Monday, October 20, 2008

I've been tagged

I was tagged by knittingchick. The rules state I’m to list 6 (or 7?) quirky facts about myself. I did that once before and can’t think of 6 (or7?) new things to say, so instead I’m going to list 6 (or7) quirky things I collect. So here they are in random order.

1) Polish pottery. This is the traditional Bolesławiec pottery made in Silesia, southern Poland. The factory is not far from Wrocław, Polish pottery bottom shelfwhich I have visited several times, but I’ve never been to the factory. It’s abut 50 miles outside the town, I think. I used to buy the mugs one or two at a time from the department store on the square in Wrocław. The last time I was there, they didn't have much, but they are becoming popular in this country. The thing is now they are much more expensive.

2) Tin boxes. I just acquired these without really looking for them. A couple were gifts and someTin boxes I picked up from my mother’s or grandmother’s stuff and I’m not even sure where the others are from. I keep sewing notions in some of them, but since there is no logical reason to keep any item in any particular box, I never know which one contains what and have to open several to find what I’m looking for. I use some in the kitchen too and for those I do know what they contain.

3) Art refrigerator magnets. We have been buying these in art museums.Art magnets on fridge We only buy pictures of paintings we have seen in the museum. We have a bunch of VerMeers and lots of other artists too. They come from many different museums. They are mixed in with tile motif magnets as well. I’d separate them, but we only have one refrigerator.

4) Cups and saucers. My grandmother's cups and saucersThe first ones of these (shown in the photo) were part of my grandmother’s collection. She had some lovely china cups and saucers. I picked out 4 of those that I liked. I have added blue and white ones, which I still use occasionally. They go with my collection of….

5) Blue and white porcelain. My mother-in-law got me started on this collection 37 years ago. She gave me a lovely flow blue platter. It is still my prized blue and white piece. blue and white tea cups, saucers, teapots, etc. Over the years I’ve added to the collection from almost every country we’ve been in. We have two long plate shelves in our family room that display much of this collection. This cupboard is between the kitchen and the eating area of the family room. I opened the glass doors to make it easier to see the contents of the cupboard. I see I need to realign the cups on the left.

6) Paintings by VerMeer, the 17th century Dutch painter. We don’t have enough wall space to display all these, so have chosen to let them hang in the museums where we have seen them. This collection is almost complete. There are 35 or36 known paintings by VerMeer and we have seen all but one of them. This is really my husband’s collection and there are some he’s seen that I haven’t, but I’ve seen most of them with him. The one he hasn’t seen is the one that was recently discovered and authenticated (after 10 years of study.) It was purchased by Steve Wynn of Las Vegas. It hangs in his home and is not on display to the public. We keep hoping some day he’ll put it on display and we can go see it. We do have a poster of The Milk Maid in our family room.

7) Dolls. I have 5 of these dolls by Joan Rydberg. She calls them the Wise Women and Men from Wadsworth. Gramma and Grampa Each one is sculpted by hand and is unique. I also have 2 American Girl dolls, and a baby doll, that I played with when I was a child, a Raggedy Andy doll that my grandmother made and a Raggedy Ann that I found and bought to keep him company. She only came with underwear, so I made her a dress and apron. I’m not sure these all count as a collection. Probably only the 5 Wadsworth dolls count, but I thought I’d just list the others anyway. Miss Lily PearlMiss Ophelia Rose

Now for the tags: I'm to tag 6 more people, so here you go:

My sister, Kathy is building a house near Olympia, WA.

My friend Kathleen is remodeling a house near Olympia, WA.

Lisa has gone a little crazy making jewelry and decorating in Texas.

Carol in Iowa and I share an interest in painting stuff and decorating.

Mary Ruth in Virginia has an amazing talent for beautifying her home.

And Janet in NC has already voted! She and I share an interest in knitting, among other things.

So here are the rules again:

Link to me in your blog

List 6 quirky things about yourself OR

List 6 things you collect

Link to 6 more blogs and pass on the tag.

