Wednesday, January 22, 2014

4th Annual Knit-a-Journey Mid-winter Retreat

My friend Susan has sadly stopped podcasting.  Well, sadly for her listeners; I think it's working out well for her.  But when she still had the Knit-a-Journey podcast, she started hosting a mid-winter retreat.  Some people when they think "mid-winter retreat" think of going to a warm climate; not so Susan. She decided this would be a winter retreat right here in Duluth. I blogged about the first one, which was held in 2011. I missed the second one, as I was in Kunming, China then.  I went last year, when it was held in Minneapolis. And this year it happened last weekend in a house just a couple blocks from mine, here in Duluth. There were just six of us at the first retreat and this year was the first time the six of us had been together since then.  We were 9 this year, so 3 more joined the original 6.  It's a great group of women.

I didn't take a lot of pictures, but here are a few that I did take.

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On the day we arrived at the house, the heat had been turned up to 72.  The whole house was too warm except for the attic and sunroom. The sunroom was also bright, so we settled in there for our first knitting session.  I didn't take this photo until after the sun had gone down, and we had broken out the cheese and wine. Cheese, wine, knitting and good company-what could be nicer?


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This was the view out the back door. Duluth has had a lot of snow and cold weather this year, so the snow is deep here.

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I just had a few finishing touches to complete on this vest, so I finished it up out here in the sunroom.

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We found the thermostat and turned the heat down for the night and the rest of the weekend, so after the first day we sat in the living room to knit.


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Here, it's Susan's turn for Show-n-tell. The house had excellent wifi, so everyone was on-line for one thing or another all weekend.


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Breakfast on our second morning. We had a vegan coffee cake, made by Susan and fruit smoothies made by Laurie.

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We had several delicious meals during the retreat. We went to three restaurants that were all wonderful. This was my dessert at the New Scenic Cafe on the shore of Lake superior. Our meals there were wonderful. The other two restaurants we ate at were: At Sarah's Table and the Lake Avenue Cafe.


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On Sunday we skyped with Louise of the Caithness craft collective podcast.  Louise is in Caithness, Scotland, almost as far north as you can get in Scotland without getting in a boat.  Susan introduced many of us to Louise's podcast and wanted to invite her to join us in our retreat.  So here Betsey is holding Lisa's laptop so the rest of us could see Louise.

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That afternoon some of us went for a hike. The temperatures in Duluth had been in the single digits above zero Fahrenheit, but on this day it got quite warm-as warm as 27 degrees Fahrenheit, so it was a nice day for hiking in the snow.  The only photos I took, however were of this waterfall, which is frozen and covered in snow and you can't even tell it is a waterfall. 


So that's my snapshot of the Knit-a-journey Mid-winter retreat.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Too Many Hand-knit Sweaters

I'm doing some decluttering and organizing in my home.  I started with the most difficult room--my bedroom.  We don't  have a walk-in closet, but have 3 separate small closets.  (Our bedroom has 10 doors and 1 window.)  Of those doors 5 are closet doors. I started with the closet that I use the least, took everything out, reorganized it and put some back in.  Then I tackled the one where I store my sweaters, other kit tops, jeans, shorts and shoes. Here's what it looked like before.


I took all the hand-knit sweaters out and put them on the bed.


I count 30 here, but that doesn't count the short-sleeved ones and those knit in cotton. Those I had actually organized before I thought abut snapping some photos.  There are only about a dozen of those, so that was easier.

Unfortunately this is the space I had to put them back into. The two stacks on the right are the cotton and short-sleeved sweaters.


But I managed it! They all went back in and should stay that way for a while as I am not wearing wool too much these days.  I have a sweatshirt on today, but in the summer when I'm cold I wear sweatshirts, not wool sweaters.


Today I finished up the other closet and I went through my dresser drawers earlier this week. 

I still may have too many sweaters, but by April I'm starting to get tired of wearing the same 23 sweaters and look for more. That's when I pull out the older ones that I don't wear early in the winter. When you wear wool from September through April you do need a good selection.

