Monday, July 28, 2008


"Sheba Sue"

Has crossed the rainbow bridge.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lovely Saturday afternoon

Spent a lovely though muggy Saturday afternoon on a porch promenade in Freeport, PA with Janie. The were 14 homes on the tour which were just porches and gardens and refreshments.
Would never have known this house was even in Freeport, much less how nice its yard was and how soothing were the neighbors' back yard/gardens.
One of the gardens on the tour was the home first belonging to the Harbison family, an intriguing family of PA/US history.
This event kicked off the week of celebrating Freeport's 175th anniversary. It began as Toddtown, named after the Todd family, but became Freeport as the Todd family permitted vessels to launch and dock without a charge, thus being a free port.

Friday, July 25, 2008

2009 Year of Natural Fibers

International recognition of our passion yields a contest to consider...
Keep the Fleece is the UN 2009 Year of Natural Fibers website that has just 'gone live'.

Thanks to the Independent Stitch for alerting me (us).

Thursday, July 24, 2008


what's been happening?

Both DH and I are in withdrawal. We both have been asking each other, where were we a week ago? Two weeks ago? Tonight he said he wished we were leaving for camp tomorrow. Now, that's a supportive DH!

My knitting has been on Sock #2 of the STR Firebird socks. I'd finished #1 at 2.75 and started #2 on the way home.

Yesterday during a thunderstorm I ...get this... swatched for my Round-the-Bend jacket. Below is the first part of the swatch on #6 circs. Nope. Continued swatch on #7 and that's the one on which I get gauge. How do I know? Not just my trusty ruler, but this Gauge-o-meter Cathy gifted me with at 2.75! Thank you, works like a charm!

Heck, if I would have started out with a 7, like Meg used, it would have been good to go from the start! However, Meg used a wool that is now unavailable and I'm using Berocco Ultra Alpaca, so just to be safe, I guess I should swatch anyway. Gee, don't know why, that's a dirty 6 letter word around here.

Oh, and at the end of camp I was fairly proud of myself that I hadn't left the room at the end in tears. That ended soon enough hugging Linda good-bye at the checkout desk.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Not nearly all

of the pictures I've taken on the trip or at camp are being featured here. There are many more wonderful projects but this may be getting a little trying for some...

Everyone was 'taken' by the mythical beast known as a Dust Bunny. We hope he stays at camp and doesn't follow us home to procreate! This was Gwen's and the green head piece next to it is M'Lou's "wig"...

The owl is Sharon's from Harry Potter. Next to it is Lois' Phoenix -- it resurrects itself as she has resurrected herself this past year.

The unspun Icelandic buns were borrowed from the table and were...can you guess?...utilized in an appropriate anatomical placement.

Lucy's amazing vest was a misunderstanding of the topic, but so creatively accomplished and loved by all.

And here we have my Squonk who cries himself into a puddle (note his eyes) when he is seen by humans in either the brambles (he's knit in bramble stitch) or under the Eastern Hemlock trees (the Hemlock Ring doily/blanket) of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

This year everyone received a prize, regardless of placement in the voting...everyone's a winner.

We also had a raffle the proceeds of which go into the scholarship fund.

And market day...purchases were made, of course!

Thank you Meg, Cristie, Amy, Joyce, Michelle, Eleanor and Tami and fellow retreaters...
Till next year...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Part of the flavor

of Meg's Knitting Camps is the wall length of garments used in the publications Meg and her mother wrote. Not all the garments are there each camp, but Meg is happy to bring in any requests campers might have to study a piece not present.

This first picture is one of the two sweaters that appeared in a "Spin Off" magazine story in which Jenny Bakriges spun the yarn and Meg knit a garment from it. There are two sweaters like this on the table, one of pink and this one of blue. I studied the story when it was published, but now I am amazed how much more 'polished' this blue sweater appears with the pin at the neckline.

This is another section of the items on the table. I am particularly fond of the tam in cream, browns and blues and wanted to share it here.

Poppy always shares delightful projects in her show-and-tells with panache. This year her project is the knitted shirt she is wearing. Since I all too well remember the knitted dresses of the 60's I loved but had difficulty wearing because they would show every blimp, irregardless of size, blocking or wear, it amazes me to see a garment like this worn with such grace. (But I shouldn't be surprised, she is graceful at all times it seems, unlike moi.)

