Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mitten issues and vacation yarn

So much for thinking I would get this posted right away. Oh well, so here we go with the stash enhancement I did while in Duluth and Grand Marais.

The first yarn is from the Yarn Harbor. I found a great squishy wool to use for a pair of Norwegian mittens for my nephews fiancee. The colors are a great chocolate brown, white, and strong aqua blue. I'll post pictures of the progress as I go along. Although they won't be started until after Thanksgiving. The pattern is called LoveBirds, to celebrate my nephew's recent engagement.

The next yarn is Lorna's Lace sock yarn which I found at Grand Marais at the Little Red House. That is my favorite yarn store I have found on my travels. It is truly located in a regular house that has been turned into a yarn shop. The house is vintage, the main room is the former parlor, the dining room is filled with yarns of all kinds. The house still has its kitchen, (now a store room) bathroom and bedrooms. Almost makes me wish I could live in it!

I really can't wait until I finish working on things for a craft fair I'm doing the week before Thanksgiving. I'm doing generic hats, scarves, and mittens. But it means I'm not working with my really "nice" yarns. I'm using my cost effective yarns and while they are nice, they are not AS nice as some of my other things. But looking at my good stash of sock yarns has my brain cooking with how much can I do in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas!

I'm planning on making a pair of basic socks for my sister. A cable hat for my brother in law. Both Kyle and his Anna will get mittens. Not sure yet for Kristin, my niece, as she lives in Florida. Makes knitting more of an issue for her. But Christmas will be here sooner than I'm sure my needles will be ready for.
And on another front, I photoed some of my WIPS.

I made a pair of mittens for my youngest daughter. The colors are perfect, a strong red, green and black that reminds me of a watermelon. I finished the first mitten in record time, then the second mitten sat there, I started it again, and can you see see the problem?

Do you see the size difference? I know I changed from bamboo needles to metal needles, but swear the needle size was the same. However, as you can see the second mitten (still waiting for its thumb) is clearly SMALLER. this means I still have 2 mittens to make. One in the larger size and one in the smaller size before I will have a matching set of mittens. Thankfully I have plenty of yarn to make the additional pairs, but it wasn't what I had planned. but I do love the colors, and I especially like the ruffled cuff with the tight ribbing to keep cold and snow out of the hands.....

And something I'm really proud of, my first pair of Norwegian mittens and only my second stranded knitting project.

Again, you see a theme in my knitting of mittens, this too is waiting for its thumb!

Yesterday I heard from the Twist Collective, I wrote a little thing called a Yarn Hop Day in Minneapolis and sent it in to them and they are going to post it on their blog in the next month or so. I think it is fun and I'm excited about it.

I'm trying to post here every few days, but with working full time and getting my mom and girls to all their various activities after work makes things a bit challening. And then since my plate clearly wasn't full enough, I also took a part time job at our church in the nursery. Just a few hours each week, but I figure the extra money sure won't hurt and after being responsible and using most of the new "extra" money for bills etc, I will be using a smaller portion of it for yarn! How can I not?

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall on the North Shore

We had a great weekend up north. Today will be the scenic pictures as I didn't yet take pictures of the stash enhancing I did this weekend as well.

The weather was perfect, cool, sunny, and just right for wandering Lake Superior looking for perfect rocks and wood to build treasures.

We took a cruise of the Duluth Harbor and nearby bays, windy, gray day.

One of my favorite things we did while in Grand Marais was to walk out to the Lighthouse along the cement barriers created to protect the harbor. You can see the people walking along the tops to get out to the lighthouse. It is reasonably wide enough except when you meet and have to pass people as you are coming and they are going. The girls are surefooted as goats, me, not so much. But there we went, and the view was spectacular and worth the moments of sheer terror as you look down and see waves lapping over jagged rocks...

Trying to keep the girls from hopping down and scrambling out on to the rocks was a big goal of mine. We did find places we could jump down and know we could get back up without struggling.

But it was worth it. The views are spectacular, makes me feel small and reminds me how vast our world is, even my little part of it.
So until tomorrow when I hope to have the yarn photographed, take a final look at this....and if you are near enough to come visit, make Grand Marais a spot to go. It is wonderful year around. Summer and fall offer hiking, biking, and camping. Winter takes on a whole different kind of beauty. And Spring reminds you why you live in the Northern Wilds of Minnesota.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Weekend of fun ahead

Thanks to the MEA school holdiay on Thursday and Friday, the girls and mom and I are heading up north tomorrow for some fun. The leaves should be glorious as we travel from Minneapolis to Duluth and then on to Grand Marais. Trying to find things that are fun for an age span of 6 - 76 can be a bit of a challenge, but I think we are set. We will get to Duluth tomorrow around noon, find a nice place for lunch, check into the Edgewater Resort (waterpark - fun for 6 and 11 year old), room facing Lake Superior (fun for 76 year old) and a mere 1.6 miles from Yarn Harbour (fun for ME). Our first big adventure will be a 1 1/2 hour cruise on Lake Superior (why does the theme song from Gilligan's Island keep floating through my brain?) will take place tomorrow afternoon. Then an evening of water splashing fun for the girls and me. Friday's plans are more loosey goosey, it may be rainy, so possibly the Aquarium or Imax Theater will be fit inbetween visits to the water park at the hotel. And finally on Saturday we will head farther up the lake shore to Grand Marais. I love this small town, snugged into the shores of Lake Superior. Vast expanses of water, trees, rocks, and air. We don't get there nearly enough. Sunday will be the long drive back home, with everyone but me snoozing in the car. Plenty of pictures will be posted upon our return.

