Saturday, February 28, 2009

tight ~

Only a few interesting things to say today.
  • neighbor boy had grease fire in kitchen ~ smoke billowed out of the roof vents ~ 5 fire trucks ~ 1 ambulance ~ boy is fine ~ kitchen is not.
  • drove to town with husband who bought 3 cases of flavored water at Deals Only ~ thirsty I guess.
  • visited Value Village where I dodged smelly people and running children.
  • looked at goldfish with big bulging eyes in store downtown ~ we sang, "our fish are cuter!"
  • my bra feels uncomforatbly tight today.

Okay, so maybe these things weren't too interesting. Sorry.....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

intentions ~

Oh, I have had great intentions this week to hop back on the creativity bus, but haven't had the spirit. I keep starting and stopping, knitting and ripping, thinking and drifting...

So to at least show that at one point in the past I did have a bit more life in me, here some handspun yarn...
Merino and silk...

left: Crospatch Creations (purchased at the Whidbey Weavers Guilds Spin In) plied with lovely dyed and combed fiber from Denise.
right: Wool rejected by a spinner friend, dyed, blended with magenta mohair and carded up.
top: Probably romney, dyed, blended with some glitz, carded.
bottom: Could be romney again, dyed, spindle spun in the car driving down to Astoria, OR for a vacation.
This stuff is my favorite to spin ~ take whatever is stuffed in the corners of your house, add some glitz, add some sari silk, add some cat hair (cuz the cat is alway in the lap), and spin, spin spin.
Stuff plied with black is black suri alpaca which was nearly impossible to spin (spun like ingeo), plied with mohair dyed with Mother MacKenzie dyes (bought the mohair at one of the Whidbey Guild's Spin Ins). The remaining mohair was spun and Navajo plied into a skein. Someday this will all be a woven into a scarf.

Holy crap...where the hell did this photo come from...the basement demons I'm sure...

Want to buy a loom with a project half way completed?.....this is my Glimakra Pysslingen 4-shaft table loom ~ shall we call her Ms. Pyssy for short.

Okay it isn't the loom's fault that this woven lace project is two years in the making. Ms. Pyssy sits in the basement with two other looms who have seen more action recently. Poor Ms. Pyssy, she really should find a new home. $400 and she is yours! She comes with the stand and one reed (...and one in-progress project).

I'm now using a 4-shaft Ashford table loom upstairs in the spare bedroom (well, hardly a bedroom anymore since I moved the bed to the basement with Ms. Pyssy). The Ashford is more easily transported to workshops, so it has the coveted spot in the fiber room (maybe you'll see photos of that space sometime soon).

So there you go, there has been some creativity and fiber in my past. Now off to continue starting and stopping, knitting and ripping, thinking and drifting...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

tommie went home ~

Grandma Mabel had all her old photos in the bottom drawer of the built-in buffet. The drawer never opened right ~ or at least "right" in terms of eight-year-old experiences. You had to wiggle, wiggle, left to right, right to left ~ then the painful squeak of the drawer rails that hadn't seen wax since the 1930s. Finally, shwoosh...the drawer would open to expose its odd, musty smell and treasures.

Careful, careful. Reaching into the drawer seemed to always produce nicks and scratches. Those dime store fancy metal frames were full of "pokes" and able to pierce through even the musty smell of the drawer.

She always liked to sit in the dining room chair she moved close to the register. The heat register that is. Mabel would sit and warm her legs while watching cars drive by on Broadway. I'd sit on the floor and pull out dusty frames from the drawer. "Who's this?" I'd continually ask. "That's mama and papa on their anniversary," she'd tell me. Man they were old looking.

"Who's this?” asking again. "That's mama when she was younger. Oh that's a dandy," grandma would tell me.

Mama, or great-grandma Kari, wore a big hat and was dressed in her finest. She looked young, but had probably already given birth to at least 5 of her 8 surviving children by the time the photo was taken.

I'd continue to empty the drawer and would somehow always feel surprised when I'd find Tommie. "Who's this grandma?" She'd tell me that was Tommie from Japan. "I never knew what happened to her," she'd say.

