Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spinning at the Winery

Today was Treadles to Threads' annual Spinning at the Winery event at the Retzlaff winery in Livermore. Last week Mr. TVP said we should go, which was nice of him. It is usually his day to work out, plus Livermore is at least an hour away depending on traffic. A little much to ask of a non-spinner. The fact that it was at a winery really helped, especially when I dug around and found out that it was low-key with a farm feel. That's the tasting room above.

Sometime yesterday I looked at the date on the flyer, May 31st, and said "holy moley, that's our anniversary." So, we spent our anniversary at a spinning event. We took turns a bit with the kid, but mostly it was my day.

Pictures? Well, let's just say I went to the tasting room before I had lunch, didn't even get the camera out until an hour before we left. We got there pretty late and forgot our chairs, so we ended up eating pot-luck lunch in the gazebo. Everyone else set up in groups on the lawn with their wheels.

K. was kept entertained by little tractors they had around, and the chickens.

Plus there were quite a few other kids and a nice dad who pulled them all around the vines in this wagon.

I got to wander around and look at the vendors. Yes, I did buy a new spindle, photo when light allows. There was a really neat raffle. You buy a bunch of tickets and put them only in the jar for things you are interested in. And there were a lot of things I really wanted. And I won a neat sampler of about seven natural colored rovings. Not sure how much, a big zip-lock bag full.

All in all a nice day. And the Pomatomus? I got to work on them on the way to the event. But remember that wine tasting on an empty stomach? Yeah, the knitting on the way home was not so good, in fact I think I need to rip out a couple rows.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


We're kind of in survival mode here. The 2-year molars coming in are making the almost 2-year-old quite grumpy. The lack of sleep is making the 39-year-old mother extremely grumpy.

I've been plugging away on Pomatomus and trying to turn my first spinning into yarn.

Monday, May 26, 2008

First Spinning

Technically this is my first spinning. The spindle was gifted to me (along with Icelandic roving I didn't dare use), and the wool was from the zoo sheep shearing event. I now realize that even with my good intentions of reading instructions and even tying on a leader in advance I was kind of doomed. The wool was washed but not carded, and the little carding that was done there was not enough, I was trying to spin from a clump.

But I was intrigued and wanted to learn more. I looked at all the books available and saw Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' name and knew that Spinning in the Old Way, if near as educational as Knitting in the Old Way, would be a great resource. Luckily it was in my local bookstore. I just now noticed the congruity of the purple yarn on the cover and the purple spindle when I was taking photos.

I read most of the book and was convinced I needed a top-whorl spindle and some roving. Now, I've been to Carolina Homespun, it is right in town, but it is a place I need to go to alone. The opportunity didn't come up, and then I found myself on my way to Oregon. I looked up all the local stores and was thrilled to see that Baabaara's Wild and Wooly was within an hour.

I made it over there and Pam gave me a quick lesson on spindling supported. I got my first glimmer of how this twisting and drafting business works. I bought a Schacht 2.2 ounce Hi-Lo spindle, and four bunches of roving, from local critters. A few days ago I pulled out the dark brown 70% Jacob/30% llama and the spindle.

My first attempt, spun with the spindle supported on my leg, is on the nostepinne. It is really uneven and very low twist. It was exciting to really make something, though. I tried and tried to do it unsupported, but just didn't get it. On Friday I "lost" even being able to do it supported, so I went shopping. Not that I really needed anything, it was more that I just wanted to be around fibers and maybe talk about spinning. I went to Carolina Homespun and got a few things and talked to Morgaine. She's are going to be at the spinning event at Retzlaff winery Saturday.

I pulled everything out today and yet again I could not even spin supported. It just seemed so slow and clunky, and I have so much trouble joining. Finally I just let the spindle hang and twirled it was easy. I was over thinking everything as usual. Now it is over-twisted, but progress!

