Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gnut has joined the family, the kids are back in school, and I started anitbiotics.

The weekend remained uneventful, except for a tree and decorating.

I frogged a nasty cowl, and finished some mitts for baby girl:

I wasted most of the morning finishing the ribbing on this crazy fair-isle sweater and starting the body of it. I forgot to change needle sizes. This afternoon I ripped it, and this evening caught back up.

I'm going to bed!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Knitting .500

Cloistered with a germ-bag, as my father has affectionately named the little ones, has given much knitting time. And yet, I'm knitting .500.

Finished a gift cowl. It's alright. Knit another for myself. It looks like fiberous poop.

Knit a gift for hubby while he's been gone. Nasty and ripped it.

Now I'm knitting a swatch for a gnome.

Besides the typical medicines one administers in times like this, we have been administering steady doses of technology. For those of you who don't know us, we have no TV. We still manage to do adequate brain rotting via computers and DVDs.

What're you doing?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stalked by the Silent P

Pneumonia has entered the house.

I will be disinfecting today, caring for the wee one, coughing, disinfecting and knitting on my first moebius. Seems appropriate.

For those interested, the yarn is Colinette Iona, and the cast on is a la Cat Bordhi's youtube video. One casts on a double sided circular row with a half twist in it. You end up knitting an endless twist circle, kind of like something M. C. Escher would have drawn. Pretty amazing.

Someone, usually me, always seems to be sick on Thanksgiving. One year, I was bearly able to walk. We went to Kroger and bought sliced turkey lunchmeat for our meal. Quite depressing.

This year, I am to cook a ham for 15. And today I am to cook a meal for a friend who had an operation last week. We'll see how that goes!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Proud Bearer of New Scarf

Self design, I call "Five for five" for my little guy:

He is the cold carrier in this house, and, by golly, he needs to cover that throat and mouth, if for no other reason than to save the others here! The wool is Malabrigo, and oh! so lovely and soft. The "W" in Briggs and Little anniversary edition just seemed to set it off, and hopefully keep it out of the lost and found TRASH BARREL this year. Yep. His school used to have a lost and found table. Now there are two giant trash barrels full of winter coats and single mittens. You could lose a first grader in one of them!

I hope we all sleep well tonight and continue to heal before we are cloistered together for Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Our Home

So, I'm still sick.
I made some chicken pasta soup, and asked Chris to taste it to see how it was. I didn't want to stick my spoon in it, you know?
His comment? "The chicken is spongy."

Saturday, November 20, 2010


The last bit didn't take long at all. After grafting the last 6 stitches together, the sturdy shawl took a soak in some soapy suds. Rinsed in running water, and blocked on the board.


As stated before, the irritation (dust?) washed out, and the yarn did soften a bit with the soak.

Still, it is an outerwear kind of yarn, too scratchy for delicate wear.

Starting to swatch for a funky fairisle now.

My honey was out of town today. I inherited a rip-roaring cold from the son who gave me about 20 smooches yesterday, complete with, I believe, a nose-blowing on my cheek.

One child is at Harry Potter, and the other two did this:

As always, the question is, who will put it away?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things Nordic

I continue on my Scandanavian jag today, ranging from knitting on the Faroese shawl,

to making a "Danish" dessert,

to receiving a letter from Sweden!

Monday, November 15, 2010


All my knitting seems so far away.

Gave to friend the Dr. Horrible project: her mum died and left these sweater pieces, which are truly horrid. She doesn't want to wear them. No. She wants to put them on a scarecrow.

I pieced them together, repaired a couple holes and did the neck and waistband.

Didn't even weave in the ends.

I hope it doesn't give you nightmares.

Then I finished a headband type of hat for little girl. Will have to post the picture later...

Finally, on to working on my Faroese Shawl, as (incorrectly) charted by Meg Swansen. Downloaded the errata, and we're off! I bought the real Faroese yarn from a booth at the Nordic conference. I have learned that the sheep on the Faroe Islands are raised for their meat.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Here are a couple pictures to tide me over till I have brain power

A handsome young man running:

And a beautiful Fall day:

Monday, November 08, 2010


And I'm packing it up.

