Category Archives: Travel

Garden Spot of Alberta!

A lovely gift from a student!

A lovely gift from a student!

So, until I was approached by Olds College, I wasn’t aware of Olds Fiber Week.

I feel silly – after all, I should know about these things – but there it is.

And boy, I’d been missing a lovely week of fiber fun!

The Olds Fiber Week is small, not a huge extravaganza, but the folks here are PASSIONATE about spinning, weaving, dyeing and – perhaps with a foot in the door this year – knitting (?)!

Ground Transportation from Calgary Airport

Transportation from Airport

I taught three full day classes, I was able to get deep into the topics (always delightful) and my students were SO wonderful! Excited, unfailingly pleasant and polite (a highly underrated skill set) and hard working.

Well, they were Canadians, so that goes without saying.

A happy student & her mini Kraken

Student & Mini Krakken

The staff of the show is all new this year, and with the exception of a few hiccups (which EVERY event has) they did a really wonderful job of allowing the students to enjoy their week of fiber fun with very little worry about the change in show management.  Everyone worked SO hard, and the hard work paid off in very happy students.

Olds Pergola

Olds Pergola

Olds Irises

Olds Irises

The show is held at Olds College, in Olds, Alberta (about an hour north of Calgary) and I was totally unprepared for how beautiful the campus would be.  It’s essentially an agricultural and animal science school, lots of equine information and farm courses available, and the gardens throughout the campus reflect a commitment to healthy, beautiful botanical specimens.

The walk from my rooms to my classes was a LONG one, and because of various external triggers (temperature, exhaustion) my fibro has really flared up this week. I’m ashamed of how hobbly I look as I meander back and forth, but if one has to walk slowly, these gardens are a lovely place to stroll!

In process airplane knitting; Lumiere Skirt in ModeKnit MCN Flow (Spessartine)

In process airplane knitting; Lumiere Skirt in ModeKnit MCN Flow (Spessartine)

Tomorrow I fly back to St. Paul, which is about a month ahead of the plants here.  It’s been wonderful to experience tulips and lilacs again (they’re finished in late May back home) but I’m pining to see my husband, my pooch and my own not-very-exciting garden back home!

The kids are at their various camps; Andy’s canoeing in the Canadian Arctic, Max is attending Debate Camp at Augsburg in Minneapolis, so when I get home Gerry and I will be temporarily child free!

Mental Health Day

Today I’m taking a mental health day! After the very busy few weeks I’ve had, I deserve it!

Amsterdam

View near our room

View from Canal Boat

Gerry and I had a magnificent time! After I got my business out of the way (the reason for the trip) we did very gentle sightseeing (canal boats, trams, light walking and a bit of biking among the tulip fields) and spent some time in museums.

It was a VERY necessary trip for many reasons, not least of which to celebrate LIFE together, and the 7th anniversary of Gerry’s Multiple Myeloma diagnosis (SEVEN YEARS – we are very fortunate!)

IMG_1255While we were away we learned that a very dear friend and the leader of our MM Support Group in Stillwater, MN passed away. It was a shock, Carl was so full of life and love and hope every time we saw him.

That’s how this disease goes, though, the final decline tends to be rather quick when it comes, which made our trip take on another dimension; life is to be lived TODAY.

Flower market in Roermond train station

Flower market in Roermond train station

We visited good friends in Swalmen, down by the German border, speed knitter Miriam Tegels and her wonderful husband Frans! It was such a pleasure to meet their son, Thuur, but we didn’t get a chance to meet their daughter.

We did, however, meet the ENTIRE extended family at an Easter brunch, and it was absolutely delightful!

Tulip fields near Lisse

Tulip fields near Lisse

Back in Amsterdam we did a few day trips, one to Delft (more canal boat riding) and another to see the tulip fields in bloom (we took our bikes on the train and rode from one small station to another, through the fields on the way there!)

Frans and Gerry

Frans and Gerry

I was SO impressed with Gerry – with his stamina, his biking, and his general sunny disposition! I think he finally believes me that riding a mile is 7 times more efficient than walking a mile, but we both took it relatively easy and stopped a LOT on our short ride from station to station.