Tommie worked with grandma at the Pacific Laundry (a primarily Scandinavian employer). When I was young and even today, I'm surprised to think that there was a young Japanese woman living without her parents in Bellingham. Bellingham has always been a predominantly white area, and back when grandma Mabel was young, residents who were from Asia were typically from China.

But here was the smiling Tommie ~ so happy looking. Grandma would continue with her story. She’d tell me that Tommie went home to Japan to visit her family ~ it was 1923.

On September 1, 1923, tragedy struck Japan in the form of the Great Kanto Earthquake. This was a quake that was somewhere between 7.9 and 8.4 on the Richter scale ~ it was big. Tokyo and Yokohama were destroyed.

Grandma Mabel didn't know all the details; she just knew that Tommie never came back. No one in Bellingham heard from Tommie after the quake. Grandma never knew if her friend stayed home in Japan to help out after the quake, or if Tommie was one of the 115,000 people who died. She just never knew.

The drawer was empty ~ all the pictures around me on the floor. I'd place them back one by one. Stacking them just so ~ just so the drawer would close again.

We all have those drawers. The ones we open every so often to look to see who we may have forgotten. Well, maybe not forgotten ~ just stacked away neatly, so the drawer will close.

questionable at best ~

And way down south in the yankity yank....

Amazing how within a lifetime things have significantly changed. Black face! What in the hell were they thinking during the 1940s. Thank God for change.

update ~

The silly husband took the snow gear out of the truck since "spring hit" (or so he told me on the phone). Guess he'll be hiking up the hill late tonight in the dark with the northeaster blowing. Yes, the wife did say, "I told you so."

snow blind ~


Monday, February 23, 2009

skinny fish ~

I know this had to have been taken before they married ~ otherwise, grandma Mabel would have been scared off. Grandpa Rudy is surely swimming...or does the high stretch of his arms and steepled hands mean something else?

Rudy's dad (great-grandpa Peder Mandius Fosse) was a minister in the Lutheran church whose calling took the family to many states and towns including Cloquet, Minnesota. In Cloquet, he served Our Saviour's Lutheran Church until the 1903 diphtheria epidemic claimed two of his children (some records say three, but I've never been able to confirm the information).

The family left Cloquet swiftly with one goal ~ to save the lives of the four remaining children. There are records of Peder's service with a number of Lutheran churches in the Pacific Northwest beginning in Poulsbo, WA. Then strangely in 1914 the family left Seattle for Canada. Peder took up farming in Daysland, Alberta where may very well have secured a land claim as many folks were doing this at the time. He also served as an agent for the Canadian Pacific Railroad.

In 1918, his 19 year old son, Palmer, enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during WWI. Curiously the records show that Peder was then a Canadian citizen (this is required to claim a homestead in Canada). One month after Palmer enlisted, Rudy received his draft notice. Things become a bit muddy after the draft event of May 1918. Palmer is off in the Canadian Army, Rudy has been drafted, and the family turns up in High Point, Washington where Peder's mother, great-great-grandmother Ragnhild Fosse lives with her husband. Hummmm....did grampa Rudy dodge the Canadian draft?

From what I've learned, the loss of children to illness and then two sons possibly being a part of WWI may have played a large part in Peder's ministry work. From mid 1918 forward, the family pretty much stayed put in northwest Washington. Peder is recorded as serving a number of short stints with a variety of churches. By 1926 it is evident that Peder's focus is primarily as an evangelist having broken away from the church to fulfill his personal mission ~ a mission to save the men in the northern logging camps and fisherman of the same region in British Columbia, Canada up to Petersburg, Alaska.

I have Peder's Bible ~ the one he used for his sermons. It is filled with scrap paper covered in notes written in English but primarily in Norwegian. What I have read in English has given me a strange glimpse into a man who died 23 years before I was born. He had troubles in his life ~ troubles due to the death of his children, troubles due to his son Palmer's problems with alcohol, troubles finding his role in the Lutheran church and his place in life.

