Category Archives: Travel

Life On Hold For AMAZEMENT!

A & A at Prez's Door

A & A at Prez’s Door

I’m still reeling.

Whirlwind doesn’t BEGIN to describe the events of the last week! First, the facts: I got invited to a sort of “Tweet Summit” at the White House. It was 99% unexpected…

(I actually DID apply to go when I saw a tweet about
the event by @WhiteHouse, but I didn’t really
think for a moment that I’d be in the running.)

It was an opportunity for the people behind the scenes at The White House to meet with a group of folks who are known to be very active on social media.

My assigned crafting place

My assigned crafting place

I guess I fell into that group (THANK YOU friends & readers of my tweets & blog!)

I was SO excited to be invited.

It happened much more suddenly that I expected. When I got invited, my first impression was that it was a sort of ‘family event’ and that our whole family was invited.

Beautiful Daughter

Beautiful Daughter

Unfortunately, I misunderstood  It was more of a business / public relation than a family event.

However, the very kind folks at TWH allowed me to bring a guest when they realized that Andy is also an active social media person, AND part of an excellent demographic which happened to be underrepresented at this event.

Fog All The Way To DC

Fog All The Way To DC

Gerry didn’t want me to drive to pick up Andy at Earlham and on to DC alone, so he insisted on coming and sharing the driving burden. And it was INSANELY foggy both there and back, lots of white knuckle driving!

We wanted Max to come, too, but the suddenness make this impractical – Max had finals, too, papers to finish and a big project at his after school job (St. Paul Neighborhood Network) that he wanted to do well, so he opted to stay home. We missed him!

 

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Beautiful Hallway

Beautiful Hallway

What The Event WASN’T

    • We did not meet POTUS, FLOTUS or DOTUS
      (Doggies of the United States)  Dang.
    • We didn’t get lunch, but we DID get delicious cider and cookies (I brought some home for Gerry & Max)

What The Event WAS

  • A chance for folks involved in social media to visit & learn about The White House
  • An opportunity to meet White House staff who explained to us
    • How White House events are put together
    • How ‘average folks’ (like me!) can attend events like the Easter Egg Roll, tours, etc.
    • How the large staff works together to make these events spectacluar!
  • A crafting opportunity (probably another reason I was asked to come!)
Laura Dowling, TWH Chief Floral Designer

Laura Dowling Chief Floral Designer

We were given talks by many interesting folks, the first part of the day was spent discussing the social media strategies TWH uses to present their messages to various audiences.

For instance, I follow a lot of folks on Twitter, but one of my favorite accounts to read is @ObamaFoodarama. That lets me, a food lover, to see a different side of The White House.

By utilizing twitter to present different sides of The White House in this way, the social media staff can allow the average citizen to feel a bit more connected to the goings on of what is, essentially, OUR house.

Ellie Schafer, Director TWH Visitors Office

Ellie Schafer, Director TWH Visitors Office

Hands down, the most impressive person we met was Ellie Schafer. She was absolutely brilliant. The love she has for her job and her passion for presenting The White House to the world in the best way was infectious!

The room came to life as she was speaking, and I felt she was the best advertisement for the type of person we’d like to have heading the visitors office of OUR house.

She explained that The White House is a residence, an executive office AND a museum, I hadn’t thought of it in those terms.

I LOVE DC!

DC is one of my favorite places.

Union Station, DC

Union Station, DC

My first adult visit was when I was an intern with WNET in NY

(I got to fly a TV proposal down that needed to be turned in the same day it was finished, interns get to do the most unlikely things…)

It was spring, and I absolutely fell in love with the city. I’ve been back many times since then, most memorably when I was working on the Million Mom March for Gun Safety in 2000.

Gerry & Andy On Metro

Gerry & Andy On Metro

If I have any regrets about this particular trip, it was the physical difficulty for Gerry of sitting in a car for so many hours.

He insists it’s pretty much what he’d be doing at home, but I think he’ll be resting a bit over the next few days.

However, he started planning a SECOND family trip to DC on the way home!

This time we’ll take Max, too, and we’ll be able to spend more time and visit more museums!

In other news, Max came in 2nd in his Debate Meet on Saturday! GO MAXIE!!

BONUS

To see a funny video I took on the Metro Subway, click here!

One Knitter’s Road To DC

So something kind of cool happened this week…

I saw a tweet from The White House (known henceforth as TWH) asking folks who’d like to be invited to a holiday event at TWH to apply online.  I did, thinking, “They’ll NEVER invite me!”

