Friday, September 30, 2016

Selling Spindles

Yesterday was a very busy day for me. After Bob and I drove into Knoxville for some shipping supplies, I listed 12 Turkish and supported spindles for sale on Ravelry. The Jenkins Kuchulu was the first to be snapped up (within 5 minutes of posting the spindle sale!) with the other Jenkins spindles quickly following. The Spanish Peacock and Enid Ashcroft Tibetans sold after that, plus the Grizzly Mountain arts lap bowl and an IST Crafts Turk. I still have two lovely IST Crafts Turkish spindles for sale, plus a Jeri Brock Turk and a Grizzly Mountain Arts Tibetan support spindle. All this means nothing, of course, if you are not into spindle spinning! I love using these, but I still kept some for myself and, really, do I need so many? I think not. My days of just collecting are over.
 My IST Crafts spindles. The one one the top right has been sold.
Jeri Brock Turkish spindle in "Leaves" pattern.
The top spindle in this group of three is still available. A Grizzly Mountain Arts Pear Tahkli.

Anyone interested in any of these spindles will find more details on my Ravelry page here.

All this kept me busy all afternoon and into the evening, responding to questions and packaging up spindles and preparing them for shipping out today. The good news is that I now have the funds for a new Ashford Joy 2 spinning wheel that has been ordered from Jill Sanders of Saori Santa Cruz, who is a brand new Ashford dealer. Jill has been a moderator for the Ashford Knitters Loomies for years and knows Ashford products inside and out, so this dealership is a great fit for her.

Today (Friday) I will send out spindles to their new homes and hopefully do a little sewing. It's been nice staying in this week and focusing on projects.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Auggie's New Collar and Leash

Last night I warped up my inkle loom and wove a band long enough for two collars for Auggie. That way I will be able to recycle the hardware and give him a fresh collar when it starts to look old. So today I sewed a new collar and leash set. The leash is 1/2" wide and the collar is just a bit wider, closer to an inch. I think he looks pretty good in them, don't you?

The hardware from that collar is over five years old. I just cut the old collar up and re-use it for the next one. And here is the draft for the 1" band.

Apart from sewing the collar, I pulled out my Turkish spindles and support spindles in preparation for selling a bunch of them.  I haven't been using them much lately and have decided to sell some in order to pay for a new spinning wheel. The one I'm getting is an Ashford Joy 2, with a travel bag. This wheel folds up and will fit into my fiber closet far better than my last wheel did. I have missed having a spinning wheel. Tomorrow I will get shipping supplies, take some glam shots of the spindles, and post them on Ravelry for sale.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Writing a Research Paper Efficiently

This is the method of writing papers that I used in college which saved me a lot of time. I have decided to just put it here so it can help as many people as possible. 

What’s the hardest part of writing a research paper? Is it taking the notes? Writing the body of the paper? This method combines these two parts and saves a lot of work. So come up with a thesis and let's begin!

1.     Gather your sources
Begin with the books or periodicals. Take your laptop to the library, or look at professional journal articles online and find sources that you want to use as references. Start a document titled “Bibliography” and, using standard MLA or whatever form your teacher requires, write out a complete bibliography reference for each source. Put these notations in alphabetical order, and list them A-Z, with a letter for however many sources you are using.

Your bibliography is done (except for removing the numbers when cleaning up your paper.) Save your document.

2.      Note taking
This is the most important part of my time-saving method. Follow this to the “T” and you will save so much time. You may have learned to take notes on index cards, by hand. Crazy! That is just making work for yourself. Instead, take notes on the computer using this format:
Start a new document and call it “Notes.”  Find an interesting fact that you want to include in your paper. Where did it come from? Your third source on your bibliography, perhaps? Write a C at the start of your note. Then, WRITE THE FACT IN YOUR OWN WORDS AND IN A COMPLETE SENTENCE. Don’t skip this part and figure you will re-write it later. That’s doing twice the work you need to do. Don't plagiarize (must I really say that?) Occasionally you may use a quote, but don't over-do quotations. If you use a quote, use quotation marks and add the source at the end, in the format you need to use for your final paper. Next, add a title to your note. Here is an example of a completed note using a quotation:

C  (referencing source #3) Giving Medication (title I have given to this note)
William Barnes felt strongly that “…pills should never be given when the patient is in a prone position.” * William H. Barnes, Swallowing Disorders, (New Delhi, India: Oxford University Press, 1991), 100-101.

