Thursday, June 28, 2012

Personal Retreat

Think about! "Retreat" seems to imply backing away from something, as in "The army retreated". Is a personal getaway a retreat then? a retreat from normal every day life? retreat from problems? Does it mean escape?

I'm not thoughty enough to answer the questions, but whatever the derivation, I'm going on a retreat and I'm going to love it. We have a 5th wheel that we keep in Door County all year around; it is our 'cabin in the woods.' Between May and October you can find us there on most weekends. We drive up (a mere hour away) on Friday night after work, stop in Sturgeon Bay at our favorite Chinese restaurant for a quick dinner, and then drive to the RV. We return to Green Bay Sunday morning with enough time to mow the lawn and run home errands.

This weekend will be the same, except this time I am taking my hammered dulcimer and Renaissance costume. This weekend is the first of two weekends in a row for the Door County Renaissance Faire at which I will be playing. Instead of coming home on Sunday, when Andy is returning home, I'm going to stay for the week in between the two Faire weekends.

As Wednesday is July 4th, Andy is coming back up Tuesday night after work, and he took the rest of the week off. So - the long and short of it is, I will be a widow by choice for 2 1/2 days - sounds like fun. I'm going to visit yarn shops that Andy has little interest in visiting - oh, and there is a quilt shop as well in the area. I'm also taking my sock knitting machine. I've wound lots of yarn and plan to do lots of work while I'm on my own.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It Is Finished!

That is the English title of a rather famous Bach cantata, Es ist Genug in German, the quote based upon the last words of Christ I believe. I happen to feel the same way about this Basket Cable Bag, which you see to the left. I designed it for Monterey Yarn, a local knit shop in Green Bay where I teach, and we will be offering classes in making the bag in the Fall.

I started the project before my hand surgeries, and of course could do nothing with it for about 2 months. Then, as I began to heal, I could knit, but not on this bag, because my hands had lost a good bit of their strength.

The Basket Cable stitch is an 8-stitch cable (4 sts over 4 sts) so it takes a big of hand strength to make it work. When I was finally able to work on the bag again, I could only do a round or two, and then I would have to put it away for another day. Happily, my hand strength is back, and I credit this bag for for that fact. I think it was good physical therapy.

It is lined with plastic canvas panels, plexiglass on the bottom and then fabric over all of that. The lining of the bag was more of an ordeal than the knitting of it. Interestingly, it was knit from the top down. Actually, I didn't know that was what I was doing until the top edge began to curl a bit, and then a customer at the store suggested that would make an excellent top edge. She was totally correct, and that is what I did. Hope you all like it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Computer Woes and Consternation

My 2006 iMac died last week. In the interim my major internet vehicle has been a 10" laptop computer, which I connected to the printer so I could continue to function. This has all been the major foundation for increased eye strain, of course, because I broke my glasses at about the same time. Egad! Talk about things happening in threes. There was a third thing, but I can't remember what it was - probably because it paled in relation to the computer debacle.

I have computer glasses - designed for that special eye-to-screen distance, and while they haven't been updated for years, they have saved my bacon and work pretty well in close-up situations, such as knitting, making socks on the circular sock machine, etc.

At any rate, a new iMac should arrive today. I can't wait - 27" screen and loaded with memory and the whole bit. With my computer activities curtailed, I have had more time for more essential activities. The last post I made here was about Betsy Beads by Betsy Hirschberg, the book about knitting with beads.

This design came from that book, and I completed it yesterday. I think it will look great on a black turtle neck. The book shows it in gold, but I had silver yarn. There you have it.

I have also opened an Etsy store - Victoria's Fiber Creations The name was chosen because I also quilt. So far, I have included some ribbon yarn that needs to find a new home, but soon I will be offering socks as well. Check it out. Plans are to offer custom-knit socks as well. In other words, I will take orders for specific lengths. Lots going on these days. Guess I like it that way.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Knitting with Beads

 A couple of months ago I discovered Betsy Hershberg's new book Betsy Beads, Confessions of a Left-Brained Knitter (XrX). This is one awesome book. I hadn't knit with beads before, and if this is true for you also, this is a great tutor to start with. She takes a straight-forward approach to the subject, and encourages working with left-over sock yarn, at least in the beginning. I love the act of using something from one technique in a new technique, and so I have been happily creating beads for necklaces and bracelets and such. If this topic interests you, I highly recommend this book.

Have a good weekend. I'm off to a dulcimer festival in Illinois. Can't wait!

Monday, June 4, 2012

It Has Been A While

Yes it has...been a while since I last posted. My excuse (all conscientious ladies have excuses at the ready) is that I have no pictures to go with the post. Pictures were always a bone of contention when I was the editor at Flute Talk as well. Oh well, suffice it to say that the past weekend was spent outside doing yard work, and if I ever get my act together, I will post some pictures.

We spread about 50 bags of cedar mulch, weeded, pruned shrubs and roses, power washed the deck (Now it needs a coat of stain. It never ends!), and began taking out about 8 40-year-old Mugo pines that are completely overgrown and mostly dead in the center. AJ got out the chain saw, and I pulled the sawed branches out of the quagmire, and together we hauled them to the curb. At some point the village will come by and pick up the pile, which is about 20 yards long. We finished 4 Mugos - 4 to go.

The good news for the Mugos is that we have to go to Illinois this weekend. I am excited to be attending the Gebhard Woods Dulcimer Festival in Morris, IL. It is a 2-day event with lots of artists, non-stop performances, and workshops. Saturday night features an old-time music dance and it should be gallons of fun. AJ is going too, and we are bringing Jessie, our Springadore (half Springer Spaniel, half black Labradore). AJ has a sister with a summer place nearby, so he can go visit her while I soak up the dulcimer music. Fun, yes?

Since I last wrote I have also developed a passion for sourdough cooking. I've managed to start and maintain a starter and baked a couple of pretty decent loaves of sourdough bread. There is something about cooking from scratch, and I mean REALLY cooking from scratch, that touches my pioneer spirit. I grew up in Oregon after all. We know how to do that out there.