Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Poncho

Vintage Crocheted Poncho - 1970

I've made a few ponchos in my day. I used to knit them in the late 1960s, early 1970s. My standard construction was to make two long strips and join them so that they formed a triangle (see diagram below). Later, I began crocheting strips to form the two pieces. These have been rather successful and I find I can throw on a poncho any old time and be comfortable and warm. Ponchos are very convenient outerwear.
2-Piece Poncho Construction
Lately, I've been noticing the asymmetrical poncho. In recent years, the knitting and crochet communities have made this style quite popular. It's even easier to put together than the traditional poncho. Basically, it's just one long piece, joined along one side, like the diagram below.

When you're wearing this style of poncho, it hangs slightly skewed so that the triangle point hangs in front. It can be quite fetching!  My knit group friend, Barbara makes this type of poncho all the time. She likes to utilize Tunisian crochet. Putting together all kinds of great yarn and color combinations, Barbara comes up with some wonderful designs.
Two of Barbara's Asymmetrical Ponchos
Barbara inspired a few of us at the Ocean Park Fiber Artists Group to try our hand at this style of poncho. I'm using some yarn that has been in my stash for almost a decade! It's called Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektgarn. It's a self-striping yarn, fingering weight, in brown, rust and beige. The pattern I'm crocheting is from "Call The Midwife Baby Blanket." I've used this pattern numerous times in other projects. It's satisfying, easy, but not boring to crochet.
Ellen's Asymmetrical Poncho in progress
The yarn is scratchy, but once it is soaked and blocked it makes a very warm and comfortable garment. I've finished crocheting one large skein and I'm more than half-way through the second and last skein. This poncho will be perfect for our upcoming spring weather!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Desert X

Today, along with Larry, Leah and Nancy we visited two Desert X locations in the Palm Springs area. Desert X is an art project with various locations throughout the area. Usually, they have something to do with their locations. Our first stop was Julian Hoeber's "Going Nowhere Pavilion." It was a wall made out of rose-color cinder blocks in a mobius form. Set against the blue sky, it was quite striking with many different viewpoints

Ellen and Leah
Our next stop was "Ghost Palm" by Katie Ryan. In the words of the artist, "Ghost Palm" mimics what already exists in the proximity to it, repositioning itself in nature in an homage."
We really liked "Ghost Palm." The wind was moving the leaves exactly like a real palm tree, but because the installation was made from mylar and plastic, it shone and shimmered in the desert light!

Ellen and Nancy

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Friday, February 15, 2019

Valentine's Day 2019

Sharing the Love @ HBO

Valentine's Day fell on a Thursday this year. I went to work in the pouring ran, not exactly a fun way to start off the day. We received Candy Grams at work. There were sweets all over the office. In spite of the rain, everyone was in a good mood.
Larry and I usually go out to dinner, but to a neighborhood place, nothing fancy. We do create Valentine cards for each other.
I continued with my recent fried-egg scrubbie theme and performed some rudimentary PhotoShop for my Valentine to Larry:
Corny, but cute. Click on image to view larger
Larry's Valentine to me was in a more personal vein.  I've been after him to get a haircut for a month. He can get fairly shaggy looking. So, in essence, my Valentine's gift was Larry getting a haircut. SO ROMANTIC!

Larry did treat me to dinner at one of our favorite local Mexican restaurants, Taqueria Los Anaya. We had a yummy dinner of Mango chicken and Tequila Pasta! Gracias, mi amor!
Mango Chicken, Cactus Salad
Fettucini w/Tequila Sauce and Chicken
I hope everyone had a delightful Valentine's Day celebration!
Cantaloupe Juice

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Pre-Valentine's Day at HBO

Cakes, cupcakes, cookies and more crafted by HBO Employees

Oh the love! Yes, it's a sweet love-fest at HBO today. We always have a bake auction to benefit charity just before Valentine's Day. It's rather a nice way to pick up a fancy treat for your honey and donate to a good cause at the same time!
Bob Einstein recently passed away. He was a cast member on "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
I was very impressed by all of the professional looking baked goods!

