Monthly Archives: August 2007

Where’s the Knitting?

Here’s the knitting!

First, although I’m embarrassed since I’ve made so little progress, here’s Mystery Stole 3, getting close to the ‘wing’ part but not there yet:


But it’s posed on the blocking mats! Hooray! Here’s the picture before cropping, showing the mats better, and the blocking wires, and a photographer toe or two. For scale, these are two mats together, each about two feet in diameter.


Here’s a pair of fingerless gloves, out of the same yarn that I’m making a log cabin blanket out of. I got a suggestion to wash this slightly stiff and prickly yarn with conditioner. I was going to make a swatch and try it — but then decided to make something useful instead. (Have I washed them with conditioner yet? Well, no.)


They look better on, less like a pair of tubes.

Here’s a very soft and very bright bulky mohair scarf, which is knitting up incredibly fast. This will be for sale at an upcoming event to benefit breast cancer research.


Next up is a ballband dishcloth I’m making for my husband’s upcoming birthday. I will be making the mirror image dishcloth when I’m done with this one, black with white slipped stitches (kind of like that old Star Trek episode where everyone was in negative — some alternate universe or antimatter thing, I forget).


Call me weird, but I think the ‘back’ looks cool too!

I finished The Preteen’s first sock, my design, and am working on the second! Her birthday is in 4 days. Can I do it? I hope so! I think I can, I think I can. Dedicated knitting time coming up in the VERY near future will help!  Here ’tis, modeled by the birthday girl-to-be herself.


The progress has been slowed by the fact that I lost this sock for about 3 weeks. I am naturally optimistic and not unaccustomed to misplacing things, so I figured it would turn up but was starting to get worried. Then we ate at the new local sushi restaurant — which we had eaten at, oh, about three weeks earlier. The proprietor saw me come in and ran over with the sock! Apparently, it had fallen out of my bag when we ate there last time and she didn’t know my name, but knew we came in every so often so put it aside for me. Hooray! Hard to make progress on a sock you don’t have in your possession. Which reminds me, apparently I left sock #2 at work, so will have to go back and get it tonight before leaving tomorrow. Disorganized? Me? Why would you think that?

On the sock theme: the following socks were the second pair I ever made; or, I should say, the second pair I started. They’re two-at-a-time top down socks from a knitty pattern. I messed something up after turning the heel, put them down and then they got seriously packed away somehow. Ran into them several days ago (while looking for something else, of course). Fixed the boo-boo (it helps that I’m now more experienced in the wiles of socks) and knit another inch! Once I get the birthday and charity knitting done, I’ll work on these also — they have a simple but pretty lace pattern which you can’t see in the picture.


That enough knitting for you?

(And that’s not even close to all I have on the needles! Gah!)

Well, here’s some bonus yarn.

Repeat after me: “It’s Always A Good Day When Yarn Comes In The Mail!”

This came from Fearless Fibers on etsy:

This is: Aran weight merino in colorway “Hendrix” (love it!); sportweight superwash merino in colorway “Autumn Reflections”; 3 skeins of worsted weight alpaca/wool in colorway “Duck Season” (Deb threw in an extra skein, isn’t that wonderful? should make warm accessory wear for our frigid winters); and 1 skein of superwash merino fingering weight in colorway “Smoke”. Mmmm. I’m loving it. I need to figure out something very special to do with 420 yards of Hendrix.

Last, the traditional garden picture. You’re probably tired of echinacea by now, but this one looked like it was exploding.


Eye Candy Friday


Found on a walk.  Looks like a heart — a real one — to me.

Watch for actual knitting content coming very soon!

Final Glimpses of Camp

Last time (this year!) for camp pictures:

here are a few final shots.


Sunrise the first day, over Little Boy Lake. This, however, was lost on the Gothlet, who is not a morning person:


Another dawn at the Boathouse; the light was magical.




Followed by another morning and another evening on another lake:



And a final sunset as we ride off into the west (well, ride off into the east for us, I guess).


A note on Ravelry

Courtesy of Claudia’s blog (of Wollmeise fame), Google translate, and Deb (who sent this to me), comes the following warning, Yoda-like:

I must you urgently warn, Ravelry am more than a Community, it am like a small universe for itself in which one hopelessly lose myself can. Who should supply man, child and dog with warm meals, dates notice, perhaps still another full time job, must the fingers of it have leave. You will have no more time for these tasks.

