Category Archives: Travel

Back, and Knitting

Heh, I’m so glad you all haven’t given up on me (that is, still have Le Blog on your blogreaders, anyway!).  Work and shark-like competition for the home computer have conspired to make me a blogger in absentia.  Though I take  pictures for the blog all the time, and come up with blog posts in my head….

Perhaps if I had an iPhone, so I could blog when I thought of it?  Nah, ’cause I still like to upload and play with pictures at home.

Anyway, yes, as some of you surmised, I just returned (only hours ago) from Florida.  It was a work trip, and I was actually busy all day every day.  So I saw little sun (that’s OK, sunlight doesn’t like my pale Wisconsin skin, and there was little sun while I was there anyway).  But on the way to and from the meetings, I stole some time to walk on the beach; short, though, with the short days.

The Fort Lauderdale residents didn’t think that the weather wasn’t so good, but as long as no down coat was required, I was quite happy.  (Granted, this morning with torrential downpours, I was willing to agree to classify that as bad weather, especially when it meant I almost didn’t make it home by plane.  But all was well in the end.)

I spent a lot of time in an educational meeting, which meant lots of knitting time then, as well as knitting time in the evenings, since I was there alone.  I finished a couple smaller projects.

In fact, I cast on a new project in order to have a garter stitch easy-peasy project to do during the meeting without looking or thinking, basically, and here it is:

Some stash yarn which is not seen to advantage, Cherry Tree Hill Glitter Alpaca from eBay days.  My plan is to knit in plain garter stitch for … a while… then knit a big chunk of fagoting or some other similar very open lace, then end with a few garter stitch rows again, I think.  Very simple for this variegated yarn with a twist of glitter woven in.  I wanted a big,  warm, easy shawl, though.

However, the above illustrates the problem with casting on when you’ve had only a few hours of sleep, as was the case the day I arrived (working very late to get things done before I left, finishing up laundry then packing way past midnight, then waking up at 4 am to leave).  I kind of intended this to be a half-circle shape shawl.  Not a square….my addled brain that set up the cast-on row took a while to figure that out.

Well, I have plenty (WAY plenty) of this yarn.  And I wanted mindless knitting. Be careful what you ask for, hmm?  I didn’t care enough about the shape to rip it out, so a square shawl it will be.

I was a little more successful with the shawl I recently knit, which I brought with me for air conditioning needs.  (And was I ever glad I did.  Why 68 degrees F inside?  Why?  I don’t like it in winter, let alone summer!)  I designed and knit this shawl, which I’m calling the Elodea Shawl, for a Loopy Ewe knitalong that ran October through December of last year.  (Here are some of the other shawls:  the only requirement for the KAL was that it be a shawl knit in that time frame from Loopy Ewe yarn.  There are some lovely shawls there!)

In knitting this shawl, I was experimenting with two things: shoulder shaping with increases, and using the Vine Lace pattern in a triangle shawl.
The first experiment, I’m ambivalent about.  It looks OK above, but kind of odd otherwise:

But the second worked out, after proving more difficult than I thought it would be.  (Now I know why there were only rectangular stole-type patterns with this stitch, when I searched!)  Adapting a 9-stitch pattern, where the pattern shifts back and forth by one every other row, proved tricksy.  However, I came up with a twist that seemed to do the trick.  I’ll have to write it up sometime, the chart at the very least.

The shawl’s name came from the lovely species name for …

Waterweed.

I thought the Vine Lace pattern, knit in a lovely blue-green colorway (this is delightful Dream in Color Smooshy in a limited colorway, Ocean Current) looked rather like seaweed.  But the photo with which I started the post notwithstanding, I live about as far from the ocean as it is possible to get in North America.  (I know some of you are there with me.)  So it seemed strange to name the shawl after seaweed. But I am very familiar with Elodea, Canadian waterweed, which is in practically every body of water I’ve ever canoed up North here!  And the shawl stitch pattern, running the direction it does, really does remind me of the plant.  (Such a pretty name, though! El – oh – DEE – ah.)

Anyway….

I started out saying that I’d brought this along, and was so glad I did.  It was surprisingly versatile, as a shoulder shawl as above, but also around my neck like a scarf for extra warmth when I was wearing a long-sleeved jacket (and STILL cold).  Ah, the wonders of wool.

