Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wish I could get this picture uploaded....

Ran this morning on the Lakewalk. Around 10 degrees above with NW winds gusting up to 28 mph. We shall not discuss windchill. It wasn't too bad, except that first 1/4 - 1/2 mile into the wind! After that the wind was - mostly - blocked by the walls of the freeway or coming at us from the side.

By the time we thought about turning around we were close to the 2.5 mile mark, so kept going and got the full 5 miles in. Yesterday it rained briefly before snowing and there was ice under the snow, so the footing at times was "interesting". Nothing like black ice and a wind gust to make your feet go in different directions and your heart rate go up.

I was right though - they do plow the Lakewalk before they plow the roads!! As we were heading out around 8:10 or so we saw the plow trucks coming towards us and were later passed by them heading in the opposite direction. Nice to know that the Duluth Parks and Rec folk take access to the Lakewalk so seriously!

We were not alone in venturing out this blustery morning. We saw a total of three people (not counting the plow drivers): a couple walking towards Canal Park and a gentleman and his dachsund(?). No one else though. Pretty quiet overall.

By the time we got back to the cars I had quite the buildup of snow and ice on my lashes. When I got into the car and got a look at myself I realized that my eyebrows were also caked in snow and ice. Utilizing modern technology (in the form of a camera phone), and the review mirror, I was able to get a picture, but don't know how to upload it. Let your imaginations run wild.

It is hard to tell how much snow we are really getting. It is pretty fine-grained stuff and the wind is blowing it into some impressive drifts. Skiing should be a lot better once the winds die down. Wishing the driving was better as I would be tempted to head to Boulder for a skijor.

Blizzardy-type conditions are also good for reading and knitting. The star production line is in full force as we speak. It is hard to read much while producing these though. Lots of decreasing happens in just 5 rows to get from 55 sts down to 5. I realized today that none of my current knitting projects makes for good 'reading while knitting'. They all entail either two-color knitting, lace, or decreases on every row. I suppose I could start a fourth project and get some dishcloths done.....

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Finally got around to taking pictures of the "bird mittens" in progress. Really, I got around to coercing the intended recipient into taking pictures of the mittens.

Back of the hand:

Comparison to the original:

The palm:

At one point in time, while working on the thumb gusset, I had three color charts going! Just the kind of knitting you want to take along to a holiday party.

No pictures of the socks yet. Making good progress, past the heel and working my way down the foot. They did come along to the holiday party as the chart is fairly easy to follow.

Photos from a ski outing:

Try clicking the last photo to read the sign. The Piedmont Ski trail is unique in Duluth for it's handmade wooden signs. They are fun to read!

Sorry about the poor light but it was 7:15 am and a cloudy day. Of course the sunrise got really good when we were most of the way around the loop and no where near the overlook (center photo). I have been trying to get out for a ski at least 2 - 3 times per week and run at least 2 times a week.

I even got Porter out for a skijor at Boulder last Sunday. His initial reaction on seeing his harness was less than enthusiastic, but by the time we got near the ski trail he was "smiling". The first 3.8K he was running, with tail high and taking any breaks to roll in the snow and act like a puppy. The last 2+k he was much more subdued, but a lot of that had to do with a negative encounter with another dog while we took a break at the parking lot. People with dog aggressive dogs should not bring them to public places, especially if they do not know how to control them. Everyone was okay, just shook us up a bit.

I have been getting out for a couple of runs (long for me) and really enjoying it. Duluth seems to take great pride in keeping the Lakewalk plowed all winter long, and as much as I dislike running on paved surfaces, it is a nice, lit, alternative to slogging along on snowmobile trails. Some of the hiking trails get packed enough to make a great running surface, but I haven't tried them out yet. Though with today's temperatures the trails will be soft, and skiing is out until it is no longer "klister" weather.

Friday, December 14, 2007

No pictures

Sorry, keep meaning to get pictures of the current knitting projects but have not had camera, projects, and good light all together at the same time.

OTN: A pair of mittens for my daughter Sarah. and a pair of socks.

Years ago I knit a pair of mittens based on a color chart from Knitting in the Nordic Tradition. My pair is knit in a robin's egg blue and cream color. The pattern is of birds, so of course I call these my "bird mittens". So creative! I think I even entered them in the State Fair.