And Pat's knitted tablecloth. Such a beauty! Pat knits both by hand and with a knitting machine. All the tops she wears at camp she has knit, most of them by machine, which she calls 'cheating, but quick'!

These are but a few of the many SNT items. There were several shawls, and we received a pattern and another knitter's revision of the pattern. A blue bird of happiness visited as did most anything else imaginable.

On this monitor, one of the four at camp, Meg is showing one of the items that appears in the September "Wool Gathering". I see it coming into a needle near me.

Meg had given us a handout of a Latvian hat she had developed from Lizbeth Upitis' SHP KAL mittens, and from her book, "Latvian Mittens", published by Schoolhouse Press (for link, see above.)
Sarah chose her own colors and knit the hat during camp. She is modeling it here at the Monday brunch table. Sharon is behind her and Mary Jo is in the distance.
The Monday brunch was for those of us who could stay to share a meal before the long goodbyes; for checkout with Michelle, Eleanor and Tami of SHP; and to say "a bientot" (so long until next we meet) to Meg, Amy and Joyce.

Next: Contest entries unite!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

At 2.75

we had 4 minutes each for show and tell this year. Partially this was because the camps and the retreats were one half day shorter than the last few years. Everyone was very good in their time allowance. The timer didn't go off once, that I remember! I'm going to show just a representation of the projects. This will be more than one post!

First up, is Amy's show and tell being held by Greg and Michael. Granted, this is not knitted. It's a kitty quilt Amy had started years ago and had completed only one square (and maybe not the entire square...she wasn't quite sure since it had been so long.) Her sister, who visited camp this weekend, finished the quilt and presented to her as a birthday celebration gift! Makes me wish I had a sister!

Next is Lois' beautiful Knit/Purl sweater designed by Joyce Williams, knit in the Armenian technique. Here, Lois is giving the knitter's salute, as we asked, so we can see the pattern up the side and the sleeve. I had not seen the sweater attempted in variegated yarn before, which gives the design an entirely different 'feel'. Although from my distance from the sweater, it did not appear to really be in the Armenian technique, when I enlarged my photo I could see that it is, indeed, Armenian. This is part of the same pattern I used on my Armenian hat last Spring. I did take the hat to show Meg and Joyce. Meg was, of course, pleased to see Armenian work at retreat and Joyce was quite pleased that I had used her patterning.

Didn't Sharon knit Meg's Rose Tunic beautifully? This pattern is in the Land's End special booklet of several years ago. At this time it is no longer available at the retail level. I'd found my copy online several years ago after it was mentioned at Camp 1. Sharon used the same 'cranberry' unspun Icelandic that Meg used on hers in the booklet.

Gwen looks so very happy here in her shawl! It actually isn't blocked yet, but you wouldn't have known. Last year Gwen showed her finally finished sweater that she had been working on for several years because when she ran into a place she wasn't sure of, would stop and bring the sweater back to camp the next year for Amy's assistance! This year she was so pleased to have brought the completed shawl that she had started as a 2.75 project last year.

Today's last example of show and tell is M'Lou's amazing coat and hat set modeled by Maggie. I absolutely love this set. It's just my colors, as I imagine them. But this pattern 'speaks' to me from somewhere in my soul. There's a knowledge of place and time I feel when I see both the set in person and in the picture. M'Lou is the 'queen' of double knitting and her book is due to be published by SHP later this year. It is on M'Lou's book that Joyce was working feverishly during daytime hours, so was available for us only during the evenings. Joyce missed the show and tell, but can see the shots Al took which will be on the CD's he'll be sending us soon.

After the regular daytime sessions, everyone joins in smaller, constantly changing groups to knit and socialize, to knit and learn, to knit and imbibe in favorite snacks and drink. Here is one group of Janine (the Feralknitter), Jaya (Knitsarina), Poppy, Gayle and Greg.

As always, please click on any photograph to enlarge it for more careful viewing.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Lakeshore

is where we spent our next traveling day.

