Wednesday, April 24, 2013


 Dave and I went to Reno over the weekend for his bowling tournament.  April 18th usually has halfway decent weather 'round these parts but not this year.  We drove to the airport in blizzard conditions.  I was wearing my Keen sandal shoes with socks and had to walk through slush getting to and from the car.  They are my all-weather travel shoes because I wear them alone when warm and with socks if chilly.  I learned they are not winter shoes.
 I had never flown in winter conditions and was a little nervous watching them de-ice the planes!  Sitting in the airport and looking out the windows, all you could see was WHITE.  Because of the weather, everything was delayed or canceled.  We  made it to Denver but missed our connecting flight to Reno.  Southwest then flew us to San Diego and we spent the night in the airport to catch the 0620 flight to Las Vegas with a connecting flight to Reno.  Laying low in the airport wouldn't have been so bad if they didn't JACK HAMMER ALL NIGHT.  We didn't have a good first day of vacation.

 We enjoyed some great views of the mountains as we flew on to Reno.  We never found out if this was Lake Tahoe or not.
 Here is a shot of the National Bowling Stadium where Dave bowled 9 games.  The team met at 1900 on Saturday for the first 3 games and again at 0700 on Sunday for the last 6.  I brought my knitting and got through 2/3 of a sock while watching all that.
 Speaking of knitting...I ventured out to Jimmy Beans Wool while Dave did a little gambling at the casino.  I rode the hotel shuttle to the airport and then took a taxi to the store.  I'd seen Jimmy Beans ads in my knitting magazines and was quite excited to go!  It was 3 miles from the airport in kind of a funny business park location but well worth the trip.
 They had a great selection of yarns and kits as well as fabric and a small selection of beads.  This store does a lot of mail order business too.  Since I didn't have Dave along with me, I got to take my time and wander around looking at everything while making my choices.
I got some Koigu PPP for a baby sweater and some socks, some Lorna's Laces worsted for a baby jacket, some coordinating Shibui, some Madelinetosh for socks, some superwash Malabrigo for a shawlette pattern from the store and a ball of Painted Desert sock yarn.
 I have to say there really isn't a lot to DO in Reno in the downtown area.  It is all hotel/casinos and motels.  The big hotel/casinos had some shops in them but there isn't really any shopping downtown or even souvenirs.  We saw a few liquor stores with souvenirs but I wasn't interested in shot glasses or ashtrays.  I liked all the vintage signs but you could walk around and see them all in an afternoon.  I think we saw more shops/restaurants/eateries that were closed up or for lease.  I don't know if the downtown is drying up or maybe it was still a little too early in the season.  We rode the Sierra Spirit bus up to the University to the Historical Society to learn a little about the area.  You would have thought we were local celebrities because they were just thrilled that a couple from Minnesota wanted to come to their museum.  They didn't even charge us admission!  Reno is 220,000ish people and the rest of the non-downtown city that we saw was just a normal city.  Downtown is great if all you want to do is bowl or drink or gamble.
Downtown was OK during the day, but at night the drunks and panhandlers were out and you had to be mindful of where you were walking.  I took so many pictures of the signs during the day but didn't get too many of them lit up at night because I just didn't like being out on the street after dark.

 Saw lots of police but only one Sheriff's Department vehicle.  Sadly we didn't see Lt. Dangle.  I watched a lot of Reno 911! prior to the trip.  That show is a guilty pleasure of mine!

On Sunday after bowling, we walked down Sierra Street to the Reno Bead Shop.  I got some turquoise and some size 8/0 seed beads for knitting.  I also picked up some corral beads and some size 11/0 seed beads.  I just loved the mint green ones.  They remind me of jadeite bowls.  We checked out the river walk and enjoyed the 78 degree weather while out walking.

It was an OK trip.  Even though it wasn't targeted for me, I still got to do the 2 things I wanted to do while on a bowling field trip.  Our flight home was uneventful but we landed in Minneapolis in the middle of a winter storm warning and came home to THIS!  Enough already Mother Nature!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Time me

 The census on my floor was really down all week so I enjoyed a few days on call and cranked out a new bead knitted purse.  I have quite a few BagLady purse frames I snapped up on clearance years ago.

 These beads started life as a curtain tieback I purchased on clearance at Walmart about a thousand years ago.  It was a Trading Spaces decorating accessory and they were strung onto wire and the wire braided.  I would never have used it as a tieback but just loved the colors so I pulled the wire out and strung the beads onto nylon thread to be used for bead knitting.

I know I've mentioned before that transferring the beads from the nylon thread to the perle cotton is the worst part.  You tie a knot in the nylon and tighten it around the end of your perle cotton and then slide the beads onto the thread.  If the beads are on the smaller side, you hit some tight ones every now and then and you get stuck or the thread can snap.  I've even cut my hands on the nylon from pulling.  It is worse than any nasty paper cut I've ever had.  The end of the perle cotton also becomes worn and frayed from all the sliding and needs to be trimmed as you go.  Here is my little dish of snipped nylon and perle cotton thread and beads that didn't make the cut.

I bought some gold satiny fabric, probably acetate, years ago at a garage sale for a quarter and actually liked the darker wrong side better for this project.  I traced around the finished knitted piece and cut this fabric out about 1/2" wider on all sides.  I  machine stitched up the sides, turned under the edges and pinned it to the knitting after it was sewn to the purse frame.
The lining was hand stitched to the knitting and was probably the fussiest part of the whole ordeal.  This would have worked much better with a curved/upholstery needle and I could have sworn I had a few but do you think I could find them?  I'll have to keep my eye open for some.
You can't really see the design of the purse but the increases look like petals.  I wish there was more contrast between the background thread and the beads but if I used a darker color, the greens would be lost.  I am pleased with how it turned out and I still can't believe I cranked it out in less than a week!  I still have plenty of the bead mixture left over.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Beaded Wrist Warmers

 I have felt the need to do some bead knitting in the form of beaded wrist warmers.  Lord knows I have lots of beads but I don't have an abundant supply of of solid colored fingering weight yarn.  I recently discovered an excellent yarn shop near me that I can drive to by myself (!!!) and I picked up a few skeins of appropriately colored yarn.  This is M & K Alpaca Silk which was soft and wonderful to work with.

Now for the beads.  These are some size 9 Martha Blue colored seed beads I bought from an embroidery/yarn shop in Thirsk, England.  Mom and I were in town visiting James Herriot's surgery and this was a lovely little souvenir.  The most tedious part of bead knitting is stringing your beads on nylon thread and then transferring them onto your knitting yarn.  Size 9 beads work perfectly with fingering weight yarn but that size can be hard to find.  Gutermann beads are size 9 and sometimes sold in racks in quilt shops or fabric stores.

Using size 0 needles, I cast on 50 stitches and used this charted pattern for the design.  I used a provisional cast on, undid it at the end, and used a three needle bind off to join the edges.  My nieces were quite interested in these so I might be making more for some birthdays later in the year.