When I finish off the last of that color I'm moving on to the light brown 90% llama/10% Jacob. Or maybe I'll mix a bit. Don't have big plans, probably make a two-ply yarn and see how it knits up. Perhaps I'll make a small felted bag, we'll see.

Next, when I can spin a bit thinner, I will tackle this pink roving I got at Baabaara's, along with the white 100% Jacob. I'm thinking stranded mittens, or maybe hat. We'll see how I do.

Here on the left is the Icelandic roving. The other is part of half a pound of "Black Norwegian" (from Great Britain) that I got at Carolina Homespun. I'm saving these for when I really know what I'm doing.

And a disclaimer, I know I'm not using all the right terms, especially roving and top, it's a lot to take in.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

La Pine Trip

I didn't really say much about my trip earlier this week. We mostly hung out at my aunt & uncle's house. I guess I haven't said anything about my aunt either. She has always been so health-conscious, and never smoked. She is in her early sixties and was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer in February. It has spread to her brain. She's been getting chemo and radiation and was handling it really well, full of energy, going places, doing things. Well, that all changed just a couple days before I got there. She's really tired and ill from her new chemo formula. I was happy to help my uncle a little bit. He's trying to do it all and that's not easy.

We did have fun visiting and enjoying the country. Most of the photos I took are of my kid, of course. Central Oregon is really beautiful, I just love the pines.

Here's the view from the tiny 30-seat plane of our beloved S.F. Bay.

These deer wandered by the house one morning, they are regular visitors. So are grey squirrels, ground squirrels, and chipmunks.

Not to mention the California Quail.

I don't know why these guys would cross the road. My uncle brings out a 5-gallon bucket of birdseed everyday.

This nuthatch and mate were busy filling their house with bits of this and that.

And there was no shortage of interesting items for little boys.

It was a tie between the wheel covers and the windmill.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pomatomus Progress

Apparently birds crapping on you is not a sign of good luck, as Kristen suggested in the comments, at least not imminent good luck, as today started out looking as bleak as yesterday. Actually it started last night with K. having another night of tossing and turning. We think he is trying to talk, he keeps sitting up and making new sounds. At 6:05 he woke up for good when his dad got up, and was insisting that I get up, too. Finally his father took him into the kitchen, I knew I wouldn't go back to sleep but I just wanted a few minutes to myself. A couple minutes later I hear the unmistakable sound of glass breaking on the tile floor of the kitchen.

I darted out of bed to assist with damage control wondering which wine glass broke. To my horror I see the shattered vessel of the $49.95 French press. Luckily no one got the tiniest sliver. Mr. TVP goes to the garage to get the shop vac. What a racket! The shop vac, the kid alternating from screaming in fear to whining to see it. And me, little sleep, and hopes of a cup of coffee dashed, literally. A little too much before 6:30 in the morning. My impatience increases as Mr. TVP proceeds to wipe the whole floor down with a wet rag.

Desperate, I get out my little one cup coffee filter holder, grind beans, and realize I have no filters. I curse my self for being "green" and not using paper towels or napkins. I find a couple take-out paper napkins in the junk drawer and try to make do. It does not work, the grounds rip through into the coffee. As as try to find some kind of sieve, my husband decides to go out and get coffee. Was it the swearing or the banging of drawers that drove him out? I used a tea sieve and gulped down some coffee. I search the web and see that we can order a new vessel for only $18. Decided to go and buy a whole new press and order a spare vessel.

The day got progressively better. I did some spinning during in K.'s nap. My yarn is starting to get a bit more consistent. This afternoon I got to go out alone, armed with a 20% off coupon for Bed Bath & Beyond and an appointment at Carolina Homespun to get a few spinning goodies. I guess my luck finally turned because there on the bottom shelf of the French Press display were replacement vessels for only $17.99 so I decided just to get that. If we break yet another one I think I will bring up the enamel camping coffee pot.

I got some Norwegian roving, a nidddy-noddy, and a color sampler. (I will post photos of the spinning soon. I haven't been able to get the stuff together while the light is right.) Then off for a quick beer and dinner with my husband, home by 6:00.