There, you are warned. (By the way, the Yoda-osity is not Claudia’s, other than the wisdom part of it; it is due to Google Translation of the original German post.) Also, be aware that Wollmeise is closing down for the next month, in the process of transformation. And that Ravelry is also in the process of transformation as it is about to make the leap to new servers/hosting, allowing faster progress out of its beta version and into every fiber enthusiast’s computer.

This public service announcement is brought to you courtesy of Hither and Yarn and the outside world.

Lizards and Skinks and Snakes, Oh My!

This is a fair warning to those who are phobic about reptiles: Reptiles Were Us this weekend.

This past weekend was the Great River Folk Festival here, an occasion I rarely miss. Now, that may not immediately say “Snakes” to you! But an ever-popular stop in the Children’s Area for the last several years is the Coulee Region Herpetological Society. An amazing number of kids want to pet the snakes! And skinks, and lizards, and tortoises, and even a little alligator.

On Saturday, the Herpers were short on reptile people due to a competing event (Gator Fest, doncha know!) and so we volunteered to bring Trinity the corn snake and help out.herp-society-at-grff.jpg

Here’s the Gothlet, who was very good with the snake and with the kids. She herself also got to hold a python that day, and the next day when there were more people and reptiles, she hung out with many more reptiles and fell in love with a blue-tongued skink. “It’s so mellow! It just hangs out on my shoulder! I want a skink — please?”

Hmmm. We’ll see. She does love the reptiles.


Here the girls are, reading Eragon. (Note the Knitter shirt, by the way.) Fortunately, Trinity was confirmed to be a girl; there had been some doubt. It would be hard to change the pronoun after a year.

Anyway, in between the reptile fun, I did make it to some music workshops and vendors, though the vendor who has been there the last several years with home-grown wool/yarn (Navajo-churro and Jacob sheep!) wasn’t there to my regret. Her farm is in one of the general areas pretty affected by the recent flood, so I wonder if she was home dealing with the aftermath. Hope all is okay there.

Right before all this excitement, I acquired a knitting-related toy:


Blocking mats!

These were at Sam’s Club (store only) for $20 — eight panels of two-foot by two-foot thick foam mats; should block almost anything! I have no spare beds and no carpeting, so bigger blocking is always a problem. Looking forward to the Mystery Stole 3 finish, I was not sure how I was going to do that. Well, now I have the mats — I just need to finish the stole!

So what’s up with that? Well, I have been slowly reknitting what I frogged (I had initially decided to shorten the stole, and after seeing the ‘wing’, decided to restore it to its written length; which meant, because there are two patterns happening with different row repeats, I had to frog it back a ways to where the ‘excerpt’ had been made to shorten it; then I needed to reknit the frogged part plus so much more). So I’m not even quite back to where I was when I decided to frog, as far as the clues. Sigh. Mentally, it’s a challenge to re-knit for me. But I can make great strides, since the part I’m on does go faster than the prior sections. (It’s just that I’m getting into some deadline knitting. Like three birthdays and two charity events in September, all of which have designated knitting. So MS3 is taking a back seat.) Sometime this week, I’ll take a picture of the stole on the blocking mat.

Did some stash organization today. Umm. I really do need to discipline myself to put it on Ravelry just so I remember what I have. But it will be incredibly embarrassing. I think I could open my own shop. Except I can’t bear to sell most of it….

Hey, remember me telling you all about Deb’s awesome rendition of Lizard Ridge?

The judges at the Minnesota State Fair agreed! Congratulations, Deb!

I will be seeing the prize-winning afghan in person this weekend when we make a road trip! We will be going to the Minnesota State Fair on Labor Day; and Deb’s invited me to hang out with the Saturday morning knitters so I can meet her & friends in person and . . . there will be a transfer of certain precious and long-anticipated treasure . . . hint, it came by sea and air, starts with W and ends with e, and the colors are unbelievable. Oooh, I can’t wait! It may be the Preteen’s and my husband’s birthdays that we’re celebrating this weekend, but I’m getting some presents too!

Saturday Blue Sky

It is so good to see this blue sky after all the rain and flooding.


What a perfect day.

