Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sommar Halsningar!

Do you ever find it strange how things seem to happen coincidentally? Since my last post involving my musings on time in Sweden, which stemmed from pulling some old yarn out of a box, I have been traveling down memory lane more than usual, I guess. Thinking about the experience I had back then and how it has followed me through my life. Yesterday was my birthday and as I was getting ready for work I wanted to put on a necklace, so I chose to wear the plain gold chain that was my 18th birthday gift from the Sohlberg family back in 1971. I hadn't been in Sweden with them for very long at that time, I think I went there in June, so this would have been a little over a month later. But they had a little birthday party for me, and presented me with this necklace, which was something commonly worn by the girls I had met there. I was very surprised and pleased, it really made me feel special. I wore that necklace continuously for a very long time after I left Sweden, because it made me feel a connection to that special place and time as I went about my everyday life. So wearing it yesterday took me back in time again. When I came home from work, Bob told me I needed to go listen to the phone message from Brita, and I replied that I had talked to her during the day so I probably was caught up on whatever she was calling about, which was to wish me a happy birthday. Well, he stressed that I needed to hear the message, so I took myself to the machine and pressed the button to listen to the 2 messages. First, there was Brita. Second, there was Brita--this time with a Swedish accent! Brita Sohlberg! How fun, and serendipitous, to hear her voice. I am sad that I wasn't home when she called, and I don't know how to contact her. I had even pulled out my box of letters from 1971 and 1972, the ones that I wrote to my parents while I was in Sweden. I'm so glad they saved them, this was before phone calls overseas were affordable for anything but a special occasion, so we wrote a lot, and it is like a journal of what was happening. Here's a little excerpt from a letter I wrote July 1971:
"We walked to the Vastra Bodarne station and got on the train. I think we took the slow train that stops at every little station on the way to Goteborg. I'm getting used to riding trains now. One day we were talking about the trains and buses and they couldn't believe that I had never ridden either one. We walked around a lot and looked in lots of different stores. I bought some blue denim so I can make a bag now to carry all my junk in. I bought a new film, too, 20 color slides. We stopped in a park awhile and I had a Coke, the first one in a long time, and bread and butter. That sounds kind of funny. We went to the library and I got to read the New York Times which was really nice and they have quite a few books in English."
So, flash ahead 38 years and I'm still making bags! What goes around comes around!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Behold the lowly dishcloth

I like to have a little knitting handy when I sit down to watch a favorite tv show or movie, and got to thinking that I needed some new dishcloths. Since I have always liked the little cotton knit or crochet dishcloths I thought it was time to make a new one (or 2) but didn't find any of the cotton Sugar & Cream yarn in my stash. I thought I had some leftover there from a previous project, but what I did find was some very well-aged yarn that I had forgotten about.
This yarn is so old that it pre-dates my relationship with Bob, and since we've been married 34 years, that is old! And since the label is in Swedish, I know this yarn is from 1971 or 1972, since that's when I lived there. I had a friend there, Q, (yes, that's what she went by, I think her name was Karin but I'm not sure) who did knitting or crocheting and got me started on a couple things. I'm not sure if I bought this yarn or if it was given to me, I have a couple other partial balls in other colors. But it's cotton and colorfast, so now it's a dishcloth! Now it has me digging through my memory banks for glimpses of what I did back then. I was only 17 when I graduated from HS and my parents put me on a plane bound for Sweden, after having my own kids I'm amazed that--a: I was brave enough to go and b: they let me go! Maybe I was one of those unbearable teens that they were just happy to have away from home for awhile! Anyway, I ended up living with the Solberg family (Vilhelm, Elna, Carin and Brita) for 13 months and came back home much wiser! I remember being terribly homesick at first, and then terribly sad to leave my Swedish family over a year later. The experience was life-changing, to say the least. Things I learned:
I'm just one little bit of a great big world.
Always be prepared to take care of yourself, because sometimes that's all you have.
Don't ever say no to trying new things.
Love really can travel through telephone lines and a phone call can feel like a really big hug.