And remember playing is always optional. And you can change the rules if you want to.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fall Colors

I've been so busy I haven't had time to update this blog in ages. Well, it just hasn't reached the top of my list of priorities. I've been knitting, rosemaling, traveling, and all the other stuff I do when I'm home. But today I went out and snapped some photos of the fall colors in my yard.

shrubs99-steps-fall I love how these shrubs turn red in the fall, so here are a few colorful photos I thought I'd share. I pass these shrubs every day on the way in and out of the house, so I do get to see them every day and appreciate them.


pot-patio-fall Here is the pot I planted with painted daisies and petunias in the spring. They have done well all summer. We've had sufficient rain this summer, so I have only had to water these a few times.


heu3-left-fallAnd here is the corner just below the steps, where I have 3 different Heuchera planted at the base of this shrub. The shrub is Viburnum Alfredo. I think that's the right name. It turns red every year in the fall and has red berries.

bk3-shrubs-fall  In the summer it has white flowers, which are also pretty. These shrubs have done very well for me. It's funny to see the pictures I took of them the year I planted them, 2002. They were so tiny!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A couple F.O.s and a new challenge


An F.O. is the opposite of a UFO (unfinished object) some knitters acquire many UFOs, but I don't. (See note in side-bar)

I have finished the stole that I wrote about in my last post, and I even wore it to the Opera last night.  That sounds so much more elegant than it really is. We went to see Samson et Dalila at UMD last night. It was quite good, with a semi-professional cast. It was sung in French and most of the French was not bad. But here in Duluth, and especially at a university event, no one really dresses up that much.

blue-cami-cropt_1_1 And before that I finished this camisole. It was made from a kit that I got in April for half-price. The original price was way too much, but it wasn't bad at half-price. This one had to be reworked a couple times, so it took me longer to finish than it should have. I won't wear it that much, because we don't get much warm weather here and it doesn't seem to lend itself to wear under something else. I may try to find a gauze blouse to wear over it though. I have worn it twice, already, so that's really not bad.


And here is the finished lace shawl that I completed in May and gave to my niece, Nina. That's Nina and her grandmother (my mom) on their birthdays. Nina's is May 14th and Mom's is May 13th, so we had a joint celebration for both of them.

alpaca-stash yarn

Now for the new challenges:  The yarn at left is some Alpaca that I bought also in April. I was working up a gauge swatch to see if I could decide what to do with it. I considered a vest, but felt I didn't have enough to complete the patterns I was looking at.

IV League vest swatch2

So instead I bought some more yarn and worked out this gauge swatch. I will be knitting this for the Ravelympics competition. This, for anyone not on Ravelry is an knit-along, where you have to knit the object during the olympics. You are allowed to make a gauge swatch and be ready to start during the opening ceremonies, but not before.

IV league vest-yarns-1

Here is my yarn. My local yarn store (Yarn Harbor) in Duluth is sponsoring this event, so she generously offered us 20% off our purchases for the event. I am going to return the grey yarn, and try a light tan. The grey wasn't working for me-- too dark. Oh this pattern was published in last fall's issue of Interweave Knits. It is called Ivy League Vest. There are several others doing this same vest for the Ravelympics. And there are quite a few on Ravelry who have done this before, so I had lots of pictures to look at. They all look like they turned out great. I hope I'll be happy with mine too. The object is to complete it before the closing ceremonies. I'm not sure I can do that, but I'll try.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A cotton lace stole

I have been working on two knit projects. I just finished one, but don't have a picture of it yet, so I'll make this post about the other one.

This is a lace stole made from a sport-weight cotton. I think it's sport weight. I started a swatch in a lace-weight, but that was a little difficult and then I realized it might work well with this yarn that I had on hand. The yarn is Louisa Harding Jasmine. It is cotton, bamboo, silk and polyester. It has a silver thread or speck in it (probably the 3% polyester) It is quite soft, so I think will make a nice stole for summer.
This pattern is worked on both sides--that is the back is not just purl stitches, but keeps the lace design going. I've never done a pattern like this, but the repeat is only 13 stitches wide and is fairly easy to remember, so it's going fine. I don't have to refer to the pattern instructions any more, so that makes it easier to work on and to carry along. I worked on it on our trip East for the 4th of July Holiday.
Here's a link to the free on-line pattern. Voyager lace stole.
I think it is about 1/4 finished. I need to check the pattern again for the finished length, but I'm not that close. I have 9 balls of the yarn and will probably use all of them. I think I'm into the 3rd so far.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I took another Rosemaling class

