About Me



Welcome 2019!🌲 There’s no stopping the march of time and the changes that come with it.  The highlights of the year was joining the Plein Air Club through the RumRiver Art Center in Anoka.  Returning to painting was gratifying and the group of artists led by Paul are generous and supportive of each other.  Each person has their unique painting style, yet we learn from each other.  I paint primarily with oils (water soluble, for convenience) and recently tried out acrylics, which I used many years ago and did not care for.
My easel is on the far left.  This was our last outdoor session in October.  It was very cold, but a glorious day with beautiful color and light where the Rum and Mississippi rivers meet.
Painting with fiber on the community felting project at Anoka Fiber Works

I enjoyed successful projects with the Gansey sweater and the handwoven tunic particularly satisfying. 
It is great when a plan comes together!

I snapped a photo of my pieces before taking them to the art center.  Sunup Over Castle Rock Lake, cotton and acrylic; Rustic Scarf, recycled sari silk and linen; and Handspun Vest, wool and wool blend.  The landscape was from a photo I took on our last camp out.  Mist was coming across the lake from the opposite shore.
The Rum River Handweavers had a show at the Rumriver Art Center in Anoka for the month of November.  We were the first show in the new gallery, and very successful.  We look forward to future shows!  

Last, but not least, we added our newest family member, Gus.  He came to us through Ruff Start Rescue .  He is a very smart and affectionate boy and although we have not had a puppy for 18 years and have been dogless since 2012, we are enjoying his company.  Since Jim is retired, he has a buddy to keep him busy when I am not around.  

Gus and Moosie.  The rug has since been removed temporarily, as Gus seems to love wool...this is a challenge for me...we will survive the puppy stage because Jim and Gus are attending puppy kindergarten.
Both of them are doing well in school.
Life at puppy level.


Catching up, round 3

Just a few short months ago I was enjoying a plain air painting session at an apple orchard north of Anoka.  I belong to the Plain Air Club through the Rumriver Art Center.  It is the same group that painted outdoors last winter when it was 16-degrees Fahrenheit.  We have a nice time together.  If the weather is inclement, we will paint in the studio.  I have my photos from painting sessions and travels for reference when I work inside.  On this day I was using the water soluble oils, although since that time I have been giving acrylics another try.  The  quick drying time works well for layering color, although I still prefer the buttery texture and feel of painting with oils.

A beautiful, early fall day for painting outdoors!
Between painting sessions, I planned a project for Jim.  Using colors of the Grey Wolf (NYLT) patch, I designed a scarf, and wove it on the Cricket loom.  The super wash wool is warm, soft, and easy care.  I like the design and want to try other color combinations.  The length is perfect for going around the neck twice with plenty of scarf to keep the chest warm.

 Fall progressed quickly.  It was very rainy and the leaves took longer to turn, but there were pockets of beautiful fall color to enjoy.
   A finished project (just last week) is the handwoven tunic.  It began as a jumper, but after fulling the fabric, I could not place the pattern pieces for the short length.  After sleeping on other ideas for a few days, I decided to make a tunic.  My inspiration came from the recent exhibit of Gudrun Sjödén's clothing at the Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.  The wool tunic is a great alternative to wearing a sweater.  I shortened the short version of the pattern by about 3-inches and then added a piece on the side to smooth out the flare to the hem. I was able to lay the pattern, cut out the four pieces, and have leftover fabric.  The facings are lightweight linen and I used a Hong Kong finish on the inside.  The buttons are decorative, as I did not want to fiddle with buttonholes.  For ease of wearing, I added a snap and sewed the top button to the top layer, and then sewed the bottom buttons through all the layers.  The buttons came from a vendor at Shepherd's Harvest Festival and were waiting for the perfect project.  I believe this was the perfect project.  At this time there is no pocket as originally planned, but I can add it later.  

McCall's pattern from the 1990s, Harrisville Designs Shetland wool for warp and weft.

