About Me


Unwrapping and Wrapping Up

Christmas 2016 was a nice, quiet holiday.  Jim and I visited Holidazzle in Loring Park.  Holidazzle used to be a Christmas parade and has since been revamped into a Christmas market featuring local Ben came on Christmas eve to wrap gifts.  Crazy weather made it a good day to hunker down and enjoy family time.  We waited until Christmas morning to open gifts and enjoyed reminiscing about Christmases past and how our family traditions began.  Jim was very happy with the mittens and the pajama pants I made for him.  I cannot believe I was able to finish those projects!  Ben's sweater is coming along, I started the fronts together.  It's been some time since I made an intarsia sweater.  The process is like a mullet hairdo - business in the front, and party (or mayhem with the yarn tails) in the back.  Good thing I have plenty of bobbins to wrangle the yarn.

I'm pleased with the color choices for this project.

Jim and I went to the mall after Holidazzle and stopped in the bookstore to check out the magazines.  Imagine that!  

Some of the brown sugar cut out cookies.  Ben chose the cookie cutters this year.  Ampelmann, forest critters, puppy dog, and pine trees.  The toffee bits were a tasty addition to the hedgehogs and moose this year.
The Holidazzle lights were beautiful!

Our little tree decorated with memories.  (Humm, it's dropped a few needles.)

One of Jim's mittens before fulling...

...and the happy recipient.

Ben making butter with the churn Jim got for us.  It was delicious!
We took time on Christmas Eve to drive around and look at the lights.
"Droid to the World"

Looking ahead to 2017...time, it can be a friend or a foe.  There are 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 365 days a year (with the exception of leap year) and yet the minutes, hours, and days go by so quickly!  In spite of my time passing too quickly, I managed to produce not only fiber works, teaching classes, and painting with limited vision until March 2016 when Dr. Conrad restored my sight with a new lens implant in my left eye.  The next few months were spent planning and training for the 12-day Philmont trek in August.  Naturally, a month before we were to leave I bashed my foot on the corner of the cedar chest (that has been in the same spot for 17 years).  I ended up buying new boots because of the swelling and pain.  My third and fourth toes became buddies taped together for a few months.  We hiked 75 miles in the New Mexico mountains.  It was beautiful.  I missed my other hiking boots and it was a happy day in October when I tried them on and they were once again comfortable!  I wish I could say the same for my hands.  It's a good thing I switch out my hand work often.  Between knitting, spinning, weaving, painting, sewing, and baking my grip is not quite as strong and there is a bit of pain in the joints (sad face).  Limiting my keyboard time on the computer also helps, although it is necessary whether I like it or not.  

Now that I'm exclusively at Anoka Fiber Works, my time is my own, meaning I'm in control of what I make, classes I schedule, and the number of students I have in class.  Just over a year ago on December 5, our little group started a weave-along that turned into finished vests, a weekly weaving group, floor looms for Mary and myself, a published article, and me becoming a vendor at AFW.  I'll be moving to a space along the wall before the year is over.  Collectively we continue to build community through our common love of all things fiber.


Sweater weather is here!

It is that time of year again, which makes me happy.  The woollies are coming out of the cedar chest and placed within easy reach.  Since the last post I've been working on Plans B, C, and D for the twill fabric because the width is just shy of what I need for a skirt.

The two pieces of fabric came off the Cricket loom and can be used together for a top or separate for scarves.  The jury's still out on that.  Yesterday, the fabric for the sides of the cotton top came off the Cricket and I am very happy with the result.  The loom was warped with 158-inches of hemp, cotton, and cotton/linen and the weft  was a textured cotton throughout.  All the yarns were from my stash and originally intended for sweaters.  Combining the everything into one project is a great way to use up that yarn and the colors worked well together.  There are a couple of pretty cotton skeins that I will use as part of the weft for the center and back panels.  The Pontunic is from Weave Knit Wear, by Judith Shangold.

For the warp, the thinnest yarn is hemp, textured white and the blue are cotton, and the green is cotton/linen.  The weft is a textured brown cotton.  I love the color and texture of everything together.  Everything will soften up nicely with washing.  