In the ensuing years, Sarah has started to wear them (they are like the mitten's from the Jan Brett book - accomodating many sizes of hands, Sarah is at least 6 inches taller than I am) and I have started to say on an almost daily basis "Don't lose those or let anything happen to them, they are special (irreplaceable, precious.... you get the idea)".

Sarah has a winter coat that is two shades of pink. About a week or so ago she asked me if I would knit her an identical pair of bird mittens to match her coat. Sure I said - if I can find the pattern. Off I went to look. Found the color chart for the hand and thumb in one folder. Kept searching.... found the color chart for the cuff in another notebook. Kept looking.... ah, there were some written directions.

The problem with my designing is that I often work on the item without really noting what I have done. Then, years later when I am trying to recreate a design I have - if I am lucky - some sketchy notes to work from and maybe, just maybe the actual item.

I had to reclaim the original pair from Sarah so that I could use them to help me figure out the missing gaps in the original writtten pattern. I am trying to be more disciplined this time around and, at each step, record what I am doing.

I am working in Jamieson's 2 ply Shetland Spindrift on size 0 needles. I cast on 72 stitches so it is (was) moving along pretty quickly. That was until I hit the hand and the two seperate patterns (three if you count the thumb gusset) that I am working at the same time. One for the palm of the hand and one for the back. I am still trying to remember how I handled the charts for this one. Needless to say it does not make for good travel knitting.

A week or so ago the Yarn Harlot posted pictures of her sock in progress - Embossed Leaves I believe is the name. Anyway, I searched the Interweave Knits archive to find the pattern. It is in the Winter 2005 issue. I decided these would be my travel knitting. Not 100% sure who they are for. Maybe a Holiday gift, maybe not, we shall see.

Today we drove to the Twin Cities (just for the day) to visit my in-laws. Miracles of miracles I did not have to drive so spent the time on the way down casting on (learned a new cast-on) and working the ribbing and part of the pattern. Well-prepared knitter that I am I had packed my headlamp and was able to knit on the way back also (strapped the headlamp to the back of the front seat headrest and aimed it down). Got almost two repeats done.

Porter was very happy when we got back and greeted us with quite the vocalizations. He spent the day hanging out in his house which is located in a nice sunny spot of the yard, though it is currently overhung by some pretty spectacular icicles on my neighbors house (need to get some photos of those, too). His reward for being left: a big hunk of venison, a carrot and dog food soup.

Stay warm. Get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Running - and walking - at 11 below (air temperature, windchill rumoured to be minus 24)

A before the run shot as we gathered:

What we looked like 45 minutes later:

Photos of a long-time UFO that was completed last night. Perfect timing as the temps are plummeting.

And the finished mittens of my own design. Realized that the contrast between the two yarns isn't quite enough. Guess I will have to make another pair :->

And the two projects together:

Note the snow - yup, we have about 3 feet of the lovely white stuff in the yard. Still have a barely plowed out road. But the skiing is awesome!!

For those wondering how you dress for these temps see my previous post but add: long-sleeved lightweight fleece over the sporthill running top, subtract the vest, add some Warm Skin applied to face and hands. I was toasty warm for the whole run without being too warm.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

17 plus inches of snow!!!

Wish I had my camera out the last few days. West Duluth got over 17 inches of snow!! Got my car home the next day once they got around to plowing out my street. Today we got another 1 - 2 inches of snow.

So far I have not been back on my skis since Tuesday night. Yesterday was a running day. Met a friend down at the Lakewalk (original plan was to run trails, but too much snow) and we ran 4.7 miles. Temperature was around 5 degrees F (or so) with a bit of a breeze which we didn't notice until we turned around. The Lake is still open and there was a ship anchored out, lit up. Today was a rest day. Hoping to get out tomorrow for a ski after work.

Sunsets and sunrises have been quite spectacular the last couple of days - again wish I had my camera near by.

Not much on the knitting front to report.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

13 inches of snow and still accumulating!!!

Yeah for a real winter! Yesterday I skied before work (early enough to catch the sunrise - so unlike me). Today I skied before work - 8K (two loops around the Piedmont Ski Trails in Duluth). As I was skiing it began to snow and by the time I headed out for the second loop signs of my first pass were already gone.

Headed to work on roads that were getting a bit slick but still okay. I arrived to work at 11:00 am, ready to stay until 8:30 pm. By 2:00 pm my car had snow halfway up the tires. By 4:00 pm a co-worker noted that the snow on top was so high it looked like two of my cars stacked up! Glad I had my skis in my car today as they became a necessary part of my commute home.