After the MDOT memorial, we continued up north to experience the Mackinac Bridge. It is the most magnificent structure I've ever crossed, all 4.9 miles of it! This first shot is just starting up on the bridge, viewing where the land meets Lake Huron. The bridge has four lanes, the outside ones are paved while the inside ones are grate. As long as I'm on the inside lanes, I'm fine. It is amazing to conceive of the building of this structure dividing Lake Huron and Lake Michigan and connecting the Upper Peninsula to the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The specials shown recently on The History Channel on the bridge are truly riveting (pun intended!)

Being in the front passenger seat, I could leisurely show you the bridge from my viewpoint... and with traffic facing us so s sense of perspective might be gained on the bridge's grandeur.

That evening was spent at a comfortable motel in Manistique. We had dinner at the local country club, and this was our fairway/lake view as we partook of the Cajun chef's specialty. On the way back to the motel, we checked out a section of the local lake walk.

There was a steady moderate headwind that day, so the insects weren't dive bombing us as we followed others close to Lake Michigan. Since I've never been exposed to the water other than to swimming pools, each visit to the Great Lakes is experiencing a miracle to me. The colors, smells, flora and fauna have been out of my life experience, so I am intrigued here to discover a few of the nuances.

The ground rock is 'dimpled' (from a post card it appears this is PetoskeyRock, the state rock of Michigan. should I be incorrect, please let me know.)No sand here, just the rock. Does it not seem as though we're looking at a closeup of the moon in shadow? And the grass growing seemingly out of the rock... I'd guess just enough sand was deposited to sprout the wayward seed. On our travels, I'm always watching for plants/trees/cactus growing in unexpected environments.

The next morning we continued in the UP (Upper Peninsula) to find not just 'sea grass' but even nearly wild roses and other wildflowers interspersed with the grass. Lake Michigan was beckoning, but we had to continue onward to Wisconsin.

At the same pull-off, I turned to the left for this shot of the morning sun sparkling on the lake. Sigh. From here we continued on to Escanaba for breakfast at the Swedish Pantry mentioned in an earlier post, the yarn shop in Menominee, and to Merrill, WI.

In Merrill,we checked into our rooms, called "little brother" and Sarah and I were privy to the brothers' verbal jousting. Then on to dinner and more knitting with Sarah, as we had also had our own private knit-in on the lake shore the prior evening. After Russ had his yearly coffee clatch with one of the local coffee groups and we all had brekky in Skipper's patio downtown, and more of a tour of Merrill with stops at two of DH's childhood friends, it was off to Marshfield for a 3 p.m. rendezvous.

This greeted us in the lobby.

(Click to embiggen!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On the road

to Wisconsin we made several stops in Michigan.

Russ' cousins, Bruce and Bill, work a family farm. Bill works it full time while Bruce works it part-time and Bruce's son Geoff helps out also.

(Every time Russ says he's going to call Cousin Bruce, I just cannot help thinking of the radio dj, Cousin Brucie!)

Here are Bruce and Russ in one of Bill's seed corn fields. Bruce said that the farm is one of the smaller ones around, which doesn't mean tiny, just smaller in comparison. Peaceful, quiet and level with sandy loam soil, the farm is a pleasure to visit.

What an intriguing barn this is on the part of the farm Geoff lives on. It was his great grandmother's homesite, and this is one of the original barns.

The barn isn't quite empty! Here is a Ford 8N, the same style as Russ renovated back in Arizona as his final tractor there. We spent the night in Union City, then had brunch with the brothers the next day before going to Sarah's at a Mexican restaurant in Grand Rapids that has fabulous Mexican cuisine. I'd definitely rank it as in my top 5 Mexican restaurants.

Sarah had promised the reindeer pants on her blog....sure enough, here they are! She's in a whirlwind here, trying to coordinate pets and kids and schedules and packing and getting ready for the knit-in and baking and cooking (here with the Swiss chard potato soup) and phone calls.... She really knows how to put on a party!

And the feast that went with the Knit-In! Sarah outdid herself. There are two cakes on the counter from other knitters, as well, but you can't see the additional two soups on the cooktop she made that afternoon. The bread on the cutting board is freshly baked that afternoon as well. Much of the menu was organic from the local cooperative. We're honored to have a knit-in thrown for us. Thank-you so very much, Sarah (AKA Sarry June, as Russ nicknamed her).

The next morning we three were on our way to 2.75! We stopped at this amazing rest area which honored each job the MDOT workers perform. It is especially touching to us as Russ is a retired ADOT employee. Well-kept, clean, plantings with keys to identify each flower or herb, this rest area will be revisited!

