Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Was "Demo Man" Sunday!

Sunday, dawned bright and clear......cold, too! A blogging friend of mine, Ms. Molly Bee, has been a "hand knitting" volunteer at the annual A-Z Farm Open House this year. It ran for 3 consecutive Sunday's, the last being this past Sunday. The open house is during "lambing season", where if one is lucky, they see a lamb coming into this world, or if not, they see literally DOZENS of lambs, along with their mothers, in pens. Along with this sight, they have other animals and fowl to be seen or have photos taken with as well.

In this 1st photo of mothers with their babies, you can see that the area of sun is a VERY popular spot. ;)

The pens were all located inside a huge pole barn, so come rain or shine, the open house is on.

These hungry twins were the newest addition to the flock.

With so many lambs romping around amongst the various mothers, you'd think that they would be bleating in panic when "Mom" was out of sight, but they seemed to know she was close by and were perfectly satisfied to wander further afar, then RACE back to Mom like they had a GPS system, never bumping into the wrong udder. ;)

So, back to Ms. Molly Bee. As I mentioned, she has been out to the farm, volunteering at each of the open house days, sitting, hand knitting, and chatting with the farm visitors as they came through the wood stove heated "demo" section of the barn. Among the other volunteers, were a couple of hand spinners with their wheels, bake sale people, honey "farmers", face painters, and a woman demonstrating on her circular sock machine (CSM). I should say, she was there demonstrating at the first 2 Sunday's. She couldn't be there last week, so Molly Bee suggested I call Ray, the farm owner, and volunteer my services, which I did, and he accepted, thus my day at the farm as "Demo Man". For more photos, and 1 of me, go to:

This following photo shows my display of finished socks, baby hats, and sock blanks (1 undyed and the rest dyed), plus some re-wound yarn for people to see how things look prior to knitting the socks/hats. A few people actually stopped to look at the books, too. ;) People were mainly interested in seeing the machine "do its thing", and I was happy to oblige, knitting 3 socks during the day, stopping to answer questions, etc. Am I saying that those socks are mistake free? Nope, but no mistakes that are noticeable nor will they make the socks unwearable.

After completing the knitting of a 3rd sock, and seeing it was 3 o'clock, I decided to not work on any more socks, but instead, attach a cone of my less expensive acrylic yarn to the machine and allow visitors to "do some cranking". Was THAT a hit!! I had kids standing in line to crank a number of rows! My image, along with their children, are on many parents cameras that day. :) Unfortunately, I didn't think to ask Molly Bee to take some photos with my camera during all of this....sigh.....it would have been nice for you to see the expressions on the kids faces. :) We had fun!

Here is Ms. Molly Bee concentrating on her pattern......1 of the few times she could actually do some concentrating. I don't "think" she had any mishaps with her pattern and had to rip any of her knitting back to begin again. What mental power, eh??!! :)

I knew from reading Ms. Molly Bee's blog, that she loved purples, so I made sure I dyed a sock blank with some various shades of purples/blues/violets and had it wound and ready to go. I knitted this pair of socks for her on Sunday, and she graciously did the "sewing of the toes" to complete them, thus was able to take them home with her at the end of our time together that day. :)

While we were packing up, one of the volunteers came in and told us that over 2000 people had come through the barn that day......over 500 in the first hour! We knew we had chatted with a lot of people, but didn't realize it had been so many.

I had a lot of fun, came home tired, but was also hyped, as Don will attest to, since my mouth ran and ran, telling him little antidotes about the day. I hope that Ray will ask me to come and be "Demo Man" again. ;)

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Monthly Gathering of Crankers......."

Last Saturday, the local group of CSM owners gathered at Madison's Hawthorne Branch Library, on East Washington, for their monthly crank in.

Here is Barbara, one of my mentors, who drives from Mineral Point to attend, setting up her NZAK.

Pat, my another of my mentors, who has several machines, brought her NZAK on Saturday to work with as well. As my NZAK is also blue, it seemed it was to be the day of "Blue NZAK's". That, of course, changed as more people arrived. :)

Here is a shot of the entire group of "attendees".

And another view of the group. My NZAK is on the far right. I sat closer to the wall this time to be closer to an electrical outlet, as I now have a light which clamps onto my yarn mast. That purchase was inspired by "Mentor Pat". ;)

This is Susan, of FiberArtCafe, with several of her 2 strand, hand painted, "Sock Blanks". Also shown are 3 pair of her CSM knitted socks which she knitted from similar sock blanks. Here is the link to her blog. Please go and check it out........

Aren't these colors vibrant?! Beautiful work Susan!

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Seasons First Ride....."

Earlier in the week, Don and I took our first bike ride of the season. It was cool, to be sure, but we had a very nice ride. Don took it easy on me, too, and it was a shorter ride than our usual "about town" ride. You can see there is still ice in Lake Wingra. It is now completely gone.......

I was very happy to have had on a turtleneck sweater. As bright as it was, the wind chill from our high speed riding, was definitely bone chilling. ;)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park....."

As I mentioned last week, my cousin, Jill, passed away of a heart attack. I drove over to Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Sunday, to attend her funeral, which was held at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

For those of you not familiar with the name Frederik Meijer, he is the founder of the Meijer retail chain, which started out as grocery, but "might" have been one of the first to evolve into the "super store".

Originating in Grand Rapids, MI, he founded this beautiful garden and park facility for the public. It was a favorite spot of Jill's, not only for her own enjoyment, but also for taking friends and family who visited her in Grand Rapids.

I took a number of photos, but they are only a very small sampling of what a beautiful place this is.