Press Enter twice and continue writing your notes. Take at least one good notation for each source, leaving a space between each note. If you can’t find anything to take notes on in a particular source, remove the source from your bibliography. If you add a new source later, add it to your bibliography and label it, for example, D-1, if it is inserted after your D source. When you have gone through all your sources and have written your notes, congratulations! Your paper is essentially done.

3.     Outline
You will now write your outline. Start a new document, titled “Outline.” You have taken your notes and should now have a pretty good idea of how your paper should flow. Write your outline, using the titles from each of your notes as a guideline.
Here is a guide to helping to write your outline, that I did NOT come up with myself. A professor gave it to her students in class a few years ago and I include this to help with composing your outline.

General Statement about the Topic
Main Points


First Paragraph - Main Point
Supporting Details
Supporting Details
Concluding Sentence

Second Paragraph - Main Point
Supporting Details
Supporting Details
Concluding Sentence

Third Paragraph - Main Point
Supporting Details
Supporting Details
Concluding Sentence

For longer papers, continue adding paragraphs.

General statement about the Topic
Summary of the main points used to prove the thesis

4.      Rough Draft
This is where it gets fun. Start a new document titled “Rough Draft,” and save it. Now, copy your outline into this document. Open your “Notes” document and copy it all, then paste it into the bottom of your “Rough Draft” document. You now have an outline and notes in “Rough Draft.” Look at your first note. Where does it fit into your outline, according to the title of the note? Cut and paste it into the outline. Do the same for each note, putting it where it makes sense in the outline. Remove the “A”s, “B”s, “C”s, etc, and the titles and put the footnotes where they belong. Your rough draft is done! Save it.

5.      Finished Paper
Copy your rough draft into a new document. The paper is almost finished now. All that is left is to add connecting words. “Therefore,” “In addition,” etc. to make the sentences flow. Re-arrange sentence order if necessary. Copy your bibliography to the end of your paper, removing the “A”s, “B”s, “C”s, etc.

Make sure you retain your original documents of Notes, Outline, and Rough Draft, separate from your final paper—this is essential in case a teacher wants you at a later date to prove that you did your own work. 

That’s it! Hope this helps.

Möbius Cowl

Yesterday I woke up with the burning need to write an essay on how to write a research paper by taking notes on the computer. This was a method I used when I was in school and it streamlined the process so much. I wrote 30 page papers with 20 sources in half the time it would have taken me with handwritten notes.

I know, I'm very weird. Sometimes I just have to write on a particular topic, and this one woke me up at 4:30 am and wouldn't let me rest until it was written. When it was done, I had no idea of what to do with it. So I emailed it to my son in law, Anthony, who is in college.  He may not ever use my method but that's ok. I wrote the essay and I can move on.

We left Pidgeon Forge on Monday and drove the 47 miles to Heiskell, TN, where we will stay for a week. Heiskell is near Knoxville so we can get a feel for that city.

In the meantime, I have finished my Saori-style Möbius Cowl and I'm very pleased with it.
I think it will be fun to wear. There is a Weave A-Long (WAL) going on in the Ravelry group called Weaving in the Saori Way, where people have been creating the most beautiful projects. Mine is all cotton and should be light enough for winter wear in Snowbird Country.

Today we have plans to check out Knoxville.  I need a particular color of yarn I can only find at Hobby Lobby so I can weave Auggie's collar. I'm planning to make some homemade pasta with a nice marinara sauce for dinner, therefore we will run by WalMart for supplies for that meal. We are expecting a pleasant weather-day with temperatures about 80 degrees. I'm looking forward to today.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Bear!

