Sunday, August 29, 2010

You Can and Can't Go Home Again

The goal for the whirlwind Minnesota trip was a visit to the town I grew up in, but hadn't seen in more than ten years. We were able to visit with some family and old friends still in the area, which was lovely. And we walked a bit around the parts of town most familiar to me as a child. This was both happy and disconcerting, because things do change.

The house I lived in until I was 16 looks much the same.

The smaller house to the left is the one my Mom grew up in. My Grandma lived there until her death. Most of the neighborhood looks much the same. The old elms died off years ago, but new street trees are growing. Just the other side of Grandma's house, the bank parking lot has expanded to eat up two more lots.

The little downtown is still vital, though now more of a tourist destination for day trips from the Twin Cities than commercial center for a self contained community. Many buildings have gone (replaced by newer ones or parking lots), a number were still very familiar, at least externally. A few were almost unchanged, including this one.

I had my first real job here, working after school as a Dental Assistant, age 15, trained on the job. (obviously the dental professions have changed, too, undoubtedly for the better).

It's a reminder to me that childhood memories are just snapshots of the process of change that has been going on all along. Clearly this building had replaced another that would have been familiar to Mom from her childhood.

One most welcome change was a yarn store right next to the dental office. I popped into The Sheepy Shop while the others were browsing Scandinavian imports. I picked up some bamboo dpns in a size I had been lacking, and a ball of sock yarn, which I don't really need, but it was Opal 6 ply, which I love and which you don't run across every day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

This One's For Molly Bee

Just to show that Maine isn't the only state with bears.

My cute Mom being attacked by a bear in Osseo, WI.

On the first leg of our whirlwind Minnesota tour we stopped at the Norske Nook for lunch. Two of the gals split a Lefse Wrap, one had an omelet, and I opted for classic roast beef and gravy sandwich with mashed potatoes on the side. We were all too full for pie. Since pie is the Nook's claim to fame, I guess we will just have to go back another time.

Nice Dale of Norway sweaters in the gift shop, but I didn't come away with one of those, either.
If you look closely, you will see that the box in the lower right hand corner contains Ole and Lena fortune cookies. In case you ever need any, you now know where to find them. Uff Da!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Headed North

I'll be out of town for a few days. Mom, sister, daughter and I are making a quick trip to Minnesota.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Escape Artists

Speaking of cats, the boys gave us a bit a a scare last night.

Before going to bed, it occurred to me that I hadn't seen either one in over an hour. Checked the garage (they sometimes slip by when we take out trash) - nope. Called. Checked closets, cupboards, other regular hiding/sleeping spots. No cats. Mr S went down to the basement. Oh no! Open (unscreened) window.

Mr S was in the yard, clinking their food dish, before I could get my robe on. Fortunately, they hadn't gone far. Merlin appeared first - easier to spot a basically white cat in the dark than a grey tabby. Mr S snagged him and hustled him into the house. Back out to call and clink for Bob, who could be heard mewing, but not seen. Following the sound, it turned out that he had gotten into the chicken wire fence around the bean patch, but couldn't manage to get out. He didn't seem too happy to be rescued, or perhaps was sort of generally freaked out, and struggled all the way to the door. But once inside both of them were happy enough to have their second dinner of the good (canned) food.

Chances are they would have survived a night outdoors if it had come to that. I'm really glad it didn't.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I Do Love Simon's Cat

Reading and

My copy of the Sept/Oct Piecework arrived in the mail the other day. As always, I enjoyed it, but rather wished wished there were more of it.

The theme of Needlework in Literature is a fun one, and a glove pattern inspired by Dancing at Lughnasa is especially nice.

I was rather sorry that the article about Rose Wilder Lane didn't give a nod to Mary Schiffmann, who was the one that actually actually figured out from historical samples the directions for knitted lace used by Lane in The Story of American Needlework . At least, this is the case according to The Lacy Knitting of Mary Schiffmann, also an Interweave Publication. However, the lace edging in the magazine is not included in that book, and is a nice addition, especially as it uses a slightly unusual technique.

There are, appropriately, three little bookmarks included among the projects: crochet, embroidered and knit. I've often been pleased by the look of knit bookmarks (and they seem like a wonderful project for trying out new stitches, which is very appealing to me). But, alas, they don't seem all that functional. Too thick to slip smoothly between the pages (though I haven't tried one in lace weight), and too floppy for my taste. But then, I'm always loosing bookmarks anyway, and end up resorting to odd scraps of paper, or (on my own books only, I swear) the deadly sin of dog earring the pages.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Joy of a Good Tech Editor

I just got the draft for the Slightly Slanted Hat pattern back from the tech editor. She didn't find many problems, but one recurring typo in an abbreviation was crucial. You would think I should have caught it myself. I had looked at it repeatedly while doing three different test/sample knits. But it's true, the eye starts to see what the brain knows is supposed to be there. Anyway, thanks Joan!


I've been swatching again. An experiment with combining cables on the right.

The teal strip on the left starts with a pattern from a Japanese stitch dictionary. (this was the one I started with on the misguided Opal socks. I wanted to see how it would actually look in a solid.) As I worked I changed from yo's to lifted increases and varied the number and placement of purl rows. I didn't end up with anything too exciting.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sample Done

I finished the sample Slightly Slanted. Don't have a real live model handy, so the wig stand had to do for now.