You can understand my panic when I found it gone from my bag after walking on the (windy) beach!

After retracing my steps a half mile or so (you don’t realize how far you are going when you’re taking pictures and looking for shells), I found it blown halfway up on the beach.  Thank all powers that be.

Apparently, it got dislodged when I pulled my camera out to take this picture

and then the gusty wind took it from there.

(Not a seagull taking it from there, fortunately.)

I am going to have more lovely pictures to share in days to come (don’t hate me, please), but one of my favorite pictures from my brief and educational trip to parts subtropical is this one:

Now that’s my idea of paradise.  (All I needed was a really good coffee at hand, actually. )

Saturday Sky from my laptop

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas Wisconsin any more.

Quick Fun, Lots of Pictures

Last weekend, Labor Day, though I had to work much of the weekend, there was one day that ended up free of  needing to go into work.  So, to celebrate the adjoining birthdays of husband and daughter, a flying visit to the Twin Cities happened!

I showed you  the twilight photo from Hyland Lake Park Reserve….that was a Saturday Sky picture from Saturday night last weekend.  But we hopped in the car earlier Saturday afternoon, crossed the Mississippi River under a blue, blue sky

 

(one of several egrets watching us go by in the backwaters of the river)

and headed north to a hotel I had found for a great deal on Hotwire, at the intersection of Hwys 494 and 100.  

(We weren’t the only ones finding a great hotel deal.  This hotel wasn’t even built yet, and it was drawing a crowd:)

 

Coming soon?  Cant wait!

Coming soon? Can't wait!

 

After we settled in, the birthday girl and her father wanted to go to the Mall of America; the Gothlet agreed; and I wanted to be part of the family but also was looking at this view outside the hotel:

Bloomington Saturday Sunet

Bloomington Saturday Sunset

It was a gorgeous night, and we were very close to a nature reserve (much closer than to the MOA!).  So I chose to go for a lovely walk instead.

There were multiple lovely views of the Saturday Sky:

 

Sumac shadowed

And then, as I walked back into the developed area where the hotel was, and night fell and the moon rose, it was still lovely.

An urban lake reflecting Saturday Sky:

Then the full moon became part of the streetscape.

Can you see it there?

How about now?

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After the shoppers returned, and a good night’s sleep was had by all, we set off for our actual destination: the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.  

Adornments were acquired:

 

she wishes

she wishes

Food and drink were consumed, archery was watched and cheered (there was a longbow tournament), all manner of fun was had.

Knitting, of course, occurred.  My Monkey socks came with me, and were knit upon.

But, sadly, I needed to be back that night, so as the sun set we were on the road again, and pulled into our driveway as a pumpkin moon rose.

Short but most enjoyable.  Sometimes you have to snatch your fun times!  Especially in such a good cause.

Happy birthday to my 14-year-old RockStar!  And my beloved husband (who would not thank me for trumpeting his age).

Oasis Eye Candy Friday

Not in the sense of desert, but in the sense of a place of calm, of sadly needed respite.

nympheas-at-american-indian

This was one of the areas tucked away around the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC.  We really wanted to stop at this museum, which is the newest national museum, but time did not allow, as we were walking quickly to an appointment with our Representative which had been arranged as part of the National History Day events.  But we walked through the National Mall side of the grounds, which were amazing.  This pond was tucked back by one of the markers for the cardinal directions (the building is aligned with the cardinal directions and also with the Capitol building).  And despite our time constraint, we all three paused for a moment here and just looked, and breathed, and listened, and were.

rain-on-yellow-pond-lilies

It was raining, but we didn’t mind.

oasis

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Click the thumbnails below to see the interesting architecture and landscaping in more detail, and here to read more about it.

American-Indian-Museum-long American-Indian-Museum

I hope to go back and visit next time  —  and eat!  When we walked by and saw that it had a café, we wished we’d eaten there that day, too; the café serves “Native foods and contemporary cuisine with a Native American twist”.  Undoubtedly better than our Mall hot dogs in the rain, under siege by birds and a squirrel!

da-boids

evil-wet-squirrel

Prelude to a Personal Pandemic, with a little Knitting

This thirteen-year-old, on her way to her 8th-grade-graduation ceremony and dance, looks so happy and lovely, doesn’t she?