Well, they did.

Apparently they tried to contact me several times, but for some reason our phone wasn’t connecting

The woman at TWH said it might have been because their number comes up as ‘blocked’ so depending on folks’ settings, it might not go through – odd…
We certainly have no problem getting a ton of 800 spam calls!

On Friday they emailed me, I didn’t get it until late in the day (annual ModeKnit Yarn holiday lunch at Kyoto Sushi …) so it was pretty late on Friday when I learned we were invited for Monday. Yikes!

Even if I weren’t someone who’d jump into a car and drive 16 hours without blinking an eye
(and I am), this seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up.

I am allowed to bring one person, so it was between Gerry and Andy. The event was explained to me as a ‘decorating & craft event’ (apparently my knitting/craft chops AND my numerous twitter followers put me up on the potential invitees list..) I’m told we will me making Christmas ornaments!

Gerry insists that it’s really more up Andy’s alley, Andy insists that Gerry should go – and Gerry won. Andy’s going with me.

The problem was, this semester Andy had only two final exams, and they were both on Monday. Yikes again. Fortunately her professors are VERY understanding and one is allowing her to take the exam on Sunday, the other later in the week.

Andy & Annie at the White House (artists rendering)

Andy & Annie at the White House (artists rendering)

Max was originally going to join us, but he confessed to us today that he just has too much he feels he needs to do at the end of his semester, and he’s helping a friend with a project at SPNN (where he has a part time job) AND he had a pretty important debate meet today (where he came in SECOND – which is amazingly good)

We allowed Max to bow out of the event and stay at home. I’ve learned that when Max has a strong feeling about not participating in something, it’s really best to trust his gut. Every time I’ve forced him to do something he wasn’t really into, something has gone terribly wrong.

Return with me now to the dreaded Lyme Disease Summer of 2011
after I forced Max to go to camp in the Boundary Waters.

Bad mommy.

Plus, the pets are VERY happy that he’s staying.

We’re doing the trip in stages, tonight we’re in Beloit and I used some Hilton points to snag a $40 room at Hampton Inn (SUCH a lovely room!)  Tomorrow we pick up Andy and continue to DC, where I’m using Starpoints for two nights at a nice hotel in Arlington. It’s such a bonus to be able to use different membership club points to make this (hotel-wise) an almost-free trip!

I have to give a nod to Awardwallet.com, they REALLY help me keep my different memberships straight and monitor how many miles I have in 25 different programs. I find I’m able to use my points much more efficiently when I can access them so easily!

So while Andy and I are at the White House, Gerry will be exploring the Smithsonian. Then we’ll meet up late in the day and have dinner, perhaps look at the lights, and sight-see.  Tuesday we’ll have some time before we have to head back to Earlham to drop Andy off, we’ll stay overnight so she can take her exam, then we’ll all come home together.

Did I mention I’m getting a tooth pulled on Friday?
I wanted something to take my mind off of it, and this will certainly do that!

Apologies for the lack of book review – I promised two reviews this week and I’m afraid I’ll be lucky to get ONE done!  I can’t say I didn’t ask for this – I filled out the online request form – I just never really expected it to happen (and so QUICKLY!)

Resting & ReCharging

4630409504_a6daaf6159_oOne thing about me that drives my husband nuts (one thing?) is how I tend to see every day things as a ‘sign’ of better things to come.

Usually I’m joking, sometimes I’m not, but when we were first married in 1993 I would often say something like, “See, that’s a SIGN that everything’s going to be fine!” and he’d just roll his eyes (looking for all the world like a 15-year old ME reacting to my mom.)

It’s been six weeks today since the arrival of Shingles in my life. I’ve been in such a fog (pain induced? pain MED induced? just generalized Annie-Confusion?) that some days it feels as though I’ve had Shingles for a week, some days it feels as though I’ve had it since the day I was born.

I’m taking the past two exceptional weekends of teaching as a sign that things are looking up,  and no one can convince me otherwise!

Current Car Crochet Project

Current Car Crochet Project

This past weekend my business partner, Kathleen Pascuzzi, and I had a booth at the North Country FIber Fair where I taught four classes and had a generally wonderful time! There are SO many little  shows like this around the country, which I see as an indication of the vitality of the fiber industry, but this was one of the sweetest.

I might feel that way because I have seldom taught classes feeling SO much in pain, and receiving such a boost from my students!

