Thursday, August 30, 2012


Yesterday was very exciting, as I received two contracts via email from Interweave Press and returned them along with finished projects.  It's one of the reasons why the summer was so busy -- charting and knitting and writing one of my five patterns.

Anyway, the item will hopefully be acceptable and will be published in the Jan/Feb Piecework's special Knitting Traditions magazine. Happily, this blog and the post of Sámi mittens helped secure the article.

Today's goal:  finish knitting project #5, and proof (for the last time!! Please!!) project #4.1 and #4.2.  Wouldn't that be amazing?  Then, I can get on to things I want to do.

It's not that I didn't want to do those projects; it's just that having to do them, and do them perfectly, sucked the life out of them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

M * T H is a four-letter word

In the middle of our going out of town, having guests, doing softball, baseball, swimming and various other summer employments, we had an unwelcome visitor.  It came from the unknown, and carried a sense of evil with it. How do I know this? Biblical truth. John 10:10 says, "the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy, but I have come that you may have life and have it to the full." Well, then, he's a messenger of Satan. This fellow destroys, as can be seen in another verse. Matthew 6:19 - 21

Do not lay up for yourselve treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treaure is, there your heart will be also. Mt. 6:19-21

A good lesson hard learned.

I walked into my bedroom about the time when the kids were getting to bed, and noticed a little flutter above and beyond me.  I zeroed in.  A moth!

I quickly squished it and bustled through to get the item I came for.

About five minutes later I was getting in the kitchen and it struck me.  Was this encounter an exception?  A fly-by-night chance?  Really, shouldn't I go back in and investigate? My eldest son was lounging on a chair in my bedroom when I re-entered, head held high.  Oh, Lord!  There was another one on the curtain!  I curtly told my son to go to bed, squished offender #2, and headed downstairs to the hubby.
He was in the process of preparing to leave for a weeklong trip, and I'm so glad he was not already gone!  I appealed to him, and he entered the now-quadroned off area armed with huge ziplocs.  One by one, we emptied my works-in-progress basket, until we saw one more moth.  I mourned over project after project, as Chris squished the bags that held them, sucked out air and sealed the bags.  Is it a lucky thing I have processed no food this summer?  All bags immediately went into our almost empty chest freezer. Thank you, Yarn Harlot, for having gathered jewels in the darkness for us knitters.  You have gone through your own moth trials and I have learned from them!

I still haven't had the courage to face up to the project which probably started it all. I have narrowed it down to one sweater/hat combo, or an clothed antique doll. Chris thought if I went to the ziploc bag in question in the freezer, there might be a little Han Solo moth, wings frozen, moth open, uttering the silent, "NO!"

He can stay there awhile longer, if there's a snowball's chance he would ever unfreeze.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fireworks in Bemidji

... And a Woolen Mill

I had saved a rough draft of this a month ago.  In my effort to catch up from the summer, I post it now.

Monday, the two younger kids and I flew to Bemidji, Minnesota. Hours before we arrived, a storm blew through with straight winds and knocked down a LOT of trees, took out the electricity, and consequently, the water. We're by a lake, so we swim to bathe and haul buckets of water up to the house to flush the toilets. We cook on the gas stove and go to sleep when it's dark.

Except for today! Today is the fourth of July, American Independence Day. We came to town to get a few things (medicine for chiggers), and another storm blew up. It was a solid wall of black, arriving so quickly from the West.

We jumped in the truck making calls and texts to those at home (the resident meteorologist), and, when the tornado sirens went off, made a stop at the Bemidji Woolen Mill.

What a hoot! When my friend mentioned it, i had no idea it was a real woolen mill! They had a complete operation which took raw wool, washed and combed it, and turned it into batting. Throughout the store they had woven examples of their goods -- blankets, jackets and hats, but they also had worsted weight yarn that had been industrially spun off-site. I had such interest that as the storm waned, One lady took me on the behind-the-scenes tour while my daughter cowered in fright from the storm.  By this time, however, it had blown over.

What fun! I had never seen these big woolen machines before!

raw wool

beautiful, washed wool

one of the big carding machines
They washed, carded and made wool batting with the wool, but they also had a complete sewing of knitted goods section.  The only part that made me sad was that all the sewing machines used for making the sweaters, blankets and hats only used acrylic pre-knitted fabric! There were some gorgeous designs they were working with, but despite being in a woolen mill, all the product of that area was acrylic.

a gorgeous baby blanket -- all in acrylic!  What irony!
sewing area.  all for acrylic.  sigh.
some of their finished, woven wool fabric

This finished fabric, as well as their hats, blankets, etc. are available for sale on their website, as well as just purchasing a length of woven wool.  Very intriguing!

Friday, August 24, 2012

All's Fair Love and Knitting

The summer isn't officially gone -- in fact it is supposed to get up to 90F today -- but the kids are back in school, and, for all intents and purposes, it is Fall.  For me, that means a return to the disciplines that slowly fell off throughout the summer.  One of those disciplines is blogging.

Today I catch up with information on the State Fair.

the famous midway

Mom makes a new friend

Indiana's State Fair is, in fact, the sixth oldest in the States.  Founded in 1851, it culminated in 2011 when I won Sweepstakes in Knitting and Crochet.  Well, maybe that culmination was just for me.  Yeah.  Pretty sure that's what it was.

This year, I entered 8 or 9 pieces, all in various knitting categories.  I won four blue ribbons and two honorary mention ribbons.  My mom was with me when I viewed the judged pieces, though, and knows how disappointed I was, NOT because I won those prizes, but because my darlings, my best knitted piece, got no recognition whatsoever.

I wandered from glass case to glass case looking for my mittens, wondering if they were hard to find because they had won something or other.  Finally, I located them, shoved to the back of the display case, covered in their own entry tag with no happy ribbon.  I think they were crying.  One thing that bucked me up a bit, though, is that while I stood there I noticed two more ladies at that case looking at  displays.  One lady was focusing in her camera and taking pictures -- of my mittens.  Very gratifying that at least someone else thought they were interesting.

Mom and I also attended a very interesting presentation by Shelly Miller Leer of ModHomeEc on upholstery.  She teaches classes in Indi and writes for the newspaper.  In her presentation she took us through converting an electrical spool into a really cute and mod ottoman.  I have two chairs that need recovering, and she gave me a bit of hope that it is possible, and a bit of knowledge as to how to tackle them.

the upholstery talk

Well, this Monday was fair pick-up, and I gathered my chicks together once more.  The lady was so kind who led me around from glass case to glass case collecting the knitted goods.  We started out getting Mr. Grumpy Pants.  She laughed as she pulled them out, with their honorary red/white/blue ribbon.  "Look at these," I said, regarding my next pick-up, my white baby lace layette, "they didn't earn anything.  Don't you think they're pretty?" I demanded.  Well, of course, she did.  I must have done some other complaining, because by the time we collected the fourth ribbon she said, "Another one?  I really don't think you have much to complain about! ...Another one?  ...Another one?"  Oops.  Maybe I didn't, but as a mother bear to my mittens, I did feel a mite bit protective of them.

I glanced at the judges notes as I left.  Some made me furious.  Two of the criticisms I completely agree with.  The last one I opened pacified my heart.  It seems my Estonian Lace scarf made tops in the knitted goods, but lost for Sweepstakes to a nicely crocheted afghan.  On the way out of the grounds, one of the State Fair Cows wanted to experience the beauty that is Prince George's shawl: 

this picture says it all

Thanks, Indiana State Fair, for another good show, and another reason to hit the needles hard for next year!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

School pictures today

For a certain someone!