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Minnesota, United States

8.12.17

December

November ended and December began on a warmish note.  Now the cold has kicked in and we have a light coating of snow.  We ended up cutting the tree down early (the day after Thanksgiving) and I decorated it by December 1.  This is the earliest we ever put up the tree because the first couple of weeks are busy, which is good because I came down with a virus almost a week ago.  I'm still fighting  it, but at least feel well enough to do handwork.

Photo from the Turkey Day 5K.  Our turkey hats from a couple of years ago were passengers in our backpacks for the run.

The loom in my studio space is finally warped and I got the header and one repeat done before the virus kicked in.  The finished size will be 30" wide by 5 yards long, using my favorite Harrisville Shetland in Russet and Walnut for the warp and Loden Blue for the weft.  The pattern is from A Handweaver's Pattern Book by Marguerite P. Davison (1975 revised edition), on page 14 it is John Murphy's Bird's Eye No. 57/VIII.

Threading the heddles in a pattern--2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 3.

Sleying the reed, things are nicely lined up.

The weft yarn will be pretty with the warp!

At this point, Kathryn helped me wind forward and then back to make sure everything is nice and even.  At that point,
I re-tied and snipped the excess ends.  

Four rows of carpet warp and then four rows of plain weave before launching into the pattern.

I revisited the ornament pattern and adjusted the charts, increases, and decreases.  
A great project to use up bits and bobs of  wool yarn.

Knitting gifts for Jim and Ben...

...and making something for Andi.  The pattern is the same one my mother used for the Girl Scouts when I was a little girl.  I found a copy of the book a few years back.  It's a nice little needle case.

Jim's sock are finished!
On a morning walk, I noticed the ducks were having a last paddle around the pond before flying south for the winter.
It was a gorgeous day after Thanksgiving.  You can see there were some unusual trees this year!  I prefer natural green.  The other trees had a Dr. Seuss look to them.
Our little tree.

7.12.17

Thankful

Thanksgiving is a memory and we're plugging away to Christmas and the new year.  The first week of November was very frigid and just in time for Joanne's visit.  It was wonderful to see her and we had a fun time visiting a couple of favorite yarn shops, Anoka Fiber Works, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden by the Walker Art Center.  The sky was bright blue, the temperature in the low 20s, but the twenty mile per hour winds made the temperature feel like seven degrees.  We walked around and enjoyed the newly renovated space.  When we finished with our walk, we ducked into the Walker's cafe and warmed up with tea, coffee, and a large cookie.  On our way back to the house we stopped at the Coon Rapids Dam.  It was a rainy year and the Mississippi River was really rushing through.

The Garden opened in 1988, and features contemporary and modern art from the Walker Art Center's collection in an urban park setting.  It is a partnership between the Walker and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.


Spoonbridge and Cherry

CLAES OLDENBURG AND COOSJE VAN BRUGGEN
1985-1988

Black Vessel for a Saint

THEASTER GATES
2017

 (We ducked inside to get out of the cold)


LOVE

ROBERT INDIANA
1966–1998


Joanne isn't part of the art collection, but just bundled up.  One might mistake her for a work of art.

Hahn/Cock

KATHARINA FRITSCH
2013/2017

That 20-mph wind was really tough!  

September Room (Room with Two Reclining Figures and Composition with Long Verticals)

MARK MANDERS
2017
On the way back home, I stopped at the Coon Rapids Dam so Joanne could see the Mississippi River flowing over the dam.   It's quite a sight to see.  

 

3.11.17

Sweater weather has arrived!

A couple of Sundays ago Ellie taught a basket class at AFW.  The class almost didn't go until I snapped a photo and Teresa posted it on Facebook.  The class had a waiting list.  It was great fun and we were happy with our baskets.  I will eventually stain mine.  The round oak handles are unusual and were not difficult to add.



It's official, we had our first snowfall.  Good thing it snowed before the new shed was built.  The concrete cured and on Halloween the he-shed was installed.  Now the little camper will have a home. The weather turned cold quickly and I didn't take the time to change out the warm weather clothes for the cold weather clothes, yet.

Big change in the back yard landscape.

I took the opportunity to walk when the snow was falling and the wind was blowing.  The chill felt good and there were interesting things to see along the way.  It was obvious the wind was blowing from the north!

Mother Nature iced the cake.

A cold wind was blowing from the north.

One does not always have to look up to see interesting color and pattern.

The hydrangea is prettiest in autumn.  I think this would be a lovely color story for a project.




7.10.17

School is in session

School is in session and it's time to finish a project, add a class, and experiment.  The latest FO is my handspun vest made with the Mocha Dream roving from Ewespun Fiber Mill.  The fiber, ⅓ each Romeldale wool, alpaca, and camel down, was a dream to spin.  I ended up with 478 yards of two-ply yarn, which was more than enough for the vest.  The pattern called for a size US 9/5.5 mm knitting needle and after knitting a swatch I got the gauge I needed with a US 7/4.5 mm needle.  The pattern is from Folk Style, a book I've had in my library for some time.  The Grand Tour Waistcoat, designed by Di Gilpin was the perfect choice. There are a few Ravelry projects using the pattern without the intarsia motif.  The finished vest looks good with or without the swirls.  I didn't mind battling the bobbins, as intarsia is one of my favorite knitting techniques.

