About Me


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.



On Monday evening, the program for the weaving group at Anoka Fiber Works was learning how to make simple Kumihimo braids.  Sharing instructions, Mary and I paired up and used some leftover threads from Kathryn's weaving.  There is a very good website here.  Below is a photo of the braid I made at the meeting, a 10-cord flat braid with a vertical/horizontal pattern, 2 cord crossover.  The button was the anchor.  The black threads on the sides were the crisscross strands in the middle as you will see in the rest of the photos.

Naturally, when I got home I had to try it out with some wool yarn.  The weight from the small scissors was helpful.  I did not have to pull the braid through the hole. 

Looking a bit like jellyfish tentacles.  I used a small scissors to weight the braid  as it goes through the hole in the middle of the white loom.

The looms were made from foam-core board.

the braid in progress.  One at a time, the strands above and below trade places...

...when the strands are all in place, the horizontal strands trade places (crisscross) and the process begins again.  The yellow-green horizontal strands are along the sides of the flat braid.  
Another FO (finished object) in my ongoing efforts to wipe out the WIPs.  The Puffin Mantle, by Kate Davies is finally finished.  It was a delightful project to knit with an easy garter stitch in the round chevron pattern.  The yarn made the project extra-special because I purchased it at Jamieson & Smith in Lerwick.

On my way to the scout camp in Wisconsin, I stopped by Darn Knit Anyway in Stillwater, Minnesota. There is a new sculpture in front of the shop.  He is  adorable.  I will have to bring the Humpty Ds with me next time so I can get a photo of them together.

He is smiling and therefore must not be in any pain from his great fall.
We have been hiking with the crew twice a week to prepare for the backpacking trip to New Mexico later in the summer.  The wildflowers were so pretty on this particular Sunday.



Wiping out works in progress...I am making great strides on the Puffin Mantle and should finish over the weekend.

The Beaded Beret stopped because I ran out of the beads.  I have new beads and will take out the row and possibly mix the beads.  Must think about this one a bit.

The cotton sweater is coming along.  I am at the mind-numbing stockinette stitch body.  The Debbie Bliss Cotton Denim DK is lovely yarn in pale denim.

The orange project is an entrelac bowl (it was a short phase some years ago) like the one (that needs to be fulled) beside the snowman, one of three that have been in a basket for longer than I can remember.  I have a lace sweater that needs to be frogged and the yarn re-purposed, as well as the vest that needs armbands.    Single patterns are now organized and filed and books are easier to find, as I rearranged them.  Patterns for classes are pulled and ready to use.  Samples are all finished, documentations are turned in, and I can focus on other projects.  Projects include paintings, weaving, spinning, and wet and needle felting.  Making progress is good!


Progress on the woven top

Yesterday I sewed the halves of the top together with the sewing machine.  When I tried that with my vest pieces, it did not work and I had to hand stitch.  I tested the opening size on a paper pattern and it worked out well.  I will not be turning under a seam allowance, but the plan is to make some binding tape out of fabric, possibly linen.  I have not sewn the side seams yet because I may be adding fabric to the bottom and tried it on.  It looks better than I expected.  There is more of the same fabric on the loom, so there are some possibilities for longer sleeves or a border added to the bottom.  The border is the first choice.

The plate I used to outline the neck opening.

Two-thirds of the opening is in the front and one-third is in the back with the shoulder seam at the fold between.  A running stitch is worked around the pattern piece, with the sewing machine stay stitching is outside the running stitch and zigzag is inside the running stitch.

After cutting, the running stitches were removed.  


Fiber, knitting, and a little Shepherd's Harvest

May has been a busy month.  A few weeks ago was Shepherd's Harvest Festival.  This year it was cold and a bit rainy, but that just gave me an excuse to bundle up and wear woollies.  On Friday, Linda taught the felted sheep rug class.  I was prepared to stomp around in a baby pool, but the weather was far too cold for that.  We worked by hand instead.  It took time and muscle, but the results were delightfully sheepy.  I was particularly happy the locks I placed around the sheep and at the forehead felted maintaining their curl.

Linda had the prefect heads finished.  We made our eyes and lightly needle felted them on the faces.  To the left is my wool spread out in the ring ready to felt.

I see you!

On Saturday morning I demonstrated top whorl drop spindle spinning.  It is always fun to meet new people and see familiar faces.  There were lots of folks wanting to learn how to spin.  After spinning, I walked around to check out the vendors.  I stopped at the Anoka Fiber Works area and Kathryn told me about some very nice Shetland laceweight yarn from Sandy's Palette.  I bought two light and two dark skeins.  I am going to use one or both colors for a hap from The Book of Haps by Kate Davies.  

My favorite thing to do at Shepherd's Harvest is to visit the sheep barn.  It was early enough to see some of the sheep before shearing.  I picked up my Jacob fleece from Marcia.  She contacted me before the festival for ChiChi's fleece.  This year Marcia brought along a few sheep from her flock.  ChiChi was not there.  She likes to hide under the llama, making her difficult to catch.  The fleece was slightly smaller than last year's at just over two pounds.  

Pictured below are a few of the sheep that were in the barn...baaa, we're ready for our closeup.

The Jacob sheep were freshly sheared. 

When I got home I readied the fleece for scouring by separating the dark and light sections.  Like having a new box of crayons, I always dumped the box of 64 and arranged them chromatically.  ChiChi's fleece is a lovely grayscale.    

I have about equal amounts of black and grays with most of it being white.  Marcia does a good job of skirting, so very little veggie matter or dirty bits.  

Below are the goodies I bought at Shepherd's Harvest.  I just took more time to enjoy looking and visiting than purchasing.  
Oh my, look at the lovely Shetland laceweight!
This was my monochromatic Shepherd's Harvest year.
Linda had sheep pin kits in her booth inside the barn.  She was doing a demo when I was there.  I wanted gray, so she switched out the white.  That will be a much quicker project than the rug!
The night before the demo, I took the time to card a batt with Finn roving as the base and added a bit of gray wool, hemp, sari silk, and white alpaca with color bits.  Naturally, I forgot to add it to the bag.  After winding off the yarn from Stella, I spun a couple of pretty skeins of tweedy goodness.