The picture of health, wearing her new lacy wrap that her mother made her to match her vintage dress.

She graduated,

graduate

danced her silver shoes off, had fun with all her friends, even posed for a few more wrap pics when she came home.

(as did the wrap, click to embiggen if desired)

artistic-wrap-pose night-wrap

Who knew that even as those pictures were taken, that microscopic virus particles were replicating madly in her body?

The next morning, she looked tired, but said she just hadn’t slept well.  It was the last day of school, a half day only, and the school talent show; she and a friend were performing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (she singing, he on acoustic guitar).  Her forehead was cool and she had no other symptoms, so off she went to school.

While backstage, waiting to perform, she had shaking chills so bad she couldn’t stand, aches, a headache, a sore throat that came out of nowhere.  Of course, all her friends came over and hugged her while she was curled up sitting on the floor, having chills…. The teacher backstage tried to send her to the nurse, but now it was their turn to perform.  She told the teacher she would go as soon as she sang — it would only take two minutes.  Such a performer. She got up, sang on her shaky legs (they disinfected the microphone immediately thereafter), and was promptly sent home with a fever.

So: my poor daughter, in the end, was found to have H1N1 (swine) flu.  But the drama goes on, because in less than 48 hours she, I, and her friend were supposed to fly to College Park, Maryland (on the outskirts of Washington DC) for the finals of National History Day.  If she couldn’t go, her friend couldn’t either; they would have to withdraw (they were doing a dramatic presentation).  They had been working on this project literally all school year, and won at regional and state levels to be going to the national competition.  My daughter wanted to go, if at all possible.

My first concern was for my daughter’s health; my second was that her friend not get sick; my third was that she was safe to fly (that is, not get anyone else sick).  Once I realized she probably had flu from her symptoms (Wisconsin has the largest number of reported confirmed cases of swine flu in the U.S.),  my first call was to make a doctor’s appointment for that day, and the second was to an infectious disease specialist I know, who happens to be the father of my daughter’s friend as well.  I needed to know what the criteria were for her being safe to fly.  “No fever and no cough”.  OK.

To make an already long story a little shorter, by getting on an antiviral immediately (which shortens the period of infectiousness and symptoms), she got better remarkably quickly, and had no fever within 24 hours, and no cough by 36 hours.  So we flew to DC.  Her friend never got sick.  Neither did I.  My daughter did not feel good, granted, since she felt like a truck ran over her and had a constant headache unless she had ibuprofen on board.  And when she finished the antivirals, some other symptoms flared.  But they did their performance and got good comments from the judges, though they didn’t go on to the final round, to their great relief, actually.  (And we had a couple days for sightseeing, therefore.)

While I was gone, my husband and my younger daughter came down with the flu too.  My younger daughter developed croup and needed to be put on steroids.  Sigh.  So I was monitoring them and worrying from long distance, while nursing my older one and trying to make sure my daughter’s friend didn’t get sick (or me).   And hoping my mother, who’d been exposed to both daughters separately right before they got sick (you’re infectious in the 24 hours before you develop clear symptoms also), didn’t become ill either.

I still can’t believe I didn’t get it, but obsessive handwashing goes a long way, I guess.  There’s still some coughing and tiredness going on around these parts, but everyone is well on their way to being back to health now.  Many other middle schoolers got sick, at least a couple directly from my daughter (like the boy who played guitar with her), but there had been an outbreak that week, as it turned out; the cases just hadn’t been confirmed yet, so there had not been a notification (and I don’t know that it would have changed much, except reminding parents to keep kids with fevers at home; mine had no fever in the morning, when I checked by mommy-thermometer).  A letter came in the mail the next week…..

So that’s what I’ve been up to!

I hope to tell you more about DC, when time allows.  (Like about the girls feeling right at home in the Oval Office….)

Oval-Office-of-2025

Saturday Skies In Arrears

Whirlwind tour of the last month as seen in Saturday Skies:

This Saturday just past was gray and cooler, but finally in the last few days I have seen incontrovertible signs of spring.

saturday-sky-with-crabapple

Buds on my mother-in-law Helen’s crabapple tree, among other signs.  Yes!

The  Saturday before, we (the family) were taking the train to Chicago for a special outing.  The girls had never been on the train before.  The RockStar, who was unconvinced beforehand, has declared it the only way to travel now!