There's nothing better than a finished project.  The latest FO is a vest, knitted using spindle-spun yarn, using the intarsia knitting technique.  (I have an upcoming class for teaching the intarsia technique at Anoka Fiber Works.)   Intarsia, aka picture knitting, was popular when I picked up the needles in the early 1980s and I dove in relatively quickly as a fearless young knitter.  Thankfully the bobbins of varying sizes and shapes are still in the toolbox.

There wasn't a plan for the yarn in the beginning, as I just wanted to spin the beautiful roving from Deb Peterson, proprietor and shepherdess of Ewespun Fiber Mill at Old Man Wool Farm.  Deb premiered the roving at Shepherd's Harvest Festival over Mother's Day weekend.  The fiber blend is ⅓ Romeldale sheep's wool (from Deb's flock), ⅓ alpaca (also locally sourced), and ⅓ camel down.  The process of spinning was a joy and the natural colors blended into a beautiful variegated two-ply yarn with z-twist singles and s-twist ply.  I am thankful to have purchased that third ball because the 478 yards were enough for a larger project.

Fortunately, after many years of knitting and spinning, I have an ample library of knitting and fiber-related books.  Folk Style had the perfect pattern, Grand Tour Waistcoat designed by Di Gilpin.  Figuring that
Mocha Dream spy with the IST oak burl spindle.  The perfect tool for the project.

Mary snapped a photo for me.  There are three cables in the middle of the top motif.  

The upper fronts sport some seed stitch texture and cables.

A new class on the schedule at Anoka Fiber Works is for a Dorset "Cartwheel" Button.  Janie Crow taught our knitting group how to make them while in Shetland.  It was fun and we used the wool from our projects.  I thought it was time to practice and found the buttons easy and fun to make.  

The first three buttons turned into eleven buttons and counting.
The fall colors have been delayed by the abundance of rain this year.  I love the pops of color against the sidewalk concrete and grass.


I found a skein of fractal-spun Malabrigo Nube from a spindle spinning class I taught a few years ago.  The colors look like the leaves on the sidewalk (minus the grass).  I don't know what it will be, but I'm knitting a gauge swatch to try it out and see how it knits up.


Weaving Wednesday is a good time to experiment a "painted" warp.  I had some fabric markers, so I went small scale on a small loom to try it out.  No drips!  If I like doing this, I'll invest in some good quality fabric paint.  The blue and white fabric in the top left corner of the photo is Fey's kitchen towel.  She was very happy to finish them!


I finally used the skein of Vice yarn (Blurred Lines) that has been waiting patiently in the stash.  I think it would make a nice hat.  At the time I took the photo (yes, I fixed the position of the dowel to go up and over the front beam) there really wasn't a weft yarn I thought looked good with the colors, so I went with a neutral color.  As of this writing, it's coming along nicely.


7.9.17

Maiden voyage of the escape pod (Silver Traveler)

Summer's last hurrah, the last pre-season Vikings game and...



...the maiden voyage of the escape pod, aka Silver Traveler!

Leaving the launchpad

Nice landing spot at Wild River State Park

The flaming lantern, or as I like to call it, the reenactment of the microwave incident of 2005.


We took off on Saturday for wine tasting at Winehaven in Chisago County's gently rolling hills between three lakes.  They produce good wines and we purchased three bottles, white, port, and stinger mead.

Riesling
This medium-dry wine contains abundant peach, pear and floral notes that remain distinct through the soft finish. The perfect complement to fresh fish and poultry.Recent Awards:Bronze Medal - 2016 International Eastern Wine Competition (New York)

Port (750 ml)
This rich, premium port offers a seductive combination of luscious blackcurrant and cherry flavors culminating in an intense, lingering finish.  Pairs well with dark chocolates and aged cheeses.
Recent Awards:
Bronze Medal - 2014 International Cold Climate Wine Competition


Stinger Mead
A smooth, nicely balanced wine with a crisp, delicious finish that boasts a spectacular perfume of honey which is accompanied by an intriguing array of floral scents.
Recent Awards:
Silver Medal - 2016 International Eastern Wine Competition (New York)
Silver Medal - 2013 U.S. National Wine Competition
Gold Medal: 2012 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition

information from Winehaven's website.

We then took off for Taylor's Falls and the Wild Mountain Winery.  The wines were good and the Log Jam Hard Cider was a favorite for both of us.  I got to cork the bottle.  We got back to the campground and promptly had lunch, relaxed a bit, and hiked one of the trails.  

This friendly black bear greeted us


Making our way down the list with munchies

Chocolate and port!

We hiked along the St. Croix River



On Sunday we took another bike ride and enjoyed the beautiful weather and early fall colors around the park.



The view from the hammock

All is right with the world