Bridges were closing by 4:00pm, Duluth Transit Authority announced they were shutting down service at 6:00pm. Staff started heading home and, per our policy, we closed at 6:00. Well, no one could get to the clinic by 4ish, so most of the rest of my time was spent returning patient calls and digging out my co-workers. I left my car at work as there was no way I would get it near my house. Hills are too steep, roads are the last to be plowed.

Nothing like skiing on the streets of Duluth! Especially through 13+ inches of fluffy light snow. Bonus: got home and the shoveling had already been done. The dogs' house is disappearing under the drifts as we speak. They are predicting up to another 7 inches of snow before this ends, but sunshine for tomorrow.

Thank you Lake Superior for the snow (apparently this is pretty localized to the Downtown, East Hillside and West Duluth areas). Thanks also for coming at a time of year that is cold and will keep the snow around for awhile.

OKC: the Celtic Cable Mittens are done and went for their first ski today, as well as some snow shoveling and pushing cars. Looking for the right yarn and pattern to start a pair for Sarah.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Yeah, it is really snowing!

The bummer is that it is snowing so much that there have had to be cancellations of a few events, one of which my daughter worked very hard at organizing (World AIDs Day - Harbor City International School).

The city of Duluth has far fewer plow drivers than they did 10 years ago. Guess what the roads are like?

On the bright side this means my cross-country skis may get some use this year. Today though, I think I will work on the "celtic cable" mittens. One done, one to go. I have already had a request for a pair of pink and white mittens - preferably in some type of colorwork pattern.

Stay safe and warm wherever you are!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

1.8 degrees F, wind gusts up to 24 mph, sunny, 1'' of snow

Those were the conditions that greeted me for my run this morning!

I decided that it would be a long winter if I couldn't face these conditions in November, so bundled up and headed out onto the trail for a short run - 5k on the Piedmont Ski trails in Duluth. Just enough snow to cover the ice and provide good traction without being so deep that you slide back a half step for every step you take.

The nice thing about trail running is, even though there are no leaves on the trees, they do provide some protection from the wind. I really enjoyed the sunshine! Working indoors makes me crave sunlight - especially during the darkest time of the year.

What does one wear to run when the windchill is -16F? I am a big fan of Sporthill and their 3SP products. So, from the bottom up:
Smartwool socks; Saucony running shoes; Sporthill tights (3SP); InSport long, winter weight running bra; Sporthill 3SP (infuzion) top; Sporthill fleece vest; windshirt from Whistlestop half; polypropeline liner gloves; silky wool hand-knit mittens; neck gaiter; fleece hat (found on the trail years ago - has nylon on the ear flaps and around the base); sunglasses.

If it had been much colder I would have added: wind pants (again Sporthill brand) and Warmskin (a lotion that protects the skin from windburn and adds a layer of warmth). A lot colder and I would have added a fleece sweater and pulled the neck gaiter up.

I love the windshirt they gave out at the Whistlestop this year. It is very windproof, nice "hand", has two pockets, reflective band on the collar. It is a very bright, tomatoey red which is not my favorite color, but on the other hand I will never be mistaken for a deer while wearing it :-> One annoying thing about it is that the sleeves are very, very long. Like 4 inches too long. This is annoying most days, but today it was a bonus feature. Kept my hands nice and cozy.

Did I mention I have Raynauds?? Yeah, makes exercising in northern Minnesota an interesting adventure. Dressing in the right layers is always a balancing act for runners. How many layers are needed so that you are comfortable but do not overheat? This is complicated with Raynauds because I have found that almost the only way to prevent the loss of sensation is to keep my core warm. Equals extra layers and the potential of over heating. Not today though!

Knitterly news: I am almost done with the first mitten (see previous post). A few more decreases at the top, pick up and knit the thumb and one mitten done. Then it is on to replicating it and refining the pattern. Pictures to follow sometime soon.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Work in progress

What I have been working on for the past few weeks is hats for the Mitten Tree at work. This is an example of what has been rolling off the needles:

Well-aged Lopi, basic hat pattern.

After many hats and lots of time with size 10 needles it was time for a switch. From deep within the stash I unburied some well-aged yarn. The salmony-pink (my camera does not do the colors justice) is Reynolds Candide. The grey is Condon's yarn from Charlottetown, P.E.I.