There are two knitting projects in the works (amongst other WIPs and UFOs) for holiday knitting.  One is a sweater for Ben, a classic Mary Maxim cardigan with a moose on it.  Classic Alafoss Lopi is my yarn of choice and it will be nice and warm.  A friend and I took a drive to Depth of Field in Minneapolis to find the yarn, as it isn't easy to find in most of this area's yarn shops.  Woolly wool is considered scratchy or "old" these days.  Yes, I had a local yarn shop clerk use physical quotation marks while saying old when she referred to the yarn about which I'd inquired.  'Tis a shame some folks this that about some wools.  I love Icelandic wool for its warm loftiness.  The more I wash my garments made with it, the better they look and feel.  Washing makes the yarn bloom and spaces are filled in with fibers creating a woolly halo on the fabric's surface.  The warmth of the knitted fabric is warm without heaviness and often I wear a sweater instead of a jacket for that reason.

14.12.2016 Oh my, time certainly has flown by!  I had a commissioned project to knit and it set my other projects on hold for a bit.  I'm back to working on two gifts for Jim and Ben's sweater.

In the meantime...the article in Spin-Off, Winter 2017 issue came in the mail and we were very happy to see ourselves in the magazine on pages 90 and 91!


This and that

Jim and I helped Ben with some yard work.  His maple tree is just lovely and I had to hug it.
Halloween night
We wore our costumes from the Scooby Doo themed Cub Scout Camporee.  Albert and Alberta.
Jody's bunny was a cute attraction to the booth at the Cambridge Fiber Fair in October.
He says, "Spin more cotton."
I was spinning some kitchen sink fiber from Old Man
Wool Farm
and while sitting on a felted karakul wool seat cover that Linda made.
The fabric after washing, steaming, and brushing.
I have to do a muslin mock up of the wrap skirt before cutting into this!


Twill continued...

The wool twill is off the loom as of yesterday afternoon.  There were a couple of warp thread issues toward the end and I couldn't squeeze in those last couple of inches, but pulling it off the loom was a wonder!  This was a very rewarding experience and to have my first fabric turn out as I envisioned is nothing short of amazing!  It's been a journey of discovery to learn a new skill and take my love of making garments to another level of creativity.  Working with like-minded artisans is a gift.  We inspire, encourage, and support each other in the process of creating.  Slowing down and not rushing the process, and thinking about the materials we use and where they are sourced is part how we approach our work.

Fabric comes off the loom quickly!

Linda gave me some assistance.  I was so happy to see the straight edges and the amount of fabric coming off the loom!

I made this!

The next step is to zigzag the ends with the sewing machine, wash, and then brush the fabric.  I'm searching through my patterns to get some inspiration for a sewing project.  



At last I am weaving on the floor loom!  The weft yarn took some time to arrive, which gave me plenty of time to work through learning how to prepare the warp and thread the loom.  There was a problem with a couple of warp threads breaking on the far left side caused by the old tape on the reed rubbing against the yarn.  After fixing the second strand, Kathryn helped me unbolt the bar holding the reed and we were able to lift the reed high enough to remove the old tape.  I now have 50-inches of fabric woven and no problems!  The fabric is lovely and I cannot wait to wash and brush the fabric!  When this project is finished I will work on cleaning the dried tape residue left on reed's wood and re-tape.  I ordered a couple of ski shuttles and a boat shuttle.

Recently we did the Urban Adventure in the cities with the crew.  It's a photo scavenger hunt in Minneapolis and St. Paul, using public transportation to get around.  We stopped in downtown Minneapolis and I couldn't resist tossing my hat like Mary.  Jim barely had time to take the photo and we were surprised that I nailed it!  
Perfect hat toss, ending up at Mary's fingertips!


Learning something new

The loom I purchased in July is now being warped for my first yardage of fabric, which will be about three yards of 26-inch wide twill fabric.  The warp is Harrisville Shetland in walnut, a lovely rich brown with notes of dark blue and green and the weft will be Harrisville Highland in tundra, a coordinating green.

