Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A New Fall, A New Job, A New Yarn Shop

It is the beginning of new relationships, and I couldn't be happier. As many of you probably know our main yarn shop here in Green Bay closed a couple of years ago, and we have all been left high and dry – until now. A local quilt shop, The Silver Thimble, has started carrying yarn. The store moved within the same strip mall but into a larger space, and the owner had special cubicles built to hold yarn. She is ordering books and patterns, and she has hired me to teach a beginning knitting class and socks on circular needles. I have missed teaching, so this is a most welcome change. I always found that I was more creative and motivated to design garments when I was teaching at the former yarn shop, so this will be great.

We have Learning in Retirement classes here in GB and those are also starting up this month. I'm really excited about that because I took tatting 101 last year and learned just enough to get myself into all sorts of trouble. This year I am retaking 101 and adding 102. Maybe I'll solve some of my tatting problems.

As for photographs to spruce this missive up, I have completed quite a bit this summer. The yarn basket above was one of two door prizes at this year's Door County Shepherd's Market. I won! I won!
That was in May, but I just had to share. The yarn is all hand spun by members of the Arachnid Spinners.

We had a bit of a vacation in July and I made a new traveling project bag so I could take things I was working on. The bag sits on the floor on the passenger side quite nicely, and I knit my way to Colorado and back. I also took some tatting and some Zentangling. The Zentangle objects above were done by Evergreen quilt guild members at the July meeting. One of those blocks is mine, although I don't remember which one. I enjoy the Zentangle process. It must be the repetition.

As usual, I will try to be more consistent with my posts. Best laid plans, however..... Bye for now!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Finally - a Finished project!

I don't mind alliteration either, by the way. This quilt, (I know this isn't knitting!) has been in the works for almost a year. The Evergreen Quilt Guild has a tradition of collecting blocks and giving them to out-going Presidents when they finish their two-year term in office. Last year they presented me with hundreds of purple and white 9-patch blocks.

Over the summer I started shopping for fabric that would compliment the blocks. I had a design in mind; I wanted to combine four 9-patches and set them on point with alternating complimentary blocks and sashing in between. Initially I was looking for a border fabric, but was unable to find one. My second cousin BA suggested going to Yards, a funky little fabric place near Omro, WI. Their actual name is YDS and it is located out in the country, on private property, in a shed that is obviously not water tight, because everything smells mildewey.  (How do you spell that word, anyway?) The bottom line is all the fabric there is Moda, and the smell washes out. I bought the backing and the sashing for this quilt there at a significant discount.

After finishing the piecing, I chose to quilt it, a King-sized quilt, on my home machine - not a decision I would make again. The quilting is not perfect, but I learned a lot in the process.

It doesn't really show in the pictures but the sashing is a light violet and white stripe. The edging and the set-in squares in the sashing are dark purple and white polka dots.

On the knitting front, I'm going to be teaching a beginning lace class at a new little yarn shop in Manitowoc. Called WYS, or the Waldo Yarn Studio, the shop is in a private home on Waldo Blvd in Manitowoc. I visited the shop on Saturday, along with my good friend AT, and can't wait to get started. It is a little over half an hour drive down I43 and teaching always stirs up my creative juices. It occurred to me that I haven't produced one knitting pattern or new design since Monterey Yarn closed. Maybe this new association will help me find that creative nitch once more. Here's hoping . . .

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Donations are a Good Thing!

Tuesday night past I attended an Evergreen Quilt Guild meeting and watched as a member arrived with several large plastic  storage containers filled with fabric. It seems a recent widower had contacted her to donate the fabric stash of his recently deceased wife. When she went to pick up the fabric he asked her if she knew anyone who could benefit from her yarn stash. Her response was,
"As a matter of fact, I know someone and will be seeing her this evening." The long and the short of it is that Thursday I drove to his house and picked up 5 large plastic storage containers full of yarn for the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild. We do a good bit of charity knitting for hospitals, churches, the Green Bay school system, etc. One of the containers was devoted to projects in progress - items that were almost finished but not quite done. One of those items was a baby blanket made up of individual crocheted squares. I finished today and will deliver it on Monday to a church that I know can use it. I thought you might like to see it.

Friday, January 16, 2015

'Twas the Middle of January...

Yea, I know! Where has time gone? It's just unbelievable. Well, I've made reservations for the Erlbacher Gearhart Crank In in Cape Girardeau, Missouri in April, and I have never had to wear a coat there, so I'm getting excited. I'm also looking forward to the CSKMS Conference the end of July in the Denver area. That should be a lot of fun and an opportunity to meet lots of folks, most of whom I have only met via the internet.

The local knitting guild offered a challenge a few days ago to knit red mittens for the February meeting. I finished the first one this morning. What do you think?  The top one is the underside of the left mitten. The photo below that is the top of the hand of the left mitten. I liked the pattern when I found it and just happened to have the necessary sock yarn. They fit my hand pretty well, which is amazing because I have a pretty small hand.

