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Minnesota, United States

27.10.13

Training and costumes

Yesterday was the University of Scouting.  I spent the day in Venture Scout required training.  Changes are coming to the program next year, so it is interesting to see what is coming down the pipeline, so to speak.  It is always fun to catch up with Scouting friends and to see Ben, which is always a treat!
It is good to be with both my guys!

I am knitting another sample of the Starry Java Jacket for the shop and I must start the card holder to match.  I can work on it today.

Last evening we went to a Halloween party, which was so much fun.  Adults, teens, and little ones were all decked out and there was plenty of food, candy, and scary decorations.  The party was set up in the barn  complete with fog inside and outside.  We spent most of the time at the bonfire.  It was a perfect evening.  Jim dressed as Red Green and I was a gnome.  I retired my old Halloween costume  last year (I made the Perriot clown costume in the early 1980s--it was time) and the only new pieces needed for this year's costume were a knitted hat, felt beard, and moustache.  I must say that the beard was not bothersome, but the moustache was itchy!

Red Green and the gnome.
The real photo!


25.10.13

Something new

I finally FINALLY set up my shop on Ravelry!  There are more patterns to add.  I cannot believe how easy it was and Joanne made it fun, as we were on the phone chatting as I set it up.  The first pattern is one I just finished today and enjoyed knitting--the Starry Java Jacket.  It is knit flat and the texture stitch is easy to work.  I went through my button stash and found some buttons the right color to go with the red and the star button was a bonus!

The blue buttons are the perfect size and color.

The Traveling Gnome approved the addition of a star button.

The button loops are worked in the bind-off.

23.10.13

There's change in the air

Yes, change in the weather.  I have a couple of small shrubs to plant and a larger shrub.  Dang, time has a way of flying by.

Shop samples are caught up for a bit.  I started Ariana's Shell with Rowan Felted Tweed DK.  It is lovely yarn.  It would have been really nice in my original color choice--Treacle--but instead there was more of the Carbon color, which is a dark blue/gray.  Right now I am working on a fun hat project called Round Dance.  I had a couple of skeins in the stash for some time and they were perfect for the hat.

I heard from a friend that she saw the 60 Quick Knits book in Washington state while visiting her daughter.  It is nice to hear from others how they like the hats.  I thought they turned out really cute.  The hooked rug, sample yarns, article, and photos arrived at Interweave Press.  That will take a bit longer to see, as the spring issue will not be out for a few months.

23.10.2013  I finished the Gnome Hat for my Halloween costume.  I retired the costume I made around 1982.  The only piece I needed for this costume was the hat.  Heck, why not make one I can wear when I cross-country ski?  Whether or not gnomes wear glasses remains to be seen, but this one does--I cannot see without them!  Maybe I can decorate them somehow to fit in with the costume.
The Paton's red is perfect for the hat.

Early morning light makes the red look pinkish.
The top photo's color is accurate.  
Over the weekend Jim and I had training.  He was inside and I was outside.    The participants made Little Reubens and Mountain Man Breakfast in the Dutch ovens.  Because we had only one hour for the session, the Reubens were finished quickly and finished off quickly!  I was too busy to take photos and wish I had taken one of Steve's troop when they brought their Dutch oven up from their campsite to show off their apple pfannkuchen.  It smelled heavenly.  I think that was wonderful for the adults to see the boys take pride in their cooking skills.  I can train people until the cows come home, but nothing beats seeing the boys in action.
The trees and the road looked pretty as I was leaving camp. 

Autumn colors.

Below are the recipes I used for outdoor cooking.  These are very easy to adjust.  Just remember:  You can cook food, but you can't unburn food!
Recipes:
Little Reubens
1, 8 to 10 oz pkg corned beef, chopped (or use turkey for Rachels) 
1, 32 oz jar sauerkraut well-drained (I use Frank's--it's my Ohio thing)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cups shredded Swiss Cheese (or a bit more is better--this is not rocket science!)
Ritz crackers (The first time I tried this we had rye bread, but the Ritz crackers are really good!)
10-inch Dutch oven, matches, charcoal briquettes 

This cooks up in a preheated Dutch oven in about 20 minutes at 375 to 400 degrees F, 10 to 12 coals on top and 8 to 10 coals on the bottom of a 10-inch Dutch oven.  The amount of coals used vary when the weather is cold, or is windy and cold, which was the case on Saturday.

