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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Grand Marais, Minnesota

Grand Marais has a folk school.  (I want a folk school.) Since I don't have one, I do enjoy this one as much as my friends out there do.

The buildings on the left are the store, one of the classrooms in blue and the new blacksmith shop. They are working on a small covered bridge for the towns bike path just behind the blue building. As you can see, it is right on the upper shore of Lake Superior. This day, the lake was like glass, but many times it is so windy and stormy that the lake seems like an ocean... waves but no salt water. And the beaches are covered with beautiful round rocks of many sizes.

I felt like I was on the Connecticut shore, gulls flying over head looking for fish bits from the fisher men's dock just to the right of the School.

The little bay and its' breakwater, the wall of rocks that keeps the boats safe in bad weather, was quiet in June. I hear that tourists from the twin cities rush up to this quiet vacation spot in summer like New Yorkers' rush to Vermont in the fall crowding the main road and leaving the residents with the love/hate relationship all country folks have with the city folks. In June, it was cold, but lovely.

We went up so Roger could teach a class at the North House Folk School. He teaches folks from all over the country how to make wooden Norwegian ale bowls on a spring pole lathe. He is very good at it. A weekend class, I sat nearby sometimes to listen to the teaching and see how the students were doing.

The school has a wide variety of classes. A leather shoe making class was going on, one I would like to have taken. Expert trades and craftsmen and women teach how to make canoes and those little round boats seen in the movie Willow. They teach weaving too. No pottery yet... except the class in Raku held off site.

I also got a chance to just sit around and do some

We got to stay in the guest house, the building on the right in the photo below. The green boat on the left will be the one Roger, Marco and I take out on parade day.

Below the dock live a couple of beavers. I could watch them from that window right above my butt in the early morning.

The red building is the classroom where Roger was teaching.

We stayed for a few days and then it was back to the city and a trip out to the Hennipen County Fair northwest of Minneapolis to work for a few days.

Two weeks later, we went back up north.

It was when we came back to Grand Marais the second time that the cold and the rain threatened to ruin the Boat Show, Parade and Pageant.

But it seems Minnesotans are a hearty bunch. After I bought some winter cloths,we helped make masks for the pageant, made pizza in the brick oven, shared laughs, songs, dancing and stories with our friends and survived the chill and rain just fine, like true hardy folk.

This second trip, we were in our camper with the new fuzzy bunnies and a heater. Still, the rain stopped long enough to have the Summer Solstice Puppet Pageant on the last evening, my first and a great success. This years theme had cavemen.

I cannot find a video posting for this years show yet, but there is a nice piece on youtube by our friend David from last years pageant that would make a nice background for my photos too... Summertime and the living is easy.

That caveman on the right is my Roger and having a lot of fun.  This being my first pageant, I wanted to be in the audience, but next year I am going back and I hope to get my own part to play. And I will bring my wool hat and mittens just in case.

Weaving Roger's Norwegian Garters

Grand Marais, Minnesota.

Duluth... Lake Gitche Gumee
While up in Grand Marais this spring (?), I made some Norwegian garters for Roger's costume.

Spring, June, in Grand Marais, MN, about 1/2 hour from the Canadian border, is about 55 degrees during the day and about 45 degrees at night.  When Roger and I left Minneapolis, it was around 80 degrees and we were worried the new bunnies would have heat stroke in the truck on the 5 hour ride north.  The bunnies were fine, especially when we hit Lake Superior and the north wind flow.

Whenever I drive along Lake Superior, Gordon Lightfoot is singing the sad song of the Edmund Fitzgerald and Lake "Gitche Gumee" and the skies of November turning gloomy in my head.

When it started raining, I realized a trip to the thrift store in town was necessary for some pant liners and a wool coat.  I had brought shorts, skirts and short sleeve blouses and no wool mittens or wool hat. The thrift store had a nice wool, made in USA jacket, red and black checks. The red and black checks turned out perfect as Marco and Roger made me the steering "lumber jane" in the boat race later 

The boat race below had refreshments to ward off the cold. I was steering.

Anyway, I started weaving the garters a couple of weeks before in Grand Marais.

And finally, they were done. Garters, like mittens, require you make two the same. Each one was about 4' long and 3/4 inch wide.  I used brown and yellow wool, sport weight.

Warp your loom, 32 threads, and follow the pattern below.

This is such a simple pattern, I just picked up the 2 center yellow threads and dropped the 2 brown threads with my fingers.

This was the only pattern I could find in an early Norwegian illustration.  It seems to be appropriate and was very simple to follow.

Happy weaving!