Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Some Colours of March in Seattle March 31, 2010

Only a few more hours to post my colours of March, so here is my selection.  First, to the left – our new doormat

and below, a colourful sweater being modelled at the Whittier Elementary School Science Fair.

    The person who made the granny square sweater does not knit or crochet.  She is an expert seamstress and she made it from an old afghan and a knitted garment she found in a thrift store.  It’s called recycling!  I love it.

  my grandaughter Ashley’s science fair project – note Ashley is wearing a matching pink jersey and socks for the occasion.  Is that to match all the pink cherry blossoms in Seattle this month?

  with better weather the cycling season is beginning in earnest

  window display of old science fiction paperbacks in Ophelia’s Books in Fremont  – serious time for book browsing

  knitting with Franklin thanks to Renaissance Yarns in Kent, south of Seattle

  Colourful wall graffitti in Fremont

   one of the many mountains of papers from the unpacking

  beautiful flowers appearing everywhere

  and finally the fresh green of Spring


Crochet Item March 27, 2010

Filed under: Afghans,Blankets,Books,Crochet,Musical instruments — Janet @ 5:58 pm

In the past couple of weeks I have been doing more crochet than knitting, partly because I felt that my shoulders were getting sore from being hunched up over the knitting.  This morning I was delighted to find a reference to crochet in the Seattle Times.  There was a little clip about a book written by a mathematician at Cornell University in Ithaca New York.  The title of the book is “ Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes.”  This title won the Diagram Prize for last year’s oddest book title.  According to the article, the Diagram Prize is Britain’s quirkiest literary award.  The book charts the frontier between handicrafts and geometry – sounds interesting.  I must look out for it in my wanderings to book shops.

Now for a few pictures, quirky or not.

     one of my crochet blankets in progress


                                                                                                                                                                                                       crochet  project no. 2

  crochet blanket nearing completion

and a change of subject – a vintage (1973) baritone Giannini ukelele from Brasil


Is It Really Going to Happen March 24, 2010

Filed under: Authors,Books,Ravelry,Yarn shops — Janet @ 4:21 am

Thanks to Jean who gave me a heads-up about Franklin’s  visit to Seattle, I have now enrolled for his morning workshop at Renaissance Yarns on Sunday.  This is so exciting – the title of this blog indicates my incredulity that this could really happen.   (In case you don’t know, Franklin is usually in Chicago, and up until recently I was in Dublin Ireland and only came to Seattle recently.)  When I discussed the lace history/knitting workshop with Michelle she asked if I were on Ravelry.  I replied that my Ravelry name was Kenilworth.  She asked if that was kennel as in dog kennel.  That gave me a laugh.  I associate the name Kenilworth with the novel by Sir Walter Scott, as studied in high school.  But actually I picked the name because that is the name of my lawn bowling club in Dublin.  Once we got the spelling right, Michelle was able to look up my details on Ravelry and see that I was from Dublin.  All rather fun I thought.

Today I made more progress with the unpacking and started on the kitchen.   The first big box I tackled was very heavy and yielded a mammoth amount of paper and a minuscule number of items.   Such is life.

Now for a few pictures from my rambles around Seattle etc.

  the first bike I test “drove” here in Seattle

  window display for St. Patrick’s Day

  a new pal (don’t tell my cat Slinki in Dublin)

   another crochet blanket in the making

  now I’ve seen everything – a gnome bowling set.  I don’t know the price but the individual gnomes to either side are $15 and on the shelf in the background is a gnome leaning against a stump planter – that’s $30, tempting

  little sparrows and other birds come to feed on my back porch

  the mountain of paper used in the packing of a few plates and  glasses

  yet another crochet blanket project

  I just love this blue house – and there is a big Old English Sheepdog that lolls on the sofa and looks out the picture window at passersby


A Bit of Crochet and Bicycles and Books March 22, 2010

Filed under: Afghans,Blankets,Books,Crochet,Cycling — Janet @ 5:34 am

As a change from my knitting projects, I have been doing a bit of crochet.

  progress continues on the big blanket using mainly rug wool – it is almost finished – just a bit more red to do and then some grey and then a border of some sort

  a smaller blanket with softer yarn

  a acouple of squares to form the center for another blanket

And then yesterday was such a nice sunny day, I made a trip to the Dutch Bike Company

  this is one of the bikes I tested – I ordered a step-through version.  My limbs are not as supple as they used to be so stepping over that slanting crossbarwas a bit difficult.  One of the other bikes I considered was the OMA – the grandmother bike – I am a grandmother to be sure but on the OMA I felt I should be pedaling slowly to church in an Irish village and wearing a bandana.

