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Minnesota, United States

29.5.08

Auf Wiedersehen!

Well, there you have it. I hugged the trees and said good-bye. Jim started to split the wood from the trees by the dining room and I wheeled them back to the woodpile. The critters were enjoying the beasties in the rotted parts of the stumps. We watched the squirrels and chipmunks pop in and out of the remnants in the front yard.
Now back to knitting. The cotton cardi is coming along, although I can't imagine I'll have enough
yarn. I may have the gals hold a skein for me. It's going faster not having to knit 199 stitches!! Using the two skeins is worth the hassle. The color is really pretty. If I decide to put a button closure (just one really great button), I'll choose something blue. The yellow is overpowering to me, but then I think it bugs me because my mom loved me in yellow at Easter when I was little. The cord is still kinky (yes, I know how to fix it, but I haven't--yet), so the knitting isn't flat in the photo. I will definitely knit this again, but the next time I'll use a solid color.
Today I'm meeting Kathy at Starbucks. I don't know when we'll have another chance. After today we'll be getting ready for our trips!

26.5.08

Lucky

This is what you could say is a lucky shot. Just 20 minutes before the tree fell, Ben moved his car. The tree would have split the Jeep. We spent quite a bit of time in our yard, we helped neighbors, they helped us. We spent the first half of today bundling branches. Jim hosed off the house. There's grit and dirt on everything. We'll lose some of the oak trees in the yard, but our house is okay. One of the trees outside the dining room has a large branch hanging (we can't get to it, yet) and part of the tree is split. Jim and I moved the hanging branch around so if the tree breaks it'll fall away from the house and our fence. At least our street just lost trees--We heard that the neighborhood next to ours lost roofs and a town east of here had terrible damage.
Right now I'm just pooped and my wrists are sore from all the lifting and dragging. The photo on the right is around the corner from us. You can see in which direction the winds blew!

22.5.08

Projects to trip over!


I finally got this little gem yesterday. It'll be perfect to take along on the trip. I have lots of stash yarn to use for some of the projects. I particularly like designs 1, 11, and 26.
I can't believe that it's Thursday! Today the kids get their caps and gowns.
I frogged back the cotton cardi to the ribbing and am attempting to make the twists neater. Not bad so far, but I'm not pleased with having to do that at all! You'd think after all these years I'd know better than to use that type of yarn!! That's what happens when you are enticed by color--practicality goes out the window! Ir will be a lovely garment, and I know one that will be worth all the hassle.
Speaking of color...I picked up a skein of Noro sock yarn. It was all alone and needed company. Yeah, right. Anyway, I'll take that along and get a pair going on the plane. Hopefully the tiny circulars in the sizes I need will be here within the week. This is the colorway I bought, but the photo doesn't show the the other colors (yellow, pink, charcoal, and green).


Photos from the Internet

21.5.08

Spring--at last!

It finally really feels like spring today. Sunny and breezy, just the right temp (even though we're a tad below normal), and my hanging baskets seem to be doing okay. Unlike Kathy I'm not the gardener--I can paint flowers, I lack the talent for growing them!
My attempts at Ravelry are improving. I've listed one of my stash yarns. Lordy, I have many more to go!
I'm back to finishing the back of the vest. I have to re-think the little cotton cardigan. I love the yarn--not the pooling color, even though it's very pale. I'll probably use it for the Vogue pattern and leave it at that. Thanks for the head's up on the corrections, Kathy!!
I still need a great project to take to Germany--maybe socks (
did I really say that?), or a neck down something or other. I know I'll not be on the lookout for yarn, two years ago was disappointing compared to the years we lived there. They have great buttons, which I will be sure to bring back bunches!
The shop just got the little DPNs in and I have to go check them out!!

20.5.08

Winding everything in sight

I got my Mother's Day gifts last week. As Jim calls them, yanks for my hanks. I've used the tools before, but never bought any for myself. It is nice to have new toys!! We're winding down the school year and bells, and gearing up for the trip and college.
I'm progressing with the back of the vest. I started a little cotton cardigan, but now I'm not sure if I like the pooling colors. The pattern has a self-finishing edge, which makes using two skeins sloppy (I'm a stickler for smooth transitions on the back side of my knitting). Cotton is unforgiving, so I'm re-thinking this one. Maybe I can go top down or something. I have enough to do the little sweater on the current cover of Vogue Knitting. The multi-directional knitting would enhance the yarn. We'll see.
The grass is green and the leaves are making shade. Even though we're below normal in temperature, the weather is so much better. I'll take that! I can still wear some of my lighter sweaters.

14.5.08

$ale!

