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Sunday, November 29, 2009

After Thanksgiving is over….

Well, the kids came here and we had a feast, and watching little Jameson play and entertain us was a hit for the day.  Our friends came from Michigan, Cella and Dave, and they made it through their Black Friday shopping in Green Bay.  They found all they wanted to find, and came back to our house for a while too.


Jameson was playing, Heather was crocheting, Erin and Mark had the Rat Dog Grandpuppies over (their 2 chihuahuas)  and Erin is busy growing her baby.

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We pigged out, split up leftovers and sat up late telling stories….


On Saturday, I decided to finish up the fringes on a rug that I had woven before my hospital stay.  This one is a favorite type of mine to weave… I call them Birch Tree Rugs.  The nubby texture of the material reminds me of birch bark. 

browns of the woods1

What is interesting, is that these rugs are made of…. recycled sock loopers!  They are the factory waste from making sport socks, which normally go in a landfill.  My friend, Barb Barnett in Iowa  http://www.butler-bremer.com/web/bbarn/index.html  from down in Plainfield Iowa purchases huge bales of these sock loopers.  From there she bags them up and resells them to weavers.  Recycling at it’s finest!!!

looper chain 

I chain them together (a messy linty job best reserved for outdoors)  and then wind them onto long stick shuttles for weaving.  I intersperse various colors of loopers into groups of chains to make certain color combos for certain rugs.  They make such a thick heavy rug that goes PLOP on the floor and does not rumple or wrinkle up.

Three looper rugs working on looper rugs birch tree rug in browns looper chains loaded on stick shuttles


Once the rug is woven, I need to either tie the fringes in just a knot, or else I use a device called a Fringe Twister to make a ropelike finish with a knot on the end.  On this rug, I also beefed up the twists with extra strands of rug warp, to make them a bit thicker and they lay nicer on the floor. 

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So that is what I do to weave a Birch Tree Rug!

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We had such lovely sunshine yesterday streaming through the trees in our woods… along the riverbank.   Today the weatherman said someone opened the door to Canada, and we are due for 20 degrees, cold and SNOW……   so this scene won’t last for long!


Now it’s Sunday, and the dogs let us sleep in… how nice of them!  Give them a few days of Steve off work, and they forget that 5am is time to get up and see what exciting treats might be in the doggie dish~  LOL 

I think it’s gonna be a sock knitting day, and waiting for the snowflakes to fall……

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Trying to get some projects going …

Well, it’s a long slow recovery here, but I am finally able to sit up and knit a bit… if you really know me, you know I can’t sit still for long.  I always have to be making something fiberish…. hey, I admit it, I am a Fiberholic.


So this week I got some socks done!  I use an antique circular sockknitting machine.  I have had a few: a really old one from 1892…  and then a few from 1904, 1908 and now 1925,,, they are SO COOL… but frustrating, finicky, putzy and irritating to no end!  They take a LONG time to learn and adjust and get *just right* before you can even hope to get a sock from it. 

Different yarns will work in one but not another.  Some days they work great, and without touching a thing, the next day they are snarled up and a mess.  ARRRGGH!  

I have been cranking since 1998 and it honestly took over a year before I got a good sock.  I only use good wool and make my own color combinations. 


1892 gearhart 1with ribber on 72 slot   I ribbed   from inside angle



Here are some socks that I got done this week.. .slowly… carefully…

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Some wool yarns I dye (creatively) and get cool designs like this:

half skein sock yarn

     half skein sock yarn dye day half skein sock yarn results



I also dye sheep fleeces, that have been processed into long strips called *rovings*  by Patty Reedy at Rainbow Fleece Farm in New Glarus, WI ….

  (I do these in the summer and drape them to dry all over my back deck, LOL …. my neighbors think I am nuts)

may dyepot day 4may dyepot day 5


And  then I haul out my spinning wheel…..   and spin up these colorful rovings into wool yarn.  I spin at home in front of the fireplace in the winters, and in the summers I take my spinning wheel right along in the motorhome to spin outside in the woods!

my wee peggy 1sittin and spinnin 


plum happy and tickled pink

See what fantastic socks I get outta this?   My hand dyed and handspun socks are very special and it takes about 20 hours to complete a pair from beginning to end.  So it’s really not worthwhile to sell them.  Even at a rate of $10 an hour, who would pay $200 for a pair of socks?    So those special socks I keep for myself …   or else my girls swipe them!


