Sunday, November 17, 2013


I went to FiberFest in Marin County yesterday.  It's an annual conference of a group trying to develop sustainable fabric, fiber, clothing.

At the tiny seller's expo, I bought carded alpaca fleece and two kinds of yarn, and very much enjoyed my visits with each seller.  The conference itself had sold out by the time I knew the dates, but I was able to briefly stand in the back of the conference hall and hear part of one presentation.

Last year, I think the conference included cotton and flax growers; this year, it seemed to be only about wool.

Here are two six-month-old sheep from a breed developed in France and now being bred (in a very complex process) in the U.S.:  Ouessant sheep.  For a little more about them, see

Monday, September 03, 2012

Stunning quilt from 2006 show in Tokyo

If you tap "2006" at the top of the page, you'll see thumbnails for about fifty quilts.  Or use this link:

Someone named Jan does a quilting blog.  No idea what her last name is.  -- Rachel

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tablets are taking over

Seems like almost everybody has an iPad today, or a large-ish smartphone.  You see people on the bus reading Kindles and Nooks and even iPod Touches, rather than carry around actual books or magazines or newspapers.

I have read books on my Touch, but the screen is a bit small.  (Still, once I get into my story, it doesn't matter much, I am lost in my enjoyment of the tale.)

Which reminds me: don't get *so* lost you fail to notice your surroundings.  Don't get run over, or mugged, or fired, because you were reading when you should have been paying attention.

But anyway, I recently purchased a NOOK COLOR, and found it quite satisfactory (with a few key limits).  I found that I didn't like being redirected to gutted websites with poor navigation queues.  I didn't like the assumption that my tablet was either (a) always connected to the internet or (b) could perform other phone-only functions.  I couldn't even run the MICHAELS app that I downloaded, so I removed it from the device.  And there was no microphone, no camera.

But the portability was superb -- it weighs less than a pound, and it slid nicely into my purse, being a bit smaller than my paper calendar.  (Yes, a paper calendar is still essential, I don't care what anyone says.)  The page size is just about the same as a standard mass-market paperback book.

The image quality was excellent, and I immediately set up slide shows for vacation pictures, quilts, etc.  I could, with a bit of tweaking, create sequential playlists for my audiobooks and other sound files.  (If you want details,  post a comment, and if there's enough interest, I'll post the process.)  It was easy to listen to classical music AND read a book at the same time.  Several ebook programs are available free -- Kobo and Nook and Kindle all come to mind -- and my library offered loans of Kindle ebooks by free download.

I bought an illustrated ebook from C and T Publishing -- COUNTRYSIDE SOFTIES ( -- and read it on the Nook, in full color.  Wow!  I can imagine a time when my whole quilt book library can come with me on vacation, without adding an ounce to my suitcase!

I did find it hard to use Google Maps on the Nook; when I got lost in San Jose after folowing someone's bad directions to a local business, I had to actually fire up my MacBook Pro to get myself and a friend back to the freeway.

And of course, my only way to reach the internet was via wifi, so that meant either being in a place where wifi was available -- a library for instance -- or using the Mobile Hotspot function of my smartphone.

Then disaster struck.  One morning, while loading new photos to show a friend my recent quilt projects, the Nook behaved oddly, then stopped working.  It wouldn't take a charge.  An internet search didn't offer any suggestions.  Finally, I went online with my MacBook Pro, and ordered a Lenovo Ideapad A1.

After a week, the Lenovo did the same thing -- wouldn't boot, wouldn't charge.

But the remedy was simple, and now both the Nook and the Ideapad are working.

The reset process is this:
Make sure the tablet is NOT plugged in to any power source.
Simultaneously press the POWER button (the on-off switch) AND either the VOLUME UP or the VOLUME DOWN button, and hold them for a few seconds.
Charge the device normally if necessary.

So, anybody want a Nook Color at a good price?  I don't really need two tablets.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

MacWorld 2012, Day 1

Busses in San Francisco can be crowded, which means there is a risk of pickpockets. Recently, a man on a VERY CROWDED bus was listening to his iPhone, which was safely tucked inside his backpack.  A thief reached into the backpack to steal the phone, and quickly drew his hand out, empty -- the man also had a chihuahua in his backpack, and the dog had nipped the thief!

According to iKeep (, two million iPhones are lost or stolen every year.  They have devised a solution:  tether it securely.  Their gadget clips to, say, a belt loop, and an extension cable clicks to your iPhone or iPod.  The cable moves freely to let you access your device, but it Will Not Let Go until you press the release button.  If you're just absentminded, the iKeep makes sure you have your iPhone with you, and if someone else tries to grab it, they're gonna have trouble.

So… if you don't have a chihuahua, you might want to get an iKeep!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My trip to Taos

I was recently in New Mexico, and visited the Albuquerque Art Museum which had a wonderful exhibit on Hispanic Arts, and I traveled to Taos where I visited La Lana Wools and the Weaving West Gallery.  At Weaving West, I was urged to visit Centinela Weavers in Chimayo, so I made a short detour (9 miles each way) during my drive back to Albuquerque.  Here's a photo from the Centinela Gallery.  -- Rachel Holmen

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dad at 91plus

My sister Joyce took this nice photo of me and my dad, on June 1.

Post-Rapture Shoe Shopping?

I passed this store window in Madison, Wisconsin, during Memorial Day weekend. 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Quilt Show this Weekend - Pleasanton, Calif at Alameda County Fairgrounds

Beautiful opportunity quilt offered by the Amador Valley Quilters.  Free parking at the fairgrounds if you tell them you're going to the quilt show.  10-5 Saturday, 10-4 Sunday.

Probably 400 finished quilts on display.  Two well-known quilt artists are featured, and will give talks and demonstrations.