Monthly Archives: March 2009

Flowers from Sock Camp

Last week, I went from a week at work where it seemed that every day only got busier and busier, directly to the train station to take the Empire Builder train to BMFA Sock Camp, where I just arrived today.  There was no internet access on the train, so this is my first chance to catch up.  Thus, I have a number of color studies still in my camera and locked in my home computer.  Sigh.  

Well, I essentially did a color study last year for a reason unrelated to color (one of my posts for the ABC-Along).  And since these colors are pretty much non-existent in nature back home this time of year (though they do exist here in the Pacific Northwest!),  I can’t take these photographs right now.

So I present to you with the aid of a blast from the past:  Bright and light colors!

The Colors of Flowers.


All these are flower photographs I took from flowers in my own garden, within the last two years.  My garden is somewhat random, not planned around much of anything other than easy care, frankly.  And blooming time: I try to have something blooming most of the time during the all-too-brief Midwestern growing season.  So it is interesting to me that so many of the flowers are warm colors: yellows, oranges, pinks.  Because when I pick out yarn, or clothes, these are not necessarily the colors I’m drawn to at all, other than red, which I do like very much in anything.

But this collage still makes me very happy inside, just to look at it.  

Especially in March of the winter that wouldn’t end!

The Panopticon About Town

I have an incredible amount of respect for anyone who is asked to talk about ‘Knitting and Humor’ —

and is able to deliver just that!


Franklin Habit, the knitter and vintage pattern resurrectionist, photographerblogger, author, and ‘knitting humorist’ (as he was introduced by my knitting friend Abigail,


über-cool librarian and organizer of the event) came to the “Knit-In”

knitters-1 knitters-2

at the La Crosse Public Library last night where he, yes, knit, and also stalwartly came through with the above for nigh on an hour!  He spoke about how he came to be a knitting cartoonist (not what he put down as his career choice in 3rd grade, admittedly), and his knitting career; he related the advent of Dolores, and gave us the inestimable pleasure of hearing him read a couple of the essays sprinkled among the cartoons of his new book, “It Itches”, together with background introduction and side comments.


(That’s my friend Mairwen’s book that Franklin borrowed to read from, his own copy being at home in Chicago….)

He brought some of his knitting credentials:


and told their stories, including more about what he claims is now being called the “Angry Baby Bonnet“, if I recall correctly.



There was a wide-ranging question and answer session.


Knitting, of course, happened before, during, and after.

I was so impatient to cast-on with some yarn which had been thought lost but which had just been restored to me, that I was free-skeining, leading some (including Franklin) to question my sanity ever so delicately.


No, Dolores was not there.  Though one of her supporters was.


I have to tell you that my daughters might actually have come too, even though, you know, it’s with their mom and therefore innately uncool.  Because they love Franklin’s book.  I got it signed at Rhinebeck, and

Afterwards, as knitters waited to get their books signed, I was able to see those knitting friends I hadn’t seen before the talk (I got there perhaps an hour earlier; would that I could have taken the afternoon off, it was going on from noon to 8 pm!).  I knew any number of people in the audience, from different areas of my life; all knitters, but I don’t know them all from knitting (one, for example, is my daughter’s teacher: she’s actually taught one of my two daughters for the past four years continuously, poor woman, given that Montessori has mixed age classrooms!)  And two of the Gothlet’s best friends were there.  One won a door prize in absentia!  (I won a door prize in presentia!)

I didn’t get pictures of most (well, Tina‘s a front row knitter up there, but it’s not the best photo of her, so she may wish to remain anonymous!), but I did get a photo of one knitting friend who came a long way to hear Franklin.  I’m so happy he came to my town, if just so that Dale-Harriet came too!


(She and I called each other before we left and agreed to wear coordinating clothes and knitting.)

Not only Dale-Harriet, but the delightful Mr. Dearling, who is as sweet as D-H claims (and is a much better photographer than my husband: he took the above picture).


It was great to see them; and I had a chance to go out for dinner with knitters afterwards too, some of whom were friends or acquaintances, and some of whom were new knitting acquaintances.  Very much fun.  Almost too much fun for one evening.

But not really.  With knitting, I don’t think there’s really such a thing as  ‘too much fun’!

Is there?

Saturday Sky Sandwich (knitting in the middle)

I took a whole bunch of Saturday Sky pictures the Saturday before last; it was just that kind of day, even though busy.  Last Saturday, not so much.  But the two together: a good exploration of color in nature. Sounds like my camp homework!

Last Saturday WAS a beautiful day (though I missed the sunset by being at a Celtic music concert, the Boys of the Lough).

And the lilac buds thought so too.


