop on the way to or from Sequoia National Park for visitors from around the world. The art depicts scenes from the local area throughout the years. Here are a couple more of the murals:

Poppies and Lupine mural photo

Poppies and Lupine

Mountains with detail photo

Mountains with Detail Photos

We spent a delightful time wandering the streets looking for the murals, and stopped for lunch at a  great restaurant too!

One person in Exeter also helped me to restore my faith in human kindness. Shortly after we arrived, I pulled my camera out of my pocket to photograph a mural when unbeknownst to me, I also pulled out my credit card, and it flitted to the ground. A shopkeeper nearby stopped us as we walked by her shop and told us it looked like we had dropped something, and sure enough, when we returned, we found the credit card sitting there on the sidewalk. Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! Needless to say, before we left town, we made sure we bought something from that wonderful woman.

If you’re ever near Exeter, CA, be sure to stop by…it is a real treat.

A Little Spring Color

Two yellow roses photo

Spring Roses

I’ve been working on my afghan for so long, my blog is sort of looking like a snowstorm, all white, and no color. So to brighten it up a bit, here are a few photos I took this  morning while I was on my walk.

Everywhere I look, beautiful flowers are blooming and after the rain of the past few days, everything smells fresh and clean.

Purple Pansy photo

Purple Pansy

Pink Blossom photo

Pink Blossom

Flower photo

Pretty Flower

If anyone out there knows what kind of flower this is, please let me know. I don’t have a clue. I just think it is very pretty and delicate. It opens up every morning and closes again every evening.

Building Blocks 4, 5 & 6

Building Block #4 photo

Building Block #4

Block four reminds me of a fleur de lis pattern. This pattern introduced the skill of decreasing  by using knit 2 together (k2tog) for a right leaning decrease, and knit 2 together through the back loop (k2tog tbl) for a left leaning decrease. This was a good review, and easy to knit.

Building Block #5 photo

Building Block #5

Oh my, I do love cables. Remember, if you hold the cable needle in the back, the left side of the cable will cross over the right. If you hold the cable needle in the front, the right side will cross over the left. I loved Michelle Hunter’s phrase, “I’ll be right back.” to help remember that to cross left OVER RIGHT you keep the cable needle in the BACK. The center cable is one I had never made before and is knitted by first doing a cable back stitch, then a cable front stitch. In this case it was made over 12 stitches, so the first six were cable back, and the second six were cable front. I like the look.

Building Block #6 photo

Building Block #6

Building Block #6 Close-up photo

Building Block #6 Close-up

The right twist stitch (RT) used in block six are very pretty, and fun to knit. And to top it off, they are really easy to make! Here’s the stitch: Knit two stitches together, leaving them on the left needle, then go back and knit the first stitch again and move both stitches from the left to the right needle. Purl the even rows. You will have to knit one stitch at the beginning and end of each repeat every other row to get the spiral effect.  (Cast on 6 sts. Row 1 : RT  3 x, Rows 2 & 4: Purl, Row 3: K1, RT 2x, K1) I hope that makes sense. Here’s a video that explains it all: Knit Purl Hunter/ Right Twist Video

I also like the variation that Michelle Hunter did with the stockinette stitch. It is called the Fleck Stitch, and all you do is add a K, P row instead of K every fourth row. It breaks up the stockinette and I think it adds a lot of interest and texture.

Have you used any of these stitches in your projects? I’d love to hear about it.

My Very Sad-looking Shawl Pin Prototype

I needed something else to occupy my creative urges, so I decided to try jewelry making. Well, actually not jewelry, but a shawl pin made of wire and beads. Now please understand, I have absolutely no experience. Just a cheap pack of tools I got from JoAnn’s, some 12 gauge copper wire I had to strip myself from the hardware store and a zip lock bag of supplies someone had given me, and an idea.

First off, I drew a rough sketch of my intended pin.

Shawl Pin sketch photo

Shawl Pin Sketch

That sat in my idea book for about three weeks, then last week I went out to find my wire. I was looking for 12 gauge bare copper and aluminum wire. I looked at my local big box stores, and neither one had bare wire, so I settled for the coated copper wire they had. I brought it home, and it sat for another week. This morning I cleaned off my workspace, and began cutting and pulling the plastic coating off the wire. Of course, I marked the wire all up with the wire cutter and pliers I was using, but I figured it was okay because after all, this is just the prototype.

After I got the wire cleaned up and cut, I searched my bead stash (the zip lock bag full of supplies) only to discover that I didn’t have any beads with holes big enough for this size wire. I didn’t want to go out and look for beads this morning, so decided to make a bead with some of the gold-colored wire that came in my stash bag. (I know, copper and gold?) So, I twisted and turned the wire until it approximated the size bead I wanted, and pushed it up to the center of the wire.

Next, I proceeded to twist and turn the large copper wire to the shape I wanted. Oh my, my wire is so crinkled now! I’m sure there must be a way to bend the wire without all the wrinkles, but I guess I’ll need to do some more research on that before I try prototype #2.

I finally bent the wire into my desired shape, and filed the wire ends with sandpaper so they wouldn’t poke the wearer.

S0….here’s the big reveal…

Shawl Pin Prototype photo

Shawl Pin Prototype

And here it is in a shawl…Shawl Pin in Shawl photoThe good news is, it holds the shawl closed really well, and doesn’t’ have any pointy ends sticking you!

If anyone has any suggestions about how to improve my wire technique, I’m all ears!

Happy Crafting!

The Lookout

The Lookout, written by Matt Politano, performed by Matt Politano, piano, Reggie Padilla, sax, Abe Lagrimas, Jr., drums, and Dean Taba, bass.

I am so lucky to have talented musicians in my life! Their musical creativity  brings me great joy. I hope you enjoyed watching one of my son’s original jazz compositions as much as I do.

Block #3

Block #3 close-up photo

Bobbles & Yarn Overs Close-up

block #3 photo

Bobbles & Yarn Overs

This was a fun block to knit. I don’t think I’ve ever made bobbles before, and it was fun and easy. As with all the instructions for her Building Blocks afghan, Michelle Hunter provides easy to follow written instructions along with her very informative videos on bobbles and yarn overs.