That is why for the socks I do sell, I use mill-spun yarn that I pick up at a spinning mill here in Wisconsin, on huge cones, to make it cost efficient and worthwhile.  I sell the socks (and my handwoven rugs and towels)   for $20 a pair on my etsy site:   



So that is a day in the life of a recluse who is fiber-addicted and closed up in her house for the next 6 weeks to finish recuperating from surgery.   Not the most exciting blog post, but it’s something that is a part of me.   Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Campground Reveiw - Chalk Hills Campground – in the UP of Michigan

(this is one of series of posts of various campgrounds we have been to over the years... I am going through my files in alphabetical order and posting past camping trips in my blog.... something to do over this long long upcoming winter---- sigh)

We last camped here July 2009  This post is featuring the Chalk Hills Campground---
their website is:    http://www.chalkhillscampground.com/

This is a lovely private campground we stumbled across about 3 years ago after it first opened up.  What a nice quiet place, located near a big dam on the Menominee River, bordering between the UP of Michigan and Northern Wisconsin.   There is GREAT fishing on this river, and residents from both states can fish on this river with their current licenses.  It is only 50-60 miles from our home.   It is one of the few places we camp at that has ELECTRIC hookups!  

The rates are only $15 a night, and they have 25 sites to choose from.  Big level gravel sites with some pull through.   We like 4 and 5 on the one end, and also 12-15 on the other end!  If you call them or email, they will save a site for you without a problem.
(906) 639-2286 or info@ChalkHillsCampground.com


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There are some small rustic sites both above and below the dam that are manned by the power company that owns the dam, but they are wayyy too small for a motorhome or any lengthy trailer or fiver.  Pickup trucks and tents are about all that work in them.  They are called Recreational Access Sites.  

So it was a great thing for these folks decided to put up a campground with large enough sites for the rest of us camping folks!   They offer electric hookups (some 30 and some 50 amp) and water at the entrance (unthreaded spigot so to fill you need a water device like this)   The two outhouses are clean and the entire park is very well-kept.   They try to meet up with you after you self-register and drop off a bundle of fire kindling, and a box of wooden matches!  awwwwwwww
water bandit
We have camped here a number of times, the last time with our camping buddies, Fred and Sharon.  Along with their darling yellow lab, Brandy!

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chalk hills campground july 2009 (2)_1 She is such a good campground doggie…. they winter over in their fiver down south each year, so she gets in lots of camping!

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Morning sun coming through the trees….  sometimes you see deer wander across on their way to river for a drink.
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Morning coffee, pastries, and good friends… what more do you need?

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We hauled up our boat behind the motorhome, and the guys hooked it up behind Fred’s truck to go head out in the river and find some fish!

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Later we took a drive up the road a ways.. .to Pemene Falls.    What a lovely July day!
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Not much water for this time of year, but you can see how high it does get at certain times.

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Downriver from the campgrounds is a big hydroelectric dam….
chalk hills dam 1

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There are a few boat landings down river and up river of the dam for access.  Here is one at the Sturgeon Bend township campground (we have stayed here too in the past, but we like Chalk Hills better now)  

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It was such a perfect day for a ride and check out the river at various points. 
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Fred and Sharon, our camping buddies.  (now both retired from UWGB)

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“Da ya think darz any fish in der?”

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Danged Tourists!

Here are a few more shots from November 2008 camping (yes, they stay open through hunting season)
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We have our scooter up on the back rack of the motorhome, so if the urge arises, we hop on and go for a scenic ride.  The dirt road north of the campground winds along the river, near the exclusive resort island of Four Seasons, and up into the woods beyond.  It was a great day for a ride! down the road 1

I just can’t sit still…   I always have to bring along *something* to work on!~ looper day 1

It’s always a surprise of what I am going to bring along to work on.. it’s usually fiber-related and has something to do with making things that I sell on my etsy website:
looper day 2
And all too soon, it’s time to pack up and head home again.   Sigh. campground 8