Bob and I have changed from being early risers to enjoying the laziness of staying in bed until 7:00 or even 8:00, but not today! We set the alarm for 6:00 am this Sunday morning and were out of the coach at 6:40. Why? We were off to Cades Cove in the Smokey Mountains National Park.

In the Smokey Mountains, a "cove" is a fairly flat valley between mountains or ridges. This particular cove, according to the brochure, is a "showcase for some of the most inspiring natural and cultural treasures that the Southern Appalachian Mountains have to offer." High praise, indeed. We decided to go early and hopefully see wildlife.

It was dark when we headed out and at one point ended up turning left when we should have turned right, leading us nearly 50 miles out of our way. But you won't hear us complain about that, because while we were merrily tootling along in the wrong direction, we saw a BEAR!
He (or she) was rooting around in the leaves right next to the road and hung around long enough for us to sit there in our car, perhaps 12 feet away, while we took one picture after another. What a thrill! I have never seen one outside a zoo. Later we caught a far off glimpse of another one climbing a tree.

After a kindly couple of walkers told us how to get back to the road towards Cades Cove, we turned around and completed the drive. It's a winding, narrow road to get to the Cove, running alongside a lovely creek. We saw wild turkeys and a deer along the way, and the sun was just peeking over the mountains.
By the time we arrived at the one-way Cades Cove Loop, we could see the smoke-like mist that gives the Smokey Mountains their name.
What a lovely place. The Loop is 11 miles long and provides a look into the past, when farmers worked the land. There are several old farmhouses and three churches along the ride.

We took one more look before continuing on. What a joy it must have been to live in this area a hundred years ago, surrounded with such beauty. We feel very fortunate to be able to see it protected in a National Park for all to enjoy.
Tomorrow morning we leave Pigeon Forge and move on to Heiskell, Tennessee, about 40 miles from where we are camped now.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Smokey Mountain Spinnery

We are really enjoying our time here in Pigeon Forge, TN. While the campground is a little tight on space, people are very friendly and easy to talk with, and there are little spots that are private and welcoming.
I have started weaving a new möbius cowl, Saori-style, on my 12" Ashford Knitters Loom, and am enjoying the clasped weft technique. I took all the shades of turquoise that I had in cotton and threw them into this piece, with a little pop of teal, red, and orange. When the scarf portion of this has been woven I will weave part of the fringe together to make a circle and (hopefully) a twist.
Yesterday Bob and I drove into Gatlinburg, TN, about 25 minutes away, to check out a weaving and spinning shop called the Smokey Mountain Spinnery.
This place is amazing, with a wonderful selection of looms, spinning wheels, yarns, and knitting and rug hooking supplies. I had done a little bit of rug hooking as a teenager, and may just get into it again one day. But not right away--I think I have enough to keep me busy!
The owner of the shop, Tamie Parton (I didn't ask her if she was related to you-know-who) was very friendly and knowledgable. I found some 5/2 cotton colors I'll need for some upcoming bands I want to weave. 

Later, we drove through some gorgeous country, stopped at Walmart for some necessities, and went home to relax. I got some more weaving done and baked some homemade sesame seed burger buns for dinner, to go with our hamburgers that Bob grilled to perfection. Yum. Juicy burgers from the grill on homemade buns, and a nice green salad. No one eats better than we do!

Thursday, September 22, 2016


I have always been a Dolly Parton fan. Weeks ago, I was talking with my daughter Catherine about our plans to add Dollywood to our itinerary and she said, "I have a friend who works there--I'll ask him about free passes." Lo and behold, within a few days, two free passes appeared in my email inbox from Catherine's friend (who goes by the name of Jaz online.) On Wednesday, we headed over there.

Pigeon Forge has a really nice public transportation system. We had the option of driving our car and parking at Dollywood, where a free tram would pick us up near our car and take us to the gate, or else  we could park at Patriot Park not too far from us and taking us to the gate from there. Since parking at Dollywood is $12 for a car (oversized vehicles are $18) and the trolley costs 50 cents per person each way, it was really a no-brainier. Fast, easy, inexpensive, and convenient.