This scrap of paper was in the Bible. It shows how he scribbled his name and cities he moved the family to and from during a brief few of years. He suffered the loss of daughter Agnes and son Clifford (note Clifford's name is written above). In another of his notes, Peder wrote about sin and "When shall a young man change his ways?"

"What is Sin?
Today all colleges = athletics
Prof. teach -- bodies developed
is undoubtedly good, But a great lot of
athletes are crippled.
Rockne was praised for winning football games.
no testimony that he was good.
What is your Choice? (The student)
The rescuer on the slope of Lake Michigan near Chicago ~ Oh, did I do my best. Many lives saved. Dr. Allen at our Agnes' deathbed. Oh God, I done all I could."

The short time in Cloquet, MN appears to have a grip on Peder. The boat mission seemed to be a way he thought he could serve God and repent. Did he need to repent? The other question is ~ did he know that he, indeed, did need to repent?

In looking more into what Peder was doing in Norway before his emigration, I stumbled upon Trygve. Trygve was born September 4, 1885. Peder left Norway in 1885, but I don't know which month. Did Peder knowingly leave his son behind? Such an interesting question since no one around these days even knew about the siblings that died in Cloquet of diphtheria let alone another sibling in Norway. Could my great-grandpa Peder really leave Norway for the USA to pursue his dream of becoming a Lutheran minister knowing he had a new-born son in his home town?

What is it that makes people thing that doings "God's work" can resolve past sins? Can family help absolve of sin? Or does sin resolve itself in time when life is carried on in a manner befitting redemption?

Do grandpa Rudy's "steeple hands" mean anything? Probably not, but boy he had some goofy looking legs.

...may your God be with you...

should be~

i should be weaving...

i should be spinning...

i should be knitting...

i should be reading...

i should be cleaning...

i should be happy.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

a quickie ~

Thanks to 'Zann for IDing the lovely scrumbled necklace I blogged about the other day. Janice Rosema is the artist of credit, and I was able to track back and find the piece on her Etsy site. (Yep, that's where I swiped them from.)

'Zann, too, has some scrummbles on her blog. Mmmm, yummy bracelet/cuff!

Friday, February 20, 2009

ghost images ~

Grandma Mabel always tensed up when I wanted to play with her old red camera in the buffet drawer (the drawer that held all the mysterious and old treasures). Sometimes she'd let me just hold and look at the camera, but when she was out of the room I always tried to open it. I was amazed by how it unfolded like an accordion. I knew it was hard to close again once I pulled it all the way out. Even today, the thought of fully expanding it to the "open" position makes me nervous. Nervous not just because I still think I won't be able to close the camera properly, but surely nervous grandma was always hesitant to let me "play" with the camera ~ a c. 1925 Kodak Rainbow-Hawkeye.
Every so often when I was feeling really sneaky, I'd slip the camera out of the drawer and pretend I was a photographer. I click the shutter a few times and then swiftly secure the camera back in its buffet drawer home. It was my little secret....
Sometime in the late 1980s grandma told me to take the camera home with me. I can't remember how or why the topic of the camera came up. Since by this time I was a young adult, and I can't imagine I was still trying to steal away into the dining room to open the buffet drawer. I could have been that the camera was out on the dining room table.
By the mid 1980s, grandma wasn't completely "in touch" fully and would sometimes set items out and tell me that "it didn't belong to her" or that "the boys left it at the house." I knew there wasn't any "boys" around, and the matriarchal balance of the family certainly meant there wasn't any "boys" visiting. Grandmas would just simply forget what was in the house. We all knew that she spent time going through her own cupboards probably on a treasure hunt discovering items she had owned for 50+ years but had not memory of.