I am working up a mitten pattern - a work in progress at this point. So far I have the gauntlet somewhat sorted out in my head and on paper. I wanted to incorporate a celtic-style braid pattern I had floating around.

Again, my camera is not doing the colors justice (nor is the lighting in the livingroom late at night).

I had most of the pattern knit up while listening to a local performer (Rachael Kilgour) down at the Amazing Grace and then I realized I had switched the colors in the pattern and was no longer knitting it correctly. Nothing like ripping out 7 rows of two-color knitting in dim light! Waited until I got home to pick those stitches back up. But... see if you can spot my error (if it is shown in this picture).

My goal is to keep an accurate record of what I did with this mitten so that I can:
1. Make a second one that resembles the first;
2. Share the pattern with others (or just duplicate it myself) if the need arises.

Got out for a five mile run this morning. Luckily the wind saved the worst it had for us today to a bit later, though it did give me quite the push up one hill! The temp was in the upper 20's to low 30's this morning. A far cry from the low-to-mid teens on Thanskgiving Day when I ran. This was my longest run since the half over a month ago. Felt good to get out there and run for 45 minutes. I had started to miss the longer runs and have not been able to fit them in around work (too dark, too much going on). From here on out - or at least until April - every Saturday morning I can plan on getting 5 miles in, plus having a nice chat with some friends and getting some "oats with bugs"

Friday, November 16, 2007

Christmas City of the North Parade

Only in Duluth could this become a long standing tradition. There is a video at from last years parade.

In years past (read "when the girls were much younger"), we would bundle up and head to downtown Duluth at about 5:00 pm to stake out our spot for the parade. Inevitably, after finding just the right spot on the curb to sit, by the time the parade came by the girls view (and mine - lets be honest I am short afterall) would be blocked by some less than considerate adults that had stepped in front of us. Nothing like having to tell some grown-up (often two sheets to the wind) to please let the kids see.

The parade typically starts at 6:30 pm - down at the DECC. Meaning, the first float, marching band, lead car would appear at our location around 7:00 pm (it is a mile plus parade route). BRRRRRRR!!! Often it was snowing. Often we were sitting on snow drifts. It has only been in the past few years that it has been "warm" for the parade. The highlight was when the hot air balloon company would go by and fire off the flame used when filling a balloon. Instantly heating the air for a half block around!

Sarah and Gilah continue to go to the parade every year, but I have bowed out for the past two - three years. I am not a fan of standing around in the cold doing nothing more than watching other's go by. The girls have other people (=friends) that they would rather go with. Perfect solution.

Knitting Update:

I have been working up a few hats in the mystery sourced Lopi. I have to say it is a nice change of pace to knit up an object in an evening. Most of my knitting is done on such small needles that it takes weeks rather than hours to finish them.

I am once again contemplating blocking (finally) Icarus. It has been finished for over a year now and I just have not gotten around to finding the space to lay it out. I was inspired to consider it again when I realized how fast the lace scarf dried. I just need enough space to lay it out for a few hours or so. Part of what holds me back is the effort it will take to pin it out.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday night this and that.

Thought I would post some pictures of recent (broad definition of recent) knitting.

My nephew Zander in his Baby Surprise sweater. Apparently he did wear it once while it really fit him, but threw up on it before my sister got a photo. So, she got him into it, for possibly the last time so that I could get a picture!

The scarf I knit for the Peace UCC (Duluth) Silent Auction and Artist Cabaret (fundraiser for a building project). It is the Ploughed Lace pattern I have knit before in a brown, angora blend lace weight yarn. I modified the pattern a bit in order to control the rolling edges and knit it up in a fingering weight yarn that was given to me years ago and never seems to run out - it's like a miracle! I have a triagular shawl, hat, mittens, and who knows what else knit from it and yet I still have more on hand! The scarf is approximately 7 inches wide by 6 feet long.

Happy Birthday Porter!!! (this picture is from two years ago). He is now nine years old and has been slowing down. Porter is very, very happy with the cooler weather and really seemed to like the shady, icey, snowy trail we walked this morning with a friend and her two german shorthairs. He was not so thrilled with the temperatures when we ran this afternoon. It had warmed up to the upper 40's (50 at the top of the hill) and he was noticably slower and looked a bit heat stressed by the end. Luckily there is now a lot of water available along the trail.