Here's my Pomatomus progress, I'm more than halfway through the second of three pattern repeats on the leg. I love the way it looks, the yarn has just enough color variation, but not so much as to take away from the pattern.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

One of those days

Today was not great. Kid isn't sleeping well at night for starters, so I started off empty. Plus, I let some total stranger in an on-line group completely tick me off yesterday. I was really excited about a project and then this person insinuated that I didn't have a right to be involved in the decision-making. Just my same old problem of assuming that people should be nice.

The topper was when a bird pooped right on the front of my black coat at the zoo this afternoon. That was made up for by the opportunity to feed the baby giraffe, though. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Edited to add: I forgot that we ran into our friends at the zoo, and K. not only hugged, but rubbed noses with his little friend. Totally sweet.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New Socks

I started a pair of Pomatomus in pink Tofutsies over the weekend. They are going really well, when I can get into a groove on the chart, that is. Slow, but doable. I love my new Lantern Moon Sox Stix. Actually, using the short 5" needles has changed my life, they seem so much easier to control than all the others I've tried. I'm hoping that the shorter length also means they won't get broken like 4 out of 5 of my rosewood Lantern Moons did. Most of those were in my knitting bag, at odd angles when it happened.

I'm seriously thinking again about the Think Outside the Sox contest, I even picked out some yarn this afternoon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Crewel World

I enjoy both a good mystery and needlework, so it's fun to find books with both. I discovered the Crewel World series by Monica Ferris in our Daughters of Norway library. They are set in Minnesota, that's the Scandinavian connection. The heroine, Betsy Devonshire, comes to town to visit her sister. Through a series of events she ends up running a needlework store and solving a murder.

There are at least eleven books in the series featuring Betsy and other reappearing characters. I've read Crewel World, Sins & Needles, Framed in Lace, Hanging by a Thread, A Murderous Yarn, and Unraveled Sleeve. These are short, quick reads, perfect when I need a break from something more serious or am stumped on a knitting project. It's been fun to watch Betsy learn about different types of needlework. I also enjoy the Scandinavian-American references. They must be popular, I see "Thai Die" is scheduled to come out in December.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Back Home

We just got back, each in one piece. I was so happy to look down and see fog from the plane. This is what I had been looking at in La Pine:

I'm off to unpack and deal with a little boy who did not sleep on the plane, and has only napped half an hour today, when he normally sleeps for at least two hours.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dairy Queen

We pretty much stayed around the house today, except for a trip out the to hardware store and the Dairy Queen. K. has never been allowed to enjoy the beauty of DQ ice cream before and we don't have one in or near San Francisco. Dairy Queen cones hold a special place in my childhood memories. Whenever my grandparents drove us over to the coast from Albany we would get a cone. I only get a vanilla cone dipped in chocolate. No sundaes or fancy Peanut Busters. Maybe a swirled cone now and again.

My husband is well-trained, whenever we're on the road he knows to point out any DQ to me. He knows where the last one in Oregon is before we head over the border. My sister and I got bamboozled into driving way into Ashland one time to satisfy our DQ craving. I've even been to one on Oahu (didn't taste the same). I've been to a lot of DQ's. But I'm pretty sure this was the first time that I made the transactions from the backseat of the cab of a pick-up.

Apparently K. follows his mother's tastes. I got him a little strawberry sundae because I thought he could hold it, but he would have nothing to do with it. He only wanted to eat the chocolate off my cone. I actually had to throw away ice cream. Tragic.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sisters, Oregon

My son has seen a lot of great things here at my aunt & uncle's house. Yesterday he watched the birds (who knew there were California Quail in Oregon?), today he saw deer in the yard, squirrels, a chipmunk, and more birds. He is loving all the space to run around.

