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Minnesota, United States

30.11.09

Anticipation

We had a nice Thanksgiving made even better having Ben home for the week. I was browsing around the local antique shops and stopped into a favorite one after I saw the little church in the window. This is the exact little church that my Mom has on her table, which was Grandma's. It lights up and has a music box in it that plays Silent Night. I just couldn't believe it when I saw it in the window! It's not fancy, it's made of post-war plastic, but it takes me back to a time and place in my childhood with fond memories of my Grandmother. Who can resist that?
We went past the tree farm where we usually cut our tree and found a smaller place to cut down a tree this year. It's a lovely area and you walk through the woods to get to the tree plantation. I'm only holding the tree for the photo! It's a big one (for this house, anyway) and smells wonderful! We wanted to be sure Ben was with us to get it and he had the honor of cutting it down. Today I'll start decorating.
On to knitting...the brown jumble is the Rustic cardigan. I have one sleeve ready for the garter stitch band, the other sleeve to knit, weave in ends, and then sew on some fabulous buttons. It's such a great color and the linen/wool blend is soft. This will be a favorite! I'm plugging away on the Warm Woolies sweaters. I'm on the last one. The yarn is just so splitty and hard on my hands. I'm using straight needles for the front pieces and the weight is affecting my right thumb. I've got three nice sweaters and may make hats or a blanket with the rest of the yarn so I don't have to worry about picking up stitches and all those ends to weave.
Yesterday I took Ben to the coffee shop where we meet to take the kids back to school. Jess' parents took them this time. I miss him already, but we'll see him again on the 18th!

25.11.09

Enjoying the bounty!

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!
An old Irish blessing


HAPPY THANKSGIVING

There is no sincerer love than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw

20.11.09

Gotta catch 'em...



After the Beanie Baby craze when Ben was in first grade, the next big thing (at least that I can remember) was Pokemon. He still has his cards, etc. and I'm amazed how the cartoon has lasted! I made this Pokeball hat for my niece and it was a fun, quick project to knit. I may do one for Ben just for the heck of it. The felt Pikachu I'd made for Ben was well-loved and I thought
he would like to pose with the hat. Pikachu was very happy to oblige.


The pattern is available as a Ravelry download
.

17.11.09

The handspun is done

Here's the handspun all finished. I have a bit on the drop spindle to add and can probably use it somewhere for trim or whatever. I wanted the colors to be random and I think it's a fun mix. I just hope it's thin enough for the gauge. I believe I'm pretty close--need to check the WPI when it's washed.
I'd post a photo of the Warm Woolies sweaters, but right now I'm so sick of that yarn! Another one is ready for sleeves. There is a wonderful, easy pattern for a sweater. I like the Steppe Sweater because it's just a matter of counting stitches and rows, so I use the yarn doubled and tripled. Using four strands is temptin
g at this point! It's for a good cause, so that helps ease the pain of knitting with splitty-stringy yarn. The Rustic cardigan is what I work on when I need a break, and I just need less than ten inches for the body. The sleeves are really quick. I'm thinking about the buttons. They must be fab!
My Wednesday beginning class is going to continue on with pick-a-project. I'm anxious to see their bags after felting. I'm ready to cast on for this hat for my niece. The shop was out of superwash wool, so I'm using Berroco Comfort, which will be a nice alternative.

