Friday, November 30, 2007

Power outages, shawl pins, and books

Remember I said that I was going to keep a log of how often the power went out? Well, two days after that it went out again for about 4 hours. Then on Tuesday ago, it went out at our house at 10 am and came back on at 7 pm. I was at my job in Leland, and we lost power around 12 noon and who knows when it came back on. At home, my husband built up a fire in the fireplace and took a nice long nap under the down comforter. At the office, we have a generator that kept part of the building going - the part that has the bathrooms and furnace. So guess where I stayed? I went through my piles of paperwork (it does need to be weeded out every now and then), but went home at 5 pm. My son and I picked up a friend and we went out for dinner at the Happy Hour. Which was nice. I stayed warm, had good company, and stayed happy. By the time we got home, the power was back on.

I tried to find a picture of what it looked like Tuesday and this is the closest I can come - a picture of Fishtown, in Leland, taken by our neighbor, Keith Burnam. Keith runs the Leland Report and if you have not visited his site - go there now. He has amazing pictures. He verifies my feelings that wherever you go in Leelanau County, you find beauty.

Just want to remind you that we have a Wish List and Gift Certificates. Come in, fill out a card, and list everything in the shoppe that you would like. We have the lavender products (soap, potpourri, lip balm, lotion, and spray) from Leelanau Lavender Breezes, funky jewelry, shawl pins, books, baskets, along with books, patterns, and yummy yarn. In fact, check out some of the shawl pins that just came in.

After you have finished filling out the Wish List card, send your family and friends in for gift giving ideas. Friday, December 14, from 5 pm until 8 pm is set aside for the men to come in for holiday shopping.

Below are several books that have just arrived at the shoppe. Interweave Press updated the Harmony Guides and they are worth having in your library. I had the chance to quickly skim one yesterday and not only do they show you different stitches, but they also intersperse the pages with quick tips. Come on in and check them out.

Another book we just received is Indigo Knits. Lots of sweaters, some throws, and other great knits using denim yarn.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Sale

Those of you who are reading the blog will have a sneak preview of the sale for this weekend. All socks will be 30% off and all books are 20% off. We will also have some yarn on sale for $2. a skein. There - that should be an incentive to stop by this weekend.

Here are some samples of what we have in books:

And, by the way, have a Happy Thanksgiving and drive safely. My 2 daughters are coming up from Michigan State tonight and tomorrow and I hope that all is well for them. And for me - as I am driving into Traverse City to pick up my 20 yr. old baby - today is her birthday and she is leaving East Lansing before her sister. Catching a ride with another student. And of course they are calling for snow and my snow tires are not on yet.


Touring the Leelanau Wineries

Last Saturday, my child support counterparts from other counties, drove over and kidnapped me from the yarn shoppe. I will admit that I went willingly. We had signed up for the Toast the Season wine tour and I was ready to take a day off.

Our first stop was at Gill’s Pier Winery. I am familiar with them as the owner’s father is Scott Koeze of the Koeze’s Nuts out of Grand Rapids. Scott has Friesian horses and he allowed my eldest daughter the opportunity to work with these animals. But that is another entry. Anyway, Kris, Scott’s daughter, and her husband own Gill’s Pier Winery. We received a nice bucket, a Christmas ornament, a glass with wine in it, and food to dip into a chocolate fountain.

Our next stop was at Leelanau Cellars . They sell my favorite wine “Winter White.” I was first enticed by the cobalt blue bottle, but then found out I also liked the wine. Here is a picture of us toasting our wine.

We then visited Good Harbor Vineyards. Here are several pictures of us. Would you ever believe that during the week we are serious and hard working?

We had lunch at the Early Bird in Leland and then headed down to Chateau Fontaine.This is a place I have never visited, but have driven by many times, so it was good to stop. It is located on an old farm and you can still smell that. They had great food and pleasant staff. In fact, all of the wineries had both of those – along with the interesting wines.

Next stop was Bel Lago, where we met several people who had wine glasses hanging around their necks. Unfortunately, we did not take a picture, but it was an interesting concept. You could tell these folks were serious about their wine tasting. I drew a picture as I was trying to figure out how to knit one of these. An I-cord would work for the strap, it was the holder of the glass that stumps me.