Here's the new addition to the stash. Fifteen skeins at 60% off!
I've started a cardigan with Araucania hand-dyed cotton I got at the shop. Right now it's not interesting enough to photograph, but the colors are very pretty (the colors in my skeins appear softer than in the photo). I opened up all the skeins at the shop and matched the colors as closely as possible before I purchased them. The cardigan has self-finished bands on the fronts, so using two skeins to blend the colors wasn't working out as I'd hoped. I'm just going to knit on and hope for the best--so far, so good. For the record, I don't understand why some designers pick such unflattering colors for their items on patterns. I ignored this pattern until I saw the shop sample Carol knitted. That variegated yellow/white yarn in the pattern's photo is awful! Some colors aren't flattering in photographs.
Today is Ben's birthday. We went out to eat (Pittsburgh Blue) and took "A" along. It was fun. Ben got a red velvet cupcake with a delicate cream cheese frosting, sitting in a pool of strawberry sauce, and a sparkler. Thankfully this isn't the type of restaurant that has the employees gather around and sing! We sang to him, though. I baked the 3 layers for his cake before we left and today I'll make the frosting. He's having friends over on Saturday for some BBQ, games, and possibly an outdoor movie. His buddy has a projector and if the weather permits, we'll rig up a movie screen for the kids.

12.5.08

Fiberrrrrr...

I'm not entirely convinced it works to kill of any beasties in the fiber, but my new roving is in the freezer downstairs. Joanne, the ball on the left is Coopworth, mohair, and silk; and the ball on the right is wool and silk (I didn't unwind it to find the tag, sorry).
I noticed that there was lots of roving with sari silk threads running through the wool. Very nice touch. One booth had lovely Alpaca yarn, although much was dyed
with Kool-Aid, which I don't think was a good choice! (This, from the Kool-Aid Queen herself!) I didn't buy any. There were lots of ooohs and ahhhs, and the Pygora was like a cloud! I like it better than angora. Tempting, but I didn't want to card anything right now. Lots of plant fibers from corn, etc. and, of course, recycled jeans (thank heaven my stash of that from Texas was spun years ago!) and Fox Fiber! I still have quite a lot of that to spin from Woolenworks.
The nostepinne is a perfect size an
d I love the apple wood. The colors of the roving could work together. Kim got a deep brown with the sari threads running through and it is gorgeous! I'm surprised I missed it, but I need some new colors. Maybe because of our long winter I'm leaning toward pastels and muted color this year. I have particular vendors that I liked last year and they had consistently good wares again this year. I have lots of cards that need to be organized--later.
Pictured are a couple more cuties we met at the festival.

11.5.08

A healthy dose of fiber does wonders for the soul!

Yesterday I went to the Shepherd's Harvest Festival in Lake Elmo with Kim and her daughter, Emily. Kim's friend met us there (she's a spinner!!). Oh, did we have fun despite the chill and rain! The pin was the make and take for $1! There were lots of scraps of textiles to choose from, and it was fun to sit and visit with people that walked by and with my friend. Three of my students came by, too! I bought a lovely small nostepinne made of apple wood, another short set of Japanese circulars, and some spinning fiber (naturally!). I'll post photos later. We all agreed that lunch would not consist of lambburgers, so loaded baked potatoes were a tasty option. We watched the sheepdogs work--one was a tri-color collie (like Eevee) and it was a treat to see it work. Lots of barking at first. The border collies are stealthier when they work. We walked through the sheep barn before we left and visited with the sheep and some goats. All that bleating is funny coming from all directions and various pitches. The two pictured were my favorites. They jumped up to see us up close!
Happy Mother's Day!

9.5.08

Tick-tock

Well, here we are again! I thought this was a decent photo of the back cable work. I'm almost ready to split for the back and fronts. Just out of the photo is the huge ball of yarn from before. The morning light is so blue that it's difficult to capture the beautiful red color of this yarn. It's a warm red, and really lovely. I'll probably wait and buy the buttons in Germany. I can tell a difference in the cabling with the different sized needles. It's much more defined. I swatched the cotton for the little cardigan I'm knitting for the trip. I started to cast on for the bottom. That'll be a nice NBK (no brain knit/ing) to work on when I need a break from the clock vest. Maybe I should rename it the ticking time bomb!
Speaking of Germany...I'm reading part of the Lord's Prayer in German on Sunday. Cool!
I'm so glad it's Friday! Tomorrow I'm meeting a friend and we're going to a festival. She's taking a knitting class and I'm going to wander around and visit the sheep, the vendors, maybe I
'll get to test drive a wheel again! It's supposed to rain, but that's okay. The buildings are fairly close together and it'll be fun to see all the fiber, etc.