We drove over to the town of Sisters today. I brought along info about nearby knitting and yarn stores in hopes that my aunt and I could go for a drive. She's not feeling well enough, but uncle kindly drove K. and me to Sisters so I could get some spinning supplies. I highly recommend Baabaara's Wild and Wooly. The owner, Pam is so friendly and was patient with my kid. I got some wool and a spindle. She didn't have little knitting needles (one of my size ones got broken) and sent me across the way to the Stitchin' Post. I wish I could have spent some time there, they have knitting and quilting supplies, and ultra air conditioning.

The drive over was awesome. First we saw a freight train. Then we saw livestock. And the mountains were just all around us. I post more about the stuff I bought when I get home.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Greetings from La Pine

We arrived intact to visit my aunt and uncle in La Pine, Oregon. My little one did great on the flight and even jumped into his car seat in the rental car. Last time I checked there was snow on the ground, well I should have gone to a little site called before I packed because it was in the 90's today. I was not prepared for that at all. No sandals or shorts. At least I didn't bring mittens.

This is my first visit to this beautiful part of the state. I have only driven through in the past. There is green scrub and jack pines. Kind of reminds me of the Sierra Foothills. The home is lovely, on several acres, and full of my aunt's fine sense of style. My uncle's shop is almost twice the square footage of our apartment!

Sadly, the reason for the visit isn't as lovely. My aunt, a non-smoker, is fighting lung cancer. I'm going to see her in July at my grandfather's 90th birthday and family reunion, but I'm happy to get a more intimate visit. They've lived her four years and I'm more than overdue for this visit.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm Leaving...

...on a prop plane. I am going to visit my aunt in Oregon. Please pray for me in whatever form that takes for you. First, while I am not scared of flying, little planes do give me a bit of pause.

Second, and much more frightening, I am taking my active 22-month-old boy on my lap. On a two hour flight. In a little plane. The plane was full, not to mention expensive, so I had no choice. And there were no flights near nap-time. At least it is a single seat on that side of the plane. Unfortunately the only seat available on the return flight was next to a person. Pity that person. I am bringing chocolate and money to buy them a drink.

I may or may not have the time or access to the internet while I'm gone.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Solitary Knitting

Last night I went out and knit with some folks from Ravelry. It was fun to see what everyone is working on and give and get advice. The other day my step-sister was in town and we hung out for a bit. I cross-stitched while she knit.

I do enjoy working alone, it is soothing, however there is nothing like good conversation. Plus I got to see how behind the times I am. Patterns that are all the rage which I haven't heard about and yarn that I have heard about, but never seen.

I was not surprised to hear that my kid was displeased about having Daddy do the nighttime routine, but he did go to sleep only fifteen minutes later than usual. Hopefully I will be able to go out again next Tuesday. Perhaps I will come home a few minutes earlier, right at sleepy time. We shall see.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ultimate Sock Knitte'rs Shoe?

Okay, this is probably old news to a lot of you, I see that they are all over Ravelry ages, but I just saw these clear Converse low tops at "That's My Middle Name". Check her post to see how they look with socks.

Unfortunately Chuck's don't feel good on my feet. So how about these clear clogs?

But seriously, I do have some open back shoes, and I want to make socks for them without a typical heel. Maybe with the Wildfoote?

Monday, May 12, 2008

I Know What Boys Like

I enjoy taking my son to famous sites around the City, you may have noticed. We're getting to the point where we can take longer bus rides. It's so fun taking him to places we've read about in his books and seeing the recognition on his face. I print out photos so he can tell the story later. There's almost alway a story, like when his hat blew off of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I'm also trying to get him to realize that riding in the truck isn't all bad. We've been calling our excursions "adventures". He seems to know that if we tell him we're going on an adventure that it is worth just sitting back and enjoying the ride.

Today we went to the Palace of Fine Arts.

It is under construction, which was a okay with K.

We love construction sites. We always make new friends.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy 100th Mother's Day

According to Wikipedia the first Mother's Day involving 407 children happened 100 years ago, although it was not recognized officially until 1914.

