Believe it or not... I've completed my Knitting On Top of the World Knitathon Journey, with the completion of the very last project in the book:
The Great Plains Blanket Bag!
This was a fun knit- two matching pieces of fair isle knitting for the front and back. I wove in all the thread ends, seamed up the sides and bottom:
Then I put it in the washing machine in a zippered mesh bag in the hot water, in the cycle with the most agitation, let it spin to dry, and set it on top of some cardboard magazine boxes to dry for a couple of days:
Then I stitched on the buckle-style handles, stitched in a calico lining, and voila - it's done!
Nicky mentioned that mine came out a bit shorter than hers; maybe because I used a different yarn? Or maybe that is just the way my gauge works out in felting. I used the same exact yarn for the Shibori Blossom Bag, but that came out shorter as well.
I really like the bag; it was a great hit at knitting night! It will ouch me to auction this one away, for sure, but I think I will just make it again someday, and maybe knit it a bit longer so that the pattern on the bottom ends up on the front and back:
It is a bit of a shock, to be finished. And work has been so crazy, I don't know that it has really sunk in.
I am planning on going to VK Live in November 1-3 at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago; I will bring all the pieces along; I think Nicky and I will do a session on the knitathon. Nicky is going to ask Vogue Knitting if they might be able to assist me in publicizing an auction to sell most of the KOTOTW pieces to benefit Gilda's Club Twin Cities, Inc., the cancer support community center I've been working to help open here.
One of the pieces (the Copenhagen Royal Shawl) is promised to my friend Sheri; and I think there are at least a few I won't be able to part with. But I'm hoping to recoup at least the cost of the yarn for the rest of them (averaged about $100 an item), so that I can give the total amount to Gilda's Club.
Which reminds me - if any of you out there have your heart set on a particular item, please let me know! You'll be giving to a very good cause, and I'll be happy to have my knitted item end up in the hands of someone who has shared my journey on this blog!
Well, first I have a busy week, preparing to go out of town and visit my sister, Susan, in San Francisco for a week of vacation (YAY!) As is always the case, the work sort of flies in the door just when you have made other plans, so I'm going to finish typing this, and then get started on a tenancy-in-common agreement and loads of closing documents for a closing that has to happen March 1, the Friday of the week I get back (sigh).
We are having a bit of a blizzard here, so Nathan and I are snowed in today. It should quieten down by the evening, but I think I will work from home tomorrow and try to take care of my cold; I'd really like to be over the worst of it before I get on that plane Friday.
I have SO many knitting plans, I don't know where to start! I might help Nicky with an additional piece or two for her new book, time permitting, once I get back from San Francisco; and then there is a looooooooooooong list of projects that I started before the KOTOTW knitathon which have been on hold for three years. I have several gifts underway, including some cowls to make for my friends Michelle and Laurie (more on that later), and a whole slew of baby knits to make for presents. I love making baby things; they go so quickly, and are always welcome gifts.
I made my assistant, Melissa, some fingerless gloves (an overdue Xmas gift):
I used the Garter Stitch Mitts by Ysolda Teague, and I embellished them with some i-cord ending in a Nicky leaf to make them a bit more interesting. Melissa really liked them a lot, and I LOVED the yarn, called Zara Chine. A really wonderful, 100% merino wool with a great deal of natural stretchiness. This would be a perfect yarn to make the KOTOTW Cowl Collar Jumper out of, now that Classic Elite Bazic is no longer on the market.
I also finished this adorable set for my friend Kristin's new baby boy, Sullivan:
So cute! This is the Mouse Nibbles Knitkit from Morehouse Farms; I loved the little mousies on the ties and hat tassel, and then booties to match! I know Baby S. is growing fast, so I hope he gets to wear it at least once!