On to Longview Winery. This is also in the same building as a restaurant. I can remember when, several years ago, an empty building was torn down in Cedar and this went up. They have large posts on their front porch which makes me think of the wild west. I used the same sign painter they did, Dennis Gerathy.

We then headed back to the shoppe in Suttons Bay and here we are.

All in all, it was a great day. Good company, food, and wine. Thanks Leelanau Peninsula Vinters Association. And thanks to Betsy who worked for me that day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dear Camp - Friday, the 16th

Remember this Friday, the 16th is Dear Camp. For all you who are home on your own, whether it is because you are single or widowed by hunting, and for those of you who are not home on your own – bring a dish to pass and a project and we will hang out from 6 pm until 10 pm. If you need some suggestions on what to bring, I like chocolate. But if you want to be good, I like salads and quiches. Or appetizers and dips. If we get a large group together we can have lots of good food to munch on.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

This is a quickie

This is Kathy's Baby Surprise Jacket made out of Lamb' s Pride Superwash.

This is Darcy and she is wearing the Ganomy. A very nice hat from Elizabeth Zimmermann' Knitter's Almanac. The yarn is Cascade's Autunno. Warm and soft.

Kathy is wearing a felted beret and scarf knitted out of ShiBui's Baby Alpaca DK. The beret pattern is from Ann Budd's Book of Patterns and the scarf is Jill's Choice. Also very soft and warm.

This is Carrie wearing her Mogul Moebius made out of Cascade Jewel Paints. I am coveting this. She can give it to me when she tires of it.

Okay, I have to go now.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

I Love My Blog

Yes, ma'am. I love my blog and do you know why? Because I put my favorite links on it and now, no matter what computer I am on, I can go to my blog and hop on over to my favorite sites.

I can visit Marguerite in southwestern MI. Stitches of Violet I know what town she lives in, but I won't say, as I am not sure she has it on her blog and that is up to her if she doesn't want folks to know exactly where she lives. I met Marguerite through the Opal Chatters list that was headed by Soxie. Anyway, Marguerite (isn't that a great name?) writes a blog that I enjoy reading. Plus she has free patterns and I am knitting a free sock pattern one right now for my mother's birthday (that was last June. See? I am not a fast knitter.) Plus I love her title "Stitches of Violet." I like violets. I had them in my bouquet for my wedding and they were in the woods at the end of the street while I was growing up.

I like the Zimmermaniacs site as it shows me what others are knitting from Elizabeth. Elizabeth is my hero. I want to be like her when I grow up. I was very fortunate to go to a knitting camp last May that was run by her daughter Meg Swanson, Amy Deitjen, and Joyce Williams. I met wonderful women who loved knitting. And I learned a lot. And I still talk to the other knitters. In fact, I am on a Yahoo group that is made up of others who have been to the Knitting Camps. The camps have been running since 1974 or 1975. I finally went because I did not want to be on my death bed, if I get a death bed, and have to ask myself why I never went. I read Elizabeth's books and I am in awe. I am knitting the Bea Arthur version on her ribwarmer and I am knitting the Pi Are Square Shawl. Elizabeth is teaching me to think about what I am knitting. I do not want to have to have a pattern to knit an item. I want to be able to see something I like, then come home and figure out how I can knit it. And Elizabeth is showing me how to do that. She also has a helper. Her name is Susan.

Susan comes to the shoppe and sits in a chair and helps everyone. She is patient. Much more patient than I will ever be. I want to knit like Susan when I grow up. I want to be able to make patterns and teach others and turn out beautiful garments. I really first met Susan several years ago when I was knitting a shawl for my mother. The shawl snagged and there was a terrible hole and this long piece of yarn hanging from the hole and it was about half way down from where I was. I wanted to cry. I really did not want to tear my shawl out, all that way back. I like to knit, but not that much. So I went to Jill and she took my shawl to Susan. And Susan fixed my shawl. In fact, she was so good that she found a couple of other spots where I had goofed up and fixed those. And she refused to let me pay her. So I brought her homemade bread.