Not a banner Mother's Day here. I feel like I've been awake since 1908. Kid did not sleep last night. I did not get to sleep in, in fact we were up at 6:15. I saw that Mr. TVP bought something for me at Norway Day last week and hid it away. I was presented with a nice box of chocolate today. Unfortunately I was dreaming of a piece of jewelry or something of the like, and am cutting back on chocolate. I had to do huge pile of dishes because Mr. TVP has a deep cut on a finger. Nice trip to the beach, but kid had a break down on the way home because father neglected to tell me that said kid did not eat his breakfast, so I didn't take a snack for him. Got kid down for nap, but I couldn't sleep. Went to Daughters of Norway meeting and returned to the place all torn apart. Hoping for an easy bedtime.

But yesterday was a good day, so I'll take what I can get.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Knitting Break

I have taken a break from knitting this week. I've been working on the bunad scarf steadily.

I found a source for the Fana trim here in the U.S., and she has the buttons, too. That will save a lot on shipping since the trim was coming from Norway and the buttons from a different place here. Once I get those ordered and here I will get back to it.

I am seriously considering a Bohus sweater next. I've narrowed it to The Wild Apple and the Blue Shimmer.

Edited to add: I should have mentioned that April Mills in Washington state has a large variety of trim. She's a knitwear designer, too. Small world: someone recommended her on Ravelry, and then I opened my Daughters of Norway newsletter to find that she had given a presentation about Nordic knitting to one of our sister lodges.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Zoo Sheep Shearing

We did go to the sheep shearing this morning. Things didn't turn out exactly as I expected, and I didn't get to take many photos. I had no idea that over a hundred people would be there, lined up to get in. I had to keep an eye on my kid (ha, ha), so he wouldn't get knocked over by people.

These guys knew something was going on:

The second one sheared:


The Zoo donates the fleeces to Navajo people. One of the keepers brought some wool from last year's shearing that she had taken home and washed. Their expert spinner wasn't able to come, so when I pulled out my drop spindle they were excited. Until I told them I had never done it before and was hoping they would show me, that is. One mom had grown up on a ranch in Montana and tried to remember how to spin. Of course, K. wasn't interested, he wanted to hug kiss goats.

Here is an unsuspecting victim:

Luckily we ran into our friends, and S. walked K. around a bit. Someone who knew what she was doing showed up, and I got a little feel for what I was supposed to do. By then it was already nap time so we had to leave. Didn't get to see the alpacas sheared. But we had fun trying to spin and I definitely want to learn. And K. likes anything to do with "cutting" right now, so it makes a good story for him to act out.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Teeth of Doom

Two-year molars are coming.

That is all.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Mother's Day to Remember?

Got this in my email last night:

Oh yes, that sounds like a special day, indeed. Coffee in the Service Department lounge.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Poems of Color - Bohus Obsession

It's no wonder I can't get my bunad done. I am just enchanted with anything to do with fibers and color. I can't remember where I first learned about Bohus sweaters, but the beautiful, subtle colors have been sitting in my mind for a while now. I've been meaning to buy "Poems of Color" by Wendy Keele for some time and finally got it at Norway Day. Here is an English link to the Bohusläns Museum which has a Bohus collection and sells patterns and yarn.

Well, the story is intriguing and the designs are beautiful. I read the whole history portion of the book yesterday and have been mulling over the patterns today. I must make one some day. What will it be, The Sago Palm, The Blue Shimmer, or The Wild Apple, that is the question.

There are kits available at Stagecoach Yarns and from Solveig Gustafsson in Sweden. There is a Ravelry group, too. Four or five colors in a row? I had better start with a hat.

Monday, May 05, 2008

My Bunad

You may have noticed a lack of mention of my bunad. Here's what it will look like. I've had the kit for two years now and I'm debating what to do about it. I knew it was going to be a several year project, but very little has been done. I have been cross stitching the headscarf. With each passing syttende mai, Daughters of Norway special event, and Norway Day I kick myself for not working harder.