Next up: The Bridge and the lake shore.

(Click any photo to embiggen!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Road Trip Wearables

And from the "Men's Mall" as Sharon calls it, we have a present for me, a Farmall tshirt. When Russ was shopping at Fleet Farm in Marshfield, he found this tshirt, a bird bell treat, bird food, doggie cookies and assorted other items. "I always remember my Honey," he says :-) And we know how much RUss loves Fleet Farm. He was really pleased when "Nancy knitting by the fireside in Northern Wisconsin" remembered his penchant for FF shopping.

The camp shirt this year comes in various colors (as it has been), but new this year are sweatshirts! I got a brown hooded sweatshirt and a teal tshirt. I love both!

We even have finished items this year! The Solstice socks (so named because they were started on the Summer solstice) are fini and now blocking. Sock #1 of the socks started back in May pictured against the peach tree blossoms is finished and Sock#2 (it's mate) is begun.


from the Road Trip returned from at 5:40 p.m. yesterday we'll show first from some of the digital photos I snapped this morning.

Perfect travel weather both directions pleased us no end. Oh, there was wind. And evening lightning displays as a bonus during camp. But that area of the midwest has needed rain desperately. The corn was very sad-looking on the way to camp. After the storms, on our return, the fields were much healthier.

Although I did have the digital with us, I took only 35mm photos which have been developed just this afternoon. The first digital pic shows the lovely present from "Sarry June", as Russ has named her, a handpainted yarn of merino superwash from Woven Art.

As we headed off from her abode in Michigan, we stopped crossed the Mackinac Bridge and stayed in Manistique by Lake Michigan. Now we have enjoyed a brunch there two years ago and this year a comfortable evening's rest. The is a special touch to this place and will need to have further investigation foisted upon it.

In the morning, we were trekking along when Sarah said there'd been a yarn store in Menominee, MI two years ago by the harbor but the woman said she was moving the shop down the road. Oh, yes. Down the same street to her 9000 square ft. home right on the lake with her own piece of private beach, 11+ ft. ceilings and glass-faced leaded glass bookcases. Sarah pick up this skein of Cascade yarn and handed it to me. I proceeded to carry it around and buy it! Darn she's good :-)
Breakfast was at the Swedish Pantry in Escanaba, MI. We knew about it from the billboards. A place for my Swedish heritage where they had wonderful economic breakfasts, could improve upon the strength of the coffee and had fun Scandinavian gifts. Pictured are my must notice the "Perfect" mug which Russ insisted I buy.(Combine being Swedish with being a Virgo and this mug is especially appropriate!) I used it throughout camp.

Jennie the Potter was at camp as both a camper and merchant on Market Day. I bought the wonderful sheep mug, just my size for coffee (grin). At the raffle I won one of Jennie's bowls and a fridge magnet. Thank you, Jennie! I love them.

For Squonk, my contest entry, I won a Yarn Barn packet with Patsy Z's Spinning DVD. It will be fun to watch it for additional spinning tips. It might just get me back to my wheels.

And for the SHP stash I brought home! The books in the back are Alice Starmore's Celtic Knits, Lizbeth Upitis' Latvian Mittens from which came the SHP KAL and this year's nametag, Barbara Walker's Third Treasury, Cheryl Burnet's Sweaters 101, Lloie's Kitchen Table Cookbook, and Mary Wright's Cornish Guernseys & Knit-Frocks. Then underneath all us this year's cream and dark green snap tote and there's a SHP pencil case for knitting notions. There are 3 of the skeins of Ultra Alpaca by Berrocco for the Round-the-Bend jacket in celery, moss green and ocean plus the matching DVD. Last in front are 5 balls of J&S shetland 2 ply jumperweight in black, 2 oranges, wheat and red/blue mix.

(Since blogger ate the first three tries on this, I'd better get this posted quick like a bunny! And, click on any picture for more detail, as always!)

Saturday, July 05, 2008


we leave on our road trip to here.

Yes, the car is all packed except for items to be used tonight and in the morning.

2.75, here we come!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Clever, William Tell

Some people took a nap this afternoon instead of getting ready for The Trek.

Another person saw a picture in a handyman project magazine and created his own bird feeder!

I'm proud of my Honey!