I bid on a few items, but was out-bid.  To my surprise, my boss, David bid on my Spiced Coconut Pecan Bundt Cake and won it, among other sweets!  Thank you, David! 
David's Haul
David G. 
It's also Girl Scout Cookie Day here at HBO. The sugar rush is killin' me! Happy Valentine's Day!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019


I'm always crocheting SOMETHING. I also have a few knit projects on the back burner. I just finished my scrubbies for the Ravelry Annual Scrubbie Swap. A scrubbie is basically a small washcloth. Some people use them for scrubbing pots and pans, dishes, etc. Others use them as buff-puffs or mini-facial exfoliating cloths.
I've made many scrubbies over the years, but my favorite is this year's project.  I've been wanting to make this fried egg scrubbie for years. I finally dove in last week. This is a  free Japanese pattern called the "Sunny-Side-Up Tawashi" by Hamanaka Kikaku. The directions are in Japanese, but there is a chart. Basically, the white of the egg is a circle with some longer stitches spaced around the edges. The yolk of the egg is a crocheted circle, sewed on to the white part of the egg. I stuffed a small bit of yellow cotton into the yolk before sewing. I'm quite pleased with the result!
Diagram for "Sunny-Side-Up Tawashi"

We are supposed to make tags for our scrubbies, mail them off to Scrubbie Central. Eventually, we will receive three different scrubbies back. Here's my tag:
Tag for Tawashi, with crocheted bacon and eggs

I also have a "couch" project ongoing. I'm making an afghan with my leftover bits of acrylic yarn called "The Circus Blanket" by Emma Varnam. Instead of using the corner to corner stitch like in the pattern, I'm crocheting each square with the triangle granny stitch. It's a fairly fast blanket to crochet and SO colorful!
I love how the ripple stripes are created out of triangles and squares!

My Human Blanket Caddy
I have an ongoing crochet project using this Kauni, self-striping yarn. It's a poncho that is a long rectangle. Eventually, once I finish crocheting the piece it will be folded in half with an opening for the neck. This creates a nice asymmetrical poncho. I hope I finish before the weather gets warm!
This is becoming a poncho!

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Friday, February 08, 2019

Ameripolitan Music

The stage is set

Yesterday was Nashville Day at my office, HBO. Just before the Grammys (when they are held in Los Angeles), we are lucky enough to have a "guitar pull" with some of the roots country and western musicians, usually from Nashville. This year, Michael Franti accompanied by Victoria Canal, Tom Morello, Logan Ledger, John Paul White, Amos Lee, Mickey Raphael and T Bone Burnett graced us with a few songs. I must admit, the only names I really knew were Tom Morello, T Bone Burnett and Mickey Raphael. The name Amos Lee sounded familiar. I was blown away with ALL of the performances! What a talented group of musicians.
Top left: Tom Morello, Michael Franti. Right: Mickey Raphael. Bottom Row, L-R: Logan Ledger, John Paul White, T Bone Burnett
All performed original songs in a round-robin format. Mickey Raphael, best known as the harmonica player in Willie Nelson's band, accompanied a few of the musicians. I was blown away by Logan Ledger. He has an album coming out soon, produced by T Bone Burnett. Ledger's songs were true C & W, in the Bill Anderson, Merle Haggard mode. Look out, Dale Watson!
Tom Morello and Logan Ledger
Our lobby makes a great theater!

For the finale, Tom Morello led us all in a rousing rendition of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," which should be our national anthem!

Bandleader, Paul Shaffer was in attendance
It really was a great afternoon. I'd have to say, that in the 10 years we've been having "Nashville Day," this was the BEST concert EVER. We even had a delicious lunch provided for us from Papa Cristos Greek restaurant!
To see a few more photos of this great afternoon, click HERE
All photos by Larry Underhill

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Monday, February 04, 2019

Welcome! Again

My 5th Welcome Blanket

I just completed my fifth Welcome Blanket.  This is such a worthwhile project. The blankets are small, 40" x 40." This is a perfect size to wrap around your shoulders or place on your lap. I like to think of these blankets as a HUG for newcomers to our country. Read about the project HERE. You will also find all of the instructions and how to participate at this site.
The project has been traveling around the country to different art museums. The first phase was in Chicago, then Atlanta, now the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Mass. is receiving, cataloging, displaying and re-sending the blankets. The deadline for this phase is March 1, 2019. I'm glad I finished in time.
I've been participating in this project since the beginning. I was most pleased when I saw my  blanket displayed on the wall in a photograph from The Smart Museum in Chicago, 2017.
Ellen's Blanket, top left, Smart Museum, Chicago, 2017

The designer of the original "Come Together" blanket is Kat  Coyle. Kat owns and operates the Little Knittery yarn shop in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, CA. Her idea for the triangle design was that knitting triangular squares is portable and not as daunting as making an entire blanket in one piece. Also, many people can contribute squares for one blanket. Using the triangles, you can come up with so many different configurations. I decided to crochet my blankets, instead of knitting them. I found an online tutorial for granny triangles. 
Here are a few of my Welcome Blankets:


I really enjoy making these blankets in-between other projects. I saw this Circus Blanket on Instagram and am toying with making a smaller version for a Welcome Blanket!

The Welcome Blanket is an excellent project for your knitting and/or crochet group! Come on! Join me in welcoming newcomers to our shores.

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery