Thursday, October 18, 2007

Munson Heritage Festival

This last weekend, our family visited the Munson Heritage Festival. On Saturday, we arrived late and parked in a distant parking lot. The kids loved it because the festival offered hay rides between the parking lot and the festivities.

We saw so many cool things at the festival. Gregory and Gabrielle liked the sugar cane and stripping feed corn from the cob best on Saturday.

The had a hand cranked corn machine and also machine powered.

So many children were absolutely fascinated with the processes for stripping corn from the cob.

I thought it a very clever way to gain access to a free work force.

The kids grabbed corn by handfuls.

I had to drag them away to see the rest of the festival.

Of course I was looking for the spinners and knitters. I could have happily joined this merry group. Perhaps when the children are a bit older I will!

The children wore themselves out pretty early with all of the walking we did on Saturday.

They need more exercise I suppose. But the idea of checking out the old mill intrigued Gabrielle enough to keep going.

I think she liked the idea of the mysterious path in the woods more than anything.

Gregory enjoyed watching the basket weaver strip a white oak tree for material for his weaving.

The idea of drawing a blade towards his chest terrified his vivid imagination.

Gregory discovered a new love however.

Gregory just LOVED the blacksmith. He very much wants to learn blacksmithing. In fact, he spent the 3 days following the heritage festival cleaning out the junky workshop so he would have space to work. Now he wants a book about learning blacksmithing and he wants to start looking for a forge. We really liked watching the smith take an old spring and turn it into a barbecue fork.

Kurt worked on Saturday so I had the kids by myself.

Thus, I kept Michael safely secured in the stroller. He got a little nutty being cooped up the whole time.

However on Sunday afternoon, we returned with Kurt. Since there were two of us, I allowed Michael to explore a bit too.

Sunday we arrived a bit earlier and saw some demonstrations we missed on Saturday.

We were fascinated with the process for making roof shingles. Using a funny looking blade, the kids clubbed shingles of wood from a large section of tree.

The kids loved the hands on aspect of it. After removing the shingles, someone else shaved them.

After shingle making, the children got to try lumber jacking.

Gabrielle and her partner eventually needed help.

However, Gregory and his partner managed to saw their wood without assistance.

The kids also got to bring home their circles and shingles. Oh joy.

Right before leaving on Sunday, Kurt and Gregory discovered the art of cracking a whip. Kurt thought it looked fun.

He found it was harder than it looked.

He snapped himself instead of the whip several times and found himself a tangled mess.

But Kurt can be persistent.

It was pretty funny to watch, but Kurt did manage a couple of respectable snaps before walking off the field. Naturally Gregory had to try too.

Gregory picked up the technique pretty quickly.

It only took a couple of tries and he was able to crack the whip pretty consistently. Of course it wasn't as loud as the whip maker, but he did quite well.

Kurt, who had been ready to leave moments before, decided he would not be outdone by his son.

You gotta love testosterone.

But he really did improve after he watched Gregory. It is amazing what a little competition will do.

He looked quite a bit more confident in the end. I think he may have stood a bit taller as he walked away too.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Both of my Bee Field shawls are blocked and finished!

This one is mine and I am just waiting for an opportunity to wear it. It is so pretty. I also made a second one as a gift.

The picture hardly does it justice. I had a hard time parting with this second shawl. I made it from Lisa Souza's fingering weight yarn in the mother of pearl colorway. Pink, blue, purple and peach dance across the creamy yarn. I beaded the second two charts with clear rainbow beads.

It reminds me of antique or vintage lace. I think it is probably the prettiest thing I have ever made. Now I am holding my breath waiting to hear the recipient received it.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Saying Good-Bye to Summer

As summer weather slowly scurries south and away, I try to wind up my summer activities. During the subtropical heat of our southern summers I cannot contemplate knitting much more than light airy lace. So as summer wanes, I am quickly trying to finish the summer's lace projects so I can turn my attention to Christmas knitting.

In today's early morning hours or late last night depending upon perspective, I finished my first Bee Fields Shawl.

I use my bed for blocking and I am hoping it will be finished before we need the bed for sleeping this evening. My husband is quite understanding and supportive of my knitting, but I am not sure he'd be willing to forgo sleep for my shawl. I hate blocking on rainy days, but I just couldn't wait to see this project done. It is really pretty. I beaded the edging and really like the way it turned out.

I used blue seed beads so they could be seen, but would still blend with the yarn. I am quite proud of the way it turned out.

In addition to knitting, I've been weaving. Well, sort of.

I managed to wind all 625 ends of the warp in a single day.

Then my mentor Margaret said I needed to use a raddle. So my brilliant husband Kurt made one for me (though it is not quite finished yet).

The raddle is certainly usable and you can see it on top of the picture. Kurt used a large dowel as a cover for the nails and he still wants to varnish the dowel.

After placing my warp in the raddle, I disassembled some old mini-blinds and beamed my warp.

All went well until I started threading the heddles. It turns out I am not so good at either reading instructions or remembering them. I can't decide which. But I have pulled the warp threads out of their heddles a couple of times now. I've also pulled muscles I didn't know (or remember) I had. So, I'm going slow. I'm just under half done with the heddles right now. I figure a couple repeats every day or two will get the job done eventually. My hope is to make a blankie for Michael for Christmas. He constantly grabs my yarn and knitting projects to rub all over his face while sighing with contentment. He appreciates handmade gifts more than anyone I know, which is quite amazing for a 2 year old. In fact, he dug out the sweater I made for him last year and rolled all over my bed with it in glee and then tried his best to put it on. He didn't even care when I tried to explain 90 degree temperatures were too hot for wool sweaters. And he positively threw himself down in despair when I took the sweater away from him. Perhaps I'd been find a quick sweater pattern for Michael for Christmas this year.

I'm already planning my next weaving project (which is funny since I really haven't started my first one). I want to make a throw for my living room in Margaret's newest colorway, Gulf Breeze Sunrise.

I just love teal, purple and pink (rose). And jewel colors are beautiful. I can't wait to see how this whole weaving thing works out.

We just celebrated Michael's second birthday at the end of last month.

I can't believe how big he is getting. After watching Michael attempt to ride Gregory's radio controlled cars and anything else with wheels, we surprised Michael with a tricycle for his birthday.

He just loved it. We could barely get him off of it.

Naturally he had to have his wool blankie with him on his new bike. That kid just LOVES wool. He has good taste.

We finally distracted him with presents.

It only took a fraction of a second for Michael to figure out how to get the paper off the boxes.


Michael had a great time with his new toys. They sure do make some great ones now days. We sure didn't have toys like this when I was a kid.

Or if we did, my mom wasn't talking about it.

With Michael being all grown up, Kurt thought he'd better get him out on the tractor.

You can see how Kurt tried to teach Michael to drive the tractor.

I personally think Micheal had a tough enough time dealing with the chimney thingy that belches smoke every now and then.

Kurt disagrees.

All in all, it is fun to wrap up the summer and get ready for the relief cooler weather will soon bring. And of course that will mean knitting sweaters. There are only a couple of months here when I can stand to have so much wool on my lap and I promised my mom a sweater last year. Soon mom, I promise!