I'm just thinking out loud, but here are all the tasks I need to do:
Cross stitch headscarf
Embroider headscarf tie
Sew headscarf and tie together
Embroider purse
Sew purse to hardware
Cross stitch apron
Sew apron together
Cross stitch vest trim
Sew vest together
Embroider cuffs and neck of blouse
Sew blouse together
Sew skirt which has pleats in back

And some day make cape
I vacillate. Sometimes I think I should drop all my other interests and focus on the bunad so I can enjoy it now. Other times I think as long as I finish it by the time I'm 50 I'll be happy. I think I need to find a middle ground. Eleven years is actually not an unrealistic time line, given the large amount of embroidery. So I need to keep going. But I can't drop everything else, most of it is tied to my Norwegian interests, especially knitting, tapestry weaving, and rosemaling.

If I did one thing a year it would look like this:
2008-9 finish headscarf
2009 make purse
2010-11 make apron
2012 make vest and skirt
2013 embroider blouse

I will turn 45 in 2012. If I prioritize I could get it done. The cape is not critical. Stay tuned. If you see me post pictures of my scarf progress then you will know I am serious.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Knitter's Bed

You know you are a knitter when you roll over in bed; find something small, pointy and cold in your hand and instead of panicking, think to yourself "oh, that's where my tapestry needle went", and put it under your pillow for safekeeping.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Good Fana Karma

Today I went to Norway Day. We performed our troll play. I hope to have photos and video at some point. There was good food, friends and Vikings. I spotted a woman in a Fana sweater. Later I tracked her down and asked her to hold the sleeve I am knitting for my Fana sweater, and she obliged. (She is not headless, I just didn't ask permission to put her on my blog). She was born in Norway and when she was a kid Fana sweaters were all the rage, every family had their photos taken wearing them. So she got herself this Dale of Norway sweater.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Wheat Weaving

As I mentioned, we had a class in wheat weaving at the April Daughters of Norway meeting. The instructors left me with some unused wheat and a spool of thread so I could make some things to sell at Norway Day. I made a few angels and men.

Here's my set-up: wheat that has been soaking in water, a pan & wet towel to keep the straw wet, buttonhole thread, scissors, a ruler, an instruction book, and my samples. You also need a spray bottle to keep the wheat damp as you work. The unused wheat stays covered with a towel. It is helpful to cut a bunch of lengths of thread ahead of time.

The first and most important thing you learn is the clove hitch, the knot which is the basis for wheat weaving. Hopefully it is correct in this photo:

The first thing you make is the angel's wings, using four 4" lengths of straw. Tie a clove hitch around the straws, move it to the center, and pull it tight, then make an overhand knot, and trim the ends. Set the wings aside back under the damp towel. (Eight straws also make very nice wings, but stick to four if you are making a man.)

Next, make the body. Cut eight 8" lengths of straw. Tie a clove hitch around them, move it to the middle, pull tight, tie another knot, and leave the tails, they will become a hanger. Fold the straws in half, then tie another clove hitch to form the head. Tie another knot, and trim it.

Next, separate the straws to make a front and back of eight straws. Put the wings in between the two groups. Push them up tight to the head. Tie a clove hitch around all the straws below the wings, and push it up tight. Make another knot and clip the ends.

Finally, tie the two strands at the top together for the hanger, and trim the ends of the straws. Cut them at an angle. You can make the wings and the skirt flare by cutting different lengths. I also just gathered all the straws in the skirt together and cut straight across, it looks nice, too.

To make a man instead of an angel, simply separate the straws into "legs" of eight straws and tie.

The heads were so beautiful, I didn't want to waste them. I made some love knots which are just braided lengths knotted and tied together.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


These guys are getting sheared next week at the zoo. I'm hoping to catch the drop spindle demonstration, but is going to be awfully near nap time.