Archetypal Chicago Skyscraper cityscape view upon arriving last Saturday:

skyscraper-saturday-sky

(did you see the plane with contrail?)

and the sky behind Navy Pier on an early evening expedition:

saturday-sky-at-navy-pier-a

Going backwards in time:

The previous Saturday was the day I was supposed to leave Seattle (um, yeah.  More about that later).  A lot of moving from place to place that day, so multiple Saturday Sky pictures, actually.

Saturday Sky as seen from the Kingston-Edmonds Ferry, leaving Port Ludlow and Sock Camp: with another ferry in the picture,

saturday-sky-from-the-edmon

and without.

saturday-sky-from-ferry-als

I caught an airplane going overhead from the ferry also.

saturday-sky-with-plane-apr

Later in the day,  Saturday Sky behind the EMP (Experience Music Project/SciFi Museum) and the Space Needle.

saturday-sky-with-emp-and-s

(You can see it was a gorgeous day in the Seattle area!  Of course: it was the day I was (supposed to be) leaving….)

Then, at my friend Astrid’s house:

saturday-sky-with-spider-ap

No,  the spider’s not on your screen, nor was it in Astrid’s and Greg’s house, but on the outside of the porch sliding door!  Here’s a prettier view sans arachnid….beautiful lakeside sunset in a safe harbor on the shore of Martha Lake.

saturday-sky-over-lake

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A week before, I got on the train in the evening to leave for Sock Camp, after a very busy day.  So the only picture I have of the Saturday Sky is a blurry twilight picture from the moving train, as we crossed over the Mississippi just after leaving the station.

saturday-sky-leaving-home

Oh, and a picture of black almost-midnight sky over a different Mississippi River Bridge as we went through Minneapolis, a few hours later.

saturday-night-sky-in-minneapolis-from-train1

Yes, it’s been an eventful set of Saturdays!  Sorry to keep teasing about Sock Camp….despite kmkat‘s valiant efforts to persuade my work to ‘let her knitter go’, it was another busy weekend.  Besides which, I took over 1000 pictures at Sock Camp and on the train.  And, frankly, condensing does not come naturally to me:  I want to show you ALL the best pictures and tell you EVERYTHING!  But that would take a very long time.

If you come over and knit sometime, and want to see, I’ll show and tell you everything.  In the meantime, I’ll work on the Reader’s Digest version.  (Before I leave again on Thursday….)

More Eye Candy Friday from Camp (and an IOU)

Flowers of the sea.

The bottom starfish there has a nudibranch buddy.  A Leopard Nudibranch, to be exact.  (Thanks, Astrid, for sleuthing that for me even while I was still on the train coming home!)

And… can someone PLEASE let my work know that working double time to seemingly make up for my vacation days at Sock Camp is playing havoc with my blogging time?  I work tomorrow too, but hopefully later this weekend I can fill you in on the camp goings-on!

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.

first-bulb

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.

emerging-o-the-green

(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:

signs-again

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,

asi1

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.

asi-doors

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.

asi-cupola

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

one-gothlet-gauntlet-done

(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!

Madrona, my Madrona

Or, if you’re from my era, you can sing that “M-M-M-My(uh) MadronAH!”

Warning:

Epic post.  Read when you have a minute or thirty!

Fun-Filled and Action-Packed last 24 hours at Madrona, now coming at you.

When we left our knitting heroine (that would be me), she had just had her book, “Knitted Lace of Estonia” signed by Nancy Bush (after finishing casting off her mini-shawl just after class ended).

So, I was hanging out in this lobby with my knitting peeps, except the lobby didn’t look like that any more; it was filling with knitters and spinners.

madrona-murano-lobby-fills

(See the spinning wheel in the bar?  Love it!)

KT was busy finishing her button band.

madrona-finishing-button-ba

She got some help from the amazing Mary Scott Huff (about whom, more later) who sewed on buttons while KT finished knitting, so KT could wear it to the banquet that night!