Flora of Camp

I know this is rather bipolar, alternating between current and knitting events, and my recent vacation. Here, however, for those who like photographs and flowers, are some of the flowers and plants of our recent camp sojourn in Northern Minnesota.

I think I know what many of these flowers are, but I may be mistaken, so I will just present them with minimal commentary.

Down by the waterfront:


At the edge of a meadow, this graceful curve:


At path’s edge:


Deep woods hike:


Aliens! No, sea creatures! No, roadside plants:


Early morning, under the oak tree with the acorns:


These look like they belong in a Dr. Seuss book as the early morning sun hits them:


A wildflower, aka weed, that I’ve seen many places. Isn’t it pretty close up?


By the lake side again at dewy dawn:




Beside a different lake on a different day:


Intertwined trees, locked together forever:


Eye Candy Friday (from Camp again)


Little Black Rain Cloud

OK, I totally blame Teej for putting this little Winnie the Pooh song in my head. It’s been an earworm ever since I read her post about the flooding in our corner of the world.

“I’m just a little black rain cloud, hovering over the honey tree; Only a little black rain cloud, Pay no attention to little me.”

It’s raining AGAIN. Houses have slid onto highways, gazebos out of back yards, the bluffs are trying to fall down, rivers are at record levels — and it keeps raining. The soil is so saturated that water is seeping in basements that it never gets into usually. My own family is fortunate at the moment, but not so for many friends, family and co-workers.

Here are a few snapshots of what’s been going on in Southwest Wisconsin and Southeast Minnesota.

Can’t Stop The Rain: All I can do is knit and pray for all the people affected, and those who have lost loved ones.

So here’s some rainbow knitting, for the rainbow we hope to see after the storm:


This is a ‘beauty’ dishrag for Dj, who sent me the lovely lacey circular dishrag I showed you a few days ago. Our DishRag Tag team wanted to ‘pay it back’ as well as forward to our wonderful Cotton Commando team members, so decided on our own to knit (non-competitively!) a second dishrag for the team member who knit one for us. So this is mine for Dj, which I will mail tomorrow along with a treat or two. Made with the famous ballband pattern and leftover yarn from assorted other dishrags. I do like it. I didn’t like weaving in all those cotton ends, but I do like the ‘end’ result! (Pun not originally intended, but hey, there it is!)

And some more color for you and me on this dreary day:

My fellow Cotton Commando, Marcia who has no blog, saw some of my experiments with Kool-Aid dyeing on these very pages and was inspired to try her hand at it. She sent me pictures. Oh, my! Her results are astounding! And she’s actually knit with her dyed yarn, which puts her ahead of me, other than maybe a skein or two. She gave me permission to share her photos and comments when I asked. Look at this!


Here’s details:


And here’s Marcia:

Here are all of the different samples of dyed yarn I have tried so far. A few are samples that were wound in a loose skein and laid in a 9×13 pan, then dye dribbled over the yarn. The small blue/red sock was done this way. The starting yarn was a heather tan. I got brave and decided to see if over dying would work on a darker yarn. I used a bright clear blue and used the lemon-lime and grape on the two ends. I also tried it on a burnt orange yarn by using strawberry and mango for a subtle change. I have yet to be disappointed.

The other pic is the small sunflower sock for Emily. The yarn for the flower was another experiment. I crocheted the yellow, then painted the dye on with a paint brush and set the piece in the microwave as usual. That worked too. I then took the yarn and frogged it for use on the flower. I knew that I was going to use it in very small I-cord and needed it to be colored close together in tiny spots. Dying a quantity of yarn for a sweater would be a different matter.

The scientist in me wants to explore all the possibilities, and I look at solid colored yarn in a whole new way. I feel freed from the constraints of what I have on hand to create with, thanks to you. I think I was afraid of the process. That it was going to be too involved, and maybe a bit hazardous. The best part for me is the surprise that happens when it is knit, and how it changes like your pair of socks. It is always a mystery and a motivation to keep moving on with the project.

That first pair of socks I knit in the pink and mango are on display at the quilt store I do samples for in a town not far from here. They carry some yarn and we have a knitting group that meets there on Wednesday. I had the privilege of teaching the entire staff how to knit when they decided to carry yarn in the store. My biggest thrill was sitting down with yarn reps and actually picking out the yarn.