We have had snow two days in a row. Enough accumulation that we had to brush the cars off, and to cause people to run off the roads. It is amazing how folks who live in a northern climate always seemed to be shocked by the first snowfall!

Skijoring (cross county skiing while being pulled by a dog). One reason I am excited to see snow! Last year we really did not get any snow, well, not until March and April, and then it melted pretty quickly. My skis never saw snow last year. Porter never had to don his harness and run any trails. I missed it!! I am hoping that he has another season or two in him, but if the winters stay mild I may never find out.

OTN: hats for the Mitten Tree at work made from some Lopi that appeared in my stash (not sure where it came from to be honest - gift from a friend? Originally meant for slippers?). Go to: to learn more about the Mitten Tree Project. Both of our sites have baskets full of yarn and fleece for people to take as well as a file folder of patterns. We also have two projects available for people to work on while they wait.

Reading: After a blitz of Patricia Cornwall I am taking a break and rereading The Lord of the Rings. I can't even count the number of times I have read the series, but it seemed like a nice fit and the library wasn't open when I ran out of reading material. Speaking of which, the City of Duluth announced that due to staffing issues the libraries will be closed one extra day a week. Aaagh! It is hard enough to get to the library if you work, now it will only be harder. I remember the "good ol' days" when the library was open 4 nights a week. Now it is only open two evenings a week, closed on Saturdays in the summer, and now closed an extra day a week (the day depends on which of the three locations you are trying to get to).

Enjoy the nice weather tomorrow! I have the day off and plan on spending a fair portion of it outdoors while the sun and warmish temps last.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Whistlestop Half-Marathon

Last weekend I ran in the Whistlestop half-marathon. Training had been going very well, I had been running some speedy (for me) trail races and the weather cleared and seemed perfect for setting a PR. I had a goal to finish under 2 hours. I knew that I could do that as I have run every other half-marathon in 2 hours or less.

I am a 1:58 half-marathoner. Four half-marathons. All run in 1:58. Amazingly consistent.

Actually I started out running closer to a 8:30 min/mile pace (1:51 half) and kept that up for 9 - 10 miles when my legs started tightening up in back and the blisters I had been ignoring since mile 3 conspired to slow me down. If I were to do a half again I think I would ignore the advice and do longer training runs. I topped out at 10 miles and think I need to do longer runs.

Most of my training was done on the Superior Hiking Trail in Duluth with one foray up the North Shore to run a (turned out to be steep as heck) nine mile section. I figured the hilly trail running was good for strength and the weekly 90 minute soccer games were my speed work.

Oh yeah, soccer. So after running 13.1 miles Saturday I did go ahead and play 90 minutes of soccer on Sunday. It actually was a good way to work out some of the stiffness. Bandaid makes a blister pad that worked really well to protect the 1.5 cm blood blister on my left foot.

After all of that I have felt pretty justified in taking the rest of the week off from running. That and the rain helped my decision making.

So all this extra time on my hands now that I am not training has been pretty good for my knitting. Finishing up some socks. Finished hats for the Mitten Tree at work. Started a scarf for work but ran into an allergy issue with it (donater has cats) and have set it aside for now. I've been asked to contribute something for the Silent Auction at church so need to look throught my stash and see what wants to be knit up in two weeks ;->

Any suggestion??
Still here despite the rain.

The house is still perched on the hillside, the road was graded just the other day - in time for more rain. I am afraid to go into the basement and see exactly how much water is running down there. Luckily we aren't in a flood zone - well until we get a flood of biblical proportions at least :->

Remember way back in May when I listed a whole mess of wildflowers and promised pictures someday? (Wish I knew how to link to old posts). Anway, as we head into fall and winter, just a little reminder of spring:

Yellow lady slippers


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Knitting in use on Isle Royale:

You may note with a close look the handknit silkywool mittens (worn over a pair of polypropelene liners) and the bobble cable hat (featured in a previous post). What is not shown in any photo from this trip are the handknit socks I wore the whole trip. They were great whether used along or in combination with liner socks (or in combination with thick socks and a pile coat on the coldest night out there - mid 30's F).

