Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Black Worsted Scarf"

This was another yarn experiment. :)

I used a worsted weight nylon/acrylic yarn this time. This is Berroco's "Comfort". It is extremely soft and looks to be "cabled", not plied.

Threaded at 10 ends per inch, it was quick work to get the loom dressed and ready for weaving.

Using plain weave, it wove a very nice fabric, but where one weft thread ended and another began is too noticeable in my opinion. I suppose that could also be due to it being a solid color (shade), too. Keep in mind, I'm still "experimenting". ;)

I like the looks of the scarf, but I think worsted is possibly too heavy of a yarn for plain weave? I would appreciate any opinions or suggestions. I've not wet finished it yet, and that may help a bit, but since it is nylon/acrylic, I'm not sure how much.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Stored for the Winter"

After having the kayak and canoe take up the garage floor all summer, we finally made some decisions as to where/how we'd store them for the winter.

Don's is short enough (12') to wrangle into the main part of the basement. Our garage is under the house, so we lose close to half of our basement storage space to the garage, but Don is a great organizer and moved things around on Sunday to accommodate it.

I worked yesterday on getting the canoe hung and getting the car back into the garage. SUCCESS! ;) If I'd known all those spiders were up on the ceiling (I only noticed them when I checked the photos!), I'd have made "other arrangements" for them first......looks like I'll be down there again today. UGH! I HATE spiders!!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

"2 Trips to Mount Horeb, WI"

Don and I drove to Mount Horeb, WI, last Wednesday to check out some possibilities for Christmas gifts at Duluth Trading Company ( If you've not heard of them, check out the link, and if you're "local", definitely check out the "Flagship" store. We both think it is a great place with VERY nice items.

After we left Duluth Trading Company, we decided to eat, drink, and be merry at The Grumpy Troll (, the local brew pub. We've been there numerous times and it is another place we would highly recommend.

Don ordered the beer flight, which included ALL of their beers available at this time. Myself......I'm not a big beer drinker, so I had a Bloody Mary instead, which was also good. :)

On Friday, we returned to Mount Horeb, bringing along friend and neighbor, Rob, to go to Fisher King Winery (, which ironically is located right next door to Duluth Trading Company.

A friend of ours, Dan Walkner, was entertaining there Friday night, which we found out on Wednesday when we saw a flyer in the winery's window, advertising their upcoming artists. Fate, eh? ;)

When we walked in, there sat Erica, Dan's girlfriend and a favorite of ours, who happily joined us.

The owner offered to take a photo of us, to which we all happily agreed so that we could have Don in at least 1 photo. ;) By the way, Rob is wearing a scarf that I recently wove. There seems to be a reoccurring theme of our friends wearing my woven scarves in recent posts. ;)

Here is Dan, set up in the viewing area and "doing what he does.....".

Later, he was joined by 2 fellow singers/musicians.....Corey Hart and Paul Mitch.

Dan and Corey doing a number together. Corey is a local of Mount Horeb and lives within walking distance of the winery.

We had a very nice time that evening. I forgot to mention, that we ordered a flight of the winery's wines and found all of them very tasty, too. I prefer a sweeter wine, but found I enjoyed their dryer wines as well. All of us agreed that their selection has something for everyone....and more. ;)

Another small Wisconsin town that has a lot to offer! Oh! I forgot to mention earlier......Mount Horeb's known as "The Troll Capitol of the World". :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

"Thanksgiving 2011"

Don and I went out for Thanksgiving dinner with our friends, Penny and Sheila. We drove out to Mazomanie, WI, to The Old Feed Mill Restaurant, which is an old feed mill that was converted into a restaurant.....kind of self explanatory, but I "felt the need" to have it in print. ;) Don and I went there last year by ourselves and obviously enjoyed it enough to want to go back. ;)

Dinner was served buffet style and consisted of the usual Thanksgiving dishes, but The Old Mill is also known for their "Pot Roast", and it, too, was being served. DELICIOUS!

I "think" this is the 1st photo of the "Don and Sheila" photo series taken.......

Don somehow "managed" to get this one in of Penny and myself. ;)

Penny began taking photos with her "older", but obviously perfectly fine, iPhone (Sheila, more than Penny, is sooooo jealous of Don's 4s iPhone!). Don has his iPhone because he is developing apps for the "Department of Family Medicine".

Penny began giving Don directions as what he was to do to "Poor Sheila". You can tell by the look on Sheila's face that she is resigned to her fate......

Truthfully, Penny did surprise me with the "push Sheila's ears forward" directions. LOL Sorry , Sheila, but it was too funny! Thankfully, Sheila is a good sport........

As we left the restaurant, Don had us line up for a photo outside The Old Feed Mill. I "selfishly" have to add that Penny is wearing one of the scarves I recently wove.