During this time I quickly learned that if grandma offered you something, you'd best take it home or it will disappear completely. So on that particular afternoon, the red Hawkeye went home with me.
Sometime later, I was looking at the camera and discovered there was film in it. Amazing! What the heck ~ who'd a thought after 25 or more years! I'd never seen the camera used by anyone, so I was curious to see what might literally develop. I took the film down to a local photographer who developed the film by hand. I was so excited to see if there were actually any photos on the roll.
So here they were finally, the developed photos. I opened the envelope and was confused. Here were these eerie, ghostly images ~ so very strange. I know it took me awhile to figure out that these were the photos I had taken some 15 or more years earlier on those Friday afternoons at grandma's when I'd sneak into the dining room to "play" photographer.
Oh my god! Those were her drapes, her frilly sheers on the windows, the oak trees in the park, the window next to the fireplace...all double and triple exposures...and one remarkable photo of her living room taken so low that I was probably just a tike at the time. Within one extended frame, you can see the oak trees in different angles and different seasons ~ with and without leaves.
These ghost images leave me melancholy and a bit unsure about how time has moved so fast. Of the three shots that aren't ghost images, one is of grandma in the kitchen. She's at the stove and her hands can be clearly seen. Her hands. I miss her hands. Just looking at the curve of her thumb ~ melancholy. She was so good to me. Ghost images ~

Thursday, February 19, 2009

scrumbled ~

I clipped this the other day and left it sitting in Photoshop ready to do something with ~ but now I have totally forgotten who the wonderful fiber artist is. Credit is due and I give you, the fine and wonderful crafter of these works of art, full and undeniable credit ~ I just can include your name and website here. These scrumbled neckpieces are stunning!

Prudence Mapstone is the high priestess, maker and designer of all things scrumbled. Her books on freeform knitting and crocheting are incredible. Her website is inspirational ~ . Currently there's an Aussie online auction (the Pink Project) in progress for the National Breast Cancer Foundation ~ An Australian organization to raise funds for breast cancer research. Prudence has spearheaded the auction and the list of freeform artists is long and international.

Here's a tidbit of what's up for auction ~
I'm lucky enough to have one of Prudence's books, Bullions & Beyond, which is out of print although it can be ordered as a pdf on her website. I haven't tried any bullions yet nor have I gone beyond, but the cover and inside photos made me buy the book.

When I bought the Prudence book I also picked up Jenny Dowde's Freeform Knitting and Crochet. She's another Australian who has published a few scrumble books. She credits The Crochet Workbook by Sylvia Cosh and James Walters as her inspiration ~ I've never seen this book but it seems to be highly coveted going for $60-$200 online.

I'm a bit amazed with the renewed excitement about crocheting. Grandma Mabel was masterful with her crocheted lace. Everyone had to have one of her lace hankies. I did my fair share of lace, but was never interested in hankies back then ~ what's a 13 year old going to do with lace edged hankies?

Other than scrumbling, I haven't seen anything that really gets me too excited about the crochet books and patterns being produced now. Probably the last book on "regular" crocheting that got me jazzed was Louisa Calder's Creative Crochet. I picked up this book at one of the weaving gulid's swap sales for a quarter. I think I bought the book just because she was the wife of Alexander Calder. The other reason was the color photos of her latch hooked rugs.

I grew up with the one latch hook rug kit of a kitten that I received as a birthday gift. It lived in a yellow plastic bag under my bed. I think I pulled it out every so often thinking I'd start "hooking" but never did. Maybe it was the black pre-cut acrylic yarn that turned me off, since when I saw the pictures of Louisa Calder's rugs I was inquisitive. She created these Miro-esqe rugs and is shown in one of the book's photo with balls of yarn and her yarn cutter. She obviously had a little more skill and went beyond using black pre-cut acrylic yarn.

At this point, I know I have a few yarn cutters in the basement and a storage container full of yarn that I saved to make my Miro-esqe latch hook rugs. I'll probably get to that after I finish scrumbling up a sweater or two. In other words, uhmmm, its pretty low on the every growning "to do" list.
Check out that typo ~ I wrote g r o w N i n g instead of growing. Is that what you call your "to do" list when it has exceeded the possible ratio between number of tasks and days left in your life? It is growning....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

on the 55th day ~

my neighbors removed their very-dead Christmas wreath!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

north dakota ~

This is the earliest picture I have of Mabel. It's from a photocopy a relative made for me years ago. She was still living in Barton, North Dakota at the time. It always amazed me that a copy of the original never made its way to Washington when they moved west just after the turn of the century.

