Thursday, February 4, 2016


Winter has been mild in Minnesota this year.  This week is a reminder of what our winters are normally like.  Cold, crisp, beautiful.  Beautiful as long as you don't have to drive anywhere at certain moments.  We got a huge snowstorm on Tuesday.  It started snowing around noon and quit Wednesday morning.  I love looking out into my backyard.  We have large pine trees and in the winter they take on a magical winter wonderland appearance.  I was able to work from home Wednesday so I didn't have to struggle in traffic for hours.  This is my view while I'm sitting at my table working.  Not too shabby. 

To give you a sense of scale, there was no snow on my outside bench before Tuesday.  Just a bit now!  And that is a very protected area too.  Virginia is not happy right now trying to go outside.  It is deeper than her legs so it is a bit challenging for her. 

I've been meaning to knit some new mittens for myself for the last 3 years.  Even got a few pair started this fall but they all failed for multiple reasons.  Finally this week, my old pair of mittens gasped their last breath.  The thin spots in the thumbs gave way to a gaping hole.  Not so warm here to have a gaping hole in the thumbs!   And I certainly can NOT wear commercial mittens/gloves.  Seriously!  I would have to turn in my knitters card if I did that!  But I have NO time to whip out a new pair of mittens right now.  I thought I was going to eek my old pair through one more winter since this year was rather mellow.  Um look at the pictures...not so mellow anymore.  So I did a little surgery.  I snipped off the top of the thumb, ripped back to a sturdy section of yarn on the thumb, slid the live stitches on needles, added some bright, cheerful, left over handspun yarn and knit a new thumb.  Sort of a Frankenstein mitten you might say.  I love it!  Not perfect by any means, but I do smile every time I put it on.  Tonight at Emily's cheer competition I will graft a new thumb onto the second mitten.  Maybe I can refine the first row or so, but if not?  My thumbs will still be warm and I will still smile at my mittens. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hand spun goodness

I spin all the time.  But finding the time to actually knit is another challenge.  But one I'm determined to change in 2016.  While I don't make resolutions as a whole I am determined as my life changes to find more enjoyment for me.  And right now that is knitting with my handspun.  So I spun up a beautiful, new to me fiber, from Ginny of FatCatKnits.  It is a wool/linen blend.  She dyed up a colorway for me called Uranus in a long gradient.  It goes from teal green to teal blue to navy blue to red wine to purple merlot, to black.  Gorgeous! 
The grey neutral is also the wool/linen blend.  It is the perfect foil to make the colors glow.  The pattern is the Crazed Scandinavian Cowl by Wendy Johnson.  What is not to love knitting a huge variety of fair isle patterns?  It is a long infinity loop type of cowl.  However, as I've been working, I think I'm leaning towards finishing it as a scarf.  The pattern calls for fingering weight and my handspun isn't quite that weight, just a bit heavier so I'm not sure if it will lay nicely after being wound a couple times around my neck.  Since it is knit as a tube, in the round, it is two layers thick.  No howling Minnesota winter wind will penetrate this baby! 
I do think it is a great sample for my yarn.  I will have it done in time for my fiber festivals this year.  Yarnover is fast approaching in April.  It will be finished and hanging in my booth so look for it there.  I need to keep spinning each night too so I will have plenty of completed skeins for upcoming fiber fests.  I'm thinking of spinning more of the same yarn and selling it as a kit for those fiber fests.  Considering you need 900 yards each of the two colorways that is both a big time and cost investment.  I'm still thinking on it.  I don't see a huge down side for me because if the kit doesn't sell I can break it up and simple sell the individual skeins.  But I often hear from people they would like to knit with exactly the same yarn as one of my samples so maybe I will put the 8 skeins in a package and see what happens. 
As I've worked on it, I fall into the "just one more row" as I see a pattern developing with each row completed.  That is the fun part.  Then watching how the colors are shifting brings another level of anticipation. Who needs sleep! I'm about half way done now.  I started it over the holidays.  Hoping to finish it in another month. 
This has been the perfect project this week as Emily had her tonsils out last Friday and I've been home with her.  Her medicine is every six hours, so I've been up late in the night and then early in the morning.  Amazingly, even sleep deprived, I've knit on.  With some help.  Virginia decided I was going to blow away or something so decided she needed to anchor me down on the couch.  She did a mighty fine job.  smile...must keep spinning...(or knitting as the case may be)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's Christmas Time!

