Saturday, November 22, 2008

What I've Been Doing

Last weekend was Amazing Threads weekend retreat at Grand View Lodge in Nissua, MN. What a wonderful weekend! Accommodations were wonderful-5 of us stayed in a 4 bedroom cabin with 3 bathrooms, kitchen and living room with wood burning fireplace. All the meals were in the lodge and were white napkin fancy with good and lots of food. Plus we had food set out for us between meals. Oh! Yes, there was knitting. The camp project was a Panel Jacket, but I didn't work on that. I plugged away on my daughter in law's Winter Wonderland coat and started this new shawl.
It is a traditional Danish Tie-Shawl with long tails that cross the chest and tie behind your back. When we were in Door County and visited Nora Ahlen's farm she had one made up which had such wonderful feel. Since I'm always cold, I wanted one to cuddle up in all winter. The brown yarn is merino from her sheep and the white is mohair from her goat which she spun. At this point I feel like I might run out of the mohair, so put in 4 rows of the plain brown and will add more random rows as I get further along. Actually, I frogged everything I did at the retreat and started over on larger needles.I've been plugging away at these socks for awhile. I started them to teach a class on 2 socks on 2 circulars so I cast on on the circulars for the first class. After the class I took them off and worked to the heel flap on dpn's, returned them to the circulars for the 2nd class. After that class I again took one off the circulars, frogged the heel flap and continued with the Strong heel on dpn's. Now they are just my "carry around project" so I don't knit much on them. Every little bit counts-someday they'll be done.And since the last posting I had a birthday-received this sock yarn from a dear friend.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Mystery Shawl #9

Pattern: Goddess Knits Mystery Shawl #9
Yarn: Jojoland Melody
Needles: Size 5

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Winter Wonderland Coat

This is the nearly complete, poorly blocked back of the Winter Wonderland Coat from Inspired to Knit by Michele Rose Orne. My daughter in law asked if I would make her a cable coat, so when this sweater was in a trunk show at Amazing Threads, I knew that was one I would like to tackle! She came to the shop, tried it on, and fell in love with it. I must say, some words escaped my mouth when I was doing the lace at the beginning. Because it has pattern on the wrong side in addition to the right side, I kept losing my YO's so my stitch count would be off. After that portion was done, it was clear sailing. Luckily I did the sleeves first so only had a small piece to make the mistakes-the back did go better.
Yarn: Shepherd's Wool (such a soft, wonderful yarn!)
Needles: Size 8

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Mystery Stole #4

I didn't frog. After seeing pictures of the completed stole, it was so pretty, I've returned to the project. This is Clue 3 completed-2 clues remaining, plus the entire 2nd half.
Pattern: Serendipity Stole by Georgine Bow
Yarn: Joslyn Fiber Farm Shine Solid
Needle: Size 4

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Cottage Creations Flood Relief Drive

Here is an excerpt from a newspaper article about Carol Anderson and her drive for hand made items for the Iowa flood and tornado victims last spring. I have added some comments in parentheses as I only received a draft of the article.

