Thank you for all your entries for the giveaway of A Quilting Life. It’s been so fun to read everyone’s favorite cookie of choice. I love that some of you stood up to me and don’t even like to snack on cookies while quilting — chocolate will do very nicely thank you very much. And I was a bit shocked that some of you don’t even allow food or drink in your sewing room. A lofty goal indeed — but not one that I could ever keep. I’m too weak! The giveaway is open until the 14th, so if you’re interested in the book and haven’t entered, go here.
So, before the giveaway, I promised to tell you the tale of my little blog meet-up in Iceland. About two months before our trip was scheduled, I noticed a comment left on someone’s blog that was signed by “Berglind from Iceland”. I was immediately intrigued, since I knew we would be going to Iceland soon, so I clicked on the link. What a wonderful treat! Berglind’s blog is just beautiful! I immediately e-mailed her, told her that we’d be coming to Iceland soon and asked if she had any suggestions for our trip. I was surprised and thrilled when she suggested that we meet and she would take me to a few of her favorite shops. Wow! What a fantastic offer!
We were going to be in Reykjavik on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so the plan was for Berglind to pick me up at the hotel on Saturday morning and we would shop for 3 or 4 hours. And then the flights-from-hell happened and our three days in Reykjavik were reduced to one. I couldn’t ask my family to wait around while I spent half a day shopping with Berglind, so I e-mailed her to cancel. I was SO upset — I love meeting local people when I travel and the perfect opportunity was slipping through my fingers. Then, the brilliant FirstChild suggested that we add a day to our trip so I e-mailed Berglind again. She was so sweet and so flexible — and I was VERY lucky. Our meeting was moved to the following Friday, at the end of our trip, and even better, since our time together would be shorter, Berglind suggested that we meet at her house.
What a thrill for me! I got to meet Berglind AND see her beautiful home AND get a tour of her sewing room. I’m kicking myself for not taking pictures of some of Berglind’s beautiful quilts. There were piles of them in several rooms. I have no idea how she gets time for all her quilting. (BTW, I’m very proud to say that Berglind is a Viking girl like me — I would expect no less, coming from the land of Vikings LOL!) Berglind is just gorgeous! She has four children — the oldest two were in school, but I was lucky enough to meet her adorable little four-year-old (almost five!) Arna and her new two month old baby boy.
Isn’t Arna a doll??? I’m sure you can imagine that I wanted to take her home with me. And look at her perfect little braid! (Oooh, and I hope you’re noticing those beautiful quilts too!)
After a quick visit at Berglind’s home, we had to get down to business and go shopping. We only had time for two shops — I had been to a few of the yarn shops (more in a bit) while shopping with my family, so Berglind narrowed our choices down. She took me to see her favorite place that carries Tilda fabric — I had mentioned that I can’t get Tilda fabric anywhere near me. The Tilda fabric is actually in a larger store — Berglind called it a stationary store, but it had a lot of craft items — it reminded me a bit of a small Michael’s — only with more atmosphere. Here are the Tilda fabrics — ummmm, Yum!
While we were fondling fabrics, Little Arna was on a mission of her own. She spied some fun pink yarns — Berglind said she and her older sister love to make bracelets with them. Clearly, Berglind is doing her duty to pass on the love of crafting to the next generation LOL! How cute is Arna in her little polka-dot jacket? I’m so sorry I didn’t get a picture of her full outfit — she was wearing the cutest glittery tennis shoes.
Berlind’s other choice for me was the cream-of-the-yarn-shop crop, litla prjonabudin (sorry, I don’t know how to get those special characters out of my keyboard.) (The link will take you to their facebook page — you might not understand the language, but I guarantee you’ll understand the pretty pictures!)
What a treasure! This is just a small little shop, but they had the most beautiful yarns. And they were so helpful — of course I had to have a few souvenir skeins.
Here’s the pretty display in the center of the shop. And the whole time I was shopping, the perfect baby was sleeping (he never made a peep the whole time I was with Berglind) and sweet little Arna was sitting on a chair being an angel. Seriously, she never made a peep either, except on occasion if I said something to her via Berglind. She was so cute — even holding my hand in the parking lot. Melt my heart!
Our little visit was over much too quickly and it was time for Berglind to take me back to the hotel. I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun I had — this visit was definitely a highlight of my trip. I still pinch myself wondering if it really happened — what an opportunity! Isn’t the internet an amazing thing???