Learning something new is quite a process, given that I am usually the instructor.  Kathryn is a wonderful mentor guiding me through the process of keeping notes, winding warp on the warping board, and now threading the heddles.  Weaving is not just about the finished product, but a process.  Winding the warp was so easy the second time and I was actually a bit sad when I was finished.  All the ties and the insurance (the last one before chaining the warp) now make sense.

Mary's husband, Rob, made a cone holder to use when we wind warp on the warping board.
 It works beautifully.

The warping board is mounted on the wall, making it easy to wind.  I took the photo with all the ties.  The insurance is the large one on the bottom.  

I love the Harrisville Shetland yarn!
The raddle holds the inch sections and the insurance keeps everything in place.
Threading the heddles--red, yellow, blue, and green...over, under, over, under...
The lease sticks keep the crisscrossed yarn organized.
We took a break and volunteered at the state fair at the Adventure Summit for Northern Star Council, BSA.  Jim was helping kids with the harnesses and helmets and I was "catching" them as they came down the fireman's pole at the end and unclipping the carabiners of the participants' tethers.  It's always fun to help out and we get free tickets.  We stopped at the Education Minnesota and had our photo taken for a calendar.  I think we look pretty good!

There is some knitting on the needles and it's a fun recipe for a pullover sweater.  I had the Rowan Fine Tweed and just needed a skein of Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn for the bodice, which is in progress in the photo below.  One of my one to one students wanted to knit one and I figured that it would be fun to work on something different.  So far, I really enjoy it!


The toe knows

Summer seems to be flying by!  Soon it will be time to set off for New Mexico and then we will be preparing for the state fair and then autumn will be upon us.

On Thursday, June 30, I was getting ready for my long walk and as I turned from the dresser to get my shoes - WHACK - I banged my foot on the corner of the cedar chest nailing the fourth toe on man left foot.  Words cannot describe how much that hurt, but I made up a few that are still hovering in the atmosphere!  Naturally my mind thought of Philmont and our upcoming 12-day trek.  On Saturday we went to urgent care to have my foot checked and to see if hiking was going to be in my future.   The X-ray showed no break, which was good.  I got a bootie with a square toe for protection and went back to RICE-ing the injured foot.  R-rest, I-ice, C-compression, E-elevation.  It is funny (or not) when something like that happens.

30.07.16  I started this post a couple of weeks after the incident and since that time I attempted to have my left boot toe-box stretched, which did not work well enough.  I was already at Peterson's Shoes, so I tried on a pair of Keen's hiking boots, Targhee 2.  Immediately I could tell the difference.  There was plenty of room for all my toes and the clerk let me walk up and down the basement steps and all around the store in them.  We had a camp-out that weekend and although I stayed back at camp with Mike while the others took a long hike, we managed about three miles.  The boots are very comfortable and although they are one eyelet lower than my other boots, they will be just fine.  Today we are attending to the last minute details of the trip, which is to finish packing our backpacks.  All my things are ready and partially packed, but with the forecast for the next ten days calling for rain in Cimarron, New Mexico those zip lock bags will be put to use.  Even with a pack cover it is so nice to have dry clothing since we take so few things along.  The four liters of water add over eight pounds of weight and then the food, fuel, stoves, bear bags, rope, and other crew gear are distributed in the crew's packs.
Happy feet at Wild River State Park!

In the meantime...on Wednesday of this week Deb from Old Man Wool Farm brought the loom to Anoka Fiber Works for me to see.  I have been looking for a used one that I can use in a studio spot at the co-op.  She had it on the trailer all covered up and we got it in despite the rain.  It was a busy day at Weaving Wednesday, so everyone got to see the new loom.  Deb and Winnie figured it had been on Deb's three season porch for 15 to 20 years.  Winnie had warped it at one point in time, and there was no warp on it.  I washed it off with some Murphy's Oil Soap and rubbed the steel parts with steel wool.

Like wheels, looms can be named and I decided on Anne.  I love Anne of Green Gables and am enjoying a fun summer read of the first book.  This loom was just waiting for the right moment to come into someone's life.  I am happy she came into mine.