For Valor Gjertsen:

He must have been a very good boy.

And, in remembrance of Baby James and Dora:

Friday, November 05, 2010

Fourth and last in an installment: Nordic Knits, the Final Run

Picking up where we left off... Day one was fab with Ruth Sorensen. The cocktail hour and presentation by Ulla Karin Hellsten was lovely. Day two was masterful with Carol H. Rhoades and Finnish Medley of Stitches. Nancy Bush's Keynote presentation at the Banquet Saturday Night was a lovely overview to the Estonian specialty of knitting gorgeous lace shawls in the coastal town where the industry began.

The first few pictures are of some of the lovely shawls walking around on their human hosts. The last shawls are just some of the fantastic works of the Estonian artists that Nancy met and interviewed.

The presenters and organizers posed for a shot together. They are Karin Lowe, Alex Butler, Patricia Brunner, Carol H. Rhoades, Ruth Sorensen, Beth Brown-Reinsel, Evelyn Clark, Nancy Bush, Britt-Marie Christofferson, Ulla-Karin Hellsten and Stina Cowan.

The final day dawned bright and beautiful.

I, unfortunately, did not.

Fall arrived with a vengeance. It was Washington's first day with frost, I believe, and Erin's first frost in forever! She was ecstatic. But, once we got to the museum, the heat was out. I was wearing my sari, because I could, but it got all covered up in knitted goods. And I wore a hat, and covered as much of myself in wool as I could. And my feet in garage sale-d shoes!

Britt-Marie was brilliant: very knowledgeable, soft spoken and cheerful. She handed out bright packets of stitch guides from her second book she has written. As far as I know, it is available only in Sweden currently. The first stitch was a Halkruus -- a second peek of color showing through a window of the first, and all done with slipped stitches. And, of course, Ulla Karin's yarn in bitty bundles of melodious color made the swatches sing.

A reporter from the Seattle Times showed up taking lots and lots of photos down the line. He stayed long enough for us to start acting normal again.

By the second class, my wagon was draggin'. Erin and I were chatting about what we would do that night, our only free night, and the Seattle-rs chimed in. What fun! They debated what was open, where the Salmon were jumping, and which restaurants were the best. We decided to do the ferry to Bainbridge island, as one of the ladies declared she had never seen a more beautiful sight than the sunset reflecting off the Seattle skyline on the return voyage. That sold me. We took off a half hour early, eagerly taking our yarn samples, and hustled downtown to find a parking place under some of the overpasses.

We made the 4:40 ferry just in time. As we went across the sound, the sun gradually changed colors on Mount Olympus to the South. The Olympic range to the West was masked a bit by the sun, but the skyline of Seattle remained solidly before us to the East.

We touched down in Bainbridge. I touched the sweet mother earth with my toe, and we bundled up and headed back to the mainland. It was freezing cold and we were underdressed. Once there, we ate greasy fish, oysters and lovely chowder, and went back to the home we were staying in.

I had to do quite a bit of sitting on bags in order to get all packed up.

The next morning at the airport, we remembered to purchase the Seattle Times. There we were on the second page of section B. What a riot!

We shared the paper with a man who was killed by a mountain goat at the Olympic range (no news whether it was angora or pygora). Just below our photo was a story of a woman who blinded a man after she cut in front of him at a hotdog stand. We were the only normal news, it seems.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Baby, Why Don't We Go Down To Kokomo?

Today, I went to Kokomo for a tour of the Kokomo Opalescent Glass. Our inimitable Becky Williams organized the tour. I believe 13 of us travelled South for it, and the tour and glass were awesome and very inspiring.

First of all, I must confess I made us all late. Sigh.

Secondly, I had a lovely drive there with Charlotte, Sarah, Mary and Phyllis. We expounded on the Great Wolf Lodge, and the nature of age, and a variety of business -- not necesarily in that order.

