Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pavilion repair

It's done.

Thanks to Padruig for serving as a reference, and folding it up afterwards. I'm pleased with it, and it's a really nice size. I used 6' high poles on the side and I had to shim up the center to 10' 6.5". I'm thinking it would make more sense to raise the sides to 6.5' and then raise the center to an even 11'. I'd bring a shim for the center just in case cause sometimes the Sunforger likes to stretch..... It's roughly 14' x 14' square and it uses 12 poles on the side and 1 center pole.

Not a bad shade at all. I still need to sew a stake bag and a carrying bag for the canvas, but that will happen on Monday.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Camping weekend

This past weekend I was invited to join a group of my friends and go camping in the Mystery Caves State Park down in Preston, MN. Naturally the weather had to be "interesting". It was cold and blustery all Friday evening and into Saturday afternoon. I did not sleep well Friday night since I was convinced that the tents were going to collapse and the shade fly would fly away, but everything was sound as a pound come morning. (Wish I could say the same thing for the 2 modern tents that the neighboring Boy Scouts carted to the dumpster Sunday morning. Maybe I should have given them my card....)

The set up had started off a bit rocky as the early arrivals had set up in the wrong campsite. Everything had to come down and move to the campsite we were supposed to have, about 100 yards away. That sucked, but we all worked together and it went fast. The group camp site had some authentic "flavor" that we were not expecting. According to the ranger a herd of cows from a neighboring farm had broke through the fence and wandered through the campground. There were hoof tracks and cow splats everywhere. As we were fond of saying "You can't buy authenticity like this!!". We were assured that the fence had been mended so we would not be receiving 4 legged visitors in camp.

It got down to the 30's overnight and it did not warm up much during the day. We woke to a sprinkling of ice on our tents and small flakes in the air Saturday morning. After breakfast of scones, porridge, fruit and fish (and coffee) we spent much of the morning in David and Maighred's wall tent keeping out of the wind. We worked on some projects, but mostly sat around and gabbed and drank mead, beer and whiskey. I made a short mead that was well received and I definitely want to try it again.

Lunch was snacks of sliced meat, cheese, carrots, and flat bread. We decided to walk through the trails after lunch to view the river and the bridge. A lot of spring blossoms were out (a hill covered in Dutchman's breeches) and the green moss and new grass was just brilliant. The river was very high and there were signs of the cows along the banks. The fisherman were catching some nice looking trout and I'm certain they were a bit bewildered to see our group walk by on the other side of the river. I'll let them think we were a mirage.

After the walk I decided to take a nap to gain back some of the sleep that I lost Friday night. I must have slept for over an hour and I needed it. I woke and helped to start dinner. I had brought 2 beef briskets that we were going to spit and grill, but considering the wind we decided to place them in a pot with onions, turnips, parsnips, salt, spices and water and boil them up. When the meat was done we took it out of the pot and sliced it up and then ate the broth with the vegetables. Ingelief made a peas porridge and Maighred made bannock. Everything was wonderful! We ate everything, cleaned up the dishes and settled down for an evening around the fire.

I think it was colder Saturday night, but I had mastered the layering just right so I was nice and toasty in my tent. The cold clear air made stargazing just brilliant! The sky was so full of stars it was hard to find the constellations that one was used to. It was just breathtaking!
I slept soundly until morning when I was woken with a bright blue sky and clear air. We had the camp packed up and loaded into our vehicles by 9 am and we headed home. We stopped at a greasy spoon for a hot breakfast and I will admit, it wasn't the best food, but it was cheap, hot and plentiful. We got home around 12:30 and I was unloaded and everything was put away by 1:30 or so.

Mother nature was kind enough to remind me of the temps from the night before. There was a good inch of ice on the dish pan.

I was really proud of myself for braving the cold, and for bringing the right clothing items for the weekend. I had so much fun!!! It was such a great way to spend a weekend and I hope I get to do it again next year.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A different route

Considering how beautiful Wednesday was, and the fact that the weather was going to turn rather cold and rainy the rest of the week, I decided to take a different route home. I picked up the Bruce Vento Trail behind the Downtowner Car Wash and headed towards Mound Boulevard and the bluffs via the newly opened Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary.

The trail starts on 4th street east and takes you under 52 in front of some small businesses (one was having a cook out). I remember driving through this area about 2-3 years ago and it was pretty desolate. The brick building was warehouses for storage as far as I could tell. The place was pretty popular for dumping as there were lots of garbage and really no road to speak of. There was a small stream that ran down the center of what was the road. I wasn't sure what I would find now.