Mountain Man Breakfast
1/2 pound bacon (we used precooked sausage cut up)
1 medium onion, chopped
1, 2-lb bag of frozen hash brown potatoes
1/2-lb grated cheddar cheese
1 dozen eggs
1 small jar salsa
12-inch Dutch oven, matches, charcoal briquettes

This requires 6 to 9 bottom coals and 12-15 top coals.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Slice bacon into small pieces and brown with onion in  the bottom of the oven until translucent.  If using precooked sausage, thaw and then cut into small bits.  Stir in the potatoes and cover, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes.  Scramble the eggs in a separate container and pour over the potato mixture.  Cover and cook until eggs start to set, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Sprinkle grated cheese over egg mixture, cover, and continue cooking until eggs are completely set and cheese is melted.  Serve hot with salsa!  

Something else I love when camping is Philmocha--coffee with hot chocolate, which tastes so good on a chilly morning or evening by the campfire.  

This week I received the designer's copy of the book and was excited to see my pattern in print.  I will enjoy my 15 minutes of fame to the hilt!  Too bad the Twins did not do well (yet again).  It would be nice to wear the original hat to a game--I only went to the stitch and pitch game years ago the first season the ballpark opened.  
It is nice to see not only my name but Amazing Threads, too.


16.10.13

Back to Iceland--armchair style!

Naturally I would love to go back to Iceland immediately, but this little trip will be from my chair.


I arrived so early in the morning, met Barbara and we found this little cafe for our breakfast.
I admit the heads are creepy, but we sat in the back so they were not staring
at us while we ate.
The door on the Hallgrímskirkja.
You know you are in knitting country when...
a huge picture of sheep is on the side of a building.
I love to take photos of doorways--beautiful color and texture!
Ragga's colorful bicycle parked outside her studio. 
Alafoss--where Lopi yarn is made.  The lovely color samples on the wall were just a teaser...
...of what we were going to see!
Huge bales of wool waiting to be carded.  The brown bales some white
added to make a particular tint of brown (whIte = tint, shAde = black)
A very large room partially filled with wool.
This room is full!
After visiting Deb's Ewespun Woolen Mill, it was nice to know
what the machine was doing to the wool on a huge scale.
MiniD was exhausted and took a breather on some oddments.
Dyeing room.
Here is the view from the dyeing room.  Not bad, I must say.
Our delightful teacher, Debbie Abrahams, poses by some  red yarn that matches her hair.
Winding skeins of white.
The shade cards are nice to see.  Alafoss tries to be as green as possible
with the dyeing process but some of the colors they
create have to be done in a not-so-green process. 
The yarn bits on the left will be carded together into cakes (aka plates) of unspun Icelandic wool called "plötulopi."  After being carded together, the wool is peeled into fine strips
and then wound into cakes. 

No visit to a factory is complete without visiting the shop!  I cannot
say I would buy a fox pelt (sad face), however the knitted gnomes
were pretty cute!  I purchased some Einband and three cakes of wool.
MiniD was charmed by the elf houses across the street.
Our first stop after Alafoss was the plains of Þingvellir.
Coins shine in the very deep clear water.
Lava 
Walking along the tectonic plates.
A little geyser bubbles.
While the big geyser spouts every four to  ten minutes
There is a reason to stay on the paved path!  Mary holds tight to MiniD
so she does not get burned.
After a quick lunch we go to the shop and what do I see?
Icelandic snuggies!  Now that is a snuggie I would wear.
On our way to the wool cooperative we stop briefly at a lovely waterfall.
It was very windy and rainy.  I did not want to stand too close to the edge.
The cooperative is run by female farmers.  They work to preserve the
beautiful colors of Icelandic sheep.  (White wool is most in demand.)
A sweet doll greets us when we walk into the building.
Honestly, I do not know what this was, but it looks like a turf house of sorts (on a small scale).
Back in town the next day and our lunch spot had a lovely view of the harbor.
It was a good day for some hot soup.
I can imagine these would be fun and stylish to wear in the middle of winter.
Everyone loves to knit!
Interesting color and texture...except for the cigarette.
An elf rock in a park behind our hotel.
Stepping stumps in the park.
A nice way to recycle cans.
I got hungry and needed something for a snack.
These cookies were really good.  Gnome liked them, too.
Back home, the lava rock votive candleholders make the shadows look
like the mountains of Iceland.
Lopi yarn and cakes from Alafoss, buttons from Ragga, a pin and ornament from
the Handknitting Association of Iceland.

Lovely spinning fiber from Þingborg Ullarverkstæði

Herr Kurbis and Humpty Dumpty admire the soft wool and my new birch spindle.