When I add to that the previous weekend in the Dallas area teaching for the Dallas Hand Knitting Guild and the Hand Knitters Guild of North Central Texas, I’m overwhelmed with the amount of love I’ve been shown this month!

TEXAS

One Hardworking Texas Class

One VERY Hardworking Texas Class

I have mixed feelings about Texas. I had a job there I absolutely hated and a boss who seemed gleeful every time he could make my life a bit harder (in all fairness, he was originally from Ohio)

But it’s also the place where my brother met his soul mate, where he lived and then passed away, and it’s where my mother also lived at the end of her life and where she died.

Having a loved one die in a place will always attach a lot of strong emotions to that location.

Mostly, though, I have a very hard time with heat.

But I got very lucky; not only was the Lone Star State going through a bit of a cool snap, but the host yarn shop for my classes, The Knitting Fairy in Grand Prairie, TX, was one of the coolest shops I’ve every visited (in both senses of the word – yay!)

A Hardworking TX Class at The Knitting Fairy

A Hardworking TX Class at The Knitting Fairy

Alissa, the owner of The Knitting Fairy, was incredibly welcoming and loving to everyone who came for classes, and made me feel as though I was visiting family. I’ve seldom felt so loved, so cared for, as I did when Alissa took charge of my comfort while I was in her shop. THANK YOU ALISSA!

It’s also quite obvious how well loved she is by her customers, which is as it should be!

Little known fact: Sprinklers in TX are pro choice!

Pro choice TX Sprinkler

After two days of classes for the Hand Knitters Guild, I was kidnapped on Saturday evening by Ron & Theresa Miskin of Buffalo Wool and taken out for some AMAZING chili, some drinking and some Outlander.

Beautiful Gift From The Dallas Knit Guild!

Beautiful Gift From The Dallas Knit Guild!

We visited with Lise from Knitting Rose Yarns (review of a Knitting Rose/Buffalo Wool yarn to come later this month) at her beautiful home, and I’m afraid I broke my main rule of teaching; NEVER GO OUT THE NIGHT BEFORE A CLASS.

I was able to pull it together for my Sunday Classes (just barely) but still feel guilty for not doing all I could to be 100% for my students. It was some damned good chili, though…

I felt so loved at my two gigs, and was BLOWN AWAY when I was given a lovely gift by the Dallas Guild just before I left, one of those wonderful yarn carousels which will be INCREDIBLY USEFUL as I re-ball odd FLOW skeins.

THANK YOU, EVERYONE IN TEXAS!

SOUTH DAKOTA

ROAD TRIP to SD!

ROAD TRIP to SD!

I joked one morning at breakfast while we were at Watertown, SD that every item on the menu was shaped like a president.

I ordered the FDR oatmeal, it looked like a dime!

But that was before I realized that we were staying at a hotel with a top notch chef in the restaurant!*

Our whole impression of Watertown was affected a bit by the extensive highway work that was going on outside of our hotel

When you’re driving a SUV with a Uhaul, it’s hard to get around all those traffic cones!

Selfie with Festival in Barn

Selfie with Festival in Barn

Road construction

is a necessary evil, though, and perhaps better roads will bring more folks to what was an extraordinary little fiber show, the North Country Fiber Fair.

There weren’t a lot of vendors, but the ones there were exceptional! Excellent yarns, gifts, baskets, buttons, ceramics, LOTS of spinning fibers and tools – just a wonderful variety of great small businesses!

It was if they’d distilled a larger fiber show and brought the best to South Dakota!

My classes were in a lovely, air conditioned room (they’ve got Rhinebeck beat by a mile, there!) and my students – well – it’s hard to praise them enough.

Charted Entrelac Class Swatches, AMAZING Work!

Charted Entrelac Class Swatches, AMAZING Work!

They were a confident, easy going bunch of friendly, wonderful students who took in everything I taught (and begged for more!)

The sheer openness and transparency of the folks in my classes was refreshing – like a stiff prairie breeze!

The drive out and back was a straight, 4-hour shot. Kathleen was magnificent as our driver-in-chief and head-booth-maven.

My job was to tell her where to turn.
We had exactly 3 turns in each way.

We did surprisingly well in sales for a show that wasn’t huge, which is another reason to love the NCFF!

*Minerva‘s, in Watertown, SD, is a restaurant you should visit if you’re in the area.  I will admit that we were NOT expecting such amazing food. Our last night there we had a pork chop dish that will be on the menu for their Octoberfest celebration in, uh, October. If you’re in the area, you need to get yourself over there for a meal!

But aren't we all just ANIMALS?