Still some details to pull together before it is ready for publication, but I'm making progress.

Monday, August 16, 2010

From the Thrift Store

I have a notion kicking around in my mind about designing a little girl's dress/jumper. For me, sizing garments is always challenging. I have several size charts (which, of course, don't totally agree with one another). And I have some basic software that can be useful as a starting point. But it occurred to me that sewing patterns could provide some additional data for finished measurements to shoot for.

New sewing patterns can be sort of pricey. But good old Savers had them for a dollar each. Yay!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Moving Right Along

I'm about 2/3 of the way done with the hat sample.

Have just started the top decrease section.

I should definitely be blocking it by this time tomorrow. Now to find a model for pictures......

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Really Pretty Color

I'm not a yellow-orange person, but I love the pinkish variety.

This is Papaya Heather "Wool of the Andes" from Knit Picks. Merlin must like it too, because he just stole one of those balls and ran off with it. Fortunately, Mr S headed him off at the pass.

I'll be using it to make up a photo sample for the Slightly Slanted Hat pattern that I have in the works.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

He's Little, But He's Fierce

From time to time, Bob is compelled to wrestle the throw rugs into submission. This is done with great intensity and ferocious pouncings.

I guess even a cat needs a mission in life.


The ill-conceived socks are finally finished, all but weaving in the ends.

The stitch pattern I started with just couldn't stand up to the stripes, and yet managed to muddy them in a way that lacks charm. At least I had the sense to change to a wide rib for the foot, which, come winter, is all that anyone will really see of them. Yes, I could rip them out and start over. No, I'm not going to. Life moves on.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sometimes I Buy a Pattern That

I'm pretty sure I will never get around to knitting, just because I love the design so much. Case in point:

These are the Hiroshige Mittens by Hanneke Sieben, and if you are on Ravelry they can be found here.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Happy Birthday EZ

I've learned more than I can mention from Elizabeth Zimmerman's books. One of my favorite techniques that I first learned from her is the "afterthought" thumb/heel/pocket/you-name-it. Truth be told, I usually plan ahead and do the "forethought" method - but it's basically the same thing.

So it seems appropriate that today wood house knits has a post for a little trick with this method that I hadn't seen before. A cool way to make picking up the new stitches just a little easier - with nice photo tutorial.

Knit On!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Blogging Block,

I seem to have it. Maybe it's just August. The houseflies have appeared on schedule. The mosquitoes are thick. I make lists and don't seem to follow up much on any of them. Flip through stitch dictionaries, but can't quite get around to picking up needles to swatch.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Back on Track

The window installation went amazingly smoothly. Huge improvement. We'll see if they hold up/perform over time as well as the salesman claimed, but for now they seem like a dream.

The house is 80 % back in order (and cleaner than before, because even I, the Queen of Deferred Housekeeping, am not going to rehang dirty curtains or push a shelf with 1/4 inch of cobwebs on the backside up against the wall without a wipe down.) The living room drapes did go up in awful condition. I would have rather thrown them out (and believe me, they are in such terrible shape that throwing them away is the only viable option). But we need some privacy until I can get to J.C. Penny to scope out replacements. One thing always does lead to another.

Though this looks like a bit of a jumble, it is much more orderly than before. The 20% of stuff that is not back in place needs to be either organized, put in storage or disposed of. (Come to think of it, some of the stuff that is back in place could stand weeding out.) It will take me a little time to get through that.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Out of Touch

is what I'll be, online anyway, come Wednesday, at least if it doesn't rain. That's when the crew is scheduled to come replace the upstairs (and two downstairs) windows. (Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't rain - we've already had the scheduled date pushed back once due to other factors.)

I've been busy clearing paths to the windows. In my workroom, I moved everything from this corner.....

to this corner.

Plus I hauled some items down to the dining room. (Also finally sent a couple of bags of fun fur to the thrift store, and some oddballs in colors I can't convince myself to like, along with a few, very few, books that I really, truly won't ever use or refer to again. No I won't. Get those books out of here.) I also removed some considerably large dust bunnies.

I've taken down most of the curtains (still need a little privacy for the next couple of nights), and started to pull furniture away from the walls.

The rest will have to wait until tomorrow to be re-located, including the desk in the "study", which will have to be pulled pretty much directly in front of and up against the computer table, because the study is a very small room indeed. The chair will be rolled into the attic. Access to the keyboard will involved contortions after that.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Not Going Anywhere

One of the techniques I tried out at Knitting Camp was Armenian Knitting. It's a way of working large or isolated motifs in stranded knitting, an appealing thought as I am not fond of intarsia. Basically it just boils down to stranding across large spaces and weaving in the floats every 3-4 stitches as you go. I have done weaving in before, so the physical maneuver wasn't hard for me. But I found it rather tedious. And there is show through of the woven yarn that can, with proper color choices, be treated as a design element giving a tweedy effect to the color blocks. But I don't particularly care for it myself.

I started in on a hat as a practice piece,

but already there are too many things wrong with it (too big, rolled edge rolling up over lower part of pattern, some mis-readings of the chart). So I'll be ripping it out.

The yarn I picked up for it is interesting - unspun Icelandic roving. It can be pulled apart with a touch, but didn't break as much as I feared in the actual knitting. (I think I had only one incident.) Not sure what I will do with it now - maybe some mittens in regular stranded technique.