Dollywood has loads of different things to see and do. It is laid out very nicely, with areas of extreme beauty.
They claim to make "the best cinnamon rolls in the world" here. Of course, they have not sampled MY cinnamon rolls. ;)
This lovely church actually holds Sunday services weekly. Detailed pictorial quilts on the walls in the style of stained glass windows add a lovely touch.
There are a lot of eagle-themed elements in the park. Dollywood has the largest exhibit of non-releasable American Bald Eagles in the world here.
We rode the Dollywood Express on a five mile loop around the park. This was our only ride we took, but we sure had fun watching people scream as they rode huge roller coasters (and there are a lot of roller coasters at this park!)
Do you recognize these faces? We saw walls of photos of Dolly with other celebrities. Fascinating. There are several small museums at Dollywood, including a reproduction cabin depicting where Dolly Parton grew up. There's a gospel music museum. Another one has a large collection of her beautiful costumes.
Her Prevost motorcoach can be toured. She sure traveled in luxury!
You could also see shows throughout the day. Magic shows, animal shows, music... so much to do and see!
There were restaurants, water rides, demonstration of mountain crafts, and loads of shopping.Whew! We walked over 6,000 steps, according to my step-tracker. Enough to work off our lunch, I'm sure.

Eventually, we decided to call it a day, found the trolley stop and rode back to our car. I can see why this is such a big attraction, one that everyone should visit at least once. We are very grateful for the passes that allowed us to see Dollywood. Thanks, Jaz!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Things to do in Pigeon Forge, TN

On Tuesday Bob and I spent some time checking out the area. We found the Lodge Cast Iron store...
 ...which was a lot of fun to go through. There are only four Lodge stores in the country. Three are in Tennessee and one is in Georgia. They will ship anywhere, if there's something you need and you can't find a store in your area.
 We passed some very interesting places, like this upside-down building that houses Wonder Works, an indoor amusement park with an inversion tunnel, rock climbing, mind ball, and a bed of nails.
MagiQuest is a live action role-playing game place in which players take the role of magic users. Players, called Magi in the game, use an infra-red emitting wand to interact with objects, scattered throughout the location.
And I had no idea that Paula Deen has her own restaurant. Most of the food is fried, as would be expected, but it's supposed to be tasty. Not sure we will eat there, though.

Across from Paula Deen's Family Kitchen was a shoe store where I found some Birkenstock sandals to buy. Score!

There's so much to do around here. There are shows all over, a NASCAR SpeedPark, zip lines, America's longest swinging bridge, a Ninja Warrior park, horseback riding, helicopter tours, dinner theaters, and magic shows. And there's Dollywood. Tomorrow I will tell you all about our visit there!

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Road to Pigeon Forge, TN

As I write this, Bob and I are nestled into our campground in Pigeon Forge, TN for the next seven days. We left Pennsylvania on Saturday, driving 136 miles to Falling Waters, WV. Our campground there was adequate for a 1 night stay and we met some very nice folks to visit with. The next morning we were on our way, traveling 217 miles to Dixie Caverns, Virginia, where the campground featured an antiques mall and a rock shop. What fun to browse around!  I was very good, though, and walked away without spending any money. Sometimes I just have to window shop.

After some showers overnight, we had great traveling weather with big puffy clouds over beautiful vistas.

Today we drove 237 miles, and we have had no significant problems along the way to Pigeon Forge. Dollywood is closed tomorrow (Tuesday) but we plan to visit it on Wednesday. There are a lot of other attractions in the area so we won't lack things to do. I can't wait to get out there and check out the area.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Little Projects

We have had a nice couple of days here in Beavertown, PA, relaxing and catching up on little projects before moving south. The campground here is full of RVs that are used as seasonal vacation spots and are empty during the week, so we have had a lot of peace, quiet, and privacy.

We sent these photos to TechnoRV this week of the mounting set up Bob has devised for our wifi booster tube. He attached it to two pieces of PVC pipe that screw together and make a long pole for mounting the booster on the ladder of the coach.