 

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YARNOVER

Preparing for YarnOver

Preparing for YarnOver, the truck is filled!

I returned home two days before our yearly fiber extravaganza here in Minnesota known as YarnOver! It’s hosted by the Minnesota Knitters Guild and ModeKnit Yarn had a booth this year (well, more of a table…) 

It was wonderful – a great chance to see old friends and meet new ones, AND to sell a LOT of yarn! An exceptional show all around! I was still pretty jet lagged, but Kathleen Pascuzzi (my partner in ModeKnit Yarn crime) was stellar at prodding me into action!

TNNA

And, just a short 6 days after Yarnover Kathleen and I jumped in the car and drove 8 hours to Indianapolis for TNNA! I wanted her to meet many of the folks I work with in the industry, and I wanted to touch base with old friends (and yarn dyeing friends – to chat with them face to face as I jump into their own biz.)

Best among the interactions was a long, lovely chat with Jeni Hewlett from Fyberspates (NOW available in the US!) and Elliot from Artyarns. Thanks, guys, for so much help and love!

I also met with my editor for my upcoming Stackpole book. I’m rushing to get the projects finished so we can shoot them in June, life is busy (but very good!)

Perhaps most notably, Kathleen and I acted on our previous discussions to purchase automatic yarn skeining and balling equipment from Nancy’s Knit Knacks, I’m still a bit in shock (it was a large investment) but – as I told Gerry – it’s certainly cheaper than hand surgery because my arm stops working after all the skeining and balling I’ve been doing!

Interweave Knitting Lab

So today is just for me – riding my bike and thinking – and building up a bit of energy reserve for Interweave Knitting Lab in 1-1/2 weeks!  Check out my classes here - I think some are already sold out (or nearing it!)

Day 1 in NL

Right now it’s exactly 12 hours since we landed this morning. That was 10:40am Europe Summer time, 2:40am US CST.

I didn’t sleep at all during the flight—I find it difficult to rest when I’m squished up—so I was pretty exhausted when we landed.

Due to helpful tips on the Trip Advisor website and from friends (mostly Alison/WindowWomanofNE) we were able to acquire a OV-chipkaart and top it off at the station in the airport (I’m certain we’ll use it quite a bit while we’re here!)

Gerry discoveres Nutella Nirvana

Gerry discoveres Nutella Nirvana

Upon arriving in Amsterdam Central Station, we dragged our sorry suitcases (and butts) over to our B&B (I’m afraid I got us lost when I forgot that I’d stored the address and directions in my contacts – silly me!) and settled into our very small, but very comfy and convenient room. For €50/day we can’t really complain, and it comes with the use of two sturdy bikes & locks for our entire visit.

We had been cautioned NOT to sleep (even though we desperately wanted to!) so we went for another long walk (this time without suitcases, SO much more enjoyable!) and basically floated in a sleep deprived fog around the central district.

At 4:00pm I’m afraid I called it quits (so much exhaustion, pain and confusion cannot be a good way to start a trip!) We returned to our digs, both of us napped for a few hours (the best sleep I ever had) and at 8pm we went out again for a walk and dinner.

The restaurant we stumbled on was Paso Doble, and it was AMAZING! We shared plates of exquisitely seasoned tapas, Gerry had a Spanish beer and I had a sangria made with champagne, then dessert of cheese cake for him and crème brûlée for me. One of the best meals I’ve ever had. It was a splurge, but it was a lovely night to do it!

Our room has a refrigerator and coffee/tea making supplies, so a visit to the local JUMBO market has us set up for breakfasts and teas on the cheap so we can splurge on nicer dinners!

The Netherlands doesn’t seem to be as gluten sensitive as Italy was when I visited a few years ago, but I’ve acquired some crackers, bread and small cookies to round out our in-room dining options.

Kitty Grafitti

Kitty Grafitti

Every time I reflect that we’re actually HERE, 7 hours from home by air and not planning on returning for 10 days, I’m stunned. This is a necessary trip in more ways than one!

Tomorrow, we may hit the Rijksmuseum if we get up early enough, and the day after that we’re going to try to get out to see the tulips.