But aren’t we ALL just animals?

Mini Vacations

I take my vacations where I get them, and sometimes they’re as short as 15 minutes.

KFairy_location

The Knitting Fairy is in HERE somewhere…

Right now I’m enjoying a mini evening vacation, here in Arlington, Texas, where I’ve been brought in to teach 4 classes for the Knitting Guild of North Central Texas and two classes for the Dallas Knitting Guild.

Happily, all 6 classes will be happening at the same location, a LOVELY yarn shop called The Knitting Fairy  I stopped in for a brief visit to meet the owner, Alissa, and look at her great selection of yarns! Her space is excellent, but I can see where it might be hard to find…

Duckie

Shall the Duck be Mother?

She had some lovely stuff, and when I got to my hotel room I looked up her website and was enchanted by many of her patterns, especially this adorable Duck Tea Cozy (Hmmm, who do I know who drinks a lot of tea… Moi?)

The Arlington/Dallas area is experiencing a bit of a cool down after a hot spell, and there’s supposed to be rain over the next few days. That sounds JUST FINE to this Minnesota Mama who is experiencing a skin condition that doesn’t react well to heat!

TPEarls1

Beautiful yarn, lovely tag!

Another indy dyer named Jennifer Thompson who owns Theodora’s Pearls was setting up her trunk show at The Knitting Fairy as I arrived, and everyone was drooling over her lovely yarns! Her yarn tags are pretty sweet, too!

But back to my vacation; I just took a luxurious bath, now I’m enjoying a cup of tea and some gluten free cookies in my beautiful room (okay, it looks like every other hotel room, but I don’t have to clean it and that enhances it’s beauty a thousand fold…)

Modesock_ComClinic_CrochetI flew First Class (the $90 upgrade was only $2 more than paying for my baggage AND a seat with enough legroom for my long pegs, a no brainer!) and enjoyed every second of it, from the way the baggage guy sat up a little straighter when he saw my boarding pass, to the PRIORITY fast lane I got to go through at the TSA to the first-on-the-plane boarding and free drinks.

I had a whiskey, I poured it into my Pumpkin Chai Latte from Caribou Coffee, yum!

And now I will continue on my current project, a crochet diddy worked up in ModeSock in Community Clinic.  The crochet in this colorway has an especially “shabby chic” look about it, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

Holding Pattern

Well, I went to Indiana to take Andy to school.

It just seemed that so much sh*t had hit the fan, I felt a bit like a wreck, and I wanted to go.

So my inner 6-year old went, and I was along for the ride. And I think overall it was a good thing that I did go; I can’t imagine that I’d have been much more comfortable here, and I think I did have a bit of a calming presence on Andy’s moving in.

Or maybe I’m just in a stupor.

It was a long drive, but the B&B we stayed in was wonderful! Being sick not at home is no fun, but this was the next best thing, and I’m very grateful to Leighanne at Seldom Scene Meadow B&B in Richmond, she made both of us feel very much at home!

The moving itself was incredibly painless (elevator dorm, who knew?) and the orientation sessions were plentiful and helpful. We enjoyed meeting Andy’s advisor and her roommates, we’re crossing our fingers that as classes begin she feels at home and not-overwhelmed. It seemed she was already making friends, that first month at college is HARD.

In case you’re not on facebook and missed the excitement, after my week of a kidney stone AND shingles, everything was topped off by a in home break-in (rather, a screen-slitting, when the downstairs window was left open and the opportunity proved too great)  My computer, cell phone and bag were taken. It wasn’t until the police arrived that we realized that my keys were on the bag, and thus the car had ALSO been stolen. Not a great day.

I think we’re both still in shock over it, and we spent Wednesday regrouping as quickly as we could to rent a car to take Andy to college (we had to rent an SUV as there really are no rentable station wagons, which felt unspeakably odd to both of us for the whole weekend!)

So all cards have been canceled, reports filed, accounts deleted, new EZ pass ordered (and received, but not in time for our trip, damn it!) and we’re looking at, perhaps, shopping for a new (used) car.  We have 30 days of rental, but we’re thinking we’ll dole that out so we can put off getting a new car for as long as we can.

We love being a one car family, but it makes it damned hard when that one car is stolen.

My shingles pain continues, and with it really painful digestive issues which come with the pain drugs (which I try not to take, I only take them when I absolutely must)  It’s not been a pleasant week, not in any sense of the word, except we are very proud of our daughter and loved seeing her begin to find her way at Earlham!

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!