In these photos you can also see the brackets that Bob added to the pole, which serve to keep the cord nice and neat for storage and also allow the pole to hook onto the ladder when we are boosting our wifi signal in a campground. All materials only cost about $25 or less from Home Depot.

I finished weaving my inkle band this week, all 14 feet of it! I will have enough for two leashes, or one leash and trim for another project. I'll be weaving a slightly wider piece for a coordinating dog collar.
I've also been adding comfort to my Harrisville Designs weaving bench. It can be set up as just a flat bench or for the seat to rock when weaving, which is a more comfortable way for me to sit. I recently added an IKEA sheepskin pad, but then got the idea to put a Tempurpedic pad under that. So now I lay down some nonskid pad first (I use Dycem) so there's no slippage, then a 1" thick Tempurpedic pad, then the sheepskin.
Oh my, what a difference! The Tempurpedic pad came from a knee wedge that I no longer use. I separated the memory foam layer from the foam cushion by grabbing the memory foam and pulled--it just peeled it away. I actually had enough for two layers of memory foam but that didn't feel right so I'll save the second piece for another project. I'm sure I can find a use for it.

It's time for us to hit the road now. We will be making two one-night stays until we get to Pigeon Forge, TN where we will be for one week. Dollywood, here we come!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hershey RV Show 2016

We left Pettecote Junction Campground, in the Grand Canyon area of PA, on Tuesday. With detailed directions from our next campground owner we arrived safely at our destination about an hour and 20 minutes away from Hershey, PA. And the next morning we headed towards the sweetest place on earth.
The Hershey RV Show is billed as the largest RV show in the U.S., although the Tampa Super Show also makes that claim. Never having been to the Tampa show I cannot say for sure, but this one is BIG! The photo above shows the Hershey Giant Center where the show is located, and there are over 33 football fields-full of RVs on premises, everything from tiny teardrop trailers to million dollar coaches. In addition, many RV manufacturers premier their latest models at this show. HGTV always does a special on the show that airs around the first of the year so you might want to watch for it. We always hope to see the filming crew, but no such luck this year.

What's this show like? If you are a weaver, spinner, or knitter, I would tell you that the Hershey Show is like Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival for RVs. You can become pretty overwhelmed with a show of this magnitude so we always go in with a plan. This year Bob and I were researching class Bs and small class Cs, with the though that we might want to get a small run-around rig if we decide to establish a home base out west in a couple of years. We were able to get a ride into the park from one of our friends at Colton RV, where we had bought our Tiffin three years ago. Bob Tiffin was at the show again this year so we stopped by and asked him some questions. It's great to be able to talk to the head guy.

After looking at the prototype 2017 Tiffin Breeze (which we loved, by the way,) we continued on and checked out the Born Frees, Renegades, Leisure Travel Vans, RoadTreks, Airstream vans, and more. Here, Bob is relaxing in a PleasureWay Plateau XLMB, which was very nice. This one features a Murphy Bed that gives loads of living space.
The temperatures climbed as the day went on, finally reaching over 90 degrees. We spent the first part of the day going in and out of rigs, before heading into he air conditioned Giant Stadium to find a cell phone booster.
Downstairs in the stadium you can see Camping World at the far end, plus a lot of small vendors. There are more vendors upstairs all around the perimeter inside the building, and that is where we located TechnoRV. We had met Eric and Tami Johnson of TechnoRV in Bradenton, FL last year at the Gathering, and they helped us get our wifi booster and a Tire Pressure System for our car (we already had a system for the RV tires.) Now we were ready to purchase a cell phone booster to help in those areas where the cell (and hotspot) signal is weak.
The booth was hopping but we found just what we were looking for:
This little beauty, when aimed at a nearby cell tower (and there's an app to find where the nearest towers are) will amplify the cell signal when necessary. We have already found it very useful at the campground where we are staying. Eric and Tami answered all our questions during set up, and it looks like we will get a lot of use out of it when signals are weak.

We were exhausted when we got home, but very happy--it was a good day. Bob and I are a little closer to finding a small rig that may work for us one day even though we are not anywhere near ready to buy. We like to do a lot of research first, and that is the fun part.

