About Me

14.6.18

It started with a conversation...

It started with a conversation about a year ago while sitting at the table with friends Mary and Kathryn at Anoka Fiber Works.  We have the best conversations around the table while enjoying our tea.

The conversation involved knitting a sweater without a written pattern.  Not a new concept, but we thought about the process of creating a sweater, slowing down, and being mindful about our knitting.  Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts (Interweave Press, 1985) was the perfect book for inspiration.   I used the garter stitch split hem from The Basic Blouse and The Basic Gansey for the rest of the sweater.   It was easy to look through my books and sketching ideas on my Boogie Board.  Choosing the yarn was another matter.  Keeping in mind the function of the sweater, Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool was the perfect choice for my camping/hiking/working sweater.  The price point of the yarn was great and using a couple of JoAnn, Etc coupons, the purchase was even more attractive.  Fisherman's Wool is 100% wool, it comes in eight-ounce/465-yard skeins, it is worsted weight, and hand-washable.  The skeins of Oatmeal Heather felt softer than the skeins of Brown Heather and the light-color skeins were the same dye lot.


Sweater design elements from one book and a stitch pattern from another book.  I searched through many stitch dictionaries before settling on a simple Ridged Rib.  The pattern is a multiple of 2 + 1 stitches and a four-row repeat.

I found some inspiration from some of the books in my personal library.  The book second from the bottom is the first knitting book I purchased after returning to Germany.  The Encyclopedia of Knitting, by Pam Dawson, Orbis Publishing Limited, London 1984, was (and is) one of my favorite reference books for knitting techniques.

My Gansey sweater in progress.  Two purl stitches at each side, the underarm gusset and the Ridged Rib stitching at the chest.  There will be Ridged Rib stitching on the sleeves at the upper arm above the elbow.

The underarm gusset stitches are on a holder.  The front and back are knit separately.  

The Lett Lopi Flock, my name for it, (Ápril) pullover is finished.  It was started before the Gansey sweater and the mindless knitting until the yoke was a good take-along project.  There were a few bumps when I started the sheep bodies' section.  I made some chart corrections (purl and color, not stitch count) and now I must wait for cooler weather to wear it, sigh...

Markers placed  every twelve stitches to keep the sheep in order.

I ended up frogging to the top of the brown zigzag and re-working that section of the yoke.

The blocked Flock, ready to wear.  

22.5.18

Flock

I have been busy knitting on two pullover sweaters, a Gansey and a Lett Lopi.  Mary, Kathryn, and I had been talking at length about Ganseys and we decided to knit in the old way using yarn we had in our stashes, the percentage system, and elements of the traditional garments.  Kathryn finished her sweater, Mary is working on the front and back neckline shaping, and I started the underarm gussets and texture stitches.  In the meantime, when I have to stop and make decisions, the Lopi sweater came to the front of the WIP line.  The pattern is Apríl by Berglind Sveinsdóttir and the yarn is Lett Lopi.  I finally made it to the colorwork section at the yoke.  I chose to have longer floats on the back side of the knitting because the catch was showing on the front side because of the purl rows on the sheep bodies.  The floats will lightly felt together with wearing and washing.  It is one of the characteristics of Lopi yarn that I love.  Sadly, the shop where I bought the yarn is closing and the shops carrying Lopi are few and far between.  

Happy little sheep

The Gansey pullover is at a point where I need to make a decision about what texture stitch/es to put on the top section and then the sleeves to the elbows.  This project is inspired by the Gansey sweater in Knitting in the Old Way (1985 edition) by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts.  It is fun to knit with a general plan (sketches, stitch dictionaries, travel photos, measurements, etc).   The split hem is in garter stitch and the "seams" on either side are two purl stitches, which split apart as the underarm gusset is knitted. 

Decisions to make at the underarm gusset.
A couple of weeks ago the plein air painting group was where the Rum and Mississippi Rivers meet at a local park.  I found a shady spot beside a large tree and painted a willow tree trunk.  
A lovely spot and beautiful day to paint en plein air.

18.4.18

Ireland

Ireland is one of our favorite places to visit and this year Jim and Ben did a bike ride, the Steven Roche Atlantic Challenge.  They were fortunate to have a beautiful day for the ride, with sun and low wind.  Andi and I walked to "downtown" Doolin from the cottage after we cheered our guys on from the intersection up the hill.

