Archive for the ‘Family History Blogging’ Category

This week’s photo challenge is Texture. I went to The World’s Most Famous Beach for our family beach weekend. Sand, surf, the roar of traffic up and down A1A outside the beach-front hotels, hugs from big and little ones, crisp hotel sheets on sun-exposed skin, seafood restaurants, and of course, a yarn crawl. I had to see what the local yarn shop The Ball of Yarn had to offer.

The Mandarin Petit and Kashmir yarns are from their Swedish import rack, although they have a flag of Norway on their labels. The shop proprietor told me that they love Kraemer brand yarns, which are spun in America and were used in the Ralph Lauren knitted apparel worn by our Winter Olympics competitors. Isn’t it a small world after all?


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DH and I were invited to spend 4th of July weekend with his brother and family at their resort condo in Longboat Key. We had a refreshing time relaxing, partying on the beach, shopping, and talking with loved ones in a place that is just short of paradise.

Longboat Key

Early morning sunrise from the balcony

Longboat Key

Beach at 9:30 AM

Longboat key

Majestic Norfolk pine in the landscape

Florida gulf coast

Florida gulf coast beach

Longboat Key condo

resort condo

fireworks on the beach

Fireworks on the beach




























































I seized the opportunity to do some yarn shopping in nearby Sarasota.

Yarn Shop

A Good Yarn

A Good Yarn truly was The Mothership of all yarn shops. It was BIG, stocked full of all of the most popular, trending brands. Next to the front window was a work table, decked out with shop patrons who were calling for assistance from the friendly, outgoing staff. There was a large, comfy sitting area with “guy” magazines, for those patrons who don’t get all that excited about yarn. I had ordered Rowan fine tweed and felted tweed from an online vendor, but they were sold out of two of the colors that I needed for a Martin Storey project. But I couldn’t remember offhand what those two colors were, although the cute young clerk located the pattern book for me and allowed me to browse through it. “Don’t worry,” she said, “you can figure out what they are when you get home and then order it from us!” Awesome to know that they do a great mail-order business, too.

The shop owner is an underwater photographer, and on one wall, they have a selection of yarn in color ways that match the several photos of marine life framed above the skeins. Here’s a shot of the damage I did (to my bank account) while I was there.

A Good Yarn yarn

yarn haul

We have here, clockwise from left: CoBaSi (cotton, bamboo, silk blend sock yarn that doesn’t sag and bag like cotton alone would) by HiKoo in orange and blue; Lorna’s Laces Hand-dyed Shepherd Sock in U of F; Lorna’s Laces Hand-dyed Shepherd Sock in A Good Beach (they said it was in the colors of nearby Siesta Key Beach, white, light orange, sandy gray);HiKoo American Brand fingering weight yarn in Wind Cave (white); Rowan fine tweed in Tissington (orange); Rowan felted tweed in 178 blue; fine tweed in Bainbridge (dark red); Anzula Hand-dyed Sebastian (70% super wash merino, 30% sea cell) in Hyacinth; Madelinetosh Dandelion (merino/linen blend) in Midnight Pass; and at the bottom, Hand Maiden 100% silk in Rumple (metallic grays.) The bags are decorated with logo stickers and scraps of yarn, by students at a local school.

I also stopped in at Picasso’s Moon, a Sarasota yarn shop/antique shop.

yarn shop

Picasso’s Moon

art yarn

art yarn from Picasso’s Moon

Owner Debra Lambert spun this yarn on a Mach III wheel with a large orifice. She is set to give a workshop on spinning at Towles Court later this month. The shop is (as the yarn tag indicates) an eclectic collection of fibers and antiques arranged in sort of a giant web of skeins and scarves, shawls, bowls and baskets of old wooden spools, balls of yarn, decorative objects, hanging garments, and in the center of the room sat Debra on the floor, weaving on what looked to me like a little Cricket loom. Nearby was a beautiful, compact Schacht loom warped with a very fine, black yarn. I learned that art yarn such as this is VERY pricey, but I was under a spell, taken into the gypsy mystique of fiber artisanship, an alter ego I once vaguely sought for myself…some day, I want to delve deeper into the fiber arts.

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Wednesday Night Knitting was for a fleeting moment, playing catch-up.



Lois brought more teal yarn to work on. Rachel brought nothing yarn-y but we talked genealogy.



Ethel flew east.



Kerry is soon flying west…

Amy brought a potential wedding dress.

wedding dress

wedding dress

Yes, I’m still on the Sophie tunic.

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Day 6 of Eskimimi’s Knit and Crochet Blog Week Challenge is to write about someone you admire, and about yourself in comparison/contrast. My knitting idols are my grandmother and her sister, Auntie Marg.


Margaret and Alice about 1917

When I knew them, I didn’t think much about knitting. They became my knitting idols much later, when I thought back, in amazement, of the things they knitted. Most vivid in my memories: the sacred afghan that remained on our couch for the purpose of keeping warm, while watching TV and slipping into Dreamland. We called it the “duggy-wuggy” (I do not know the origin of that term, so it’d be no good to ask! 🙂 ). It was light green, dark green, and gray. And possibly some canary yellow in there, too. It was about 4 1/2 feet long by 2 feet wide and had fringe on both narrow ends. Thick cables coursed down the length of it. It had a fabric backing that was a dark gray-brown wool crepe, very slinky. My dad took a nap on the couch every day when he got home from work. I aspire to that, too. I’ve had couch blankets, lap quilts, throws, on the couch…but none so awesome as that duggy-wuggy!