Winter is fast approaching.  The leaves are down, the geese are flying south, and the neighborhood turkeys are everywhere.  It was very cold recently and I bundled up for my daily walks.  The turkey prints were on the sidewalk beside the field and it looks as though they were deciding which way to go.  


Catching up, round 2

The latest fabric came off the loom recently.  I was so happy with this weaving project.  The pattern came out beautifully and when I fulled the fabric the color and drape are just what I wanted.  Hopefully it will be a jumper if I can get the pattern pieces to work.  

Harrisville Shetland warp (russet and walnut) and weft (loden blue)

We took the camper to Avon, MN for the third annual Hand Camp at the Avon Hills Folk School.  It was such a fun weekend and the weather was gorgeous.  Classes offered were:  Natural Dyeing Workshop, Bookbinding, Leatherwork, Birchbark Weaving, and Spoon Carving.  I took the dyeing class with Maddie, which was educational and just plain fun!  Jim enjoyed relaxing and even went fishing and he caught a fish.  

Campers sitting around the campfire on the first evening.
Foraging in the woods for plants for dyeing.
Maddie's beautiful sample swatches naturally dyed and some sumac that we used for our eco-dyed bags.

We each dyed two bags by laying out the flowers, bark, herbs, and leaves on the bags.  After rolling (while still adding bits and bobs) and then tying the bundles around sticks, we simmered them over the fire.  

There were three dye vats, walnut, buckthorn berry, and indigo.  The indigo is shown before we poured it into the large bucket with hot water.  
It was fun to unroll the bundles to reveal the colors on the eco-dyed bags.

I accordion-folded the towel, added marbles, and clothespins to make a pattern on the towel.
Dip-dyed for three minutes in the indigo dye.  It was cool to watch it turn from green to blue when it came out of the vat.
L to R top to bottom:  Indigo dyed tea towel using Shibori technique, overdyed handmade felt for vest, buckthorn berry dyed white handspun wool, walnut dyed wool fabric (the original white is to the left), and the eco-dyed bags showing the fronts and backs.  Some of the plants used were buckthorn leaves, goldenrod, fennel, sumac berries, purple basil, marigolds, turmeric powder, white birchbark (from a downed tree), and pine sprigs.
The white birchbark made the blue areas.


Catching up

September...Looking out the window I can see the latest painting project, which is the shed.  It took three days and (thankfully) the weather was relatively cool.  Jim and I finished before the heat wave hit.  It is beginning to rain and today is a good day to catch up on some projects.  The state fair begins this week and even though there is still a month of summer remaining, I see small changes like some of the sumac leaves turning orange and red.  Cooler sweater weather is on the way.

On Saturday, August 18, I volunteered to do a spinning demo beside the Three Rivers Fibershed.  Mary received an email inquiring about a volunteer spinner during The Great Makers Exchange at the American Swedish Institute.  The timing was perfect because I wanted to visit the ASI to see Gudrun Sjödén--A Colorful Universe and being a volunteer, my admission to the museum was free.  I did not take many photos during the demo time, as the stream of visitors was steady and the time seemed to fly by.

Twelve days pass...and I am back.  We took the little Escape Pod out to Banning State Park in Pine County.  It is a small park and three years ago we kayaked the rapids on the Kettle River.  Because it rained the first two days (5+ inches) the river was up and really rushing along.  It was a joy to get out and hike after the rain.

Late afternoon after the rain.  

Coffee time.  

The hiking was particularly good on the trail and along the Kettle River.

The spin-in after the campout Deb (Ewespun fiber Mill at Old Man Wool Farm) had some beautiful Leicster Longwool dyed the most beautiful moss green.  It was just the pop of color I was seeking for a project using the handspun Jacob wool from Chi Chi.  Her fleece was one I purchased at Shepherd's Harvest a few years ago.  I combed the wool and it spun up just beautifully.  

Pulling the wool through the diz that Mary's husband, Rob, made.  The Leicester Longwool spun and plied beautifully.  It will be a lovely pop of color against the grayscale of the Jacob wool.