Susan is a knitter.
These are just two of the many, many, many items she knits. See why we are lucky to have her?

Susan also exposed me to another blogger, brooklyntweed. Check out this guy. I like him as he also appreciates Elizabeth Zimmermann.

With my blog I am able to give you folks updates on what is happening at the shoppe. And with the pictures and my journaling, I can remember what we have done. Not that I don't remember.

So now you can see why I like my blog.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


This early morning I woke up and we had no power. I decided that I am going to keep a diary of when we lose power. We lived in AK for almost 15 years and in the 11 years we have lived in Leelanau County we have lost power many times over what we ever lost up there. Anyway, we were out of power, again. So I got up, made sure all of the windows and doors were securely closed as it was blowing and howling outside and the house would become pretty cold. I went back to bed and snuggled down into the covers. Woke up at 7 AM and called Consumers Energy to let them know we were out of power as I could see that the houses across Lake Leelanau had power. We seem to be the hole in a doughnut area regarding loss of power. I put together a bag so I could wash up at the PA office, where I was scheduled to work, took the garbage out, and as I was coming back into the house, the power flicked back on at 8 AM. That was good. I hopped into the shower, my husband made me sandwiches for breakfast and I was at work by 8:20 AM.

So the point of all of this? Later this morning at work I found out two county employees were stuck in a car this morning for several hours, with live wires on their car. So while I am fussing and groaning about a cold house and no running water, two of my friends were sitting inside a car, wondering if they were going to become crispy critters. Changes your perspective a bit, doesn’t it?

Still doesn’t mean I am not going to keep that diary.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Do You Have a Dog?

We are sitting in the shoppe. Susan and Kathy are working on their projects and I see a project lying on the table next to Kathy. I pick it up and ask Kathy if she has a dog. As I ask, I hold up her wooden needles. See the needle on the right? The picture does not do it justice - the end is a bit scratchy and not smooth. This poor mitten was jinxed from the start. I should have told Kathy that black is hard to knit, you can't see it very well. Would she have listened? So, she bought the yarn and the needles and sat down and started to get ready to knit. She reached into the inside of the skein and pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and pulled. Didn't get a picture of that. But, there was a lot of yarn coming from the inside, with no end in sight. We had to wind it into a ball. On the bright side, Kathy has just finished her Baby Surprise Jacket. When she has sewn the buttons on and blocked it, she will let us post a picture.

We also have a Moebius class going on in the back room of the shoppe. Melody is teaching them how to do an I-cord.

It is misting outside, so today is a good day to stay inside and knit with good company.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A fall day at Thistledown

Susan, Stella the dog, and her Kiwi are here sitting on the couch. They keep me company and educate me in the finer points of creating a community of fiber artists at the Thistledown Shoppe.

We have been open since 6-29-07 and I finally have time to start a blog. It has been a very busy summer, I work 3 days at the Prosecutor's Office in child support and 4 days at the shoppe, so time has flown by. I signed my lease on early June and was opened for business 3 weeks later. I was going to show you pictures of the early shoppe, but they are on another computer, so I will do that later. Anyway, we started the end of June and just worked on building inventory and meeting our customers. I was lucky in that I had my knitting group, the KnitWits, helping me out. Betsy, Melody, and Liz gave me lots of support and ideas. Melody works in the shoppe on Mondays and Betsy fills in when needed. In the meantime, Jill, who used to work at another store, showed up and told Susan - and now here we are.

Susan is knitting a scarf out of the wonderful ShiBui Baby Alpaca. It is a DK weight yarn and very soft. With the weather cooling down and snow forecast within the next several days, it is a great thing to make. I am working on the ribwarmer - Bea Arthur style, with the Unspun Icelandic fleece that we buy from Schoolhouse Press. Mine is the silver color and Susan is making her ribwarmer out of the denim. The fleece is amazing with the colors varying in their intensity. This picure shows the color that Jill will be using for her ribwarmer.

It is time for me close up the shoppe for the day. We have a class in the Moebius tomorrow, so it will be busy in the afternoon.
As my favorite knitter says, Knit On.