I don’t think Gerry will be up for much bike riding (his back and bones couldn’t take the riding over the cobblestone streets) but if we can rent a tandem when we’re at Keukenhof I’ll be able to do the heavy pedaling on smooth roads that will be better for his bones and back!

The Friendly Skies

http://www.avionics-intelligence.com/content/dam/avi/online-articles/2013/09/DeltaMD88.jpgGerry and I are embarking on something we haven’t done in over 17 years – a trip alone together.

I’m sitting here staring at a huge pile of clothes and an empty suitcase. My task is to sort through the garments and choose ones that will work for 10 days in Amsterdam, but still leave room to bring home presents.

I’m still jet lagged from visiting Puget Sound University with Andy (née Hannah) earlier this week [spoiler alert, she loved it but she won't be going there, too rich for our blood...] and—as always—I dread compacting my former 6′ frame into a coach seat for 7 hours. But we’re heading out this evening, and we’re excited.

It’s not entirely pleasure, I’m doing a bit of business while I’m there (ostensibly the reason for the trip) but we’ve been reminded time and again over the past 8 years that life is very short, and it’s meant to be LIVED, so we cashed in a bunch of frequent flier miles and Gerry’s going off with me!

We’re staying in a B&B not far from Anne Frank House (recommended by a friend) The B&B supplies bikes, and we have plans to visit another good friend over Easter weekend far from the city.

We haven’t researched or planned this trip as much as we might have, but that’s because just getting alone together is such a new experience that we’re pretty giddy about it! My friend, Alison, visited Amsterdam with her husband in October so she’s been passing on tour books and great tips.

One thing we’ve been told about Amsterdam is that the mass transit is excellent so if Gerry finds himself exhausted we can spend a day on a canal boat tour for a restful sight-seeing adventure.

Andy will be in her dorm most of the time we’re gone (just home next weekend), and the benefit of having a business partner is that Kathleen will be working in the ModeKnit Yarn offices (my basement) so Max can touch base with an adult every day when he gets home from school.  Food has been prepared, friends and neighbors drafted to ‘check in’ on the boy during our absence.

I get the distinct feeling he’s looking forward to these next 10 days as much as we are!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/57/Keukenhof_May2006.JPGWe plan to visit Keukenhof to see the tulips, Delft to see the china and KinderDijk to see the windmills.

But I’m MOST excited about seeing the knitters of Amsterdam! I’ve scheduled a few get-togethers with folks (and I’m definitely open to do more!)

Obviously, I’m also crazy nuts to get on the aforementioned bike and get some riding in.

A Week of Wonderful News

College!

Yesterday we heard that Andy (née Hannah) has been accepted into one of her most desired schools!  I read about Earlham and it seemed like such a great match for her (they have a minor in Outdoor Education, and a fabulous Japanese Studies program) and once our family visited we all felt the pull of this lovely, Quaker school.

IMG_0049She’s applied to several other schools, and we’re crossing our fingers for a few in particular, but this is a huge weight off of her shoulders as we all feel that Earlham would be a tremendous fit for her, body and soul!

Of course, when we visited the school in Southern Indiana, we couldn’t help but notice that our hotel was built in the shape of a swastika… 

But we prefer to believe it was in honor of the Hindu symbol.

Stackpole Bolero Book

The first part of my advance for my Stackpole book arrived, so NOW it feels official!

I’ve been working up garments for this project, I have a few finished and the rest pretty well mapped out.  It’s all due in June, which will be a bit of a push (especially with other commitments I have this Spring) but not impossible.

I haven’t submitted designs to any magazines this Spring so I can devote my entire design focus on the Shrugs & Boleros book.

Knitting Daily TV

I’ll by flying out to Cleveland in late Feb to appear on Knitting Daily TV! I haven’t been on the show in several years (except for a cool web appearance I did with Vickie Howell) so I’m REALLY looking forward to it!  I guess it’s time to get my hair done again…

It’s so easy when working from home to forget that other people have eyes, too!

Interweave Knit Lab

The registration has opened for Interweave Knit Lab in New Hampshire, May 15-18, and I’ll be teaching again!  I love the Knit Lab students, they’re so informed and courageous, and if you’re on the East Coast this will be my only teaching gig there this year!  So please join me for one of my classes – you can find all of them listed here.