15.11.09

Knit knit knit...spin spin spin

Baktus scarf, Shape-It scarf, and Baba's Bed Socks




I'm working on all kinds of projects right now. I'd say I'm finishing up the WW sweaters, but those cones are large. I've gone to three-strand knitting! The yarn is just awful, but it's all for a good cause, which is important. I caved and traded in two skeins of Noro from the She-Knits Mystery Bag KAL #2 (now frogged) and got seven hanks of Cascade Rustic (color 17) in a gorgeous, warm brown for a simple cardigan. It's a blend of wool and linen (one of my fave fabrics!) with lovely drape and hand. Roxanne made a pullover with the dark indigo and it's just gorgeous! I need to sit with my back to that wall of yarn when I teach, but then I can see all the other yarn in the shop! I'm narrowing down patterns for the Donnegal yarn. The one in the photo is really pretty, too. I like the Fair Isle color work on the yoke. I have enough green to make either of the vests in Folk Vests by Cheryl Oberle. The O X vest is a button front and the Stone Walls is a pullover (they're both really nice). As for the bulk of the yarn, I'm thinking of something from Alice Starmore. Her cable work is amazing!
Last Saturday, I did a spinning
demo at Sharefest (church bazaar). I always love to do that and chit chat with everyone. The beautiful tube of fiber Carol gave me was so fun to work with, and Louie Louet was going great guns until the wheel had a flat. The footman to treadle connector broke, so I pulled out my drop spindle. It was a nice time. I got a few things from the international table. Judy held back a candelabra from Germany. It's really cool and I'd not seen one made of metal before. Along with that I got two dolls, one from Holland and one from Austria that will join the little Hungarian doll on the Christmas tree this year. The Dutch doll wears the costume from Volendam, the same one I'm wearing in a portrait I painted in college of Jim and myself. The funny part of that is the original photo had a spinning wheel in it, and I thought it made the composition cluttered! Too funny! The month is flying by too quickly! Ben will be home for Thanksgiving soon. I have some of my knitting done for Christmas. I don't knit for everyone on the list. I knit for the ones that specifically request something and for my fiber-loving friends. On the work front I've picked up a class on Wednesday during the day and there are plans for other classes to be offered. I'm hoping to push some of the more experienced knitters to more advanced techniques, and add another spinning class. That's fun for me to teach. Trying to build a spinning community in the NW 'burbs is a challenge.

5.11.09

Knitting and a wee bit of Ireland

Here are a few more photos of Ireland. One of my favorite places was The Burren, and this tomb. It's amazing to think of our world close to 6,000 years ago. I have to note (looking through the photos) that capturing vignettes in a photo is not only snatching a memory, but also recording sources that inspire me. I compose and snap my photos as if I'm going to paint the subject. The colors of Ireland are intense and appear to be more so when it rains! The color combinations and textures influence my yarn choices for knitting projects. I think that's why I love Scottish and Irish tweed yarns so much!
Here and there in County Clare
Fence at a church ruin, the Cliffs of Moher from the Doolin Ferry boat, screech owl at Ailwee Cave Raptor center, sheep staredown, Poulnabrone (6,000 year-old tomb), wall decoration in Galway
Bunratty Castle and the Folk Park
A door at the castle, window, turtle shells were used for serving at the castle back in the day, stairs to the dungeon, pitchers in the dairy cottage, crooked little char in one of the Folk Park cottages (every fireplace was going, so it was nice to warm up!), weaving shop, and coins at the horizontal mill.
Haystacks, wheels, thatch detail, a plumb color door, and chickens huddling away from the rain.
I've been so busy catching up that I haven't really been knitting--gasp! I do have a goal to complete, and that's using up the Lands' End yarn for the Warm Woolies sweaters before December 15. I wore my Fair Isle Collared Jacket yesterday. It's very comfortable and looks cute on! Love that project. I moved the button over a bit to bring the collar in and I like the fit better. Yesterday was my first day of a Wednesday class. I don't teach beginning knitting often and it's a good challenge to break down the movements and find ways to help each student successfully manipulate the yarn and needles to make knitted fabric! Movements I've been doing for (46--gosh, has it been that long?) years are automatic, but not so for others. Everyone managed to understand the purl stitch, and I make sure they know about this site, because the videos are helpful when you can't get to the shop for help.
The Baktus scarves are fun to knit and a great use of sock yarn when one suffers from SSS (second sock syndrome). The Donnegal yarn is ripening while I search for the perfect project. There is a gorgeous sweater in my new fave magazine The Knitter. Grumble...they don't really have a site and I don't want to sign up for more e-mail...On my ring finger in the photo is part of my birthday present from Jim. We happened to drive by Brian Hackett's studio outside Doolin. He was in the process of setting up and we thought he wasn't even open, but he was very gracious and we loved his work. His work space is at one end of the showroom. I'd put up a link, but he doesn't have one, yet! Anyway, the ring is based on a neckpiece and is fashioned of buffed silver, gold and sapphires. I love it! What a nice gift and sweet and thoughtful husband--it was a nice surprise!
Today is Round Table day which means Dutch oven cooking for tonight's sample. I'll make the White Chicken Chili that John made on our Wood Badge camping weekend. The weather is supposed to be nice today, so I can cook outside!
November 6--Today I had coffee with Kathy and it was so nice to catch up. Those coffee dates are so important! I ran into Connie from the bell choir (I dropped out this year) and she said I was very much missed. That's nice to hear. I can't wait to hear them play later this month and next month for Christmas.