The end of September campout was at the Camp-Inn Campout at Castle Rock County Park in Juneau County, WI.  While the majority of campers were teardrops, there were 28 home-builds, and various other tiny campers.  It was fun to visit with other folks from all over the United States.  

We spent Friday out and about the area.  We visited the Cranberry Fest in Warrens.  It is a small town, but is transformed with hundreds of visitors.  We took a short marsh tour to see how the cranberries are grown and harvested.  The guide is one of the local farmers.  At the end, we bought some craisins and cranberry honey.  The cinnamon craisins are delicious in the chocolate chip cookies I baked the other evening.

I finished my handspun beanie on the bus ride to the marsh.  The colors look just like the colors of a campfire.

The marshes before harvest.  

Wisconsin harvests about 60 percent of the country's crop of cranberries.  They are delicious and  I use them all year round.  Here is a link to some recipes.

Jim and I took a day to visit the Burr Oak Winery.  We tasted some whites and reds and settled on a bottle of white and a bottle of dessert wine.  The flowers in the courtyard were just beautiful.  Those mums were gigantic!
One place I was delighted to visit was Mielke's Fiber Arts.  I contacted Amy the day before and she opened the shop for a visit.  I found a left-handed Nalbinding book along with a larger needle, a couple of fun reads about spinning, spindles, and weaving, a Dealgan (Scottish spindle), and some naturally colored cotton spinning fiber.  I have some roving left from Texas, so the colors will coordinate nicely.  It was so nice to be able to wander around the shop and see all the wonderful tools for working with fiber 

A visit to Wisconsin isn't complete without cheese. We did not visit a cheese house, but we did buy a snack for the road.  The store carried a variety of cheesehead hats.  



There are two finished objects for the end of July, the Gansey sweater and the handspun Polkagris.  Starting with the kerchief, I pulled some photos from a previous post (May 2013) to show how the yarns were created.  They sat in the stash for five years waiting for the perfect project.  Shortly before Grey Wolf in June, an email arrived from KDD with a pattern for newsletter subscribers.  It did not take long to choose yarns from my stash for the project.

Colorful wool roving and wool batts with some cotton yarn are pulled together.

The fibers are added to the bowl on the scale for weighing.  Joanne and I made 3-ounce batts.
Fibers used in both batts:  wool, silk, mohair locks, silk noils, sari silk, and cotton.

The fibers can be blended a little or a lot using the drum carder.  It is ready to spin!
The singles are plied with thread or yarn.  This was plied with a thin textured yarn.
This skein weighed 3.7-ounces after plying.  The white skein weighed 3.8-ounces.  Each skein was 200+ yards.
I should have enough left from both skeins for a small project.
The Polkagris kerchief by Kate Davies was the perfect project for the special skeins of yarn.
The shape of the kerchief fits nicely over the shoulders

The Gansey sweater was a rewarding project to knit.  It is a simple, wool sweater with traditional shape and style with extra ease added for comfort.  It will be a good piece for layering when it gets cold.  I have it on right now, as we are experiencing a cold front before the heat and humidity return.  

Before the knitting, I did my homework by looking through my personal library and studying photos of the design elements of traditional garments.  Body  measurements and measurements from other garments along with choosing yarn and swatching are so important.  One of my biggest take-aways from the experience was that less is more.  I planned for fancier textures at the top, but the simple, 2 +1 stitch repeat over four rows fit so beautifully into the design.  

Mary is just about finished with her sweater and soon we (Kathryn, Mary, and I) will have to take photos of our finished projects together.  
Garter stitch at the neck, cuffs and hem. Ridged ribbing worked well for the stitch counts for the body and sleeves.  
A bit of shaping on either side of the front neck and three-needle bind off at the shoulders.  The bind off was worked on the right side of the work and the purl ridge flows into the texture stitches nicely.

The two-stitch faux seam runs on either side from the hem, around the underarm gusset, and the to the  cuff.