Look how the different shades of blue give the sky depth.

The weekend before last’s Saturday Skies:

when I got home from work:


and later, when I prepared to leave (late) for the Twin Cities, to go to the Bohus exhibit I told you about, the next day.


The sun was setting as I crossed the bridge across the Mississippi River into Minnesota.


But I had to stop and get out of the car as I drove through the Mississippi River backwaters in the area between Wisconsin and Minnesota; it was so gorgeous.


The ice was leaving the river and the backwaters.


There were so many birds!  Geese, many geese,


but I also saw flocks of seagulls, solitary hawks, an eagle, tiny birds.  And can you see the red-winged blackbird back in his perch on the edge of the marsh?


He’s in the tallest tree.  Here’s another one, below.


However, the night was definitely falling, and I had to hurry on my way


Only to stop one more time at that incredible silhouette of the Minnesota plains farm against the dying sunset, that I showed you last Friday; another, closer, view:


Then darkness fell….

The next day, in addition to the Monkey socks I showed you, and the Gothlet’s gauntlets, I also had with me a new project, my first Baby Surprise Jacket.  (I’m certainly jumping on all sorts of bandwagons now, aren’t I?  How many years behind the times?

Here it is as of last week, posing on the car hood like the Monkeys did.


This is a combination of some mill end Socks That Rock heavyweight — I’m not sure if it’s undyed or if it’s a Spirit colorway that’s so faint, I can’t see a color — and the Twisted Duchess in Rodney that I showed you earlier as a cardigan and frogged.  I’m liking it in this combination.  Sadly, it no longer looks like this:  I had to frog it.  I can even see the mistake in this picture — now that I know what I did.  In this pattern, you increase after 5 garter ridges, on the short ends.  I did it on one end, but not the other.  The far end doesn’t look shorter just because of perspective; it really is shorter!  Unfortunately, because the pattern is mindless knitting after that row until row 44, I didn’t figure out my mistake until row 44.  Dummy me.

Well, that let me change the placement of the color band, anyway; I decided to move it up a little.  And I could have woven in the carried yarn a little better.  So it’s OK.  But it was a fair amount of frogging….I’m just now to the color band again.

And the coworker for whose baby I’m making this went and had her baby early, then, in the meantime!  (Not excessively early, just definitely before her due date.) So I didn’t get it done to give her in the hospital, obviously.  Since it’s going to be probably a 12 month size or so (and he’s a very average little guy), I will slack off my rush on this, I guess.  It’s good meditative knitting.

So, the other knitting-related part for the center of this Blog Sandwich is a follow-up to the Knit-Out also.  The day after the Knit-Out, I got an email saying that I had won a door prize, donated by the Minnesota Knitters’ Guild.  Since I wasn’t local, they were willing to mail it to me (though the American Swedish Institute didn’t actually tell me what it was).  The package came at the end of the week, and it was so cool!


A sturdy knitting bag, with all sorts of cool pockets,


And a great knitting notebook.

Anyway, after leaving the event that I won the above at, though I knew it yet not, I drove back down, this time along the Mississippi and stopped once for a couple more pictures, though it was no longer Saturday and the light was failing:



(the Mississippi at Lake City, where it widens)

Thus ended a wonderful knitting (and photography) weekend!

So: many lovely shades of blue above: but there are so many more; an almost infinite series just in the Saturday Skies I’ve photographed.  Thus I decided to make a mosaic out of all the Saturday Skies I had photographed, since I started doing so in 2007.  I had to winnow it down to 36 photos, though, for the mosaic.  So I eliminated all the photos that had significant non-sky content.  And all the sunsets and sunrises, as this is a blue-gray nature study.

After ruthless pruning, here is my Saturday Sky photomosaic:

1. Lilac-buds-in-the-Saturday-, 2. geese-in-the-Saturday-Sky, 3. snowy-sunset-Saturday-Sky-F, 4. Saturday-Sky-with-small-pla, 5. Saturday-Sky-with-Scandinav, 6. west-wind-and-power-lines, 7. Saturday-Sunset-jan-24, 8. Saturday-Sky-December-20-20, 9. foggy-october-4-morning, 10. field-outside-Viroqua-in-Oc, 11. Saturday-Sky-over-McCormick, 12. Saturday-Sky-Sept-13, 13. Saturday Sky over Noah’s Ark August 30, 14. Saturday Sky August 30 with Spring Forward Socks, 15. Saturday Sky August 30 on a hot August afternoon, 16. Saturday Sky August 16, 17. Saturday Sky over Little Boy Lake August 9, 18. really blue Saturday Sky August 9, 19. hazy Saturday Sky over Lake Monona, 20. oil painting clouds, 21. Saturday Sky with flag and crane, 22. Saturday sky June 21st 2008, 23. 20080415_365, 24. Apple blossoms against a Saturday Sky, 25. Sun halo, 26. saturday sky april 5 2008, 27. Saturday Sky through Frost, 28. snow in the afternoon, 29. saturday sky with tree and crane, 30. Saturday Sky with Crane, 31. saturday sky with maple, 32. Saturday Sky with falling leaves, 33. saturday sky oct 27, 34. Saturday sky for the parade, 35. Saturday Sky November 24, 36. Saturday morning sky with morning star