It looks like we will be relaxing for a couple of more days before heading south towards Dollywood, our next place to explore.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Seeing Elk

We have been having such a wonderful time in this area. Our campground, Pettecote Junction, is just about perfect as long as you can pry your cell phone from your fingers for a few days. It wasn't easy for me! They do have one of these available on premises... case you need to change into your super-hero outfit. Oh, and I understand you can use it to make a phone call, too. Who'd a'thunk it? It's been a very long time since I used one!

On Monday Bob and I rode over some winding mountain roads to the town of Benezette, PA to see some elk. It was a lovely day for a drive and we ended up at the Elk Country Visitor Center where we learned some interesting facts about elk in PA. Apparently, by the mid 1800s all the native herds had been decimated by unregulated hunting. Then in 1913 Pennsylvania began importing elk from the western U.S., and with careful nurturing the PA herds have grown to almost 700. 
The best times of the day to spy the elk are early in the morning or at dusk, and there are elk viewing areas in several places.
Because we had to drive 2 1/2 hours to get to Benezette, we missed seeing the herd but we did see one female elk grazing in the shadows not far from the road. And she was in deep shadows so my photo did not come out, but at least we saw one!

We did get up close and personal with an elk by ordering the elk burger for lunch at the Benezette Motel and Restaurant, though. Does that count?
This morning we said farewell to our new friends, Joe and Jo Ann. We have promised to stay in touch and hopefully will see them again down the road.
So we are off to new adventures! Tomorrow we visit the Hershey RV Show and I can't wait. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Just Another Day in Paradise....

We are enjoying some really lovely weather here in the Grand Canyon of PA. On Sunday Bob and I took a bicycle ride along the bike path that runs next to the campground.
This bike trail is part of a 60 mile long trail so your ride will never become humdrum. I told Bob that it sure would be great if all the campgrounds we visited had bike trails. I don't believe we have used our bicycles since we were in Bradenton, FL last October.

We have made some good friends at this campground. Joe and Jo-Ann work here part time and have been returning each summer for years so they are practically locals. In fact, Jo-Ann plays the antique pump organ at a local church every Sunday all summer long. We hung out with them on Saturday evening at their site, and on Sunday evening we invited them to our site.

Of course, we needed wine for entertaining! So off we went in the afternoon to find a local winery not too far away, called Oregon Hill, in Morris, PA.
They had a tiny, stone cellar where we tasted some of their bottles and we were quite favorably impressed with their 2014 Pennsylvania Merlot and 2015 Ensemble Rouge. We bought a bottle of each. The vintner's mother served us and she told us that her son at the age of 18 was the youngest commercial wine maker in PA. He is now in his 50s so he has been in the business for a long time.

When Joe and Jo-Ann came over in the evening they chose the Merlot to try. We all agreed it was very tasty, and after we gave them a tour of our home we sat and told stories as we sipped. It was a lovely way to end our day.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fishing and Weaving

We have been having loads of fun here in the wilds of Pennsylvania. On Friday, Bob and I went to a nearby bait and tackle shop that also happens to be an Orvis store! Yes, that's right. Slate Run's very own.
Bob bought himself a three day fishing license and has been fishing for bass at every opportunity. He's caught quite a few, too. And even if the fish aren't biting, there are worse ways to while away the time.
I finished my current weaving project, which will be sewn into a purse...
And started a new project on my Gilmore Inkle Lap Loom. This will become a new leash for Auggie.
It's a little narrow for a collar so I will weave a coordinating band just a bit wider, after this one is finished. Here is the chart that I designed, with the pattern.

Check out this three-wheeled car! It looks like a really fun way to get around, and is certainly an ice breaker!

We have had hot weather (in the 90s) and a bit of rain over the last couple of days but the weather is supposed to be more comfortable and dry now, so we plan to take a bike ride today (Sunday.) Bob will most likely do some more fishing, and I plan on weaving. We may even get out to another state park if we feel like it. This is the life!