An Idea Gone Wild
St. Ansgar boasts a contingent of strong women with powerful ideas. But great ideas also take shape in the surrounding countryside, sometimes hidden from view. On Saturday, November 1, a group of women met in Carol and Paul Anderson's workshop/garage near Carpenter to pack 3643 (I thought it was over 5700) handmade knit items into two vans (plus 2 cars) headed for Butler County, where they will be used by citizens recovering from the devastating tornado and floods that struck there last spring.
Carol Anderson has owned and operated a knitting pattern business called Cottage Creations out of her home for 25 years, contemplated the needs of tornado and flood victims in Iowa, thought, 'What if I were to send out a letter asking for donations of hand-knitted clothing items?'
So the letter went out from the Carpenter, IA post office, reaching and touching people in their home communities. A woman from Troy, Michigan wrote a note in her box, 'I have the people in my prayers that have been affected by the storms...Please know you are all in our prayers. I love to knit and was happy to be contributing to such a need.'
A teacher from New York sent hats and balaclavas, asking that they go to persons of high school age. Normally knitters in her area knit for sailors who come into port on international ships and discover how cold the Atlantic coast can be, but she decided to knit for Iowans this year.
Another group of five retired teachers in Athens, Tennessee sent slippers, scarves, caps and dishcloths. A knitter from Michigan wrote, 'Hope these hats and scarves will bring warmth and joy to those who have suffered so much.'
A New York woman wrote, 'Our ladies fellowship is always looking for projects for our fellow Americans...we used everyone's talents in this box. May God bless each of these families who lost their homes, and comfort their hearts with His special love.' Her package included handmade teddy bears with attached baby sweaters.
One organization of church women created 'kitchen packets,' including hot pads, dishrags, hand towels, and dish towels, each set individually wrapped.
Carol even received two boxes from England. 'Just think,' she says. 'In addition to contributing their time, talents, and yarn, these women spent a great deal of money on shipping. People may not realize how long it takes to knit a pair of adult socks-about two weeks, using one's evenings and spare time.'
Tammy Fleshner, who directs the Butler County EMT organization says, 'I am totally overwhelmed by the generosity of all of the people sending these gifts, and by the huge HEART inside Carol Anderson and her friends! Everyone that has seen the beautiful handmade items have been totally speechless! I'm anxious to get everything distributed to all of the Butler County citizens who lost their homes, either to the tornado or to the floods. I know these gifts will bring a smile to their faces, and make this holiday season much brighter!'
This winter, many Iowa families will be the recipients of the highest quality new caps, mittens, scarves, and sweaters created lovingly by strangers with the wearers in mind. The St. Ansgar community will remember the joy of giving, and as inhabitants of Parkersburg and surrounding areas use their new dishcloths, perhaps they will smile at the thought of one empowered Iowa woman and her heartfelt idea."


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Iowa Flood Relief

Thursday I delivered more knitted and crocheted items from Double Ewe and my Culver's KnitWits to Carol Anderson of Cottage Creations for distribution to victims of the Iowa floods. We spent the afternoon opening several stacks of boxes still unopened. She has received items from all over the United States and even from England. The response has been overwhelming! We completed the process of sorting everything into bags, hats in one, mittens in another, etc. When we were done this is what her house looked like. Her husband just shook his head and said, "Be careful what you wish for."

Her upstairs hall. You can't see the bags in the adjoining bedroom.

The dining room. The kitchen. Her husband's workshop. She had already given 700 items to the Salvation Army. Saturday she had arranged for several people to help her deliver the rest to the Salvation Army and Red Cross who will be in charge of distributing everything where needed.


Trust Me Tour

Last week my Travel Friend and Four other Red Hatters took a 2 night, 3 day Trust Me Tour. What fun! We had no idea where we were going-the only information was to wear walking shoes, not hiking boots and wear fall clothes, no formal wear. We boarded the bus and eagerly watched as we headed east. Guesses ranged from Milwaukee, Chicago, to Wausau. After lunch in Tomah we left the freeways and headed straight east-Milwaukee was our guess but then we turned and headed for Stevens Point. What's there???? We didn't get that far, but stopped at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station where we toured the potato storage facility. There we heard about the research for winter storage of potatoes and which temperatures produce the best results for making French fries and potato chips. It was really interesting. Back on the bus we continued on and ended up in Oshkosh, WI. After spending the night there we ventured out and ended up in Kohler, WI. There we toured the Kohler Design Center, seeing this wall of china.
In the museum you could learn the history of the Kohler Corporation and upstairs we marveled at the tub, shower and toilet designs.For lunch we dined at the American Club which is the only AAA rated 5 star hotel in North America.It was elegant, with delicious food and decadent chocolate cake. A bus tour of the village of Kohler and a tour of the replica of the family home in Austria completed the day. The last day we toured the Flight Museum in Oshkosh and then what I thought was the most interesting part of the trip-a visit to a robotic milking farm. Yes, the cows are milked automatically. When they feel full, the cows are trained to go into the milking stall where the machine scrubs them off, attached itself and milks the cow. She then returns to the barn and the next one walks in.