On the knitting front, I have completed two shawls and a pair of socks this summer and am starting on a sweater-vest.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Knitting shawls, sweaters, etc.

I can't think of a title for this entry.  I decided to put up some pictures of my knitted projects for this winter and spring.

None of these pictures are very good.  I've lost patience with photographing myself.  I try several different photos and then just give up and use the best of what I have.

This cardigan is called Gnarled oak.  It was designed by Alana Dakos and appears in the book called Coastal Knits, by Alana Dakos and Hannah Fettig. I used some yarn I bought in Finland. Mine came out a bit small, so I decided not to put buttons on it.  That way I can't button it, which would cinch it in and make it look too tight on me. It's okay as an open cardigan.



The next one is called Blackberry and Lichen by Candace Eisner Strick. The name refers to the colors she used, but I used completely different colors.  I tried this first with Kauni yarn, which is a gradient color yarn, but it didn't work out, so I tried making up my own color scheme. I'm not completely happy with it, but I think I'll wear it next fall. It is knit in Jamieson Spindrift.



Here is a picture of the sleeves before they were cut apart. I knitted both at the same time with steeks between them, then cut them and sewed them up. This makes the stripes come out the same on both and makes it easier to do the increases with the pattern. I've had trouble with that before.


Then I saw a model in a shop for this vest and wanted to try it. I've never done entrelac before. It wasn't hard at all. This yarn, which is what the designer used worked out perfectly.  You never change colors. The yarn does that for you. This also, I think I'll wear in the fall. The pattern is called Gina, as is the yarn. The design is by Sarah Punderson.



And then I've completed 2 shawls and have two more on the needles.

The first is called Color Affection by Veera Välimäki. It's an interesting asymmetrical design. I made it a little smaller than the pattern said, but it seems large enough for me.



My last completed project is this shawl called Maia, by Rosemary Hill. It's in an ebook called 7 small shawls to knit, but can also be bought separately through Ravelry.



Here's the back.



That's my knitting update.


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Friday, April 5, 2013

Just Rosemaling

I had intentions of blogging more often this year, but then I got into ancestry research and did that instead.  I have also been taking another rosemaling class and finally after 12 years, I really feel I'm getting the hang of this.  Here are a few of the items that I have done this spring. 



Here's a sketch on cardboard. This is my own design. I like experimenting with the placement of the scrolls.  Some of my favorite designs have no flowers in them.


This one's done on matboard.  I'm working with oils now, which provide different challenges than the acrylics.  They smudge more, because they dry so slowly. I'm learning.  The oils dry with a nice shiny finish, and are quite bright on a wooden surface. On matboard, however they dry flatter and more quickly. I can claim this design as my own. Though I was looking at a photo of another design, I really didn't come that close to the other one.  It was much more involved than this one.  I may try again next class.  Mainly I'm trying to vary the position of the basic scrolls and the shapes of the flowers.


This is a plate I painted for my wall. After moving some things around, I felt I had room for another plate. This is a design I worked out over several weeks.


And here are two examples I photographed in class.

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This one is by Nancy Schneck. I posted one of hers last time. Note the unusual border treatment in this one. I should try to paint this one too. There are some interesting things going on here.



And here's a detail of one by Oscar Kjetsaa.  This style is too different from mine for me to want to copy it. It's very soft and round. All of these are in the Telemark style.  I don't try to do any other style. It's definitely my favorite. 


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Friday, January 11, 2013

Intellivision hats and some professional rosemaling

That sounds like a good pairing, doesn't it?  I actually was going to do a post about Christmas decorating and paper trees, but decided to save that one for later.  It would have made sense before Christmas, but now I figure it doesn't matter when I do it.
I was then going to do a post about knitting and had photos of these hats to start and then realized that's all I had.  I am also working on a sweater, but it's not at a point that I want to photograph it or talk about it, so all I have is these hats that I made for Christmas gifts.  My son asked for a hat with this Intellivision logo on it.  He sent me the logo back in September, maybe.  so I worked it up and knit him a hat for Christmas. 

