"Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber." Proverbs 31:19 NLT

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Sow's Ear. Yes, The Sow's Ear

Yesterday, my very understanding husband and I had a bit of time between appointments in Madison. And since we live close to an hour away from the capital, we weren't really sure what to do with the time. But I remembered hearing of a yarn/coffee shop in Verona (Wis.) so we used our handy smart phone, looked it up and put the address in our handy GPS - what did we do before all this technology? Lo and behold, The Sow's Ear is in downtown Verona located at 125 S. Main Street and it is a delight. Here is the view from the road:
Notice the garden right in front. It had tomatoes, cucumbers,
and peas.

I didn't ask how they got the name of their business but it does appear that someone's lawn pig lost an ear!! I did notice that their "motto" is "Needles and Caffeine - Feed Your Addiction" 

Hubby had his phone so he could connect to the WiFi and check email. I happened to have my knitting (imagine that) so we were all set. We went in and here are some of the feasts for the eye:
What a marriage - food and yarn!

This woman is Debra, the proprietor.

Just imagine the pleasure at gazing around at all the colorful yarns, rovings, books and to smell coffee, cookies and even sandwiches and quiche. There were ladies knitting and chatting, one working on her computer and people ordering food. ahhhhhhh

We decided to split a cookie and latte. 

The proprietor is Debra and the web address of the establishment is http://www.knitandsip.com/ You can, in fact, just knit and sip. But you can also purchase patterns, wonderful yarns from exquisite fibers, and even take classes in a variety of subjects, all involving yarn or the spinning of it. It is a little off the "beaten path" as far as Madison is concerned, but is well worth the very short drive to Verona. You won't be disappointed, whether you go alone or with a few friends. Or with a great husband.

P.S. While I was there, I spoke with a woman who is a part of The Bodgery! I believe it is some sort of artists' collective but if you go to the link and click on "Events" you will see on their calendar "Fiber Frenzy." It is a gathering of all things fiber and those who love it. I think it is just an evening where you can go with whatever you are working on, including knitting, crocheting, sewing, basketry, she makes jewelry with feathers (fiber, I'd say), and everyone works on their projects, shows & tells, and ooohhhs and ahhs at everyone else's work. Sounds like a fun trip to coordinate with some friends.

I also found a flyer for the 2014 Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival in Jefferson, Wisconsin. The dates are September 5-7 and cost is $7 for all over the age of 8. Three day pass - $12. For more information on this event, click here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Spinning - a Break from Knitting

Well, I'm not really taking a break from knitting. But I'm knitting  mucho Christmas gifts with a lot of repetition. And I've had this braid draped across my spinning wheel, directly across from my easy chair where I typically knit. Isn't it luscious?

I got it from Susan's Fiber Shop a while back (for a review of the shop click here.) And it has been calling my name for some time now. It is called (I believe) Meadow Maggots and is mostly merino with the light colored strand being bamboo. Charming name, huh?

So, while I've been spinning I have been reminiscing about some of my past spinning demonstrations - where I spun memories! (catchy, huh?  :^) I've done many but thought I'd post a bit about a couple of the summer ones from days gone by.  

The very first outdoor demonstration in which I ever participated was during a local festival. I believe it was the the first one of its kind in our town. Portage is the 3rd oldest town in Wisconsin because of the close proximity of the Fox River and the Wisconsin River to one another. The earliest explorers of the region, Marquette and Joliet, went from Green Bay down to Prairie du Chien and "portaged" their canoes at "Portage" from the Fox over to the Wisconsin River. So this festival was called Old French Days. (It is now called Canal Days.) But in the beginning, there was a small reenactment of something - maybe the Black Hawk war, canoe races, tours of Fort Winnebago and the Indian Agency house, various other events and these three ladies demonstrating spinning. 

We had our period clothing on and sat in the lawn of the Fort's grounds spinning. (I am in the bonnet in the middle.) It was breezy and not-to-hot so it was a lovely time. This picture appeared in the local paper but I really don't know when it was. Judging by my lack of girth, I'm guessing about 1983.

The other outdoor spinning I will mention was actually in a metal building at the county fair. It was July, 1988 and our spinning guild had just succeeded in getting the fair board to add several categories for hand spun yarns and hand spun knitted garments. So we decided to have a few spinners there during the fair hours, partly to keep an eye on the hand spun items that come so dear. I was there one evening, just passing through and a newspaper staff person came by and, for some reason, picked me to interview about our group and activities. I didn't even have my wheel there so the one I'm using in the photo was another lady's.

The article included words and sentences I spoke but they were framed in such a way by the writer that it didn't even sound like me. And it made me sound like I was the only original guild member and that I started the group all by my self. Neither was true. I wasn't even living in Portage when the group started. But it was a front page story so was kind of fun anyway. (The next year I entered this sweater and got first prize - I think by sheer volume.)

Well, enough reminiscing for one post. The yarn I spun from "meadow maggots" is shown below, as is part of the process. The fiber seemed to be spinning up thickly so I have chunky yarn. I had hoped to make mittens out of it so I could enjoy looking at all the color combinations but I'm not sure there is enough for two mitts. I found a pattern for chunky yarn mittens and may try it with some fair isle pattern in it to stretch the yarn. Haven't decided yet.
whirring 'round and 'round


The finished product drying over an A/C vent

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Let There Be Light

I haven't exactly taken a break from knitting. I knitted whenever I could on the 12 hour trip, one way, for a family reunion. I do have to help drive and have to rest my eyes from driving. But knitting I did, when I could. I knitted in the evenings while visiting with my mother.

And now, for 2 weeks, I knit when I can while my step-daughter's family is here for a visit. It's hard to blog while 4 boys, all 11 or under (and one 3 years old) are here but I can knit with hoots and hollers all around.

I've been working on Christmas presents. Four Faire Isle hats for said grandsons and some more bags that I posted about last time. But I thought I'd share a great product in this post.

Last night we went to see fire works in our town and since they were to start at dusk, and since everyone's idea of dusk is slightly different, we left early enough to be sure not to miss anything. So I took my knitting bag. Dusk for these particular people was well after the sun was down. But, never fear, I had light with which to knit.

Enter, HUGlight Flexible Hands Free Light
My attempt at a "selfie."

I was able to knit right up until the fireworks began and, let me tell you, everyone thought I was toooo cool. Well, at least the grandboys did. The others may or may not have thought I was a bit fanatical. But I did get some Christmas knitting done.

And speaking of "selfies," here is one taken by one of our twin grandsons:

He's the one without the curls.