Thursday, June 26, 2014

It Was a Sign!

Well, at least that's how I am interpreting it. There I was - at the laundromat - washing the quilt from our bed. You see, Jessie, our dog/child (I know, that's a discussion for another time.) sleeps with us, and our quilt gets pretty dirty. So every so often I take it to a local laundromat and take us back to square one. The news was blaring away on the TV in the laundromat, and just as I am packing up to go home and advertisement for Blaser's Acres comes on the screen. The laundromat is located north of my house a couple of miles, and Blaser's Acres is about 5 miles north of that. It was a sign.

If you live outside of NE Wisconsin you probably don't know that Blaser's Acres is the place to go for strawberries - U-Pick and picked for you. Last year I put up two flats of berries from there - all into freezer strawberry jam. So as I left the laundromat I put Blaser's Acres into the map app on my phone and headed north instead of south. Of course, freezer jam requires plenty of sugar and several boxes of pectin, so on the way home from the strawberry field I stopped at Festival Foods and picked up a few things. Just imagine. When AJ left home this morning I didn't know what I was going to do with the day. Now - the whole day is planned for me.

On the knitting front I had a revelation this past week that I thought I would share. A month ago I purchased some wool from a Door County sheep breeder. I purchased it in 3 natural colors: dark brown, very light brown, and while or off-white. I cast on for a cardigan, and soon realized that I would not have enough yarn to complete the object as designed. The photo to the left shows a 2 x 2 ribbing followed by a Quilted Lattice pattern I found in one of Barbara Walker's stitch collections.

The white yarn is what I was short on. Going into my stash I discovered that I had bought similar
yarn from the same breeder a few years ago, although the names of the sheep differed. The slight difference in color would show if the yarns were worked next to each other, but probably be completely disguised if I could put something between the whites so that they never meet. This was my solution.

I don't know that I have ever seen Fair Isle worked in quit this way before, but I think this works. It's going to look quite elegant I think.

Just so you don't forget the Double Knitting adventure, I will close this post with a picture of my progress thus far.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Weekend Update

I had an awesome weekend and just wanted to share. I drove down to Morris, IL on Friday to the Gebhard Woods Dulcimer Festival. They hold it every year, and this was the 2nd time of my attending. I went two years ago, and AJ and Jessie came along. This time, I drove down by myself and had a good time doing it. While the festival is usually held at  Gebhard Woods State Park, there was considerable flooding there last year and they wanted to give the grounds another year to recover, so the festival was held in town at Goold Park which was just as nice.

The temperatures hovered around 84 degrees both days, although Sunday was a bit cooler. What does one do at a dulcimer festival, you might ask? Well, I'm going to tell you. There were workshops with noted placers/performers every hour on the hour, and performances on the main stage. Vendors were there to sell their wares, which included dulcimers, mountain dulcimers, accessories, CDs, T shirts, music, tuners, etc. You get the pictures. Oh, you want a picture? Here you go. The tent in back is the Stage Tent, and the one in the foreground was where the raffle items were displayed.

This young man's name is Max ZT and he is originally from Chicago. He has taken the hammered dulcimer and mixed it with contemporary Rock and Jazz; he's quite amazing. I took one of his workshops and learned a lot about harmony and arpeggios, how to apply them to the dulcimer, and how they can enhance one's hammer speed. He started a band call House of Waters, that is based in New York. Follow the link to hear a bit of what they do. The band performed on Sunday, and it was awesome.

Saturday night there was an Old Country Dance in a Catholic
church education building across town, and that was fun too. They had a caller, and the Bill Robertson band played for it. They also performed on the Main Stage on Sunday. Robinson  has designed some special hammers and I just had to buy a pair.

After the festival wound down Sunday evening, I got some dinner and planned to spend the night in Morris and drive home on Monday, but I fell asleep after dinner, waking about 10 pm. I thought, why not drive around Chicago during the night time. Far better than fighting rush hour Monday morning, so I hit the road - got home about 3 am. Boy was I rocky all day Monday. Sort of felt like I'd been hit by a truck, but no - I did it to myself. I must say, though, I've never seen such light traffic in Chicago before.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

He's Coming Back...

Pic taken in North Carolina
Today's title reminds me of a beautiful old ballad "He's Gone Away, for to stay a little while, but he's coming back if he strays ten thousand miles..."etc. I got curious about the background of this song because the melody is so haunting and found a website link that explains it in greater detail. Basically, for my purposes, it probably has roots in the British Isles, but more specifically North Carolina. The author of the linked website puts it in the same genre as Shenandoah and The Water is Wide - also among my favorite ballads.

All of that was my way of avoiding the housework that awaits. AJ IS coming home this afternoon and I have spent the last 2 days playing – with no self-discipline at all. Vacuming, dusting, watering plants, laundry - you name it, I need to do it, so that is the basis for my side step into folk history. Anything to avoid the obvious.

I had an idea a couple of days ago, and yesterday was the day that I tried it out. I have a drawer of widowed quilt blocks - blocks that have been made and rejected for some reason or other - and a basket full of scraps.
IDEA: what if I made a crazy quilt-like sandwich of those items and then stitched them down with decorative stitches from my machine? I could make yards of fabric like that and then use the fabric sandwich to make purses or bags or ... something? (not that I needed another project you understand) What do you think?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Busy Time of Year

So much has gone on since I last posted I hardly know where to begin. We opened up the 5th wheel in Door County. We call it our "cabin in the woods", because it truly is in the woods. We spend most weekends there, and have been up 3 times this season already. AJ took an extra day off for Memorial Day weekend, so we had an entire 5 days in a row. Attended the Art Fairs at Sturgeon Bay and Jacksonport, and went to an auction on the way home, where we bid on and won a nice iron planter that is now on the side of our house with plants in it. (whew! that sentence was way too long!)

This year the trillium were in abundance everywhere, as were the morels. We picked morels several times, finding enough for a couple of super omellettes.

Of course, summer finally arrived in Green Bay. It seems we don't have much Spring here. It's just BANG – one day it's winter and the next it's summer. This year it just took longer for it to arrive. So there has been a significant amount of yard work on two houses - the one we are trying to sell, and the one we are living in. I spent an hour each day of last week at the old house pruning rose bushes. The prunnings were so abundant that it took two trips to the garden waste dump site with the truck bed piled high to get rid of them. I also transplanted some rhubarb, daisies, and Euphoribia. The daisies were at our house in Illinois - a gift from NF, a flute playing friend, and we transplanted them up to Wisconsin. Now they are at our new house.

All the while I have been knitting and quilting up a storm. The double knitting project I mentioned a post or so ago has finally started to work. No - I said that wrong. I finally figured out what was necessary on a wrong-side row. Once I had that set in my head I was OK. What do you think? Coming along pretty well, I think.