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Minnesota, United States

28.1.10

Thinking of green and steeks


I'm making progress on the cardigan and the vest.  You can see the three-stitch steek forming nicely up the front of the cardigan.  The vest is very fun to knit and I really like the Donnegal yarn.  My fingers feel soft from the bit of lanolin in the yarn.  The cabling is easy, although I got ahead of myself and forgot to make the first twists in the middle.  It was only one row, so not a big deal.  I rarely knit anything without having to tink at some point. 






We're having very cold temps, but it's sunny and doesn't seem so cold.   Eevee uses her paths to navigate around the yard.  I need to bring in some wood for the fireplace before we get more snow.

26.1.10

The deep freeze is back

The January thaw is over and the cold and a fresh coating of snow is back.  I was getting a bit tired of the melting slop. 
I'm actively knitting on  four projects at present.  The #11 cardigan is progressing quickly.  I do like the thought of a steek, although I'll know more when I secure and cut it!  I began the Stone Walls vest with the two hanks of gorgeous green yarn from Ireland.  I wanted to do the XO vest, but I want to be sure to have enough.  I'm almost finished with the 2 1/2-inches of ribbing and then will start the texture and cabling.  That's the best part.  I have two sock yarn scarves going, which are great for tucking into my bag when I'm out and about.  Since Mom and I can't go out today, I'll probably take along the two big projects so she can see them. 
In February, I'll be finishing up my first Wood Badge ticket.  That will be nice!  Four more to go after that.  I have 15 months to finish all five.  One thing I'm determined to finish this year is my Level II Master Handknitting.  It's a great program that makes one really dig in and focus on technique, history, writing, and projects.  Level I helped me become a better knitter and teacher.
I made the cookies from the mix Mom made at one of her activities.  They are really good, too.  The jar was so charming, I hated to empty it, but we needed some home-baked goodies over the weekend.  With Ben gone I don't bake as much.  Jim's working hard for cycling and Philmont and I'm just trying to keep my "girlish" figure.  I'd really rather just crop, cut, and paste with Photo Editor, but alas, it's not possible! 

24.1.10

Gone batty

Well, I lasted a little longer into the new year before caving--I got the yarn for a Lopi cardigan, which I've wanted to knit for years.  It's got steek stitches in the front, although I am convinced I don't like having just two purl stitches.  I'm a little past joining in the round and decided to put in an extra stitch between the two steek stitches, and then on either side I'll twist the knit stitches.  Rather than the purls showing on the front, I can work a crochet chain up the twisted stitches and then cut the center.  Anyway, that's the plan.  
The Batty Baktus Flat Feet Scarf is coming along.  It's a nice NBK (no brain knit) and I like the color way.  The first panel for the increases is almost finished, and then the second panel will be for the decreases.  
21.01.10 I took out the Lopi cardigan to the ribbing and re-knit with the 3-stitch steek.  I also decided to finally finish the sleeve of the Rustic cardigan.  I don't think I'll go with the wood buttons, though.  With nine buttons, I don't want to have to take them off when it's washed.  

17.1.10

Spin class--and this one wasn't on a bicycle!


While gathering all my supplies for the drop spindle class today, I thought MiniD and Jojo would like to tag along.  It's not spinning unless Joanne's along!  The girls were playing hide and seek (although I knew where MiniD was--she must have been "it".  JoJo was hiding and Sock Monkey, Shawn, and Hershey weren't talking.  Little Sheep was hiding in the top drawer of the antique dresser.  After some looking I found JoJo in the big basket with Jack Glo, Seamus, Coco, McLamb, Skippy (he's an instigator), Humpty Dumpty, and Gingerbread Boy.  Such a time!
Now the girls are in the basket ready to go.  Little Sheep is on the dresser keeping an eye on Sock Monkey and his buddies.  Spunny will be going to class with us.  The gals at the shop wanted me to bring along my wheel, so my go-to guy Louie Louet will be my buddy today.  I brought along various spindles, too.  I'm excited to see who's in the class.  
17.01.10  Oh, it was a fun class and I took a photo of some of the baby skeins before the students left.  Carol made us a delicious lunch of chicken wild rice soup, rolls, carrots with dip, and oatmeal raisin cookies.  The Louet spinning kits worked out great and the students were quick to learn the technique.  