Anyway, just in case you’re planning a trip to Iceland and you want to visit the yarn shops, I’ll quickly tell you about the other places I visited. (Btw, all five of the places I visited are highly recommended.) Two shops are in the main shopping area of Reykjavik. The first place we stumbled upon was The Handknitting Association of Iceland. Iceland is known for their Lopapeysa sweaters, made from Lopi yarn – the 100% wool Icelandic yarn. The Handknitting Association of Iceland had a TON of sweaters (and mittens and hats and more) to buy and people were standing around trying them on. We found their prices to be better than any of the other shops that carried sweaters. They also sell lots of Lopi.
The second shop is Storkurinn. Storkurinn is a lovely shop — it’s a little hard to find though. I saw the sign on the street and knew immediately that it was a yarn shop, but there was no storefront. It turns out that it’s on the second floor. They had a great selection of knitting books and yarn.
And even a wall of Amy Butler fabrics that eluded my camera. There wasn’t much time in this little shop — I could have easily lingered longer!
Then, the day before I met Berglind, when we were on our way back to Reykjavik from the southern coast of Iceland, I tricked convinced the family to stop at Alafoss. This is the Lopi factory outlet in Mosfellsbaer – a suburb of Reykjavik.
Lots and lots of Lopi in here. And, of course, I had to indulge. How could I not? The average Lopapeysa sweater sold for around $150 – $200 — I could buy the yarn to knit my own for about $50. Sold!
Something Berglind pointed out to me in the store that had the Tilda fabrics was unspun wool. I would have no idea what to do with this, but Berglind was wearing a pretty brown and white sweater that she had made from this type of yarn.
So, that’s it! Now I REALLY want to go to Iceland on a knitting tour. Did you know they have them? I found a great write-up of one here.
Who wants to go with me???
And BTW — And I can’t emphasize this enough — if you’re not following Berglind, you should be. She has the most beautiful blog. She makes beautiful treasures for her family and she’s beautiful and I’m going to say Beautiful a million times in this sentence so you get the point!!!
We made the trek to the Big City yesterday to visit TheFirstChild and SweetiePie. We had two main reasons for visiting:
The first reason was to give SweetiePie her very belated birthday presents. If you’ll recall, a few weeks ago, I showed you a knitting project. In late December, I took a class and learned how to double knit. Double Knitting involves using both hands and it was a BIG challenge for me. I’ve never been able to use my left hand effectively. Years ago, when we lived in Germany, I used to ride the train to work everyday, watching ladies knitting on the train in continental style. It seemed so much faster than the old English method of throwing the yarn. I tried and tried to teach myself continental style to no avail. Fast forward 30 years, and now I can knit with both hands!
Ha. I’m not very good at it yet (and I’m VERY slow), but I’m thinking I’ll give continental style a try again. Anyway, this project was for a Cowl from the pattern Double Knit Three: Dots, Spots & Arrows by Hilary Smith Callis. Here’s the outside of the cowl.
Double knitting is pretty cool — it produces a reversible piece of knitting. Every other stitch belongs to the other side. Did that make sense? For example, the odd stitches are knitting the outside and the even stitches are knitting the inside. Here’s the inside. you can see that I was having tension issues here and there, but hopefully I’ll get better.
I love the feel of double knitting — two soft, plush layers. I’m not sure I’ll ever knit anything terribly big with this method though — it is rather tedious. Here’s SweetiePie modeling her new cowl. We probably should have artfully placed it around her neck, but we were in a hurry and goofing off.
The reason we were in a hurry was because the boys were waiting on us. Which brings us to the second reason we were visiting the kids – to relive a piece of the boys’ childhood. Sadly, TheSecondChild couldn’t be with us. When the boys were little, they loved watching Top Gun. TheFirstChild was obsessed with it. We had little die-cast jet fighters to prove it and SweetiePie has told me that she refuses to watch the DVD version with TheFirstChild because he annoyingly recites all the lines. (Happily, SweetiePie, agreed to come along with us this time.) When I told TheSecondChild that we were going to go see the re-released IMAX 3D version, he laughed at me. Then he reminded me that I used to fast forward through the sex scenes and how could we possibly watch it in a theater where I didn’t have control? Yes, what a dilemma — I’m sure they’ve never seen those scenes before. When the time came, I made them cover their eyes.
We had a great time. TheFirstChild even commented he didn’t remember all the sexual overtones in the movie. I didn’t either. Obviously, speeding through the big scenes worked — and the spoken lines were over his head at the time. Bad Mother! Ah well, he doesn’t seem to have been damaged from it. The minute the music for the movie started, I could see my little 4-yr.old running around the house chanting “I feel the need…the need for speed!” How fun to go back and re-live those moments with my little boy.