A passing woman kindly asked him if he'd like her to take a group photo of us, to which he quickly assented. It is nice to have full documentation of our entire little group. :)

After a leisurely drive back to Madison, and on to Penny and Sheila's house, we stayed a bit to visit more, and of course, make sure their dogs had some quality time with us, too. Here is Eleanor/Ellie in Sheila's arms.......

While Frankie hung out with me for awhile. ;)

We had a wonderful day and look forward to spending more time with our good friends, Penny and Sheila.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Potato Chip Scarves......"

I'd heard about this pattern when I attended a men's knitting group a few weeks ago. After finding it free online via Ravelry, I printed it out and knitted this scarf. It is "supposed" to be around 58" in length.....mine finished at 28" long. The pattern directions suggested "if not using the yarn in the pattern, use a needle 2 sizes larger", which I did. While knitting it, it seemed the tension was pretty tight, but not having any experience with this pattern, I continued until I'd finished it. The scarf did turn out looking like the patterns photo, so that was fine, but the finished length of the scarf and the tightness of the stitches seemed "off"........definitely the length, and only my opinion in stitch tension.

So I started knitting scarf #2, making my own adjustments to the pattern in hopes the finished piece would be longer and the stitches more open. As you can see in the photo (scarf on the right), scarf #2 did turn out longer......52" long in fact, and although it is hard to see in this photo, the stitches are more open. They should be, as I used a needle 4 sizes larger than the one suggested on the yarns label. :) I also added 30 more cast on stitches before beginning the pattern. The pattern is pretty easy.....knit 1 row and the next you knit in the front and back of each stitch, which doubles the number of what the previous row had. There are only a total of 7 rows, plus the cast on and cast off rows to this scarf, so as I said....a very easy knit. The results of my last increase row brought the total number of stitches to 960! ;) That is a lot of stitches!!!!

The pattern is a free pattern written by the design team at Knit Picks. I found it on Ravelry which had a link to get to it. I tried searching for it this morning by going directly to the Knit Picks site but couldn't find it, so I suggest you use the link below if you're interested in having it. ;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"At DC's Request......"

Thank you DC for asking to see my purchases from Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill. I didn't have any photos for a post today, so didn't write one, but after reading DC's comment, I went right out to the deck and took some photos. :) Now, at your suggestion, I have something to write about....."Show and Tell" I guess, eh? ;)

Here is everything I bought last Sunday. I took some close up photos so will write more about the yarns along with those.

This is the 100% silk yarn that I "envision" weaving up into a very soft, beautiful scarf. It is a hand painted lace weight, 2 ply, 3.2 oz., and 580 yards per skein. The color is Blossom.

These are 2 of their bulky hand painted yarns. It is also 2 ply, 25% Mohair/ 75% Wool....colors are Blue Violet and Forest Floor. I've started a hat for myself, but it may become a gift if I don't like how it looks on me. :) I'm not really a "hat person", so feel strange when I have one on. The pattern I'm using is one of Blackberry Ridge's own- "Fuzzy Mohair Hat and Mittens".

Another of their patterns that I bought, and the yarn to knit it, is the "East to West Vest". The yarn is called "Colorflow Rag" and is a Medium weight 2 ply, 100% wool, and comes in 365 yard skeins. The color is "Evening".

The other patterns were ones I bought "just because" and for something to knit in the future. :) A boy scout I never was, but I believe in being prepared. ;)

Again, thank you DC for the inspiring todays post.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill"

Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill, which is outside of Mount Horeb, WI (a short and easy drive from Madison), held their Annual Open House this past weekend. I went to it on Sunday afternoon. The place doesn't look like much from the outside, but there are wonderful things inside. They really don't have what would be considered a retail shop, but when you walk in, you're basically standing in an area that is one, although it is seldom used as one. They are open to the public only by appointment throughout the year, and of course, when they hold the Annual Open House. They do attend fiber festivals, and have a website, too, which makes their yarns easily available.

When walking in the front door, as I mentioned, you are in, for all intents and purposes, a yarn shop. :)

There are books of knitting patterns sitting on the table, with chairs for you to make yourself comfortable while you take your time going through each and every one of them.

Knitted samples abound on the walls, showing what individual yarns look like knitted up, as well as showcasing a specific pattern.

There are bins and hooks bursting with "kits" that are available, providing specific patterns along with the yarn to complete the piece.

Many of their yarns are stored "behind the scenes" so pretty much everything you see hanging here are their samples. That takes a little getting used is easy to forget they are a yarn "supplier" and have a large stock of all of their yarns.

It truly was a wonderful experience. The people working were all extremely helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable.