Pretty nice! You can see a lot of the old rail systems (probably the old street car rails) and there is a stream that runs the length of the trail and feeds out into the Mississippi. Massive difference from what I saw before and the trail is lovely. It was absolutely worth it to take this detour. The trail takes you up to Mounds Blvd. pass the old Lowertown Depot.

The hill up to the aircraft tower on Mound is brutal and I ended up pushing my bike up the steep incline. Hills are hard with a bike with only one gear. The Indian Mounds have certainly greened up with the recent rain.

The view of St. Paul was a bit hazy, bit still pretty nice. I could easily see my normal route down by the river.

The ride through the park itself was pretty nice, some hills but mostly flat. The route leads you through a nice glade of trees and then to the pedestrian bridge that crosses over Warner Road.

The path then meets up with my normal route on the Point Douglas Bike Path that runs along 61 to Battle Creek Regional Park. It took me much longer to get home, but I wasn't really trying to stick with a schedule, I was simply enjoying the ride and the weather.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I headed out this morning on 'old reliable' and I must have had a better night's sleep, or a better breakfast or something cause I felt great when I got to work and I made spectacular time!

Most of my route is on a bike trail and part of it cuts through a wildlife area near the Mississippi river. I have been seeing deer on previous mornings, this morning I saw a pair of wild turkeys. The male was all puffed up and making his moves. I saw a number of other bikers, walkers and runners on the trail as well.

Tonight should be in the 70's for my ride home. Heaven!

Tomorrow we are supposed to have thunderstorms, so back to the van for me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Celebrate Earth Day

market bag
Originally uploaded by Valkyr8
I am reposting the link to my knitted market bag. It's the perfect project to start making now to prepare for holiday presents.

If you are not feeling crafty you should check out the Envirosax. Very cute!

Monday, April 21, 2008

A good day!

I got all the things done that I wanted to get done for Coronation. I also got to hold the axe, which is always a good thing!

Now to get ready for my first camping trip of the year, which I leave for on Friday! I can't wait!

Friday, April 18, 2008

First stocking of Pair #2 done

e stockings 2, back
Originally uploaded by Valkyr8
Finished kitchnering the toe this morning. I thought I would show a detail of the decreases in the back since I had not done that before now.

The original stocking does not seem to be as fitted as mine, either that or Eleanor had some serious cankles. I like how the pattern runs together down the back.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Almost there....

I have 1 inch left to work before I start the toe decreases on the first stocking. I don't know WHY this one is taking so much longer? Maybe I'm loosing my head of steam, I don't know.

It looks fantastic and I'm excited to have the pair done. I think I'm looking at early-mid May as my completion date for the pair. It will be nice to have my obligations done and can move on to other projects.

I'm teaching a class on Knitting period stockings at Jara's 35th anniversary, which will help me work out the kinks for the class I am teaching on the same subject at Lilies. I am very excited for these classes and I hope that they go well. I'm planning to knit wool stockings for Eleanore and I completed a second smock for her this week. I need to start planning her wardrobe additions for the year. I think the wool stockings and woven garters will suffice, but I need to see how her gowns from last year are fitting.

I think I finished enough sewing last night that I can make it to knitting tonight.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

April 15th

The mere mention of the date makes my chest get tight, but my taxes are done and in the mail.

I have a full week of activity: mostly sewing. Once Coronation is over this weekend I can relax next week and get ready for my camping trip on the 25th! I can't wait!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Word of the day: Neuroplasticity

I never thought that going to hear an author speak about her newest "Knitting Humor" book would involve learning about new theories into how the human brain develops. Last night I went to hear Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, who is on tour promoting her latest book "Things I Learned from Knitting...whether I wanted to or not."

As always, she was very funny. As always, she made me think. As always, she made me feel that knitting is a superior activity and that I am a better person for it.

The main gist of her lecture was the typical: you are doing something worthwhile and don't feel that you need to explain your hobby/ activity or validate it. Participating in the SCA for nearly 2 decades has given me ample opportunities to experience the blank looks from co-workers when I explain what I do on my weekends. Getting weird looks when I pull out a stocking in progress on the bus, in line, at the movies, at a restaurant, is not a big deal for me.

"I'm knitting so I don't kill you...."

She spoke about brain waves.
We have 4: Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta.
Beta is when we are in high alert/ working out a difficult problem
Alpha is when we are in a relaxed or reflecting state
Delta is when we are sleeping
Theta is also called the "twilight state" and most people experience this just as they are falling asleep or just as they are waking up. Theta is also the experience we sometimes have when driving and we don't remember the last 10 miles. Athletes reach theta, as they say "the zone" when running, rowing, biking. You clear your mind and concentrate on a repetitive movement. Einstein trained his mind to spend time in Theta. Interesting.

