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The story of women’s struggle for equality
belongs to no single feminist
nor to any one organization
but to the collective efforts of
all who care about human rights

[Gloria Steinem]

Shepherd's Moon

This Saturday is International Women’s Day. The photo is Ellen Robert’s display piece at the International Women’s Art Exhibition in the UPMarket Galleries (The Provision Market, Newport, Gwent) in Wales. Ellen spins, dyes, weaves and knits fiber, and she designed this lace poncho. The logo is her business identity, Shepherd’s Moon. The loom was built by her grandfather and used for many years by her grandmother—Ellen uses it now. The spinning is lace weight yarn the thickness of an eye lash. I am in awe of Ellen’s talent and skill. I have to add that she is also my oldest daughter.

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Any sufficiently advanced technology
is indistinguishable from magic.
[Arthur C. Clarke]

My first criteria for a good app is, it is simple. I’m a graphic designer and not a computer scientist. I look for apps that behave themselves (they work without bugs), and apps that are intuitive to use (they have a small learning curve). I spend my main self-education time keeping myself up to speed with my major software tools. I want my smaller apps to be more like a manual screwdriver than an electric drill with multiple bits. These two apps fit the criteria and are affordable.

CalculatorMyScript© Calculator is magic for sure. It was free! How does Vision Objects© do that? Also it works well and is fun to use. Write numerals and function symbols (+, -, =, etc.) with a finger on a touchscreen and then watch your writing change into real equations with the correct answer. It even charmed my five-year old grandson. When I used it in a knitting class to help people figure their stitches and rows from their gauge, it was fast and accurate. Some students even downloaded the app for their smart phones during class.

TaskTimerDesktop Task Timer by Erik Asmussen is also a winner in my book. I track my design time for billing purposes. In the past 30 years, I have tried using a number of methods to accurately record time and translate it in to an invoice. This app ($0.99) is the best I’ve found so far. I’ve even started tracking my non-chargeable tasks just out of curiosity.

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Love of beauty is Taste.
The creation of beauty is Art.
[Ralph Waldo Emerson]

Easter is coming and with it comes warmth, flowers, spring breezes and Easter eggs. I’ve always loved decorated eggs so my loved ones have often given me keepsake eggs. Years ago, one gave me a breathtaking Ukrainian Easter egg. It’s fine craftsmanship and sparkling beauty grabbed my heart. I have been following a blog that I’d like to share with you folks: Eggs by Teresa. The beauty of her art grabs my heart as well.

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We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act
but a habit.

[Aristotle]

Last weekend, I led a one-day knitting workshop in the lovely hills of eastern Ohio. I designed mittens for the occasion. Eleven knitters worked from the eight-page pattern leaflet.

The child-size pair (left in photo) were knitted using Plymouth Encore worsted weight yarn and US #2 needles. The adult-size pair (right) were knitted using Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride yarn and US #3 needles.

This pattern was designed for beginning through intermediate level knitters. Knitters could choose to knit a ribbed cuff in one color and focus upon the basic texture-stitch techniques, or knit a two-color, stranded cuff with a one color, textured hand.

Connie King of the Pleasant Home Woolen Company organized the event with a delicious carry-in lunch. She also shared her home with me for the weekend—a delightful farm home with breath-taking views of the Ohio hill country.  Thank you Connie.

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Elephants and grandchildren never forget.
[Andy Rooney]

This isn’t about traveling with grandchildren the way I do—that is belting them into the back seat surrounded by toys, and stopping every hour to go potty. This is about my friend, Allen Johnson, who takes traveling with grandchildren to levels beyond my imagination (or endurance, I’m sure).

He just sent me his latest book, Biking the Blue Ridge Parkway with Five Granddaughters. It makes me imagine an elderly woman sixty years from now reminiscing about her grandpa taking her on exotic trips.

Allen and his grandchildren have traveled by canoe, skis, foot, bicycles, horseback, kayak, roller blades, and camel. They have not only toured places in the United States, but also Australia, the Arctic Circle, Holland, Sweden, Iceland, Canada, Great Britain, and the Andes. He has written a book about each of these adventures. Take a look at the list of Allen’s travel books AT THIS LINK.

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Don’t waste time learning the tricks of the trade.
Instead, learn the trade.

[Author Unknown]

Remember the story about the blind men and the elephant? Each described only the part they could feel—be it the tail, trunk or leg. Writing about the summer trade show that The National Needlearts Association just hosted in Columbus, OH is like describing only part of an elephant. My highlights would be different than others.

Andrea Wong taught classes and introduced her new book, Portuguese Style Knitting at the show. I helped in Helen Hamann’s booth and spent the day drooling over her colorful design and Alpaca yarns. I also took a couple of quick trips around the floor. Kramer Yarns of Nazareth, Pennsylvania caught my eye since I enjoy using their products. Durango Button Company of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma sparked my imagination as well. I think buttons can make or break a handmade garment. Not only were there endless varieties of yarn and needlework items, but notions, publications, and accessories were bountiful as well.

I usually have little contact with the enterprise end of the needleart industry so this was an end-to-end learning experience for me.

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I’ve always thought that a big laugh is
a really loud noise from the soul saying,

“Ain’t that the truth.”
[Quincy Jones]

I have at least one addiction; electronic publications. As with most addictions, it started out small and practical. I was teaching myself how to produce eBooks. Then I found audio books. Then I discovered I could listen to them and knit at the same time just like listening to the radio back when it had programming I loved to listen to (about 55 years ago). At first, I only ordered non-fiction, history books thinking I could expand my mind and turn out sock patterns galore. That is what is called, rationalization. I now know more about seven major wars than most history majors.

Then a friend recommended I read Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish. That is where the laughing comes in. The laughing, the crying, the memories—all those things that make me glad to be a woman. This led me to Kris Radish’s blog and more laughing.

Years ago, a friend of mine hurried in late to work, collapsed into her desk chair and said, “Only Erma Bombeck would understand why there are bare foot prints on my bathroom ceiling.” I love people who can level out rough spots in life with humor.

That reminds, me. I’ll start posting the designs I’ve conjured up while listening to books.

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