Of course I have not packed or even thought about what the girls and I will need other than our suits for the waterpark. So there will be laundry done tonight and packing straight out of the dryer into the suitcase. This alone will ensure that clean clothes will be available for the trip. We will also need some hats and mittens as the weather will be cool and with the breeze off of the lake, it will feel cold.

While I have not packed clothes, I have figured out what my knitting projects will be. I'm bringing two socks, one is a second sock that is torturing me. It is a plain brown stockinette and it is taunting me, never seemingly will it be finished. The other is a much prettier blues kid sock that I'm sure will be finished before the mocking brown sock will be!

And who knows what new yarn will sing its siren song to me at Yarn Harbour that will easily shove that measly brown sock aside. Mock me indeed! And if I'm really lucky, I'll be able to squeeze a trip into the Little Red House at Grand Marias, another lovely little yarn shop.

So a well deserved fun weekend is ahead....stay tuned for pictures!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wild Ride Friday

Trying not to pay attention to the stock market, sorta reminds me of the Chicken Little story and seeing people running around holding their heads, screaming the sky is falling, the sky is falling! I realize for some people that just may be what is happening.

Through all the upheaval I remind myself, I'm blessed. I have a job. I have my girls. I have a safe place for us to live. Thanks to my mom's shopping skills, we have enough food to eat in our house that if we did not go shopping for a month, we would survive. Of course we wouldn't have milk or eggs after a short while, but we would survive. So even as I moan over the stock losses, I well realize many people are dealing with much harder things than I am.

Tonight, Anna heads off for her first over night church retreat. I will snuggle in and play some games with Emily before knitting and falling asleep....hopefully not clutching needles...tomorrow we will drive for a family get together before returning home to pick up Anna. All things considered, a nice weekend.

So I will stop listening to the Chicken Little's of the world, hug my family, watch my pennies, and knit from my stash. I can live with that.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I'm excited....I'm going to take a drop spindle class at my local yarn store, All About Yarn, The class is in November and the best part is my nephew will watch my girls for me all day, so I'm going to also try and go see a movie that day. Doesn't get much better than that, spinning, yarn, and a movie. Pretty darn near perfect.

I'm starting to plot Christmas gifts. I'm leaning towards socks and mittens in all shapes and sizes. I've made fingerless gloves before and they worked well. I made these cabled mitts for my sister last year.

I also made these brown mitts for both my BIL and nephew. They were made from Silky Wool, I loved how they looked rustic but still felt nice against your skin.

This year I'm hoping to do some Scandinavian type mittens....a new challenge for me.

In an effort to be able to do some stealth sock knitting, we told family members that my oldest daughter had a math problem. We said she had to find out each person's foot size by tracing them on a sheet of paper, add up the total inches in length and divide by the number of people to get the average foot size of our family. So everyone gladly had their foot traced on paper and sent it to her. Which gives me the perfect way to make socks that should fit nicely. smile.....I'll let you know how that works out.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Party at our house

Saturday was a beautiful fall day in MN. And the best part was celebrating at our house with our family including my niece Kristin who lives in Florida. She was here for the weekend to run in the Twin Cities marathon with her brother, Kyle and his fiancee Anna. (They all ran and completed the cold drizzly race on Sunday.) We only see Kristin a couple times a year so it was a happy houseful of family.

On November 2 is Anna's 11th gotcha day, the day we celebrate that is the anniversary of when she was placed in my arms in China, so we will do something extra special this year, just the two of us....I haven't decided what it is yet, but will come up with something fun.

I was pretty tired out on Sunday and for the first time in a very long spent a lazy afternoon, knitting some on a spiral hat (free pattern at Ravelry, called Odessa, designed by Gumperina). I finished it Sunday night, turned out good. Will make some both for church gifts and regular presents.

We are going to go up north in a couple weeks for a long weekend, we will stay in Duluth for 2 nights, I'm going to look for a yarn shop there and possibly see what I can find maybe in Superior. Then one night in Grand Marais, where I hope to go back to the Little Red House, a neat yarn shop I found on our last visit. Hopefully between time in the water park with the girls and driving through the pretty scenery, there will be time for knitting....

The weather has turned so I can start wearing my hand knit socks I worked on during the summer. I'm ready to repair any as needed as I found a wooden darning egg and some directions on line for repairing heels etc...I am going to reinforce several of the heels prior to wearing them, as that is where I have worn through my first pair I made last year. I wore them a lot last year, hoping to help out the wearability both by having more pairs to rotate through as well as better choices in sock yarn.

In these times of financial uncertainties, I think it is interesting I'm going back to things that were regular everyday chores back in the 30's during another financial crisis, knitting socks, darning socks instead of throwing things away and buying more. Instead I'm trying to be more frugal, reusing what I can, not being as quick to toss things aside. I think a really good habit to get into....although I don't think I'm going to go as far as washing out plastic bread bags or washing aluminum foil and reusing it several times. I remember my grandma doing both of those things. I also remember her never using a dryer, but would hang the laundry out almost all year round, sometimes when it was so cold that the jeans and overalls of my grandpa would be stiff as a board when they came in from the winter cold. Then they all needed to be ironed before wearing. I do like most of my things to go through the dryer. I may get one of the wooden drying racks though, and see what I can do to reduce our items that we put through the dryer. Easily will work for my hand knit socks and I'm sure once I start with it I can find other good uses for it.