Theta is the state that people reach during meditation and new studies have shown that people who achieve Theta each day have the ability to process complex concepts easier. The studies have been centered around Monks, who achieve Theta during meditation and practice meditation for several hours a day. Theta appears to effect the area of the brain that controls happiness (left pre-frontal cortex) by making it get bigger so that the effects of meditation is felt for longer periods of time.

Scientists have come to the conclusion that achieving a Theta state twice a day, 20 minutes each time, is beneficial since it calms our mind, makes us happy and makes us smarter.

How does one achieve Theta? Monks use a repetitive word, chant, sound, action to do this. Hmmmmmmm.... repetitive action, a couple times a day, gosh I wonder what I could do? If I can achieve Theta every time I knit, in theory it's making me calmer, happier and more centered.

Obviously I need to knit more.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"I got blisters on my fingers..."

Hello, my name is G, and I have a problem. It's called Guitar Hero 3.

It is so much fun! I was introduced to it for the first time on Monday, at knit night, not a lot of knitting got done, just sayin'. I drove to Apple Valley Tuesday to play at a friend's house for a couple hours. She loaned me the game and her spare PS2.

I'm in so much trouble.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Babylon 5

P picked up all 5 series of Babylon 5 at Best Buy last week. Sunday we sat and watched the first 2 disks of Season 1.

My 12 yr old DVD player is having issues. After a while the picture goes funky, or flickers on and off, or completely off and I'm left with just sound. I decided to switch out the DVD player in the LR with the newest one in the sewing room. I also took the opportunity to thoroughly clean the TV cabinet. This required moving it, removing each electric component, dusting each item, vacuuming behind the cabinet and each shelf and washing each shelf down. It was long overdue, but now it is nice and clean.

We came home from the event Saturday night and Sunday was raining and cold so it was the perfect day to stay inside, cook and clean.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Garb for Leonardo Event

Domenico Ghirlandaio
Resurrection of the Boy (detail)1482-85 Fresco Santa Trinità, Florence

I'm attending an event this weekend and I get to wear my 15th c. gamuras, which I love. I didn't have time to make a new outer robe, but I still wanted a layered effect, like on the woman on the left. I did an experiment and found that if I wore one gamura laced up properly and then placed another over it with the front folded back on itself, it looks very much like the outfit on the left (the woman in the red and green). It was a very cool discovery!

I did decide to change the manner in which the skirt was attached to the bodice on my green gamura so that will take some hand sewing in the car, but everything else is ready to go. I'm even making use of my green sleeves by turning them inside out and using the grey side. I love making old garb look new.

I'm so excited to be going to an event that is in my time period (even though Leonardo had been sent to Milan by Lorenzo di Medici and was not living in Florence during the 1480's) ! Now I'm even more inspired to finish Drea's stockings so I can begin my own!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Stockings to a good home

The evening stockings were handed off last night and I think the recipient likes them. I really like how they turned out and I hope they fit her well. Honestly if they fit me, she will be fine.

I'm plugging along on the silk. I have 3 inches left before I start the leg shaping. The leg on this pair is about 1/2" shorter than the first, but it's 1 1/2" larger in circumference. I think the additional 16 stitches each row is making the whole process go much slower, but I think I'm just psyching myself out.

3 more inches!!!!!

I was too tired this morning ride into work, which is too bad since the afternoon is going to be brilliant!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

On the road again

The snow continues to melt, it should reach the 50's this weekend, and my bike is rideable again.

The threads on the left hand nut that held the bottom bracket in place (this is the item that the arms for the pedals and the main drive gear is attached to) stripped out, causing the nut to come off, and everything going wonky. I brought the bike back to Erik's, they checked the bottom bracket out to make sure the threads on the shaft were still sound (it looked fine), cleaned everything off, replaced the nut and it works just great again.

No charge, of course.

I bought a padded cover for my seat. I had forgotten about the errant spring on the right side of the seat, but now all is golden for riding to and from work. I'd like to give it a shot on Thursday, but I'm sure it will be raining, maybe I should wait until Monday to give the snow on the side of the road more time to melt.

I still have my bike in the van and I'm considering taking a lunch hour ride on the Bruce Vento Regional Trail that begins near work.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fools

Mother Nature is really enjoying the joke. We received 4-5 inches of snow yesterday.

It's supposed to be in the 50's by the weekend so I am going to enjoy all of this fluffy white stuff. It might be the last of the season, but you never know.

I think it's absolutely beautiful.