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Minnesota, United States



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 


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
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
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.  


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!  



November ended and December began on a warmish note.  Now the cold has kicked in and we have a light coating of snow.  We ended up cutting the tree down early (the day after Thanksgiving) and I decorated it by December 1.  This is the earliest we ever put up the tree because the first couple of weeks are busy, which is good because I came down with a virus almost a week ago.  I'm still fighting  it, but at least feel well enough to do handwork.

Photo from the Turkey Day 5K.  Our turkey hats from a couple of years ago were passengers in our backpacks for the run.

The loom in my studio space is finally warped and I got the header and one repeat done before the virus kicked in.  The finished size will be 30" wide by 5 yards long, using my favorite Harrisville Shetland in Russet and Walnut for the warp and Loden Blue for the weft.  The pattern is from A Handweaver's Pattern Book by Marguerite P. Davison (1975 revised edition), on page 14 it is John Murphy's Bird's Eye No. 57/VIII.

Threading the heddles in a pattern--2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 3.

Sleying the reed, things are nicely lined up.

The weft yarn will be pretty with the warp!

At this point, Kathryn helped me wind forward and then back to make sure everything is nice and even.  At that point,
I re-tied and snipped the excess ends.  

Four rows of carpet warp and then four rows of plain weave before launching into the pattern.

I revisited the ornament pattern and adjusted the charts, increases, and decreases.  
A great project to use up bits and bobs of  wool yarn.

Knitting gifts for Jim and Ben...

...and making something for Andi.  The pattern is the same one my mother used for the Girl Scouts when I was a little girl.  I found a copy of the book a few years back.  It's a nice little needle case.

Jim's sock are finished!
On a morning walk, I noticed the ducks were having a last paddle around the pond before flying south for the winter.
It was a gorgeous day after Thanksgiving.  You can see there were some unusual trees this year!  I prefer natural green.  The other trees had a Dr. Seuss look to them.
Our little tree.



Thanksgiving is a memory and we're plugging away to Christmas and the new year.  The first week of November was very frigid and just in time for Joanne's visit.  It was wonderful to see her and we had a fun time visiting a couple of favorite yarn shops, Anoka Fiber Works, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden by the Walker Art Center.  The sky was bright blue, the temperature in the low 20s, but the twenty mile per hour winds made the temperature feel like seven degrees.  We walked around and enjoyed the newly renovated space.  When we finished with our walk, we ducked into the Walker's cafe and warmed up with tea, coffee, and a large cookie.  On our way back to the house we stopped at the Coon Rapids Dam.  It was a rainy year and the Mississippi River was really rushing through.

The Garden opened in 1988, and features contemporary and modern art from the Walker Art Center's collection in an urban park setting.  It is a partnership between the Walker and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.

Spoonbridge and Cherry


Black Vessel for a Saint


 (We ducked inside to get out of the cold)



Joanne isn't part of the art collection, but just bundled up.  One might mistake her for a work of art.



That 20-mph wind was really tough!  

September Room (Room with Two Reclining Figures and Composition with Long Verticals)

On the way back home, I stopped at the Coon Rapids Dam so Joanne could see the Mississippi River flowing over the dam.   It's quite a sight to see.