We are in the final days before Christmas.  Anna came home last Thursday and will be home for 3 weeks.  Today is Emily's last day of school.  I will have Thursday and Friday off both this week and next.  Let the festivities begin!

I didn't knit much this year for gifts.  I did make a hat for my sister,
 I think she will like it.  I need to add the braids on the side, they will mostly be made up of the fun bright colors.  My sister loves bright crazy colors.  I took a simple Scandinavian hat (Susan B. Anderson pattern) and changed it up by using my variegated handspun.  I think MK will like it.  It is very her.

I'm also making a hat for her husband, Steve, but that had a bit of an issue.  I decided last Friday to make it for him.  Not a problem, plenty of time to make it before Christmas Day.  I had the perfect charcoal grey yarn I spun from Shetland fiber.  I found a simple pattern and whipped it up in 24 hours.  However, when I tried it on, I decided I needed to add a couple inches to it so it will securely cover his ears.  They live in the northern wilds of Wisconsin and shoveling and snow blowing is a big past time (most winters) so having all of your ears covered is a must!  This morning I unpicked the woven in end at the top and ripped it back past the decreases, got it back on my needles and started knitting again.  I'll finish it tonight and it will be better with the additional length to it.

My nephew and his wife recently announced they are expecting their third baby!  Which means I get the pleasure of knitting (hopefully) a new baby blanket for Baby J.  I just spun up a bright fun colorway called Frog and Carp dyed by Ginny at FatCatKnits.  I love how clear and strong the colors are.  I spun it as a 2 ply gradient and was thrilled with how it turned out.  I will have more dyed for me in a Merino Superwash and I think I'll do a 10 stitch blanket ((Ravelry pattern)  It will be easy to use my handspun in it and it is forgiving.  Sounds like a perfect fit to me. 

I'm working on my schedule for next year's Fiber Fests and at this point will be attending 4 shows.  I'll be at Yarnover in April (their 30th anniversary and I'm having special fiber dyed for me by Polly at Lila and Claudines to celebrate), Shepherd's Harvest in May, a new event for me in September, we will be at North Country fiber fair in Watertown, South Dakota, and finally the Fall Fiber Fest in Hopkins in November.  Toss in keeping my yarn shops happy and filled with stock I will have lots of spinning to day.

On that note, Merry Christmas everyone.  Can't wait to see what the new year brings!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What happened!

As you can see, I've been silent for a really long time.  Lots of things have happened in the last year.  My mom, who lived with the girls and me, passed away the day after Thanksgiving.  The girls and I were blessed to have her living with us for the last 10 years.  We miss her every day but know she has been reunited with my dad and they both are happy to once again be together.  Then Anna had her 18th birthday and Christmas came and went.  The winter was spent sorting out the house and making changes so it completely became the girls and my home.  Then we had to put our beloved old pug, Gadget asleep in early spring.  More changes in the house as we painted the whole downstairs.  Emily turned 13!  Anna graduated from High School in May.  I took the girls off for a big vacation, we were in Maui for 2 weeks.  That was an amazing time for the three of us.  We left laughing and returned laughing.  I can't ask for more than that.  In the next two months, we had Anna's grad party and last week took her to college in Ely, MN.  Now Emily and I are figuring out life as 2.  In that vein, we got a new dog.  My wonderful friend had a lovely Brittany Spaniel named Virginia.  My friend has a large loving family filled with siblings with small children and Virginia struggled with all the little ones who wanted to love her.  So we took Virginia into our much quieter home.  Slowly but surely she has settled in, loves to go on walks and when she returns promptly hops into my bed, burrowing amongst the pillows before snuggling into a long nap.  She is good for us.  The last 10 months have been filled with sorrow yet much joy.  I just may be returning to this place to fill it with my thoughts for no one other than me.  If others read, great, but if not, it will be for me.

As far as my spinning and yarn, I've been blessed this year to continue working with my stores.  I am scheduled to head to Yarn Harbor in Duluth, MN on October 10.  I'll be bringing lots of yarn for Kathy to select from and spend the day spinning with my many friends there.  I can't wait to see Kathy's new location. 