I spent 3 days this week in a class with Marlys Hammer, a gold medal rosemaler from Wisconsin. She was a delight to learn from. She paints in acrylics, which is what I use. They behave a bit differently from oil paints and it was nice for me to have a teacher demonstrate in acrylics. Here are some pictures of Marlys and the plate she brought for us to use as a model.  She also brought patterns for the plate. I did a practice plate and one similar to the one she is holding, but I didn't do the border. I was quite happy with how it looked without the elaborate border.

Marlys Hammer

Here's a wide view of the room.


and here Marlys is helping another student.


And here are pictures of my plates:


The one below I did as a practice piece. I didn't use her pattern on this one, but free-handed a similar design.


And here's a detail from the second plate.


The plates still need a finishing top coat, but they often photograph better before they are varnished.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Now it's done.

I did pull out the sleeve yesterday, ripped back to 1" below the armhole and reknit it. I kept comparing it to the other one, which I thought was fine. It seemed to be coming out pretty close. (I listened to Jane Eyre while doing this, which was great.) I sewed it in and, folded the sweater in half to compare the sleeves and now the one that was too big is at least an inch or inch and a half shorter than the other one. Yikes. I thought I might have to do it again! But I tried it on and the shorter sleeve was perfect. The longer sleeve is only a bit too long and may be fine. I actually wore the sweater today. I don't let my new garments sit around. Afterall it is wool and summer is coming. Fortunately I live in Duluth where one can wear wool 10 months of the year. It was perfect for today. I still feel a little ridiculous taking my own picture in my bathroom, but it's the only room in the house that has enough natural light that I don't need the flash. And the sweater just looks so flat if I lay it down to take a photo. And I don't own a dress dummy, so I had to resort to taking my own picture as best I could. Oh and my husband is out of town. So you get a funny picture of me in my bathroom. :-0

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Freya is finished - well almost

So I got this sweater done and sewed up, but now I see that I must redo one sleeve. That same first sleeve that I already redid the top part of. I think you can see in the picture how that sleeve is just too big. Other than that it seems fine.

I'll post a better picture after I get the sleeve fixed. It's a gray, rainy day here today, so a good day to put on an audio book and sit and pull out a sleeve.

Friday, March 28, 2008


I have just finished an 8-week rosemaling course. It met on Thursdays for 8 weeks. I missed two weeks because I was traveling, but I did do some painting.


Here are the things I painted in this class. Rosemaling is Norwegian folk painting, that is normally done on wood. It can be done on other surfaces, but wood is the most common one. I, however don't feel I'm good enough to paint on a lot of wooden objects. I am still practicing and learning, so I do a lot of painting on paper. sometimes if the design turns out well I scan it and make cards from it. So during this class I painted many designs on paper as well as 3 wooden plates.

 cream-plate I paint free-hand and my designs are my own. Many rosemalers, especially at the level I paint trace designs or sketch out designs before they start, but I'm just too lazy to do it that way. This is a 6-inch plate.




blue-circle-card This is one I did on paper, scanned and added the outer color on my computer, to use as a card. This is the extent of my photo-enhancing skills.





brown-plate This is a 7-inch wooden plate.






I did these three yesterday. The teacher had left a sketch on the board from the previous day's class and I used that as inspiration for this design, which I did three times with ththree bagse same colors, but slight variations in the design. I cannot do 2 identical designs.






Finally, this is inspired by a painted sketch done by Norwegian rosemaler Nils Elingsgard. 

Friday, March 7, 2008

Back to the Freya

I am making progress on this Elsebeth Lavold design, which I thought was called Freja, but now I see it is spelled Freya. I think it's pronounced the same either way. Here's where I am with it now.