Back to the house and the sorting of our books

  we don’t have bookcases yet so these are just the piles of books waiting for their shelves – this photo is of HIS books

  and here are some of my books


Janet’s Books Will Soon Be Relocating March 17, 2010

Filed under: Books,Crochet,Cycling,Family,Move to Seattle — Janet @ 2:27 am

Regular readers of this blog might remember might forays into the world of book selling at the Dublin City Book Fairs.  These were always very enjoyable occasions for me, if not always profitable.  I miss the buzz of those fairs.  But here I am in Seattle now and I shipped my stock of books, not having sold them in Dublin.  They have gradually reappeared as I unpack and now they are all lined up in the hallway of our new house.  I will soon be offering them for sale again – this time through Amazon.  Amazon has various ways of merchandising but I understand that I can make an inventory of my books, then send them off to Amazon, and the rest is up to them, so to speak.  Sounds good doesn’t it.  Watch this space!

  some of my books at the Dublin City Book Fair

  here they are again, some of the old favourites – but note that they are lined up on our nice new floor

One little aside – there has been some talk about the BBC series on Elizabeth Gaskell’s book Cranford.  I understand that the programme is now being shown on American television on PBS.  I enjoyed watching the series while I was in Ireland.  Yesterday I spotted a lovely new edition of the book, now published as a Penguin Classic.  And today in my unpacking I found my husband’s old edition of the book.  His edition was in fact presented to his father in 1925.  So there is a bit of biblio history, if that is the right terminology.

Last Sunday we went to the Bike Expo – a big show here in Seattle, a bike loving community.  Of course we had to travel there by bike.

  the tandem pair

  the merry cyclist

And finally, an update on the crochet blanket/stash project

And the view from one of the windows in our new house

  keria in full bloom, mid-March


I Am Reminded of Willa Cather March 11, 2010

Filed under: Airfield,Authors,Books,Social history — Janet @ 4:18 am

Willa Cather is an author I read many years ago and would happily reread now.  In looking her up on Wikipedia I see that we share the same birthday (not the same year!).  O Pioneers! and My Antonia are two of her more famous works.  She was born in 1873 in Virginia but in 1883 her family moved to Nebraska and she is famous for her writing based on her experiences there.  She attended the University of Nebraska.  Remember, this was at a time when not many women went to university.  She died in 1947 and is buried in Jaffrey New Hampshire.  She had many honours during her lifetime and is known as the novelist of the frontier.  The frontier being the Great Plains. 

As mentioned in my last blog, the book I am reading now is In Their Own Words, Letters from Norwegian Immigrants, edited, translated and introduced by Solveig Zempel and published by the University of Minnesota Press in cooperation with The Norwegian-American Historical Association.  The book consists of letters from 9 pioneers who emigrated from Norway in the latter part of the 19th century to take up new lives in America.    So far I have read 3 sets of letters.  The first set of letters were written by A Peripatetic Schoolteacher, Andreas Hjerpeland, whose letters span the years 1871-1893.  The 2nd chapter is titled A Single Woman in Illinois, Berta Serina Kingestad, letters written 1885-1893.   And the third chapter is An Urban Norwegian in the Red River Valley, Gunnar Host, letters written 1883-1905.  The experiences of these people are just fascinating.  And although the letters were written many years ago now, there is so much in them that one can relate to in today’s world in the 21st century.

I think that the Nordic Heritage Museum has an archive project going on involving letters written by Scandinavians who came to the Seattle area, and specifically to Ballard where we are now living.  I am hoping to link up with this project.  A few years ago in Dublin I worked in the archive at Airfield Farm and catalogued the material.  I look forward to maybe doing that again.

  Willa Cather in 1936, credit Wikipedia


No Knitting Today March 10, 2010

Filed under: Afghans,Blankets,Books,Crochet,Social history — Janet @ 3:27 am

Today I decided to take a break from the knitting – but not from the reading.  I finished the Henning Mankell book The Man Who Smiled.  I was initially going to go over to the University District to get 2 more Henning Mankell’s at Half Price Books, but as I finished TMWS I decided that after reading 2 in a row, I wanted a break from that also.  TMWS, while very good, there was a fair bit of repetition from previous books and it was getting to be a bit like having been written to a certain formula.

I pottered about with some more unpacking and started reading a book I bought at the Nordic Heritage Museum.  In Their Own Words, Letters from Norwegian Immigrants.  So far so good and quite fascinating.  As I go through my own family archive I can now relate to what was happening in other people’s lives at a similar time in U.S. history.  These letters are like reading the person’s blog if such a thing had existed in the late 1800’s.  I will try to develop this idea a bit more as I go along.