By the way, the directions for the Chinese Waves Dishcloth can be found at Maggies Rags website. It's free and easy!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

getting closer...

Yay! The quilt itself is actually done and I thought it was so beautiful outside right now that I would try some photos out there. I'll find out if my pattern cover graphics guy (DS) thinks it is suitable for printing. With the shade and breeze, it's not as pristine as the pictures I can get indoors, but I like the backdrop better. Bob is out on the golf course and I am out the door for a walk followed by grocery shopping. It's a beautiful day!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Making progress

Taking a little break from my quilting to stretch and breath, then hopefully back on task to finish up the quilting of my newest design. This soon-to-be-published pattern features the 2009 Quilt MN fabrics from Windham, which can be viewed here. I think there are about 18 or so prints in the group, and all have been used in my quilt in one way or another. I hope to have a picture of the finished product by tonight (binding and all!), but I can tell you that when I showed the preliminary sample to some people last week it got pretty positive comments. We'll just have to see what you think! I am running on a deadline here, since the quilt and patterns have to be ready to display one week from today. Getting the actual quilt done is only part of the task. Getting the pattern ready is what remains--write directions, proof read numerous times, check math, calculate yardages, develop diagrams, rewrite portions to make sense to someone who is not me, get it all formatted correctly, get a stunning picture, get the picture and pattern cover info off to Dan, pray that he has time to get it back to me lickity split, proof read, make changes, print it all up(at least I have my own laser printer now and don't have to hang out at Kinko's), get the patterns into bags and to the store to be inventoried and priced and displayed--whew! On other patterns I have had people test the directions to catch mistakes and/or recommend changes, but when I am running out of time I just have to rely on my own skill and intuition to try to get it right the first time. But just last week I discovered a small error on one of my patterns that I had someone test for me, as well as making for myself 4 times, and selling for a few months at the quilt shop, so I have concluded that nothing is foolproof!
Last night we had a meeting of the Posse to pass along our border exchange for round 2. I was kind of stuck on what to do with the center block that Leisl had made and I had to wait awhile for inspiration to strike. But Sunday afternoon it all came together, and by 11:30 PM it was completed. I sure hope she likes it. Even though it is supposed to stay secret, I am tempted to show you a picture because Leisl is pretty much allergic to the internet, we're lucky if she reads her email, but she's also unpredictable so chances are she would just pop in here and spoil the surprise.
On another interesting topic--our robin's nest on the porch is once again occupied--the third batch of eggs! Does one robin do this? Or is this a serial nesting thing for multiple robins? Can anyone enlighten me?

Friday, July 17, 2009

odds & ends

Thought I would share this picture of the storm front that our plane passed through over western MN on Tuesday. This really looks pretty harmless, but it progressed to dark grey areas, and actually was associated with some tornadoes in some areas. We missed the tornado, I saw no signs of a wicked witch bicycling anywhere near the plane.
Some other highlights of my trip to San Francisco:
I spent some time staying with my sister, Jan, and my brother in law, Dennis, at their apartment high up in the residential area of the St. Regis Hotel, and the view of the downtown area is always fascinating to me. I can see people below in the park as they lounge, walk, run, play, exercise, listen to a concert, etc.
Vintage ribbons on display (and for sale) at the Ribbonerie. Mostly French. All beautiful, along with all of the not-so-vintage ribbons filling this very cute store.
pretty little leaves growing on a vine-covered wall outside one of the wineries we visited.
Today I have been concentrating on quilting a project for Debbie to go back on display at Bear Patch. It is the BQ quilt from Maple Island Quilts. I'm working on getting better on these fun feathery fronds and I enjoy doing them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Homeward bound

On my way home to Minneapolis, with a pause in Las Vegas, so I am gambling on lunch at Chili's!
Not as fun as my lunch yesterday--
But I will have to make do, I guess. I have the pleasure of getting home to my Bob today, and checking to see how much my cilantro and basil have grown! Life is good!