It had been raining, misty, windy on much of our trip. The knitting I took along was not worked on very often as I could not keep my hands warm enough. Though at the Island Mine campsite - where we could build a fire - I did get significant work done on the hat I had cast-on during the ferry trip to the island. I opted for soemthing circularly knit to reduce the chance of loosing a needle on the trip - or puncturing a water bladder! I recently finished the hat. I knit it using just over a skein of wildfoote handpainted yarn - though why it took more than a skein I am not entirely sure. Let's just say that this hat will become a gift for someone as it is a tad large on me!

Originally I had meant the hat (which I have no picture of) to go with a pair of socks I am working on. Oh well. Christmas knitting done :->

I have been working on a few hats for the "Mitten Tree" at work. The yarn has been donated (there is also fleece for those that sew), so I work with what is available. I may be trolling through my stash soon to see what I have that can be knitted up for donation. Otherwise knitting time has been slim around here. I am thinking about another baby surprise, need to go looking to see what yarns I have that would be suitable. As you can guess I am not big on pastels for babies - or for anyone for that matter!

On another front, besides the weekly soccer games I have been training for a half-marathon since mid summer. The race is this Saturday and I am pleased to see that the forecast is somewhat improved over what the last few days have brought us. Today is the first day that feels like Fall up here - high in the low 40's, rain (some had snow), winds gusting up to the 30's. It was pretty easy to decide against a run today (I have been dealing with a mild case of shinsplits also). Tomorrow is a trail run/race, then two days of rest and then 13.1 miles! If you are awake and alert on Saturday, Oct. 13th think speedy thoughts towards Ashland, Wi around 9:00 am. If the running gods/goddesses are with me I hope to be done with my race by 10:45 - 11:00 am. Then I will be off to watch Gilah's soccer team play (she is in college in the same town) and - if I can stay awake - head home to awake the next morning and play in my own soccer game.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Wireless has arrived in the house and now I am willing to try blogging again (with pictures).

Long awaited photos of the knitting:

Instead of flowers (promised back in June in my last post) I could include a few pictures of my recent trip to Isle Royale. I spent seven days out there. Six of them backpacking 30+ miles, one hanging out at Windigo after having given up our spots on the ferry.

Not much in the way of flowers in September, but we did see on orchid (not in bloom, but with the seed pods and very distinctive leaves) - Rattlesnake plantain.

Didn't see any wolves, may have heard them howling one morning, early. Did see moose. Three on one day, two males in rut, one immature male doing his best to stay out-of-the-way and unnoticed. Two on the next day, a female and her yearling calf. The males were across the lake (thankfully), the cow and calf were about two hundred feet away on the beach. A little close for comfort when they started moving in my direction :->

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Long awaited pictures of the most recent knitting (and maybe a few flowers - we shall see how it goes ).

EZ's Surprise sweater knit from one strand of fingering weight wool held together with a strand of sock wool. Great way to start using up those odd balls of sock wool I have hanging about (and those skeins of fingering weight I am sooooo drawn to).

Well, I am still waiting for photos to load... should be interesting to see where they end up in this post. The sweater is for my new nephew, now 4 months old.

I was going to upload photos of the scarf that I designed and knit for a silent auction but I would rather go to bed at this point. I promise I will try to post in less than a month with the scarf photos and some of the wildflowers that were blooming in early June.

Just a hint on the scarf (still waiting for the uploading of pictures to be accomplished - and yes Chris, I did use the smallest image size :-> ):

Knit in fingering weight shetland wool. lace pattern from a Barbara Walker treasury. I called it the Vine Lace scarf. Finished size (after blocking) was 7.5 " x 46.5". I have no idea what it went for at the silent auction. Can't even remember what I set the value at.

I am currently working on another scarf (after finishing a striped hat for a friend) from the same pattern. I did modify it to be a bit narrower = one less pattern repeat. This time I am using blue - wait for it - fingering weight yarn. I am sure pictures will appear some day.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I seem to be averaging a post every two months or so - sorry to my one loyal reader! this will be a photoless blog - I haven't had a camera handy on my latest outings.