(Made with kd’s mosaic maker)

I love how, as I said above, the blues and even the grays always have shading.  I think that’s one of the characteristics of color in nature, but especially of color suffused by light, as the sky is.  None of these are an even, flat, smooth blue or gray; there is always a gradation.

Must be why I prefer hand-dyed yarns, even in solids.  Flat seems boring now (I’m spoiled); subtle tone-on-tone adds depth and light and interest. Hmm?

As seen on Cookie’s blog….

OK: so when will I learn not to say the fateful word, “tomorrow”?

Because I did not get my Saturday Skies together to post today, as I promised you yesterday in the “First Green” post, what with church and laundry and a little work and this and that.

But, as a penance, here’s a little fun; found on Cookie’s blog.  Could be true; I’m not saying.  (I will say that this will surprise people who don’t know me well, but maybe not those that do.  Hmm.)

I’m also not saying when the Sky Study post will be up.  Could be a day that follows today, but that remains to be seen…




You Are “alt”

Some people might find you to be strange, mysterious, and even a bit off putting.         

You tend to be drawn to and influenced by alternative lifestyles. You’re definitely not normal.


Once people get to know you, they realize you’re interesting, intriguing, and very intelligent.

You have a lot of knowledge stored in that big brain of yours. Most of it is useless knowledge, but some of it is very useful.









First Green


Nothing Gold Can Stay

Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.


Descending rapidly from the sublime to the mundane, this particular gold did not stay, mostly because I ripped its little roots right out, as it was grass invading my flower bed. But let us pass on, shall we?

Here’s a more poetic illustration for the Frost poem, actually, the tulip bulbs starting to come up, which you saw last week:



A week from today; in fact, in one week and one hour (if the train is not excessively late), I will be boarding the Amtrak Empire Builder en route to Seattle and thence to Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock Camp.

Tina Newton, the dyer-founder of Blue Moon, is teaching a dyeing class this year at Sock Camp.  We don’t really know what exactly is going to happen, other than our ‘homework’ is partly to notice colors around us in nature.  We also are to bring examples of our favorite colors and colors that are not, shall we say, in our comfort zone.

So, Carrie at Irishgirlieknits had the idea of using our blogs as a color notebook.  Expect to see some meanderings in photo and words all week.

Colors in nature are somewhat constrained here right now.  But there are a few early greens in my yard today, the first FULL day of spring!  And it amazes me how different they are when you really look at them.


Like the daffodils with a sidecar weed: the daff leaves and their bloom looking almost bluish-green, but yellow-green at their tips still, and the weed a warm mossy green, though with a slight sheen.


Or the dormant lavender just waking up, a pale purplish-grayish-green.

But when in the sun, the light catches the silver and hides the green.



The palest fuzzy green of the mullein.  (Don’t you want to pet it?  It’s as soft and fuzzy as it looks!)


Green toned down with dark red veins — penstemon.

And lastly, what I think of as a classic ‘spring green’ — rhododendron.


Mmmm spring!  At last!

Tomorrow:  Saturday Skies with more colors, and Knitting News.

Sky Eye Candy Friday

Last Saturday’s Sky, on the way to Minneapolis.


Southern Minnesota farm at sunset, not too far from where I live.  The glaciers made it here during the last Ice Age, whereas they didn’t reach to La Crosse.  Hence the Great Plains essentially start here, as opposed to the bluffs and coulees and ridges of my home.  Certainly gives the sunset lots of room.

Venus is up in the sky in its Evening Star persona.

Last Monkey Knitter?

Well, OK, perhaps I’m not the last knitter in the world to knit Cookie A‘s Monkey socks.  But I feel like I’ve got to be right up there.


Last year, this yarn was dyed for BMFA Sock Campers: the theme last year was Camp Crow’s Foot, and the colorway is called “Kaw Kaw”.  Available to all now!  (And, by the way, Sock Camp may still has a couple spots open — they did a couple weeks ago.  Anyone want to join me, Tina, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Cat Bordhi and JC Briar for a guaranteed awesome time at Port Ludlow, Washington?, at the end of this month?