from one extreme to the other

Brita and I made a stop at Britex Fabrics last Friday, and if you haven't shopped here, it is a must-see. It is several floors of wonderful quality fabrics and is staffed by enthusiastic and helpful people. This picture shows the rows of bolts of woolens arranged by color--it is awesome!
We were shopping for ribbons and veil-making supplies. Who knew that tulle came in nylon, silk, cotton, and wool?! We found what we wanted, and Jan had her sewing machine at her apartment so I could actually get the veil put together, except that when I started on it Sunday AM I needed new needles and Britex was closed. So that took us to Discount Fabrics, on the other end of the spectrum from Britex, but fun in its own way.
And we scored the needles, so by the afternoon I was attaching the veil to the comb by hand---
And now it is ready to be worn down the aisle!!
I have my suitcase all repacked and ready to go first thing in the morning, it's hard to say goodbye again. The hardest part about having family living far away is that the visits are always wonderful but there's always that thought in the back of my mind that there is a leaving that's going to happen. Today was warm and wonderful, Brita took Jan and me on a tour to 3 wineries in the Sonoma Valley area. Tonight we saw the Ice Age movie in 3D--very funny!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

a walk in the city

I've been trying to stick to my plan to get more exercise, so I got out for a walk from Brita and Ben's apartment but I had to keep stopping to take pictures so it really wasn't up to pace, but still had a good time! Things I don't see on my morning walk in East Bethel---
palm trees
the Bay Bridge
the Port of San Francisco
very weird-looking plants

Friday, July 10, 2009

Good Morning San Fran

What fun to be able to hop on a plane and within a few hours land in the arms of my family! Brita, Ben, Jan, Dennis, Serra, Nathan, Aurora--makes a very special day!
Nathan, Serra (my niece) and Aurora live near Seattle and were here to visit Dennis and Jan(who shows up in comments and her blog as missesstitches) and our timing just happened to overlap, so I even got to meet precious little Aurora.
Brita and Ben live in an apartment in downtown San Francisco, actually across the street from AT&T Park, home of the Giants. When I was looking out the window I could even see a great big ship out in the bay behind the stadium. That's the little white blip on the right side of the picture!
Brita and Ben took me along to their friends' house (Steve and Kasey) for a little backyard gathering because they are soon moving away. Their place is close to the Haight Ashbury district, many wonderful old homes. Some very pretty plants in the garden--
Which reminds me, I took some pictures of my own gardens before I left yesterday--
The pink lily is just starting to bloom, at least the buds that the deer have left. The clematis is a new plant, I have tried growing them before with no luck, but I am trying a different location and so far this seems to be good.
My hostas have become the the Old Deer County Buffet!
We are always amazed when the deer walk past all the luscious green wild foliage to dine on our carefully tended garden plants! What's up with that?
Brita and I have some outings planned today to choose things for their October wedding, this is so fun! She got word yesterday that their invitations are on the way, so this is seeming a lot more real!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lock and load

Not much news to post here for you lately, I've been occupied with sewing up a new quilt for the 2009 MN shop hop, my own design using all the fabrics from the limited edition MN group, and I'm not quite ready to share that with you yet, sorry! And this morning I am departing for a FUN trip to San Francisco to see my special peeps there--you know who you are! Can't wait! I have a book, snacks and yarn packed in my computer bag to have nearby, and a whole much-too-large suitcase ready to be whisked away to the airport. Will hopefully be able to post some pictures while I am gone, I'm pretty sure they have some internet access out there!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

my ring bearer and flower girl!

Click here to view these pictures larger

Once upon a time, in 1975, these 2 big kids were much smaller! Small enough to be a very sweet ring bearer and flower girl in our wedding. They might be all grown up now, but in my heart they are still just little twerps who marched down the aisle without any mishap--how could we be so lucky? Thank you, Trevor and Kirstin!