We went back to Barton, ND on a road trip a few years back. Grandma use to tell me that there wasn't anything left in Barton...she was right. Perfectly beautiful countryside with field after field of sunflowers. All the farming is done by big, big farmers now ~ no small farms left. We learned that much of the old homes, sod houses, and barns are gone too ~ taken down to make way for the huge farm equipment.
We walked the streets of the closed-up town of Barton. I snapped hundreds of photos, found my great-great-grandfather's 100-year-old gravemarker covered by a lilac bush behind the old church, and watched a black barn cat toss and torture a field mouse. It was a great time!
This picture represents what's left of the town ~ everything is all boarded up and locked down. Look close ~ there was a small surprise in the photo I didn't see until much later while looking at the photo when back at home. of those sneaky North Dakotaian spiders made its way into the shot.

not tonight's sky ~

...but the color is awesome. Taken from our livingroom window a few weeks back. Mt. Baker and the Twin Sisters are in the distance with little Ferndale below.

Not Shin Splints ~

Compartment syndrome:
exercise-induced neuromuscular condition that causes pain, swelling and sometimes even disability in affected muscles of your legs.

"In chronic exertional compartment syndrome, exercise or even repetitive muscle contraction causes the tissue pressure within a compartment to increase to an abnormally high level. But because the fascia can't stretch, the tissues in that compartment aren't able to expand sufficiently under the increased pressure...As the pressure builds up within one of your muscle compartments, with no outlet for release, nerves and blood vessels are compressed. "

I cycled in and out of this problem for a number of years, and it hit me again today. I was trying to be really careful walking down the hill since I think that's what is the trigger. I should have worn different shoes too to keep my foot rolling more. Now I'll spend the next four hours stumbling around the house not being able to life my feet up correctly. At least it doesn't hurt at all this time.

Other than numb shins, the walk was quite nice ~ good weather. I headed out the door just as my neighbor headed out too. She's made of the long, lean muscle mass ~ quite unlike my short, square Norwegian frame. We didn't walk together since I knew she'd probably do the hill 3-4 times ~ I'd need about eight months of training to be able to walk the hills the way she does. Plus, we were both plugged into our music.

Also, after I was home for about a half hour, I saw her hiking up the hill to her house (probably her 4th time up the hill). Ten years ago, when I had "low" blood pressure, I bet I'd have been right on her heels. First, I need some of those silver shoes she wears.

P.S. Just tried to walk across the room and fell over my own toes ~ guess the numbness is more intense than I thought. The cat is still staring at me.

Monday, February 16, 2009


CORRECTION today's earlier post. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy a copy of Anna Zilboorg's Magnificent Mittens if you should find it in a used book store.

Instead, immediately post a comment to this blog with the name, address, telephone number and e-mail address of said book store.

Here's Mabel c. 1920 at Birch Bay, WA.

Anna Wannabe ~

She's my hero! Color, pattern and all-out sense of the absurd mixed with ethnic tradition.
Anna Zilboorg, an Anglican Solitary living in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a master of color and design. She uses pattern and color derived from traditional patterns that she has gleaned from her travels.
Simply Socks, originally published as Fancy Feet, is the latest addition to my Anna book collection. Lovely, lovely socks with spectacular photos and knitting drafts.
45 Fine & Fanciful Hat to Knit is another of her masterpieces. I've drawn oodles of inspiration from this book. I showed the book to Judith MacKenzie McCuin last fall at a workshop, and she hadn't heard of the title ~ which proves my theory that all of Anna's books need to be reissued.
Last week I picked up a copy of Magnificent Mittens from the library which I requested on inter-library loan (the Whatcom County Library System has the BEST inter-library loan system current at NO charge). At first I wasn't as blown away by this book as I expected, but then I looked a bit deeper. Anna has a whole lot more basic instruction in this book ~ the details are wonderful! With copies going for about $100 on the internet, I gather it will be sometime before I allow myself to purchase a copy....hmmmm, I wonder what I could sell in my stash to justify the purchase....
If you see any of Anna Zilboorg's books at a used book store, snatch them up. You won't be disappointed!