Some brilliant camper (wish I could remember who) came up with the idea of knitting Monkey socks out of this Socks That Rock lightweight.  Which, of course, makes them “Monkey Kaw Kaw” socks.  Heh.

And you thought the elevated tone of this blog was above potty humor.

I’m on the fifth of six leg pattern repeats; the pattern is easy to memorize, and it goes fast.  Since knitting two socks on two circs with my last project WAS an effective treatment for my old bugaboo, Second Sock Syndrome,  I’m trying it again.  I’m getting better at managing the two yarn ends to avoid Gordian knots!  And it prevents gauge changes or pattern changes from one sock to the next, which I have been known to do.  Not infrequently.

I started these just over a week ago, and have also been working on the Gothlet Gauntlets and one other project that I have yet to photograph (just started 5 days ago), so I’m pleased at my progress.  Especially as when I’m done — I’m done!  No second sock to do!  And, though it’s random and not anything I can take credit for, I do love how this yarn is striping in this pattern.  It reminds me of barred feathers, somehow.

BTW:  These were photographed on my car hood while waiting to do a daughter dance pick up.

Talk about multi-tasking.  Or about being overly busy….maybe?  Hmmm.

Emerging O’ The Green

Finally this weekend, on the crest of a tropical above-freezing-all-the-time heat wave, I saw my first bulb emerging.


A week or two late; so very welcome.

Now, only three days later, just like the robins, suddenly my early bulbs are all emerging at once.  I may have forgotten to put on green this morning for St. Patrick’s Day (shame on me! and I’m even Irish!), but my garden was trying its best.


(These are daffodils at the other end of the garden this afternoon.)

Spring IS coming!  It will not be winter forever!  The weather has been amazing for a few days: April weather, so we can’t get too used to it, but once again: very welcome.

I took advantage of the nice weather and a knitting-related invitation from my friend Deb to drive up to the Twin Cities last weekend.  (Which is why I’ve been offline: I worked Saturday, was in the Cities Sunday, and then work’s been busy the last two days.)  Deb told me that the Minnesota Knitters’ Guild (how DID they get that web address?! someone was an early adopter of the internet!) was sponsoring a Knit-In at the American Swedish Institute in continued celebration of their Bohus Knitting exhibit, Radiant Knits.   I missed the opening due to a work conflict, so wanted to see the exhibit before it closed, and this was about my only chance.  Plus, I got to sit and knit as the prime activity.  Always a bonus.

So I drove up late Saturday (incredible Saturday Skies, BTW, but time is short — I’ll show you those another time), stayed with my brother and his wife in South Minneapolis (where I saw these somewhat confusing signs:


all the goofy signs I see in Minneapolis seem to be around their house!)  Sorry for the blurry picture.  I was at a red light, and just as I pulled my camera out, it turned green.  I didn’t think Minneapolis drivers would appreciate waiting while I took a good photo….

Then I had brunch with my good friends, whom I see too seldom, at the Bad Waitress Cafe in Minneapolis, not far from the Swedish Institute.  Yum.

Off to the American Swedish Institute, then,


to see the exhibit, which was amazing. Photographs weren’t allowed in the museum, but through the front door, you can see a couple Bohus sweaters in the case just inside.


The exhibit signs said something like, “Please resist the urge to touch”, but I practically had to put my hands in my pockets; when you see a gorgeous angora blend vintage sweater, the hand starts to reach out….I was extremely good, though.  And I visited the museum shop (candy for the girls, and a couple small Bohus kits may have followed me home too), and then Deb joined me and we knit for the rest of the afternoon in the cupola you saw above.


Here ’tis from the inside, filled with knitters.

cupola-2 cupola-1

It was great fun to knit, catch up with Deb, and meet wonderful knitters.  I finished Gothlet Gauntlet number 1


(here on the delighted recipient herself: see, it does fit her too, not just me!)

and knit on two other projects, mostly on one, which I realize I haven’t shown you yet.   (Then drove home.)

I think those new knitting projects are a story for another day, as are the Saturday Skies.  Because it’s past my bedtime.  No Irish beer for me today.  But Happy St. Patrick’s Day anyway!

And Up With Green!

Iced Apples


Not dessert, unfortunately.

A Letter to the Month Of March

Dear March:

I understand the rain changing to ice changing to snow last weekend,


and I completely accept the unforecast snow that happened the night before last.

It’s March in Wisconsin.  That’s normal.


But – 22 degree F wind chill yesterday?

That is just so not right.

No wonder my crocuses are still underground.  Wise flowers.