Yarnover & Shepherd’s Harvest

As much as I love Knit Lab, it means I’ll be out of town during Shepherd’s Harvest this year [sad trombone] but ModeKnit Yarn will be there!  We’ll have booths at both Yarnover  (April 26) & Shepherd’s Harvest (May 16-18) this spring! Come on out and feel up some great yarn!

221B Sets Ready to Ship!

Another most exciting aspect to the day is that I FINALLY finished dyeing up large amounts of the two final colors in the 221B Series, and have put together sets to ship! I apologize for the several days delay in getting these out, but I feel it was definitely worth the weight!

These last two colors are based on points in the last two episodes of Season 3 of Sherlock, but I chose incidents which won’t impact on the plot (NO SPOILERS!)  The colors will be revealed after each episode airs in the US (Central Time)

But if you can’t wait…

The 8-skein sets feature all of the colors in the 221B series, and are available in either ModeWerk Fingering or ModeSock.  Choose 15gr/58yd skeins (120 gr/460yds total) or 30gr/116yd skeins (240 gr/930yds total)


Mini Skein Sizes
Type of Yarn



Now I just have to work up some patterns for the 8 Mini Skein Sets!

Happy New Year!

It’s another year, and we’re crossing our fingers chez Landy/Modesitt that it will once again be a relatively uneventful one healthwise for Gerry and myself!

Learning to deal with a chronic condition is a good zen exercise in living itself.  After all, isn’t LIFE a chronic condition?

So this year I traveled a bit less, rested a bit more, and biked when I could. I didn’t break any records, but I stayed pretty healthy! Gerry keeps on keeping on; we cross our fingers that the Revlimid & Dex keep doing their magic (and that the Chronic Disease Fund keeps helping us with the $9K/month cost) and we live hopefully and happily!

In 2013 I stayed home more than I had in the past, but I tried to offset that with more designs and all of my work paid off this Autumn when over 16 of my designs appeared in various magazines around the knitting world in the same month. That was great!

I also came to a decision in 2013 that I was tired of working for less than minimum wage in order to, essentially, earn money for other folks.

I love designing, I love knitting, but I don’t love working 80 hours in a week to earn peanuts.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re 80 very ENJOYABLE hours, but I feel that there’s hardly a moment in the day when I’m not thinking of a design, knitting up a swatch or sample, or plugging away in “math hell” in order to write up a pattern.

I’d been feeling this way for a long while, and when one pursues a career of LOVE (acting, writing, composing, designing- the sort of things folks usually do while starving in attics) one can’t expect to get rich.

After 6+ years in a freelance/caregiver ‘holding pattern’ it’s time to change things up, or go a bit mad. Since Gerry’s illness I can’t travel as much (which is where most of my income came from) so I’ve decided to use my at-home time more wisely and augment my design income by starting a hand-dyed yarn business with a partner, Kathleen Pascuzzi. Also, this year, with my health insurance no longer a month-to-month nail biter, I feel a sense of  security I haven’t felt in a LONG time!

I can’t help but think there are other small business folk / entrepreneurs who are feeling as if they can finally spread their wings and not rely on a not-very-fulfilling job simply to retain health insurance. If I’m right about this, I think we’ll see a nice blooming in our economy beginning this year.

We’ll see what becomes of ModeKnit Yarn, LLC in 2014. Our initial offerings of semi-precious stone inspired colors sold very well, and we’re currently waiting for more yarn to arrive so I can fill order requests and try out new color ways.

Our rough business plan involves starting small, selling online and at local fiber shows, then increasing production (hopefully by hiring extra hands) and moving on to a wholesale business in 2015.  Anyway, that’s the plan.

So although I’m only teaching in 3 or 4 locations in 2014 (first stop, Knitting Lab in New Hampshire in May!), I’ll be visiting several fiber shows with Kathleen and our bins of yarn (first up, Shepherd’s Harvest in May – that is, if we get accepted!)

I’ll also be enjoying time at home, working (as always), but perhaps using my time more wisely so that I can sell $25 of yarn along with a $6 pattern!