I'm also going to be a vendor at the Fall Fiber Festival held in Hopkins on November 7th.  That is a great venue.  Each year there are more and more vendors and I'm really looking forward to heading there again this year.  The last two years it has been such a challenge for me as Anna had a Cheer competition that same day right down the road, but this year that is no longer an issue.  Although if Emily has anything to say about it that will change next year.  But I'll enjoy this year as a bit calmer.

Finally, I will be at Needlework Unlimited on November 21 for a spinning day as well as bringing in new stock for Karen.  Whew!  As you can see my next 3 months are busy ones.  But with all the stress this year, I've found solace in my spinning.  I may not have spun quite as much as in years past, I still have some absolutely beautiful yarns in my basket ready for stores or fiber fests.

And before I forget, one more store is stocking my yarn, head to Double Ewe in Circle Pines.  Kelly started stocking my yarn and picked out some really pretty selections.  And she has several of my samples to show how things will work up.

I just noticed something, apparently I only work with yarn shops that have owners with names that start with K!   Even Lila and Claudines follows the trend with Kirsten.  Makes me smile.

Well that is enough for now.  hopefully a few people are still reading this, maybe mention it at an event I'm at, I'd love to chat with you.  But for now, must keep spinning! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Anyone know E. H. Jacobson?

When I started spinning I went out and tried a bunch if different spinning wheels before settling on my Louet wheel, a Julia.  I've been very happy with her.  I never really had much desire for what I call a Rumpelstiltskin type wheel.  Until recently that is.  May I introduce you to my new old beautiful wheel. 

Isn't she beautiful.  She is signed underneath the table with this inscription.  Made of Mt. Ash by E. H. Jacobson. Little Marais Minnesota.  I love her.  I'm trying to find out any info I can on Mr. Jacobson.  Little Marais is a very small town along the  North Shore of Lake Superior so maybe I will be able to learn what year he made her in.   But for now I'm happy just to have her!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

My two girls are the joy of my life.  I waited a long time for children.  Wondering if I even would have them.  With international adoption, my life was forever changed.  I remember sitting in church for years on Mother's Day.  Painfully listening and watching mom's being lifted up.  Longing to be someones mom.  Who knew my children would be thousands of miles away from me.  Longing to be someones child.  smile...Now Anna and I have been together for almost 17 years.  Emily joined us 10 years ago.  And we are a family.  And every Mother's Day I sit in church and feel joy but also remembering the pain I felt before my girls.  To anyone reading this who is longing for children and feels the pain of seeing others have something that you so desperately want, there is hope.  You too may find your way to the child that has been made just for you, who is also waiting and hoping for a family.  I will never forget those years and realize how truly special my family is.  I'm blessed.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yarnover Aftermath

I've come down from my yearly Yarnover hangover.  smile...One long day surrounded by yarn fumes will give anyone a fibery high!  I had the pleasure of sitting next to Annie Modesitt and her partner Kathleen Pascuzzi who were there selling their new hand dyed yarn, which was amazing.  And I also discovered today while reading the Yarn Harlot's blog post that she took a picture during the day and you can see a bit of my booth as well as me talking to someone behind my rack of fiber and bags. I don't think anyone will recognize my stuff or me, but I got a silly thrill from it!

My weekend was not just filled with Yarnover, nope, we had my whole family staying at our house over the weekend.  That meant we had 6 adults and 2 little girls under two tucked in with the four of us.  It was a house filled to the brim with love.  While it isn't something I would want to do on a regular basis, it was fabulous to have all of us under one roof.  We had not all been together in several years.  It was amazing.

Now I have some breathing room.  I've pushed so hard for 4 months, getting ready for DFW Fiber Fest, Yarnover 3 weeks after that, one sale to my local yarn shop in between and having my family here that I'm beyond exhausted.  I've spun over 60 skeins of yarn in those 4 months.  That is a lot.  I have time now before my next scheduled events in late summer/early fall.  I finally have a chance to knit again.  I have a chance to possibly teach a couple classes in knitting and I'm working up what I think will work.  Stay tuned, it is a new adventure for me.