Next memory is of the baby layette items after my daughter was born. I’m sorry to say I don’t have a single one of these left. They were so classic, and so delectable. A yellow cardigan with raglan sleeves, with a matching white and yellow Tyrolean hat with a little pompom on top (not frilly, in case she turned out to be a boy, but yellow, so she could still wear it if she was a girl). Knit-stitch booties with a satin ribbon to tie. A white ripple-effect baby blanket. A white crocheted jacket and bonnet, with a satin ribbon tie.

I can picture in my mind, the two sisters looking at each other with purposeful ambition, whenever a new baby was announced.

Aunt Marg

Auntie Marg, c. 1929

Here is my great-aunt, wearing a shawl that she undoubtedly made. Aunt Margaret never married; she lived with my grandmother in a house full of cats.

As for me, I guess my leaf didn’t fall far from the tree, but to compare with their expertise….I still have a long way to go! And I’m still searching for that plain baby cardigan and hat set pattern!

knitting with cat

Me, Bob, and Mom

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Aargh! Eskimimi Makes’ 5th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week has started and I didn’t realize it til I saw this post from CaityRosey! Thanks, Caity!

I’ll start with Day 1 (even tho it’s already the 3rd day) which topic is “A Day in the Life of…”

Knitted Wall Hanging

Alp Wall Hanging at the end of the hall

My name is Wally Alp. Click here if you want to see the Ravelry version of how I came to be. I hang out at the end of the hall, which you might think is a remote space, but buddy, I see a lot.

wall hanging

view of the empty boxes

I get to stare at a bunch of empty boxes sitting on top of a generator. Not very pretty, but sometimes the owners need to send stuff to some of their seventeen grandchildren, and they keep a stockpile of boxes right across from me. Better than a view of a parking lot, I guess!

Alp Wall hanging and Audobon print

Better view; 1937 Audubon print: Florida Jay

View on this side is much better, the Florida Jay print, drawn by John J. Audubon, and a shelf of old DVDs.

guest bedroom

Guest Bedroom

Today the woman who lives here brought a bundle of sheets in to the guest bedroom right here, and made up the bed. Maybe a guest is coming! Who might be coming? Great grandma? The twins? That granddaughter with the wavy golden hair and the chipped front tooth? That cute young couple with the toddler who likes Curious George?

wall hanging

Sewing and working room

The woman who lives here comes through this door A LOT! She goes in there to sew, to get yarn and patterns, and she goes in there to help people find answers to their family history questions. She keeps the door closed to keep the cats out.

cat space

cat lying in wait

The cats see this little space below me as a waiting area, until such time as their momma comes out of the sewing room. Sometimes they have a long wait!

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a pretty good yarn

a pretty good yarn

I had an opportunity to partake in a yarn of a different sort yesterday, at the Family Folklore workshop here at our local public library.

I got into the workshop a bit late, forgetting that the gators had a home game, so downtown Gainesville was a traffic nightmare. The first presenter was a lovely young woman who is involved in the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at UF. Her talk was interesting and comprehensive, giving ideas to record family history interviews for fun and posterity. She left us with an informative “Cheat Sheet” for planning and carrying out our own projects. I can’t wait to start on one!

Next, Elise LeCompte, a registrar from the Florida Museum of Natural History, gave a presentation about Preserving Your Family Heirlooms. Having several years of experience at the museum, she has been able to see how time and environmental factors can damage artifacts, especially those made of organic materials. She showed the correct ways to store beaded items, textiles, costumes, leather goods, wood, and other goods you want to be in good shape years and decades from now. Her information was enlightening in good and bad ways, as I can see how I’ve neglected some heirloom items and want to quickly repair my mistakes! I can attest to her warning that the cost of restoring things can be very expensive: my brother recently received back a proposal from a company he wrote to, regarding restoration of a poster our dad got as an employee of NASA in the 1970’s, and the cost of their high-tech fixes was in the $thousands! LeCompte brought samples of inert storage materials that she recommends for storing and displaying articles. She will make herself available to give free workshops to groups who want to learn more about preserving heirlooms. She said her favorite presentations are those in which people bring in articles and request help and advice for keeping those items in the family for years to come.

Sylvia Ashwell, the genealogy librarian on staff, and the moderator of the workshop, gave a presentation about local family history research sources in the library, and about premium family history web sites available to the public while on the premises. Links to family history sites such as National Archives are available on the library’s main web page under the link Research: Genealogy.

Robin Rossi, a local public relations spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave a presentation on https://familysearch.org, the church’s free online family history web site. Also attending the workshop was the director of the local LDS Family History Center, who stayed to answer questions about microfilm ordering, location of the center, free use of the 15 or so premium family history websites while at the centers.

Next on the agenda was a real, live story teller, Sarah Eiland, AKA Sunshine Badger Woman. She told us a bit about her upbringing and the formulation of her storytelling philosophy and development of her craft. Having worked as a teacher, she knows kids and is concerned about some of the violence and bullying that goes on in schools. She sees storytelling as a framework to amend social problems. “How can we move forward if we can’t remember our past,” she asks. She brought a scrapbook featuring creative pages that tell stories about her life, her likes and dislikes, things she values. She told three colorful stories about her family, evoking vivid imagery and emotion. Check out her web site story crafts.net for more information.

A great yarn-y day!


Sketch of Sunshine Badger Woman as she spoke in the workshop. Normally I would have taken a photo, but a sketch just seemed to go with the creative theme today! 🙂

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