I cast on a baby cardigan for a coworker (but have since frogged it):

tyrolean-jacket-about-to-be

More lovely Twisted yarn, but for this project, the Tyrolean baby jacket, I think ‘long repeat’ Duchess is needed, so the striping is slower.  This was happening:

tyrolean-jacket-top-closeup

See how on one side, the differently colored garter stripes are pretty and self-contained, and on the other, they’re ‘ticked’, blended?  I actually could deal with the blending, but not with the fact that the blended and non-blended stripes would be opposite each other in the front of the cardigan.  I knit a baby hat instead and am pondering how to use the rest of the yarn effectively (baby of unknown gender, and I don’t want to knit a baby cardigan in a gazillion pieces and sew together, kthxbai).  But here’s the hat, gifted yesterday at her surprise shower at work:

rodney-baby-hat

(There!  Snuck in some gratuitous knitting to prove I’d been doing it!  But I really did start this project, in a sense, in that hotel lobby.)

Across from me, Lisa was working on her “Ginger” sweater:  I thought she said its real name was  “Gracie”, but I’m not finding that.  Anyway, she had christened hers “Ginger” because the pattern called for miles of reverse stockinette with a few cables; and she decided to knit hers in stockinette, which however meant knitting the cables inside out and backwards, essentially.  Hence like Ginger Rogers, doing what Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels!

Here’s an impressionistic (read, blurry) Lisa explaining the above to Mary.

madrona-mary-lisa-and-ging1

So, I told you you’d hear more about Mary.  Mary Scott Huff is the designer of the lovely Faery Ring Sweater.  I was introduced to her earlier in the market, at which point someone wearing the Faery Ring sweater was walking by!  But the sweater MARY was wearing was the showstopper.  Look at my (less than optimal) pictures of the Frog Prince jacket!

mary-and-frog-prince-front1

frog-prince-back-view

You may not be able to see the metallic thread in the crowns, and the little warts on the frogs.  SO freakin’ awesome!

Steph thought so too.  (Picture from the banquet.)

mary-and-steph1

Mary has a book coming out late this year, anticipated in November.  Watch her blog for details, no doubt.  Should be amazing too!

Anyway, back to the future, er, the pre-banquet past.  There we were, KT, me, Lisa, Karen and Mary

madrona-mary-and-karen

hanging out, knitting, sewing on buttons, talking, drinking beverages of various sorts.

When along came a young woman who saw us all knitting and said: “I’ve always wanted to learn to do that.  Would it be hard to make this?”  (indicating a felted purse she was wearing)

Well, that was sort of like waving the red flag in front of the bull.

In short order, she was assured that knitting was easy; she got to try on the Frog Prince jacket

madrona-new-knitter-with

and shortly thereafter she was sitting down with Karen showing her the knit stitch.

madrona-a-new-knitter-is

Turns out she is one of Gladys Knight’s backup singers, in town for a gig!  Let’s hear it for new knitters!

Sometime thereafter, we assembled for the banquet.  The usual suspects above and a couple more were at our table (plus a gentleman who was showing off his colorful knitted boxers — not being worn at the moment, granted).

Here is an entire banquet hall full of knitters.

madrona-banquet

Cat Bordhi has her back to us in the foreground, with the blue cowl; Tina Newton across the table just to the right.  I took some bad pictures of KT and Debbi and Lisa; all my pictures were unflattering to somebody, so I am leaving them out.

Aren’t the glass lights lovely?

madrona-ceiling-lights1

I was a little surprised at the food, the hotel being so nice otherwise, I must admit.  Banquet food is always difficult.  But the menu choices were salmon or vegetarian.  I have the questionable taste not to care for salmon, though I like most other fish, so I chose vegetarian, since I love vegetables and never mind eating vegetarian (I just like meat, too!).  Well, the vegetarian dinner was a huge heap of polenta, and about four spears of asparagus.  Hmm.  I do think of polenta as a side dish.  It would be like getting a plateful of mashed potatoes and calling it dinner.  (Actually, I’d rather have the mashed potatoes.  But either way, it’s carb city, and very light on the vegetables….)