I have completed both sleeves. I had to rework the top of the first sleeve, because it was coming out way too long, but it seems okay now and I did the second one the same way. The sleeves are fairly skinny, but I tried them on and they will be fine, I think. Then I picked up the stitches of my gauge swatch and did the cable motif to practice it. I had never done this type of cable with the starts and stops, so I thought it would be good to see if it was going to give me problems before I cast on for the front. I did it twice to be sure I had it.

I love the charts for cable knitting. I haven't used charts for cables before, but I find it so straight-forward. The symbols on the charts are very logical. I had to read the definitions the first time, but then was able to follow without referring again to the definitions except for the decreases. Those I had to check again, because some are done on the back (reverse) side and those require some thinking. I think I have it now. This has been fun and I hope it turns out nicely when I am done.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mystery shawl - clue #3

Here's what the shawl looks like this morning. I finished clue 3 over the weekend. I'm sorry this isn't a very good picture. I'll try to get a better one after the next clue.

The pattern this time got pretty complicated in the middle and was hard to follow, so I added vertical lines with different colored markers to the printed pattern. This helped me remember where I was on the pattern. That helped a lot. I have used 2 markers one in each side of the triangle. When I put in the life lines they go through the markers, so I drop them on the next row and put in new ones. I forgot one of the new ones the last time, but that explains why there are 2 next to each other on the right side in the photo, in case you were wondering. :-)

Friday, February 29, 2008


Well, since it is not taking me all week to finish the "clues" for the shawl I needed another knitting project. I started this sweater called Freja. It's designed by a Swedish Woman named Elsebeth Lavold. I bought her book Viking patterns for knitting, which has this pattern in it. I also bought the yarn the shop recommended, so this is a totally new project, not from my stash. My stash currently has 2 different yarns in it. I was looking for a cardigan to use one of the yarns from my stash, but found this instead. I'm clearly not a skilled stash builder. I've heard others say they don't know how a knitter does not accumulate a stash. Well I don't know how anyone keeps buying stuff they won't be able to get to for over a year. I don't know. I'm just different. I normally have only one project on my needles at once and I don't have a significant stash. Here is the first sleeve of this sweater and part of the second. I decided to start with the sleeves, because that's a good way to check the gauge. I did swatch, but I find that is often not enough.

I had to rip back a few inches and rework the top of the sleeve, because the cap was clearly coming out too long. I think my row-gauge is longer than hers. She doesn't give any measurements for the sleeve cap, just says to keep going until you have 26 stitches or something like that. Well, by the time I had only 26 stitches my sleeve cap was way too long, so I riped back to about the mid-point and started decreasing 2 stitches each row instead of 2 every other row. I was afraid the sleeve seemed too skinny, so I sewed it up and tried it on. It's okay. The photo in the book shows a skinny sleeve, so it's supposed to be that way. I tried it on over my turtle-neck shirt and it's going to be fine. This yarn is Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool- a blend of wool and silk - duh. It actually feels a bit like cotton.

Tomorrow the next clue for the shawl comes out, so i'll work on that again this weekend before I go back to this. I don't think I'll be knitting tonight as I'm going skiing tonight.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Clue Number 2

I finished clue 2 on the same day it was posted! I counted and counted stitches on every row. I realized that the center of certain motifs needed to appear above the center from rows before. It was hard to tell where the motif should start, but when I got to the center I could tell if I was in the right place or not. At that point I would keep going or tink (unknit ('knit' backwards)) to where the mistake was made. I tinked 6-16 stitches 3 or 4 times. This was so much easier that undoing entire rows.

So here's what it looks like now.