Wanted to let you in on one of the best wildflower runs I have ever done. I had to go up north to Finland (Minnesota that is) last weekend. After spending an hour and a half driving, three and a half hours in a meeting I headednorth another 15 miles or so to one of the sweetest sections of the Superior Hiking Trail - at least in May! I ran from Cook County Rd 1 to the Gasco Rd (an old logging road) and back. This section goes through an RNA, similar to an SNA but established by the forest service vs the DNR. It is an old-growth maple forest. For wildflower geeks that means awesome spring ephemerals. I hit it perfectly. Following is a list of what I saw in that 5.8 mile rooty, rocky, steep trails run:

b=bud; f=flowering; l=leaf

Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) - f
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) - f
violet species - white & purple flowers
Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) - f
Bellwort (Uvularia species) - l
Clintonia (clintonia borealis) - l
Adoxa moschatellina (a species of special concern in Minnesota and a special treat and find from that day) - f
Carolina Spring-beauty (Claytonia caroliniana) also a species of special concern - f
Early saxifrage (Saxifraga virginiensis) - f
various tree species - aspen, birch? (my allergies say yes)

Couple spots had moose scat, even more spots had wolf scat. No fresh tracks that day. I called in a few chickadees and a flycatcher (?) while I sat and stretched after my run that day.

Since then I have been cruising around on trails in the Duluth area and have seen:

Corydalis species - f (either yellow or golden, though due to timing I am thinking yellow)
Coltsfoot (Petasites palmatus) - f
Hepatica (Hepatica americana) - f
Wood anemone (Anemone quinquefolia) - f
Wild strawberry - f
Viola species - white, pale purple and in my garden - fuschia - f
Wild leeks (Allium tricoccum) - l
Wild ginger (Asarum candense) - f

The turkey vultures are now out in full force. So are the ticks. Last Wednesday I went for a very hot run in Jay Cooke State Park and picked at least 15 or so ticks off of me throughout the run (those steep hills and slow walks up them are good for something besides catching your breath) and another two that evening, plus a few that lingered in the car and were discovered by others. I also had my first mosquito bite that evening!

The trees are all starting to leaf out so the spring ephemerals will be gone soon. My lilacs are budding, the plum is in full bloom and my hops are growing so fast I swear if you sat there watching them you could see it. Of course that means I should be out there encouraging them to grow up the trellis not onto the lawn. Speaking of the lawn, we have already needed to mow and almost missed the magic moment. The combination of a reel mower and our slope means it is best not to let the lawn get to long.

Obviously I have been spending more time outdoors and less time knitting so no major projects to report. I finished some half mittens from the jitterbug, plus a pair of socks and a hat all from the same colorway. I did end up getting a second skein of yarn to do all of that, so now have an bit of jitterbug looking for a small something to be. I also finished a baby surprise from sockyarn held with another fingering weight yarn for my newest nephew. Pictures to appear someday. On a cold couple of days I dragged the Rambling Rows queen size afghan out and worked on some applied i-cord edging. I have just a partial side left and the edging will be complete. Just in time for the warm weather to hit :->

I'll try to post sooner - and with pictures next time.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Thanks to Chris for suggesting a solution to my uploading of photos problem. Based on her suggestions I did a bit of playing around with iphoto and figured out how to shrink down the pictures so that they would load in my lifetime (love the dial-up). Hence I feel like I can share what some Duluthians do with two feet of snow.

Our front porch is about 8 feet or so off of the ground.

I spent an hour snowshoeing the Superior Hiking Trail near our house, packing down the trail ( I was the first one out) and watching Porter struggle through the snow. He is 100 lbs, tall enough to reach the top of the table without stretching, and was up to his chest in snow for most of the walk. Good work out for both of us!

Last night we got it all in Duluth. High winds (60 mph), thunder and lightening. Drifts on Park Point are over 10 feet. We are still waiting for a plow to come along on our street. Today there was hardly any wind and just some nice fat snowflakes drifting down most of the day.

Back to knitting. Details of the Bobble cable hat. The pattern is from Interweave Knits, originally designed as a baby's hat. I have made a few minor changes to the pattern. I had knit it up about a year or two ago, kept seeing it on the head of the person I had gifted it to and decided I needed one of my own.

This version is knit up in Jitterbug - Blue Parrot colorway. Jitterbug is a 100% superwash merino. Very soft. part of my christmas gift from my family this year (the gift certificate was - I chose the yarn).

The missing house - dug out the next day. The drift is at least 5 feet deep over his house - a bit more in some spots.

Last night Porter asked to go out - as he usually does - but couldn't find his house (look under the drift in the previous post). This is what he thought of the blizzard!