And I’m working on a book for Stackpole on shrugs and short jackets, sourcing my yarn from other indy dyers, which I am supposed to have finished in June.  Watch this space.

Non-Work Life

Our family will be undergoing a major shift this year as Andy (neé Hannah) applies to and – hopefully – gets accepted to a good college. This week she finished all her applications, her final SAT scores came in (1970 cum score, not terrible!) and we’re crossing our fingers that we’ll find the perfect place for her to thrive and become the young women we know she can be; strong, funny, smart and kind!

Max continues to thrive at his high school, specializing in math and science, taking several college level courses in this, his Sophomore year (and avoiding haircuts whenever possible.)  He’s also learned the joys of the debate team, which makes Gerry and me very proud.

Gerry is Gerry; wonderful, funny, happy, loving and HERE!

Every day is a gift, and we’ve been given 6 years of presents that we never expected. We take NO day for granted.

To that end, we’re cashing in a bunch of frequent flier miles and Gerry and I are traveling to Amsterdam for a week in April. We haven’t taken a trip together alone in 17 years, and never alone to Europe, so for the cost of a B&B and walking around money, we’re going to celebrate life for a week of biking, walking and museum hopping. Suggestions on places to see are WELCOME!

This trip is made possible by having responsible teens and good friends who will pop in on them (not because they NEED supervision, mind you, but just to make sure a shower is taken every few days…)

We’ve come to understand, in a way we never thought we would, that life is for LIVING, and the best way to appreciate every day is to live it fully.

And who knows, while I’m in Holland maybe I’ll dream up a bunch of new colorways based on Tulips (my favorite flower!) and make some great in-person knitting connections!

So go make 2014 memorable for yourself, even if it’s simply memorable for being a quiet, peaceful and fulfilling year!

Back, Resting

What an amazing 5 days at Interweave Knitting Lab!

I do love this show – I’ve been at every one so far, and I always find the students intelligent, involved and eager to learn! I’ve learned to bring extra material for each of my IK classes because the chances are that I’ll need it!

Six classes over 4 days is actually rather nice, better than the three classes in one day that I’ve done in the past.  I’ve learned the best thing to do is be honest about my movement issues, ask for help when I need it, and get my EXERCISE IN EVERY DAY!

My friend, Adria, came and helped me carry items to and from my classes. This doesn’t sound like a bit deal, but for me the hardest part of teaching is getting the materials to and from the venue and lugging them to and from the classrooms each day. I get worn out by weight-bearing exercise, but I find a nice amount of pain relief in bicycling and swimming.

So this weekend I made sure I got at least 5 miles in on the exercise bike in the Marriott gym each day, I slept at LEAST 8 hours a night (10 hours on the night of my hardest teaching day) and ate well all weekend (very few restaurant meals, a good breakfast each day and smaller meals in my room)  It seemed to work well, I was as energetic in my last class as I was in my first, and I LOVED every one of my students!

So today I’m putting out any fires that came up while I was gone, answering emails and replying to queries, and tomorrow I’ll dive back into the world of ModeKnit with a rather large announcement!

STAY TUNED!

IMG_0126

San Mateo, Here I Come (again)

It stinks that VK Live and IK Lab are the same weekend – I want to go to both!

But I’ll be teaching at Interweave Knit Lab all weekend, and loving it!

The students I get at the IK classes are amazing, so intelligent and open and up for anything! I love it – and I really like the San Mateo Marriott (comfortable, near a Trader Joe’s AND there’s a good exercise room with nice stationery bikes)

The IK staff is unfailingly kind and helpful, everyone is so geared toward the enjoyment of the guests, it’s absolutely lovely.

Packing today was hard. Everything hurt, everything felt very heavy. I’m sure it’s because it’s been a bit cooler than usual here and I haven’t been on my bike much, so I’m REALLY looking forward to those exercise bikes!

I’m packing in shifts; class materials this afternoon; books this evening; samples and kits tonight; my clothing and toiletries tomorrow morning (oh, the luxury of an 11:30 flight!) The quiche are made (food while I’m gone, even though Gerry’s the real cook!) and appointments for the kids (local college tour, SAT tests, debate meets) are all scheduled. Gerry’s going to have a busy weekend, too!