I've also been working on the quilt a lot. It's very strange. Every once and a while the bobbin just goes crazy and I have to take everything apart, rethread, and go away for a few hours. When I come back, it has settled down and is ready to cooperate. Can't figure out if their are gremlins living in my sewing machine or what. I can admit that I am fairly tired of the hastle. I also want to go on record that attempting to quilt a King sized quilt on a home sewing machine is a folly I will not commit a second time. Somewhere I got the idea that I could do it myself. What could I have been thinking. Here is just a little sample of what I am doing.

Beyond that I have been doing a lot of experimental cooking, trying to come up with no-salt, low-fat alternatives to my favorite recipes. We had some pizza last night that was pretty good. Might repeat that again.

Well, that's all that is fit to print. I'll check in a little sooner than last time. Bye!

Friday, December 26, 2014

T'was the Day After Christmas . . .

...and all through the town, not a creature was working or clowning around.
For the sales had all started at each crafty store, and the deals were just super,
The buys were no chore.

OK, that's about as far as I can take it. I knew JoAnn Fabrics and Hancock were having sales starting the 26th, so this morning I went shopping. We had been at my daughters in Milwaukee for Christmas morning and I noticed that she had a store-bought Christmas tree skirt. Well, that just won't do, said I, because I knew all the holiday fabric would be on sale right after Christmas. Next year she will have a new tree skirt.

All the yarn was 25% off, and I just couldn't help myself. I got enough for a couple pairs of socks, three skeins of yarn for hats for Green Bay school children, and enough Fisherman's Wool (Lion Brand) to knit a cabled sweater.

It was a little bit of heaven. Can't hang around here much this morning, I've got stuff to do - projects to finish, etc., so I can start these new projects. You understand, ...

Friday, December 5, 2014

Cold Weather Breeds Activities

There is something about a white landscape and crisp, cold air that makes me want to bake and knit until the cows come home. That is exactly what I have been doing. Of course the house is a mess, and I keep forgetting to do things (you know - run errands, make this appointment, call so-and-so) because my mind is all wrapped up in what should I bake today?

Usually, this time of year, I would be baking Christmas cookies, but since Dad passed the family doesn't congregate here anymore. It is easier if we are the travelers. Oh, I will do some Christmas baking, because it's nice to take goodies with you when you go visiting, but it's not like I am feeding a dozen people three times a day the way I used to.

Yesterday I decided to bake something that would use up my leftover sourdough starter. See, when you feed a starter it doubles in size, then you use about half of that in whatever you are making. Over time the starter begins to mount up. I have an old fashioned mason jar that I pour the extra starter into, and when it gets full, it's time to make something. Pretzels were the recipe yesterday. I do lack an essential ingredient – some kind of malt – that is used to coat the outside of the pretzel before it bakes. It's the malt that gives pretzels that dark brown color and that is what the salt adheres to as well. The recipe said you could use a sugar wash, which I did, but it wasn't quite the same. What do you think?

Today I will make another loaf of sourdough bread. We are out. That will leave lots of time for knitting as well, because sourdough starter and then the bread both need time to rise. I have lots of sock yarn to wind and socks to make so that should keep me out of mischief. Speaking of knitting, these are the things I have knitted by hand this month. Doesn't hurt that I am to be a great grandmother.

On the left are a pair of fingerless mitts that I started years ago. I discovered them in a bag yesterday and realized they were almost finished. I finally got it done. They sit atop a red and white dishcloth I will be taking to the guild meeting next week for the swap. The socks were not hand-made, but cranked out of yarn I got for a steal. The little booties are for the new great granddaughter and I've had a blast making them.

You all have a good weekend. Stay warm and dry.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


'Tis interesting that 'generations' and 'genes' begin with the same root. You see, the generations continue to unfold in my family, and the genetic makeup continues to be passed along to the new generations. I discovered on Thanksgiving Day that I will be a great grandmother in February. My oldest grandson made the announcement via Facebook, and the family is overjoyed, while also being wary that he is quite young, in his early 20s.

The generations do repeat, however. I was in my early 20s when I had my son, and he was in his mid 20s when he had my grandson. So whoever said history repeats seems to have known what he was talking about. Of course, I was elated when my son arrived. I do remember the night we took him home from the hospital; he wouldn't stop crying. I remember vividly holding him while sitting on the edge of the bed and rocking back and forth, crying myself because he wouldn't stop crying. My mother arrived the following day, all the way from Oregon, and set things right. I was clearly overwhelmed.

As a knitter I couldn't let the opportunity to knit a few baby things slip by. I ordered some yarn yesterday to that end, and I also found a really nice section of knits for babies in Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders. One pattern requires Cascade Fixation, and while most of mine was blue ( the expectant is female) I did uncover a ball of yellow. I set those needles to working right away as you can plainly see. Can't wait for the rest of the yarn to arrive.