Tours were given of the mill, too, which is a fascinating experience. Seeing fleece turn into wonderful yarns, on such a large scale, compared to one strand at a time on my wheel at home, is mind boggling. Even though Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill seems like a big operation, it is small compared to some of the larger manufacturers, which makes it even more mind boggling! ;)

When I left the mill, after having a wonderfully fulfilling fiber addict experience, I admit I brought some home with me. ;) I bought several knitting patterns for future projects, along with some yarns to knit a couple of them, plus I purchased some fine 100% silk yarn to try weaving a scarf with, too. It is nice to know, or in my case, "be reminded once again", that we have such a fine "LOCAL" resource for beautiful yarns.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"So It Begins......"

For those of you not from Wisconsin, this may not interest you, but for Wisconsinites, this IS a big deal. The Recall of our current governor, Scott Walker began this past week. The permission to begin the recall was given mid week, and various groups of people held parties and began signing recall petitions a minute after midnight of the start day......we, however, held off until Friday's Happy Hour, when a neighbor, Mary, brought hers over for those interested to sign. I wasn't the first to sign it, but since it gets dark so early these days, I brought it inside to fill them out in better light. ;)

After I did that, Don brought out a lantern so that people could see the petitions better. I should have mentioned that Governor Walker is not the only person being recalled, but the Lt. Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, is also, hopefully, going to be recalled as well.

Bobby and Annie, neighbors from down the block, stopped by to sign them, when they heard Mary had brought her recall petition to Happy Hour. Jyothi, another neighbor who signed earlier, looks on.......

The following afternoon, a Recall Walker Rally was held downtown around the Capitol. The "official" estimate was around 30,000 people, but I'm not sure how accurate that was. It seemed to Don and me that there were many more than that, but who knows, eh? As you can see, someone brought their "palm tree" which alludes to when Fox News showed a video of a group of unruly protestors this past winter and said it was here in the background of the video were numerous palm trees lining the street on which the protestors were marching. "Not quite" an outdoor tree here in Madison.

The Madison Firefighters Pipe and Drum made another appearance. They played numerous times during the protests this past winter, too.

Many people got quite creative with their signs and outfits.........

We ran into former neighbors Travis and Sara, with sons Jonas and Niles.

As I said.....many creative outfits........

I wonder what Abe would have said..........

This one definitely took a bit of work, eh?

We also ran into and chatted with another neighbor, Elspeth.

Jyothi, with boyfriend, Khaled, were there with Jyothi's parents, Terry and Roy, too.

The petitioner's have 60 days to gather over 540,00 valid voter signatures. Time will tell if this is accomplished........

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Tuesday, November 15, 2011"

When I went out last Tuesday morning to open the chicken coop, I was struck by how beautiful the day was beginning.

The hens are once again laying after their molt, and when I opened the little nest door to check for eggs, I found this one looking back at me. I didn't want to disturb her, so I quickly shut the door again. Inspiration hit me! Get the camera and take a photo for a blog post! So back into the house for the camera!

With camera in hand, and the photo taken of the hen in the nest, the other 2 hens got their photo taken, as well, while they busily hunted through the leaves to get at the scratch feed I threw out for them. I think the brown hen was anticipating more treats to head their way.

And why not snap a few photos of the beautiful morning while I was at it? :)

The rising sun created such stark contrasts between where it shone and the areas left in shade.

I thought I 'd go for the full range and get the rising sun from the front deck as well. As you can see by the frost on the neighbors roofs, it was a "brisk" morning as well.

We've been very fortunate in the number of bright and sunny days we've been experiencing. Quite fortunate, in fact, for this time of year. We'll happily take them! ;)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"A Cranking Visitor......"

Last week sometime, I read a request on one of my Yahoo Sock Machine Groups, from a woman who was asking if someone in the Madison area would allow her to come and check out their Circular Sock Machine, as she is contemplating purchasing one.

I wrote and volunteered, so last Friday, Karen, along with her 3 young sons, came by for a "cranking lesson". ;)

Here she is, with her youngest son looking on, as she "picks up" her hung hem stitches.

I made her look up for a photo, too. :)

I walked her through all the steps of a sock, beginning with the hung hem, then the length of the leg, knitting a heel (decreasing and increasing stitches), the length of the foot, and finally, decreasing stitches for the beginning of the toe. Something went wrong and a stitch was dropped. I am not able to pick up a stitch from the toe or heel area if my life depended on it, so I wasn't able to get her back on track. Instead, we knitted some scrap yarn onto it , leaving the dropped stitches (and probably adding a few more). Karen would take it home, rip out the tangled mess until she came back to her stitches for the foot, and re-knit the toe by hand. She's knitted quite a few socks by hand so will be able to complete the sock.

I'd say she was quite successful for her first time at a CSM. She was going to another persons house the following day, who has the same brand of machine that she is interested in buying, so hopefully, she was able to crank out the 2nd sock at that time.