We have been amazed at what Kool-aid can produce, and if it isn’t quite what you like it can be over-dyed. By the way, the bright red yarn was dyed on a Wednesday knit group day on an antique table at the quilt store. All the ladies and staff held their breath while I went through the process of changing cream yarn into bright red/pink strands (cherry-2pkgs on the bottom, pink lemonade – 2 pkgs over the top, and strawberry over the pink lemonade). It was like a magic show. Very effective for keeping everyone on the edge of their seat…daring too.

Paton Classic Merino Wool and Lion Brand Wool were used for all the samples. Lion Brand needs very little soaking in water and dyes very well. Paton Merino has to soak a bit for it to accept the dye. Colors used for base starters: Cream, Maize – a cool yellow, and light tan – heathered. All muted looks were made with the tan or the yellow. One more note…check out the way other dyed yarn that you like looks and try to re-create the look or the color combination.

Can you believe that’s all Kool-Aid dyeing?! It is just awesome. I just recently dabbled in ‘acid dyes’ (which sound awful, but are actually non-toxic, and are only called acid dyes because they require vinegar to set the color) to be able to have a wider color palette; and had an awful lot of fun. But I had blue stains various places for quite some time. Kool-Aid is definitely easier, stains not as long, and look at what someone like Marcia can do!

One more bit of yarn enjoyment:

Here’s the Yarn Pirate Booty I received Saturday, which I nobly refrained from tearing into immediately, until the dishrag was knit:


BFL! BFL! This month’s Booty Club Booty was Blue-Faced Leicester yarn, about the softest wool I know of, which reputedly does not pill like merino does, due to longer fiber length. Oh, I love the softness and the colors! Pet, pet, pet.

And precious little mints, too cute to eat, and a sticker which I am thinking long and hard about the optimum place for. Too cool.

OK, one last bit of color as it’s now dark out (boy, these days are getting shorter fast!):

Yesterday’s garden as the rain ceased for a bit.


This really is this purple, and a little beaten up from what it’s been through in the last week.

What We Did at Camp

Warning: Picture Heavy!

(Like you couldn’t have guessed that….)

What we did at Camp*:

*This is YMCA Camp Olson in Northern Minnesota, one of the most wonderful places in the world. They offer 8 weeks of ‘kid camp’ and 2 weeks of Family Camp, and their staff is a special group of people who are what make Camp the amazing place it is. Not Affiliated, yadda, yadda, beyond the fact that we love it and come back again and again!

We ate, indoors in the 50+-year-old dining lodge at 50-year-old chairs and tables (but a brand new window):

gothlet-dining-lodge.jpg dining-lodge.jpg

and we ate outdoors:


We rode (some of us, like the photographer, a lot!):



We had a carnival (our booth was bobbing for apples):




The carnival concluded with a horse race:


Look at ’em go!

We hiked:hike.jpghiking-back-from-dinner.jpg

We sailed:regatta.jpgsailing-spray.jpg

even in a regatta, one of us. One of us windsurfed:


We did target sports. No action shots this year, but here’s my Pro-Marksman award and bullseye:


and the Gothlet won an archery award, and now is shooting arrows from 5 yards further away — which is, of course, harder.

We canoed and kayaked:


We fished. (No pics, the photographer didn’t fish.) One of us completed the Eco-Challenge, a swim-kayak-run test of endurance:

eco-challenge-1.jpg Others of us also swam here:

beach-evening.jpg (swimming not photographically documented, however)

Some of us participated in Pigtail Day:


(One of us had not had pigtails in her hair for decades.)

We read, some of us a lot:


Some of us played “Capture The Flag”. (One of us probably shouldn’t have. I’m too old for this stuff.)


We had a hoe-down:


This is the camp director and his wife doing a lovely do-si-do!


I’m married to one of those musicians. (Which meant no built-in dancing partner. But a seven-year-old boy graciously danced the Virginia Reel with me.)

We played tetherball. Some of us a lot.


and some a little (tee-hee!)


(No, these adorable twins are not mine; some of these photos are of staff and fellow campers.)

We tie-dyed:


We went to campfires, watched skits, and even performed in one:



And I knit at dawn This Morning:


And This Morning:


And This Morning:


Wow. What a way to knit. I wish I could do that every morning.