I won’t have my computer with me, the hinge on mine is broken so I can’t close it and it won’t stay up (I have it sitting in a box so I can actually use it!) I’ll be relying solely on my iPad for email.

I’m not anticipating blogging. I think I’ll barely be able to answer email effectively, so if you do write with a question and I don’t get back to you right away, please understand!

If you’re in the San Francisco area, consider coming out to San Mateo for an amazing knit event! Many of my classes are just about filled, but a few are still open (Sunday classes have spots left) and I’d love to see you!

Rose Window

Rose Window

I’ll be taking my Rose Window so Biggan can see it in person, and if you’re around, so can you!

Meeting students is a true joy of my job!

The calendar to the right has all of my classes and their times. There are SO many terrific folks teaching, there’s not a bad class in the house!

 

 

Attention West Coast Knitters!

“Not much meat on her, but what’s there is choice.”
– Spencer Tracy, Pat & Mike

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m not teaching a LOT these days, but the teaching I’m doing is CHOICE!

I’m picking my venues carefully, and with an eye to my energy levels and the quality of the entire event.

I’ll be at Interweave Knit Lab once again, and I’m proud and thrilled to be there!

The dates are Oct 31 – Nov 4, and this will be the last time for a few of my classes (I’m working up new ones and plan to take some of my older classes out of rotation…)

You can click here, or on the small calendar to the right for more information on specific class times, descriptions and dates, but suffice to say that I find the Interweave Knit Lab to be an amazing place for a knitter to grow their skill set!

For those of you who can’t make it to San Francisco, I have some great classes up at my own online classroom, onlineknittingclasses.com, and I have a few classes up at Udemy (see the list to the right).

More are on the way, as with everything else it’s a question of time and energy!

Facsimile of the Chocolate Cake

Traveling & Caring

Today we pack up to head up to a friend’s lake house for the weekend. Lucky, lucky us!

We’re SO looking forward to it, and it gives Gerry, Max and myself a chance to enjoy some MN ‘wilderness’ while Hannah’s up at Camp Menogyn doing her wild-girl thing!

The thing about traveling these days is that I know I have to be the mom and the dad; I have to make the packing list AND I have to get everything packed up and in the car.  It’s not that Gerry doesn’t, but the amount he can carry, etc., is limited (as it is for me, too!) and I have to admit that today would be easier if Max didn’t have his part time job this morning (we’re picking him up from work and traveling from there…)

So while Gerry gets a couple shipments of books together (he IS my shipping department) I get our clothing and toiletries packed, get the dog crate folded and stowed, police the backyard and put away everything that shouldn’t be left out (cushions, tools, etc.)  I do some gardening that can’t wait (cutting fast-growing sprouts off of trees, do some visible weeding that is getting out of hand…)

I go through the house and empty the garbage, drag the huge backyard container around front and make sure all of the compost stuff is in the composter (not left under the sink for a long, hot weekend – ick!)

Gerry is handling the kitty litter (and for that he deserves a medal!) and while he tackles that odious task I load the car, get the bikes up on the rack, do a house walk through and make sure doors and windows are locked, contact the neighbor kid to look in on the cats (and leave money for him along with the cans of catfood – he’s an old hand at this by now!)

We have this down to a science, the quickest we did it was when, on the spur of the moment, we decided to go to TNNA last month. But it’s friggin’ exhausting.

I am ashamed of how easily I tire, but if I’m honest with myself a lot of that exhaustion comes from the stress of keeping so much on my shoulders. There’s no remedy – I pass along to other folks what I can – but at the end of the day there is a lot that I MUST be in charge of (and I’m actually quite fortunate that I have so much to be responsible for!)

Please don’t read this post as a complaint, rather as a catalog (I am a virgo, I love a list!) – for myself as much as for anyone else – and the love that comes back to me from my tasks is huge and outweighs everything.

But it’s a different kind of life than the one where Gerry did the “dad” stuff, I did the “mom” stuff, and it seemed that both of us had more opportunities to just sit and have a glass of wine together!  I’m hoping we’ll have that chance this weekend!