15.1.10

Color in Winter



finally took the time to finish the scarf.  It's really nice and will be warm--just in time for the temps in the 30s!  We're going to have a little January thaw over the next week.  Earlier we had fog and it reminded me so much of Germany.  The trees looked as though they were sprayed with flocking.  Eevee and I went outside and took some photos.
I started another Baktus scarf with my Flat Feet yarn.  Since it's the bat design, I'm naming it the Batty Baktus Flat Feet Scarf.  So far the colors are blending nicely.  Kathy and I have to work on our sock blanks this year.  We're due for a day of fun!  My next sweater project will be to finish the lace pullover I started last year and then make a vest from the beautiful green Donnegal yarn from Ireland.  I'm still allowing the four skeins of the oatmeal color ripen before I decide what project to do. 
On Tuesday, I stopped by Half Price Books after an appointment.  I found a copy of a Little Golden Book  I'd had as a child, My Teddy Bear.  The illustrations are charming and the teddy bear looks just like my teddy, Little Sister.  I read it to Mom while we had lunch in her room and she really enjoyed it.  My favorite illustration is the one with the teddy wearing a hat.  I have such fond memories of the time Mom and I spent together while my siblings were in school.

11.1.10

Christmas in January

A package from Texas arrived this week from Joanne!  She made me some fingerless gloves that will match my cuffs and a little ball of yarn magnet!  So cute.  Thank you, Joanne.  
Yesterday was Round Table and my Dutch oven sampling is my favorite chocolate cake--Crazy Cake.  It's a simple recipe, but is so good--especially when it's warm.  I sprinkled Heath Bar toffee pieces on the top.  It was a big hit last night.  I'm getting submissions for the cook booklet and am excited to be working this Wood Badge ticket.  Here's the recipe:
CRAZY CHOCOLATE CAKEC-08-09 Lead by example; be the example (My Wood Badge course number and motto)
3 C all-purpose flour  
2 C sugar
1 t salt                          
2 t baking soda           
½ C cocoa                   
10 T melted butter
2 T vinegar (white or cider)
2 t vanilla
2 C cold water
2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add butter, vinegar, vanilla, and pour water over all.  Mix thoroughly and pour in a lined Dutch oven.  Bake at 350° for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Evenly cover the cake with the chocolate chips, replace the lid, and let sit for a minute or two.  Spread melted chips over cake.  Serve!
11.01.10  It was a busy weekend.  I spent Saturday at Grey Wolf training as part of a Wood Badge ticket.  It was nice to see the boys and work with some of the adults.  I look forward to the Friday Feasts over the summer.  
The shop was very busy yesterday.  I have some new faces in my classes and that's always good.  Jim was at his spin class when I got home.  I made a pot of tea, built a fire and settled in to knit on the scarf.  I thought I'd get it finished last night, but I still have a few more motifs to go.  I had to dig through the stash for a bit of orange and had a bit of Lamb's Pride that's a close match.  
The blocked handspun is gorgeous.  What a difference blocking makes!  Now I can dig out the pattern Carol got along with the fiber and work on the little scarf.  I'll have quite a nice collection this year!
We're expecting some "warmer" temps this week, which will hopefully melt some of the ice.  It's tricky on the side streets.
I like this message from a Dove chocolate wrapper--Forget the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey instead!

7.1.10

Artful living


We ended 2009 on an artful note by going to the MIA for the Louvre exhibit.  Jim got me memberships to both the MIA and the Walker museums.  This year I'm taking more time to take in what Minneapolis has to offer.  When I lived in Europe, I always took time to visit museums and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The special exhibit has 20 works on loan from the Louvre.  I was especially happy to see Vermeer's Astronomer.  His work never ceases to amaze me with the attention to detail and his use of light.  We took the time to go to the third floor and visit Hortense.  Degas is one of my favorite artists.  The painting is done on ticking fabric and I like to imagine Degas working on the composition.  Hortense has a confidence in her facial expression showing she was hardly intimidated by Monsieur Degas.

Knitting, knitting...the scarf is really progressing.  I'm afraid I need to get some of the ends woven in before it gets too long!  My luck we'll have a thaw before I finish.  It's still fun to knit and will be a nice accessory to wear in the winter.  Everyone needs a punch of color and using up stash wool is even better!  
I bought an interesting book last month.  There aren't too many new knitting books I'm willing to purchase, but this one caught me by surprise.  It has patterns, but even better, it's also a stitch dictionary for reversible knitting.  I'm going to knit up some swatches rather than a large project for the shop.  There are lots of possibilities with the techniques.
Vogue Knitting came yesterday and it's great to see the return of Fair Isle, cables, and color.  Some of the shapes (Twinkle's chunky vest with the bubble shaping) remind me of the mid-1980s sans shoulder pads.  I've now been around long enough to see the fashions (good and bad) of my youth come and go, but it's nice to see a return to finer yarns and complex color work and textures. 

1.1.10

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010!

Happy New Year!

Portrait of Mlle. Hortense Valpinçon by Edgar Degas, Minneapolis Institute of Arts