Besides learning to knit lace I also learned (with the help of very kind people in the knit-along-Thanks Carla and others)) how to increase the size of the chart and print it in Adobe Reader, so that I could write numbers in the little squares. This was very helpful. The chart has long sequences of knit stitches between the motifs. The numbers are different for every row and across the rows, so I sit down and count all these spaces before I begin and write the number in each section. So when I knit they have already been counted and I just read the number from the chart where I've written it in. This is another trick I learned that speeded up the knitting tremendously.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Mystery Shawl

The first clue was posted Saturday. I was out of town Saturday, so I didn't download it till Sunday. I got started on it Sunday, but had a lot of trouble with it. My stitch count kept coming out wrong. But I finally think I have it figured out. And I have an idea what was going wrong. I'm not sure, because at the time I couldn't figure it out. But I think I was doing a single decrease instead of a double decrease sometimes. It didn't happen all the time, but I think that was the reason I was off by one stitch at the end of the row sometimes. Now I am examining the pattern row before I start the row--noticing which kind of decreases are in the row and trying to keep a mental picture. Certain rows only have single decreases or only double decreases. Those rows are easier to keep track of. I also blew up the pattern bigger and sat at the table and counted the knit stitches in between the decreases and yarn-overs and wrote that number on the pattern. That way I can just glance at the pattern to see the number and don't have to stop and count over and over. These numbers range betwen 3 and 16. If it's only 3 or 4 that's fairly easy to see at a glance, but more than that it is helpful to have the number written on the pattern.

So here is a picture of the first section finished.

Friday, February 8, 2008

new Doll Sweater

I certainly haven't been very good at keeping up with this blog.
I will try to add another entry here.

I started this sweater little doll sweater Monday afternoon. I wrote this pattern a few years ago. It was published by Joan Hinds first in a newsletter and more recently (2007) in a small booklet that is available through her web site. Fancy Work and Fashion I decided it was time to do another one of these and to check the directions in the process. I've found some minor errors, so I'll send Joan an errata sheet that she can include with any new books she sells.

I’m going to finish the sweater today(Friday), so I thought I’d add some in-progress pics. In the second pic, I have finished the body and two sleeves. I cut the center steek, which rolled back out of sight. I have not done any of the sewing or assembling yet. The next step is to measure for the sleeve slits, sew and cut them, then bind off the shoulders and do the collar. I’ve transferred the sweater to 2 needles. I used just one of those (16”) needles to knit it. It could be done on 2 circs, but it works on one 16” which is easier for me. I did take some liberties with the pattern. I was running out of the red yarn so I did the last row of the body with green. this may or may not cause me problems with the collar. We’ll see.

Having joined Ravelry and become active there has gotten me back into knitting more. I decided to post some of my patterns, which have been published by Joan Hinds. I am Acanthus on Ravelry and have more pictures there of my doll sweaters and hats. There are two cap patterns that go with this little nordic sweater. They haven't been published anywhere, so I think I may make them available for free, but haven't got to that part yet. If you do buy the booklet that has this pattern in it, e-mail me and I'll send you the two cap patterns.

Okay, here is the finished sweater, but I still need to get some little clasps for the front opening. When I have those I'll put it on my doll and post a new picture.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mystery shawl

Well, I joined a mystery shawl knit-along. I may regret this as I have never done any lace knitting before. If you haven't heard of these before, here's how it works, I think. This is my first mystery project. You sign up and receive the pattern in 5 installments. You start knitting without knowing what the finished patttern will look like. This is a triangular shawl pattern. So far that's all I know. It starts in February. Wish me luck.

No photos for this post.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My Norwegian sweater is finished

I started this last July. It's now January, but it is finally finished. I found that while I was in Paris, I didn't have much time to knit on it, but I did work on it some and took it on the flights with me. (note to self: next time I fly out of France: Do not try to take knitting needles--the French security agents don't like them.)

We arrived home Dec. 1 and I managed to get the body of the sweater finished before Christmas. I bound off all the stiches and even washed it before cutting it. I wanted it to felt and shrink just a little. I don't think it did. It is a superwash yarn, so it's not supposed to felt. It looks a little funny before it is cut.

Here is what it looked like cut open. Now it looks more like the body of a sweater.

And finally this is the finished sweater. I took it to my yarn shop and asked what the others there thought about how many clasps. The pattern only called for one, but I wanted more. They said 3 would be right, so I did what they suggested.

I had to take the picture in my bathroom, because it is the only place in the house with enough light and I didn't want to use the flash.

So that's it. It's done and I can wear it now.