We stayed in Doolin, a small town in County Clare on the west coast.  Home base was a cottage overlooking the ocean and in the distance are the Aran Islands.  Inishere (Inis Oírr, and also spelled Inisheer) is the smallest and closest to the mainland.  On the days we had other plans the weather was beautiful and the days we were available to take the ferry found the sea to be rough.

Here are a few of the highlights from our visit, in no particular order...

Quin Abbey in County Clare, Ireland

Across the street from the abbey was a tea room and we enjoyed coffee, tea, and cake while sitting by the fire.  

We had a lovely day for a hike on one of the Burren National Park's trails.

It was a treat to visit McKernan Woollen Mills and watch the antique loom (late 1800s) in action weaving one of their beautiful scarves

We met Andi in Galway at the bus station and popped into a tea shop so she could buy a gift for her friend.  

We stayed in Doolin and the daffodils were in bloom this trip.
Jim and Ben on the ride.  And and I met them as they rode through the intersection above where we stayed.  We were wearing our t-shirts and waving an Irish flag.  The fellows directing traffic knew who we were cheering for, our guys were famous!

We stayed cozy and warm in the cottage by the fire.

It was a rainy, windy, and very cold day at the Cliffs of Moher.  I think they are so beautiful in the mist.
St. Brigid's Well, Liscannor, County Clare
 Inside St. Brigid's Well

Boots make nice flower pots


Every morning and evening I enjoyed the sunrise 
and the sunset

Our last full day we visited and hiked around the cliffs of Kilkee, County Clare 






5.2.18

February 2018 classes

The last class for the month is Wednesday, 28 February and registration is required. Call or stop in during store hours for more information and to sign up. I look forward to seeing you!
Anoka Fiber Works
Call: 763-479-9626
Stop in: 4153 Coon Rapids Blvd, Coon Rapids, MN 55433
Store Hours:
Tues. 10-4
Wed. 12-8
Thurs. 12-5
Fri. 10-5
Sat. 10-5
BEGINNING RUG HOOKING
The technique of rug hooking is easy and fun to learn, especially when adding some of your own yarn to make your project unique!
DATE/TIME: Wed, February 28 from 5-8 pm
INSTRUCTOR: Deborah C.
COST: Class fee is $32 and the kits are $30 (purchase from Old Man Wool Farm)

A photo of my sample.  I added some of my handspun yarn to the picture.  

4.1.18

Hold on, 2018 is here!

Change is constant, particularly when it involves the best-laid plans.  After Thanksgiving, my end-of-the-year plans were set, I was taking time off from Scouts and then plans B, etc came into play.  The virus I caught in November hung on until before Christmas.  Thankfully, Jim and Ben were spared.  We had a lovely, quiet holiday and stayed nice and warm during the long cold snap, which is still hanging on. When Jim came home from the Grey Wolf Senior Staff development, I was asked to be Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop Guides for Jim's week.  Along with a couple more regulars, we're
getting the band back together, so to speak.  At Grey Wolf we talk about living with one foot raised and that's just what I'm doing.  It's shaping up to be a busy year through June!

A new hat for the new year.  I used stash yarn (doubled), which is even better!  

January started out with our Commitment Day 5K run.  It was a beautiful, clear day (although it was -13 degrees).  Toe and hand warmers really helped keep those extremities warm.  Ben came up later and we had our usual New Year's meal.

It was -13 and a bit slippery in spots, but we stayed nice and warm.  We are wearing our Crew 52 mittens.  

Today (January 3) I have the Christmas decorations put away, laundry caught up, and some handwoven wool fabric to steam and brush.  Classes at Anoka Fiber Works are on the schedule, WIPs are lined up to finish, and new projects are in bags ready to be knitted.  There is plenty of work to keep the hands busy.

Fond memories with each ornament.

Last night was the Minnesota Wild game and Jim had put my name in for a Zamboni ride and it was drawn for the pregame ride.  We got there earlier so we could have supper at New Bohemia and settled in our seats before heading downstairs by the ice.



Buckled in and ready to go!