Color-coded heddles make them easy to identify.

I snapped a photo before I took off the sectional warp attached to the warp roller.  

The sectional warp pieces need a good cleaning and new cords.  

The serial number below the logo is 4-280.  I checked on schacthtspindle.com and found that this loom was assembled in 1980.  I also checked the location of The Loom Shed in Oberlin, but it is no longer there.  
On my last walk I caught some movement to my left.  It was a family of turkeys.  They were trying to keep the little ones with them and I was thankful they went behind the sound wall rather than toward the road!
Mom, Dad, and the two kids...gobble gobble!
I was on the last part of my walk when the prettiest caterpillar caught my eye.  The colors are similar to some Zauberball Crazy in my yarn stash.


Hike on, new book, and finishing UFOs

Part of the preparation for the backpacking trip to Philmont is not only hiking, but also camping.  The Crew joined the Troop traveling to Cascade River State Park  on the northeastern tip of Minnesota for the weekend.  

Three of our personal tents.  Jim and I used Big Agnes, center) and will most likely take it with us to Philmont.  The "Darth Vader" tent on the left is one that Jim has had for a very long time.  

The woods surrounding the campsite was beautiful.  

Wildflowers were in bloom in camp and on the trail.

Shiny silvery birch tree bark.

Early morning spider web.

The spiders were busy on Saturday night.

Jim and I pose at the Root Beer Falls.

About that brown water...there is a reason for it in a text at the lookout point:
Why does the river look like Root Beer?  Is the river polluted?  NO!  
The brown color comes from the water that drains out of the swamps and bogs into the river.  The decaying organic matter in the swamps creates humic acid.  This is what colors the water brown.  The foam comes from the water tumbling over the rocks and waterfalls.  The aerated water with the humic acid and natural organic matter causes the foam.  Some of the dark color comes from iron deposits located along the river's course.  How do we know it's not pollution?  Because there isn't any development along the 17 miles of the Cascade River.  The Root Beer look of the Cascade River comes from all natural ingredients.  

Perhaps a gnome home?

Treading carefully over the roots!  I managed to slip and fall near the river.

By the end of the day we hiked 10.2 miles with our packs loaded with gear, maintained the lightning position twice on the trail, and opted to return to the campsite to wait out the storms Saturday evening.  Anybody not ready?  Hike on!
Sunday morning was glorious and cool.  The troop returned to camp (they opted to wait out the early storms and stayed at a camp on the trail). We broke camp and headed back home.  On the way we stopped at the visitor center in Duluth to stretch and take in the lovely view.

On Wednesday after weaving I made a trip to JoAnn, ETC for some ribbon to line the knitted strap for the wee Shetland bag.  I was a bit frustrated with the selection and quality of what was available, but I found some twill tape that will work and will somewhat blend in with the strap's colors.  I walked by the book section and the cover of this book caught my eye.  It is a pattern book by Lotta Jansdotter, a Swedish designer based in Brooklyn, New York. It is packed with photos and five simple sewing patterns--skirt, dress, blouse, pants/shorts, and jacket/coat as well as colorful accessories. The clothes are modeled through four seasons by Lotta's friends.  

Taking a peek inside at the five basic patterns and one of the accessories.

Sketches show the basic shapes of the garments with fabric swatches.

I would love to shop for fabric where Lotta shops!
The wee Shetland bag is blocked and ready for the finishing touches.  I had the pieces finished soon after the Shetland trip, but lost focus and it waited patiently in a bag.  I watched an old movie, Rose Marie, whilst weaving some yarn ends and steam blocking the pieces.  I will most likely line the bag with muslin so I can see to the bottom!

Another project with fond memories in every stitch.

For Wednesday weaving I warped the loom with the leftover neutral colors of Rowan Pure Wool Worsted.  There is a LOT of warp, too.  The leftover colors from various projects with the same yarn is the weft.  I hope to use up most of the yarn for the yardage.  What I will do with it when finished is anybody's guess.  At least it will keep me busy on Wednesdays for awhile.