Thursday, October 29, 2009

Knitting my way through Arkansas

I spent the last week wandering around Arkansas with my sister-in-law while she visited with her parents. I got a lot of knitting done in the hotels and in the evenings while chatting with Susette and her mom. And we enjoyed some beautiful scenery and fall weather. No knitting in the car when you would miss scenery like this!

While we were in Arkansas, I found this great old swift at an antique mall. It works like a charm. No more winding by hand....happy, happy!

I started 2 pair of socks before I left and finished both. I love this pair. It's a complicated pattern, but cute. The pattern is the Solid Socks June Mystery Pattern on and is a free pattern.

Please excuse those cobwebs under the cabinet....I swear I cleaned them up after I saw this photo. LOL

And this cheery pink pair. This pattern is called Spring Forward and is free on

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day 5.....Winona Lake to Fort Wayne!

We finally got Joe's tire fixed early in the morning...or I should say, Joe fixed it while I slept in. Then we had a great breakfast and headed out towards Fort Wayne. We had beautiful weather today!

Saw lots of lovely farms, and had lunch in Columbia City at a little spot called Oliver's on the square. It's a good place to eat if you are ever passing through!

Today we rode a total of 4o miles and Grandpa didn't even have to pick us up!

Eventually, after riding tons of hills, we arrived at my sister's home in Fort Wayne. I'm thoroughly ready for some serious relaxation. We rode 213 miles on the bikes, and Grandpa carried us 20 miles in his truck...I'm happy with that and pretty proud that we made it!

What did I learn today?
  • I love the way Indiana looks...I suppose because it looks like home to me.
  • The last day seems to go so much faster no matter how long you are biking-probably because the end is in sight. It's all in your mind!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 4...Culver to Winona Lake

We started the day with a great breakfast of fruit and quiche. Yum!
We rode merrily along for a long while, enjoying the wildlife,
checking out the corn harvest (I think it's pretty big!),

and some pretty cool local artwork.

And then it happened. Joe's tire (not the tube) blew. He was able to patch it back together with a candy wrapper, tape and a new tube....and it made it another 9.5 miles! Just a half mile from our destination it blew out again. So he called around and found a source for the new tire, and we pushed the bikes the last half mile. Of course, when he had to call around, and get phone numbers for bike shops, where do you suppose the only pen we had was...that's right, in my knitting bag!
We arrived at the Blue Heron Guest House in Winona Lake, none the worse for the wear. We cleaned up, met Grandpa Joe (who arrived with the new tire!) and the three of us went out for a great dinner. We biked 30 miles with lots of serious hills. I still love hills.

We have a beautiful room, and if I can, I'm going to coax Sophie the afghan hound to sleep with us.

What did I learn today?
  • Grandpa Joe is a saint.
  • Again, knitter's carry handy stuff in their bags.
  • A blown tire really can be fixed (for a while!) with a candy wrapper!

Day 3...Rensselaer to Culver

We left Rensselaer and ran across an accident site which was, of course, still covered in glass. At first we thought we avoided a flat, but before long my tire was flat. Joe fixed it and off we went....

for a few tenths of a mile and then Joe's tire was flat! He fixed that one too of course.

While he was fixing flats, I knit another pattern repeat on my current pair of socks. And I must tell you that my knitting bag came in handy....because it contained the only pair of scissors we had to trim down the rim tape for fixing the flat tire!

At one point we had to walk about 3/4 of a mile over gravel and this farm dog kept us company for that and another 2 miles. I hope he found his way back home!

The flats put us behind schedule and Grandpa Joe showed up and carried us 10 miles to lunch! God bless Grandpa Joe.
All in all we had a great day of riding with the wind at our backs! We enjoyed looking for signs that we were back in Indiana again:

Hills! I love hills....the hills drain your body, but the flatlands drain your mind.
Give me the hills any day.

classy mail boxes :o)

charming farmhouses,

Roadsides left mostly wild...I love this. It provides so much more cover for wildlife. In Illinois, the roadsides and all of the ditch are almost always mowed or burned...and believe me, we have less pheasant and other birds because of it. We also have less....

milkweed, for the monarch butterfly population, of course. We saw lots of it on day 3.

We arrived at The Black Horse Inn in Culver, Indiana just as it was getting dark. It's a lovely place, set far back from the road. In all, we rode 50 miles on the bikes and 10 in Grandpa's truck.

There were black horses from Culver Academy in the field behind the pool. And in the morning there were wild turkey and deer in the front yard.

What did I learn today?
  • I love hills!
  • Never ride unless you have a grandpa willing to be on call.
  • It's good to bike with a knitter...they have handy stuff in their bags.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 2-Pooped

Yes, that's me collapsed resting by the side of the road. It's nice to have a husband who makes sure to highlight your best moments. We were supposed to go 60 miles today. At about 28 miles it started raining, which sucks the fun right out of riding. At 30 miles my father-in-law tracked us down and offered to take us to lunch at a restaurant 15 miles closer to Rensselaer and the B&B. You can imagine how fast I leaped at that offer. I'm a lightweight. I admit it. So we ended up doing 45 against the wind again today. I really think I have a chance of doing 60 if we could just get the wind to lay down...or better yet push us!

