Monday, June 16, 2014

Crocheting While Seeing the Sights of Duluth, MN

Last month my husband and I took a 4 day mini vacation to Duluth, MN.  Our daughter, Michelle and her husband, gave us a really nice gift certificate for a 2 night stay at the Cotton Mansion, a swanky Bed and Breakfast the year before. However, we waited until this year to use it because we had been to Duluth the previous year. We decided that mid May was a good time to go because for a number of reasons. First of all, my husband, Gerry, is a university professor and the school year for him ended that first week of May; second, it was right before the tourist season began and third, it was the weekend before our 32nd wedding anniversary.  It was a time to unwind, relax and enjoy the sites and sounds of Duluth. 
Duluth, MN

Duluth, MN is located on Lake Superior. It's the furthest harbor away from the Atlantic Ocean and is part of the Great Lakes Shipping system. It's has lots of attractions in and around the Duluth area such as it's microbreweries and many state parks. Also it's only a few hours away from Canada.

Duluth is about  6-7 hours aways from Marshall, MN and usually, when we take a long trip I like to work on a project. It's a good way to pass the time while doing something productive. I decided to begin a project that was promised to a friend when I had visited her last September. I had been feeling a little guilty about not having it done yet. My excuses were that I needed to work on getting items into my shop first. However, what prompted me to start this project was that it was more mobile than my sewing machine, and my friend was coming to visit right after we got back from Duluth. 

I had purchased a crocheting book of baby dress patterns last summer. I began right away working on a 12 month dress pattern for my granddaughter. It was going to be her first year birthday present, which wasn't until the following May. I had plenty of time to do it right?? Well procrastination sometimes gets in the way, and I was putting on the last details as we were driving to my daughter's house to celebrate Lilly's first birthday. 

Anyway, it was from that same pattern book that my friend chose for her daughter's dress. I pulled out the yarn that she purchased the night before and began working on it. I had the back and front yokes done before we left that morning. By the time we reached Duluth the yoke sections were attached to the skirt part of the dress and had begun doing the rounds. I thought this was pretty easy until I hit a snag in the directions later that evening. I needed to increase the round by eight stitches evenly, every other row. This wouldn't normally be a problem because most patterns figure out the math and put it into the directions. This one didn't and I needed to do this over 20 times. I wasn't expecting to have to do this. It was frustrating to say the least. The previous dress I crocheted from the same book was pretty straight forward so I was a little suprised by this crochet pattern. However, I consider myself a pretty good crocheter. Math hasn't been my forte, but I managed to figure it out for the most part. By then it was late evening and I put my crocheting down for the night.

The next day, Gerry and I ate breakfast and decided to go to the Great Lakes Aquarium. It was a surprise to us that this aquarium is more than that. It also was like a museum that featured other animals of the area as well as displays that surrounded events that were apart of the Duluth history. We arrived there around 10:30 in the morning and didn't leave until 2 p. m. The time went fast and so we were amazed at how much time we had spent there. By that time, we were hungary. We went to pizza shop downtown for a late lunch and returned back to our room.  I picked up my crocheting and was able to add a few more rounds before Gerry suggested we go out for light dinner. 
Glensheen Mansion

On Saturday, we toured the Glensheen Mansion, all 5 floors. It was interesting to make comparisons between the Cotton Mansion, which is smaller, and this mansion.  Overall, I preferred the Cotton Mansion for its architectural features. It was also easier for me to see myself living there. Someone could get lost in the Glensheen Mansion and never be found between the house and the grounds or so it seemed. 

That evening we went to Fitzgers restaurant to meet up with our tour guides from the Duluth Experience
 and other members of our group. The Duluth Experience is a new entrepreneurship ran by 4 young men. They launched their business last July after working out a business arrangement with the local microbreweries.  Duluth is fast becoming known for all of its microbreweries in the area. We toured four local breweries and sampled different types of beer.  At the end of the tour, they took us to a restaurant for dinner. It was a relaxing evening and a lot of fun.  When we returned to our room, I did manage to crochet a few more rounds of the baby dress before going to bed.  I knew I wasn't going to finish it before our friends came, but at least I could show her some of the progress being made.

On Sunday, it was time to head home. Gerry and I were able to pack most of our things in the car before breakfast. Afterwards, we said goodbye to our lovely hosts and set our sights for home. I put on audio book and began working on the baby dress as Gerry drove towards home. 

It's been 3 weeks since our trip, and the dress is finally finished.  I have to say that working on this baby dress has been a curse and a blessing. Many times I have been frustrated because I had an incorrect stitch count and had to rework the round or part of the round. The pattern also had a couple of typos. Between the math, typos and all the frustration, I was pleased with the results. My persisitance paid off. So what do you think? Pretty cute, huh??

A crocheted dress for Madisyn
I'm excited to send the dress to my friend. It'll be just right for the fall/winter time as it's a little too heavy for the summer. I can imagine some cute little leggings underneath and the option of wearing a cute long sleeve shirt for extra warmth as well. And isn't that little floral headband really cute? It completely makes this outfit. I hope my friend, Kayla, sends me a pic of her daughter wearing the dress.  I can't wait to see it on Madisyn.