Weekend in Stillwater, MN
I had a lovely weekend in Stillwater with my friends Michelle and Laurie; Michelle is also my cousin. We have had such fun at our annual summer girlie weekends in Alma, Wisconsin, we decided we needed to add a winter weekend getaway this year. I suggested Stillwater, because it is less than an hour away from the Twin Cities, a beautiful old town on the St. Croix River, and because it has lots of lovely shops, restaurants, and bed and breakfasts (as well as a great yarn store!)
We got into town on Friday evening, had a wonderful dinner, and repaired to our rooms at the Aurora Staples Inn, a beautiful house built in the 1800's by a father for his daughter, Aurora, who dutifully married the man her father chose for her (unlike another daughter, who received only a modest, tiny house a few blocks away). It was named after Aurora's husband during her life, but the innkeepers renamed it in her honor.
It was fascinating to learn of the home's long history. The current innkeepers have filled it with authentic antiques from the turn of the prior century, but all the rooms are also equipped with their own whirlpool, making it more luxurious than it was back in Aurora's day. The inn also serves an incredible 3-course breakfast each morning, which was quite a treat! I will share some photos that give you some idea of the inn's beautiful ambience and style:
The other guests were all couples, one set of honeymooners and others just enjoying a romantic weekend getaway. Sigh. I'm lucky I have girlfriends who will go on weekends like this with me. Otherwise I wonder if I'd ever stay in a place like this, filled with such beauty and history.
Michelle and Laurie are determined to get me dating again; Laurie gave us both a makeup lesson, and the two of them intend to do an online dating profile for me. We even got into a conversation at a local bar/bistro, where we repaired for a late afternoon lunch of wine and cheese, with a couple in our age group, who regaled us with the story of how they met on Match.com. Of course, he looked like a male model, and she was blonde, so I don't know that they were a representative sample. But Mr. Handsome said he thought I was both pretty and hilarious (that might have been because I was drinking a gin and tonic rather than sipping wine...). So maybe I should get going on that. (Note to self - did I embark upon a knitting marathon to sidestep the dating issue? Naaaaahhhh, I just really like to knit. But, since I've now completed my journey, what is my excuse for living like a hermit? Besides work, and raising my son, and more work, that is...)
We went shopping in downtown Stillwater; the main street runs parallel to the river. We had to stop in at Darn. Knit. Anyway, their beautiful knitting store (I thought their giant knitted hearts in the side window were lovely. Michelle and Laurie hadn't ever spent much time in a yarn store; I offered to knit them some cowls, and they picked out yarn and a pattern on Ravelry on the store's computer.
We went to some boutiques, and they talked me into buying a hooded vest (very cute, knitted with a fur-edged hood. It was on sale for less than it would have cost to buy the materials to make it!), and a black mesh over-top that they thought would look great over a silk top, leather skirt and boots for my (apparently imminent) dating life. Oy.
We spent some time in an antique store; I realized that there is just a LOT of stuff in antique stores and that I don't have the patience or fortitude to dig through it to find the things that appeal to me, but I did notice an old knitting book:
Here is a little gazebo and a view of the old lift bridge; a new one is being constructed to help with traffic, which gets really bad in the summer months and ties up the main street.
Here's a beatiful old shopfront, with the original "saloon" windows.
Quilt By Renay!
Renay has this beautiful quilt entitled "Minnehaha Falls" in the current Textile Center show; it is made of fabric selvedges, the bound edges on either side of quilting fabric. True to her pioneering Minnesota forebears, and waste-not, want-not nature, she has created something elegant from something others would have discarded:
Not sure if I showed you this yet; this is a recent picture of Anastasia, my Russian college student friend:
She is over the moon,as she was just accepted into a study-abroad program in China next fall! China is one of the subjects she is studying, and I think the program also involves an internship in an American corporation, so she will get a chance to show her capabilities. I'm so proud of her, as she is working so hard at her studies, and slowly building her future, block by block, all by herself. You GO, girl!
We did have a knitting night this week but I somehow forgot my camera (as usual); Renay sent some pictures, so I'll follow up with those next time, which will probably be the weekend of Feb. 23 when I get back from San Francisco!
Stay warm out there!