8.5.08

Cupcakes

We had our brunch at church today. There's always lots of good food! It's a wonderful time for visiting. Our next two meetings are for planning next year!
Pictured are the cupcakes I made yesterday. I found recipes for banana spice cake and banana butter cream frosting. I made the cupcakes large so I'd only have to bake one batch, slathered on the frosting, and then cut some into quarters for snacking. They are really good! The toasted pecans add a nice touch to the tops. The house
smelled so good yesterday while they baked.
I'm stuffed--it's a good thing I walked the dog today.
Banana Spice Cake

2 3/4 C all-purpose flour 3/4 t nutmeg
2 t baking powder 2/3 C shortening
1 t baking soda 1 1/3 C sugar
1 t salt 2 eggs
1/4 t cloves 1 2/3 C mashed bananas
1 1/2 t cinnamon 2 t vanilla

In mixing bowl on medium speed, cream shortening and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and beat thoroughly. Sift remaining dry ingredients together three times. Add sifted dry ingredients and bananas alternately in small amounts, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour into greased and floured cake pans and bake for 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Makes two 8-inch layers. (Or 12 oversized cupcakes.)

Banana Butter Cream Frosting

1/4 C softened butter 1/4 t white vinegar
1/8 t salt 3 1/2 C sifted confectioner's sugar
1/2 C mashed banana *(chopped pecans, toasted (optional)

Cream together butter and salt in mixing bowl set on medium speed. Combine mashed banana and vinegar, and add this mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the confectioner's sugar. Beat until frosting is fluffy. Garnish top and sides of cake with chopped, toasted pecans.
*Toast nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes; or toast in an ungreased skillet over medium heat until golden brown.

5.5.08

Music to my ears!

We performed the piece (along with three others from our repertoire) we commissioned for Carolynne for the church concert yesterday. It was great. I seem to be of average height until I see a photo or video of myself--I'm shorter and smaller than I think!
Pictured is my little flock in the office. My two faithful collies guard t
hem. It's sunny and the grass has greened up beautifully. I'm ready for spring--not the heat, though.
Yesterday I took some photos of Ben for his announcements. That's like pulling teeth. His face is easy to read, so when he's not happy and relaxed--it definitely shows! I'll get those done today. He didn't want a party or an official birthday party this year--he'll invite some friends over for a barbecue and bonfire (in
the fire pit). Wow, Costco did a great job on the announcements, an hour turnover, and they were able to use the photo Ben wanted. He's set! It's a shame he couldn't use his senior photo, but copyright laws rule.
Busy day today (5.6.08). Appointment at 9, Mom, and then a knitting group at a coffee shop tonight. I hope there's a good turnout and that Kathy's there, too (hint).


2.5.08

And now for something completely different...visions of spring!

It's dreary outside and I need a dash of color (from something other than yarn!). Yesterday I took a 5-mile walk with a friend and it was wonderful to be outside. I wish I'd taken my camera, as we saw a turtle and some lovely little wildflowers peeking out from the drab ground. The wind was blowing and the temperature was perfect. It was cloudy, which was okay.
The painting on the left is one I did
in Germany. I remember that day in April. The carpet of yellow--dandelions. This scene was the park by our apartment where I walked the dog daily. It is huge and the gardens are beautiful. To the right is a small painting from an art work week I took in Scottsdale, Arizona. Our group had the pleasure of spending the day at a home in the Camelback Mountain area of Phoenix. I didn't have a fancy French easel like everyone else (my Dutch paintbox has an easel on the lid), so I sat on the ground by these nasturtiums. When we took a lunch break, everyone walked around and checked out the paintings in progress. Other artists loved my viewpoint, and a few even took the opportunity to sit on the ground and paint. I love to paint en plein aire. I'll have to take my compact watercolors and sketchbook with me on the trip this time.

1.5.08

Double, double toil and trouble...

Do not adjust your monitor, you are seeing double! It's just my knitting--I thought it would make an interesting image this morning. This is what happens when you have too many needles in your bag after you do your swatch and grab the wrong needle anyway (those dang gauge demons!). Knitting is lovelier the second time around...it's early, no apology for the bad play on words. I'm knitting the new from the old. It's probably not the proper technique, but what a drag to wind as I spliced the yarn as I added new yarn, and it would be one mother of a skein! I still have to swatch the cotton cardigan. I'd like to get that going before the trip so I can work on it on the flight and the train.
Last night Ben received his Eagle scholarship from the council. There were 10 scouts all together, and the scholarship recipients performed the flag ceremony. Ben was calling it (there were over 300 at the Gathering of Eagles dinner. It's becoming quite an event). The flag was the backdrop behind the podium and he was having a Patton moment thinking, "This is cool!" What a great way to come full-circle as a youth in scouting, as last year's Outstanding Eagle Scout and this year earning a scholarship. He knows a quite a few of the other recipients and this year's Outstanding Eagle. A fine group of young men.