Monday, October 29, 2012


A few weeks ago Little E, my niece, was rushed to the hospital via ambulance due to a febrile convulsion.  Once safely home, luckily without a serious diagnosis, our attention turned to her beautiful sweater hand knit by my sister.  Upon arrival the paramedics had simply snipped off her clothes leaving this in the aftermath.  
 We brainstormed how to remedy this sweet little sweater.  It would have been easy enough to reknit the front, but the idea of undoing the collar and taking apart the entire sweater seemed more  exhausting than re-knitting the entire body.  In the end, I brought the mangled mess back to Minneapolis, deciding it was a perfect time to learn how to steek.

The ambulance crew didn't exactly cut in a straight line along one wale of stitches, as would be preferable for a steeked garment, but they did thankfully avoided the front cable.  
A quick online tutorial later,  the once pullover turned into an asymmetrical cardigan.  This hand knit piece will never be what it once was, but now it is a salvaged sweater with a story, as all good hand knits should have. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Days

On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon I found myself back at Hogsback Farm, to help my friend Emily and other friends with CSA memberships pick out their fall pumpkins.  Despite the hoards of children, everyone managed to snag a pumpkin or two, whilst enjoying the good weather and food. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012


My pottery skills have improved beyond my expectations.  As per usual I have become a bit obsessed.  I find myself running over to the studio every chance I get.  Nothing else matters or exists while I am there and there is nowhere else I would rather be.  I've challenged myself to master the cylinder, throw off the hump, make lidded vessels, throw multiples and collar a vase.  I overcame my fear of lifting a pot right off the wheel and I rarely have to re-wedge clay anymore.  This teapot is one of my earlier pieces, but I am so happy with the results. 
 The moment of truth is always the glaze.  I love the shape, but a bad glaze could ruin and disappoint.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Weekend Fun: At Interstate State Park

A few weekends ago a few friends and I took a day trip to beautiful Interstate State Park.  It was the perfect way to spend a sunny Fall afternoon.  We hiked the sandstone bluffs into Taylor Falls and opted for the river trail in return.  The trees hadn't quite peaked yet, but were beautiful nonetheless. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Warped and Weaving

I warped my loom, for another round of hand towels, in Medium Gray.  My last project inspired me to work on something a little more modern in feel.  I like the simplicity of the boxes and the structure of the turned twills.  I took a break from weaving to work on upcoming Halloween costumes for my nieces and nephew, but I will be weaving again soon. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Seasons End

It was another great year for butterflies.  Along with Monarchs and Eastern Black Swallowtails, I managed to find and raise Painted Ladies and Red Admirals.  I kept my eye out for a Yellow Swallowtail and never found it.  This year I raised 94 Monarchs, 22 Red Admirals, 3 Painted Ladies and 5 Eastern Black Swallowtails.  And I learned a lot.

I said last year that Swallowtails were feisty and eager to fly away.  Turns out that Painted Ladies and Red Admirals are even more ambitious.  Their wings dry faster and they are able to take flight within hours of emerging.  It was hard to capture these guys on camera, so a lot of my pictures happened indoors.

Red Admirals and Painted Ladies are also a proud looking butterfly.  They seem to have a proud upturned nose.  Snobby... almost. 

What I should have known and never realized til' this year is that a butterfly will always fly to the brightest source of light.  So if you come home late at night, it's best to wait until morning to release your new butterfly.  I stupidly released one at night thinking he would just fly up into the trees only to watch him circle the streetlamp.  I finally caught him and brought him in for the night. 

The caterpillar of the Red Admiral can look very different, but they all produce the same butterfly.  I did a test with 3 very different looking caterpillars only to get Red Admirals.  I was secretly hoping I had stumbled upon something different.  

I rescued one little Swallowtail from some Dill at the grocery store.  Most people would be grossed out by a caterpillar on their dill, but I was thrilled.  

Red Admirals are by far the hardest to care for.  I found all of my caterpillars on stinging nettles, which obviously sting, so you have to wear gloves.  They like to enclose themselves in leaves with a silken thread and you have to pry the leaf open.  The leaves dry out quickly and require constant changing.  Each time you give them a new leave you have to kick them out of their new leaf enclosure. They don't seem to eat quickly and it takes them much longer to mature into full grown caterpillars. I also only managed to locate one patch of nettles, so the food source was far. 

Finally, I seemed to have a lot of falling accidents. That is when the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis and loses its grip.  Once it has fallen, if you catch it right away, you can return it to a place to dry out.  If you don't, its wet wings will crumple and tear as it tries to turn around or get back up.  The end result is heartbreaking.  The wings of butterflies feel no physical pain, but without them they can't fly.  I contemplated keeping them in captivity, but in the end I gave them freedom, even though I knew it would be fleeting.