Myrna's CLASSIC book on lace knitting

Myrna’s CLASSIC book on lace knitting

Our friends, Myrna & Bob, are such gracious and kind hosts, we love to spend time with them. Myrna’s also a knit teacher and designer, as well as an attorney (oh, how I admire that!) and she’s a lovely, funny, down to earth friend.

Gerry doesn’t make friends as freely as I do – I have the grease of knitting/crochet to ease myself into many situations – so spending time with another couple who mesh well with us is a delight!  Husband play date!

Bob was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease, so I’m making one of my favorite GF cake recipes, a chocolate/coffee bundt cake by Joy The Baker that Gluten Free Girl tweaked on her blog. This cake is moist, crumbly in the best way, and totally does NOT feel like a GF cake.  I’m experimenting with using only honey in the recipe today, no refined sugar – I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

BTW, If you’re gluten sensitive, you MUST put
Gluten Free Girl and The Art of Gluten Free Baking
on your list of recipe sources!

Max is always great company, we were discussing today that he hates for anyone to be disappointed or upset, not unusual in a younger child, and it’s probably something that he’ll grow out of (as we all do!)  On the positive side, that makes him a stellar companion, and makes us very proud to take him anywhere with us.

I wish Hannah could join us – she, too, is a great traveler, and is so helpful that she makes herself welcome everywhere.  But it’s been really great for Gerry and I to have so much one-on-one time with Max this past year & Summer while Hannah’s been at school and at camp, it’s good for Max, good for all of us!

So we’ll spend a lovely few days chatting about life, knitting, politics, Minnesota and bicycling around Pelican Lake. We feel immensely fortunate at the friendships we’ve made here in MN, Myrna & Bob are two of the nicest!

The down side is that another new friend (this one a MN native who lives in Florida) will be in town for the weekend and it looks like I’ll miss her.  Dang.

DESIGNING STUFF

I’m sending off three sweaters today, a twin set and a hooded jacket.

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 12.11.44 PMThe yarn I’ve used for the jacket is Freia by Tina Whitmore (KnitWhits), and it is astonishingly beautiful to work with!

The colors are crisp and bright, changing beautifully, making the whole project pure delight!

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 12.11.37 PM

Freia’s Flux colors are AMAZING! (Could you plotz?!)

Databases for Back Pleat Jacket

The various databases I use in my pattern writing / designing

I can’t post pics of the pieces, but I’ve been making copious notes of the process, step by step, keeping everything well documented in my various databases (yes, I’m a FileMaker ho’!)

When the jacket is published in Interweave Crochet I will run a companion blog post walking through the process of designing, swatching, patterning, crocheting, ripping out, re-crocheting, blocking, measuring, packing and shipping this garment.

SoulMateThe Twin Set’s been worked up in SoulMate by Lorna’s Laces.  I don’t think I’d used this yarn previously, and it’s amazingly resilient!

I’ve ripped out and re-worked both pieces several times, but the yarn looks as if it was just pulled out of the ball this morning, fresh and virginal.  Add to that the lustre and shine of the yarn, the softness, the pure, understated quality of this beautiful blend of  Superwash Merino, Nylon and Outlast (my first time using this last fiber, it feels magnificent!)

It’s good for me to keep track of these things, and my ‘Anatomy of a Design’ posts have been pretty well received.  Look for these in the Winter IK Crochet!

First attempt at a colorwork repeat.

First attempt at the colorwork repeat – I want something that will echo the cable motif.

MORE DESIGN STUFF

I received a big box of lovely Drops yarn for a piece for The Knitter (a UK Mag I feel very fortunate to work with from time to time – it really is a great publication!)  I’m working up a “Men’s Quartet”, scarf, gloves, hat & sweater.  Colorwork AND cables are involved, two of my favorite things in the world. The hat is finished, it only took a few hours, but that doesn’t include the two PREVIOUS hats I knit and ripped out to get to the one that works well.

Designing IS making decisions,
and ripping out.

The colors are woody and natural and understated (lovely tan, brown, white and deep green) rather like our weekend will be!