I wasn't sure if my other son would want one too, but when he saw his brother's he decided he wanted one too, so he and I worked together to convert the image he found on-line into a graph for knitting.  My sons are 38 and 33, so they played with Intellivision when they were little. I made his using left-over yarn when we traveled to Virginia for New Years at my sister's.

And here they are both together. The Intellivision logos work well for knitting, because they used very low-resolution graphics.  I could have made a better-looking skier, but then it would have looked less like the original blocky Intellivision figure. I used Jared Flood's "Turn a Square" pattern, but worked it flat until I'd completed the intarsia logo. Then I joined it and finished it in the round.  Oh, in both cases, after finishing the hat, I ripped out the ribbing at the bottom and reknit it going down.  For the first one the hat was about an inch too long, and for the second, I just didn't like the way the ribbing looked.

I also made two hats like this one for my niece and her boyfriend. 

That's a mock-cable pattern and it worked up quickly.  This is the Cross-stitch-mock-cable-hat by Barbara Benson.  That's pretty much it for the knitting.  The sweater I'm knitting is on a 2.75mm needle and is taking a long time.
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I do have some interesting Rosemaling photos. I took these last fall in the classroom.  My teacher has been rosemaling for many years and has worked with some excellent rosemalers.  She has some samples done by some pretty famous rosemalers.  If you've never heard these names, then you are not a rosemaler. 

This one is by Nancy Schneck in 1984. I love the whimsy here. And the unexpected straight lines right in the middle.  Wonderful!

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This one is by Sigmund Årseth. (There should be a little circle over the 'A', but it doesn't show up very well.)  This is an older example of Sigmund's work. He always had a quick, free stroke, but his more modern work is more angular.  This is more rounded.  He is one of the very few rosemalers to use white in his work.

And here are two by my teacher. She is very talented.  Her name is June Nyberg. This plate you can see is finished with a reddish stain letting the wood grain show through. I love these soft colors on the reddish background.

Here's another one by June.

And finally a couple done by me.

Not quite the same quality, but I'm working on it. For this one I used Sigmund's as inspiration.

I'm going to try to blog more often this year.  I still have some photos from Finland I need to put up on the other blog.  I got started once, but ran into the holiday rush.
Do leave me a comment.  I love comments. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

After-thought button-holes

It's almost October.

Our summer at home has gone by so fast. We've been busy and packed a lot into the 3 months that we've been home.  I've enjoyed meeting weekly with my knitting group and have been knitting, so I thought I'd try to update this blog a bit.

I finished these socks this week. I started them about 18 months ago, but didn't work on them that much, because I thought the angora in the yarn was causing me to be congested.  Now I'm not sure that is true, but here they are and now that they are done I'll wear them. They are warm and fuzzy.


And yesterday I finished this cardigan.  It is made of some silk yarn I got for half-price. It is 100% silk, but feels a lot like cotton.  I haven't worn it yet, so can't really comment on what it is like to wear.


I made "afterthought buttonholes" in the right band.  The directions called for working the right band first and making buttonholes every 12 rows or something like that, but I always do the left band first and then plan where I want the buttonholes.  so I did the left band and front.  The band is worked with the front. (See my Ravelry project page for more information on the pattern, yarn, etc.) Then I got started on the right side and was half-way up before I realized I had completely forgotten to work any buttonholes.  I'm sure I'm the first one to ever have done this.  :-)  Instead of ripping it all back, I decided to try dropping down in the buttonhole row to where I wanted the first buttonhole.  Then I put a piece of yarn through that stitch and using a crochet hook picked up the ones above it until I reached the location for the next buttonhole.  I repeated the process for two more buttonholes and then kept knitting up past each buttonhole location.  I would go 2 or 3 rows beyond, then drop down and make the buttonhole in the same way I made the others, so they all match.  I think they look fine.  The only downside is you do have to weave in 2 ends for each buttonhole.

Here's a close-up of the button-hole band.




And here's the inside of the band.  It's not pretty, but this is silk.  I think in wool it would look nicer.