Okay - the missing photos from last night and a few interesting ones from today - One at a time :->

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Snowed in! We have gone from winter drought to the possiblitiy of catching up, all in one week. Last weekend we got a foot of snow, took until Wednesday to dig the cars out. Today - Thursday - the Duluth Schools were closed, but the DTA was running so off to work I went - for awhile. The clinic closed at one and will not reopen until Monday. The roads looked pretty good up until about 3:00 pm, then the snow started. Heavy snowfall and winds gusting up to 60 mph give you the first photo (one car buried, another on its way and believe it or not they plowed today!)

Porter has a doghouse out back - care to try and find it in the picture of my neighbors house? Look under the drift at it's highest point on the house. Earlier today Sarah had dug it out so Porter could get to it! Notice Porter's reaction to not being able to find his house for his evening ritual of heading outside to sleep for a few hours.

The Bobble-Cable hat is finished. One photo shows details of the cabled rim, the other shows the whole hat. Knit with Jitterbug - Blue Parrot colorway.

Stay warm and snug. I am casting on for a baby surprise and thinking of all the fun to be had digging out in a day or two. The cross-country skis may actually get used yet this year! Plus, we just gained some great insulation if the temps drop again (still in the mid 20's F here, though with winds at 55 - 60 mph who knows what the windchill is).

Addendum: after waiting for 40 minutes and having only one picture load I am giving up for the night. I'll try and post the rest of the photos tomorrow.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Attended a knitting retreat today. Spirituality of Knitting - at the McCabe Renewal Center in Duluth. Very nice overall. Marred at the beginning by the need to be a mom ("Hi, are you at your thing....", followed by two more phone calls for help in dealing with a flat tire). Why does chaos break out on the only afternoon I have set aside for myself??

But, like a said a nice retreat once I could settle into the space. The McCabe is a wonderful place. Calming atmosphere. Beautiful building, lovely grounds, etc, etc. Nice group of women there - only one who I knew! Surprising in a town of this size.

One quote from the day:

"Knitting is very conducive to thought.
It is nice to knit awhile, put down the needles, write awhile, then take up the sock again."
- Dorothy Day

I got much work done on my Bobble-Cable Hat. Have I mentioned this before? I am working in Jitterbug - Blue Parrot colorway. Everytime I knit this pattern I have to rework the numbers - last time it was decreasing after picking up the stitches on the brim, this time it was increasing. The jitterbug is a lovely, soft yarn. I am currently getting something like 8 sts to the inch on size one (2.5) needles. The yarn label claims a tension of about 7 sts to the inch with size 3 (3.25) needles!

Pictures of hat in progress to follow. I shot a pic of the brim shortly after I picked up stitches. I am now starting decreases for the crown, so may wait to post until the hat is finished.

The question in my house: "How many hats do you need?!"

My question to you all (okay, I guess to Chris - my only reader (that I know about) is:

How many hats is enough?

And does this mean I should do a hat inventory? Whose hats do I count? Mine alone? The ones I share with Jon? Those I have made for the kids? Only hats that are still worn regularly?

Another question: How do I get blogger to post my pictures where I tried to place them - in the middle of text?!?!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Another try to upload the other photos of the socks. Blogger seems to not be cooperating with me right now (or for the past day and a half).

Close-ups of the heel gusset and heel shaping for you sock geeks.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Long time no post. The weather is quite the opposite of this summer - though the ground looks about the same as it did during the heat wave - brown. Temperatures have been mostly below zero - for highs- the last 10 days or so. Schools even shut down one day as the air temp was -22 F and the wind was blowing, leading to wind chills int he -40 to -50 range. Funny, once it warmed up to newar 0 F it felt like a heat wave :->

The bonus to all of this cold weather - SUN. Lots of it. Every day. A rare thing up north in the middle of the winter. Too bad I work indoors all day 9though good for staying warm).

So, the reason i am posting is to upload some photos of one of my latest projects. My eldest asked me to knit her some socks before Christmas. She even took me to the store and chose the colors. Florescent lime green and blue - stripes please, and oh, yeah, heels and toes different colors from each other.

So here they are in all their glory. I named them the "Fishing Lure socks". Teased her about needing sunglasses to work on them. Pattern inspiration came from Nancy Bushs' Folk Socks - St. Peter Port Stripes. Modifications include: stripe pattern based on a 3, 5, 7 sequence. Only one row of braid at the top. Heel is the same - Balbriggan. Toes are the same - Wide Toe version #1. Enjoy!