When we arrived at the Opalescent Glass Factory, we went into the gift shop, browsed and paid our $5 for the tour. We got to wear sexy, plastic glasses and sign a waiver. You know it's going to be fun when you sign a waiver! Then, our lovely guide escorted us into the main glassworks area and we encountered (drumroll please) the beehive.

The beehive is the main center of activity for the art glass production. Elsewhere there are three older kiln-like furnaces where the glass for that day is heated to a particular temperature. It is then transferred here into one of the 12 fire-pots to be heated to a temperature over 2000F degrees. At the time we visited, two men took turns scooping the molten glass out of a container, skipping it over to the extruder press, and then putting the scoop into a water tank to cool it. Each man took a scoop out of a separate pot which, I believe, contained different colored glass.

The guys who carried the buckets of molten glass had to skip and hop to the extruder table. In so doing, they kept the glass moving, so no part of it cooled and solidified before it hit the table. Next, the guy at the extruder table took a metal poker-like tool, and hooked the glass and tossed it a couple times as well. This mixed the colors of glass and helped get some of the air bubbles out of it. Then, he pushed it toward the double rollers of the extruder which squeezed it to 1/4" thickness and onto a travelling. The table that held the glass rolled through a larger machine that gradually cooled the glass until it could be handled.

I must point out that the extruder guy has a great sense of fashion. Go Crimson and Cream!

At one point while we were there as well, the men at the beehive skimmed some scum or scag off the top of the molten glass, and just dumped it on the floor to harden and throw away. It was beautiful, like a molten egg.

On the way to view the rest of the production we passed barrels and barrels of glass shards -- a myriad of different colors.

The colors were magnificent. We weren't allowed to use flash, so these pictures in no way capture the depth and brilliance of the hues, but here's a few anyway:

And there were barrels of this stuff. Barrels and barrels. All previously produced by the factory and ready and waiting to be recycled into more art glass. i believe our tour guide said there are over 3,000 colors made by KOG, and then they mix them, or make the glass of varying shades of transparency, from Opalescent, Cathedral, Opalume or Streaky, and of varying densities. Then there is the texture. There are nine differing types of texture at least, from smooth to seedy, to ripple to hammered... in fact, KOG is the company that provided the glass to Tiffany for all his work, and he wanted just the "cat's eye" glass. That is glass of a particular texture, which is, of course, more fragile.

Anyways, here we were amongst all these sparkling jewels. It was a good thing that it would all cut us if we tried to take any! For some reason, the guides indicated the men were more apt to pick up pieces and touch machinery. That surprised me, as all of the women on the tour had to keep their hands in their pockets (Mary, you know who you are).

The next step was on the other side of the machinery. Two men with cutters trimmed the top and bottom ends off, and either recycled them, or sent them to the sales area. All the glass being produced already has buyers. And the sales are from everywhere. Twenty percent of sales are for overseas. That day, they had an order from Liverpool and Vietnam. The orders are kept in this area until all the glass has been completed (it may take up to 6 months). Then, the orders are packed in handmade boxes with shredded wood and packing paper. They are weighed, customs forms are filled out, and they head out to their eager buyer. The last photos are of samples and sheets available to sell, including the Tiffany/cat's eye room.

Here are some of the completed, shelved glass sheets available for purchase. All three of these pictured are the same texture, density, and color combination, but each are so unique:

In the back, two glass artists worked creating the items available in the gift shop. Today they were working on rondels. Pretty fascinating. Unfortunately, I didn't get a clear shot of them. Behind that is their finishing room. Some lovely ornaments were waiting to go to the front gift shop.

Once we got back to the gift shop, I understood their prices a little better! But as well as the stained glass and art pieces available in the gift shop, there is a large inventory of seconds and smaller pieces of glass that many artists snap up for their work. Even beautiful plinths, or polished glass triangles are for sale currently for $15. They can be used as a base for an award to hand on. Much nicer than metal and plastic, they glow with the recepient's pride! And they are all made locally.