Anyway, we had a good time regardless, and then settled down to hear Elsebeth Lavold speak about her inspirations for her Viking Knits.

madrona-elsebeth-lavold-spe

(Look how everyone is looking down at their knitting while listening.  Good think knitter-speakers don’t take it personally.)  Her talk was related to her current exhibition touring US Museums, “Knitting Along the Viking Trail“, currently in Seattle at the Nordic Heritage Museum through April 5, 2009; then coming to my neck of the woods to Vesterheim, Decorah, Iowa, in July of this year.

madrona-lavold-viking-sweat

She talked about how she draws inspiration from a wide variety of archeological Nordic and Viking artifacts.  (She is truly Nordic, by the way:  OK, I might possibly have this wrong, but what I recall her telling us (perhaps in the talk, perhaps in class the next day) was that she is Norwegian by ancestry, was raised in Denmark, and lives in Sweden.)  I also (re)learned the distinction between Celtic art as a whole and ‘insular’ art, the term applied to the knotwork and interlacing art that we sometimes think of as Celtic, but which was not typical of Celts outside the British Isles.

The below is a sweater she made for her husband, a musician.  The runes spell out “Brage”, whom I believe is the Norse god of poetry.  The dragon is just incredible (seen better here, scroll down to the fifth picture.)

madrona-lavold-sweater

And lest you thought that the life of a knitting designer was all glamour, here’s Elsebeth Lavold at a photo shoot during the short Northern summer, the only time available for her approximately three pattern books a year to be photographed:

madrona-elsebeth-lavold-pho

(holding a light reflector)

I enjoyed her talk very much.

Afterwards, we repaired back to the lobby for some more knitting and beverages.  (Simple projects were necessary for some of us.)  The bar at this point was stuffed full of knitters.  Here’s Tina talking to the horse in the bar, and photographic proof that new knitters can be converted regardless of the deduced state of their undergarments (ask Debbi if you want to know more).

madrona-more-goings-on-in-t

So, after staying up rather late-ish downstairs, then repairing to my room and deciding to do a little more spinning to settle myself down (ha!) — I then stayed up WAY too late.

OK, here’s a picture of my new Greensleeves spindle, tulipwood/birdseye maple,  26 g/0.8 oz (yes, Laurie, I got a little Cascade spindle at Carolina Homespun too, after you bought one!) — complete with bad pictures of some Navajo-plied yarn just for Deb.  But it is indubitably yarn of a sort!  It’s maybe sport weight-ish. Haven’t done wpi.  Haven’t done that much (there’s still a lot of fiber left….)

way-closeup-of-navajo-plyin

This isn’t my absolute most favorite of the colorways I have in roving, so I chose to spin it first so mess-ups wouldn’t cause me as many heart pangs.  It’s merino Twisted roving, in the Firefly colorway (looks rather different from the yarn, in this particular roving, as the green came out more chartreuse).

spindle-fiber-plied-yarn2

The kitten continues to be fascinated by spinning, spinning-session-is-about-o so I have a feeling further progress will be slow….

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After staying up way, WAY too late, I woke  up at ten to nine on

SUNDAY

for my 9:00 class with Elsebeth Lavold, Viking Knits and Mitered Cables.

WAHHHH!  Tear into my clothes, brush teeth and hair and fly down and over to the classroom, which was across the way.  No time for coffee or breakfast!  Fortunately, I’d laid out what class supplies I needed the day before, for once.

This was a great class, or rather, classes; it was really two related half-day classes.  The first, Viking Knits, explained how to make a solitary cabled motif placed on a plain (reverse stockinette) background.  I had brought a cable needle as directed but hoped it was OK that I usually cabled without a cable needle, unless it was one of those freaky three-way cables.  Also, I hoped she didn’t mind that I was using circular needles….

Guess what?  As part of the class, she taught how to cable without a cable needle!  And she knits carrying the yarn in the left hand as do I.  (She said she often uses circulars; she was using a jumper flex needle that day.)

Elsebeth was talking about her knitting style because someone asked, as we were knitting during class, doing our project.  She still does “Danish purls” (look here and scroll down to the Norwegian purl video, then you just have to watch it…), though sighing that her grandmother taught her this way as it’s not very efficient (she taught herself to knit back backwards to avoid them when doing big swaths of stockinette; later learned other ways of purling but finds herself reverting back to the Danish purl when not thinking about it.

So, for the first part of the class, we knit a little circle motif to learn the techniques she used in designing the Viking Knits motifs (which results in the motif stopping and starting without changing the gauge).

Then, the handout had a motif on it.   And our instructions for the last part of the class were:

“Go ahead and knit the left-hand motif.  Graph it out if you like, but if you are an intuitive knitter, just go ahead and start knitting; I would encourage you to try.”