Thankfully, it was a beautiful day for my "day trip" from Madison to Grand Rapids. I left Madison at 5:40 AM and got home at 11:30 PM that night. Many miles and hours upon the road, but I was happy that I was able to attend Jill's funeral, celebrating her life and time among us.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Gathering On Rob's Deck....."

On one of the really warmer days last week, some of us dropped over to Rob's house to enjoy his deck and view......his deck faces the bike path.

Benjamin, being his cute little self, with Mom Angela.

Angela with daughter, Becca.....until I was able to gain a hold of her. I mean Becca! :)

Benjamin's eyewear fashion statement........

Benjamin pointing out his little sister to me.

Mine at last! :) I hadn't been able to hold babies for many a year, but the neighbors have been changing all of that in the past year or so. ;)

Papa Andy, Uncle Rob, and me with Becca. (By the way, Becca is wearing one of my knitted/dyed hats)

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Many Colors/ Dyed Sock Tubes....."

I have been involved in dyeing more knitted sock tubes. I have a few photos that I wanted to post. Photo #1 is a dyed sock tube prior to unraveling and knitting the pair of socks.

This photo is of the knitted pair of socks, using the above tube. They have not been wet finished yet, and you are able to see the slight "rippling" ,caused by the yarn under tension (?), which will smooth out after washing.

And #3 is a number of dyed tubes waiting to be unraveled and knitted into pairs of socks.

As you can tell, I am enjoying this dyeing/knitting process VERY much. Discovering how the dyed tube pattern creates a different pattern after knitting, is an amazing and enjoyable thing. I hope you feel the wonder of it as well. ;)

Friday, March 19, 2010

"First Deck Gathering of the Season...

Last Sunday, Don and I went out to sit on the deck and have our afternoon coffee. As it has happened many times in the past, neighbors joined us to celebrate the beautiful weather.

Here I am holding Becca, our newest neighbor, whom I'm sure, will be a regular attendee of deck gatherings.

Mom Angela looking over some knit cap possibilities for Becca (she chose the white one).

Also in the box of knitted items were socks. Angela found a pair that fit her, too. :)

Anna, and her son Henry, came over as well.

Rob, with a pair of socks in place of an ascot.......

The "boys".....Andy (working on tanning his feet), Michael, and Rob. Copper is being a wee bit too "nosey"......

A family portrait: Henry, with Dad, Michael, and Mom, Anna. The "little" man continues to GROW! ;)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"My Cousin Jill......"

Sadly, we received bad news yesterday. My cousin, Jill, passed away. She'd had a heart attack on Friday, but unfortunately, had never regained consciousness. She was actually my Mom's cousin (their mothers were sisters), but I grew up across the street from her, and she was only 1 year older than my sister. I am very fortunate to have had so many wonderful times with her. She will always be remembered lovingly by those who knew her.

I have a few photos to share .........

Most of these were taken in September of 2006 at our family reunion, which was hosted by Jill and Joe. The reunion was not only a gathering of family "to catch up", but also to celebrate Jill and Joe's 40th wedding anniversary. Fortunately, Don is an avid photographer and loves to document "events". I thank him for these photos.....

Jill and Joe.....

Jill talking with my Mom........

My youngest son, Sean, Mom, and Jill.......

Jill holding her 1st grandchild, Caitlyn, chatting with her sister in law, Sally.

Joe and Jill visiting us when we spent a week in Traverse City in September of 2008.

We saw Jill and Joe last September (2009), when they stopped in Madison, to attend a Happy Hour, on their road trip out to visit their daughter Kim, who lives in Colorado.

Many, many happy memories.........

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Exhaust That Dye!"

When I had taken the pair of blue/black socks out of the crock pot, the dye bath was still slightly blue looking. So, I figured I would see what would happen and slipped the next sock blank into the tinted water. Here is what showed up.......blue "mist". :) I used this for the base of my next pair of socks.

Jacquard's Fire Red and Sapphire Blue were my dyes on this pair........the turquoise yarn on the ends is the waste yarn used to keep the tube from "running".

The finished sock tube.

And the finished pair of socks. They're showing as being rather "ripply" in this photo, but they will not be after going through the final step, which is machine washed/air dried.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Becca" and O.P.E.N.

Angela and newborn daughter, Rebecca, whom from now on will be referred to as "Becca", had been coming home from a walk when Don spied them passing by. He immediately yelled out the door and asked Angela to stop so that we could meet Becca.

Don, Angela, and Becca. Don is all "dressed up", as we were about to leave for the 1st annual O.P.E.N. dinner (Out Professional & Executive Network).

Don speaking with Marty, whom he has known for years, and whom is on the Board of Directors of the group.

Chatting with me is Susan, from Mazomanie, WI, during the social hour prior to the dinner.......

Our friend Woody, attended as well. We had a very nice time, meeting and chatting with several interesting people.

The keynote speaker that evening was Rebecca Ryan. Instead of trying to write a synopsis of who she is and what she spoke about, which was very interesting, I decided to use what was written already.

"The keynote address will be delivered by Rebecca Ryan, founder of Next Generation Consulting Inc, who will inspire the group with ideas to make our area a more vibrant, welcoming place to live and work, and what a strong LGBTQ community means for that goal.

Next Generation Consulting ranked Madison the #1 midsize Next CityTM in 2009 due to its growing population of young knowledge workers.

In general, Next Cities™ are places with the assets and amenities that attract and retain a young, educated work force. They have bustling city centers, walkable neighborhoods, diverse career opportunities, and vibrant art and music scenes."