  The Man Who Smiled – Henning Mankell, 1994

  In Their Own Words – copyright 1991

  and progress on the crochet blanket


Believe It Or Not March 9, 2010

Believe it or not – I think the repairs have been completed – at 12:47 p.m Pacific Standard Time March 8.  I have been unpacking since I arrived here 2 months ago but as you know, my unpacking has been very restricted.  Now I can really spread out and all those things I carried upstairs are now being shifted downstairs and vice versa – well, that is a bit of an exaggeration but I think you get the picture.  I’ve made sketches of each of the rooms and allocated areas for book cases or whatever.  All my yarn supplies are lining the upstairs hallway.  Textile and art books go to one of the bedrooms.  Archival photos to another.  Ian’s books get prime of place in the living room etc.  All you readers are saying “eek” but it really is quite enjoyable to feel that some degree of order is beginning to emerge.  Pity that my shoulders are aching so much but maybe that’s from the knitting and  crocheting I do during my breaks.  Hunching over the computer doesn’t help either.  Not to mention carrying a backpack with my knitting and a hardback Henning Mankell book and various notebooks, etc.  Why do I feel compelled to carry so much stuff??

  the bin men came today and yet again they took all the cardboard boxes – I was so pleased.  There are only a few left for next week.

  Blanket no. 9, work in progress

  crochet blanket, a stash project – it doesn’t look great at the moment but I think it will be fine

  the new dishwasher was installed today – the black is quite a contrast.  I’m not sure I like it but I’m sure I will get used to it.  And so long as there are NO LEAKS, it will be fine.

  the kitchen table and chairs are in place.  That kitchen table is a gift and there are 2 leaves so we can expand it for family gatherings etc.

  and this was absolutely riveting.  I kept retreating to quiet corners to read it over the weekend.


Get weaving, get knitting, get crocheting March 7, 2010

I have spent part of today gathering my yarn stash into one place, albeit temporary.  The amount I have is embarrassing.  Bags of yarn are lining the hallway while I figure out which room to put all that yarn in.  Also I’m thinking about what type of furniture to get as storage units and dividers.  There is a lot of rug weaving yarn which I also use for crocheting afghans.  Then there is also my knitting yarn.

  this photo is not great but it is meant to show the line of bags of wool – it means something to me at least, if not to the casual observer.  Today I feel as if one third of our shipment was made up of yarn.  When I turn around and look at the books stacked up in the living room and elsewhere, I think another third was made up of books. 

  this afghan was crocheted with rug yarn over 20 years ago when we were in Bhutan  –  I shipped a huge stash of weaving yarn which I put to good use while we were there for 2 years.

  this  is the start of another crocheted afghan – single blanket width and I’ve done about 12 inches so far

  knitted blanket no. 8.  Blanket no. 9 is work in progress.  Today was beautifully sunny – I sat in the sun on my back porch and worked on blanket no. 9 and read Henning Mankell’s book Sidetracked.  I am  rather obsessed with reading his books.  My previous knitting/reading adventure was The Soloist by Steve Lopez.  Another gripping book.

The workmen have almost finished and I now have more room to shift items around in the house.  What I originally put upstairs I’m shifting downstairs and vice versa.  Isn’t that the way!  Access to the kitchen is still barred but apart from that I’m ready to roll, so to speak.

Today was


Update on the House March 5, 2010

Filed under: Move to Seattle,Moving house — Janet @ 2:24 am

Just a few pictures to show progress on the repairs to the house and the state of my unpacking.

   I came back to the house this afternoon and found that access to my kitchen was cordoned off and the refrigerator was in the hallway (on the left) – not only could I not get to the kitchen but this meant I also couldn’t get to the back bedroom upstairs.  The flooring people worked on the kitchen floor this morning and I think the last step was to varnish it so it had to dry.  They are scheduled to be back tomorrow morning to finish the job and move the appliances back in place.  I hope this means they will also bring the dishwasher upstairs. 

   the kitchen table had to be moved to the living room – it was hard to find room for it among all the books

  I’ve tried to place various ornaments safely out of harm’s way on the mantelpiece

  one of my goals for today was to clear the way to our mattress so that it could be moved to the bedroom

  I succeeded so hopefully tomorrow the 2 strong men doing the kitchen floor will move the mattress – it will be easier if they shift the new dishwasher from the hallway

  doesn’t that new bedroom floor look great!  I am so pleased.