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If we felt very expert, we could try the right-hand motif.

Well, I regard myself as pretty fearless: so I went ahead and tackled the right hand motif.  And before lunchtime, I had this.

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That was so much fun, I can’t tell you!  It was a challenge, but very do-able, and I throve on it.  I made one false start, which I would have caught if I had graphed it out: I turned the second ‘upper’ cables two rows too early, and they were too close to the first cables to look good, plus weren’t going to meet the other cables to cross at the right point.  It became clear in just a couple rows, so a quick frog (ribbit!  ribbit!) and back on track.

Then lunch, which was going to be with Lisa and Karen et al, but then Lisa had to man the Madrona charity booth, so it was a take-out soup affair in front of the charity booth (worked for me, and I said good-bye to Karen).  Then back for part two, Mitered Cables.  Even more fun.

Our homework looked like this (I’d finished it a comfortable 36 hours beforehand, stellar for me).

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Then we made it do THIS.

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(whispers: SHORT ROWS)

Then, there were some other motifs, and our job was to figure out how we might miter them — make them turn a corner.  Well, we could just graph them (and also some people were knitting the original miter up till about the end); but I decided to (of course) knit one, and having no graph paper (given my tearing out of the room), did it on the fly.

I goofed up a bit due to changing my mind about something in the middle, but it still looks pretty good (and I learned something).

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This was turning the corner the harder way, where the action is on the purl side.  Half done above, with a marking thread showing the short rows (they’re not wrapped, and it’s easy to mess up coming back on them).

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Great fun.

One other tidbit from Elsebeth Lavold’s class: there are new yarns in her line coming out soon; one is called EuCool, if I remember right, a wool/eucalyptus blend (didn’t smell eucalyptus-y); and I am totally blanking on the second except that it was ‘green’ somehow, I think.  She passed samples of the new yarns around.  And I learned a lot about how ‘the biz’ works.

The class was extremely enjoyable, taught at a pace and in a way that allowed both slower/faster or newer/more experienced knitters to get an equal amount out of it.  As in the first project, where you could knit an easier or a harder version.  I really liked that.  And Elsebeth was a great teacher.  I can’t imagine teaching something technical in a foreign language effectively, let alone doing it with such grace and style.  Her English is very fluent and idiomatic, with a soft, pleasant accent.  I’d certainly recommend her classes highly.  In fact, she’s teaching in Decorah in conjunction with the Vesterheim exhibit this summer, and I think her “Runes” class would be fun. (Paging my friend Lee….)

So, after this I met up with Lisa again, who saved my butt and sanity and has my unending gratitude, because she was willing to send some of my yarn purchases home for me.  (That’s why I haven’t shown you a couple of my acquisitions yet.)  What was fun was that I got to show and tell all my purchases in sorting them out to the things that needed to come home in my suitcase, and those that could take the long road home.  We had fun.

But Lisa had to go home too.  So I had dinner by myself, everyone else having left (but the room service meal I had was incredible! madrona-room-service), packed, read, and tried to go to sleep (no spinning!) so as to be able to get up at 4 am to make it to the airport on time for a 7 am departure.  (What is it with this 4 am stuff?  That’s inhuman!)

At which point, the second time I’ve ever flown out of Seattle was also the second time my plane has ever been deiced.  With all the flying I do out of Minneapolis-St. Paul. (After the recent loss of the small plane in which icing was implicated, I’m sure that was on the pilot’s mind, though the weather didn’t seem bad; but it was foggy on the runway and chilly.)  (Plus, speaking of recent airplane incidents, I was told much more than I ever have been before, on the flight out, about the flotation devices on the plane, including the lifeboats!)

So….back through the City of Lakes (Minneapolis),

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down the Mississippi River,

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and back home.

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Re-entry to reality.  Sigh.

Good to be back, but — Madrona was such a beautiful knitterly fibery dream.

I just wanted to dream a little bit longer….

Tacoma Eye Candy Friday

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Mount Rainier from the air at dawn, upon saying ‘so long’ to Madrona and preparing to re-enter reality.

(Click for the big picture, if you like, to see it as I saw it.)

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The window seat can be an otherworldly place.  Thanks be for blogging, or I might not have had my camera right there and handy.