What did I learn today?
  • Rain sucks if you are bike riding.
  • Don't be too proud to accept help. We'll still get where we're going and we're still biking a lot.
  • Whirlpool baths are fabulous things.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Biking to Ft. Wayne...day1

First of all, I had to leave this little guy hard to do! He's so used to going with me. He's going to be spoiled though, staying with Nana and Papa.

So here we are all fresh and ready to go.

We got a kind of late start getting out at about 11 o'clock. We weren't too worried though because today is a short day at only 45 miles. I have to tell you though...I'm pretty tired after that 45 and I ate a huge steak for dinner, and finished it all!

Here's Joe up ahead of me. The trailer used to contain our kids, but now it contains snacks, clothes, and ibuprofen. For those of you who don't live near us, this is the Illinois prairie. Around us, this counts as a hill! LOL It may be flat here, but the wind was against us the entire way and made it quite a workout.

And here he is behind me! I suppose I should have a trailer and carry my fare share, but I'm pretty certain that God made men so much stronger for a reason.

What have I learned today?
  • An ipod is an excellent idea on a trip like this. I'm not the sort who has to talk all the time (unless I'm with my girlfriend Peggy) and I like quiet and time to think, but even I was glad for the tunes after hours of listening to the wind rush by.
  • Eat a good breakfast before you leave (duh). I forgot to eat breakfast and had to stop pretty soon for some fruit.
  • Pack Benadryl. For some reason I ended up with hives all over one leg...hasn't happened to me in years.
  • 45 miles is a long way. Tomorrow we are going to go 60 miles :oO

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Loom Knitting

A few posts ago I showed you how the younger generation of our family is starting to get in to crafting. When I visited my sister's home for my niece's bridal shower last weekend, there was once again a bunch of crafting going on. My niece, Nicole, has decided she likes loom knitting better than knitting on needles, and she is making a baby blanket on a cool wooden loom she purchased at Jo Ann Fabrics.

The way she has the loom set up she is making a double knit fabric, so this will be a really warm baby blanket. You can also set it up to make a single knit panel or to knit in the round.

Nicole works with her hands all day making dentures and partials, and she found knitting the traditional way too taxing for her tired hands. This method seems to work much better for her. here she's lifting the loops over after lacing the yarn around the pegs.

And then she pulls down on the fabric she's making to tighten the stitches.

Little cousin Jamie got to try it too...maybe another knitter in the making? While all that was going on I was teaching my sister-in-law and niece to knit the traditional way. Fun day!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Art of Mimi Kirchner

Mimi Kirchner is a wonderful doll artist. I'm not even into dolls as a rule, but I'm a regular visitor to her blog. Every post is an inspiration. She works with lots of wool (love that!) and salvaged materials (love that too!). If you like her stuff, check out her Etsy shop.
Below is a wonderful little video showing Mimi at work in her studio:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Studio Time

"You're a businesswoman, a wife, a mom, a world traveler, and you're knitting socks. You've got it all."

A friend recently said this to me, and I loved it. It's a little off, since I haven't been out of the United States yet, but hey, I like it! Actually, what he said was that I am knitting him some socks, but I'm not, so I edited it. I may have to start on those socks now though, just to show him how much I appreciate this quote! Thank you Scott Langford of the Grand Rapids Press.

We were talking about having a lot of interests. I've always envied those who have a driving passion for a particular hobby, job or interest. It must be so much simplier and rewarding. Concentrating on one thing would enable you to really become expert in that area.

I'm a dabbler. I hate being pinned down and want to do it all. Right now, I'm trying to clean out my sewing room, and this tendency of mine is causing problems. I can't get rid of that soldering iron and such because I intend to make some collaged pendants under glass. How about the rug hooking supplies? Well, I'm still intrigued by that too. The journaling/drawing stuff (and there is a lot of it!) has to stay because I actually use it often. The sewing stuff must stay. The knitting stuff stays, but I can definitely get rid of all the acrylic yarn. I've become a yarn snob I fear, and I love the natural fibers. The vintage fabric stays, too. And then there's all the vintage book pages and ephmemera which I'm actually starting to use...working them into my drawings. The scrapbooking stuff....well, maybe I need to face reality there.

The good thing is that much of the supplies will be moved to the shop, where I'm setting up a little studio (in the picture above). When I'm done, sewing supplies will be at home and much of the rest of the artsy stuff will be at the shop. I only want to move what I will actually use though, and what inspires me. The rest will have to go to the charity shop.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rainy Days at the Lake...

are really just an excuse to relax! I left the shop in capable hands and went to Michigan for a few days to kick back. I did a lot of swinging and knitting on the porch since it was raining much of the time I was up there.

I finished a pair of Monkey socks. This is a lovely pattern available on for free.

We rounded up the kids from our house and Hill's (and well, OK, yes the adults went too!) and we hit the Driftwood on Round Lake for some ice cream. This little shop has not changed since I was a that.

Old soft serve here. And your sundays and splits come in glass not a paper cup.

A bunch of Harbins and Hills out for ice cream.

Another rainy day activity...painting rocks. Hey, gotta work with what you have at hand! I remember doing this as a kid too.

The sun finally came out so we were able to hang out in the lake. This is my sister and my cousin enjoying the day.
And finally, a little rainy day trouble!