We've had fabulous weather here--well unless you are a plant.  The plants would like more rain.

The trees are turning, so I thought I'd post a few pictures, but decided not to take too long at that part, so I just stepped out my front door.  These photos are all taken from my front and back yard.

From my front door.


Looking down the street.


Shrubs I planted in 2004, which were tiny then.


Two kinds of Parsley, the only herb that grows really well here.


Petunias still going strong in spite of the drought. I haven't watered them.


Do you know what this is?  I usually cut these off, but this is the seed cluster of a Clematis.


This one I took about a block away a couple weeks ago. I thought it was so cute.


So that's my update. We're off to Finland on October 5, so look for photos on my other blog after Oct 18th.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Decorating our house in Normandy

I'm back home in Duluth after a wonderful year of traveling and posting on my travel blog, I am settling in back at home again. I've done some knitting this year, but this post is going to be about the decorating I did in our house in Normandy. While we were there in May and June this year we converted our empty attic space into a bedroom. I posted lots of pictures of that project on my travel blog. (link on right)

I decided it made more sense to post these pictures here, because this is really more about my decorating hobby than about travel.

This is how we left the attic:



We did find some light fixtures that were the right color and inexpensive, so we installed two hanging lamps with plastic shades. The name of our company that owns the property is RS Property in France, thus the R and the S. Also we had two pieces of plywood cut to fit the tops of the little end tables, so now they will support lamps and other things.  Those lamps are too small, but they came with the house, so we had to put them somewhere.


We bought that little stool at a Conforama, where we've bought other items for the house.  We assembled it. Conforama is a lot like IKEA, but a smaller store. I can't quite reach the skylights to open and close them, so the stool is helpful for that.







The futon can be folded down into a double bed. It also came with the house, but with an ordinary mattress, so we didn't realize it was a convertible sofa until we finished this room.  This space makes a nice spot to sit and read when it's not nice enough or light enough to be outside.


Nothing in this corner yet.  I measured the window and may make a curtain for it to take over next time we go.



The bathroom on this floor.  The pictures hanging there are ones that came with the house.  I just moved them into this room.



If you saw the attic renovation pictures on the other blog, you saw this window, which was removed from the attic.  I painted it and we put it over the mantel in our bedroom. As I think you can see the fireplace has been blocked off. Someone must have had a wood-burning stove in it at one time.  And it is off center in the section of wall that protrudes.  It was very weird-looking.  I thought about it for a long time and finally decided to try painting it like this to sort of accent the asymmetry instead of trying to hide it or ignore it. I haven't decided what to do with the rest of the walls.  They all have a textured paper on them, that is very hard to paint.



Another note about the fireplace: One day Jim was working in this room. His desk is here, though it doesn't show in the photos.  He started hearing a lot of scratching in the fireplace and realized a bird was trapped in there.  It became clear the bird was not going to find its way out without help, so  we closed the doors, opened the window and then cautiously opened the panel at the bottom of the fireplace.  It wouldn't open more than a couple inches, but I knew that would be enough.  The bird ducked under and flew out the window before we barely had a chance to see what it was.  It was a Choucas. A grey/black bird that nests in chimneys.



One more photo showing the bed and window.  Jim's desk is just on the right here. Those canvas and wood clothes storage units also came with the house.  Some day we would like to replace them, but for now they serve the purpose. The bird prints were in the other bedroom, but they seemed to go in here, so we moved them. You can't tell in the photo, but the mats are teal-colored.


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Because this is a Rosemaling blog, I'll include another photo of the panel I painted to hide the very ugly fireplace in the living room. We finally got it hung.

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And this photo shows the front window and door. I bought those drapes from Country Curtains and took them over with me in my luggage. I think they suit the room. I couldn't find anything with such a traditional or old-fashioned print in France.  Not that there is a lot of selection near us in rural Normandy.  But everything I saw was either solid color or very modern.

The house has another bedroom and bathroom, but they are just functional and not decorated, so no photos of those spaces just now.