One last photo for you. We were back in a corner of the theater taking pictures and laughing. SweetiePie pulling her model schtick and me snapping away. This was the best we could do for the sultry, pouty lip shot because we were laughing too hard.
So. A wonderful weekend in ThimbleannaLand. I hope you’ve had a good weekend too!
I’ve been having fun reading everyone’s new year’s resolutions and goals. My goals usually involve working on UFOs, but I really loved what Vreni said about UFO’s in this post. She basically said that life’s too short to worry about them, so if you see a new project you want to start, why not go for it? Bravo Vreni! Sadly, I’m stuck somewhere between adopting that attitude and watching all of you scrappy trippers drive me crazy with your wonderful, scrappy quilts. I’m resisting for the time being, as I have a project or two that I really need to finish. Then, who knows, maybe my inner Vreni will emerge!
Vreni also mentioned that she likes to review the highs and lows of the past year. For me, the low absolutely had to be BigDaddy’s heart event. That put our little family in a big fog and I feel like it’s just starting to clear. The high, though, was definitely the trip to the UK that I had with SweetiePie. I’ve been cleaning up trip pictures this week and re-living our fun. And our memorable mountain climb from hell. I came from that day feeling like I definitely owed SweetiePie a BIG favor. That’s why, when she hinted that she’d like a cable knit throw for Christmas, I couldn’t say no.
BigDaddy was having a nap over the Christmas break, so I covered him up and took a few pictures. This is the Cable Knit Throw from Lion Brand Yarns. The free pattern is available here. I made a few changes to the pattern. It originally calls for knitting each cable in an individual panel, so that you have 5 cables with a 2-stitch garter stitch row along each edge. Then, when you’re done knitting, you sew the 5 long panels together to create the throw.
My VERY least favorite thing to do in knitting is to sew seams together. I detest it and I never do a very good job. So, I decided to knit all 5 panels at once on a big circular needle. It worked great! By the time I was about half-way, the blanket was getting pretty heavy, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I also doubled the width of the garter stitch columns (increasing the edges from 2 stitches to 4 stitches and the inner columns from 4 stitches to 8 stitches) — I wanted the overall throw to be a little wider.
Then, I just knit until I thought the throw was long enough. The pattern called for 9 skeins of yarn but I didn’t think that was long enough. I ended up using 12 skeins and I really could have used one more — a little longer wouldn’t hurt!
This was a pretty quick knit. A Friend to Knit With made this throw a few years ago and she estimated that each cable panel took her 4 hours. Which would make the entire throw a 20 hour project. I’d say my time was closer to 40 hours, but then I’m a pretty slow knitter.
I’m really happy with the way this throw turned out and I think SweetiePie is too. It’s really comfy — I wouldn’t mind making one for myself!
Well, how is the weekend going? I’m trying to enjoy my last few hours of the Christmas break — sadly, work will resume tomorrow. I’ve been trying to clean up some computer files and just clean up stuff in general. I’d rather be sitting in front of the fire knitting!
I’ve been on a knitting streak lately — I think because it’s portable and I needed a lot of portable during the fall months. I managed to get a little Christmas knitting in too.
I made some headbands and wrist warmers for my cute nieces. CuteNiece1 got the gray set and CuteNiece2 got the tan set.
CuteNiece2 posted this fun picture of a snow heart on her instagram.
She’s wearing my mitts. I think that means she likes them!
Thanks for all your wonderful comments, prayers and wishes for BigDaddy. He gets a little stronger everyday, and in classic recovery mode, he has up days and down days. Mostly up though, and I’m amazed at his strength. As long as we have two steps forward to each one backward, we’ll eventually get there. Patience is a virtue!
In the meantime, as I said in my last post, there’s been hospital knitting. Just a few days before all the excitement, I purchased some Halloween yarn from Simply Socks Yarn Company. It’s funny, at the time, I was worried that I wouldn’t get the socks done in time for this Halloween.
I had envisioned taking some fun pictures outdoors in all the fall leaves, but a) there’s no time to be outside right now and, b) it’s ugly, ugly, ugly weather out there this week. (Sending big hugs to everyone in the path of Sandy, btw.)
So, I took a few pumpkins to BigDaddy and we had a little hospital room photo fun.
I used my favorite Ann Norling pattern and followed the sock tips that I wrote up in this post.
I know it’s kind of weird to take your sock photos in a hospital room. But hey — I think it was meant to be. Did you know hospital rooms have automatic sock dryers???
I was thinking they might be a good addition to my laundry room. ;-P
Happy Halloween Everyone!
Thanks for stopping by!